The Office, Christmas episodes
I wrote about them last year; they get a collective A
Christmas Vacation, A
Office Christmas Party, B+
Die Hard, A
Community, “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”
This was the Community entry on a list of best Christmas TV episodes I found. I hadn’t seen it since probably its initial airing. It should be a classic for everyone. It is to me now.
8 Bit Christmas
An adult remembrance of the childhood lust for a particular Christmas present. Sound familiar? Yes, there are a lot references/common elements to/with A Christmas Story. It works because that lust is universal, whether you’re talking about a Red Ryder BB gun or a Nintendo NES. This has an especially poignant and affecting ending.
Movies and Shows
The Hunt for Red October
After watching Die Hard, I figured why not watch another John McTiernan masterpiece. First time watching this in a long time. Still great.
Three Days of the Condor
One of the all-time great spy movies, and since it takes place in December and there are Christmas songs in the background, I guess it can be called a Christmas movie if we use Die Hard rules.
First time watching. It was slow, like a lot of ‘70s movies are. And I did not buy Faye Dunaway suddenly falling for Robert Redford after he kidnapped her and tied her up to keep her captive. I know he’s RR, but have some respect for yourself, Faye. But the last 15 minutes are a pretty good mind-fuck and redeem the film. The relatively young Dunaway was pretty fetching!
Spider-Man: No Way Home
The girls and I hustled to the theater about two hours after L’s Christmas break began to catch the latest appearance by our friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man.
The multiverse thing worked in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Why not try it with Tom Holland and his crew? I never watched any of the Andrew Garfield movies, so his presence didn’t mean much to me. It was kind of cool to see Tobey McGuire on screen again, though.
I’m not big on the whole MCU thing, so lots of references are lost on me. Overall the story was decent. The lengthy denouement was surprisingly affecting. So I was entertained but I’m not sure I loved it. I liked the first two Holland movies more, though. L said it was her favorite of the three Holland movies, but she’s a sucker for recency bias.
Our New Year’s Eve movie of the year. Probably L’s fifth or sixth time watching it. I wish Spidey’s suit still talked to him.
Holiday Baking Championship
A great field of competitors this year, probably the best final four ever. I figured Adam was going to win from the beginning. He has amazing skills, but he was a little smug for my tastes. I was pulling for Sabrina. And Jose really grew on me. He was so surly and bitchy at the beginning but morphed into one of the most interesting competitors.
By Dawn’s Early Light
This was one of the final movies made about a fictional, largely nuclear, World War III before the fall of the Soviet Union. Released in 1990 on HBO, it featured a stellar cast. It got good reviews at the time. Today, it feels pretty damn cheesy. The ending is just flat weird. But I do love a nuclear apocalypse story. Darren McGavin, A Christmas Story’s Old Man, as the momentary president with the fate of the world in his hands was a nice surprise.
I’ve been trying to catch a few episodes of Seinfeld each week on Comedy Central. Nothing systematic about it, so they are all out-of-order. I’ve often said that Seinfeld doesn’t hold up the same way shows like Cheers did because it had so many specific pop cultural references. I still wonder about that, at least as far as people who weren’t alive in the ‘90s watching the show and getting everything. I have to admit that those little moments very much worked for me, though, and the show remains a classic.
Crazy documentary about climber Marc-Andre LeClerc, a young Canadian who took the free-soloing that Alex Honnold is famous for to another level. Insane views of insane climbs.
T in the Park 2016- Frightened Rabbit (Full Set)
I’ve watched this several times before. YouTube offered it up again and it seemed like a good way to kill 75 minutes or so.
Talks at Google: Scott Hutchison
It led me to this, again something I’ve watched before, where Scott talked to Google employees about two months before his death.
Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed
An accounting of Ross’ rise as an unlikely pop culture icon and the mess that his estate turned into after his death. Both inspiring and depressing. I had no idea he recorded his shows in Muncie, Indiana!
NPR’s Delicious Dish: Schweddy Balls
I actually skipped the SNL Christmas special, if it was even on, this year. I’ve been annoyed for ages about how it is pretty much the same show every year. So I spent a few nights watching some classic Christmas skits on YouTube. This one remains my favorite.
The Driver is Red
An animated, mini-doc about the capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.
How A NY Times Reporter Collects Royalties From Hundreds of Musicians
Obviously you have to be careful with one-sided accounts like this, but it still seems like some shady shit.
Madeira Island – A Destination for all Surf Lovers
One of the waves that William Finnegan wrote about in Barbarian Days.
The Story Behind Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”
One of my all-time favorite artists discussing my all-time favorite song, along with the rest of his career? Hell yes I’m listening to this!