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Showing posts from November 18, 2018

Santa, Baby! (2001)

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You know Rankin/Bass, it's the company behind all the classic stop-motion holiday specials. This has exactly one thing in common with those: it's loosely inspired by a holiday song.

And I do mean loosely. You might think that the song in which the singer offers to trade "Santa" implied sexual favors for material goods and marriage isn't exactly screaming to be made into a kid-friendly animated special, and you'd be right. But we can't lose that name recognition, so the song is awkwardly shoved in twice.

The plot follows a little girl named Dakota, whose father is a songwriter with writer's block. (He does not write "Santa Baby.") Also, Dakota is obsessed with animals, and the superintendent of the block (because that's a thing?) doesn't want animals in the buildings and keeps threatening to close down the local shelter.

Honestly, the shelter needs something because the assortment of animals there is utterly bizarre, including a dog …

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

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Lindsay and I already discussed our reactions to The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in the Mainlining Christmas Podcast, but I wanted to cover a few aspects we omitted. Apologies in advance for anything redundant.

Speaking of redundancy... we talked briefly about comparisons between Four Realms and the 1979 stop-motion special, The Nutcracker Fantasy, but it's worth noting the similarities are more than superficial. Both movies lean in heavily to Wonderland parallels, they incorporate ballet in a similar fashion, they make heavy use of clockwork imagery, and even use some of the same color pallets. I'm not sure if this is a case of them drawing from like sources or if Four Realms was partially inspired by Fantasy, but it's certainly notable.

The story of Nutcracker and the Four Realms differs from any source material I'm familiar with. Clara, the film's protagonist, is mourning the death of her mother, Marie, along with her family. This is something of a Pandora&#…

Rick and Morty: Anatomy Park (2013)

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I'm a late convert to this show, which is more than a little odd considering my all-time favorite live-action series, Community, was made by one of Rick and Morty's showrunners. Despite that, I was reluctant to get involved with this show, mainly due to its grotesque visual style. But I eventually gave it a try, and...

Yeah. Based on the first few episodes, it's pretty fantastic.

Lindsay and I were surprised to discover the third episode, "Anatomy Park," was holiday themed. Based on the title, I'd assumed it was some sort of Jurassic Park/Innerspace mash-up. Which... it actually still is. But it's also set at Christmas.

The holiday elements are more central to the B-plot, which centers around an awkward holiday gathering. Jerry's parents are visiting for the holidays, so he's obsessed with having his family interact in person, without any digital distractions. Only they arrive with an added guest, Jacob, who's in a polyamorous relationship wi…

Invasion U.S.A. (1985)

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While Invasion U.S.A. isn't the worst movie we've seen for Mainlining Christmas, it could be among the most stupid. Almost every element of the film is awful. It's an idiotic piece of schlock crammed with every imaginable 80s cliche that astonishingly believes it has something important to say.

Oh, and it's set at Christmas.

The film stars Chuck Norris as Florida man, Matt Hunter, a former special... something... who's retired from a career killing bad guys in developing nations to a humble life of riding around the Everglades in an airboat. He's asked to come out of retirement when the government learns that a Soviet agent has aligned with communist terrorists from Central and South America in order to launch an assault on the U.S.

Matt Hunter turns down the job but reconsiders when his old nemesis, Mikhail Rostov, blows up his home and best friend. The terrorists kill a boatload of refugees, murder a drug dealer, kill a couple of teenagers on a beach, attack…

Podcast Mini Episode - The Christmas Chronicles Movie Review

Mainlining Christmas reviews the surprisingly good Netflix Original movie, The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell.

References:Get Santa Transcript:
Erin: Welcome to a very special Black Friday’s Eve installment of the Mainlining Christmas podcast. As always, I’m Erin…

Lindsay: And I’m Lindsay. This is going to be a mini-episode looking at the new Netflix live-action movie, The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus.

Erin: Let’s cut to the chase - I think I love this thing.

Lindsay: Yes, absolutely. The trailers were fun, but I really didn’t expect it to be this good. It might be the best American made live-action movie about Santa Claus I’ve ever seen.

Erin: I wouldn’t go quite that far. I enjoyed this a lot, but I wouldn’t rank it above Elf, and I certainly wouldn’t say it’s better than Miracle on 34th Street.

Lindsay: Well, you know I’m not a huge fan of either of those. I’ll take Kurt Russell over Will Ferrell any day.

Erin: We’ll save this for a futur…

The Great Rupert (1950)

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Watching Christmas movies that you've never heard of is always an adventure. Sometimes you find something awful. Sometimes you find something astounding. Something wonderful.

The Great Rupert (later repackaged as A Christmas Wish) is a family film starring the inimitable Jimmy Durante, a ton of other talented comedic actors, and several living and deceased squirrels. Don't worry, it's not macabre. The plot hinges on the actions of a trained squirrel named Rupert, who is variously represented by live animals and extremely skillful stop-motion animation.

It's a hilarious movie, with a really sincere, charming quality to the humor. Erin even found the musical numbers compelling. There is very little wasted time - it's tightly plotted and beautifully made.

We have no idea why this movie has been mostly forgotten. It's easily as good or better than many "classic" Christmas films. As a bonus, the plot concerns an apparent miracle with a very prosaic, if si…

Year Nine

Welcome back to Mainlining Christmas. Pull up a chair. Relax. Have a cup of hot chocolate.

We've been meeting up like this for a while now. Nine years and counting - that's a tradition! In that time, we've tried to do our best to keep everything running, to keep the Christmas magic churning out as it always has. Got to save the holidays and all that.

And in some ways, this year will be no different. We'll keep reviewing Christmas movies and specials, we'll keep subjecting ourselves to mind-bending quantities of holiday music... you get the drill.

But, here's the thing: we're not getting any younger. And, partially because of that, things need to change.

That's a long-winded way of saying we're relaxing some of the rules around here. We're dropping the "post every eight hours" gimmick - that was fun at first, but it's gotten a little silly. We'll still have quite a bit to share, but we're dropping the quota, partially becaus…