Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Top Four New Year Films

Frankly, 2013 sucked.  Not all of it all the time, and clearly it could have been worse, but overall it was, compared with many other years, a big pile of poopy, topped off by the fact that I have food poisoning. 

So bring on 2014, which will magically be wondrous and new and lovely.

And here’s The Guide to celebrating New Year the same way I showed you how to celebrate Christmas (by watching films).

4. Bridget Jones’s Diary [2001]

New Year is a time for resolutions.

Bridget is discarding the chaff of the past year and going to try not to make quite as big a tit of herself this coming year.  Well, some hope.

3. Ghostbusters II [1989]

New Year is a time for some humanity and brothery love.

That’s right, even the biggest jerks in the world (New Yorkers, apparently) can come together with some brotherly love at New Year and that kind of thing totally counteracts evil ghost overlords and mood slime.

2. The Hudsucker Proxy [1994]

New Year is a time for second chances.

Norville is spending New Year’s Eve looking back at the year and all that went wrong and has ended up on a ledge, but everyone deserves a second chance (even after they fall).

1. The Apartment [1960]

New Year is a time to set your life on track.

This is one of The All Time Favourite Films.  But the trailer starts by showing you the ENDING, so I refuse to post it here since it is one of The All Time Favourite Endings and I CANNOT BELIEVE THE TRAILER SPOILS IT!

So instead here is a random clip from the film (it's a little late on, but at least it's not the final lines, dammit):

It’s time for C.C. Baxter to be a mensch and Miss Kubelik to try falling in love with someone nice.

(and yet again, half this list include plots about suicide!)

So go, go happy and new and year, all of you.

Can you think of a 5th film about New Year?

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Top Ten Christmas Movies

Not everyone enjoys Christmas. There are lots of reasons why. Stress, monetary constraints, family issues, being a Christmas-hating freak. Personally I tend to get a bit lonely this time of year. Spending most of The Life in close proximity with something

makes it unfortunately starkly apparent when it is missing.

And The Housemate spends most of this month missing, what with ‘work’ and ‘family’ commitments and other lame excuses like that.

So, for any of us who find it lacking, I have help at hand to get into that Christmas Spirit.

Yes, that’s right. The answer to most of life’s issues is live vicariously through fiction.

So I have made especially for you a list of The Top Ten Christmas Movies. Whenever you feel that seasonal pluck ebbing away, plonk yourself down in front of one of these babies and you’ll soon be overflowing with Xmas cheer.

NB: this list changes order every time I rewatch the movies!

10. While You Were Sleeping [1995]
'A ticket-collecting romantic pretends to be engaged to an unconscious man but can't fool his brother' (at Christmas)

– a schmaltzy film that will make you vomit at any other time of the year, but stick this on when you’re alone at Christmas and you’ll be sobbing into your sweater sleeves that if lonely Lucy loser can get rugged carpenter Bill Pullman all moony-eyed over her while she creepy-stalkers her way into a family that doesn’t belong to her, then maybe you can too.

9. The Muppet Christmas Carol [1992]
'The Muppets tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser's redemption on Christmas Eve'

– fine, it’s Christmas, you want something traditional and cultured, so it’s time to reel out that most famous of Christmas stories again, no not Jesus - Scrooge. But if you must endure this story yet again, then the addition of Michael Caine, muppets and musical numbers can only be an improvement.

8. Scrooged [1988]

'A selfish, cynical T.V. executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve'

– okay, okay, you like that traditional touch, right? You want A Christmas Carol again, huh? Then settle down and try this jazzed up version, because it's a hell of a lot of fun, plus it’s 80s Bill Murray so you’ll be laughing all night.

7. Iron Man 3 [2013]

'When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution' (at Christmas)

– the end of the Iron Man story, following on from the events in Avengers Assemble, Tony hits rock bottom (again) and nothing says Christmas like watching a hero build himself up again.  If you're down, then take inspiration from Tony.  If you're looking for witty lines, charismatic actors, exciting action sequences, cool special effects and lots to warm the heart, then this is the movie for you.  Plus watching Iron Man save the day against impossible odds is definite much needed cheer at this time of year.  

