83% - No.
83% - No.
Me: “Can I help you sir.”
Customer: “Are you David?”
Me: “No, my name’s Tony. Was David helping you with something already?”
Me: “Oh, well, then had you called and spoken to David?”
Me: “Well would you like me to get him for you?”
Customer: “I don’t care.”
Customer: “Can I help you, sir?”
(Based on true story that happened just now.)
December 24th - Christmas Eve Trilogy - The Muppet Christmas Carol and Die Hard and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
You made it! One more day until Christmas! I hope you all made it through the holidays with as little stress as possible, although that really can’t be possible.
So Christmas Eve and tonight’s movies. How do I summarize this neatly? We got a Muppet movie, the best action movie of all time, and the James Bond movie with the guy everybody considers the worst Bond. How did we get here?
The James Bond one I feel I was born with. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service comes from my Dad. To say he’s a Bond enthusiast would be an understatement. Bond was a religion in my house growing up. The music, the dialogue, and details were taught to me at a early age. We watched them often. When we weren’t watching them we were listening to their soundtracks. When we weren’t watching them or listening to the soundtracks we were talking about them in depth. When I got old enough I started to read the books, which then prompted more discussion and analyzation. Then we’d watch and listen and talk about them all over again. This shit is real to us, guys. We’ve pulled apart every movie to examine them closer. We can praise the Bond movies successes and we can admit their dizzying faults.
You played catch with your Pops in the backyard? Neat. Me and mine watched Bond movies. It’s the same thing really. It was our bonding (seriously, no pun intended) experience.
My Dad has always favored On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He’s hailed it as the best of the bunch. The one that didn’t star Sean Connery. The one where the Bond’s actor George Lazenby was an almost laughable Bond in comparison to Connery. The one that had the Bond who never returned again (Sean Connery came back to play Bond in the next film, Diamonds Are Forever). This one. This is the one that my Dad said was the best.
I’m biased, but guess what friends, he’s right.
While the actor playing Bond leaves something to be desired (How do you follow Connery though? Could it be done?), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service does have the tightest story and script of the series, the best music of the series, and some of the best action and set pieces of the series. It stands out. It takes it’s time. It lets the plot and characters carry on slowly and deliberately. It is, unlike most of the other Bonds, sometimes resembling an ACTUAL MOVIE. Plus the ending is unlike any Bond movie and makes me cry every single time. Yeah, George Lazenby sucks and don’t get me wrong there is some really dumb shit in the movie too, but not only is this my favorite James Bond movie of all time but it probably ranks as one of my favorite movies of all time (as do the other two on tonight’s schedule).
It’s definitely the movie I’ve seen the most times in my life. And that is because every year on Christmas Eve, after we’d gotten home from Grandma’s or wherever we were and before everybody got put to bed for the night, my Dad would pop in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and he and I would watch it. I guess he picked Christmas Eve to watch it as the second half of the movie takes place during Christmas, but I like to think it makes him happy and nostalgic and feeling good just like Christmas is supposed to.
So I meet Jill and I come preloaded with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and it’s got to be watched on Christmas Eve because really that’s all I know how to do on Christmas Eve.But it’s okay because Jill comes with her own Christmas movie tradition too. She brings The Muppet Christmas Carol to the table. She says it’s her favorite Christmas movie and we have to watch it.
I think I maybe had seen it once before I met her. I fell in love with this movie almost as quickly as I fell in love with her. It’s probably the best Muppet movie really. The songs are so amazing! I do not understand why I am subjected to that Paul McCartney train-fuck-wreck of a song, “Wonderful Christmastime” every five minutes but they DON’T play “Feels Like Christmas” sung by The Ghost Of Christmas Present from this movie.
(“Feels Like Christmas” youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlRpGj7LWS4)
It’s my favorite telling of A Christmas Carol too. Someone asked me if we watched Mickey’s Christmas Carol, which is great and all, but if you gave me the choice of Mickey or Muppet, I always will go with Muppet. Michael Caine (say “My Cocaine” and you’ll have done an impression of him.) gets in line with all the other British actors who ever lived to play Scrooge and now he’s the only Scrooge I can imagine.
