Kim’s Winter Holidays Activities in Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon 2019

Hello, friends!

This is the final guest post of the 2019 edition of the Christmas in July Blogathon. Many of you should be familiar with the next guest. She has been on my site many times before, even co-hosting the annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon in February/March. That’s right, it’s none other than Kim from Tranquil Dreams! She shares the happenings of her life, her favorite recipes, and posts movie and game reviews. There is a variety of content on her blog so be sure to check it out. Kim always has unique entries for the Christmas in July Blogathon and this year is no exception. This year, she is talking about her favorite winter holiday activities in movies. Let’s get to it!

Christmas in July is here! After a really long deliberation between what to talk about, the heat in town has made think a little of some cooler days and what makes Christmas for myself in the more North, is snow and all that goes with it: snowball fights and skating, etc. That was some nice inspirations to sharing some Christmas activities during the holidays. Some of the winter activities aren’t exactly unique to Christmas but to keep in the blogathon theme, all of these scenes are from Christmas movies.

Snowball Fight – Elf (2003)

Elf is a staple of Christmas movies. Its like wrapping up Christmas themes in a nice little bow tie, at least at my home it is. The snowball fight here was pretty one sided. It was more like a retaliation against bullies.

Tobogganing – A Christmas Prince (2017)

Netflix really hits it out of the park with A Christmas Prince as a Christmas holiday romantic comedy. It embraces the Hallmark style films and this one works (the sequel not as well) but there are some really fun scenes and this tobogganing one is really nice. I swear there was also a snowball fight or something but I might be wrong. It had a ton of Christmas elements.

Snowball Fights – The Princess Switch (2018)

Last Christmas, Netflix came out with another romantic comedy which I loved a lot. Vanessa Hudgens as two roles was pretty hilarious in a It Takes Two adult version set during Christmas. Plus it had baking (in retrospect, I should do a Christmas baking in movies list). However, one of the best scenes were these two breaking out in a snowball fight.

Caroling – Gremlins (1984)

Nothing like some Gremlins caroling to bring out the Christmas spirit. But then, Gremlins are cute until they aren’t.

Snowmen – Krampus (2015)

I can’t remember how these snowmen showed up in the film for the life of me right now. However, the only other snowman building scene I could remember was either Gilmore Girls (which is TV) or Frozen, which isn’t exactly a Christmas movie. Stretching it just a little but still, creepy snowman is better than no snowman. Krampus might be an alternate Christmas movie, but it is full of darker takes on Christmas elements which is so much fun to watch.

Thanks again to Drew for bringing a little winter holidays reminder during the peak of summer!

For our holiday party, Kim is inviting Mike Angelo, a Thai actor popular in China and is part of the upcoming film The Misfits directed by Renny Harlin.

This has truly become an international holiday party. Fantastic invite, Kim!

And that does it for the guest entries of the sixth annual Christmas in July Blogathon. Tomorrow, I will wrap-up this year’s blogathon with review of another film off my list of favorite Christmas films.

Until next time, cheers!

Elf Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2018

Well, here we are. We’ve reached the final entry of the 2018 Christmas in July Blogathon. I may be biased, but I can’t think of anyone better to conclude this year’s festivities. This concluding review comes from non-other than someone you all know and love: me! Yoy might’ve guessed that I would be reviewing Elf if you follow my twitter. Elf is always at the top of my list of things to watch during the holiday season. I’m surprised it took me this long to review it. It’s been long enough, let’s get to it already!

Elf movie posterSynopsis
Buddy (Will Farrell) learns that after growing up at the North Pole, he is not an elf. He heads to New York City in hopes of reconnecting with his biological father (James Caan).

In talking to people, Will Farrell seems to be one of those actors that either you like or you don’t. I haven’t meet anyone who was like “He’s ok.” However, at the same time, I haven’t meet anyone who didn’t like Elf. Ferrell’s unique personality and comedy is the perfect fit for Buddy, an elf who is a fish-out-of-water in New York City. He wonderfully portrays Buddy’s innocence and unfamiliarity of being in a big city. As delightful as Ferrell is, he doesn’t outshine the rest of the cast. Zooey Deschanel is a treat as Jovie, beautiful and sweet, seeing that Buddy is someone special. Veteran actors James Caan and Mary Steenburgen are great together, easily pulling off being a married couple. Daniel Tay as Buddy’s half-brother Michael might just be the most underappreciated character of the film, possessing as much heart and love for others as Buddy.

Christmas films tend to have a similar message about caring for others and showing that love in meaningful ways. Elf is no different but it does so in the classic comedy way of dropping the main character in an unfamiliar environment. And Buddy is someone worth rooting for. You want to see him succeed because, at his core, he is a good person. As a result, he brings a lot of heart to film. Which in the end is why this film is so beloved, despite mixed feeling towards Ferrell’s comedy, and instantly became a holiday staple.

