Christmas in July Blogathon 2017 Wrap-Up

Hello, friends! Well, here we are at the end of this year’s festivities. In case you missed any of them, here are all the entries this year:

Silent Night Review (Darren)
Die Hard Review (Rob)
Top Twelve Less Obvious Christmas Movies (SG)
Santa Claws Review (Keith)
Edward Scissorhands Review (Kelechi)
5 Christmas Movies to Show My Daughter (Allie)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Carl)
Best Christmas Scenes in Movies (Kim)

Since I didn’t have an entry this year (in my own blogathon, the shame!), you haven’t seen yet who I am inviting to our holiday party. My guest is a YouTube personality that I have greatly enjoyed following. She is a violinist who covers songs from movies, video games, and anime. She also has several albums of original music. Every party needs great musical entertainment, so I am inviting Taylor Davis.

Let’s take a final look at our guest list:

Damn. Now that’s a guest list I can get behind! HUGE thank you to all of the participants this year! All of you make this such fun. 🙂 Alas, the 2017 Christmas in July Blogathon has officially concluded. However, do not fret! This was only meant to tide you over until the actual holiday season, which if you are keeping track (which I’m sure Allie is), is less than five months away. It will be here before you know it.

But, wait! I’m not done yet. July 30th marks my fourth blogiversary. To celebrate, I’m reviewing one of my favorite trilogies: the Brendan Frasier Mummy trilogy. Well, maybe the third one isn’t high on my favorites but the first two make up for it. Anyway, those will be posted across the next two days. I look forward to you joining me in those festivities as well. 😀

Until next time, cheers!

The Best Christmas Scenes in Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon 2017

And here we are, the final entry of this year’s Christmas in July Blogathon. And what a better way to end it than with my friend and Ultimate Decades co-host, Kim of Tranquil Dreams. I could list everything she does on her site but that would take way too long. If you some how don’t follow her already, head over to her site once you’re finished here and give it a look. A movie doesn’t have to be all about Christmas. Some movies just have a single Christmas scene then move on. Kim is here to celebrate those little Christmas moments in non-Christmas films.

Isn’t July such a great month? Isn’t Christmas also such a fantastic holiday? It is why this blogathon is such fun to put together. Yay to Drew for getting this together. Everyone talks about the Christmas movies a lot and say Die Hard and Lethal Weapon being a non-traditional Christmas movie all the time. A lot of movies, non-traditional ones, have some great scenes and here are my Top 5 in no particular order.

Christmas/Yule Ball – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire stirs up some great memories, mostly of lining up 3 hours on day 1 at the theatres and while not a Christmas movie, although I do have friends that marathon this during Christmas, one of the best scenes is the Christmas, or Yule, Ball as everyone takes a break from the dangerous magical competition and celebrate the holiday. It is a pivotal moment in the movie where the characters and their relationships start becoming more complex. Hermione looks beautiful. Overall, it is a magical Christmas…literally.

Christmas Gift(s) – Lady and the Tramp

In my mind, Disney has a lot of Christmas scenes tucked away here and there but I could be wrong, however nothing beats the cuteness overload in Lady and the Tramp (one of my favorite Disney movies) as they wrap up the movie with this Christmas scene and all the baby Ladies and Tramps rolling on the floor. I love dogs and puppies just steal my heart away every single time. If you think carefully though, Lady and the Tramp starts with Lady being gifted to from Jim Dear to Darling for Christmas.

Jingle Bell Rock – Mean Girls

It comes as no surprise that Mean Girls is on this list. Jingle Bell Rock performance is a must for the mean girls, aka The Plastics in the annual Winter Talent Show. The scene itself is a pivotal point that changes the roles and importance. It’s funny, uncomfortable and awkward. There are character tensions and changes in characters. Jingle Bell Rock is just a great Christmas song also.

