I'll come up with something in a minute.

VEWPRF Advent Calendar Door #19

You notice how these days don’t seem to be going any faster? I noticed that too.

From I-Mockery
The Gay Spirit of Christmas
AND!
The Naughty/Nice Quiz!

From X-Entertainment
Bumble Chase
AND!
Funky Fondue, Christmas Crackers, Awesome ALF

Music
Coinnle an Linoh Iosa

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Pat A Pan

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Story
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Got two movies today.

000kyp8k
DSC02987
Advertisements

December 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

VEWPRF Advent Calendar Door #18

Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983 Dir. Burny Mattinson)


London was so dirty in those days, even the sky was brown and cracked.

I was going to do The Muppet Christmas Carol next, but I’m deferring to this version for two reasons. One, I think part of my Muppet review will be brought into a better understanding by reviewing this one first and two, I want to end this week long comparison of Christmas Carols on a high and cheerful note and this review is going to be a whack job. Make no mistake my darlings, I hold this version in contempt. This is going to be short and nasty because that’s what this version of the story is, short and nasty. It does however look very nice, so the screen caps will belie the evil within.


There goes our hero, and what a figure he is.

As a version of A Christmas Carol goes, this one gets the names of some of the characters right. I’ve often thought that there are so many versions of the movie around that a person could probably put together a credible script with out ever having read a single line of the book. I think that’s probably what we have here in fact. Partly this is actually based on a record that they made in the 70s. Many of the lines from that record remain in this version in fact. A few parts were recast, but that’s to be expected because some of the characters used in the book didn’t make as big an impact as they thought they might.


Dude, you got any twinkies? I’ve totally got the munchies.

Let’s talk about the casting shall we? This is not the first time that a company has taken characters that already existed and recast them as characters in the book and it wouldn’t be the last time either. It is however the most annoying. After they decided that Bob Cratchit was the most sympathetic and that since Scrooge McDuck was already supposed to be Donald’s Uncle so might as well give him Fred, they sort of just looked around and asked who could use the work. While some characters work, others just seem to be slotted in because someone could find the model sheets for them. The end result is an uneven mishmash that just doesn’t work for me.


The undead have a LOT of time on their hands.

We get the worst version of the day off talk, because Mickey is so gutless he’ll only ask for half a day off. Scrooge also instead of commenting that he could dock his pay, simply announces that he will. Then Fred comes in, followed by the charitable gentlemen (played by Ratty and Mole), with script and acting that doesn’t match up to a middle school play production. It’s supposed to be amusing, but it just doesn’t work for me.


I’m telling you! You’ve got to close the beaches!

Goofy shows up as Marley, which includes some shadow play and other amusements that only serve to remind us how lightweight this version is. For as much as the later part of this version is going to be on a rocket sled, the extended bits of padding just make me bored. It either should have been longer, or it should have all gone at the same pace. Also the shadow play is just plain wrong. If Marley could lift Scrooge’s hat, he could act for good in human affairs, and thus the character’s woe is completely lost.


Why would you need a badge? How many people are going around pretending to be the Ghost of Christmas Past?

Christmas Past is played by Jiminy Cricket, and I think they reuse the animation from Pinocchio when he gets his badge and just put a new badge over it. The audio is pretty bad here actually, the voiceovers don’t mesh at all. Completely different audio qualities show up for each character’s voice work. This is of course during Disney’s worst time when they couldn’t produce quality work if you put a gun to their heads. Animation from Robin Hood is re-used to fill out the Fezziwig party, with Mister Toad playing the Big F and Daisy Duck playing Isabelle. There is so much re-used animation here it’s difficult to watch really. The old stuff looks so dated in comparison that it’s barely worth watching. We only get Fezziwig and a horrible break up scene with Belle, which is pathetic in its attempts at comedy.


WHAT DID I DO LAST NIGHT?

The giant from Mickey and the Beanstalk is used for Christmas present. Animation that was about forty-five years old was used in some of those scenes. I’m not sure a single line of Dickens is actually in this version actually. We see the Cratchit house, which has almost all new animation. The small meal is so overplayed though, it’s just lame. We’re then instantly taken to the grave yard where we se Mickey putting the crutch on a tombstone. Right after that it’s shown that the ghost of the future is Peg-legged Pete, who throws him into his grave. The grave diggers are played by a couple of Weasels from Wind in the Willows by the way and we get more reused animation with them.


I hate these people, with all my heart.

