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The Justin Newbould Memorial Christmas Chaos

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I'm in the middle of an epic re-watch right now. I figure by the time I finish season 8 and Edwards and La Salle exit, I'll be done. Though it's quite possible that Margulies leaving at the end of 6 will kill my mojo.

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Not a fan of the Parminder Nagra years?

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I must've seen every episode of ER as a kid with my parents and all I remember is frenetic scrambling and people being moody outside the hospital. 

Also, I keep wanting to like Batman Returns, and will give it a couple minutes on TV every couple years -- but that movie suuuuuuucks. You've got Danny DeVito eating somebody's fingers and that's it. 

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5 hours ago, AxB said:

Not a fan of the Parminder Nagra years?

Never made it that far. Liked that soccer movie though.

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Film: The Apartment
Chosen by: odessasteps 

"If you’re going to make a comedy about infidelity and suicide, why not go ahead and set it during the holidays? That’s what Billy Wilder did for The Apartment. 

Now almost 60 years later, the stereotypical office Xmas party, with its singing, dancing, snogging and boozing, is amazingly out-of-date. So probably are CC Baxter’s neighbors, the Jewish Doctor and his chicken soup-dispensing wife.  The corporate drones at Consolidated Life were probably outsourced to a developing nation years ago, but at least likely have cubicles.  

All of the main players are great. Lemmon was doing the nervous nebbish he would play so well time and time again, whether as CC Baxter, Ensign Pulver or Felix Unger. MacLaine was the ingenue, a part she would do so well at this time in her career, including reuniting with Lemmon and Wilder for Irma la Douce. McMurray goes against type as a true heel, although echoing his previous work with Wilder in Double Indemnity. Plus, great work by some familar TV faces: Edie Adams, Ray Walston and David White.  

Still a classic, even at this time of year, with Lemmon taking a pratfall into a Xmas tree."

 
Reviewed by: Travis Sheldon
 

The Apartment

1960, Billy Wilder

 

Bud Baxter works for an insurance company in New York.
He often works overtime since he's unable to access his apartment due to an arrangement with members of upper management he has made.
Baxter loans out his apartment for his superiors to bring their hookups.
Bud happens to have a crush on an elevator worker in his office building.
Bad thing is she is seeing the man who just gave Bud another job offer.
Bud finds out when he asks her out at the office Christmas party.
She eventually tries suicide and is found ODed in Bud's bed.
Bud takes care of her and falls in love.
He quits his job when the boss tries to powerplay him into continuing the same setup.

This is a Billy Wilder joint and is nicely shot.

 

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57 minutes ago, Contentious C said:

I'm reading every line of that in Ben Stein's voice.

About how I felt about it while watching.

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It's not the best Best Picture winner or anything...but...well, I saw it for the first time around the same time Mad Men was blowing up, and I think there are a lot of interesting societal parallels and insights that come from that pairing.

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I know at least one person that has the Apartment as their favorite movie. 

And while I like it, I dont think it would be in my top 3 favorite Wilder movies, maybe even top 5. 

I should also mention this ended up being my third choice, after my first 2 picks were not currently streaming. I believe Exec was planning on doing so.ething with my original choice. 

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Never saw it, but have heard lots about how good it's supposed to be.  Wish I'd drawn it.

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38 minutes ago, S.K.o.S. said:

Never saw it, but have heard lots about how good it's supposed to be.  Wish I'd drawn it.

There was a special edition last year with lots of extras. Well worth the purchase. (Or watch on Prime)

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Wilder is one of those directors that someone like me should like, but everything I've ever seen of his came off as workmanlike. 

The cinematography on The Apartment was nice and the lead roles were spot on, I just couldn't vibe with the story. 

Sorry. 

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That’s the way it goes. I will prob say the same thing with my review. A movie “not for me” although I can praise its craft.

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1 hour ago, odessasteps said:

That’s the way it goes. I will prob say the same thing with my review. A movie “not for me” although I can praise its craft.

Well, let's find out.
 
Film: The Song of Bernadette
Chosen by: J.T.

"This movie makes me cry every year and watching it is a Christmas tradition at my house, so my pick is:

The_Song_of_Bernadette_film_poster.jpg

It usually comes on TCM around Christmas time, but I can change my pick if this is not Christmas-sy enough of a selection".

 

Reviewed by: odessasteps
 

The Song of Bernadette

1943, directed by Henry King

I didn’t get a Vincent Price movie for Halloween Havoc, but I got one this time,so I guess that’s a kind of Xmas miracle. 

The film is based on the novel of the same name, both based on the life of Bernadette Soubiros, the French woman who had visions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France and would later by venerated, becoming Saint Bernadette.

Young, sickly and simple Bernadette (played by Jennifer Jones in one of her first roles) goes to gather firewood with her sisters and sees a vision of a woman (an uncredited Linda Darnell). Skepticism abounds, from her parents to the local clergy to the local government. All try to silence and dissuade Bernadette from her trips to see the Lady, who we eventually learn said to Bernadette that she was “the Immaculate Conception,” a phrase the young girl had never heard in church or school. Roadblocks are thrown up until the magical healing waters from Lourdes allegedly cure the Emperor’s sick child. A committee is formed to study the case, eventually ruling in favor of Bernadette, who had by that time become a nun.

At the time, the picture was amazingly successful, winning 4 Oscars with an additional 8 nominations. Jones won the Best Actress Oscar on her 25th birthday, beating out some actresses as Joan Fontaine and Ingrid Bergman. The film lost the Best Picture Oscar to Casablanca.

As one would expect from a biographical film from the Golden Age of Hollywood, things are fairly straightforward. The earnest and wholesome main character triumphs in the end, and her main detractors, the secular Inquisitor (Price) and unbelieving Mother Superior (Gladys Cooper) are eventually won over. The local priest, skeptical at first, becomes her strongest defender. And so on.

