December 3, 2011

25 Days: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) a bunch of weird stop-motion characters

Loosely based on the popular song, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (narrated by a Burl Ives snowman) follows Rudolph’s lifelong struggle to fit in despite having a somewhat obnoxious nose that glows red and makes a horrible sound when it lights up. After running away from home, he teams up with fellow misfits Hermey, an elf who wants to be a dentist, and Yukon Cornelius, a prospector whose sled is pulled exclusively by small-breed dogs, and together they visit the Island of Misfit Toys and battle the Abominable Snowman. (Rankin-Bass, where do you get this stuff?) Oh yeah, and Rudolph also has a love interest (shockingly, not his elf friend). Eventually they all return to Christmas Town so that Rudolph can fulfill his contractual obligations—sorry, DESTINY—and guide Santa’s sleigh through the fog, thereby saving Christmas and making it a safer world for misfits everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 2, 2011

25 Days: It Happened on 5th Avenue

It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947) Victor Moore, Don DeFore, Gale Storm, and Charles Ruggles

At the polar opposite end of the Christmas movie spectrum from The Ref lives It Happened on 5th Avenue, an underrated little gem of a film. For reasons unknown, this one never seems to show on any station, but my mom was nice enough to send me a copy awhile back, and I hear it is finally out on DVD. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 1, 2011

25 Days: The Ref

The Ref (1994) Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis, Denis Leary

For our first film in the 25 Days series, I was joined (via phone) by my excellent friend Erin. It seemed fitting since I think Erin was with me the first time I saw this movie, waaaaay back in the high school Dark Ages, and we have watched it together many times since then.

The basic plot of The Ref, for those of you who haven’t seen it, goes like this: After botching a burglary on Christmas Eve, Gus (Leary) is abandoned by his skittish partner-in-crime and has to take a bickering husband and wife (Spacey and Davis) hostage, hiding out in their home while he tries to evade police. When their troubled son comes home from military school and their hellish in-laws arrive for Christmas dinner, Gus has to pretend to be the couple’s therapist, but ends up acting more like a referee as the family tensions finally reach boiling point. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 30, 2011

25 Days of Christmas

Every year ABC Family hypes its popular “25 Days of Christmas” schedule, during which it airs an odd grab bag of Christmas programs and generic “family friendly” films from December 1st through 25th. This year’s offerings include a bevy of non-Christmas options, such as Harry Potter, Finding Nemo, and Aladdin, as well as seasonal “favorites” like Holiday in Handcuffs, A Very Pink Christmas, and Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.

What they don’t seem to have is anything I actually want to watch. The classic films, the special episodes, the weird-yet-wonderful programs of my youth… Where is White Christmas? Where is Scrooged? Where is Miracle on 34th Street? Where is the outrage, people? Well, it’s here. This is me, as outraged as I am willing to get over this issue. Read the rest of this entry »

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May 5, 2007

How Insomniacs Spend Their Time: Don’t judge me.

A while back someone gave me one of those Moviegoer’s Journals and it hung around on my bookshelf forever, empty. So at the beginning of the the year I decided I would keep a record of every movie I watch in 2007. Just out of curiosity. Here’s the list so far (in no particular order). And great googly moogly, is it ever random!

Night at the Museum
Borat
Pan’s Labyrinth
The Pink Panther
(2006)
Zodiac
300
Blades of Glory
Hot Fuzz
x 3
Lethal Weapon
Superman Returns
Night Shift
Anne of Green Gables
Cars
Lady in the Water
Gremlins
V for Vendetta
Anne of Avonlea
Night Watch
x 2
My Super Ex-Girlfriend
Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story
Talladega Nights
Dreamscape
The Lake House
Nanny McPhee
Glory
Flashdance
Lord of War
Memoirs of a Geisha
24-Hour Party People
Flushed Away
Munich
The Science of Sleep

Undertaking Betty
Oh God
Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny
The White Countess
Flashback
Harold & Maude
Sin City
While You Were Sleeping
Lucky Number Slevin
Fahrenheit 451
Human Traffic
Wonderland
Casino Royale
Notting Hill
Tron
You Can’t Take it With You
Vibes
Shaun of the Dead
Calendar Girls

October 21, 2005

Doc Smartypants Introduces: The Friday 10

As part of an effort to stop being so lazy, I’m starting up a new Doc Smartypants series: The Friday 10. I’m not entirely sure what it’ll turn out to be, but check back on Friday and you should have some idea. To start off right, I decided to share 10 movie scenes I love. I’m not going to argue that these are the greatest moments ever captured on film, but they always make me smile when I think about them. I’d love to hear what some of your favorites are, too. So, in no particular order, I present:

10 Movie Moments I Love

1. Grosse Pointe Blank: Martin Blank (John Cusack) returns to his hometown after ten years only to discover that the house he grew up in has been turned into a convenience store. “You can never go home again…but I guess you can shop there.”

