Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part II, Other Eras

Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl edited by Christina Boyd

So first of all-let me apologize.

I have been calling this book by the wrong title this WHOLE time. This book is ELIZABETH: Obstinate Headstrong Girl. Like I don’t how I missed that. I mean “Elizabeth” is in huge giant letters.

I will be fixing that in the other post. I…I don’t have any words…

I don’t know what to say…

So moving on from my faux pas:

Hurry!

Elizabeth Bennet

Whether or not she is you favorite character or Austen heroine: we all love her. After all, who can resist her wit and confidence?

Now some people may think, hasn’t there been enough written about her? What else could be said? Does she need an anthology? Well I think Meg Ryan answers that question perfectly:

Yes, Elizabeth is a fantastic and complex character and Christina Boyd, Elizabeth Adams, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Leigh Dreyer, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, and Joana Starnes have written 10 different stories on her.

In the last post, I reviewed the five stories that are set in the Regency time period; whether before the novel, after the novel, or taking a new path from some point in the story. They were five amazing and different stories that really captured the spirit of Elizabeth and the theme of “obstinate headstrong girl”-I  think Jane Austen would be proud.

This post is going to be on the five stories that are set in different time periods. Usually I review this from the farthest back in time to the most recent, but we are switching it up a bit. This time we are starting with the most recent time period and working our way backwards as I promised Christina Boyd that her story would be last. So without further intro, buckle up in your delorean:

Because here we go:

 

The Last Blind Date by Leigh Dreyer

Circa: Present Day

Elizabeth is a grad student at University of Oklahoma, waitressing at Bennets to put herself through college. Others who work there are her best friends Jane and Charlotte.

Friendship goals!

And an odd guy, Bill Collins also works there. Collins keeps asking her out but Elizabeth turns him down each time.

For the thousandth time

But she is going on a date tonight. Her best friend Jane and her boyfriend Charles have set Elizabeth up on another blind date.

Change Highbury to college.

This time it is with Will Darcy, CEO of Pember Oil and Charles’ best friend from boarding school. Elizabeth fought it, but finally agreed to go on this date, her final blind date (especially as they are seeing her favorite football team.)

Ugh. This is the last one.

The day comes and Elizabeth has no idea what yo wear so of course:

While they get her ready, Elizabeth’s friends encourage her to be not so obstinate and headstrong that she lets her preconceived notions paint a picture of who the guy is when they haven’t even met. Already by looking at his photo and hearing about his business Elizabeth has assumed he is a player, workaholic, emotionally stunted, a jerk, etc.

Here friends remind her of some other quick judgments she has made in the past about men.

After they leave, Elizabeth straightens up her house and takes out the garbage. While doing so-she overhears her date complaining about the blind date. Elizabeth is mad, understandable, but at the same time-weren’t you just doing that with your friends a little while ago?

Darcy comes to her door and he has a slight stutter. At first I thought maybe it was surprise, but after I realized it was a stutter and of course this popped in my head:

I mean Mr. Darcy + Colin Firth + Stutter = The King’s Speech. I’m I the only one? Anyways, Elizabeth is surprised that Darcy isn’t as awful as she thought he was, and is trying to be angry with him still-but has a hard time as they have prime seats for football, and Elizabeth is a giant football fan! Plus Darcy knows zero about football and isn’t intimidated in having her tell him what it is all about.

The two begin to talk, and football is a game where something can happen and turn the whole game in an instant. Will Darcy and Elizabeth come out a team? Or will their misunderstandings cause further issues?

Hmmm…

So I like that this book was set with Elizabeth in college as I haven’t read too many Pride and Prejudice retellings set in college. Usually Elizabeth and Darcy are in high school or out of college. This was a new view.

The other thing I thought was interesting was to have Darcy have a speech impediment. It is one author’s interpretation of the story but I think that adds to his quiet stoicism, although in this he isn’t so broody-it turns out that he is actually shy and used to not saying much.

It was a cute story and they were very cute together. Darcy is so bashful and sweet.

Resistive Currents by Karen M. Cox

Circa: 1980

I love the ’80s-film, music, clothes. When I was reading this I was trying to imagine them in full ’80s clothes. And you know what that means-’80s cosplay of Elizabeth Bennet is a go!

Beth Bennet is studying engineering at Fordyce University, and you know that’s a hard field-especially in 1980…especially for a woman.

Yes, Elizabeth has to deal with a lot of crap from guys mostly as she has to work harder to prove herself.

The story starts off with Beth on break and attending a funeral for her great grandmother, Elizabeth Alton Gardiner. There they see other family members and Beth’s father tries to show off Beth’s accomplishments to everyone. It’s nice that he is proud of her, but at the same time it is upsetting. Is she going to be living her life for that? Or will she be able to do her own thing? That really resonated with me, and I think it will with other readers.

I think this is an extremely on point mark as well-as I think we can all agree that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are not the best example of a good marriage or good parenting. Most people talk about how Elizabeth and her father are close-he finds her the only one worth talking to- but at the same time while his sarcasm isn’t turned on her like the other children, it doesn’t mean everything was perfect between them.

Grandma Alice tells Elizabeth about her mom, Beth’s great grandma (who passed), and how she had traveled West and was a teacher at the turn of the 20th century. She shares a little about how Great Grandma met Great Grandpa and at first couldn’t stand him, but in the end love came softly and they fell for each other.

“It pays to judge slowly, sweet girl. You mark my words.’ Out of respect Beth didn’t disagree, but in her soul-in her very being-she knew Beth Bennet’s first impressions were d*** near infallible.”

Back at school, Beth is relaxing with coffee and a good book at the local coffee shop when she looks up and sees a very handsome guy. They share a few words, and she hopes to run into him again, but doesn’t. Darn!

Beth meets up with her friends-Charlotte [Lucas], Charles [Bingley], and Rene- they talk about class and how much they really dislikes her cranky professor Dr. De Bourgh [Lady Catherine]. It seems like things have just gotten worse as they have a new T.A. who seems to be just as difficult.

Beth is waiting outside for Lab with the new T.A. and overhears Dr. De Bourgh talking about her. The Dr. calls her an “obstinate headstrong girl”. The T.A. tells Dr. De Bourgh that he thinks an ECE education is really difficult to take if he is just looking for her MRS degree or wanting to please her dad. To make it worse-she sees it was the hot guy from the coffee shop.

Beth is angry and hurt! Although, in his defense-T.A. Darcy didn’t say anything horrible about her, he actually seemed to be defending her. If anything that ire should be pointed at Dr. De Bourgh. Beth begins to fume and believes Darcy is going to treat her like every other misogynist guy does, but instead of making fun of her-he seems to ignore her. He never calls on her or looks at her.

Beth waits as long as she can, and then she meets with Darcy and let’s him have it. I really liked this exchange between them as it was funny with all the misunderstandings and twists but how Cox laid it out.

Things get better as Darcy listens to what she said and starts calling on her. In fact, everything is great until Elizabeth gets sick and faints in class right over Thanksgiving break, Darcy takes her to the hospital and stays with her-but as her family can’t come right away and all her friends are not answering their landlines or out of town, the only one who can take care of her is Darcy. Will this time together cause something to bloom? Or will they continue to clash?

Hmmm…

This is technically a double story as in this as Beth reads the diary of her great-grandma Elizabeth Alton Gardiner from 1906. Elizabeth Altonlost her family and is alone. She worked hard to get a teaching degree and applied for the position in Colorado under the name of  E.M. Alton. She knew they probably would’t want a woman (typically settled Western towns wanted women as teachers or in the town so this must not be a very settled place.) She hopes that when she gets there, they will keep hr because the needs is so high.

She meets Sheriff Gardiner-who wants her to go back home, as he doesn’t think she should be here. But Elizabeth is angry and determined to stay. Later, she visits with Jane and Dr. Bingley and overhears the sheriff and the Doctor talking about her, the sheriff saying that it is going to be extra work for him to protect a single woman living alone.

With a greeting like that, Elizabeth is set dead against the man. What can be done to change her mind?

Hmm…

All the interactions between Beth and Darcy were so refreshing and spot on. They were just so darn adorable together, I just loved every minute of it.

So romantic!

I love Pride and Prejudice, I love the ’80s, and I love the Old West-so this one was an obvious winner for me as it blended all these themes I loved.

For more by Karen M. Cox, go to “A Nominal Mistress” from Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

Love in the Limelight by Beau North

Circa: 1930s

So I love movies, especially old movies: you may or not have noticed.

I watch them, I read about them, I just love them.

So when I saw that this was 1930s Hollywood inspired story of Pride and Prejudice I was super excited.

Elizabeth Bennet is a theater actor who landed a huge Hollywood role! How did this all happen? Well that’s the story Caroline Conway, reporter, is after. Elizabeth Bennet is a smart girl and doesn’t want to talk to her, but has to. Of course, she won’t give her the real story…but we get to read it… A year earlier, Elizabeth was ending her seven years time in London. She loves the city and is sad to leave, but leave she must. After getting her heart broken and money stolen, the only thing she can do is go to stay with her sister Jane in California.

All her money is gone, jewelry gone-the only things shs had left was some clothes, a few photographs, and a handful of cards from a mysterious admirer. Reading them always made her feel better, now more than ever.

On the boat she spots Gigi Duvall, former child star who has been transitioning into a full-fledged actress. She had had trouble in Hollywood making the jump and decided to try out in London, where she did well. But now Gigi seems to be fighting with a handsome men. Ugh Elizabeth is so over men-all are big dump brutes or dopes.

She watches as Gigi accuses the man of not caring about her, only money and he promising to start over.

Ugh.

They all say that.

The couple move on their way and Elizabeth goes back to mourning leaving her beloved city. Now in California, Jane and Elizabeth are running lines for the new picture, The Headstrong Girl, as Jane is trying out for the main lead. That night they are going to a party and Jane is eager to get to Charles Bingley as she wants to impress him and get the part.

Elizabeth goes to help be her wingwoman, but she isn’t really needed as Charles has no eyes for anyone else than Jane.

Elizabeth finds herself bored and pushed in and steps outside where she runs into Gigi Duvall. The two talk and enjoy each other’s company when they are interrupted by the man on the boat, William Darcy head of Pemberley Pictures. Darcy and Gigi argue and Elizabeth gets mad seeing him bully Gigi. Who cares that he is the head of the studio. She let’s it rip at him-which surprises both Gigi and Darcy.

Darcy threatens her not being able to work in Hollywood, unless she apologizes, and Elizabeth doesn’t care. When he brings up her sister, Elizabeth apologizes in gritted teeth, after he leaves she vows to one day make him pay!

Elizabeth tells her sister about the party and meeting Mr Darcy, and hearing him and Bingley talk about her. But she doesn’t share that Mr. Darcy isn’t planning on hiring Jane. He thinks she isn’t right for the picture and as Charles has a thing for her, the gossip eags will say she slept with him to get the part, and he will not have is company dragged through the mud. Elizabeth is angry, but what can she do now. Nothing-powerful men suck! She never wants to see him again. Of course Jane asks Elizabeth to come with her to her audition, and as all good sisters she does. There she just has to run into Mr. Darcy-today is not her day, week, month, or year.

They have a exchange and Darcy mentions that he has heard of her and seen her perform in London-leaving Elizabeth stunned. He then tries to get her to audition, but she refuses. She doesn’t want to be in pictures, she’s just here as support. And she would never steal a part away from her sister.

