Sunday, July 24, 2016

Christmas in July 2016: Daniel Budnik

from the 1947 movie The Bishop's Wife.
 
Christmas in July 2016: Daniel Budnik of Some Polish American Guy Reviews Things website and Eventually Supertrain podcast.

1) What Christmas episode/special/or movie always puts you in the holiday spirit?

I try to start the season with either The Bishop’s Wife or Black Christmas (the original). I love the atmosphere of both of those films. By the end of The Bishop’s Wife, I’m glad to be alive at Christmastime. By the end of Black Christmas, I’m simply glad to be alive. Usually the one I watch first depends upon whether or not I’m watching them with my wife or alone. She’ll join me for Cary Grant but will usually pass on the movie with all the murdering and such.


from the 1974 Christmas episode of Happy Days.

2) What Christmas program or scene brings you to tears?

I can always tell how sentimental a Christmas I’m going to have by how much I weep at three things:
1) The Happy Days episode “Guess Who’s Coming To Christmas”
2) Episode 4 of the Doctor Who audio The Chimes of Midnight
3) The opening of It’s A Wonderful Life when everyone is praying for George. (If I’m totally a mess before the stars start talking and we’re not even, like, 5 minutes into the film, it’s going to be a weepy Christmas.)


from 1988's Christmas episode of The Wonder Years.

3) What's your favorite quote of dialogue, song lyric, or sentiment from a Christmas program?

“For me, that year Christmas stopped being about tinsel and wrapping paper, and started being about memory. At first I was disappointed. Until I learned that memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you wish to never lose. And I learned from Winnie, that in a world that changed too fast, the best we can do is wish each other Merry Christmas and good luck.” – The Wonder Years “Christmas”

4) Is there a Christmas program that unintentionally frightens you--or turns you off?

I’ve been scouring my brain trying to come up with an answer for this one. I don’t have a specific program. However, there is something that, when it occurs in shows or movies, can make me stop paying attention…  that’s when the Christmas special doesn’t have any visible signs of winter in it. No snow, no cold, no Dan. Although, that’s not completely true. I have to make myself ignore the lack of what I consider to be such a big part of the holiday and enjoy the special for what it is.


 
5) Name one character from Christmas entertainment with whom you closely identify? and explain why.

Alice from A Very Brady Christmas. Alice loves the Bradys. Alice loves Christmas. (We will not discuss Sleazy Sam from this movie.) And, she, like me, spends much of the holiday cleaning, cooking and making sure that everyone she’s with is having a good time…  and she’s not getting paid to work for the Bradys that year! I imagine, also, that when all the work is done Alice rests and relaxes really well. I do the same, Alice. Just make sure your sister doesn’t show up. She’s too much for me.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Christmas in July 2016: J.A. Morris

 
Christmas in July 2016: J.A. Morris at Holiday Film Reviews



1) What Christmas episode/special/or movie always puts you in the holiday spirit?

A Charlie Brown Christmas,  I usually watch it early in December and once more closer to Christmas.  The music, the animation, the children's voices and the story still make me feel very Christmas-y and remind me of holiday seasons of my childhood.


 
2) What Christmas program or scene brings you to tears?

Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas never fails to bring at least one tear to my eye every time I watch it.  The relationship between Emmet and his mother Alice is very sweet.  It's my favorite adaptation of The Gift Of The Magi.




brothers from 1974's The Year Without a Santa Claus.

3) What's your favorite quote of dialogue, song lyric, or sentiment from a Christmas program?

I've always been fond of the song performed by Snow Miser and Heat Miser in The Year Without A Santa Claus.  When I was a kid, I remember humming the tune well into the new year.  



4) Is there a Christmas program that unintentionally frightens you--or turns you off?

Love Actually.  While the cast contains some of my favorite actors, I find most of the characters and storylines annoying and not very romantic.  I thought Mark (Andrew Lincoln) was creepy.






5) Name one character from Christmas entertainment with whom you closely identify? and explain why.


I've always identified with underdogs, so I'll go with Charlie Brown because he's the ultimate underdog and I think he also buys the tiny tree because he sees the tree as the underdog of the tree lot.  Like Chuck, I could easily see myself buying a Christmas Tree because I felt sorry for it. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Christmas in July 2016: Jakki


Christmas in July 2016: Jakki of Christmas Movies & Music Yahoo group, and Christmas Movies & Music on Facebook.

1) What Christmas episode/special/or movie always puts you in the holiday spirit?

This is probably a common response, but for me it would definitely be A Charlie Brown Christmas. While it was certainly a favorite as a child, even as an adult the opening ice skating sequence with "Christmas Time Is Here" playing immediately gets me in the Christmas spirit.




2) What Christmas program or scene brings you to tears?

