A side effect of having Jan. 1 fall on movie-review day, so here goes. Mostly stuff I watch every year.
SNOW GLOBE (2007) has Christina Milian seeking refuge from her Too Loud Cuban/Italian family inside a snow globe where Christmas is perfect and hunky Matt Keeslar (the eponymous hero of Middleman) is thrilled to meet the cute stranger in town. Much gentler than most such family stories of the season, which is part of the appeal. “It isn’t Christmas if nobody’s shouting!”
I might have skipped CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945) this season given how busy December has been, but as I bought my own DVD … and as it turned it out proved perfect for a hectic morning, given that it’s so familiar to me. As always a charmer as Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan steal a horse, Una O’Connor and S.Z.Sakall debate Irish stew (“Now it’s goulash!”), Sidney Greenstreet watches a woman flip flapjacks and Dennis Morgan kisses a married woman. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to pay closer attention. “Never married? Why, that’s scandalous!”
Con man Humphrey Bogart, safecracker Peter Ustinov and murderer/rapist Aldo Ray insist WE’RE NO ANGELS (1955) even as they provide Christmas Eve salvation for Leo G. Carroll and his family from bullying cousin Basil Rathbone. A charmer, despite the nudge-nudge jokes about sexual assault. “If crime showed on a man’s face, there wouldn’t be any mirrors.”
Like Christmas in Connecticut, I tried using CHASING CHRISTMAS (2005) as a talking lamp while dealing with dogs; this didn’t work as well as I’m less familiar with the film. Still fun, though, as bitter grouch Tom Arnold discovers Christmas Past (Leslie Jordan) snapping under stress has not only stranded him in the past, it could potentially erase him and his daughter from reality. A nice break from more conventional Christmas fare. “You have done the most selfish thing ever one in the history of time — I checked!”
And of course we spent part of Christmas Day watching A CHRISTMAS STORY (1985), chronicling Young Ralphie’s quest for a Red Ryder BB Gun (with a compass in the stock!) despite everyone from Mom to Santa warning him he’ll shoot his eyes out. A viewing tradition I’ve kept up for many years. “It was — soap poisoning!”
With Christmas over, back to other types of movie — I think I put BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (1959) in my Netflix queue because of its supposed connection to The Mysterians but there’s actually no connection. It’s an alien invasion film, though too much in space for Alien Visitors. It’s enjoyable at the level of a second-string movie serial but no better than that. “Isn’t it impossible to remove gravity from a certain object or a certain place?”
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