There’s something about the heart and soul about this movie that truly makes it one of the best Christmas movies ever. It captures the spirit and meaning of the holiday so clearly that I’m tearing up right now thinking of scenes. It’s perfect. Seriously. Other than the scene where young Scrooge and his lady friend sing that song, which is just utterly boring. We usually fast forward that part, which is awesome too, because: the lady who plays Scrooge’s girlfriend, her nostrils flare up really big when she sings and when you fast forward it it looks TOTALLY CRAZY THESE NOSTRILS FLARING IN AND OUT AND IN OUT AND IN AND OUT REALLY FAST AND WE BOTH CRACK UP. Anyway, whatever.
Also there’s something about this movie that makes me feel like I can reach out and touch it. Even on VHS this movie has such a vivid texture that it’s so gorgeous to look at. I don’t know if it was filmed special or something, but I swear if you paused it you could count the felt fibers on Gonzo’s face. It’s that clear and it always has been. The lighting is moody and effective and the overall production value makes this movie so wonderful to look at.
Plus, did you forget it’s a Muppet movie? So pretty much the best comedy you can get for both young and old. This movie rules.
So we got Muppet Christmas Carol and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service…so how and why did we add Die Hard to the mix? Well, I have a better question…
WHY THE FUCK WOULDN’T YOU WATCH DIE HARD ON CHRISTMAS EVE?
We watch it because it’s awesome. And it’s an awesome Christmas movie. You wanna watch It’s a Wonder Life? Fine. My wife and I will truly learning the meaning of one man’s worth along with John McClane on the thirtieth floor of Nakatomi Plaza.
So the order of the film’s watched go like this: First, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and then Die Hard, and finish with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Jill has never failed to fall asleep right when the terrorists arrive at Nakatomi in Die Hard and then misses the Bond movie entirely. Our tradition in years past has been to pull a futon matress downstairs and sleep under the Christmas tree watching these movies. This will probably be the last year as we have a six month old and as he gets older we probably shouldn’t be near the tree as not to interfere with Santa showing up.
Since Jill and I left Illinois we have been nomads. Doing a stint in Iowa, Florida, and now here in Nashville, Tennessee. Most of those Christmas’s we have been able to visit our family (at least not until January when we’d do 2nd Christmas). So we came up with new traditions. New memories. New beginnings. Which I guess, without getting too theological and philosophical, is what Christmas is about. A special child is born and everything gets to begin anew. We couldn’t spend Christmas with our families so we spend it with each other, Kermit The Frog, John McClane, and James Bond.
And now we have our six month old son, Wiley. There are new traditions to create. And I can’t wait.
Merry Christmas Everybody! Thanks for reading.
December 22nd and 23rd - A Garfield Christmas Special and Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration
It’s probably for the best that I missed my deadline yesterday and was not able to write a post, because really this was always meant to be a double feature. Because (again I’m aging myself talking over and over about these things) we had these specials recorded on a tape back to back. Again, video tape. I miss it.
These two special are probably my favorite Christmas specials of ALL TIME. My sister watched them the other night and tweeted me that she knew them both by heart “with every fiber of her being.” We wore this tape out when were kids. The specials aired in the late eighties and we watched that same tape up until maybe two years ago when we finally replaced it with dvd copies. So for twenty years these things have been engrained into our DNA.
A Garfield Christmas Special is pretty straightforward. The grump fat ass cat gets dragged to Jon’s family farm for Christmas and hates it. We get to meet Jon’s family including a brother that seems to be based on Lenny from Of Mice and Men and a Grandma that is even crabbier than the king crabass Garfield is. We are so obsessed with Jon’s Grandma I made my sister Amanda the sweatshirt she wears and gave it to her for Christmas a few years ago.
