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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Love and Lights, Camera, Action!

I've come down with a bug, which may (or may not) have been very responsible for my 'stuckness' the other day here in Blogworld.

It's a right royal 'mare, as I was starting to feel very Christmassy.   For the first time in years, really.   And I do confess to loving Christmas for its hope, its magic and its sparkle

The deaths of my Mutti and Dad.   The loss of my Uncle.   All the shit stuff that had happened to me and my colleagues in the workplace.   The endless shift and shuffle to try to find work.   Being in therapy and over-thinking everything!

So today, when I have half risen from my fetid pit, I feel up to exploring my 10 favourite seasonal films, designed to fill us all with magic at this (or any) time of year...

Come on in, put your feet up!   I know you've been very busy lately...    There'll be time to drag the Yule Log in later, I pwomise.

Number 1:   Practical Magic - A favourite pick-me-up at any time of year - Not especially Christmassy, but it does contain many doses of magic - Not for the faint hearted or tiny children, contains some witchery and scary scenes/references to murder and death.   But the house is soooo beautiful!

Number 2:   While You Were Sleeping - Again, one of my favourite actresses, Sandra Bullock, plays the lead in this lovely little romantic comedy, with Bill Pullman (grrrooowwwwlllll) as the 'hero'.   Sad and lonely train ticket-seller, Lucy, saves the life of the glamorous man she's been obsessing about, but doesn't know...   She is taken to be his fiancee and warmly accepted into the bosom of his large and loving family while he lies in a coma.   (It's really not as dark as it sounds!)      As she falls into love with his family, she runs the risk of losing them if she is forced to tell the truth.   But his brother is on her trail...

Number 3:   Mousehunt - What's not to tell?!   These are just about my favourite films, right, so I'm bound to say that this features more of my favourite comedians and actors - This time, Brit Lee Evans, fabulous Nathan Lane and mad as a box of frogs, Christopher Walken.   This is a family movie about brothers who inherit a beautiful but decrepit old house that has a previous tenant - A tenacious mouse.   The story unfolds as they try to rid the house of the mouse...   Mr Walken is the scary rodent exterminator - If you've not seen their comic turns before, this is a real Christmas treat.   Favourite line, when they go to Rescue to try to get hold of a vicious cat as mouser, the attendant says about this CGI cat in a box:

"Funny you should ask. I had all but given up on anyone wanting him.   We were about 
to gas him again"
Nathan says, "Again?"

Number 4:   Millions - My earlier review of this wonderful sentimental, crazy-beautiful film by Danny Boyle is here CLICKIE   Danny is going to be involved with the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony from Great Britain - Can't wait!

Number 5:   National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Christmas wouldn't be Christmas in the Fhina household without the Family Griswold.   Griswold is what we seasonally call Grizz!   This film may be bad but it is good for a laugh - Say no more!

Number 6:    Scrooged - Mad, bad and dangerous to know, Bill Murray is in full flow in this cracker of a bitter-sweet/light/dark movie.   Following the original story of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Murray is taken through the car-crash of his life to discover the true meaning of Christmas.   There's a wonderfully mad cameo by Carol Kane, and sometimes I feel a little 'stabby' myself:

Stay for the credits, and this sweetie:

Number 7:   About A Boy - Based on a best-selling book by Nick Hornby, while perhaps not a typically touching Christmas epic, you can't fail to be moved by this movie and its glittering soundtrack - Hugh Grant 'phones in an archetypal performance as a lazy and cynical trustafarian, earning an easy living from his grandfather's holiday jingle and passing himself off as a single parent, so as to more easily trap single Mums - He is thrown together with the brilliant Nicholas Hoult, a twelve year old boy with a chronically depressed and suicidal mother, who is struggling to cope and trying to work out what it means to fit in...   Or not.   Together, they learn some valuable life lessons and find themselves.

Number 8:   Comfort and Joy - Director, Bill Forsyth, is one of my home-spun favourites and here he manages an intimate and amusing portrayal of familial ties and rivalries:   I love Scottish actor, Bill Paterson, playing radio host, Alan 'Dickie' Bird, who finds himself embroiled in Italian ice-cream van wars in Glasgow.  

Number 9:   The Holiday - I only discovered this little gem last year and I didn't want to enjoy it, but I got sucked right in!   I also don't usually like Jude Law, but he is bearable in this film, featuring one of my favourite actresses, Kate Winslet.   An English girl and an American media mogul swap houses for the holidays to get away from their tangled love lives, and instead get embroiled in each other's lives, and find new love...  
I want to live in the English cottage that Cameron Diaz comes to live in - Don't you?

Number 10:   Your Choice?    Please let me know in the comments...   Yes, I know I've not included some real stars, such as It's A Wonderful Life - Confession Time, again - I've never seen it!   But I'm interested in your favourites, I am!

