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Other Christmas Movies - off-beat, under-seen, non-traditional, obscure, forgotten and alternative Christmas movies

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 8, 2009 01:00pm | Post a Comment
Come September of every year and kid-friendly Christmas movies began to dominate the airwaves. Movies with muppets and toys and Frosty and Santa and Rudolph. Movies like Babes in Toyland (1961), Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Carol, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1978), A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Elf, Ernest Saves Christmas (1988), A Flintstone Christmas (1977), Frosty the Snowman (1969), Frosty's Winter Wonderland (1976), Home Alone (1 and 2), How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966 and the live action "reboot"), It's a Wonderful Life, Jack Frost (1998), Jingle All the Way (1996), The Little Drummer Boy (1968), Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), Miracle on 34th Street (1947 and its re-make), Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), A Muppet Family Christmas (1987), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Nutcracker, The Polar Express (2004), Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July (1979), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), Rudolph's Shiny New Year (1976), Santa Claus (1985), The Santa Clause (1 and 2), The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper (1982), and Yogi's First Christmas (1980)... to mention some of the better known ones. Although not all of them are completely insufferable for anyone over the age of seven, none are exactly adult-friendly. 

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Silent night - Christmas movies of the silent era

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 6, 2009 11:55am | Post a Comment
A Christmas Past DVD         A Christmas Carol & Old Scrooge DVD

Happy St. Nicholas Day! For your enjoyment, a little somethin' to break the monotony of all that hardcore Christmas that has gotten to be a little bit out of control...


Santa Claus
(1898) was directed by George Albert Smith (Weary Willie, Making Sausages), a former portrait photographer and member of the UK's Brighton set. In 1906, he and Charles Urban patented the world's first commercial color film process, Kinemacolor. Smith was something of an English Georges Méliès, employing and pioneering the use of special effects, mostly in the fantasy genre.

Scrooge; or Marley's Ghost (1901) was apparently the first adaptation of seemingly millions of Dickens's novel.


The Night Before Christmas
(1905) was directed by the great Edwin S. Porter (Uncle Josh in a Spooky Hotel, Uncle Josh at the Moving Picture Show, The Gay Shoe Clerk) and is a pretty loose adaptation of the famous poem by Clement Moore. It will undoubtedly appeal to fans of dioramas and vintage children.

BOB DYLAN'S CHRISTMAS IN THE HEART ALBUM

Posted by Billyjam, August 27, 2009 12:10pm | Post a Comment
Bob Dylan christmas in the heart
As he announced in the news page on his official website a couple of days ago, Bob Dylan has recorded a Christmas music album that he has scheduled to release this coming holliday season. To be titled Christmas In The Heart and released on Columbia Records, it will be availabe at Amoeba Music and other stores on October 13th.

The release, which will be the 47th album by the legendary musician born Robert Allen Zimmerman, will be Dylan's first Christmas themed release and will likely surprise some fans who never expected the artist, who came to fame as a protest singer, to cover such songs as "Winter Wonderland." Other songs to be featured on the album include “Little Drummer Boy” and “Must Be Santa.”

The album will not be the first time the 68 year old artist has done traditional Christmas fare though. Three years ago on his radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour series 1, episode 34, he did a reading of "Twas The Night Before Christmas" (video clip below). Dylan's Christmas In The Heart will be a benefit for various hunger-relief charities including the wonderful Feeding America organization.



My Ostrich in Paris

Posted by Whitmore, January 1, 2009 11:48am | Post a Comment
 
The travails of travel … I’m in Paris, the city of lights, and I’ve been here just over a week suffering from the worst jet lag of my entire chaotically wayward life. On top of the jet lag and the most mind-tweaking insomnia I’ve ever experienced, my knees are killing me, my back is killing me, I know -- pity the poor son of a bitch who is spending Christmas and the New Year in France. Did I mention my knees? By the way, it’s snowing right now. Which is about time. It’s been colder than shit here. The other day it got to a high of only 23 degrees. My freezer isn’t even that frosty. At least with a bit of snow on the ground, the cold becomes a little more bearable. Remember, I’m a third generation Angelino. Snow is as exotic to me as eating ostrich--I’ll get to that in a minute.
 
