Holiday fluff

Homeless for the Holidays: A DVD Review

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A Bridgestone Film

Believe it or not, I remember watching this on TV once locally. It was a couple of years ago I was watching one of my local television channels when I saw this unusual obscure title on the programming list. I was reminded of Homeless for the Holidays years later while looking around online for Christian Christmas films. When I was reminded of this, I had to ask myself: “why didn’t I like this again?”

Homeless for the Holidays is an independent film about a wealthy marketing director who gets fired from his job, due to a wrongfully accused situation he is pinned upon. Jack Baker with his reputation now ruined cannot find ANY job, until he pushes his way into a minimum wage fast food job. The idea of dressing up as a penguin is embarrassing enough, but things get real tough and discouraging when his power gets shut off and the bank is ready to foreclose on his house if some serious cash doesn’t fall into his hands. Will his family really be homeless for this Holiday? What will Jack and his family learn? And will he ever get his job back with his reputation restored? Homeless for the Holidays had a good premise, especially because this was said to be based off of a true story. I liked the fact the movie was discouraging Christmas to be about material things, and instead was promoting something worth while like family. In fact, one might argue this might be a modern-day parable of The Book of Job.

However, overall I’m not much of a fan of this film. My first complaint is Jack Baker’s personality. I get the idea you’re supposed to not like Jack at the beginning of the film, because he is egotistical and obsessed with his job, but I just didn’t like much of his personality throughout the entire film even when he was being humbled. Of course maybe part of this feeling comes from the fact the acting was terrible. Most of the people in this movie unfortunately sound like they’re either over acting, inauthentic, or just down right cheesy. Speaking of cheesy, certain story elements I strongly felt were quite cheesy like when Jack’s first dawning the Penguin suit and especially the ending itself when things just get resolved perfectly as though the accusation was never even made. Not planning to buy this movie, but if a friend gave me a choice of whether to watch Homeless for the Holidays or a Holiday Fluff film like Adventures of Bailey: Christmas Hero I would much-much rather watch Homeless for the Holidays.

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

THE Three Types of Christmas Movies

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It’s one day from Halloween, and I’m writing an entry about Christmas, yes I know I am weird lol. But seriously, I couldn’t help but think about the idea of Christmas movies for a few reasons. One reason is due to the fact I am planning a special Christian Christmas movie night at the end of November; hopefully we’ll have snow by then so we can go tubing. Besides that though, I know very soon companies will start releasing their DVDs, TV Specials, commercials, products, etc for the “holiday season”. Because there are plenty of movies out there which are and have been made for the Christmas time of year, I couldn’t help but think more about them. At one point, I remembered some of my previous blog entries and movie reviews about Christmas, and I also remembered some of the previous Christmas films I’ve watched in the past and have heard other people talk about. And then it hit me. Really when you get past all of the details, there are really only three types of Christmas movies.

Before I get to what the three types are, I’m sure some of you maybe wondering… “Ben why does it matter?” Well it matters, because of what Christmas is supposed to be all about. Christmas is supposed to be about many things, but there are somethings which are emphasized which may not necessarily be as important as other details if even important at all. In fact some of these details are reasons why some don’t celebrate Christmas and even hate those who do practice it; or at least hate the time of year… Now this is very important to note, because some of those said people think that’s why people celebrate Christmas, when that isn’t true in actuality and if someone is actually doing it for those grrr-able reasons then they ought to reexamine their life. What are those details to which I am referring? They’ll be addressed as I’m revealing to you THE three Types of Christmas Movies:

1) Secular Christmas Movies. These were the common format for what a Christmas movie was back in the day. (when I say ‘back in the day’ I mean within the 90s and earlier.) I have enjoyed and currently own many of these types of movies. These type of Christmas Movies have to take place around Christmas time; in fact any Christmas movie must. These also emphasize certain ideas within the plot like Family, Peace, Joy, Love, Friendship, and Forgiveness which are very good things. What makes it secular, however, is the fact these movies won’t say much about Jesus; though might give a quick slip of a reference indirectly. Now I’m not saying that’s a completely bad thing, because I don’t expect all movies to talk about Jesus but with Christmas being what it is, all those other themes I mentioned a few sentences ago are secondary themes. Primarily this is done simply to reach out to a broader audience, which I can respect depending on how it’s done of course. I would argue such movies as Trapped in Paradise, All I Want for Christmas, A Muppet Family Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and others are good examples of Secular Christmas movies.

