Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol

I’ve heard of Christmas in July, but Christmas in April?

What?

Oh well!

So I have fallen behind with my posts, but as you know I started a book club last year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. So at the time it was my turn it was Christmas.

And you know how much I love Christmas

So what better book to read then, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens? My favorite book to read at Christmastime!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This won’t be a long post as I talked about it two years ago during my 30-day book challenge (which I never finished. Oops!)

I love this book so much. I’m not sure what else I could add. I love the history of it and how it changed the world by opening peoples’ hearts and creating reforms to help the poor; along with the Bank Holiday act in 1871, making Christmas an official day of rest. 19 years later, every state in America had adopted the same practice.

“I have endeavoured[sic], in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour[sic] with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”
Their faithful friend and Servant,
CD. [Charles Dickens]

I love how Dicken’s describes the sins of greed, pride, and selfishness:

“I wear the chain I forged in Life,’ replied the Ghost [Marley]. ‘I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on, of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it…’Or would you know,’ pursued the Ghost, ‘the weight and length of the strong coil you wear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured[sic] on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!”

A good warning to a of us.

And how they describe Scrooge’s old boss Fezziwig. Unlike Scrooge, Fezziwig always liked to treat his clerks right; he may have only gave a little, but he understood the true meaning of Christmas. To give.

“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome: a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up-what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great, as if it cost a fortune.”

And of course Christmas present:

How he spreads cheer everywhere.

And of course, Christmas-Yet-to-Come:

The redemption of Scrooge and the all-around happiness of the book. Just a fantastic and inspiring story:

“And as Tiny Tim observed,

God Bless Us Every One!”

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Common Life, The Wedding Story

For more on A Christmas Carol, go to You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

For more Charles Dickens, go to You Know Me So Well

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

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I Won’t Let You Get Away: Holiday Inn (1942)

Most Romantic Moment #10

Holiday Inn (1942)

My mom grew up seeing this movie at Christmastime and one year she found it on DVD and bout it for the family. Now my Christmas is not complete unless I watch it. I love the music, the actors, and the story.

Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) plays a burnt out singer and moves to Connecticut to buy a country home and live a simple life.

It soon becomes too much for him and he turns it into a hotel, open only on holidays. (Sounds like my type of place).

Wannabe star Linda Mason starts to work for him and the two fall in love.

Unfortunately, Crosby’s old partner and womanizer, Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire), comes back into the picture and tries to break up the two. It involves a lot of zany romance and comical moments.

Most Romantic Moment: I Won’t Let You Get Away

**Spoiler Alert**

So Jim tried to outsmart Ted and be sure that Linda wouldn’t fall for his charms, but it backfires and Linda is angry with him, taking off with Ted to make a movie in Hollywood about the Inn.

Jim knows that Ted is quite the charmer and it won’t be long until he dances his way into her heart. It’s all over.

Until Mamie, Jim’s housekeeper, convinces tells him he shouldn’t give up. That’s the kick in the pants that Jim needs and he flies out to Hollywood to get his girl. Despite her having been hurt and currently engaged to Ted.

Even though chances are slim, Jim goes after his girl-determined for her to know and see how much he cares. And that he’s not letting her get away. And in the end her gets his girl, as that was all she wanted.

To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

For the previous post, go to I Made You A Bummed Out Box: Gone Glitter Part I, Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse (2012)

For more Holiday Inn, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more Bing Crosby, go to Trek the Halls with Bones and Scotty

For more Fred Astaire, go to Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to The Power of Love: Romance is in the Air, Part VI

I Want to Recreate Your Perfect Christmas: Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)

Romantic Moment #3

Holiday in Handcuffs (2007) 

I remember when this movie first aired during abc family‘s 25 Days of Christmas. It has Melissa Joan Hart who I had loved watching in Clarissa Explains it All and Sabrina the Teenaged Witch.

And it had Mario Lopez from one of my favorite shows growing up, Saved by the Bell. 

So of course I had to see it. It wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be, but still good.

So Trudy is having a rough time. Her boyfriend dumped her on the day they were supposed to go away for her family’s big Christmas getaway.

Her hair had a major accident and is not only fried, but in ugly curls.

Misses an important job interview:

And she lost her job.

Meanwhile, David has just arrived to propose to his girlfriend. Trudy has a complete breakdown, snaps, and kidnaps David to have him be her “boyfriend.”

