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DECEMBER 2016 MOVIE DISCUSSION


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On Tuesday, December 06, 2016 at 5:26 PM, Niners Fan in CT said:

Does anyone have any Christmas movie recommendations and also I'm wondering if you had a top 5 or top 10 Christmas movie list?

This year I've had a bizarre fascination with bad Christmas movies, but I LOVE Christmas movies, especially ones done well.  These are necessarily my 10 Favourite (Home Alone could be in here, for instance, and I left off the various Shane Black action flicks set at Christmas that aren't really about Christmas (Lethal Weapon and Long Kiss Goodnight), but here's 10 worth watching.

 

10. Krampus: It's stupid, it's silly, it's a nice change of pace of the usual holiday fare.  It's a holiday horror flick with Krampus coming after a family who has forgotten the holiday spirit.  The little demon-things are actually quite terrifying and there's lots of fun actors involved (Adam Scott, David Koechner, Toni Collette)

09. Merry Friggin' Christmas: It's not a world-beater, but I'd say it's one of the better Christmas films of the last few years.  Joel McHale plays a dad traumatized by his dad's treatment as a child, forced to spend Christmas with him again now with his whole family.  It was one of Robin Williams' last roles and was re-cut after his death (Presumably to add more of him), but there's lots of quality supporting cast (Lauren Graham, Candice Bergen, Clark Duke, Tim Heidecker, Wendy McLendon-Covey) who aren't give a ton to do but prop it up here and there.  The title is totally wrong in that it conveys a snark and cynicism about the holidays that isn't really present in the film.

08. Just Friends: Ryan Reynolds plays a former fat kid who accidentally returns to his home town, determined to show off and win back the girl with whom he was "just friends" in high school, while babysitting a reality TV star/pop singer played by Anna Faris.  Reynolds is his usually wonderfully sarcastic self while Faris steals the flick with her demented pop star.  Bonus points if you're Canadian, you can play spot the 'Corner Gas' stars amidst the supporting cast (I counted three, but there might more).

07. Bad Santa: Everyone knows this one, right?  I haven't seen the sequel but from the sounds of it the thing it gets wrong is the transformation.  Willie is still a prick by the end of the film, but he has been softened somewhat by Thurman's presence, so that when the ending comes up, it doesn't feel sappy for sap's sake, rather a proper finish to the story.

06. A Christmas Tale: I disliked this the first time I saw it, but it has slowly won me over.  A French film in which a family gets back together for the holidays with the children now grown with families of their own.  The mother is in need of transplant, and the only one who fits the bill is the black sheep of the family who has been banned from all family events by his playwright sister.  It's sad, funny, touching, frustrating, all the good things that come with family.

05. A Holiday Affair: My favourite TCM discovery is this little Christmas flick in which widow Janet Leigh, accidentally gets shop clerk Robert Mitchum fired and keeps crossing paths with him over the Christmas season, much to the delight of her son, and consternation of her longtime beau. I'm not usually much for cute kids, but man Gordon Gebert is incredibly cute and funny in this one as Leigh's son.  Plus, it's fun seeing Mitchum play family-friendly.

04. Scrooged: This one is good but the last 10-15 minutes with Bill Murray's monologue is probably my favourite thing of his entire career (And after watching him accept that Mark Twain award a month or so back, I have a feeling he was just mainly riffing here).  Murray plays a TV executive and modern-day Scrooge who is visited by...you know the story?!

03. Elf: This isn't another actor alive, or maybe dead, who could properly play the role of adopted elf Buddy the way Will Ferrell can.  He imbues the role with the perfect amount of sweetness and innocence without ever becoming irritating.  It's a silly little comedy, but that part where Santa's sleigh takes off over the crowd of people and the music soars with it nearly breaks me up every stupid year as I try not to let anyone else notice me almost bawling at a  Will Ferrell Christmas comedy.

02. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: Because it's basically every family at Christmas pushed to the extremes.  There's so much of my family in this one: from my dad falling off the roof hanging Christmas lights to money concerns, there's something for everyone here.