2) Christian Christmas Movies. I know that might sound like an oxymoron to some people, but unfortunately in today’s culture it is not. Now again I am not demonizing Secular Christmas movies, because there are some very good ones out there besides the examples I mentioned a moment ago. However, a good Christian Christmas film will do everything a Secular Christmas movie does, and will also not be afraid to tell people that Jesus is the reason for the season. It is, after all, THE Primary reason we ought to celebrate Christmas in the first place. If someone grrs at that idea, that’s too bad because that is nonnegotiable. I do not expect, nor should every Christmas movie to be a reenactment of the Nativity scene, because that isn’t the only way a movie can talk about Jesus Christ and some of those reenactments are questionable for interpretation anyhow. Sure movies like Christmas With a Capital C , Saint Nicholas, The Perfect Gift, and others are great movies made by Christian based groups, however not every Christian Christmas movie needs to be necessarily made by a Christian company. I mean there are other movies/TV Specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas, Noel, Nestor the Long Eared Christmas Donkey, and others which are examples of Christian Christmas movies not necessarily made by a Christian based company.

3) Holiday Fluff. I wrote and talked about this a little bit last year, but it needs to be said again. Holiday Fluff in short is a concept which appears very sugary sweet and might even taste good with a quick lick, but when heavily consumed it gives the person a stomach ache and doesn’t satisfy their hunger. Unfortunately, this is the type of “Christmas” movie which is more popular in modern times. These types of movies promote stuff like shopping, decorating, Santa Claus, finding a tree, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, having family over at the house, wrapping presents, Frosty the Snow man, snow, opening presents, and other things/ideas which don’t necessarily need to even be apart of Christmas to make it Christmas. Holiday Fluff are also the types of movies which will absolutely REFUSE to talk about and show anything referring to Jesus Christ, the Nativity, or anything else which is Christian based at all; unless it’s in a negative way. Because of this complete refusal, companies will even go as far as trying to reinvent what it means to celebrate Christmas, and much of what they try to promote are what makes some people grr at the Holiday Season. Honestly, if Christmas was all about what Holiday Fluff tries to paint this time of year to be, I’d be standing right next to the protest sign holding Atheist in support. Despite this, however, there are some likeable Holiday Fluff movies including Elf, Christmas With The Kranks, and A Christmas Story. But then there are others like Gremlins, Die Hard, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Four Christmases, Olive the Other Reindeer, Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure, Home Alone 4 and others which make me think “How is this Christmas???”

Holiday Fluff

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So I went shopping to get some paper towels on Friday for my wife, who was nice enough to help clean her mother’s house, and I wanted to get them at Wal-Mart since they’re nearby my house. Well I went in and the first thing I see is their product placements ok. You know like candies, cookies, nuts, chips, soda, things like that. Well you may also know they have movies on display at times too, and guess what I saw… “Holiday Movies”.  If you’ve read any of my previous writings, you’d know how much I love the “Season’s Greetings”/”Happy Holiday’s” sentiment. Well I just LOVE it even more when they do that to movies.

