Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Best 80's Christmas Movie

It’s been awhile since our last Best 80’s blah blah blah - and I know Pat absolutely adores doing them - and since it is tis’ the season I thought we would tackle Best 80’s Christmas movie. Two of my favorite Christmas movies of all time happen to have come out in the 80’s - “Christmas Vacation” and “A Christmas Story” - so we may already have the answer, but which one?

Typically for these Best 80’s posts I like to make sure that in addition to being a really good 80’s whatever, it also represents the 80’s. This may be why we have to go with “Christmas Vacation”. Granted it did come out in 1989 which is the most non-80’s year you can be while still being in the 80’s. But while “A Christmas Story” did come out in 1983 - which according to these heroes, is one of the best 1980 years there is - it actually takes place in the 1940’s. That’s about as non-80’s as you can get.

So I guess Christmas Vacation it is then. Best 80’s Christmas movie.

Oh, I guess as a formality I should ask for your opinion too, Pat?

Pat: This might be our shortest post yet, as I am in full agreement with you. In fact, I’m tempted to say that this move wins for nothing more than the ingeniously placed Beverly D’Angelo still-life-with-crotch-grab in the photo above.

I wanted to counter your argument by throwing out such gems as “Scrooged” or “A Christmas Carol” with George C. Scott and Edward Woodward or “A Very Brady Christmas” or “Ernest Saves Christmas”, but...I just can’t put my heart into such a disagreement.

Wow, that was easy!

Christian: Wait. You agree with me? Now I’m starting to second guess my choice. Maybe I should have gone with “A Christmas Story”. It does have one of my all time favorite movie lines

“Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian”

But “Christmas Vacation” has the classic holiday quote

“Shitter’s full”

So I  don’t know. I think I would feel alot better with going with “Christmas Vacation” if you were going with a different movie. No offense.

Pat: None taken. If you’d like, I could go with “Scrooged”, because I just remembered that it had a stellar cast of co-stars supporting Bill Murray (arguably at his prime, as this was well before Wes Anderson even DREAMED of making movies!). Said stars include David Johansen, Carol Kane, Bobcat Goldthwaite, and, my personal favorite...Mary Lou Retton as Tiny Tim!

Not to mention a really good-at-the-time theme song by Al Green and Annie Lennox!

You and I don’t really know how to do anything other than disagree, do we? Too bad.

Christian: Yes I think it would be better if you went with “Scrooged”.

OK, now let’s continue.

“Scrooged”!??!?! That’s your pick? Are you serious?

Yes, I’ll give you that it has the incredibly talented, comic genius Mary Lou Retton in it. And Bill Murray. But isn’t it basically just a lackluster remake of Dickens’ classic Christmas tale Scrooge McDuck? It also has a weak screenplay, poor special effects, and very slow pacing. I probably should also mention that I have never seen it.

It’s not anywhere near the caliber of “Christmas Vacation”.

Pat: You should see it. It’s really good. Though...I’ve never seen it outside of the month of December. Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen ANY Christmas movie, from the 80s or any other decade, outside of the month of December. I wonder if they hold up as well in, say, July.

Christian: I’m guessing not. I’m pretty sure that the appeal of Christmas movies are heavily reliant on it being Christmas season. But that pretty much goes for anything Christmassy; Music, decorations, trees. Although I must say I do enjoy almond roca year round. There’s no single season that can contain that stuff.

But back to the topic at hand, I guess at some point I should watch “Scrooged” but I’m guessing it’s no “Christmas Vacation”. You have any other suggestions?

Pat: Yeah. If you like almond roca, you should really try aplets and cotlets too. I used to get them from my stepmom every Christmas, and I loved eating them. A mouthful of jelly, nuts and powdered sugar! And I don’t think they age, so they’re just as good in August as they are in December!  

Christian: You’re talking about these things right?

Mmmmm.... square.

