30 Songs in 30 Days Challenge Recap

30 03 2011

Just because I don’t want this to be buried in Facebook. Here’s my 30 Songs in 30 Days Challenge Recap…plus Extras…and an appearance by Charlie Sheen. If I made a mix tape (or if you had access to any of my old skool AdaMixes), it would probably sound a lot like what you’re about to hear below.

As usual, all rights to the songs belong to their respective blah-de-blah-blah. I’m just a fan looking to share my love of music to the few who care to enjoy.

Day Zero – A video by request because of my impersonation of this scene from Wayne’s World. Somehow the German dubbing makes it funnier.

day 01 – your favorite song – Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf

day 02 – your least favorite song – My Humps – Black Eyed Peas

day 03 – a song that makes you happy – Island in the Sun – Weezer

day 04 – a song that makes you sad – Hurt – Johnny Cash

day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone – Peaches – Presidents of the USA. Reminds me of the first time I met a really good friend.

day 06 – a song that reminds you of somewhere – Ride Wit Me – Nelly. This will always be connected to Toronto for me.

day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event – Mo Money Mo Problems – Mase and Puff Daddy.  The first time at a club in downtown Halifax where a friend of mine danced with a jeep door on the dance floor. Yes…a jeep door.

day 08 – a song that you know all the words to – Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice. I should be proud…but I feel dirty.

day 09 – a song that you can dance to – Thriller – Michael Jackson

day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep – Midnight in a Perfect World – DJ Shadow. This song is just SO chill.

day 11 – a song from your favorite band – Even Better Than The Real Thing – U2

Day 11 B – Just a funny song – WINNING – Auto Tune The News

day 12 – a song from a band you hate – Miracles – Insane Klown Posse

day 12 B – Spooftastic! – SNL Digial Short – Magical Mysteries

day 13 – a song that is a guilty pleasure – What’s My Name – Rihanna ft. Drake

day 14 – a song that no one would expect you to love – Single Ladies – Beyonce

day 15 – a song that describes you – Bohemian Rhapsody – THe Muppets

day 16 – a song that you used to love but now hate – Hey Ya – OutKast

day 17 – a song that you hear often on the radio – Born This Way – Lady Gaga

day 18 – a song that you wish you heard on the radio –  In the Na – The Hidden Cameras. Go search these guys out.

day 19 – a song from your favorite album – Paranoid Android – Radiohead

day 19 B – Just because it’s so brilliant! – This too shall pass -OK Go

day 20 – a song that you listen to when you’re angry – Butterfly with Bulletwings – Smashing Pumpkins

day 20 B – St Patty’s Tribute – Danny Boy – The Muppets

day 21 – a song that you listen to when you’re happy – Shiny Happy People – REM

day 22 – a song that you listen to when you’re sad – November Rain – Guns N Roses

day 23 – a song that doesn’t fit anywhere else on the list but I love – Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve

DAY 23 B – Listenin’ to stuff – Let’s Twist Again – Jive Bunny and the MasterMixers

day 24 – a song that you want to play at your funeral – Always look on the bright side of life – Monty Python

DAY 24 B – SUPRISE! – Zombie Delight – Buck 65

day 25 – a song that makes you laugh – I’m on a boat – Lonely Island

day 25 – Another funny song because someone else took it their list – Business Time – Flight of the Conchords.

day 26 – a song that you can play on an instrument – Seven Nation Army – White Stripes

Day 26 B – I KNOW HOW TO PLAY THIS TOO – Plateau – Nirvana

day 27 – a song that you wish you could play – Wonderwall – Oasis

day 28 – a song that makes you feel guilty (but since no song makes me feel guilty…here’s another) – Puttin’ on the Ritz – Taco

Day 28 B – 80’s EXTRA – One Night in Bancock – Murray Head

day 29 – a song from your childhood – Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr.

day 30 – your favorite song at this time last year – Michael Buble – Haven’t Met You Yet





Rankotopia for January 19, 2011

19 01 2011

Brought to you by crazy animals, Armageddon, iPhone beer canons and this adorable penguin of Doom.

Awhile ago back in that tender year of 2010, I had done something called Random Ranks where I take some things from the news and just go all crazy on it. Some of the stuff you’ve heard before…others are just some obscure but interesting stuff found in the ether that either made me laugh, think or go WTF!

I’ve rebranded this little quick-fire version of the Rankatron as Rankotopia: a place where news goes before the jury of me.

