Six Christmas Movies to Get You in the Mood (Whatever Your Mood)

Christmas is coming. It’s December, so it’s finally okay to admit it, to let those words come out of your mouth. As I write this, there are less than three weeks before the big day. To help get you in the mood, here are six Christmas movies, whatever sort of mood you might be in.

1. Elf

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Let’s get things started with one of my all-time favourite Christmas movies, and one of my favourite Will Ferrell movies: the tale of Buddy the Elf on a great big adventure in New York. Featuring many other things I love, like Zooey Deschanel’s singing voice, Peter Dinklage’s almighty acting talent, and book publishing, along with many critical lines such as “Smiling is my favourite” and “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing out loud for all to hear”, it’s sure to get the whole family laughing.

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It also features many great gift ideas: a good book, some classic toys, clothing, and candy. Also creative gifts, like handmade decorations, or songs.

2. The Muppet Christmas Carol

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If you’re too much of a Scrooge to really get in the spirit, then meet the original Ebenezer himself. Dickens’s classic Christmas story is reinvigorated with the Muppets, and caries the plot along with whimsical music and an array of early 90s special effects.

3. Jingle All the Way

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Maybe you’d prefer a more modern example of the extents to which people go for their children. Maybe Scrooge isn’t doing it for you, and you need Arnold Schwarzenegger to make the season truly jolly. It’s cheesy, but it’s fun, and it’s held a special place in my heart since I first saw all those years ago. (I seem to recall seeing it in my Nanny’s house before she passed away, so it must have only made it onto the television a bit before that. Or I’m misremembering it.)

4. Bad Santa

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All those are very well and good for the kids. But when they’ve gone to bed, the adults need something. Something with some violence, some drinking, some swearing – a bad sort of Christmas. While some families honour the tradition of watching It’s a Wonderful Life every year, we watch Bad Santa. I never said my family was normal, but we know how to have fun.

5. Love, Actually

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For something a little bit different, try a Rom-Com on for size. It has the kid from A Game of Thrones in it, with Liam Neeson trying to be a good father. It’s one of those large-cast, many-stories sort of movies, but it manages to pace itself well enough that we get a sense of who they all are, what they want, and the different sorts of Christmases there are to be had. But before you watch it with your kids, maybe skip the opening scene.

6. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

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Last, and most certainly not least, the third instalment in the Harold & Kumar series. I developed a soft spot for these movies when I saw this one, with its intentionally bad 3D effects, its portrayal of Neil Patrick Harris as Straight Neil Patrick Harris, and the tale of friendship it tells over it extended arc. It’s crude, rude, and a little bit filthy, but there’s an awful lot to love about this movie. Not least of all being Jake Johnson as Jesus.

On my watch list this Christmas: Krampus and The Nightmare Before Christmas – which I still haven’t seen! What about you? What are your Christmas favourites that I should check out this year?

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Seven Sci-fi Movies to See Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes to Ireland

Curated by @SimonCocking guest post by Paul Carroll

As we get closer to the holiday season, it’s coming, no matter how much we try to deny it, and, unless you’ve been living on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, the 7th coming is just around the corner. Of course if you’re living on a certain island off the South West coast of Ireland, then you’ve probably already seen some of part VIII already.

Source: Seven Sci-fi Movies to See Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes to Ireland

My article on Irish Tech News went live this morning. As a companion piece to my post here – 8 Sci-Fi Comedies to Watch Before The Force Awakens – I present to you a list of alien-featuring movies to accommodate for the lack of attention all the interesting aliens get in the Star Wars movies.

Even the most annoying aliens can sometimes get a write-off. Maybe. If you’re trying to get into the Star Wars mood, check out the fan-theory about Jar-Jar Binks below. It’s a little bit redemptive of our least favourite character in the franchise.

Thanks again to Simon Cocking of Irish Tech News for the opportunity to write for them. If you like the list, and want to add your own recommendations to it, leave a comment on their website.

8 Sci-Fi Comedies to Watch Before The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is coming out on December 17th. For many, that seems like a long time away. For those of us who attend the cinema on a regular basis, we’ve already reached saturation point with advertising. A walk through Dublin city centre is a painful experience, with Star Wars clothes on sale in Penneys, LEGO on sale in Arnotts, assorted merchandise  on sale in Forbidden Planet, a new game available in HMV and Gamestop, and books and other items to be found in Eason – all within a short walk of one another.

Remedy time: Sci-Fi Comedy movies. They’ll keep you in the mood, but you’ll get a whole other experience.

1. Attack the Block

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Set in modern-day London, Attack the Block pits a gang of inner-city kids against a pack of furry aliens. There’s swearing, there’s banter, there’s a whole heap of laughs, and there’s a sense that – while these kids were more than willing to mug a stranger in the street – the hooded youths really care about their flats and the people in them.

2. The World’s End

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In a similar vein, we have Simon Pegg on a session in his home town. Who doesn’t love a good drinking movie, right? Well, when people start acting strangely – as they do in Pegg’s movies, quite often in fact – we get a whole different sort of film. With a great supporting cast (including Martin Freeman and Nick Frost), and the relatability of Pegg’s character Gary King to the audience, it’s one to watch during these dark winter nights.

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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If drinking movies aren’t your thing, but you still quite fancy the idea of seeing Martin Freeman in a Sci-Fi movie now that it’s been brought up, then look no further than The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Based on the novel of the same name, it’s a film full of weird aliens, improbabilities, and British-isms, and the voice of Alan Rickman as Marvin the Paranoid Android.

4. Evolution

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If the witticism of British writing and actors are too much for you, and you want something a bit sillier, there’s always Evolution – a humorous flick exploring extraterrestrial lifeforms, shampoo, and Darwin’s theory of evolution on overdrive.

5. Dude, Where’s My Car?

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Considered more of a stoner film, it still passes my base-level Sci-Fi test: it has aliens in it. In this case, you have a choice between a pair of vaguely Norwegian muscle-men, and a pack of incredibly attractive women with a fetish for sexual innuendos.

6. Paul

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If human stoners aren’t your thing, perhaps an alien one would be better for you. Featuring Seth Rogen as the voice of Paul – and essentially playing the same role he plays in a number of his other films – with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Kristen Wiig, it’s the story of grown-men with alien-obsession meet real-life alien, and all the disappointment that usually goes with it.

(Side note: My name is Paul, and I was essentially a third wheel when I went to see this with some friends a few years ago – they took a lot of pleasure out of the fact that I shared the name of the titular character. It didn’t help that one of the toilet paper companies ran an ad at the same time with the line “I’m going to have a poo at Paul’s”. That made for an interesting few months.)

7. Guardians of the Galaxy

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Okay, not exactly a comedy, but given the comedic tone of the film, the 80s cringe, and some of the best dialogue of the summer blockbusters that year, and the fact that I’ve already included a stoner film in the list, I’m giving it a pass.

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Fun for all the family, and equipped with exactly the sort of emotional manipulation Disney depends on to make people care about Groot. It’s also got an amazing soundtrack to help make your Christmas/New Year’s playlists that much better.

8. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

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If you’re still not satisfied, and you just want something a little bit freaky to go with your funny, look no further than cult-classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Featuring the most remarkable transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania – Frank N. Furter, played by Tim Curry – and a whole host of weird songs and weirder characters, it’s one for when the kids are in bed, and the wine bottle’s been opened.

And there we have it! 8 comedies. 8 vaguely-Sci-Fi movies. Less than three weeks to go before The Force Awakens. What would you add to the list? Which would you recommend most highly? And how many times do you think we’ll need a list like this to distract ourselves from the Disney marketing budget for Star Wars movies?