Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts

Monday, December 27, 2021

Forgot to Mention it Watch: Crazy For Christmas (2005)




Watched:  12/17/2021
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  2000's
Director:  Eleanore Lindo

For me, this film is ground zero for what has become what I oversimplify and refer to as my Hallmark Christmas Movie fascination.  I'm not sure I even watched Crazy for Christmas (2005) on Hallmark the first time.  It could have been Lifetime or some other network.  But I think I watched it Christmas 2005 when it first aired.  I know I watched it in Phoenix, and by 2006, I was in Austin.

What I mostly remember was that it starred Howard Hesseman of WKRP in Cincinnati fame, which was how I wound up checking it out.  "Oh, yeah, that person" quickly became what brought me back to these movies as I checked in on the Tiffani Amber Theissens and others who were happy to pick up a check and turn in a performance in a movie that would get eyeballs and not embarrass anyone became a thing. 

This movie co-stars Hesseman, but really hinges on Andrea Roth, who has an imbd page as long as your arm, as a single mom struggling to finish school and raise a kid.  She works as a limo driver to pay the bills.  On Christmas Eve, a local eccentric millionaire requests her, specifically, to drive him around for the day.  She has a kid and doesn't want to do it, but the money is too good.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Post-Christmas Check-In and Andre




Hi all!  

I hope your Christmas went well.  

We had a good few days of festivities.  Thursday was Santa With Muscles Day, which... really, should never be repeated.  

After much COVID testing, we were able to host Christmas Eve for my parents and cousin, Jamie's Dad and brother (The Dug) and his wife, K.  Unfortunately we were in a gray area with my brother's family until Christmas Day, so we missed them on Christmas Eve.  

Cocktails, too much food, some jolly music and cheer was had by all.  It's also my cousin's birthday, so it's always a one-two punch of festivities on Christmas Eve.  As always, after parents left, we checked in with The Pope, watched some Hallmark, watched some Christmas specials, etc... it was lovely.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas.


Merry Christmas, y'all. 

May your day be a good one.  May you spend time today talking to those you love, in person or in any of the myriad ways we now can reach out.  

I'll be spending time with family.  After the past few years, that's the best gift I can ask for.  

I'm so, so lucky.  I hope you are, too.

If you need a Christmas hello, don't be shy about asking.  That's what this day is for.  


Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas Eve, Every Buddy


As we do each Christmas Eve, we're giving Darlene Love a spin.  If you've never listened to Ms. Love, give it a shot - see why she's so great live.  

It's been an... interesting year here at League HQ, genuinely filled with love and loss and ups and downs.  It's been a year of instability and amazing support.  And even this Christmas Eve is filled with questions. 

But all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and just keep going.  And that's true in the better years, too.  

On this night of  anticipation, I hope you are either spending the holidays as you wish or have plans for a good night in the coming days.  All I know is that we get another year coming up as this rock hasn't flown away from the nuclear ball anchoring our planets here, or been consumed by it yet.  

We've got another chance.  Let's all do better.  Let's all try to remember that we're all we've got.

While Darlene Love is the patron saint of Christmas here at The Signal Watch, there's always room under the tree for more voices.  And where would we have been in 2021 if not for Ms. Hannah Waddingham?  


PodCast 176: "Santa With Muscles" (1996) - Daydrinking the Movies Christmas 2021 w/ Jamie, Dug, K and Ryan




Watched: 12/23/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  John Murlowski




Well. We rounded up Jamie's brother and sister-in-law, got into the booze cabinet and watched a truly, truly horrible movie. And with tape rolling, we thereby talked about The Meaning of Christmas, magic crystals, soft-racism in unrelated movies and a wide, wide host of topics.

Have a cocktail or three and catch-up. We're talking a garbage movie.




Music:
Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Michael Buble 

hypnogram interprets "Santa With Muscles"



Christmas 2021 Playlist

Holiday Noir Watch: "Lady in the Lake" (1947)




Watched:  12/21/2021
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Robert Montgomery

Well, this is officially my own personal Christmas movie tradition now, I guess.


Thursday, December 23, 2021

Holiday Watch: "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944)




Watched:  12/21/2021
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Vincente Minnelli

My allergies were destroying me, so we agreed to just put on something light and simple.  I didn't realize Jamie had never seen this one, so maybe it was a good choice?  She never said much about what she thought about it.

Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) is only barely a Christmas film.  It follows about a year with a family in St. Louis over 1903-04, in a world just around the corner from that which inspired Walt Disney's Main Street USA in the Disney Parks.  That's not an exaggeration - Disney did base Main Street on the small town of Marceline, Missouri, where he would have lived about 4 years after the events of the film as a young child (Disney born 1901).

