December 25, 2011

25 Days: The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe

Doctor Who: The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe (2011) Matt Smith, Claire Skinner, Bill Bailey

It’s Christmas Day, so Larry and I pulled some Christmas crackers, put on our paper crowns, and watched the new episode of Doctor Who. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 24, 2011

25 Days: The Blue Carbuncle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Blue Carbuncle (1984) Jeremy Brett, David Burke

Last year on Christmas Eve, Larry and I were watching Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes face off against his nemesis at Reichenbach Falls. Larry was briefly traumatized, we watched another episode, and in the end it all worked out, despite some brief confusion over the fact that between those episodes they swapped out the actor playing Dr. Watson. Keeping with tradition, we decided to watch The Blue Carbuncle this year, the most festive of the Holmes mysteries. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 23, 2011

25 Days: White Christmas

White Christmas (1954) Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen

Confession time: I didn’t watch White Christmas. I have watched it—loads of times. In fact I watch it every year, and I swear I own a copy. But when I went to watch White Christmas I could find no trace of it in my home: not on DVD, not on VHS, not on TV, not even on Netflix instant queue. So I guess I will go out and buy a new copy tomorrow, if I can find one. But in the meantime we watched The Ghost and Mrs. Muir instead, and I will write about White Christmas from memory, since clearly my copy was stolen by the ghost of Rex Harrison. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 22, 2011

25 Days: A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story (1983) Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Peter Billingsley, voice of Jean Shepherd

A Christmas Story came out in 1983, and my family has watched it pretty much every year since. It is permanently tied to my memories of Christmastime. I can quote from it endlessly. I know not everyone is a fan, but as far as I am concerned this is one of the funniest, most spot-on portrayals of a child’s experience of Christmas I’ve seen. It’s not a movie with a grand romance; there’s no holiday miracle or Santa-Claus-is-real reveal; it’s just a kid being a kid and dreaming of a toy he wants for Christmas, as kids do. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 21, 2011

25 Days: The Year Without a Santa Claus

The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974) the voices of the damned

Oh god, it’s another Rankin-Bass monstrosity! Why do these Rankin-Bass movies never make any sense? Is it really that hard to make a Christmas film with a coherent plot? Their movies remind me of craft projects made by little kids: They start out with a solid concept and somewhere along the way it just becomes a Frankenstein’s monster of Elmer’s glue, glitter, feathers, and Froot Loops. Read the rest of this entry »

December 20, 2011

25 Days: The Office Christmas Special

The Office Christmas Special (2003) Ricky Gervais, Lucy Davis, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook

I’m going to do my best to do this episode justice in the write up, but I was shanghaied by the local public transportation system for two hours this evening, so let it be known that my cup doesn’t exactly runneth over with holiday spirit at the moment. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 19, 2011

25 Days: Mixed Nuts

Mixed Nuts (1994) Steve Martin, Madeline Kahn, Juliette Lewis, Liev Schreiber, Rita Wilson

Like an actual jar of mixed nuts, there are a few bits of this film that I love and a whole lot of bits I’d rather discretely spit into a waste basket when no one’s looking. It’s such a bizarre mix of stupid and delightful. Mostly stupid. I have really fond memories of watching this with Erin back in the ’90s, and maybe if we’d been able to watch it over the phone together this year I would have enjoyed it more, but sadly Erin’s pre-Christmas baking schedule got in the way, so I watched it alone. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 18, 2011

25 Days: Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne

Miracle on 34th Street is definitely on my list of top Christmas films. I like that it isn’t too sappy, that it has a sense of humor, and that it acknowledges the stresses of a commercialized Christmas without completely denouncing it. Read the rest of this entry »

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