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General Discussion ***1st Annual(?) Very Merry HTF December Holiday Movie Challenge 2022*** (1 Viewer)

Josh Steinberg

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Recent viewings:

-As we get into the homestretch, I’m concentrating more on my must watch comfort foods. I’ve started viewing episodes from The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. They have something like ten Christmas themed episodes, everything from getting ready for the holiday to the far itself to the aftermath in the days ahead. These episodes have a wide range in terms of subject manner but are unified in appeal by a certain whimsical sensibility and a gentle, good natured humor. The Ozzie character also spends a good amount of time in various states of befuddlement, which is sort of the sweet spot for relatable character humor for me.

-Our Miss Brooks is an under appreciated treasure. Not a Desilu show per se but filmed at Desilu with many of the same production crew members as I Love Lucy, it’s a show that actually works better for me than Lucy surprisingly often. Like Lucy, it has radio origins, and two of the three Christmas episodes Our Miss Brooks did were adaptations of prior radio shows (which are also worth a listen). Eve Arden is just terrific in the lead, and I think Gale Gordon is an all time great as her boss - he’s got this wonderful suspicious-you-might-annoy-him-at-any-moment presence, and the slow burn to explosion he does whenever that suspicion is proven correct is just the best in the business. The rest of the supporting players, all veterans of the radio show, are just as fantastic.

-The Jack Benny Program’s Christmas Shopping Show is cynical and downright vicious, Benny’s caricature of himself monstrous, and it is one the f#%^ing funniest things I’ve ever seen, and now I watch it every year.

-I’m the family cook and I have a lot of history with watching Julia Child for entertainment and for a prior job. She has a few holiday food themed episodes and I love watching them this time of year and connecting with what the food trends for the holiday season were in different years. Some of them have proven timeless, others not so much. I’ve cooked some of her shows before but not these… not yet at least. I really want to try that goose.
 

Chip_HT

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Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
A Christmas Story Christmas
Mickey Saves Christmas

Mickey's Christmas Carol
Pluto's Christmas Tree

Saturday Night Live hosted by Steve Martin and Martin Short
- There's enough Christmas sketches to count, although the episode does start to run out of steam after Weekend Update. Still, I loved the Christmas Carol bit, and also the "Snow" on the train sequence.

White Christmas -- standard Christmas viewing every year. Although it's been years since I've watched it without fast forwarding through several of the musical numbers, most notably "Choreography".

It's A Wonderful Life -- even more standard annual Christmas viewing. Life continues to kick George Bailey squarely in the nuts, but he still manages to carry on because he's not a jerk.
 

Tony Bensley

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My two latest yuletide viewings from this afternoon and evening (December 22nd) are listed at the bottom:

1. The Twilight Zone; The Night Of The Meek (1960) - This Season 2 Episode, a longtime yuletide favorite, this time around, I had the added pleasure of viewing this on the reissued 2021 Complete Series Blu-ray set my son ordered from Amazon on their Cyber Monday special. As one of the infamous 6 Twilight Zone Videotaped Episodes, the visuals are never going to be razor sharp, but Art Carney's performance (As Henry Corwin) is every bit as endearing and heartwarming as ever! Also, if Dundee (John Fiedler) and Flaherty's exchange at episode's end doesn't warm your cockles, there's simply no holly in your heart!

2.* The Goldbergs; Worst Grinch Ever (2022) - This Season 10 episode from this long running '80s period family sitcom main (Though by no means, only!) focus is on the battle between Erica, who wants to celebrate Christmas, and her mom Beverly, who wants to uphold Hanukkah traditions. As with every Goldberg's episode, in the end family togetherness triumphs over the episodic squabbles.

3. The Monkees; Christmas Episode (1967) - This Season 2 episode, which first aired on Christmas Day 1967 features Butch Patrick as a spoiled impossible to please pre-adolescent, Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike fall all over themselves trying to please him to no avail until they realize the one thing they didn't give him! Heartwarming episode!!

4.* Scrooge (1923) - Russell Thorndike stars as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in this 26 minute 1923 silent short version of Dickens' immortal classic.