Will Vinton’s A Claymation Christmas Celebration is amazing too. Claymation was the CGI of the eighties and early nineties before it became extinct (thanks, Jurassic Park). But at the time claymation used to blow minds (people saw Tron, but largely ignored it). Will Vinton was the go-to guy for claymation. He did the California Rasins, which for some reason swept America as like this big sensation (which seems perfectly reasonable now when compared to today’s trends: see Gangam Style). This special is a small series of Christmas vignettes usually based around a Christmas song. It was hosted by Rex and Herb, a snobby intellectual and a slobby dimwit.
They both argue over what the hell a “Wassail” is. There’s We Three Kings sung by hip camels. Angels We Have Heard On High ice skated to by some Walrus and Penguins. Rudolph is sung by the California Raisins. Our favorite sequence was the rendition of the Carol Of The Bells performed by actual bells but this one dummy keeps mucking it up:
These are the specials that make me feel like it’s really Christmas. These are the ones that make feel get the warm and fuzzies and make me nostalgic and think back on all the wonderful Christmas memories I have.
I found them on the internet, here’s the links:
A Garfield Christmas Special :
Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration:
COMING UP NEXT:
Last day before Christmas!! Tomorrow I will walk you through Jill and I’s Christmas Eve Movie Trilogy! What haven’t I listed yet? Find out tomorrow! (You all know what they are. I’m just trying to be cute.)
December 21st - National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
“Don’t throw me down, Clark!” I’ve way overanalyzed it, but I think it is one of the funniest lines ever spoken. Now I know that this movie also contains: “Shitter’s full!” And that line never fails to make tears of joy roll down my face. But there’s something about good old Aunt Bethany’s line that makes me love it so. It’s two things: 1. Why would he throw her down? 2. She’s so concerned that he WILL throw her down, that she has to tell him not to. Her beautifully sweet old lady dementia is probably my favorite part of without a doubt a flawless Christmas comedy. Everybody loves this one. You know you can’t wait to watch it. Maybe this year we’ll finally get the answer to the question: “Is Rusty still in the Navy?” COMING UP NEXT: We’re going to the farm in A GARFIELD CHRISTMAS!
December 20th - Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Season 3/Episode 21 - Santa Claus Conquers The Martians
If there’s six things that I can point to and say with absolutely no doubt that these are the things that shaped who I am as a person they would be my Parents, my Wife, my best friend Zak, Spider Man, The Clash, and Mystery Science Theater 3000.
I can’t tell you what that show means to me. I torture my poor wife with insisting it be played before we go to bed (having a baby has only changed this practice slightly). It’s my favorite show of all time.
The show’s plot is pretty simple. Guy gets shot into space and builds some robot companions to help him riff and make jokes at the movie he is forced to watch as an experiment set up by the evil guys who sent him up there. The movies they are forced to watch are the worst of the worst things your eyeballs will ever see.
They even did a Christmas episode or two! One of them features one of the strangest Christmas movies of all time, Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. Yeah.
In the 1964 film, some martians go to earth and kidnap Santa Claus to take back to Mars to bring cheer to their own martian children.
It’s pretty damn bizarre. In the MST3K version, Joel and his robots, Tom Servo and Crow throw jokes at the movie and make the thing not only watchable but one of my favorite episodes of MST3K, but one of my favorite Christmas movies.
Here’s the youtube link:
December 19th - Home Alone 2: Lost In New York
This time Kevin gets to spend Christmas alone in New York (where he gets around pretty easily, I must say). Basically the same shit happens, but some very brief observations:
- Talkboy. The FIRST smartphone. (no actual data or fact to back that statement up. it just sounds funny to say.)
- We learn that most of your finer toy stores keep treasure chests of money lying around. And the old men who run them are fond of handing out 35 cent ornaments.
- Kevin is still pretty rude to his family in my opinion.
- Kevin does, however, fight the burglars so they won’t steal from the orphans. According to the rules, this makes him a Batman.
- It has a terribly long and unfunny sequence where Kevin just throws bricks at the burglars. It seriously goes on for about twenty minutes.
It’s still good, though. Watch it ya filthy animal!!!
COMING UP NEXT:
We’re going to do the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode of the very horrible Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. It’s on youtube. I’ll post the link tomorrow. Mystery Science Theater is very very important to me. This Christmas episode is not to be missed. We’ll talk more about it tomorrow.