This big getaway has all the keys and phones locked up, so David has no way to get help or to explain to his girlfriend why he stood her up. At first he tries to leave, but then decides to get into the spirit and outshow Trudy.

However, the two actually spend a lot of time talking and getting to know each other-enjoying each other’s company.

Will they work things out to be friends…or more? Or will Trudy be spending the rest of her days in a jail cell?

Most Romantic Moment: Bringing Your Favorite Memory Back

So during one of their heart-to-hearts talks, Trudy shares about her perfect Christmas. One year she was supposed to be in an ice-skating performance and it was canceled because of snow. She was so disappointed, that her father sprayed water over the patio, icing it up and decorated the whole area with lights so she could perform for them there.

Aw!

As this Christmas has pretty much sucked for Trudy, and seeing how her parents treat her, David decides to do something really special, a Christmas surprise. He has recreated her perfect Christmas!  He sprayed the patio so it was icy, and put lights up everywhere; and asks her to show him her ice-skating routine.

So sweet!

I mean here he is-kidnapped, taken away from proposing to his girlfriend, living a lie-yet he recognizes the hurt Trudy has and wants to help her. So romantic!

To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

For the previous post, go to Please Accept My A-POEM-ogy: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

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For more on Holiday in Handcuffs, go to On the 8th Day ‘Til Christmas: Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)

For more on Melissa Joan Hart, go to Portrait of a Fangirl

For more on Mario Lopez, go to A Study in Fandoms

You Know Me So Well

So Christmas has come and gone:

And I don’t know about you all, but I got just what I wanted:

Yes! You know how I love tea!!!

And this!

Sweet!! You know me, Jane is the best-anywhere and anytime

And then the cherry on top!

That’s awesome

So I had one fantastic Christmas! I hope you all did as well!

For more on tea, go to You Know You Really Love Tea When…

For more on Jane Austen, go to All I Want for Christmas

For more Back to the Future, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

All I Want for Christmas

Hmm…what do I want for Christmas?

After all what makes the best gift?

I hope you all get everything you desire under the tree

Merry Christmas!

For more Christmas posts, go to Trek the Halls with Bones and Scotty

For more book-filled posts, go to Magic in Books

Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

Thoughts Before Cooking:

This recipe comes from my sister blog, MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. I like to include ay recipes that go well with tea and books.

Even though Christmas is eight months away, I don’t care. I’m making them anyway.

Truth be told I don’t

Background on the Cookie:

“These delicious tea cakes were made by an Aunt Cornelia (“Neal) on special occasions and holidays, using hand-churned butter and eggs she gathered from the hen-house. This southern Georgia version dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. “

**Dough has to be chilled**

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup of Granulated (White) Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • White Sparkling Sugar

Directions:

  1. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add one cup of sugar, beating well.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla; beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl: combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture and the milk to butter mixture, alternating between the two. Begin with adding half the flour mixture, then add the milk, and finish with adding the flour mixture.
  6. Mix at a low speed after each addition, until just blended.
  7. Shape dough into two discs.
  8. Wrap the discs in wax paper and chill for at least one hour.
  9. After having chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  10. Roll each disc to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface.
  11. Cut with a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter; and place one inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
  12. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
  13. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  14. Cool for one minute and then remove to wore racks to cool.
  15. Makes about two dozen.

Thoughts After Baking:

When I took it out of the fridge it was super hard and I was unsure if it would come out okay.

Not good

But after being in my hands it quickly became super sticky, so make sure you flour the rolling pin and the cutting board.

But after all that this cookies were super good. Not too sweet and perfect for tea time.

For more recipes, go to Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

For more on cookies, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

So it has been a while since I reviewed the first episode for Horrorfest V. I had meant to do it in December, but then wasn’t able to as I was so focused on the 30 Day Challenge: Literature Loves.

I was planning to do it in January, but then I was trying to finish the 30 day challenge as I was behind.

Then February came with Romance is in the Air: Part V and the evacuation; and the next thing you know it is almost April, but here we go.

So I actually enjoyed the first episode, which surprised me as I did not care for the book. In the TV show it looks like they are playing up the supernatural aspect more and trying to make it more mysterious.

I didn’t care for their portrayal of Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam, but I enjoyed the way Darcy was played.

