Christmas in July Blogathon 2021 Wrap-Up

Hello, friends!

Thank you for checking out the eighth annual Christmas in July Blogathon. Here is the list of entries if you missed any of them:

Take 3: Holly and Ivy Review (Sally)
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (SG)
Arthur Christmas (Allie)
It Happened on Fifth Avenue (Rob)
6 Memorable Christmas Foods in Movies (Kim)
Jingle All the Way

And of course, what you are most interested in. Here is the full guest list to our holiday party:

That’s the wrap! I’d like to give a big thank you to all the participants this year, as well as another thank you to anyone who commented, liked, or read any of the entries.

The blogathon might be over but that is not the end of the festivities! In a few days, I will be celebrating my blogiversary. For the blogathon, I reviewed one of my Christmas guilty pleasures and for my blogiversary celebration, I will be reviewing three films from a guilty pleasure franchise of mine. Check back tomorrow to see which it is!

Until next time, cheers!

Jingle All the Way: Christmas in July Blogathon 2021

Hello, friends!

It’s the moment I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for: my entry in the 2021 Christmas in July Blogathon! As usual, I am wrapping up the blogathon and this year. For the closing entry, I am reviewing a guilty pleasure Christmas film of mine: Jingle All the Way.


Jingle All the Way movie posterSynopsis
Howard (Arnold Schwarzenegger) sets out to buy his son the popular, and nearly impossible to find, Turbo Man action figure for Christmas.

Review
Do you have a film that you really enjoyed when you were younger, then when you watch it when you’re older you recognize all the flaws in the film but you still enjoy it anyway? That’s Jingle All the Way for me. I’d be lying if I said my enjoyment from this these days didn’t stem from my nostalgia of watching this in my younger years. Watching it now, I can see why it isn’t always regarded in high esteem. But you know what, I don’t care because I have a blast. An action star like Arnold Schwarzenegger going through hell just to buy a toy for his son (Jake Lloyd, aka young Anakin Skywalker) is a recipe for absurd entertainment. The underground Santa Claus counterfeit ring stands out in particular to me. I know it makes no sense but the visuals of the the different statures of the Santas always makes me laugh. Of course, it helps that Schwarzenegger is great here. He is having fun and his scenes with Sinbad are particularly memorable.

In a way, this reminds me of Christmas Vacation. Now before I lose you, I’m not saying this is as good as Christmas Vacation, far from it, but both films take some part of the holiday season and exaggerates it for comedic effect. Christmas Vacation views the extended family coming to visit for the holidays and amps it up. Here, forgetting to buy a specific Christmas present for someone and having to do last minute shopping to find it is something many of us can relate to I’m sure. While what we go through is not as extreme as what Howard (Schwarzenegger) goes through, we can relate to his struggle. And really, relatability is what makes a film enjoyable.

I thought Jingle All the Way was GOOD 🙂 Is it the perfect film? Absolutely not. Is it a guilty pleasure of mine? Absolutely. A nice, healthy guilty pleasure is what we all need and I can always count on Jingle All the Way to scratch that itch

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Brian Levant – Director
Randy Kornfield – Writer
David Newman – Composer

Arnold Schwarzenegger – Howard Langston
Rita Wilson – Liz Langston
Jake Lloyd – Jamie Langston
Sinbad – Myron Larabee
Phil Hartman – Ted Maltin
Justin Chapman – Billy
Robert Conrad – Officer Hummell
Jim Belushi – Mall Santa
Martin Mull – DJ


My guest to the holiday party is known more for her television roles than her film roles. She was also featured on my list of five favorite redheaded actresses. Jane Levy is my plus one.

Levy was in two fantastic television series, Suburgatory and most recently Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, both of which ended too soon.

And that’s the final entry of the eighth annual Christmas in July Blogathon! Stop by tomorrow for the wrap up post, where I’ll share the full list of entries and final guest list to our imaginary holiday party.