December 18th - Home Alone
Too much to say about this. Soooo…..
Live Tweet. The movie is on at 7pm tonight on ABC Family. Tune in. Get a Twitter. Follow me. Join me. Hate me. See you then.
COMING UP NEXT:
Home Alone 2. Duh, Buzz.
December 17th - Saved By The Bell - Season 3 - “Home For Christmas” parts 1 & 2
This episode is insanely ridiculous. I love it.
So the gang is doing a Christmas play at the mall and they meet a homeless girl and her father. They take her into the group (Zack gets especially creepy with her) and help her and her father have a nice Christmas.
They also invite the family to live with Zack and his Mom at the end, BUT THE NEVER MENTION IT IN THE SHOW AGAIN. I think I would bring up to you the time you had a homeless girl and her dad live with you. But no. Never mentioned again. Also, was Zack’s Dad cool with this? If my wife and son had a family move into my house while I was away, I’d have some words.
This show is awesome. Watch it. The Christmas season wouldn’t be the same without it.
COMING UP NEXT:
Home Alone Live Tweet. Tomorrow. 7pm. ABC Family. Let’s do this.
December 16th - Love Actually
The Godfather of rom-coms. Yeah. I said it. Chumps. What are you going to do? What you got to say? You going to sit there and tell me that there’s another rom-com out there better than this? That did it with more heart? That did it with a better cast? That wasn’t overbearing or insulting to your intelligence? That actually made you feel good when you watched it? Which one? What? You can’t think of one? Oh. Well then shut the hell up and deal with the fact that this one stands out on it’s own and set trends for everything after. Just like THE MOTHER EFFIN GODFATHER.
Sorry. It seems silly to defend anything from the romantic comedy genre. They are usually bloated, unfunny, train wrecks starring overpaid hollywood dickheads. Story and character seems to be the last thing on their mind, they only exist to make money. They are usually written by unfunny men who have no idea how the opposite sex talks, behaves, or desires.
Now before you say that all these opinions of mine are only because I am a guy, let me tell you I got all these points from listening to my wife bitch about these movies. She hates banality and being treated stupid. Which is what those movies do. Love Actually does not.
Here’s the other thing about Love Actually, which is essentially a series of short films all wrapped together, there’s no dead air. There’s not a single storyline I don’t like. There’s some that confuse me (Correct me if I’m wrong but Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister declares WAR on America, right?) but I still love them all.
Plus you get Mr. Bean and a young Betty Draper in the movie.
The movie makes me feel good when I watch it. I hope it does for you too.
OhYeahChristmas!!! Yes this is a Christmas movie. This a VERY Christmas movie.
And there’s the main guy from The Walking Dead not shooting zombies and not giving horribly written speeches and not butchering an American accent being very very sweet in this movie.
Watch it gang. It is but the work of a moment. They say that in the movie. Mr. Bean says it. Watch it.
Coming Up Next:
Remember in high school when you did that christmas play at the mall and met that hot homeless chick and her dad? You don’t? Oh. That’s because it would never happen but in Saved By The Bell. We’re doing the two part christmas special. It’s on Netflix.
December 15th - Bridget Jones’s Diary
There’s lots of Christmas in this really funny and very raunchy romantic comedy. This was one that my wife would watch and I would do something else. Then I started watching and got hooked. Movie’s hilarious, guys, get over it and watch it.
Zellweger’s got a filthy mouth and she chain smokes and drinks like a Lohan. She would fit right in at a bar from my hometown. Also, is there anybody cooler than Colin Firth? Well. There are yes. But he’s pretty cool.
There are some amazing ugly Christmas sweaters in this one too!!
COMING UP NEXT:
Love Actually. The mother of all rom-com Christmas movies. This one rules too. Sorry guys. You’re going to have to own up to it. See you tomorrow.
December 14 - HUG YOUR FAMILY.
No movie tonight after the events today in Conneticut. Instead, hug your family, kiss your kids, and be thankful for what you have.
Be good to each other.
See you tomorrow.
