Posted on 28 November 2011 by DM
Day 2: Scrooged
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.
All Geeks Considered
Posted on 26 November 2011 by DM
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.
Atta boy, Clarence
All Geeks Considered
Posted on 25 November 2011 by VinnieAve
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.
Posted on 23 November 2011 by VinnieAve
At long last there has been a new Muppet release. For all of those on the internet you probably saw the numerous trailers that have been released for The Muppets. They did the best they could to not reveal much of the plot of the film without misrepresenting the film, an impressive feat in the modern day where trailers often give away big parts of the plot and misrepresent the film.
This film opened with a new short from Pixar. At this point we’ve gotten used to having this on Pixar’s film but when you see the Muppets there is a Toy Story short. I’m not going to say much on this other than it is an enjoyable little movie where Buzz gets trapped in a support group for Happy Meal Toys that have been abandoned (I hope that some of those toys get released at some point). You know Pixar does a good job also this won’t make or break you seeing this film.
So for the feature presentation, I think that many people were won by the trailers and if this won you over you know the kind of humor you are getting into. The film starts with Gary (Jason Segel) and his brother Walter (Walter) growing up and becoming fans of the Muppets, especially Walter. After this sequence we are introduced to Mary (Amy Adams), Gary’s longtime girlfriend. There are many things that are expected in a Muppets’ movie and from this beginning they are present, because when Gary and Walter walk to see Mary there is a large musical number and there is a general self-awareness of this happening around them.
The mood set and style set here play-out for the entire film, more-so when the Muppets start showing up. The three new characters travel to LA (for the 10 year anniversary of Gary and Mary) to learn the Muppets studio is going to be sold to Tex Richman who wants to drill for oil there. From here the action drives with some tension between Gary and Mary since he gets caught up in helping the Muppets get the studio back from Tex Richman.
The plot is not what makes this movie great or notable. For anyone who is a fan of early Muppet works (The Muppet Show and the first 3 movies), this movie will surely kindle the feelings you had. I mention that first 3 films since everything after Muppets Take Manhattan is ignored. While I am a fan of some of the pieces that have been made after Jim Henson died, I understand that this film was meant to be a throwback to his time. This film succeeds in every way that it can. What won me over was the tongue-in-cheek humor and general lampooning of movies without getting bogged down in parody.