We last left off with Elizabeth discovering a letter burned by Colonel Fitzwilliam. Will we discover what it held?

Will Wickham be put on trial for the murder of Captain Dennys?

Will the Darcy-Bennet-Bingley family stay strong or be ripped apart?

Now will my views stay the same or change?

So we start off this episode with Darcy having a tender moment with his son ad I like that they included this in the TV show instead of just shutting the children off. I know that most parents in his position and wealth didn’t spend a lot of time with their children, having them occupied with governesses and the like; but I feel like both Darcy and Elizabeth would play a bigger role in their children’s lives. I mean look at the way he treats Georgiana.

Lydia is staying with them for the ordeal and Darcy meets with the doctor who had been looking in on her, and sends him on his way. Elizabeth tries to gather the servants to deal with the situation and calm everyone down. Sadly, Mrs. Bennet is going to cause issues with her dramatics-as always- but luckily the Doctor hadn’t left yet and can deal with her exclamations.

The servants are agog and shocked at when they find out the ball is canceled, but of course they can have no such thing with what Wickham is facing.

So Wickham is being such a

All he does is go on and on about what he wants.

 I mean he is in jail for murder and all he wants is for Darcy to go to his every whim and get him a better room.

But interestingly, Wickham seems to have something on the Colonel as whatever he asks for, Colonel Fitzwilliam supplies.

Hmm…

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Wickham, a secret deal?

One things this TV show does really well, is play around with the setting. They show the grand estate, the opulence, but also how empty it is- creating a beautiful contrast. We have the beauty and decorations, showing how they should be happy for Christmas and the ball but instead faced with such horror-and each filled with loneliness.

Darcy and Elizabeth are having miscommunication issues. Elizabeth keeps trying to talk to him, but Darcy has retreated into himself and is so cold toward her.

You need to communicate with your wife, man.

Seriously

Elizabeth is completely broken hearted about everything that has been going on and thinks back to one of her early days as Mrs. Darcy and how everyone talked about her and her family. Poor Elizabeth. She now wonders if Darcy regrets marrying her, as she has tied him to the very man he cannot stand and wanted to never see again.

Henry Alveston lends them his skills as a solicitor and prepares the family for what will happen and what they should do.

Georgiana also wants to help but Col Fitzwilliam and Mr. Darcy wants to send Georgina far away to distance herself from everything, but Georgiana doesn’t want to go. Poor girl, poor Georgiana. She has gone through so much and has faced such trauma but still remains strong.

Darcy is brooding, Colonel Fitzwilliam is brooding, Henry is brooding, etc. I know I have said I love brooding men, but we have too many.

Sir Selwyn Hardcastle, the one who is investigating as Darcy is related to Wickham, returns to interview everyone about what happened that night.  Nothing seems quite right, and Sir Selwyn is on the case to solve it. He questions Lydia but she isn’t helpful at all.

Ugh!

She is an empty flowerpot-her and her mother.

Elizabeth tries to speak to Darcy about the letter she found, but he won’t even discuss it and refuses to believe that his cousin could have done anything wrong. He is closer to him than any other, of course he would believe the best.

Unfortuantely, Elizabeth did not know that her dad was sitting in the library and he has overheard the whole fight.

So embarressed

He tells her that he called for Jane, and she and Bingley will be arriving soon to aid the family.

The two then go one to laugh at Lydia and her outrageous behavior. I loved this addition as I thought it was a cute image of her and her father’s relationship and shows how much she is his favorite.

Elizabeth questions the maids who saw the “ghost” the other day as she is trying to find out more about the woman. Could it be the same one that hissed at her? Elizabeth tells Sir Selwyn about the woman, hoping it might help bring Selwyn’s view on someone else, but no dice. Sir Selwyn is focused on only one man.

Colonel Fitzwilliam sees Georgiana with Henry and doesn’t like it at all. He wants to marry her and he doesn’t trust Henry at all, even though Henry is trying to help him.

I know, right?

Jane arrives and setss out to comfort all. She tries to support Lydia, but all Lydia does is go on and on about her needs and wants. Ugh, what a jerk. She and Wickham deserve each other. Jerks flock together.

Colonel Fitzwilliam finally tells everyone  where he was when he took off that night. He says that he had a meeting with a lady who needed help with her brother and he was trying to protect her reputation. Is he telling the truth?

Hmm…

I can’t help feeling for Darcy. Poor guy- this is tearing him apart.

