At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted

Day 8) H is for Happily Ever After: Choose a novel that is a retelling of a Fairy Tale

So you all know how I feel about fairy tales:

FairyTales

And besides fairy tales, I like to read retellings of them. So out of all the ones I read and have ever read I had to think, which is the best one. So I thought and thought and thought…

Thinking Hmm

And then it came to me…

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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

When I was younger I loved going to the library (still do).

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I used to go and look through the stacks for the next books I wanted to check out. I would go down the rows and pick whatever stood out to me, along with the book I would read all the time, The Phantom of the Opera. I was obsessed with The Phantom of the Opera and would check it out, return it, then check it out again in an endless cycle.Fangirlfinishedreadingwhattodonow

 My mom didn’t like my obsession with The Phantom of the Opera as she is not a horror fan.

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So she also roamed the stacks and tried to find something, anything else, for me to read that wasn’t dark. I don’t know where or how she found it, but after I picked out as many books as I could take:

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I ran into her. She wanted me to leave The Phantom of the Opera behind as I had just read it, and wanted me to try out this book, Ella Enchanted. She had read it while waiting for me and thought I would like it. I didn’t want it as I wanted what I had picked out.

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We argued for a while and then reached a compromise, I would check out The Phantom of the Opera but had to check out and read Ella Enchanted. I agreed, but secretly thought I wouldn’t like it, even if it was based on a fairy tale; and I loved fairy tales (still do).

Oh well.

Oh well.

But then I read it!

And I had this reaction…

I love it

I thought it was absolutely amazing! I loved it so much I went on to read her other books: The Princesses of BamarreThe Fairy’s Mistake, Cinderellis and the Glass Hill, The Princess Test, Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, For Biddle’s Sake, The Fairy’s Return, and Fairest. Levine is amazing in how she rewrites fairy tales and breathes new life into them.

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This story is a retelling of Cinderella but not one of those average ones that film companies throw out year after year; this one has curses, ogres, elves, quests, fairies, obstacles, etc. It is amazing!

Wow

Wow

And then they made the film of it…

I don't like it 11

They ruined it! All the amazing things and hard work, and all the challenges she has to work through tossed out for a silly comedy?!!

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The book had heartbreak, real emotion, pain, suffering, while having comedy, and fun; and the film was a stupid facsimile.

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I mean they only had two things in common: Ella’s curse and the name of all the characters. Everything else was completely wrong. I was so mad I started yelling in the movie theater. That film is crap and deserves to be destroyed.

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But this book is AMAZING! And I think everyone should read it!

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If you recall from the original tale of Sleeping Beauty, or the film, fairies were invited to births and would bestow gifts on the new babies.

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Ella is visited by the fairy Lucinda and given the “gift” of obedience. Lucinda called it a gift, but it is really a curse as Ella must always find herself at the will of others, forced to do whatever she is told.

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Her mother and their cook, Mandy, tried to intercede for her but nothing could change Lucinda’s mind. Ella was stuck.

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Ella’s mother was a lady who married Sir Peter, a merchant. At first, to win her heart, he came off as kind but he really only cares about money and having his way. Luckily, at Ella’s birth he was not there but off trading, or else he would have seized upon the gift and used it to have his way always.

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When Ella was a young girl she told her friend about the curse when they were playing games. Her friend immediately seized upon it and commanded all kinds of things, only stopping when punched in the nose.

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After that, Ella was commanded to never tell anyone about it, but that command didn’t matter. She knew not to trust anyone so easily again.

Trust

How the curse works is that if Ella is given any command she must follow it. Failure to comply makes her very ill, in pain, nauseous, and feeling as if she will shatter into pieces. As soon as she begins following the orders, she is okay again.

The problem with the curse is not only that she must follow any order given, such as kill yourself, is that the curse does not recognize sarcasm or jokes, and she must follow every letter of the command. Very dangerous indeed.

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But Ella is no one’s willing puppet.

Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way unnaturally.”

When given commands, even harmless ones that were just for her own good, Ella would do her best to fight back. Asked to bring something, she would only take part of it. Asked to do something, would only do half or find some loophole to work around it. Did all she could to fight back against it.

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When Ella was fifteen, she and her mother became extremely sick. Mandy gave the two unicorn soup, but instead of drinking it with the unicorn hairs in it, Ella’s mother removed them. Because of this Ella became well, but her mother died.

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The funeral comes and Ella is heartbroken. She makes a mess of herself and is told to go off until she can be calm. After crying her soul out, she notices that one person remains. The Prince.

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Prince Charmont introduces himself as Char and tells Ella how he enjoyed meeting her mother in the past. He tells her the stories his cook has heard from Mandy about Ella, and walks her back to her father.

Back at the house Ella meets Dame Olga and her two daughters; Hattie and Olive. Dame Olga is after her Sir Peter as he is extremely wealthy and she wants to increase her wealth and power. Hattie and Olive are annoying, boring, and just want to eat and talk about money.

Men?

Men?

Later that night, an upset Ella questions Mandy about her fairy godmother. Her mother was going to tell her when she was older, and Ella wants to see her to get her help. Mandy reveals she is the fairy godmother. She only does small magic, and her soup should have cured her mother but she removed the unicorn hair. After that, there was nothing else she could do. She can’t take her curse away either, but one day Ella will be able to break it herself.

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Ella’s family line are the friends of the fairies. They all have a drop of fairy blood in them, which doesn’t give them anything different except for unusually small feet.

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Sir Peter is not the fatherly type, as anything that doesn’t have a monetary ching doesn’t interest him. He wants to send Ella away somewhere, but she wants to stay. But nothing she can say will stop him.

Not good

Not good

Mandy has nothing she can do and promises that Ella will have fun meeting different school girls and making new friends. She gives her a fairy tale book that is magic! And a Gnomish necklace that belonged to Ella’s mother.

Before Ella leaves, she heads off to the zoo to visit all her favorite exotic animals: the dragons, birds, centaurs, etc. She runs into Char and the two spend a fun afternoon together. As they walk further toward the ogres, they come upon a baby gnome.

Ella tries to help the gnome, using the gnomish she imitates from the exotic birds. Char looks around for his parents, but the real danger lies in the ogres. Just by looking at you they know your secrets. As Ella holds the baby, the ogre commands her to come to him and give him the child.

Not good

Not good

Luckily Char commands her to stop and they find the gnome parents. Gnomes can see into the future, and one gives Ella a glimpse:

Gnomes do not see detail. What you wear tomorrow, what you will say, are mysteries. I see outlines only…Danger, a quest, three figures. They are close to you, but they are not your friends…Beware of them.”

Not good

Not good

They next day she is off to finishing school, going with Hattie and Olive. After being together for a few minuets, Hattie discovers that Ella must follow every order given. She doesn’t know why, but that doesn’t stop her from lording over Ella.

