Charlie Brown and Vince Guaraldi Trio

From December 13-17 I didn’t watch any Christmas shows. Why? I was Zooming every day (Monday through Friday of last week), and I was wiped out. I still had the Christmas spirit, but I decided to listen to it instead of watching it.

GUARALDI, VINCE - Charlie Brown Christmas - Music

I listened to a lot of Xmas music last week, but the one album I put on repeat is Vince Guaraldi Trio’s 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love this album, and I could listen to it all year long–but I don’t because I have a post-Thanksgiving Christmas music policy. πŸ™‚ This is seriously one of my favorite albums of all time. I always listen to the album with the bonus tracks, as shown below.

Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas (Doghouse Edition CD) –  Craft Recordings

This album is my kind of jazz album. I love the music apart from its attachment to the cartoon, but I won’t lie–the attachment to the show makes it all the more enjoyable for me, for I also grew up watching A Charlie Brown Christmas every year. I didn’t really appreciate the album until I was an adult.

Good grief: 50 things about 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'

On Friday the 18th after a rough day I decided I needed some comfort viewing, so I put on Charlie Brown. I loved it as much as I always have. I like every scene in this show, but there are a few that stand out. One is shown above–the stage dancing is something I actually do at home. I try to do each of the characters’s dancing. I don’t attempt to play instruments, though. πŸ™‚ Another is Lucy’s The Doctor is In scene and the moments when Snoopy is mocking Lucy.

Here’s my favorite scene, and this may surpise you:

“All I want is what I have c-coming to me. All I want is my fair share.” Classic Sally, and I love it. She represents capitalist, commercialist Christmas culture, and she has no reservations about it. I could write an essay on this, but for the sake of this blog I will just say that while I recognize that the girls in this show fall into stereotypical gender roles, I also appreciate Lucy and Sally’s gusto and willingness to go for what they want. πŸ™‚

Sometimes I am a Lucy, sometimes a Sally. Sometimes I’m a Snoopy, sometimes a Charlie Brown. I love how this show gives us so many character types that I can identify with. Whose your favorite Charlie Brown Christmas character? What’s your favorite scene, and why?

What the Dickens? Days 11-12

Have you read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol before? I have. It’s Dickensian, as it should be, with its long and meandering prose. It is quite dark, actually–darker than the shows I grew up watching called “A Christmas Carol.” That subtitle shown above (“being a ghost story of Christmas”) surely sets the tone for the piece.

It’s definitely not Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983), which I have watched every year since I can remember. I still watch it every year, so this year is no different. I watched it on the 11th. I loved it as much then as I did when I was a kid.

Why, It's Old Fezziwig!” | Scrooge McDuck (1983) | Mickeys christmas carol,  Scrooge mcduck, Old english tattoo
Pin on A Merry Haunted Christmas!

Scrooge McDuck has always been a favorite of mine, and I’m quite fond of the Fezziwig scene and the Ghost of Christmas Present scene. The Goofy scene always made me chuckle, too. But most of all I love the message in this story of peace and goodwill towards all. It’s easier to see in the cartoon than the prose text, IMHO.

The Story Behind the Music of The Muppet Christmas Carol

On the 11th I then decided to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992). I watched half on the 11th and half on the 12th, and I realize that I have never watched the movie in full before. I guess I’ve caught scenes here and there or I fell asleep watching because I didn’t remember much of this exact production. I didn’t even recall Michael Caine being in the movie!

I’ve always also been a Muppets fan, so it was fun to see the old gang, and I really enjoyed the humor added to the story–I feel like it’s another step away from the darker tone of Dickens’ text. This is definitely the funniest, cutest Christmas Carol out there. Gotta say, I loved watching this film and want to make it a part of my future holiday tradition.

What say you? Have you watched Mickey’s and the Muppet Christmas Carol shows for as long as you can remember? Which one is your favorite? Why?

The Great British Baking Show: Holidays, Days 9-10

After watching all of Netflix’s Nailed It holiday show and a few of Sugar Rush‘s holiday episodes, I thought why stop there? How about trying The Great British Baking Show: Holiday? So that’s what I did, but I started with season 3. I watched two episodes over two days. It was a lot of fun, and it inspired me to bake some British recipes.

I like the two judges, Paul-with-the-blue-eyes and Prue, but I’m not as keen on the two hosts. I mean, the tall guy wears a lot of cool, wacky clothes, but he and his co-host’s banter feels forced.

