A Little Monkey Business: Chinese New Year

So the New Year started on February 8th, but I was in the middle of Romance is in the Air: Part IV, my countdown to Valentine’s Day so I had to postpone it until today, the last day of the New Year celebration. This year is a special year because it is my zodiac animal, the year of the Monkey.

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Monkeys are intelligent, wise, clever, inquisitive, flexible, quick-witted, innovative, and honest. They are also known to have a temper; along with being cunning, mischievous, and suspicious.

Monkeys can do well in any job they try due to all their positive traits. They work best with Oxen, Rabbits, and Dragons. Their enemies are Tigers or Pigs.

Some famous people born in the year of the monkey are: Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Dickens, Tom Hanks, Michael Douglas, Bette Davis, Annie Oakley, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Betsy Ross.

So to celebrate the year of the Monkey I am going to do my nine favorite monkey moments from film and TV. And I decided to do only Monkeys; no gorillas, orangoutangs, chimpanzees, or baboons. This year is all about the Monkey.

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9) The Jungle Book (1994)

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The Jungle Book is pretty much what Disney used as their basis for the Tarzan film (both being Disney films). The Jungle Book 1994 version is not the cartoon version, this one is a live action film and the animals don’t talk (hopefully they keep that the same in the new version coming out this year). The film starts out with Mowgli’s father being a guide for some Englishmen who are patrolling India. One night Shere Khan attacks the camp as someone has broken the jungle rules, that is killed for sport instead of food. Mowgli is lost in the confusion and thought to be dead, later raised by animals. He is eventually found by his old compatriots, who attempt to be bring him back into society. He still has feelings for Kitty, a girl he played with as a child, but she is engaged to the hunter/poacher William Boone who wants to use Mowgli as a guide to Monkey City and the rumored King Louie treasure. Adventure ensues

Best Monkey Scene:Monkey Spectators

Instead of lions or dueling ex-soldiers or slaves; this gladiator match pitches treasure hunters searching for the lost Monkey City and the billions of gold, against Kaa the python. For who’s pleasure? None other than King Louie, the Orangoutang, and his subjects ,the Monkeys.

For more on The Jungle Book (1994), go to Redone Done Right

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8) Toy Story 3

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In Toy Story 3 many years have passed since Toy Story 2. Andy is 18 and heading off to college and doesn’t need his old toys anymore. Destined to reside in the attic until Andy has his own kids or decides to get rid of them; the toys take matters into their own hands. They escape in a donation box for a Children’s Daycare, hoping this would bring fun times and games. Woody however, is not ready to give up on Andy and gets lost trying to find his way home. Back at the daycare center, the toys discover that a stuffed bear is the “Don” of the center and relegates them to being played with toddlers instead of the older kids who care for the toys. When they try to escape, they are punished. Will the toys esacape? Will they be able to get back to Andy?

Best Monkey Scene:Death by Monkeys

This scene is in the opening dream/flashback sequence. The toys are playing a massive game of cowboys and robbers. Woody, Buzz, and Jessie have just defeated the potato pair; when Ham, as evil Dr. Porkchop, comes in: releasing a bomb of a barrel of monkeys. It’s funny, cute, and brings back a whole lot of nostalgia.

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7) Dragon Ball

This is actually a anime series based on the classic novel Journey to the West,  also known as Monkey, written in the 16th century by Wu Cheng’en.

Goku is a little monkey boy, (as in he only has a monkey tail). He befiends a teenage woman, Bulma, and the two set off to find the seven wishing dragon balls. He becomes a student of the turtle hermit, Kame-Sennin, later entering a huge tournament with some of the most powerful fighters in the world.

He also destroys the Red Ribbon Army single-handedly. When Goku’s best friend, Kuririn, is murdered by Piccolo, then Goku sets out to destroy him as revenge.

Best Monkey Scene: Great Ape Transformation

So as Goku is a monkey boy, when the full moon is out instead of turning into a werewolf, he becomes a giant monkey. A monkey on par with Mighty Joe Young or King Kong. He may be scary and frightening, but also pretty awesome in his menacing nature.

For more on Dragon Ball, go to Fun & Full of FANcy

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6) Aladdin

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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 anything. Meanwhile, Princess Jasmine is in the palace and has to marry by her sixteenth birthday. She hates every prince that has called on her and 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 also 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 whiole 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 te heart of the princess is on.

Best Monkey Scene: Anything Abu

Abu is the cutest little monkey. He does have some issues as he doesn’t like to share, is greedy that he almost kills him and Aladdin, and gets jealous easily. But besides that he is kind, loyal, and all around a great little buddy to Aladdin.

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

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5) George of the Jungle

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This was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and the film that created my crush and longtime love of Brendan Fraser. He is super hunky in this film.

Ursula Stanhope from San Francisco, CA is traveling throughout Africa. Her fiancé, Lyle Van De Groot (Thomas Haden Church) is a total pompous jerk and has gone looking for her to drag her back to be immediately married, guided by two poachers. The next day when Ursula and Lyle are out, they run into a lion. Lyle takes off; tripping, falling, and knocking himself out. But Ursula doesn’t need to worry, George; a man who was lost in Africa and raised by an ape named Ape, saves her. He cares for her until they are come upon by her fiancé. When he and the poachers attack trying to “save” Ursula and capture the famed “White Ape”; George gets injured and finds himself traveling to San Francisco with Ursula. Is San Fran ready for this Ape-Man? Will his home be okay without the King of the Jungle?

Best Monkey Scene: Monkey Vs. Lion

So George is King of the Jungle, and one of his duties as King is to help his subjects in trouble. One of the baby monkeys, the runt of the litter, keeps getting picked on by all the other monkeys. He goes to George for help, and the two come up with a plan. When a lion comes to “fight” and the monkey pretends to be George”scaring” the lion away.

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4) Jumanji (1995)

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In 1969, Alan Parish is constantly getting picked on. One day he hears drums and discovers an old game buried in a new construction site. He takes it home and after he gets in a fight with his dad and a surprise visit from a friend, the two accidentally play the game. One of the roles causes Alan to be sucked into the game while bats come streaming out.

26 years later, the Parish house has been bought by a women who has recently become guardian of her niece and nephew: Judy and Peter. The two kids discover the old game and play. What they thought would be a fun game turns out to be a death defying adventure as monkeys, mosquitoes, a lion, crocodiles, and Alan all come out of the game. They have to finish the game, survive whatever comes out, in order to fix everything and send all these creatures and storms back.