Speaking of juries, first up:

Cat is summoned for Jury Duty in Boston

Quote of the article:

Anna filed to have her pet disqualified from the service requirement on the grounds he is “unable to speak and understand English.”

You read that all right…an actual feline is going to be considered for jury duty. This is the most action a cat has taken a human role since Toonces (from SNL). The most ridiculous part of this entire story? The appeal was rejected! This poor kitty…as of the writing of this entry…is going to have to court, sit in a box and deal with a bunch of crap. (pause) I guess that’s not too much different than what a cat normally does doing Jury Doody. I mean, what is the court actually thinking here? I imagine when and if poor Sal (the cat’s name) goes through selection process I have to trust one of them is smart enough to look at the cat and say “C’mon…” Unless that case was against Toonces…hmmmm.

Man Sues over Mynah Bird’s Insults

 

Think about it. 😛

 

Best Quote: He says they trained the mynah bird to call him a “clueless big-mouthed idiot” every time it saw him.

Am I the only one who finds this article kinda funny? It’s really rude from other guy’s POV…but I really ask: how long would it take the neighbours to train a Mynah bird to say that? Gotta respect that much commitment.

Mammoth ‘could be reborn in four years’

It's name is Dyson.

Finally, we can have Flintstone vacuum cleaners! And um…haven’t these scientists learned ANYTHING from Jurassic Park? Does this count as the “Dead will rise again” thing from Revelations in the Bible? There’s nothing in there saying that it HAD to be God that did this. The good news is that if we pull this off, we’re just a few years away from re-forming the original cast of 90210. What? Sorry, my producer is talking to me. They’re not? Are you sure? They were pretty old in the tv show. Oh. I take that back then.

And finally, a video for you all that just makes me proud to live in a world where this can be created:





12 Angry Men vs The Rankatron (Real Time!)

15 01 2011

The original sausage fest!

It’s happened again.

I walk in at the last moment from grocery shopping to discover that one of my unreviewed Ultimate Rankatron movies is playing on the TV in less than 3 minutes to spare. And like last time during “It’s a Wonderful Life vs The Rankatron“, there was something else one that I would’ve preferred watching…but my honorarily duty to complete this list falls to you, my humble Rankers.

Unlike the previous incarnation, I didn’t have the luxury of commercials. So before I get started, let’s run down some stats:

  • Adapted from the play written by Reginald Rose.
  • Released in 1957 starring Henry Fonda  and directed by Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon, Network)
  • The film runs in real time (how apt!) during the jury room scenes (which takes up 93 minutes of the 96 minute running time).
  • No characters are given names in the play or movie with the exception of the very end when Henry Fonda’s character is given as “Davis” and the old man’s name is given as “McArdle”.
  • Fonda’s only film as Producer.
  • The first scenes in the jury room are filmed with wide-angled lenses but, as the movie progresses, the shots become close-ups from a lower angle to portray the feeling of claustrophobia in the small room.
  • Nominated for 3 Oscars (Best Director, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay) but lost all three to The Bridge on the River Kwai.
  • Remade in 1997 starring Jack Lemmon in Henry Fonda’s role. The dialogue and action is identical to the original but with updated cultural references. And by Monsterpiece Theatre:
  • Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor declared this movie as one of her influences and that the wide-ranging assumptions would never be allowed in an actual jury. Party pooper!

So let’s get into real-time with 12 Angry Men. With the exception of additional editorial notes found in brackets, everything was written as I watched the movie.

6:57pm – Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Playoff Football. 12 Angry Men. Football. Foot… d’oh! I gotta do it.

7:05pm – Took a few minutes to get settled. Hey, is one of the jurors a young Bob Hope? (Checking infotron…nope. Guilty of assumption.)

7:06pm – If I didn’t already know the movie and play, I would’ve been bored by the dull beginning. But I know it and it will be AWESOME! (Note: I should be unbiased in this review but I can’t…I love this movie.)

7:07pm – Ed Bagley???? Related to “Six Feet Under“‘s Ed Bagley Jr. Yes!!! (This cancels out my earlier assumption. Back in the positive.)

7:08pm – I’ve never seen the 1957 version before. Just the great 1997 version with Jack Lemmon doing his best Fonda impression.

7:10pm – So far everything right down to the choreography and dialogue is identical to the 1997 version…or should I really say the other way around. It’s not like there’s a time machine involved here where Reginald Rose went to 1997 and saw the movie then traveled back to 1954 to write his version. But why does he have a DeLorean???

7:13pm – First vote. 11 Guilty. 1 Fonda. Time to play the Game.

