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

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Fourth of July


July 4, 1776 is the date that the Second Continental Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence.  A vote had been held on July 2, 1776 to agree to seek independence from Britain in the form of the Lee Resolution.  However, a formal Declaration of Independence did not appear until July 4th.

Perhaps the date we observe has as much to do with the stirring text of the Declaration as anything - and it is the formal document eventually signed by most of the delegates to the Congress. 

While not a document which laid down the manner in which the government would be run, which would not arrive for over a decade in the form of the Constitution of the United States, the Declaration of Independence does lay down the moral reasoning for our separation from England.  The Preamble, often memorized by school children over the years, and familiar to most Americans, formed the ethos of America as a state which required the consent of the governed, and that the government would serve the needs of the people.  But also that government not be changed on a whim - but when the government no longer responded to the needs of the governed.  

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Friday, January 1, 2021

Christmas Noir Watch: Cover-Up (1949)




Watched:  12/23/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Alfred E. Green

An insurance detective comes to a small town to look into the apparent suicide of a wealthy man with a considerable settlement coming to the benficiaries.  Arriving in town, he finds everyone hated the guy, it sure looks like murder, and everyone - including the foxy young lady he met on the bus on the way in, are in on a cover-up.  Thus, the name of the movie.

Stars William Bendix and Dennis O'Keefe.

The ending is weird and super chipper.  

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas. Baby, Please Come Home.


I learned a long time ago that posting on Christmas Eve is a fool's errand.  I'll get about three clicks on this.

But here we go!

This year it's just Jamie and me for Christmas Eve.  While my family lives in town, it's too complicated with kids involved to co-quarantine with the other folks who live here.  So, my brother and his family are with my parents having a very traditional sort of Christmas Eve and morning.   My brother and the kids swung by today to drop off some gifts, and I got to see the wee ones go bananas in the front yard for a bit and we got to wish them a Merry Christmas.  We'll Zoom tomorrow, so that's okay.

Tonight we'll Zoom with Jamie's family and tomorrow Jamie's Dad will zip up from San Marcos for a bit so he can collect his Turkey dinner from us and to be festive for a while.  

Tonight:  tamales and queso.  I bought those red and green tortilla chips from HEB.  Jamie had to be up at the crack of dark for dialysis, so she's shutting down early.  But I figure we'll squeeze in part of A Christmas Story tonight (we already watched the new Star Trek).   Also, thank the little baby Jesus for Netflix's selection of Yuletide firelog videos - that's making some nice filler while I do this.

But - hey.  

It's been a hell of a year with the pandemic and the crazy "president" and the general f'd up state of the world.  A few things have gotten me through this.  There's Jamie, of course, who is a champ and listens to my insane ranting.  There's family who check in on us.  Scout, who makes sure I'm getting out and about.  

And there's y'all.  Who are out there reading the posts, listening to podcasts, making podcasts, and joining in on Watch Parties.  You kids are the absolute best.  

Also: booze.  Booze has helped a LOT.

Up above is Ms. Darlene Love, who performed the greatest of the modern Christmas music staples and set the stage for the moody Christmas music I generally prefer (although the Kylie Minogue Christmas album is a banger).  May the spirit of Darlene Love get you through the evening.  And may we all work toward a Christmas where we can be with loved ones next year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Hallmark Watch: Christmas at Dollywood (2019)

Dolly's outfit needs more sequins



Watched:  12/18/2020
Format:  Hallmark Channel on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's
Director:  Michael Robison

Arguably, no one involved with this movie knows how anything works in real life and everyone but Danica McKellar's character should be fired.  And Dolly, of course, should always be held blameless.

We've watched a lot of parts of Hallmark movies this year, but watched almost none from start to finish - but when a movie promises to serve up Dolly in prime, post 2000 incarnation of Dolly as glamorous wise songstress and embodiment of goodness - I'm in.  I have, in fact, watched a good chunk of "The Coat of Many Colors" movie and everything.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Holiday Watch: Miracle on 34th Street (1947)


Watched:  12/16/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming (but it's also on Disney+ now)
Viewing:  ha ha ha...
Decade:  1940's
Director:  George Seaton

If Miracle on 34th Street isn't part of your personal Christmas canon, I don't even know, man.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Holiday Watch: Christmas in Connecticut (1945)



Watched: 12/13/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Peter Godfrey

The other night I was drinking and, as one does, decided what I really wanted to see was Sydney Greenstreet in a movie.  And, of course, it is the holiday season - and what better choice than Christmas in Connecticut (1945) when it comes to your Syndey Greenstreet/ Christmas movie viewing needs.

