Sunday, December 14, 2014

1986 - A SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS. #6 in the Christmas film marathon

It's sure not getting any easier watching Christmas films this month.  I decided on a different approach and went with more established entertainment personalities.  That is how I ended up watching a film with Dolly Parton and Lee Majors as the stars and actor Henry Winker calling the shots behind the camera. 

Lee is first billed on the credits but Dolly takes a screen credit for original story and what a story.  Dolly plays a famous country western singer who wants to get back to her roots by returning to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.  She goes to a remote cabin where she finds seven count em seven orphans hiding out.  She meets Lee Majors playing a character called Mountain Dan and there is an evil mountain witch involved.  Yes, Dolly has cribbed the plot for her original story from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Usually in these Christmas movies the director has one obnoxious child actor to deal with but Director Winkler must have had his hands full dealing with seven of these little monsters, none of whom can act.  Dolly plays herself and sings a lot of songs oN the guitar.  In fact she spits out Christmas songs like they were used pieces of chewing gum.  Lee Majors as "Mountain Dan"  plays the same character he always played in The Fall Guy or The Six Million Dollar Man, so there is some comfort in.  Henry Winkler doesn't show much talent behind the camera the film is barely competent in the staging, the actors kind of stumble around the sets.

 Throughout the film the viewer is constantly reminded of what a "hot chick" Dolly Parton is.  Frankly with her weird body painted on makeup and her very large hair which actually overshadows her very large bosom she's kind of gross and how many women living in a cabin in the mountains walk around in stiletto heels?

Another horrible holiday movie which has nothing to do with the Christmas holiday.

94 minutes.

2010 - CHRISTMAS CUPID, #5 in the Christmas countdown

This is the Christmas movie where our heroine is called a "slut" and a "bitch" by a Christmas spirit in this updating of the Charles Dickens story.

What can be said by now upon finishing this Christmas film.  Some singer who I've barely heard of named Christina Milan is visited by the ghosts of three boyfriends from the past, present and future.  I've got the drill by now, it's another film about a woman trying to get a boyfriend with the Christmas holiday serving as the background to all this relationship stuff.

I'm not exactly sure who the intended audience for this film was.  You wouldn't want to watch it with Grandma and probably not with your younger daughter the last thing anyone needs in a Christmas movie is a bunch of pseudo sexuality stuck into a so called Christmas film.

Well anyway as with the previous films, it's poorly acted and badly written.  This movie does have a little more polish to it mostly because the production had a bigger budget than the other films I've been watching.  Still Christmas Cupid is a very worthless film.

85 minutes.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2004 - A VERY COOL CHRISTMAS, #4 in the Christmas movie viewing marathon

Crappy production values, another look-a-like bunch of teenage actors and "where's my paycheck" performer George Hamilton probably shooting every scene in one take so he could get the hell off the set. 

This is a so called Christmas comedy involves for lack of a better phrase. A valley girl hanging around at the shopping mall comes to realize that the real Santa Claus is actually working the kid greeting kiosk posing for pictures.  For reasons that are just incredibly stupid, she gives Santa a makeover and he comes out looking like George Hamilton.  But not just any old George Hamilton he has his special Santa powers of flying in a sled or a hot sports car and popping down chimneys.  

The valley girl played by some actress named Brooke Niven was the future star of I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, is another bubble brained latte drinking teenager that accompanies Santa Hamilton on his Christmas Eve journey.  There seems to be a lot of these types of teenagers showing up in Christmas movies.

As stupid as this movie is it still can't touch A Mom For Christmas as the bottom of the barrel of recent Christmas movies.  Frankly, watching these films is getting tough.

90 minutes.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

2007 - A GRANDPA FOR CHRISTMAS, #3 in the Christmas film countdown.

A slight improvement in quality from the previous Christmas epic A Mom for Christmas.  This film is better only because the cast of professional actors is so much better than the non-acting bunch of that film with one exception.  That exception is yet another dreadful little child actor named Juliette Goglia.  This kid not only over emotes but sings and dances like some kind of Las Vegas showgirl.  Goglia just can't sing a song at a school Christmas pageant she has to murder it.  She dances and struts all over the stage like Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls.

Probably the main attraction is the adult cast of the film.  It's a list of professional TV actors headed by that old trooper Ernest Borgnine who must have been pushing about 90 years old when they finished this.  Borgnine worked into his mid 90's in the entertainment business.