When they attend church all  the people can talk about is Wickham’s arrest. Lydia totally loves the drama and plays up her role of the injured wife for all to see and feel sorry for.

Ugh.

Oh come on. I really want to punch her in the face-Sidney from Scream style.

I love the minister of their church. He is hilarious! He knows that the big turnout is because they all want to gossip about the murder and isn’t above getting the little digs and letting people know that he knows what they are up to.

Elizabeth tries to hold Darcy’s hand, and get support but he breaks the hold and instead goes off with their son.

Jane and Mr. Bennet team up to take care of Mrs. Bennet and Lydia to try and shield the Darcys.

Let me just say that I love this version of their father as he is so hilarious and animated.  This Mr. Bennet is much more active and how I believe Jane Austen wrote him.

Henry tries to propose to Georgiana and I have to say I really like him and want them together. In the book he was so bland, boring, and seemed to be a good choice for the villian. He’s much better in the TV show as James Norton was just fantastic.

Elizabeth and Jane decide to visit the butler’s cabin and check on his sick son William. Darcy drives them over but remains in the carriage. As the ladies are walking over to deliver the books for William, Elizabeth spies Louisa with her baby nephew George that she brought back from her sisters. But to Elizabeth’s shock she sees Louisa os nursing the baby!

You know what that means. The baby George is actually her child. But why the pretense? Why won’t the father help her take care of him? Who is the father?

The two cut their visit short as something not right-besides Louisa being the real mother-the air is thick with tension. As they leave, Will creepily stares at them through the window.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

When they get back to the carriage, it turns out that Darcy has now disappeared. Jane goes into the cariage while Elizabeth searches the woods. Where could he be? Maybe the grave of the crazy grandfather?

Hmm…

Yep, he’s there. Of course, he doesn’t tell Elizabeth anything and she has to find out the story from Georgiana. It turns out that their great-grandfather was a gambler and almost lost Pemberely. Darcy is afraid, has been afraid since a boy that he will be the Darcy to lose everything. His proposal makes a lot more sense now doesn’t it?

Elizabeth understands her husband more than ever and why duty is so important to him. And knowing this causes her heart to break even more. She reveals to Jane that she is afraid that Darcy regrets her, regrets everything, that they embarrass him. The cold way he acts, how he is shutting her out-it is killing her.

Stress, shame, scandal- it is all too overpowering.

Darcy goes to visit Wickham in his cell, and this is not fun or pleasant. Darcy thinks back to when he forced Wickham to marry Lydia, that was ot pleasant either. Wickham is so evil! He doesn’t care about anyone or anything other than himself. He didn’t care a twig about Lydia, he already has the price prepared to which he can be bought off. Sock him in the face please, someone.

We need a modern adaption where someone knocks him in the face pleaseProm and Prejudice has a good whack in it but I want more.

I have to say that when I first saw Matthew Goode, I didn’t think he could be Wickham. Prior to this I had only seen him in Chasing Liberty, as undercover British FBI agent that is protecting the President’s daughter. But he completely blew me away in his performance. He is probably the best Wickham I have ever seen as he is just so deplorable! I mean words cannot describe how horrible and hideous this character is.

I mean he is sitting in jail about to be determined whether or not he will be tried for murder and all he can think of is being famous!

Yes, he is trying to use his “experience” to make him money. And then he has the gall to try and get money from Darcy. Slap him please.

Seriously

Darcy agrees to help if Wickham is released. Wickham assures him he will be as he did not kill his friend. But if not him, then who?

Hmm…

Lydia and Mrs. Bennet are just awful to Darcy, so Jane takes them away, hoping that she will be able to isolate the damage they will make. Let me tell you, she and Wickham are a matched set as she created her own memoirs to “cash in” on his arrest.

Ugh.

Back at the Darcy’s Colonel Fitzwilliam asks for Georgiana’s hand. Darcy is a great big brother and wants her to decide, but is very pro-Colonel. Elizabeth is extremely against it, vehemently discouraging about the Colonel’s traits. It is really odd as six years earlier, Elizabeth was thinking about marrying the Colonel herself.

As I said before, I don’t like this version of Colonel Fitzwillam. They make him act like such a jerk and nothing at all like the jovial version in Pride and Prejudice.