Yeah. I like them. But they are no almond roca. Picking aplets and cotlets over almond roca would be like deciding to watch “Scrooged” over “Christmas Vacation”. Cray-zee.

Pat: That’s them, alright! Mmm...tasty AND translucent!

And, I figured out a solution to our conundrum! To pick only one favorite candy from either almond roca or aplets & cotlets is like picking your favorite cheese from either swiss or bleu. Can’t be done! They’re BOTH great, and they exist in non-comparable realms of cheese-dom!

Just like the two movies, right?!

Christian: What are you talking about? Bleu cheese is by far the more superior cheese. Swiss is fine for a sandwich or feeding your dog but bleu cheese is like the “Christmas Vacation” of cheeses. It’s heaven on burgers and goes great on salads. My wife makes these amazing ham, bleu cheese, and pear croissant sandwiches that are to die for!

You can’t possibly think swiss cheese is on par with bleu cheese, Pat. I thought you were more sophisticated than that.

Pat:  What if I told you that I once made a grilled cheeses sandwich, where I laid on a layer of swiss, and then filled in the holes with chunks of bleu? Would that redeem me in your esteem?

Christian: Of course it would. Applying multiple cheese types to a food item is like melting silver and gold into a new super element called “golver” and ruling the lands with your mighty stockpile of golver that affords you the most sophisticated of armies.

It’s like watching “Christmas Vacation” twice in a row.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

One at a Time, Please!

So, in the high school where I teach, students were just half a day past wearing their “sexy _____ “ costumes or prom dresses (the Halloween costumes of choice for high school girls and boys, respectively) when there was an announcement encouraging students to participate in this years “Holiday Sharing” program, whereby we provide toys to kids in need for the holidays. I assumed they were referring to Veteran’s Day presents for less fortunate kids, but NO! They were talking about Christmas (or Hanukkah, or the non-existent, December gift giving holidays for Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Zoroastrians).

I love holidays a lot. They make the other days bearable. And I am certainly NOT one of those curmudgeons who says that because we live in a wonderfully diverse country, with many ethnic and religious cultures, we should not celebrate any one particular holiday out of fear of leaving someone out. I say celebrate ALL of them!

But, there’s gotta’ be a line somewhere! I would like to offer a suggestion that we limit ourselves to focusing on only one holiday at a time, whatever that holiday is. And along those lines, to acknowledge or pre-lebrate any holiday before an earlier holiday has passed (such as Christmas before Thanksgiving), would be considered a social crime punishable by ostracization and utter banishment from the larger culture. Seems harsh, but I really can’t take listening to carols before I’ve even finished my hand turkey or extinguished my Diwali lights.

Christian, might a beg a farthing of your thoughts on this one?

Christian: I see your point but don’t Hanukkah and Christmas overlap one another? How are you supposed to only focus on one at a time if they are occurring at the same time? Same goes for my birthday month and Valentine’s day. If everyone is just focused on celebrating my birthday month then you can pretty much kiss Valentine’s day goodbye.

Seems like this plan of yours is full of holes.

Pat:  Oh, Christian. I think you’re suffering from “goylexia”. It’s okay...apparently a lot of us gentiles are ill-informed ignoramuses!

Christian: So Hanukkah and the 12 days of Christmas aren’t the same thing. Who knew.

Pat: But you raise a good point, and I should have clarified. IF two or more holidays overlap, then I think it is just fine to celebrate BOTH simultaneously. For example, when Ramadan extends over Columbus Day, then I think it is perfectly appropriate to eat food we stole from Native Americans before sunrise or after sundown. See? Multi-brations can be easy!

And with regards to February? Well, I think it stands to reason that a certain fellow blogger of mine should be receiving kisses all through the month! Are all you ladies out there ready for that?

Christian: OK, but what about Canadian Thanksgiving? It is in October and since they don’t celebrate American Thanksgiving, that means they could start celebrating Christmas in November but Americans wouldn’t be allowed to do so until December. 