7:15pm – The dialogue is AMAZING. “I think if we’re putting some kid to death, we owe it to him to talk about it.” I know I got that quote wrong but the paraphrased version should be used on any judgment that serious.

7:23pm – Love the little things. The guy rushing to get to the Yankees game keeps looking at his watch periodically all the time. Could almost be a drinking game. Watch out for it.

7:25pm – It’s like a dance but with words. Every single comma and period is important to the characters who say them. This should be required watching for anyone in the entertainment industry who wants to write, act or direct. The nuances are great.

7:29pm – What movie plays at 11:30pm? The midnight showing of the new Harry Potter or Star Wars flick?

7:31pm – THE SWITCH BLADE. One of my favourite scenes in the movie. And one of the most pivotal points in the script.

7:34pm – Vote 2. 10 Guilty. 2 Fondas. The shift begins.

7:56pm – OK. OK. So I’ve slacked on notes for a half hour. I’m guilty for flicking to the playoff football game just to see the score…and someone called me to chat about some stuff (angry people by one of those strange coincidences that life dishes out sometimes)…but I still watched the movie…sort of.

8:01pm – 43 seconds is a LOT different from 15 seconds when murder is on the line. (Sounds a lot like a the Princess Bride line).

8:02pm – “I’ll kill ya.” “You don’t really mean that do you?” I love this movie!

8:04pm – Vote 3 (maybe 4 because I didn’t notice if there was one during my 20 minute hiatus). 6 Guilty. 6 Fondas.

8:06pm – YEAH!!! Give it to him Old Guy!!!! Boo-Yaw!!!! (I should note here that you’ll need to watch the movie to get some of this).

8:11pm – A single drop of sweat to the unflappable dude who’s memory isn’t as good as he thought.

8:14pm – Switchblade Part 2: the Blade Strike Back…but at a different angle.

8:17pm – Yankee guy switching to Not Guilty just “because”…don’t do that in real life unless you’re under the age of 6…and even then.

8:20pm – Vote 4 (or 5). 3 Guilty. 9 Fondas.

8:21pm – Hail Mary play (sorry I had flicked to football briefly for the score) and a fight! I wonder if all jury rooms are that heated.

8:25pm – Vote 5 (or 6). 4 Guilty. 8 Fondas.

8:29pm – The Glasses divots on the side of the wearer’s nose. “Could they be made by anything other than eyeglasses?” said the Old Guy with probably the most unintentionally creepy smile I’ve ever seen in a movie.

8:31pm – Vote 6 (or y’know). 1 Guilty. 11 Fondas.

8:33pm – Awesome final monologue by the last Guilty guy as a plea for mercy. I’m gushing in its emotionality. I’m pretty sure that’s not a real word.

8:35pm – And the Fondas have it!!!!

8:36pm – Nice touch at the end with Fonda helping get the coat of the last Guilty guy. A sense of respect on a battle fought well. Would Superman have done the same thing to Lex Luthor?

I don’t watch this movie nearly as much as I should. Every time I see it (or the 1997 version), I’m in awe of the dialogue. You need captivating words in order to make a movie with little action be considered one of the best of all time and this still lives up to it.

If you’ve read this and have never seen the movie, trust me in saying that you haven’t been spoiled. The beauty of 12 Angry Men is in the execution and interaction of all these characters. If you’ve enjoyed this movie once before, you already know what I’m talking about.

As a side note, I got to watch the last 3 minutes of the football game to see the team I wanted to win hold on to the victory thanks to defense. I’m sure Henry Fonda had something to do with that too. He’s amazing!

9.6 Fondas out of 10.

Vote "Not Guilty' or Mr. Stabby will get to work





RETRO-RANK: Twelve Over-Hyped Products That Signal The End of the World

1 12 2010

Originally Posted March 3, 2010.

If you’re seeing this, that’s because I’m taking a little longer than I expected to get back online. So to go along with my last over-hyping, here’s some other over-hyped products.

See ya all when I return! If I’m not back in a week, send Nicole Kidman after me. Thanks!

1. Segway

Back in the day of the Jetsons (old 70’s cartoon for those born after 1995), this seemed like an awesome idea. Along with the conveyor belt sidewalk, pill-based foods, and robots that cater to our every need. That show proved that the “Future” was going to be built for the lazy. But it wasn’t. What we got instead are movable airport walkways, energy drinks laced with liquor, porn-bots, and this two-wheeled moving podium. For shame! It’s not cool when the invention you created actually makes golf carts look cool.

