This New Year’s Eve, why don’t we all forgo the cheap sequin-encrusted dresses in lookatme metallics and dress like vintage-styled seductress — and owner of the #1 wardrobe I would kill for — Dita Von Teese.
I finished reading The Story of a Marriage the other day. It’s by Andrew Sean Greer, who also wrote one of my favorite books ever — The Confessions of Max Tivoli (which, by the way, helped to inspire the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because it was an extended version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story.)
Anyway, The Story of a Marriage was really good. I loved it, and I am very picky about books. I’m sure you can guess the plot from the straightforward title, but I can add that it takes place in the 1940s and 50s. However, there’s not much I can say without giving away details of the plot that are far more satisfying to read yourself.
These plot details are doled out to you in small portions, and as your ravenous mind receives them, things begin to make more sense. Slowly, you come to understand the mysterious actions of characters as the novel pulls your blind, wandering hands like a rope for a blind man — only so much at a time.
The “mysteries,” as I call them, are not exactly mysteries at all, because, for the most part, you aren’t even trying to solve them. You aren’t even aware they exist. And this is an apt plot device for a novel about the way we can never truly know other people.
This is actually my favorite Christmas movie, but we usually watch it 2 nights before Christmas. I could talk forever about all the things I love about this movie. It’s brilliant in its intense, but understated romance, in its intricate etchings of friendship, and especially its startlingly accurate depiction of pain.
I associate George Bailey so strongly with my dad.
In the rose-colored glasses of my memory, this is what my childhood felt like. Sometimes it hurts that my family doesn’t look like this anymore.
This is not only my favorite Christmas movie, but my favorite move period. I have seen it a hundred times and it still has the power to make me giggle and to make me cry. To make me wish for a love so strong it sends angels, and to be thankful for my life and my family. They are wonderful.
I have the best memory attached to this movie. I was 6 years old and my parents took my sister and me out to dinner, telling us we were going to see a surprise movie afterward. My dad told the waitress we needed to leave by a certain time to make the movie and she asked what we were seeing and my dad just smiled and said it was going to be a surprise.
When we finally figured out what it was, I was so excited. I loved the whole movie (except for Marley and Marley, who scared me) and when it was over, we came outside and it was snowing. The streets was lightly coated in snow and I thought the whole world was beautiful.
This is a great adaptation of A Christmas Carol and the music is surprisingly good.
Michael Caine commits completely to acting with the muppets and he is brilliant.
People from Poland are really obsessed with my blog. Seriously, over 100 views just today were from different cities in Poland. I honestly have no idea what’s going on, but I’m grateful to be famous in Poland.
I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I love the Macaulay Culkin version.
If you know me, I have probably bragged to you about how I was in the Nutcracker when I was 9 years old. I played a little boy who came out of Mother Ginger’s skirt.
Something like this:
I was very sad that I didn’t get to be a girl and wear a hoop skirt. BUT I had the most drawn-on freckles of any of the kids in the production. It was one of the most thrilling things I have ever done.
Since the Nutcracker is such a beautiful visual experience, I’ll leave you with these lovely images from different versions of the ballet.
Another claymation Christmas favorite, I’ve always been partial to this one over Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. Santa thinks that no one really believes in him or cares about him anymore so he decides to take the year off. His elves realize what a tragedy this is so they go to a small town to try to find people who believe in Santa.
Reasons why you should watch this movie:
— Snow Miser and Heat Miser and their respective introductory songs:
— Mrs. Claus as an adorable cross-dressing heroine
— a sick baby reindeer
— the song “I Believe in Santa Claus” — it kind of makes me tear up. Shush.
If you’re a fan of The Walton’s, you certainly know of this incredibly touching Christmas movie. If, on the other hand, you are part of the other 99% of the population unfamiliar with The Walton family, I suggest you remedy that.
The movie is based on the autobiographical work of Earl Hamner about his family in rural America during the Great Depression. The Homecoming was a made for TV Christmas special that was so popular, they expanded it to a television show that lasted 9 years. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed something like Little House on the Prairie (which, I am going to assume, was everyone). Also, for fans of Cleavon Little (Blazing Saddles?) because he’s hilarious.
It’s impossible to watch this movie without wishing John-boy was your big brother and you lived on a secluded mountain.
OBVIOUSLY, I’m referring to the cartoon version and not that Jim Carrey monstrosity.
I feel no need to explore the plot of this one with you. This movie is endlessly quotable and awesome, and I’m sure you know that.
"He puzzled and puzzled til his puzzler was sore… then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas - perhaps! - means a little bit more."
"And he did the same thing to the other Who’s houses, leaving crumbs much too small for the other Who’s mouses."
"It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came with packages, boxes, or bags!"
And my favorite:
"And then the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten grinches… plus two."
I also love the spoken words to “Welcome Christmas”:
This movie is a ridiculous tacky 80s Christmas mess and it is magnificent.
It starts out with this really interesting explanation for how Santa became Santa and it’s all kind of old fashioned and cool. And then there’s a competition between two elves for who can make the most efficient toy-making system and (spoiler alert!) the super endearing elf Patch (Dudley Moore) wins. But then fast forward to the 1980s and Patch’s quickly made toys are breaking all over the place, and Santa fires him. So he decides to leave the North Pole and prove himself as a great toymaker.
Enter John Lithgow as a hilariously evil toymaker, with his well-intentioned little niece and her homeless little (boy)friend who reminds me so much of Michael Jackson for some reason, even though he’s white.
I am not doing this movie justice. Would it help if I mentioned the part about candy canes that make people fly?
So here I am in the new house where the temperature is always set to Icicle, and my mom and I have settled on an unspoken don’t ask, don’t tell policy of what she’s thrown away from the old house.