Best Monkey Scene: Monkeys Slow the Expedition

The second thing to come out of the game board are a group of monkeys. Not only do they terrorize the the two kids, but they end up running amuck throughout town. Stealing cop cars, ransacking stores, and taking off and causing havoc.

For more on Jumanji, go to Every Month at the Quarter Moon There’ll Be a Monsoon

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3) Jumanji (1995)

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So the summary is the same as before. You might be wondering why I’m doing this film twice, but there was another monkey scene I just love.

Best Monkey Scene: Peter the Monkey Boy

So Alan, Peter, Judy, and Alan’s old friend Susan; have been through the thick of game having faced down monkeys, a lion, giant mosquitoes, human eating pods, poisonous violets, a big game hunter named Van Pelt, and a stampede.

Peter is only a few spaces away and decides to drop the dice, hoping to reach the end of the game and save everyone. Unfortunately, the game does not like cheaters and Peter is turned into a monkey. Sorry Goku, Peter is the cutest Monkey Boy. He’s just TOOOOO adorable.

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2) The Wizard of Oz

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Dorothy Gale is a young girl in grey Kansas. She lives with her aunt and uncle on their farm, along with the farmhands. When their mean neighbor takes Dorothy’s dog away for snapping at her; Dorothy decides to grab her dog and run away. She gets caught up in a twister and ends up in the land of Oz. She ends up on a journey to find the Wizard to get home; pairing up with a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, a Cowardly Lion; and chased by the Wicked Witch of the West.

Best Monkey Scene: Fly My Pretties, Fly

So the Wicked Witch’s evil minions are the winged monkeys. She sends them out to find Dorothy and destroy her companions in one of the best, and scariest scenes, of the film.

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1) The Jungle Book (1967)

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This is the original Disney version and based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling. In the story Mowgli is a man cub raised by wolves. Ten years pass by and when news of Shere Khan, the great tiger, has returned to the jungle they decide to send Mowgli back to the Man village. Bagheera, the panther, tries to take him back but they get interuppted by Kaa, the snake who tries to eat him, and Baloo a slothy bear who discourages Mowgli from returning to the world of men. Mowgli meets other crazy charcters such as King Louie the Orangutan, Colonel Hathi the Elephant, and a group of Vultures who act like The Beatles.

Best Monkey Scene: I Wanna Be Like You

So I know you might be questioning why I choose this moment as my number one. Well when I think of Monkeys this is the first thing that always pop in my head. It is one of the best songs in the film, and a whole lot of fun.

So the scene, for those who don’t know, comes in the middle of the film. Mowgli has been captured by King Louie the Orangutan who wants Mowgli to teach him to be like humans, how to create fire. Baloo comes in and sings along to the bopping song, saving Mowgli as well.

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So that ends this year’s countdown. I hope you all have a great 2016.

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For the 2013 list, go to Snakes on a Post

For the 2014 post, go to A Horse’s Tale

For the 2015 post, go to Well I Feel Sheepish

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For more holiday posts, go to To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

For more Disney posts, go to I’d Lay Down My Life for You: Pocahontas (1995)

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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)

Go here to see who you are

Go here to see who you are

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

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

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

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

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

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20) The Santa Clause 2 (2002)

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

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

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19) The Toy That Saved Christmas (1996)

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

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

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18) Lady and the Tramp (1955)

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

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

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

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17) Chasing Christmas (2005)

Chasing Christmas

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)

HomeAlone

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

It’s Coming From Inside the House: When A Stranger Calls (2006)

when-a-stranger-calls-2006-posterWe traced the call! It’s coming from inside the house! Do you hear me? It’s coming from inside the house! You need to get out!

So I love this movie so much! It came out during the period of remakes of 1970s horror films, you had Dracula 2000, The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Wicker Man (2006), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Carrie (2002), The Omen (2006), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Dawn of the Dead (2004), Halloween (2007), and Invasion (2007). 

I thought it was a great remake, although I’ve never seen the original. And as the trailer revels the climatic ending I don’t feel bad about doing so either.

So the film starts off a police cleanup as a baby-sitter and the kids she had been watching were ripped to shreds.

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 Then we cut to out protagonist Jill who is practicing track. She is suffering from a supremo of bad days. Her times are all off and she needs to improve her speed. Part of the reason she is sucking so much is that she is distracted by her broken heart.

Broken Heart

It turns out that her boyfriend and best friend hooked up! What jerks!

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And she is grounded because she went over the mins on her phone. Remember, back in the day when every cellphone plan had min limits, and everyone was going over them all the time?

Oops!

Oops!

She really wants to go to the bonfire party, but the only place she is allowed to go is to babysit.

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Yep, the money from the job is supposed to be enough to cover the cost of the phone bill. They must be paying her an awful lot of money.

money money money

To further her punishment, she can’t have her own car but has to be dropped off by her dad and then dropped off by the couple when they return from their night. Now this is a pretty sweet baby-sitting job. It is for a rich family, who lets you eat anything in the house, watch things on their massive TV, getting paid lots of money, and you don’t even have to look after the kiddos as they’re sick.

MeanGirls I know right!

Only one problem, she is in the freakin’ middle of nowhere. But it is a beautiful house!

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It has a so many glass windows and such, it also has an inside garden/aviary thing.

When a stranger calls

Now my home has a whole wall of windows, so when I first watched this with my friends we were all freaked out during the…well I’ll save that for later.

So Jill doesn’t have much to do as the kids are sick and knocked out upstairs. The maid is there, but will be leaving shortly after she finishes her rounds. The couple have an older son who attends college and he may or may not be coming back to visit, but if he does he’ll crash in the guest house in their backyard.

Seems easy enough

Seems easy enough

So Jill gets ready for a night o’ fun. She eats popsicles and tries on jewelry and clothes.

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Everything is fun and games until Jill begins to receive anonymous and annoying phone calls.

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Jill Johnson: [phone rings] Hello? [no answer] [sighs] Mandrakis Residence.

Voice of the Stranger: Have you checked the children?

Jill Johnson: What

[Stranger hangs up. Jill runs and checks on the children. Comes back downstairs]

Jill Johnson: [phone rings] Hello?

Voice of the Stranger: [pauses] How were the children?

At this point in the film if you look hard enough you can actually see him watching her through the window while she is walking around and talking to her on the phone.

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In between she gets some creepy calls from her ex’s friends. She gets even more calls, but then one turns out to be her ex-friend Tiffany. Tiff the big, bad, boyfriend stealer.