Later, Elizabeth and Jane are talking about Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth finds herself very puzzled. Who is this man? The night before and with Gigi he was a beast and now in the studio-kind, charming, funny?

Who is this guy?

That evening they get a call from their uncle and agent Edward Gardiner. Jane didn’t get the part but she does have a part in the new Cagney film-but only IF Elizabeth signs a contract to be the lead in The Headstrong Girl. Apparently, Darcy wanted to sign her after seeing her perform the year before but didn’t for some reason. OH NO, NO WAY is Elizabeth doing that. Never!

But then Gardiner lays down the amount of money she will be getting, the guilt of her mother and sisters struggling on the apple farm, Jane’s chance at being a star, etc; and of course she says yes.

Ugh!

Elizabeth starts production and actually finds herself enjoying it. Charles is a great director, her costar Rollo Fitz is fun and friendly, Cat-Darcy’s personal assistant and cousin is eccentric and kind,-the only one she doesn’t like is Darcy.

Ugh, he may be “gallant” and “charming” to others but she knews he was a jerk the moment she saw him on the boat. Maybe he acted nice in the studio, but that must have been a weak moment as she is still upset and blames him for blackmailing her into this rile. NO siree she will never, ever like him.

One day on set Darcy wants to talk to her. He gas seen the papers and how she and Rollo have been going out (they are just friends). He wants her to end it (and this kind of thing happened a lot with studios back then) and Elizabeth of course flat out refuses to. The two exchange witty banter and almost…kiss? What?! NO! No, no, no she IS NOT interested in him.

They go to an after party for the Academy Awards at Darcy’s home, Ashwood Manor. Things are going good until Darcy asks her to speak to him in his library. Which Darcy will she get the jerk demanding things? Or…the one that makes her blood boil not in anger but passion? Actually neither. He compliments her, her acting, and offers her a contract.

Huh?

Elizabeth is furious! That’s what he wants to talk about-not them? Not about them being together?!!!! OMGoodness I laughed so hard!!! I love the screwball comedies if the 1930s-Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, William Powell and Carole Lombard, Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell-and this made me think of them so much. I wish this was a real movie. I could see Cary Grant as Mr. Darcy and Irene Dunne or Rosalind Russell as Elizabeth shouting at him.

Elizabeth realizes that she likes him, both give into their feelings-but are interrupted by Cat relaying that “George” has been seen trying to get into the house. Oh drat, blasted Wickham!

Darcy and Cat leave to deal with it and protect Gigi, Darcy asking Elizabeth to wait for him. After they are gone our plot takes a swerve as it appears George has been hiding in the library the whole time! And George isn’t just Gorge-but Buster! The louse who stole Elizabeth’s money, jewels, and broke her heart.

Gigi and Darcy return and revelations are dropped right and left, I don’t know if anyone can survive the things coming out this night. But as with every good picture we need a storm before we can end on a perfectly lovely note. This was fantastic! If I had money I would turn it into a movie. And that ending with Mr. Darcy and his attempts to woo women-priceless!!

I also love how when North describes the picture they are filming a lot of the descriptions bring to mind Pride and Prejudice (1940). The gowns, the hair, the archery. I don’t know if she did that on purpose (I hope she did) but I love it either way.

For more by Beau North, go to The Colonel

The House Party by Jenetta James

Circa: Fall 1913- Early 1914 (No mention of WWI)

Do you like Downton Abbey?

Have you ever wished for a Jane Austen Downton Abbey fusion?

By God, yes!

Well then here you go! Jenetta James’ story takes place roughly 1913-1914 England (my guess based on an event she mentions that happened in 1913 and no talk of WWI) in an old manor house, Netherfield Park-just like Downton Abbey!

Yay!!!

Jane and Elizabeth have been invited to join in on the hunt and the weekend house party. It looks to be a grand affair and Elizabeth notices a handsome man-handsome but stern.

Look at that guy…

They go to their rooms and get ready for the evening, discussing Mr. Charles Bingley, who only has eyes for Jane, and on the way downstairs meet a friendly girl with a lisp, Mary King, visiting from Northampshire and feeling a little lost and alone. Elizabeth immediately befriends her.

Jane and Mary go off with Charles and Elizabeth finds herself alone. Not for long as she is entered into conversation with Caroline Bingley and the stern man-Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy seems friendly enough but Caroline keeps changing the conversation and starts talking bad about Elizabeth’s sisters, you know how she rolls:

The Bennet girls are trying to get votes for women, being leaders in their community’s women’s suffrage movement.

Elizabeth continues this conversation believing:

“Give votes to women. Then there would be fairness all around and no broken post office windows.”

Mr. Darcy disagrees  saying that such a sentiment is “unlikely” and Elizabeth is incensed. How dare he.

Now truth be told I was thinking the same thing? How on earth can he rebound from this? But after reading their exchange a few times I was like you got me good James. I see what you did.

Wow!

Elizabeth and Darcy part ways-Elizabeth continuing to be furious, but at dinner she doesn’t help but notice that Caroline sits Darcy next to her. And it kind of makes her upset. But why should she feel this way? He’s a jerk.

She’s seated next to George Wickham, writer, working on his first novel. They talk and he shares about how Darcy is a jerk and an antiquarian-he;s living in the past and can’t stand the modern age. Wickham shares more on how Darcy treated him, and Elizabeth decides not to give this jerk another thought. The next day is the hunt, with Elizabeth being one of the few ladies who is riding.

George saddles up next to her and they talk about horses and races and he shares he was there the day Emily Davison threw herself on the tracks to raise awareness for votes for women. Elizabeth shares how she felt saddened by her sacrifice but admires her bravery to fight for what she believes in. She wants to know how George feels, but they are interrupted…but she is sure such a good man would be. He’s not going to be like Mr. Darcy…

They ride out and Elizabeth loses track of George and later she realizes she hasn’t seen him for a while. She searches for him and finds that he has fallen off his horse, his face bleeding, and arm hurt. Darcy comes upon him and at first she is glad for his assistance, but when he wants her to return to he hunt-ugh all she can think is what a horrid man. She refuses to go and he rides off for help. But weirdly-he should have been more concerned with George’s heath but seemed solely focused on her.

Elizabeth is amazed at Darcy’s swiftness in retuning especially as he doesn’t like George, that much is certain. Darcy tells her that he does’t care for George, but that he was worried about her. The two argue with Elizabeth not believing how he could be so cruel to an injured man, a man he has known forever, and calling him a rogue-when he is a sweet and charming guy.

But Darcy doesn’t say anything on that and leaves.

Later, Mary King visits with Elizabeth and she is legit one of the cutest and sweetest characters in this. She is embarrassed because she ate the jar of biscuits given to them and left in the bedroom, but doesn’t want Caroline to  find out and think badly of her. Elizabeth doesn’t really see it as an issue, but shares hers so it looks like Mary only ate a few. Mary is so precious. Mary decides that to thank Elizabeth she will reveal something she knows about George, who she noticed Elizabeth spending a lot of time with. She reveals that George is a ruthless “yellow” journalist. He will trample on anyone and do anything to get his story. He’s been doing a serious on the women suffragists who have gone to prison and are doing hunger strikes. Most of them go by an assumed name and he has ben revealing who they really are in the hopes to embarrass their well-to-do-families and paint them as princesses playing at politics. One woman he really ran through the ringer was Georgiana Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s sister. Oh no. Elizabeth was so wrong about him-and Darcy’s anger at George it all makes sense. Oh no, what is she to do? Can she fix this?

I really enjoyed this story and not just because I git to trot out the Downton Abbey memes and gifs I’ve collected (although that was fun). It was the same story of Pride and Prejudice that we love but told in a different, new, and fun way. Plus I really liked the way she wrote the misunderstandings of what was said. I deeply applaud you!

For more by Jenetta James, go to “What Strange Creatures” from Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

A Mate for Life by Christina Boyd

Circa: 1870s

I was so excited to see that Christina Boyd included a story. I always suspected she had one brewing inside her.

So I have been made to promise not to reveal certain things as to not give away the ending…

So in this Elizabeth Bennet is a grandma, (that’s why I believe it to be the 1870s), and her granddaughter has fallen for a man. Elizabeth knows her daughter-in-law only cares if he is wealthy and from a good family so she has decided to check on whether this man is really the right guy. She gives excellent advice, some that everyone who is single should take to heart.

 

This was so cute as Elizabeth shares her story with her granddaughter, about Mr. Wickham, the misunderstandings, Mr. Darcy-the whole thing.

How sweet!

That’s all I’ll say on that. I don’t want to ruin the story.

Oops! Wrong book!

I loved it and thought it was adorable. Although I will say one more thing…when her granddaughter’s beau comes over, this meme did pop in my head LOL.

So no lie, when I finished the last story this was literally how I felt:

I was like where’d the book go? How did I read it so fast? Why isn’t there more? Where are the rest of the stories?

I had to go back and count to see if I had actually read all ten stories. It just seemed to be over so quickly.

Each story was a delight and I loved them and the book.

Just one of these stories is worth the amount you pay for the book and you don’t get just one you get 10!!! Why don’t you head over to Amazon and order a copy?

Each story took the theme of obstinate headstrong Girl and created their own tale of Elizabeth Bennet. I recommend it to any Jane Austen fan!

 

I suggest you do! 🙂

For more on Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part I, The Regency

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to P.S. I Like You

For more edited by Christina Boyd, go to YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

You’re My Wife and the Mother of My Children: Move Over Darling (1963)

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So this film is a remake of the Cary Grant and Irene Dunne screwball comedy, My Favorite WifeNow you all know how I feel about remakes:

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But I actually really enjoyed this one. I mean Doris Day? Young James Garner? You can’t go wrong with that.

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Nick Arden’s (James Garnier) wife Ellen disappeared in a plane crash five years ago. After all the searching, wondering, and raising his daughters on his own; he decides that he has to face facts. Ellen is dead and never coming back. He needs to move on.

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He decides to have Ellen declared legally dead, marry Bianca, and head out on a honeymoon to Monterey.

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At the very moment those two are being married, Ellen (Doris Day) has just arrived on the California shore. It turns out she survived all those years on a desert island. They finally found her and she is eager to return home to her husband and children. However, when she gets to the house, her mother-in-law reveals what has happened.

Not good

Not good

Ellen hurries to get to Nick before he can consummate the marriage with his new wife. She gets to him in time, but Nick finds it difficult to tell Bianca what has occurred, especially as Bianca isn’t in the mood for talking.

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This turns into even more hilarious hijinks as Nick discovers his wife wasn’t alone on that island but with an adonis. He tries to search out the truth, while Ellen hires a nerdy shoe salesman to pretend to be her co-survivor. Will this family be able to straighten everything out or will Nick end up with not two, but zero wives?

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Most Romantic Moment: You’re My Wife and the Mother of My Children

**Spoiler Alert**

So the most romantic moment comes at the very end of the film. They have had a huge blowup in the courthouse: Nick is cleared of bigamy, Nick and Bianca are annulled, Ellen is declared legally alive, but Steven Burkett (Ellen’s co-islander) came and has disrupted the Ardens getting back together.

