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Showing posts with the label Movie

Scrooged (1988) [Revisited]

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I wasn't going to do  this again . Depending on your point of view, it's not at all clear this should count as an adaptation of A Christmas Carol at all. Really, it's more a parody or derived work. If we're counting this, should we also be counting The Grinch, It's a Wonderful Life, or Cash on Demand? But this kept appearing on online lists of Christmas Carol adaptations, and I eventually decided if I wanted to seriously look at how these have evolved over time, I really needed to consider this one as well. To recap, I briefly reviewed Scrooged as a Christmas movie more than a decade ago, with the main takeaway being I thought the movie was fine but not particularly memorable. Rewatching it in 2022, I have quite a few more thoughts on a number of different subjects. Some of this is going to be very positive, some negative, and still more that's just... weird. Let's start with the weird, actually. Scrooged begins with a number of promotions for holiday specia

Entertaining Christmas (2018)

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Among our various yuletide pursuits this year, we're trying to catch up on a number of Hallmark movies. Basically, we realized we'd more or less neglected the company for the better part of a decade due to, well, having better things to do with our lives, and - because there's obviously something wrong with us - we decided we should watch a handful of these in an attempt to recalibrate. So far, it's not going particularly well. That's not to say these movies are especially bad; the ones we've seen so far are a modest step up from those we saw back when we started this blog. It's just that I don't feel as though I'm learning much from the experience. I'd hoped to get a sense of the company's output by watching four or five movies, and it's starting to feel like I'd have to sit through forty or fifty before actually understanding what the hell these are evolving into. To be clear, we don't have that kind of time this year. Or at lea

A Christmas Carol (1984)

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The 1984 adaptation of A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott feels like it's trying to be difficult to categorize. Released theatrically in England and on TV in America, I'm not even sure whether to consider this a full movie or a made-for-TV production. It's also abnormally difficult to bucket the genre: this straddles the line between horror and drama to an unusual degree. Taken as a whole, this is one of the better modern adaptations I've seen. It covers the full scope of the story, the casting is good, and it's visually impressive. That said, I don't think it leaves as much of an impression as the best of the lot. Essentially, it's difficult to find anything significant to fault, but it's nowhere near my favorite of the bunch. Starting with the opening shot, the movie looks good. Rather than spending their budget on expensive sets, they simply filmed in a market town that hasn't significantly changed since the 1800s. Between that and some go

And So They Were Married (1936)

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Is there a romantic comedy history expert out there who can help me with context here? And So They Were Married is an early example (or perhaps the originator) of the "kids manipulating parents" sub-genre that would eventually turn into things like The Parent Trap and its ilk. I'd be curious to know whether it actually is the first, or if it was following on the heels of similar productions. Mainly, I'm curious because... well... This movie rules. I'll get to a few of the usual "well, that aged poorly" caveats in a moment, but strictly as a comedy, this is easily the funniest movie of the '30s we've done to date and possibly one of the funniest Christmas movies of all time. The jokes hold up more than eighty years later, which is incredible in and of itself. I should note I'm bucketing this as a "romantic comedy" with trepidation. It's really more of an over-the-top farce about kids acting recklessly with the adults' relatio

Hell's Heroes (1929)

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As far as I can tell, this is the earliest feature-length Christmas talkie that still exists. There's a movie released earlier in 1929 called "Auld Lang Syne" which I'm assuming was holiday themed, but no copies are believed to have survived, and I can't find so much as a synopsis online. If anyone knows anything about that movie or any other Christmas movies from the 1920s with sound, please   reach out . But as far as extant Christmas movies featuring synchronized sound with talking, this appears to be the first. I know that sounds like a lot of qualifiers, but I think the addition of synchronized sound - particularly sound with dialogue - is functionally the boundary between an earlier art form and modern movies. I don't want to disparage silent pictures in any way: they are a fascinating medium in their own right, and I have every intention of tracking down more silent Christmas films. But watching them is a very different experience than watching a film w

A Christmas Story Christmas (2022)

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I'll start by saying upfront that anyone who loves the original is probably going to love this. It does an admirable job of recreating the look, sound, and feel of the 1983 film, which takes skill, time, and care. This is a movie created with love for fans. And I am most certainly not one of them. I have no nostalgic connection to the original, and I don't find the experience of sitting through it at all enjoyable. So it should come as no surprise that I didn't much like this one either. That's not the same as the movie being bad. In a real sense, this is a good movie. It set out to do something that couldn't have been easy, and it succeeded in its goal. Taking a step back, I respect what they achieved, even if I didn't enjoy it. At all. Seriously, I found this a chore to sit through, and - in case anyone needs to be reminded - I'm the guy enthusiastically watching dozens of adaptations of A Christmas Carol this year. Because not enough people are angry with