Then again, I’m not wandering much outside. I’m traveling, but my days of sightseeing are pretty much behind me. I know that sounds asinine, but what I need is more than a building or monument. So why then am I here? Who knows? I had room left on a credit card? Actually there is an answer. I need sustenance. Yeah I could use some spiritual, emotional, intellectual readjustment, but first and foremost I desire something astonishing to fill my gut. It’s called an insatiable appetite. Inevitably, whatever I do, wherever I go, food plays a staggeringly major role. I should have been a food critic. I should also weigh in the neighborhood of about 400 pounds about now. I don’t yet, but as a kid I used to aspire to be the next mythic Hollywood-concocted character like an Orson Welles. I may attain it one day, but only in girth alone.
 
So here I am in France, the land of incredible wine, cheese, bread and sauces, and my French step-semi-half-removed-extended-faux-in-laws are both excellent chefs. And what suits me and my appetite even better is the fact that they are divorced. In the demise of their marriage, I won the settlement. The family may have lost stability, but I inherit twice the dinner choices in half the time. And on top of that, because it is the holidays, out comes the competition and the big guns of exotic meats, expensive vintage wines and cheeses that redefine the meaning of life, the universe and everything.
 
Here’s an example. For years now I have heard about a certain cheese from the Franche-Comté region of eastern France. I’ve been told you might not want to check out this cheese too closely under a bright light right after spreading it on some fresh bread and right before popping it into your mouth. You may notice that the innocent looking white dusty coating is moving ever so slightly, and it’s not because there’s a breeze in the room. Alive or not, the flavor is an incredible near-religious experience; it has a bit of a punch to it, almost pungent but not overwhelming, with slightly smoky and nutty overtones, and to maintain its character, this cheese cannot be pasteurized. Maybe because my gourmet meal was served and devoured on Christmas Eve within shouting distance of a 700 year old church … I found myself closer to somebody’s god.
 
My perfectly delicious Christmas Eve dinner also included my first experience with ostrich, the other, other white meat. Actually ostrich is a red meat that is low in fat and can be used in any traditional red meat recipe. Its flavor and texture is similar to a lean beef, but tastes slightly sweeter and richer than most other meats. Some people say they are reminded of veal, I just say it just kicked my ass. For all of you health-conscious people with a fresh New Year’s resolution, ostrich is low in fat and cholesterol, as well as high in calcium, protein and iron. And here is some advice about cooking ostrich: it cooks faster than other meats because of its low fat content; you’ll notice there is considerably less marbling than any chunk of beef. Ostrich steaks should be cooked medium rare to medium, and according to my French quasi-faux-semi-half-removed father-in-law, cooking ostrich till well done is not recommended. Another thing, for all you trying to live a little greener out there, ostrich, according to the International Ostrich Gazette, has the best feed to weight gain ratio of any land animal in the world -- 3.5:1, whereas cattle is more like 6:1. Then add the additional methane all that bull shoots into the atmosphere … well hell, ostrich sounds like the thinking man’s choice.
 
That’s all for now, I have to catch the Metro and head off to another dinner … bon appetit!

Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas

Posted by Miss Ess, December 26, 2008 05:21pm | Post a Comment
Somehow since I wasn't allowed to watch much TV when I was little, I missed ever seeing what has now become my favorite Christmas-themed special: Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas.

emmet otter's jug band christmas

I realize it's kinda late, seeing as Christmas was yesterday, but this little movie is so extraordinary and unique, it really could be watched any time, year-round. It was created in 1977 by the much missed Jim Henson, features his imaginative and irresistable puppetry and sets, and was based on a children's book by Russel and Lillian Hoban. The special also features music by the inimitable Paul Williams, including such classics as "When the River Meets the Sea." If you've never seen it before, you can get a great idea of what the production and characters look like by watching this YouTube video which features clips from the special edited together with Emmet and Ma Otter (plus John Denver, who does not appear in any form in Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas but who covered the song with the Muppets on their Christmas album -- A Christmas Together!) singing "When the River Meets the Sea":


The storyline focuses on the simple but happy lives that Emmet Otter and his Ma lead in their small home by the river. They have no money because Pa died a few yeaemmet and ma otterrs back, but they remember the good times and still find meaning and joy in life despite the loss. Each have odd jobs to make ends meet: Emmet does carpentry work and Ma is a laundress. They long for more security and both love music. When they hear about a talent contest in a neighboring town, Ma and Emmet both scramble to compete independently of one another. They each want to win the $50 prize in order to buy one another special Christmas presents. But they each have to sacrifice mainstays of one another's job to have a chance at winning: Emmet needs Ma's washtub to make his washtub bass for his Jug Band and Ma needs to sell Emmet's tools to buy fabric for a new costume. They put everything on the line in order to hopefully bring some Christmas happiness to one another. But what if they both lose?

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