Scrooge’s transformation is totally meaningless because the story has shot by so fast. His cheapness has only been something for a joke and doesn’t carry and weight. Face it, he was so bad before and he’s being so good now that it’s clearly just a momentary high. He’ll be back to raping orphans and running over widows within the week. We get even more re-used animation. Its new photography, but the drawings are being re-used and re-layered. The only reason I’m not more disgusted with this production is that it doesn’t last longer. I must say that this is the single most useless version of the story in my entire collection. I’m gonna go punch a Disney animator now, if I can find one that hasn’t been fired that is. I do like the Mickey Head they put at the beginning though, You might notice I even went so far as to make it the official Christmas Carol Icon for this series.


Best part of the whole movie.

December 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

VEWPRF Advent Calendar Door #17

Woke up and decided to hate you today…

From I-Mockery
The Ultimate Warrior Raped my Christmas
AND!
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer And Friends: Where Are They Now?

From X-Entertainment
Power Rangers: Alpha’s Magical Christmas
AND!
The T.M.N.T. Christmas Special

Story
The Demon Cakestand of Beastley Chase

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Music
Ho Ho Fucking Ho

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Mario Remix of Sleigh Ride

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

A full movie today…
Given a very generous definition of “Movie” of course. Hey, at least it’s the MST3K version and not the regular version like the poor Retroflix readers got.

DSC03462
DSC03457
DSC03300

Actually, on reflection, none of this is that bad. At most, you probably need a little brain bleach now.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Talks with Holly

Conversation #1
Holly: No one said life was fair.
Me: Yes they did! I’m white, male and was raised in America. That’s just about the only thing anyone ever tried to convey to me with any certainty.
Holly: I guess they did, didn’t they?

Conversation #2
Me: I’m going to win at Giftmas again this year. Not in all categories, but I’ll get several gold medals again.
Holly: Seasonal gift giving isn’t a competition you know.
Me: Said like someone who has never once turned in the winning submission.

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

VEWPRF Advent Calendar Door #16

The Vicar of Dibley: The Christmas Lunch Incident

The Vicar of Dibley: The Christmas Lunch Incident

Quickly for those who haven’t seen it, this show is about one of the first female vicars assigned to a small country community full of interesting characters. This show is much more a regular sitcom than say Chef is. This is the first Christmas episode to come from this program, I think there are three now. This show has an interesting history. See, after the first 6 episodes, a couple of years passed then there were then a couple of holiday specials another special and then after that a truncated second series of three episodes. A couple of years later they made a third series and then even later they threw in a few more special episodes. I guess the stars and writer just kept wanting to come back for one more go. The show started in 1994 and in 2007 the latest episode aired. So in 13 years they’ve managed 20 episodes and four little skits for Comic Relief.


I’m warning you, touch any one of my chocolates and I’ll cut ya!

This particular one is the first Christmas Special they made. Now it takes a little while for the plot to get going, which involves Gerry invited to three separate Christmas lunches. Her plans had actually involved sitting around watching Jurassic Park, opening one of her 30 advent calendars and listening to the Queen’s speech. As is often the case in one of these shows, that one wish is the one that will in no way be fulfilled. First two of the older gentlemen ask her for lunch, then a prominent citizen, and then poor Alice asks her.


While young Hugo distracted her, the elders discussed setting the vicar on fire for the sacrifice.

Now, if you’ve never watched the show, Alice is a bit of a sad case. She’s far too shy and geeky to have any real hope of ever being anything like normal. For the most part Gerry keeps her around out of pity. Alice has no real friends beyond Gerry so even though she’s promised to two other lunches poor Gerry just can’t turn down sad pathetic, child like Alice. Such a sweet creature is out Geraldine


I think people should go around with vest like this with my picture on it every August the 15th.

Overeating is clearly an issue during the holidays, and even more so if you have a plus sized actor. I actually like how they did this episode because it’s not really played like a fat joke. It’s more that because the main character is large everyone expects her to just wolf down as much food as she can, so each meal is frigging enormous. The first meal consists of turkey and 16 varieties of vegetable. They then each consume a whole Christmas pudding each.


You know, most people would have stopped at 12… but it’s CHRISTMAS!

The second meal piles on the over eating gag by having a multi course, involving pasta, fish and then turkey. The meal is then followed by a competition to see who can eat the most sprouts. See the father and son have a yearly bet to see if the guest or the father can eat more and the son is despondent about loosing each and every year. Gerry, a kind heart, stuffs herself to dangerous capacity to help the nice lad win. In many ways this whole episode is an example of selflessness since everything Gerry does is to prevent someone from feeling bad. After the two huge meals she then comes finally to her pal’s house. Alice’s house is the shortest visit of the group. We just see Alice and her family, who are just an insane gang of nutcases.


