First, I have to thank Eeeper for this one. I really enjoyed Father Christmas. This is a special that is not too well-known here but like others it think it should be. We start the show with Father Christmas ending his annual and starting to relax. Within the half-hour we follow him around the world as takes a vacation to various locations around the world. Starting with eating and relaxing in France (and having a heafty amount of wine) but getting sick from the water. He hopes that Scotland (an boy does he love his whiskey) has clean water but its too cold. One of the best montages of the film is in the next site when he visits Las Vegas and he gambles for a while.
This is a cute little piece that is worth seeing at least once and everyone of our readers should take a look at this one. It fits along with other great classics like Year without a Santa Claus.
Ok so more naysayers than not have said that this is not a Christmas movie but regardless it is on the list and this is what I think about it. We have John McClain, a hard working New York cop, whose marriage is in trouble, coming to see his wife in California. You should know the gist of this movie. It helped cement countless action movie tropes after all. In fact, if you have not seen this movie I am not sure how much I can help you here. In any case, while I would not consider it the best representation of a Christmas movie, I think it has some things going for it. We get to see John suffering through his night as he struggles to do the right thing no matter how much it puts him in harm’s way. We have allies to support John as well as enemies large and small to thwart him. It is practically It’s a Wonderful Life with guns. OK it is not but at least it has Christmas music.
Day 5: Father Christmas
What if Santa Clause was just a regular Joe from England who delivered toys to children one day a year? Father Christmas tells us what that would be like. He is not the best man ever, he is a bit grouchy and crass, but he is certainly a good man. We get to follow him as he takes a vacation in different places around the world and prepares for next Christmas while doing his everyday chores.
While this will not go down as the most meaningful of all Christmas cartoons, it is certainly a lighthearted Christmas romp. Go watch it and remind yourself that Christmas is about having a few laughs as well.
Continuing from yesterday when we went off the beaten path we keep going down that road a little. Today we tackle (and I do mean tackle) that classic story of man loves wife, German terrorist holds wife hostage, man kills German, also known as Die Hard. The nay sayers will say this is no Christmas film well to them I say, No you are wrong. Yes this is a Christmas movie but it doesn’t have to be Christmas to see it.
So when I watched it today I was consistently impresses yet again will how good action movies can be. Sadly, like most films in this series they are pretty popular, I suspect many of you have seen them. After a few days are more sentimental or comedic films it’s nice to have an action break. I like to have some diversity in the month of Dececember (and a bit of November).
Bill Fucking Murray. What more need I say? This, in my opinion, is by far Bill Murray’s best role. There is not one part of this film that he phones in and he definitely shows the emotional maturity that his acting would take on in more serious future roles. This more modern take on the classic A Christmas Carol gives us a darker comedic version of a classically serious story. Every time I watch the movie, I want to not take it seriously. Christmas past as a cab driver? Christmas Present as a deranged fairy with violent tendencies? Bobcat Goldthwait?! Scrooged always manages to suck me in though.
Taken on a journey where the comedic miser Francis Xavier Cross learns that it is never too late to change and be a better man, we take a journey of our own that reminds us that Christmas is more than a day that we get presents on; it is also a chance to be a better person.
Day 3: Tokyo Godfathers
This was a gem I would have never found without this year’s Christmas Challenge. I owe Vincenzo a debt of thanks for putting this on the Calendar and so do you if you are trying to follow along. Tokyo Godfathers is an animated film that, as the best Christmas films do, only peripherally mentions Christmas. Instead, the focus is on a trio of homeless people, a transvestite, a middle-aged drunk, and a bitter young runaway respectively, who find a newborn baby on Christmas. The rest of the movie follows them as they struggle to care for the infant and figure out what the right thing to do is. Coincidence is the alternative name of this film as serendipity strikes the three for better and worse allowing them some closure on their former lives as well as helping them on their journey. Do yourself a favor and watch this film this Christmas season.
Tell me if you heard this one an old tramp, a transsexual, and young homeless girl find a baby and try to find a home for it. Oh wait you haven’t than you haven’t seen Satoshi Kon’s 2003 film Tokyo Godfathers. If you have heard a story that resembles it then you might know that it’s a remake of a classic movie. So why you ask is this included in many nerdy Christmas lists is that this film takes place between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.