Today For You – Rent

Rent starts (and I think ends) on Christmas. It mixes in so many emotions and themes. The songs are completely reflective of the story. Christmas never comes better in a fun performance that introduces Angel to everyone with an energetic and pretty funny performance of Today For You. Angle is a ray of positivity and sunshine despite all her own problems to the downer that the movie started on with losing power and starving in the cold.

Christmas with Strangers – While You Were Sleeping

I know this choice seems a little like it’s straddling the sidelines of non-traditional Christmas flick since it’s set mostly on the holidays but it is primarily a romantic comedy set during Christmas so doesn’t really count as a Christmas movie (even if I watch it a lot during the holidays). However, you can watch this any old day and still just fall in love with Bill Pullman and Sandra Bullock and pretty much everyone here. Christmas with strangers seems weird especially when they mistake your identity but it sure was a warm  and fun celebration. Not to mention, she wakes up the next morning and bumps into Bill Pullman’s character and stand under the mistletoe. So many moments, so hard to decide.

Honorable Mention: Batman Returns

I remembered this scene by accident as I was looking up other Christmas scenes. So I guess I’ll toss this in honorable mention as I can’t remember the exact scenario and really can’t elaborate on it too much. Batman is frequently set during Christmas so its a pretty solid choice for a non-traditional film in general.

As for my Christmas guest, it’s really hard to decide. I just finished Pretty Little Liars and Season 7 made realize how much I wanted these two characters to get together and that they really are the best for each other (of course, my dreams don’t come true and I’m sure this isn’t a spoiler) so even with long hair, I still think this guy is super good-looking and charming as heck and yup, Drew Van Acker…again.

Thanks so much again for Drew on hosting this blogathon!

Thanks, Kim! And that’s it! The final participant in the blogathon. If you missed any entries, I will be back shortly with the list of all of them, as well as my guests that I am inviting to our holiday party. Be there or be square.

Until next time, cheers!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2017

We’re in the home stretch of the 2017 Christmas in July Blogathon. Starting the beginning of the end is Carl from Listening to Film. As you might have guessed, Carl’s movie reviews focus heavily on the music of the film. He offers a lot of insight so go give him a follow if you don’t already.  I first met Carl during the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story episode of the Talking Stars podcast, where we were on guests together. Enough babbling, let’s see what Carl has to say about one of my personal Christmas favorites: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie posterLike most families, mine has several holiday traditions. We set up a Christmas tree in the living room. We assemble an old Lionel train that my father has had since he was two years old. And we sit down a couple days before Christmas and watch Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) make an absolute mess of his attempt to have a “fun old-fashioned family Christmas.”

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is such a part of my annual holiday experience that I cannot fathom a year when we didn’t watch it, and unlike some films that grow stale over time, the jokes and the story still works for me like it’s the first time I’ve seen it. Midway through the film, Clark attempts to sneak up into the attic to hide presents. His house has one of the old attic hatches with a chain that you pull to open (my childhood house did as well making this extra funny), and when the ladder swings down and smacks him in the head, I cannot help but laugh. Every. Single. Time.

This is the third installment of the “Vacation” series, which all feature dim-witted but well-meaning dad Clark attempting to have an experience with his family only to have things go terribly wrong. Unlike the other films, the family largely stays home and lets the chaos come to them.

“And forgive my husband, he knows not what he does.”

However, they first must venture out to find the Griswold Family Christmas Tree in a sequence that is one of my favorites in the film. After unsuccessfully trying to get their kids (Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki) to join in a round of Christmas carols, Clark finds himself being terrorized by a couple of redneck drivers. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm to “burn some dust” causes him to lose sight of the fact that a large log truck is trying to pass them as he swerves into the other lane. While it’s a funny visual, I also have to give a shout-out to whoever actually pulled this stunt off (there are a couple shots that are clearly not process).