For a film with an uncomplicated narrative, it does feel, especially in 2018, every bit of its 155 minute running time. There definitely could have been some trimming here and there.

Probably to no one’s surprise, my favorite part of the movie was Price, the Enlightened Intellectual Who has no time for the superstitious delusions of the teenage girl. And for the nerds, it’s a great treat to see Price sharing the screen briefly with Alan Napier (Alfred from the 60s Batman TV show) as the psychiatrist send to discredit Bernadette.  It’s also interesting to Lee J. Cobb as one of the local doctors.

Is this a Xmas movie? Well, it’s got the Virgin Mary, so I guess that makes it related on some level.

 

 

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When we started we were short four reviews. That's down to one. My goal is to finish up Christmas Eve. Not counting some stuff I'm going to be doing, I have 2 bonus reviews to post. If anyone else wants to do one, I'll still take it. 

I've never seen The Ref or Christmas with the Kranks. There is always a chance the right circumstances to do so will present themselves some day. Black Christmas is a classic and I am also glad J.T. drew it. I don't have the antipathy towards Batman Returns that has been expressed here. When Keaton was cast for Batman, I was one of the 50,000 comic nerds that sent WB hate mail. When I saw it,  I mainly felt relief that it wasn't treated like a joke. But they're still Batman movies filtered through Burton's sensibilities and I don't feel the need to pick them apart any more than I would a QT film. A huge chunk of that stuff in the Everything Wrong With... video is spot on but so what? The Apartment is maybe my 7th favorite Wilder. And it is still a classic.  I am... well let's just say emphatically not religious but I get weepy just watching the trailer for The Song of Bernadette. And Jennifer Jones, Jennifer Jones, Jennifer Jones. I don't think she was ever a Great Actress but she had IT factor coming out of her pores. I'd be mesmerized watching her read the script for a Monday Night Raw. If they could have bottled IT, that would have been a far better cure for what ails you than anything that ever came out of Lourdes.

 

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Jennifer Jones you say?

f1b7fd08debb23220fae09010f42b961--janet-

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Odessasteps.  You are doubting whether or not The Song Of Bernadette should be considered a Christmas movie?  For shame!

And yeah, The Apartment was a great holiday pick, man.  Much love and kudos.

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1 hour ago, Execproducer said:

I am... well let's just say emphatically not religious but I get weepy just watching the trailer for The Song of Bernadette

We watch it as a family every year on Christmas Eve after dinner and I always fucking cry through the entire movie. 

I normally hate anything that doesn't have a monster or a fist fight or guns in it, but I love The Song of Bernadette.  Her story is so tragic yet so uplifting.  I pray that my faith can be that strong someday..

I only have the mental toughness to do this once a year, though.  I usually have to watch something like Die Hard or Krampus to cheer me up after that.

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Film: Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever
Chosen by: Travis Sheldon

"My pick for the xmas list is Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (2014).

This movie is now a staple for my wife and I.

It has Grumpy Cat, Aubrey Plaza, a surprise cameo by Russell Peters, Daniel Roebuck, and is sure to piss off any pseudo-hipster A/V Club types.

I love this film."

Reviewed by: Raziel
 

So, I was given Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever.  Lifetime, before Hallmark took over the Christmas Movie season wholesale, made a movie capitalizing on the Grumpy Cat meme of 2014.  So, they managed to get Aubrey Plaza to voice the cat, and apparently Plaza decided to just rip the movie apart while voicing it.  Somewhere along the way, it turns into a Home Alone in the mall subplot about two wannabe rockers working with the Mall Security guard to knock over a jewlery store, which ends up switching to a million dollar dog.  The dog's important since his sale will save the failing Pet Store from being evicted, the pet store that Grumpy Cat happens to be.  The dog voice tries and fails to do a bad Patrick Warburton.  A kid can hear the Cat due to a Christmas wish, and she goes into the mall to foil the robbery all while her mother doesn't realize that she's gone the entire time she's at a bad holiday party thrown by a mall elf trying to get into her pants.  "Hilarity" ensues.  

 

I mean, the plot was the plot, they do a big speech to build up to the 3rd act where the animals of the store fight back for about 30 seconds, then we're back to the idiots.  Then the kid and cat get a Camero, where she drives it better than than most adult drivers.  The kid calls the Mom who finally realizes that the kid isn't at the house, then somehow the Mom and C-plot romantic interest show up before the cops.  The cops show up, the day is saved, standard ending ensues, the neglegant mother adops the cat for the girl and yay, everyone's happy.

 

Um, so this is bad.  I can't figure out if it's trying to be bad, or tried to be good and ended up bad.   It kinda did a bunch of 4th wall breaking, which went a little overboard, but then again, the movie was almost built around it, so yeah.  I have nothing else nice to say.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it sure as hell wasn't good.

 

 

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In Justin's spirit, I should mention that Daily Grindhouse is reviewing a different Xmas horror flick every day this month, meaning there are at least 31 of them (and that I should have picked one).

EDIT: Advent calendar! That's what they're doing. I couldn't remember the term earlier.

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Annnnnnnd why I don't do Secret Santa, in one convenient, "How the Hell do you ruin Aubrey Plaza being involved with something?" package.

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Maybe getting an Oscar nominated movie with Vincent Price in it wasnt so bad after all. :)

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I also know someone who lists The Apartment as her favorite movie. And it's kinda off, because she's pretty young (mid 20's) and not really a classic movie buff except for it.

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1 hour ago, Brian Fowler said:

I also know someone who lists The Apartment as her favorite movie. And it's kinda off, because she's pretty young (mid 20's) and not really a classic movie buff except for it.

Bad taste is timeless. 

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