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The 24 Christmas Movies of Christmas 2014!

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For the tenth movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me...quite possibly the very first slasher movie.


 


10. Black Christmas: I think this might be the first slasher movie, you know the type with the evil killer who hacks up his victims (usually young women)?  And this one is set at Christmas time, and has Christmas in the title, so I think it's reasonable to call it a Christmas movie.  Any way the girls of a fraternity (Natch) are being harassed by a series of sexual and vaguely threatening phonecalls.  Then one of them disappears.  Well, she doesn't really disappear, you, the viewer, know that she's been suffocated in the attic by a creepy psycho but the girls don't (And never actually bother to LOOK in the attic EVER for some reason...).  So, the cops get involved, as more and more girls start to die.  The first half of this was really dreadfully boring, in all honesty, with everything seeming to have to take 2-3 times longer than it should.  Then it starts to pick up steam in the last thirty-to-forty minutes and becomes really entertaining and unsettling and creepy.  Then the ending kinda sucked, so I'm not really sure how to rate it.  It's...eh.


 


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The only good thing about Black Christmas is the fellatio gag.

 

Boy, out of context that sounds like a totally different kind of movie.

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I enjoyed that immensely.  I also enjoyed trying to figure out Olivia Hussey's accent, like in the zillions of scenes where she answers the phone and goes "Hull-oooOOO" (Argentina, by way of England, by the way).

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For the eleventh movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me...a demented man-child trying to save Christmas.


 


11. Ernest Saves Christmas: I think I used to see this twice a year around Christmas when I was little, but figure I probably hadn't seen it in almost 20 years when I caught it on TV this year.  The Santa Claus in it is really terrific.  The rest of it? Eh...  Anyways, Ernest is a cab-driver who gives Santa a ride as Santa is trying to recruit a children's TV star to replace him.  Santa gets arrested, Ernest helps out a teenage runaway who steals Santa's bag, the TV star ditches Santa for big money but can Ernest bring everything together in the end?  There are the occasional laughs.  But I have some serious questions about Ernest's relationship with the teenage runaway.


 


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For the twelfth movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me...Bill Murray dominating a movie!


12. Scrooged: 'Scrooged' is pretty great.  Bill Murray plays the 'Scrooge' character: a TV executive, sorely lacking in the holiday spirit/any empathy.  As a series of ghosts begin to visit him, he slowly regains the holiday spirit in the guise of his ex-love Claire (Karen Allen).  Anyways, I feel like the last 10 minutes or so of the movie is some of the best work of Bill Murray's career when he does his long, rambling monologue about Christmas.  Also, this is somehow the second Christmas movie I've seen this year with Robert Mitchum in it.


 


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For the thirteenth movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me...my absolute favourite movie of all-time.


13. It's A Wonderful Life: It's funny, I've seen a lot of ads for this movie lately where it says something like "Go back to a simpler time".  But it wasn't, not really.   'It's A Wonderful Life' gets name-checked a lot for being wholesome and schmaltzy, but if you haven't watched it in a while, you might not realize just how DARK a lot of it is.  You've got the depression, with people struggling to survive, struggling to get by, you've got the war, you've got an elderly miser who never really gets his comeuppance, and a man who realizes he is worth more dead than alive and contemplates suicide.  I also feel like people underrate Mary (Donna Reed).  Much is made about George (Jimmy Stewart) and his selflessness and desire to help everyone, but Mary's actually the backbone of the movie.  She's the first one to choose love over money, she's the one who offers up her honeymoon money to save the bank, the one who fixes up the house for their "honeymoon", the one who does all the maintenance and refurbishing of the house, and in his hour of need, Mary is the one who marshals the townsfolk to come to George's aid.  "No man is a failure who has friends"? Come on, how many movies have such a great message in them!?


 


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For the fourteenth movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me..Arnold Schwarzenegger!