Look Who's Talking Now (1993)

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The late '80s/early '90s were an odd time for comedy. The classics of the previous era had landed on VHS and television, where they were embraced by kids. It didn't really matter most of those classics weren't intended for young audiences - we found them all the same. And it created a bizarre landscape where the concept of what was and wasn't appropriate for "all ages" was skewed. On some level, as long as kids laughed and didn't get the joke, (almost) no one considered it an issue. That's how you get a franchise like the Look Who's Talking trilogy, which is best described as a kid-centered live-action cartoon intercut with microscopic footage of semen and jokes about marital infidelity. The series is a raunchy sex comedy aimed at six-year-olds.  They were almost certainly trying for a family comedy with something for everyone, but the mix of styles and tones is completely off the mark. This isn't a case where innuendo is used to deliver an

Scrooge (1970)

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We did a few adaptations of A Christmas Carol back when we started this blog, but we lost interest pretty fast. It wasn't so much that we were bored watching them (if that were enough, there's a host of genres we'd have dropped a decade ago), it's that we felt like we'd said everything we could possibly say on the subject. To put it another way, I figured if I'd seen one of these, I'd pretty much seen them all. I now realize I was wrong. Hilariously wrong. In more ways than I can count. Granted, if I'd tried watching through one after another back then, I'd have basically been wasting my time. The variations wouldn't have interested me back then, and I was too new to all this to perceive how different versions reflect their times or what they meant to holiday media in general. Even so, I should have watched this one ages ago. I have no excuse save ignorance for waiting this long. It's not so much that this is good or bad; it's that it'

Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale (2007)

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I jokingly apologized to Lindsay while starting this. After all, it's a direct-to-video Tom and Jerry movie from 2007 based on The Nutcracker clocking in at just under an hour: every one of those details is a red flag that this will be awful. Seriously, by all rights this should be borderline unwatchable. Really, no logical way this could in any way be redeemable. Right? RIGHT? Well, apparently my understanding of the metaphysical laws governing our reality is less foolproof than I imagined, because this thing was kind of great. More than that, it was great for what would have been the last reasons I'd have expected, if the possibility had even crossed my mind (which, again, it hadn't). The Tom and Jerry stuff is fine but ultimately unremarkable, save for the fact it's barely an afterthought. Sure, there are sequences of zany, cartoon violence, but it's a fairly small part of the film. The bulk of this, and the reason it's good is.... Actually, it's kind of

Northpole (2014)

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As far as I can tell, Northpole was an attempt by Hallmark to create a family-friendly holiday franchise in the vein of Disney. The fact you've almost certainly never heard of it offers a pretty good summary for how that went. They actually did make a sequel the following year: maybe we'll get to that one of these days. This actually isn't our first experience with the brand. To accompany the movie, Hallmark made a number of tie-in products, most   of   which   we bought and reviewed  (I'll talk about some of those later). This is part of the reason I think Hallmark was trying to turn this into something big: they clearly invested in this idea. Let's talk about what that idea actually was. In the context of the movie, Northpole is a magical city where Santa and his elves live. It's powered by magic snow, which falls from the northern lights, which in turn are powered by happiness. Or something. Look, the idea is that Northpole creates toys so kids will be happ

Christmas Mountain: The Story of a Cowboy Angel (1981)

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I'm not at all clear whether this Christmas western/fantasy from 1981 was made for TV or if it was released theatrically. I assumed the former while watching, as it looked formatted for that media, but I came across something implying this may have been due to higher-quality versions being lost (at least for a time). Regardless, this feels like a television movie from the '80s, though - for what it's worth - a relatively good one. Take that as a compliment or insult, depending on your impression of TV from the era. I should note the movie occasionally appears listed as just Christmas Mountain OR The Story of a Cowboy Angel, though both appear on the title screen. There also appears to be a little confusion over the date, with some sources listing 1980 and others 1981. The latter seems more reputable and matches the stamp on the streaming site carrying it, so that's what I'm going with.  The movie appears to have mainly been the creation of western star Mark Miller,