Lisa’s Week In Review: 12/17/18 — 12/23/18

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Movies I Watched:

  1. A Carol For Another Christmas (1964)
  2. Christmas Around The Corner (2018)
  3. The Christmas Contract (2018)
  4. A Christmas In Tennessee (2018)
  5. The Christmas Pact (2018)
  6. Christmas Perfection (2018)
  7. Hometown Christmas (2018)
  8. Dogville (2003)
  9. Christmas Lost and Found (2018)
  10. Jingle Belles (2018)
  11. Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
  12. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  13. Searching (2018)
  14. Second Act (2018)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. 911
  2. Beverly Hills 90210
  3. California Dreams
  4. A Charlie Brown Christmas
  5. Charlie’s Angels
  6. Couples Court with the Cutlers
  7. Degrassi
  8. Doctor Phil
  9. Evil Up Close
  10. Face the Truth
  11. Forensic Files
  12. I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown
  13. King of the Hill
  14. Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court
  15. Parking Wars
  16. Survivor 37
  17. Unsolved Mysteries

Books I Read:

  1. Hello Stranger (2018) by Lisa Kleypas
  2. September 1918: War, Plague, and the World Series (2018) by Skip Desjardin
  3. Wicked and the Wallflower: The Bareknuckle Bastards (2018) by Sarah MacLean

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Adi Ulmansky
  2. Afrojack
  3. AOA
  4. Armin Van Buuren
  5. Avicii
  6. Avril Lavigne
  7. Big Data
  8. Britney Spears
  9. Cedric Gervais
  10. Darlene Love
  11. Dillon Francis
  12. DJ Judaa
  13. DJ Snake
  14. The Drifters
  15. GAYLA
  16. Gwen Stefani
  17. Jake Bugg
  18. Jennifer Lopez
  19. Joywave
  20. Julia Jacklin
  21. Kedr Livanskiy
  22. Lenny Kravitz
  23. Lindsey Stirling
  24. Moby
  25. Norah Jones
  26. Phantogram
  27. Public Service Broadcasting
  28. Secret
  29. Taylor Swift
  30. Tove Lo
  31. XYLØ

Links From Last Week:

  1. From my dream journal: Last Night’s Simple But Super Intense Nightmare
  2. For the Reality TV Chat Blog, I reviewed the finale of Survivor!
  3. On my music site, I shared songs from: Julia Jacklin, Avril Lavigne, Adi Ulmansky, Lenny Kravitz, Adi Ulmansky again, Jennifer Lopez, and The Drifters!
  4. On her photography site, Erin shared: Holidays, A Bit of Red, Trees and Snow, Arboretum Road, Arboretum Tree, Two Empty Benches, and Orange!
  6. Black List: Matt Drudge, Serena Williams’ Father Among Subjects of Unproduced Screenplays
  7. Hollywood’s disappearing actresses
  8. Der Spiegel journalist messed with the wrong small town
  9. Beverly Hills 90210 Reboot With Original Cast In The Works
  10. 2019 Oscars: 347 Films Eligible for Best Picture
  11. Elf on the Shelf conditions your kids to accept the surveillance state
  12. The Worst Christmas Movies Of All Time
  13. Steve Dash — Actor
  14. Classic Celebrity Holiday Ads
  15. Christmas Alphabet ; A for Amos Milburn & Ahmad Jamal
  16. Why I’ve Had Trouble Buying Hollywood’s Version Of Girl Power

Links From the Site:

  1. Erin shared Here Comes The Grinch, Murderer’s Holiday, Film Fun, A Gift From The Boys, A Holiday for Murder, Murder Takes No Holiday, and Murder for the Holidays.  (I’m sensing a theme.)  She also wrote about why she loves A Charlie Brown Christmas!
  2. Gary reviewed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Trail of Robin Hood, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), and Lady on a Train!
  3. Jeff reviewed Thanks A Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite and wished everyone a happy Festivus!
  4. Ryan reviewed Werewolf By Night Kitchen, Everly, Space Academy 123, and Fashion Forecasts, along with sharing his weekly reading round-up!
  5. Arleigh shared songs from Secret and AOA, along with the trailer for Men In Black International and a new AMV of the Day!
  6. I shared music videos from Tove Lo, Public Service Broadcasting, Britney Spears, Norah Jones, Adi Ulmansky, Lindsey Stirling, and Darlene Love.  I also shared the trailer for Hellboy and I reviewed Christmas Around The Corner, Hometown Christmas, Christmas Lost and Found, and The Christmas Contract!

Want to see what I accomplished last week?  Click here!

