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A Reminder on What Is and Is Not A Christmas Movie

On Christmas Eve, Jordan Peel claimed "Get Out" qualified as a Christmas movie. As the article I linked to points out, he clearly wasn't entirely serious, and I found his arguments entertaining. But since this isn't the only time this year I saw a movie somewhat haphazardly labeled a Christmas movie, I thought I'd take a minute and revisit the concept.

Here at Mainlining Christmas, we have rather extensive criteria for determining whether a movie qualifies, but that's not what I'm talking about today. I want to look at a more straightforward definition.
When people call movies like Get Out Christmas movies, what they really mean is that they're movies that can be watched at Christmas. But that's literally any movie.
I'd argue a better litmus test would be this: is the movie better watched at Christmas than at other times of the year? Or, to put it another way:
Is it worse when seen at times that aren't Christmas?
If there aren't elemen…

The Mainlining Christmas Yet to Come

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Like a tree nurtured and grown, another year has been cut down, dragged inside, strung up with bright lights, dried out, and inevitably caught fire. To put it plainly, Christmas 2017 is gone. And with it, we must also bid farewell to another "season" of Mainlining Christmas - the eighth since we started this little experiment in holiday bingeing.

So, then. What now?

In past years, we've vowed we'd be back in more or less the same form (or halfheartedly claimed we were shutting the whole thing down, only to pull a last-minute twist).

This time... I'm not so sure.

I mean, we'll be back in one form or another - we have way too much fun to walk away altogether. But we've been considering a format shift. The rapid-fire of reviews is getting a touch mechanical to write (and I suspect to read, as well).

We enjoyed making the podcast this year - we're planning to put together at least a few more of those. Beyond that, we're still figuring things out. We …

Podcast Episode 1: Back to the Yet to Come

In case you missed the release announcement, this is a quick reminder that our gift to you this season is the pilot episode of the Mainlining Christmas Podcast.



In the first episode, secular holiday nerds Erin and Lindsay get a visit from their own Christmas future, along with a lesson on the true reason for the season (spoiler: it's time travel).

Listen above, or on Soundcloud, Stitcher, or iTunes.

Pieces of media discussed or mentioned:
Back to the Future, Part II (1989)It's a Wonderful Life (1946)A Christmas Carolby Charles Dickens, 1843Quantum Leap: "A Little Miracle" (1990)Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988)Real Ghostbusters: "X-Mas Marks the Spot" (1986)Back to the Future: "Dickens of a Christmas" (1991)Saving Santa (2013)Doctor Who: "A Christmas Carol" (2010)Doctor Who: "The Unquiet Dead"  (2005)Doctor Who: "The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe" (2011)"Christmas Every Day" by William Dean Howells, 1…

Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas (2016)

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I guess at least one good thing has come out of HBO's partnership with Sesame Street: we got a new Christmas special! It's not as charming and perfect as Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, but what is? It does have a lot of heart and humor.

After a warm opening number about the lights of the season (with brief glimpses of Muppet families celebrating various holidays), we get to the plot pretty quickly. Elmo wants to know why we leave cookies for Santa, so his dad tells him a story.

Apparently, back in an unspecified old-timey time, Sesame Street was an unfriendly place to live. This means we get a ton of gorgeous costume design on 19th-century versions of many of the characters.



Elmo's ancestor moves to Sesame Street just before Christmas and is surprised by how rude everyone is - so mean that Santa never visits. He makes a "friend" by declaring that a girl who stole his ball can keep it as a gift, and that act of selfless kindness starts a chain reaction. A magica…

Silent Night (2012)

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Silent Night is a quasi-remake of the 1984 cult classic, Silent Night, Deadly Night, which - I'll be the first to admit - I really need to see. Not that I really want to see it, mind you, but it's probably one of the more significant holiday films I've yet to get around to.

At any rate, let's talk about the 2012 version, which - judging by the plot synopsis I just skimmed for the 84 - is probably is more of an homage than a remake. The only scene that reads the same is one where the killer impales a woman on deer antlers.

To be fair, that accounts for a good 20% of the plot.

Or, to put it another way, this movie is light on substance. The premise is pretty much summed up in the movie poster: killer Santa. The one innovation present is setting the killing spree during a "Santa parade", making it virtually impossible for the police to identify a suspect. That should have been an interesting twist to a cliched formula, but they didn't really use it to its p…

Robbie the Reindeer: Legend of the Lost Tribe (2002)

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The 2002 sequel to Hooves of Fire is, at least in my opinion, an improvement over the original. The story is no longer tethered to that of an 80's sports movie, and the new elements feel much more inspired and original.

The story this time centers around a "lost tribe" of Vikings, who are essentially dwarves in this world. In a backstory relayed by Old Jingle, we learn the last of their kind were supposedly killed off in a civil war waged when all the Vikings got bored.

Robbie's the only one who's seen any of the Vikings, and no one really believes him. They're more concerned with their failing resort, anyway. Why are reindeer running a tourist resort? Because Santa gives the toys away, so he's got nothing to pay them, obviously.

Meanwhile, Blitzen, who's been in prison since the end of Hooves of Fire, is released and returns to the lodge. Initially, the others throw him out, but he convinces them to let him stay when he promises he can turn the busi…

The Spirit of Christmas (2015)

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Surprisingly good for a TV movie that first aired on Lifetime, this ghost story/romance still had a few missteps.

First, we follow a man through the show. He sees a house in the distance; a woman comes out. A man comes out and appears to embrace her. And then THWACK. He's dead.

And then an opening sequence! I'm ashamed to admit that after so many movies featuring B-roll of New York City in snow, I failed to notice that this sequence is actually supposed to be Boston. We just thought it was surprisingly snowy.

Like many terrible rom-coms, this movie introduces its female lead by establishing that she "doesn't know how to love" and "works too much." Like few of them, this sequence is actually delightful. Kate is much better off without her wanna-be psychoanalyst boyfriend and seems to get real satisfaction from her job.

Said job, for a law firm, is sending her out of town to visit a historic inn. The woman who owned it has passed away with no heirs, and …