What jerks

What jerks

Hattie takes everything from Ella; her money, jewelry, and food. And when they get to school it gets no better. No matter how hard Ella tries, Hattie always has the power.

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The teachers make it no better as they are as bad as Miss Michin in A Little PrincessElla does all she can to fight back their commands, constantly trying to keep herself from becoming a puppet.

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Ella has only two bright spots in her day. One is the magic fairy book that not only presents a new tale every time you open it, but also gives letters from her friends and those she cares about. One night she reads a letter from Mandy that Char caught her a centaur and is training it for her. He is extremely upset that she was sent away as he thought Ella was perfect the way she was.

How sweet!

How sweet!

The other thing that goes better for her is that she befriends an Ayorthaian girl, Areida. None of the other girls like her because she is poor, but she and Ella become the best of friends. One night,  Hattie decides she doesn’t like this glimpse of happiness. She commands Ella to stop being her friend.

Jerk

Ella looks in her book as she contemplates what to do. In it is a note from Dame Olga to her daughters, one from Char about his ogre hunting, and then a letter from her father that he will be visiting a giant’s wedding in the hopes of seeing a fairy, and getting a fairy gift to trade. Ella sees this as the perfect opportunity and decides that she will run away from school and go to the wedding to try and get Lucinda to get rid of her curse. Before she goes she steals Hattie’s wig.

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Ella heads out to the giants, trading her wig with a baker for bread. She is told that the giants aren’t too far off, but as she travels the journey is longer and longer. She then comes upon elves with spears.

Not good

Not good

She tells them who she is, Sir Peter’s daughter, and they invite her to dinner. She shares her book with them and afterwards they show her their elfin products. Elfin made objects look as if they are alive, and are extremely valuable. They end up giving Ella one, as they like to give their gifts to those who love them.

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The net day she sets off with an Elfin pony and is told it is only four days to the giants. Unfortunately, her luck turns.

Reality Sucks

Ella is captured by Ogres. They have eaten her pony and want to eat her next, but luckily she vomits, making her too “sour” to eat. She hopes to leave, maybe if they bind her she can go, but the ogres know her story. They just command her and she is stuck.

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But Ella has one other option. She has been studying languages at school and learned how to speak ogreese. She tricks them into falling asleep, a small win but what to do next?

I don't know what to do

As she contemplates, she sees a vision of knights coming. But they aren’t a vision, they are real! It is Char. They try and capture the ogres, but are only able to when Ella charms them again and puts them back to sleep.

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After a wonderful reunion, Char sends her on her way with one of her knights. He promises that he won’t be gone long and hopes to see her again soon.

How sweet!

How sweet!

They get there just in time for the wedding. The knight heads back to the ogres, and Ella sits watching for the fairies. They arrive, but before Ella can talk to Lucinda, she grants a horrible gift to the Giants and disappears.

Ugh great gatsby

She is upset, but at least there is food.

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As she is eating she goes to talk to the other two normal fairies, but then Lucinda reappears. Ella tries to talk to her about the fairy gift, but Lucinda just commands her to to be happy, and Ella runs off looking for Sir Peter to get more orders.

Sir Peter has sold land that didn’t belong to him and will have to pay for this with all his money and then some. He tries to marry Ella off to Edmond, Earl of Warwick. To make sure things flow right, he feeds her special mushrooms to make her extra attentive.

What jerks

What a jerk

It works as she fawns over him and he is interested in her hand in marriage.

That guy!

That guy!

The next day, Ella has a horrible hangover and feels stupid about what happened. But luckily, the Earl has lost a lot of his lands and is too poor for Sir Peter; no marriage. But what’s worse, Sir Peter is to marry Dame Olga.

Blackmail!

Uhhhhh!

Hattie and Olive will be her step sisters.

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The wedding happens in the old castle and Ella tries to hide from her family and the fairy Lucinda. Luckily it is a masquerade and she has a mask to hide her identity. She sits through the ceremony and takes off as soon as she can.

Run Away

She runs upstairs into a room, when she is come upon by Prince Char.

see cute guy look

They skip the ball and search the castle for secret passageways and rooms, having a reunion. They stop at a garden shed where they open a bench and find glass slippers. Char puts them on her.

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Then Char asks her to dance.

Cinderella

So romantic!

So romantic!

Afterwards, they decide to slide down the bannister. The second time the two run right into Ella’s confused parents.

clueless mybad oops

Afterwards, things go bad. Dame Olga finds out that Sir Peter is poor. She decides that Ella will be a servant in their house as soon as Sir Peter leaves.

hate her

Hattie is upset that the prince likes Ella and punishes her.

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Char is going away to the neighboring country and wiill be gone for a while. He stops to see Ella before he goes, but Hattie imprisons her in her room.

Jerk

After that Ella lives out every day a servant, doing the worst and most horrible tasks. She writes to Char, and the two develop a beautiful relationship. Char is a dream come true, although he does have his faults. When his opinion is lost it is lost forever.

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But we all have our faults, if the person was a perfect person with nothing wrong with him, then he’d be as bland as a saltine.

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As they write Ella falls in love with Char, and her dream comes true when Char asks her to marry him.

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Ella wants to say yes, but she can’t because of the curse. It would be too dangerous, so she writes as Hattie and refuses the prince; her heart breaking at every moment.

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

There’s real love there. She cares more about Char’s happiness rather  than her own and would never risk his life.

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She tells Mandy, and Mandy decides that Lucinda really needs to be stopped. She calls her in and they make an agreement: Lucinda will be a squirrel for three months and then an obedient child for another three months.

She'll get what's coming to her.

She’ll get what’s coming to her.

Ella holds on to the hope that in six months Lucinda will take the curse away and she can marry Char.

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The night before Lucinda is to com,e Hattie tells Ella that the Prince is coming back and is holding a masked ball. The ball will last for three nights and the Prince is rumored to pick his wife there.

OMG gasp

Ella is ecstatic. She has hope again to win Char back! Lucinda comes that night and says that she regrets everything and would love to take everything back. But Lucinda won’t, as she is done with “big” magic.

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Ella is heartbroken, but she is planning to go to the balls. She won’t talk to him, she will just sit and watch.

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They take the dresses saved from her mother, refashion them, and all is ready except is rains, a pouring rain.

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Saddened at this, she wishes that Mandy would do magic, but Mandy refuses. She calls on Lucinda who gives her a pumpkin carriage, mice turned into footmen ands she is off to the ball.

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She sees Char and stays as far away as she can. But she ends up being unable to hold out and talks to him. She tells him she is Lela and they spend a lot of time together, so much that they fall all over again for each other.

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But Hattie, not to be undone, removes the mask she wears

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And it is Ella.

OMG gasp

She hurries home as fast as she can, and they try to leave, but the Prince and entourage arrive. Char asks Ella to marry him.

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Dame Olga says yes, as that will give her power and money; Olive says yes as that will give her money; Hattie says no as she wants him for herself. Char tells her to say yes. Ella wars within herself, what should she do!

