What Do They Want You For? Murder: Silver Streak (1976)

What do they want you for?

Murder.

Drop me off anywhere along here okay? I don’t mess with the Big M.

So I don’t know about you all but one of my favorite actors is Gene Wilder:

It is a spoof of the thriller, disaster, and mystery films. In fact it reminds me of the Alfred Hitchcock film The Lady Vanishes, but definitely more ’70s flavor.

George Caldwell (Gene Wilder) is a quiet book editor that is traveling from Los Angeles, CA to Chicago for his sister’s wedding. He is hoping for a quiet time alone on the train, but life is not planning that.

He meets Hilly Burns (Jill Clayburgh), secretary for Professor Schreiner, who has a new book coming out on Rembrandt. She comes on to him and the two get close in a few short minutes. 

But then things start going a little strange. He sees a dead body hanging outside his window.

I know, right?

George wants to investigate it, but Hilly says he is drunk and should just come to bed with her. Of course George ignores the body and goes with Hilly.

The next day, George looks at the book Hilly gave him about Rembrandt and sees a picture of the author-who turns out to be the dead body he saw last night.

George gets thrown off the train by the minions that took Professor Schreiner out and finds himself meeting up with a fun farmlady who helps him make it back to the train. 

Finally

Afterwards, George confides in a vitamin salesman, Bob Sweets, who spoke to him earlier, and it is revealed that the guy is actually an FBI agent, named Steven, who is investigating an important art ring. While they go to make an arrest-Steven gets shot. Now George finds himself branded a murderer in the press, on the run as a fugitive, thrown off the train, and it looks like Hilly has moved on to the super rich Roger Devereau.

But George won’t give up. He needs to get the truth, get is girl, and get back on that train. He ends up teaming up with thief Grover T. Muldoon (Richard Pryor). The rest of the film is full of hijinks, hilarity, and thrills.

Now there is one thing that people won’t like. There is a scene in which Grover tries to help George hide from he police by painting him black and teaching him “to be black” with George failing of course. It is funny, but there is quite a few out there who might find it offensive.

If you like thrills, mystery, parodies, etc-you should check this out on Netflix.

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to It Feels So Good to See the Bad Guys Scared for a Change: Hangman’s Curse (2003)

For more Gene Wilder, go to A Trip to the Mall Turns into the Twilight Zone

For more train centered films, go to Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)

For more horror-comedies, go to Is She Mrs. X?: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

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Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)

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Have you seen Megan Hipwell?

I first was introduced to the book this film is based on by Goodreads. Everywhere I looked they promoted the book and kept recommending it to me.

They were constantly attacking me trying to get me to read it. That kind of pressure actually made me not want to read it at all.

Want YOu Leave Me Alone

But then I saw the film coming out and decided that I would like to read the book before seeing the film. I figured out who the murderer was, but thought the book was pretty well written.

LeavehertoHeavenReading

So before we start with the film review, let’s give a bit of background on the book. So the theme of the book is that you never really know a person, there is a lot more than meets the eye.

Carnival of Souls Don't know real

So the book is told by three female narrators who are completely unreliable.

1) First we have Rachel Watson. Rachel is bitter, obsessed, and an alcoholic. We want to like her and believe in her, feeling for the wrongs that have been committed against her, but at the same time we can’t trust her. First of all Rachel is an alcoholic who continually blacks out when she gets drunk and never knows what actually happens. Besides that, Rachel admits that she has an overactive imagination so we never know what she does remember or see to really be what she says or whether it is made up in her head.

2) Secondly we have Anna Watson. Anna was a real estate agent by day, party girl by night. When she met Tom Watson, Rachel’s husband at the time, she wanted him; became the other woman; got pregnant and became the new wife. She dislikes Rachel and the disruption she brings as she continually plagues their life. As Anna is willing to do all she can to get rid of Rachel, can we actually believe what she says about her or is it just jealousy?

3) Last we have Megan HipwellMegan says right away that she is a liar and makes things up all the time, no one really knows who she is. Therefore, how can we trust a single sentence she utters? Her story is told in flashbacks, leading up to her disappearance and murder.

So I  decided to see the film, how did it hold up?

It works

Well………………………………………………………………………….

I don't like it 11

I thought the film was pretty horrible. It didn’t capture the thrills of the book, the language and screenplay was horrid; and they just inserted sex everywhere! I was furious! WHO WROTE THIS? It sucked!

fliptablesangrysurprised

So let’s count down what made this film so bad.

