Flashback Friday-Christmas Edition- Jingle All The Way (1996) & Scrooged (1988)

It’s that time of year again: Christmas. When Christmas comes, the Christmas movies follow. Some are good, some are bad and some well, let’s not venture into the arena of those Christmas movies that are not worth our time.

That being said, this post will examine two different Christmas movies to see if they live up to the standards of the holiday.

In Jingle All The Way (1996), the hottest and must have toy is Turbo Man. Every kid has to have a Turbo Man waiting for them under the tree. The problem is, like every toy that becomes the must have toy for the season, the supply does not equal the demand. Jamie Langston (Jake Lloyd) is one of those kids who is aching for a Turbo Man of his own. His father, Howard Langston, a workaholic who spends more time at the office than with his family, (Arnold Schwarzengger) is doing everything he can to get his son a Turbo Man. With Christmas fast approaching, Howard has to compete with the other parents to find his son the toy he is wishing for. That includes fighting for the last toy in town with Myron Larabee (Sinbad), who is also looking for the same toy.

What I like about this movie is that it is art imitating life. Every year, there is the hottest and must have toy that must be waiting for the children on Christmas day. The problem, that the movie perfectly represents, is that Christmas, instead of being about family, tradition and togetherness, has become a materialistic holiday. The crux of the movie, from my perspective is the importance of family and making memories will last much longer than the hot toy of the season.

Scrooged (1988), is an updated reboot of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a television executive whose station will be broadcasting a live adaptation of A Christmas Carol. With a less than ideal childhood, it’s easy to understand why Frank is unable to enjoy Christmas. Then he is visited by three ghosts who remind him of why Christmas is important.

What I like about this movie is that it is funky late 1980’s version of the book many of us know so well. Bill Murray was perfectly cast as a cynical, slightly bitter man who needs a reminder of not only the love that others can provide, but a reminder that how we treat others comes back to us.

I recommend both.

To all who celebrate, Have A Merry Christmas.


Flashback Friday-The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

For many New Yorkers, riding the subways is an innocuous, normal part of life. But what happens when someone sees these passengers in a different light?

In the 1974 film The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, four men board the Pelham 1:23 train at different stations. They seems to be ordinary New Yorkers, simply using the train as a means of transportation. But they are not ordinary and they quickly reveal their plans to the passengers. Taking control of the train from the conductors, they stop the train in between stations. The lucky passengers and conductors in all but the first car are freed. The passengers and the conductor in the first car are not so lucky.

The demand is simple: they want one million dollars for each passenger and the conductor. The instructions must be followed to the letter and must be accomplished within one hour, otherwise, the passengers and the conductor will be killed, one by one. Lt. Zach Garber (Walter Matthau) is the liaison between the hijackers and the authorities. He maybe the only one who can figure out who the men are and save the lives of the hostages.

Anyone who has ridden a NYC subway train knows how cramped and closed in the car can feel. While this movie could have been the standard thriller/hijacker, the fact that it takes place within a NYC subway car adds to the already heightened tension.

In 2009, the film was re-made with Denzel Washington taking over the role of Lt. Garber.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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