The Manhattan Movie Maniac’s First Annual List of the Greatest Xmas Movies
Deck The Halls with films of Christmas,
Fa La La La, La La La. La La
Tis the reason to read reviews
Fa La La La, La La La. La La
Give us now our worthy movie,
Fa La La La, La La La. La La
And duck crap that catches newbies
Fa La La La, La La La. La La
Ok, ok I’ll stop with the Christmas Carol re-invention. Instead, I’ll do my part to build holiday spirit by offering my own non-exhaustive and hastily compiled list of the best Christmas movies of the last quarter century or so. I’m sure that I have forgotten some good ones, didn’t share your high opinion of them, and or have just not seen them. Gasp! Yes, Virginia, it’s true. The Manhattan Movie Maniac has not seen every movie ever made. I’ve tried, but it’s just another thing that I’ve failed at, as my family takes joy in pointing out. Don’t you love family? That’s what Christmas is all about, right? Anyways, back to the list.
Ho Ho Ho. Since you have all been good little girls and boys (determined by the fact that you hit my site and are still reading my stuff), prepare to unwrap…
The Manhattan Movie Maniac’s Top Contemporary Christmas Movies
1) A Christmas Story – a modern day classic that says Christmas more than any other movie since Miracle On 34th Street.
2) Scrooged – The funniest version of Dickens, yet.
3) Home Alone – Dennis the Menace Meets Rambo on a suburban Christmas Eve.
4) Trading Places – One of Eddie Murphy’s best and a monster 80s hit
5) The Santa Clause – This Tim Allen film shows a lot of imagination and has some pretty good jokes on top of it
6) Christmas Vacation – The Griswold family makes viewers merry.
7) Family Man – This Nicholas Cage feature has a Christmas angle on a Wall Street hotshot’s glimpse at the life he left behind.
8) The Ref – One of Cajun Carl’s picks, Denis Leary kidnaps the most dysfunctional couple since War of the Roses
9) Elf – Will Farrell as one of Santa’s elves adjusting to NYC.
10) Bad Santa – This Cajun Carl choice is about a two-bit criminal, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who uses a position as a dept store Santa to ply his trade.
Honorary Mention goes to Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, which, while being great movies set at Christmas, just have too much gunfire for me to consider them to be Yuletide movies in the traditional sense. Also, worthy of mention, is Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which is also a fantastic movie, and though it is set at Thanksgiving, still has that holiday flavor.
There you go! Those are our picks as the best contemporary Christmas movies. If you agree, disagree, think we missed some good ones, drop us a line and let us know. If you are abusive enough, I might start to think of you as family…
The Worst Movies of 2007
Every job has its unpleasant moments. Cab drivers have traffic. Waitresses deal with rude customers. NFL quarterbacks try to duck being turned into a head injury statistic by 250 lb drug enhanced linebackers. We all have work-related challenges. As a movie reviewer, my challenge comes in the form of horrible movies that I have to march into, often knowing that the film is going to be like a two hour dental appointment.
Yet, I gather up my willpower, reluctantly take a seat and hope that the result will not be as bad as I expect it to be. In some cases, it isn’t, but in others, my optimism is replaced with a taste like motor oil and a dull, throbbing pain in my head.
In 2007, the worst offenders (Those that I saw – some, like Bratz, I thankfully missed) are listed below. I could have gone to see them to consider their inclusion on this list, but, as I’ve said before, there are limits to how far I will go for my craft. I don’t offer this list to belittle the sorry bastards, for whom these horrendous films may represent their best efforts (or not). No, those talentless hacks, who profited from my misery in the last 12 months, will have to find their comeuppance elsewhere (hopefully, in the form of a creeping, burning crotch rash). No, this list is not for them. I only offer this compilation to save you the pain, that I endured. No, don’t thank me. Just click on an ad and buy something. That’s thanks enough. :)
Enough talk! It’s time to reveal….
The Manhattan Movie Maniac’s Worst Movie list for 2007!
10) The Invisible: The only thing worse than the acting in this awful suspense film is the script which was probably written on a cocktail napkin at happy hour, the day before filming started.