Still, it’s a beautiful house and the yard is covered in snow and I am grateful for all of it, when I remember to be.
Today on Jezebel there was an open thread about favorite presents from Christmas past, and commenter azliza with one good eye posted this:
My most memorable Christmas was when I was 8. My dad was in federal prison and my mom was working 50+ hours a week at a thankless job and brought home no more than $20,000/yr to support me and my little brother, so we had absolutely no money for christmas. all my mom had for us was a blanket that my grandma made and a stocking full of life savers and 2 toothbrushes. on xmas morning, the doorbell rang and my mom and i went to the door- someone had left a box full of presents, including the walkman i really really really wanted, and a bunch of new clothes for all of us, and a ham. we still don’t know who it was but… yeah. not my favorite christmas but definitely one of my most memorable.
and now i’m getting teary and have to call my mom.
This made me feel like crying, and then like two minutes later this segment came on the local news about how there are still 100 families on the waiting list for food and presents from the Salvation Army in Albany and they’re not sure if they’ll be able to give them anything. Honestly, it made me feel sick.
I can’t stand it when I see those tags on the Christmas trees in the mall for present donations, and it’s close to Christmas and there are still a bunch left. It’s really upsetting to me. I guess I should do more about it, since it bothers me so much. I used volunteer in a donation center in downtown Syracuse with people from my Church through the Salvation Army at Christmastime. It was in this huge building and there were so many people who came and picked out Christmas presents for their kids, and some even brought their kids with them. It made me sad, but at least I felt like I was doing something to help.
This is a very simple, low-key Christmas movie about a little girl who just wants a Christmas tree. Her father thinks they’re a waste and won’t let her get one and he spends the whole movie being a big jerk. Jason Robards plays pretty much the same character as he does in Heidi — the rough exterior and the sad past.
It’s kind of a depressing little movie, but the protagonist is a funny nerd girl, and everyone loves a mouthy kid with oversized glasses. Check out those things — she’s so hipster.
There’s also a fun subplot about her hatred (read: crush) of a boy in her class who has some sweet cowboy boots.
I relate to this movie this year especially, as it’s my first year ever without a real Christmas tree. We have a nice fake one, if you like that sort of thing, but it’s just not the same. Real trees are one of the nicest parts of Christmas. Le sigh.
“But were I join’d with her,
then we might live together as one life,
and reigning with one will in everything
have power on this dark land to lighten it
and power on this dead world to make it live.”—
Finally, a Christmas movie that isn’t totally random and obscure. Most people my age have a special place in their heart for The Santa Clause because it came out when we were just the right age for it to become perfectly embedded in our childhood memories. Also, you were probably watching Home Improvement around that time, so you had a little soft spot for Tim Allen already.
(Ah, remember the days before The Santa Clause 2 and 3, and Christmas With the Kranks, Tim?)
I never owned this movie, but I still feel like I’ve seen it a million times, probably because we were always watching it in class on the last day of school before the holidays. I guess I really don’t need to rehash the plot for you, so instead, let’s talk about how adorable that little girl elf was. Remember her?
"Seeing’s not believing, believing is seeing!"
I always liked that part.
Also, I find it necessary to mention how incredibly hot David Krumholtz (aka Bernard the (super obnoxious) Elf, aka the dorky friend in 10 Things I Hate About You) became. I never saw that one coming.
became this guy:
Holy cuteness, Batman!
PS: Sorry. I realize this Christmas movie countdown is devolving into cute guys from Christmas movies or guys in Christmas movies that later became cute. I’ll try to stay on topic.
So most people know and love the Muppet Christmas Carol, but significantly fewer are aware of this OTHER supergreat muppet christmas special, that aired for the first time in 1987. My parents taped it off the TV that year, and we’ve been watching the same copy every year since. I know!
The premise is thus:
Fozzie Bear’s mother is about to leave her sweet country farm on a Christmas vacation, when all the muppets drop in as an unexpected Christmas surprise! So she decides to stay home since she’s got like a zillion crazy muppets in her house and they love to party.
And just when you’re thinking the guestlist could not be more complete, guess who shows up? All the characters from Sesame Street! Yeah, they do. It’s awesome!
No, wait, I’m not done. Kermit and Robin go exploring in this creepy cave they find in the house and guess who they meet?! The fraggles! The fraggles teach them about the spirit of giving THROUGH SONG.
Every muppet ever just crammed into a single Christmas special. It’s ridiculously adorable and funny and I tear up when Big Bird talks about family because his voice is so sincere.
There’s lots of music — nearly all traditional holiday songs. And if there’s one Christmas tradition I can get behind, it’s singing muppets.
On a similar note, if you’re not aware of this album, you should see to that immediately.
So, it’s not technically on the countdown (only because I didn’t own it and therefore didn’t watch it every Christmas, and this countdown is solely based on my personal nostalgia), but I know Sarah will resent me forever if I don’t at least mention it, and today is the perfect day because today I saw Home Alone on the big screen for the second time in my life.
I was reminiscing about how I still remember sitting low in my big, cushiony movie theater seat and getting a little shiver up my spine from the music in the opening credits when it first came out (I was 4). Home Alone is great for music. I might even go so far as to say that the music makes the movie. Yup, I think I will.
It was really fun to see it in theaters again, and although it maybe didn’t have the same magic it did when I was young, I had a good time.
People seem to be split on whether Macaulay turned out cute or icky, but I land firmly on the cute side because I like my men kinda weird.
Below, for your enjoyment, a Macaulay Culkin collage.
He looks like the kind of guy you know is fucked up, but you can’t help trying to save because he such a damn good kisser.