Sir Selwyn calls Darcy to look at some carvings he found close to the murder site. Darcy knows nothing about it but Selwyn thinks he is the one who carved the tree, a big FD for Fitwawilliam Darcy.

Louisa comes to Elizabeth and tells her the truth about the baby. She feel in love with a handsome soldier, Freddie Delancy. When she discovered she was pregnant she hid it from her parents and brother, staying with her sister until her son was born. Freddie promised her that he would take care of her, marry her, and take her and their son away from her. However, Elizabeth knows that this probably will not happen. Most likely Mr. Delancy is a fake name and has taken off.

Henry has returned and asks for Georgiana’s hand, but she turns him down. When Elizabeth goes to talk to her, Georgiana admits that she loves Henry, but must do her duty to protect Pemberley and the Darcy name. She choses Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Noooo!

Darcy heads off to the inquest, what will be the outcome?

This TV show is so much more dramatic than that dry dust of a book. I feel like I don’t know what will happen next even though I have read the book! The emotions of the scenery and the actors just sends my pulse running and has completely captured me. Good job all.

Henry goes to Darcy and offers his help again, and all I can say is good thing they know a lawyer. Such a sweet guy even though his love and dreams have been crushed- a real man.

 The inquest such a lively affair, I have never seen anything like that in present times.

Elizabeth decides to head to the inquest to speak to Darcy and take thim lunch, having Louisa accompany her.

The witnesses go on the stand and tell their stories, and it does not look good for Wickham, not at all. When Wickham takes the stand, he claims  he is innocent, but the other quickly twist and destroy his testimony. It doesn’t help that Wickham is a cocky little jerk.

What a jerk

The question comes about why he is banned from Pemberley and Darcy has to take the stand. Darcy goes up there and is a total rock, telling them all that Wickham is an affable man and not violent.

Jury sent out to consider verdict-will he go on trial or be acquitted?

Elizabeth reveals to Elizabeth that she sent off letters trying to discover the regiment that Freddie Delancy is with, but they have no record of him. Freddie does not exist, he is a liar, is missing, and most likely will not come back into Louisa’s life. Louisa is heartbroken and sets out to deliver Darcy’s food when she sees Wickham and recognizes him. He is Freddie!

The episode ends with Wickham to go on trial; shouting by all; Louisa hystrerical; and a fade to black!

THAT WAS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

It made me want to watch the next episode immediately!

So I’m still not happy with a couple of things (the way the actors portray Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam), but everything else in this TV series is just downright AMAZING! You definitely need to check it out.

For more on Death Comes to Pemberley, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Too Pretty

For more films based on Jane Austen, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Most Romantic Moment #1

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Edward Scissorhands (1990)

So I’ve been meaning to review this film for Horrorfest since October 2012, but just haven’t gotten around to it. How funny that it’s first appearance was Christmas and second Valentine’s Day.

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Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) was created by the Inventor (Vincent Price) who lives in a castle at the end of suburbia. Before he could complete Edward and give him hands, he passed away.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Edward has been living alone until he is found by Avon Lady, Peg Boggs. She decides to take him home to her house to take care of him: introducing him to her husband, son Kevin, and daughter Kim (Winona Ryder). Having lived home alone he doesn’t have a lot of social skills or understand things such as sarcasm.

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They throw a big party for the neighborhood to meet him and all like him, especially as they see his lawn trimming capabilities. He then grows from lawn work to dog grooming to hair styling.

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The only one who doesn’t care for Edward is Jim, Kim’s boyfriend. Jim wants money to buy a van for  him and Kim, but his father won’t give him any more. Jim comes up with a plan to break into his father’s house, using Edward to get in.

Not good

Not good

They do and the alarm goes off. Everyone runs away and Edward takes the blame. After that everyone shuns Edward. Everything comes to a head one Christmas. In the end will Edward be able to find love, his place, and create more art?

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Most Romantic Moment: I Did It Because You Asked Me to

So Edward gets caught in the burglary, Jim having done it on purpose, and everyone hates him and speaks badly about him.

Reality Sucks

Kim talks to him, sorry for what occurred and sorry she didn’t do anything to assist him. She is also sorry for who the house belongs to.

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But Edward reveals he knew that all along.

SayWhat

Here is a guy that understands very little of how people talk and the secret meanings we might have underneath things; such as sarcasm, often thought of like a kid. But he knew what was going on, and even though he knew, he did it anyway.