Until next time, cheers!

6 Memorable Christmas Foods in Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon 2021

Merry Christmas in July, friends!

Today’s holiday has two entries today. The first comes from no stranger to blogathons around these parts. I am of course talking about Kim from Tranquil Dreams, my Ultimate Decades Blogathon co-host. Kim reviews multiple genres of films and television series, specializing in Asian cinema and series. She also has a love of food, having several features relating to cooking on her site. For her entry for the 2021 Christmas in July Blogathon combines that love for food and another favorite of hers, making lists, for a unique list of memorable Christmas foods in movies.


Christmas in July Blogathon is here again! Coincidentally, Montreal just went through a heat wave and as deconfinement is actually happening while still living in the pandemic, Christmas seems almost hopeful to think that maybe this year it will have some form of normalcy…like seeing the family in person for a meal. With that said, there’s nothing like sharing a quick list on Christmas Foods in Movies. As someone who loves to talk about food and eat, this seems like a perfect chance to share some quick thoughts on some fun moments, after all, food in movies is fun to talk about. Of course, these are my choices from my limited memory and film viewing history, if you have any of your own, you can share them in the comments!

Christmas Feast – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

Let’s start off a little mild! Harry Potter isn’t a Christmas movie but from what I remember, Christmas is a pretty big event at Hogwarts, further emphasized later on in the film franchise in the Goblet of Fire when they have Christmas and Yule Ball together. However, the Christmas feast that they have in the first year at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is pretty epic as it shows the incredible amount of different foods they get.

Maple Syrup Pasta – Elf (2003)

It’s really hard to imagine that Elf was released almost 20 years ago. Buddy is one odd character but while others focus on Santa, this film focuses on a Human growing up as an Elf and sharing Elf habits with the human world aka other people. Nothing like watching Buddy pour sweet stuff over his food whether its his maple syrup pasta or even the breakfast scene where he makes this sugar bomb breakfast pasta that actually looked pretty gross. I just wonder whether children who watched this tried selling to their parents that they “stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup”.

Hot Chocolate – Polar Express

Polar Express is a super fun movie full of music and great animation and seeing a million versions of Tom Hanks in various roles. Perhaps what makes it a ton of fun is the roller coaster ride that the kids go through and it all starts on the train. Now, hot chocolate in Christmas movies or movies with winter scenes or even movies with Christmas celebrations is fairly plentiful. I actually went through a few choices before thinking this being a Christmas film felt more suitable. A close second being the hot chocolate in The Holiday but I wasn’t sure how popular of a scene that was seeing as that film never gets talked about enough. BUT, we’re here to talk about The Polar Express and that wonderful Hot Chocolate musical number as the waiters waltz in and pull off a dance number while serving hot chocolate to the kids on the train. How magical!

Elsie’s Eggnog – While You Were Sleeping (1995)

I’m not sure whether While You Were Sleeping is popular or not as a Christmas movie choice. For myself, it is one that I watch quite a bit for the holidays. It’s a sweet little romantic comedy set during Christmas with some great family moments. One of the best moments of the film is the Christmas family meeting together. While the eggnog is mostly mentioned a lot in the scene about how strong it is and not exactly shown, I’ve always wondered what it tastes like.

Gingerbread Cookies – Krampus (2015)

Krampus honestly doesn’t get enough recognition as a Christmas movie. Sure, it’s kind of alternate Christmas since it’s a horror comedy but it has a ton of Christmas elements and its set during Christmas. I know this is kind of an odd choice seeing as the gingerbread cookies is alive and trying to attack everyone with staple guns and even fire isn’t enough to slow it down. Plus, they look downright creepy. While I might not want to eat them while they are alive and murderous, gingerbread cookies are pretty awesome.