December 13th - A Shane Black Christmas Quartet - The Long Kiss Goodnight
Our next entry in our Shane Black Christmas Quartet is The Long Kiss Goodnight. It stars Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson and is directed by Renny Harlin (who directed Die Hard 2: Die Harder and that Stallone movie where he climbs rocks and yells a lot, Cliffhanger). It’s probably the largest in scale of Shane Black’s action movies. This one has Sam Jackson (in probably my favorite Sam Jackson role) as a detective who’s hired to look into the past of Geena Davis’ character who has amnesia with no idea who she once was. Turns out she was an assassin/spy and there’s some bad dudes still after her. Violence and mayhem ensue.
All this action takes place between the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. Several scenes involve the holiday directly, so this one more than makes up for last nights Last Boy Scout, which had almost nothing to do with Christmas (but still owns so hard).
As I said, this is probably my favorite Sam Jackson character he’s ever played. He’s super funny and also breaks your heart in some places.
So Kiss your Good Night goodbye (sorry) and enjoy tonight’s “christmas” movie!
COMING UP NEXT:
Tomorrow we close our four day Shane Black Christmas Quartet with his latest film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It blew me away when I first saw it. There’s lots of Christmas in that one too. See you tomorrow!!
December 12th - The Shane Black Christmas Quartet - The Last Boy Scout
Going to be honest here. This movie has the LEAST to do with Christmas than any other movie this month. There’s some lights and a decorated tree or two in the background and a single spoken reference to the holiday. Which is this:
That’s it! Christmas!!!! But it’s part of my Shane Black series and I felt bad leaving it out because…well it kicks some major ass and it’s one of my favorite movies.
Directed by the late Tony Scott who committed suicide earlier this year (has anyone found out why?), the film follows surly, smartass, general piece of shit detective Bruce Willis as he and disgraced football star Damon Waynes get caught up in a wild conspiracy involving corrupt football owners, dirty senators, and the mob. Lots of killing and swearing and jokes ensue for roughly 90 minutes and it’s pretty radical.
I must have rented this movie at least 200 times when I was younger and there were still video stores. I was always drawn to its humor and style. I love Bruce Willis in this movie and I think this my favorite role of his (after John McClane of course). I reference and quote this movie a lot and I know I’m going to get along with someone if they catch the reference.
So catch up with another Shane Black written Christmas (kinda) movie, The Last Boy Scout! And like they say in the movie:
"Water’s wet sky’s blue and old Satan Claus, Jimmy, he’s out there and he’s just getting stronger"
"So what do we do?"
"Be prepared son. That’s my motto. Be prepared."
COMING UP NEXT:
Day Three of our Shane Black Christmas Quartet brings us The Long Kiss Goodnight. A slam bang Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson detective spy assassin thriller…with Christmas!!!
December 11th - A Shane Black Christmas Quartet - Introduction
Growing up all my buddies could name all the players on their favorite football team. My friends could spout off statistics and averages of baseball players they cheered on. I could not do this. I was never into sports, so I never had any idea what or who they were talking about. I mean, I knew who Michael Jordan was. Duh. But I could make my friends feel what I felt when I would start to talk about movies.
Suddenly they would get lost or not understand when I started going on about how much I dug Ray Harryhausen, who used to do the stop motion special effects for movies like Jason And The Argonauts and The Seven Voyages Of Sinbad, and isn’t it cool he got his start apprenticing for Willis O’Brian on the original King Kong? Or when I tell people how neat I thought it was that Sergio Leone was using the same locations from classic John Wayne movies for his revisionist western, Once Upon A Time In The West. I would get blank stares when I told people that the same guy who did the voice for Baloo The Bear in Disney’s The Jungle Book did the voice of Little John in Disney’s Robin Hood, and then I would tell them his name (Phil Harris). Movies were fascinating to me. The same kind of passion and attention to detail my friends had for the Cubs or the Bears, I had for movies and the movie makers and the stories behind them. You like Walter Payton? That’s cool, I think Boris Karloff is badass. I was a movie dork. And I still am. I can’t get this useless knowledge out of my brain in order to make room for important stuff like my banking password or what floor my wife works on.
