Random Factoid #515

25 12 2010

Again, a Merry Christmas to you!  How did I spend Christmas?  Surprisingly, not at the movie theater – for the first time since 2007.  I’ll probably hit it hard tomorrow, though.

As for my nice relaxing day at home, I spent it watching plenty of Christmas favorites – “Elf” uncut and commercial-free on USA, “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” with too many edits on ABC Family, and most of “Home Alone” on HBO.  It was nice to settle down and enjoy these movies that I’ve seen a million times; of course I recited every line in my head along with them.

Oh, and I scored a nice $25 in movie cash, which will probably be gobbled up before 2010 is over as I scramble to catch what I can of the year’s best before my impending top 10 list.

P.S. – Check out this awesome mash-up video for a different type of holiday spirit.

Random Factoid #502

12 12 2010

In case you haven’t been able to tell, I really like Christmas and Christmas movies.  Between my factoid on “Home Alone,” my “Elf” moviegoers challenge, and my F.I.L.M. column on “Love Actually” (and another “F.I.L.M.” tied into the holiday coming next week), there’s no shortage of Christmas spirit on this site!

So needless to say, I was a little dismayed to read this report from The Los Angeles Times:

“This year, the role of Grinch will be played by Hollywood … the release of new Christmas movies long has been as much a tradition of the season as the annual late-night TV showing of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and shoppers stampeding stores on Black Friday … but this year, there’s hardly a holiday movie in sight.

‘… The way to do a big-budget film these days is to take stories that everyone in the world knows and take them in a new direction,’ said Joe Roth, a producer and former chairman of Walt Disney Studios. ‘But no one’s come up with a fresh way to do a holiday movie, so we’re all doing it with other kinds of stories.’

It’s hardly just a creative matter. As the major studios reduce the number of films they finance, executives have been growing more selective about the types of films they make. They’re reluctant to greenlight projects that are tied to such a specific moment in time and therefore have a limited theatrical shelf life.”

In other words, don’t expect any new Christmas movies anytime soon thanks to the flop of “A Christmas Carol” and the general downward trend of holiday movies.  This really is a shame because these are the only types of movies I feel like people have loyalty to; everybody has that “Christmas movie tradition” where they have that one classic that they curl up together and watch.  If studios stop churning those out, these experiences become a relic, something only to be nostalgic about.  And I don’t want that.

Here’s my suggestion for a new entry into the genre: have James Cameron direct a CGI epic movie about the War on Christmas. Use Pandora as some sort of allegory for the fight between “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas” going on in society nowadays.  Bring in blue people, the big man in the red suit, and every CEO of a retail company.  It would so be on.  Oh, and we’d need Hans Zimmer to score it.

Random Factoid #456

27 10 2010

It’s October 27!  Do you know what that means?

Well, it’s time for me to start listening to Christmas music!  I’m starting to reload it onto my iPod, and I’m so excited.  Nothing gets me in a good mood like listening to Christmas music in October.

And what do I start with?  “All I Want for Christmas Is You” from “Love Actually,” of course.  It makes me so happy, and I predict I’ll have to sit down and watch the whole movie soon.  That and “Elf,” my two favorite Christmas movies.

Maybe this year I’ll finally watch the Christmas classics like “White Christmas.”  Maybe…

(Thanks to NBC/Universal for blocking embedding on the video from the movie.)

Random Factoid #304

28 05 2010

I love Christmas, don’t get me wrong.  I pull out the Christmas music at the beginning of November, and I even have a “Christmas in July” day where I pull it out just once to get me energized … six months in advance.  So I’m hardly your Grinch type.

But honestly, HBO, do you really need to be showing “Four Christmases” in the middle of the summer?  It’s almost like a cruel taunt, poking us and saying “7 months left until Christmas” with a sinister smile.  I liked that movie, but I’m not going to sit down and watch it during the wrong season.

Anyone else feel the same way?  I wouldn’t classify my feelings as anger, but I just think it’s strange that HBO would subject us to holiday entertainment at this time of the year.

Random Factoid #162

6 01 2010

I meant to inform you of this groundbreaking decision last week, but how sense escapes me!

Well, I made a big decision…


I chose on Christmas Day and was expecting for almost a week, when on New Year’s Eve, my bundle of joy arrived!

The screenplay was Nick Hornby’s “An Education,” a beautifully written drama with plenty of wit.  I don’t know what made me choose it (especially because I can download the screenplay from the Sony Pictures Classics FYC site).

Just call it Christmas spirit.