6. Catch Me If You Can [2002]

'A true story about Frank Abagnale Jr, who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars' worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor' (the leads talk every Christmas)

– if you're feeling lonely this Christmas, then you'll definitely identify with Frank.  Tracking the relationship between con artist and FBI agent, the heavy juxtaposition of their lifestyles will make you laugh, the thrill of the chase will keep you excited and the empty tragedy of Frank’s life will probably get you teary-eyed, and what more can you ask for for Christmas.

5. About A Boy [2002]

'A cynical, immature man is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy' (he's living off the royalties of his father's Christmas song)

– this one’s for those of you who think you’d rather be alone instead of going through the family rigmarole - just remember, no man is an island. Also, see here for why suicide is bad.  Plus Hugh Grant is brilliant in this.

4. The Shop Around The Corner [1940]

'Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand one another, without realizing that they're falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal' (at Christmas)

– and if you like to laugh and who the hell doesn’t, then you can’t top this sublimely funny film. Also, James Stewart. You really can’t do better than that.

3. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang [2005]

'A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor' (at Christmas)

– looking for something a bit more exciting? Probably best to watch this one before you eat Christmas dinner so you’re alert enough to keep up with the twisty plot. Now it’s not going to be for everyone, for a start, it’s violent, profane and is way too gratuitous when it comes to female nudity, but it’s deeply witty, very refreshing and it's another one with Robert Downey Jr, and are you really going to suggest that Christmas + Robert Downey Jr is going to be worse than Christmas without Robert Downey Jr?

2. Gremlins [1984]

'A boy inadvertently breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town' (at Christmas)

– still looking for an alternative Xmas movie? How about a tongue-in-cheek monster movie. It’s funny and it’s dark, and it’s cheesy and cute and scary, a weird mix that’ll get your Christmas going with a zing. This is probably why they say you shouldn’t give pets as Christmas presents, but everyone wants a Gizmo. And hey, how about Kate's tale of Christmas woe?

1. It’s A Wonderful Life [1946]

'An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed' (at Christmas)

– seem like an obvious number one? There’s a reason for that, you know. George Bailey’s a bit down this Christmas.  He's on a bridge contemplating suicide. See his life story, learn how things don’t always turn out how we want, but why that’s not a bad thing; it’s funny, it’s dramatic, it’s brilliant, it’s your own Guardian Angel right there.

And if you don’t feel Christmasy after those ten, then you clearly didn’t watch them, so go back and try again.

(Wow, at least four of these films contain suicide plots, but don’t worry, only one of them is successful.)

The important thing is, they all have happy endings because CHRISTMAS.

What are your favourite Christmas movies?

Monday, 23 December 2013

Musical Monday #40

Welcome to the fourth and final Musical Monday of Advent.

That’s right, the event that all the hysteria has been building up to is nearly here and therefore nearly over with already and then it’s back to borington times all over again.  Isn’t that depressing.

I have decided to make Santa less terrifying by editing some of the things I find most disturbing about him.

There.  Now he is a pleasant older gentleman rather than a creepy old fat man who hides behind a beard of evil.

So anyway…
Christmas In Heaven from Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life
Performed by Graham Chapman

How do you think Father Christmas could be improved?

Monday, 16 December 2013

Musical Monday #39

It’s the third Musical Monday of Advent!

And it’s time for some warming of the heart (so long as that ghost doesn’t freak you out as it does me):

It Feels Like Christmas from The Muppet Christmas Carol
Performed by The Muppets
Written by Paul Williams

Is there anything that's supposed to be loveable that freaks you out?

Monday, 9 December 2013

Musical Monday #38

Welcome to the second Musical Monday of Advent.

Christmas has finally even reached The House – in as far as I bought a tree.  It’s no bigger than The Hand, but a tree’s a tree.  So today’s advent musical number actually IS about Christmas:

What’s This? from The Nightmare Before Christmas 
Written and performed by Danny Elfman 

How do you decorate for Christmas?

Monday, 2 December 2013

Musical Monday #37

Welcome to the first Musical Monday of Advent.

But it’s still way too early for all that, so today’s musical number is going to be December-themed, rather than Christmas-themed.  And by ‘December-themed’ I mean ‘the word December is used in the song’.  So... ENJOY!

Once Upon A December from Anastasia
Performed by Liz Callaway
Written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty

Are you ready for Christmas?