Friday, November 9, 2007

Holiday Movies? P-u-l-l-e-a-s-e!

I was checking out the showtimes for our date night movie (Fred Claus) just now and got distracted (a shock, I know...me, getting distracted). But let me just share with you what caused me to veer off my intended path...while visiting the theater website, I noticed a headline on the sidebar that said "Holiday Movies 2007: 23 Flicks You Can't Miss". Well now. Holiday movies, huh? Right up my alley. So I clicked on said headline. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? Pretty freaky stuff, I'll tell you that right now. I think perhaps MovieFone and I don't share the shame criteria for what constitutes a Holiday Movie. My idea of Holiday Movie is one that is based around, well...the holidays. MovieFone's only criteria seems to be the time the movie is released. In other words, any movie released in the month of December is apparently called a Holiday Movie, according to MovieFone. Think I'm being judgmental? I don't think so, Scooter. Looky here what the 23 Flicks You Can't Miss are:

Okay, so they started with Fred Claus. Great choice, but a little bit deceiving. Not the movie, but the fact that MovieFone starting off with it. Fred Claus stars Vince Vaughn and it's set in the North Pole. 'Nuff said. I'm going.

Next came a movie called No Country for Old Men, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin. What? What in the heck does this have to do with Christmas? Are they saying Santa has no country because he's old? Uh......... no. Santa doesn't even figure in to this little film. This movie is supposedly an "ultra-bleak, super-violent and darkly funny flick". Gosh, I can almost hear the jingle bells jingling, can't you?

Next was Lions for Lambs. Okay. I get the reference. Oh wait a minute. Maybe not. This is a political movie, starring Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise. And you know, I just have to say, I don't mind watching political movies as long as they're entertaining (that's generally why I watch a movie...I try not to get my political viewpoints from anybody's script). But I get really rather upset when I hear an actor espousing his views outside the realm of entertainment because, while I don't discount their thoughts and beliefs, I do think they have far too much influence over some people and, since actors are paid to pretend for a living, I find it terribly, terribly alarming to hear them endorsing and/or denouncing anyone or anything that might have control in or over my life. (How's that for a really long sentence?) Basically, what I'm saying is, when I think that Hollywood is making a statement regarding the war or politics or anything else, I get tense. And testy. And downright snarky sometimes. However, having said that, I must also say that regardless of what this movie is about, it does have a pretty talented cast. So maybe I'll see it, maybe I won't. But I still don't know that I'd have it on my list of "Holiday Movies for 2007".

Next came Beowulf. Oh, who doesn't think of Bing Crosby singing White Christmas when they think of Beowulf? Yeah, okay, me neither. This movie about the Norse epic was "filmed" using "Polar Express" style animation. Guess that's the Holiday tie-in, huh? Think I'm gonna have to pass on this one, though. Not really my thing.

Then there was Enchanted, starring Patrick Dempsey (or Dr. McDreamy, to some) and Amy Adams. This movie is being billed as a True-Love-Conquers-All fairy tale. Pre-teen girls everywhere are preparing to swoon right this very minute. Ah heck, who knows, I might be swooning, too. After all, Dempsey is a hottie.

Next, MovieFone listed The Savages. Now that kind of sounds like Christmas with my family, but it has nothing to do with it or them. Instead, it stars Laura Linney as a neurtoc writer whose dad is dying. Okay. Anybody for a rollicking round of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" to liven things up after reading that particular synopsis?

MovieFone's next choice was The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which is a memoir of a man debilitated by stroke. Okay, altogether now...."later we'll have some pumpkin pie and we'll do some caroling....".

Oh, now here was a good, festive choice. Juno. A story of teen pregnancy. (Dashing thru the snow, in a one horse open sleigh....).

Then they listed The Golden Compass, starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman. This movie is based on a fantasy book series and I read somewhere recently that it was stirring up controversy with someone. Don't know the details and don't really care at this point. Always seems like someone is ticked at somebody for something, doesn't it? Although, since it is proving to be controversial and it's not even released yet, I may have to dig a little deeper into it. I'm sure I could work myself up into a frenzy on one side or the other of the argument. Just as soon as I figure out what exactly the argument is, of course.

Next came Atonement, starring Keira Knightley. This is a piece set during World War II and is a story of "love, loss and redemption". Blah, blah, blah. I won't be seeing this one and that probably has more to do with my inability to watch Ms. Knightley without grinding my teeth than anything else.