I don’t know how Canadian Thanksgiving is traditionally
celebrated but I’m assuming it’s something like this.

This plan of yours seems kind of racist.

Pat:  I thought we’ve covered this in earlier blogs. I have no problems with Canadians, other than them as people, their oddly valued currency, and their latitudes. They don’t count in this discussion.

If you’d like to pose another question I would be happy to answer it.

Christian: Oh yeah. I forgot about your unnatural uneasiness towards Canadians (don’t forget, our glorious Canadian readers, I still love you. So direct all hateful comments towards Pat, eh).

Don’t get me wrong. I do like this concept of yours of only celebrating one holiday at a time. But it’s just one of those ideas that seems too good to actually work without any negative side effects. Like Cat Stevens.

Let me Google something really quick.

*several weeks later*

Aha! OK, what about Arbor Day? In my extensive research to prove your idea bad, I learned that Arbor Day can be celebrated on different dates depending on which state you are in. Typically they are in April.

So Mr. Big Shot Idea man, let’s say hypothetically Easter falls on April 20th for a given year.  What about people who live in a state where Arbor Day isn’t until, say  April 24th but are traveling to visit family for Easter in a neighboring state that had already celebrated Arbor Day. Under your rules they should all be killed. Oh wait, you said banished didn’t you? Not killed. Either way, with your rules this family can’t spend easter with their relatives.

This plan of yours seems very anti-family.

Pat:  Do we have a day honoring Cat Stevens? If not...that’s a really good idea. Before daybreak we could all gather together to watch morning break, and then sing out together (because we WANT to), and the big finale to the day would be when the Tillerman visits your house and deposits magical tea in your pot. Don’t read too far into that last idea.

I’m all for family, by the way. I just don’t think it’s a good idea for families to split apart and live in different states. And if they do they should not be able to celebrate holidays together. That’s all.

Christian: OK, I’ll concede. For now. We can go with your plan of only celebrating one holiday at a time, but I still feel like it’s too good to be true and will eventually lead to impending doom. In the meantime I’m just going to light up my Cat Stevens tree and enjoy the holidays.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Curious George Assassination

Today we are fortunate enough to get to take a ride on the
Character Assassination Carousel created by Ninja Mom. Those not familiar with this phenom should head on over to Ninja Mom's blog via any of these impressive links I’ve been laying down in this paragraph. I’m kind of the Leonardo da Vinci of inserting links, if you ask me.

In short the Character Assassination Carousel (BAM! Another well inserted link!) is where a blogger picks a popular children’s book and rips it to shreds. Not physically but literally, literally.

So today Pat and I will be pointing out everything that is wrong with Curious George and his friend the man with the yellow hit in the book Curious George Rides a Bike. I’ll start.

Christian: First off for those that are not familiar with the Curious George series of books the basic premise of each book is that this dude who is only known as “the man in the yellow hat” leaves George somewhere unattended, often in public where there are small children around, and takes off to go do something unimportant. Despite that fact that every time he has done this George has gotten into some kind of trouble often including destruction of public property.

So let’s see how “Curious George Rides a Bike” starts. 

And here we go, two minutes into the day and the man with yellow hat is already leaving George alone with a two-wheeled-taunting-monkey-menace-device-of-destruction - a bike.

Pat: Yeah, two minutes into the day and you know what we’ve already seen? A primate wearing pajamas, eating human food with human utensils at a human table with an actual human, and the delivery of a cargo box made of wood. Like THAT happens!

Y’know the worst part though?  

Christian: Not supporting local bicycle shops?

Pat:  No. Inside that box was a fully formed bicycle. I call bullshit. Ain’t not a one of the damn bikes my kids have gotten that I didn’t have to goddamned assemble my damn self, damnit.

Christian: So inevitably, George takes off into the unsuspecting public for a joyride on his new bike. He then comes across a male paper-boy of impressionable age I’m guessing his name is Waldo.