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1) Setting

Macdonald-Elmers-Court-Resort-England

So they changed the location from England to New York and I thought that was a bad decision. First of all I’m tired of everything being New York, it is getting kind of boring. Besides that I thought England was a better choice as unlike America, Europe is so centered on trains. I also thought the weather and location added a certain suspense to everything.

fog

Plus the way the police interact and a lot of mannerisms; didn’t translate over as well to American. I mean there was Rachel’s obsession with her house that is very English, a type of Peril at End House that we have here, but not as strong.

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2) The Language

Thank-you-in-many-languages

The book was well written and crafted well in creating the story. The film, however, was not done well. I can’t believe the person who wrote this was paid any money, it was bad. Just F-bombs; no mystery, no suspense, nothing.

I don't like it 11

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3) Too Much Sex

did not need to see that

They trade out character development and actual plot to just show sex like every ten minutes. None of this was in the book, as it didn’t need that to be a good story. In fact the excessive sex just made the story weaker.

I mean when you watch the trailer they market it like 50 Shades of Gray. That was not what the book was about.

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4) Where was Anna?

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So the book is split between three narrators, the film did well with two but Anna had hardly any character development. In fact she was barely even in the film. Why would they do that? She was a big part of the story?

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5) Surprises Revealed Too Early

really?

really?

So the book is a SUSPENSE. A THRILLER! You aren’t supposed to reveal things right away, they are supposed to be done slowly.

However, this film took all the thrills out early on. If you watch the trailer, the killer is revealed. They tell everything about Rachel’s reason for drinking, Megan’s secrets, etc.

It is like they wanted to do a drama instead of a thriller.

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6) Most of the Casting Choices were Horrible

So I disliked almost every actor they choose to play these characters. What were they thinking? Who was in charge of this? They should be fired.

Scott Hipwell

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In the book Scott was a wealthy IT consultant. He had a lot of money and could support the two of them, have a nice house in the country, and live off having to travel and work like once a week to twice a month. He was kind, handsome, charming, respectable, etc. You wanted to like him because Rachel did. Rachel believed in him and never thought of him being a killer or ever hurting his wife. He had to be someone you felt comfortable with, that way when Rachel realizes she has no idea who this guy really is, just who she imagines him to be, it takes on a real creepy tone.

In this, from the way he [Luke Evans] dresses and acts he seemed abusive and controlling. I never trusted him in the film as straight off the bat he acted and looked like someone who would hurt women. He never appeared trusting, kind, or gentle. He never appeared IT and their home looked barely lived in and worn. It just didn’t work and he didn’t work.

Tom Watson

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So in the book, Rachel describes Tom as being strong, powerful, and having the shoulders that seemed like they could carry all their weights and burdens. He is remarried, but at the same time the way he treats Rachel is almost like Cousin Ashley in Gone With the Wind, keeping her on a string.

In this film, I was surprised that they picked Justin Theroux. He was small and made me think of a weasel. I never thought he seemed comforting or a good husband; he looked like a liar and a cheat the whole time. I thought he was a bad choice, as like Luke Evans, he just couldn’t create a sincere or kind facade.

Anna Watson

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As said before, Anna was supposed to be party girl turned wife. In this she had no character development and the only bit we had was that she loved being a mom and thought it was the best thing any woman could do. We never heard about what she thought about their relationship, her hatred of Rachel, her needs, desires, etc.

Megan Hipwell

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I thought she was okay. They definitely played up the sexual angle, but didn’t focus on everything she went though to be who she was. All she was was a sex addict; not a grieving sister, former drug addict, bankrupt business owner, wife, friend, etc.Megan was much more complicated than just sex.

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The only thing I really liked was Emily Blunt as Rachel. She did extremely well in showing the emotional abuse and effects of alcohol. Good job, Emily!

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

For the previous post, go to He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has A Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)

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For more films on disappearances, go to What Have We Done to Each Other?: Gone Girl (2014)

For more Emily Blunt, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

For more films based on books, go to That Face-I’ve Seen Her Before…: Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1997)

What Are the 39 Steps?: The 39 Steps (1935)

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Beautiful, mysterious woman pursued by gunmen. Sounds like a spy story. That’s exactly what it is.

This is another one of Alfred Hitchcock’s little known gems, and celebrating its 80th anniversary. I know many of you might be wondering why I chose this film and Jamaica Inn instead of The Birds or Vertigo. I don’t know, I guess I just feel like everyone talks about those films, and no one talks about Hitchcock’s earlier works, which were also fantastic. Maybe not as stylized as he didn’t have money and the technology wasn’t as great; but they are good stories with amazing suspense.

