Christmas in July Blogathon 2015: Four Christmases

And we’ve reached the end of the line. This is the last stop of the blogathon.  I love to get recommendations, so I didn’t have to think hard when trying to figure out which movie to review for this year’s Christmas in July blogathon.  Now I’ll stop blabbering and get onto the review.


Four Christmases movie posterSynopsis
Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) both come from divorced families. When their vacation to Fiji is canceled because of bad weather, they visit all four parents in one day, which puts their relationship to the test.

Review
Four Christmases starts off in an interesting place. Most Christmas movies are all about wanting to spend time with family. However, Brad and Kate are desperately trying to avoid theirs. Once they realize that they must spend the holiday with their parents, it creeps into the “survive my wacky family” film. It executes this premise fairly well but they go through each parent so quick, no one besides Brad and Kate are fleshed out much. We get to meet Brad’s UFC-fanatic brothers and best friend who is now his step dad, and Kate’s newly reborn mom and her dad, who seems to be the only normal one. Story wise, these characters exist solely to push Brad and Kate closer together. When based on that, then they fulfill their job but getting more time with them would have been good.

I’m a fan of Vince Vaughn, so the comedy worked well for me. There was one scene in particular, where Brad and Kate played Mary and Joseph in the church’s play and Brad went all “I gotta save the play” and started monologuing when Kate forgot her lines, that I really enjoyed. Since most of the time is spent with Brad and Kate, it falls to Vaughn and Witherspoon for the laughs. I like Witherspoon, but I didn’t find myself laughing at her jokes very much. So really, your enjoyment of this film comes down to how funny you find Vaughn. Four Christmases has its issues but overall, it has heart, a meaningful (even if not well executed) message, and offers some good laughs along the way.

Rating
3/5

This movie was recommended by Erin from Dynamite Review.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Seth Gordon – Director
Mat Allen – Screenplay / Story
Caleb Wilson – Screenplay / Story
Jon Lucas – Screenplay
Scott Moore – Screenplay
Alex Wurman – Composer

Vince Vaughn – Brad
Reese Witherspoon – Kate
Robert Duvall – Howard
Sissy Spacek – Paula
Jon Voight – Creighton
Jon Favreau – Denver
Mary Steenburgen – Marilyn
Dwight Yoakam – Pastor Phil
Tim McGraw – Dallas
Kristin Chenoweth – Courtney
Kay Mixon – Susan
Colleen Camp – Aunt Donna
Jeanette Miller – Gram-Gram
Jack Donner – Grandpa
Zak Boggan – Cody
Skyler Gisondo – Connor
True Bella – Kasi
Patrick Van Horn – Darryl
Cedric Yarbrough – Stan
Brian Baumgartner – Eric


As for who I would like to meet under the mistletoe… Alex Morgan.

Alex MorganCute and amazing at soccer? Yes, please!  I followed this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup as much as I could.  Like many, many others, I was ecstatic to watch our ladies win the tournament this year. To make her even more awesome, she will be on the box art of FIFA 16, making her the first woman on the cover of a FIFA video game. Woot woot!

And with that, the Christmas in July 2015 Blogathon comes to a close! Thanks to everyone who joined in. Tomorrow I will post the answers to Tim’s Twelve Days of Blu-Rays riddle, so head over there to see how many you can guess, as well as make an announcement of something big that’s coming next week for Drew’s Reviews.

Cheers!

Christmas in July Blogathon 2015: Kim’s Favorite Characters in Christmas Movies

Next up in the Christmas in July 2015 Blogathon is Kim over at Tranquil Dreams. She’s composed a list of her favorite Christmas movie characters.  Kim, you may have the floor.


My Favorite Characters in Christmas Movies!

I have to admit writing about Christmas movies in July is a little weird.  I mean, my family celebrates Christmas pretty crazily so usually I have my fill in December.  But Christmas movies are really fun and cheerful and there are so many of them to praise.  Most of them I’ve praised over at my own blog but today we’re here for Christmas in July here so instead of reviewing a movie, I decided to put together a list of my favorite characters from Christmas movies.  Its not in any particular order but all characters I do enjoy watching a lot.

1) Arthur (Arthur Christmas)
arthur christmas

Arthur Christmas is one of the newer Christmas movies but its one of the better ones that’s come out over the last few years.  Arthur Christmas is an over rev of what having Christmas spirit is.  Its a modernized take of Santa and the power of believing in Santa.  Arthur may be great at worrying and not really anything else but he is all heart and one of the most kindest hearts ever, enough for him to run around against his father and brother’s decision, just to make sure that a little girl gets a gift.

2) Buddy (Elf)
elf

Elf is not exactly my favorite Christmas movie, mostly because I don’t quite get Will Ferrell’s humor too much but Buddy grows on me.  His pure heart and just his habits brought over from North Pole as he comes to search for his father.  Buddy is an infectious character that you just can’t help but smile when you see him.  His enthusiasm for Santa and everything Christmas-related.