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Tiff comes and tries to fix things between them, with Jill feeling lukewarm about the whole thing. She kicks Tiff out, who tries to leave but can’t as a tree blocks her path. A tree that wasn’t there earlier. That means only one thing, bye-bye Tiff.

Goodbye now!

Goodbye now!

 

The calls continue getting even creepier.

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Jill Johnson: Tiffany, I know it’s you. I can see your name on Caller ID, genius.

Voice of the Stranger: This isn’t Tiffany.

Jill Johnson: Who is this?

Voice of the Stranger: [pause] Who is this?

Jill Johnson: Cody?

Voice of the Stranger: Who’s Cody?

Jill Johnson: You better cut this out!

[stranger hangs up]

Now for the most part Jill is pretty smart girl. She calls the police and tries to get them to trace the call and get rid of her stalker. She keeps the security system on at all times. When she sees a light go on in the guest house, she thinks it might be the son and tries to get him to come back with her to help.

She turns the security system off and runs down to the guest house to get the son. When she gets in there, she discovers that there is no one there.

What the

Jill concludes that it must have been the maid, going over here to clean and then left after she completed the job. She runs back to the house, causing the security system to go off. She gets a call from the company, but tells them that it is only her. She must have only thought she turned the system off.

She continues to get more calls from “the Stranger”, telling her that he can see her.

Oh Crap! [Note: Pic from When a Stranger Calls not Phantoms]

Oh Crap!

Jill Johnson: He can see me!

Officer Burroughs: Sorry?

Jill Johnson: It’s Jill, the girl who called before about the man who keeps on calling.

Officer Burroughs: What’s going on?

Jill Johnson: He called me again.

Officer Burroughs: What did he say?

Jill Johnson: He’s out there, he’s outside, he’s watching me through the windows.

Officer Burroughs: Did you see him?

Jill Johnson: No, but I know he can see me, because I went upstairs…

Officer Burroughs: Okay, take a deep breath, where’s the house keeper?

Jill Johnson: I don’t know, I saw her purse and the keys but I can’t find her.

Officer Burroughs: The house locked up?

Jill Johnson: Yes.

Officer Burroughs: Alarm system?

Jill Johnson: It’s on.

Officer Burroughs: Okay, you’re safe inside that house. If he wanted to break in, he wouldn’t be calling.

Jill Johnson: But he must want something!

Officer Burroughs: Listen to me, Miss, it’s just some a****** trying to hassle you.

So when my friends and I were watching this film, we were in the living room which has a whole wall made entirely out of windows, similar to the house in the film. There is also a window behind the TV. As we were watching this part, something hit our window.

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

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

Our cat had jumped up on the fence outside and hit the window with her tail. We were just so into the film that we were creeped out.

So back to the film. So Jill keeps trying to talk to “the Stranger” so the police can trace the calls. It is so creepy, it was like when that crazy girl kept calling/texting me last spring.

Jill Johnson: [On phone] You really scared me, if that’s what you wanted. Is that what you wanted?

Voice of the Stranger: No.

Jill Johnson: What do you want?

Voice of the Stranger: Your blood all over me.

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As gross and creepy and Nightmare in Elm Street’s Freddy Kreugar.

EW!

EW!

That’s when everything starts to fall apart.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Besides Tiff, Jill also finds the body of the housemaid. She tries to help save the children, but end up getting in a deadly fight with “the Stranger”.

Save the Children!!!!

Save the Children!!!!

Jill is awesome how she takes down the stranger, totally kicking butt.

Kudos for carrying the crowbar

Kudos for carrying the crowbar

The cops come and capture the killer and cart him off, taking Jill with them to be looked at.

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The ending is great, with its nod to Friday the 13th. Check it out, it is an amazing film!

The creepiest thing about this film is how the guy watches her and how he gets in the house and does the whole cat and mouse game. It is such a creeptastic film.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

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For more on When a Stranger Calls, go to Do You Know Where Alex Is?

For more on psychopathic killers, go to Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare

For more great remakes, go to Redone Done Right

Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

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“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” 

This is such an amazing film as the story is excellent, the acting superb (Lon Chaney Jr. + Claude Rains). It is also a member of Universal’s Classic Monster Movie Collection, its buddies being The Phantom of the OperaFrankenstein,  The Bride of FrankensteinThe MummyDracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc. And this post means that I have finally, finally finished the list I set out to complete two years ago.

But what really makes this a spectacular film is that many of the modern myths of werewolves were originated in this film: such as a person becoming a werewolf through a bite; the only way to kill a werewolf is with a silver bullet; and changing into one during a full moon. These are all original concepts created by writer Curt Siodmak. Isn’t that amazing! Like The Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon this film isn’t based on a book or any specific resource, which allowed the writers a lot of leeway in their work and creations.

So this isn’t the first werewolf film, as that was The Werewolf of London, which actually did rather poorly in theaters. This was the second werewolf horror film to be made and become the most famous. All the later depictions such as: The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Van Helsing, The Wolfman (2010), etc.looked to it in creating their stories.

So the film was originally written for Boris Karloff, but he turned it down. And although I love that man [read my The Mummy (1932), Frankensteinor The Bride of Frankenstein post] I can’t imagine this film being as amazing with him as the title role. Lon Chaney Jr. was just superb. Lon Chaney Jr, was the son of the famous Lon Chaney (who I talk about in my Phantom of the Opera post) and interestingly the set that was used to film this movie was the same used for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) which starred Lon Chaney Jr.’s  father, Lon Chaney.

Unlike other films, The Wolf Man is the only Universal monster to be played by the same actor in all his 1940s film appearances; Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945), and  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Now I love this movie and story but it is soooo sad as well. Here is a wonderful man pure of heart, who has the unfortunate luck of being bitten by a werewolf and can’t do anything to stop it. Unlike modern movies where the person can control it, change at will, etc; in the original when the man transformed into a wolf he literally transformed into becoming a beast and losing all his humanistic thought, reasoning, etc.

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So the film starts out with Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot returning home.

Look at this sweetheart

Look at this sweetheart

His older brother has died, and as he is the second son he will now inherit everything–money, title, family home, etc. More importantly, after the realization that his brother is no longer, Lawrence AKA Larry, is eager to rebuild his relationship with his father. They had previously parted on not the best terms (he wanted to be an engineer his father wanted him to be something else. He decided to run away to California, against his father’s wishes).

