Friday, December 20, 2019

The Rise Of Skywalker

There is so much I want to say but just can't say.

The bottom line is you should go see this movie. I didn't really know what to expect but I left that theater with a huge smile on my face and a lot of excitement. You think I'd be bummed out to see it end but I'm practically ecstatic! Screw the 53%, you have to make the decision for yourself. I've only gathered four reviews from YouTube reviewers that I watch and two were negative while two were positive, but in the end it is your own personal opinion that tips the scale. I really, really enjoyed this movie! If a movie can make my jaw drop more than a handful of times then clearly they did something right, and I was shocked quite a few times actually but not out of anger or disbelief. I was overjoyed with 99% of the story choices they made, the 1% I didn't like well...I bet you already know what it is. And every story and character decision they made worked very well, now I can see some people walking out of this movie howling betrayal and calling bullshit, but I have some sage advice that even rivals Master Yoda's. It's a movie chill out. You don't have to agree with everything they did and that's fine, but to possibly walk out of this movie feeling it was a waste of time and effort would be lying to yourself. There's lots of good things in this movie. The story is very much focused on Rey and Kylo, each building their own power and the power of their allies in a battle for the galaxy with twists and turns throughout. I love what they did with Rey and making her much more powerful after gathering the Jedi books and even is being taught by Leia. That's so cool! The first like five minutes of the movie, it could have been longer because I was so swept up in it, was just almost pornography to my eyes and ears with the screaming engines of TIE Fighters, the rising of Star Destroyers, and Kylo Ren being everything I wished him to be. You knew how to make me very happy Mr. Abrams and I have to say thank you for it. I'm actually really happy one of my ideas for Star Wars being handled by Disney was actually done, they take bits and pieces of previous expanded universe stories and just tweak them to fit the new storyline they made. I've been asking for that since 2016, and they have a goldmine to use! Even with horrible expanded universe stories there are still strong aspects you could take and utilize. So the story is great, the characters and their interactions are very strong now more than ever, the action actually has weight and tension because it's the last movie and if Monstervision has taught me anything, anybody can die at anytime. It was bittersweet seeing Carrie one last time and did get me emotional on numerous occasions, but the way they handled her was great and I'm just happy to have seen her one last time. It's such a shame we've lost so many beloved actors of this franchise but as long as we remember them they're never really gone. I really enjoyed the dive into both Jedi and Sith religions, and maybe it's just because I've been brushing up on the Book Of Sith but there was a lot to take in. I feel this movie is so much more for the hardcore Star Wars fan and maybe not so much regular audiences, because some crazy stuff goes down and to a fan I know this has been done before and I really enjoy seeing it on the big screen, but to your average moviegoer it might be a tough pill to swallow and they'll have questions and complaints. I get it, it's understandable. But the film explains many aspects and the answers you don't get can still be reached. It's just a matter of opening yourself to accept the answers and the truth of the matter. I wasn't disappointed at all and had a great time to the point where if I died tomorrow I'd be alright knowing I got to see the end of my favorite movies ever. But now the question remains, where does this rank? Now this will be just the Skywalker saga so no TV shows, no spinoff movies, just Episodes I-IX. Here we go.

9. Attack Of The Clones
8. The Phantom Menace
7. Return Of The Jedi
6. Revenge Of The Sith
5. The Last Jedi
4. The Force Awakens
3. The Rise Of Skywalker
2. A New Hope
1. The Empire Strikes Back

So let it be written. So let it be done. 4 stars, a solid 8.5/10 maybe even a 9/10, a must see before the end of the decade. This will be a day long remembered for those who remember, for those who will never forget, and for a whole new generation who will experience it for the very first time.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Long Have I Waited...