Aw!

Aw!

He would have done anything that Kim asked him to do, because he loves her.

Kim: You’re here… They didn’t hurt you, did they? [Edward shakes his headWere you scared? I tried to make Jim go back, but, you can’t make Jim do anything. Thank you for not telling them that we…

Edward: You’re welcome.

Kim: It must have been awful when they told you whose house it was.

Edward: I knew it was Jim’s house.

Kim: You… you did?

Edward: Yes.

Kim: …Well, then why’d you do it?

Edward: Because you asked me to.

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For more Edward Scissorhands, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more on Johnny Depp, go to It was a Horseman, a Dead One. Headless: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

For more Tim Burton, go to He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has A Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)

Maybe Christmas, He Thought, Doesn’t Come from a Store. Maybe Christmas…Perhaps…Means a Little Bit More: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Day 13) M is for Merry Christmas: Choose a Christmas themed book you have to read every year

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

As you know I have loved to read since an early age

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And one book I have been reading since a child, and every year around the holidays is How the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. 

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I know I have gone on and on about this book in the past, so I’m sure you think that the post will be done quickly, with just these few words…

Majorly

Majorly

You all know how obsessed I was with the book; from watching the animated film:

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To the live action film:

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To eating boxes of cereal to send away enough proofs of purchase to get a Grinch keychain.

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But why am I obsessed with it?

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The reason why I love this story, read it over and over; is that I just can not get enough of the message behind it.

The moral of the Grinch is that all can be touched by the true spirit of Christmas. Christmas is more than ribbonstags, packages, boxes or bags. It is more than the presents, trees, the dinner you feast on, candy, etc. It is about love:

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And that love surpasses all and can change any old Scrooge or Grinch into a better person.

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I have also just discovered that December 25th marks the 60th anniversary of this story. Happy Anniversary Grinch pal!

Double double yay

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to I Finally Read Moby-Dick

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For more on Dr. Seuss, go to You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

For more on How the Grinch Stole Christmas, go to Fah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze, Welcome Christmas

For more 60th anniversaries, go to Oh, Moses, Moses: Happy 60th Anniversary to The Ten Commandments

For more anniversary posts, go to Live Long & Prosper: Happy 50th Anniversary Star Trek

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So I was trying to think of a Christmas Carol that goes with the Grinch as I have already reviewed You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch and Fah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze, Welcome Christmas

But luckily there is one more song to cover…Trim Up the Tree. Short but a lot of fun!

Merry Christmas!

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For more Christmas carols, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

It’s A Hard World: Backfire (1950)

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“You’re amusing, Mr. Connolly… and hard. 

It’s a hard world.”

So like Dial 1119 (1950), this film came on the Film Noir Classic Collection, Volume 5.  Out of all the films on this set this seems to be the one everyone dislikes the most.

Whattheheck

To be honest, I just don’t get it.

Who knows!

I didn’t think it was as horrible as everyone else said. In fact I thought it was pretty good and I enjoyed it.

I like it.

I like it.

One of the reasons why many people don’t like this is because it is a bit unusual. This postwar film was written to show the hardships about G.I.s coming back into civilian life, trying to find work, etc; kind of like The Best Years of Our Lives. However the project was pushed back two years, being premiered in 1950; where that type of story wasn’t as popular. Too much and too little time had past.

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The film is also set at Christmas, being a Christmas Noir film like Lady in the Lakeand not something a lot of people enjoyed. It is supposed to be a juxtaposition between the “happiest time of the year” fused with the dark underbelly; and while you think that would be a winner, not a lot of people like it.

TwinPeaks dark henious evil

Also at this time, studio’s owned actors and actress. This meant that as an employee they couldn’t just make whatever film they wanted to, it was the decision of the head of the studio; however on the flip side they always got paid whether they were in a film or not. These actors were Edmond O’Brien, Virginia Mayo, Dane Clark, Viveca Lindfors and Richard Rober.

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So let’s talk a look shall we?

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So the film starts out with WWII veteran, Bob Corey (Gordon MacRae) recuperating in a hospital in the LA area. They never say exactly what happened but he has been undergoing several operations and had some severe psychological trauma.