Suspense have to know

So the film is based on a book of the same name by John Buchan. It has been remade in 1959, 1978, and more recently in 2008. I have only seen Hitchcock’s and the 2008 version, but so far this is my favorite.

love it

I first became aware of this film when I bought a DVD for a dollar at Wal-Mart that had 4 Alfred Hitchcock films: Easy Virtue, Sabotage, The 39 Steps, and Jamaica Inn. As I was watching the film, the DVD froze right in the middle, making me unable to know how the film ended.

igotstoknow

Now if you have never had this happen to you in the middle of a Hitchcock film then you are lucky that you don’t know how excruciatingly painful it is to be stopped in the middle. How does it end???? I was going crazy, until my mom told me that she might have a VHS copy of it. I searched every inch of our film cases, until I found it. Watching it and loving it.

Finally something GOOD!

One thing I really like about this film, is that it is one of Hitchcock’s earliest films to have the theme of an ordinary person, caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

AlfredHitchcock

I’m not sure if it is the first as I haven’t seen all of his silent films. They are hard to get copies of.  So let’s get started on the prelude to SaboteurNorth by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much and all those other great regular joes getting a most irregular experience with The 39 Steps. 

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This film was made in Britain, so the opening is very different, not the usual Hollywood or FBI warning type things you see.

The music hall has a special guest today, Mr. Memory a man who knows everything as he commits to memory 50 facts a day. Richard Hannay has decided to come and watch the program with countless others, as it is a full house tonight. And of course, lots of hecklers, as this isn’t a super high class program, we have working and middle class attending. People are questioning Mr. Memory, but the program stalls when some drunks start brawling and create a hoopla. Two shots ring out and everyone flees.

bodysnatchers 1956 runaway

A woman runs into Hannay and he helps get her out of the building. She asks to come home with.

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Richard is a bit wary, but agrees.

The two go to his apartment, his temporary one as he is not permanent here. He just came from Canada but travels all over Canada, England, Scotland, and Ireland for his job.

When they get inside Hannay notices that the girl starts acting strangely. She will stand away from windows and close to the walls. She asks him to move a mirror around, and to close the curtains on the windows. The phone rings and she pleads him not to answer as she is sure “they” are calling for her.

weird

He gives her a drink which she gulps down, clearly frightened about something. She is ready to give him an explanation, but not until they move to the more secure kitchen instead, of which she closes the curtains.

The phone rings again, Hannay compiling to her wishes, but finding the whole thing strange. Even more when she asks for something to eat.

Weird

Weird

She tells him to call her Annabella Smith, it is not her real name, as she changes it wherever she goes. Hannay starts cooking her some eggs, when they hear a thump of the stove being turned on, which frightens Annabella. Hannay assumes it is because of the gunshots they heard earlier, but she tells him she was the one who fired the shots.

Say What

Annabella tells then there were two men there that wanted to kill her. Hannay doesn’t believe her.

Richard Hannay: Beautiful, mysterious woman pursued by gunmen. Sounds like a spy story.

Annabella Smith: That’s exactly what it is.

Annabella tells him everything; she is a secret agent with no country, helping whatever one she chooses. She is here to help England, not because she loves the country but because they pay well. There is an agent that is trying to get vital information on England’s defense out of the country and she is here to stop it.

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Richard doesn’t believe her at all. She then tells him to look down in the street. When he does he sees a man waiting by the light post looking up trying to see into the apartment!

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Hannay believes Annabella is telling the truth. Annabella is scared and knows that Hannay is now stuck in this mess. That is when she decides to give him her secret.

Annabella Smith: Have you ever heard of the 39 Steps?

Richard Hannay: No. What’s that, a pub?

With that smart aleck reply, Annabella decides to tell him no more, it is all up to her she is the only one who can stop them. Hannay asks her why she doesn’t tell the police, but she points out that they will have the same response he did. She also warns him about how clever the spies are, especially the head agent.

Richard Hannay: Who is he and what is his name?

Annabella Smith: He has a thousand names can look like anyone, only thing he cannot hide is a missing finger.

Richard offers Annabella his bed while he takes he couch. She tells him the only other thing she needs is passage to Scotland, there is a man there who can help her. Richard asks if the 39 Steps are in Scotland, and she tells him they can talk more about it tomorrow.

Majorly

Majorly

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. If you have important info you do not wait until later, you give it now. Whenever people say they will save it for later, they die, and then the others have to try and figure out what they meant.

Every time!

Every time!

That night Anna wakes him up screaming throwing a paper at him. And then she’s dead!

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

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

And the phone keeps ringing, Hannay wants to answer but doesn’t . He looks out the window and sees the man still waiting outside. He hears everything Anna said in his head again, these men will stop at nothing.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

He grabs the paper from her dead hand and sees it is a map of Scotland, with an area circled. There is only one thing for Hannay to do, get himself to Scotland.

