Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Christmas Con 2019 in New Jersey




I feel like I'm still riding the glow I got from last weekend's Christmas Con 2019. The three-day adventure was a whirlwind of meeting new people, bumping into celebrities, and finding the right words to express my thoughts about Christmas TV movies. If you don't already know: Christmas Con 2019 was a first-time fan convention for Christmas TV movie fans, in Edison, NJ.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the Writers Panel, and I also had a booth where I was signing books all weekend. When tickets sold out weeks before the event, the rest of the world found out what you and I already know: Christmas TV movies are hugely popular and successful!


Standing in front of my booth at Christmas Con.

Since it was a sold-out event, the crowds were immense! There were thousands of people each day standing in line for the celebrity greetings, photos and autographs. Long lines were formed by attendees for the various panel discussions, and even the photo opps throughout the venue. Christmas Con was like the San Diego ComicCon of Christmas TV movies! But I'd like to add that these crowds were all filled with the holiday spirit. Kindness and generosity filled the convention space. When you inevitably bumped into people while trying to navigate the crowds, everyone was understanding and kind. Trust me--a friendly atmosphere goes a long way!


With Melissa Joan Hart.





The list of Christmas TV movie actors at Christmas Con included Lacey Chabert, Jonathan Bennett, Cameron Mathison, Jackée Harry, Alicia Witt, Nikki Deloach, Erin Krakow, Paul Greene, Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Paevey, Chad Michael Murray, Melissa Claire Egan, Jack Wagner, Melissa Joan Hart, Andrew Walker, Rachel Boston, Danica McKellar, Ashley Williams, and Jesse Metcalfe.

It takes no stretch of the imagination to comprehend how crazy popular these actors were in the celebrity autograph room. THE LINES WERE LONG. What an amazing collection of Christmas TV movie stars! Many of the actors also participated in panel discussions, and the auditorium was jam packed all weekend. There was quite a bit to be excited about at Christmas Con.


The multi-gifted Alicia Witt in concert on Saturday night. 

Saturday night also offered another experience. There was a concert in the auditorium, with Paul Greene performing an acoustic set, and singer/songwriter Alicia Witt sharing her musical gift. Alicia opened her set singing "I'm Not Ready for Christmas"-- a song she wrote and sings in the 2015 Hallmark movie of the same title. By some weird stroke of luck, I found myself seated in the front row at the concert. I loved every minute of it.


The crowds in the auditorium waiting for Lacey Chabert to come on stage for one of the panels. I wasn't kidding about the crowds.





The Writers Panel discussion was on Sunday morning. The author of the great book  Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas Alonso Duralde moderated (and contributed) to our discussion of Christmas TV movies. Alys Murray has written her first Christmas TV movie which will debut later this season on TV.  Joany Kane--who wrote the TV movies "The Christmas Card," "Moonlight & Mistletoe," "Matchmaker Santa" and more, was our expert. Julie Sherman Wolfe has experience writing for TV series. She also wrote the TV movie "Finding Santa" as well as three new Christmas TV movies debuting this year. I joined in to talk about Christmas TV movies in general. Our discussion was well attended and was a lot of fun! I still can't believe I shared the stage with Joany Kane--IS THERE A BIGGER CHRISTMAS TV MOVIE THAN "THE CHRISTMAS CARD!?" The answer is no. What a fantastic experience.


This is Alonso's awesome photo--taken on stage just after our panel.


One of my favorite activities at Christmas Con was the experiential marketing booth by Hallmark in the center of the convention hall. The booth offered several points of participation, and there were several lines of attendees eager to experience them all. You could step into the photo booth and get your photo taken as if you were inside a snowy Christmas tree ornament. You could also get in line for a cup of hot cider and a Christmas cookie. There was also a cozy living room set, complete with a fireplace and TV playing Hallmark Christmas TV movie promos. As you can imagine, the Hallmark booth was extremely popular.


Outside the four-walled booth, the Hallmark windows were actually TV screens showing Christmas TV movie promos.


The Hallmark photo booth was like stepping into a fancy snowglobe/Christmas TV ornament!


I had to get a Christmas cookie, of course.



Victorian carolers harmonized outside the Hallmark booth all weekend long. What a delight!