I will freely admit that this is the first time I’ve seen this movie and part of the reason that I put it on was to hold myself to watching it. I have seen both Perfect Blue and Paprika (I own Millennium Actress but have yet to watch it). I was not let down by this film at all. It’s not as bizarre (it has moments) as either but it’s a Christmas film and I don’t need that. This film works very well in developing the three main characters fully with flaws and history. This is not really a movie for children but a movie for adults who may have lost the magic of Christmas. Also it would be good for those of us how are anime fans to show to others to show that that anime isn’t just tits and robots.
I managed to get two films in today but I promised Scrooged so Scrooged it is. It’s strange that for the past 2 days we’ve had variations on A Christmas Carol but neither have been a standard version (It’s a Wonderful Life is a Christmas Carol only with a just man). The film is a basic classic story updated for the modern day. Instead of Scrooge we have Frank Cross, Television Executive being a miserable bastard. The film isn’t perfect and suffers from a lot of bad jokes but I still love this film. The best parts of it are the moments that we see into the Live Scrooge they are presenting on Christmas Eve. I love the idea of Buddy Hackett playing Scrooge and the Solid Gold dancers having anything to with it (the seem to only be there in the movie).
This isn’t the best Christmas comedy (A Christmas Story comes to mind) but no matter how many times I see A Christmas Carol, there is something that pulls my heartstrings. This version is nice because it pokes fun at the TV culture that is so ubiquitous, sadly as time passes this film becomes more and more dated, and I think most of its charm is lost the younger generations (some on myself). It might be nice to see another revision like this since the film came out almost 20 years ago. Good night and see you tomorrow when I talk about Tokyo Godfathers and get another hole punched on my anime card (yes, I’ve never seen it before).
I was more than pleased to see that Vincenzo had selected Frank Capra’s perennial classic It’s A Wonderful Life to kick off this year’s Christmas challenge. It has always been something of a tradition in my household to watch it on Christmas Eve before bed (something I will still be doing) and I was happy to get an early dose in this year.
I really do not know what it is about the movie that captures my heart and mind. Is it the struggle of George Bailey to live up to everything his father was all the while chomping against that bit of selflessness and goodwill? Is it the cast that so well portrays the people and their struggles in a small town in the early 1900s? Is it Donna Reeds timeless beauty? It is all of that and more.
I have not stopped to read Vincenzo’s take on the movie yet because I want to give you my own untainted view but I will proceed by answering the question in his title. We watch It’s A Wonderful Life because we crave to see a man fight against his worse nature and instincts and come out on the side of goodness and prosperity. You see it is my theory that George Bailey is the other side of Mr. Potter’s coin. Both are intelligent, shrewd, and frustrated men. Both men want to see themselves better and have that secret voice whispering in their ears that if other people were meant to succeed then they would work harder to do so. The difference is, of course, Peter Bailey and his role in George’s life.
Being raised by Peter Bailey instilled within George the idea that not every person gets the breaks they need to prosper in this world. Every person needs a helping hand now and then. Perhaps the most poignant scenes in the film are those in which we see George fight internally against his own nature and come out on the side of charity without fail. Seeing George chose to help people again and again at the expense of his own happiness makes the final scene wherein we see how appreciated his efforts have been all the more joyous.
I will leave you with these corny but nonetheless true words: No man is a failure who has friends.
So today I started the long awaited All Geek Considered Christmas Challenge with Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. I suspect that with the political atmosphere right now many people will talk about this film with respect to how a financial industry should run (I bet there have been a few over the past few years). I don’t particularly want to talk too much about the financial crisis so I am going to try and say what makes this film so appealing. I am writing this presuming everyone has already seen the movie, that might be a bad assumption but I’m going to make so beware spoilers lie ahead.
I have seen this film numerous times and I find that what makes this film uplifting is not George Bailey’s life which in general is getting stuck in bad spot while everyone around him succeeds and prospers but George Bailey as a person. The man who even though he sees all his friends and family become successful in everything they do but still manages to put everyone else before himself. It is this spirit that makes the film a successful story. The viewer is meant to both pity and envy George Bailey. I don’t want to say much on the film since I hope that everyone will at least give it a watch and I am sure some cynical asshole will say it is just sentimental drivel but if there is one time of the year when sentimental drivel is allowed its between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you intend on reading the complete series of the Christmas Challenge get ready for a lot of drivel since I’ve got at least 3 versions of A Christmas Carol coming down the pipeline.