I'm not ready. I know in my heart I'm not. And yet I am. It's strange, I've already kind of went through this almost 15 years ago with Revenge Of The Sith which is the only Star Wars movie I recall seeing in theaters though I'm sure I saw the re-releases in 1997 and The Phantom Menace in 1999. I thought it was over after that. No more Star Wars. It wasn't a dark age, new comics, video games, and shows were being released but when it came to movies it truly was the end. Now I know Lucasfilm will continue making other Star Wars movies but just the fact tomorrow is the conclusion to the story I have been watching since I was 2 or 3 years old is a strong thing to come to terms with. I was much more accepting of it strangely as a teenager, because it wrapped the story up but now since The Force Awakens I get to experience my own trilogy on opening day one after the other. No joke, I never saw all the prequels in theaters, I owned Episode 1 on VHS, I rented Episode 2 before I even owned it, and only saw Episode 3 in theaters. So this is much more my trilogy in many ways than the prequels of my youth. I was excited to hear that Disney was gonna make more Star Wars movies and I didn't mind that a new movie was coming out every year. Yes you could argue it's the mother of all cash cows but they put resources and time into each of the movies, and while some were not stories that needed to be told they were fun regardless. I really enjoyed The Force Awakens and still do, I took it for what it was and appreciated a humble start to a new slate of films. Granted you read the concept story for it and it is a wild trip that I wouldn't mind seeing, but I understood why they did it that way. The Last Jedi, I didn't hate but I did have conflicted thoughts on it that I needed to see again to form a solid opinion on. I liked what they did with Luke, Snoke was interesting and while it does suck we couldn't have Andy for the full trilogy I could accept he was a stepping stone for Kylo, I totally crush on Rose because let's face facts Kelly Marie Tran is a precious creature, and it no doubt will shatter my heart to see Carrie one last time. This will be the most emotional movie for me, though Revenge Of The Sith did hold great joy and victory in my eyes. PS. I do support Reylo, I want it! I want it so bad! A semi-Jedi/semi-Sith relationship would be so cool. We've seen such relationships before, and I feel it would make for an interesting dynamic. I hope Kylo becomes a full fledged Sith that's his big journey, through every movie he gets closer to that status. I still am fully behind the Empire and the First Order and forever will be, I swear it will be a joy to see a Victory class Star Destroyer crewed by First Order officers and stormtroopers. I just want them to win. Would the world end if the Empire won in the end? It's better than supporting terrorists and rebel scum who should all be shot in the back. I think they mixed the titles up, it should have been The Force Awakens then The Rise Of Skywalker then The Last Jedi. Just think about it. It makes sense, not only if you read all the titles together but storywise. The force awakened in Rey, Luke Skywalker rised from grumpy hermit to Jedi legend, Rey is the last Jedi in this final movie. Come on! At least I could have hope that Kylo and dark Rey would win and rule the galaxy! This some bullshit. But regardless I just expect a celebration of the Star Wars universe in this final movie with an ending that can fully end the chapter and close the book on this story. I'm still waiting on what happened to Thrawn and I was really hoping he would pop up in this but it seems unlikely, and likewise I've heard tale of Ahsoka Tano maybe coming into play. I'd flip right the hell out over that let me tell you now. Man even if dark Rey is just a nightmare or a vision I've been saying this since the first movie, she needed a double bladed lightsaber, and especially after the lightsaber splits I thought she would make her own lightsaber, not duct tape that thing together! Oh well, I'm excited and happy to see a new Star Wars movie tomorrow and it will be our final review of this year and this decade. I'm still reeling from that thought process but until next time friends.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Star Wars Holiday Special

Well how about that, two birds with one stone. You get a holiday special and something Star Wars before Episode 9.

