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Showing posts from December 14, 2014

Mork & Mindy: Mork's First Christmas (1978)

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As far as I can remember, this is the first episode of Mork & Mindy I've ever seen. It was a fairly significant show in that it was Robin Williams's first major role. For better or worse, the series also paved the way for shows like Alf, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and even things like Invader Zim.

If you've never seen Mork & Mindy, the series is a bizarre spin-off of a character who appeared in what was originally a dream episode of Happy Days. Mork is an alien who's come to Earth to observe humanity, and the vast majority of jokes concern his odd behavior and misunderstandings of our nature and customs.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Christmas episode was probably fairly representative of the first season of the show (my understanding is that it transformed pretty dramatically from season to season in an attempt to hold ratings). The episode opens with Mork initially mistaking Christmas for some sort of contagion. They run with this joke for a minu…

The Catherine Tate Show: “Nan’s Christmas Carol” (2009)

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I’ve seen a few minutes of The Catherine Tate Show. It’s a sketch comedy show. I was not prepared for this.

Some explanation that I wish I’d had going into this: This special is one long story based on one of the recurring characters that Catherine Tate plays. This character is an abrasive, obnoxious grandmother. I suppose it’s funny to some people? It’s really not my style of humor.

Because it’s A Christmas Carol, we have to set up that Nan is a horrible person by having her be rude to carolers, steal from her neighbors, and toss relations come to stay with her out on the street. This takes entirely too long and is dull as dishwater.

FINALLY, we get to the ghosts. At this point the pace and the humor finally start to pick up. Marley’s place is taken by her late husband, and that scene made us both sit up and pay more attention. Then the Ghost of Christmas Past has a bit of trouble impressing Nan, and we started to laugh. Past brings Nan to her childhood and also shows her other Chri…

Beneath the Tree: Santa Kit

Turn yourself into a perfect facsimile of Santa Claus with this undersized hat and crappy, inflatable beard.


Christmas Music: Prime

If you thought my Christmas music write-up was a little short this year, it means you probably remember my write-ups from past years, which were ridiculously long. This year's initial article looked at 20 CD's I bought between last Christmas and the start of this season. That's a fraction of what I've bought in previous years, but there's a reason for that.

Amazon Prime.

Earlier this year, Amazon expanded Prime benefits to include free streaming music. I know there are plenty of other streaming services out there, but I never jumped on for a few reasons. First, some don't seem to be geared towards building playlists and listening to one album at a time (much less keeping track of which albums you've listened to and which you haven't, which is essential for this exercise). Second, I was already paying for Prime, so the added features were essentially free.

The free music is limited to select albums, so you're not getting total access to Amazon's …

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

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The strange lighting, coupled with the almost alien music and meandering story line of Eyes Wide Shut, created a dreamlike effect. And by "dreamlike effect," I literally mean the movie almost put me to sleep, because it was astonishingly, bafflingly, almost unbelievably boring. This was one of the most boring movies I've seen since... well... actually, it hasn't been that long since I've seen something this boring, but keep in mind I watch a hell of a lot of bad Christmas flicks. But the competition generally goes more than ten minutes without showing naked people: Eyes Wide Shut has no excuse for failing to hold anyone's attention.

I heard a while ago that this was a Christmas movie, which I wasn't aware of. Turns out, the movie is Christmas through and through. Christmas lights, in particular, are in damn near every scene that doesn't contain weird sex cults. Half of the film's lighting seems to come from multicolored bulbs. The other half is p…

Nerdtivity: Mad Science Unleashed

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Between now and Christmas, we'll be posting a "Nerdtivity" scene every night at midnight. Tonight's picture is a reminder of the dangers of science without constraint.

By the way, the contest for best Nerdtivity has entered the "audience voting" phase. You can view all the pictures and vote for your favorite here. Once you've looked at the options, just scroll to the bottom and comment with the number for your pick. Our entry, Away Team in a Manger, is #26.

The Elf Who Didn’t Believe (1997)

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Well, here’s one for the list, ‘rightly consigned to the dustbin of history’.

Elmer is an elf, but he hates being an elf. It’s not that he’s bad at it, he’s just a complete slacker. Ladies and gentlemen, your protagonist. After a few painful scenes after which Elmer should have been summarily fired, he pulls out an Elf manual and discovers that he could become a real boy (just like Pinocchio?) by going to the human world, doing a good deed, and making a wish by noon on Christmas Eve.

He semi-accidentally sets off some high-tech gizmos on Santa’s sleigh, and the sleigh brings him to Plantville, USA.

Guess what’s in Plantville. Did you say a plant, boys and girls? You win more of this terrible film.

A plastics plant, the only thing in town, has recently shut down and the town is on edge. You’ll never know, though, because the characters are all either completely over the top caricatures or completely flat and uninteresting.

The villain who ran the plant is introduced randomly watchin…

Toy Review: Prometheus: Trilobite Vs. Engineer (Battle Damaged)

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This is a little awkward. Despite the fact the toy I'm reviewing is a Toys 'R' Us Exclusive, it is absolutely arguable that some of the photographs of this toy could be considered NSFW. I doubt anyone will be that offended by the imagery, but I wanted to offer a warning upfront.

A while back, I explained why Prometheus should be considered a Christmas movie (short version: because it IS a Christmas movie). That was at the forefront of my mind when I came across the above 2-pack on clearance at Toys 'R' Us. I looked at the design of the "trilobite" and considered how it resembled the Star of Bethlehem, and how that was almost certainly intentional. I grabbed it, because, in its own twisted way, this is actually a piece of Christmas merchandise.

For the record, the $19.98 price tag is before the 60% discount was applied. I paid $5.99 for this, not a ha'penny more. The $20 was already a markdown: it started around $35, if I remember correctly. The takeaw…