3) Susan Walker (Miracle on 34th Street)
miracle on 34th street

I’ve always liked the actress that plays Susan Walker so maybe that’s why I like Miracle on 34th Street a lot without even giving much thought to watching the original.  Her as Susan Walker just adds a lot of cute and smart all bundled together.  Susan Walker may have doubts about Santa Claus but deep down she does want to believe that he can bring her a miracle.

4) Kevin McCallister (Home Alone)
home alone

There are no words to describe how awesome Kevin McCallister is.  As a kid, watching him was like finding the courage and being brave to protect your home especially when having to spend Christmas battling against silly burglars.  Sure, wanting to brutally destroy burglars isn’t exactly the best way to show Christmas spirit but he still has it when he decorates the tree and does what his family would do even if they went away. Christmas is here but in a dangerous and funny way when we spend it with Kevin McCallster.

5) Cindy Lou Who (How the Grinch Stole Christmas)
how the grinch stole christmas

Cindy Lou Who isn’t really around a lot in How the Grinch Stole Christmas but she is the only other main character that really loves Christmas.  A little girl like her is willing to believe whatever Santa Claus says.  To the Whos in general, Christmas isn’t about the presents and the food, it’s about being together and sharing those little moments.  To see a little girl stump The Grinch a little is also quite fulfilling even if he manages to con her.

6) Lucy Moderatz (While You Were Sleeping)
while you were sleeping

While You Were Sleeping isn’t exactly a Christmas movie because it’s only set during Christmas but I watch this almost exclusively for Christmas.  Lucy Moderatz is an extremely lovable character who pretty much gets trapped into a situation that she doesn’t know how to get herself out of.  Lacking family, she craves for family and that’s when she meets the beautiful family and she falls into accidentally. C’mon, you knew I’d have some unconventional choices here…

7) Jack Skellington (The Nightmare Before Christmas)
nightmare before christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas could easily be argued that its a Halloween movie.  However, Jack Skellington’s desire to be part of something that’s not scary and bring Christmas was just so fun.  Jack Skellington shows us exactly how magical someone seeing Christmas for the first time feels like.

Obviously, there are a ton of other choices that I love as well like The Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge (I’m thinking Mickey’s Christmas Carol one), Charlie Brown in the Christmas special and I know, Clark Griswold.  I know you were waiting for that last one.  I love these characters to bits but I’ve chosen to end it at a very odd 7 for this list.  Man, writing this list just made me want to go marathon some Christmas movies.  I started realizing that I love Christmas movies with Santa Claus and Christmas spirit and the whole idea of believing.  Never thought about my preference of Christmas movies before.

A huge THANKS to Drew for running the Christmas in July Blogathon! It was a ton of fun!! 🙂


Kim has been on a Pretty Little Liars binge lately. So for who she would like to meet under the mistletoe, she chose… Drew Van Acker.

drew van acker picThanks, Kim! I haven’t watched any Pretty Little Liars but I’m already a fan of this guy. He’s got a nice, strong name. I like it. Buddy is one of my favorite Christmas movie characters because he is so cheerful and innocent.  I have found that people who aren’t Will Ferrell fans still enjoy Elf.  Tomorrow is the last day of this year’s Christmas in July Blogathon, so stop by for some more Christmas goodies.  Cheers!

Christmas in July Blogathon 2015: Gremlins

Welcome back to the Christmas in July 2015 Blogathon.  Today starts with Darren from Movie Reviews 101 sharing his review of Gremlins. The stage is yours, Darren!


GremlinsDirector: Joe Dante
Writer: Chris Columbus (Screenplay)
Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Corey Feldman, Dick Miller, Judge Reinhold, Belinda Balaski, Frances Lee McCain

Plot: A boy inadvertently breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Verdict: Classic

Story: If you got a mysterious pet who has to be kept under three strict rules, no water, no feeding after midnight and no bright lights. It seems simple really but what if one of the rules was broken, well Billy accidentally breaks on of these rules leading to everything that happens.