But the best experience was talking with Christmas TV movie fans all weekend long. I have tabled at other fan conventions/pop culture shows before. I'm used to having to convince people that Christmas entertainment is worthy of attention. At this convention, we were all on the same page as Christmas TV movie fans. So the conversation was elevated and these were well-informed viewers. It was a delight to share my experiences about what makes Christmas TV movies unique and successful. I loved listening to other people's stories and which movies are their favorites. It was just so great to be surrounded by others who "get it." Thanks to everyone who came over and shared their stories with me.


Thanks Tanya :)






With Tim Babb from "Can't Wait for Christmas" podcast.



Christmas Con was also an opportunity to meet several online friends in-person for the first time. I mentioned Christmas movies book author Alonso Duralde above, and it was wonderful meeting him. He's also a film reviewer and podcaster--but you knew that, right? Tim Babb from the Can't Wait for Christmas podcast was there all weekend too. He was a part of the Christmas podcasters panel discussion, along with Brian Earl from the Christmas Past podcast. Brian has had me on his podcast a couple times--most recently talking about my own Christmas TV History audio series. Check out that episode of Christmas Past HERE. Even if we've talked several times, it's always a treat to meet face-to-face.


With Brian Earl from Christmas Past podcast.



Talked with so many great people all weekend. Thanks Ramos family.



The crowds!

There were a few hiccups at Christmas Con due mostly to the large crowds that filled the convention hall. With that many people in one space, you're bound to experience long lines and confusion. I found that the extended lines in the vendors' room, for the food and the restrooms mostly became tolerable by early afternoon each day. The lines for the celebrities were always going to be....long. But I spent some time walking around on both days and found that fans could reach most of the Christmas TV movie stars in reasonable lengths of time. Except for Lacey Chabert--she was busy all weekend long. Good for her! She's earned it.

Thanks again to everyone who came and spoke to me and purchased books. I had a wonderful weekend, and hope there are more Christmas Cons in the future. I'd love to do it again.



Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for a 2020 release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com










Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Christmas Movie Christmas (2019) on UpTV


UpTV's A Christmas Movie Christmas made its debut on Oct. 27th, 2019

Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of Christmas TV movies debuting this holiday season? Me too. There will be close to one hundred *new* Christmas TV movies airing across more than seven TV networks in 2019 (Check the schedules for Netflix, Hallmark, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime, UpTV, Ion, OWN, and TV One. I'll be posting my annual update on where to find Christmas programming soon). Christmas TV movies continue to grow in number each year--and they have already begun airing. To give a little heads up about one that already stands out, let me draw your attention to one in particular: A Christmas Movie Christmas, directed by Brian Herzlinger. Christmas TV movie fans will love this UpTV original comedy movie that pokes fun at the tropes found in almost all Christmas TV movies.



In this story, Eve Bell is obsessed with watching Christmas TV movies. On December 24th, Eve and her sister Lacy make a Christmas wish while talking with a street-corner Santa Claus. Both women wake up the next morning living inside the perfect fantasy: a Christmas TV movie world. Eve is delighted to find herself a new resident of the small town Holiday Falls, while her sister Lacy is not as enthusiastic.


Eve immediately recognizes the star of several of her favorite Christmas TV movies: Chad Matthew Monroe (played by actor Randy Wayne). Monroe's role in Holiday Falls is playing the handsome popstar/singer Russell Clark.


When Eve learns that the town’s Christmas Festival needs saving, she is happy to find an offer of help from the hunky innkeeper Dustin AND the celebrity popstar Russell Clark (played by her favorite Christmas TV movie star Chad Matthew Monroe). Clark offers to perform at the Christmas Festival to entertain the town’s residents.


The sisters find Holiday Falls the ideal Christmas location. All the residents are cheerful and dressed in red for Christmas.

Eve’s fantasy is so perfect, she finds herself dating both Dustin and Russell. Meanwhile, her sister Lacy is being courted by Holiday Falls' cookie baker named Paul.


Lacy and Paul hit it off too. Lacy's wish for Santa Claus was to meet the perfect man for Christmas.


Lacy is asked by the town's baker to help him bake dog treats--what could be more perfect?


But all is not perfect for Lacy--she is put out by Paul’s devotion and affection, attention Lacy feels she doesn’t deserve. Every Christmas TV movie needs a conflict, and Eve soon finds that Dustin’s former girlfriend Noele from the big city, wants to come in and save the Christmas Festival herself. Noele is jealous and ends up revealing to Russell and Dustin that Eve is dating them both. Not only does Eve lose her dream men but her plans for the Christmas Festival have failed. She feels she’s let the residents of Holiday Falls down. Sisters Eve and Lacy find that escaping to a perfect fantasy isn’t always the answer to your problems.