Oh and here's a cheerful turn...Grace is Gone, starring John Cusack. Now I likes me some John Cusack. Anybody see Grosse Pointe Blank? Great movie. Loved it. But this one....ah, I don't know. It's about a man who has to tell his young daughters that their mother has just been killed in Iraq. I don't think I want to go see a movie this holiday season just to have my guts ripped out. No thank you. But geez...John Cusack. Ummm, ummmm, ummmm. Oh all right. So that was in poor taste considering the subject of the movie. But still....John Cusack!

This next one is sure to be on everyone's holiday favorites list by this time next year. (That was sarcasm for those of you who didn't recognize it). The movie is called I am Legend and stars Will Smith. Again, I likes me some Will Smith, too. But get a load of this synopsis: "A virus decimates mankind leaving one human surviver". Woo-hoo. Good times, eh?

Then came The Kite Runner, a story of 2 Afghani boys. That's it. I got nothing to say about that. I know it's based on a book and I heard the book was good. And....I'm going to move on because anything else I could say would be silly since I have no idea what I'm talking about with this one.

Okay, now here's a goodie...Youth Without Youth, starring Tim Roth. This is a story of a man struck by lightning who then becomes younger, wiser and a fugitive. Yeah, that's what I said. Younger, wiser and a fugitive. (So which part of becoming a fugitive indicates the wisdom part of the equation, huh?) The only redeeming feature I can see so far is that it was directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Now's one that I will be seeing. Maybe more than once. Okay, probably more than once. I saw the first one at least 4 times in theaters. And I own both the wide-screen and the full-screen versions of the DVD (hey, it's a great movie!). I'm talking about the sequel to National Treasure, of course! This one is called National Treasure: Book of Secrets. I can't wait to see it. Nicolas Cage is back as Ben Gates and I just know Ben would be devastated if I wasn't there in the audience cheering him on. Count me in on this one for sure!

Ah, and then we have Sweeney Todd, starring Johnny Depp. Okay, so Johnny Depp is another hottie but I'm not sure I want to see him in the role of a demon barber from Fleet Street during my holidays. Just doesn't seem to go all that well with the mistletoe and hot cocoa, you know what I mean?

And here's another political movie. This one is called Charlie Wilson's War and stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. It's a real life tale of a congressman who helped halt the spread of communism (and inadvertently inciting Islamic extremism at the same time). Great cast, but I don't know. It ain't exactly frosting my pumpkins, you know what I'm saying?

And neither is this one, called The Bucket List. It stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two "road-tripping cancer patients", whatever that means. Probably going to give this one a miss, too.

Oh geez, make that three in a row...because next is The Great Debaters, starring Denzel Washington. This one is about an African-American 1930's East Texas debate team. I'm sure it's much more exciting than it sounds. (Good gravy, it'd have to be, wouldn't it?). Now don't get me wrong, nobody, and I mean noBODY, can walk into a room quite like Denzel can. But even that great walk isn't enough to get me into a theater seat for this one. No can do. I'm snoozing just thinking about it.

And if I was snoozing with even Denzel in the picture, this one would put me into a coma. It's called Persepolis and is the "animated tale of growing up in Iran". Gee. Hold me back. Sounds like so much fun. Or is that too much fun. Whatever. Won't be checking this one out, either.

This one is sure to be a holiday classic, simply by virtue of it's title: There Will be Blood. It stars Daniel Day Lewis and is an adaptation of Upton Sinclair's novel "Oil". Somebody wake me up, would you? Sounds like another snoozer to me.

Number 22 on their list is Cassandra's Dream and stars Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell as brothers "looking to get ahead". I have no idea what that entails and, while Ewan and Colin are perfectly lovely to gaze upon, this movie doesn't seem like the one for me. Mainly because it's directed by Woody Allen and I am not a fan of the little Woody. Oh, you just take that however you want to because all I'm saying is...I don't like Woody Allen and/or his movies. Period.

But this last one. Well now. Gosh, I will be so hard pressed to not race to the theater now and wait for its December 28th release. It's a little Spanish thriller called The Orphanage. I know, I know. Sounds almost kind of Charles Dickens-ish, huh? But alas...not so much. I think it's basically a horror movie, but hey - it must be something special because it's Spain's entry to the Academy Awards for best foreign film this year and we all know how great those are, right? Right? Yeah, that's about how I feel about them, too.