14. Jingle All the Way: My brother loves this stupid movie so I always try to make sure we watch it once a year. Howard (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a workaholic father who forgot to buy his son the much-coveted Turboman toy for Christmas and runs around town on Christmas Eve trying to turn one up battling a demented postman (Sinbad) all along the way. There's jetpacks, angry reindeer, a smarmy Phil Hartman, ninja Santa Claus, pro wrestlers dressed as Santa Clauses, obnoxious radio DJs, letter bombs and Arnold shouting "I'M NOT A PUH-VERRRT". Plus, turn your volume way up because when the kids attack Booster someone clearly missed an edit as one of the children, in this family-friendly movie, shouts at Booster: "We don't like you fag!" Wholesome.

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For the fifteenth movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me...one huge, beastly, bulging man.


 


15. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: I think we all want 'It's A Wonderful Life' to be the story of our families: banding together for the greater good, wholesome, beloved.  But, if we're all being honest, our families are much more like the Griswolds: well-intentioned but things ultimately always go wrong.  It's just a perfect Christmas movie with Clark (Chevy Chase) and his family hosting the grandparents and some demented cousins for a Christmas holiday full of disasters.  It's actually a pretty staggeringly great cast, too: Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Johnny Galecki (of the Big Bang Theory), Juliette Lewis, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Doris Roberts (of Everybody Loves Raymond), Randy Quaid (before he went crazy), Sam McMurray (Always underrated), Brian Doyle Murray.


 


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For the sixteenth movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me...the worst possible movie you could get out of a cast that includes Ben Affleck, James Gandolfini, Christina Applegate, Catherine O'Hara, Udo Kier and Stephen Root!


16. Surviving Christmas: There's a lot wrong with 'Surviving Christmas' and it's not hard to see that a lot of it probably boils down to the fact that there are 6 (!) separate writing credits for the movie (Two people credited twice for story/screenplay, then two others with just screenplay) and none of them directed it, so you've got 5 different people having significant input into the direction of the movie.  It starts off quite promising with a funny credit sequence of people enjoying the holidays and gradually getting darker and darker (I was bummed that the hilarious Tom Kenny was only used in the opening credits).  And the opening of the story, about a millionaire named Drew (Affleck) who is lonely on the holidays and rents a family for Christmas, is actually fairly funny as an anti-Christmas story with a fractured family trying to keep it together for the sake of a big fat paycheque.  But once the Applegate character shows up, as a previously unmentioned sister, the movie takes a quick veer into romantic comedy territory then lurches back and forth from quirky to dark, back to quirky, to screwball and never really gets anywhere that feels acceptable.  Gandolfini is a lot of fun, though and is probably worth a watch on his own.


 


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For the seventeenth movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me...a demented elf man!

 

17. Elf: Elf to me is pretty much a note-perfect movie.  I'm actually in the tiny minority who thinks Will Ferrell should have received an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Buddy because, think about it, there is no other actor living who could have played the role as well as he did.  Jim Carrey would be too wacky, Vince Vaughn too sarcastic, Ben Stiller too intense.  Ferrell is just perfect as naively innocent and sweet.  In fact, the only actor I can think of who could maybe have played the role as well as Ferrell would be, maybe, Jimmy Stewart.  I'm sure you must have seen this, but if not, Ferrell plays a human baby adopted at an early age by one of Santa's elves who grows up to realize he's human and find his biological father.  It's stupid, it's silly, it's funny, and the moment when that score kicks in as Santa's sleigh flies over the crowd of singing onlookers is one of the most thrilling moments in any movie ever, never mind Christmas movies!

 

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For the eighteenth movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me...Neil Patrick Harris!