Yes--this town also includes an adorable child. London is played by young actress Cleary Herzlinger.


Hot chocolate is served in Holiday Falls--a delicious warm treat that accompanies all their activities!

The funnest part of this Christmas TV movie is how it winks at all the familiar character types, holiday activities, and elements found in all Christmas TV movies. Could you recognize all the tropes of Christmas TV movies? There are dozens of them, from the token adorable child to the wise grandmother, a hunky cookie baker, delicious hot chocolate that improves every situation, the lead character’s holiday name (Eve Bell!?), a small town, and the Scrooge character (Mr. Peterson) whose heart softens just in time for the end of the story. Christmas TV movie fans will love this story with a sense of humor and an eye to detail about what we love about these TV movies.

The cast includes Lana McKissack as Eve Bell, Kimberly Daugherty as Lacy Bell, Brant Daugherty as Paul, Ryan Merriman as Dustin, Randy Wayne as Chad Matthew Monroe/Russell Clark, Brigid Duffy as the wise Gram Gram, Addy Stafford as the jealous Noele, and Cleary Herzlinger as young London. Interestingly, the movie was written by two of the movies' stars: real-life husband and wife, Brant Daugherty and Kimberly Daugherty who play Paul and Lacy.

A sure sign that the Christmas TV movie has reached peak genre status is the existence of meaningful parodies, not only pointing out what these tropes are but using them for continued meaning in storytelling. Let me know what you think of this Christmas TV movie and if you find it a satisfying entry among all the others debuting in 2019.



If you haven't yet found it, please give my podcast episode on the history of Christmas TV movies a listen. I discuss more of these common tropes and how they developed through the years. My podcast series is entitled Christmas TV History and can be found: Apple Podcast
Stitcher
Soundcloud
Podbean
or, you can listen to it on your computer or phone from my website HERE.


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for a 2020 release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com



 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Curse of the Cat People (1944)



Many of us are already getting ready for Halloween. It's fun to anticipate the autumn holiday by spending the month of October watching horror movies. And many Christmas movie fans like to spend the month of October watching the dozens of Halloween/Christmas cross-over films and TV programs too. In that spirit, I'd like to remind you about the 1944 movie The Curse of the Cat People, directed by Gunther V. Fritsch and Robert Wise. This delightful black-and-white classic includes both horror elements and significant Christmas scenes.

The Curse of the Cat People is a sequel to 1942's Cat People. The first film tells the tragic story of Oliver Reed (played by Kent Smith) who falls in love with and marries Irena (played by Simone Simon), a fashion illustrator who believes she's cursed based on a folktale from her Serbian hometown. Irena becomes consumed by fear that her passions will transform her into a monstrous beast--a deadly cat--a fear which ultimately dooms her marriage and her life.


In Curse, Oliver and Alice return. They are now married and have a young daughter named Amy.
 
The black-and-white film's story is told with gorgeous extreme lighting, showing off dramatic shadows. The story expresses the themes of Romanticism--remember studying late 18th century-early 19th century Romanticism from literature and art classes? This is a rejection of Realism. Nature (and animals) are wild, threatening, and dangerous. And, the film's story becomes even richer if you begin to recognize the dichotomies set up within the story. The tension between these dichotomies is what fuels the story's interest and moves it forward. (Think of the tension between the rational and the irrational, the civilized and the animalistic, reality and fantasy, the male and the female, et al).

I'm pulling some of these threads out because the follow-up movie The Curse of the Cat People continues to draw upon the same themes. While I don't think it's necessary to see the first movie to follow along with Curse, your experience of Curse will be much richer if you've seen the first movie. I recommend watching both movies as a double-feature--you'll love it.


Amy leaves a group of children in the middle of a game to chase after a butterfly. Oliver thinks there's something wrong with his daughter.


The Curse of the Cat People follows the characters from the first movie, at least seven years in the future. Oliver (Kent Smith again) and Alice (played by Jane Randolph in both movies) have married, and they have a six year-old daughter named Amy (played by Ann Carter). Amy doesn't get along with the other children in her school and she doesn't have any friends. Amy doesn't seem to know the difference between reality and fantasy, between lies and the truth. She's known as a dreamer, and she spends most of her time alone in her garden enjoying her time with nature. Her father thinks there's something wrong with Amy. She's most comfortable using her imagination rather than pursuing math and rational thought like he does--he's a boat designer/engineer.