The Great British Baking Show: Holidays' Season 2 | Decider | Where To  Stream Movies & Shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max
The Great British Baking Show Holiday Special 2019 Recap

Even though I have never seen the show before, I quickly caught on to the fact that the holiday episode was featuring returning contestants–some bakers who did not win. They all seemed really nice, and their baking was really good, even though by profession they are not bakers. One contestant is an architect, another a researcher. I also found it interesting that no one gets eliminated. Sugar Rush eliminates two out of the four teams, which is sad because they actually have to exit after the lights above their baking station are turned off and a big sign lights up saying ELIMINATED! (Adam made a joke saying, in a Dalek voice “ex-ter-min-a-ted.”)

I enjoyed the second episode quite a bit as it features the cast of Derry Girls, a Netflix show I have yet to watch but now think I will try out. Have you seen it? Is it any good? Let me know.

The Great Festive Bake Off line-up: Derry Girls cast members appearing, and  what time it's on Channel 4

I did multitask as I watched the show, and it’s really easy to do that–so if you need something to help you get through the grading, give it a shot! Or just take a shot or two of your favorite beverage! Whatever works!

Just Another Christmas, Days 8-9

Just Another Christmas (2020) - IMDb

One of the things I love about Netflix is that you never know what you’re gonna find. I stumbled upon this 2020 Portuguese film, which is translated as Just Another Christmas. I had no idea it was a foreign language film because of course Netflix actually has this as its ad for Americans:

Just Another Christmas | Netflix Official Site

I put the movie on and was surprised to hear the actors speaking (quickly) in a foreign language. Within seconds I realized it was Portuguese, which delighted me! One of the things that isn’t so pleasant is that the star of the film is constantly yelling–his normal way of talking seems to be yelling! This made my husband a little anxious. πŸ˜€

So we watched about a third of the movie and then turned it off. We tend to watch these movies at night, so we kind of needed to chill out, not wind up. The next day I decided to watch the rest of the film, but in English.

Yup, I did that horrid thing where I changed the audio to English because I was planning to multitask and listen to/watch the film, and I couldn’t do that and read the captions. While I was watching the film, Adam entered the living room and agreed that it was easier to watch with the dubbed English, but we certainly missed the original language. We did not miss the yelling. The American voice actor did not yell as much!

Let me get to the plot: it’s a Groundhog Day reboot, but Xmas style. This guy whose birthday is on Christmas hates that day, so fate has plans for him to learn a lesson about the value of Christmas. He has to live Christmas Day again and again for years.

A lot of things happen between the Christmases, which is certainly a part of the plot, but I don’t want to give everything away. I will say that one of those things has to do with breast cancer, which I was not expecting–like, damn, it’s everywhere! While there are some serious moments in the film, overall it’s a comedy. There are some funny moments for sure.

In the end I enjoyed a lot about this movie, but not all of it. I recommend you give it a watch, and you can decide if you want to listen to it in Portuguese or English (or some other language). πŸ™‚

All I want for Christmas is…a Husband

It’s day six!

Today I write about Vivica A. Fox’s A Husband for Christmas. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime. Also, this post includes spoilers.

Watch A Husband For Christmas | Prime Video

Well, at least this film isn’t hiding the fact that so many Xmas movies are about husband hunting. Kind of like the Welldon sisters from Thomas Southerne’s Oroonoko, that popular 18th-century play. Haven’t heard of it? Oh, you should read it…says the scholar of 18th-century literature! πŸ˜€

Here’s the deal: I like Fox. That’s why I decided to watch this film. But even Vivica A. Fox cannot save this movie. There are so many disturbing plot points that my husband asked me to turn off the film before we even got to the halfway point! One of these problems is that the protagonist, Brooke, is coerced into marrying a Brit (played by Rico Ross with a bad kinda British accent) so he can take a job–her job–in the US without going through immigration protocol.

Brooke’s boss, played by veteran actor Eric Roberts, kind of threatens to fire her if she doesn’t do what he says–enters into a marriage of convenience–but also offers her a pricey reward for taking him up on her offer. He will make her vice-president of something (graphic design?) and double her pay. So…he’s either gonna double her pay or take it all when he fires her. Seems fair.

The fact that Brooke takes the bait doesn’t bode well for her. My husband was like what kind of person would take the offer? Yeah. Well, the kind of person who is a work-a-holic and has a sister who is marrying her ex-boyfriend. Oops. Spoilers!

There are a lot of other plot problems I could mention, such as the fact that said Brit has a girlfriend but has been flirting with Brooke since day one. I’ll just stop now.

I still haven’t finished this film. Not sure that I need to finish it. Should I finish it? You tell me.