I don't know what to do

She knows that saying yes would be death of them, she practically splits apart in two; but then she refuses! She refuses!

No thank youhowaboutno

After she let’s it all out, after she has finally broken the curse: she tells Char yes.

Double double yay

They get married and live happily ever after; with Ella finally being able to make choices: good and bad, she finally is in charge of her own life.

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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 You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

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For more on Cinderella, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more books based on fairy tales, go to I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

For more Audrey Hepburn quotes, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

For more J. Cole, go to A Cautionary Tale

For more John Green, go to The Fans and the Furious

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Since this is a fairy tale, I thought I should pick a fairy tale Christmas Carol. I settled on the Miniature Overture from The Nutcracker Suite.

Reminds me of Degas

The Nutcracker is based on the fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The ballet was written by Ilyich Tchaikovsky and premiered in 1892.

I like this song a lot and it is my favorite in the entire suite.

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For more Christmas carols, go to Austenland

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A FANtastic Voyage

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Yes…

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My Fangirl posts are back! You see I had to take a break from them for my Romance is in the Air: Part III posts as I counted down to Valentines Day with my favorite romantic moments from films. I would have started again on the 15th, but I realized that was the 30th anniversary of The Breakfast Club, and decided that I had to do a post on that.

So here we are once again going through some of the things that I hardcore fangirl over.

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Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

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I haven’t seen this show in a long time but it used to be a real favorite of mine. When I was growing up, my mom loved this show and we would watch it together. I had a huge thing for Byron Sully (Joe Lando).

So Dr. Michaela “Mike” Quinn (Jane Seymour) is a wealthy, Bostonian, physician. In the series start (1867), Dr. Quinn is tired of the way people treat a “woman doctor”, and decides to leave for the West. She settles in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and finds life much tougher then she realized. Byron Sully, rugged outdoorsman and friend to the Cheyenne, helps her settle in and the two end up falling for each other. She also receives help from a midwife, but when she is bitten by a rattlesnake and dies; Dr. Quinn finds herself taking on the role as mother as she raises the midwife’s children; Matthew, Colleen, and Brian. Now Dr. Quinn is trying to adjust to the West, figure out how to take care of three children who just lost their mother, and prove to the world that a “woman doctor” is a real doctor.

I loved this as I loved Westerns, and Dr. Quinn becoming a doctor in a world that didn’t really wish to accept it was empowering.

For more Westerns, go to Fandom Love

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Gargoyles

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Gargoyles was a TV show I grew up watching as a kid and was super into. My friends and I would go around reenacting the show and creating our own stories.

It’s a little hard to give a synopsis of the show, but I’ll give it my best shot. In 10th century Scotland, Gargoyles work to defend their castle. They are statues during the day, but as soon as night falls they are able to roam about. They saved Prince Malcolm, who in turn built them a castle where they could rest in the day promising to protect them. Years later his daughter Princess Katherine is in control and she hates the gargoyles. She is betrayed by someone she trusts to the Vikings, who attack in the day and destroy all the gargoyles…or at least the think they do. Unknown to them, Goliath, the leader, survived along with a few of his friends. They return to kill the Vikings and the betrayer, discovering it was a close friend. Their arrival causes the Viking leader to take away Princess Katherine, intent on killing her. Believing Princess Katherine dead, her advisor curses them, turning all but Goliath into stone. He returns with the Princess, who demands the advisor change them back. He can’t, but turns Goliath into stone, so he can be reunited with his friends.

A hundred years later, a wealthy businessman, Xanatos, finds the castle and has it transported to New York City, building it on top of his skyscraper and  causing it to rise above the clouds, breaking the spell. The Gargoyles try to adapt to this new world, eventually teaming up with the biracial (Nigerian and Native American) NYPD detective. They also discover there is more to Xantos then they thought, that more of their kind exist then thought before, and a huge melding of mythology, Shakespeare, magic, sorcery, etc.

My favorite characters of the series was Goliath and he was just so awesome, brave, stoic, brooding, bold, etc. I also loved his daughter Angela, who was sweet and nice.

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Hercules: The Legendary Journeys 

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When I was a child I loved reading mythology and fairy tales. One that I was really into was the Greek myths and reading the stories of the gods and goddess. As one of my favorite characters was Hercules, this show was perfect for me.

The show was based on the Greek myths, but also borrowed stories and features from Egyptians, Middle Easterns, Asians, and Medieval Europe. I used to watch this every day after school and I just thought it was amazing.

Of course, that all had to do with Hercules. Not only did I think Hercules was extremely attractive (I had a real thing for guys with long hair for a while), but stoic, brave, kind, and altogether one amazing guy. I was really sad when it ended, but as we all know the good shows don’t last forever.

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Lord of the Rings

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So I LOVE Lord of the Rings!

love it

Yep, I’m a hardcore Lord of the Rings fangirl.

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Thank you Ed

It’s funny, but in the beginning I was set against it. My mom had been reading in the newspaper about Peter Jackson’s upcoming film and wanted to see it. My sister agreed as she was like free ticket, but I was not so sure. Some guy with a ring that only he could control and destroy (that’s what the synopsis sounded like) in a three hour film? It seemed done before, boring, and long. So they went and I stayed home. When they came back they were ecstatic about the film and said my dad and I would have to come with. I wasn’t interested, but forced. When we got to the theater and started watching it, I LOVED IT!!! From that moment on Lord of the Rings had entered my fandom.

My parents read the books right away but I just enjoyed the films for awhile. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, has been holding onto a ring for many, many years. Bilbo is planning on going on a trip, taking the ring along, when his friend Gandalf the Grey (a wizard), visited for his birthday and spotted it with him. He convinces him to leave it behind with everything for his nephew Frodo Baggins, and Bilbo is on his way. Gandalf feels unease about the ring and leaves it with Frodo, while he goes off to investigate. Gandalf returns after he has discovered that ring belonged to the dark lord Sauron. It was supposed to be destroyed, but when he was defeated the king took the ring instead. It was moved about as every where it went it’s owner was killed or murdered. Eventually Gollum found it, and it was then stolen by Bilbo who has been sitting on it for years. Gandalf quickly moves Frodo out, unwillingly taking along Bilbo’s gardener, Samwise Gamgee, and Frodo’s relatives Peregrin Took (Pipin), and Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry). The group splits off from Gandalf and are set to meet up with him, after Gandalf questions his old teacher Saruman, who unbeknownst to Gandalf has become evil. Frodo is anxious that they still haven’t seen Gandalf, and end up receiving help from Strider (Viggo Mortenson) a ranger. I loved Viggo Mortenson so much in this film. I thought he was amazing, brave, bold, and utterly handsome.

