ChalkZone: When Santas Collide (2004?)

This was the last episode on the "Nick Picks Holiday" DVD we picked up. Overall, that DVD was one of the better compilations of its kind we've seen. But maybe they should have shoved this in the middle as padding instead of leaving it for last. This wasn't really bad, but it certainly wasn't good, either. The premise of the show, is a kid has a piece of magic chalk (or something) that lets him travel to the "ChalkZone," a pocket dimension inhabited by everything kids draw. The premise actually had promise: in the right hands, it could conceivably have turned into something cool. These were clearly not the right hands. The setting is utterly vapid, as are the characters. Both the real world and "ChalkZone" inhabitants are idiotic and cloying. This special Christmas episode takes up the whole half hour block (usually, the time is broken into segments). There are two plots occurring simultaneously: one in the real world and the oth

Bell, Book and Candle (1958)

Earlier this season I stumbled upon a list of ‘alternative christmas movies’. As I expected, some of them we’d seen, and a few others were already on our list, but there were a couple films that had flown under our radar so far, either because we didn’t realize they were set at Christmas, or didn’t think that would be enough to qualify them as fodder for this project. This is one we’d never even heard of. Bell, Book and Candle is set at Christmas, all right, and Christmas and snow, decorations and music are enough of the setting to merit it a place here, but it’s so much more. This movie is about witches in New York. Kim Novak plays a witch who decides to seduce the guy upstairs (Jimmy Stewart) away from another woman with the help of a little magic and the assistance of her cat. Her friends in the magic community both help and hinder her as the relationship goes on. The movie has ups and downs: a few comedy bits with odd sound effect choices, a sequence or two that’s poorly p

Book Review: The Knights of Christmas

The Knights of Christmas Suzanne Barclay, Margaret Moore, Deborah Simmons, 1997 Crossposted from The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf Yup, it’s officially a theme. MORE SHORT STORIES. These ones are a little more like novellas, though. This is a Harlequin Historical compilation, three short works set at Christmas. I thought it might be a somewhat entertaining read: a bit of fluffy medieval holiday romance. Well, I was right, sort of, in that it was fluffy (in a shallow way) and medieval (in its uneasy gender roles). The first story, Kara’s Gift , was the one I actually liked. It has in common with its sibling stories awkward and somewhat off-putting description in the sex scenes, but the characters are at least likable, the story super-cliche but amusing. Duncan is a landless knight, back from the crusades with enough treasure to wed his childhood sweetheart, but instead he’s swept up in a Scottish clan-war and a wild-hearted pagan lass. It’s actually kind of sweet by the end, and th

The Colgate Comedy Hour: The Abbott and Costello Christmas Show (1952)

Depending on whether you believe the DVD cover or the episode, this is either called "The Abbott and Costello Christmas Special" or "The Colgate Comedy Hour." Personally, I think Colgate should have ponied up the cash to endorse the DVD release, so the titles matched. In fact, while we're on the subject, I think it's time we brought back giving TV shows directly over to corporate sponsors and letting them fill an hour every week with whatever they think will get the most viewers. Think about it: Google could dump some serious cash into an hour long drama. Regardless of what you call this, it was an hour-long comedy variety show. There were dancers, acrobats, and comedy. The dancing and acrobatics aged a bit better than the comedy, though that's almost a compliment. Time turns good routines into old ones, after all. Abbott and Costello were clearly talented, and they did an impressive job selling some bizarre holiday-inspired scenarios. They playe

Mainlining Christmas Presents Beneath the Tree: Playmobil Saint Nicholas and Christmas Angel

Apparently we're doing video reviews now. Video! Here's a review of a Playmobil Saint Nicholas and Christmas Angel set.

Christmas with a Capital C (2010)

I want a documentary about the making of this movie. It would start with Brad Stine, a conservative Christian stand-up comedian doing a routine mocking people for saying "Happy Holidays." If you want to get the most out of this review, I recommend watching this before going on - it'll help offer some important context. If you can't make it through the whole thing, at least watch the first minute and a half: Well, Stine's routine got the attention of a Christian rock band, Go Fish, who wrote a song about it. I'm embedding their music video. And. Yes, you should really watch some of this, too. I know, I know... but this is important. This is going somewhere. Ugh. Yeah, I'm pretty sure they were serious. So, I guess that was popular in the Christian music scene, because a Christian production company decided to make a movie based on it. That song plays during the closing credits, and Stine has a supporting role where he delivers a rant bas

The Christmas Shoes: DVD Extras

That's right: we're not done with this thing yet. There are three extras on this DVD, and we just sat through all of them. One is the music video, which we'd already seen several times. I've got to say, having seen the movie and now having context for the clips interspersed between close ups of the creepy lead singer, the video is even more idiotic than before. Didn't think that'd be possible. The other two are mini-documentaries; one about the writing of the song and book, and the other about the making of the movie. They're both equal parts hilarious and painful. Here are a few highlights: The director actually compared "The Christmas Shoes" to "It's a Wonderful Life." He wasn't joking, either: he talked about how neither was afraid to explore the dark side of the subject matter, how the ending was earned. Upon hearing the 2-sentence premise of the song, the writer immediately thought it would make a great book. The