Hannay takes off the next morning, wearing his hat low to hide identity. He waits in the lobby, running into the milkman. He asks to buy his clothes, saying that he is truing to get away from murderer and spy, but the milkman doesn’t believe him. He then tells him that he spent the night with a married woman, and her brother and husband are waiting to beat him up. They milkman feels sorry for him, and they trade clothes, with Hannay running off to the train The Flying Scotsman, heading to Scotland.

Hannay shares a compartment with three guys. One buys a newspaper when they stop at a station. They read that a woman was murdered in West End near the BBC. There is a picture of the owner of that flat. Luckily, in the picture, Hannay has his hat on low, so it is hard to recognize him.

tellyouthetruthidon'tknowTwilightzoneRealmartianpleasestandup

Richard walks out of the compartment and heads over to the policeman, thinking about turning himself in, as he didn’t do it he should be proved innocent. Right? Wrong! He hears the police to another person say that the evidence they have is enough to hang the man. Hannay decides to forget that, he wants to live.

He goes back to the train but the spy’s henchmen have caught up with him. He runs into another compartment with a woman, stopping to kiss her. The men pass them by.

He tells her he is in need of help, and that these spies are after him. He asks her to lie and say they are together. But when the men come back, she gives him up.

How rude

They question him, are you Hannay and he says no.

Just then the porter comes in and I just love this scene here so much:

Porter: Are you coming in for tea, Sir?

Richard Hannay: I’ll be right along

Instead of going out the regular door, he then goes right through the exiting door even though the train is still going. Afterwards, he crosses into another compartment and runs down the hall. A great scene done by the master. You have to watch it.

He runs through the dining car, stopping at the pet and luggage, with the henchmen close behind. The engine masters are angry as the henchmen pulled the chain to make the train stop, sure that Hannay jumped out. And he did. He is hiding on the bridge barely hanging on waiting for them to all leave.

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The train leaves, reducing Hannay to be to walking about Scotland. He reaches he circled area and stops at a country house, in the area.  He pretends to be looking for work and asks about newcomers to the area, being told of an Englishmen in town.

As night is coming he asks to stay, paying for food and lodging. There is a young girl at the home, and he thinks it is the old man’s daughter, but she is actually his wife.

clueless mybad oops

He sits at the table while she cooks dinner.

The wife is from Glasgow and tells him about how nice it is, and you can clearly she misses it. Hannay tells her that he has never been there but London, Montreal, and more. She wnts to know more about London and he answers her questions.

He asks to read the paper, and sees another article on him.

Later during dinner, while the husband is praying, his wife looks at the paper. She figures it out and makes a face to Hannay, then the two then stare at each other. Her husband is a bit worried that they might have done something, so he makes up an excuse and goes outside watching them through the window.

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

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

That night, the wife hears something, getting up and waking Hannay so he can flee. As she is getting him out, the husband gets up. He thought those looks were about getting it on, and he thinks they are trying to get together now. Although Hannay is fully dressed, but you know how jealousy blinds

Hannay tries to explain, but the wife urges him to leave. He says the police are after him and is willing to pay for the man for silence. He agrees to this, telling his wife to put Hannay in the barn. The wife knows the husband will betray him, so she gives Hannay her husband’s dark  coat and Hannay thanks her, running off.

Along came a spider morgan freeman running

The men walk across the moor searching for Hannay. They are having to crawl through the hills and rocks, running like in Invasion of the Body SnatchersAlthough Hannay has to cross gushing streams and rivers.

Hannay flees to the Englishmen’s house, Professor Jordan, asking to come in saying he is from Annabella Smith. He goes in, and when the men later reach the house and ask the maid if Hannay has come by, she tells them there has been no one for half an hour. She lied to help him? Maybe this really is the guy Annabella wanted to see.

Then again I could be wrong.

Then again I could be wrong.

So Annabella’s name gains him access to the house. Professor Jordan in charge asks him to wait a bit as they are celebrating his daughter’s birthday. He introduces Hannay to his wife. Hannay is then introduced to all these movers and shakers in that area of Scotland. Professor Jordan tells him to look at the view, where they see the men searching the river for Hannay.

h party beaks up and the professor locks them in the room. Hannay tells him that Annabella was murdered that is why he came. Professor Jordan asks him why he came to see him, and Hannay tells him how Annabella was coming to warn him about the foreign agent.

Professor Jordan: Did she tell you what he looked ike?

Richard Hannay: There wasn’t time. She did tell me he was missing a finger.

Professor Jordan: Which hand?

Richard Hannay: [holds up left hand] this one I think.

Professor Jordan: Are you sure she didn’t mean this one? [holds up right hand and reveals he is missing his pinky finger.]