I thought Elf was GREAT 😀 Regardless of your feelings on Will Ferrell, chances are you’ll enjoy this movie. Luckily, Ferrell doesn’t carry the movie alone and the supporting cast around him all give extraordinary performances. Filled to the brim with heart, you’ll have no trouble finding this easily quotable film on many people’s must-watch list during the holiday season.

Favorite Quote
Buddy: You sit on a throne of lies.


Cast & Crew
Jon Favreau – Director
David Berenbaum – Writer
John Debney – Composer

Will Ferrell – Buddy
Zooey Deschanel – Jovie
James Caan – Walter
Mary Steenburgen – Emily
Daniel Tay – Michael
Bob Newhart – Papa Elf
Edward Asner – Santa
Amy Sedaris – Dev
Andy Richter – Morris
Kyle Gass – Eugene
Michael Lerner – Fulton
Faizon Love – Gimbel’s Manager
Peter Dinklage – Miles Finch

As I’ve mentioned a few time before on this blog, I play a lot of Overwatch. I also have been following the Overwatch League (OWL) as best I can (the season 1 grand finals start tomorrow, btw). So this year, I am inviting OWL personality Soe Gschwind-Penski to our holiday party.

That’s the wrap! Tomorrow, I will have a summary of this year’s entries and party guests. Thanks for hanging about during the blogathon!

Until next time, cheers!

A Midnight Clear and Elf Reviews: Christmas In July Blogathon 2016

Hey there, dear readers!

First up today on the penultimate day of the Christmas in July Blogathon is Rob, the monster reviewer behind Movierob.  Rob has reviewed literally thousands of films on his site.  If you don’t already follow his madness, go check it out.  Now Rob brings two reviews to the party. Let’s get to them!

Thanks again to Drew for running this Blogathon for the 3rd time (That I’ve taken part at least)

A Midnight Clear

A Midnight Clear movie posterWhen thinking of a movie that helps bring out the holiday spirit and feeling, one usually doesn’t think of a war movie, but that is exactly what I chose as my first (of two) picks for this year’s entries.

I came across this gem of a film over twenty years ago and have enjoyed watching it and learning from it each and every time.

As with many war dramas, this film is actually an anti-war drama where we learn from the characters why war is bad for everyone involved and that no matter the situation, we should seek peace with our enemies while trying to find something in common in them at the same time.

Similar to the movie Joyeax Noel (2005), this film takes place on the front lines in Europe (different war tho) and the soldiers must decide what to do when Christmas comes around and their ideas of peace and good will towards all men create a sense of yearning towards the comforts and happiness of home during the holidays.

The soldiers slowly realize that the German soldiers they are fighting have similar aspirations for the holiday period and a truce of sorts is suggested between the warring sides.

I obviously don’t want to give away the whole movie, but the holiday spirit is constantly in the air and we get to see into the true hearts of ordinary men faced with war.

The cast is superb here and the 6 main characters are all played by (now) famous actors – Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinese, Frank Whalley, Peter Berg,  Arye Gross and Kevin Dillon.

Loved the way that Hawke narrated the story because he was able to give us so much insight into many of the characters, their chosen nicknames and the reasons for how and why they all act the way they do.

As I stated previously, this may not be the regular kind of film one would normally choose to watch around Christmas, but the themes and actions presented really show the true spirit of holidays no matter your religion.

Oscar Worthy (9/10)


Elf movie posterThis is a holiday film that I’ve been meaning to rewatch for years but never got around to it.  Thanks to Drew’s wonderful yearly blogathon, I got the added kick in the butt to rewatch this film.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like it this time as much as the last time 9 years ago.

Will Ferrell is spectacular as a human who grew up with the elves at the North Pole and I must admit that there are few actors who could pull off what he did here.  Acting like a cheerful yule tide kid is the kind of role that he can embrace and he is able to transform himself into Buddy the Elf for 90 minutes.

His antics are extremely fun to watch because he is able to capture the innocence and youthfulness of the character which endears him to us even more.

It’s too bad that besides Ferrell, this film has little to offer. James Caan comes off hollow, Mary Steenburgen isn’t given enough to do and Zooey Deschanel and Ferrell have no real chemistry together. Bob Newhart and Ed Asner’s roles are glorified cameos.

Peter Dinklage is hilarious as a ruthless executive, but is only in one small scene.

The holiday message tho is quite clear and is delivered properly so I can’t claim that this film doesn’t hit its mark at all.

Ultimately, there are scenes that will put a smile on your face and that’s what we all want from a holiday movie; to cheer us up and put us in a happy mood.

Tnx again to Drew for hosting this Blogathon!

BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

Thanks, Rob! Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy Elf that much.  It is one of my favorite holiday movies. This blog is only three years old, so this is the third iteration of this blogathon. Thank you for being there since the beginning and participating every year.

Kim from Tranquil Dream will be by later today with her review of a classic 80s holiday film.

See you soon!