 


18. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas: I'm not really a massive fan of the H&K movies and this didn't really do much for me.  I bet it was pretty fun in 3D, though, what with the smoke and drugs and penises flying at the screen.  Anyways, stoner pals Harold and Kumar are no longer friends, but a mysterious delivery and a destroyed Christmas tree lead to them being back in each other's lives on Christmas Eve.  Neil Patrick Harris reprises his "character" as himself, once again (Though I found the part with him a little rape-y and not overly funny).  So, yeah, I didn't really enjoy this very much (Save for Waffle-Bot and Kal Penn's beard), but it's probably the raunchiest Christmas movie there is (Yes, more so than 'Bad Santa') so it's got that going for it, I guess.


 


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For the nineteenth movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me...Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks and Eddie Deezen!


 


19. The Polar Express: I'm not entirely sure I've ever read the book.  My mom thinks I have, or that she read it to me, but the story didn't seem familiar, at all.  The movie looks pretty incredible, the snow falling around the train is amazing.  The faces are a little rough, and it's quite amazing to see how far computer animation of faces has come in ten years now.  Anyways, the book isn't that long and you can sort of feel the parts where they padded the story to make it into a full-length movie, it probably would have been a little more effective if they had cut it down to about 80 minutes but that's a minor quibble.  It's quite a magical little Christmas movie, and those last few lines are some of the saddest I've ever heard in a children's Christmas movie.


 


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For the twentieth movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me...a Red Rider BB Gun!


 


20. A Christmas Story: This is another Christmas film that's pretty much perfect.  It's funny, I already loved this film, but what made me appreciate just a little bit more this year was trying to watch the sequel that was recently released and how it gets everything so WRONG: the narrator is trying to sound the same and instead sounds like Adam West, the characters look like people in costume, the sets look fake, and the dialogue sounds like people fabricating imaginary memories of the time period, whereas everything in 'A Christmas Story', everything, looks and feels authentic.  I always find it fascinating how some films have such a well-developed sense of tone that it can make you nostalgic for a time period that came decades before you did.  I actually remember in the early 90s, when someone at PBS discovered this movie and started playing it and you'd see letters to the TV Guide/Magazines with "I saw a movie about a boy who wanted a BB gun for Christmas, do you know what it's called?" and it was this amazing movie that nobody knew and people would see it and tell their friends and word-of-mouth spread so rapidly throughout the decade that by the turn of the century, all the major networks were running it (If memory serves, TBS even did a 24-hour marathon of the film).  So, yeah, this is incredible.


 


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For the twenty-first movie of the 24 Christmas Movies of 2014, my true love gave to me..the eternal struggle of the devil versus Santa Claus!


 


21. Mystery Science Theater 3000: Santa Claus: And this is terrible!  A creepy, super-duper creepy Mexican movie about Santa Claus is dubbed into English.  For reasons no one can explain: Santa has an army of children who work in his castle in the sky (No North Pole for this guy), a machine with a giant, night-mare inducing mouth, an ear attached to an oscillating fan, eyes on dowels, wind-up reindeer who turn to dust if they are out in the sun (Yet still make horrible laughing motions for some reason) and, oh yeah, has Merlin the magician working for him.  You know, the Santa story has survived and been beloved through the years and I can understand people throwing little twists in there (Like how in 'Elf' he has a rocket to help with the sleigh, or how in 'Ernest Saves Christmas' his magic sack is full of glass balls that turn into the toys when Santa touches them) but I can't comprehend why you would change everything.  So anyways, Santa wants to deliver toys, but a devil named Pitch is charged by Lucifer with stopping him.  Pitch is the gayest devil you've ever seen in super-tight tights and pirouetting around the house while making evil.  He's also remarkably ineffective for a devil.  The movie is garbage.  The MST3K commentary is super funny, though and makes it essential viewing.


 


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You guys shitting on Black Christmas makes me sad. I mean, Silent Night Deadly Night is right there if you want to talk about an excessively mean-spirited Christmas slasher (and I still watch that every year anyway). 

 

EDIT: Also, watched Bad Santa with friends again last night... I will never get sick of that picture. Bernie Mac's weird props and character quirks are the icing on the cake of one of the funniest and most crude films ever made.

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