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He turns out to be Aragorn, the true king of Gondor who was sent to live with the elves for his safety. He sets them off for Lothlórien to the elves. While the head out they are attacked by the Nazgul. They run away to Lothlórien where Frodo is saved by the elves. There they form a fellowship to protect Frodo and the ring, making sure they get it to Mount Doom, the only place it can be destroyed. The group is the hobbits: Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pipin; the wizard Gandalf; Gimli the dwarf; Legolas the elf; Aragorn; and the steward of Gondor’s son Boromir. They head out facing many challenges along the way.

The Two Towers is the next part of the tale. In this the fellowship has been split up. Frodo took off on his own, but not quite as Sam won’t let him. They journey on to Mordor guided by Golem, who wants his ring back. Gandalf sacrificed himself for the group when they were in the Mines of Moria, but turns out is not dead. He has been returned as Gandalf the White, the highest form a wizard can be. Merry and Pipin were taken by Orcs in the last film, and they are being carried to Mordor. When the Orcs fight between the old creations and newer ones, they manage to escape and go into Fangorn Forest. There they meet up with the Ents, the tree shepherds. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli have been tracking Merry and Pipin to save them and run into Gandalf. He tells them to not worry about Pipin and Merry they will be safe with the Ents, but takes them onto Rohan to help protect the country and save their king in a battle against Saruman.

Return of the King is the last in the series and my favorite. In fact I waited for when this film was released on DVD and bought it immediately. In this we have the final battle between good and evil. Frodo and Sam have been split up, as Golem and the ring have poisoned his mind. He ends up being attacked by a giant creature and captured, taken to Mordor. Gandalf and Pipin have gone to Gondor, as it is being attacked by Sauron’s forces. Rohan is going to send their aid, being led by Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. But there is a surprise, the elf Elrond has come to the battle, bringing the Andúril, the sword from the first fight, that was broken and then reforged. He sends Aragorn into the mountains to bring in an army of the dead. This movie was awesome and it is one that I can watch over and over again.

Now I love to do marathons

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So my sister and I have done Lord of the Rings quite a few times. One time though, we decided we were going to do all the extended versions. It was an intense, all-day thing. It was a whole lot of fun.

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At a book sale I bought all the three books. The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King were both the movie editions, but my copy of Two Towers is from the ’70s. Anyways I read the books and I think they did a great job bringing the characters to life in the film. Here are my only issues with the books and film, now after reading them.

The Fellowship of the Ring-I thought the film version did the best with this book. The book spans a lot more time, for instance Frodo has the ring for years before Gandalf returns, which they cut out. There also is a lot of extra stuff I am glad they cut, such as when Frodo spends years in Tom Bombadil’s perfect paradise of a forest. I would have cut that from the whole book as it was SUPER boring. The only thing I wish they included was the part when the elf Galadriel gives each member of the fellowship a gift.

The Two Towers-I thought this was good too, film and movie. In the movie the elves come to fight like in the original battle, but they weren’t supposed to come until the last book. I think it would have been better symmetry if they had, but no big qualms with book or film.

The Return of the King– In the book J.R.R. Tolkien goes through each person’s story all the way to the end, and then moves onto the next character. I liked in the movie how they switch back and forth, as when you read you are really curious what happens to this specific character, but also want to know what happened to everyone else. Like Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. In that he had so many characters involved and in their many adventures, but switches between them all so we get a better picture as to what is occurring at the same time. The effects, set up, and whole film was amazing! The only thing I might have added was more depth to Faramir and Eowyn’s romance, as we only get a few glimpses. Also Saruman has had his fingers all over Middle Earth causing destruction. When Merry, Pipin, Frodo, and Sam return, they have to battle for the Shire to save it from Saruman. That was cut from the film, but it would have been cool to have it in.

On a whole they did an amazing job! J.R.R. Tolkien in his writing and Peter Jackson with his films.

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For more on Lord of the Rings, go to Food, Food, Food!

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Madeleine L’Engle

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Madeleine L’Engle is one of my favorite writers. I started reading her books when I was a kid, and have loved them ever since. Even though the ones below are considered Children’s Fiction or Teen Fiction; I still read them over and over and over again.  HowABookTouchesYou

So Madeleine L’Engle is a Christian writer, but she likes to cover lots of other things in her books as well: science, philosophy, politics, music, poetry, literature, ethics, etc. All of her books carry really heavy subjects that just make them even more enjoyable. Below I have listed all the books of hers that I have read, in the order I think is the best to read them in.

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A Wrinkle in Time– This is the book that started the whole time quartet series. In this book the Murry family has moved to New England in recent times. Many people are wary of them as both Mr. and Mrs. Murry are scientists. Mr. Murry is often called upon to go to Washington D.C for the President or Pentagon. He left for a trip about a year ago, and has yet to return. Many think he abandoned the family, but his wife and children have faith that he will return. Meg is the eldest, she wears glasses and braces and thinks herself unattractive.

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She has a lot of problems making friends as she has a temper, she also has issues in school as the math is too far below her. After Meg are the twins, Alexander (Sandy) and Dionysus (Dennys). Both the twins excel in sports, school, and friendship. Last is Charles Wallace, only five years old and a genius. He tries to hide it, but still can’t pass off being “normal.”

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One dark and stormy night; three women come in with the wind and set Meg, Charles Wallace, and a popular boy from school, Calvin O’Keefe on quite the adventure. Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who, and Mrs,Whatsit tells the trio that they need them in order to save Mr. Murry who is caught in the 5th dimension. This adventure takes them on a ride through psychics, time travel, tessering, and other planets.

This book was also turned into a film that was pretty good and had the cute guy from Everwood playing Calvin O’Keefe.

A Wind in the Door– This is a sequel to A Wrinkle in Time. Calvin and Meg are friends and romantically interested in each. Things aren’t perfect; their father is still called away on long trips, Meg still gets into trouble at school, and Charles is still picked on; but they seem to be better. That is until they notice that something is going wrong with Charles Wallace. He seems paler, more tired, and just not himself. When Charles Wallace tells Meg he has seen dragons in the garden, she really becomes worried. But these dragons are actually a Cherubim sent there to help Meg defeat the Echthroi who are trying to erase the universe. Meg, Calvin, the cherubim, and her principal Mr. Jenkins find themselves on an adventure through the town, plants, and into Charles’ mitochondria.

Many Waters– This is actually the fourth book in the series, but reads better as the third book. In this Sandy and Dennys, who had heard of their siblings crazy adventures, find themselves going on their own trip through time! When the boys accidentally mess with their father’s experiment in the lab, they find themselves sent back to the time of Noah, right before he builds his ark for the coming flood. There they encounter the biblical figures along with manticores, unicorns, Nephilum, and Seraphim.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet– In this book Meg is grown up, married to Calvin, and pregnant with their first child. The twins are now a lawyer and a doctor. Charles Wallace is a teenager, but still as advanced as ever. They are celebrating Thanksgiving, (minus Calvin as he got held up in conference in England), with Calvin’s mother Mrs. O’Keefe. That night there are threats of Vespugia’s leader, Mad Dog Branzillo, starting nuclear warfare and WWIII. As Charles Wallace goes to the garden, he meets up with the unicorn Gaudior. Gaudior was sent to help Charles travel through time and meld with different historical figures in order to change the past, so that they might change the future. This is one of my all-time favorites of her series.