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Nick storms out of the courthouse and after beating up Steven and driving around Ellen has returned home unsure what to do. She is distraught over how it looks like she and Nicky are headed for divorce, and still afraid about what to do with the girls. She has wanted to tell them she is their mother, but hasn’t had the courage to do it. What if they hate her? They already have said they don’t need a mother, just their father.

I don't know what to do

She heads out to the backyard to talk to them, and finds out they already know. Their father told them and he is waiting with them in the pool for Ellen.

Aw!

Aw!

Now I know this may sound strange to be romantic, but it just shows how much he loves his wife and wants to be with her. I mean his kids were babies when she left, he  could tell them nothing and use that lack of time together as a selling point in court to get full custody.

So not only does he want them to continue to be a family; but he also wanted to spare her any pain or rejection; instead letting the kids know who she is and getting them excited to see her.

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That’s extremely romantic and caring.

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For the previous post, go to I Know You Can Do This: Working Girl (1988)

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For more on James Garner, go to It’s Fantastico!

For more remakes, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

Not a Hipster, But an O.F.

I hate hipsters.

Guy you suck!

Guys you suck!

Every hipster I have ever met have been these horrible elitist who think they are better than everyone.

MeanGirls I know right!

Ugh. They drive me crazy. They take all the stuff I have loved for years and jack up the prices. Oh, and don’t get me started on their fake glasses wearing. Wearing glasses can be a hard life and the people who do face all kinds of challenges and it bugs me to no end to see these people wear them for “fashion.” It’s like people walking around with hearing-aids for “fashion”. It’s so rude.

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I just can’t stand them, and to make things even worse everyone thinks I’m one.

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You see I have always loved older things. I love classic literature (and actually have read them, not just pretended).

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I love records, especially the art of the album cover!

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I only like music from the past as that is what I grew up listening and I just cannot connect to modern music.

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I love classic cinema as that is what my mom used to show us when we were growing up. I remember being the only kid who liked “black and white” films.

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Or the only one who knew Alfred Hitchcock, William Powell, Errol Flynn, Laurence Oliver, Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, etc were.

I can only pick 5?

I also only shopped at thrift stores as it was cheap and my family stressed the idea of using something until it was broken and unfixable. For instance I carried a CD player around with me into high school. Yes about 6 years ago when everyone had an iPod or something, I was still carrying my CD player to school and CDs to change them out.

So people think I’m a hipster, but I was doing far before the “hipster” movement came out.

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Like Ginger said, I was raised old fashioned. And that’s how I like it.

It is the truth.

It is the truth.

That’s how I was raised. Vintage, old, historic, traditional; these were a way of life for us, and especially me.

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That’s right. I don’t follow the current trends, even if they are “new-old” ones. I do what I like and enjoy the things I love. Sometimes the books, clothing, film, or even dating styles I like aren’t popular:

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But I don’t care if it goes against the crowd or isn’t what “everyone else is doing”. I enjoy the things I enjoy and I’m going to keep living my life the way it is.

RebelBeMyself

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For more on being old-fashioned, go to It’s Not Old…It’s Vintage

For more on hipsters, go to We’re in the Future: Good-bye 2015

For more in Italo Calvino, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Ginger Rogers, go to Food, Food, Food!

Angels We Have Heard on High

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If you don’t recognize who the angel is, then you need to read this post!

So Angels We Have Heard on High is one of my favorite Christmas carols. The song was written to commemorate Jesus’ birth, as told in Luke. It was translated in 1852 to English, and has been sung in almost every language by countless artists, my choice being REO Speedwagon.

My favorite part is when they sing “gloria” during the chorus. I just love how clearly the song is written, as every word conjures an image in your mind as you sing.

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For the previous Christmas carol, go to Inner Beauty

For more on The Bishop’s Wife, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Psycho (1960)

PSYCHO

It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?

So this Horrorfest IV, we are doing something different. For Horrorfest (the original) we ended on Halloween (of course) as we had looked at the big 3 of horror film producing sequels: Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, & Halloween. On Horrorfest II, we had to cut our reviews in half due to my schedule and ending with a film that takes place on Halloween (along with our yearly Stephen King film review), Children of the Corn. And of course I don’t think anything will top last years “theme” of Werewolves, starting with The Wolf Man (1941) and ending with it’s remake The Wolfman (2010). This year I decided it was time to finally review one of my favorite films, the one I have been talking about again and again, Psycho (1960).

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I love this film, in fact it was one of my early introductions to the ultimate, obsessive, fangirling that I would do over Alfred Hitchcock.

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My first film was The Birds. I loved it and knew I wanted to see everything he made. That second film that completely made me in love with his works, was Psycho (1960).

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The first time I saw this film was on AMC. When they were announcing the line up, they played this song.

So whenever I hear this song I think of the film, and vice-a-versa.

So if you are wondering if this is going to be an extremely long post all about how much I love this film, like my review of Jaws, then you are right. I love this film so let’s get started.

**Spoiler Alert**

(Although this movie is fifty-five years old, so if you haven’t seen it already, then shame on you)

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PSYCHO

This year marks the 55th anniversary of Psycho, and select theaters brought it back. And as I was lucky that mine did, I immediately bought tickets and went to see it.

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Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) is remarkable for many things. It is considered his first horror film, and while not the first slasher film in history, it is the first American slasher film, influencing countless director’s and movies.

While many adore this film today, it  had quite a few problems getting it off the ground in 1960. Alfred Hitchcock read the novel Psycho, by Robert Bloch, and immediately saw the benefits of turning this into a film. Unfortunately, Paramount Pictures did not. They cut the budget down to $800,000, hoping that Hitchcock would stop this idea of making a “dirty”, “smut” film; but he would not be deterred. Hitchcock used more of Universal to make the film, which is why in the end they won the rights.

AWESOME!!!

Oh yeah

Instead Hitchcock gave up his usual pay, taking over 30% of the profits on sales. As the film did amazingly well in theaters he made a bundle.

Hitchcock bought the book for $9,000 anonymously, and then went on to buy up every book out there to try and keep the ending a secret. He used most of the crew from his show Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and made everyone promise to keep the film as secret as possible. He didn’t tell any the ending until filming, a technique that would be copied in other films, like the Scream franchise.

To begin with how different this film was, let’s start with the trailer. It was over six minutes long, much longer than any trailer made then or now.

But it was great and gets you pumped for the film.

So the first thing we are introduced is to is the credits, with the famous score.

The music just drags you in sending shivers down your spine.

shiver

Now the actors we see on here, we all know today, but at the time the only real famous person was Janet “Scream Queen” Leigh. Part of this was due to the cut budget of Hitchcock, but he also wanted a different style and to use unknowns instead of huge stars.

Prior to this movie Anthony Perkins was being groomed to being a big star. In 1953, he debuted in The Actress and in 1956, Friendly Persuasion, won him best supporting actor. That all changed with Psycho. After this movie he became famous, but also typecasted.

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Vera Miles was in a few things but also hadn’t been cemented as a “Star”.  Alfred Hitchcock liked her looks, and more, planning on giving her the lead in Vertigo (1958), but when she became pregnant and had to drop out, he couldn’t stand her. He thought she did it on purpose and was upset that she made him recast. The only ever worked together on this film.

ouch Hermione

Before Psycho, John Gavin was known for the remake in Imitation of Life (1959)Psycho made him famous (along with Spartacus).

Anyways, back to the film!

PSYCHO

So we are introduced to the city of Phoenix, Arizona; where our film takes place, December 11th. I had never realized this until I saw the film this most recent time, but I don’t recall ever seeing any Christmas decorations anywhere. Not in the homes of the characters or offices. Supposedly the reason why it was set in December was because of the Christmas decorations in Phoenix but I didn’t spot any. I’ll just have to look again. But you know what that means? That this can be a Christmas film! I smell a new tradition!!!!

Bishop's wife christmas tree

So the film opens with Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Samuel Loomis (John Gavin) in bed together. Sam is half naked baring his chest and Marion is in her bra and slip.

keanu Whoa

Yeah, something like this is not shocking for today (I mean look at Game of Thrones) but you didn’t see anything like this after the motion picture code association (MPAA) was created. We saw plenty in the late 1960s early 1970s when the code lost its fierce control. But in 1960, oh ho ho. This was super raunchy!

This part always makes me sad as all Marion wants is to be married to Sam. Sam, however, wants to wait a few years. He is still paying his ex-wife alimony, paying off his father’s debts, and lives over the hardware store he owns in Fairvale, CA.

Now Fairvale doesn’t exist, as it was all shot on the Universal backlot or in a soundstage. I originally thought it took place in Fairfield CA as they sound the same and that would make a lot of sense. But in a later scene I saw a map of Shasta County, so I think that Fairvale is supposed to be Redding.

Then again I could be wrong.

Then again I could be wrong.

So Sam does not want to be married for a few years, and it horrible to be leading her on like that with weekend trips every now and then; stolen lunch hours. That is not a complete relationship. Marion hates it as she wants to be a respectable woman.

Marion Crane: Oh, we can see each other. We can even have dinner but respectably in my house with my mother’s picture on the mantel and my sister helping me broil a big steak for three.

Sam Loomis: And after the steak, do we send Sister to the movies? Turn mama’s picture to the wall?

Sam tells her that them marrying now is a bad idea, but  Marion doesn’t care. She would do it all for him. He jokes that maybe she should move on, but when she agrees he quickly is worried. They part on good terms, making plans for the next visit. Neither are incandescently happy, but that’s love.

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Marion heads back to work at the real estate agency. As she comes through the doors, you can spot Alfred Hitchcock in a cowboy hat standing outside the window. Hitchcock knew people would spend the whole film searching for him, so he wanted it out of the way as soon as possible.

Back at the Agency, Marion checks in with her associate secretary, Caroline (played by Pat Hitchcock, Alfred’s daughter). Caroline is married, which makes Marion feel as if everyone in the world is married but her.

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In walks her boss, Mr. Lowery, and their new client, Tom Cassidy, a rich oilman. He is paying $40,000, in cash, to buy his daughter a house for her and her soon-to-be husband.

Tom Cassidy: I’m buying this house for my baby’s wedding present. Forty thousand dollars, cash! Now, that’s… not buying happiness. That’s just… buying off unhappiness [waves money in front of MarionI never carry more than I can afford to lose! Count ’em.

Caroline: I declare!

Tom Cassidy: [staring at Marion] I don’t! That’s how I get to keep it!

He then goes on to flirt with Marion, disgustingly.

ew! Gross Yuck

Cassidy then makes a comment about Mr. Lowery being able to afford air conditioning. Can you imagine being in Arizona without air conditioning? It would drive ANY person insane!

Marion is asked to take the money to the bank, while the boss and Mr. Cassidy get their drink on. Marion has a headache, and asks to go home after she drops the money off, her boss lets her and she heads on her way.

The next shot we see is the money on Marion’s bed, next to a suitcase.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

What a great shot, Hitchcock defintely knows his stuff.

So yes Marian stole $40,000. That would be around $350,000 today. That’s a lot of money.

keanu Whoa

On one hand you kind of understand Marion. She is so tired of her life, all she wants is to be with Sam, now and always. She thinks she can take the money, pay his debt, and they can live happily ever after. But she is not thinking clearly, what about when they discover the money is gone? They will know it is her.

She decides to drive to see Sam. When she gets stopped at a light who should she see but her boss!!!

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

This is when the score starts up again, heightening the intensity!

shiver

Marian is driving, but starts to fall asleep. She pulls off on the side of the road.