What....was that? I can't even believe I just watched that. I have lived for almost 25 years and only now have just watched the Star Wars Holiday Special. I don't even know what to say. What can you say about it? Do I describe the special or talk about it's impact that surprisingly is still felt today? Well why not both. We really got to dig into this. So this special was conceived by George Lucas to help Star Wars remain in the public consciousness, which sort of baffles me because it was released just one year after Star Wars came out and honestly who could forget Star Wars? And I'm talking in 1978, no retroactively thinking. Do you know how much money that film made? It was only the highest grossing film ever, and won several Academy Awards, with an armada of merchandise and one hell of a fanbase that stretched the world over. It was said that when George watched the finished product he couldn't believe it and said it seemed like a cheap cash grab, and memorably went on to say if he had the time he would track down every known copy and smash it with a sledgehammer. So how did it garner such an unparalleled hatred in the Star Wars community that would make the prequels look like some of the finest films ever made? Well the story centers around Chewbacca and Han trying to get to Chewie's home planet (before it was called Kashyyk) to celebrate a traditional Wookie holiday known as Life Day. We mostly spend the special though with Chewie's family, which doesn't sound like a horrible idea until you realize the special doesn't even have subtitles or a translator on standby to fill you in on what the Wookies are actually saying. Some people say it's ear bleedingly bad, but I didn't have much of a problem with it and strangely enough there's multiple vignettes peppered throughout the special because, whoopsie daisy someone lost the plot, so pretty much 85 to 90% of the special is just pure filler. It's not even good filler with worldbuilding aspects and interesting characters that you can grasp from such moments. And to be honest, our main cast don't look that well, Harrison was dragged into it, poor Mark looks like a Ken doll though it is serendipitous to hear how comfortable and good he sounds as a voice actor, and Carrie dear sweet Carrie you can sing honey but that was hard to sit through. What sidetracking filler is there you might ask? Well, there's holographic circus performers, a cooking show by what looks like the evil stepmother from Cinderella, a moment that should never have been created let alone televised and was flat out stated by the producer to be soft core porn, an instructional video to create a radio transciever, a very 1970s looking cartoon, an odd yet very enjoyable I guess short musical with Bea Arthur, oh yeah and a Jefferson Starship music video. I would just like to say, WHAT THE F***?? And guess what, apparently the writer of this special did a lot of cocaine and you know what, I couldn't tell! Everything just gels so impeccably well! Oh sweet baby Yoda, save me. Okay. Breathe. First of all, if you are a fan of 70s television you will recognize the three guest stars of this programme, Art Carney, Harvey Korman, and Bea Arthur, all very talented and funny people. So what cracking material were they given here? Well Harvey Korman dresses as a woman during the cooking segment and plays a faulty replicant in the instructional segment, and I can safely say is wasted tremendously. Art Carney plays a friend of Chewbacca's family, and honestly he seems like he's trying but this writing is just ass. Bea Arthur is the best part of the special period just as a barkeep of a cantina on Tatooine, and I won't lie I loved her segment. In fact, there was quite a bit I enjoyed! Bea Arthur as a bartender on Tatooine sounds like the biggest waste ever, but it works for me, I fully believe her in the part and she's actually pretty funny, it feels like a real bar and just has nice little moments to it, and even when they burst into a musical number (For some weird reason?) I still have a blast with it. And yeah, let's talk about Jefferson Starship previously known as Jefferson Airplane, I honestly and truthfully want this band to be a really real thing in the Star Wars universe. It is totally random and out of nowhere, but damn do I like that song. I really dig the cartoon segment too, it has such a unique art style and is probably the most well known part of the special. It introduced the character of Boba Fett for the first time ever, and really kickstarted his popularity, and I totally get it now! I always really liked Boba Fett but I seriously have much more appreciation and love for the character now. No wonder he caught on so much with fans, badass look, great voice, cool personality, rides a frigging aquatic dragon lookin' thing, is flat out called the best bounty hunter in the galaxy by Lord Vader himself, he's pretty amazing for such a short appearance. So yes there is stuff to enjoy here but man do you have to put up with some absolute fluff to get to it. I was honestly shocked at how much stuff you see in this special that is brought up in the future of the series. The Wookie houses are identical in art style to today's, several of the aliens in the cantina we continue to see in the series that weren't in the original Star Wars, that cool cattle prod thing Boba Fett used is in The Mandalorian, and Chewbacca's family and Life Day are still considered canon by Disney. It's a part of this amazing pop culture dynasty, and while is not exactly the most highly acclaimed piece of Star Wars media even I can't condemn it too much. Beyond that one scene, which shall never be spoken of or even slightly mentioned by anyone or I will feed your carcass to a Rancor, I didn't hate it all that much. It truly is a coked out, rambling, incoherent, and the most worthless piece of fluff ever conceived but you know what? I'd still rather watch it than The Phantom Menace or Attack Of The Clones. Phantom Menace had Darth Maul and the climactic duel. Attack Of The Clones had Christopher Lee clones? This had Jefferson Starship, Bea Arthur, and even a few nice moments between characters. It's not very good, but I can live with it. I give it, 1.5 stars so check it out if you're morbidly curious. The whole thing is on the Youtubes, and if you got an hour and a half to spare and just want to laugh and make jokes, give it a shot. I think I'm so burnt out right now, I don't even care. I just gave an okay review to The Star Wars Holiday Special. I think it's a good thing I only have one more review for the year. Tune in next time for the end of the Skywalker saga and a final chapter to my childhood.

