movies

Leslie’s Holiday Picks

I was talking with Quinzel earlier in the month and she asked me if I wanted to review The Grinch. Slight problem with that was that I hate The Grinch. I hate the animated cartoon, the Jim Carrey version, and I would probably hate its newest version.

“Well, what about doing a post about your favorite Holiday movies?” Quinzel suggested, probably a little gob smacked that I extol so much vitriol for that little green bastard.

So here I am, to tell you, my friends, about my favorite Holiday movies. Strap in.

 

  1. Love Actually

Everyone talks so much trash about this movie. You know what brah? I don’t even care. Bill Nighy is a hilarious delight. Keira Nightly’s collarbones stand at attention. Colin Firth is a weirdo, Natalie (not her real name) is not fat. Rick Grimes is a creeper. A mean creeper at that. And macking on his BFFs wife. IT IS A LOT AND I AM HERE FOR IT ALL. Plus, Karl. Oh Karl you fine specimen of a man. That woman deserved her neurotic brother and not you. LOVE ME KARL!!!

  1. Frosty the Snowman

Yall, do you know how short this show is? I put it on for Geeky Baby the other day and it was over BEFORE I GOT FINISHED DOING THE DISHES! That is my type of Holiday movie. I have the attention span of a toddler on pixie sticks, and I can handle this. I know this is saying nothing about the story of Frosty the Snowman, but. he’s a snowman? He almost gets a girl pneumonia while trying to save him. And speaking of pneumonia, WHERE ARE THIS GIRL’S PARENTS!? If I hopped a train to the North Pole to save a sentient snow man, I am pretty sure my mother would have several words for me. I am pretty sure this rant qualifies me for AARP. If you need a spokesperson AARP, I am here for you.

  1. Scrooged

Scrooge is a dick. Bill Murray is a delight. This movie is just good fun though. We all know the tale of Scrooge. Rickety old man, counts his pennies, visited by three ghosts. This is just another version of it. But with the comedic stylings of Bill Murray. You can’t go wrong. Plus, I like when he shouts the answer to the trivia while on TV to his brother. It always made me cackle as a kid.

  1. Trolls Holiday

Okay, so looking at my offerings above, it may seem like I am a holiday hating jerk. But honestly, I am not. I love the holidays. I love making Chex Mix and cookies with Geeky Baby. I enjoy decorating the tree and presenting my husband and kid with their Christmas tree ornaments. In that vein I got to be honest with you that I enjoyed Trolls Holiday. We all have that overbearing enthusiastic friend that just wants us to share in the joy that they have for something. And Poppy is no different. She learns her lesson in the end, and happiness is had by all. Plus, I am a sucker for a good song and this movie is full of them.

  1. The Olay Holiday Musical

Okay look. This isn’t a holiday movie. But look. Have you guys seen this? I love the girl that sings, and I end up singing all the little songs that she sings too. And who among us haven’t had catty ass relatives asking us annoying questions that we wish we could quip to like this? PS: Olay if you are granting wishes, I would love any of the products she is talking about. Leslie PO Box 90232 Indianapolis, IN. 46290

 

 

As you can see, I don’t have a lot of favorites. But I have a steady supply. This isn’t to say this is all I watch. I have a kid. I have to introduce her to Rudolph (which is a video instructional on how NOT to treat someone different than you), Charlie Brown Christmas (If I have to hear ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ more than once during the holiday season, I will probably fight someone), and of course The Grinch (my kid calls it The Grunch and it amuses me to no end). Geeky Baby should be allowed to make her own choices on the shows that she likes. Maybe she won’t be as curmudgeonly as I am when she gets older.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a (Spoiler Free) Geeky Girl Review

You will have more fun in Star Wars: The Last Jedi than you knew was humanly possible. There are scenes so striking, innovative, and flat out magical that you will nearly fall out of your seat. You will gape. You will cheer. You just might cry.

Megafans will debate for years about character arcs, continuity, and whether porgs are adorable or nah.  But what cannot be denied is that The Last Jedi is visually stunning, massively entertaining, and almost never takes the predictable route.

This crop of Star Wars movies has the unenviable task of pulling off the near impossible: honor the past while creating the future. Change is hard. Launching the next generation of heroes and making space for them is crucial, but honoring the deep love that fans have for the original heroes is equally as important. The Last Jedi did both.