The film boasts a name cast, headlined by Judy Garland, and as a product of wartime filmmaking, the cast skews female-centric and features non-draft eligible gentlemen in support roles.  Mary Astor seems cast too-young as the patient matriarch, paired with Leon Ames as the father.  Lucille Bremer appears in her first (of like 10) role, Margaret O'Brien as arguably the #2 lead in the film at 7 years old, Harry Davenport as "Grandpa".  Joan Caroll, who plays Patsy in Bells of St. Mary's is another sister.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Christmas Cat Watch: The Nine Lives of Christmas (2014)



Watched:  12/20/2021
Format:  Hallmark Channel
Viewing:  First?
Decade:  2014
Director:  Mark Jean


The Nine Lives of Christmas (2014) is the movie that precedes The Nine Kittens of Christmas, which we just watched.    Some of the cast from the follow up is in this movie, like Gregory Harrison.  But it's a different and oddly cheaper film than the sequel.  

But it does have stars Brandon Routh and Kimberley Sustad.  I can kinda see why people liked them enough that this got a sequel.  The acting isn't robotic, and you can see its not just people smiling at each other like morons.

It's basically a movie about two adults as shy and dumb about romance as two middle schoolers, who are eye-@#$%ing each other for 3/4ths of the movie but, do not do anything about it until the final, Christmassy pronouncement of love.  

Because TV, and especially these movies, works a certain way - there's a scene when it's just the two of them, alone in a house in which they both live, and they kiss, and then apparently time and space no longer matter, because they're then telling their confidants about the kiss in two different locations.  And I'm like... so... what happened for the 12 hours or so inbetween here?  You said nothing to each other?  I would think you would say something to each other.  Like - I get that that felt good in the edit bay, but it literally makes no sense at that point.

ANYWAY, these movies are not about making sense.  They're about dumb misunderstandings.  And Christmas-time romance.  And picking out a tree.  And talking about Christmas when I was a kid.  And hitting all the beats.  Plus, cats.

The movie doesn't really set up Routh's character quite the way I imagined they would based upon the sequel, which states that he has a hard time with change.  I mean, maybe?  But not a pathological fear of change as presented.  He's adjusting to the idea of taking a girl seriously rather than having fun, but he does do it on his own.  

Anyhoo...  there's a couple of cute cats.  And I realize now several things in the sequel were call-backs to this movie, which means the people who made the sequel were assuming we were very, very familiar with this movie (I don't think I'd watched it all the way through before).  

Monday, December 20, 2021

PODCAST 175: "Cash On Demand" (1961) - Christmas 2021 w/ Jamie and Ryan




Watched:  12/13/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Quentin Lawrence




Jamie and Ryan pull the perfect job of a half-baked podcast episode! The best laid plans of podcasters and men and all that as we do our best to get through the score, talking about a Christmas heist film from the renowned Hammer studios, starring some top-shelf talent! Join us, and let's see if we can't get away with it!




Music:
Money - Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon 


Christmas 2021 Playlist

Christmas Classic Watch: White Christmas (1954)

something about this picture says "whoops, I joined a cult"



Watched:  12/19/2021
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  unknown
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Curtiz

Man, I've seen this so many times.  

Next time you watch, just bask in the glory that was Edith Head's genius for gowns and costuming.  



Sunday, December 19, 2021

Christmas Watch: Single All the Way (2021)




Watched:  12/18/2021
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020
Director:  Michael Mayer

Not going to bury the lede.  Single All the Way (2021) is the gay-starring romcom for the holidays that Netflix's DataTron3000 realized would do quite well for clicks as it would serve a perpetually underserved audience.  The probably good news is that it is not trying to either fit the Hallmark mold, nor is it a Hallmark spoof.  It's its own, stand-alone, comedy movie.  

I am already aware that it is also a YMMV affair, as are many-a-comedy, as I've had one pal weigh in with a "that sucked" response, and - hey - you probably do not want my opinion of your favorite comedy.  Unless it's Young Frankenstein.  Or anything with Madeline Kahn.*

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Christmas Watch: Miracle on 34th Street (1947)




Watched:  12/18/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  ha ha ha
Decade:  1940's
Director:  George Seaton

Look, we watch this every year.  I'm not writing it up.  And this site is very clear on its pro-Maureen O'Hara stance.



Christmas Watch Party Finale! "Adventures of Bailey: Christmas Hero" (2012)




Watched:  12/17/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's
Director:  Steve Franke


I have to ask Producer/ Director/ Writer/ Actor Steve Franke - what is this, Steve Franke?  Because our Amazon Watch Party is pretty convinced that this movie is somehow a tax write-off scam.  

Look, I am second to none in adoring large, silly dogs.  And this movie has two white golden retrievers as stars of the movie, and they are pretty great.  It also has other dogs, a pack of alpacas or llamas (I don't know the difference), and in two insert shots, a fucking bear. 

I guess this is a Christmas movie, but it's also a quest movie if your quest is two fluffy dogs just running hither and yon around fields in Texas.  Also, a separate quest for the scared kid looking for his dogs.  CHRISTMAS.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Alone in the Dark at Christmas - 2021




Christmas can be quiet.  It can be lonesome, even as you sit by the light of the tree or walk streets strung with garland and decorations.

So, every year I tweak it a bit, but I do keep a playlist of songs called Alone in the Dark at Christmas.  Here's this year's offering.  Use it wisely.  