Friday, December 13, 2019


Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

It was a toss up between this and Black Christmas this year, but I felt Krampus was much more the Christmas movie than a horror film with a Christmas backdrop. It's definitely an unconventional Christmas movie but certainly one that shouldn't be dismissed. Our old friend Michael Dougherty returns to give us another great holiday film, centered around a young boy named Max who feels that Christmas isn't what it used to be and with the arrival of his relatives feels very disillusioned with the holiday and rips his letter to Santa into shreds, which causes the arrival of the mirror universe equivalent of Santa Claus the eponymous Krampus. Yes, I know Krampus is very much a deeply rooted historical figure in Europe like Saint Nicholas but I'm a geek, I make Star Trek jokes, so sue me. As far as my knowledge goes this was a very average movie in the eyes of both critics and audiences, if anything it fits the Trick r' Treat status being a cult classic film that slowly gets more of an audience each year. I'm not entirely sure what people expected this movie to be but I really liked it! It's not a straight up horror movie, it's PG-13, it has a bit of emphasis on comedy, while it starts going down to the wire early on in the movie there's not much in terms of scares. It's more like a Gremlins situation, where the creepy stuff is there but it's never focused on. I can see that upsetting major horror fans, and I can see people really not enjoying the Christmas aspect, it does fall inbetween genres but if you're in the right mindset and just want to see a well made, creative, and interesting movie that goes against the grain of this particular time of the year then give it a go. There's a lot to like in the movie and I really have no qualms watching it every December. I love the family interactions in this movie, they hit that so spot on and it really does feel like a situation countless individuals face, seeing relatives during the holidays that you could honestly live without seeing. And yeah, if I had some stereotypical redneck relatives coming to my house for Christmas I'd be in a less than jolly mood too, but as the movie goes on and when push comes to shove you can see they don't hate each other and find common ground with each other, they're still family and after saving each others asses a few times they start getting along. I think the actor who plays Max is really good, and does fit that 10 year old headspace especially concerning the Santa thing, and the relationship between him and the grandmother is actually very nice. I like the fact we see Krampus a bit throughout the movie and isn't just pure buildup until his appearance before the end, it's a great design and certainly carries a strong presence to the very end. Again, major respect for the director only using CG when necessary, there's lots of practical effects and costumes used for Krampus and his minions, and they all look fantastic with each having a unique design and are memorable. I absolutely do say this is a Christmas movie, not only do the visuals always have some aspect of Christmas in them, whether it be snowmen, gingerbread houses, decorations galore, and enough snow to go around, but it has that Christmas spirit to it. Because as it turns out, what truly summons Krampus is the fact that only when people have no hope, are greedy, self-absorbed, and have no love or respect for the season does he appear. All of which told fantastically in a straight up stopmotion story by the grandmother, so it does reinforce that you need to keep the spirit of Christmas alive. It's actually warranted in this movie, I gave some serious good grief to A Christmas Carol over the fact that most iterations have Scrooge basically scared into loving Christmas, but here it makes sense because Krampus is the exact opposite of Santa Claus and will take away the things you love most instead of give. They handle it very well and there's always a chance of redemption. Which leads me to the ending, which I won't spoil of course, but you can have your own interpretation of it. It's not ambigous but you can see it one way or another. I really like this movie and it should have more fans, it's very different absolutely but if the decision came where I either had to watch Krampus or some bullshit Hallmark movie which is the exact same movie that every Hallmark movie is, I'm picking the one with killer gingerbread men. Final sum up, Krampus has a place in the holiday season for me, and perhaps you should think on the words "You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why" more carefully in the future. 4 stars, 7.5/10!

I'm being torn apart. I know what I have to do, but I don't know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Snowman (1982)

One of the best Christmas specials in my opinion.

I needed something nice after I broke last time, and I was actually quite surprised I haven't reviewed this yet. The Snowman is a special based on Raymond Brigg's storybook, and is actually one of the few pieces of animated media where there's no dialogue much like the storybook it is based on. There's been two versions as far as I know, one with zero dialogue and one oddly enough with an introduction by David Bowie, and while I've only ever seen the silent version I am curious to know the context of his narration. The story opens in a countryside village where a young boy upon seeing December snow decides to make a snowman with whatever items he can gather, and at the stroke of midnight the snowman comes alive and a friendship is quickly kindled. It is such a simple story but one everybody can immediately understand the emotions and mindset of, but it is told so impressively. Again, no dialogue whatsoever, but the animators did such outstanding work you can tell every emotion presented to you as the boy and his snowman spend time together. I'm always floored by the visuals in this movie, with a rough almost sketch-like animation style that mimics the illustrations of a storybook perfectly. I have no idea how in the world they did this animation but it looks spectacular! The colors and environments are bright, colorful, and have such an atmosphere to them. It feels like a cozy country home during winter, it feels like a beautiful snowy filled night, not very many films can accomplish such an effect to make you feel a part of this world. The animation only gets better as the film goes on, with some of the most memorable visuals I've ever seen in a Christmas special. The music is great too being unbelievably beautiful and calm to very upbeat and fun. It doesn't even clock in at a full 30 minutes, but you get a complete and surprisingly emotional story. I just adore this special. There I said it, I actually enjoy a Christmas special and don't have anything sarcastic or mean spirited to say. It's a Christmas miracle, I might actually be redeemed and stop being a Grinchy Scrooge. Cue J. Jonah Jameson laugh. Goodnight everybody! 4 stars, check it out!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Elf: Part 2

Is the movie done yet?