She is awakened the next day by a CHP officer (California Highway Patrol) . Now this police officer is very scary. He is wearing sunglasses and never takes them off, giving him almost a robotic look. Super creepy as you can’t see the expression on his face or his eyes.

Now Marion doesn’t help her case as she acts super suspicious, being cold, curt, and trying to take off.

suspicious Hmm

You can see here that Marion is not a rule breaker. She’s always been a good girl, and as this is her first time breaking the rules she is doing poorly at “being bad”.

The CHP follow her, but turns off in Gorman, CA while she continues to Bakersfield. There, she decides to change cars. The salesman is so sweet, and adorable, but as Marian is in such a hurry, he starts to wonder about her too.

suspicious Hmm

This is not good Marion, as if anyone is to come later and ask questions about you, you would be remembered. Not only for acting weird, but also because it’s Janet Leigh.

As she is there, up comes the CHP. Too bad Marion looks as good as she does, the cop could spot her right away.

see cute guy look

Marion buys a newspaper, looking for news of the stolen money but is relieved to find nothing. It is too early for that, but you understand how scared she is.

As she is looking at the cars I can’t help but notice that, man those cars are dirt cheap. $957 for a 3 year old car? I wish they were that cheap now.

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Anyways, the cop continues to watch her from across the street. This only makes Marion more nervous and suspicious sounding. In fact the car salesman starts to wonder if she is trying to get rid of a stolen car.

The paperwork is completed, Marion paying $700 of the $40,000 and trading in her car. She then takes off, only to be stopped because she forgot her luggae in her haste. This gives the cop plenty of time to see her plates.

Spoke too soon

Poor Marion, she’s not a master criminal mind.

She heads off, but as she drives all she can hear in her head how terribly everything has gone and how it will all blow up in her face in the end.

All she can do is keep driving, hanging on to the hope that when she gets with Sam everything will be okay.

Unfortunately, it begins to rain and Marian being from Arizonia, doesn’t know how to drive in Northern California winter rains. So she has to pull over at the nearby motel she finds.

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The property consists of a giant Victorian mansion on the hill, with twelve rooms down the way.  The house was designed after Edward Hopper’s painting, House by the Railroad, it wasn’t supposed to be creepy but a part of early Americana. But as we only really see the house at night, except for once at the end, and because if the events that later transpire; this all looks uber creepy.

Gilmore girls creep

After the fire occurred on the Universal backlot (the same one that destroyed Back to the Future’s clock tower), this building and the motel was declared a historic landmark and can never be destroyed or taken done (unless by a non-human disaster). Isn’t that great, that will be there forever!

We are then introduced to Norman Bates, son of the motel owner, and played by Anthony Perkins.

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see cute guy look

When I saw Norman I was like whoa!!!! That guy is hot!!!!!

swoon dreamy

So cute with his boyish charm. He looks as if he is in his early twenties (was actually 27) and just utterly adorable. Perkins was chosen for being a gentle, stammering, handsome young man: the ultimate all-American boy next door. You just want to give him a hug. At one point during the filming, Perkins asked Hitchcock if playing Norman Bates would be a bad career move and Hitchcock told him it might be. He was right as it killed his career, but he was just too perfect as Norman, the movie would not have worked without him.

Anyways, so Norman tells Marion that he can give her a room, and that there is a diner up the way, right outside of Fairvale, which is only 15 miles away.

Say What

15 miles!!! If only it hadn’t rained, she’d be with Sam right now.

Marion signs in under a false name, Marie Samuels, and says she is from Los Angeles. After careful consideration, Norman gives her key #1.

He takes her into the room and shows her around the closet, desk with stationary, bathroom etc. When it comes to the bed, he actually stumbles over the words, being too bashful.

You're so cute

He’s so young, and adorable. He has such a sweet little boy smile, so adorable. Those things are fatal to me as they just make me smile in return. I let down all my defenses.

Phew!

So Norman knows Marion is hungry and probably does not want to travel out in the storm coming down, so he offers to make her dinner, sandwiches, and have her come down to the house.  Marian agrees.

After he leaves, Marion looks around the room for a place to hide the money. Where should she put it that’s not obvious? Where?

Hmm...

Hmm…

She finally settles on hiding the cash in the newspaper. As she waits for Norman to finish making the sandwich, she overhears Norman and his mother yelling in the house.

Norma Bates: No! I tell you no! I won’t have you bringing some young girl in for supper! By candlelight, I suppose, in the cheap, erotic fashion of young men with cheap, erotic minds!

Norman Bates: Mother, please…!

Norma Bates: And then what? After supper? Music? Whispers?

Norman Bates: Mother, she’s just a stranger. She’s hungry, and it’s raining out!

Norma Bates: “Mother, she’s just a stranger”! As if men don’t desire strangers! As if… ohh, I refuse to speak of disgusting things, because they disgust me! You understand, boy? Go on, go tell her she’ll not be appeasing her ugly appetite with MY food… or my son! Or do I have tell her because you don’t have the guts! Huh, boy? You have the guts, boy?

Norman Bates: Shut up! Shut up!

Man his mother is horrible. She is evil and cruel, treating him like he’s a little boy instead of a grown man. Mean old woman, I wonder if she was abusive in other ways than emotional/verbal. There are some deep issues here.

Norman takes off down to the motel bringing the sandwiches. Marion reveals that she heard everything, and Norman offers for them to eat here instead. Marian moves aside so that he can come in the room, but he can’t. He sees the bed in the room, and stops.

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It makes him too uncomfortable, so he ends up inviting her into his office, and then the parlor.

Here is where we see a lot of Norman’s issues. His mother has cuckholded him so that he is still a child in many ways, but at the same time a grown man with grown man like interests. He likes Marian but also a bit freaked as well. Marion on the other hand is a grown woman and not squeamish about sharing a room to eat, even though the major feature is the bed.

Boy/Man Child

Boy/Man Child

They go into the parlor which is full of birds, taxidermied ones. Now this used to always freak me out, but after working in a museum last year and being around a lot of taxidermied animals it’s not that bad. Did you catch that not as bad,meaning it is still creepy.

Gilmore girls creep

So while he and Marian are back in the parlor he tries hard to be “adult”, but keeps stammering as he hasn’t ever entertained anyone before.

Norman Bates: You-you eat like a bird.

Marion Crane: [Looking around at the stuffed birds while eating] And you’d know, of course.

Norman Bates: No, not really. Anyway, I hear the expression ‘eats like a bird’ – it-it’s really a [stammers] fals-fals-fals-falsity. Because birds really eat a tremendous lot. But -I-I don’t really know anything about birds. My hobby is stuffing things. You know – taxidermy.

You're so cute

The two then discuss Norman’s mother.

It turns out that Norman’s father died when he was only five years old and his mother had to raise him all on her own. She met a man and when she found out her boyfriend was married, became broken. He mentions something interesting here, that this guy could have made mother do “anything”. Maybe get rid of him or kick him out even? Hmm……..

suspicious Hmm

The conversation moves on:

So this saying was actually used first in the film The Awful Truth starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. In it Irene is about to complete her divorce to Cary and marry a mamby-pamby mamma’s boy, who when Irene leaves him, goes off with his mom as after all “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” It of course was made famous by Psycho

Marian tries to give helpful advice, but Norman is not in agreement.

In that moment we see something lurking below that boyish charm and sweet face. Something dark.

suspicious Hmm

You may notice the theme of “mother issues” in this film. Norman and his mom have serious issues, which may extend to her not only being emotionally abusive but physically as well. Possibly molestation, but we are not sure. Hitchcock himself had a lot of issues with his own mother, her forcing him to stand at the foot of her bed for hours as punishment. The screenwriter, was currently in therapy for his own issues with his mother when he wrote this script. And Anthony Perkins also had mother issues and an early life eerily similar to Norman’s. His father died when he was five, and he also was raised by a controlling and cruel woman.

Weird

Freaky

They end their talk and Marian tells him she needs to go to bed as she has a long drive back to Phionex. She also gives him her real name. He says goodnight and double checks the book seeing that she lied.

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Marian heads next door, and Norman doesn’t leave yet. Instead he decides to take a look at Marian changing.

You know I have seen this movie like a million times and on the big screen is the first time I have ever noticed the painting that Norman uses to hide the hole he peeks through, it is Susannah and the Elders   by Giovan Battista Tiepolo. The story of Susannah and the Elders is that Susannah is a young and beautiful woman. She sends her attendents away as she takes a bath, and two voyeuristic elders, watch and lust after her.  They try to blackmail her into having sex with them, saying they will lie that she was meeting a lover. When she refuses, they try to put Susannah to death, but the prophet Daniel intervenes and saves her. It works with the whole voyeuristic theme the film has going.

Looking at that I notice there are a lot of naked women paintings and scultptures in the house. Who picked these? Norman? Unlikely. His mother? Even unlikelier. The lover? Most likely. But weird that his mother would allow such things.

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Norman heads back to the house and is about to go upstairs, but stops. Where was he going before? To see his mother? Go to bed? He heads to the kitchen instead and thinks.

After speaking to Norman, Marian has a change of heart. She decides to head home and turn herself in, hoping they will be lenient. She does a few sums, and determines that she has $39300 left. As she rips it up and dumps it down the toilet and decides to take a shower.

This short scene involving the toilet took forever to get approved. In fact, this is the first american film to show a toilet in a movie.

Weird

Weird

I notice as she shuts the bathroom door, there is NO lock on the door.

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She goes to take the shower and we have the scariest and one of the best scenes ever!

So intense and scary!!! I mean think of it, the shower os the most vulnerable place you could be at. You are naked, and have nothing to cover yourself up, nothing to use to defend yourself. In fact Janet Leigh said she was so freaked out when she saw herself murdered, that she never took a shower again. Opting only for baths.

Psycho-Shower

There are tons of myths surrounding this shower scene and I am going to set the record straight. So the filming of this scene took a whole week to get it just how perfectionist Alfred Hitchcock wanted it, this was 1/4 of the total time it took to make the entire film.

Janet Leigh filmed most of this scene. She wore pasties to cover her privates, but the warm water from the shower melted them, and Alfred Hitchcock kept on filming. She did have a stunt double, who did some nudes, and she was sadly murdered the same way in real life as shown on screen.

Psycho-Shower

And whoa this was a huge move to make. Killing the most famous person off? This was not done at the time, not at all.

When Norman discovers his mother covered in blood, he runs down to check on Marion. He finds her dead and freaks out, almost becoming sick.

I don't know what to do

He looks all around trying to compose himself, when he decides to put her body and belongings in the trunk of her car and cleans up the bathroom. He puts all her belongings in it, but forgets the newspaper. A car drives up, which surprises him, so much that he looks back in the room and grabs the paper. He then takes the car to the swamp to dump.

I just love that moment when it doesn’t go down right away and he freaks out. What will he do if it doesn’t sink. But it does, and he is relieved. The end.

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A week later, Sam is sitting in his office writing a letter to Marian. On the small screen they have always shown this too quickly for me to read the whole thing. This time I was able to see everything and in the letter, Sam apologizes to Marian and says he doesn’t want to wait a few years but wants to marry her now.

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If only he had asked her sooner! If only she had waited a week. If only, if only, if only.  😦

Lila comes in and introduces herself to Sam. She questions him about Marion and whether he and her were in it together, but Sam has no idea what’s going on.

