Friday, December 10, 2010

Nine By Design 13

John Lennon was killed 30 yrs ago this week

I find it a little remarkable that this list entry, I started as a way to get over a little writer's block and make sure that I blogged at least once per week, has been going on for a quarter year.  It may not sound like much, but I have tiny goals in life.  As regular readers know, I've been feeling under the weather this week.  I self-diagnosed myself with Legionnaires Disease, because it sounds cool.  Better than the sniffles or a chest cold.  Everyone gets a cold, but not everyone gets...LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE.  On with our weekly list...but wait, we don't know the topic yet.  You are a very astute observer and correct, of course.  Since the holidays are upon about Alternative Christmas Movies?  (The descriptions could be very surreal, since I don't want to spoil anything)

Alternative Christmas Movies:

The Family Stone

No, really...I'm starting with this movie.  I never said they we're all good movies, although I like all of them.  There's just something about this one and no, it isn't Sarah Jessica Parker...she's so out of place, which I know is the point, but yuck.  That's all I'll say about SJP, yuck is all you get.  Anyways, Claire Danes is very charming and hot in the movie.  Craig T. Nelson is the dad and probably, one of the coolest dad's in a movie.  If you haven't seen it, do so...the story will get's really good, despite SJP.  Luke Wilson's in it, it can't be bad...

 Less Than Zero

The first book by Bret Easton Ellis and also the first to be adapted into a movie.  Robert Downey Jr. plays himself in the movie, but goes by Julian.  Not really, but at the time the movie was made...Downey was a mess, so it wasn't a stretch.  One of three movies where, Andrew McCarthy is the "hero" and one of my favorite actors, James Spader, is the "bad guy."  The other two, Pretty In Pink and Mannequin.  All three were made within 24 months of each other, interesting, but I don't know why.  Show your children, Robert Downey Jr's drug journey, as a way to scare them straight.  The visual isn't an egg in a frying pan, it's a straight guy, turning tricks to pay his dealer back.  Way more effective...

The Ref

I guess you would call this a breakthrough movie, but not for who you would think.  Denis Leary was great in this movie, but wouldn't really embrace acting until Wag The Dog/Suicide Kings both made in 1997.  It's pretty much, Kevin Spacey's coming out party.  It's his first real chunky role.  He does so much with it and he's great with Judy Davis, who plays his wife.  Just about every one of his roles for the next 10 yrs gets nominated for something.  It's about as heartwarming a black comedy gets.

Bad Santa

Another heartwarming black comedy.  Are there really such things?  There better be, I just called two movies that.  Billy Bob Thronton is the ugly Johnny Depp.  Let me clarify.  Johnny Depp makes big budget movies to get smaller ones, that he may prefer, made.  Billy Bob does the same thing, but isn't as good looking as Officer Tom Hanson.  So, the girls down at the hairdressers tell me at least.  This movie is just great top to bottom.  A fantastic cast, the last film of John Ritter and is hilarious.  Plus, Lauren Graham is just, wow.  I blame my wife for making me watch Gilmore Girls.  Highly recommended and the movie too.

Die Hard

"Yippee-ki-yay, mofo" (I try not swear here, it just lowers every one's intelligence, plus I've always liked, "mofo") is as big a part of Christmas as, "Merry Christmas."  It is in my world, it should be in yours as well.  The movie that made Bruce Willis a movie star.  He was already a TV star, but we know there is a difference.  Until recently, being a TV star was like being a second class citizen, but nowadays, it's almost the preferred profession.  There are very few real movie stars left.

Better Off Dead

The classic story of love lost and love regained.  Add, a homicidal paperboy looking for two dollars, your neighbors mom blew up, your best friend is trying to snort an entire mountain and one of the coolest Camaro's ever.  That's just the tip of iceberg.  Any movie that has an animated scene about the Van Halen song, "Everybody Wants Some" is making my random 9.  It also helps that John Cusack is an all-time favorite actor of mine.

Trading Places

Everyone in this movie is brilliant.  It takes me back to a better time in movies, when Dan Aykroyd wasn't Yogi Bear, Eddie Murphy wasn't a donkey and Jamie Lee Curtis wasn't shilling yogurt that made you poop.  Would you rather that I use the word, defecate, instead of, poop?  It sounds worse that way.  OK, I better stop, I've just ruined this movie for everyone, me included.


I know this is a real Christmas movie, but it's a favorite and very off beat.  It's one of Bill Murray's best roles, IMO.  As far as remakes go, I don't think this can be topped.  A phenomenal cast, the story is tweaked enough that it becomes it's own movie and not just a re-telling of a classic.  It's not  Dickens' Christmas Carol on steroids, it's on acid...makes for a better trip.  Not that I would know anything about that, Officer Tom Hanson.  Moving along...

Christmas Vacation

Another real Christmas movie, I know, but it's too great to leave off.  It's one of the few times when Chevy Chase is funny.  That's not a dig on him personally.  I just think he's picked bad scripts over the years.  Fletch is one of my favorite movies.  You should all know this movie, it's on every year multiple times.  If you've never seen it, what are you waiting for?  You'll be quoting lines from this movie throughout dinner with your own Uncle Eddie.

Honorable Mention:  The Long Kiss Goodnight, because it was Geena Davis' last good role and that's sad.  How she hasn't done anything good in almost 15 yrs, is beyond me?

This now concludes our programming for the day...Cheers.  Happy Weekend.


  1. I refuse to comment on this post Mr. Self Diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease. Pfft...even I could have come up with a better disease than that! (rolling eyes and shaking head)

    FYI bloggin buddy, every one of the movies on your Alternative Christmas Movie List, happen to be favorites of mine, with Christmas Vacation ranking as #1 followed by Trading Places, only because I like Jamie Lee Curtis, her yogurt has made my life so much easier!!!

    WTF... you seem to have ignored my simple little request as your most valued commentor, which was to pull me to the top of your
    "READ THIS" list.
    I spend valuable time reading your post each day and what do I get in return.....Nothing!

    Just for that, Im taking you off my christmas list.

  2. My "Read This" list is alphabetical and will always be alphabetical. I will not play favorites. Remember it's better to give than receive.

  3. Ok, guess I'll just have to change my blog to