So James Caan has a cunning plan to dispose of his son, uh I mean keep his son busy while he works. So he sends him down to the mail room. Okay. Why not. So he gets down there and mistakes bourbon for syrup, and proceeds to have a deep out of body conversation with one of the workers. Cause I guess bourbon makes you high as a kite. You know I tried bourbon once, it tasted like a bar of soap and it was the most horrible thing I ever drank. Speaking of which there's a magic potion that if you drink it you forget about this movie. It's called cyanide. Just screw it, you know. Why try? Why am I talking about this movie? Well cause I need to assassinate it that's why. But what do I care, my life is a lie. What was I talking about? Oh right, so Zooey kisses Buddy and I screamed at my television for a few seconds, I think I blacked out cause I opened my eyes and Peter Dinklage was standing before me (Peter Dinklage whyyyyy???). He's my hero in this movie, he's intelligent, knows what he needs and can do, and beats Buddy the elf. You know I never watched Game Of Thrones but if there's a scene where Peter Dinklage shanks somebody I wish he did the same to Buddy. So we have our big tiff between father and son, cue the mopey dopey sad times music, move along! I got stuff to do, I got places to be, I have dreams and aspirations but here I am. Talking about Elf. Ffffffun. James Caan then throws a pitch meeting, and I'd pay so much money to see Kathy Bates whack fools in the ankles with a sledgehammer right now, and the decision soon comes up: Actually do your job and not risk putting your family into poverty or help find the person you hated and knowed of for only a handful of days and reconcile with him? Yeah I'd wander around the streets of New York City aimlessly too in literal freezing temperatures. Plot twist, I wouldn't. So miracle of miracles, coincidence of coinkydinks, Santa crashes in Central Park and Buddy quickly finds him. I don't know how to feel about the fact that Santa was about to whack Buddy with a tire iron, and I don't mean hit I mean sleeping with the fishes kind of whack, but he quickly employs his help to find the engine for the sleigh. Cause apparently in this bullshit f***ery universe the reindeer don't fly due to a badass warlock named Winter, but simply on Christmas spirit so Buddy finds his dad and brother who just so happened to come across the engine minutes after Santa smashed down, well thank the baby Jesus for that, and they return the engine back to the sleigh before the Nazgul, I mean Central Park Rangers can get them. Seriously all I heard was the Ringwraith theme when they were on screen. Now that would be cool, "Give up the engine half-elf." "If you want it, come and claim it." , and then they stab him with a Morgul blade and they all lived happily ever after. PS. Shame on you movie for your clear and misleading factual information, for the Central Park Rangers never stepped in to the Simon and Garfunkel concert it was a peaceful and great event which you should definitely check out, and the little fact that it didn't happen in 1985! It happened in 1981! You had Wikipedia in 2003, use it! Got to move on, we're so close, oh my God we're so fricking close. So Daniel steals Santa's list to jumpstart some Christmas spirit, even though Santa himself says that Christmas spirit is about believing and not seeing, which is automatically proven wrong as he reads the list on live television news. At least Polar Express got it right. Oh sweet Christ on the cross I forgot about this, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. I could argue that for the next millenia, and while I do enjoy Zooey's singing in that earlier scene this is way too corny and schmultzy for me. I mean really? She stands on a horse carriage and sings Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town and everyone slowly joins in, not only in the crowd but everyone who is watching it on TV. Thanks, I hate it! But it works, hurrah, and Santa goes off to I guess deliver more toys with Buddy tagging along and leaving all those people most important to him to live on without him. Because that makes sense. And they never saw each other again, the end. Hey wait....they stole Santa's stuff! Yeah, Daniel steals the list, James Cann steals his coat and hat in the most feeble attempt at subterfuge in human history, and he never gets them back! That poor man is going to freeze to death in the winter air. Congratulations, you killed Christmas you f***ing utter disappointment. This is the worst movie I've ever seen in my life. It's worse than The Room, it's worse than Fifty Shades Of Grey, Transformers 2, Expendables 3, Battlefield Earth, and all the Twilight movies. Yes it has little touches here and there that I don't honestly mind and kind of like, but when you stack them up it's like a gnat's wing compared to an obelisk of garbage. The performances are fine, but the story and script is what makes this movie so heinously anus, it doesn't look all that nice, the attempts at comedy are nonexistent in my eyes, and it is god awful. It's one of the worst films I have ever had the displeasure of seeing, I never want to see this movie again for as long as I live. It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You get nothing! You lose! Goodnight! 1/10, half a star, if I could give less I would.