Meet the Austins– This is a different series, but as all of hers connect and crossover, it makes a lot of sense to start reading it now. Mr. Austin is a country doctor in New England. He and his wife have four kids: John, Vicky, Susie, and Rob and an assortment of animals. They live a contented life, but that all changes when a family friend dies. The Austins quickly welcome the orphaned daughter, Maggy, into their home and she causes all kinds of chaos and uproar. Will their lives ever be the same again?

The Moon By Night– Book two brings radical changes for the Austin family. Maggy, who has become a daughter and sister, is leaving them to be with her legal guardian. John is heading off to college, and the Austins are moving to New York for a year. Before the move, they head out for a cross-country trip of the United States. Vicky should be happy and having fun, but instead finds the changes unsettling, along with trying to figure out who she is. She meets a boy named Zachary Gray, who is so unlike her, and confuses her on what friendship and love are.

The Arm of the Starfish- Adam Eddington III has wanted to be a marine biologists for a very long time. Every summer he has interned with a doctor that lives near his grandma’s home, but this year he has received a much different post. This year he will be interning in Portugal, under the guidance of Dr. O’Keefe (Calvin O’Keefe from the A Wrinkle in Time series). On his way there, he meets a beautiful girl at the airport, Kali, who warns him that Dr. O’Keefe is not as nice as he seems, but working against his government. She asks him to spy on Dr. O’Keefe for her father. Adam is unsure of what to do, and when he boards his plane, ends up running into Polly O’Keefe, Dr. O’Keefe’s daughter, and her godfather Canon Tallis. Adam quickly finds this summer being more than he bargained for as he is caught up in a world of science, espionage, and double agents. Adam doesn’t know who to trust as the more time he spends with the O’Keefe’s the more he likes them, while at the same time every moment he spends with Kali is better than the one before.

The Young Unicorns- The Austins have moved to New York and encounter a much different world. They rent the top part of an old Victorian house. Below them lives Emily, the daughter of a Greek professor, and recently blinded in a robbery gone wrong. They also have befriended Dave, an ex-gang member and now Emily’s tutor; along with Mr. Theotocopoulos, Emily’s piano teacher. The Austins find themselves caught in a horrible plot as people are after the invention that Dr. Austin is working on and are not afraid to use any means necessary to obtain it. Someone is trying to control the city as they have orginized the gang, the Alpha-Bats (Dave’s old group) and preparing them for a battle. Canon Tallis is called in by his old friend to discover who could be the head of the group, and whether it could be coming from one of the leaders of the Catholic Church.

A Ring of Endless Light- The year in New York has ended and the Austin’s will be returning home after one more stop. Vicky’s grandfather is very sick, so the Austins plan on staying that summer on the small island he resides on. John also happens to be interning there for the summer, introducing the Austins to his newest friend, Adam Eddington III. Vicky and Adam become very close, with Vicky helping assist him in his project with dolphins. However, Adam is still reeling from the betrayal that occurred in Portugal and isn’t getting as close to her as Vicky would like. Also, Zachary Gray returns on the scene, once again bringing trouble, confusion, and questions in Vicky’s life.

This was also turned into a movie: starring Mischa Barton as Vicky, Ryan Merriman as Adam, and Jared Padalecki as Zachary. It was a DCOM so sadly it is hard to find a copy of this film.

Troubling a Star- The last of the Austin series. The Austins (minus John) have returned home to New England countryside. Everyone has been able to bounce back but Vicky. She finds it hard to relate after all her adventures and changes. Adam introduces her to his Aunt Serena, who Vicky immediately becomes close to. Adam is planning on going to Antarctica for a semester, and for Vicky’s birthday, Serena plans on sending Vicky as well. Vicky is excited for her trip, but also worried as Adam’s letters become cold, closed off, and eventually stop altogether. Vicky is sad, but concentrates on her trip; finding herself caught in political intrigue and an age-old unsolved mystery.

Dragons in the Waters- When thirteen year-old Simon Renier boards the M.S. Orion with his cousin Forsyth Phair, he has no idea what he is getting himself into. A trip that is supposed to be easy and beautiful; taking a painting of Simon Bolivar back to its native land, turns out to be anything but; as murder, political intrigue, smuggling, and a century old secret turn this trip into one exciting adventure. Simon tries to solve the case with the help of Polly and Charles O’Keefe (who are traveling with their father), Mr. Theotocopoulos (who is traveling to see Emily perform) and Canon Tallis.

BookLifeNoBoredom

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For the previous fandom post, go to A Fantabulous Post

And stay tuned for part 10

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For more book filled posts, go to The Biggest Bill You Should Be Paying

For more on Disney, go to Well I Feel Sheepish: Chinese New Year

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Helping Hands

For more Pirates of the Caribbean, go to Push All the Buttons!

Well I Feel Sheepish: Chinese New Year

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So this year is the year of the Sheep, and since it is hard to find favorite sheep like horses, as I did in last years A Horse’s Tale, this year I’m going to have to revert back to my 2012 post Snakes on a Postin which I counted down my favorite snake moments from films. This year I’m going to pick my fav sheep, ram, lamb, goat, and ewe moments/characters.

But before I go there, let’s talk about those born in the year of the sheep. Now this symbol of the Chinese Zodiac is not just sheep, it can also be symbolized by a ram or goat, hence my using all types in my countdown. Sheep tend to be shy and well-mannered, but can also be awkward and not socially adept at things. They have charm, innocence, and attract loyal friends. Sheep people are often dreamy and starry-eyed, and can be extremely insecure finding themselves relying heavily on something for a sense of security in life. They work best with rabbits, pigs, and horses.

Famous sheep include Jamie Foxx, Mel Gibson, Michelangelo, Mark Twain, Rudolph Valentino, Bruce Willis, Orville Wright, and the amazing Jane Austen.

So now onto the countdown.

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Toy Story

7) Toy Story (1995)

I’m sure all of you know the plot to this, but just in case…When you were a kid did you ever think that your toys came to life when you were gone and moved around on their own? Well in Toy Story they address the question that every kid was wondering and say, “yes, they do”.

Whenever Andy leaves his room his toys come to life. These toys are lead by a cowboy named Woody (Tom Hanks). As the family is moving, Andy’s birthday party is moved up and he gets lots of space type things, including a new space toy, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen). Woody becomes jealous as he is demoted from Andy’s favorite toy, and everyone in the toy chest is going ga-ga over Buzz. One day Woody accidentally knocks Buzz outside Andy’s window. He and the other toys believe that Woody killed him, the other toys believing he did it on purpose. Woody is saved when Andy takes him along on his family’s trip to dinner. While his mom is filling up the tank who should show up? A very angry Buzz seeking revenge. Buzz survived the fall and snuck into the car. As the two fight, Andy and his mom leave for the resturant. Woody hatches a plan to get them there as well,  but they are unfortunately picked up by Andy’s next door neighbor Sid, a sadistic toy torturer. During this time period Buzz has a breakdown as he realizes that he is not a real spaceman, but just a toy. Now it is up to Woody to pull Buzz together and for the two of them to figure out a way to get back to Andy before he moves and is gone forever.

