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The Countdown Begins

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10 Observations

Before I go, I'd like to pass along ten observations I've had about the holiday.

1. The human capacity to stand any non-parody version of The First Noel is inversely proportionate to the clarity in which the lyrics are sung.
2. Really awful Christmas specials and movies are nowhere near as bad as mediocre ones.
3. The Christmas Story is not, in fact, the "greatest story ever told," however the version told by Linus in It's Christmas, Charlie Brown is the greatest version of the Christmas Story that's ever been told.
4. Gaudy Christmas lights can be beautiful, but only in extreme concentrations.
5. Inflatable Christmas lawn displays were conceived of and produced by the Devil.
6. With very few exceptions, parodies of Christmas songs are superior to the originals.
7. As a general rule of thumb, the less appropriate a holiday episode is to any given television series, the better the result will be.
8. Among the thousands of forgotten Christmas specials, there are few, i…

Sum-up from Lindsay

Well, I didn't learn to appreciate Christmas, although my uneasy truce with the holiday may be a trifle less Grinchy.

I'm looking forward to escaping the time vortex effect. For several weeks, I've ben unable to shake the feeling that Christmas was “tomorrow”, even when “tomorrow” was Dec 5th. I expect that sensation to fade soon... right?

I'm also looking forward to not listening to holiday music for a while... I am pretty darn burnt out on it. I actually took off my headphones in the Laundromat the other day when I realized that they weren't just playing Christmas music, unlike all the stores.

We watched about three-quarters of the list of specials I compiled at the beginning, and finally just ran out of time.

So long for now, me and my copy of The Atheist's Guide to Christmas have a holiday to get to.

Checked it Twice

We're coming upon the end of this Christmas experiment - at least for this year - and, as such, I'm legally obligated to offer some best of/worst of lists.  I don't think it's fair to group movies and specials together for the "best of" list, so I'm going to set the three best movies aside now.  In no particular order, the best holiday films I saw this year are:  Nightmare Before Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and Elf.

I'm not going to differentiate between Christmas specials and holiday themed episodes, though I am going to set one ground rule: these need to be full length.  This eliminates some of the best - including The Spirit of Christmas South Park short where Jesus fights Santa.

Here, then, are the top 10 Holiday Episodes or Specials:

10. Christmas With the Joker: This is a tough one - a case could easily be made that Holiday Knights or Comfort and Joy are better.  But I'm going with my gut and picking the classic.  All three are worth …

Lindsay's Holiday List of Lists

We watched an approximate total of 75 movies, specials and episodes this month. Sheesh.

Here are a few stats I put together:

Based on my List, we watched
16 Movies, 36 Specials, and 23 Episodes

9 of these were in some way a version of A Christmas Carol
6 had sizable references to Twas the Night Before Christmas
3 had spins on It's a Wonderful Life
3 had a version of The Gift of the Magi

25 had Santa as a major character (Real Santa, more than one line, significant part of the piece)
6 had Jesus as any size character, (basically on screen at all) plus 2 more used him as a good sized plot point.



My 10 favorite things we watched, in no particular order:
The Snowman
Mickey's Christmas Carol
A Muppet Family Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Animaniacs: A Christmas Plotz/Little Drummer Warners
Prep and Landing
Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
BtAS: Holiday Knights
The Powerpuff Girls: Twas the Fight Before Christmas


My 5 least favorite: In order t…

Black Christmas (1974)

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Good horror movies differ from bad ones more in the moments that aren't scary than those that are.  It's the time between the deaths and bloodshed that develop tone and build characters we care about, thus giving their deaths meaning.

A good horror movie cherishes these moments, making the most of every second.  Black Christmas, on the other hand, does not.  The characters remain dull, often coming across as being as bored with the movie as I was.  Time drags between killings.  Which isn't to say the deaths are all that interesting, either: by and large, they're as ridiculous and slow-paced as the rest of the film.

As far as the plot's concerned, logic is a stranger to this film.  A sorority girl disappears, and the police conduct a thorough search of the park.  But not the house she lived in.  If they'd bothered to look there, they'd have found her body in the attic.  Along with the killer.

It's not so much that the movie is absurd that bothers me: it…

Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1978)

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I have serious memories tied up in this special. This means I even like the sappy parts. It's such great classic Sesame Street, though, that I suspect you'll like a few of the sappy parts too.

I was going to start off by saying that the opening with the oversized skating costumed characters is pretty useless, but on re-watching, Bird Bird skating with the little girl is pretty cute, even though it isn't the same little girl he's friends with through the rest of the special.

Living in New York City adds a whole other level to watching Sesame Street, and something like this from the 70's makes the original target audience (inner-city kids) really clear. There is a sequence based in the old subway, with beat-up turnstiles and a guy who sells tokens. (The subway car and the station are obviously sets, but I don't know about the platforms.) I love that it's set so firmly in New York.

I love Oscar in this, he's so delightfully snarky. I even love him tryi…