Everett Collection No one would have suspected when A Christmas Story hit theaters 30 years ago that it would become a holiday staple today. The movie, about an imaginative boy who just wanted a BB gun and his crazy family, opened to tepid box office returns and harsh reviews. Yet today it’s a holiday classic, with TBS playing the film on a 24-hour continuous loop Christmas Day for the last 10 years.
Why is A Christmas Story so infinitely watchable? Why is it impossible to turn away from the movie’s charms, even though you’ve seen it a million times before? Below is a list of the top five reasons we can (and probably will) watch A Christmas Story all day again this year:
5. The Leg LampThanks to A Christmas Story, the household lamp has gotten a sexy upgrade. The sexy leg lamp, complete with stockings, becomes a bone of contention in Ralphie's house. Dad finds it a fine work of art to display, while mom just wants to pack it back in it’s “fra-gi-le” box. Now this sexy leg lamp is an accessory you can buy for your own home to start arguments with your own family.
4. The Triple Dog DareThe most deadly of all dares, the triple dog dare can get even the most reasonable kid to take on crazy challenges. Thanks to A Christmas Story we all know it’s a bad idea to lick a frozen pole. Life lessons!
3. “Oh Fudge!”Except he didn’t say fudge. When Ralphie tries to help his father change a flat tire, he says the mother of all curse words. A Christmas Story takes us back to a simpler time, when dropping the F-bomb seemed like the end of the world.
2. The Bunny SuitAnyone who has ever gotten an embarrassing Christmas present and had to pretend to like it can relate to Ralphie’s dilemma. Given the most hideous pink bunny suit known to man, Ralphie is forced to don the pajamas, complete with a floppy-eared hood.
1. “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid”The ultimate lesson we learned from A Christmas Story was that, no matter how much you might want a BB gun, the odds are pretty high you’ll eventually shoot your eye out. The movie is worth watching on a 24 hour loop just for the scene where Ralphie goes to a mall Santa to request his ideal Christmas gift. Instead of holiday cheer, he has his dreams squashed and gets a foot in his face. Ho-ho-ho!
What are some reasons you could watch A Christmas Story all day? What are your favorite moments from the movie? Share in the comments!
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WTF with Marc Maron is pretty much the best podcast ever: the freewheeling conversations between Marc and his guests are almost always fascinating, especially when they reveal hidden facets of famous celebrities you thought you already knew. But there's another cool element to WTF, when Marc's guest is someone you've never heard of who turns out to be a talented and interesting person. Here's five examples of WTF episodes (all of them from the last 50 shows, which means they're still available free on iTunes) featuring interesting talks with names you might not recognize.
Curt Kirkwood (episode 428, September 30, 2013)
The leader of '80s college radio heroes The Meat Puppets, Curt Kirkwood is, as Maron puts it, the only WTF guest ever to survive a plane crash. The remarkable thing is that that's not actually the most interesting anecdote the Arizona rocker offers during this wide-ranging chat.
Hunt Sales (episode 423, September 12, 2013)
Drummer Hunt Sales hits two of Maron's obsessions, '70s rock and old-school TV comedians. Alongside his bass-playing brother Tony, Sales played with Iggy Pop, Todd Rundgren and David Bowie (in the ill-fated Tin Machine), among many others. But the brothers' dad was groundbreaking TV comic Soupy Sales, whose '60s TV shows were among the first to treat kids like adults.
Danny Lobell (episode 398, June 17, 2013)
Danny Lobell pioneered the interviews-with-comedians podcast idea that Maron perfected. But the bulk of his interview consists of a discussion of how Lobell's religious life as an observant Jew colors his comedy, and anecdotes about his personal friendships with old-school comedians like Jackie Mason and George Carlin during his days as a struggling upstart.
Phil Hendrie (episode 393, May 30, 2013)
If you never heard Phil Hendrie's old AM radio show, you missed out on the best long-form radio comedian since the late great Jean Shepherd. Armed with nothing more than a couple of mics and a mixing board, Hendrie used to improvise surreal call-in shows with outlandish guests and outraged callers, with all voices done by him, alone and in real time. It was amazing. Hendrie talks about those days and more in a conversation all radio fans will find fascinating.
Sam Simon (episode 389, May 16, 2013)
Sam Simon co-created The Simpsons, along with working a number of other TV classics. Recorded shortly after Simon announced that he has terminal cancer, this emotional but often hilarious conversation touches on the breadth of Simon's career and the philosophical aspects of life and death. It's one of the most empathetic and powerful episodes of the show so far.