Larry reacquaints himself with the village, taking a deep interest in a particular shopkeeper, Gwen Conliffe, who is unfortunately engaged. However, she is equally interested and as Larry buys a silver-wolf handled cane the two make a date to meet up later that night and visit the gypsies that are camping nearby.

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  That night Larry meets up with Gwen and her friend Jenny. The three make off to the gypsies passing some wolfsbane along the way. Both girls repeat the old gypsy folklore about wolfsbane:

Even a man who is pure in heart

and says his prayers by night

may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms

and the autumn moon is bright

Now what is really interesting about this old piece of folklore is that it isn’t that old. This quote has been thought to be an Eastern European folk saying, but Siodmak admits that he was the one who made it up. Even though that might be true, it went  down in film history becoming a part of almost every future Werewolf film and recited in every future Universal film appearance of the Wolf Man. [It is quoted by Van Helsing, but one of the lines was changed to “The moon is shining bright” instead of “The autumn moon is bright“]

Meanwhile, in the gypsy camp one of them has a terrible secret. Bela, played by Bela Lugosi, is actually a werewolf and hiding it from everyone.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

When the group gets to the gypsy camp and have their fortunes read, Bela sees the pentagram on Jenny’s hand and knows that she’s next for death.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

 

Bela runs off and the trio start walking home. Soon Jenny is attacked by a wolf and Larry tries to save her. He wrestles with the wolf and kills it by braining it with his cane. (It being silver can kill it) Unfortunately, he couldn’t save Jenny and during the battle, he ended up getting bit…

dun-dun-duuuun

Making him the next werewolf.

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

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

The next day the constable comes to visit, causing Larry to second guess himself as they found a dead Bela instead of a wolf!

Say What

They found Bela beat in the head, and Larry’s silver cane matches perfectly as the weapon.

Col. Paul Montford, chief constable: [showing Larry’s stick to him] Is this your walking stick?

Larry Talbot: Why, yes. That’s the stick I killed the wolf with.

[Sir John Talbot and Col. Montford look at Larry with great concern]

Sir John Talbot: Larry, Bela the gypsy was killed last night. Your walking stick was found next to the body.

Larry Talbot: You mean, Bela the fortune teller? But… I only saw a wolf.

Larry is completely confused as he knows that it was a wolf. And how does that explain the murder of Jenny? Which was done by a wolf? The constable tells him he is still investigating as he really doesn’t want to arrest the Lord’s son, especially since there are so many questions. He ultimately deems the incident an accident.

Larry on the other hand is extremely puzzled. Could he have killed Bela? But he saw a wolf he was bit by one. Except the mark can not be found!

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Larry needs answers and decides he will go see the Gypsy woman and not only apologize for her son’s death but ask her what is going on! Gwen and her fiancé Frank go with him.

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The gypsy woman, Maleva reveals that he did kill a wolf–a werewolf. Her son Bela was a werewolf and the only thing that could kill him was silver, silver like the silver on his cane.

Maleva: You killed the wolf.

Larry Talbot: Well, there’s no crime in that is there?

Maleva: The wolf was Bela.

Larry Talbot: You think I don’t know the difference between a wolf and a man?

Maleva: Bela turned into a wolf and you killed him. A werewolf can only be killed by a silver bullet, or a silver knife…[looks down at Larry’s walking stick]…or a stick with a silver handle.

Larry Talbot: You’re insane! I tell you, I killed a wolf! A PLAIN, ORDINARY WOLF!!!

Maleva: Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself.

Larry Talbot: Ah, don’t hand me that. You’re just wasting your time.

Maleva: The wolf bit you, didn’t he?

Larry Talbot: Yeah. Yeah he did!

Maleva: [Larry shows Maleva his chest wound concealed under his shirt] Go now – and heaven help you!”

 

Larry of course doesn’t believe her and leaves. That night he transforms into the WEREWOLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now the transformation was laborious. The makeup took six hours and was the design by  Jack Pierce  for Henry Hull in Werewolf of London Hull had rejected it as he didn’t like how long the process would be to apply it. Chaney Jr. claimed he had to sit motionless for hours as the scenes were shot frame by frame. Pierce used grease paint, a rubber snout, wigs, and glued layers of yak hair to Chaney Jr.’s face. Larry’s dissolve transformation on screen only took seconds, while in actuality it took almost ten hours as they had to keep reapplying layers for the changing fur.

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That night the Wolf Man attacks a grave-digger, Richardson.

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The constable and the Doctor finds his ravaged body and wolf tracks.

Meanwhile, Larry finds himself in bed with wolf tracks all around and has finally decided that the gypsy women must be telling him the truth. He talks to his father who just thinks that he is in shock and doesn’t take any of the “werewolf nonsense” seriously. He even calls the doctor who deems it just a mild form of hysteria.

The Constable and doctor prepare the woods to catch the wolf so that it doesn’t kill another person. The nigh as Larry as the Wolf Man  steps in one of the traps and gets caught. Luckily the Gypsy woman frees him, as she had  felt sorry for his predicament.

Larry transforms back into a human and asks the Gypsy woman and for help. She gives him a charm that will protect him from turning into a werewolf and warns him not to give the charm to ANYONE ELSE AS IT WON’T WORK FOR ANYONE ELSE!

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He then runs off to see Gwen to tell her that he is leaving. He knows he has killed the others and doesn’t want to hurt anyone else.

“Larry Talbot: You wouldn’t wanna run away with a murderer wouldja?

Gwen Conliffe: Oh Larry, you’re not. You know you’re not.

Larry Talbot: I killed Bela. I killed Richardson. If I stay here any longer, you can’t tell who’ll be next.”

Gwen tries to get him to take her with him as she loves him, but Larry sees the mark of the pentagram on her hand and tells her he can’t. Instead he gives her the charm. YES THE CHARM  THAT IS ONLY SUPPOSED TO PROTECT HIM! Really Larry? REALLY??????!!!!!!

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YOU ARE MAKING THE  SAME FREAKIN’ MISTAKE THAT EVERY OTHER MONSTER FILM HERO DOES!

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DID YOU NOT HEAR THE WOMAN EARLIER? SHE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! ONLY FOR YOU!! ONLY YOU!!! YOU KEEP IT! What’s the point of going to a gypsy for help if you ARE NOT GOING TO LISTEN????!!!!!!! I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In Dracula, he gives the girl the cross charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Mummy, he gives the girl the charm that is only supposed to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead Imohtep knocks him out and takes the girl anyway. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!! DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!! Alright! So if any of you are given a protective charm you freakin’ keep it!!! YOU HEAR ME????!!!!

