Saturday, December 7, 2013
Parks and Recreation started off as one of the worst TV shows I'd ever seen. It's a good thing the first season was short because those first episodes are nothing but a terrible Office rip-off with selfish and unlikable characters.
Season 2 they figured it out. Suddenly you had a show about narcissistic characters but they cared about each other still. While it's laugh-out-loud funny, it's also got plenty of moments that will choke you up and make you bite your knuckle. No episode ends as lovely as their Christmas episode Citizen Knope.
Christmas is far from the central focus but much like Millions the underlying theme is season of giving. In the beginning of the episode main character Leslie Knope delivers christmas gifts to each one of her coworkers. Their joyful reactions prove that she knows her friends better than anyone but it's the ending where her friends come together to give her an equally perfect gift that always chokes me up just slightly.
I don't want to reveal the ending as it's a major plot point to the season but if you were turned off by that first season, I strongly recommend powering through it and enjoying what is now one of the best comedies on television.
Friday, December 6, 2013
When I was a little kid my aunt made me a VHS tape of all the Christmas specials that aired that year. I would watch it all year round. It's part of why I love Christmas so much. Many of the things I'll discuss over the next couple days I first saw on that video, this being the first one I've mentioned from it.
No one could have predicted how massively popular the California Raisins would end up being. I remember I had tons of Raisin memorabilia including toys and the Meet the Raisins TV Special on VHS. So of course my aunt figured I'd enjoy this special.
As a kid I always loved the California Raisins and We Three Kings segment. But as I've grown up I've realized that the two segments I found most boring (Oh Christmas Tree and Joy to the world) are visually the most impressing.
This special may no longer come on TV every year, but I certainly watch it every year.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Danny Boyle is one of the finest directors of this generation and while he's made an impressive collection of films full of beautiful camera movement and graphic visuals (Trainspotting and 28 Days Later come to mind) his best film was the children's film Millions.
The film is a Christmas movie in the same sense Love Actually is. The story is not focused directly on Christmas but it takes place during the last week of December. Beyond that it's heartwarming story reminds us of what makes Christmas great. It's really not the getting but the giving.
Alex Etel is absolutely charming in his acting debut and it's a true shame he's done so little after this (only a handful of movies and TV films). It's a beautifully crafted and unique look at childhood innocence, dreams and faith.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
When I was a kid this was one of those Christmas Specials that I used to watch every year. There's a ton of great memorable moments but the most classic segment is obviously Bean getting his head stuck in the Turkey but that's not my favorite segment.
The highlight of this special is a sketch where Bean is shopping and finds a nativity set in the store. He immediately begins to play with various other toys including a Dr. Who Dalek, a T-Rex and a tank. The segment ends with an angel (with a magnet attached) air lifts the baby Jesus toy from the manger scene.
This was the first time in many years I sat down and rewatched it. It still holds up to all my childhood memories.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
This is the first of what will be a few random TV show Christmas Specials to pop up on this list. The first season of Scrubs is basically a blueprint of doing a successful Dramedy. While the first few episodes are funny right away in episode 4 they slam you with "My Old Lady" one of the most beautifully sad episodes of any comedy series out there.
A few months later they hit us with this lovely Christmas special. While many TV Christmas specials have some issue a character must overcome Scrubs goes that extra level of making one of our beloved characters Turk struggling with his faith. Turk is a faithful christian in the beginning of this episode and fills the hospital with christmas cheer. However his love of the season (and belief in God) is destroyed when he works Christmas Eve and has to deal with lots of death and pain and sadness.
While he is depressed, fellow doctor Elliot Reed is panicked when she is rude to a young girl named Meredith who is 9 months pregnant. Meredith disappears shortly afterwards and Elliot is terrified she did something drastic. It's only when Turk suddenly knows where Meredith is and is able to help her deliver the baby that his faith is restored.
This episode continues to show Scrubs' amazing way that they were able to blend sincere drama and laugh out loud comedy while being able to remain grounded in reality.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Anyone guess this one yesterday? Congrats you know my sick sense of humor and shitty DVD collection.
So I've known of this movie since it first came out. But I refused to believe it was any good. Then I'd see it pop up on "Horror Films Better Than Expected" lists and my friend purchased it and raved about it.
Last christmas I finally watched it and I couldn't believe how much fun it was. It's so over the top, Bill Goldberg is completely intense and the plot line is so beyond bizarre that it's impossible not to be charmed by it's absurd nature.
While I can't recommend this to everyone if you like horror films (specifically so bad, its good) you should do yourself a favor and watch this crazy shit.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
DAY 1: GREMLINS
So I'm gonna pull the curtain back on this blog a little bit. I typically watch and review stuff a few days in advance. Since I didn't want to start doing the Christmas thing till after Thanksgiving I decided to get a jump on these 25 movies I'd start with something not explicitly christmas. What I'm saying is... today and tomorrow are horror movies that take place at Christmas. Feel free to try to predict tomorrow's movie.
Gremlins is one of those movies that takes place at Christmas but never feels specifically like a Christmas movie. Which is kind of weird when you consider how much of the plot revolves around Christmas. Beyond the snow and the fact that everyone is watching different christmas specials throughout the movie the two biggest plot points are because of the holiday.
First, Gizmo is a christmas gift. Secondly, the boy delivering the christmas tree (Corey Feldman) is the one who gets Gizmo wet causing him to multiple.
This film is still a ton of fun all these years later but I still like the Sequel more (as I have ever since I was a kid). This film is a little too serious at times and the puppets while well done aren't nearly as cool as the bizarre mutations we get in the A New Batch.
Not a Christmas classic by most standards I still enjoy watching it every year!