After trudging through the snow and pulling a giant tree out by its roots, the Griswolds return home, where the majority of the film takes place. Anyone who has ever celebrated a large (or even a small) Christmas with family will recognize aspects of what takes place, but because this is a John Hughes-penned Vacation film, everything is taken to the nth degree. It’s not enough for Clark to put lights on his house, he needs 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights. His efforts to “fart around with his lights” as his father-in-law (E.G. Marshall) puts it go about as well as you’d expect, as he battles an aluminum ladder and his staple gun and then torpedoes his yuppie neighbors’ stereo with a shaft of ice when he rips a gutter off of the house. When the lights finally do light, however, it’s a wonderfully cathartic scene (played to the Hallelujah Chorus, no less). Never mind that the lights are using enough power that smoke comes from the electric meter and the city must kick in the emergency auxiliary.

“Dad, you taught me everything I know about exterior illumination.”

This scene also leads to the surprise visit of Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his family. While the movie has been quite funny to this point, Eddie’s presence kicks things into another gear. With his black dickie under a white sweater, rusting R.V., and a penchant for emptying his chemical toilet first thing in the morning, Eddie is the kind of character Randy Quaid was born to play, and he doesn’t disappoint.

Despite his unrefined exterior, Eddie really does have a heart of gold. Unfortunately, as Clark himself comments on, Eddie’s heart is also bigger than his brain. When a subplot regarding Clark’s Christmas bonus goes wrong (Clark is expecting a bonus check to help pay for a pool he’s installing but winds up with something else entirely), one of the all-time great rants (wonderfully delivered by Chevy Chase) leads Eddie to conclude that the proper course of action is to kidnap Clark’s boss.


This is just the capper on a Christmas holiday that truly does prove Murphy’s law: a cat and the Christmas tree are both incinerated in separate accidents; the turkey winds up desiccated and explodes; and Clark’s replacement tree brought in from the yard happens to have a squirrel living in it. To be honest, this last point is really the only part of the film that I take issue with. The family all react to the squirrel like it’s the scariest thing they’ve ever seen, and the destruction caused by its being there really seems like piling on.

In the end, one of the things I love about this movie is that it, like Eddie, really has a heart of gold. Despite all the chaos and destruction, the family really does come together in the end to have the Christmas Clark has been dreaming about, only with the addition of Clark’s boss, his wife, and the SWAT team that was sent in to diffuse a hostage situation. Despite his faults, Clark really is a loving husband and father, and none of the jokes are mean-spirited (except perhaps those aimed at the yuppie neighbors, but then they kind of deserve it).

This is the kind of comedy that isn’t really made anymore. Despite the toilet emptying scene and a brief sexually suggestive bit, there isn’t the raunchiness or gross-out “humor” that permeates the films of this type that are being made today. Between this and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, John Hughes seemed to have a way of capturing both the potential disasters (and the humor that arises because of them) of the holidays but also the warmth and the spirit as well. As I said at the beginning, this is a movie that I make a point to watch every year.

It wouldn’t be a fun old-fashioned family Christmas without it.

Thanks Carl! I’m pretty sure this movie appears in the blogathon for a review or on a list every year. Talk about consistency! As I said before, Carl and I were part of a discussion about Rogue One, so it should be no surprise that his guest to our holiday party is the lovely Felicity Jones.

Closing out the blogathon later today is my partner in crime and frequent collaborator Kim from Tranquil Dreams. She will discuss some of her Christmas favorites. Favorite what? You’ll just have to come by to find out. You won’t want to miss what she has in store!

Until next time, cheers!

5 Christmas Movies to Show My Daughter: Christmas in July Blogathon 2017

I am happy to announce that it is Allie’s turn in this Christmas in July blogathon. Allie, who runs Often Off Topic, is a lover of everything Christmas and one of the most avid participants in the blogathon. For those of you who don’t know her, she reviews books and movies and gives rundowns of what she has been up to in her aptly named feature Going Off Topic. Oh, she is also expecting a baby soon! She uses that as the inspiration for her entry this year. Keep reading to see what she has in mind!