Yeah not really, for those who don’t know me and are seeing this blog for the first time, I was being sarcastic. I am the type of person who keeps it real in that I feel if you celebrate Christmas then be proud about it, and if you’re all about some other Holiday like Hanukkah then be proud about it. Whether you agree with that or not, that’s your opinion and I’m sticking to mine. And it’s one thing to be polite and say “Season’s greetings”, but when you try to make things so generic or reinvent what it means to celebrate a Holiday then it turns to Holiday Fluff and that’s not cool at all. I’ve been noticing this more and more and I wish companies wouldn’t do this crap… You’re probably wondering what were some of the movies I saw which made me go “What is this crap?” Here’s a few of the following “Gems” Wal-Mart, and hope to God only Wal-Mart, was offering…

A Smurf’s Christmas Carol. I’m not talking about the original Smurfs, because their original Christmas movie was actually pretty decent. I’m talking about the same remixed Smurfs that came out in the summertime… For those who don’t know I’ve boycotted the new Smurfs simply, because of mainstream Hollywood trying to shove down my throat the idea “Katy Perry is good for children” as well as none of the original smurfs were in that movie when they could have at least resigned the original Brainy. Of course this isn’t the main reason why I was displeased to see this on the shelf… It’s rather the idea that this is the most common “Christmas” movie idea out there. There are probably over a thousand remixes of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Don’t get me wrong, some of them are GREAT! I mean when Disney did a Mickey Mouse version that was one of my favorite movies in general as a child… But it’s been done again, and again, and again, and again, and again. Hollywood needs to be more original and stop making so many of the same thing. Not to mention some of these remixes should never have been made, Dora the Explorer was one of the worst; don’t ask why I watched that one… I mean seriously what’s the next “Christmas Carol” Harry Potter’s Christmas Carol? Or how about A Twilight Christmas Carol? Lol or maybe A Jersey Shore Christmas Carol where Snooki is Scrooge and The Situation is Tiny Tim. No, here’s a ‘genius’ idea: A Kardashian Christmas Carol since EVERYBODY LOVES HEARING AND WATCHING THOSE WOMEN ALL THE TIME!!!

How To Train Your Dragon: Gift of Night Fury. When you think of Christmas what is the first thought you think of? I would hope it’s “Jesus Christ” since this celebration is to commemorate his birthday, but I realize not everyone who celebrates Christmas is a Christian; which is strange but alright fine. But even for you nonChrist loving Christmas celebraters what is the first thought you have when you hear the word “Christmas”? I bet it could be anything from “Santa Claus”, “Rudolph”, “Frosty The Snow Man”, “cookies”, “presents”, or even “Family.” Well Hollywood feels there is no better way to have a “Happy Holidays” than a seasoned greeting from How To Train Your Dragon. Seriously I saw this and I’m like “Of all the movie ideas Hollywood could come up with this is it?” From what I heard How To Train Your Dragon was a decent movie, but I just don’t think of Christmas nor should I think of Christmas when seeing dragons. Though Hollywood having the dragon element trying to invade the Christmas Holiday is kind of ironic if you think about it…

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas. Similar argument as above only two other things… The first thing is the ironic fact that Ice Age promotes Evolution when many Christians are Creationist so it’s a bit of a conflicting mishmash by having an Ice Age Christmas movie… Of course for those who don’t really care about that fact, there are already three ICE AGE MOVIES!!! Stop making so many sequels!!! Seriously I’m not a horror fan really, but there are like 6 Saw movies! There are five Fast and Furious movies. THIRTEEN LAND BEFORE TIME MOVIES!!! (I am not kidding they even briefly had a TV show at one point too, and no I did not watch all thirteen of them.) Seriously, there are better ideas that could be used…

I honestly think part of the reason for this on Hollywood’s part, is because of the whole “Happy Holidays” sentiment. I seriously think Hollywood’s trying to reinvent what it means to celebrate Christmas for years and I hate it. I mean why isn’t this happening to Hanukkah or Kwanzaa?  In all seriousness, I would love to see a movie about Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, especially Kwanzaa since I barely know anything about it. By the way if you celebrate Kwanzaa or know someone who celebrates Kwanzaa and knows a lot about it, I’d love to have a show about Kwanzaa sometime so contact me by my email. *sigh* well anyway I don’t like Holiday Fluff. I don’t expect all movies to be about Jesus, but older movies had more meaning and the newer stuff is fluff… Don’t buy those three movies I urge you. If you want some better ideas or if you simply want to share your opinion on all this write a comment. Oh and don’t get me started on the Harold and Kumar “Christmas” movie…