5.* Saturday Night Live; Season 48, Episode 8 - This week's co-hosts Steve Martin Short (Get it?) made for some worthwhile viewing, despite not reprising any of their made famous on SNL characters or skits (IE. Ed Grimley; King Tut.). As I viewed every sketch (Which included several that were yuletide themed!) and even both musical performances, I'm counting this one on my holiday viewing list!

6. Saturday Night Live Christmas Special (2022) - Includes Christmas sketches from SNL Christmases past, and a little bit from the present, that one being the bloody Christmas Carol sketch from last week's SNL episode with guest hosts Steve Martin Short.

7. A Christmas Carol (1938) - This year, I decided it had been quite a long while since I've given the Reginald Owen Scrooge DVD a spin. A few takeaways; the 1951 Alastair Sim version will always remain my favorite, the Christmas past segment is way too short, the Blu-ray upgrade was definitely needed, Barry McKay is rather good as Scrooge's nephew Fred, and the ending is also quite good. Also worth noting is Terry Kilburn, who played Tiny Tim, is still with us, having recently celebrated his 96th birthday on November 25th! Gene Lockhart's (Bob Cratchit) daughter June Lockhart, who appeared uncredited as daughter Belinda Cratchit, is also still with us at 97 years young!

8. Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean (1992) - This now 30 year old UK Christmas TV comedy chestnut never gets old for me! Somehow, my latest viewing late this afternoon left me in a lovely light hearted mood that I haven't really felt in too long a time!!

9. Elf (2003) - I gave the DVD of this early double aughts gem a spin for the first time in many many years! Definitely one of Will Ferrell's more endearing cinematic outings, at least among those that I've seen! Also, Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) has a damn good voice!! Also noteworthy is that Bob Newhart is still with us at 93, while we've only lost James Caan and Ed Asner fairly recently. Peter Dinklage's (Game Of Thrones) appearance is quite memorable!

10. Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988) - This hilarious take of the old Christmas Carol tale with a reverse twist has been a long time favorite of mine! Stars Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson as Ebenezer Blackadder (Plus, other Blackadders!) and Baldrick(s), and also features the late Robbie Coltrane as the Spirit of Christmas.

* means first time viewing.

CHEERS! :)
 
Last edited:

Tony Bensley

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Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
A Christmas Story Christmas
Mickey Saves Christmas

Mickey's Christmas Carol
Pluto's Christmas Tree

Saturday Night Live hosted by Steve Martin and Martin Short
- There's enough Christmas sketches to count, although the episode does start to run out of steam after Weekend Update. Still, I loved the Christmas Carol bit, and also the "Snow" on the train sequence.

White Christmas -- standard Christmas viewing every year. Although it's been years since I've watched it without fast forwarding through several of the musical numbers, most notably "Choreography".

It's A Wonderful Life -- even more standard annual Christmas viewing. Life continues to kick George Bailey squarely in the nuts, but he still manages to carry on because he's not a jerk.
The reason for my laugh emoji is whenever the Mrs and I watch "White Christmas (1954)," we fast forward past "Choreography" EVERY time!! :lol:

CHEERS! :)
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I've been really bad with getting viewing time in this month. Hope to rectify that tomorrow and Saturday.

The Noel Diary (2022) Poster


04) 12/22/2022 The Noel Diary (2022) 🎄🎄🎄

Father of the Bride writer/director Charles Shyer adapted the novel of the same name by best selling Christmas-themed author Richard Paul Evans for this one. It adheres pretty closely to the Hallmark Channel Christmas rom-com format, complete with gratuitous choppy slow-mo shots.

But it lets in far more real world darkness than Hallmark does: The death of a child, a teenage pregnancy, a bitter divorce, and a mentally ill parent.

And Justin Hartley and Barrett Doss take their roles a lot more serious than most Hallmark romantic leads do. I bought their chemistry here, believed that they'd want to be together even if the formula didn't demand it. Hartley brings a lot of the instinctual kindness and everyman charm that made Kevin Pearson so beloved, and Doss is adorable and gets the chance to demonstrate her Broadway singing chops.

