Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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I liked it.

Captain Comics said:

I got to it Xmas Day. It was pretty good.

The Baron said:

Saw The Rise of Skywalker last night.

I loved it!

Sure, the snark police will find all kinds of things wrong with it, but I'm not sure what more any Star Wars fan could have wanted.


The Baron said:

I liked it.

Captain Comics said:

I got to it Xmas Day. It was pretty good.

The Baron said:

Saw The Rise of Skywalker last night.

I just took my kids to see Jumanji II. Different from the last movie; and, equally as amusing, in an equally medeocre way. My kids liked it though. That's all that counts to me.

CHRISTMAS EVE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL (FX, 2019): Did any of you guys see this? It aired December 19th, but we saved it until Christmas Eve. It was presented as a dark version of the Dickens classic. I assumed it was also to be a faithful version, but it was anything but. I usually experience A Christmas Carol each year in some fashion, and this year I picked this new TV movie. I’m definitely ambivalent about the results. On the one hand, it follows the basic plot but grafts an entirely new backstory on to the original, but on the other, as this three hour version wore on, I became almost morbidly obsessed to see what travesty they were going to present next.

They didn’t use any of the Dickens dialogue until 52 minutes in, then again, briefly, at the very end. In this version, Scrooge and Marley are not just ruthless businessman, they are personally responsible for the deaths of dozens of works in businesses they have purchased. Also, Scrooge takes sexual advantage of Bob Cratchit’s wife… oh, and she’s a witch who summons the spirits in the first place. I could go on but I won’t. I had to re-read the original the next day to purge the FX version from my short term memory.

CHRISTMAS DAY: DIE HARD: I had never seen this movie before, and I found out too late last year that it fits my definition of a “Christmas movie,” that it take place on or around the Christmas holiday (which cuts out “It’s a Wonderful Life,” for example; see page 294 of this discussion), to do anything about it. A few weeks ago we picked up a shrink-wrapped copy for two bucks at the annual HPB sale and saved it for Christmas day. As with the FX’s A Christmas Carol, I am ambivalent about the results. On the one hand, it does fit my definition of a Christmas movie, but on the other, this is the movie that caused an entire generation to misuse the phrase “yippee-i-yo-ki-yay.”

How is It's a Wonderful Life eliminated?

I did look at the post on page 294.

Because the vast majority of that movie is a flashback that doesn't take place anytime near Christmas. Movies such as Diner and Die Hard and Eyes Wide Shut at least take place entirely during the holiday season.

Man, I think a Christmas movie is rightly individual. If it’s a movie that you love to watch at Christmas time, and it gives you some happy holiday feels, then for you, it’s a Christmas movie. For years, I would watch the Beatles’ Help! every year while decorating my Christmas tree. Even though I haven’t seen it in a long time, it would feel weird to watch it at any other time of year. I don’t get enjoyment out of watching most traditional Christmas movie like Home Alone anymore, but I definitely love Shane Black movies. Also Scrooged and even Elf, but I think at Christmas, you have to do you.

I honestly think Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse is going to be a new Christmas movie for me.

I saw it--albeit in a couple of sittings--and liked it. I thought it was true to the spirit of the original, in that Scrooge sees the errors of his ways and makes amends. I don't mind the alterations; for me they just presented a fresh interpretation. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

CHRISTMAS EVE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL (FX, 2019): Did any of you guys see this? It aired December 19th, but we saved it until Christmas Eve. It was presented as a dark version of the Dickens classic. I assumed it was also to be a faithful version, but it was anything but. I usually experience A Christmas Carol each year in some fashion, and this year I picked this new TV movie. I’m definitely ambivalent about the results. On the one hand, it follows the basic plot but grafts an entirely new backstory on to the original, but on the other, as this three hour version wore on, I became almost morbidly obsessed to see what travesty they were going to present next.