2. iPad

All feminine hygiene jokes aside (yes, I’ve heard them all at this point). The only thing that the iPad improved over the iTouch is as either a substitute for older folks who want an iTouch with large print or as a larger novelty iTouch like the giant sucker or a massive foam cowboy hat. So disappointing was this ground-breaking piece of technology that even Hitler is in dismay:

3.  New Coke/Crystal Pepsi

Lumped together because they equally sucked. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, both companies tried to re-invent themselves to appeal to the young anti-corporate Gen-Xers. So they think: how about one of us totally remake a perfect recipe with a mediocre substitute and call it New Coke…while the other decides to make 7-Up taste like Pepsi? Result: Much hype that lasted about a summer until those same Gen-Xers decided that the corporate giants that made this decision where morons and went back to what they grew up with.

4. McDonald’s Arch Deluxe

Who actually remembers this bland tasting burger that was supposed to eventually eclipse the Big Mac? With ‘adult’ ingredients (a full piece of lettuce, a giant slice of tomato, cheese, and a sauce that I only can connect to tasteless mayonnaise), the Arch fell flat on it’s face after a year or so expelled to an island of other forgotten menu items like McDonald’s Pizza, McSpaghetti, and peanut-butter-and-jam milk (alright…this last one was one of MY failed concoctions but it seems Disney perfected it since…I expect royalty cheques anyday now).

5. Apple Newton

When I think of Apple Newton, I think of Fig Newtons…with apple. But no, this technology was just a victim of being ahead of it’s time and using technology that the world wasn’t prepared to support. Timing is everything but this didn’t occur to Apple. Years later, Blackberry re-introduced essentially what Newton was but with great improvements. The Apple Newton now sits at the bottom of a Fig Newton tray.

6. G’N’R’s Chinese Democracy

When you hype something up for FIFTEEN years…not just a normal hype…but a slow burn and you keep mentioning it every couple years past the time your band breaks up…you better deliver! And much like democracy in China, it never happened. NO! I said this album NEVER HAPPENED!

7. Nintendo’s Virtual Boy

In the mid-90’s, who didn’t want to get out of the dreariness of a Grunge world into to blood red Mario Bros Tennis 32-bit world? Not too many people. The music was better in the real world…and you didn’t have to wear bulky goggles to see. Real world – 1, Nintendo – 0

8. Zune

You’ve got to give it to Microsoft. When they stumble upon a great idea, they jump on it with no apparent improvements, an antiquated Window’s system (when compared to Apple), and a completely unnecessary copy of something already done very well by the iPod. And a couple years later, they try it AGAIN by introducing “Bing” as a replacement for Google. I give both Zune and Bing a big BONG!!!!

9. Window’s Vista

Hyped as the operating system that would revolutionize how we compute, Vista only succeeded in more crashing, more blue screens, more incompatible products, and more frustrated customers. It looked VERY slick…but underneath that shell causes nothing but pain like a certain cybernetic organism.

10. Jimmy Dean’s Chocolate Chip Pancake and Sausage on a stick

I like chocolate chips. I like pancakes. I like sausages. I like sticks. But why couldn’t they somehow create a vehicle in which to combine ALL of them together into a cholesterol explosion on a stick? Jimmy Dean’s did! But sometimes all that ruins a product is mixing too much of a good thing…oh yeah, and the risk of heart attack.

11. 3D-TV

Unless there’s a turn around in the hype surrounding this system…or some improvement that doesn’t require the user to wear those glasses you wear for 3D movies…I’ve got to say this one is the mostly likely candidate for Over-Hyped product of the future. But folks…don’t worry…some day we’ll have the Holodeck and we’ll all be able to pretend we’re in Survivor with your respective hero or heroine.

12. Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace

Simmer a bunch of Star Wars fans for 30 years, tease them with new digitally remastered and CGI-improved original trilogy, add in that trumpet music we all know so well, and you’ve developed a hype machine that created such a frenzy that people actually cheered the glowing green Lucasfilms logo at the beginning. This movie had such promise and such high expectations that no one could live up to they surge of excitement. It’s easy to blame Jar-Jar for ruining a good movie…but it really was the awkward relationship of Anakin and Amadala, and the fact that George Lucas felt the need to explain that the Force was really just a virus living in a Jedi’s blood. Thanks for ruining the magic. Down with Medicloreans! Sometimes things are just better to imagine as magical instead of an actual scientific explanation. This movie spawned two mediocre sequels to round out the sextology and diminished a once glorious franchise.