The movie also benefits from two standout supporting performances, in the form of Bonnie Bedelia as the childhood neighbor of Hartley's character, and James Remar as his estranged father.

The only significant misstep for me was the infidelity subplot. The movie didn't need it, and the central pairing would have been more likable without it. And the time spent on that melodrama could have been better utilized further exploring how the pasts of their fractured families intersect.
 

Chip_HT

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Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
A Christmas Story Christmas
Mickey Saves Christmas

Mickey's Christmas Carol
Pluto's Christmas Tree
Saturday Night Live hosted by Steve Martin and Martin Short

White Christmas
It's A Wonderful Life

Family Guy - "Christmas Crime" -
Just last year's Christmas episode.

Home Alone - This has become the default Christmas movie for the kids. Makes sense, just like with my generation, everyone who is close in age to Kevin McCallister wishes they could be him. I'm impressed with the details that John Hughes put into the early part of the movie to set up the main act of forgetting Kevin.

Fatman - I actually want to see a sequel to see how they can expand on the premise.
 

Tony Bensley

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My two latest yuletide viewings from this afternoon (December 23rd) are listed at the bottom:

1. The Twilight Zone; The Night Of The Meek (1960) - This Season 2 Episode, a longtime yuletide favorite, this time around, I had the added pleasure of viewing this on the reissued 2021 Complete Series Blu-ray set my son ordered from Amazon on their Cyber Monday special. As one of the infamous 6 Twilight Zone Videotaped Episodes, the visuals are never going to be razor sharp, but Art Carney's performance (As Henry Corwin) is every bit as endearing and heartwarming as ever! Also, if Dundee (John Fiedler) and Flaherty's exchange at episode's end doesn't warm your cockles, there's simply no holly in your heart!

2.* The Goldbergs; Worst Grinch Ever (2022) - This Season 10 episode from this long running '80s period family sitcom main (Though by no means, only!) focus is on the battle between Erica, who wants to celebrate Christmas, and her mom Beverly, who wants to uphold Hanukkah traditions. As with every Goldberg's episode, in the end family togetherness triumphs over the episodic squabbles.

3. The Monkees; Christmas Episode (1967) - This Season 2 episode, which first aired on Christmas Day 1967 features Butch Patrick as a spoiled impossible to please pre-adolescent, Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike fall all over themselves trying to please him to no avail until they realize the one thing they didn't give him! Heartwarming episode!!

4.* Scrooge (1923) - Russell Thorndike stars as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in this 26 minute 1923 silent short version of Dickens' immortal classic.

5.* Saturday Night Live; Season 48, Episode 8 - This week's co-hosts Steve Martin Short (Get it?) made for some worthwhile viewing, despite not reprising any of their made famous on SNL characters or skits (IE. Ed Grimley; King Tut.). As I viewed every sketch (Which included several that were yuletide themed!) and even both musical performances, I'm counting this one on my holiday viewing list!

6. Saturday Night Live Christmas Special (2022) - Includes Christmas sketches from SNL Christmases past, and a little bit from the present, that one being the bloody Christmas Carol sketch from last week's SNL episode with guest hosts Steve Martin Short.

7. A Christmas Carol (1938) - This year, I decided it had been quite a long while since I've given the Reginald Owen Scrooge DVD a spin. A few takeaways; the 1951 Alastair Sim version will always remain my favorite, the Christmas past segment is way too short, the Blu-ray upgrade was definitely needed, Barry McKay is rather good as Scrooge's nephew Fred, and the ending is also quite good. Also worth noting is Terry Kilburn, who played Tiny Tim, is still with us, having recently celebrated his 96th birthday on November 25th! Gene Lockhart's (Bob Cratchit) daughter June Lockhart, who appeared uncredited as daughter Belinda Cratchit, is also still with us at 97 years young!

8. Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean (1992) - This now 30 year old UK Christmas TV comedy chestnut never gets old for me! Somehow, my latest viewing late this afternoon left me in a lovely light hearted mood that I haven't really felt in too long a time!!