And now that I got that little rant out of my system, let’s get back to the story.

So Larry goes to see his father and asks him to lock him up; tie him up in a chair, lock the door, etc and to go far, far, away as he doesn’t want him to be hurt. He also gives his father his silver cane as he knows that it will protect him.

Now this is why I hate modern interpretations of werewolves, except for The Wolfman (2010), as they never capture this aspect of the story. Here is a good man who has become evil, but he doesn’t want to be evil. It wasn’t like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in which Dr. Jekyll made a choice, or even The Phantom of the Opera where he suffered such horrible things and had a complete snap and broke down. This was a good man who wanted to fix bad things in his life but the timing was off and he too is caught up in the evil. Modern interpretations also never cover the heartbreaking scene as this with his dad. He knows he can’t control the evil and the last thing he does is try to protect the ones he loves, first Gwen and then his father. The most emotional is the scene with his father, as here is a man he has been fighting with, had a horrible relationship, but you see in this moment how much love he has for his father. He gives him the cane as he wants his father to be safe, no matter what. And you see how much his father loves him by taking the cane, even though he thinks Larry is delusional.

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Gwen is worried about Larry and goes looking for him, running into the woods even though the Gypsy warns her not to. I mean seriously, why don’t we listen to the Gypsies? They are gypsies, they know stuff.

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So Gwen runs out and into Larry, who has escaped from his room. But instead of the sweet, adorable, loving Larry we are confronted by the horrible beast.

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But before the werewolf can do anything, Sir John comes and hits him with the cane, killing him.

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The constable and doctor presume that Larry was killed trying to save Gwen, but Sir John knows the truth and now is left alone and has to bury his other son.

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Maleva: The way you walked was thorny though no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.”

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Yep. I have to say that this is one of my all-time favorite horror films. Although it makes me want to cry every time. 

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So that was our kick-off piece. Stay tuned for many more wonderful pieces to come!

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For more on The Wolf Man (1941), go to Pink Elephants

For more on werewolves, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

For more monster movies, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara

For more on Claude Rains, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

For more on Bela Lugosi, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more films that spanned countless sequels and remakes, go to Everyones Entitled to One Good Scare

25 Films of Christmas

So last year I tried to do 12 Posts of Christmas, unfortunately that didn’t work out as I got sick and involved in Christmas-y activities. However, this year I decided to do some thing in the vein of the Chinese New Year and Saint Patrick’s Day posts. Instead of posting everyday, a countdown of 25 of my fav Christmas Films. Now these aren’t my top 25, but I randomly picked them and then rearranged them in the order of how I love them.

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25) Love, Actually (2003)

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This has a complex storyline as the film has multiple paths. There is Billy Mack, aging rock star trying to get back in the limelight, redoing Christmas songs.  Mark is secretly in love with his best friend’s girl Juliet but says nothing to honor his friend. Jamie flees to France after his last girlfriend cheats on him with his brother, there  he falls in love with his Portuguese housekeeper. Harry, the direcctor of a design studio, contemplates having an affair with his assistant Mia. David has just become Prime Minister and develops feelings for a girl who works for him, Natalie. Daniel has just lost his wife and is raising his stepson.  Sarah has feelings for Karl but her mentally ill brother, Michael, seems to throw a wrench in her plans. Colin is tired of striking out with English women and journeys to America. John and Judy are body doubles for actors who meet at work.

Why it’s Great: It has Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Martin Freeman , etc; need I say more? The Colin Firth storyline is really good, in fact keep an eye open for it’s reappearance this Feb.

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24) Twas’ the Night Before Christmas (1974)

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Santa isn’t coming this year as he has received an hurtful letter. A mouse and the clockmaker try and figure out what is wrong and fix it. The mouse’s son is the one that caused the issue and they are trying to get him to say he is sorry so that all can have Christmas.

Why it’s Great: They used to show this every year on the 25 Days of Christmas on abcFamily. It’s a great spin on a classic tale.

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23) Catch Me If You Can (2002)

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Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the film based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. Frank is a conman who pretends to be a teacher, pilot, doctor, and lawyer all before his 21st birthday. He steals millions of dollars in forged checks. Tom Hanks is the FBI Agent, Carl, that tracks him through the years, finally  catching up with him.

Why it’s Great: While this isn’t your typical Christmas film, Christmas plays a significant part as it is the time that the two intersect throughout the years in the film. DiCaprio and Hanks are amazing in this film as they are such subperb actors. It’s a great thing to watch.

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22) Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997)

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This film takes place in the midst of Beauty and the BeastThe Beast hates Christmas, because in this version that’s when the Enchantress came and turned him into a Beast. Belle is trying to bring back Christmas to the castle and help heal the Beast’s soul, but has to contend with an evil organ played by Tim Curry. For more Beauty and the Beast posts go here.

Why it’s Great: While the song “As Long As There’s Christmas” is no “Be Our Guest” or “Tale as Old as Time“, it is extremely adorable. Plus Tim Curry as the villian? You just know its going to be awesome. 😀

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22) Frosty the Snowman (1969)

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Short film based on the song about the magic hat that brings a snowman to life and his adventures with the town’s kids.

Why it’s Great: Its Frosty! How can you not love him?

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21) Babes in Toyland (1986)

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Drew Barrymore is a young girl who is not quite in the Christmas’ spirit. There is a huge storm and she gets into an accident waking up in Toyland. Mary Contrary (who looks just like her sis in ‘real life’) is being forced to marry the evil Barnaby Barnacle. She really loves Jack Be Nimble (played by Keanu Reeves and looks like her sis’ bf in ‘real life’.) Barrymore tries to stop the wedding and Barnaby’s atempt to conquer Toyland. They have to find the toymaker and get his help in saving the land.

Why it’s Great: This Wizard of Oz-esque film is adorable as it brings all the nursery rhymes you learned as a child to life.

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20) Edward Scissorhands (1990)

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A young creation, Edward Scissorhands, is discovered by an Avon saleslady, Peg. His creator was going to give him actual hands, but was not able to finish Edward before he died. The Avon saleslady takes him home to her place and has him join the family. Edward falls for the daughter Kim, played by Winona Ryder. Edward quickly becomes liked by all as he uses his scissors to create lawn art and cute hairstyles. After he is caught burglarizing a house, for Kim and her jerk boyfriend, he finds himself ostracized. In the end Edward is able to find love, his place, create more art, and make it snow.