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Well this certainly is...something! Cult-like holiday classic and my mother's all-time favorite film, A Christmas Story has a sequel. "At long last!" screamed nobody. "You're welcome," said Hollywood. So here we are: set a few years after the original, Ralphie and his family are back for the teen years version of their customary holiday antics. This straight-to-DVD film has all the tropes of the original: accidents, santa claus, and leg lamps (oh my)! Hysterical mothers and awkward children! Costumes!
Of course, this isn't the first sequel of the film. Wait, you didn't know that? It's true! There are actually two: a TV movie (Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss) and a Charles Grodin-starring film It Runs in the Family, both of which were written by the original Christmas Story author, Jean Shepherd. Which raises the question: why is this one being touted as the "official sequel" when the other ones had Shepherd involved but this one doesn't. Still unsure? Be our guest and formulate your own opinions on the film with the trailer below.
Will you be checking out the newest A Christmas Story? Let us know in the comments.
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In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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Years of bangs and booms in high-action movies have left the Bloodsport star's hearing impaired, and he recently sought expert help to correct his partial deafness.
The doctor's session was shown on U.K. TV documentary series Jean Claude Van Damme: Behind Closed Doors on Tuesday (10May11), and the tough guy revealed, "I shot lots of guns in movies but I'm able to hear unusual sounds, like if you slide fax paper in the living room I can hear it, like a German Shepherd."
Van Damme then underwent several tests before he was diagnosed with high-frequency hearing loss - and he was urged to protect his ears as much as possible.
The doctor told him, "There is a difference in hearing in high frequencies between both sides (of his ears), which means if many people are talking together in a group, it's quite difficult for you to understand someone speaking. You hear, but you can't understand.
"That's the problem when there's a high-frequency hearing loss. What you can do is not make it worse, so use ear protection when you go out (and shoot) movies."
During the medical consultation, Van Damme was also warned he may need to undergo surgery on his nose in the future, due to a deviated septum.
There’s something about Jean Reno that just irks me. Perhaps it's the way he always seems to have this weaselly look about him that makes my skin crawl. Perhaps it’s that ever-shifting accent that makes it hard to peg him down. Or perhaps it’s that he is French.
Anyway, Reno has joined the cast of I, Alex Cross, the film that finds Tyler Perry not directing or writing for himself. Instead, we he'll play a detective trying to hunt down a serial killer named Jack Shepherd, I mean, Matthew Fox. Reno’s role is being kept secret, though you wouldn’t have to stretch that far to assume that it’ll be mysterious and probably of some ethnic variety. Also, he’ll probably say something witty. Because the French do that. Rob Cohen is directing the reboot of the Cross series, which began when Morgan Freeman portrayed the character in Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider. Production is set to begin on August 8th and Summit will release it sometime next year.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The spotlight was on Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire as Mo'Nique picked up the Outstanding Supporting Actress honour, moviemaker Lee Daniels was named Outstanding Director and Geoffrey Fletcher took home the Outstanding Writing trophy.
The film was also named Outstanding Motion Picture of the year at the Los Angeles ceremony.
Newcomer Sidibe thanked her co-stars as she stepped onstage to collect her prize, calling Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Sherri Shepherd and Mariah Carey her "teachers".
She told the audience, "It is an honour to be nominated, but it is so awesome to win. I love winning!"
Elsewhere, Morgan Freeman was named Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela in Invictus, and he acknowledged production partner Clint Eastwood in his acceptance speech.
Filmmaker Tyler Perry was handed the annual Chairman's Award in recognition of his humanitarian efforts, while his sitcom Tyler Perry's House of Payne won Outstanding Comedy Series for the third consecutive year.
Maxwell and Mary J. Blige were named Outstanding Male and Female Artist, while Keri Hilson was the recipient of the Outstanding New Artist trophy.
Wyclef Jean's tireless fundraising efforts for earthquake-stricken Haiti also earned him a top honour, the Vanguard Award, from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt thrilled Haitians over the weekend by visiting the war-torn island as part of a United Nations goodwill trip.
It was the couple's first official engagement since Jolie last week announced to an aid worker that she is expecting the movie hunk's child.
The pair arrived on Haiti from neighboring Dominican Republic, where Jolie is shooting The Good Shepherd with Robert De Niro and Matt Damon, on Friday and traveled in a convoy through the island's capital Port-au-Prince.
The couple then visited a school supported by Fugees star Wyclef Jean's charity Yele Haiti.
Jolie told reporters, "You hear so much just about the danger and the fear, and then you come here and you meet just an amazing people. "Given just a little chance, and given a little help, this is going to be a great country."
Meanwhile, Wyclef Jean has thanked his friends for taking the trouble to visit his homeland.
In a statement, the “Ready or Not” hitmaker says: "To have these people grace our country is a beautiful thing."
Jolie and Pitt's visit to Haiti comes as the country struggles to organize its first elections since former President Jeanbertrand Aristide was forced from power during a violent coup in 2004.
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