9. Elf (2003) - I gave the DVD of this early double aughts gem a spin for the first time in many many years! Definitely one of Will Ferrell's more endearing cinematic outings, at least among those that I've seen! Also, Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) has a damn good voice!! Also noteworthy is that Bob Newhart is still with us at 93, while we've only lost James Caan and Ed Asner fairly recently. Peter Dinklage's (Game Of Thrones) appearance is quite memorable!

10. Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988) - This hilarious take of the old Christmas Carol tale with a reverse twist has been a long time favorite of mine! Stars Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson as Ebenezer Blackadder (Plus, other Blackadders!) and Baldrick(s), and also features the late Robbie Coltrane as the Spirit of Christmas.

11. The Colgate Comedy Hour (1952) - From Christmas 1952, this live (And lively!) yuletide airing features Bud Abbott & Lou Costello in one of their many Colgate Comedy Hour host outings. Viewers are treated to such hi-jinks as attempted insurance scams; a rare uproarious instance of Lou getting the upper hand in prepping Bud for Christmas Dinner; Bud & Lou attempting to deliver Christmas presents to a bickering couple; and Lou performing a rendition of White Christmas. Guest performers are also featured in this now 70 year old broadcast!

12. The Jack Benny Program (1960) - "The Jack Benny Program’s Christmas Shopping Show is cynical and downright vicious, Benny’s caricature of himself monstrous, and it is one the f#%^ing funniest things I’ve ever seen, and now I watch it every year." - Josh Steinberg

When I first viewed this yuletide comedy gem way back in the early '00s, I couldn't stop laughing! It is my loss that I never got around to seeing it again until I read your spot on post, which rekindled my desire to revisit! This episode is also chock full of top flight talent, and the writing is absolutely superb!! I mean, where else are you going to find the likes of Mel Blanc, Richard Deacon, Frank Nelson and Rolfe Sedan in the same episode?

* means first time viewing.

CHEERS! :)
 
Last edited:

John Stell

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Bold - Denotes first ever viewing

Rating - Out of a possible 4
1671827033900.png


17) 12/18/2022 The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) 1671827033900.png 1671827033900.png 1671827033900.png

Bing Crosby reprises his role from Going My Way (1944) as Father O'Malley, now assigned to a rundown boarding school overseen by Ingrid Bergman's Sister Benedict. The two don't always agree on how to deal with the children, but they do want the school to go on and therefor unite in trying to convince builder Horace Bogardus (Henry Travers) to donate his fancy new building that is next door to St. Mary's. There's a cute scene where the kids put on the Nativity story for Father and Sister, but the film actually takes place during the first school year of O'Malley's tenure. Enjoyable if occasionally sluggish comedy-drama features fine work by its leads.

18) 12/23/2022 A Dangerous Summer (1982) 1671827033900.png 1/2

A happy accident, of sorts. As I try to finish up the 1982 (40th anniversary and all that) films in my collection, I put on this offering from one of those 100 movie sets. It turns out this an Australian film and their summer starts in December. The events of this would-be thriller take place in the week leading up to Christmas, climaxing on December 25. Tom Skerritt is an American architect whose partner arranges for their latest project to go up in flames with the aid of a psycho arsonist. It seems this partner owns the insurance company. James Mason shows up as a Lloyds of London investigator. Potentially intriguing story is basically ruined by poor direction, leading to a mostly lethargic experience. There's a sequence with a train on fire that is so indifferently edited that it lands with a thud, as does the climax. Mason though is his usual excellent self and adds a little class to the production.
 

Robert Crawford

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Man, I've been slacking with this Challenge because I haven't been in much of a "Christmas" mood. Anyhow, I'm watching a pair of Barbara Stanwyck movies today on Blu-ray. First up is "Remember the Night" (1940) and second film will be "Christmas in Connecticut" (1945). Neither film is among my favorite Stanwyck movies, but I'm giving them another try to see if they get me in a better "Christmas" mood.
 

