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Christmas Movies I watched this Christmas (2019) Part 1

Ah, the Holidays. What to do what to do. Watching Christmas movies of course. Here are the ones I watched or re watched this year. At this point there aren't that many I haven't watched. Excluding the Hallmark ones. Who has the time and stomach to watch all of those.

1. Bad Santa

Read my full review here. But the second time around it still holds up nicely. I believe there is a misconception about this film. It's not anti Christmas. For anything it is very much about what most Christmas films are about. Only it shows a world that is very much of our own. Full of hardships and you know reality.

2. Jingle All the Way (1996)

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a salesman who keeps forgetting to attend his sons's activities. Both his wife and son give him a lot of grief for this. One might argue that he does this to provide his family with all the comforts and luxuries life can offer. If not the son the wife at least should be forthcoming and appreciative. 

Anyway, Howard (Schwarzenegger) does feel guilty and decides to get the one present that would make everything up to his son. The son is played by Jake Lloyd most famous for his role as Anakin in The Phantom Menace. And what is this magical toy you ask? A Turbo Man doll. His wife already had asked him to get it which he obviously forgot. Couldn't his wife, knowing he has a history of forgetting, not get the toy herself? But then we wouldn't have a movie right? So Howard goes toy hunting thinking it would be easy. Not realizing that it is going to be more difficult. Basically the whole film is how Howard is doing his best to get the toy and what he is willing to go through just to satisfy the needs of his ungrateful wife and son. Yes, I get it, parents should spend as much quality time with their kids when they can. Key word is can. If you have to make a living it's not so easy. Especially in a society where it is demanded of you to keep working as much as you can just to get your basic needs. It's preposterous how films make it like people have a choice and then choose to work. I mean there are workaholics out there but not as many as they want to make you believe. In any case there are more dangers lurking. One of them is his bachelor neighbour Ted played by Phil Hartman who is hunting for married housewives. Openly mocking the husbands for their inadequacies. Hang on? Is this a family film or what? Then there is rival Myron, a disgruntled postman a few steps away of going postal played by Sinbad. Sinbad is one of the best elements of this films. He ups the comedy big time and is a real joy to watch. 

The premise of Jingle All the Way is something most people can relate to. And seemed to be an honest and sincere depiction of what parents have to go through just to keep their kids happy. But it also very quickly goes into bizarro mode. The ending has to be seen to be believed. One would think they are actually watching an episode of the Power Rangers which Turbo Man is a parody of. 

Strangely enough it's this wackiness that is the saving grace of this film. You will have a blast from start to finish with this basically live action cartoon.

3. Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)

Jim Varney plays Ernest P. Worrel in a take on Miracle on 34th Street. Essentially there are two films rolled into one. For people who are familiar with Ernest will get to see his wacky antics again. Then there is the Christmas spirit story where Santa Claus very desperately is seeking for a worthy successor. While this latter story does have it's charm it's Ernest who steals the show. As far as I am concerned he is a comedic genius. His timing was impeccable and there was something about his energy that was incredibly intoxicating. Even he is a bit of a screw up you can't but help to root for him all the way.

Definitely one I consider a Christmas classic.

4. Home Alone 2

In my original review I had stated that I didn't enjoy the slapstick moments as much as I did with the first one. Now having it seen yet again I must say that it was those moments that made me burst into laughter. Why would you keep chasing someone who obviously is outsmarting you on any level? And this made me feel even more for Wile E. Coyote. I hope you will get that damn bird soon!

5. Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas might not be as terrifying as it used to be. It definitely is still very eerie and creepy. Probably due to the fact that the identity of the killer is unknown. Actually you never ever get to see who he is and why he is the way he is. He just is. It is one of the elements that make Black Christmas a good horror film. 

I liked how immediate action was taken when finding out someone wasn't present as they were supposed to. That is one of the things that bother me about most horror films. In real life you would wonder about others too. But in those films, even when they know it would be out of character for someone to be gone for so long, they still won't go looking. One flaw that is bothersome though. I won't spoil it but you will see it at the end of the film. Whereas the film had remained quite believable up to that point it neglects to that thing I assume the authorities would do. If not then I kind of get how come criminals get away with murder.

In any case Black Christmas does more good than bad. And if there ever was a film that should get a sequel it's this one.

6. Black Christmas (2006)

Black Christmas 2006 is the remake nobody asked for. But if that were the only sin then I might have enjoyed this. Unfortunately there is so much wrong with this. I dont't even know where to begin.

Let's start with it's biggest mistake. The fact that they have given the killer an identity and motive. In the original not knowing the killer or what his motive was made the film so creepy and scary.  In this remake all the suspense and tension is removed. Almost everything atmospheric is gone and replaced by blood and gore. Not the good kind mind you. Another mistake is the fact that it is hard to care or root for anyone. I am aware I am supposed to root for Katie Cassidy as Kelli. But we don't get to know anything about any of the characters. It's funny how the original was able to instill fear and give you an idea what the characters were about in the same amount of time. If only they had left out the origin story. It's quite puzzling if you think about it. Would have made more sense had they reserved that for the ending.

There is no twist, turn or anything else that could it make you worth your while. So why should you even bother? Avoid this one. But I really wonder what the latest remake will be like. So far word has not been good.

7. The Bishop's Wife (1947)

The Bishop's Wife on the surface seems to be a simple story. Bishop David Niven has prayed for guidance and then Angel Dudley played by Cary Grant appears to do exactly that. Only Dudley seems to be a little more invested in the Bishop's wife named Julia(Loretta Young).

Beneath the surface a whole lot more is going on. Like heavy criticism towards the powers that be in the Church and it's priorities. Most of the time is dedicated to happiness of Julia and that of Henry only Dudley never downright states this. In my opinion he tries to make Henry so jealous and mad that he immediately knows what he should focus on more.

The film is beautiful and charming. It's a little under two hours and you hardly notice it since the way the story is told is very captivating. Mainly due to Cary Grant and his magical charm. A real joy to see him spread joy and inspiration whenever and wherever he can.

Definitely a film that can be called a Christmas classic.

7. The Muppet Christmas Carol.

The Muppet's version of A Christmas Carol is a lot of fun. It manages to provide laughs and serious moments when needed. Actually it is quite true to the original story.

But that also makes it a little less relevant. Let me explain. The best moments are offered when the muppets are allowed to do their antics. Like for example Miss Piggy and her daughters getting angry. I mean there literally are three Miss Piggies and just the though of it instills fear and horror. For the sake of the story though they kept the antics to a minimum. Before you accuse me of being a Scrooge I absolutely love the muppets and all of their shows and films. It had been a while that I had seen it and still could remember the songs. And I absolutely am not a fan of musicals. I also like the many different adaptations of A Christmas Carol. Brian Henson had big shoes to fill and he did a pretty good job. But I can't help but feel he was playing too safe. Something he corrected with Farscape and The Happytime Murders

The world that is created is absolutely beautiful. But more importantly a lot of heart has been put in this production. I yet have to see a Henson film where this wasn't the case!

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