Basically a classic farce (but only with a hint of the bedroom about it), Christmas in Connecticut gets a lot of play, but seems like it never quite makes it into the zeitgeist like a lot of other films - even if it deserves to more than a lot of modern holiday favorites.  Genuinely funny with a terrific set-up and everyone on the same page giving sharp, punchy performances - it's got classic comedy chops to spare.

Stanwyck plays a cooking and homelife columnist for a popular "Good Housekeeping" style magazine.  She's essentially posing as America's perfect housewife - complete with husband, child and a picturesque farm house, when she's really living the life of a single-gal in the big city.  Fortunately, her uncle if a terrific chef and just tells her how he makes his best dishes, and she adds the purple prose.

But her pushy publisher (Greenstreet) is sent an idea for a promotion - the famous guru should take in a hero sailor (the movie is WWII contemporaneous) and show him true American hospitality.  But, of course, she can't do it - so she fakes it.

People are in and out of doors, people hidden from one another, and Una O'Connor plays the domestic not in on the shenanigans.  And - while faking a marriage she's actually dodging to a bore of a man (who owns the farm), Stanwyck meets the sailor in question and the smittening is mutual.

It's a terrific film - perfect for a comedy about the holiday that doesn't take it too seriously.  And, of course, Sydeny Greenstreet is brilliant. As always.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

PODCAST: "Anna and the Apocalypse" (2017) - a Xmas Genre Xrossover 2020 episode w/ SimonUK and Ryan



Watched:  11/21/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's
Director:  John McPhail


SimonUK and Ryan have a holly jolly time biting into the 2017 multi-genre cult fave that has them singing and dancing in the aisles. Join us for a yuletide discussion of a newer film that might just be the Christmas treat you're looking for - it's a real slay ride. 
Christmas Means Nothing Without You - Roddy Hart, Tommy Reilly 
Hollywood Ending - Roddy Hart, Tommy Reilly 
 
Xmas Genre Xrossover Playlist

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Christmas Watch: Christmas Chronicles 2




Watched:  12/5/2020
Format: Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade: 2020's
Director:  Christopher Columbus

Look, I polished off at least 3/4ths of a bottle of wine while watching this, but it seemed great at the time - both the wine and the movie.

Stuart had vouched for the first Christmas Chronicles back in 2018, and it was genuinely much better than I figured.  Kurt Russell as Santa is just a good idea.  The Christmas Chronicles 2  ups the budget, expands the concepts, and adds Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus.  And, again, it just works.  I'll refer you to the link above for what I think this series does that makes it a cut above 90% of the "Santa" genre of movies of the past 20 years or so.*  

This installment, of what I assume will be a once per two years thing for a while, sees Kate Pierce from the first movie in Cancun with her mom and brother from the first film.  Mom is now dating Tyrese Gibson, who flew everyone down - but Kate has understandable feelings about (a) not being home for Christmas and (b) fears of Mom forgetting Dad (who had passed before the first movie).  Now, the set-up on this one is... a bit wonky.  I don't see even the drunkest parents leaving their under-18 kids alone in Mexico for 24 hours, especially one as sensitive as Tyrese's son, Jack.  

But an elf-gone-bad has set the whole thing up, and he hi-jacks Kate and Jack to the North Pole so he can use them as a distraction to get into Santa's Village and EXACT ELF REVENGE.

The movie splits into Jack learning he can be courageous (he's a bit of a wiener at the film's outset), and works through Kate's far more complex situation with the power of Christmas multiplied by the power of time travel.

This film builds on the terrific design from the first film - giving us a wider view into Santa's village and the workshops contained therein.  I dig the scale and decision to roughly ground things - the elves (which look like Finnish Magwai) kind of scuttling around everywhere, but not living inside cupcakes or anything.  It looks weirdly practical, and I very much enjoyed the "let me check my biases" moment as the kids ask why the village isn't named after Mrs. Claus, credited with the design of the town.

Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus is, honestly, as much of a kick as Russell as Santa.  It does not hurt to have two people with decades of cohabitation together playing a couple of several hundred years, but Hawn's sunny disposition and capacity for indicating depths with a glance is well served here in telling the adult audience a lot that might be going over the kid audience's heads.  

The kid actors aren't threatening anyone to nab Oscar nomination slots, but Columbus is no slouch when handling kids, and between a good script and getting the most out of his kid actors, he manages to also let Kate have moments of growth and insight - non-verbally!  She, like, listens and processes and does not have to say out loud what she's learning at each step.  

But, yeah, this isn't a heavy drama or anything.  There's plenty of goofy good stuff.  You can't go wrong with Darlene Love showing up to join in the requisite Santa musical number (I think Jamie heard me gasp when she first appeared for what I assumed was a cameo).  