01. It's A Wonderful Life: My favourite Christmas film, and the best film of all-time period, as far as I'm concerned.  Jimmy Stewart is the nice guy who gets fed up after a lifetime of looking out for everyone else only to get help in his time of need.  It's silly, it's saccharine, it's sappy, and it makes my heart soar every single year.  And I'm watching it tonight!

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It's funny enough, but it hasn't really endured for me. A few really great jokes, but my utter lack of interest in the sequel kinda pointed out to me that I don't care. Haven't watched it in years.

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My sister hates 'Bad Santa'.  Though, a large reason for that is we decided to see it as a family in theaters when it came out (We're a strange family, all right?), and my sister said she wasn't feeling well and didn't want to go.  I chastized her and said stuff like "Oh you're 19 years old and too cool to go with your family" and the good old "You never want to do anything as a family!" and she finally begrudgingly went along.  Throughout the movie, she could barely sit still and almost got sick when Bad Santa threw up in the alley.  After the movie, when she continued to complain, me and my mom took her to the hospital where her appendix burst.  

But, I like the movie.  I think it's really well-done in that Willie doesn't become more likable.  He's crude, he's racist, he's miserable.  And in the end, he's still crude, (presumably) racist, still mostly miserable.  He becomes slightly more likable by finally realizing Thurman genuinely likes him, not because he's Santa, but because he thinks they're friends.  I mean, he's still keen to rob the mall, but he makes one small gesture that gives him a little redemption in the eyes of the viewer.  Plus, it's really just funny.  If I had only ever seen 'Badder Santa', I probably wouldn't have cared as much for the film, as it basically just prolongs the film and doesn't add anything funny enough to warrant watching.  The original, theatrical cut is just neat and tidy enough of an edit, that it never feels like you're wallowing in the filth with Willie, just watching him from afar and laughing at him, then eventually with him.  With 'Badder Santa' (and other films of its ilk, I lasted about 20 minutes of 'Uncle Nick' with Brian Posehn as drunk, lecherous uncle), it feels like the film is almost nudging you in the ribs "Look at how bad he is, isn't that funny?"  It's not.  The humor is in the redemption, I feel.

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On a different note: Kelly Mantle is now the first actor to be put in for nomination for Best Supporting Actor & Actress for Confessions of a Womanizer. And to think I saw him doing a play in the back of a bar less than a year ago.

 

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Willie's best moment is him completely accepting being murdered in cold blood and still having the balls to say "Do you really need all that shit? It's Christmas." That alone justifies his character to me. 

The sequel has got some really bad reviews, and I've even been criticized for wanting to watch what is "surely" a poor sequel, but I could care less. The Goon sequel is probably going to be way more egregious to me. 

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The Foreign Language Oscar field can narrowed again

Quote

The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:

Australia, Tanna, Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, directors;
Canada, It’s Only the End of the World, Xavier Dolan, director;
Denmark, Land of Mine, Martin Zandvliet, director;
Germany, Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade, director;
Iran, The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, director;
Norway, The King’s Choice, Erik Poppe, director;
Russia, Paradise, Andrei Konchalovsky, director;
Sweden, A Man Called Ove, Hannes Holm, director;
Switzerland, My Life as a Zucchini, Claude Barras, director.

5 of those will be the ones officially nominated for an Oscar

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Saw Loving today and it was really wonderful.  It's the story of the Loving family and how they were arrested and barred from living in Virginia because of their marriage being an interracial one.  There's no way it wins any of the big Oscars, though, because it's very restrained in its depiction of, well, everything.  No one gives any rousing speeches, there aren't any sequences of people having racial epithets shouted at them, and the big climax, as it were, happens off-camera and comes via phone-call.  But Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga are so wonderful.  Edgerton is almost completely unrecognizable as the stoic Richard, while Negga, an actress I'm not overly familiar with, is forced to carry the emotional heft of the film with not that much dialogue and she does a great job.

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13 hours ago, HumanChessgame said:

Ok, which one of you is this-

15492316_725195134295480_413074294970329

It wasn't me, else I would've taken claim for that sign, which may be the greatest sign in the history of our sport, years ago.

 

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