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Too bad for Hannay, the professor has been playing him since the beginning. The professor decides tat the only thing to do is kill Hannay. He lives in Scotland as a respected citizen, he can’t have him there starting rumors or saying things against him. Besides he has his information on the defense of England and needs to get it out of the country. He tries to get Hannay to commit suicide, as it is much tidier, butHannay says no so the professor shoots him in the heart.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTT????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

And this was where my DVD died. Is that it? Is he dead???!!!! How could they do that???? Is that all there is????????

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

In the next scene we see out country couple. The husband is searchiung for his hymn book but can’t find it. It was last in his overcoat. Turns out that it stopped a bullet for Hannay.

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Hannay goes to the sheriff telling him everything. The Sheriff eagerly listens and says he will happily help him.

Finally something GOOD!

Finally something GOOD!

Turns out all a lie, the Sheriff just playing him until the henchmen, who he believes agents of the government, come to get him. He tells the sherif to call Scotland Yard in London. but he won’t as they men will be taking him there. Yeah right, they are going to kill him. Hannay manages to get away, breaking through a window and joining a Scotland parade to hide. He then quickly ducks into an assembly hall. They are waiting for their speaker who is running late and assume it is him.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

He sits on the stage he is thrust on. They introduce the professor they are waiting for, and Hanny finds himself on stage.

Richard Hannay: Ladies and gentleman I apologize for my hesitation in rising just now, but to tell you the simple truth I’d entirely failed while listening to the chairman’s flattering description of the next speaker to realize that he was talking about me.

He has no idea what he is supposed to be talking on, and as he is talking, He looks into the crowd and spots the women he used earlier on the train.

He starts asking the crowd what they want to talk about. He grabs onto the topic of the “idle rich” and starts ranting about what he has been through carefully hiding it between political speech.

Richard Hannay: I know what it is to feel lonely and helpless and to have the whole world against me, and those are things that no men or women ought to feel.

It starts a huge momentum as everyone is cheering and wanting to shake his hand, helping him sneak out, but then he is grabbed by the henchmen, lead by the girl.

He asks the girl to help him, telling London the information. The two guys look at each other and decide it is better to be safe than sorry, telling the girl, Pamela, she has to come with them.

They drive to the “police station”, passing it as they are going to another one 40 miles away. We know they aren’t, something Hannay tries to get Pamela to understand that they are taking them to the spy, Professor Jordan, to kill him. They have to stop the car as a huge flock of sheep are in the way. They handcuff Hannay and the girl together, as they go to move the sheep.

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As soon as they are gone, Hannay gets out of there dragging the girl with him. They hide under a bridge, Hannay forcing her to be quiet until the men pass. Lucky it is a foggy night, as the two run through the moors. The girl tries to escape, but Hannay keeps pulling her along.

The two’s dialogue is just amazingly hilarious as they constantly bicker and fight.  Hannay is angry as he has not only told her three times of his innocence, but the men clearly taking them 40 miles “to the police station” and going the wrong way should prove his innocence. But she won’t listen. As she insists he is a murderer Hannay decides to use that to get her to do what he says.

They find an inn, and go inside. Hannay tells the innkeeper that they are man and wife, and he asks for a room and supper. He tells Pamela he has a gun, his finger in his pocket,  which gets her to sign the book for them. She tries to get her away, but he keeps pushing her on with him. Hannay also tells the innkeeper they are a runaway couple, with people after them. People used to elope to Scotland all the time, so the innkeeper doesn’t find it strange but romantic.

Hannay tells Pamela she should take her skirt off as it being wet could make her sick. She refuses, but takes her stockings off, and as they go over to the fireplace, Hannay hangs them up for her.

She doesn’t want to lie on the bed, but Hannay makes her as he is tired, and where he goes she goes. As I said before their conversation are hilarious. He starts making up lies about killing as she thinks he is a murderer. But you can tell they aren’t true as he is being sarcastic. The film is worth watching for the amazing dialogue. I wish I could get a copy of that scene to place here.

I love it

The two go to sleep. The professor/spy leader prepares to move out, and try to take care of this Hannay problem.

Meanwhile, the Pamela has woken up.

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She tries to use the nail file to pick at the lock but when that doesn’t work, squeezes her wrist out, rubbing it raw. She sneaks away and starts downstairs.

She sees the men who she was in the car with and plans to go to them, but overhears them talking on the phone and realizes Hannay is telling the truth about everything, They question the innkeeper about the couple, and before he can answer, his wife comes down and chases them all out.

The girl heads upstairs, feeling sorry for being so mean and cruel to him, when he’s been given a rough break. She goes to the couch and goes to sleep.