It's just weird how far we lower the bar for Christmas content that anything remotely competent (this *is* Chris Columbus, who brought us Harry Potter, Home Alone, etc...) and isn't just indicating what they would like to convey, but actually delivering those messages like a real movie comes off like Avengers: Endgame.  

PS:  I found the flying hyenas delightful




*I do like Fred Claus more than you'd figure

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

PODCAST: "Shazam!" (2019) - Xmas Genre Xrossover 2020 w/ AmyC and Ryan

 


Watched:  11/13/2020
Format:  HBO
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  2010's
Director:  David F. Sandberg




AmyC and Ryan say the word and find themselves checking out the heroic adventures of one of comics longest-lasting heroes who finally found his way to the big screen. And, it's a Christmas movie! We discuss the comics, the movie and what makes for holiday cinematic magic! 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

Hey, y'all!

Well, yeah.  This Thanksgiving was weird, but good.  

First - I am thankful for Jamie and how much she looks after me and Scout and everyone else in general, but in COVID times, she's been extra great.  We're now however many months into this mess and she's been both dealing well with having to live with me and has been entirely key to me keeping an even keel throughout.

I'm thankful for a solid job that is unlike to see much damage as the situation around us remains fluid.  It can be crazy, but it's a challenge I am growing to appreciate more all the time.

We live in town with much of our small family, and I'm thankful we're doing well, and I can see people (socially distanced) even if high-fives and hugs are harder to come by.  We've got a solid support system here locally and in California, and that doesn't hurt.

And, of course, I'm grateful for all you knuckleheads who have made COVID-times bearable by staying in touch, co-producing podcasts, reading the blog, and doing Tuesday and Friday movie nights.  It's a heck of a thing that there's a network from New York to San Francisco and Seattle and back again through the midwest, Kansas City and onward to North Carolina and Tennessee.  Y'all are everywhere, and it's alarming.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

HOLIDAY PODCAST: "3615 code Père Noël"/"Deadly Games"/"Game Over" or even "Dial Code: Santa Claus" (1989) - A Xmas Genre Xrossover 2020 episode w/ JAL & Ryan

 


Watched:  11/07/2020
Format:  Shudder Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Rene Manzor


It's French. It's Christmas. It's got a deranged Santa and a kid who has seen a lot of 80's action films. It's like "what if 'Home Alone' were infinitely @#$%ed up?" Justin and Ryan take a deep dive into a movie that feels like it's about to break as a cult classic, and features a very Bonnie Tyler Christmas song. You may know it as "3615 code Père Noël", "Deadly Games", "Game Over" or even "Dial Code: Santa Claus". But it's a frikkin' delight, this thing. 
Merry Christmas - Bonnie Tyler

Xmas Genre Xrossover 2020:

Thursday, November 19, 2020

PODCAST: "Krampus" (2015) - a XMas Genre Xrossover 2020 Special w/ Marshall and Ryan

 


Watched:  11/04/2020
Format:  HBO, maybe?
Viewing:  Second or third
Decade:  2010's
Director:  Michael Dougherty


Tis the season for genre mashes! It's horror with Christmas joy! Join us as we peek in on a family that has lost its Christmas spirit - and is now facing a giant beastman-shaped reckoning. Marshall and Ryan talk the 2015 holiday horror hit that's become a bit of a perennial favorite (already!) - which reflects on how the holidays with family can really be a nightmare.


Music:
Krampus Main Theme - Douglas Pipes

Xmas Genre Xrossover 2020 Playlist

Saturday, September 19, 2020

"Sexy" Halloween Costumes - 2020 Edition

Well, we haven't done this in a few years, but let's do it again.  Let's look at "weird sexy costumes for Halloween 2020". 

For 2011, go here.  For 2017, go here.

Honestly, I've gotten so used to, like, "sexy cop" going by, I don't really think about it anymore.  But there's still always a few costumes that pop out at me as "but why?".  

The first thing that popped out at me on this go-round was:  

Would the target audience even know what this is?  

I'm assuming to have Halloween plans and the body confidence to wear a hastily-stitched Halloween costume that's not work appropriate, these costumes are aimed at women aged, oh, 18-28.  And even that may be pushing it. 

But that would mean the target audience was born between 1992 and 2002.  So...  do they even know who these characters are?

Pretty sure this is supposed to be Julia Roberts in the first reel of 1990's Pretty Woman.    It was called something like "Beautiful Lady"/

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Lockdown St. Patrick's Day Watch: The Quiet Man (1952)


Watched:  03/17/2020
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1950's

Not to be weird about it, and no surprise to longtime readers, but Maureen O'Hara was a screen-crush for me since catching Miracle on 34th Street back in high school.  Watching The Quiet Man (1952) did nothing to slow that train down.