The Lost Ending Of It’s A Wonderful Life!


Has it ever bothered you that, at the end of It’s A Wonderful Life, Mr. Potter basically gets away with nearly destroying George’s life?  It’s certainly bothers me!

Well, fortunately, the lost ending of It’s A Wonderful Life has been uploaded to YouTube!  Broadcast on a 1986 episode of Saturday Night Live and introduced by William Shatner (who, it must be said, really gets into introducing the clip), this clip gives George the revenge that he deserves!

As George Bailey put it: “You double-crossed me and left me alive!”

(Incidentally, I love the fact that Uncle Billy says that he talked to “Clarence at the bank.”  Obviously, Clarence put those wings to good use!)

Enjoy!

From 1939, it’s Lionel Barrymore and Orson Welles in A Christmas Carol!


This radio production of A Christmas Carol was originally broadcast on Christmas Eve, 1939.  It’s not really Christmas unless you experience at least one version of Charles Dickens’s classic holiday tale and this version features not only Orson Welles providing the narration but Lionel Barrymore playing the role of Scrooge!

Other members of the cast included such well-known Welles’s associates as  Everett Sloane (Marley’s ghost), Frank Readick (Bob Cratchit), Erskine Sanford (Fezziwig) and George Coulouris (Ghost of Christmas Present).  Two years after this broadcast, Welles, Sloane, Sanford, and Coulouris would all appear in Citizen Kane.

For your listening pleasure, we offer up this journey to the past….

Celebrate Life Day With The Star Wars Holiday Special!


Happy Life Day!

The Star Wars Holiday Special was first aired in 1978 and, over the years, it has achieved a certain amount of infamy.  Some people say that it’s the worst thing to ever be made for TV.  To those people, I say that 1) that’s not a good attitude to have on Life Day and 2) have you seen Disco Beaver From Outer Space?

Anyway, this is a musical Star Wars extravaganza.  One thing that makes it interesting is that Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher were all ordered to appear in it.  Seeing as how Harrison Ford tends to come across as being grumpy on a good day, I can only imagine how he reacted to filming The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Also, a few years ago, Val reviewed the Hell out of this thing.  Be sure to check out her review.

And now, for those of you looking to experience a dubious piece of pop culture history on this Christmas, we present to you …. The Star Wars Holiday Special!

Enjoy The Miracle on 34th Street!


Now, before anyone asks, this is not the Oscar-nominated original with Edmund Gwenn and Natalie Wood.  Nor is it the 90s remake with Richard Attenborough and that girl who gives a hundred interviews a year about how she doesn’t care about being famous.

Instead, this is a 46-minute made-for-TV production from 1955!  It stars the one and only Thomas Mitchell (you’ll remember him as Uncle Billy from It’s A Wonderful Life) as the man who might be Santa Claus!

Even though this version may not be quite the holiday masterpiece that the original is, I still like it.  You really can’t go wrong with Thomas Mitchell as Santa.

Enjoy!

And remember….

THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS!

6 Trailers For Christmas


It’s a holiday and you know what that means!

Or maybe you don’t.  Sometimes, I forget that not everyone can read my mind.  Anyway, I used to do a weekly post of my favorite grindhouse trailers.  Eventually, it went from being a weekly thing to being an occasional thing, largely due to the fact that there’s only so many trailers available on YouTube.  Now, Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers is something that I usually bring out on a holiday.

Like today!

So, here are 6 trailers for the holiday season!

Christmas Evil (1980)

Believe it or not, this is actually a really good movie.  In fact, it’s probably the best killer Santa movie ever made.  The ending will blow your mind.

Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984)

This, on the other hand, is one of the worst Christmas movies ever.  I reviewed it a few years ago.

Black Christmas (1974)

Long before he made A Christmas Story, Bob Clark directed this classic holiday-themed horror film.

Black Christmas (2006)

Of course, as happens with any classic Canadian horror film from the 70s, Black Christmas was remade in the aughts.

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)

There was no way that I wasn’t going to include this trailer.

And finally, we have a trailer that’s not really a Christmas film but it’s so trippy, festive, and oddly disturbing that I had to share it.

Pinocchio’s Birthday Party (1973)

Happy holidays!

