Fandom 5: Hallmark Christmas Movies

Christmas ’tis the season of massive festive content. Between television specials, classic movies, and all of the accompanying store merchandise it can get overwhelming. So, I focus on my favorites. Favorite movies, songs, and holiday traditions help to guide me through the madness. One of my favorite places to focus is the Hallmark Movie Channels. They are full of cheesy sweet concoctions that keep any inner Grinch at bay.

1. Murder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery

The second of the Murder She Baked movies, and set right smack dab in the middle of Christmas. I mean, the mystery revolves around the Crazy Elf Christmas tree lot. How adorable can you get? Plus, anything with Alison Sweeney is a win with me.

2. A Princess for Christmas

Katie McGrath (aka Lena Luthor, Morgana) and Sam Heughan (aka Jamie Fraser) are the Prince and antique expert at the heart of this story. It is the cheesiest and most wonderful Christmas movie ever. Roger Moore (aka James freaking Bond) is the grumpy father that tries to put a damper on the holidays, but Katie’s light is so infectious that none can resist.

3. The Nine Lives of Christmas

Brandon Routh (aka Superman, The Atom) is a firefighter that unwillingly becomes adopted by a cat. He is helped by a lovely vet student/pet store employee that knows her way around installing a stove and has no wish to date until she has finished school. Kimberly Sustad is a refreshingly well rounded lady character for any romantic comedy, and her chemistry with Brandon feels respectful and real.

4. Ice Sculpture Christmas

These two are so damn cute. He’s rich, she’s a chef, they get drawn into an ice carving competition, he’s so into her and clueless, she’s kind of annoyed with his rich boy ways even though he’s sweet. It builds, and they just play off each other so well.

5. The Mistletoe Inn

Alicia Witt at her best, and I adore her. Ever since her days as Zoe on Cybill in my formative years, Alicia is my girl. Here she plays a romance writer at a Christmastime writing workshop to help complete her novel. She does not appreciate Mr. Man’s interference and type writer noises at first. Does that change? Of course, but the obvious play out is still way too enjoyable in these actors hands.

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Review: Tiffany Haddish on SNL

For the first time since the 43rd season premiere with Ryan Gosling, SNL flew true.

42 was a magically numbered season, when co-head writers Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly led Saturday Night Live back into prominent greatness (and ratings). They not only had Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, but were not afraid to think outside the box with sketches. They got totes weird with SNL, and for that glorious year, it had never flown higher.

Which is why when word came out the these now beloved head writers were bouncing on to other things, I was worried. Worried that skits about expansive sinks, John George the book assistant, and a back pack fashion show would become things of only fond memory instead of freaky cogs in a brilliant whole.

Then came the season starter with Gosling, and it was so good. Ryan was confidant and nailed his second hosting, and the writing was delightful. My favorite was the Avatar font skit (Papyrus), a thing of pure and ridiculous beauty. The Gal Gadot, Kumail Nanjiani, and Larry David episodes that followed were not completely awful. The tone was off, certainly, but there were moments of SNL magic in each. This is not a criticism that the show has fallen off a log and into a chasm of badness. This is a note that I am worried that SNL has devolved. It is as good as it was a couple of years ago, which is fine. However, the ground gained over the past season seemed to be fully conceded. So imagine my happy giddy reaction to the Tiffany Haddish episode, a return to that brilliance. My expectations have been adjusted and I now know what you crazy kids are capable of, so you guys have to keep it going. That Haddish was the first female African American stand up comedian host is sad, but she killed. She better be the first of many to come, as there is much ground to cover and talent to tap into.

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Saturday Night Live is captured lightning in a bottle. Or even a bug in a jar. A bug that has a lot of weird phases and likes to sum up the world around it. It’s like it just had a huge promotion at its bug job last year but then got fired, went on a bender, sobered up and threw up everywhere, and suddenly put on a dirty hilarious rendition of Hamlet that made us all cry. I know what you can do now, you freaky awesome bug. You better give me a Taming of the Shrew that will rip apart my soul but in a way that makes me laugh, or you are not living up to your potential.

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Review: Thor Ragnarok

Taika Waititi turned a Marvel movie into a cheese-filled neon-blasted 80s action comedy from whence the Thor franchise will never return. This is the new route; Thor has found the road which best suits his inner Chris Hemsworth and he shall traverse it evermore.

*Spoilers

Cate Blanchet has never been more gorgeous and it is distracting. She vamps. Tom Hiddleston’s dark prince charms pale next to her goddessness. This is good, because it puts him in his place and in the mood to actually become helpful. This leads to some old fashioned bro-downs and Loki being a trickster, but in more of a scallywag way. Like a fun pirate or a lawyer, and much less murderous. Anthony Hopkins playing Loki in the beginning of the movie is obvi having more fun than playing Odin ever was. All Odin (Loki in disguise) wants to do is eat grapes and watch his favorite play featuring Matt Damon, Sam Neill, and Luke Hemsworth. And who wouldn’t want that? I shall call this troupe “Emote Asgard”, and we better see them in every one of the future Thor movies.