So anywho...I'm sure there's absolutely no one left reading this by now because it is, indeed, one heck of a long post, but if you are...tell me...do you intend to see any of these "holiday" movies and if so, which ones? And do you think MovieFone should be flogged continually and with a really big cane for misleading my poor Christmas loving heart into believing for that brief, yet glorious moment that there was going to be 23 "holiday" movies out this year? Well, of course you do. Because if they hadn't of misled me, I never would have felt compelled to write this long, boring post about their crazy choices for "holiday" flicks! I suggest you notify MovieFone of your intent to sue them because of all the pain and suffering you've just now incurred. I'll do the same since my fingers are cramped and bleeding from having experienced this terrible need to rant about them in my blog (too much typing can be harmful, you know!). I'll see you in court (and maybe at the movies, depending on what your choices are!) .

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11 comments:

  1. Thanks, Kari! I can always count on you to brighten my day. Geeze, I think I'll stay home and watch the classics. BTW, do you have a favorite Christmas movie?

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  2. HA - I read the whole thing and I couldn't agree with you more darling. But let me tell you a little about that Golden Compass. Written by Phillip Pullman it's the least offensive of his 3 books which is dumbed down to fool kids and their parents into buying the trilogy. In the end, the kids kill God so that they can do as they please. He is a proud atheist who doesn't think it's possible that there is a God and he has "great difficulty understanding the words "spiritual" and "spirituality"." Wonder if he understands these words F*** Y**?? No?? Nonetheless, God bless him. But I ain't going! You can check it out on Snopes. www.snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp

    Love,
    Julie

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  3. I keep gettin' knocked off the internet today...I don't know what is up with that?!? Anyhow, I'm back...again...and just want to ask...are you kin to Gene Shallat the movie critic...lol...I thought of him as I read this post!

    But really, I agree with you 100%...when are they going to start making some quality holiday films???

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  5. I stayed with ya, to the end, Kari. I have to say of all those "wonderful films". The National Treasure sequel is the only one I would go to a theater to see.

    Guess I'll dig out my treasured tried and true classics...It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Steet, the original...and the wonderful and never dull...A Christmas Story.

    I agree with you on all points!
    Pat

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  6. I'm still laughing...I agree, I don't want Actors to tell me how to think politically, I want them to shut up and act...I want them to vote their conscience and leave me to vote mine, I want them to entertain me and I want Santa Clause 4 or 5...what comes next? I want to see every version of Miracle on 34th Street and Scrooge (including Scrooged) that have ever been made...then I want a limb of mistletoe stuck in the chest (and have them boiled in a Christmas pudding) of the next person to ask me "aren't you tired of all the holiday hoopla?" I love the Holiday Hoopla and wish it was year round...maybe we'd have fewer wars if we were too busy celebrating the holidays...or maybe it's just me.

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  7. Hi Girl

    I read it all....wow! You had a little free time this afternoon didn't ya? Too funny! Let us know what you think about Fred Claus. It looks like a good one to me. I agree with you about the others. I want some old fashioned feel good Holiday movies. They just don't make 'em like Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life.

    Hugs!
    Kat

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  8. Hi Kari,

    I read the whole post and it sure was funny. Let us know what you thought of Fred Claus. I like seeing a good and funny Christmas movie. I love movies in general anyway. I did this celebrity look alike thing the other day and it said I looked like either Brittany or John Cusack. JOHN CUSACK???? Or maybe I should be more upset that it thought I looked liked Brittany. LOL

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  9. The Golden Compass is a must see for me.

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  10. Hahahaha!

    This year, I thought I'd try to get around to seeing the Muppets' Christmas Carol. Never saw it before, but lately, I've been hearing all about it from all directions, so I think it's time....

    Wouldn't mind seeing "Enchanted", it looks funny!

    Onward with the Christmas decorating...!

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  11. I do believe I will watch the Keira Knightly movie. Sorry! But where is the one holiday (coming out during the holidays) movie I planned to see: "P. S. I Love You" with GERARD BUTLER and JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN. (And Harry Connick Jr. but he is not my idea of a dreamboat.)

    Julie

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