RETRO-RANK: Top Ten Songs of the Naughts

27 11 2010

Originally posted January 11, 2010.

A little musical interlude because at this point I should be pretty much back to do these things live…or as live as these posts can be. So I hoped you’ve enjoyed re-reading some of these oldies as much as I liked resharing them. If not, well…we’ll just pretend none of this had ever happened. Rock out to what I thought were the best songs of the 2000s.

10. Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz (2005)

In a decade where CGI came into it’s own, it’s no surprise that one animated band would break the top 10. Gorillaz are the innovative brainchild of Blur’s Damon Albarn and co-creator of Tank Girl, Jamie Hewlitt. This catchy dance number was a follow up to it’s widely successful self-titled debut album which featured “Clint Eastwood.” Take a listen and enjoy this Grammy Awards mash-up with honourable mentioned “Hung Up” by Madonna.

9. Crazy – Gnarls Barkley (2006)

I remember, I remember, I remember when I first heard this song on the radio. Not only did I go crazy for this song but so did everyone else that summer. Also, I give props to anyone who can use inkblots as a viable concept to a video.

8. Hurt – Johnny Cash (2002)

One thing I can’t remember is when a cover of a song became more successful than the original. Johnny Cash’s haunting take on the Nine Inch Nails’s 1994 release was slower and oozed more pain and sadness than the original. And people dug it up. Perhaps because withered and wrinkled Johnny Cash sung it as if it was his own eulogy and a testament to a lifetime of pain. Regardless, he created a hit. Such a hit, even lead singer of NIN has been quoted saying “This song doesn’t belong to me anymore.” I still get goosebumps.

7. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes (2003)

Two band members, two basic instruments, two colours reminiscent of candied mints, and a riff that wont leave your head once it catches you. The White Stripes have made a business of unrelenting punk/blues tunes set to a backdrop of Jack White’s wailing lyrics and Meg White’s addicting beats. Who would’ve thought hit music could be made so simply in an age of overcomplication?

6. Time to Pretend – MGMT (2008)

MGMT (short for “The Management”) has been making quite a bit of waves in the music scene as of late. No small feat for a group just arriving on the scene to crack the top 10 without any true established background. You may think you’ve never heard them before but from the opening synthesizer, you probably have…you just don’t know where. Also, MGMT is up for a 2010 Grammy for their new song “Kids”…Possibly a contender for the next decade? We’ll have to wait and see.

5. Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day (2004)

In 2004, Green Day proved that they’re more than a left over ’90s band and moved themselves up the echelon of musical longevity. The song arose from their album titled “American Idiot” during the turning point in American views of their President. This somber melody really does show the dismay towards the establishment of it’s day. As time marches onward, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” will no doubt prove to be their greatest song. So says I…

4. Single Ladies – Beyoncé (2009)

Never has a song the past decade empowered women so much to get up and dance, and never has a video spawned so many parodies. Check out this future classic SNL sketch starring Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Andy Samberg, and Bobby Moynihan. The video alone would be tied for top spot for the Naughts (you’ll see the one that it’s topped with later on) but this is about the song. Powerful. Yes. Best. Not quite.

3. Jesus Walks – Kanye West (2004)

Before Kanye went all silly on the world and took on poor Taylor Swift or decided to make Mike Myers go all queasy in his boots, he actually put out a great selection of hip hop in the mid 00`s. From the acclaimed album “The College Dropout” which also produced the Ray Charles inspired GoldDigger, Jesus Walks proved that as long as you had a good beat and great rhyme, anything could catch on. This won for best Rap song in 2005 Grammy Awards.

2. Lose Yourself – Eminem (2002)

An Oscar and Grammy winning song, spent a record 12 weeks on the top of the charts in 2002, and over four times Platinum equals an obvious number 2 spot on this list. This inspirational tune solidified Eminem’s status as one of the greatest poets of his time. Pushing aside his juvenile vulgarities and party tracks, Marshall Mathers does produce songs which make you think that end up being ignored. Stan and Beautiful to name but two. From the opening piano, it’s difficult not to feel hopeful.

1. Hey Ya – Outkast (2003)

In 2003, the two members of Outkast (Andre 3000 and Big Boi) decided to change up what makes up a rap album. They produced a dual album entitled “Speakerboxx/The Love Below”. One half entirely of nardcore heavy hip-hop Big Boi tracks (Speakerboxx). The other a more ethereal loved based Andre 3000 spitting rhymes (The Love Below). The “Speakerboxx” half of this album would`ve been good enough for it to win Best Album of the Year with winning hits like “The Way You Move“. But it’s one single song on The Love Below side that propels this album to being one of the best albums of all time: Hey Ya!

