Wrapping Up and Turning Off the Christmas Lights

That's right, kids. Another year's come and gone, and Mainlining Christmas is getting washed away like the batch of eggnog that went rancid before you got to it. We had a lot of fun this year, though, didn't we? No. Not really. Mostly we just sat through an ass load of holiday specials that were, on average, even worse than the ones we sat through last Christmas. Sure, there were exceptions. The Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special, the Community Episodes, Futurama, Arthur Christmas... and so on and so forth. But, God, those didn't make up for the rest. If I never sit through another version of the Nutcracker, it'll be too damn soon. And you know what the difference is between a good version of A Christmas Carol and a bad one? NOTHING: there is no difference. THEY ARE ALL THE SAME. We listened to more Christmas music than most people think exists. Hell, we're over 1200 tracks now, and still growing. I forced more fiction down your throats. Or, I guess down your e

Summary of 2011: the Good, the Bad and the Mostly Mediocre

This year, for Mainlining Christmas, we watched 77 things, by my list: 6 Shorts, 21 Movies, 27 Episodes and 23 Specials That includes eight Christmas Carols (versions of or episodes inspired by) and five Nutcrackers. We also branched out a bit, with quite a few music and book reviews. By this time last year, I was experiencing extreme time dilation. I had been convinced the next day was Christmas for about three weeks. This year I'm feeling a bit of the reverse. I feel like we have weeks still to go. This sense might have been exacerbated by the fairly high temperatures we've been having here in NYC. Best and Worst lists are a bit tricky this year; my response to the vast majority of what we watched this year was "meh". Even the things that were great would have a difficult time going up against the best of last year, when we watched our very favorite specials and movies. Hell, things that I loved this year have a hard time beating out some great stuff I could

Music for Seasonal Survival

As we've continued to expand our collection of Christmas music, I keep finding new songs to enjoy. This year, listening to nothing but holiday music was hardly a trial at all. Here are some of the new tracks that got a lot of play on my iPod this month. Broadway: Carols for the Cure Volume 13 (Various, 2011) There are plenty of fun tracks on this CD, but I kept coming back to just a few. Because I can't point you anywhere to hear these recordings, I'm excerpting a bit of lyrics of each. St. Nicholas Sky This rock anthem from the cast of Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark is better than any music actually in that show. I really warmed to this song quickly, and I think they did a great job with it I dream the (light?) with open arms and wander out into the stars Remember when the world was ours - I look for you. And I - all I have to do is close my eyes, and I will (watch?) the darkness come alive And, how I wish that you could be with me tonight, under the cold St. Nich

Futurama X-Mas Specials: 1999, 2001, 2010

Before we wrap up our second year of Mainlining Christmas, we really need to correct an oversight. We've been meaning to get around to covering the three Futurama Christmas specials since day one, but we kept putting it off. Ironically, we were putting them off because we wanted to save them for when they were needed. Say, when we'd exhausted our supply of holiday specials and were waiting for Netflix to ship us something. Well, it turns out that's never going to happen. Contrary to our naive assumptions, the internet contains hundreds if not thousands of hours of holiday cheer. I dare say we could run this blog every Christmas for a decade and not run out. Lucky us. So, rather than rob our list of reviews of these three for yet another year, we're tackling them now. After some of the crap we've seen recently, these are a welcome relief. XMas Story (1999) This was the first of the Futurama holiday specials, and it introduced us to Robot Santa Claus, voice

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

I just watched an awesome movie. Here's what I knew going in: It's a Horror/Fantasy movie about Santa, it's from Finland, and everyone on the internet loved it. If that is enough to convince you, be off with you to your Netflix queue or your to-watch list! It has occasional bits that are slower than any film made in America would have, but it's a fantastic film. Want a few more details? Still skeptical? Okay. Tone spoilers and minor plot spoilers below! The more detailed premise runs as follows: Pietari is a young boy in a remote town on the Russian border. As the movie opens, he and his friend are spying on some Americans who are excavating something on the other side of the fence. Pietari becomes convinced that the site is where Santa Claus (old-school baby-eating Santa) was trapped, and that they'll all be in danger if he gets out. Of course no one believes him, but Christmas is getting closer... Even though you've passed a set of spoiler tags

Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)

A lot of people speak negatively about the spectacle of drying paint. I'm really not sure why that is. When I reflect on the gradual transition between its initial shimmering, almost glass-like surface to its final matte state - which is in itself brighter and more vibrant than it will ever appear again, before the dirt and grime settles, before years of greasy fingerprints and scuff marks - it hardly seems tedious at all: if anything, drying paint symbolizes the fleeting beauty of youth maturing into stability. In fact, given the choice between the two, there is no question in my mind that I would far rather watch paint dry than see Ernest Saves Christmas again, and would - without hesitation - recommend the same to anyone else faced with a similar set of options. The central problem with this movie is that, at its core, it is a pointless, boring sequence of events, a vapid and uninspired waste of time devoid of humor, meaning, or entertainment. I do want to stress that this

Sesame Street Christmas Sing-Along (LP 1984)

I adore this album, so I saved it for last. This was a ridiculously large part of the holidays of my childhood, maybe only eclipsed by John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together . This is a much more solid work, though, every song here is good. There's such energy and good cheer here, I just grin whenever I hear it. The structural premise is simple enough: it's a sing-along. So you sing. Along. Got it? Song List: Christmas Sing-Along / Deck the Halls Santa Claus is Coming to Town Counting the Days Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! The Twelve Days of Christmas Jingle Bells / Silver Bells Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Frosty the Snowman Keep Christmas With You We Wish You a Merry Christmas The first song introduces the Sing-Along, welcomes us all in, and includes some blank Fa La La La Las in the Deck the Halls portion to encourage said singing along. All these tracks do a great job balancing just doing a good version of the song, and adding