Allie’s Top 5 Non-Christmassy Christmas Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon 2019

Hello, friends!

Let’s get this blogathon started! This is the sixth year I’ve hosted this blogathon so many of you should be familiar with it. If you aren’t familiar with it, firstly, where have you been! And secondly, I hope you enjoy Christmas because you will be getting a lot of it between now and July 25th. There are some cool and unique entries this year (as always!) so I hope you find something you like and maybe even some new blogs worth following by the time this is all finished. To get us started is none other than the veteran Christmas in July Blogathon-er, Allie from Often Off Topic. Allie reviews a variety of films on her site, gives updates on her life as a mom of a little daughter, shares lists, and is a frequent participant in the Thursday Movie Picks. Make sure to go check her site out if you aren’t familiar with it. In the mean time, to kick off the blogathon, here are Allie’s Top 5 non-Christmassy Christmas movies.


You try saying that title after a few cups of eggnog! Does anyone actually drink eggnog? I’ve heard it in Christmas songs I’ve seen it in Christmas movies…but I’ve never actually had any! I guess there’s a first time for everything. Speaking of which, this is certainly not the first time I’ve taken part in Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon, but it IS the first time I’ve sent my post to him on time! For…any actual Blogathon he’s hosted, actually. I’m so sorry Drew!

It’s getting tougher each year to pick a topic for my post, but after last year when I defended Die Hard’s status as a Christmas movie my theme for this year has picked itself out. I’m going to list my Top 5 Non-Christmassy Christmas movies! You know, those movies you find yourself watching in October or November when the festive vibes are kicking in, but it’s not socially acceptable to be in the festive spirit yet!


#5 Die Hard (1988)
Defending Die Hard’s Christmasy status is difficult enough, but last year Bruce Willis himself declared that it wasn’t a Christmas movie. C’mon, man! When the winter months are filled with sickly sweet family movies, sometimes you need to see Bruce Willis kick some ass whilst still feeling festive.


#4 Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
I love a good rom com, and Bridget Jones’s Diary is up there with the best of the very best. Bridget is just so relatable, and the scene with her and Mark Darcy with his ugly Christmas jumper is brilliant!


#3 The Harry Potter Series (2001 – 2011)
Christmas features very sporadically in all of the Harry Potter movies but for years now, the main UK TV channels feature them heavily in December, and so for that reason, it’s sort of become a tradition to watch them annually at that time of year.


#2 Shazam! (2019)
This year has actually brought a new movie to my annual Christmas watch list! (I’m going to have to START in July at this rate). Shazam! has it all, it’s a cool and funny superhero movie, it has some touching family moments…and it takes place at Christmas! Winner winner, turkey dinner.


#1 Just Friends (2005)
I’m a huuuge Ryan Reynolds fan, and Just Friends features Ryan Reynolds at what I consider one of the best moments in his career. Embarrassingly, I could probably recite the entire movie to you, I’ve watched it that often!

Now, as part of Drew’s blogathon, he hosts a huge celebrity party (ever the hostess with the most-ess) and we’re allowed to bring any guest we choose. I seem to have worked my way through the entire male Star Wars cast…but I don’t think you need more than one guess as to who I’m bringing this year…

Keanu, we are going to have a most excellent time!


Great list, Allie. After your post from last year, I’m definitely not surprised to see Die Hard on your list. I approve of your invite. If any trouble goes down, I know Baba Yaga himself will protect us.

Come back tomorrow for more Christmassy fun with a review from the longest active participant in the Christmas in July Blogathon.

Until next time, cheers!

My Fave Five Kick-Ass Movie Heroines

Hello, friends!

As you may know, the latest video game to film adaptation, Tomb Raider, hit theaters several weeks ago to mixed reviews.  While I myself enjoyed it, it was not the most original adventure film. However, there is no denying the tenacity and ferocity and overall bad-ass-ity of Alicia Vikander’s Lara Croft. This got me thinking of other strong, kick-ass women in film, especially over the last several years when there has been an influx of leading action ladies it seems. I’ve decided to narrow down my picks for this list to films made after 2000, otherwise this could have easily become a fave ten list. Here are my five favorite kick-ass movie heroines.