Why it’s Great: First of all it has Vincent Price, in fact this was his last film before he died. It also is a super cute story, even though it has its sad moments. The last section of the film deals with Christmas, as Peg and her family throw a huge Christmas party that no one comes to as they are shunning the fam. I love Winona Ryder’s white dress in this film, I really want one for myself. It’s also really cute at the end when Edward makes the ice sculptures, and snow.

Holly

19) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

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Our second Tim Burton film on our list. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, and the most popular guy in Halloweentown is disatisfied with his life. He journeys out of town and discovers doors to other holiday towns. When he goes into Christmasland he decides that he will take over Christmas and improve it. Of course nothing turns out quite as he plans.

Why it’s Great: Its an amazing film, the music, characters, etc. Of course best lines, “why does nothing turn out as I plan“. My favorites are “What’s This?” and “Sally’s Song“.

Holly

18) While You Were Sleeping (1995)

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Sandra Bullock works at a toll booth and everyday she watches the distinguished (and my opinion ugly) Peter Gallagher and has developed a crush on him. One day he is attacked and injured and she saves his life. At the hospital she is mistaken for his fiancé and soon brought into the family. She falls in love with them, along with Gallagher’s brother, played by Bill Pullman. Gallagher wakes up to find himself massively confused, and Bullock finds herself engaged to the wrong brother. Everything works out on the end as all is righted.

Why it’s Great: Well first of all it has Bill Pullman :D. Secondly it is a hilarious film, just like all of Bullock’s comedys. I mean the amnesia scene is to die for. The proposal scene with Bill Pullman is so an adorable and romantic!

Holly

17) The Holiday (2006)

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Two women who have  suffered horrible breakups switch homes for the Christmas holiday. Iris, Kate Winslet, in England goes to California, and befriends an elderly neighbor and falls in love with a Hollywood movie theme writer (played by Jack Black). Amanda, Cameron Diaz, in California, moves to England and falls for Iris’ brother, Jude Law, widower with two kids.

Why it’s Great: Its an absolutely adorable idea and the couples match up are perfect. Of course the most points go to the sexy dad, Jude Law. 😀

Holly

16) Nestor: The Long- Eared Donkey  (1977)

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Nestor is a donkey born with extremely long ears. In the vein of Dumbo, Nestor is constantly picked on and bullied for being so different. An angel encourages him that he was born that way for a reason and has a special purpose in life. Eventually, Nestor finds himself being the donkey that Mary rides in to Bethlehem, protecting her and the unborn Baby Jesus.

Why it’s Great: It is such a cute movie!!!

Holly

15) The Little Drummer Boy (1968)

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This film is based on the song, “Carol of the Drum” or “The Little Drummer Boy“. A little boy and his animals end up becoming slaves to a circus, being treated cruelly by all. He escapes and one of his animals is injured. He meets up with the Three Magi’s caravan and goes with them to see Baby Jesus. His animal is healed and he plays his drum as thank you to Jesus.

Why it’s Great: It is one of the most adorable classic cartoons that they used to show every year on abcFam.

Holly

14) Jack Frost (1979)

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Jack Frost has fallen for a human girl and makes a deal that will allow him be human. He is until Spring to win her over and must also gain a horse and bag of gold in order to remain human. Being a human is harder than he thought as he has no idea the social niceties and has to contend with Kubla Khan, the evil dictator.

Why it’s Great: Jack is amazing, much better than the gold knight the girl end sup with ;(. Makes you knida wish he was real. This cartoon also has great musical numbers as “Jack Frost” and “Just What I Always Wanted“. I also loves Kubla Khan’s little dummy that he talks to.

Holly

13) The Godfather (1972)

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Such an awesome film! The Godfather is a story about the Italian mafia in the 1940s. This specific sect is overseen by Don Corleone. He has three sons; Alfredo (played by John Cazale), Santino (James Caan), and Michael (Al Pacino); and one daughter, Connie (Talia Shire). Santino is next in line to be godfather, skipping over his brother Fredo. Unlike his siblings, Michael wants nothing to do with his father’s  business, instead wanting to live a “legal” life. When Don Corleone is shot by a rival, it changes everyone’s plans as they are all spiraled down a new path.

Why it’s Great: Two words, The Godfather. There is no way to describe how amazing this film is, well actually You’ve Got Mail does a pretty good job.  You just have to check it out for yourself. This film isn’t a Christmas movie really, but does have a Christmas scene, so it counts. It’s funny, but even though this doesn’t have Thanksgiving, we usually watch it then in my family.

Holly

12) The Nativity Story (2006)

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A retelling of the birth of Christ from Mary and Joseph’s point of view. It shows the struggle that Joseph goes through, contemplating what to do about pregnant Mary. Then the two have to travel far and long to Bethlehem.

Why it’s Great: They tried to keep the story as historical accurate as possible and do such a great job. It really tries to bring the biblical text to life and get you to empathize with the two and the situations they are going through.

Holly

11) The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1988)

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A mini-series based on C.S. Lewis’ beloved books. Four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, enter a wardrobe and a magical world. The four find themselves caught in a battle between the evil White Witch and the Godly Lion, Aslan.

Why it’s Great: C.S. Lewis’ great book = Great movie. Enough said! While Christmas isn’t the biggest part of the plot, the group do run into Father Christmas who gives them gifts they need to win the fight against the White Witch. Peter gets a sword and shield, Susan a bow and horn that will always bring help, and Lucy a dagger and a healing substance to help the wounded. While this movie was remade by Disney, it doesn’t hold a candle to this mini-series, as the series while not having the great special effects, is almost exactly the book.

Holly

10) White Christmas (1954)

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Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are WWII veterans who became a song and dance duo. The two meet up with a pair of singing sisters and both head off to the same ski lodge. There they discover their old general is the owner, and may lose the place from lack of buisness and snow. The two come up with an idea to house a show there with the sisters. Bing Crosby starts a romance but the two break it off due to some misunderstandings. In the end they are all reunited and have a great number honoring the General and singing the title, White Christmas.

Why it’s Great: First of all Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye! Secondly this has some truly great musical numbers; such as “Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army“, “Sisters“, along with the title song. It’s a silly and zany film, you’ll love it.

Holly

8) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

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The Peanut gang try to figure out the true meaning of Christmas amid all the insanities of the holiday.

Why it’s Great: It’s Peanuts! Snoopy is adorable as ever and Linus gives a great true meaning of Christmas speech.