Favorite Sheep Moment: Mistletoe

This scene occurs at the end of the film. It takes place the Christmas after Woody and Buzz have defeated Sid, found their way back to Andy, and settled in the new house. The toys are worried about what new things Andy will be getting and whether or not they will be replaced. They are setting up a communications center to hear everything going on downstairs when the china Bo Peep figurine hooks Woody and pulls him under the mistletoe her sheep have so conveniently set up. It’s a cute scene with Woody and Bo; and finally shows that Bo Peep’s sheep can do more than run away.

This is the only clip I could find and it is poor quality (sorry!). Start it at about 8 mins and you’ll be good to go.

For more on Toy Story, go to They’re Alive!

For more Woody and Buzz Lightyear, go to The Boys Are Back in Town

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Aladdin

6) Aladdin (1992)

Aladdin is a retelling of a chinese tale in Arabian Nights or A Thousand and One Nights, tales that Scheherazade told her husband to keep herself alive each night, (for more on that go here). Disney disneyfied it into being much happier and brighter, like they do with everything.

In the disney story, Aladdin is an orphaned boy living with his monkey friend, Abu. The two are street rats, scrounging about for food and hiding from the castle guards. Every night Aladdin goes home and dreams of being rich and living in the palace, never worrying about any thing. Meanwhile, Princess Jasmine is in the palace and has to marry by her sixteenth birthday. She hates every prince that has called on her as she feels they all are after her fortune. Also in the palace lurks Jafar, the evil vizier, who wants to take the throne for himself. He is trying to get inside the fabled Cave of Wonders to get a lamp, but only a pure-hearted, diamond in the rough can enter. These three stories intersect when Jasmine sneaks out of the palace, only to be helped by Aladdin when she gets into trouble. The two run from guards and are caught, Jasmine revealing herself and going home, while Aladdin is sent to the dungeon. Jafar disguises himself and frees Aladdin, convinced he is the perfect person to enter the cave. Aladdin is and does, but Abu brings the whole place toppling down when he tries to take something he is not supposed to touch. Aladdin gets stuck inside the Cave, but there he finds the Genie of the lamp and the adventure to capture the heart of the princess is on.

Fav Sheep Moment: Well, I Feel Sheepish

It’s just a one bit line and an itty-bitty scene but this always used to make me laugh. In this scene Aladdin has tricked the Genie into getting him out of the cave without actually wishing for it. He instead insulted the genie and told him he could never get all three of ’em out, which of course causes the Genie to do exactly that as he has to prove he can. When he realizes what he has done he turns into a sheep and says “Well, I feel sheepish.” Cute and funny. You can clearly see how much I enjoyed it as I used it for the title of the post.

For more on Aladdin, go to Diamond in the Rough

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5) The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1989)

Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader are two of my absolute favorite books in The Chronicles of Narnia series. I enjoyed the character of Prince Caspian, along with the battles and adventures in these books.

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So out of the 1980s miniseries, Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one of my favorites. I wouldn’t even watch the films that came out in the 2000s as the first and second one were absolutely horrible (I never saw the third as I just couldn’t stomach any more). Anyways, in this book and film Prince Caspian has grown to be a young man and is setting sail to the lone islands that not only have failed to pay tribute to Narnia since his father died, but hold ten lords who were loyal to his father, but banished by his evil uncle. As he is setting sail; Lucy and Edmond are visiting their horrid relative, cousin Eustace, in England. When they are looking at a painting of a boat all three are called into Narnia, in the exact spot that Prince Caspian is sailing. They go on grand adventures as the islands hold much more than they bargained for. They encounter slavery, nightmares coming true, a midas touch that backfired, dragons, invisible thumping creatures, a spell that has cursed an island, Aslan’s country and much more.

Favorite sheep moment: Lamb or Lion

This moment occurs both in the book and miniseries. The Dawn Treader has sailed to the farthest edge of the world, sending Reepicheep into Aslan’s country (heaven) and dropping off Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace. The three end up on land and find a lamb. As they speak to the lamb, questioning it whether they will be able to find the way to Aslan’s country, he tells them they must enter from their own world and transforms into a Lion. I always thought that scene was so cool as a child.

This was the only clip I could find. Start at the 5:30 mark.

For more on The Chronicles of Narnia, go to Simply Fantastic

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4) Legend (1985)

Legend is a fantasy film directed by Ridley Scott and starring a very young, handsome, Tom Cruise. The Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry) is imprisoned in the shadows, but wishes to break free. He sends his minions to destroy the unicorns, as their horns are the safeguards of light and keep him locked away. Meanwhile, Princess Lili has grown bored with royal life and has sneaked out once again into the forest. There she meets up with her friend Jack (Tom Cruise), a young man who has been raised by the forest and speaks the languages of the animals. Jack has a surprise that day for Princess Lili, as he calls the unicorns for her to see. Princess Lili, used to getting her own way all the time, refuses to listen to Jack’s warnings of only looking at them and approaches the unicorns, distracting them, and causing the stallion to be attacked and poisoned by Darkness’ minions. Princess Lili makes light of the situation, and tells Jack that the man who finds her ring will win her hand in marriage. She then tosses it into a stream, with Jack quickly diving after it. With one of the unicorns killed and horn cut off, things begin changing in the forest. All becomes cold and winter, with the stream Jack jumped into freezing over. Princess Lili becomes distraught, and runs off hiding in a cabin. She is so ashamed of what she has done that she sets out to protect the mare, getting captured by Darkness. In his castle Darkness tries to seduce Princess Lili into becoming his queen. Meanwhile, Jack has survived the water and teams up with elves and dwarves on a quest to save the unicorns, the forest, and Princess Lili.

Fav Sheep Moment: Darkness Emerging from the Mirror

This is the first time we are introduced to the full form of Lord Darkness, as previously we had only heard his voice. This scene is amazing as you are so creeped out and fascinated by this giant red arm coming out of a mirror, with fire blazing all around. As I was watching it, I didn’t know what to expect or guess. Then you have this giant ram hoof come down and finally the giant form and face of darkness revealed.