It all comes off as a good creature feature that at the time you could show children to scare them but the fun side of it all works out well for them too. It comes off as an alternative Christmas film with its horror elements. It is now 30 years old and hardly feels like it has dated at all. So this Christmas instead of being forced feed the usual Christmas film watch this because it is easily much more fun. (9/10)

Actor Review

Zach Galligan: Billy the young man given the Mogwi to look after only to accidently get him wet, leading to new ones being spawned, then gets tricked into feeding them after midnight and has to fight off the Gremlins to save his small town. Solid performance from Zach, who does the fighting teen idea well.(7/10)

Phoebe Cates: Kate love interest of Billy who has a dark past when it comes to Christmas, who ends up teaming up with Billy to save the day. Solid supporting performance, fresh off the back of her biggest film. (7/10)

Supporting Cast: All of the supporting cast add something to the overall story, we have good and bad characters, with the good coming off strong and the bad getting what is coming to them. It really is all up to the Mogwi stealing all the scenes. (7/10)

Director Review: Joe Dante – Great direction to create a film that is still talked about today. (9/10)

Comedy: Has its funny moments mostly once the Gremlins turn up. (8/10)

Horror: This has good horror level because it was aimed at younger audience who would be scared with what happens. (8/10)

Settings: Most of the settings are around the small town but each works taking on the Gremlins. (7/10)

Special Effects: Great Special effects used throughout that have barely aged a day. (9/10)

Suggestion: This is a classic that has to be watched by all. (Watch)

Best Part: GizmogizmoWorst Part: The plot hole rules as it will always be past midnight.
Believably: No (0/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: Has one
Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No
Box Office: $148 Million
Budget: $11 Million
Runtime: 1 hour 46 Minutes
Tagline: Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous.
Trivia: Generally credited (along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)) to influence the MPAA to create the PG-13 rating, as many felt the scenes of violence in both movies were too much for a PG rating, but not enough for an R rating.

Overall: Enjoy
Rating

91


Now for Darren’s person he would like to meet under the mistletoe. He chose… Saraya-Jade Bevis, aka WWE Diva Paige.

PaigeThanks, Darren! Leave it to you to pick the English wrestler. What a great choice.  Kim will join in this afternoon with her favorite Christmas movie characters.  See you soon!

 

Christmas in July Blogathon 2015: Allie’s Christmas Film List

Today is a special day for Allie of Flick Chicks. She has been granted free reign to talk about Christmas! Let’s find out what her list of Christmas films for this year will look like.  Take it away, Allie!


Today is a wonderful day, everyone. No, I’m not talking about the beautiful July weather right now. It’s Christmas! Or more specifically, it’s Christmas in July, which is just as good! I love this time of the year even more than Summer. Don’t you just love wrapping yourself up in a blanket, lighting some festive-smelling candles, and curling up on the sofa with a good movie?

I’m the worst for reminding people how close Christmas is (I normally start in April) but I have it on good authority that it is completely okay to talk about the C word today! Err, Christmas, that is.

See, I have proof and everything. Drew has invited us all to celebrate early with a post. For mine, I’d like to share the Christmas movies that I’ll be watching this year. We’ve all got one of these lists, surely? Those movies that become a tradition to watch each year. Well, here are mine!

Love Actually (2003) is the first movie I turn to. It has such a brilliant cast, and never fails to make me laugh and cry within minutes of each other. It’s set in the run up to Christmas, and shows several different storylines that all tie into each other in the end. Plus, that scene with Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln with the cardboard signs is the sweetest thing ever!

Jingle All the Way (1996) is a movie I was introduced to when I had just started dating my now fiance. It’s his family’s traditional Christmas movie and since watching it at their house 7 years ago, I’ve watched it every year since. This doesn’t really happen anymore, but it’s about one parent’s mad dash on Christmas Eve to buy the sell-out toy of the year for his son. Thanks to Jingle All the Way, I can name all the reindeer!

Christmas Vacation (1989) follows on from my love of National Lampoon’s Vacation. Featuring Chevy Chase, it’s a hilarious tale of Clark Griswold’s experience of that festive time when his whole family come over to visit. No matter your age, there’s definitely something to relate to here.

I’m not sure if this should count, but Shrek the Halls (2007) was a half-hour TV short that my family still has recorded on their TV box. At the time, my littlest brother was Shrek obsessed, but even now we get together and watch it. It’s kind of sad, because we know all the words by heart, but it’s such a funny little short!

I watched Bad Santa (2003) for the first time last year as part of our 12 Days of Christmas blog series, but I fell head over heels in love with it. Billy Bob Thornton is the best bad Santa ever, and this is probably the only Christmas movie I’ve watched which is strictly not for children! It only took 1 viewing for me to know that this will be added to my list every year.

Oh! I almost forgot, Drew also wanted to know who we would like to meet under the mistletoe. This is such a difficult choice! Normally I would try to choose between my usual favourites Ryan Reynolds, Chris Pine or Benedict Cumberbatch, but right now I’m going to make a wish to meet my current crush, Chris Pratt!

Drew, thank you for letting me gush about how much I love Christmas and it’s festive movies in July of all times. Now, to sing Christmas carols for the rest of the day till I get told off…


Thanks, Allie! I’m glad you were able to let your Christmas flag fly.  I usually catch Jingle All the Way on TV and Christmas Vacation is always a must in my house.  And you’re not alone, Natalie reviewed it during last year’s Christmas in July Blogathon.  Chris Pratt is everywhere right now. He has a roguish charm that makes him so lovable. Just don’t let your fiance see you, Allie. 😉 That concludes today’s festivities.  Tomorrow starts with Darren reviewing an iconic, though untraditional, Christmas film: Gremlins. See you tomorrow!