Tony Bensley

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Here's something that may aid the Christmas Holiday viewing:

CHEERS! :)
 

AlexF

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Missed out on watching Christmas stuff on the 21st and 22nd, but kinda made up for it the last two days :)

Dec 23 - Four Christmases (2008) - Prime
Dec 23 - Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983) - Disney+
Dec 24 - Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988) - DVD
Dec 24 - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) - DVD
Dec 24 - 8-Bit Christmas (2021) - Crave
Dec 24 - Christmas in Paradise (2022) - Crave

Somehow, this was the first time I managed to see Four Christmases. I'd seen bits and pieces and got given the BR of it maybe 5-6 years ago. Finally watched the movie (on Prime no less!) and found it quite enjoyable. Some clever bits and lots of Vince Vaughn being VV. For me, Robert Duvall's character is what really makes the movie.

Mickey's Christmas Carol? A short ~25 minute take on the Dickens tale with Scrooge McDuck playing Scrooge. I'd forgotten how much I'd gotten used to David Tennant playing the role rather than Alan Young and the voice threw me off for the first couple of minutes.

Blackadder's Christmas Carol is always a favourite of mine and Tony covered it well above, though I didn't really realized until this year just HOW much Robbie Coltrane's Ghost was Hagrid.

National Lampoon's Christmas? Always a fun viewing, and I noticed a couple of things this year that I'd never noticed before.

8-Bit Christmas is a well done Wonder Years-esque story with NPH as the narrator. I think that the thing I like about this the most is how the ending is NOT what you're expecting. Steve Zahn plays the role of "dad" really well in this one.

Christmas in Paradise is a sequel to Father Christmas is Back, which was actually a halfway decent British romcom set at Christmas about a family with the last name Christmas. This sequel was just... dire. Billy Ray Cyrus plays an alt-universe version of himself named Jimmy Ray Love and seems to be in the movie simply to add 3-4 musical interludes (playing his own songs Caribbean style) because the movie seems to only have about 60 minutes of story. If that. If you liked the first, just avoid this one.
 

Tony Bensley

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I tested positive for Covid today, so I'm not sure what I'll be doing in the way of Christmas viewing for the next bit. Thankfully, I have the tools I need to aid in what I hope will be a very speedy recovery! :)

Merry Christmas, Everyone!! :)

CHEERS! :)
 

Adam Lenhardt

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The Holiday (2006) Poster


05) 12/24/2022 The Holiday (2006) 🎄🎄🎄

This holiday rom-com is weak sauce by Nancy Meyers standards, but still a significant step up from the Hallmark/Lifetime fare of similar ilk. And Jack Black makes for a great unconventional romantic lead.

First up is "Remember the Night" (1940)
I wanted to check this one out last night, but strangely it's not available on any of the streaming services, or even as a digital VOD purchase.
 

AlexF

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Missed out on watching Christmas stuff on the 21st and 22nd, but kinda made up for it the last two days :)

Dec 23 - Four Christmases (2008) - Prime
Dec 23 - Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983) - Disney+
Dec 24 - Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988) - DVD
Dec 24 - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) - DVD
Dec 24 - 8-Bit Christmas (2021) - Crave
Dec 24 - Christmas in Paradise (2022) - Crave
Note... apparently I'm an idiot. I only missed out on the 21st. Apparently I have no idea what day it is. :)

Everything that is the 23rd there was the 22nd, and the 24th was the 23rd.

Adding to the list tonight:

Dec 24 - Nothing Like the Holidays (2008) - Prime
Dec 24 - Scrooged (1988) - Apple TV+

The first is the story of a Christmas among a Puerto Rican family settled in Chicago featuring Albert Molina, Freddy Rodriguez, and John Leguizamo (among MANY others). It was really enjoyable and a good story. Nice to see how a different culture celebrates a holiday and how they keep those traditions going. The storylines were pretty good too and all wrapped up really nicely by the end. Overall, enjoyable.

Scrooged is an annual classic. I don't usually wait until Christmas Eve for this one, but once in a while, huh?
 