Elf: Part 1

Death is better. Death is at least a charming figure that I could have tea with. There is no such enjoyment in Elf.

I hated this movie! Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie! Hated it! Hated every simpering, stupid, vacant, intelligence-insulting moment of it! Where do I begin with this blight upon my life? You know...there was a time when I was young, innocent, and wholesome and I kind of liked Elf. But as time passed and I was subjected to endless viewings of it during the holiday season at school because there's clearly no Christmas classics at all, there is only Elf, screw A Miracle On 34th Street, screw Home Alone, screw Polar Express, screw A Christmas Story, or Die Hard, or It's A Wonderful Life. Actually f*** that movie. But my point is it got old, and it got old fast. This movie is over 15 years old and it has been haunting my holiday season for too long. I do not recommend this movie. I do not urge anybody to ever watch it. I do not feel happiness in my soul. I could end the review right here, but I'm really just getting started. The title seems like the most boring ass, unimaginative title in motion picture history. The Room is weird, but the movie mostly takes place in one room, it makes sense. Elf. Elf? I mean you only said the word 5,020 times in the course of 90 minutes so might as well call the movie that. I think there's actually a horror movie called Elves, I'd much rather watch that. Okay I seriously got to go through this movie point by point, beginning to end cause I just can't summarize how ungodly bad this movie is. Now I will be clear, I will not lie, I will not exaggerate, I will not even twist my words and simply tell you how I felt watching this movie. And here we go! I will say the opening credits are not a half bad recreation of the Rankin & Bass Rudolph special but the music couldn't be more bland and forgetful if it tried. We're told through the most superflous and unreliable narrator played by Bob Newhart (Just why Bob?) the story of a baby that lives in an orphanage and after Santa visits with weird creepy ass music playing. Pause. What is with this trend? Have you ever noticed in live action movies where Santa is an actual real figure and when he first appears the music gets all ominous and creepy? What the f*** is that? Shouldn't it be a joyous occasion that we see Santa Claus? Are you deliberately trying to scare children? This happens way too often and I'm sick of it. Resume. So the baby somehow breaks out of his crib and crawls into Santa's bag of toys and is never discovered or noticed until he crawls out of the damn thing when they're back in the North Pole. And instead of returning the baby, or Santa willingly and lovingly adopt him as the heir to the Claus legacy, he shoves it off on his slave labor who are happily brainwashed into endlessly working without compensation for him for several centuries, to raise the boy. They then give him a name found on the very diaper he wears which is Buddy, and so ensues a montage of Buddy growing up in the care of Bob Newhart until he becomes a fully grown Will Ferrell fresh from SNL. He's not a very good elf, and never questions why he's 4 times the size of every individual save for Santa and a snowman in this town, and I guess there's no color or festive decorations in the North Pole because every single building looks like the house from The friggin' Babadook. It's all cold and miserable gray. Because that is clearly what I think of when I think of where Santa lives. In fact the only color really is the elf's costumes, even outside it's just 90% white and I feel like I'm going blind while looking at it. Also I see you fake trees on your clearly plastic stands. You couldn't cover that shit up? Ugh, anyway. Pretty soon Buddy overhears someone spill the beans about his species and for some weird reason sets out on a mission to find his dad. Hwhat?? When did this happen? He finds out, freaks out, Bob tells him the backstory of how he came to be, then he starts talking to Santa about New York City and how his dad is on the naughty list which is just hammered home in case you didn't get it with James Caan turning down a nun for wanting books for apparently orphans. Why not just have him steal candy from a baby and kick a blind man's dog, I don't think we got the picture!! Urgh moving on, so I guess he's going to find his dad because he needs closure? He wants to meet him? Wants to redeem him perhaps? I have no clue. At this point I hit the alcohol but unfortunately I was almost out of milk so I only had four white russians. Anyway, so he meets the snowman from Rudolph who I have to admit doesn't do a bad impression of Burl Ives before leaving the North Pole. And I absolutely die of laughter when the little stop motion animals start crying when he leaves, I know that probably makes me Satan's most treasured follower or whatever but I don't care, it's hilarious! We're then treated to another montage that I'm sure you could start a drinking game for, trust me you'll need it, as Buddy makes his way to New York City. And instead of dying from exposure or contracting rabies from a trash panda, he makes it to the big city. I will also say the film doesn't have a bad soundtrack, oh not the Christmas songs those are still horrible, but just other music they use is quite nice really. Cue another montage of him wandering around New York City, got to pad that run time Johnny! At least he gets hit by a car, that kinda made me laugh. He soon finds his dad and how can I say this? Uncomfortable doesn't really cover the way I felt in these scenes, more like and I'm probably only going to say this once but I cringed quite a lot in this movie. It was very difficult for me to look at the screen for periods of time. No movie has ever done this. I could review Salo tomorrow and have an easier time watching that. What happens next? Uh, James Cann tells him to f*** off, he goes to Gimbels cause why not go sell out a department store like Miracle On 34th Street (The only part I didn't like about that movie.), he meets Zooey Deschanel (Why Zooey?) and acts like a weirdo that you should cross the street to avoid, stays up all night to decorate I guess a Christmas shop in preparation for "Santa", creeps on a girl singing in the shower (I hate the scene, but love the singing.), I encounter another cringey scene with his dad that makes me contemplate quitting reviews forever, and we finally meet "Santa". I legitimately feared for a child's life, this guy was psychotic and very aggressive. Kill this movie with fire. Buddy gets thrown in prison and somehow does not become a bottom bitch, and is picked up by Caan and gets a DNA test done. The results are in, in the case of 30 year old Buddy, you ARE the father! Will give credit to the little girl in the waiting room, she is adorable and I would die for her. I don't even care that she is in this movie, I'd guard her with my life. We soon meet James Caan's family with Mary Steenburgen as his wife (Mary whyy??) and Daniel Tay as his second son and he attempts to integrate with the family but with soul crushing failure and will have to wander the wilderness and die. Oh wait. That's my nature documentary script, sorry about that. They accept him cause of course they do. Even I was surprised at the goodness that was spaghetti and syrup though, like you get half a point just for that movie, even though how does he not get the diabeetus from all that crap? So what's the story at this point? Reconnect with a family he never knew and by the looks of it has barely began since Daniel Tay is like, nine in this movie. There's no plot or drama, there's nothing to be invested in, I'm just watching a grown man in tights bullshit about with no entertainment in sight. Great. Happy Christmas to me. Apparently Mayor Ebert from that asshat Roland Emmerich's Godzilla is in this movie, now that's a stamp of quality if I've ever seen one. Back to the story. So Buddy and Daniel lolligag about and I'm concerned no one's pointing out how strange it is that a grown man in an elf costume is with a young boy, so I guess bad touch goes on the list of things that don't exist in this movie. He asks Zooey out on a date and for reasons even the celestial beings don't know, she accepts. Montage! I can't remember how many pills I took at this point. Who's mucking with my fedicine??