Christmas Watch Party - Friday 12/17



We're careening ever closer to the holiday - but this Friday marks our final Christmas Watch Party of 2021.  And, boy howdy, do we have an excellent film picked out all for YOU.

No, we won't tell you what it is.  Or why.  Or how.  Or if you'll forgive us.

But it is going to blow your wee little minds!

Day:  December 17th (Friday!)
Time:  8:30 Central
Service:  Amazon 
Cost:  $0




Thursday, December 16, 2021

Hallmark Christmas Watch: The Nine Kittens of Christmas (2021)




Watched:  12/15/2021
Format:  DVR of Hallmark
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  D. Winning

So, a few years back I noted that occasional Superman and Ray Palmer actor Brandon Routh had signed up for a Hallmark movie.  It makes sense.  He films in Canada all the time, anyway.  Might as well get a little scratch between seasons of TV and whatever else he's up to.  

What I remembered about the movie was (late edit: I had not seen all of this movie):  Routh was a fireman, he was doing home maintenance, a cat was involved, and the love interest could also act (Hallmark has to balance how terrible their leads are, and many of them are truly wooden robots).  But a lot of name folks pass through the Hallmark factory every year, so I enjoyed it for what it was and then chucked the movie from anything resembling RAM in my head.  

Well, lo and behold, someone scraped enough pennies together and got the cast back together from the cat-related movie and came up with a concept for a sequel.  If one or two cats worked - why not 9?

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Christmas Watch: It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)




Watched:  12/13/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Roy Del Ruth

The handling of media in regards to its availability in any format is such a weird animal.  As is the impact of media long after the media originally played and to whom.

It's a Wonderful Life famously did mediocre box office (released *after* Christmas in January for some reason).  Contemporary critics shrugged it off as sappy (it is, but...), and it fell into public domain access to become a holiday staple as the movie was cheap to show.  Repeated viewings and a new appreciation of the film eventually found the film its audience.  And, of course, now It's a Wonderful Life is *the* American holiday media.  Heck, I have a poster for it in my stairwell I see several times per day.

I only recently heard of It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947), which I chalked up to the fact it didn't star anyone I really knew (except Alan Hale Jr. in a supporting part).  But it seems the movie just basically disappeared for 20 years, from 1990-2010.  For me, personally, those were kind of some big years there as I was doing legwork looking for new old films.  Why did it disappear?  I have literally no idea.  But I can tell you, unless there's a community of film nerds clamoring for a film, the studios may not care.  The catalog may just be sitting there ready for exploitation, but most of the audience for movies would rather see something brand new but terrible than black and white, but excellent.  

PODCAST 174: "The Apartment" (1960) - Christmas 2021 w/ Maxwell and Ryan


Watched:  12/07/2021
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Billy Wilder




Just in time for Christmas, Maxwell steps off the elevator to join us for a discussion on a cinema classic by one of the great directors. Join us as we borrow a little time and space, and go over one of the best films in the filmography of one of the best directors of the mid-20th century. It may not have much to do with Santa, but it's a reflection of the holiday season from a certain POV!




Music:
The Apartment Theme - Adolph Deutsch


Christmas Playlist 2021

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Christmas Comedy Watch: A Clüsterfünke Christmas (2021)




Watched:  12/12/2021
Format:  On VOD from Pop
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Anna Dakoza


Hallmark movies have now been around long enough that you do spot spoofs and satires.  This is the second one I've spotted just this year, the other I need to finish (The Bitch Who Stole Christmas, which appears to be a whole thing).  

A Clüsterfünke Christmas (2021) is the kind of spoof you kind of crave, but also think won't be as good as you hope.  But, in the rarest of Christmas miracles, it was actually consistently funny for the runtime of the movie.  It never gets lost in the machinery of telling a story or caring what happens to anyone and remembers that it's job is to insert a joke every 30 seconds.  But, you know, the film both stars and was written by Ana Gasteyer and Rachel Dratch, so - trusted sources.  

Christmas Watch Party: The Tree That Saved Christmas (2014)




Watched:  12/10/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's
Director:  David Winning

At some point we had the Up! Network, which was all positive vibes and Christian messaging, if memory serves.  Basically Hallmark Network, but a little more toothless and less competent.  During the Christmas Movie Wars of a few years back, when Hallmark was running 3 networks 24/7 from October 20th on, Lifetime was in the game, and one or two more - UP! showed up with its offerings which somehow were the Dollar Store equivalent of Hallmark Channel's Target merchandise.  With both Netflix and Amazon in the game now, I'm not sure Up! is still playing, but in 2014 - they reached for the brass ring on the tiny shoulders of Lacey Chabert.

Lacey Chabert, the Queen of Nice and a Hallmark staple, was clearly shown the money by Up, who lured her in for The Tree That Saved Christmas.  Which is a confusing movie.  

It feels like an alien watched Hallmark movies, took random bits from them, missed some key bits, wrote a script, and then the aliens deeply underbudgeted and no one had any money after getting Chabert.