Our beloved heroes, Luke and Leia, are still leading the rebellion and bringing hope to the galaxy. They still know how to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Our iconic villain, Darth Vader, still casts a looming shadow even in his absence.  Yet it is clear that the power of the force is not owned by anyone or anything.  The Jedi religion is not shackled to any physical place.  Good and evil are choices, not destiny, and we all get to make choices, no matter our family tree.

The Last Jedi also succeeds making the Star Wars universe more nuanced and complex, even while delivering crowd-pleasing scene after crowd-pleasing scene.  In The Last Jedi, heroes can make mistakes. Legends can have crises of faith. Things that are shiny can be grotesque upon closer inspection. And the girl who fixes the pipes can have a hero inside of her you just haven’t met yet.

The plotlines are equally innovative. There are numerous times I thought I knew what was coming, and The Last Jedi surprised me.

A forty year old franchise that can still surprise you is pulling off something special.

At its heart, Star Wars is an epic, timeless story. Truly valuable stories are living, breathing things that we pass down to our children and grandchildren. When we hoard them and encase them in carbonite, they become more suited for museum display. The surprises and innovations of The Last Jedi ensured that Star Wars is a story that will inspire generations to come.

Still dubious? Stand in my sensible-yet-attractive middle-aged pumps for a second. Let’s go on a journey to 1999. Picture being an overjoyed young adult camping out for a Star Wars prequel--the first in fifteen years. Imagine squeezing into a movie theater with breathless anticipation. The projector turns on and The Phantom Menace appears on the screen. Imagine a void where the soul and charm of Star Wars was supposed to be. Picture acting so wooden you want to feel something but you just don’t. Then you see Jar-Jar Binks. Yikes. What you are picturing is the experience of being fed an aggressively mediocre sci-fi movie dressed in a Star Wars suit. If you didn’t experience that, count your blessings.

I was born the year before Star Wars premiered. I have lived long enough to see great Star Wars movies being made again. These movies have introduced wildly endearing new heroes like Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose. They are movies packed with talented people acting their asses off, and with chemistry that sparks off of the screen.

You don’t even have to imagine that last part. Just go see The Last Jedi, and experience it for yourself.

 

Goodbye, Mr. Craven

Yesterday, Hollywood lost one of its greatest masters of horror, Wes Craven. Born in 1983 and a horror movie enthusiast myself, it would have been impossible for me to not have been exposed to Wes Craven’s work or influence on the genre. His ability to terrify with the smallest of details to the craziest of creations is what made his work stand the test of time. His work from the seventies and eighties was so popular, that many have been remade in the last ten, fifteen years. Yet, none could really capture the original finesse of the stories the originals told.

Over the years, his accomplishments have equaled many, including:

The Last House on the Left (1972)

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Deadly Friend (1986)

Shocker (1989)

The People Under the Stairs (1991)

Scream (1996)

Cursed (2005)

Red Eye (2005)

My Soul to Take (2010)

The most culturally impacting of all of his creations being the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and his creation of the murderous, nightmare king, Freddy Krueger. A figure that is still revered in terror to this day. Nightmare on Elm Street is the most successful of all of Wes Craven’s creations. Nightmare on Elm Street is my personal favorite, and one I feel still holds up today. It balances the right amount of realism and fantasy to create an unforgettable ride of fear that the human mind is capable of as well as just how powerful vengeance can be, even from beyond the grave.

This was not the typical teen slasher flick of its day. The Krueger/Nightmare allowed for a unique story that left watchers confused and on edge as to what would happen next. It especially didn’t encourage anyone to go to sleep after the fact. Freddy changed all of the nightmare rules and became a cultural icon of fear.

Craven’s next biggest accomplishment was his single handed resurrection of the horror genre during the late 90’s with the film, Scream. The film was a wonderful homage to the slasher flicks from before with a freshness that appealed to new generations using mystery, suspense, and even comedy. It spurned a franchise of a new boogie man for a new generation, a boogie man that is almost as notable as its predecessor, Freddy.

Wes Craven’s imagination and terrifying storytelling will be greatly missed. My heart is heavy with sadness, but his films will live on in his absence, ready to influence and inspire many generations of horror film hopefuls to come. You will be missed, Mr. Craven.