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

He and his friend Steve Connolly (Edmond O’ Brien) met in the war and planned on going to California, buying a ranch, and living their days there. That was before Bob had his accident. Steve comes to visit him at the hospital, suggesting they use their money to buy a gas station while they are waiting for Bob to recover, as who knows how long it will take.

Hmm...

Hmm…

Bob says no, and Steve says fine he will try to find some other work. He tells Bob he’ll be back in a few days. But that is the last Bob hears of him.

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Bob has been worried about Steve, and his nurse and girlfriend, Julie Bensen (Virginia Mayo) tries to get him not to worry, but he just can’t stop.

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He has ten days left, and after he receives his clean bill of health he will be out searching for him.

That night he is asleep when he is visited by an Austrian beauty, Lysa (Viveca Lindfors). She tells him she is a friend of Steve’s and that he is in horrible pain. Should she end it or have him keep fighting. Bob says to wait, he will be out in ten days and can help then. The next morning, Bob can’t tell if it was real, or all a dream?

Whattheheck

On New Year’s Eve, Bob is finally released. He says good-bye to Julie as he is out to search for Steve. He hasn’t gone far when he is stopped by Captain Garcia. It turns out that Steve is wanted as he is a suspect in a murder.

Steve? A murderer?

Steve? A murderer?

It turns out that before the war Steve was involved in all kinds of underhanded things and has quite the reputation. Sully Blayne, racketeer, was murdered, shot to death.

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They think Steve is guilty, but Bob is certain that Steve wouldn’t do such a thing.

Now the film is told in the present time, with a series of flashbacks. We see Sully being killed, but the angle and lighting make it impossible for us to see who the killer is.

#4

Victim #1

Could it be Steve?

suspicious Hmm

Bob is intent on finding out what happened.

On the case

On the case

He moves into the room Steve was staying and interviews the cleaning lady. She has a flashback about how Sully would comes to see Steve many times. She gives him a card that Steve dropped. It is for a mortician.

OMG gasp

Bob heads out to the funeral home and it turns out to be Ben Arno, his old military buddy. Bob is a little weird out about the “dead” thing, but when Ben couldn’t open a nightclub, too much red tape and the bank’s didn’t feel he was a safe investment, he decided to take another route. After all:

And taxes

And taxes

We flashback to when Arno bumped into Steve. He went to a boxing match and found Steve there getting pummeled.

ouch Hermione

After the show he goes to speak to him, and finds out that Steve is getting paid good money to lose the match every day. Arno gives him is card and tries to get him to work for him, but Steve is also creeped out and says no. And that is the last Arno saw of him.

Bob goes back to the hotel and takes care of Steve’s charges that he “ran out on”. One was a phone call, and he takes the number. When he calls he reaches a women at the end and pretends to be Steve and finds out about Steve’s girlfriend Lyssa Radoff. He gets her address and heads to the house.

phone number

When he gets there he finds a note about the key, discovers its hiding place and waits. Lyssa doesn’t come, but her roommate, Bonnie, does. Bonnie tells them how Steve and Lisa first met.

Lyssa is Lou Walsh’s woman, even though she doesn’t love him.

Hate YOu

Part of her duties are singing in his club. Steve left boxing to work for Lou Walsh and as his gofer, he has to fetch Lyssa to take her to his private residence. Unlike Walsh’s other men, Steve is always polite and treats all the women (call girls) right. Lyssa begins to fall in love with Steve, and he with her.

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Bonnie starts to question Bob, and when she leaves to make coffee, Bob runs out. Shortly after Bonnie is shot, murdered by the unseen Walsh.

#4

Victim #2

Captain Garcia brings Bob and Julie in, claiming that they are messing up the investigation. He blames Bob for Bonnie’s death, telling him he should have called and given  him the phone number instead of leading the killer right to her.

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Before Garcia could continue his wringing out, they receive a call about Walsh’s wounded butler, Quong. Quong claims that he has information on Steve’s whereabouts, and everyone runs out to see him. Quong is suffering from a bullet wound, but starts to give his testimony in another flashback.

Quong didn’t buttle for Walsh, but his girl Lyssa, in the extravagant home that Walsh bought her. To keep her safe and from any other men, Walsh instituted Steve as Lyssa’s bodyguard. But this caused the two’s love to grow and grow.

Especially when you fall for a mobster's girl.

Especially when you fall for a mobster’s girl.