I enjoyed watching another episode of Sugar Rush: Christmas more than I did this film. :/

Christmas with a Prince, Day 5

Is it every girl’s dream to find her prince charming? Does every girl want to be a princess? What’s so appealing about wanting to be a princess? These are questions my hubs asked me recently when he realized so many Netflix Christmas movies are about non-royals who fall in love with royals and then become royalty!

Indeed, it is a thing. There is a trope you’ll find in a lot of Xmas movies. Beautiful, but realistic girl falls for arrogant, but dashing prince. You know how this ends.

What changes in these films is what happens in the middle.

Let me introduce you to one such film that pulled at my heart strings even though the movie itself is pretty bad. I give you Christmas with a Prince. I watched this film on December 5 while it snowed outside.

Christmas with a Prince | Christmas Specials Wiki | Fandom

I don’t generally give away spoilers, but this time I’m gonna. The film’s protagonist is Tasha, a pediatric oncologist. She treats kids who stay in hospital and receive chemo treatments. Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that, and of course it made me cry. So props to this film for finding a way to surprise me and connect with me.

I also liked that the king is played by Charles Shaughnessy.

Christmas with a Prince (TV Movie 2018) - Images - IMDb | Movie tv,  Donovan, Prince

You’ll recognize him from The Nanny, surely, but did you know he got his start on Days of Our Lives as Shane? I grew up watching soap operas, so I’ve always enjoyed seeing this actor.

Nanny Reunion! Charles Shaughnessy to Guest-Star on Happily Divorced | TV  Guide
Couples | Days of our lives, Tv show couples, Our life

The film is like most other “prince” movies overall, but I enjoyed watching it anyway. I think it’s better than The Princess Switch: Switched Again, at least. πŸ˜€

The Grinch, Day 4

This is the Grinch I grew up with:

The Grinch | Dr. Seuss Wiki | Fandom

I watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas! every year on TV! You know the Grinch is from the 1957 story, but my Grinch was Boris Karloff. I loved his voice. I loved his evil grin. I loved the song by Thurl Ravenscroft: those lyrics, y’all. Poetry.

I wasn’t on board with the 2000 Jim Carrey adaptation of the TV film. A live-action Grinch movie was weird, and Jim Carrey was a bit much. I commend him, and all the actors involved, for wearing so much makeup and prosthetics to pull off the Who looks.

The Grinch' Makeup Artist Checked Into Therapy Because of Jim Carrey |  IndieWire

Then in 2018 the universe gave us a new Grinch movie with Benedict Cumberbatch. This time the adaptors went back to the cartoon inspiration from the 60s and gave us something much closer to the “original” adaptation than the Carrey Grinch. I liked that much more.

I was super excited in 2018 when the movie came out, and I even went to see it in the theater, but I slept through the film. I had received a chemo treatment on the day I went to the movies, and once the movie started and I kicked back in my movie theater recliner, it was lights out!

Theaters With Reclining Seats | Regal

It’s funny that I wanted to see the movie but slept through it, but it was a good nap, so when you’re sick you take them where you can get them.

Fast forward to 2020! I was browsing Netflix, and I saw the movie was available, so on December 4 I thought I’d watch it.

The Grinch review: Benedict Cumberbatch voices the character in a fun new  version - Vox

I put on the movie, watched about 10 minutes, and then decided to multitask: I graded proposals while watching. I found myself totally uninterested in the film. Benedict Cumberbatch does a fine job of portraying the Grinch. I found the other characters uninteresting.

I’d say I watched about as much of the film this year as I did in 2018. I kept it on in the background, and even made it through the credits, but I can’t tell you much about this film except the mom is like all moms in Xmas movies and is too busy for her kids; also, Cindy Lu knows how to snowboard. Other than that, dunno what new stuff was added; don’t really care, I guess.

The movie got good reviews, so I think I must have missed something. Maybe I should watch it again. Tell me what you think about the 2018 film. Does it deserve a third viewing? πŸ˜€


Edit: Thanks to Samantha Murphy for alerting me to the fact that NBC is going to be airing a Grinch musical on December 9. Will I watch it? Maybe. Will I like it? Probably not. I’m too wedded to the 1966 Grinch.

Danny. Freakin’. Glover.

Christmas Break-In (TV Movie 2018) - IMDb

You know who should be in the center of this poster? Danny Glover, y’all. Danny. Freakin’. Glover. He is the movie. Sure that little girl is a cute throwback to Macaulay Culkin, and this movie has a lot of Home Alone vibes (which are intentional), but this movie would be nothing without Danny Glover.