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Robert Crawford

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Man, I've been slacking with this Challenge because I haven't been in much of a "Christmas" mood. Anyhow, I'm watching a pair of Barbara Stanwyck movies today on Blu-ray. First up is "Remember the Night" (1940) and second film will be "Christmas in Connecticut" (1945). Neither film is among my favorite Stanwyck movies, but I'm giving them another try to see if they get me in a better "Christmas" mood.
Yup, neither film is among my favorite Stanwyck movies. However, I thought she looked beautiful in each movie. I do prefer "Remember the Night" as a movie. I always found "Christmas in Connecticut" kind of boring, but Greenstreet and Sakall were pretty entertaining in their supporting roles. Another thing, they do mention my hometown in Connecticut in this movie which always gave me a chuckle.
 

Chip_HT

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Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
A Christmas Story Christmas
Mickey Saves Christmas

Mickey's Christmas Carol
Pluto's Christmas Tree
Saturday Night Live hosted by Steve Martin and Martin Short

White Christmas
It's A Wonderful Life
Family Guy - "Christmas Crime"
Home Alone
Fatman

Twilight Zone - "Night of the Meek"
-- One thing I noticed was the music. For a Santa-based plot, nearly all of the Christmas songs featured were from the Jesus side of the holiday.

Olaf's Frozen Adventure - Because it's something we watch at that time of year.

Muppet Christmas Carol - Finally able to see the complete film in the proper quality and aspect ratio. If they really were concerned about attention spans, there were other songs with less plot importance that probably could have been cut.

How I Met Your Mother - "How Lily Stole Christmas" -- A second season Christmas episode, so it's lighter fare before the show gets too bogged down with its own story. Although, Ted had a point and Lily overreacted.
 

Robert Crawford

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By the way, "Fatman" was great. What a terrific film about a disillusioned Chris Kringle that got back his passion for his job. Sending a hitman after Santa isn't a smart thing due to his special powers including knowing all about you and his ability to survive and overcome physical punishment.
 

Robert Crawford

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I thought Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special was pretty hilarious. Drax and Mantis fit right in with the rest of that Hollywood crowd. :laugh:
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Spirited (2022) Poster


06) 12/25/2022 Spirited (2022) 🎄🎄🎄

I sought this out despite the subpar reviews because I loved Sean Anders's last feature, Instant Family. I wasn't prepared for a fully-fledged Hollywood musical, complete with elaborate dance numbers.

It takes place in the present day in a world where the events of A Christmas Carol actually happened, but were also famously immortalized by Charles Dickens. It takes us behind the scenes of the spirits' operations, as they deal with a particular vexing soul in need of redemption.

It's about a half hour too long, and both Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds lean into their respective shticks a bit too much from time to time. But overall, I enjoyed it. I liked the mix of darkness and optimism, and its belief that the choices we make can have a real impact, for good or for ill, on those around us.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) Poster


07) 12/25/2022 A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

It's the OG classic for a reason, and even after nearly six decades it still feels somehow fresh and radical.

This holiday rom-com is weak sauce by Nancy Meyers standards, but still a significant step up from the Hallmark/Lifetime fare of similar ilk. And Jack Black makes for a great unconventional romantic lead.
And, I forgot to mention, a great late career performance from Eli Wallach as a nonagenarian screenwriter who came up during the golden age of Hollywood.
 

Chip_HT

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Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
A Christmas Story Christmas
Mickey Saves Christmas

Mickey's Christmas Carol
Pluto's Christmas Tree
Saturday Night Live hosted by Steve Martin and Martin Short

White Christmas
It's A Wonderful Life
Family Guy - "Christmas Crime"

Home Alone
Fatman
Twilight Zone - "Night of the Meek"
Olaf's Frozen Adventure
Muppet Christmas Carol
How I Met Your Mother - "How Lily Stole Christmas"


Almost forgot about...
The Night Before -- Microsoft was running a promotion offering this for free. The summary made it sound like it could be a little cringy, but I saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the cast. He usually doesn't pick bad movies, and worst case scenario, I figured he would elevate any potentially weak material. Either way, the price was right. It actually turned out better than I expected. A nice little story about taking that last step of growing up.
 

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