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The Date is Set

The most recent "How to do Everything" podcast opened with a statistician calculating the date of the Christmas Singularity, when Christmas Creep will cause holiday decorations to start appearing the previous Christmas. He crunched some numbers and came up with 2099, which was already slated to be an interesting year.

Have a listen if you're interested. The Christmas section only occupies the first few minutes, but the rest of the podcast is pretty interesting, assuming you care about things that aren't Christmas.

Reindeer Games (2000)

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For the record, we didn't go out of our way to watch this because of the Affleck connection: this has been sitting in our NetFlix queue for months, slowly climbing its way to the top. And now that it's there, we finally got to watch the damn thing.

It. Is. Bad.

It's almost impressively bad. With the right crowd - and the right drinks - this thing could easily cross the fabled line into "so bad it's good." But it doesn't earn that honor, not on its own merits; it would take a huge amount of work from the audience to meet it halfway. And, frankly, we just didn't have the energy.

The plot is borderline comical. For a solid twenty minutes, I almost gave this the benefit of the doubt and assumed it was intended as a comedy, albeit one lacking in humor. But, as the movie dragged on, it became crystal clear I was being far too kind: this was supposed to be suspenseful. We were supposed to care about the characters.

Let me see if I can summarize the plot. Be…

It's Like Christmas in July, Only With More People Trampled to Death

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In a true sign of the times, Best Buy is holding a Black Friday in July event tomorrow. You can find sale information on their site here.

A quick search verifies the word "Christmas" doesn't appear anywhere on the sale page. Yet another example of corporations bowing to special interests trying to remove Christ from mobs of screaming shoppers clawing at each other's throats in a mad rush for discount MP3 players.

All I can say is the 4th of July better watch its back: Black Friday has taken its rightful place as a holiday in its own right, and there's little point debating which day is truly more American.

I just wish we'd had more notice. We didn't even have time to buy a turkey for dinner tonight.

Secret Identity (2011)

I saw this on a weekly list of short films at Ain't it Cool News. I clicked on it because it was about superheroes, but - lo and behold - it turned out it was set at Christmas. It's not what I expected from the premise and title. What it is, beside sweet and well made, is better experienced than explained. So, assuming you've got ten minutes, check it out:


"Secret Identity" (2011) from Tyler MacIntyre on Vimeo.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

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On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the sixth James Bond movie, based on the tenth James Bond book. It’s a quieter movie than a lot of the others, it follows Bond’s relationship with one woman, Tracy, and an unaffiliated mission to track down Blofeld. This is the only movie starring George Lazenby as Bond, and there are a couple internal nods to the fact that this is the same character with a different actor.

The romance between Tracy and Bond is fairly poignant, if occasionally as over-the-top as the rest of the movie. The action plot revolves around Bond posing as a genealogist to infiltrate Blofeld’s stronghold in the Alps. Blofeld has a fairly silly plot to use a bunch of hypnotised young women to damage the world’s food supplies (this made slightly more sense in the book), but the important thing for our purposes is that it’s Christmas! So there is a ski chase which is sometimes very exciting and sometimes a little too obviously blue-screened, and a chase through a ice-skating Ch…

The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (1982)

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Until I saw this special referenced in an article about the Grinch last year, I didn't realize there were other Grinch specials produced. Once I knew, though, I really had to track them down, even if their connection to Christmas begins and ends with The Grinch. But as far as I'm concerned, having the Grinch in something is pretty much the same as including Santa: de facto Christmas. I'm sure we'll get to the Halloween one eventually, but I wanted to take a look at the "The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat" while it's seasonal.

It was pretty easy to find on Youtube if you're interested in checking it out after reading my review. But, honestly, if you're still interested after my review, it probably means you have anterograde amnesia. Don't take chances: take a polaroid of the opening credits and write, "Don't waste your time" at the bottom. Shit. Who has a polaroid camera anymore? I guess you're screwed.

While I can't …

Iron Man 3 (2013)

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We've been watching Shane Black movies all month in preparation for this: the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film set at Christmas. I'm reviewing the movie itself over at The Middle Room, but I had some thoughts that felt more at home here.

While I'm grateful it lets me talk about the movie here, the holiday backdrop actually seemed a little superfluous to me. The setting was peppered with yuletide references, and there was no shortage of jokes reminding us when the events were occurring. But ultimately, I'm not sure what these accomplished (besides being good for a laugh). I guess there's a case to be made for tone, but I didn't feel the disconnect I got from Die Hard or melodramatic juxtaposition from Lethal Weapon. The fact it was set in winter allowed them to shoot Tony dragging his broken armor through the snow (in Tennessee - in December: something's off here), but not much else. If anything, it almost felt like the movie was set at Christmas to con…