Roast Beast – How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

The original How The Grinch Stole Christmas is the Christmas movies of Christmas movies in my opinion. It’s short and sweet. The narrator is fantastic and the movie is reading out a Dr. Seuss book with all creative words and rhymes. The music is great. I never give up a chance to share how much I love it. It also brings up a bunch of imaginary food that I’ve always wondered as a kid until now what it would be like as an equivalent to real food, from Who Hash to the final scene with the epic Roast Beast. What is a roast beast, right? Is it some kind of boneless poultry or some type of ham? I never figured out what it is and I’m sure you’re probably not meant to since Dr. Seuss is all about his imagination but then, I can’t help to wonder what Who Beast tastes like.

That’s it for this food list from mostly Christmas movies. It’s really only the tip of the iceberg and I’m sure there’s a lot more other choices as I had a few other ones as well.

A huge thanks to Drew for putting together another fantastic Christmas in July Blogathon!

As for my guest, I’d love to invite Jackson Wang, an ex-GOT7 member, founder of record label Team Wang and all around rapper, singer and dancer from Hong Kong.


Great to have you for this blogathon again, Kim! My mouth is watering now after all this talk about food. 😋

Later today, I wrap up the eighth annual Christmas in July Blogathon with a classic 90s Christmas film.

Until next time, cheers!

It Happened on Fifth Avenue: Christmas in July Blogathon 2021

Hello, friends!

We’re almost done with the eighth annual Christmas in July Blogathon. But before we can finish, it wouldn’t be a Christmas in July Blogathon without Rob from MovieRob! If you don’t know Rob, where have you been?! Rob has reviewed literally thousands of films on his blog. With that kind of catalog, you are going to find something to like on his site. Also, Rob has a new podcast – The Great Escape Minute! The Great Escape Minute Podcast can be found at thegreatescapeminute.com. Follow the Podcast on Twitter, @GreatEscapeMxM, join its Facebook Group, The Cooler, or contact them via email at thegreatminute@gmail.com. But for this blogathon, Rob is reviewing It Happened on Fifth Avenue. The stage is yours, Rob.


“The essence of big business, gentlemen, is never put one worry ahead of another.” – Aloysius T. McKeever

Number of Times Seen – 1 (19 Jul 2021)

Brief Synopsis – Two homeless men occupy the deserted home of a millionaire while he spends the winter down south.

My Take on it – This is a film that I had never heard of before coming across it while seeking out a movie to watch for this blogathon that I’ve participated in ever since its inception.

I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable this film was and that has much to do with the way that they develop these characters in such fun and unique ways.

The film has such a great message that rings true throughout and the way that many of the characters masquerade as members of different class system.

The cast is great and help keep things so enjoyable along the way due to the way they all act throughout.

The chemistry between these characters is amazing to watch and the way that things play out is great to watch.

This film was directed by Roy Del Ruth and he does a wonderful job with this inspirational story, but I was disappointed to hear that Frank Capra originally planned to make this film but decided to make It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) instead.

It’s too bad that he couldn’t save this for his next project afterwards because this kind of story is right up his alley.

The Christmas scene definitely stands out here and helps make the story even more poignant to watch due to the theme sand message of the story which stand out so boldly throughout the film but especially during that scene.

The film does a nice job blending in comedy and romance into the story in a very plausible way.

The dialogue is superb and helps move things along in a very powerful way.

Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The first production of Allied Artists Pictures, the “A” picture division of Monogram Pictures. The film went thirty percent over budget. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)

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As for who Rob is inviting to our party, he is inviting the smart, the talented, the lovely Natalie Portman.

Thanks for joining in as always, Rob!

Tomorrow has two entries for the blogathon, the first coming from my Ultimate Decades Blogathon partner in crime.

Until next time, cheers!

Arthur Christmas: Christmas in July Blogathon 2021

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the halfway point of the eighth annual Christmas in July Blogathon! Today’s entry comes from none other than the most enthusiastic participant of the blogathon, Allie from Often Off Topic! On her site, Allie shares movie reviews and life updates. Check out her blog for all sorts of goodies. For this year’s blogathon, Allie returns to her reviewing roots with a review of 2011’s Arthur Christmas.