I can’t believe I’m taking part in Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon for the 3rd year running! Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year, and so I don’t need many excuses to talk about the festive season and related movies. Thank you Drew for hosting again!

This year, Christmas is going to be pretty different for me, as I’ll have a 2-month old baby! Part of me is dreading the chaos, but mostly I’m looking forward to making the holiday a magical time for this little one. Of course, that’s going to include brainwashing introducing her to some of my favourite Christmas movies! That’s why this year, I decided to dedicate my blogathon post to 5 Christmas Movies to Show My Daughter.

The Snowman (1982)

Wait, don’t call Child Protection Services yet! I don’t mean the upcoming horror/thriller by the same name. I mean the classic British Christmas TV movie, The Snowman, where a boy builds a snowman that comes to life on Christmas Eve. It’s a magical story and features one of the most beautiful songs, ‘Walking in the Air’. We might even follow it up with the 2012 sequel, The Snowman and the Snowdog, but it still makes me cry!

Shrek the Halls (2007)

How on Earth is Shrek the Halls 10 years old already?! Another short TV movie that’s been an annual event in my family since it was released. We’re big Shrek fans in my family (only the first 2 movies though) and we sadly know all the words to this! If you’ve never seen it, after the hustle and bustle of the Shrek family settling down on Christmas Eve, Donkey, Shrek & Fiona tell the tale of the night before Christmas…in their own special way!

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Muppets were a huge part of my childhood, it was my favourite show when I was little and I’ve continued to love them ever since. In fact, the song ‘Life’s a Happy Song’ from the 2011 movie was the song my husband and I walked back down the aisle to on our wedding day! I’m hoping my daughter will have the same sense of humour as I do, so I’m sure she’ll love watching The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Whilst those are 3 movies that I think any child would easily enjoy, mine is going to have accept the fact that she’s going to have her Mum & Dad’s favourite Christmas movies ever forced upon her. Let’s start with Dad, shall we?

Jingle All the Way (1996)

I can’t believe that 9 years ago I had no idea Jingle All the Way existed. I was invited to my (now) husband’s parents house over Christmas where they sat for their annual watch of this movie, and I loved every second. In fact, it’s impossible for anyone to eat a cookie around me without me shouting ‘put that cookie down, NOW!’ So whether she loves it or hates it, a bit of Arnold Schwarzenegger is always needed at Christmas!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

I talk far too much about the National Lampoon’s movies so I’ll keep this brief, but there’s no way it couldn’t have been in this list! I’m just dreading the moment in a few years time where my daughter will complain about having to watch it and exclaim ‘this movie is as old as you!’

Finally, part of Drew’s tradition is to host a party of our favourite celebrities, and we all get to add a name to the guest list. I think it’s only fair that I throw Dan Stevens an invite this year, and carefully place as much mistletoe around the venue as possible!

Thanks, Allie! It was great to have you again this year. 🙂 I’m so glad you get to scratch that Christmas itch. Tomorrow, the 2017 Christmas in July Blogathon enters its final day, beginning with a review of one of the films on Allie’s list by Carl of Listening to Film. Stop by tomorrow to see which one!

Until next time, cheers!

Edward Scissorhands Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2017

First up today is none other than Kelechi, the mind behind Confessions From a Geek Mind. She reviews a ton of movies and has a weekly soundtrack feature. There is a lot of great content to be found so go check her site out when you get the chance if you are unfamiliar with it.  Kelechi stops by with her review of the nontraditional Christmas film Edward Scissorhands. Take it away, Kelechi!

Welcome to a winter wonderland…

That’s what Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands captures in the opening credits. As we enter through its doors it’s a glimpse of another world, a world of inventive and mechanical creation. We witness the birth of Edward (Johnny Depp), a man with scissors for hands and the death of his father and creator (Vincent Price), told musically like a dreamy fairy tale thanks to Danny Elfman’s magical score.

