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First Blood (1982)

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Add one more to the list of movies you probably didn't know were set during the Christmas season - until rewatching it, I really didn't notice. It's easy to miss: I didn't notice it coming up even once in conversation, and the majority of the film is set in the wilderness, where it's irrelevant. I'll have some more thoughts about the holidays in a moment, but first I want to talk about something else I'd forgotten.

This is a great movie. I remembered it was good, but that really doesn't do it justice. This is an incredible achievement - one of the best action movies out there, possibly on par with Die Hard.

If you don't recognize the name of the movie, you'll recognize the name of its protagonist: John Rambo. Like Die Hard, it's easy to understand why there was a demand for sequels, though - also like Die Hard - the first installment is the only one that's required viewing.

First Blood opens with Rambo in a rural Washington town trying …

Clarification

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Henry Selick was recently asked whether The Nightmare Before Christmas, one of the greatest holiday films ever made, was a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie. After some consideration, he went with Halloween.

I think it's important to note that, as the visionary director of this phenomenal movie, Selick is uniquely positioned to be able to definitively answer this question.

That's what makes it so surprising that he got it wrong. While the movie's leads are original Halloween characters, the plot is a re-imagining of L. Frank Baum's story, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, as well as his novel, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. These were major influences on the Rankin Bass specials, as well, which in turn served as prototypes for Selick's movie.

But we'll forgive the director for this oversight. If he keeps making movies half as good as The Nightmare Before Christmas, he can claim they're about Arbor Day for all we care.

Rocky IV (1985)

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After Rocky's friend, Apollo Creed, is killed in the ring fighting a Russian boxer, Rocky flies to the Soviet Union, where he trains then defeats the Russian on Christmas Day. And... that's pretty much everything that happens. Huh. Usually the synopsis takes longer to write.

If you're confused how the above could fill 90 minutes, you are seriously underestimating just how many rock montages can be fit in a single movie. To be perfectly honest, I lost count. There's an argument to be made that this might qualify as a musical. James Brown shows up at one point.

Beyond the plot and montages, Sylvester Stallone (who wrote and directed the film) managed to find time to work in a robot helper which looks a little like a stereo system on top of a coffee maker. Also, it might be sentient. And Paulie may or may not be sleeping with it - the movie was somewhat ambiguous on this point.

Likewise, it is unclear whether Rocky and Apollo were lovers. 1980's sexual conservatism w…

Children of Men (2006)

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I've seen Children of Men twice now, and I'm still not sure whether or not it qualifies as a Christmas movie. It's essentially a post-apocalyptic version of the nativity, complete with numerous references, some in world, but there's none of the usual connections - no decorations, no mention of the holiday, nothing. Still, there's more than enough thematic resonance to tie it back (plus it shows on several lists of Christmas movies). Oh, and it was also released on Christmas in the US, not that that means anything.

Children of Men is often considered one of the best science fiction movies of the past decade. It was nominated for several awards, and it's currently at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's not hard to see why: the movie was brilliantly shot and edited, and it's quite engrossing. It's just... it's also kind of boring and pretentious. And the premise doesn't make a damn bit of sense. I'm not talking about the "no humans have been …

Self-Promotion: A Count of Five Now Available

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Let me just get this out of the way up front: this doesn't have a damned thing to do with Christmas. The wreath was just a cheap attempt to obfuscate that fact: sorry for the deception.

A Count of Five is my new novel, which is now available on Amazon. You can pick up the Kindle version here for just $2.99, or you can buy a paperback version for $9.99.

This is the first book in The Citadel of the Last Gathering, a new series blending fantasy-adventure, science fiction, and quite a few other surprises. We're planning on releasing the second novel in the series this November.

This represents a lot of work from both me and Lindsay, who edited and laid out the novel. We're extremely proud of the finished product, and hope you'll pick up a copy and give it a read.

Bat-Santa Photos

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Better late than never, right? Here are some action shots from Bat-Santa wandering around Emerald City Comic-Con. Also, read about how the suit was built here!






Bat-Santa prefers the cold, too.


Kryptonite from his utility belt, tied with a bow.

Just a couple of dark anti-heroes hanging out.



Bat-Santa remains on patrol, and we at Mainlining Christmas  are relieved to have him on the job.

Bat-Santa Returns

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The Mainlining crew is headed out to Emerald City Comic-Con today!

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