Mako Mori (Pacific Rim)5) Mako Mori (Pacific Rim / Pacific Rim: Uprising)

In a world dominated by male Jaeger pilots, Mako Mori showed that she was just as capable. When Raleigh was looking for his partner to pilot Gypsy Danger, he could tell right away that Mako was the perfect fit. Despite her adoptive father’s reluctance, he let her get into the Jaeger with Raleigh because he saw her determination and willingness to do what she knows is right.  Once inside the giant machine, she proved that she was indeed the perfect partner for Raleigh, ensuring together the Kaijus were defeated.

Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)4) Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

The inspiration for this list. In the latest big screen iteration of Lara, she isn’t portrayed as an invincible hero. Rather, she get bumps and bruises along her journey, showing she is, in fact, vulnerable. She is also smart, creative, and physically fit. She puts these skills and traits to good use to dispatch men who are twice her size, as well as find the island where her father went missing and navigate through Himiko’s tomb. If there is anyone I’d want at my side for my next globe-trotting adventure, it’s Lara.

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series)3) Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Series)

Hermione Granger makes this list for several reasons. One, she is a fantastic and powerful witch, knowledgeable in many charms and spells. Two, she is one of the few people Ron and Hermione are actually afraid of, especially when she gets angry. Three, she would do anything for her friends, whether that would be help them learn a spell or hunt Lord Voldemort. Fourth, and the most important, she made the ultimate sacrifice of erasing her very existence from her parents’ memory to protect them. Hermione proved several times over that she is one of the strongest women around.

The Bride (Kill Bill(2) Beatrix Kiddo aka the Bride (Kill Bill)

Calling the Bride a heroine might be a bit of a stretch but the Kill Bill movies are all about her quest for revenge so I’m not going to argue. If there is anyone on this list to be most afraid of, it’s the Bride. After getting shot and left for dead, she hunts down those responsible and takes them down without mercy. I could watch her fight scene with the Crazy 88’s or Vernita Green over and over again. Her body count alone between both films is enough to cement her status as a genuine bad-ass.

Princess Diana (Wonder Woman)1) Princess Diana (Wonder Woman)

I have to be honest, I lied to you a little in the introduction. While Tomb Raider was the motivation to create this list, Wonder Woman was the film that first made me think about creating this list and who should be on it. The Amazonian princess sees the good in the world and those around her. She did not hesitate to cross No Man’s Land when she knew doing so was dangerous but was necessary to help the greater good. Not only is Diana pure of heart, she is strong as hell! She fought the god of war and came out the victor. Wonder Woman’s purity of heart, desire to do what is right, and literal god-like strength easily puts her number one on my list of kick-ass heroines.


Honorable mentions include Katness (The Hunger Games series), Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road), and Lorraine Broughton (Atomic Blonde).

Who are some of your favorite kick-ass movie heroines?

Until next time, cheers!

Monday Movie Fun Fact – 10/6/14

Harry Potter film logo

One reason I like movie trivia is because I come across little nuggets such as this and I begin thinking about how a certain movie franchise could have ended up being different.  I try to vary the films I post for the my fun facts, but this was too good not to share.

Steven Spielberg

Warner Brothers bought the film rights to JK Rowling’s first four Harry Potter books in 1998 for $2 million (£1 million).  When looking for a director for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, WB approached Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks studio.  After Spielberg accepted the offer, negotiations began immediately about the story and look of the films.  Spielberg wanted to make the movies animated since they were going to be very special effects heavy anyway.  He also wanted to combine several books into one movie.  Alan Horn, who was recently appointed president at WB at the time, eventually declined the partnership, stating:

“I did think it would be worthwhile for Steven Spielberg to direct. We offered it to him. But one of the notions of DreamWork’s and Steven’s was, ‘Let’s combine a couple of the books, let’s make it animated,’ and that was because of the [visual effects and] Pixar had demonstrated that animated movies could be extremely successful. Because of the wizardry involved, they were very effects-laden. So I don’t blame them. But I did not want to combine the movie and I wanted it to be live action.”