The final scene of It's A Wonderful Life when George finally realizes how much he's impacted the people in his life. The compelling transition from complete hopelessness to pure joy is an overwhelming tear jerker every time!




3) What's your favorite quote of dialogue, song lyric, or sentiment from a Christmas program?

I just love when Linus calls out "Lights, please!" and quotes the passage from the Gospel Luke about the birth of Christ. In the midst of all the festivities and family drama, it's truly a reminder of "what Christmas is all about."

4) Is there a Christmas program that unintentionally frightens you--or turns you off?

Without a doubt, The Polar Express creeps me out. Not just the animation, but the overall vibe of the film. This especially culminates during the North Pole scene, with the eerie music playing overhead and the crowds gathering in Santa worship. I love what Santa represents, a symbol of the Christmas spirit, but not a deity, which is kind of how he is represented in this film. It's a little too much if you ask me!




5) Name one character from Christmas entertainment with whom you closely identify? and explain why.

I guess I would have to say good ol' Clark Griswold. I definitely relate to his enthusiasm for trying to make Christmas just perfect for the family, the way he always remembered it. Even though sometimes things just don't go the way you want them to, or maybe your memory was better than reality, but it doesn't stop you from trying the next year and the next.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Christmas in July 2016: Ed South

Jack Benny (left) considers buying a wallet for Don Wilson as a Christmas gift.

Christmas in July 2016: Ed South of Wonderful World of Blog

Please check out Ed's new film-themed podcast called What’s Your Favorite Movie? where he talka about why people love the films they love! It’s available on iTunes, Spreaker and through the website Wonderful World of Blog. You can also follow along on twitter: @edsouth

1) What Christmas episode/special/or movie always puts you in the holiday spirit?

I tend to try and save my favorites for as close to Christmas Day as possible. This usually leaves me  running out of time and missing some of my favorites each year. But when I pull out my “Christmas Movie Box” in early November there are two programs I usually start the season off with. The first is Silent Night - Story of A Christmas Carol which is a 1953 educational short that was probably shown in Catholic schools the day before Christmas vacation started. It’s the story of how the traditional carol was written. It’s slow, every copy I’ve seen is in bad shape, and it’s certainly an outdated piece of holiday nostalgia but I had a copy of it when I was a kid and then it turned up again in my adult life on a DVD full of public domain Christmas oddities and I’ve been enjoying it ever since.

Another of my early favorites to start the season off with is The Jack Benny Program Christmas episode, which also shows up on plenty of public domain collections. In the episode, Jack goes Christmas shopping and ends up leading store clerk, Mel Blanc, to a nervous breakdown as he changes his mind over which gifts to give to his friends and coworkers. Funny stuff and I love any old Christmas shows that show what department stores looked like in the 1950’s.

 
1989 movie Prancer


2) What Christmas program or scene brings you to tears?

It’s gotta be Prancer. The end of Prancer gets me every time.



3) What's your favorite quote of dialogue, song lyric, or sentiment from a Christmas program?

My favorite Christmas song lyric has always been “And this song of mine, In three-quarter time” from Frank Sinatra’s Christmas Waltz. It’s just a neat rhyme that always makes me smile…and sing along.

Favorite quote from a program goes to Lucy Van Pelt: “Look, Charlie, let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big eastern syndicate, you know.” From A Charlie Brown Christmas, of course!

4) Is there a Christmas program that unintentionally frightens you--or turns you off?

I wouldn’t say there are any Christmas programs that frighten me. I was very turned off by Disney’s feature length take on A Christmas Carol, the one with Jim Carrey. I guess there are so many cheerful and happy versions of the story that I just didn’t care for any of the dark choices made in that animated film.



5) Name one character from Christmas entertainment with whom you closely identify? and explain why.

I’ve always closely identified with Charlie Brown, but he’s not exclusively a Christmas character. I can certainly relate to George Bailey…but so does everybody else.  As sad as it may be, I think my schoolyard days probably went a lot like Rudolph’s. Perhaps the red-nosed reindeer is the character I identify with the most in Christmas entertainment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Christmas in July 2016: Net

"Lights, please!"
 
Christmas in July 2016: Net from It's a Wonderful Movie (Your Guide to Family Movies on TV)

1) What Christmas episode/special/or movie always puts you in the holiday spirit?

A Charlie Brown Christmas! Because, it tells the true story of Christmas - and it gives that cheerful, hopeful, Christmassy Spirit!!!

The Linus moment is my favorite, of course, but I also adore when Sally, with her child-like innocence, dictates her letter to Santa Claus - to her big brother, Charlie Brown!

A Charlie Brown Christmas has it all... "Santa Claus, HO HO HO, and Mistletoe"... and best of all... what Christmas is all about - the birth of the Christ child!!!