The fight is ON! Two enter, only one leaves.

At this point, poor Gerry is so stuffed to the gills that she takes a car to get from Alice’s house to her own house, even though they only live across the street from each other. She collapses in through her front door and lays on the floor when Owen, yet another of her friends, comes to ask her for lunch as well. His offer comes with a lot of passive aggressive talk about being so alone and miserable. How kind Gerry is, even when she’s presented with tripe as the main course. Then there is a minor tragedy when someone Gerry has a huge crush on ask if she’s marry him and then find out he means would she perform the ceremony to marry him to a lovely young woman. This is a massive disappointment and our hero is finally left alone.


The happy, severely deranged, family.

Perhaps the most poignant moment in this entire program comes right after that disappointment, when our vicar is feeling a bit lonely. Poor Gerry is in fact left all alone sitting in her flannel pajamas and listening to Fairytale of New York, which is possibly the single most depressing song about Christmas ever written. Clearly, now being alone with her thoughts, she is faced with the depression that can come with a holiday. When the door bell rings she merely heaves a heavy sigh and rolls off the couch to answer the it.


Yet another meal. Good, because… good.

At the door is our friend Alice, who completely redeems her silly scatter brained character by telling Gerry how she has improved everything in the village in her opinion. Then the rest of the cast shows up to tell her how much they love her. Unfortunately they bring food, and one bite sends the poor vicar towards the bathroom. Then after the credits you get the same gag you always get where Gerry tells Alice a joke and Alice doesn’t get it because she’s so innocent/stupid.


Alice desperately tried to explain how the aliens had sucked the brain out of her head to no avail.

All in all, this is a typical BBC Christmas special and all that being one entails. That means that for the most part it’s harmless fun but can sometimes get a little overlong and occasionally pulls cheep tricks to pull at your heart strings. It also means that it was defiantly a special and not part of the regular series. I have come to learn over the years that TV studios HATE any holiday episode that isn’t a one shot special. You never really know when a show will actually be broadcast unless it’s one of the big American networks, so it causes problems if they have to specially position something. This is really a problem with anything syndicated or like the BBC where shows only last 6 weeks at a time. This is why one shot specials are so much better. They’re not sold as part of the regular season and can be held back and used to replace normal shows as part of special programming.

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Let’s talk about the music for a moment.

When I was younger, I hated all holiday music. Bing Crosby and the Morphine Drip Orchestra convinced me that I hated all that stuff. Then I found out about Mannheim Steamroller in High School and did a complete 180 on the idea. I found some jazz, some rock, and started to enjoy it.

I still hate the local stations though. One of our locals WNIC plays what they call “Christmas Music” during the months of November and December. But they don’t, not really. They play the Top 40 hits of “Christmas Music” over and over and OVER again. Not good songs either, the worst garbage that you can imagine. Constant repetition of Bing, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, that fucking Paul McCartney song and that Wham song. I’ve worked it out. 40 songs of the 2 and a half to 5-minute variety comes to about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Throw in 45 minutes for commercials and you have a 3-hour block. That means that any given song will be played about 480 times during that two month period. I haven’t checked if they only have 40 songs, but I do know that I heard several of the same songs twice in a 3 hour period.

WHAT THE FUCK?

Seriously! I have over 1300 songs in my holiday collection. Damn near 80 hours of music. Okay, some wouldn’t be cool for broadcast, and some wouldn’t work for an Adult Contemporary format, but I would still have 3 solid days of material even if I made deletions to the list. Why do they play that fucking Paul McCartney song over and over and over and OVER? Why play any of those songs that much? Why no variety? I’ve got three days worth of material, without commercials. Put in enough time for the radio station to sell ad space and you’ve got 8 full days there. Just a little cynical thank you.

I wouldn’t mind the Bing Crosby if it was broken up a little. If it wasn’t the same crap over and over again. There are literally hundreds of songs and tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of versions. Why the same 40 songs repeated until you just want to take a hammer to whatever motherfucker is dumb enough to hum Sleighride around you.

By the way, unrelated matter, I need a new hammer. The handle on this one is broken and it’s covered in blood and what passes for brains among the sort of person who thinks Sleighride is a good song and worth humming.