The next morning, Hannay finds himself free of the  girl. He is freaked, but sees her on the couch. He asked her why she didn’t leave and she tells him everything she overheard. Hannay starts putting everything together, and is angry that the men didn’t stay the night but left right away. The two rush over to the London Palladium, where the men said they would pick up the “package”.

In London, Pamela goes o Scotland Yard to tell them all the information from Annabella. They don’t really believe it and ask for Mr. Hannay, but she won’t tell him.

No thank youhowaboutno

She rushes out to the Palladium to find Hannay, Scotland Yard detectives behind her. They shut the Palladium down  as they are truing to catch Hannay once and for all.

Through binoculars Hannay sees that the professor is there. Hannay isn’t sure what to do, when he is joined by Pamela. When he hears the tune he has been whistling everywhere. It’s Mr. Memory!

That's it!

That’s it!

He must be the package they are after and want to get rid off. Scotland Yard finds Hannay, arresting him, when he shouts out “What are the 39 Steps? As Mr. Memory answers, the professor shoots him.

The professor tries to flee, but he didn’t know that all the exits were blocked. Hannay asks Mr. Memory about the information, and he reveals that it was a huge job to memorize, plans to build a new ship. After talking a little about them, he dies, and it is all over for Hannay. He is cleared and able to go on his way, now with Pamela in the picture.

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What a great film. And very under appreciated. You should watch it and love it, as it is amazing.

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

For the previous post, go to A Modern Mummy: Under Wraps (1997)

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For more Alfred Hitchcock films, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes on in There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

For more films based on books, go to They’re Here Already! You’re Next!: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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20) The Santa Clause 2 (2002)

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

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

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19) The Toy That Saved Christmas (1996)

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

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

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18) Lady and the Tramp (1955)

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

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

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

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17) Chasing Christmas (2005)

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

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

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16) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

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

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

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15) Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too (1991)

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

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

For more on Winnie the Pooh, go to Heartbreak Hotel

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14) Christmas Every Day (1996)

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

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

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13) Batman Returns (1992)

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

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

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

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12) The Year Without a Santa Claus (1975)

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

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

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

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

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

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10) Borrowed Hearts (1997)

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

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

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

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9) Rise of the Guardians (2012)

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

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

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

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8) Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

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

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

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

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7) Jingle All the Way

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

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

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6) The Santa Clause

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

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

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

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4) Christmas With the Kranks (2004)

ChristmasWiththeKranks

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)

Goodfellas

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!

ChristmasfromJaneAusten

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

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

For more quizzes, go to Simply Fantastic

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

You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

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“You think you know something, don’t you? You think you’re the clever little girl who knows something. There’s so much you don’t know, so much. What do you know, really? You’re just an ordinary little girl, living in an ordinary little town. You wake up every morning of your life and you know perfectly well that there’s nothing in the world to trouble you. You go through your ordinary little day, and at night you sleep your untroubled ordinary little sleep, filled with peaceful stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares.”

So for my first Alfred Hitchcock film, I am going to review Shadow of a Doubt. This really surprised me as I never thought this would have been the first, (I was sure it would be Psycho). But I had such an urge to talk about it, that I had to follow it. Now this has never been considered one of Hitchcock’s greats, in fact it bombed at the office, but it was both Alfred Hitchcock’s and Teresa Wright’s favorite film.

I actually have a personal connection to this film myself. I used to go to college near Santa Rosa and one day for film class we were going to watch a psychological film. The one we chose wouldn’t work and I suggested that we had to watch an Alfred Hitchcock film, specifically Shadow of a Doubt. I had this urge and was pushing the film so hard, even though it is not one of my favorite Hitchcock films. It was only when we watched it, that I remembered that it was set and filmed in Santa Rosa. In fact, I have been to all the areas the film was set in.

So the film is supposed to be about a happy town, full of normal American people, but underneath this lies something horrible. This kind of thing was what David Lynch ended up doing and becoming famous for in his film Blue Velvet and TV series Twin Peaks.

TwinPeaks dark henious evil

So the film starts off with the extremely handsome Joseph Cotten, lying on a bed. His name is Charlie Oakley.

Cotten, Joseph (Shadow of a Doubt)_01 phone call

His landlady knocks on the door and tells him that there are two men looking for him. Charlie quickly packs some things up, gathers his money, and takes off. He makes plans to get out of the East coast, going heading to California to visit his sister Emma in Santa Rosa.

In Santa Rosa, we meet Charlie 2 (Teresa Wright), named after her Uncle Charlie. (From now on I’m going to say Charlie for Teresa Wright and Uncle Charlie for Joseph Cotten as otherwise it will be too confusing.) Anyways, Charlie has been complaining that life is boring. Nothing interesting ever happens in life.