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Private Investigator Arbogast comes on the scene. He was hired by Mr. Lowrey and Cassidy to find Marion, hoping she would give the money back and that they wouldn’t have to bring in the police.

Sam denies knowing where Marion is, and Arbogast tells him that he will find Marion, one way or another.

He goes around asking at ever motel, hotel, and boarding house in the area. Each one says no. He spots the Bates Motel, and goes in to speak with Norman.

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Norman is sitting on the porch eating Kandy Korn, as it says on his candy bag. Where’s he getting this in December? I guess it could have been leftover from Halloween. This was Norman’s personal touch, to add even more of a boyish charm.

Arbogast interrogates Norman, and I notice Norman speaks in a lot of clichés and metaphors. It’s probably due to him being only with his mother and never with peers.

He starts to clean the rooms, but skips door number one. He knows what went in that room and doesn’t want to think about it.

Arbogast follows and looks up at the house. He sees a figure, and questions Norman again. At first Norman says no one is there, but then says that it is his mother. Arbogast thinks Norman is hiding Marian, and infers that she seduced him, which angers Norman.

Milton Arbogast: Now, if this Marion Crane were here… you wouldn’t be hiding her would you?

Norman Bates: No.

Milton Arbogast: Not even if she paid you?

Norman Bates: No.

Milton Arbogast: All right, then lets say for the sake of argument that she needed your help and that she made you out to be a fool in helping her…

Norman Bates: Well, I’m not a fool. And I’m not capable of being fooled! Not even by a woman.

Milton Arbogast: I mean no slur on your manhood.

Norman Bates: She might have fooled me, but she didn’t fool my mother.

Norman is angry. Arbogast wants to speak to his mother, but Norman says no. As Norman is angry his face is put in more shadow and he loses that boyish charm and innocence, looking much darker.

Creepy!

Creepy!

Arbogast starts to head back to Lila and Sam, but stops and calls Lila from a phone booth. He tells her what Norman said, that Marion was here and then left, but it doesn’t feel right.

The plot thickens

He decides to go back to speak to Mrs. Bates, promising to be back in an hour. As he drives back to the motel, we see Norman there. Arbogast starts up to the house going through the back and leaving the door open, checking the front and bottom floor. When he can’t find anything, he heads upstairs. As he walks up, he gets attacked.

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Dead.

#2

#2

Back at the store, Lila and Sam are waiting for Arbogast. It has been hours and he hasn’t shown, with Lila getting really impatient.

I'mwaitingPrincessBride

She is determined to head down to the motel to find out if her sister was there. Sam tells her to wait while he calls, but she is heading out the door. Sam stops her and agrees, he will go and look for Arbogast and she should stay here in case he returns.

All I can think is, man Lila is intense in what she wants. If she had been the one dating Sam, then she would have been married a long time ago.

cinderella-wedding-day-shoe

Sam gets there but can’t find Arbogast or Norman anywhere. We see Norman by the swamp. Yep, dumping another body and car. Whoa, Norman really stepped into it this time. If it weren’t for the money, they wouldn’t be lookingthis intensely for her.

When Sam gets back and finds out that Arbogast still hasn’t returned, he and Lila head to the Sheriff’s house. They tell the Sheriff everything, but he doesn’t really seem to take them seriously.

Sheriff Al Chambers: Your detective told you he couldn’t come right back because he was goin’ to question Norman Bates’ mother. Right?

Lila Crane: Yes.

Sheriff Al Chambers: Norman Bates’ mother has been dead and buried in Greenlawn Cenetery for the past ten years!

Eliza Chambers: I helped Norman pick out the dress she was buried in. Periwinkle blue.

Sheriff Al Chambers: ‘Tain’t only local history, Sam. It’s the only case of murder and suicide on Fairvale ledgers.

Sam Loomis: You mean the old woman I saw tonight wasn’t Mrs. Bates?

Sheriff Al Chambers: Now wait a minute, Sam, are you *sure* you saw an old woman?

Sam Loomis: Yes! In the house behind the motel! I called and I pounded, but she just ignored me!

Sheriff Al Chambers: You mean to tell me you saw Norman Bates’ mother?

Lila Crane: It had to be – because Arbogast said so too. And the young man wouldn’t let him see her because she was too ill.

Sheriff Al Chambers: Well, if the woman up there is Mrs. Bates… who’s that woman buried out in Greenlawn Cemetery?

SHE’S DEAD??????!!!!!!!!!!!

Say What

Ten years? Ten years dead?

Whattheheck

And if she’s not dead but in the house, who’s in the cemetery?

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Norman knows that there will be more people coming. They came for Marion, and they will follow Arbogast as well. So he moves his mother to the fruit cellar to hide.

Norman Bates: Now mother, I’m going to uh, bring something up…

Norma Bates: Haha… I am sorry, boy, but you do manage to look ludicrous when you give me orders.

Norman Bates: Please, mother.

Norma Bates: No! I will not hide in the fruit cellar! Ha! You think I’m fruity, huh? I’m staying right here. This is my room and no one will drag me out of it, least of all my big, bold son!

Norman Bates: They’ll come now, mother! He came after the girl, and now someone will come after him. Please mother, it’s just for a few days, just for a few days so they won’t find you!

Norma Bates: “Just for a few days”? In that dark, dank fruit cellar? No! You hid me there once, boy, and you’ll not do it again, not ever again; now get out! I told you to get out, boy.

Norman Bates: I’ll carry you, mother.

Norma Bates: Norman! What do you think you’re doing? Don’t you touch me, don’t! NORMAN! Put me down, put me down, I can walk on my own…

This is probably the first time he has ever stood up to his mother in his life.

The next day, Lila and Sam head over to the church to go over to the Bates residence with the sheriff. To their surprise, the sheriff has already gone, and found nothing.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Lila and Sam are unsatisfied and decide to go over there themselves. They check in as man and wife, and hide out in their room until the coast is clear.

The two sneak into room one, where they search every inch to find any trace of Marian. In the bathroom, they discover a slip of paper in Marian’s handwriting. Lila is excited, but Sam dashes that by telling her it doesn’t really help as Norman admitted that she came there. They need proof of what occurred next.

They decide to split up, with Sam distracting Norman, while Lila questions the mother. As Sam walks out, it turns out Norman is standing in the doorway of the office.

tumblr_dr.jekyllhydemirrorsneakupbehindscareaah!

He must have heard them, I mean right? Right?

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

Anyways, Sam distracts him as Lila heads up the hill.

All I can think is that what the Sheriff said to them did not seem to register. He and his wife say that the mother is dead. Do they think it is a lie? She faked her death? She never died? Another body is in the casket?

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As Lila looks upstairs, she spots the mother’s room. It has a deep indentation in the bed, creepy mirrors everywhere, brass hands, etc.

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She goes into another room and sees that it is Norman. And the bedroom is weird. It is itty-bitty. In a giant house, why would he be given a room the size of a cell?

All he has is baby toys, and they all look sad. Like I seriously think he was abused as a child. Look at his doll. The rabbit that sits on the bed with him. Why would an almost 30 year old man sleep with a stuffed animal, unless he was abused as a child.

The music he listens to is Beethoven’s Eroica. I used to think it was used because it was a letter away from Erotica, but after looking into the backstory, it was written for Napoleon, and supposed to signify all a man is, powerful, brave, strong; what Norman wished to be.

She then spots a book with no title. I always wondered what the book signified, and discovered that books then that were pornographic were published titleless.

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This whole scene in the room is supposed to show the duality of Norman, a grown man, but still a child in so many, many ways.

Norman realizes that Sam has been distracting him, and knocks him out, then running for home. Lila spots Norman coming, and hides in the downstairs. That’s when she notices the fruit cellar and heads down.

When she gets there we have one of the best reveals ever!

So the sheriff takes him down to the jail, an they call in the psychiatrist to find out what was going on.

Dr. Fred Richmond: No. I got the whole story – but not from Norman. I got it – from his mother. Norman Bates no longer exists. He only half-existed to begin with. And now, the other half has taken over. Probably for all time.

Lila Crane: Did he kill my sister?

Dr. Fred Richmond: Yes, – and no.

Dr. Fred Richmond: Now to understand it the way I understood it, hearing it from the mother… that is, from the mother half of Norman’s mind… you have to go back ten years, to the time when Norman murdered his mother and her lover. Now he was already dangerously disturbed, had been ever since his father died. His mother was a clinging, demanding woman, and for years the two of them lived as if there was no one else in the world. Then she met a man… and it seemed to Norman that she ‘threw him over’ for this man. Now that pushed him over the line and he killed ’em both. Matricide is probably the most unbearable crime of all… most unbearable to the son who commits it. So he had to erase the crime, at least in his own mind. He stole her corpse. A weighted coffin was buried. He hid the body in the fruit cellar. Even treated it to keep it as well as it would keep. And that still wasn’t enough. She was there! But she was a corpse. So he began to think and speak for her, give her half his time, so to speak. At times he could be both personalities, carry on conversations. At other times, the mother half took over completely. Now he was never all Norman, but he was often only mother. And because he was so pathologically jealous of her, he assumed that she was jealous of him. Therefore, if he felt a strong attraction to any other woman, the mother side of him would go wild. [Points finger at Lila Crane] When he met your sister, he was touched by her… aroused by her. He wanted her. That set off the ‘jealous mother’ and ‘mother killed the girl’! Now after the murder, Norman returned as if from a deep sleep. And like a dutiful son, covered up all traces of the crime he was convinced his mother had committed!

Sam asks about the clothes, definitely weirded out by seeing Norman in that getup. And I agree, he was totally creepy looking.

Officer: He’s a tranvestite!

Dr. Fred Richmond: Ah, not exactly. A man who dresses in women’s clothing in order to achieve a sexual change, or satisfaction, is a transvestite. But in Norman’s case, he was simply doing everything possible to keep alive the illusion of his mother being alive. And when reality came too close, when danger or desire threatened that illusion – he dressed up, even to a cheap wig he bought. He’d walk about the house, sit in her chair, speak in her voice. He tried to be his mother! And, uh… now he is. [pauseNow, that’s what I meant when I said I got the story from the mother. You see, when the mind houses two personalities, there’s always a conflict, a battle. In Norman’s case, the battle is over… and the dominant personality has won.

Sheriff Al Chambers: And the forty thousand dollars? Who got that?

Dr. Fred Richmond: The swamp. These were crimes of passion, not profit.

Everyone’s like:

Say What

It wasn’t about the money at all? Yes folks, that is this film’s MacGuffin. A MacGuffin is something that the characters search for or aspire for, but in the end, has nothing really to do with the actual plot.

This last scene is my favorite as it is soooo creepy.

That moment when he smiles, it sends shivers down my spine.

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So Mrs. Bates is evil. Pure evil. She was abusive to Norman throughout his life, and now throwing him under the bus. Pure evil.

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So before we en I thought I would include some thoughts I had about Norman now that I’ve revealed the “truth” about him

1)When Norman chooses the parlor over the bedroom, I wonder if the Norman side “knew” it was best not to get to close as it might awaken mother sooner and “she” might do something drastic?

2)When he gets angry about institutionalizing his mother is it the dutiful son Norman that is angry, or his “mother”?