It’s easy to overlook the beauty and power of Edward Scissorhands. When it comes to Christmas films, the usual suspects all appear – Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life and even Die Hard. But Tim Burton’s film is the perfect balance of the usual wintery escape and the beautiful surrealism of a misunderstood soul.

Edward’s tale is a classic fish out of water scenario, born out of fascination and curiosity. He lives in Gothic mansion surrounded by a Yin Yang balance of his imaginative creations and the periodical darkness of the mansion which hides his gift, talent and most importantly himself. His isolation from the outside world suddenly changes when he meets Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest), plucking him out of his sheltered life and introduces him to her world. To Edward’s amazement, it’s much bigger than what he’s use to.

Through Edward’s eyes we watch him explore his new world. He’s never had to wear clothes, eat at a dinner table or drink alcohol for the first time. As he’s slowly integrated into society, he’s treated as the local celebrity and an in-fashion trend. The deeper that integration takes on, the more he feels welcomed. The Bogg’s family don’t view Edward as someone having a disability. They adopt him and nurture him into their lives as if he was one of their own kids. Peg tries to be considerate and her husband Bill (Alan Arkin) delivers fatherly advice – sometimes oblivious to Edward’s internal plight and told with an unintentional comedic effect. However strange Edward’s new world is, he feels a sense of belonging, a feeling further increased when he sees Kim for the first time (Winona Ryder).

There’s a clever Frankenstein ideology that Edward Scissorhands taps into. Just like Mary Shelley’s novel, Edward was an unorthodox experiment by The Inventor. The story is not concerned on the major details or back story but it’s easy to imagine a possible degree of loneliness. Sparked by love and a creative burst of an idea, Edward started to take shape, embodying The Inventor’s gifted talents. Unable to complete the final task of giving Edward real hands, the fear of Edward’s appearance is unsettling and to some others intimidating. He’s a monstrous creation. Kim is essentially the Bride of Frankenstein – in the unconventional sense. She’s not a mirror image of Edward. She doesn’t have metal scissors for hands but her beauty bedazzles him. He sees through the troublesome relationship with Jim (Anthony Michael Hall), awakening an emotive and empowering connection. Just like Sleeping Beauty, Kim awakens from her clouded slumber. Her rejection slowly evolving into love, compassion and magical wonder – a dance she performs at seeing snow for the first time.

So why does the story of Edward resonate with us so much? As much as Edward Scissorhands is a tragic love story, not given the traditional happy ending, but it is a film about acceptance and a search for happiness. Edward can’t change the fact that he’s different from others nor could he prevent his creator from passing away. From his limited, often monosyllabic responses, inside his mind and heart is a container full of emotions, expressed through his highly creative art as a way of dealing with being an outsider in a complex society. His mind is a bottled-up cavern containing memories of happiness as well as grief, brought the surface for the audience by his interaction with others. Even though the Boggs family do as much as they can to protect, love and celebrate Edward, the world can be judgemental.

The community in Edward Scissorhands are not evil. Director Tim Burton makes a clear distinction about suburban life in comparison to other films which paints suburbia as a dark underbelly. They’re more hypocritical, simply fearing what they don’t understand. They’re too quick to take advantage of his unique ability but not enough emotional sympathy to connect with him like Kim does. When trouble escalates from one incident to another, they instantly revert back to their default positions where they gossip and make excuses. The only difference is that they can’t shut the door on the problem. Their lack of empathy affects someone who just wanted to fit in and belong.

Edward has an honest and gentle soul, more human than anyone wants to admit and his story is a tale of self-discovery. Despite being forced back into exile, Edward Scissorhands is bookended by elderly Kim who refuses to let him die, telling Edward’s story to her granddaughter. Edward’s Pinocchio-esque concept is realised. Empowered by Kim’s love he comes alive. He becomes real, guaranteeing that he lives forever.

Edward’s creativeness brought positivity to a suburban community well versed in the mundane. He brought individualism and escapism when others went around with a self-centred norm. Even though it didn’t last for long, it goes to show how someone can make an impact with the smallest of differences.

It still remains my favourite Johnny Depp performance, encapsulating a childlike innocence of someone who wants to be loved for who they are and not what they are. At the heart of it, Edward Scissorhands is an unconventional yet poetic Christmas film. It’s not a story designed to sell commercial gifts nor is it some forced whimsical exploration at saving Christmas. Often dark and slightly graphic, it escapes conformity by embracing a unique simplicity.

It’s a fantastical look into human nature with a lot of heart and soul. It forces us to re-assess how we view others in our communities who are different in the hope we may reach out in kindness rather than push away in fear. Christmas serves as the backdrop to bring the magical fairy tale to life.

You couldn’t ask for a better film than that.

Thanks, Kelechi! I have a bit of a confession to make myself: I haven’t seen this film. 😐 Now you might be asking yourself “Who did Kelechi invite to the party?” Well, it was the talented Idris Elba, of course!

Every party needs a suave, handsome guy and Elba fills the role perfectly. Great choice, Kelechi! Lover of all things Christmas, Allie from Often Off Topic, gives her own list of Christmas films she has for a very special person later today. You won’t want to miss it!

Until next time, cheers!

Santa Claws Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2017

Closing out the Christmas in July Blogathon today is Keith from Keith Loves Movies. Keith covers all kinds of movies, television shows, and trailers on his website. If you like any of that stuff, then you’ll like Keith. Go give his site a look if you don’t already follow him. Not all movies can be great and today, Keith brings with him a review of one such film: Santa Claws.  Let’s see how he really feels about this film.

Santa Claws movie poster

As long as there have been movies, there have been Christmas movies and as long as there have been Christmas movies, there have been people trying to save Christmas in them. From the title, you can probably tell that it’s some sort of animal movie and indeed it is with a trio of kittens named Patches (Jordan Bielsky), Mittens (Lauren Elizabeth Hood), and Hairball (Quinn Ljoka) being the heroes in question. While kittens haven’t saved Christmas before (as far as I can remember), it goes about as well as one would expect.

There’s no real point in explaining the plot in too much detail as it is full of clichés and logic gaps to the point of no longer caring. Tommy (Ezra James Colbert) wants to celebrate Christmas but is at odds with his mother Julia (Nicola Lambo) who believed that Santa wasn’t real. Tommy and Julia had a creepy, Christmas obsessed neighbor named Marcus (Evan Boymel). Santa Claus (John P. Fowler), who is allergic to cats and countless other things for whatever reason, gets incapacitated somehow leaving it up to Tommy and Julia’s kittens to save Christmas.

Now talking animal movies can go either way with most going in the wrong direction. This one was no different. Produced by the same low-budget studio behind the Sharknado series (The Asylum), this movie’s low budget shows. What sets this film apart from the Sharknado series is that at least it was aware of what it was. It felt like this one was still trying to be serious despite everything wrong going on. However, it still may work for some people but others will probably react differently.

While a talking kitten movie was never meant to be taken seriously, the inferior production values eventually became distracting. The special effects were spotty at best and every aspect of the voice acting was terrible, from the facial animations on the cats, to the horrible voice acting, and the incredibly cheesy dialogue. The terrible acting continued with the humans but just like with the voice acting, the horrible script played a part in both and produced many cringe-worthy moments. The characters were unlikable and over the top with Colbert as Tommy perhaps faring slightly better than the adult characters.

Overall, while hardcore Christmas movie fans may find some entertainment out of this, the terrible acting and production values don’t quite make it good enough to be part of the “so bad it’s good” category.

Score: 2.5/10

For more, please visit

Not all movies can be winners, I guess. For Keith’s party guest, he is inviting comedian and all around great guy Tom Hanks.

Every party needs some lively entertainment. Great choice, Keith!

Tomorrow, Kelechi from Confessions From a Geek Mind starts the day with her review on another unorthodox Christmas film. You won’t want to miss it!

Until next time, cheers!