I always get chills when all the children sing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" at the end... it's simply heavenly!!!


from Mr. Krueger's Christmas (1980)

 2) What Christmas program or scene brings you to tears?

Mr. Krueger's Christmas with an older Jimmy Stewart is so incredibly touching. It always brings me to heartfelt tears. As we watch Mr. Krueger celebrate Christmas alone, our hearts are drawn in to this lonely man and his cat George... and his day-dreams on this lonely, but sweet Christmas Eve.




3) What's your favorite quote of dialogue, song lyric, or sentiment from a Christmas program?

My absolute favorite line of dialogue comes from It's a Wonderful Life... at the very end when Harry Bailey returns home and lifts his glass to his brother and says... "A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town." I gulp every time I hear Harry say it, and seeing George's reaction is priceless! Truly one of the most beautiful cinematic moments ever! 

4) Is there a Christmas program that unintentionally frightens you--or turns you off?

The only thing I can think of is the last ghost in A Christmas Carol. Sometimes, depending on various versions, he can be rather spooky! Overall, the story is beautiful, though!


Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis.

 5) Name one character from Christmas entertainment with whom you closely identify? and explain why.

I would have to say Esther Smith from Meet Me in St. Louis... along with the happy, loving, musical family!!! Like her character, I love singing, scheming, and dreaming!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Christmas in July 2016: David Branch

 
Christmas in July 2016: David Branch

1) What Christmas episode/special/or movie always puts you in the holiday spirit?

Miracle on 34th Street, especially when they air it on Thanksgiving nite. I think it's the perfect movie to settle down with a turkey sandwich and usher in the holiday season. It's a longstanding tradition in my family.


 
2) What Christmas program or scene brings you to tears?

The final scene in It's a Wonderful Life when George opens up that book and reads the inscription from Clarence. "George, remember, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings, love, Clarence. Gets me every time. A close second was the last scene of The Flintstones when Fred realizes that Santa had gotten out of his sick bed to make his Christmas merry. "NO one can ever tell me there's no Santa Claus....



3) What's your favorite quote of dialogue, song lyric, or sentiment from a Christmas program?

"I intend to prove that Mr. Kringle is Santa Claus." said by Mr Gailey/John Payne in Miracle on 34th Street. It gives me goosebumps.

4) Is there a Christmas program that unintentionally frightens you--or turns you off?

Bad Santa initially turned me off with the language and sexual situations, but I have since grown to really enjoy the movie. Willie will never change, but it was really cool how the kid got to him in the end. He just had to get that toy to Thurman Merman,lol, loved it.



5) Name one character from Christmas entertainment with whom you closely identify? and explain why.

George Bailey, the common man who genuinely cares about people and will do without personal fame and fortune if it meant that he could help a friend.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Christmas in July 2016: DX Ferris

from Community
 
Christmas in July 2016: DX Ferris of 6623 Press

1) What Christmas episode/special/or movie always puts you in the holiday spirit?

Charlie Brown is the longtime champ, but the Community musical episode ("Regional Holiday Music") is pure Christmas magic.


 
2) What Christmas program or scene brings you to tears?

This American Life episode with Truman Capote reading a truncated version of A Christmas Memory. The year I realized one of my kids was 8 like little Buddy, man, Niagara Falls. I first read A Christmas Memory in school: I stumbled across it in an English book and read it when I should have been doing something else. I don't know if I've ever felt that alone and overwhelmed in my life, suddenly having that riveting, depressing story rattling around in my head in the middle of Tuesday, stuck in school.

 
from Scrooged


3) What's your favorite quote of dialogue, song lyric, or sentiment from a Christmas program?

"Now, more than ever, it is important to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Charles' Dickens' immortal classic, Scrooge: YOUR LIFE JUST MAY DEPEND UPON IT." — Francis Xavier Cross

4) Is there a Christmas program that unintentionally frightens you--or turns you off?

Speaking as a parent, I find Frosty the Snowman terrifying. Poor Karen is out in the snow in shorts. And she has so little parental supervision, she's allowed to wander off for a day or two, nearly catch her death of cold, then return at all hours of the night. Whatever is going on in her household, she is barely better off for returning to it. No, I shouldn't say that; maybe her mom's a single mom who has to work a lot. Maybe there's another town cop who's been desperately trying to find her. Maybe. Even when I was a kid, that special stressed me out.


 
5) Name one character from Christmas entertainment with whom you closely identify? and explain why.

Charlie Brown. The poor little guy just wants things to be good. He's so wrapped up in his own head — and a black cloud of bad luck — that he can't figure out how to make it happen. And nobody ever wants to take the ride with him. Did you say "identify with"? I mean, that reminds me of somebody I know. Somebody else, totally. Not me. I'm not crying. You're the one who's crying. My allergies are bad this year.