When I recently posted that I thought Princess Switch: Switched Again was a crappy movie, a friend said in response that if I wanted to watch the worst Christmas movie, I could watch The Christmas Break-in on Netflix. So I prepared myself to watch the worst movie ever, and I asked my husband to watch it with me so that we could share this experience.

To our surprise, we really enjoyed watching this movie. There were a few funny slapstick scenes, but overall the “bad guys” were kind of goofy and downright weird (like, one of the characters gets turned on by the very idea of crime.) The family, which includes too busy parent mom played by Denise Richards, didn’t do much for me, and even though the actress playing the main character Izzy did a fine job, she couldn’t really carry the scenes alone. She needed Danny Glover, who plays the janitor, Sam.

Christmas Break-In (TV Movie 2018) - IMDb

We loved the scenes with Danny Glover. In a movie that is basically a reboot of Home Alone, but in a school, Danny Glover breathed a breath of fresh air into a trite holiday genre. Perhaps his role was inspired by the old snow-shoveling neighbor in Home Alone, but I think there’s more to this character than that.

Adam and I really appreciated how Sam had a backstory that bore a direct relationship to what was happening in this plot. We liked that Glover was able to make us laugh in a scene emblematic of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. We also liked that Glover made us feel something; Sam’s story touched our hearts. No spoilers, but I’ll say that this character shows viewers that you can overcome past mistakes and change your life for the better. Another lesson: sometimes family members don’t respect each other, and you don’t have to put up with that!

So maybe my friend’s right–this movie could be put on the “bad Christmas movies” list, but we actually enjoyed it and recommend putting it on your watch list.

Xmas Watching, Day 2: Sugar Rush

One of my favorite shows is Nailed It! It takes a lot to make me laugh when it comes to shows, but I laugh every time I watch this show. Nicole Byers is so funny. I love Jacques Torres.

My niece calls the show Door 1, Door 2 cuz she’s five. She loves to take pictures of herself in front of the TV screen when the group assembles at the end of the show to take their selfie. It’s just a great thing all around.

But I’ve watched all of the holiday Nailed It! episodes. Netflix had been pushing Sugar Rush holiday edition pretty hard, so I decided to watch two episodes on Dec. 2. I enjoyed them.

Is Sugar Rush Christmas: Season 2 (2020) on Netflix South Korea?

The bakers are professionals, and they have to come up with their own ideas and recipes. They are given a theme, like Charlie Brown’s Christmas, and have to come up with cupcakes, confections, and then a massive cake. The bakers work in pairs, and they know each other beforehand. Some are married. Some are baker friends. Some are colleagues. They have a working relationship, so there’s no interpersonal drama.

I thought the Charlie Brown episode was fun, as I love that show. I also love that one of the cakes was inspired by this image from the Charlie Brown episode:

TV Guide - The Ultimate Holiday Viewing Guide for 2019 - Entertainment -  Hudson Sun - Hudson, MA

So I say if you have some time and want to whet your appetite for sweet things, watch the show. It’s also good just to have on in the background while grading or sitting and staring at your Xmas tree.

What will I watch next? Tune in for Dec. 3!

Let the Xmas Watching Begin

Even though I don’t really like most of the movies you can freely watch through subscription notices such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and so forth, I find myself watching them anyway. Maybe it’s some kind of self-flagellation. So, as December 1 rolled around, I said, now’s the time! Now’s the time to dig in to these awful Christmas movies and shows.

I began with The Princess Switch: Switched Again. I have to admit, I had high expectations for this one. I mean look at Netflix’s poster and check out this trailer:

The Princess Switch: Switched Again | Netflix Official Site

That looks like fun, right? Three versions of Vanessa Hudgens! What’s not to love, amirite?

I watched the first film, The Princess Switch, last year and thought it was fun. Here’s that poster, also courtesy of Netflix:

The Princess Switch - Wikipedia

The thing is…the first film had the advantage of novelty. The second, not so much. Not at all actually. The first film had characters to introduce and develop. The second, not so much. The first movie had a plot that I was interested in exploring. The second one, not so much.

Everything about this sequel falls flat. Well, not everything. I did enjoy Hudgens’ blond wig. But other than that, the added sidekicks were goofy and boring. The plot twist was obvious and contrived. I think they could have done something, anything, to surprise us, right? Note: I’m not giving away any spoilers here because I am the kind of person who hates spoilers when I haven’t seen or read something.

If you watched the first Princess Switch, you have to watch the second one. But…may I suggest you watch it with friends, even via a Netflix watch party, and drink? Like, a lot!

Thus concludes day 1 of Misty’s 25 days of Xmas watching. Tune in for day 2!