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Entries in Holidays (143)

Friday
Dec232016

Podcast: "Lion" and "La La Land"

KateyNick, Joe and Nathaniel talk two Best Picture contenders along with conversational detours that pop up as these detours do. The podcast will return in the New Year. 

Index (43 minutes)
00:01 LION (and movie titles) 
12:15 LA LA LAND (divisive direction!) 
27:10 BEST PIC & LIST-MAKING (tis the season)
31:13 CHRISTMAS MEDLEY (Rent, Kermit, Judy G)

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments and please have very happy and safe holidays until we're chatting at you again in January (probably around Golden Globes weekend January 8th-ish). 

Lion & La La Land

Thursday
Dec222016

Christmas Classics: "Mixed Nuts" (1994)

Team Experience has been sharing their favorite Christmas flicks. Here's Chris...

I'm going to make the assumption that most of you haven't seen my favorite Christmas movie, Nora Ephron's Mixed Nuts. "Classic" may be a stretch as it was both a box office and critical bomb, and has since been lost to time. The film has all of the makings of a cult following that has yet to materialize: a completely silly premise, insane moments, and a cast quite literally full of familiar faces. No really - the main cast includes Steve Martin, Madeline Kahn, Juliette Lewis, Liev Schreiber, Adam Sandler, and Rita Wilson. Anthony LaPaglia wears a Santa suit most of the movie. Even the throwaway parts are played by Rob Reiner and Joely Fisher.

But the film is an utter daffy farce with even more off the wall subplots than famous faces. Let's do a short run down of what makes the film so crazy and special...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec212016

Christmas Classics: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Team Experience has been sharing their favorite Christmas flicks. Here's new contributor Jorge on a Burton special...

Edward Scissorhands, at first sight, not the most Christmassy movie. It is not an iteration of a Charles Dickens’ novella, there are no Santa Clauses, and no one is chasing anyone through a snowed-in airport. Falling snow is a big motif throughout, but only the last third takes places during that time of year.

But it beautifully captures the sentiment of Christmas in the most important sense... 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec182016

Christmas Classics: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

A few members of Team Experience will be sharing posts on their favorite Christmas movies. Here's Tim...

Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of a great classic: it was on December 18, 1966, that the world got its first look at the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas, adapted from the 1957 book by Dr. Seuss and directed by cartoon legend Chuck Jones. There are too many ways we could quantity the importance of this television special: as the last of Jones's masterpieces before he settled into Elder Statesman status, as the progenitor of a line of generally strong Seuss adaptations that didn't stop until the beginning of the 1980s, as the third in a line of deathless cartoon Christmas specials that premiered one per year from 1964 to 1966 (Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas are the others).

But since it's the holiday season, let's start with how this is one of the loveliest and most heartfelt stories of the True Meaning of Christmas ever filmed. That is, in no small part, because neither Seuss nor Jones were overt sentimentalists: the author had a slightly arch, caustic tone to his highly precise rhyming that's too self-aware to be saccharine, and Jones built his career on anarchic cartoon comedies, making no fewer than three films on the theme "how many ways can we shoot Daffy in the face?" And with that kind of attitude underpinning the proceedings, How the Grinch Stole Christmas ends up being a little bit saltier than most of the other canonical Christmas classics. Obviously, it gets to the expected place where we all learn important lessons and feel better and embrace tradition, but it works a little bit harder than usual to make sure that it's earned.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec142016

Christmas Classics: Little Women (1994)

A few members of Team Experience will be sharing posts on their favorite Christmas movies. Here's Lynn Lee 

You can have your Christmas Story or your It’s a Wonderful Life.  For me, my Christmas movie will always be Gillian Armstrong’s Little Women, which took its bow Christmas Day, 1994, and has kept a place in my heart ever since.  Even though it faithfully adapts a literary classic, the movie’s also a perfect encapsulation of the ’90s: besides Winona Ryder, for whom Little Women was something of a pet project, it also featured a very young Kirsten Dunst, fresh off her star-making turn in Interview With a Vampire, and Claire Danes, still in her Angela Chase days, making her big-screen debut, as well as a 20-year-old Christian Bale completing his transition from child to adult actor.

None of that, of course, meant anything to me when I first saw the film...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec072016

Judy by the Numbers: "The Judy Garland Christmas Show"

Anne Marie has been chronicling Judy Garland's career chronologically through musical numbers...

Full disclosure: I am in the middle of finals hell, wherein I have to write roughly 45 pages and grade exactly 48 exams before I can finally collapse at home for the holidays. So this episode is an especially selfish choice on my part. Since it's been a rocky year, I thought the best choice would be to post the entire episode, so that we could come together over a warm Christmas computer and spend the holidays with Judy.

The ShowThe Judy Garland Show Episode 15
The Songwriters: Various, arrangement by Mel Torme
The Cast: Judy Garland, Mel Torme, Liza Minnelli, directed by Dean Whitmore

The Story: Call me a sap (and I am), but I cannot watch Judy Garland sing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" while she and her children watch fake snow fall out of a studio set window. In a season that seems to demand yearly special televised events, The Judy Garland Christmas Show ranks as one of the most special Like every episode of The Judy Garland Show, there are some nasty rumors that have risen to the level of legend: that Judy and Mel were fighting, which caused her to flub his name and two song lyrics, that Judy refused to rehearse, that she was high, etc. But somehow the backstage antipathy doesn't diminish the near-camp joy of Judy and co. sitting around a mid-century fireplace singing the songs that she made famous. Much of it has to do with her kids: as the Luft siblings and Liza make appearances, their improvised bits may be stagey, but their affection for their mother is real. Gaffes, bad jokes, and creepy Santa dancers notwithstanding, The Judy Garland Christmas Show remains a classic staple of holiday television.