3) When Norman tells Marion he can’t leave, if he does then his mother will die all over again. Poor Norman, stuck in an endless cycle of abuse.

4) When Norman sees that Marion gave a false name in the book, do you think that “mother” found her an easier person to kill as no one was likely to connect that Marie Samuels to anyone? Do you think it made her more suspicious of her character?

5)I wonder if Marion had stayed up later with Norman would that have changed things? Would “Mother” have failed to come out? Or would she have come out earlier?

They are nothing with any real answer, but just something to ponder on and ask your cinephile friends.

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I know you guys know that this post isn’t going to end. Like Jaws, I have a LOT to say. So in Universal Studios, when I took the backlot tour, they showed us a scene from Psycho. As they have declared the site historical, they also decided to have someone act out a scene from the movie every time a tram goes by. And it is awesome!

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And so ends another Horrorfest. I know it has been crazy this year, as personal issues made me fall behind in posting. In fact, by the time this airs I still might not have caught up. However, what I was able to do was a lot of fun, and I hope you all enjoyed it. I wish you all a very happy, and safe, Halloween. May it be everything you wish it to be.

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to Man-Bat: On Leather Wings, Batman the Animated Series

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For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to What Are the 39 Steps?: The 39 Steps (1935)

For more films based on books, go to Someone Has Erased His Memory: Total Recall (1990)

For more psychos, go to Tuesday the 17th: Psych (2009)

For more slasher films, go to Don’t F*** the Original: Scre4m (2011)

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I can only pick 5?

26) Five Guys Who You Find Attractive

This won’t be easy. Only five guys? I’ll try my best. Here we go, my five swoonworthy guys.

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5) Jensen Ackles

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So starting it off with one I’m sure anyone who’s not blind can agree on, Jensen Ackles is one beautiful man. This green-eyed, gorgeous, guy is the stuff dreams are made of. Wow, that’s all I can say, WOW.

For more on Jensen Ackles, go to Don’t Objectify Me!

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4) Laurence Olivier

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The picture of elegance, class, and one of the Sexiest Brits to live on this earth. He was my first Mr. Darcy and Heathcliff; setting a high bar for those to come. One truly attractive man.

For more on Laurence Olivier, go to One of Many

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3) Michel J. Fox

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First fell in love with him when I saw Back to the Future. The smooth, slick, hot; yet somewhat adorable and vulnerable actor just stole my heart. Continued watching his films, and loving him more and more.

For more on Michael J. Fox, go to Back in Time: Happy 30th Anniversary Back to the Future

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2) Jimmy Stewart

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Tall, debonair, with a heart of gold. Not only was this guy good-looking, but the sweetest thing. I just love him so much, words cannot express it.

For more on Jimmy Stewart, go to I’ll Give You the Moon: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

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1)Clint Eastwood

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What can I say that this picture doesn’t. Look at this man. Tough, rugged, man of action, and as hot as hot can be. Delicious.

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Now he may not be as delectable now as he was then, but this man still holds a huge place in my heart.

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The first actor I fell in love with, the first picture poster I hung on my wall (The Outlaw Josey Wales) this man is my penultimate.

For more Clint Eastwood, go to Going on a Treasure Hunt

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

25 More Films of Christmas

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So two years ago I tried to do a Christmas countdown, the 12 Posts of Christmas, but I discovered that it is really difficult as you get involved in Christmas activities. So last year I decided to make it easier on myself and did a singular post listing 25 of my favorite films that were either classified as Christmas movies or had a Christmas scene in it. Since it worked so great last year, I decided why not do it again? So here are 25 more films of Christmas! (Once again these aren’t my my top favorite 25, but randomly picked and then rearranged them in the order of how I love them.

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25) Holiday (1938)

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Holiday (1938) is a remake of the 1930 film. In it Johnny Case (Cary Grant), a self-made man, is heading to his fiancé Julia Seton’s house for the holidays. While on the surface the two appreared perfect for each other, as Johnny spends more time at the Seton household he finds himself having more in common with Julia’s younger sister, Linda (Katherine Hepburn). Johnny now finds himself in a dilemma, should he honor the commitment he made to Julia? Or should he try to find love with another?

Why it’s Great: Hepburn and Grant made four films together, and anytime you have these two paired up you have pure gold. Grant is his attractive, charming, and at times comical self. Hepburn is the silly, comedic, oddball, and modern woman that she always does great at. A fun film. Plus those scenes of Grant tumbling? Priceless.

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24) The Polar Express (2004)

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The Polar Express is based on the short book of the same name. In the 1950s, a little boy, no longer believes in Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, he hears something outside and goes aboard the Polar Express, the train that heads right up to the North Pole and Santa’s home. He makes new friends on the train, helps control the train, meets a ghost hobo who tries to teach him morals, and ends up in the North Pole coming face to face with Santa Claus.

Why it’s Great: This is a cute kid’s movie. Tom Hanks is pretty amazing at how he plays almost every character in the film. The kids are cute, especially the geeky, know-it-all tattletale. He makes me laugh. It has a good message of faith, believing, leading, etc. It also has a couple great songs: The Polar Express and When Christmas Comes to Town. It does have a few problems though. Mainly it suffers from the same issues all small picture book film adaptions face, extra content to fill the time block. There are a lot  of unnecessary songs, characters, and scenes; that if they had been culled would have resulted in a stronger film. But on the whole it is a cute, family, Christmas film.

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23) Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

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The sequel to Home Alone (see #2 on the list). Home Alone 2 has Kevin McCallister once again finding himself spending Christmas on his own, but this time he’s in New York! How did this happen? Well this year instead of going to France, the McCallister clan is heading to Florida. Once again they find themselves running late to the airport (but this time being sure they have Kevin) and have to run to catch their flight. Kevin stops for a moment to get batteries out of his dad’s bag and accidentally follows the wrong man onto a plane to New York City. He starts living it large at the Plaza and using all his dad’s credit cards and cash (as he has his bag). Everything goes well, until he runs into the two thieves he harassed the year before and sent to prison. They come after him, but luckily he has rigged his uncle’s townhouse into one giant trap.

Why it’s Great: I have to say how he gets alone again was done really clever. The scenes of him just spending the dough and buying pizza, ice-cream, going on huge toy shopping trips, etc is fantastic. That was all the things that kids wished they could be able to do. Tim Curry plays the hotel manager who notices the lack of an adult and is awesome in being evil and trying to trip Kevin up. Unfortunately, the second half the film falls a little flat. I mean what are the odds of the thieves running into Kevin in New York City? There are a gajillion people who live there. Also the traps aren’t as clever as in the original film. It wasn’t nearly as great as the original, but still one fun holiday film.

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22) Elf (2003)

Go here to see who you are

Go here to see who you are

One Christmas a baby boy accidentally gets on to Santa Claus’ sled and is transported to the North Pole. One of the elves adopts him and raises him as his own child, naming him Buddy. One day, Buddy overhears some elves mention he is a human. He goes to his elf father and discovers the story of his adoption. They tell him who is real father is, and Buddy travels to New York City to meet him. When he firsts meets his father Walter Hobbs (James Caan), Walter doesn’t believe Buddy’s story to be true. After a DNA test confirms it, Buddy is introduced to the family. Buddy befriends his stepmother, stepbrother, and makes new friends. However, he doesn’t fit in well with “humans” and after an argument with his dad, decides to return to the North Pole. On his way he runs into Santa who is having trouble using his sleigh and magic as people don’t believe in him anymore. Now Buddy has a bigger problem to solve. How can he save Santa?

Why it’s Great: Now let me say that I am not that big a fan of Will Ferrell. I only like a few of his films, and this is one of those. The story is silly, but the reason it works is that Ferrell goes all in to the character of Buddy. Unlike everyone I know, I do not watch it over and over, but I do think it is definitely worth checking out and viewing around the holidays. And I do have to agree that I am as crazy about Christmas as Buddy.

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21) Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

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Dr. Seuss’ beloved book finds itself heading to the big screen with Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Jim Carrey plays the Grinch, the beloved grump who hates the Whos and hates Christmas. He terrorizes Whoville, and all are afraid of him. Except one girl, Cindy Lou Who. Cindy Lou is eager to find out all she can about the Grinch and why he is the way he is. She discovers his sad childhood and decides making him the Holiday Cheermister will repair everything. When her idea has disastrous results, the Grinch decides to head down to Whoville and steal Christmas.

Why it’s Great: Jim Carrey really is the only reason why the film is great. Like The Polar Express, it suffers from being stuffed with extra scenes, characters, and things not needed in order to fill the time block. And I absolutely hate the song “Where Are You Christmas?” But as I said, Jim Carrey is a great Grinch. His makeup is amazing, I mean look at him! He’s looks just like the illustration. The backstory of why he is mean loses ground, but the film really picks up once he starts stealing Christmas. I love how they illustrate the song and copy the scenes from the original film. It’s worth watching the film to see that scene. It may not be as great as the Boris Karloff version, but it is still a fun Christmas film.

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20) The Santa Clause 2 (2002)

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This is the sequel to The Santa Clause (see below #6). Eight years has passed since the original film and Scott Calvin, AKA Santa Claus, has just discovered that if he is to remain being Santa Claus he has to have a Mrs. Claus. Scott also discovers that Charlie has been having a lot of problems and and acting up. So the elves create a robot Santa to fill in for him, and Scott heads back home. He stays with his ex-wife’s family, trying to reach Charlie, and becoming an uncle figure to Charlie’s sister Lucy. When talking to Charlie’s principal he finds himself falling for her, but will she believe him and go with him back to the North Pole? Also, while Scott has been gone, his robo-Santa has become and evil dictator. Will Scott be able to stop him in time to save Christmas?

Why it’s Great: I like how this film deals with real issues. Charlie is having problems as he misses his father, has the stress of having to lie about his dad’s job, etc. I loved how realistic it was as this are issues a boy who’s father has to be away for his job would actually deal with. I also enjoy the scenes of Scott and Principal Carol Newman. There were real dates and actually showed them falling in love over a period of time, it wasn’t instantaneous. And the Principal’s reaction to “I’m Santa” talk was completely real. Some scenes are definitely cheesy and silly, but I have to say this is one of the better Disney sequels and one great film to watch at Christmas.

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19) The Toy That Saved Christmas (1996)

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So this film is part of the Veggietales series. Veggietales was a series of Christian films that lasted 30 mins and told two stories that were either a retelling of a bible story or had a strong biblical message. And all the characters were fruits and veggies! The Toy That Saved Christmas was the first Christmas Veggietale video and starts with a green onion, Grandpa George, telling his granddaughter Annie a Christmas story. In the Veggietown (or wherever they live), December is here which means CHRISTMAS!!! All the kids are excited. They see a commercial on TV for a new toy Buzz Saw Louie and everyone wants them. Besides having a saw, Louie talks and tells people that the true meaning of Christmas is getting stuff. This was planned by the toy factory owner as he wants to sell more toys. When more Louies are being made, something happens to one, and it comes to life. It starts to wonder if getting stuff is the true meaning of Christmas. Louie escapes from the factory and gets stuck in the snow. The next day Bob the tomato, Larry the cucumber, and Junior the asparagus all go sledding and come upon the toy. They also run into Grandpa George who tells them the true meaning of Christmas. After the hear the message they want to tell the world the good news? But how? They get the idea to use the factory owner’s equipment and make a commercial. Will their plan work? Will everyone get to know the true meaning of Christmas?