Holly

9) A Garfield Christmas (1987)

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Garfield and the gang head out to the Arbuckle farm for some old fashioned country Christmas

Why it’s Great: Its from the good Garfield cartoons I grew up watching as a kid. That hilarious fat cat always makes the season brighter. Go here to watch.

Holly

7) A Christmas Story (1983)

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Adult Ralphie narrates the time when his nine-year-old self desired a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas and all the trouble he went through to try and get it. Throughout the time leading up to Christmas, he, his family, and friends are involved in all kinds of crazy antics. The father wins a female leg lamp, Ralphie’s friend Flick gets his tongue stuck to a pole, his brother won’t eat unless pretending to be a pig, Ralphie gets a pink-footed bunny pajamas, etc. It all leads up to one crazy Christmas.

Why it’s Great: This movie is extremely hilarious. Pretty much every scene I mentioned there and more. It is  is truly a classic piece. You gotta add it to your Christmas countdown. 😀

Holly

6) The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

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The Bishop is trying to get a new cathedral built along with all his other duities. Feeling stressed out, he calls out to God for help, and is answered by angel Dudley, Cary Grant. Dudley helps out, that is by spending all his time with the Bishop’s wife. Through this the Bishop is finally able to see what really matters in his life and the true meaning of Christmas.

Why it’s Great: Uh…Cary Grant! It also has such funny actics as when we see Grant’s angel powers. I mean I wish I had his tree decorating skills. This film also proves the old adage, “be careful what you wish for” is something that one should think on. 😀 For more thoughts on this film go here.

Holly

5) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

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The Grinch hates Christmas and decides to destroy and end the holiday, ruining the holiday for all the Whos. However, the Grinch finds out what the true spirit of christmas is, whether he wants to or not.

Why it’s Great: The Grinch was always my fav Dr. Seuss book. I just love the story so much! I remember that one year I ate a ton of a certain type of cereal and sent away for a special Grinch keychain. I lost it though in one of our moves.  This film is also awesome because it has the amazing Boris Karloff narrating, and has one of the all-time best songs, You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch.

Holly

4) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

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A Macy’s department store Santa believes himself to be the “real” Santa Claus. His insistence lands him in jail and then in a huge court case to determine whether or not Santa is real

Why it’s Great: It’s an amazing film about faith, believing in the intangible, and the true meaning of Christmas.  Edmund Gwenn is a perfect Santa, Maureen O’Hara is lovely as always, and it stars a young Natalie Wood.  It has amazing scenes as Santa turns Macy’s into a store of goodwill, taking down the psychologist, and pretty much just being adorable. Best scene ever is the court scenes when they prove Santa’s real. 😀

Holly

3) Holiday Inn (1942)

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Bing Crosby plays a burnt out singer and moves to Connecticut to buy a country home and live a simple life. It soon becomes too much for him and he turns it into a hotel, open only on holidays. (Sounds like my type of place) Wannabe star Linda Mason starts to work for him and the two fall in love. Unfortunately, Crosby’s old partner and womanizer, played by Fred Astaire, comes back into the picture and tries to break up the two. It involves a lot of zany romance and comical moments.

Why it’s Great: The holiday songs are amazing; White Christmas, Happy Holidays, (Come to) Holiday Inn, Be Careful It’s My Heart, I Can’t Tell a Lie, etc. The wonderful partnership of Bing and Fred make this movie really great! 😀 A great watch. Now for some fun facts. This is the first time “White Christmas” was performed in a film.  The same set was used for the film White Christmas which also stars Bing. The hotel chain Holiday Inn got their name from this movie.

Holly

2) The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

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Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan work together in a shop in Budapest and can’t stand each other. Unbeknownst to them they are actually the pen pals that they are falling in love with. Stewart realizes this and does everything he can to show Sullivan that he is the man she loves and the two end up happily ever after. It was later remade as You’ve Got Mail.

Why it’s Great: JIMMY STEWART! That pretty much says it all. I love this film so, so, so, much, there are no words to describe how great it is. So romantic! ❤

Holly

1) It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

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Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, a troubled man. An angel, Clarence, is given the story of George’s life and sent down from heaven to help him. George has always dreamed of leaving his hometown and traveling the world. Unfortunately, no matter what he does he continues to be stuck there. He marries and helps the town in many ways, but doesn’t realize all the good he does. However, when a large sum of money goes missing and everything in his life seems to be going wrong he wishes he was never born at all. Clarence helps him by granting his wish and showing him how ugly Bedford Falls would be without him.

Why it’s Great: This is one of my favorite Jimmy Stewart films. There’s a reason why this film is played every year, besides the fact that it is JIMMY STEWART! It is a great movie that really shows you how even the smallest acts can make a difference in people’s life. If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on this film go here. This film always makes me think of my dad. He has done so much for people and can get frustrated as he doesn’t feel like his has accomplished much. “Clarence: Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

So Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have a great day full of family, friends, and fun. 😀

Anything Can Happen: An Affair to Remember (1957)

Romantic Moment #10

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An Affair to Remember (1957)

I love this movie so much! It is one of my favorite romantic films. I mean it has CARY GRANT in it, so already you know it is going to be wonderful.

Aw!

Aw!

Now even if you haven’t seen it, this film may sound familiar to you. This is the film the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks film that Sleepless in Seattle is based around. An Affair to Remember is the film that Meg Ryan’s character, Annie, and Rosie O’Donnell’s character, Becky, are crazy about. Even Tom Hanks character Sam’s sister Suzy, (played by Tom Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson) adores it. In fact if you haven’t seen either movie I recommend watching An Affair to Remember before Sleepless in Seattle. You just enjoy the movie on a deeper level that way.

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An Affair to Remember is a remake of Love Affair starring Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne. As much as I like original films and Irene Dunne, I prefer An Affair to Remember because of Cary Grant. Like I said before, I’m a big fan.

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An Affair to Remember is about two people who meet on a cruise and fall in love, although both’s affections are engaged elsewhere. Nickie Ferrante, (Cary Grant), is a playboy engaged to Lois Clark; while Terry McKay, (Deborah Kerr), is mistress to Kenneth Bradley. The two try to stay apart but spend dinners together, walks, Terry even meets Nick’s grandmother; and the two end up falling in love.

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As both feel they are not good enough with the life styles they have been living, (both living off money provided from the people they are dating.) They agree to each live on their own and meet up in six months at the top of the Empire State Building. If the other doesn’t show up; the one waiting will know that they decided to go on with their life in the original direction planned.