Movie Quote of the Week – 12/25/14

Answer to MWL 12/23/14 – Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) – Elf

Buddy: Santa! it’s me, Buddy! It’s me!
Santa: Hey buddy, how ya doin’?
Buddy: Who the heck are you?
Santa: What are you talking about? I’m Santa.
Buddy: No you’re not.
Santa: Why of course I am! Ho ho ho.
Buddy: If you’re Santa, what song did I sing for you on your birthday this year?
Santa: “Happy Birthday,” of course. Ho ho ho. So how old are you, son?
Paul: Four.
Santa: You’re a big boy, what’s your name?
Paul: Paul.
Santa: And what can I get you for Christmas?
Buddy: Paul, don’t tell him what you want. He’s a liar.
Santa: Let the kid talk.
Buddy: You disgust me. How can you live with yourself?
Santa: Just cool it, zippy.
Buddy: You sit on a throne of lies.
Santa: Look, I’m not kidding here.
Buddy: You’re a fake.
Santa: I’m a fake? How would you like to be dead?
Paul: Fake?
Santa: Ho ho, he’s kidding.
Buddy: [Sniffs] You stink. You smell like beef and cheese. You don’t smell like Santa.

 The following people answered correctly:

Kim (Tranquil Dreams)
FB/BS (Flashback/Backslide)

My Fave Five Christmas Movies

It’s that time of year again.  Snow is falling, bright lights decorate houses on every street, the Salvation Army bell ringers are outside every grocery store you can see, and TBS is having a 24-hour A Christmas Story marathon.  Yes, it’s the holiday season.  While you and your family are gathered by the fireplace sipping eggnog, sitting at the table playing a game of cards, or whatever your holiday traditions may be, chances are you do so with a Christmas movie playing.  Everyone has something different they like about the holiday season and there are plenty of movies to reflect that.  Here are my five favorite Christmas movies.

Honorable Mentions) Die Hard & Lethal WeaponLethal Weapon movie poster Die Hard movie poster

I have included Die Hard and Lethal Weapon on this list because they aren’t what could be considered “traditional” Christmas movies.  They take place during Christmas (the lowest requirement for a Christmas film) but that’s about the only relation to Christmas they have.  However, they are both great movies.  And on top of that, they both produced catch phrases that would last throughout both franchises.  They may not be the most traditional of Christmas films, but they are Christmas films nonetheless.

Elf movie poster5) Elf

Will Ferrell’s humor is hit or miss with audiences (based on people I’ve talked to at least).  But in Elf, he hits the mark.  Even those who I know aren’t Ferrell fans enjoy this movie.  The innocent and good natured Buddy the Elf resonates with everyone.  It’s always entertaining to see someone like Buddy who comes from a small town experience New York City for the first time.  There’s something about that fish-out-of-water element in the Big Apple that is so humorous.

4) The Polar ExpressThe Polar Express movie poster

When I was but a wee lad, I enjoyed the book The Polar Express.  Then it was brought onto the big screen, and the sense of wonderment only grew.  It can be difficult to adapt a children’s book into a movie, but The Polar Express shows how to do it correctly, and with style.  The animation uses contrasts efficiently and before Frozen, this was the pinnacle of snow animation, creating a gorgeously unique style that still looks amazing ten years later.

Christmas Vacation movie poster3) Christmas Vacation

Oh Christmas Vacation, how I love you.  I believe this was the first movie from National Lampoon’s Vacation series that I saw, and it is probably the best of the series.  Clark Griswald is once again played by the amazing Chevy Chase, whose comedic timing is spot-on in this film.  Even the supporting cast each get their moments.  But what I would have to say is my favorite part about Christmas Vacation is how it takes traditional holiday events that we loath (or like), such as in-laws staying for a few days or decorating the house with lights, and takes them to the extreme.  Sometimes real-life events make for the most touching.

2) A Christmas StoryA Christmas Story movie poster

This is the Christmas movies of all Christmas movies, or at least TBS thinks so since they play it for 24-hours.  But I would have to agree.  Every kid can relate to Ralphie, the young version played by Peter Billingsley, looking for that on awesome gift under the tree on Christmas morning.  The narration from an older Ralphie, voiced by Jean Shepard, is the perfect compliment to what is going on in the story.  Ralphie’s parents and friends, Ralphie’s daydreams, everything is skewed to fit a child’s perspective and it creates one of the best Christmas films out there.

The Santa Claus movie poster1) The Santa Clause

The Santa Clause was THE Christmas movie of my childhood.  This is the film I do not go without watching every year.  This was one of Tim Allen’s first movies since he started on Home Improvement and he carried much of Tim Taylor into this movie.  I think what appeals to me most is that Scott Calvin, Allen’s character, didn’t want to be Santa Claus, he was selfish and didn’t want the responsibility.  There is a big difference in his attitude between his first and second outings as Santa.  And I couldn’t forget all the cool elf gadgets.  Tinsel, jet packs, the sleigh’s CD dispenser.  Everything is just cool.  The cute little touches, like the Rose Sucha Clatter ladder company, just add to the experience.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!