Arthur Christmas movie posterIn previous years I’ve made lists, drawn posters and generally tried to think outside of the box. But this year I’m keeping it simple and I’m bringing you a movie review of Arthur Christmas (2011). It’s a movie I’ve never seen before but it’s been on my watchlist for 5 years now. I know it’s something I would enjoy but once November/Winter comes around, there’s so much going on and there’s so many beloved movies to watch that I’ve never found the time for something new. I’ll always pick an old favourite like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) or Jingle All The Way (1996) before I take a risk on something new. So the blogathon was the perfect opportunity for me to watch Arthur Christmas and see if it’s worth it.

Arthur Christmas is an animated movie made in collaboration with Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman Animations. If I’d known all along that Aardman was involved I would have seen it immediately, you can always rely on them to pack in a ridiculous amount of detail into their work. The animation is a beautiful blend of claymation meeting digital, it’s nothing that stands out against today’s animations but it’s still gorgeous.

It also has a wonderful voice cast. James McAvoy plays Arthur, one of Santa’s sons who works in the post room and has so much passion for making Christmas perfect for each child. He reads every letter and always makes sure the children get exactly what they ask for. Hugh Laurie voices Steve, Santa’s other son and heir to the suit. Steve’s worked hard to modernise the night of Christmas Eve with technology and efficiency, but he cares more for numbers and stats than the magic of it all. Santa himself and his wife are voiced by Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton. I’m sure they’ve done so much more but they will always be Slughorn and Umbridge to me.

Arthur Christmas is, I guess, a very to-the-book Christmas movie whereby Christmas is in danger of being ruined and it’s up to the underdogs to save it. I don’t have a problem with that as long as it’s done well and Arthur Christmas absolutely smashes it. The best Christmas movies are those that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike and this is one of them. It’s the subtle jokes like the elves delivering presents and switching the oven on because the adults had forgotten after putting the turkey in before bed. That’s just one very small example off the top of my head.

If I had any complaint at all it would be this question. Did the people involved in making this movie have young children AT ALL? Find me a child still asleep on Christmas morning past 7am and I’ll eat the laptop I’ve been using to work from home with. By 7am the presents are already opened and the house is chaos!

But anyway – in conclusion, Arthur Christmas will 100% be re-watched many a time in my house, when the real Christmas is here.

Now, my favourite part of Drew’s blogathon is the party he hosts at the end of it. We all get to bring a guest of our choice, someone we’d like to meet under the mistletoe. I’ve been very fickle and brought a new guest every year and 2021 is going to be no different. There’s only one person on my naughty list this year and the god of mischief himself, Loki, aka Tom Hiddleston. Drew, if we’re allowed to come in costume I’ll put together my very best Sylvie outfit!


I would love to see you in a Sylvie outfit, Allie. 😉

Tomorrow, the blogathon’s longest running participant joins in the fun.

Until next time, cheers!

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey: Christmas in July Blogathon 2021

Hello, friends!

Welcome to day 2 of the Christmas in July Blogathon 2021! Today, SG from Rhyme and Reason joins us again this year with his unique combination of poetry and film review. SG’s approach to film reviews is unlike any other blogger out there so definitely go check his blog out! For this year’s blogathon, SG reviews a Netflix Christmas film released during last year’s holiday season. Take it away, SG!


Is your life not the dream-come-true fiction has taught?
Were not all your hopes quite achieved?
Did you think yourself special, then found that you’re not,
As so many others believed?

It’s commonplace now to have cynical minds.
We’re all disillusioned these days.
When searching for misery, he who seeks finds,
And evils no longer amaze.

What happened to when we were wide-eyed and young,
And no one could dampen our zeal?
We reached for the fruit that was not lowest hung,
And life was more hope than ordeal.

