Showing posts from November 20, 2022

1941 (1979)

The first thing you need to understand about 1941 is the level of talent - both in front of and behind the camera - is unmatched in its genre. The cast includes Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, John Candy, Slim Pickens, Christopher Lee, Ned Beatty, Patti LuPone, and Toshiro Mifune, just to name a few. It was written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, who served as producers alongside John Milius. The movie was scored by John Williams, who belongs on the shortlist of greatest film composers of all time. And speaking of "greatest of all time," it's directed by Steven Spielberg. The second thing you need to understand is the movie is absolutely godawful. Just horrible. An utter mess of a film. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe you should flip those two bullet points, so "it sucks" is the first thing, and "it's made by unbelievably talented people" is #2. Before I go on, I need to specify there are two cuts of this movie. Right now, I'm reviewing

Falling for Christmas (2022)

Credit where it's due: Netflix has mastered the art of producing low-to-mid budget TV Christmas romcoms capable of garnering far more attention than they deserve. This time, they managed to lure Lindsay Lohan into taking the lead role, presumably by offering her an ungodly amount of cash. The investment seems to have paid off, at least from a marketing perspective. The movie apparently attracted a great deal of interest and - assuming Netflix's numbers mean anything - quite a few views. As for the movie itself... well... you probably have a fairly good idea what I'm going to say. As a rule, I don't like these things. Falling for Christmas, like so many pseudo-fairytale G-rated holiday romances before it, seems to flaunt the fact the script isn't trying. It adheres to its formula and fills in the blanks with some of the worst dialogue I've heard in... well... honestly, I watched a Hallmark Christmas movie two days earlier, so the worst dialogue I heard in about 4

Scrooge (1935)

For those of you trying to keep track, this British production is the first feature-length adaptation of A Christmas Carol with sound. It stars Seymore Hicks as Scrooge, and despite leaving an imprint on subsequent versions, it seems to be widely dismissed as inferior to the 1951 movie of the same name . I don't at all agree with that - I prefer this one, and not just because it's shorter (though that doesn't hurt: I'm a believer most modern adaptations of A Christmas Carol are too long). I think Hicks is fantastic as Scrooge. He looks and acts very different than the version that's become the norm. Hicks is quite a bit stockier than most versions of Scrooge, and he's a little wilder in appearance and in his mannerisms. To me, this makes his eccentricities a little more believable. At the beginning, he feels like a curmudgeonly old man who's not quite right in the head. Frankly, he's an angry conservative, rather than a cliché villain. Then, after his tr

The Cabbage Patch Kids: First Christmas (1984)

I can't find much background information on this, but reading between the lines, I assume it was intended to double as a special and a pilot for a planned Cabbage Patch Kids series that never got greenlit. I'm almost surprised it wasn't picked up, not because this is any good (spoiler: it is not), but because that rarely prevented stuff like this from being made in the '80s, particularly when anchored to an IP as well-known as the Cabbage Patch Kids. This was created by Ruby-Spears Productions, which was founded by a couple former Hanna-Barbera employees. Having recently seen a boatload of Hanna-Barbera Christmas specials, you can see the influence. And not just because the premise of this revolves around characters learning about and experiencing Christmas for the first time.  It opens with a stork traveling to the bleak, snowy landscape that is (checks notes) northern Georgia (you know, where the dolls were invented). Within the wintery expanse, there's a magical

Station Eleven (2021/2022)

Well, this miniseries doesn't fit in with any of my existing approaches to defining or addressing Christmas media. A few years ago, I'd just have written up the first and ninth episodes, as those - and only those - are set around the holidays (on different years, no less). Only Station Eleven is highly serialized and intended as a unified piece. More than that, the Christmas episodes (to the extent the term even applies) are set around the holidays for thematic reasons pertaining to the miniseries as a whole. Technically, if I still cared about justifying this kind of thing, I'd point to that as a reason to write this up despite falling well short of the 50% threshold for automatic consideration as Christmas media. Really, I'm writing it up because I think it makes for an interesting anomaly exploring aspects of the season in a fairly unique and interesting (to me, at least) way. I'm not even sure how to approach a synopsis for the series. It's not so much that

Scrooge (1901), A Christmas Carol (1910), Scrooge (1913), A Christmas Carol (1914), Scrooge (1922), and A Christmas Carol (1923)

As you've probably guessed from the heading, this covers six separate silent adaptations of A Christmas Carol. As far as I can tell, this is the entirety of surviving footage from that era. To be clear, there are several other known versions that have been lost, including "The Right to be Happy," a 55-minute film from 1916. Not all of the films discussed here are available in complete forms, either. If you're curious about any, they're all readily available for free online - just go to YouTube and search by name and year. Before I get to my individual reviews (to the extent the term even applies here), I'll give a brief overview for those of you who'd rather not wade through four thousand words of text about a bunch of movies 100+ years old. That's all of you, right? I'm grouping these together as a single post, because I can't imagine anyone would be in the least bit interested in seeing these appear one a day for a week. In general, these mov

Three Wise Men and a Baby (2022)

There's a lot to discuss about Hallmark's relatively big Christmas comedy, Three Wise Men and a Baby (including the fact it's surprisingly decent), and I'll try and get to as much as possible. But the first thing that jumps out at me is admittedly a silly thing, albeit one I can't stop thinking about. Like a lot of Hallmark's annual offerings, this is obviously a spin on an existing franchise, namely the "Three Men and a Baby" series, itself a remake of the French comedy, "Trois Hommes et un Couffin." Before you ask, I haven't seen the French movie, though I'll admit I'm now weirdly curious. As for the 1987 American film, I believe I watched it once, likely sometime in the late '80s or early '90s. As to whether it was a VHS copy rented from Nicely's Video or a version edited for television... well, I'm afraid those details are lost to time. I barely remember the movie, aside from the fact I'm fairly certain one

Stave 896: Welcome Back to Christmas

Welcome to year 13 of Mainlining Christmas, the best Christmas media review site on the internet. No, no, that just doesn't sound arrogant enough. How about the best site on the internet? Yeah, that sets expectations right where I want them: on the precipice of infinite disappointment. Regardless, this year we brought a theme: A Christmas Carol. See, in the past we kind of breezed by the seemingly endless sea of adaptations, remakes, and re-imaginings of adaptations of Dickens's classic, reasoning if we'd seen one, we'd pretty much seen them all. But by that logic and the property of identity, we'd also have to acknowledge if we hadn't seen them all, we really haven't even watched one. So I figured I should probably sit down and watch through every adaptation that's been made. Unfortunately, that's not actually possible, as countless versions have been lost, are out of circulation, etc., and we have jobs and a child we need to raise. So I figured I&#