After Sully was killed, Walsh told them both to remain in Lyssa’s house as they would be safe there. That night Lyssa and Steve declared their love, planning on running away together. Steve leaves to go tell Walsh and he owes him for all the help he has given  him. However, unbeknownst to them, Walsh heard everything and released the parking brake, so that it rolls down  and crushes Steve.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Walsh calls a doctor to come visit and care for Steve.

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Quong was shot by Walsh, as he knew too much. The police try to get an address out of him, but it is too late. He’s dead.

#4

Victim #3

Afterwards Bob and Julie are talking about what they found out when Bob wonders why Walsh would call a doctor when he wanted Steve dead. Julie points out that he did it for Lyssa, who thought it was an accident and not attempted murder. Julie then gets an idea and calls Mrs. Blayne, Sully’s wife, to see what doctor came to check on him. She tells Julie that it is Dr. Herbert Anstead.

I-got-this-reaction-gif

Julie goes off in her nurse’s uniform and breaks into the office by telling the janitor that she is one of Anstead’s nurses. While there Anstead returns and Julie has to hide from him. Anstead is about to destroy Steve’s file, when he is interrupted by the janitor asking when he and the nurse are leaving.

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Anstead tries to find the nurse, while Julie attempts to smuggle out the file. Unfortunately she is caught by Andstead. Julie yells at Anstead telling him he will become an accessory to murder and Anstead shocked at this, locks Julie in the closet and calls Bob to let him know where Steve is. But Anstead is interrupted by Walsh, and killed.

#4

#4

Man bodies are dropping everywhere. In the words of Angels with Filthy Souls:

Don’t gimme that! You’ve been killin’ everybody! Sully, Bonnie, Quong, etc.

Bob rushes over to the address. Meanwhile Julie is let out by the janitor and calls the police, relaying the murder and the address.

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When Bob reaches the house he finds Walsh and it is none other than his old pal……………………….

Get it together!

Get it together!

Steve.

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Just kidding

So obs

So obs

It is Ben Arno.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Ben couldn’t have the nightclub as Ben, so instead he led this double life of Lou Walsh. Steve was boxing because he owed Sully money, Ben paid him off and gave him a job for him.

Bob is trying to find Steve, but Ben doesn’t believe him. He thinks that he is in love with Lyssa and trying to get her.

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Ben is obsessed with Lyssa and can be the only one who has her. He did everything he could to make her happy; clothes, jewelry, house, etc. But Lyssa doesn’t love him.

HateYou

On the night he injured Steve, he called the doctor to save him for Lyssa, as Lyssa thought it was an accident. However, when she found out there was nothing wrong with the brakes on her car she wanted to leave. But Arno didn’t want her to go and strangles her.

How quickly love turns to hate.

How quickly love turns to hate.

They say “love” can quickly turn to obsession, and when one is obsessed they will do all they can to have that person. Even kill them.

#4

Bob asks why he didn’t just kill Steve as that is the one he doesn’t like, but Arno couldn’t have him be a martyr and he needed someone to talk to about Lyssa.  Everyone else was dead. Steve doesn’t know that he killed her, he thinks she just ran off on them.

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While they are talking, Steve has very slowly walked down the stairs as his body is covered in braces. Arno is about to shoot Bob, and Steve jumps on him, saving him just in time.

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Arno gets up and Bob tells him the police are almost there, and we can currently hear the sirens. Arno tries to make a break for it, but is killed. Pretty high body count…

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In the next scene we see that Steve is alive and has recovered. He is leaving the same hospital that Bob was at. Bob and Julie pick him up and take him to their new ranch, Happy Ranch.

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I liked it. I wasn’t quite sure who Walsh was but I never thought it would be the mortician. That was a good twist.

loveitSupernatural

I liked how the theme of “backfire” played well into the character of Steve. He was always trying ti do something good and it backfired. I liked the actors, and I didn’t mind the flashbacks. I thought it was very well done.

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Plus I thought the filming was done very well. We have some great angles when hiding the identity of the killer, the shadows on the wall instead of the characters, the scene when Julie is looking for case, etc.

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It was some good watching.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to Heroes are Not Born, They’re Created: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

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For more on the Film Noir Classic Collection Volume 5, The Mad Killer: Dial 1119 (1950)

For more films told in flashbacks, go to What Have We Done to Each Other?: Gone Girl (2014)
For more Jean Froissant, go to Dreaming of the Sandman