The "normal" children know not to go near the haunted house in the neighborhood where they believe a witch lives. Amy is drawn to the house.

After walking past a spooky house in the neighborhood, Amy approaches it and she's given the gift of a ring from a stranger in the window. Her parents want her to return the lavish gift but when she goes back, Amy is invited into the home to meet the old woman Julia Farren who lives there. The old woman insists that Amy keep the ring, and she and the young girl strike a bond. Farren is a former actress from the stage and she immerses herself in fanciful stories--just like Amy. Here, Amy hears Washington Irving's story of The Headless Horseman for the first time. Later, Amy makes a wish on her ring, expressing her desire for a friend.


Julia Farren (played by Julia Dean) is a grown-up version of Amy--a woman who relishes stories and fantasy over reality.
Remember the exotic woman who spoke Serbian to Irena in the first movie Cat People? She's back--here she's known as Barbara. Frighteningly, Julia insists Barbara is her daughter's imposter. She's played by Elizabeth Russell.

Amy's wish for a friend comes true when a beautiful woman named Irena keeps her company in the garden. Oliver is happy that his daughter is kept occupied in the backyard not fully aware that she's actually playing with someone he can't see! (Don't bother trying to nail down whether Irena is from Amy's imagination or a ghost. That will only reduce the experience).


Irena and Amy are bathed in both light and shadows--get it?


The Reed family is happy together at Christmas. Amy has a wrapped gift under the tree for her "friend."


At Christmas, the family decorates the tree together and carolers arrive at the door. Amy hears her friend Irena also caroling in the garden and she joins her there. Amy offers a gift to her friend which Irena graciously accepts. Days later when they are taking the Christmas tree down, the family takes out the photo album and young Amy sees a photo of her father and his first wife Irena. She identifies the woman as her friend in the garden and her father insists she's lying. Spoiler: Irena's death came before Amy was even born. And, he punishes his daughter. Confused, Amy still doesn't understand the difference between reality and fantasy and why she's being punished, so she runs away.


Amy leaves home to run through the darkness, wind and snow. Will the storm overwhelm Amy?

Will Barbara's jealousy overwhelm Amy?

The young girl runs away into a storm on a dark night, through the woods behind her house. At one point she is covered in snow, laying along the ground. She ends up running to Julia Farren's home, seeking the comfort of the old woman who seems to understand her. Unfortunately, Julia's daughter Barbara is jealous of her mother's affection for Amy. The end is very satisfying so I won't spoil it. This is certainly a film best enjoyed when one experiences it for themselves. So I'll leave you to it.

Irena awaits in the backyard (played by Simone Simon).


If you aren't already familiar with this movie, I encourage it as a Halloween and Christmas cross-over. It's also one of those horror movies that isn't a slasher and contains no blood or gruesome scenes. (The photo of the hands above is the most horrifying image in the film--and is very restrained). If slashers are not your style or you're looking to experience something more thoughtful and different, this is the movie for you.

If you're looking for more suggestions of Halloween and Christmas cross-over movies and TV programs, follow by daily posts at @TistheSeasonTV on Twitter, and Tis the Season TV on Facebook. Merry October!


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com



Saturday, October 12, 2019

Christmas TV History Podcast




This past summer I created the Christmas TV History podcast--a five-part audio series which attempts to give a "big picture"view of what Christmas on TV and in the movies looks like. There are five installments: an introduction, the history of Christmas animation, the history of Christmas TV movies, yuletide variety specials and episodes, and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol adaptations. Why these topics for the episodes here? These are the most discussed formats and topics that I’m asked about. I hope you find the audio series satisfying.

You can find the Christmas TV History podcast on Apple Podcast
Stitcher
Soundcloud
Podbean
or, you can listen to it on your computer or phone from my website HERE.


This audio series has come about because I've been working on finalizing the expanded and updated, 2nd edition of the encyclopedia Tis the Season TV coming out next year (anticipated release date: late 2020). I’ve been researching and writing about Christmas entertainment for nearly twenty years. It’s one thing to gather data for the encyclopedia and another thing to synthesize the information. I’ve never been in a better place to share more about what I’ve learned.