A catchy chorus, upbeat rhythms, and one of the best videos of all time with Andre 3000 playing every role in the band. It would be difficult to pick any other song better than this one. Now go pump this track, get on the dance floor and shake it like a Polariod picture. Why? Because this is so cool, it’s ice cold!





RETRO-RANK: The Twelve Flicks of Christmas

24 11 2010

Originally Posted December 4, 2008

With only one month left before Christmas, I felt that it was now safe to share this oldie but goodie. Like the animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas, this one seems to get better with time and is one of my faves. So throw another log on the fire, make that nog a little stronger (you can still smell the nutmeg over the rum!), and find your most cozy position because Christmas movies get the full Rankatron treatment.

A friend of mine had asked me a few weeks ago, “Why don’t you rank up a list of best Christmas Movies of all time?”
I thunk to myself…yeah…why not?

Compiling and deliberating on this festive flick list took a lot of time, sacrificed candy canes, and soul searching.

The next question was: Should I include all those TV specials with the actual movies?

Those great and awesome stop-motion classics like Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, or The Year Without Santa. How about the cartoons we all grew up with? Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, or A Charlie Brown Christmas (poor tree!). Or what about A Muppet’s Family Christmas where all the Muppets hooked up with the Fraggles and the Sesame Street gang at Fozzy’s mom’s house for some festive joy? Or the more recent Shrek the Halls or Colbert Christmas? Or the entertainingly offensive South Park offering Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo?

No…I’ve decided, much like how Santa rules with a velvet red gloved iron fist over the North Pole, to make this list purely movies…ones that have hit theatres at one point and have grown fond in our hearts as we grow older.

Also, as one caveat, I would like to say that I have not seen every Christmas movie in history. So people who will jump on me and say: “Where’s Babes in Toyland???” or “You didn’t include Bad Santa???” or, “Hey, I expected to see Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s To Grandma’s House We Go!”. To them, I say I’m only one man with one pen and one blog. If I do see them between now and then, I will be sure to see if they fit anywhere on this list. So get off my backs, Humbugs! 😛

So here are the TWELVE FLICKS OF CHRISTMAS all Ranked Up (and click on the titles for the trailers and other stuff!):

12. DIE HARD (1988) 7.5 Yippee-ki-ya-yay’s out of 10

Did I mention that this was my list and I’ve got Authorial Dictatorship of this? Besides, name one review that isn’t based on opinion. Regardless, this movie wouldn’t normally be considered a typical Holiday movie but it makes the list because it takes place over the Christmas Season. It’s a kick-ass action movie wrapped up in a gift with a Bruce Willis nougat centre. The original and still the best of the Die Hard series. Not only does this movie hold up after 20 years as an action movie, it actually makes you feel good at the end…and isn’t that what Christmas movies are all about?

11. THE SANTA CLAUSE (1994) – 7.8 Chubby Fat Suits out of 10

Many years ago, during the height of Tim Allen’s popularity, he made this: his first big screen flick. And with the exception of TOY STORY, probably his best. For the uninitiated, Tim Allen takes over as Santa Claus due to a “clause” at the North Pole which states that if the original Santa can no longer do his duties, the first to find him must take over. So Santa happens to slip off Allen’s roof and dies. A dark beginning but the movie does pick up from there with nutcracking laughter and festive cheer as Allen stumbles through a world that he hasn’t believed in since he was a kid. Well, believe in me when I say that it’s worthwhile to sit down and watch this on a nice holiday afternoon.

10. POLAR EXPRESS (2004) – 8 Golden Tickets out of 10

A train that magically rides anywhere and picks up kids…really? That you can really ski down on its roof while it goes down a hill…really? That can somehow lose control and pick up speed on an ice lake and manage to get back on a track perfectly while the ice cracks behind it…really really? Really. The magic about this movie isn’t its fantastically unrealistic sequences (really what movie isn’t unrealistic to some degree). The magic is in the characters as a boy learns to believe in Santa again thanks to a friendly conductor and a cast of wacky friends. This is a classic animated flick that holds up better than the previews give it credit for. Worth the watch. Really.

9. HOME ALONE (1990) – 8 Joe Pesci burning scalps out of 10

So a kid is left home alone for the Holidays while his parents and his Mormon-sized family shuttle off on a plane for Paris. This movie is an ultimate dream-come-true for any kid needing to get away from his family and the ultimate horror movie for any parent. Kevin (MacKaulay Culkin) fends off hunger, loneliness, and the dumbest thieves in the history of cinema in a rollicking sleigh ride for the Holidays. Like DIE HARD, HOME ALONE makes pain funny on Christmas. A nice movie with fun action.

8. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993) – 8.2 spooky Santa’s out of 10

Back in 1993, Tim Burton introduced us to the dark morbid world of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King. A world where Jack wants to spruce up Halloweentown and decides that kidnapping Santa would be the best way to figure it out. The cult flick is filled with catchy songs like “What’s This?” that will make you root for Jack as he uncovers the true meaning of the Holidays. If you’ve ever been curious over who’d win in a battle between Halloween and Christmas, sit down and watch this during that cold transition month called November.

7. SCROOGED (1988) – 8.5 spiked eggnogs out of 10

Remember that wonderful Dicken’s classic “A Christmas Carol”? Ever wonder what it would be like in the mind of Bill Murray? If you said “anal-rentative spirits, antlers stapled to mice heads, nuclear explosions, a zombie ex-boss, and Bobcat Goldthwaite carrying a shotgun”, you’d be exactly right. Not only would this movie make you laugh, its light-hearted horror makes you truly feel for Bill Murray’s character even though you think he deserves everything coming to him. Only weakness to this film is the gratuitous yet all too forced singing ending. But I can let it pass.

6. THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (1992) – 8.7 Cheeses for your Meeses out of 10

The last truly good Muppets Movie and a classic of a classic retold through the eyes of a weirdo named Gonzo and his rat buddy, Rizzo. Kermit and friends try to make ends meet at Christmas while Michael Caine’s Scrooge survives the onslaught of three creepy Muppet ghosts, one of which is probably the single best muppet ever created to this day. We’ve got Muppet comedy that will beckon you back to childhood, an album of some of the best Muppet tunes since THE MUPPET MOVIE, and a warm Fozzy feeling at the end. Sniff…

5. A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1951) – 9 tombstones out of 10

Yes, I know I did three versions of the Christmas Carol back to back to back but this is THE definitive version of the story. Alastair Sim shall always and forever be Ebeneezer Scrooge no matter how many other versions come afterwards. Whether you’re watching the original black and white version or the remastered in Technicolour version, you’ll feel the spirit of Christmas flowing through you like a nice festive version of ale. For those of you playing a drinking game at home: version.

4. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947) -9.3 beard tugs out of 10

I wish more court cases where decided by people’s opinions being mailed via US Postal Service. Think of the OJ trial back in ’95…imagine if the prosecutor, realizing that he has no way to truly win the case received millions of letters all addressed to OJ saying that they know he’s guilty, and imagine the judge saying “Well, if the US Postal Service thinks he’s guilty, then I say he’s guilty,” then we wouldn’t have the second OJ trial today. But I don’t need the US Postal Service to confirm that I’m a guilty sucker for this movie. Right up to the end where you see ol’ Kris Kringle’s cane leaning against a wall in that empty house. You’re left knowing without a doubt that this is a special movie for all ages.

3. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) – 9.5 bailout loans out of 10

This Christmas movie about a banker losing money and faith in life right after the end of the Great Depression speaks volumes in today’s current economic climate. Mark my words, when we see the light of day at the end of this recession, there’s going to be a remake of this movie starring Jim Carrey. A remake of this movie has him all over it. Seriously. The brilliance of this movie is it’s simple story of love, life, and finding true happyness. I swear if Jimmy Stewart came to my door with his puppy dog eyes, I’d give him my home to save his business. A story of how bad things happen to good people and how good people find the strength and faith to carry on. This movie is a must-see at least once a year.

2. NATIONAL LAMPOONS CHRISTMAS VACATION (1989) – 9.8 shorted light circuits out of 10

For as long as I can remember, this here has been my favourite Holiday movie of all time. Chevy’s in his prime, the soundtrack is awesome, the action is hilarious, and you get Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Juliette Lewis, Randy Quaid, and Doris Roberts before they were famous. On any given scene, I could walk in and know exactly where we are in the movie and most often what the next line is going to be. And this movie is one of my staples. It’s over-the-top kitschy humour is what makes this movie so worthwhile and brings me coming back and begging for more dried turkey. And if there’s one scene that sums up this movie, it’s this one. Do yourself a favour and watch it before you end up in the nut house!