Lifetime Christmas Movie Review: The Christmas Pact (dir by Marita Grabiak)


I’ll admit it.  I get sentimental around Christmas time.

Actually, to be honest, I’m sentimental all the time but I’m even more so once December rolls around.  Suddenly, the simplest little things can bring tears to my mismatched eyes.  I find myself telling complete strangers about how much I relate to Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th Street and Violet Bickerstaff in It’s a Wonderful Life.  December is the time of the year when I suddenly find myself walking up to my neighbors and complimenting them on how they decorated their house.  I actually find myself spending more money on other people than on myself.

And I guess I’m not alone in that.  I mean, that really is one of the big things about the holidays.  Regardless of how cynical or snarky the world may be, it’s always safe to be sentimental in December.  That’s something that’s certainly understood by the programmers at Lifetime and the Hallmark Channel.  This month, both of those networks have broadcast some of the most sentimental films ever made.

Take The Christmas Pact, for instance.  This film, which aired on Lifetime, was one of the most unabashedly sentimental films that I’ve ever seen.  That’s not a complaint, of course.  Or at least, that’s not a complaint in December.  If the film had been released in October and called The Halloween Pact or maybe The Labor Day Pact, I might feel differently.  But this is The Christmas Pact!

In this one, Kyla Pratt played Sadie and Jarod Joseph played Ben.  They’ve grown up next to each other.  They’re best friends.  One year, they plant a tree and, every year after that, they meet at the tree on Christmas and they not only add a ormenant but they also discuss their Christmas wishes.  It’s an incredibly sweet idea and, from the start, it’s pretty obvious that they’re meant to be together.

Unfortunately, the path of true love never runs clear.  In this case, it’s partially because everyone swears that you can’t fall in love with your best friend.  (I actually used to believe that but then I did fall in love with my best friend.  Yay love!)  It’s also because Sadie has big plans and opportunities, the majority of which involve leaving town for some place better.  Can true love survive in a complicated world?

Of course it can!  It’s Christmas!

Anyway, The Christmas Pact has a nice idea behind it, even if it is sometimes easy to get annoyed with just how unnecessarily difficult Ben and (especially) Sadie make things.  In the end, though, Kyla Pratt and Jarod Joseph had enough chemistry to keep the story moving.  As I said earlier, it’s December.  Things that wouldn’t work in any other month do work in December.

That’s the magic of Christmas.

Lifetime Christmas Movie Review: Christmas Perfection (dir by David Jackson)


For me, Christmas Perfection was about as perfect as a Christmas film can get.

It’s all about Darcy (Caitlin Thompson), who grew up dreaming of the type of perfect Christmas that she never actually got to experience.  Her parents are divorced and can hardly handle being in the same room together.  Her best friend has the type of dark sense of humor that doesn’t always go along with Yuletide joy.  Her best friend since childhood, Brandon (James Henri-Thomas), is obviously in love with her but Darcy continually insists that he’s just a friend.  She dreams of a perfect boyfriend, one who makes every Christmas special.

Every December, Darcy sets up her Christmas village.  It’s a recreation of the perfect Irish village that she always used to hear about when she was younger and it’s full of figures that are based on the people from Darcy’s life.  Darcy has created the perfect world in which she wishes she could live.

And then one day, through a little Christmas magic, Darcy wakes up in her perfect village!

It’s a village where every day is Christmas.  Every day, Darcy wakes up and puts on a perfect Christmas sweater.  Her parents, who love each other and never fight in this perfect fantasy world, start every day with a perfectly prepared breakfast.  In her perfect Christmas village, everyone gathers in the pub and dances and Darcy ends up each day by making a snowman with her perfect boyfriend, Tom (Robbie Silverman).

Everything’s perfect, right?

But then, something unexpected happens.  Suddenly, Brandon shows up!  It turns out that, through the same magic that transported Darcy, Brandon is now a part of the Christmas village.  Brandon takes one look around and tells Darcy that this is insane.  She’s created a world that’s so perfect that it’s also a prison.  By creating a rigidly perfect Christmas, Darcy has lost sight of what the holiday is all about!