I’m a firm believer in examining popular culture—most importantly here, Christmas entertainment—so we can better understand ourselves through the stories we tell and connect with. Considering there are thousands of Christmas episodes, specials and TV movies, and so little scholarship on it to this point, I can say it is a body of work that is under-appreciated despite the big business the TV and film industry knows it to be. Looking back into the history of television, I can clearly see that yuletide programs have been a part of every format in TV, proving that Christmas TV History is TV history.




I’m also doing this audio series as a first step toward writing about Christmas TV History for a collection of essays that will eventually be published in print as well. The written essays will be much longer, have more depth, and refer to more examples. Starting the conversation in these fairly short, 30-minute audio episodes allows me to share some of this information now.

More installments are possible in the future—I can certainly discuss the history of sitcom/comedy Christmas episodes, theatrical-release Christmas movies, interesting adaptations of O. Henry’s “Gift of the Magi,” all 20 Rankin/Bass animated Christmas and New Year’s programs, the history of filmed adaptations of E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker—the potential list goes on and on. If you like this series, feel free to drop me a line and suggest a potential topic for a future installment.


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com



 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Christmas in July 2019: RECAP



Did you check out all the responses by our Christmas in July participants? In case you were late to the party this summer, here's your chance to catch up. Below is a complete list of links to each of our guests who participated this year. It goes by quickly, doesn't it?

If you're curious, there wasn't much consensus on answers this year. Favorite Saturday Night Live sketches ranged throughout the series' forty years. The most popular soundtrack was Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas, however many other responses were also provided. And, I heard you all with your suggestions for future discussions for the website. Thanks for contributing your ideas and I'll see what I can do :)

Thanks to everyone who participated in Christmas in July and to all who left comments. If you would still like to leave comments, please feel free to do so--the discussion doesn't have to end just because the blogathon is over. Merry Christmas in July!




Original Introduction--answers by Joanna Wilson
Tom Beiter
Hugh H. Davis
Cathie Kahle from Christmas Movies and Music
Drew Flowers from Christmas Movies and Music
Skyler Harvey




Sleepy Kitty Paws
Sean Sotka (e_xander) at My Merry Christmas.com
Dana
Kevin Bowman
Randall Buie
 



 Dominic Caruso from 1701 Press
 Adam Parker from Merry Britsmas
 Rick Stoneburner
 Lisa Iannucci from the Virgin Traveler
 Linda M. Young from Flying Dreams




Travis Van Hauen
Jim Inman from Christmas Movies and Music
Donna Bock
Martin Johns from Stubby's House of Christmas
Ed South from What's Your Favorite Movie podcast




Ronda Roxbury
Jonathan Sowers
Laura Rachel from What to Watch
Jeff Fox, from Name That Christmas Special
Patrick Labelle




Chantelle from All Things Christmas.com
John D.
Sally Silverscreen from 18 Cinema Lane
Anson Sage Jr.
Jim Fanning at Tulgey Wood 







Rick
Tony Scotto
Aaron Henton (Der Bingle)  www.merryandbright.blogspot.com
J.A. Morris and RigbyMel from Holiday Film Reviews
D.X. Ferris, from "Suburban Metal Dad: Christmas Sevenfold"



If you're interested in our mini-questionnaires from years past, here are the links:

Christmas in July 2018

Christmas in July 2017

Christmas in July 2016

Christmas in July 2015

Christmas in July 2014


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com



Christmas in July 2019: D.X. Ferris






Christmas in July 2019: D.X. Ferris@dxferris, "Suburban Metal Dad: Christmas Sevenfold"


1. What is your favorite Saturday Night Live Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year's sketch?

“Hallmark’s A Gumby Christmas: Merry Christmas, Dammit!”
This sketch is studded with stars, real and impersonated. And it’s THICK with quotable lines. My favorite is Joe Piscopo’s Frank Sinatra Xmas medley. It’s a tribute to cartoon greats. Piscopo’s Frank was a national treasure, and his salty take on “Silent Night” makes me laugh every time: “Round that virgin chick / She had a kid / He grew up to be famous / You all know what he did!”




2. Do you most look forward to watching holiday episodes from series? Specials? Movies? Animation? or, all of it?

I like all the Christmas everything. Cookies. Movies. Whadda ya got? But now that my kids are both teenagers, it’s hard to get them to sit down with the rest of the family for any length of time. So in recent years, the family DXmas viewing has shifted from All Christmas All Day to Christmas episodes, because they’re short, and they’re an easy way for everybody to get together and have a bite-sized holiday experience. Once everybody’s in bed, I have a canon of movies I enjoy, like In Bruges and Scrooged.