Why it’s Great: It is an incredibly funny and adorable film. This is one that my family has to watch every year. Besides the comedy, adventure, and fun it also has a lot of great songs. One of my favorites is Can’t Believe It’s Christmas! as it truly captures being a kid excited about the holiday. And then there is the hilarious silly song Oh Santa!If you don’t watch the film at least check out that song.

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18) Lady and the Tramp (1955)

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The classic story of a rich girl who meets a boy from the wrong side of the tracks with one major difference-dogs! Lady is a cocker spaniel is a Christmas gift to “Darling” by her husband Jim “Dear”. She grows up in the household, becoming a real “Lady”. Everything changes when Darling gets pregnant. With a baby coming Lady is unsure of what her life will be like. The baby comes and Lady realizes that she loves him as much as her other masters. Things seem to be great until Darling and Jim Dear have to go away on business. Jim Dear’s Aunt Sarah comes to watch the baby, and brings along her two siamese cats that cause problems for Lady, and gets her a muzzle. Lady embarrassed, scared, and confused; runs away and straight into a mutt, Tramp, from the other side of town. He not only frees her, but the two have a romantic dinner, a moonlit walk in the park, etc. However, when the Tramp gets Lady to chase chickens, she winds up being sent to the dog pound. There she hears all about Tramp’s sordid past. She is freed from the pound but chained up outside by Aunt Sarah. The Tramp visits to apologize, but Lady won’t hear anything. Then a rat tries to get into the nursery. Will Lady be able to save the baby? Will Lady and the Tramp get back together?

Why it’s Great: It is an old story that has been done before, but the choice of dogs is great. I love how the dog thinks Jim Dear and Darling are their real names as that is only what she hears, and there are also some great dogisms. The We Are Siamese song is really catchy and the pasta scene is just adorable. This film actually has two Christmases in it; one when Lady is first introduced, and the second at the end of the film. Making this a great film to see round the holidays or any time of the year.

For more on Lady and the Tramp, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines

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17) Chasing Christmas (2005)

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This abcFamily film, part of the 25 Days ’til Christmas countdown, tells the story of A Christmas Carol in a completely new way. Jack Cameron is a modern day Scrooge. He caught his wife with another man at his daughter’s Christmas play. Not only is the marriage over, but so is his love for Christmas and Christmas spirit. At the Bureau of Yuletide Affairs (BYA) the company is reviewing which holiday grumps need a little Dickens spirit. He assigns Christmas Past (Leslie Jordan) and Present (Andrea Roth) to take care of him. Past has started to become disgruntled with life. Every year it is the same thing over and over again. So he decides to do something about it. After taking Jack to his childhood in the ’60s he knocks him out and takes off. Present is then sent back to catch Past and help Jack find his Christmas spirit. As they travel through time Jack discovers a lot about himself and his family. When they reach the ’70s, they accidentally break their time machine and are desperate to find Past in order to get back to the future. Will they ever catch up to Christmas Past? Or are they doomed to stay in the ’70s? And more importantly, will  they be able to save Jack’s love of Christmas?

Why it’s Great: The twist on the classic is extremely hilarious, fun, and adorable. In fact, the film is almost a parody of all the films and TV episodes that rip of Dickens’ work. The characters are lovable as you have the sarcastic, unhappy, stick-in-a-rut Past that wants to relive the good times instead of just visiting. Then there is Jack, the average guy who gets pulled into this adventure and really starts having a great time.  Then there is Present, who knows nothing about the past and has to educated by Jack. This is actually pretty adorable, as it awakens his love for different things as he explains why they are important or special. A truly great film, loosely based on one great book.

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16) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

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The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer started out as a short poem, then transformed into the hit song, and ultimately (like everything) found its way into film. Rudolph is the son of Santa’s flying Reindeer Donner. Everyone bullies him and doesn’t want him around because he has a blinking, red nose. Rudolph ends up not being able to deal with it and runs away, hoping to find a place for misfits. As he heads out, he runs into an elf named Hermy. Hermy is also a misfit as he doesn’t want to make toys, sing carols, or other elf-y things; he wants to be a dentist. As the two journey out they run into a miner named Yukon Cornelius, hunting for silver and gold, who joins up with them. They have to fight the Abominable Snow Monster, when running from him they hitch a ride on ice and end up on the Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph, conscious that his nose almost got them attacked by Abominable, he takes off on his own. He later returns home to find that his family has been captured by the Abominable Snow Monster while searching for him. It’s up to the team to save them from the monster. Everything seems like it is going to be a great Christmas until the fog rolls in and Santa won’t be able to see where he is flying. That is until Rudolph steps up to the plate.

Why it’s Great: My earliest memory of this cartoon was when I was three years old. My family was visiting my aunt’s house, and being kids, us cousins were running around everywhere. I ran smack into my cousin Sean, and began bawling. I was bruised, so I did have a reason to be sad, but I wouldn’t stop crying. I kept going and going, until my mom told me that I could watch Rudolph if I stopped crying. I stopped immediately. My favorite character as a kid actually wasn’t Rudolph. I loved Yukon as I thought he was hilarious and I loved Hermy as I too wanted to be a dentist (which everyone thought was weird). Watching it as an adult, I still love it. Happy Anniversary Rudolph! Here’s to another 50 years!

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15) Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too (1991)

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It’s Christmas time at the Hundred Acre Woods and Christopher Robin is writing a letter to Santa Claus. As he is finishing the letter, asking for a sled big enough for him and a friend, he asks each one of his friends what they want for Christmas. Rabbit needs a new fly swatter; Tigger a snowshoe for his tail; Eeyore an umbrella to keep snow off his house; and Piglet asks for whatever Santa wants to give him. Christopher Robin sends his letter off into the wind and to Santa. The next day, Christmas Eve, Winnie-the-Pooh is drawing his Christmas tree on the wall when Piglet comes in and tells him that Pooh forgot to ask Santa for something. They chase after the letter, find it, and take it to Rabbit’s house to add on Pooh’s request for honey. As they are doing that everyone asks for an upgraded present: Rabbit a super bug sprayer, Tigger a special bouncing boot, and Eeyore a mobile home. They send the letter out, but when Pooh gets home a southern wind has sent the letter the same way. Pooh and Piglet don’t want Christmas ruined so they set out to fix everything. They try to create the gifts asked, suit up, and head out. Will their homemade gifts work? Will Christmas be ruined? Or will everything turn out just right?

Why it’s Great: First of all it’s Winnie-the-Pooh. Secondly, the story is amazingly sweet. Once Pooh realizes that Christmas might be ruined, he tries to do everything in his power to make it right. A great story of friendship, love, and Christmas!

For more on Winnie the Pooh, go to Heartbreak Hotel

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14) Christmas Every Day (1996)

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Billy hates Christmas! For him it is always the worst day of the year and this one is no different. It starts off with him tripping, his uncle coming to visit and crashing into the garage, the pies burn, he misses his basketball shot, he loses the jellybean thousand dollar contest, messes up the Christmas pageant, and gets socked in the eye. To top it off, his uncle is bringing his monster conglomerate store, Value Mart to town, and will be putting all the smaller businesses, (including his dad’s store) out of business. Billy sarcastically wishes it was Christmas everyday, and gets his wish granted. At first he is in denial, then he makes it the most selfish Christmas, then tries to make it the most unselfish Christmas, but still remains stuck in the day. After he has been going through all those days, he finally stops thinking about himself, but tries to make it the best Christmas for his friends and family. Will it be the best? Will he finally get to December 26th? Will he be able to stop his uncle from bringing in his Value Mart?

Why it’s Great: My sister and I loved this movie so much. We would watch it every year on the 25 Days ’til Christmas until they stopped showing it. I just rewatched it a week ago and love it as much now as I did then. I thought Billy was pretty realistic in how he dealt with being stuck in Christmas, sort of the preteen version of Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day. He gets over his Christmas hate much quicker than in Groundhog’s Day, but he is a kid and hasn’t been jaded as long. The best part, of course, is the fact how Billy learns from his past mistakes, and ultimately does create the best Christmas for himself and everyone.

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13) Batman Returns (1992)

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The Joker may be gone, but Batman is back to the big screen in his film Batman Returns. It’s Christmas time in Gotham, but even though it is supposed to be a time of good cheer, crime still abounds in the city. Oswald Cobblepot (Danny DeVito), who as a baby was thrown down the sewers by his rich parents because of his deformity only to be saved and raised by penguins, has returned 33 years later as the Penguin and leader of the Red Triangle Circus Gang. He kidnaps businessman, Max Shreck (played by Christopher Walken) and blackmails him about his dirty business dealings into making the Penguin a citizen of Gotham. Shreck agrees and promises to do even better, promising to make the Penguin mayor. Shreck has some plans he wants to put in motion, but knows the current mayor would not approve. Unfortunately, Shreck’s secretary, meek Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) has discovered them. Shreck does the only thing he thinks he can do, he kills her by throwing her out the window. Unbeknownst to him, Selina is revived by nine cats and granted “9 lives.” She goes home having fully transformed in her personality, creating a black leather outfit, and becoming Catwoman. She returns to work for Shreck, planning on destroying him when he least expects it, and runs into Bruce Wayne. The two begin dating, while at night their alter egos begin fighting. The penguin and Catwoman team up to destroy Batman. They sully his reputation, but Batman is able to outwit the Penguin and disgrace him. Upset, the Penguin renounces humanity and kidnaps the first sons of all the wealthy families of Gotham during Shreck’s annual Christmas party. Bruce takes Selina as his date to the party and the two discover that they are Batman and Catwoman. What does this mean to their relationship? Will Batman be able to stop the Penguin? Will Catwoman get her revenge?

Why it’s Great: So Christmas does play a role in this film as a little more than a backdrop. There is a line about mistletoe that is the key in discovering each other’s identities. When Batman and Catwoman are fighting the first time Batman says, “You know, mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.” In which Catwoman replies, “But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.” When Bruce and Selina are at the party, Selina tells Bruce ,“You know, mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.” In which Bruce replies, “But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.” But that’s not the reason why I like this film. First of all Michael Keaton has to be my favorite Batman, he just gets the stoic and serious, along with debonair and slightly fun side correct. I mean out of all the actors I think he captured the duality of Batman’s character the most. Then we have Michelle Pfeiffer who has been the best Catwoman to date. Morally ambiguous, vengeful, focused on her goals, but still having a heart of gold. No one could have played her better. Plus Christopher Walken as the bad guy? Perfect. The only thing I don’t like is that the Penguin was much sillier than I would have had him be. Danny DeVito did a great job and he looked great, but a lot of his lines and obsession with birds of all kinds were just a bit too silly. Otherwise, this is one great film to watch anytime.

For more on Batman Returns, go to Fanning All Over the Place

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12) The Year Without a Santa Claus (1975)

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Santa Claus is sick and tired, and has decided that he does not want to do Christmas anymore. After all, no one believes in him anymore. Mrs. Claus is determined to prove Santa wrong and sends out two elves, Jingle and Jangle. The two get into some scrapes and end up in Southtown, USA. Their mistakes cause Santa to come down and try and help out. The two elves and a small Southtown boy, Ignatius, end up getting the Mayor to agree to giving Santa a holiday, only if it snows in Southtown. The chance of that happening, -100%. The elves go to Snow Miser, but he it isn’t his territory and he can’t do it unless his stepbrother Heat Miser agrees. Heat Miser will only let them, IF he gets the North Pole. Something that Snow Miser will never give up. Will they be able to get the two to compromise? Will Santa get his holiday? Will we have a year without Santa Claus?