Darcy dismisses Brandon’s concerns.  But, as day after day passes, she starts to realize that a world without spontaneity isn’t a world worth living in.  Tom may be the idealized guy but that also means that, at the end of every day, he’s going to make the exact snowman in the exact same way and he’s not going to listen to Darcy’s suggestions for how they could make the snowman different.  I mean, everyone knows what a snowman is supposed to look like, right?

Now, I know this might sound like it’s just a Christmas-themed version of Groundhog Day and certainly, that’s a legitimate comparison.  That said, I still liked the film.  It even brought tears to my mismatched, multi-colored eyes.  I looked at Darcy and I watched her obsessive attempts to make the holidays perfect and, as a child of divorce, I knew exactly what she was going through.  Year after year, you wonder why you couldn’t keep your parents together and you fool yourself into thinking that, if you can just get them together for one perfect day, you can magically erase all of the pain and sadness of the year before.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that and sometimes, like Darcy, we spend so much time pursuing an idealized dream that we forget that there’s still joy and happiness to be found in the messiness of reality as well.  It may not always be easy to find but it’s there.  You just have to be willing to look for it.

The film may be called Christmas Perfection but it’s message is that Christmas and families and friends don’t have to be perfect to be special.  And that’s a good message for us all.

Lifetime Christmas Movie Review: A Christmas in Tennessee (dir by Gary Yates)


How do they celebrate Christmas in Tennessee?

With a lot of down home love!

Or, at least, that’s what I learned from watching this Lifetime Christmas movie.

A Christmas In Tennessee is the latest in a long line of Lifetime Christmas movies that make a big deal about where they’re set.  In the past, we’ve had Christmas in Mississippi and a Christmas in Vermont and I imagine that, at some point, we’ll have a Kansas Christmas or an Iowa Christmas.  The thing that these films always have in common is a strong sense of nostalgia.  These are films that tell us, “You can run off to New York, California, or Toronto but your heart will always remain in either the South or one of the smaller New England hamlets.”

In the case of the film, it’s Alison Bennett (Rachel Boston) who attempted to leave town, heading off to the big city so that she could become a big time French pastry shop.  However, when she became pregnant, she moved back home and got a job working in her family’s bakery.  Now, years later, it appears that the bakery is about to go out of business and her daughter, Olivia, is writing letters to Santa in which she begs Santa for money.  Since the town traditionally publishes all letters to Santa in the newspaper, Alison is worried that everyone is going to realize how bad her situation is.

Meanwhile, Matthew (Andrew W. Walker) has come to town.  Matthew is charming and handsome and actually rather nice but he works for a real estate developer who wants to buy the town square.  Matthew is ambitious.  He wants a promotion.  The only way he’s going to get it is to get his hands on that property.  However, to do that, he has to convince Alison to sign over the land to him.  Alison could really use the money but there’s no way that she’s going to betray the town that she calls home.  That’s not the way things are done in Tennessee!

And then …. okay, let me stop to catch my breath here.  There’s a lot going on in this movie.

*breathes*

Okay …. and then, two mysterious strangers stop by the bakery.  One of them has a white beard and a jolly manner.  The other is his wife and is played by Caroline Rhea.  Olivia takes one look at these two strangers and decides that 1) the man is Santa Claus and 2) Santa loves her mother’s cookies!  It’s time to write another letter to Santa.

Well, of course, Olivia’s letter about Santa’s favorite cookies goes viral.  (It even appears as a story on “Buzz News.”)  So, can Alison use her new found fame to save the town?

A Christmas in Tennessee is okay.  How you react to it will probably have a lot to do with how you feel about Lifetime and Hallmark Christmas films in general.  If you like them, you’ll like this one.  At heart, it’s a sweet movie and both Rachel Boston and Andrew W. Walker give sincere performances.  It’s an idealized version of Christmas and who doesn’t love that this time of year?

I look forward to discovering which state we’ll visit next year.

4 Shots From 4 Christmas Films: The Godfather, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Die Hard 2


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 lets the visuals do the talking.

Merry Christmas!

Let’s get today started with….

4 Shots From 4 Christmas Films

The Godfather (1972, dir by Francis Ford Coppola)

Lethal Weapon (1987, dir by Richard Donner)

Die Hard (1988, dir by John McTiernan)

Die Hard 2 (1990, dir by Renny Harlin)