3. What's your favorite soundtrack from a holiday program? (it doesn't have to have been officially released as an album--just what program features your favorite collection of music?)



The Community season 3 Christmas episode is a musical extravaganza. It’s all brilliant. Some of the songs depend on you knowing who the characters are. But a few stand alone as devastating satire, like “Teach Me How to Understand Christmas,” which sends up tunes about infantilized sexuality, like “Santa Baby.”





4. What one program are you patiently (or impatiently) waiting for me to review on this blog?



I’ll stop evangelizing for Community a minute. Instead, I can’t wait to hear what you think about my new discoveries for the year: The new Documentary Now episode “Original Cast Album: Co-op” has a couple swell Christmas tunes. And episode 4 from season 1 of Hardy Bucks, a show that’s on also on Netflix now. It’s like an Irish version of Trailer Park Boys. Speaking of Trailer Park Boys, I forget: Have you seen the Trailer Park Boys Xmas Special: Dope and Liquor Edition Yet?


5. What change in Christmas entertainment have you noticed over the years? Do you like the trend?

Christmas programming has proliferated in an amazing way. Look at what Hallmark is doing. I like the trend: if you want to create magic art, you need a lot of output to get to the great material. So the more Christmas shows there are, the more great stuff we’ll get.


D.X. Ferris is a lifelong Christmas fan. In his social circles, he is the guy who makes holiday music mixes. He formally entered the Xmas media game last year, when he released the book “Suburban Metal Dad: Christmas Sevenfold.” The paperback collects seven years of Christmas and holiday strips from his ongoing comic strip, Metal Dad.
D.X. Ferris, @dxferris, "Suburban Metal Dad: Christmas Sevenfold"

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Christmas in July 2019: Holiday Film Reviews



Christmas in July 2019: Holiday Film Reviews / J.A. Morris & RigbyMel http://holidayfilmreviews.blogspot.com/

1. What is your favorite Saturday Night Live Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year's sketch?

J.A. Morris says: I’m going with “The Killer Trees”, a great sketch that features mutant Christmas trees that go on a killing spree, from SNL’s Season 2 Christmas show.

RigbyMel says: Of late, I’ve been partial to the “Two A-holes in a Live Nativity Scene” sketch from Season 32 starring Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis. “Whaddaya want for Christmas, babe?” “A beach … and a donkey.”


2. Do you most look forward to watching holiday episodes from series? Specials? Movies? Animation? or, all of it?

J.A. Morris says: Specials, especially the “Big Three” classic specials: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

RigbyMel says: Everything really. We have special favorites that MUST be watched during the holiday season every year, but I enjoy checking out new and “new to me” holiday programming as well.



3. What's your favorite soundtrack from a holiday program? (it doesn't have to have been officially released as an album--just what program features your favorite collection of music?)

J.A. Morris says: I’m going with Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas. It doesn’t really feel like the holiday season until I hear this classic Christmas music.

RigbyMel says: I also love the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas, but will plunk for a more recent soundtrack as well since I seem to quote songs from 2008’s A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! year round! (Especially bits from “Please Be Patient” and “Little Dealer Boy”!) Also Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas because, of course!


4. What one program are you patiently (or impatiently) waiting for me to review on this blog?

J.A. Morris says: We’re big fans of superheroes, I’d be interested to read your reviews of Christmas episodes of Wonder Woman, Batman:The Animated Series, Ultimate Spider-Man or movies like Iron Man 3 and Batman Returns (which take place during the holiday season).

RigbyMel says: I second J.A. Morris on this! :-)


5. What change in Christmas entertainment have you noticed over the years? Do you like the trend?

J.A. Morris says:
I’ve noticed that cable networks have acknowledged that people are still interested in watching Christmas movies and specials after Christmas Day. For a long time, this was not the case and it’s nice to flip channels on December 27 and stumble on Clark Griswold or a Rankin-Bass special.

RigbyMel says:
I agree with J.A. It’s also nice that recently, more attention has been paid to other holidays and traditions like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. For example, watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: “My Mom, Greg’s Mom and Josh’s Sweet Dance Moves!” (2015) and Everybody Hates Chris: “Everybody Hates Kwanzaa” (2007) or Jon Stewart’s Hanukkah song in A Colbert Christmas (2008).