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Christmas in the Clouds (2001)

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Modern romantic comedies are hard to do well without either deconstructing the format or tossing in elements from contrasting genres. Christmas in the Clouds takes neither of these paths - at its core, it's just a romcom. It's fundamentally absurd, funny without being hilarious, and almost too sweet.

But I'll be damned if it wasn't charming. This one works.

It helps that it's set a long way from the typical locations these movies play out in. It's also featuring a very different cast: with only a couple exceptions, every character (and actor) is a Native American.

The movie's two leads are Ray and Tina. Ray manages a ski resort owned by his tribe. He's expecting an anonymous reviewer from an influential guidebook to stay over Christmas and write up the resort. When a woman (Tina) shows up traveling alone from New York, his staff assumes they've identified the guide. They give her the best room and bend over backward to make her stay comfortable.

Ti…

Podcast Episode 5: Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

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In the final episode of 2018, we debate whether or not violent films like Die Hard should be considered "Christmas movies."

Listen above, or on Soundcloud, Stitcher, iTunes, or almost any podcast app.
References:Die HardCash on Demand2018 Morning Consult/Hollywood Reporter Survey2015 Mainlining Christmas Article: The Borders of Christmastown: Some Thoughts on what are and are not Christmas MoviesThe DetectiveNothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp Transcript: Erin: Yes.

Lindsay: What?

Erin: Sorry - this episode is called “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?”, and I was answering the question.

Lindsay: Oh, in that case, the answer is, “Hell, yes.” Obviously. Are we still really going through this? I thought this was settled.

Erin: Apparently not. A survey conducted this year by Morning Consult and the Hollywood Reporter found 62% of Americans don’t consider it a Christmas movie.

Lindsay: Wow. 62% of Americans are idiots.

Erin: I’m choosing to believe most of these people either …

Last Minute Gift Guide: 2018

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Welcome to the Mainlining Christmas 2018 Last Minute Gift Guide! This year, we wanted to help those of you looking for last-minute gifts by suggesting a handful of unique presents that are virtually guaranteed to still be on the shelves right before Christmas! Let's jump in!


Christmas Noel Emoji Poop Decoration Let's face facts, everything you're giving and receiving this year is, at its core, crap, but this particular gift is abnormally honest about that fact. Featuring absolutely no features or worthwhile qualities, this is literally and metaphorically precisely what it appears to be.

As a bonus, this looks as though it could be utilized as a tree-topper. I can't say for certain, though: I... uh... didn't really want to touch it and check.

Who to buy it for: The perfect gift for anyone who actually liked The Emoji Movie or thinks this is somehow clever in 2018.

Price: You can find this at Michaels Arts and Crafts for just $14 + whatever dignity you still possess. Be…

Prince of Peoria: A Christmas Moose Miracle (2018)

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Prince of Peoria is a new Netflix series attempting to replicate the formula of Disney's tween-focused sitcoms. Which means, right off the bat, it's going to be bad. That being said, it's sort of trying to be bad, so that makes it... still bad, but maybe successful?

The premise of the series - at least insofar as I've been able to tell - is that the teenage prince of a fictional island nation is roommates with an American, and they're living together in a bowling alley. So... Perfect Strangers meets Coming to America meets Boy Meets World.

It's certainly ambitious - and bizarre. Tonally, it's mostly farcical due to the absurd customs of the titular prince. In addition, he's accompanied by a bodyguard of... questionable mental ability. Actually, several characters are played as comically idiotic.

The series sidesteps a lot of issues by casting white actors using British accents as the exotic foreigners and a diverse cast as the Americans. Using British …

The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

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Alright, cards on the table. This is one of those movies where spoilers are going to matter. But before we can get to things that shouldn't be spoiled, we need to address a handful that should. And by that, of course, I'm talking about the elements of this 1942 comedy that don't play so well in 2018.

We've got a couple brief but not minor racist sequences, a touch of misogyny, and at least one moment where - despite the anachronistic impossibility - you almost expect a character to pull out a smartphone, open Twitter, and type #MeToo. The moments in this movie that aged poorly aged very poorly.

But if you can look past them, the rest of this is a hilarious, fascinating, and unique holiday film. I'll get to why in a moment, but first I have to deliver on my promise:

*Spoiler Warning*

If you like old movies - hell, if you like comedies in general - this is worth tracking down. The less you know going in, the more fun you'll have with each twist and turn. And if …

Neptune's Daughter (1949)

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This is not, by any reasonable definition, a Christmas movie, but we're going to cover it anyway. Why? Because while Neptune's Daughter isn't a Christmas movie, it had a significant impact on Christmas tradition, namely by introducing the song, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" to the world.

Baby, It's Cold Outside has been debated heavily in recent years, and this year's no different. It's arguably become the single most controversial holiday song in existence. Rather than retread points others have made, I thought it would be interesting to go back and actually look at it in its original context.
Okay, this wasn't actually its original context. Before being sung by Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams on the big screen, it was sung privately by Frank Loesser and Lynn Garland at dinner parties. If anyone has a time machine I could borrow, I'd love to go back and hear it performed in that context, as well. I'll also need to borrow a tux. And…

Book Review: Plum Pudding Murder

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Plum Pudding Murder
Joanne Fluke, 2009

I have been known to pick up Christmas-themed books on the cheap pretty often and this is one of those cheap reads. It's another cozy mystery, and this one not only reads like a Hallmark movie, it was turned into a literal Hallmark movie.

It's the twelfth book in this series, so while all the backstory and name-checking earlier events and established relationships is boring, it's at least excusable.

Okay, I said it was a cozy, right? Let's check off the tropes: Hannah owns a cookie shop, is dating a law enforcement guy, and is known to stumble into murders. I was briefly intrigued by the fact that she is also dating a dentist and all three parties seemed happy enough with their relationships. It seemed like a sympathetic portrayal of people who didn't feel the need to lock down a monogamous heterosexual marriage and were comfortable with that. Of course, later the guys both showed little jealousies, and the narrative clearly c…