Featuring movies I both have and haven’t seen.
Let’s say you’re the kind of person who prefers their Christmas light on the Christ. And also light on the mas(s). Thankfully some parts of the world have accepted Christmas as part of the non-denominational holiday season- a time when we celebrate not the mis-dated birth of our Lord Jesus, but rather our love for one another. Our family, our friends, cozy nights, festive lights, and a rapacious culture of consumerism.
One of my favorite traditions for holiday togetherness is the Christmas movie, whether it’s on in the evening while I’m curled up on the couch or its just on in the background while I decorate the tree (just kidding, you have to play the Nutcracker Suite while you decorate the tree. It is written).
While I’m usually all ready for a trite and sentimental holiday story, sometimes you just need something a little more subversive. If that’s you, here’s your list.
Films I’ve Seen:
- In Bruges: I honestly love In Bruges, a black comedy-crime featuring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson (my real Santa Claus) spewing a never-ending stream of swears and spirit.
- Edward Scissorhands: This just treads the line with being actually Christmas-y, with the heartfelt themes of family, community, belonging, and the harm of isolation. But Johnny Depp has scissors for hands and Winona’s awesome.
- The Life of Brian: Biggus Dickus. ‘Nuff said.
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: There are a lot of families for which LOTR is a real Christmas tradition, given that the films were released around the holidays. For me it’s because I found the box set under the tree as a child after Dad and I read the series together. An Ent is the only real Christmas tree I need.
- The Harry Potter Series: Actually tender and fuzzy feelings with delightful magic and Christmas scenes. But because evangelicals like to burn the books, the series gets a spot on this list. *Christmassiness declines as the series progresses.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: Multiple songs with references to murdering Santa.
Films I’ve Yet To See:
- Eyes Wide Shut: Tom Cruise on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery. Kay.
- Gremlins: My plan is to get this one watched this year.
- Die Hard: I didn’t finish this movie. I just don’t find it very interesting, mostly because of Bruce Willis. But if you can hang in there for Alan Rickman, do it.
- The French Connection: There are a few more Christmas-adjacent gang/crime films (Blast of Silence is another), but I’ll put this one on as the representative. But watch In Bruges first. I vouch for it.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the dad, dads-to-be, grandfathers, role models, and other guardian-types of the masculine persuasion!
And a very much more specific bucket o’ love to my own cher papa.
There was a change of plans and we went to VO2, a vegan cafe attached to a yoga studio in Cambridge. I know, right?
But it was delicious (I got the North End (minus the olive tapenade)). Continue reading “Who’s Your Daddy?”
High fantasy: fantasy set in an alternative, fictionalized world
I haven’t stopped loving high fantasy as I’ve gotten older, even if I read it less than I used to. Reading a story that wakes up your imagination is at once comforting and thrilling- comforting because that’s a part of mind that I associate with being younger and the security of being little and taken care of. Thrilling because I can be transported to another world.
It’s this world building that’s always been my favorite thing about fantasy- the maps in the front pages of the book (that sometimes fold out!), exotic names for places and people, fabricated family trees, and the existence of a whole new sequence of history and code of rules waiting to be discovered.
I even dreamed of writing the next great fantasy novel (I can remember so many that I started and never got very far with- “Under the Eye of the Dragon” being a title that springs to mind 😛 ), but characteristically got bogged down in the planning of the details, which was honestly the most exciting part for me. Drawing maps of my own kingdoms, diagramming my own (very convoluted- I read too many books about Tudor England) ancestries, cataloguing the horses in my imaginary stable (with names, breeds, and ages, of course), drawing a floor plan of said imaginary stable on graph paper, and drawing up adoption booklets filled with fictional beasts (and then making my parents adopt them so I could send them postcards from the adoptees).
So I never got around to writing the next great fantasy novel. But that hasn’t stopped me from reading them and appreciating other people’s world-building, character choices, and well, patience, which was the thing that I really lacked.
(Guess what? I have it now and sometimes write short stories! But not so much for people to read, because I know I overuse adjectives and adverbs and comparisons. It’s very self-indulgent writing 😛 )
So if you feel like curling up with fantastical happenings, heroic adventures, and sometimes romance, here are some suggestions that i think do a good job of appealing to the child in all of us while still being well-written and innovative enough to not offend our adult sides. Continue reading “Never Too Old For High Fantasy”
Spring boarding off my post of yesterday, I decided to write a post about the longest books that I have read. At least the longest books that I’ve read and would recommend. It’s a list that makes me feel accomplished (I read so many words!) and kind of nervous, because maybe I’ve already finished all of the best long books… It’s hard to know whether you’re going to die before you finish reading everything you want to, or whether you’re eventually going to find a place where you’ve found and read all of the things that appeal to you most. Both strike terror into my heart.
I once again cut off the list at 800 pages, with the lengths given according to Amazon.com. Some books I real (Moby Dick, The Woman in White, etc.) felt like they should be in here but are apparently not so long as I imagined. Or perhaps Amazon is selling them as large-paged books with tiny fonts? Anyway, they must be omitted, no matter how exquisite and verbose they seemed. Continue reading “Intimidating and Read”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Well, depending on how you feel about it, maybe, maybe not. For me, it will be once I’m done with this semester and headed home. And then I can double down on the advent calendar, gift wrapping, holiday preparation whole nine yards.
Because college has seriously cramped my festive style. (I miss the 25 days of Christmas on ABC (Is it ABC?)). All they do here at university is get drunk at holiday parties. And the guys next door (not the ones we share a bathroom with, the other ones) blast Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You while I try to do my thesis. Bah Humbug.
Finals aren’t even over until the 21st.
I’ve done a bit better this year. I cornered a children’s choir and made them sing Go Tell it on the Mountain, which is one of my favorite carols. Okay, actually I ran into them and they were going to sing anyway. But it was such an unexpected coup and I feel so deviously satisfied.
I also got to watch a single Christmas movie one of the days after Thanksgiving. Still far behind my young self, but doing better than some recent years.
And a horse-drawn carriage giving free rides stopped in front of me today so I hopped on and they took me around the block, which was lovely. The horses were named Ben and Luke, a Clydesdale and Percheron x Thoroughbred. And I’m very satisfied because I guessed their breeds correctly. My horse knowledge hasn’t all wasted away.
And I think the performance of the Messiah will be happening soon at the chapel. That’s always excellent. Last year I went and worked on my fifty page lab report. Woo!
So here’s a list of the cheesy Christmas specials that I’m missing (for now). They’re kind of in the order of what I love most, which mostly reflects what I liked as a child rather than what is ‘good’. And I’m omitting movies I haven’t seen (and movies I couldn’t make it through- like Arthur Christmas). Continue reading “Christmas Specials”
Just like Return of the Sith, another famous Part II, this post is about the father-child relationship. The father being Dad, who doesn’t read overmuch and is not a fan of fiction, and the child being me who reads A LOT and who counts fiction as her favorite genre. Not quite Vader-Luke size differences, but still. Continue reading “Back with Books II”
Co-opted directly from the youtube channel Screen Junkies because I disagree with essentially all of their picks. Whoops, sorry. You can’t win them all. And by you, I mean them. Check back in half a century and see who’s right.
These are movies from the 21st century that I think, decades from now, will be seen as classics. Continue reading ““9 Movies Destined To Be Classics!””