Why it’s Great: This is a cute film that tries to revitalize the Christmas spirit. It has some great numbers like the Miser Brothers’ SongI Believe in Santa Claus, I’ll Have a Blue Christmas, and Here Comes Santa Claus. A cute film that old and young will love.

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11) The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow (1975)

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In The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow, Lucas a shepherd boy is blinded by lightening. Nearby is the nunnery, who takes in the orphan boy. He befriends a girl Lisa, who helps him. Sister Theresa, one of the nuns, takes care of Lucas, even describing the snow that wishes would come. Lucas is chosen to be an angel in the play, and as it starts snowing, a Christmas miracle occurs. The snow falls in Lucas’ eyes and grant him back his sight. He remains with the nuns and the priest, finally having a family.

Why it’s Great: This is a cute and cuddly Christmas film with great songs. You’ll enjoy this half hour production, along with their version of White Christmas and The First White Christmas. It is a great addition to your Christmas lineup.

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10) Borrowed Hearts (1997)

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Sam Field is a millionaire who is trying to negotiate the biggest deal of his life with Javier Del Campo. The only problem, Del Campo only likes to do business with family-orientated people, and Sam is a confirmed bachelor. He hires a family to pretend to be his, but that doesn’t work out very well, and he is unsure of what to do. Enter Kathleen, single mother and worker at Sam’s plant. She is trying to save up money to buy a house, but so far does not have as much as she needs. A chance meeting, winds up with Kathleen and her daughter Zooey pretending to be his family for a few days, which expands into weeks as Del Campo wants to spend Christmas with the Fields. As they spend more time together; Sam, Kathleen, and Zooey all learn more about family and learning to love again.

Why it’s Great: I love this film sooooo much. It’s one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. I will not go to far into it, as I have written a separate blog post on it that you should check out.

For more on Borrowed Hearts, go to On the 9th Day ‘Til Christmas: Borrowed Hearts (1997)

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9) Rise of the Guardians (2012)

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In Rise of the Guardians, Jack Frost (played by Chris Pine), is created in the depths of a pond and suffers from amnesia. He doesn’t know how or why he was created, but just goes around having fun. One day Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin) discovers that the Boogeyman Pitch, has returned and notifies the other Guardians: Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), Australian Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the Sandman. They learn that their creator, the Man in the Moon, has chosen Jack Frost to join them as a Guardian of Children. Pitch goes about trying to destroy the children’s beliefs in these characters, and attacks the Tooth Fairy’s home, stealing her helpers. The other Guardians pitch in to help her out, doing the same for the Easter Bunny. Will they be able to defeat the Pitch? Will Jack finally learn who he is and why he was chosen? Will they secure the children’s belief in Jack Frost, Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman?

Why it’s Great: When the film first came out, I thought it would be really dumb, but then I saw it and loved it. It is funny, cute, sweet, everything you’d want in a family film. The characters are amazing and just perfect as they bring your childhood to life. I just love this film and could watch it over and over.

For more on Rise of the Guardians, go to Dreaming of the Sandman 

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8) Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

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It tells the story of the Robinson family, (they are Swiss), who are traveling to New Guniea but end up getting stuck in a storm, abandoned, and stranded on their broken ship. They pack up every bit of supplies they can and travel to the nearest place, a little island. The family consists of the father, mother, and three boys; Fritz (my fav the cute one), Ernst (the smart one), and Francis (the baby). The family creates a tree house and lives on the island going through many adventures; dealing with wild animals, saving a young teen, fighting pirates, etc.

Why it’s Great: This was a favorite of mine as a kid, although more beloved by my sister than me. It has everything you could want: action, adventure, pirates, etc. Plus, like Supernatural, you have your pick of which brother to chose from. Do you like a brawny man of action? Or are you more interested in a thinker and planner? And let’s not forget their amazing treehouse. I wanted one like it so bad growing up. It used to be in Disneyland, but they replaced it with Tarzan. And yes, this film does have Christmas in it. The Robinson family has sent out Ernst and Fritz to explore the island, and are sad that they won’t all be together for Christmas. The boys surprise them with a zebra for Francis, and a rescued hostage. It is classic Disney at its best, and a worthwhile checkout any time of the year.

For more on the Swiss Family Robinson, go to Snakes on a Post: Chinese New Year

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7) Jingle All the Way

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Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a workaholic. His wife and child are very upset with him, and the only way he can get back in their good graces is to pick up a Turbo-Man doll. Only problem is, EVERYONE wants one and EVERYONE is sold out. This causes him to go on one crazy adventure involving a faux toy factory, a postal postman, a mall doing a Hunger Games to sell off their remaining doll, battling a reindeer, storming a radio station, bombs, fistfights, etc. Howard even goes as far as replacing Turbo-Man in the Christmas parade in order to try to get a doll. Will he be able to do it? Will his family be reunited for Christmas?

Why it’s Great:  This movie is so freakin’ hilarious. I just love it so much. All the crazy things that happen to Howard as he tries to achieve success in his quest to get the doll. And that end fight scene is just great. A true holiday classic that I watch every year I can.

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6) The Santa Clause

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Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is a self-absorbed and selfish toy designer. This Christmas Eve he gets to have his son spend the holiday with him, while his ex-wife and her husband celebrate elsewhere. Of course he is not only extremely late (too much partying at the office), but he burns their Christmas Eve dinner. Things are not going as planned. That night Charlie hears something, and the two go out to investigate, surprising Santa and causing him to fall off the roof! Scott puts on the suit, and the two go out to deliver the gifts. After the deed is done, Scott discovers that when he put on the suit he entered a clause, that is a decree, making him the new Santa. He doesn’t believe it, but as the year passes, his body starts to become more Santa-like. Will he have enough faith to become Santa? Will he be able to change his ways so he can be more like Santa?

Why it’s Great: Like Borrowed Hearts I have done a post on this, so I’m not going to talk too much aout it. It is a truly hilarious movie with some truly memorable lines and scenes. I love this movie so much that I don’t even always wait for Christmas to watch it. Defintely worth seeing again and again.

For more on The Santa Clause, go to On the 11 Day ‘Til Christmas: The Santa Clause (1994)

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4) Christmas With the Kranks (2004)

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Based on the John Grisham novel, Christmas with the Kranks shows how one can never truly skip Christmas. After Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) discover that their beloved daughter Blair won’t be coming home for Christmas, they decide to forget it entirely. No decorations, no Christmas cards, no Christmas party, no Christmas tree, zip. Instead, the two will go on a lovely cruise. It starts out a great plan, until they start getting upsetting calls from the neighbors who want to win the best decorated street contest; tickets from policemen who are used to them buying multiple calendars, charities who expect their yearly donation, etc. As they are getting ready to go on Christmas Eve, they get a call from Blair who is surprising them by flying home-with a fiancé. They have to rely on their neighbors for help in making this the greatest Christmas ever.

Why it’s Great: I just realized that this is the third Tim Allen movie on this list. Guess it was a good thing I decided to save Toy Story for another time, or else there would be four. Anyways this is just a hilarious film, from beginning to end. Grisham is a true master and the actors really bring his work to life. This is a truly great addition to you Christmas lineup as it is funny, heartwarming, and covers the true meaning of Christmas.

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3) Goodfellas (1990)

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A film based on the real life of gangster turned FBI witness, Henry Hill. Half-Italian, half-Irish; Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) has always wanted to be a gangster. He is taken under the wing of mob-boss Paul “Paulie” Cicero, to work under James “Jimmy the Gent” Conway (Robert De Niro) alongside Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). The trio hijack cars, commit insurance fraud, and the famous 1967 Air France Robbery. They spend most of their time at the Copacabana, hanging out with women. Hill meets Karen, Jewish and upper class, and the two eventually marry. At first Karen is alarmed at Hill’s lifestyle, but eventually becomes enamored with the perks. They continue to live the criminal lifestyle, ultimately having to serve a stint in prison. There Hill discovers how “real” money can be made in drugs, and his life starts to take some real twists and turns.

Why it’s Great: Now this film isn’t for everyone, but if you are a fan of the gangster genre then you need to check this out. It covers the life of Hill pretty accurately, and of course the actors they chose are just amazing-De Niro, Liotta, & Pesci. In fact if this wasn’t a Christmas list countdown, I probably would have it even higher. And for the Christmas part of the film, well this is no Christmas film but the holiday does play into a crucial part of the film. My friends and I used to have “gangster film and spaghetti” parties, with this one always being one of the main courses.

For more on Goodfellas, go to Sucky Sequels: Mean Girls 2 (2011)

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2) Home Alone (1990)

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Kevin McCallister’s whole family is getting ready to fly to Paris for Christmas, spending the holidays with his uncle and aunt. The night before they leave, Kevin is punished (unfairly) to sleep up in the attic by himself, where he makes a wish that his family would just disappear. When a tree limb crashes on the powerline, the McCallister’s find themselves waking up late and rushing out the door to the airport, in order to catch their plane. And…completely forgetting Kevin. At first being home alone is just fun and games, but when two robbers try to get into his house, Kevin finds himself defending it, in very imaginative ways.

Why it’s Great: This movie became so popular, almost every family pic after it tried to recreate it’s success. It is funny, memorable, and the scenes where Kevin is just wolfing down junk food was every kid’s dream. It is one fantastic movie, great for Christmas or anytime you want a laugh.

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1) Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970)

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In Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, postman Special Delivery Klugman (Fred Astaire) is prepared to answer all questions about Santa Claus. In Sombertown, the Burgermeister Meisterburger discovers a baby on his doorstep, with a tag saying Claus. He sends one of his stooges to take the baby to the orphanage, but a wind blows the baby away. The forest creatures take the baby to the elf family Kringle, where he is raised as one of their own, Kris Kringle. The Kringles used to be toymakers for the King, but an evil man, the Winter Warlock, keeps them from continuing this tradition. Kris resolves that when he is old enough, he will brave the forest and Warlock, in order to give their toys to the children in the nearby town. He manages to slip the Warlock and heads to the town. Unbeknownst to Kris, toys are outlawed in Sombertown. He meets the school teacher, Jessica, and convinces them all to take toys. Kris almost gets arrested, but runs away, only to be captured by the Winter Warlock. When he gives the Warlock a gift, it melts his icy heart and removes his evil. Winter Warlock teaches Kris a few tricks, like magic snowballs that allow you to watch anyone. Kris keeps coming back and giving more toys, first handing them out to kids, then leaving them at night, lastly putting them in the children’s stockings. The Burgermeister Meisterburger lays a trap and catches Kris. In order to free him, Jessica gets the Winter Warlock to give reindeer his flying corn, and thus Kris’ eight flying reindeer were born. Jessica and Kris get married and move to the North Pole, Kris reverting to his given name of Claus.

Why it’s Great: This film is absolutely adorable and Christmas is never the same without at least one viewing of this film.

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Merry Christmas All!

ChristmasfromJaneAusten

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For more on Christmas, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

For more on Christmas movies, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more quizzes, go to Simply Fantastic

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Dreaming of the Sandman