Quiz: Christmas Classics

Posted on December 19, 2008 at 8:00 am

1. What Christmas classic features sibling rivalry between two brothers, the sons of Mother Nature?
2. What Christmas classic features the Island of the Misfit Toys?
3. Who is repeatedly told, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
4. Mr. Magoo stars in what re-telling of a classic Christmas story?
5. Which Christmas classic features an old top hat with some magic in it?
6. What Christmas classic features two performing duos who put on a show at a snowless ski resort?
7. Which Christmas classic features a cop named Bert and a cab driver named Ernie?
8. What book filmed at least three times begins with a character saying “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents?”
9. Who sings to her sister, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas?”
10. Who gets sent to the attic bedroom after a fight with his brother about pizza?
11. Whose boss gives him a “jelly of the month” Christmas gift?
12. Which version of “A Christmas Carol” has a very appropriately named “actor” in the lead role?

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Holidays Quiz

Remember the Night

Posted on December 13, 2008 at 10:00 am

Preston Sturges wrote and directed some of Hollywood’s greatest comedies, specializing in wickedly sharp satires like “The Lady Eve” and “Miracle of Morgan’s Creek.” But the first of his screenplays to be produced was this bittersweet Christmas romance about a beautiful shoplifter (Barbara Stanwyck) and a tough prosecutor (Fred MacMurray) (they also co-starred in the film noir classic “Double Indemnity”). He realizes that if he allows her to be sentenced just before Christmas the judge will be lenient. So he ends up bringing her home with him for the holidays. She sees in his family the kindness and generosity she never had as a child and he sees her true spirit bloom when is she treated with respect and affection. It is not available on DVD but will be broadcast on Turner Classic Movies three times this month: Dec 13, 06:00 PM, Dec 24, 11:15 PM, and Dec 25, 06:15 AM.

Remember the Night at LocateTV.com

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Classic Holidays Movie Mom’s Top Picks for Families Rediscovered Classic Romance

The Holiday

Posted on December 3, 2006 at 3:54 pm

Amanda (Cameron Diaz) has a successful business cutting up new Hollywood releases into three-minute trailers that make the films look as enticing as possible. Writer-director Nancy Meyers essentially cuts up classic romantic comedies and reassembles them for modern consumption. The result is glossy fluff entertainment like What Women Want and Something’s Got to Give. They’re pretty to look at but they dissolve like cotton candy.


Amanda and Iris (Kate Winslet) find themselves with broken hearts just before Christmas. On impulse, they both go online and end up swapping homes for the holidays. Iris goes to Amanda’s glamorous house on movie star row in Los Angeles and Amanda ends up sliding around on high heels along the snowy road to Iris’s picturesque little cottage in the English countryside. And who should come to their doors but Jude Law as Graham, Iris’ brother, tipsy and looking for a place to sleep it off, and Jack Black as Miles, a soundtrack composer.


It’s hard to say whether the movie is being meta in its movie references (an old-time Hollywood screenwriter from next door gives Iris a must-watch list of classic romantic comedies and Amanda’s trailer for a Lindsay Lohan action film is one of the highlights), or just unimaginative and derivative. Probably a little bit of both. Too often, it is so formulaic you can see the little index cards — MUST HAVE: adorable guy with an English accent who is misunderstood and turns out to be even dreamier than we first thought; completely unnecessary romantic dash through the snow; character who announces that she can’t cry and so must then cry; cad who broke girl’s heart beg her to come back so she can turn him down, check, check, check. Oh, and just to make sure, let’s pick the safest, most predictable, guaranteed heart-tugger songs on the soundtrack. Even the delectable Diaz can’t make some of the behavior in this film feel anything but tawdry. There are some logistical impossibilities that will jar even the most beguiled of audiences out of the movie. It’s worst failings are its smugness about its own charms, unwarranted banner of female empowerment, and phony sincerity. But the stars and settings are undeniably appealing. If it is as synthetic and insubstantial as a Kinkade Christmas tree ornament, it is as pretty, too.

Families who enjoy this film will also enjoy some of the classics recommended for Iris, including The Lady Eve and His Girl Friday, plus Holiday, a movie in the same genre also set around New Year’s Eve and with a title that might have inspired this one, starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. They will also enjoy Love Actually (very mature material) and Nancy Meyers’ other films, What Women Want and Something’s Gotta Give.

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Comedy Drama Holidays Romance

A Christmas Story

Posted on December 13, 2002 at 5:17 am

There’s no better way to start off the Christmas season than this holiday classic, now celebrating its 25th anniversary and so popular that Turner Classic Movies runs it for 24 hours each year. Millions of fans can recite its lines from memory and some are so passionate they visit the Christmas Story house and attend the Christmas Story conference. Some even buy leg lamps or the action figures.

christmas story action figures.jpg

I think there are two reasons for the movie’s enduring appeal. First, it perfectly evokes the experience of childhood. Today’s kids may not drink Ovaltine or wait for their decoder rings, but they still have to deal with bullies and they still wish for gifts their parents think are too dangerous. But more than that, this is the perfect antidote to all those stories of Christmas perfection on one hand and dysfunction on the other. I love the way this family responds when everything goes wrong. They laugh. And you know that in the future, this Christmas is the one they will always remember.

Parents should know that this movie includes some mild sexual references. A character offers money to a girl to do some non-specific things for him and looks at pictures of women in lingerie. There are also humorous references to bad language including a child having his mouth washed out with soap for swearing.

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Based on a book Comedy Family Issues Holidays Stories About Kids
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