As much as I like Spielberg, I’m glad Horn didn’t go in that direction.  It’s hard to imagine not growing up with Daniel Radcliff, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry, Ron and Hermione. Although combining books would have moved the narrative along, it would not have been able to build the characters and relationships very well.

My Fave Five John Williams Movie Scores

I have stressed in several of my reviews how much a great score can contribute to a film.  A great composer can take what they see on screen and translate that into music, amplifying the emotion or set the atmosphere.  Having been a musician myself, I have a deep appreciation for the time and effort that goes into music making.  As a result, I tend to really listen to a film’s score and get into the emotion of it (or try to anyway).  Whenever I go into a film and I see that John Williams is the composer, I know I’m in for a musical treat.  He is without a doubt my favorite film composer.  Williams knows his way around the heart of a film and can strengthen it like few other composers can.  He can capture strong and powerful or soft sweet and everything in between. He can create tension, making you scrunch in your seat, or alleviate it, and bring you closer to the characters.  Alright, enough about my musical man-crush, here are my five favorite John Williams movie scores.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone movie poster5) Harry Potter 1 – 3

I was a part of the Harry Potter Generation.  It may not have been as big for me as it was for others, but I still really enjoyed the series, both the books and the films.  For the longest time, I never realized that Williams was the composer for the first three Harry Potter movies.  It wasn’t until it showed up on my film scores playlist on Pandora that I was like, “Holy smokes, no wonder I like it so much.”  Although the Harry Potter films may be one of Williams more recent scores, it has quickly become just as iconic as some of his previous scores.  I would say the Harry Potter theme has become almost as recognizable as any others on this list.

4) Jaws Jaws movie poster

Remember in the introduction when I mentioned a music can help set the atmosphere?  I was mostly referencing this movie when I said that.  Jaws is a good movie, but it is the score that makes it great.  It helps create a tension the film would otherwise lack.  The signature Duuuunnn duuunnn is enough to send a chill down anyone’s spine, even if they are nowhere near the water.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie poster3) Indiana Jones series

I couldn’t tell you what exactly draws me towards the music of the Indiana Jones series.  Every time I hear it, I want to jump on a horse and ride into some booby-trap infested temple.  Then I remember if that if I were to enter that kind of place I wouldn’t make it through like Indy, instead I would be like Satipo (Alfred Molina).  With each film in the original trilogy, the music gets better and better.  But none of it beats the Raiders March, the theme song that carries through all movies.

2) Jurassic Park  Jurassic Park movie poster

The score of Jurassic Park will always put me in a good mood, no matter how I’m feeling.  Few movie scores can really fill me with emotion the way this one does.  Every time I hear the Jurassic Park theme, I can’t help but think of the opening shot of the park itself with several dinosaur species roaming around the open field and getting a drink from the lake and the late Richard Attenborough saying “Welcome to Jurassic Park.”  It is so grandiose I am just filled with a strong sense of positive emotion almost instantaneously.

Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope movie poster1) Star Wars Saga

Star Wars has had a huge impact in cinema.  I would say the original trilogy one of the reasons I am the cinefile I am today.  At the heart of all the films (including the next trilogy) is Williams’ score.  I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but every time I hear any piece of music from any of the Star Wars movies I get swept away.  The highlights for me are Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace and Battle of the Heroes from Revenge of the Sith.  Both songs completely capture the emotion of the lightsaber duels on screen and is the pinnacle of what the amazing John Williams is capable of.


Come back tomorrow for the Movie Quote of the Week and the answer to yesterday’s Movie Whose Line (which you can guess here).  What is your favorite John Williams film score?