They didn’t use any of the Dickens dialogue until 52 minutes in, then again, briefly, at the very end. In this version, Scrooge and Marley are not just ruthless businessman, they are personally responsible for the deaths of dozens of works in businesses they have purchased. Also, Scrooge takes sexual advantage of Bob Cratchit’s wife… oh, and she’s a witch who summons the spirits in the first place. I could go on but I won’t. I had to re-read the original the next day to purge the FX version from my short term memory.

"Scrooge sees the errors of his ways and makes amends."

Does he, though? He is so evil that even the movie implies that his torment will go on. He doesn’t even admit the “errors of his ways,” he simply wishes Tiny Tim lived. That’s all.

“It was presented as a dark version of the Dickens classic.”

As if the original wasn’t dark enough.

“I could go on but I won’t.”

Yes I will.

In this version, the Ghost of Christmas past manifests itself as Scrooges father, and proceeds to cut the head off of Scrooge’s pet mouse, Erasmus. Later it is revealed that, not only did his father leave him at boarding school over the Christmas holidays, but he had an arrangement with the headmaster for to leave him there specifically to be molested for a break in tuition. He is rescued one year by his sister who threatens the headmaster at the point of a gun (the implication being that she has already killed their father). All hints of past happiness have been removed from this version. No Fezziwig here!

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS: I had never seen this before last week, which surprises me because not only do I love old movies but I am from St. Louis. This is a “Christmas movie” in the same sense that “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a Christmas movie: one section takes place around Christmas. (Another section takes place on Hallowe’en, but I’ve never hear it referred to as a “Halloween movie.”) It was worth it just to hear “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung in context.

THE FORCE AWAKENS: In anticipation of The Rise of Skywalker.

THE LAST JEDI: In anticipation of The Rise of Skywalker.

THE RISE OF SKYWALKER: Before any spoilers came my way.

Recently watched: 

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966)

Journey to the Beginning of Time (1966)

Bob, those three movies are right in my wheelhouse -- 1950-'60s SF that I somehow missed. I'm sure they're all terrible, but is there anything interesting about them?

For my part I recently watched Lafayette Escradille and She. The former because I recently watched Errol Flynn's Dawn Patrol and it seemed like it might be a remake (plus the cast was impressive), and the latter because it's part of the Nerd Canon that I somehow missed.

Both were terrible. Both were very Of Their Time, and that time has passed.

Lafayette Escradille starred Tab Hunter, but also had David Janssen and Clint Eastwood, and I was jazzed about that. However, it turned out the latter two had really minor roles. (Eastwood's job was to stand around and look tall.) And it wasn't a Dawn Patrol remake, although it's about the same thing -- Americans who flew and fought for the French in World War I. There really isn't a lot of flying and fighting though -- mainly it's the story of Tab Hunter's character, who punches a French officer and has to take it on the lam. He shacks up with his French girlfriend, and basically can't leave their apartment. Who knew the French were so good at looking for deserters?

Meanwhile, she supports him while -- and this kinda bugged me -- with nothing at all to do all day, he can't be bothered to learn French. SHE has to learn ENGLISH, which he reminds her of every so often. Even though they're living in, you  know, France. Maybe I'm too "woke," but that ruined the movie for me. I think the least he could do is to learn the lingo and maybe try to fit in somewhere, get some kinda job. But no, he just mopes around the apartment, feeling sorry for himself. And really, what's to admire about this guy? Hothead, deserter, demanding boyfriend, couch potato. And he's the hero?

But he's a tall, handsome American, so the world has to change for him, not the other way around. (And -- spoiler -- it does. Bleah.)

I was pretty jazzed about She, because I've heard about both book and movie my whole life. And the movie had both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, plus what I've always heard as a career-making turn for Ursula Andress!

Well, I knew it came from the Manifest Destiny/White Savior era of literature, serial magazine fiction from the late 1800s, from which Edgar Rice Burroughs stole a lot. But I was unprepared for its naked racism and unapologetic imperialism. And since ERB did steal all of it (La of Opar), there wasn't much new here for me to grab hold of. It was just ... painful.

Yes, Andress is "built," as they used to say, but that wasn't enough for this old man to regret wasting two hours. At least now I can check She off my bucket list.

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