Random Factoid #151

26 12 2009

Guess what I got for Christmas?


Just guess.

$150 in gift cards to movie theaters.  I’m so glad my friends and family get me.

Random Factoid #150

25 12 2009


As I write this factoid at 8:53 P.M., I will admit to being completely and utterly exhausted.  My, what a day can do to you!

My family has two “traditions” on Christmas Day.  The first is eating enchiladas from our favorite Mexican restaurant on our fine china (although today we were tired and just ate them on paper plates).

And, with a few exceptions, we join almost every family in America at the movies.  Keeping with the spirit of being with your family for the holiday, the choice is usually something that everyone will enjoy together.  This year’s selection was “The Princess and the Frog;” in previous years, we have attended “Marley & Me” and “Cheaper by the Dozen.”  By far the most memorable Christmas at the movies was “Dreamgirls” in 2006, the only time I have ever heard an audience applaud in the middle of a movie.

Random Factoid #149

24 12 2009

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!  I hope everyone is able to spend some time with family or loved ones and really catch the spirit of the season.

In my family, Christmas Eve follows a pretty set routine.

In the morning, we usually do some hard-core baking.  At 2:00, we go to the Christmas Eve service at church.  Before we go to a Christmas Eve party that we plan with three other families around dusk, we all gather around and watch a Christmas movie.  This year, we watched “The Polar Express.”  Previous years’ selections have included “Elf” and “The Santa Clause 2.”

Random Factoid #126

1 12 2009

I have been saving this one for a while, and you are really in for a treat.  Since today is December 1st, it seemed like a good time.

In 2003, I became quite obsessed with “Elf.”  I even went as far as to create what I called the “Moviegoers Challenge,” designed to see how much people really paid attention in the movie.  I’ll attach a Microsoft Word file for you to download it, but I’ll paste it onto this post.  If you decided to actually take it, keep in mind that I actually knew all the answers to this.

Elf Moviegoers Challenge – click here to download.

Full challenge is posted after the break.

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REVIEW: A Christmas Carol

29 11 2009

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” gets the title “timeless” bestowed on it because every year at Christmas, some new version of his story is spawned.  Robert Zemeckis is the latest filmmaker to take a stab at the tale.  Rather than revamp, retool, or recondition the story, he simply uses modern technology to retell it in a fun way that stays true to the source material and keeps the soul intact.  His “A Christmas Carol” bottles up the real spirit of the holiday season like no recent movie and spreads it through the audience.  It really is an empowering feeling to walk out of a movie inspired to put that twenty-dollar bill in the Salvation Army bin, not in the cash register at the mall.

The story of Ebenezer Scrooge is probably the second most well-known holiday yarn, weaved into the very fabric of the holiday season itself.  We all know it: the old miser with a heart colder than the snow packed on the London sidewalks gets a wake-up call that changes him.  Prior, Scrooge scoffed at Christmas with a “bah, humbug.”  He scorned those who wanted to care for him and refused to give care to the people that need it the most.  He treats his employee like dirt and gives him wages that amount to little more than that.  But Scrooge gets a visit from three ghosts – the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come – that change his perspective by reminding him of the joy that the season used to bring, the plight of those less fortunate, and the bleak future that awaits him if he doesn’t change his ways.  The result is a more tender-hearted man who appreciates Christmas and the giving spirit that accompanies it.

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Random Factoid #121

26 11 2009

Thanksgiving Day isn’t necessarily a huge moviegoing day for my family, at least nowhere near as big as Christmas.  It is the first day that my dad permits listening to Christmas music (although that hasn’t stopped me from listening to “All I Want For Christmas Is You” ten times already on my laptop).  When we do go, they have been family movies (“Enchanted” in 2007, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” today) so be thankful for that time we can share together.

Random Factoid #96

1 11 2009

Welcome to the glorious November!  For me, the first day of the month of November means that it is now OK to listen to Christmas music again (although I started about a week ago when we started singing Christm- … pardon me, holiday carols in choir).  So today’s factoid is somewhat of a confession.  I like to watch Christmas movies during the summer to remind myself of the splendor of the season when it is 100˚ here in Houston.  I watched “Elf” at least 10 times a few summers ago.

Random Factoid #30

27 08 2009

My obsession with the Academy Awards when I was younger wasn’t exactly a secret.  So I don’t know why I was so surprised when I received a book with a detailed recap of every single winner from two different people one Christmas about seven years ago.  I still have them both, but maybe one should go to the recycling bin.  My pick would be with my little brother’s scribbles on the cover.