Tag Archives: Christmas movies

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

A Christmas Carol is the progenitor of every Christmas story has been published since 1843.  The Charles Dickens novel has not only become synonymous with the holiday, but also with the idea of being kind to our fellow mortals.

The new film, The Man Who Invented Christmas, stars Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens. With the recent success of Oliver Twist,  Dickens is under pressure to write his next novel. But with the creative well running dry and his bank account running equally as dry, he has to do something. Soon the idea for his next novel will start flowing, but so will the tension with his wife, Kate  (Morfydd Clark) and his father, John (Jonathan Price). He must also contend with the characters that are talking to him, including the man who will soon be known to the world as Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) and face his own past.

 

As a writer, it is always fascinating to see how other writers go on their creative journey to create their work. As an audience member, for me at least, it is fascinating to watch how a screenwriter can expand not just upon the myth, but on the everyday human struggles of their characters, especially ones that are as well known as Charles Dickens.

I recommend it.

The Man Who Invented Christmas is presently in theaters. 

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Late Flashback Friday- Christmas Edition Part II: A Diva’s Christmas Carol (2000)

Among Christmas stories, there are few that are on par with Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. There is a reason why the story of an old miser who learns the true meaning of the season has resonated with audiences since 1843.

It’s easy to see why the story has been adapted many times over since then.

In 2000, A Diva’s Christmas Carol hit the small screen. Ebony Scrooge (Vanessa Williams) is a diva with a capitol D. While her career has been soaring, she treats her band and her manager like sh*t. Just before a performance in New York, Ebony is visited by the spirit of her late band member Marli Jacob (Chilli of TLC fame). Marli warns of the impending visit of three spirits. If Ebony does not heed the warning of the spirits, the consequences could be dire.

This version of A Christmas Carol is cute. There is nothing really intellectually stimulating about this tv movie, but it’s not completely horrible either.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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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.

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Late Flashback Friday- Christmas Edition- Love Actually (2003)

Over the years, Hollywood has released a plethora of Christmas movies.

In this post, I want to talk about one of my favorite Christmas movies, Love Actually (2003). The movie is about eight different couples who are loosely connected over the course of the Christmas season.

Set in London, England, every couple is dealing with their own unique struggles. Jamie (Colin Firth) is in love with Aurelia (Lucia Moniz), a Portuguese woman  who does not speak English. Harry (Alan Rickman) and Karen (Emma Thompson) have been comfortably married for a number of years. Then Mia (Heike Makatsch) is hired as his secretary. Karen’s brother, David (Hugh Grant) is the newest Prime Minister. He has developed a crush on Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), one of his junior staffers. Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) are newlyweds. Peter’s best friend, Mark (Andrew Lincoln) is secretly in love with Juliet. Daniel (Liam Neeson) is dealing with the dual loss of his wife and raising his stepson Sam (Thomas Sangster).

This is one of my favorite Christmas movie for several reasons. First, the mostly British cast (some who have appeared in iconic Jane Austen adaptations). Secondly, the  movie is just plain fun. Thirdly, this film is far from the cheesy, predictable Hallmarkish film that it could have been. (Not that there is anything wrong with Hallmark films, I personally don’t care for them). Fourth and finally, these characters are human and not cardboard cutouts.

I absolutely recommend it.

Merry Christmas!

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Flashback Friday-Happy Chanukah-Eight Crazy Nights (2002) and The Hebrew Hammer (2003)

Adam Sandler, in his Adam Sandler way, announced Hanukkah with the following lyric: Put on your yarmulke/here comes Hanukkah.

While the list of Christmas movies seems to go on forever, the list of Hanukkah movies is sadly very short.

In Eight Crazy Nights (2002) Davey Stone (Adam Sandler) is an alcoholic with a criminal record. He is given the chance to reform his life while under the supervision of an elderly basketball referee, Whitey and his sister Eleanore (both voiced by Adam Sandler).

There is a message in this movie, but not in a schmaltzy way. It’s also edges toward PG13, which is nice change from the typical holiday movie.

In The Hebrew Hammer (2003), Mordechai Jefferson Carver (Adam Goldberg) is an Orthodox Jewish blaxploitation hero. When Santa Claus’s son Damian (Andy Dick) plots to steal Hanukkah, it’s up to Mordechai to rescue the holiday.

This movie is incredibly funny. While satirizing the blaxploitation movies that were part of the 1970’s cinema, the movie also subtlety hints at the idea that many Jews are often drawn to lure and popularity of Christmas.

Do I recommend them? Why not.

And if your wondering, Hanukkah this year is the 17th-24th. Happy Hannukah!

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