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Lights

DSC01475

DSC01445
DSC01421
DSC01456
DSC01478
DSC01440
DSC01426
DSC01454
DSC01452
DSC01457
DSC01443
DSC01450
DSC01448
DSC01469
DSC01434
DSC01457
DSC01459
DSC01459
DSC01462
DSC01456
DSC01468
DSC01469b
DSC01465

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Cats under the Tree (and tree skirt)

DSC01401

DSC01493
DSC01383
DSC01491
DSC01393
DSC01413
DSC01496

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

VEWPRF Advent Calendar Door #15

From X-Entertainment
Obscurely Awesome Garfield X-Mas Moments
AND!
A Christmas Story 2: Ralphie Goes To Hell

From I-Mockery
Dr. Boogie’s Xmas Tree Buying Guide!
AND!
My Favorite Christmas Assholes

Song
How Great Our Joy

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

And

Carol of the Bells

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Book
A Christmas Carol
Part One

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Part Two

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Video

DSC03539
000pgxcr

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

VEWPRF Advent Calendar Door #14

A Christmas Carol 1938

A Christmas Carol (1938 MGM Dir. Edwin L. Marin)


All these people are ashamed of themselves now.

Ah Hollywood, you’d change the Biblical story of Easter to make it so he lives at the end and thereby guarantees a sequel if you thought you could get away with it, wouldn’t you? I won’t say that the Reginald Owen version of the story is completely valueless entirely. After all, it is in focus. A whole lot of things were dropped from this version to make it more audience friendly, and then as a result a lot of things were extended to make up the short falls in plot.


London has no idea what kind of bomb is about to be dropped on it.

Some of the liberties take involve a expanding the roll of Bob Cratchit and Fred to ridiculous degrees. Bob’s fired in this movie, but then spends his every last penny buying a feast for his family. I know it sounds like a small point, but it does rather render Scrooge’s buying of the goose later to be a bit pointless. In fact, the way Bob gets fired is exceptionally annoying and proves he couldn’t possibly do what he does. He throws a snowball, which causes Scrooge’s hat to get run over by a cart, and as a result Scrooge fires him and announces he’s keeping Bob’s wages for next week to pay for the hat. Not only that, but a week of Bob’s wages won’t cover it so he has to give some of his pocket money up to cover the extra costs. So here we have a guy who can’t afford a hat with a week’s wages, yet he’s able to afford a full meal and a really huge place to live in. Not only that, but he desires the one ring when his character was the only person in the book who could resist it. The less said about Gollum being turned into a major character despite only having a small roll in the books is possibly better left for another day when I’m not so frustrated.


I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand…

Anyway, we get the basic check list things like Fred’s speech, the two charitable gentlemen, and an extremely truncated version of the coal argument. Well, actually the argument doesn’t even exist. Bob has it on his own, puts some coal in and then when Scrooge enters the office he pulls the coals out of the fire. Yeah, he reaches into the fire and yanks the coals out after having put them in when Scrooge wasn’t around and couldn’t have caught him at it. Its things like this that makes the movie pants. Anyway, we get the day off argument, which gives us another tick on our list.


Seriously is it just me or does the word “Cannibal” spring to your mind too?

We go through Bob getting fired, having to give up his wages, and showing up the Helm’s Deep with the elves just before he starts laughing like a mad man. After his laughing fit he goes and a spending bender. He then brings back all his packages to what is possibly the nicest version of the Cratchit house ever put to film. His place is bigger than mine, and it’s better appointed. How is it that this guy who can’t afford the price of a hat lives in a place like this? What is he, a Mason with a secret? Is he being paid by the brothers to keep and eye on Scrooge? His half dozen kids come out and look at the wrapped groceries as if they’ve never seen anything so exciting as packages wrapped in brown paper. Perhaps they think they contain pornographic toys or something.


I saw Lon Chaney walking with the queen…

Now fortunately, Marley in the door knocker isn’t skipped, but there are a lot of things that are going to be. A whole lot of things ended up being cut because the studio heads wanted to sanitize Dickens as much a possible. There are the bells, there is transparent Marley in his chains, although they skip the more gravy than grave line here too. The city watch is invited in, I guess just to show that no one but Scrooge could see Marley. Either that or it’s just another lame addition like having Fred only get the re-forged sword after he decides to go through the paths of the dead. We don’t get to see talk of the other tortured spirits, and of course we don’t see them, this makes Marley’s entire visit as an instructional piece useless. However, by this point the audience is getting used to elements from the movie and useless being used in the same sentence. Let’s move on to the ghosts shall we?


I’m cool with everything except the hat. Why would anyone where a hat like that?