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She finds out that her Uncle Charlie is coming and is ecstatic. The two of them have always shared a special bond. Out of everyone in their family, she feels that Charlie is the only one who really gets her.

he gets me

Uncle Charlie greets the family and not only bring life into the house but gifts. Charlie gets the most special gift of all, an emerald ring. Charlie notices an engraving of intials on the inside and asks Uncle Charlie what they stand for. He doesn’t know and blames the jeweler for selling him an old ring instead of a new one.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

He keeps trying to push Charlie to let him get it re-engraved, but she refuses. At dinner, Emma is humming this song. It has been stuck in her head all day and she can’t remember what it is called. She asks around to everyone else, and her husband Joseph says that it is The Merry Widow Waltz. When Uncle Charlie hears this, he is startled and spills his wine.

shadowofadoubt unhappy

After dinner, Joseph’s friend comes over. Now this is an interesting subplot. The two of them are huge mystery fans and are constantly trying to create the perfect murder. This subplot always makes me laugh and it reminds me of a friend and I. We are always talking about the best way to kill someone and get away with it. I always go with the Secret Window way.

“Joseph Newton: We’re not talking about killing people. Herb’s talking about killing me and I’m talking about killing him.”

In fact, they remind me of Randy from Scream except with actual murders, than horror films.

Randy

They determine one of the best ways to kill someone is to disguise the murder as a suicide.

The next day, Uncle Charlie is reading the paper, when he sees a story that upsets him. He rips the page with the story on it, and turns it into a house for the kids, hiding the ripped story in his pocket. Ann and Roger think it’s are cool, but they have to dismantle it as their father hasn’t had a chance to look at the paper.

Charlie saw him hiding the torn pages and starts teasing her Uncle. She grabs them out of his pocket and tries to put them together. But before she can, Uncle Charlie gets angry and pushes her away. She becomes frightened, but Uncle Charlie consoles her,  telling her that it was a bad story about a friend.

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Soon after, two men approach the family and let them know they have been chosen to be the feature family for a census agency on “typical American family-ness”. They will be coming to interview them and photograph their average lives.

BMW Average

Emma is really excited as Uncle Charlie will now be a part of the featured story. She tells Charlie about how she only has one photo of him. It was when he was a little boy, before he got in a horrible accident. After he recovered from the accident he never was the same again. Often getting into trouble.

Uncle Charlie says he will be staying in town for a while, and then begins acting strangely. At the bank he deposits forty thousand dollars in cash and makes all these jokes about the bank and Joseph (Charlie’s dad) embezzling funds. He also extremely avoids the census takers. He thinks they are up to something. Whenever they come to the house, he always leaves and won’t answer any questions.

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When his picture gets taken, he becomes extremely angry and demands for the negative roll.

The younger of the two census workers, (Macdonald Carey), asks Charlie to be his guide of the town, and she agrees only to please her mother. When he gets her alone he tells her that he isn’t a census taker, but that instead he is Detective Jack Graham and that he is with the FBI. They are investigating “The Merry Widow Murderer”, a man who romances widows and murders them taking their money. He tells her that that they have two suspects. One of which is her Uncle Charlie.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

The next day Charlie is still reeling from the news and sleeps all day. She doesn’t want to believe her Uncle Charlie is capable of murder. However, she can’t help thinking about his suspicious behavior.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

Charlie gets even more freaked out when Uncle Charlie gives a rant on widows.

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“Uncle Charlie: The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who’ve spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewelry but of nothing else, horrible, faded, fat, greedy women… Are they human or are they fat, wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old?”

Charlie suffers a breakdown as she can’t handle the thought that her Uncle is a murderer. That coupled with her father and Herb’s constant murder talk, ugh she just needs to get away. Uncle Charlie follows her and takes her to a bar to talk.

At the bar, he confronts her suspicions and tells her that he is considered for The Merry Widow Murderer”, but it isn’t him. It is just a coincidence.

Yes I am

Yes I am

Charlie listens, but something doesn’t sit right with her. She still feels suspicious. She sneaks into Uncle Charlie’s room to try and figure out what article he had ripped up.

shadow-of-a-doubt-room door break into

She can’t put the pieces back together, and instead heads to the library. She convinces the librarian to let her search the papers and discovers that “The Merry Widow Murderer” killed a famous entertainer. She notices that the initials of the woman match the ring Uncle Charlie gave her.

OMG

She goes to her uncle to confront him, and he asks her not to say anything. She agrees to wait as she knows it will hurt her mother.

Meanwhile, Jack is pushing Charlie to give him info on her Uncle, but she won’t say a thing. They sent the photo of Uncle Charlie back East but haven’t heard whether or not he is the guy the are actually after. The other suspect they were considering was killed fleeing from the police and many believe he is the murderer.

After this news, Jack goes to Charlie and tells her that he likes her. And that he would like to date her, maybe even marry her one day.

Say What

I know. He has been nice, but he never even seemed to show that he was that interested in her. He totally pulls a Mr. Darcy, completely dropping that bomb out of the blue.

mr darcy

Uncle Charlie is all smiles and it seems like everything is fine, but Charlie can’t shake an uneasy feeling.

This doesn't feel right.

This doesn’t feel right.

Soon Charlie suffers from an accident. As she is coming down the stairs one of the steps falls through causing her to fall. She checks later but can’t tell of any tampering.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Now these are some of the best scenes in the film. In the beginning you aren’t sure if Uncle Charlie is doing anything, whether they are accidents or not. I mean could he really be so cold-blooded as to kill his own niece?

Gilmore girls creep

Uncle Charlie is asked to give a public lecture and the whole family is going to go hear him speak. There isn’t enough room for them to go in one car, so they decide to send most in a taxi, with the Charlies going in the car. Charlie gets trapped in her garage with the car going. She calls for help, but the music Uncle Charlie is playing overpowers her screams.

Tuesdaythe17th scream ah

Luckily, Herb is coming by as he does everyday and hears her, freeing her.

The next day, Uncle Charlie decides that he is leaving. Everyone but Charlie is sad to see him go. As he gets on the train we see that he won’t be traveling alone, but a rich widow from the town. Every one comes on board to check out the train, with Uncle Charlie gets Charlie to stay longer to talk. The train starts going while she is on it. She tries to run off, but Uncle Charlie tries to push her off the train onto the track of an oncoming one.

shadow of a doubt attack

The two struggle and Charlie manages to overpower him, knocking him off the train.

There is a funeral for Uncle Charlie and Jack comes back. Charlie tells him the truth and why she kept it hidden from him. Together they resolve to keep Uncle Charlie’s crimes a secret.

You have to see this film. The story is great, the acting amazing, and the cinematography is just beautiful.

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

For the previous post, go to It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?

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For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to Horrorfest III: The Revenge

For more classic cinema, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness

For more serial killers, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

For more psychological thrillers, go to A Deliciously Creepy Tale

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Happily Ever Aftermath

For more on Twin Peaks, go to Food, Food, Food!

He’s My Brother

Harriet-Martin Cry

Day 21) A Disney Film That Makes You Cry

Remember the Titans

This is like the only film that ever makes me almost cry. You see I hardly ever cry, hardly ever.

The Holiday Cry

It always drives my friends nuts that I don’t cry at films or TV shows, they are always like “do you have a heart?”

Well yes I do, and the one Disney film that really gets me is Remember the Titans.

Remember the Titans is a film based on the true story of story of an African American coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), as he tries to bring together a racially divided team at the T. C. Williams High School in 1971 Virginia. I think it is one of the best Disney films, Sports films, and films based on a true story ever made.

So the film is about a town that going to have an integrated school, of which many  of the students (black and white) don’t agree with. Coach Boone is putting together a football team, and won’t stand for having anyone think they are better than another because of the color of their skin. He takes them away to train before school starts, and by doing so is able to stop the division and form a cohesive group. They however face a lot of challenges when they get back as people in the town don’t approve. In the end, all the team members are able to work through their own judgements, issues, and racism; fulling bonding and being life-long friends.

Remember_The_Titans_football

So the part that always tears me up comes near the end of the film. Gerry (white), the team captain, and Julius (black) have become best bros. Gerry’s girlfriend doesn’t approve of this and gives both the cold shoulder. As she doesn’t want to hang with him, and Julius is taking out his girlfriend, Gerry decides to go cruising around town. Unfortunately, he doesn’t pay attention to where he is going and crashes.

OMG

We see him in the hospital where it is discovered that he can never play that kind of football again as the injury to his legs are too massive. The whole team goes to see him, with Julius trying to get in, but the nurse won’t let him as only family is allowed. Gerry stops her by saying:

“[Julius visits Gerry in the hospital]

Nurse: Only kin’s allowed in here.

Bertier: Alice, are you blind? Don’t you see the family resemblance? That’s my brother.”

aw

Gets me every time!

Family

For more on Disney, go to The Boys Are Back in Town

For more on racial films, go to The Right Path is Not the Easiest One

For more on films having to deal with car crashes having a significant impact on a character, go to Anything Can Happen

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?

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

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!