Lifetime Christmas Movie Review: The Christmas Contract (dir by Monika Mitchell)

There’s a very clever scene at the beginning of The Christmas Contract.

Jack Friedman (Robert Buckley) is a writer who can’t get any of the big publishing houses to even take a look at his new book.  However, Jack’s agent informs him that they might change his mind if he does some ghostwriting.  One can see from Jack’s reaction that this is not the first time that he’s been asked to be a ghostwriter and it’s not something that he particularly enjoys.  Still, because one does have to eat, Jack agrees.

His agent tells him that he’ll be ghostwriting the latest installment in a very popular but critically dismissed series of romance novels.  He’s told to go read the previous book in the series and then to basically rewrite it, just changing a few details so that it can be advertised as a totally new book.  He’s given a list of plot points that the publishers want to be included in the book.  Again, it’s not particularly important how the plot points are integrated into the story.  Instead, they just have to be there.

Moonlight dance?  Yep.

Kisses under the stars?  Yep.

Oh, and the book needs to take place in Louisiana.

Now, you don’t have to be a part of the industry to realize that, in this scene, Jack is serving as a stand-in for every writer who has ever been assigned to write a Hallmark (or, let’s just be honest here, Lifetime) Christmas movie.  Don’t try to reinvent the season, just make sure that the basics are there.  Pick a new location and you’re ready to go!

With that scene, the makers of The Christmas Contract are acknowledging that, “yes, this is another Lifetime holiday movie.”  And yes, it’s going to remind you of a lot of other Lifetime holiday movies.  But, that still doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy it.  After all, the appeal of a movie like this is to be found in its familiarity.  In an often chaotic world, there’s something to be said for the comfort of a good, if predictable, romance novel.  The same can be said of a Lifetime Christmas movie.

Anyway, it’s a good thing that the publishers want the book to be set in Louisiana because that’s where Jack spends his holiday.  He’s actually accompanying a recently single woman named Jodie (Hilarie Burton) back to her home for Christmas.  Because Jodie’s ex-boyfriend is going to be visiting with his new girlfriend, Jodie doesn’t want her family to know that she’s single.  So, Jack pretends to be her boyfriend.  They even sign a contract ahead of time.  And, yes, you can guess exactly what ends up happening but, again, that’s kind of the point with a movie like this.

The cast, which includes several veterans of One Tree Hill, does a good job with the material but the true star of this film is the state of Louisiana.  This film makes full use of the beautiful Louisiana landscape and the celebratory nature of the state’s culture.  It may have been predictable but it was still enjoyable.  Spending the holidays with Jodie, Jack, and the family looked like a lot of fun.

Happy Festivus!

Today is a Festivus for the rest of us!

Traditionally, this is when I would start the airing of grievances but this is 2018 and I wouldn’t know where to start.  Instead, let us skip straight to the feats of strength and remember, Festivus is not over until you pin a loved one.

Happy Festivus!

Weekly Reading Round-Up : 12/16/2018 – 12/22/2018, Jeffrey Brown

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

You’ve gotta hand it to Jeffrey Brown (who occasionally employs the curiously-bifurcated nom de plume of “Tsujigo+Ink”) — he’s one of the most infectiously enthusiastic cartoonists in the mini-comics scene these days. When I told him I was going to be focusing this week’s Round-Up column on his work, he ran off fresh copies of the four minis under review here and is anxiously awaiting orders from you, dear readers, so I heartily recommend you make the effort worth his while. Now it’s my job to tell you why —

Dinner With Izanami Grey Part One sets the tone — and the stage — for all that follows, introducing us to both Jeff’s title character, the hapless Ms. Grey, and his unique slant on traditional genre tropes, particularly in regards to what is commonly referred to as “body horror.” It’s a brisk read focusing on Izanami’s big night out with…

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Music Video of the Day: All Alone on Christmas by Darlene Love (1992, dir by ????)

Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) is one of my favorite Christmas song but, unfortunately, there’s not an official music video for Love’s version.

However, there is a music video for Love’s 1992 Christmas song, All Alone on Christmas.  As you can tell from watching the video, this song was actually a part of the Home Alone 2 soundtrack.  The video is full of footage from the movie but it does not include the scenes with Donald Trump.  However, it does feature Macaulay Culkin “producing” the song.  I understand that the grown-up Culkin now performs song about pizza which …. well, I mean, I like pizza so hopefully it’s not as stupid as it sounds.

In the video, Darlene Love is backed up by members of the E Street Band, who all look happy to be freed (if only momentarily) from the tyranny of Bruce Springsteen.