Who says that such days are behind you? You do,
For no one has made you despair.
Hope, like surrender, is chosen. Who knew?
It needs but the courage to dare.
___________________________

MPA rating:  PG

A huge thank you to Drew for having me again for this year’s Christmas in July Blogathon, an occasion I always look forward to for some midyear holiday cheer. You would think that I would have seen more movies over the last year, considering I’ve been cooped up in my house for most of it, but school has kept me plenty busy instead. However, I had a break last December and was delighted to see this Netflix Christmas musical. Since I watched it after Christmas had already passed, I knew it would be a perfect selection for Christmas in July, especially because its appeal extends beyond the holidays.

Indeed, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey may have Christmas in the name and plenty of yuletide trappings, practically being set in a version of Santa’s village, but its story of a disillusioned inventor (Forest Whitaker) who is re-inspired by his granddaughter Journey (Madalen Mills) isn’t inherently centered around Christmas (aside from the frame story featuring Phylicia Rashad). That makes it suitable viewing for any time of year, even as it pushes the wonder, magic, family togetherness, and such associated with Christmastime.

With thirty minutes of backstory alone to explain how Whitaker’s Jeronicus Jangle went from superstar inventor to cynical pawnbroker, the film is perhaps a bit too stuffed with story, feeling rather long at two hours. Yet musical numbers go a long way toward easing the occasional dip in pacing, at least for people like me who adore musicals and want more and more to be made. Not only is Jingle Jangle an entirely original production, but it has a highly polished and catchy soundtrack from John Legend and Philip Lawrence, sounding most similar to The Greatest Showman and elevated further by bravura choreography to complement the tunes. Forest Whitaker and Keegan-Michael Key, who plays Jangle’s former apprentice-turned-villain, are not known for singing, but they do well here, with even more capable support from professionals like Anika Noni Rose as Jangle’s daughter, Lisa Davina Phillip as a mailwoman desperate to be his love interest, and Ricky Martin as a sinister matador doll come to life.

The fact that the film is an original, not based on some preexisting stage show, is significant to me, showing that studios like Netflix are willing to bankroll new musicals without a preexisting fan base. Also noteworthy is the film’s predominantly black cast, who get to enjoy a picturesque, snowy setting and lavish Victorian costumes that are typically reserved for white-led musicals. The film’s clearly fantastical setting sidesteps any objections about historical accuracy and instead presents the fully integrated, steampunk-lite world as a wonderland for all. There have been African-American interpretations of established stories like Cinderella or A Christmas Carol, but I can’t help but feel like an original story like this means more.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is the kind of film that succeeds in imparting a smile and good cheer, buoyed by exuberant song-and-dance numbers and feel-good mathematical nonsense like “the square root of impossible” or the “second derivative of sensational.” It may not be quite a masterpiece: not every song is memorable, the WALL-E-like robot that seems intended as the film’s mascot doesn’t leave much of an impression, and the ending is a tad anticlimactic. Yet, from the stellar opening song “This Day” to the heartwarming bond between Jangle and his daughter, there’s something utterly likable about the film, reminiscent perhaps of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with its gadgets and whimsy. I mean, the production design alone deserved an Oscar nomination, in my opinion, not to mention the magical interludes of wooden-doll-style animation that move the story along. It may be overly sweet for musical naysayers, but I have little doubt that Jingle Jangle is destined to be a Christmas tradition for many families.

Best line: (Journey) “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Rank:  List Runner-Up

© 2021 S.G. Liput
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P.S. For my mistletoe choice, I think I’ll invite Ana de Armas, who I like more with every role of hers I’ve seen, particularly Knives Out. Attractive and talented is quite the combination.


I’m glad you chose to invite Ana de Armas to our party, SG. If you didn’t, I certainly was going to. 😁

At tomorrow’s halfway mark of the blogathon, the self-proclaimed Christmas enthusiast shares her review of an animated Christmas film celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

Until next time, cheers!