But regardless how good this movie is…this one trumps all…

1. A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983) – 10 Red Ryder BB Guns out of 10

I only saw this movie for the first time a couple years ago. I don’t know why it took me so long to see this movie. My friends all have said that this was their favourite Christmas movie. “Better than Christmas Vacation??? Nothing’s better than Christmas Vacation! How can a movie where the trailer looks this cheesy (click here) be any good!!!!” I thought with absurd wonder.

Well, in the past couple years, this movie has grown on me and has tied for Christmas Vacation. The reason I place it above Vacation is simply because this IS the perfect Holiday movie. Fraught with Wonder Years-esque dialogue before there was a Wonder Years, filled with the sweaty, smelly, gritty Christmas cheer that we all experience this time of year at the malls, and teeming with child-like wonder, all Christmas movies should be seen through a child’s eyes like this one. There is no single bad scene and they’re all incredibly quotable:

RALPHIE NARRATING (on seeing he just got a pink bunny pyjamas from his Aunt): Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl.

And if all that doesn’t sway you, I’ll let Siskel and Ebert try to bring it on home.

Well, that’s it! My top 12 Christmas Movies of all time!!!!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Freakin’ New Year…

…awww, heck…one more Ralphie clip for the road: Fa-Ra-Ra-Ra-Ra!!!!





RETRO-RANK: “Tremors 4: Three Tremors Too Many!”

17 11 2010

Originally posted September 29, 2007.

This isn’t so much a review as a rant about a movie franchise that shouldn’t have happened. Because of this, I shall never remember Michael Gross as the dad off of Family Ties. Jump on the Rant-train to Rantsville as I go on about Tremors.

This proves that sandsnakes love Bacon.

OK…these past few weeks I’ve been busy with various things…wondering when the new baby would arrive, fixing my car, going to the hospital for the birth of my lil’ one, worrying about my physical state (turns out that I’m still ok), and learning how to care for a little child (it’s awesome when they cuddle up to you…)…during these past 4 weeks, I always found myself up at about 2am on Friday watching the Space channel’s Friday Fright movie. 

Three weeks ago it was Tremors. You all remember Tremors right? It was that 1990 horror flic starring Kevin Bacon, Kris Kristofferson, Reba McIntyre, and Michael Gross (Michael Keaton from Family Ties fame). It involved this little run down town in the middle of the desert called Perfection that ended up getting terrorized by these giant elephant-sized man-eating car-crushing house-demolishing worms that lived underground. They hunted by feeling the vibrations of where you walked. Great flick! Scary the first time you see it. And incredibly creative. Recommend it for anyone who hasn’t seen it.

Two weeks ago, on the same channel I find Tremors 2:Aftershock. I’ve seen this “straight to video” movie before expecting a good time…my first clue that it wasn’t going to be a wild ride was that the only star to reprise a role was Michael Gross. We’re in the same town again. This time the underground monsters are back…this time they’re called Graboids (horrible name)…and this time the worms turn out to just be pods that give birth to packs of these two legged hyena things that hunt by sound only. Yes…it gets worse. These little two legged things multiply a la Gremlins except when you feed them…and that they apparently can sense heat like infrared. So…this was a bad movie that should’ve killed the series…it didn’t…it got much worse.

One week ago: I’m surprised to see Tremors 3: Back to Perfection. Michael Gross is back in Perfection to find that the town has gone Graboid crazy!!! The town has turned into a cheap promotion spot luring tourists to catch a glimpse of the worms like looking for whales on the ocean. So the worms are back…so are the little hyena things…and THEY mutate into these flying creatures which are called…I couldn’t make this up…”Ass-Blasters” because they can now fly and shoot fire from their butts. It ends with the last Ass-Blaster being eaten by a friendly albino Graboid…yes…you read that right. That should’ve been the end of this crazy series…but it wasn’t…sigh…

Tonight…lo and behold…Tremors 4: The Legend Begins. But it really shouldn’t have. We go back to somewhere in the 1800s and the town of Perfection (called Rejection) has a silver mine owned by the ancestor of Michael Gross’s earlier character…also played by Michael Gross. The mine is attacked by the worms for the first time EVER!!! (Forget about the first movie that was supposed to be the first time…this one is the REAL first forgotten time) Yep…predictable…boring…and I can’t believe I watched the whole thing…and a little part of me has died inside. 

And get this!!! There’s a Tremors 5 in the works…if there’s a God in Heaven…or some kind of higher being watching over us like the Director in the Truman Show…or a grand and great Wizard of Oz…please oh please don’t let this movie happen…I beg of you!!!! [RETRO-NOTE: Prayers answered. This has been shelved.]

End rant.