Tuesday, December 16, 2008

April's Christmas Countdown: #1 A Christmas Story

Sorry I took so long to post this, guys. It's finals week, and even though I haven't been all that busy, I'm still using it as my excuse because it's the only excuse I have.

# 1 A Christmas StoryMy family and I have watched this movie every year for as long as I can remember, and we can quote it like nobody's business. I love this movie because I remember being a kid and knowing exactly what I wanted and being completely focused on getting it because if I could only get that one thing then the heavens would part, God would descend and peace would prevail on Earth. A Christmas Story follows Ralphie Parker in his pursuit of the ultimate Christmas gift: an Official Red Ryder carbine-action two-hundred-shot range model air rifle (aka a BB gun).This movie is childhood to me: humor, sarcasm, angst, concern, bullies, friends, fear, families, embarrassment, all mixed in with the abounding excitement and joy that is CHRISTMAS.Also, whiny little brother + pink bunny suit + leg lamp = awesome.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

April's Christmas Countdown: #2 Charlie Brown Christmas

I love Charlie Brown. Today, he would probably be described as "emo" or something, but I applaud Charlie Brown and his anti-commercial approach to Christmas. He refuses to get an aluminum tree (the equivalent now would be to get a fake green tree) and ends up with a pretty sad looking real tree.

I love that Charlie Brown doesn't let the craziness of commercialness ruin his Christmas. Here's what I really love about Charlie Brown, though: even though Charlie Brown laments that he doesn't have friends or that he doesn't get Christmas cards, all those other kids are there for him at the end. They make his sad little tree into a lovely decorated tree and everyone happily sings carols.
I also love the part where Linus recites the story about Jesus' birth and the shepherds. It always makes me smile. I like Charlie Brown because he reminds me of myself in a lot of ways (except that I'm more positive about most things) especially when he tries to direct the Christmas play. He's just doing it the way he thinks he should be doing it, when it doesn't work, he just kind of goes to hang out with his weedy looking tree. I tend to hang out with weedy looking trees a lot (when I'm not, you know, writing amazing blog posts, and stuff).

April's Christmas Countdown: #3 A Muppet Christmas Carol

Coming in at #3 is another version of the Dickens classic, this time with Muppets! As a child coming from the generation of The Muppet Show and such classics as The Muppet Movie (okay, okay, it's actually from my sister's generation, but come on!) and Muppet Treasure Island.
This movie is hilarious. There are plenty of songs to get stuck in your head and Gonzo as the omniscient narrator (how awesome is that?). What I love about the Muppets is that they are actually there. They aren't cartoons, the actors can interact with them.
Pretty much anything with the Muppets in it is going to be good, and A Muppet Christmas Carol is no exception.

Monday, December 8, 2008

April's Christmas Countdown: #4 How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I know what you're thinking: "Hey, didn't she already have this movie on the countdown?"

Answer: Yes. I did....kind of. #4 is the original cartoon version of the Dr. Seuss classic. While I do enjoy the new, live-action version with Jim Carrey, there will always be a special place in my heart for the original. This version is taken virtually line for line from the original story and adds songs to it. Plus the voice and narration is done by Boris Karloff, how awesome is that!

Also, I love that "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" is sung by Thurl Ravenscroft aka the guy who did the voice of Tony the Tiger in the Frosted Flakes commercials for about 50 years. Just. Awesome.

80's Classic: The Goonies

There are few movies that I will watch over and over and never get sick of. This is one of those movies. Usually I assume that everyone has seen this movie at least once, but I have recently discovered that a good chunk of the latest generation have never even heard of it. Pity.
For those poor, unenlightened people who have never encountered The Goonies, here is a brief synopsis. A group of families living in the "Goon Docks" (in Astoria, WA) are being forced to sell their houses to a developer who plans to demolish them. Mikey Walsh and his band of friends, the Goonies, find a treasure map in his attic and decide to go on one last Goonie adventure to find One-Eyed Willy's treasure so that they won't have to move. The group is soon joined by Mikey's brother Brand, and Steph and Andy (who Brand knows from school). The group is pursued by the Fratellis, who are hiding out following a jail break.
My Commentary: This movie has adventure and fun. What more could you possibly want? The underdogs go up against everyone possible - they defy their parents, they continuously outwit the criminals, they stick it to the uppity rich kid, they have to dodge a pirate's booby traps, and there's even a corporate villian. As if all that wasn't enough, the ultimate goal of the movie is to find a pirate's treasure, what kid doesn't dream of finding a pirate's treasure?

Rating: ********** (10 out of 10)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

April's Christmas Countdown: #5 Home Alone

The magic of this movie, for me, is that this situation could conceivably happen in real life. The family has so many kids and they are so late, one eight-year-old can easily get lost in the shuffle (temporarily, of course). The parents soon realize that he is gone and try as hard as they can to get back to him as soon as possible. As a kid, I loved that an eight-year-old was clever enough to foil these two potentially dangerous burglars.
This movie is funny and clever and has just the right amount of holiday appreciation of family.
As far as the sequels go, I remember Home Alone 2: Lost in New York being okay-ish, but far-fetched enough that it wasn't as good as the first one. I can see someone forgetting a kid at home, but getting on the wrong plane? It seems pretty far-fetched to me, but maybe airlines used to be less observant. I've seen Home Alone 3, but to me it just didn't have the same charm as the first one.

April's Christmas Countdown: #6 White Christmas

I know Tiff already included this in her countdown, but this is a holiday classic. How could I not include it? Usually I don't watch the whole movie, just that part at the end where everyone comes together for the show and it's all touching and cute. And yes, very kitch, but that's what Christmas is for, right? Right. Also, some of the best Christmas music ever comes from this soundtrack (or Holiday Inn, depending how you look at it). Maybe this year I'll even watch the whole thing!
In any case, I plan to spend at least one snowy night snuggled in my living room reading a book while listening to the record. (Yes, I mean an actual vinyl record, not a CD)