Honestly, this film isn't so hot.  The story is another one of those family dramas where nobody likes or understands each other mostly because of some misunderstanding that occurred years ago.  These kinds of stories could be easily resolved if everyone sat down and talked to each other but then there would be no movie.

This is the kind of film that would be considered safe viewing for the entire family.  Everyone can relate to a sentimental story of a family coming together during the Christmas season and Ernest Borgnine is basically a big loveable teddy bear.

120 minutes

Sunday, November 30, 2014

1990 - A MOM FOR CHRISTMAS, No. 2 in the Christmas film series

Two films into this month's Christmas film festival.   I am wondering if I have already hit rock bottom with this piece of crap that is so bad it barely mentions Christmas and certainly doesn't evoke the spirit of the holiday.  At least The Christmas Candle had that going for it.

Olivia Newton John is a store mannequin brought to life after a little girl wishes she could have a mom for the Christmas holiday to be with her and her widower father.  Almost immediately visions of one of the plots of The Twilight Zone come to mind.  But Rod Serling never had someone as vacant as Olivia Newton John to deal with.  In fact I think it's safe to say that Olivia Newton John actually plays her character with all the personality of a mannequin.

The comedy in this film is extremely forced and after a while the film features an incredibly tasteless plot turn where the living mannequin and the father fall in love with each other. There is just something very icky about a plastic mannequin being the obsession of a workahcolic male.  It's kind of like he got himself a sex toy or something.

The little girl is played by one of the most appalling child actors I have seen in a while,  Juliet Sorci.   Sorci whimpers and simpers throughout the film when she's not having temper tantrums. 

But fear not precious viewer.  Like Pinocchio, the mannequin becomes a real boy girl thanks to the magic of Christmas.  I guess I should mention this is another Christmas film with poor dialog, acting and direction which seems to be par for the course for these films.

96 minutes

2013 - THE CHRISTMAS CANDLE, 1st of the 12 films of Christmas project

The rules for the posts this month.  Only Christmas movies.  No movie can be one that is already considered a classic such as It's A Wonderful Life or White Christmas.  You have been warned.  Let's start with The Christmas Candle a piece of religious slop from last year.


In this film, an angel appears every 25 years to a candlemaker's shop and turns one of his candles into a magic candle which will grant wishes to whoever lights it.  The film is set in a town in jolly old England.  The town is run by a rich woman who seeks out a minister for her Church and who will buy into this magic candle stuff.  The town lives in a state of poverty but the lady "to the manor born" wouldn't think of giving money to anyone when she can get these people to run around chasing their tails looking for a magic candle.

Well into this cheery little scene comes a minister who has sort of lost his faith in God after his wife and daughter have died of consumption, a noted movie disease.  Guess who ends up getting the magic candle, gets his faith restored and for good measure gets the only hot chick in the village.  It really was a magic candle after all.

Not Hot
The film is a who's who of English actors who I have never heard of and don't have a clue about.   The exception is the very scary Susan Boyle that well known warbler of "I Dreamed a Dream." In this film she sings a song about a magic Christmas candle of course. 

There is nothing really all that bad about this film.  The problem is that there is nothing particularly special or good about it either.  I don't doubt the sincerity of the makers of The Christmas Candle  I just question their choice of material and the way they handled it.

100 minutes

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2002 - THE SUM OF ALL FEARS - more spy vs spy stuff from Tom Clancy

An attempt to reboot the Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan thriller franchise with a new actor playing Ryan, Ben Affleck.  The role had previously been played by Alec Baldwin and then Harrison Ford.  Those films had been highly successful at the box office.  However the studio did not want to continue to payout the large sums of cash Ford was asking for with each successive film.

The Sum Of All Fears was like one of those Spiderman films.  The studio pretended the first series never existed and just started the whole thing over with a different and cheaper actor.  So in The Sum Of All Fears, Jack Ryan is no longer the deputy CIA director.  This film takes him all the way back to being a desk bound intelligence analyst.

This film is watchable but a little lazy.  The bad guys are the movies favorite villains the ex Nazis.  They are attempting to start a new world order by tricking the United  States and the Soviet Union into going to war with each other.  This old standby of a plot has been used in just about every other James Bond film.

This is a perfectly acceptable B-flat thriller nothing special but watchable.

124 minutes