Christmas in July Blogathon 2015: Hey, Arnold Holiday Special

Next up in the Christmas in July Blogathon 2015, SG from Rhyme and Reason takes a look at a forgotten holiday special.  And here’s SG to tell us all about it!


Does anyone else remember Nickelodeon’s Hey, Arnold!? Nowadays, it only plays late at night for those desperate for some nostalgia, but it was a near-perfect animated kid’s show, a product of the ‘90s that focused on characters rather than gross-out humor and posed a relatable moral with every episode. Arnold was the titular football-headed kid, and his interactions with his friends, his grandparents, and pretty much everyone in town created everyday drama and humor that may be considered slow by today’s standards, but did wonders with character development. Arnold often helped others to overcome personal conflicts, like helping the bully Harold when he had a bar mitzvah or dealt with fat jokes, or assisting a friend with irrational phobias, or supporting a vigilante superhero named Monkeyman. Yeah, it got a little eccentric sometimes, but it still remained rooted in the real world.

Like so many other shows, Hey, Arnold! had the requisite Christmas chapter, but it’s not often that a holiday show turns out to be the best episode of the series. In the first season’s “Arnold’s Christmas,” Arnold feels responsible for getting the perfect gift for a tenant of the boarding house, Mr. Hyunh. Hyunh is usually just comic relief, but here he grieves the holidays without his daughter, whom he was forced to give up when they fled Vietnam. It’s an emotional crossover with real-world events, and Arnold takes it upon himself to find the girl somewhere in the city.Meanwhile, Helga, who has long held a secret crush on Arnold even as she bullies him, is only interested in the commercial side of Christmas, yet she still wants to find the right gift for that “stupid football head” she adores. While Arnold sets out to fulfill someone else’s wish, several wishes overlap in moments of selflessness vs. generosity and holiday spirit vs. cynicism, with a little “Gift of the Magi” irony thrown in. The ending made me cry as a kid, and this remains one of my favorite holiday specials (after A Charlie Brown Christmas and the animated Grinch).

Not only does it touch on themes most children’s shows wouldn’t, it offers admirable role models and a Christmas-y message that puts human emotions over materialistic concerns. Christmas angels and miracles are often hard to come by, but perhaps that wouldn’t be so if more people followed the examples of Hey, Arnold!P.S. As far as my mistletoe preference, I’d probably have to go with my first celebrity crush, the talented Miss Lindsey Stirling, who has gone on from America’s Got Talent to create some of the best modern violin music. And she sure is purty. 🙂Lindsey Stirling


Thanks, SG! I was more of a Cartoon Network kid than a Nickelodeon kid growing up, but I did catch an episode of Hey, Arnold every now and then.  I’ll have to go back and find this one.  Lindsey Sterling is a lovely pick.  I found her youtube channel a few years back.  She is a great musical artist and is indeed “purty.” Next, Allie will be sharing what Christmas movies she will be watching this year. Stay tuned!

Christmas in July Blogathon 2015: The Twelve Days of Blu-Rays

And the Drew’s Polar Express keeps rolling on!  Tim from Filmfunkel has created a fun and interesting game that hopefully someone out there will be able to figure out.  Here’s Tim with the rules.


In honor of the Christmas in July blogathon, I created a movie title game to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Each line is a clue to a movie title. The opening number in each line appears somewhere in the movie title and the lyric is a clue from that movie.

For example, were there 13 days of Christmas, the 13th line might read “13 Spirits Haunting” and the correct movie title would be 13 Ghosts. No words in the clue appear in the title. So, number four is not Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because A) The word mutant is in the clue and B) The number four does not appear in the movie title.

Some will be easier than others and I apologize if any are too difficult. The nature of this setup was really restrictive and was way harder to do than I anticipated, but it is pretty fun to sing out loud.

Email me (filmfunkel@gmail.com) if you need an answer(s) or a rationale behind the clues.

Have fun!

Tim : D

On the 12th day of this month, my Blu Rays gave to me:
12 guys debating
11 robbers scheming
10 plagues destroying
9 prints for Satan
8 legs attacking
7 swords defending
6 teammates fighting
5 speeding bros
4 mutant team
3 dumb friends
2 columned forts, and
1 killer sent to Hades


As for who Tim would like to meet under the mistletoe, he chose… Monica Bellucci.

Monica-Bellucci

Thanks, Tim! Monica Bellucci is an Italian stunner. Nice choice. I was only able to figure out a few of the clues, so I’m sure there is someone out there who can do better than me. Let us know if someone gets them all or comes close, Tim. The Blogathon will continue tomorrow with SG’s review of a forgotten holiday special. Until then, cheers!