Pat:  You know what I see here? Early evidence of the downfall of the American economy, not to mention GROSS labor, human rights and child--err, monkey--protection laws. Who the hell is this slacker thinking he can just shrug off his responsibilities as a working member of society? Probably voted socialist.

Christian: And he doesn’t seemed to be concerned at all about rabies.

Pat:  Good point. Given the pink of his cheeks, it might already be too late for him.

George perseveres through the day though (even after the paperboy dies from rabies). After a few deliveries, he is distracted by the quaint beauty of a small stream and then, amazingly, the story turns into a how-to manual for origami battleships. See?

Christian: A nice little lesson for the kids on how to destroy public property. But wait that’s not all. Because move over Chernobyl, he then dumps his platoon of origami paper battleships into the stream.

Most likely killing multiple ducks, frogs, butterflies, and whatever that one thing is... a grasshopper?

Pat:  Yeah...I totally dig the nod towards animal cruelty.

Christian: Yeah, animal on animal cruelty to boot.

Pat:  Yep. Helps me assuage the guilt of death-by-magnifying-glass.

Christian: You’ve killed ducks with a magnifying glass?

Pat:  It took longer than I thought it would. I don’t like to talk about it. I missed dessert that night.

Christian: OK, so after polluting the river with his army of nature killing battleships, George starts showboating on his bike and eventually crashes it leaving it broken.

Pat:  Ooh! Are we at the part with the creepy traveling zoo?

Christian: You mean the two strange men who pick george up in a windowless van?

Direct quote from the book: “I have a bugle for you right here.”

Pat:  Never, EVER, get in a van with these two men, kids. And NEVER play with their horns.

Christian: So the two strange men with their horns kidnap George into their traveling circus-cult thing. And at this point we should point out that one of the strange men gave George his bugle. George then in turn tries to give it to an ostrich.

Pat:  TRIES to? He feeds the entire damn thing to him!  

That bear seems to be enjoying things a little too much.

Christian: I just re-read our last two comments and realized that I should make it clear we aren’t talking sexually.

Pat:  Oh my god, that is SICK Christian. How could you even THINK that? Gross! (hee hee...I was totally thinking about sex! Monkey-horn sex!)

Christian: When are you not? Anyways, as you can see George thrusts his horn down the ostrich’s happily accepting throat who seems pretty pleasure filled about receiving it.

Pat:  Wait a minute. Are you suggesting that the zoo is some sort of analogy for a bacchanalian love fest? Or is it just a zoo with a monkey who fed a horn to an ostrich? I’ve never been too adept at metaphor.

Christian: Jesus Pat get your head out of the gutter. George is just thrusting his horn into the ostrich’s mouth repeatedly in hope of making him happy and satisfied. Nothing sick. Anyways, after George attempts to murder the ostrich with his horn, (ostrich-slaughter), the strange men ringleaders of the circus-cult tell George he can no longer play with their horn.  

Pat:  Is that like Osgood–Schlatter? I had that once. It sucked.

Anyway, the voracious ostrich then eats a string that lets out the baby bear.

That sends George running off with his bugle, bike (miraculously repaired), circus-cult members in tow, to play rescue hero. Anyone else seeing a Rube Goldberg theme here?

Long story short, he saves the bear, saving the proverbial day, resulting in everyone showering him with accolades--man in the yellow hat included, wherever the fuck HE’S been, deadbeat dad!--despite the shit-storm he’s wreaked throughout the day!

Christian: Yeah, his monkey is loose out in the public and he decides to go catch a show at the circus? I’m starting to think he might be trying to get rid of George. Not that I blame him. George seems like a lot of work. Not to mention the rabies.

Pat:  Yep. Great lesson! Go fuck it up kiddos. As long as you save a cute bear in the end we’ll forgive you every single one of your goddamned trespasses.


There you have it. To see other assassinations go here. The previous carousel assassin was Toulouse from Toulouse and Tonic and next up is Stephanie at Mommy, for Real.