For more on Tim Curry, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

For more on Tom Cruise, go to Rock You Like a Hurricane

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Kid in Aladdin's palace

3) Kid in Aladdin’s Palace (1997)

A Kid in Aladdin’s Palace  is the sequel to the Disney film, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, (modern retelling of A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain), in which a young boy named Calvin is transported back to the time of King Arthur by the wizard Merlin in order to save the day. In A Kid in Aladdin’s Palace, Calvin in older and concerned with more things these days. Such as how to get the hottest girl in school to go out with him, and how to deal with Elliot the bully. While cleaning some old pots his boss bought at an auction, he awakens a genie. The genie has been sitting in the lamp for thousands of years, awaiting the time he would be woken by the deliverer. You see Aladdin has married Jasmine and they rule the kingdom, alongside their daughter Sheherazade. Aladdin’s evil brother, Luxor, has been trying to steal the throne. In order to save the kingdom, yet still receive help, Aladdin put the lamp back in the cave of wonders, split the key, and hid them far away from each other. He left clues for a deliverer to save them all. Luxor has poisoned Aladdin leaving him nothing more than a vegetable and in dire need of the genie to cure him. Calvin doesn’t want to go back, but finds himself once again having to save a kingdom. He teams up with Ali Baba and the three thieves (his younger brothers), along with Princess Sheherazade. Calvin uses his items and know-how of the future to try to save the day, but he must act quickly as Luxor is growing more powerful every day, is trying to pressure Jasmine into marrying him, and is planning on killing Sheherazade, the only heir.

Favorite sheep moment: Just Part of the Flock

This scene takes place when Calvin and Ali Baba are running from the guards. In order to throw them off the trail, they through some wool on their backs and jump into a group of sheep, blending in with the animals. I know it’s an old joke, but I still find this moment absolutely hilarious.

Once again clip is of a poorer quality and covering more than I wish. Just start at 6:50 and you will be fine.

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Last Battle C.S.Lewis

2) The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis

This is the last book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. In this book hundreds of years have passed, and almost all have forgotten of the four children who defeated the White Witch, Prince Caspian, and Prince Rilian. Now the current king, King Tirian, is told that the time of peace is at an end. In the country, an ape finds a lion skin and decides to dress up a donkey named Puzzle in it. He starts telling people that it is Aslan, and as the current animals and people haven’t seen him, they believe it. The ape starts to use his newly gained power to turn the animals into slaves. He even goes as far as selling them to the evil Calormenes. King Tirian and his friend the unicorn Jewel, are captured and bound. There they hear awful lies that Aslan is the same as the Calormenian god Tash. He calls to Aslan for help, and is answered by Eustace and Jill Pole using the rings from The Magician’s Nephew. They team up to save Narnia, in it’s final battle.

Favorite sheep moment: You Can’t Pull the Wool Over My Eyes

While the Ape is telling everyone what life will be like, what “Aslan” wants (in reality Puzzle is stuck in a shed, being held against his will), and that Tash and Aslan are the same thing. All the animals are just agreeing with whatever is being said until one little lamb speaks up against him.

“What have we to do with the Calormenes? We belong to Aslan. They belong to Tash. They have a god called Tash. They say he has four arms and the head of a vulture. They kill Men on his altar. I don’t believe there’s any such person as Tash. But if there was, how could Aslan be friends with him?”

The Ape yells at the Lamb and he later disappears as he is “taken care of”, but he was brave to speak his mind and stand up for what he believed in.

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For more by C.S. Lewis, go to The Biggest Bill You Should Be Paying

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Hoodwinked

1) Hoodwinked (2005)

Hoodwinked  is a twist on the classic “Little Red Riding Hood” fairy tale. The story begins with the conclusion of the tale: wolf in the bed dressed as a woman; Red screaming her head off; Granny tied up in the closet; the huntsman running in swinging an axe; etc. The police come in being lead by Chief Fuzzy Wuzzy Bear who believes one of them is the Goody Bandit who is stealing recipes and closing down shops in the forests. He later calls in a Detective Nicky Flippers (a parody of Nick Charles) to help him solve the case. We see that no one is as they seems as Red wants to leave the forest and travel the world, Granny an extreme sports enthusists, the wold an undercover reporter, and the Hunstman an actor. As each tells their story, they all intersect and reveal the truth of what actually happened.

Favorite sheep moment: Have to Check My Source

Wolf W. Wolf is an undercover reporter and wants to crack this “Goody Bandit” case wide open. He goes to check his source, which happens to be a sheep. In order to get the goods, he dresses up as a sheep. This scene is hilarious as the interaction between the straight circuit wolf and Jersey shore sheep are just perfect.

Unfortunately I can’t find the clip, so I’ll just post a pic. But trust me watch the film and enjoy.

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For more Hoodwinked!, go to I Wanna Get Off This Ride

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2015

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For more on Disney, go to Love Makes You Do Crazy Things: Hercules (1997)

For more fairy tales, go to Are You the Dread Pirate Roberts?

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)

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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!

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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

What is Immortality Without You?: The Two Towers (2002)

Romantic Moment #8

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Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

So The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, is based on the book series, The Lord of the Rings,  by J.R.R. Tolkien. I loved both the books and the films and highly recommend both (jeez I feel like I say this all the time).

Anyways so The Two Towers is the second book in the series. For those of you who have not read/watched these, to catch up on the first film click here. So in this film the fellowship has been broken up.  Frodo and Sam have separated from everyone else and are trying to reach Mordor to throw in the ring. They run into Gollum, who has been corrupted by the evil of the ring and is determined to get it back. Frodo takes pity on Gollum and has him lead them. Frodo, Sam and Gollum travel through the Dead Marshes, evading a Nazgûl. They come upon the Black Gate but find it heavily guarded by Orcs. Gollum convinces the pair that he will lead them to an unguarded entrance, but on this new path they are captured by the Rangers of Ithilien, who is lead by Faramir, who is also Boromir‘s brother. Frodo reveals Gollum’s presence to save him, but he is captured and mistreated by the Rangers. Faramir has the Hobbits taken to Osgiliath, where they are attacked by Orcs led by a Nazgûl. Faramir frees Sam and Frodo and sends them on their way, joined by Gollum. Gollum decides that he will find another way to get the ring.

Pippin and Merry have been captured by Orcs, and just barely managed to escape from them and flee into the Fangorn Forest. They meet Treebeard, one of the Ents.  Treebeard and the Ents don’t want to get involved, but when Pippin tricks him to go by Isengard, they discover that Saruman the White has cut down all the trees; completely decimating the area. They join in the war, defeat the Uruk-hai and break the river dam; drowning the surviving Orc defenders, flooding Isengard, and stranding Saruman in his tower.

Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pursue the Uruk-hai, in their attempt to save Merry and Pippin. They run into King Théoden of Rohan’s nephew Éomer who has been banished along with all the other great warriors. They have killed all the Orcs, but the trio is determined to find them. They go into Fangorn Forest where they are confronted by Gandalf, reborn as Gandalf the White. They travel to Rohan, where King Théoden has been entranced and physically weakened by Gríma Wormtongue, who is secretly in the service of Saruman. The four of them free Théoden from Gríma’s spell, and inform the king of his son Théodred‘s death. As Saruman’s forces attack Rohan, Théoden moves his people to the stronghold Helm’s Deep for safety. Gandalf leaves to find Éomer and the other riders. Théoden’s forces travel to Helm’s Deep, and are attacked by Saruman’s Warg riders, in which Aragorn is thrown from a cliff to his apparent death in a raging river. Arwen saves him, guiding him back to safety, even though her father Elrond has been trying to convince her to leave Middle-Earth forever. Meanwhile, Éowyn, Théoden’s niece, starts falling for Aragorn. Aragorn washes up on the river bank and makes his way to Helm’s Deep. They and a battalion of Elves led by Haldir join Rohan’s troop and help them fight the Uruk-hai. Gandalf appears, accompanied by Éomer and his men. Their combined forces defeat the Orcs.

Most Romantic Moment:

So during this film we have a flashback scene between Arwen and Aragorn that is soooo romantic. So Arwen has given up her immortality for Aragorn. She loves him so much that she would rather spend a shorter life with him than an eternity without him. She gives him the Evenstar so that he will never forget how her love for him is unending.

Arwen: I choose a mortal life.

Aragorn: You cannot give me this.

Arwen: It is mine to give to whom I will. Like my heart.”

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So romantic!

So romantic!

And to make this an even more swoonworthy scene, Aragorn gives it back. He loves her, but because he loves her he wants more for her. He wants her to have a long life with her family and to find someone else who can live forever with her. Aw, he just loves her so much that he wants only the best for her. Even if that makes him sad, lonely, and breaks his heart into a million pieces.

you deserve better

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But to make that even more romantic! (The romance is just piling on). Arwen refuses to take the Evenstar back. She knows that he is trying to do what’s best, but what he hasn’t realized is that, while he might not be the best choice (a mortal), he is the best one for her.

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So she leaves it with him. Letting him know that no matter what she still loves him and would choose him over immortality any day.

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I want a relationship like Arwen and Aragorn

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For more on the Lord of the Rings go to A Horse’s Tale

On the 11th Day ‘Til Christmas: The Santa Clause (1994)

On the 11th day ’til Christmas my blogger gave to me

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The Santa Clause (1994)

I first saw the film when I was about five or six and absolutely loved it. It is such an amazing film, and answers almost all the questions one has ever asked about how Santa makes his night flight possible. Tim Allen was amazing, as he is in everything, and Eric Lloyd was simply adorable as Charlie.

Who could say no to that adorable face?

Who could say no to that adorable face?

The script was just amazing as the lines are sooo goood! I recommend it for any family to watch, I know I watch it every year.

The film is about self-centered, divorced, father, Tim Allen as Scott Calvin; being tricked into becoming Santa Clause. The film starts out with him being late to getting his son, as he has chosen to hang out at his Toy Maker Company’s Christmas party. He has a fight with his ex-wife and her husband Neil, a psychiatrist, because they have told Charlie that Santa isn’t real. I really hate Neil, he is such an awful guy.

Ugh

Ugh

He is so controlling of Charlie, and is always trying to make these huge decisions about him when he is not even his father. He needs to back off and respect that Scott is the father and the one to make crucial decisions.

Scott has not prepared anything for their Christmas Eve dinner. He wants to start the meal but realizes that to cook his frozen turkey, it’s going to take a long time. He then decides to put it in the oven on the highest temperature possible, burning up everything. This causes them to go to Denny’s because it is the only place open. Just like in A Christmas Story, the evening out proves to be hilarious.

After the two return home, Scott reads Charlie the book Twas the Night Before ChristmasShortly after the two fall asleep they find themselves being visited by Santa. Although the visit doesn’t turn out as expected. Scott reluctantly ends up becoming Santa himself.

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Sarah the Little Girl: Santa?
Scott Calvin: Scott Calvin.
Sarah the Little Girl: How come your clothes are so baggy?
Scott Calvin: Because Santa is… watching his saturated fats. [gestures obesity]
Sarah the Little Girl: How come you don’t have a beard?
Scott Calvin: Because I shaved!  [instantly reveals an unwrapped present for her, out of his bag] Now, you want this doll or not? Go back to sleep.”

The deliver everything and the reindeers take them to the North Pole where everything is explained by Bernard, the head elf.

What a cutie!

What a cutie!

The next day Scott wakes up back at home in his bed; convinced everything was just a dream.

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Now I really love the irony in this film. Here we have a self-absorbed, toy-inventor who was given the job of being the most unselfish toymaker. Of course Scott doesn’t believe he is Santa, but even though he chooses to live in denial, his body has already transforming. No matter what he does; he gains a belly like a bowlful of jelly, long white whiskers (a beard), and can’t stop wearing red.

And through this all Charlie is just as adorable as ever, telling everyone that his dad is Santa.

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“Neil: What about Santa’s reindeer? Have you even seen a reindeer fly?
Charlie: Yes.
Neil: Well, I haven’t.
Charlie: Have you ever seen a million dollars?
Neil: No.
Charlie: Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean is doesn’t exist.”

Here is where the story gets sad. Stupid Neil tries to take over everything and convinces the mom to get rid of Scott’s visiting rights as he feels Scott’s appearance will be damaging to Charlie. But Scott manages to manipulate the mom into letting him see Charlie at Thanksgiving. Charlie is finally able to convince Scott that he really is Santa. Just as Scott has finally accepted who he is, Bernard shows up and whisks them all away to the North Pole. However, they forgot to let the mom know about Charlie and she spends the next month worried about him.

Scott really gets into being Santa; and he works with the other elves and Charlie to complete all that needs to be done. They also do some major improvements with the sled and suit. Before you know it, it’s Christmas and they are heading out to deliver presents.

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Little do they know that the police are waiting for them. Not only do they have a ton of cops at Charlie’s house, but they are picking up every Santa in that radius and hauling them off to jail.

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When Scott does go to the house to drop off the presents, he ends up being arrested and taken in. This scene always reminded me of  Santa Clause is Coming to Town, as he gets caught in a similar way.

My favorite part is when they interrogate him. It’s hilarious.

When the Elves back at Mission Control realize something is wrong, they send out the Elven SWAT Team, E.L.F.S, to break him out.

I always say that line when I see tinsel, “tinsel, not just for decorating.”

So Santa gets out and clears everything up with his ex-wife. Everything ends happily as he goes out to deliver the presents and his ex-wife allows him to see Charlie anytime he wants.

It’s just a great, family film. Beloved by everyone.

Unfortunately, the sequels were not as good. They lacked the same quality of writing and hilarity. Don’t waste your time with them, but watch this one over and over! 😀

watch movie over and over

Merry Christmas!

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To start the 12 Posts of Christmas from the beginning, go to On the 12th Day ’til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas

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For more on The Santa Clause, go to Episode VI: Return of the Favorite Movie Lines List

For more on Santa Clause, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more on Disney, go to CANDY-TIME