One thing I really gravitated towards in movies were the writers. I was always aware that somebody had to be writing these things and I wanted to be one of those people someday when I grew up. So the way that a young sports fan would recognize the name of the batter next on deck (a sport term that I have only a vague idea of the meaning) over time I would start to recognize the names of screenwriters I would see in the credits. One of the first writers name I became aware of was Shane Black.
Shane Black was a young screenwriter who in the eighties and early nineties who had quite a streak of hits. He wrote hard core “R” rated action movies, movies that I probably should not have been watching at a young age. He had a very tight style. His dialogue was always very witty and was spoken at breakneck speed. His action was ultra violent. He wrote a lot of cusses and swears and dirty words. All his villains were over the top and insane. All his heroes were smartasses who had fallen from grace and had to fight to rise again. Basically everything a young boy could want in a movie.
Shane Black most famous for writing the scrips/story for Lethal Weapon 1 and 2. But he wrote some knockout stunners like The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Iron Man 2, and my hands down no question favorite movie of all time The Monster Squad. Also he had a small acting role in a little film called Predator. He was the first one to get killed.
He was hugely successful during the late eighties/early nineties and I’ve read that was the first screenwriter to get a paycheck as high as four million dollars. Then he kind of disappeared for the late nineties and early two thousands. I don’t know if it was the industry or something he had decided, but I stopped seeing his name for a long time. Then in 2005 he showed up again with a vengance writing and directing (for the first time) an amazing noir action comedy called Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Most excitingly, he has a new film coming out next year that he is writing and directing. No big deal. Just a little film called Iron Man 3. Probably won’t make any money at all.
So if you’re still with me, you’re probably saying: “This is all great information you fucking nerd bomber, but what in the name of Santa does this have to do with Christmas?” Well dig this, haters:
Most of the movies Shane Black have written/directed all take place at Christmas.
So according to TONY LAW, this means they are technically Christmas movies. In some of them, the holiday takes center stage and is part of the plot. In others, Christmas is just lingering in the California background, a decorated tree or a set of lights hanging. Christmas is in them just enough for me to easily slip them into Jill and I’s holiday movie watching schedule. Tonight we start with his first film. And ladies? I know the next four nights may not be for you, so this weekend I have something for you. Some Christmas flicks for the ladies. So bear with me.
December 11 - Lethal Weapon
This is one of the movies that all action movies that came afterwards were judged by. I’ve heard that Shane Black was only something like 23 when he wrote Lethal Weapon and it only took three days to sell it. It was a game changer. It made buddy cop movies the standard, spawning tons and tons of rip offs, some good, some awful. I think the genre bottomed out with that one that starred Jay Leno and Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid. I forget the name (Who am I trying to kid here? No I don’t. It was called Collision Course.) It’s a pretty awesome movie and it actually stands out from the rest of the series. Notice how they never mention Vietnam or Riggs suicide attempts ever again after this movie? It has a much darker tone then the rest of the series, which got kind of sillier and sillier over time (but I am of the opinion that Lethal Weapon 2 is one of the greatest sequels of all time, wanna fight about it? Hit me up).
And it’s got Christmas in it! Look:
Christmas trees! See!
Other things to note: my wife has always been weirded out that Murtaugh’s entire family comes into the bathroom when he’s in the bath to wish him happy birthday. She thinks that is some kind of violation of one’s privacy and kind of creeps her out. I just think she doesn’t understand how tight that family is. Also, Gary Busey is in this. So there’s that. And the fight at the end? Where Riggs and Gary Busey just duke it out in front of like fifty cops? I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to do that. One uniformed cop should have spoke up and been like, “Uhh..guys? We need to put the suspect in the car now.”
So don’t get too old for this shit and watch Lethal Weapon tonight!
COMING UP NEXT:
Tomorrow we continue our Shane Black Christmas Quartet with The Last Boy Scout! This one has the least to do with Christmas, but whatever, I love it. It’s got Damon Waynes in it, so you know it’s good!