Continued in part two.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Blackadder's Christmas Carol

Finally, a story for me.

Ah, we really do need more specials like this in the world. If you haven't watched the Blackadder series I highly suggest you do and I shall attempt to review all 4 series next year, but regardless you can still very much enjoy this story. In old London town lives a one Ebenezer Blackadder, the kindest and most wonderful man in the city who is so generous and affable that Queen Victoria herself wishes to reward him with a small fortune, but that night he is visited by the Spirit Of Christmas himself and is shown the past, the not so long ago past, and the far too distant future where he witnesses versions of himself which are cruel, cunning, and self absorbed. I am on board with this premise if you could not tell already. Yes there is Christmas celebratory matters, but it's done in the most self centered and glorious fashion so I will give it a pass. I also have no issue telling you that the comedy is far more effective when it's sarcastic and insulting. But the performances from Britain's comics are what makes this special work so damn good. Rowan Atkinson is brilliant as Blackadder and in every series of the programme I've seen him in makes me laugh even more than the last, he's a great comedic actor that can perform both silent comedy and dialogue heavy comedy. Tony Robinson is the perfect foil for the comedy, if only just to be the world's punching bag. I almost feel sorry for Baldrick but like I said, almost. Miranda Richardson, Hugh Laurie, and Stephen Fry are only in the history segments but what little time they do have they certainly don't waste and made me laugh loud and hard. In fact if you look at the cast list, chances are you know 90% of these people, their reputations speak for themselves and are better known now than ever. This is a Christmas tradition of my own like Tokyo Godfathers and A Very Murray Christmas, and I love it a great deal. To see such utter contempt for stupid people sets my soul alight with glee. Seriously, these people are complete asses that take advantage of kind and generous individuals and don't nearly get the comeuppance they deserve. It's a complete inversion of the Charles Dickens' tale and it's just so nice to hear someone agree that bad guys have all the fun. And now I will share a lovely Christmas sentiment for those whom you just don't like, "May the yuletide log slip from your fire and burn your house down.". Tis' the season my friends. 4 stars, 8/10!

