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Month in Review: December 2011

by on 2011/12/31

This month was a slog. An exhausting slog. Everything conspired against my Unconventional Christmas celebrations. There were major projects due, malls to survive, meals to burn and a growing stack of tempting video games.

Curse you Skyrim.

Oh, who am I kidding? I love you.

This year, I set about to find the strangest, most unconventional Christmas videos I could find. And strange I found. One was a made-for-TV movie full of holiday treacle and splattered with fake snow. One got me thinking about the possibility that I might have been in contact with psychopaths in my otherwise uneventful life. Another film made me wonder if life is really as unfair as I worry it might be.

As we say goodbye to 2011 — our annus horribilis — here are my favourites, surprises, disappointments, least-liked, and my fellow holiday sufferer’s most enticing offering.

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) on 2011/12/29

* * * *

“I have managed, for all my advanced years, to never, ever see this holiday classic end to end. Now I think I finally get why I’ve been avoiding this touchstone for so long. It is a story so poignant, it burns. It actually burns. I knew I was in trouble when I cried less than halfway through the first act. When the movie was over, I was running the risk of dehydration.”

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) on 2011/12/22

* * * *

“Sometimes I see a movie so clever, it makes me a little nervous. And by nervous I mean freeze up utterly, unable to paw a coherent sentence out of my cheap plastic keyboard. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is that kind of film. This film noir-buddy flick-romance-thriller-comedy-mystery contains medically unsafe levels of wit.”

The Trailer Park Boys Christmas Special (2004) on 2011/12/20


“When I saw Trailer Park Boys Christmas Dope & Liquor Edition in a delete bin, I thought it might make a nice addition to our unconventional Christmas marathon. Nice addition, my frost-bitten foot. I can now say without hesitation – my knuckle-dragging, flannel-wearing, walking brain-stem Grade 9 classmates from rural North Alberta could have created a better Christmas special. With only some smokes, kitten posters, empty boxes and a crowbar.”

A Hobo’s Christmas (1987) on 2011/12/30

* *

“Sometimes in the creation of something, you reach a point where you just want the thing done. Sometimes money – or the lack of money – is to blame. Sometimes time’s at issue, the deadline is looming . You make decisions based on expedience not quality. A Hobo’s Christmas, unfortunately, isn’t even a palatable piece of holiday fare. Definitely not quality. It could have been better, alas it was only half-baked …and splattered with fake snow.”

Show Me
Go (1999) on 2011/12/23

* * * *

“In fact, there’s almost nothing here I disliked. Don’t make the mistake of abandoning Go to the also-ran Nineties bin. A triumph of black comedy about what not to do after hours, I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know. And while I doubt I’d like the characters in real life — or perhaps because of it — I had great fun watching them stumble, struggle, and stand.”

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