Home sweet home

2. Office Space: After Samir and Michael are laid off, Peter takes them out into a field where they destroy their arch nemesis–the crappy office printer—with a baseball bat. At one point Michael, who has started punching it with his bare hands, has to be dragged off of the machine.

Kill the printer

3. Amelie: Amelie’s father receives vacation photos from his garden gnome.

Gnome in New York

4. The Legend of 1900: 1900 (Tim Roth) is playing a grand piano as it rolls wildly around the dining room of a storm-rocked cruise ship. He seems completely at ease, smiling and carrying on a conversation even as the piano rolls through a stained glass wall.

5. Pride and Prejudice: Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) bumps into Elizabeth (Jennifer Ehle) as he is returning from an impromptu dip in the lake—to their shared embarrassment.

Wet Mr. Darcy

6. Shaun of the Dead: Shaun walks to the store and back without noticing the destruction the zombies have left all around him. We’ve all had those days.

7. Young Frankenstein: As Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) helps his lovely assistant, Inga (Teri Garr), out of the hay cart in front of the castle he hears the sound of the enormous door knocker behind him. Turning, he exclaims, “What knockers!” And Inga, misunderstanding blushes and says, “Oh, thank you, doctor.” [C’mon, that’s priceless!]

8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Ron, Harry, and Hermione playing the life-sized game of wizard’s chess. In a movie with iffy special effects, this was one scene they got really right.

Wizard chess

9. The Hunt for Red October: Vasily (Sam Neill) is talking to Captain Ramius (Sean Connery) about what he wants to do when they defect to America. Vasily says: “I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck…maybe even a ‘recreational vehicle.’ And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?” It’s such a genuine moment—you really want him to get his RV.

Sam Neill loves Montana

10. Garden State: Andrew (Zach Braff), who has been at a party all night, wakes up in the morning on his friend’s couch and sees a knight in full armor walking around in the kitchen. The knight stops, looks at him, and continues to prepare a bowl of cereal.

July 7, 2005

Not Cool, Loews Cineplex!: In which the movie moguls interrupt my summer of FREE stuff

I’m a firm believer in the platitude that everything is better when it’s free. Think about it. You’re at Costco and you get a sample of some new fat free crab puff soufflé shish kabob shake. In that moment, contained in its little paper sample cup, it is one of the best things you’ve ever tasted. Then you get it home, fix yourself a serving and realize that somewhere between the check-out line and your kitchen it turned into crap. And it isn’t just food. Free stuff just has fewer expectations attached. It’s why we watch sappy made-for-TV movies, accept someone’s hand-me-down fuchsia muumuu, and why despite living in an apartment the size of a walk-in closet, Larry can’t resist bringing home every piece of furniture or electronic
equipment he finds left on the curb.

This summer I’ve been going to the Loew’s free movie Thursdays. You sign up online, print up the ticket, and then trade it in at the box office for a real ticket. Easy. So far I’ve seen Spiderman II, Terminator II, Jurassic Park III, and Forrest Gump. Every week I eagerly look forward to my free movie, even if it’s something I wouldn’t watch if it came on TV. It’s become a ritual. There’s just something delightful about spending two hours in a nice, air-conditioned theater on what would otherwise be a boring not-quite Friday night, enjoying a mediocre movie with friends. Free. And I’ve been quite the loyal Loew’s disciple, encouraging others to attend. Hell, I got five guys to see Jurassic Park III with me! I think that’s more people than saw it when it was first released. And so even though I hate Mel Gibson and am the least patriotic person alive, I was all set to see The Patriot tonight. That is until Loew’s stabbed me in the back.

Lefty, Larry and I showed up a good half hour before the movie, well before our normal arrival time. Standing in line I noticed the electronic show times board was saying Black Hawk Down had sold out. Huh. Black Hawk Down? Perplexed, I leaned over to Larry and whispered, “Isn’t that an old movie?” Somewhere in my brain alarms started to sound. As we reached the front of the line I noticed that Black Hawk Down was listed as an 8 p.m. only show—the traditional time for our free Thursday movie. Sure enough the ticket sellers told us the free show was sold out. So not only did they replace The Patriot with Black Hawk Down without telling us, they oversold tickets to it! Larry suggested we see another movie but I refused to give them any money after they’d tricked us. I stormed out of the lobby with my best Winston Churchill scowl, huffing and puffing and threatening not to buy popcorn when I showed up for next week’s free movie. I guess I could have come up with a better threat, but next week is Independence Day (I’m sure you understand). The worst part, and even in my daze of anger and hurt I saw this clearly, was that I was so super pissed to not be watching a movie that I actually never liked in the first place!

Just so you don’t worry that our entire night was ruined, we did go to the video store and rent The Rocketeer. It was fun, but I can’t quite wash away the bitterness of having to part with $4 to rent a video when we should have been spending the evening in that blissful state that can only be attained by getting something for nothing. Oh Loew’s, why hath thou forsaken me?! Jerks.]

posted under Rants | 5 Comments »
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