Gosh, Christmas Past is kind of a hottie. While not entirely unheard of, it’s not to the book, but that wouldn’t be an issue if the cutie could act. She keeps delivering her lines as if she only learned them about six minutes ago. I can’t blame this on Ann Rutherford, because actually the way she delivers he lines it sort of looks like she was expecting to have other bits of dialogue cut in. One of the major problems I have with this movie is that I think some actors were told to do all their lines for a scene at once and that they’d have the other angle for the other actor’s lines cut in between… only they didn’t do that. So poor Ann Rutherford has to stand there and say “Your welfare… your reclamation…Rise and walk with me” all at once in one shot and she sort of comes off looking like she can’t act. The end result is that the movie drags in many places almost entirely due to really crap editing.


She’s just sort of totally zoned out here.

So we see Scrooge left behind at school, and our list gains a much needed checkmark. When Fan comes in to claim her brother and bring him home, we gain another checkmark, and we gain another for remembering that she died and had one child. Another checkmark for remembering Fezziwig, but we loose a point because Christmas Past starts looking like maybe she had one or two shots of something strong at this point. Of course if I were in this movie, I might start drinking too. There is no party, no Belle, and a speech and moralizing by the Spirit before he throws her skirt over her head and strangles her. No, sadly, I didn’t just make that up. They really do skip half the Spirit of the Past’s bit by showing that Ebenezer hafta choke a bitch.


When big fat guy dressed in nothing but robes shows up and starts waving flashlights at you it’s time to call AA.

So what’s The Ghost of the Present like? Well, he manages to screw up his first line. He says “Come here, come here and know me better Scrooge” when everyone who has memorized this story can tell you the line is “Come in and know me better man.” They should also be able to tell you that zombies don’t run, but that’s another review. Still there is a feeling of things not going right. Once again, the Fred and Bob show is on. They both seem to be at the same church, singing the same song. Fred, who I want to hit with a shovel every time I see him, is in love with some cutie who I guess he hasn’t actually married yet. Fred is supposed to have gotten married despite his uncle’s wishes, instead of waiting until he gets Scrooge’s approval as they do in this. Just another bit of sanitation that this story gets involved in.


Seriously, don’t you want to hit him with a shovel?

Another point of annoyance, the Ghost of the Present tells scrooge about how poor and destitute Bob is, except we’ve already seen the HUGE house the Cratchit’s have and how nicely his family is dressed. I’ve never seen a poor family with as nice a place as this. Also, they’ve clearly got plenty of money for drugs, as all the children seem to be stoned out of their minds with excitement. I’ve always kind of hated the Cratchit family anyway, because they’re very much the nice grateful poor people that condescending liberals like to think about. I also note with annoyance that it’s Mrs. Cratchit who toasts to Mr. Scrooge, making me want to set her on fire. Then we see Fred and his well fed and overly smug middle class friends who are exactly the sort who like to see poor people like the Cratchits. Sadly, no one whacks him in the head with a shovel.


The gravestone. They can’t all be jokes.

So then Future shows up and the checklist gets a mark with the gentlemen discussing that man who died that we aren’t supposed to know who he is. We see the poor fellow, whoever he is, in the bed. Then we get to see the nice upper middle class poor Cratchit house again. Then we’re taken right to the cemetery, because Old Joe and company would be too unpleasent for the audiences. They show us the tombstone and Scrooge has his break down, except the breakdown is sort of gutless. The whole movie is gutless, but that one scene should be done well at least. If Scrooge doesn’t collapse into tears and totally loose his shit then the whole movie is for not. So… this whole movie is for not.


Does anyone else hear Yakity-sax? Is that just me?

So, he comes back and finds that he’s not dead. Gets the kid to buy the prize turkey and then goes out into the street to look like Benny Hill at the Playboy Mansion. He beams and smiles and looks like someone slipped something into his morning coffee. Scrooge goes to Fred’s house and Fred actually fails to recognize his uncle… with a hat on? I have no idea why he has to have his uncle remind him of who the hell he is before Fred grips his hand and smiles. I’m really thinking at this point that I need to get a time machine, go back in time and punch these idiots in the face. I really do hate this version.


Best shot in the whole movie.

At this point everyone is just laughing and smiling and acting like they’ve all gotten so stoned that there is no return. Fred comes with him to Bob’s house and everything turns out to be alright, I suppose. Bob gets a raise, Fred’s going to get married, Tim is going to get well, and the evil Zargon war fleet will turn back and invade some other planet. It’s all wrapped up with no rhyme or reason really. This movie has given me a headache. I won’t go into the DVD, because you shouldn’t buy it. Stay away from this movie and get some other version. You can avoid this one because you don’t have the sort of problems I do. Run away from this one! RUN!

December 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment