Holiday Scenes That I Love: Festivus Dinner From Seinfeld (NBC, 1997)

Again, Happy Festivus!

This scene is from The Strike episode of Seinfeld.  Believe it or not, it is based on a true story.  Scriptwriter Dan O’Keefe, who wrote this episode, grew up celebrating Festivus, a holiday that was created by his father.  In the real Festivus, the aluminum pole was replaced by a clock that O’Keefe’s father would put in a bag and nail to a wall.  To quote O’Keefe:

“The real symbol of the holiday was a clock that my dad put in a bag and nailed to the wall every year…I don’t know why, I don’t know what it means, he would never tell me. He would always say, ‘That’s not for you to know.'”


Holiday Scenes That I Love: Christmas in Mayberry

Every classic sitcom had a holiday-themed episode, and THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW was no exception. Andy and Ellie (Elinor Donahue) sing “Away in a Manger” and Aunt Bee serves up some home cookin’ for a family in trouble, while crotchety old Ben Weaver (the great character actor Will Wright) is on the outside looking in. It’s a perfect example of what made this show so great, and includes a guest appearance by Santa Claus… sort of!

4 Shots From 4 Holiday Films: Home Alone, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Santa Clause, Eyes Wide Shut

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

4 Shots From 4 Holiday Films

Home Alone (1990, dir by Chris Columbus)

Home Alone (1990, dir by Chris Columbus)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, dir by Henry Selick)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, dir by Henry Selick)

The Santa Clause (1994, dir by John Pasquin)

The Santa Clause (1994, dir by John Pasquin)

Eyes Wide Shut (1999, dir by Stanley Kubrick)

Eyes Wide Shut (1999, dir by Stanley Kubrick)

People of Earth, Season 1 Episode 8, “Mars or Bust”


Hello Gentle Readers! I’ve been MIA getting ready for the holiday spirit with Dental Surgical Planning!  Before I’m sailing away on Vicodin, I’m giving you another genius review!!!

We begin with Ozzie doing a victory lap for exposing Jonathan.  However, Ozzie gets some retribution when he’s asked whether he believes about Aliens and almost immediately caves.  He has an opportunity to work on the New York Times, but the recruiter is embarrassed by his belief in aliens and splits.

Jonathan is at a hotel room with Nancy.  He’s counting his millions in cash.  Nancy attacks Jonathan.  It turns out that she is a robot and has been taken over by Scroty. DUN DUN DUN.  She tears Jonathan’s human suit, deprives him of his golden parachute, and pretty much bones him.  Jonathan escapes penniless.  *sniff* Scroty plans to use Nancy for his purposes and infiltrate Starcrossed.

Ozzie returns to Starcrossed a hero!  The hippie lady brings the point home that his career is destroyed.

Father Doug takes out the trash and is abducted by …. aliens? Maybe?

Gerry is a bit of mess and is dumped by Joy.  Sad.

Gina chastens Ozzie for revealing his alien beliefs on a podcast and not with the group.  Nancy arrives at Starcrossed and begins to open up to the group and begins to come to terms with Kurt’s death.  Richard is really attracted to Nancy and it’s funny.

Father Doug turns to the Starcrossed for help, but it is clear that he was just kidnapped. He goes to the police and Starcrossed.  Jon H Benjamin explains that he might have to contact the Archdiocese.  Father Doug caves and kicks out Starcrossed.  Sad.

The New York Times recruiter convinces Ozzie to go back to New York and walk back his story.

Richard tries to mack on Nancy and gives away that Gina drives the car that killed Kurt.

I’m going to try for one more post before I leave for dental surgery.


Music Video of the Day: This Lonely Heart by Loudness (1987, dir. Nigel Dick)

According to my calendar, it is The Emperor of Japan’s birthday today. I’ve always wondered why that’s on United States calendars. Regardless, this gives me an opportunity to feature a music video by the Japanese heavy metal band Loudness.

I am not going to go into the history of the band. If you are interested in their career, then I recommend the Wikipedia article on them. I will mention two things though. They were the first Japanese metal act to be signed to a major label in the US. According to Wikipedia, they have released twenty-six studio albums (five in America) and nine live albums as of 2014, having started in 1981.

As for the music video, you aren’t hallucinating about the title of this post. This music video was directed by the same person who directed …Baby One More Time by Britney Spears. I’ve only done two music videos by Nigel Dick so far. The other one being Wonderwall by Oasis. I might have mentioned it before, but he seems to be the Michael Curtiz of music videos. He doesn’t have any distinct signature like Michel Gondry. He seems to be a director you go to with whatever you need made, and he turns in a quality music video.

At first I thought I had no idea why this music video looks the way it does. It makes some sense to me now.

It’s shot in what looks like the Mad Max universe, so you have the post-apocalyptic look to it. That probably represents the death of Imperial Japan via the atomic bomb. You have the American car, plane, and TV sticking out of the desert since Japan would rise again technologically. It also probably represents the quick turnover of American culture.

The flag behind them is The Flag of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force that has been in use since 1954. From what I can gather, it is the same as the Flag of the Imperial Japanese Navy that was in use prior to the American Occupation, but isn’t the same flag as the War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.

The band is playing a genre of music that originated in Britain, then invaded the United States in the 80s with it in the same way that the British invaded the states in the 60s after taking up blues and early rock. Both countries having attacked the United States in the past before having close ties down the road.

We see a samurai sword plunged into the ground at about the midpoint of the song, which also seems to represent death of old Japan without having to abandon pride in their country as shown by the flag.

In the end, the flag is in shown in shadow and a guitar in flames. I see that as rock being a universal language that transcends borders and burns brighter than any flag.

There seems to be two forces tearing at the Japanese since the war. Symbols representing pride in their nation without actually celebrating the awful things done during WWII under those same symbols. That seems to tie-in with the lyrics of the song. I know it all ties together somehow.

That’s my best attempt at an interpretation without really reading up on a bunch of history of the country, the flag, and the band.

One more thing. I don’t know if it was a continuity error or not, but the flag appears to change positions are certain times in the video. It even looks like it has disappeared at about three minutes and forty-nine seconds. If the video weren’t filled with so much symbolism, then I wouldn’t have mentioned it.

This was shot by cinematographer Dariusz Wolski whose work you have most likely seen. He shot four of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, The Crow (1994), Dark City (1998), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Prometheus (2012), and The Martian (2015), among others.

I love that this is a Japanese metal band whose music video is made by a British director and shot by a Polish cinematographer for an American audience that covers similar issues that were faced by post-war Germany and Italy using the genre of rock that was seen as a savior for people living under Communist rule during the 80s that also happened to be a high point of the Cold War.