Next week though will not be jolly or gay. And the more I think about this next week, the more I think of how much it will hurt me. But if I don't do it now it will haunt me for another year, and that is something I cannot stand in the least. Next week....ugh, I hate even typing it. Elf.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A Christmas Carol (1984)

Christmas a humbug indeed.

As far as my opinions go, this and the Alastair Sim Chriatmas Carol are the only one worthy of watching, that and Scrooged too. I originally thought that this was a theatrically released film but it was shown as a TV movie here in the States, and it was only in theaters in the U.K. so I was half correct. And I can safely say that George C. Scott's performance alone is worth seeing this tale again. He's an actor I have great respect and admiration for, and his take on Ebenezer Scrooge is so different yet so welcome. Essentially dropping the curmudgeon miser, and instead potraying him as a tired man with a dark sense of humor and a great intelligence about him, that clashes very well with the spirits. Christmas Past is very kind and wise, starting to break down the barriers of Scrooge's emotions and this leads to Scott's incredible acting all through facial expressions, you can just see him hold this contempt for his father and his wistful nostalgia for his childhood years. It's a really wonderful sequence. Christmas Present surprised me, he's still very jolly and truthful but there is this undercurrent of anger and a strong dislike of Scrooge, it's just something you never see in the adaptations. Christmas Future is genuinely terrifying, again going for a more shroud like appearance with a gangly decrepit hand, but the sounds it manifests are what really made my skin crawl with fear. It really did unnerve me and made my eyes grow in grim anticipation. The film has a great atmosphere like last time, the lighting is amazing, the sets are well made, and it does have that unearthly disquieting mood when it needs to. The 1951 version might objectively be the best, but the 1984 version is my favorite if all down to George C. Scott's unbelievably good performance. He was such a commited and talented actor that brought so much to each part and I just love this Scrooge. 4 stars, check it out! Next time, the Christmas Carol story done right with humor abound.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A Christmas Carol (1951)

Alright, let's do this.

Here we are again, frabjous day callooh callay the Christmas season is here, and it is time to dismay. Which is exactly why I am taking my Christmas break early and there will be hardly any holiday cheer at all. My gift to you. But let us move on to other things. This may be the best version of Charles Dickens' story about a horrible old miser who has no love for Christmas or other people, a man I can respect, who is subjected to a fever dream of ghostly apparitions peer pressuring and coercing him through fear to like the thing that he hates. Truly the feel good movie of the year. And while many actors, some would even say too many actors, have taken on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge I personally feel Alastair Sim is the best of them all. Not only does he look like the Scrooge I see in my mind and not just another well known actor's face, but his performance alone is the reason one should see this movie. It is remarkable how he plays both sides of the coin, from a scowl of pure disgust at holiday cheer to the purest and joyful smile in the world. But what really sold me that he was the very best like no one ever was is the transition between one to the other, I fully believed that he truly did change and become a better person through the spirit's action rather than be terrified into submission of the holiday spirit. It's just little moments of pure body language and no dialogue at all that made you feel that he did regret the things he said and did, and slowly begins realizing his own faults and makes choices to better himself. This film treats Scrooge more like a human being than an archetype that needs to change, that there is both good and bad in his past and present and that it's his decisions that shape the future of those around him. That's pretty amazing, and something I've never truly felt in the countless adaptations I have seen in years gone by. All the actors do very well, and they do take minor liberties with the story, but it creates a much deeper and interesting film. I actually do recommend you watch the film in pristine black and white rather than the colorized version, it paints a sometimes ghastly picture with quite a bit of atmosphere and unease. This is essentially a ghost story and it feels as such, with a prime highlight being when the Ghost Of Christmas Future appears, all you see is a pale hand that just looks icy cold to the touch. No cloak, no shadow, no bodily form, just the hand of perhaps Death itself. It's incredibly effective and while a more basic form of the shadow of Christmas yet to come, is one of my favorites. I originally thought this film was much older, around the 1930s but it came out in the 50s, though I don't know why I thought that. At less than an hour and a half, it is worth your time to see a great performance that might very well change your outlook on this done to death story. Next time we look at the George C. Scott version from 1984!