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In six months, Nickie is a painter and he eagerly rushes to the Empire State Building. Terry is a singer in a nightclub, and on her way to meet Nickie, she gets hit by a cab; paralyzed for the rest of her life. Nickie ends up waiting the whole night for her, but she never comes.

It's so Sad!

It’s so Sad!

Terry tells Nickie nothing about the accident, feeling that she is not worthwhile being paralyzed. She is too proud to go to him, and too scared. The two cross paths at a concert, and Nickie sees her with her old boyfriend, hurt and betrayed at what he thinks she did.

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Will they be reunited or is this affair over for good?

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Most Romantic Moment: Reunited Lovers

This romantic moment comes at the very end. It is the most romantic and I am so sorry I don’t have a video to show you, but I couldn’t find one.

It is Christmas day and Terry has decided to spend it home alone, when Nickie shows up, angry, bitter and hurt; but determined to give her the shawl that his grandmother left Terry when she died.

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He tells her he painted a picture of her, and didn’t sell it. Instead a woman in a wheelchair wanted it, and didn’t have enough money so he had his dealer give it to her.

Nickie Ferrante: You know, l painted you like that, with the shawl. l wish you could have seen it. Courbet said it was one of my best. l didn’t think l could ever part with it, but there was no reason to keep it any longer. l couldn’t take money for it because, well, you know…So Courbet told me a young woman came into the gallery and… she liked it. She saw in it what l’d hoped you’d see, so… l told Courbet to give it to her. Because he said she didn’t have any money, and not only that, she was…Anyway, l told him to give it to her…”

At first he is angry that she is so indifferent to him, and never even gets up to greet him just laying on the couch; but as he is talking he starts thinking about the woman in the wheelchair and Terry’s actions. Could they be the same person?

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Nickie looks around, and then he sees it. THE PAINTING!

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He runs to her and holds her in his arms.

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This is the part everyone starts weeping at, bawling. Who can blame them? It is such a sweet moment, the two reunited.

“Terry McKay: Darling, don’t look at me like that.
Nickie Ferrante: Why didn’t you tell me? If it had to happen to one of us, why did it have to be you?
Terry McKay: It was nobody’s fault but my own. l was looking up. It was the nearest thing to heaven. You were there.
Nickie Ferrante: Oh, darling.
Terry McKay: Don’t worry, darling. If you can paint, l can walk. Anything can happen, don’t you think?
Nickie Ferrante: Yes, darling.
Terry McKay: Yes, darling.”

So romantic

So romantic

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So in Sleepless in Seattle, you get some great scenes of the women talking about this moment.

One of the best scenes is in the beginning when Becky and Annie are watching An Affair to Remember. I love this scene because it is the kind of conversations I have with my friends after I watch a great movie. I am always Annie in these scenarios.

“Annie Reed: Now those were the days when people knew how to be in love.
Becky: You’re a basket case.
Annie Reed: They knew it. Time, distance, nothing could separate them, because they knew it was right. It was real. It was… 
Becky:  A movie. That’s your problem. You don’t want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie.


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And then one of my favorite scenes is when Suzy shares the story of An Affair to Remember with her brother Sam and husband. The guys make fun of her, but I love this scene because when I bring up the story of An Affair to Remember I tell it in the exact same way Suzy does.

I love this scene because I can see myself having the reaction of Annie or Becky.

And in the end Annie and Sam get the romantic ending that Terry and Nickie never got.

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To start Romance is in the Air from the beginning, go to Boom Box of Love: Say Anything (1989)

For the previous post, go to You’re Just Too Good Too Be True: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

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For more on An Affair to Remember, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

For more on Cary Grant, go to On the 7th Day ‘Til Christmas: The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

For more on falling in love at a bad time, go to If I Never Knew You

For more remakes, go to A Tale So Strange It Must Be True: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005)

Color Me Red

The lovely shade of embarrassment

So tonight I was in the gym and had a very embarrassing/silly moment. :/ But that’s life, you can’t live without them.

It all started with the T-Shirt I was wearing.

When I go to the gym I like to make sure  no one talks to me. I hate how people try and have a conversation with you when you are out of breath and can’t really talk, it’s on par with dentists who always try to talk to you when they have their hand shoved in your mouth. Why would you ask a question, if you know I can’t answer it due to the fact that your fist is in my mouth!!

See Hook agrees with me.

See Hook agrees with me.

Anyways, so I go to the gym at night so I don’t run into anyone (or have to give up the machines when I reach the max of 30 mins) I also wear certain clothes so no one will want to talk to me. One shirt I wear is of this band that’s really weird.

Note: It wasn’t a Queen shirt. Queen isn’t weird but AWESOME!!! I wish I had a Queen shirt! ;( But I don’t. 😦

Yeah, sorry about that, I couldn’t find a copy of the shirt online. I love Queen, Queen is not weird.

So this shirt I actually got from a friend. She broke up with her boyfriend and had a huge bag of his clothes she just wanted out of her sight. Me, like the frugal person I am, jumped on that train of free stuff.

You know I never understood that obsession of giving your clothes to your girlfriend. I always thought it was kind of weird. Especially the girlfriends who make their boyfriends give them a ton of their clothes, I mean a jacket I understand, that is more of a symbol. But why does your girlfriend need like 20 of your shirts? Seriously what’s up with that?

MeanGirls I know right!

So here I am wearing this weird shirt to make sure no one will talk to me, and the guy on duty at the gym just happens to know that band and be really into them. I mean what are the odds of that? Why do such TV-esque things happen to me?

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So here I am trying to get out of a conversation like this because I know zero about this group. I act a bit cool toward him, not because I don’t want him to talk to me but because I don’t know ANYTHING about the band.

Later as I was working out, he came over to clean the machine next to me. I go to drink my water and start choking on it. Of course.

So there I am hacking up a storm and I can see the guy out of the corner of my eye.

He comes up to me and asks me if I’m okay, really worried that I might cough up a lung. I assure him I’m okay, but all I can think is I was trying to fly under the radar and completely, utterly, failed! Oh well, that’s my life.

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Good thing my face was red from working out so he couldn’t tell how embarrassed I was.

So embarressed

So embarrassed

 

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For more embarrassing moments, go to Walkin’ Round

For more “What are the Odd?” moments, go to Heeeeee’s BA-CK!

For more gym stories, go to In Rhapsody Over Clint Eastwood

For more on free stuff, go to CANDY TIME!