By Chaz Lipp
We want to wish a very merry Christmas and best wishes for 2013 for all our readers – past, present, and future. We’ve been quietly working on making this a quality destination for movie and TV-related reviews, news, features, and cool giveaways over the last half-year or so. We have big plans for improving the site in 2013. Our hopes and goals have been bolstered by the support we’ve received from our readers. We thank you for visiting and checking out what we have to say.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of our favorite Christmas and holiday-themed pieces – not necessarily just movies, but things we feel that the season just wouldn’t be the same without. Without further ado, in reverse order from least-to-most important…
5. The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) – It’s become relatively easy to find this howler via (ahem) alternative sources, which we of course do not endorse. But if you haven’t seen it, try to stumble across it by… accident, if possible. George Lucas really should go ahead and release it. What makes it so awesome are the cameos by most of the primary Star Wars cast, including Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher (singing the immortal “Life Day” theme song). Our favorite moment is the mournful ode to the cantina patrons, sung by the late Bea Arthur. Yes, you read that right.
4. Beavis and Butt-head Christmas Special aka Beavis and Butt-head Do Christmas (1995) – Regardless of all the other raunchy cartoons out there, be it Family Guy, South Park or whatever, our hearts will always belong to Mike Judge’s ne’er do wells in the AC/DC and Metallica t-shirts. Their Christmas special is pretty easy to come by on DVD, as it is part of The Mike Judge Collection Vol. 3. “Huh Huh Humbug” parodies A Christmas Carol, while “It’s a Miserable Life” parodies that movie of a similar title (substitute “Wonderful” for “Miserable”). Understated brilliance that has remained fresh all these years later.
3. The Family Man (2000) – Speaking of that Jimmy Stewart classic, It’s a Wonderful Life (which we love as much as the next guy), this Brett Ratner-directed film starring Nicolas Cage explores some similar territory. It doesn’t really seem to get a lot of love, which is surprising because it’s a tremendously effective movie on an emotional level. Cage is terrific as Jack Campbell – a Wall Street bigshot who never found time for a wife and family. He magically gets a glimpse (well, more than a glimpse) at a life he could have had – and he likes what he sees. Tea Leoni is simply irresistible as Kate Reynolds, the woman with whom Jack could have built a simpler (but infinitely more rewarding) life.
2. The Rockets – “Christmas Special” (circa early ’90s) – This is terribly obscure but terrible awesome in all kind of ways. CKY-TV in Winnipeg, Manitoba produced the kids’ series The Rockets for many years, beginning sometime in the mid ’80s and carrying through to the early ’90s. It’s not an easy show to find, but connoisseurs of cheese will want to make the effort. Late in the show’s run, the song-and-dance troupe The Rockets celebrate Christmas – even as they lose their longtime stage manager Nick (Simon James) to an out-of-town college. Rocket members and business manager Spencer (Michael Golden) shares a few emotional moments with his buddy, as does Nick’s sister Suzy (Robynne Kazina) and the other Rockets. RetroWinnipegTV on YouTube has uploaded some great episodes – so check it out (though the Christmas special was NOT there last time I checked!).
1. Tie: I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998) and Goodfellas (1990) – The former stars Jessica Biel (dramatically declaring that co-star Jonathan Taylor Thomas is a “genuine butthole” in one of the film’s more tense moments), while the latter features Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) buying the greatest Christmas tree ever – an all-white plastic one, decorated only with round, purple ornaments – “The most expensive one they had!”