All of the parts with Chris and Tom are the tops. The connection that these actors have and the chemistry that they have developed makes their scenes the deepest felt and the most addicting.

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie given her timeline is the eldest and most experienced of the “hero” squad. Thankfully she is treated with the respect that her badass self deserves, especially by Thor. She is a compatriot and warrior. Who, yeah, has become a drinker given her circumstances over the last however many years that she has been stuck on trash planet, but this only points to her being a sane Asgardian in a crazy world. The success of Ragnarok hopefully means that we will get more Tessa, which could never be a bad thing.

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Mark Ruffalo turns out to be a sweet baby owl that eventually hatches from his Hulk cocoon. Before then, it is all “Hulk smash you, play with Hulk, no lies, I like and trust Valkyrie, you guys can all stuff it.” Banner pops out after an undisclosed amount of time (given that trash planet time is a bit wobbly) and it becomes “Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Wtf?!” as Thor has to herd his adorable baby birdedness through danger to get home. Well, home the roundabout way.

Jeff Goldblum is as advertised: Jeff Goldblum. He is the fun kind of evil mastermind, overthrown by too many darn goodie two shoes getting together.

Speaking of fun evilness, Karl Urban is a delight as the new gatekeeper back in Asgard, showing all the ladies his stuff. Where is previous gatekeeper Heimdall/Idris Elba? Well, he’s in hiding from Loki at first, then Hela, all while rocking a new Robin Hood look and some kind of psychic link with Thor. He helps the Asgardians, does a lot of covert good, and basically has the kingdom’s back.

Cate’s Hela is chillin’ being Queen and killing folks, when the heros pop in after escaping trash planet. The most redeeming part of Hela’s character apart from the fact that her brutalness was used by her Odin father and then thrown away, is that she has a puppy. It’s probably more gigantic undead wolf than dog, but it is still a puppy, and that makes her way too likable. It’s Shakespearean, how conflicted of a character that Hela is. She is the most dangerous being ever, but she wants to be loved and accepted. Asgard is a land built on blood and violence, which moved on to a narrative utopia where no such past existed. That releasing the Ragnarok curse vanquished Hela along with Asgard is super fitting. First of all, the fire monster was voiced by Clancy Brown, Hell yes. And the two creatures of destruction ripping each other into non existence along with the world underneath them has the heftiness of right and balance. The ragtag band saved the people, which is what really matters, and now they have a new chance to start over. Probably in Norway.

The vibe is all hope and renewal until they get to Earth to see a big spaceship blocking the way. This path to the end of trouble just led to a lot more trouble.

Verdict: This was everything I could have hoped. Taika Waititi + Dash of Shakespeare’s best + A really good Hard Rock Show + Some D&D + Shit ton of Easter Eggs + Style from an 80s noir arcade apocalypse + Lady power with stabbing + Chris Hemsworth being hilarious = Ragnarok

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Fandom 5: Favorite Halloween Movie Fashion

Practical Magic

The clothes in this movie are the perfect cross section of witchy and 90s. All of the layers and textures and colors add up to a to die for wardrobe.

Bewitched

Nora Ephron’s Bewitched movie was actually pretty cute, and fun to watch. It’s lighter fare of a bygone era, but oh so charming.

Buffy

Every episode of the tv series has envious style choices, and not just on Buffy. Every character possesses the awesome. The movie I can not leave out because I looove those clothes too.

Rear Window

Alfred Hitchcock movies are well known for the fashion, and if I had to choose just one to represent the best, it is this. Grace’s outfit changes just get better and better.

Laura

As the most glamorous of noir, Laura is a velvety Halloween treat. More of a suspense plot, but still a spooky and deadly one.

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Halloween Cosplay: Rose Tyler from The Parting of the Ways

Highlighter, Sweater, Tank Top, Pants, Fabric Pen, Shoes

As the first glimpse of Rose Tyler becoming the awesome of Bad Wolf, this is one of my favorites. The fabric pen can customize the sweater to make it like Rose’s. The highlighter is for around your eyes to simulate the TARDIS energy giving you unlimited cell dividing power. Do it.

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Fandom 5: Favorite Speaking Voices

As much as I love movies and this golden age of television, there has been a lack on the part of the internet to give a nod to literal voices. Yes, it is a fairly superficial thing, since it a born with kind of quality. However, it can be one of the most mesmerizing traits an actor can have. At least for me as a viewer. Here are the five people that reel me in not only with their talent, but their way of speaking:

Shohreh Aghdashloo

She is a goddess, and her voice is so textured. I remember seeing her for the first time on 24, and falling in love with her voice.

Irene Roseen

She has this strangely beautiful way of speaking. It’s like a fairy tale gravel well.

Glynis Johns

If Tinkerbell could speak, she would sound like Glynis.

Idris Elba

Among all of his many talents, his voice is able to match his eye intensity perfectly.

Beth Broderick

The voice that I most wish to emulate. The aunts were always the best part of Sabrina the Teenage Witch to me, and Zelda was my virtual mentor.

Bonus Picks:

Kathleen Turner, Eartha Kitt, Kelly Bishop, Linda Lavin, Jeanne Moreau

 

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