9) The Heartbreak Kid: This film manages to be mediocre for the first two acts, before having THE worst third act (last 30 mins or so) of the year.
8) Deck The Halls: This is a Christmas movie, but it ain’t no gift! DeVito and Broderick are wasted with a screenplay that has no jokes that you haven’t groaned at before.
7) Next: Completely unbelievable action movie that is low on action and long on ridiculous dialog and situations.
6) Because I said So: Diane Keaton accepted a role in this poorly written feature. She either needed money, or wanted revenge because no Father of The Bride III is planned.
5) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: These turtles started as a Saturday morning cartoon, and that’s really where they should stay. We can only hope.
4) License To Wed: Robin Williams is a funny enormously talented man. So how does he end up making so many crappy comedies? It’s not funny. It’s not interesting. It’s not going to ever be seen by me again.
3) Saw IV: Cajun: Carl reviewed this one and I will be eternally grateful that he braved this horrible sequel that further sullied the legacy of the pleasing original.
2) Hannibal Rising: This is an emarrassingly bad attempt to cash in on the Hannibal Lecter character just one more time. I would rather have Hannibal eat my liver with some lima beans and a nice Chianti than watch this again.
Pathfinder:…And here it is! The worst movie of the year is this horrible historic hodge podge that is offensive to pretty much everyone they portray and to their viewers, as well. Whether the story, the dialog or the characters are the worst parts here, is up in air, but which ever element you place most of the blame on; this movie still stinks. I’d go upstairs and watch the projector spin for 100 minutes, rather than watch this one again.
The Best Movies of 2007 – So far, anyway.
1) Eastern Promises*****
Edgy and gripping with great acting and memorable scenes. This is the best so far.
Loaded with energy, charm and catchy tunes, I like it a whole lot more than I expected to.
3) Grindhouse ****1/2
Tarantino is back with old-fashioned action, twisted imaginative scenes and great dialog. Rodriguez held his own by making the one of the few zombie movies that I really liked.
4) Sicko **** 1/2
Stunning, touching and entertaining, Michael Moore is at it again.
5) In The Valley of Elah****1/2
A well-acted, well written mystery that works for me.
Entertaining for all ages. Physical comedy combines with clever lines and great animation to make this a hit.
7) Spider-Man 3 ****
The Spider-Man series is still strong. Let’s hope that Tobey sticks around for a couple more of these.
8) Superbad ****
A teen sex comedy that isn’t original, but is funny. That’s all I need from it.
9) The Bourne Ultimatum****
A comeback from the Bourne team to make one of the better action movies of the year.
10) Music and Lyrics ****
Ok, ok, its a simple, romantic comedy, but I liked it.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age ****
The Jane Austen Book Club****
Shake Hands With The Devil ****
The Kingdom ****
The Coolest Movie Characters
Okay, here we go! My very first list! I threw this together quickly and reserve the right to make changes as I think of other characters, or have them pointed out to me by helpful readers, whose emails begin with “Dear Maniac”. For those of you who chose to call me other names that make me want to cry, I am unlikely to look favorably upon your input. Be warned, there are swear words ahead (kinda). Check with your parents before continuing.
Okay, so what are the guidelines? The coolest characters meet dangerous or stressful situations with calm humour, steady thinking and fast action that makes you say (“why didn’t I think of that”. Cause you are just not that cool. Sorry). They always know the right thing to say or do, and it makes sense. Plus, I guess they are just cool ‘cause I say so and it’s my list.
Ok, here it is! Read them and give me your ideas and opinions. Sooner or later the list will change as people convince me that some should be dropped and others added.
Twelve of the coolest cucumbers around…
12) Nick Naylor in Thank you For Smoking: As the mouthpiece for Big
Tobacco, Nick Naylor, played by Aaron Eckhart verbally smacks down talk show hosts,
U.S. Senators, gun-toting Marlborough Men, and disruptive grade four students. He
does lose cool points for his reaction while being snatched off the street, but I will
say no more in case you haven’t seen the movie.
11) Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction: Samuel Jackson’s professional killer can
talk about foot massages and Big Macs one second and be quoting scripture and
casually sipping his future victims soft drink the next. Add this to a wallet that says
‘Bad M****r f****r’ on it and this is a damn cool character. Loses a few spots by
deciding to “walk the earth and have adventures” like Kane in Kung Fu, but he is
still one smooth m****r f****r.
10) Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China: Kurt Russell plays a truck
driver who is just trying to collect a debt and find his truck, when he has to deal with
sword-weilding kung fu gangs and immortal wizards that shoot blue lightning from their
fingertips. This is a lot to for an ordinary guy to deal with, but he manages and even
gives a tough speech while wearing lipstick. No easy feat. Gets him #10.
9) Gordon Gekko in Wall Street: Michael Douglas’ slimy, unscrupulous,
investor could write the book on being cool in suit. He recommends Art of War as
business reading, spouts some of the coolest profane threats on film and even reverts
to the law of the jungle by punching the crap out of the guy who squeals on him. Very
8 ) Turkish in Snatch: Jason Statham is at his finest as a ‘cool as ice’ boxing
promoter. He has funny and cool dialogue throughout the movie and even manages to
stay cool while dealing with Bricktop, a gangster who lets his dogs chew on the legs of
people who displease him, and feeds them to his pigs when he is really angry. Turkish is
a smooth talking rounder, unflappable and funny. I like him; #8.
7) John Mclane in the Die Hard series. Bruce Willis’ franchise character
changed action heroes from perfect, usually sullen, fighting machines to wise-cracking,
flawed heroes whose success usually entails them taking a beating from tougher
villains before finding a way to overcome. Anyone who can up with funny jokes
while crawling through ventilation shafts is pretty cool in my book.
6) Derek Vinyard in American History X. Ed Norton redefines cool as white
supremacist who has a change of heart while doing time, and realizes that it was all
bull shit, but when he gets out, he has to face those crazy idiots again to help his
brother. This sounds cheesy. It isn’t. A great movie and one cool ass character, even
if that did happen to him in prison.
5) Doc Holliday in Tombstone: Say what you will about Val Kilmer (and many
say unflattering things), but this guy can act and his teacup-twirling, gunslinging, Doc
Holliday stole the show, in what is already a pretty damn good show. Holliday’s
character is as cool and wretched as death itself gliding through town. What else can I
say? “I’m here, Huckleberry”.
4) James Bond: Whether its Sean Connery, George Larenzby, Roger Moore,
Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig, MI-6’s 007 is as cool as they come.
Faced with torture and death every time out, he always keeps his cool, kicks ass and
gets the lady. Plus, check the out his wheels! How can we leave this character off any
3) Vin Diesel in anything: Whether he’s Dominic Toretto (The Fast and The
Furious), Richard Riddick (Pitch Black) or Taylor Reese (Knockaround Guys, my fave) this
guy is uber cool. His character is pretty much the same in all his movies, but that’s ok,
because he is so damn cool. Ok, this ain’t any kind of that love thing, y’all, but you
have to admit. I’m right on this one.
2) Chilly Palmer in Get Shorty: John Travolta scored a hit with this loan
shark/movie producer who is fun to watch just because he is so cool. Who else, after
bag bashing a stuntman/goon casually lights up a cigarette and wants to chat about
what movies the guy has done. That is pretty cool in my book. I love that scene. I love
that movie. What a great character! #2
And our current #1 coolest character in any movie has to be….
1) Mr. Spock: Leonard Nimoy’s green-blooded, all business Vulcan takes the
prize. Women,violence, impending doom, you name it and it doesn’t faze Spock. Even his
own death was just the logical choice since “the needs of the many, outweigh the
needs of the few, or the one”. He is good at everything, as smart as they come and
yet has no ego. That alone makes him the coolest in my book. Look at me! I’m not good
at anything and I still have an ego.
I’ve already thought of characters that should probably be somewhere on this list, so fire me emails, folks and tell me what you think. Where do these characters belong on the list? Or do they? Who else has to be added? What chicks fit the criteria?
The Bride from Kill Bill