Have a Wonderful Yule Celebration, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah and have fabulous holidays, everyone - May I wish for you this season, all that you could possibly wish for yourself, and most of all - Joy and peace - Mwah! - Gotcha!      xxx 


Gigi said...

I got sucked into The Holiday too - and I was pretty sure I wouldn't like it, but I did. And, of course National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a must see every year.

Mrs Jones said...

Ah, 'The Holiday'. I live in the village where Cameron Diaz came to stay. Well, half the village really, filming was split between Godalming (where I live) and Shere which is a few miles away. Sadly the little cottage was built for the film so it doesn't exist. So I can't watch this without pointing out all the places I know!

As far as my favourite christmas movies go, I love the traditional ones, you know, 'Die Hard' and 'Bad Santa', but also 'It's a Wonderful Life' (which isn't shown nearly enough), 'Singin' in the Rain', 'The Sound of Music', all the biggies really.

Anonymous said...

Some great choices here. I'm a big fan of Bill Forsyth - Local Hero is one of my favourites of all time. Isn't Comfort and Joy the one with the sanity clause/Santa Clause joke? I love Millions and About A Boy as well. If you like low key British films like that - we watched Submarine the other night - nothing to do with Christmas but very enjoyable.

Librarian said...

I have seen none of these movies, but I have read "About a Boy" and quite liked it.
The picture of the cottage interior makes me want to spend a long, cozy weekend there!
And the first picture with that lady surrounded by all those wonderful cakes - I want to be that lady :-)))

Since I am not much of a movie person, I do not have any specific favourites for this season. But when I was a child, we all loved the Czech Cinderella adaption they showed here on TV every year around Christmas, with wonderful music and the most beautiful actress, Libuse Safrankova.

Canadian Chickadee said...

One of my favourite all-time movies came out about 40 years ago and stars Peter Sellers: "The World of Henry Orient." Set in a Manhattan that never looked better, it involves a couple of appealing young teenage girls who develop a crush on a concert pianist (Sellers) who is a serial womanizer and who doesn't practice. They stalk him, and in the process learn a lot about life and love. It also stars Angela Lansbury, Tom Bosworth, and several other noteworthy actors of the day. I bought a copy years ago and would watch it whenever I had a bad day. Which means I know it practically by heart!
Hope you're feeling better soon and have a wonderful Christmas in spite of the bug.

Canadian Chickadee said...

I forgot to add: the pivotal scene in "The World of Henry Orient" takes place at Christmas.

I also forgot to mention that the house you liked so much in "Practical Magic" was an actual house that was remodeled in Western Washington and actually exists, though not in exactly the same form as in the movie.

Have a great Christmas!

Eddie Bluelights said...

Happy Christmas ~ Eddie

BadPenny said...

Practical Magic, While you were sleeping & the Holiday are all in my top ten ! I resisted watching the Holiday for ages & now I've seen it again & again & totally love it - the same with fifty first dates

BadPenny said...

Practical Magic, While you were sleeping & the Holiday are all in my top ten ! I resisted watching the Holiday for ages & now I've seen it again & again & totally love it - the same with fifty first dates

Cait O'Connor said...

Thanks for these recommendations, some I have seen, some not. I loved The Holiday too, not seen enough that one. Happy New Year to you.

Suldog said...

Hmmmmmmmm. Nobody has mentioned "A Christmas Story"? It is a perennial favorite over here, but perhaps it is unknown there? No matter. it is a hilarious (and heartwarming, in the end) film. By all means, if you haven't ever seen it, do so!

Nicole said...

Like all the others, I was not drawn to choose The Holiday - but fell upon it while channel surfing, and had really enjoyed it. One of my favourites is "Home for the Holidays" with Ann Bancroft et al.. I love watching so called dysfunctional family stories, which in fact I believe represent what it is truly like to be around family - for some strange reason there is an expectation that all family members will be replicas of each other, with personality not too far from Stepford wives type robotics - when in fact it is real life when the inappropriate and secrets are spoken, when personality grates against personality. Love it all. Also like "From time to Time" with Maggie Smith, a great film when lurking in the "fetid pit", along with any of Nanny McPhee movies.

By the way, I like your blog, even when its not "all roses" when your feeling blue. I also follow your contributions on blog "Mad Manic Mamas" which is great support & comfort when living with tweens.

rosaria said...

I'm so glad to reunite with you again! and so sorry for your loss!
Let's drink to a new year full of hope and good health and marvelous adventures.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Can't ever leave 13 comments, sorry!

My grateful thanks to you for your recommendations, for films I've never encountered before, for sticking with me through thick, think and thin and for just being you!

Mwah! Happy New Year to you all - May you find the peace and joy you deserve in this life <3

Fhina xxx

Something I wrote earlier...

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