Elf

weeniewhistle

For many, finding out the truth about Santa Claus is an important first step of a ritual entry into adulthood. The experience differs from person to person, but for me it happened gradually and without incident. Around 7 years old, I reasoned that it was impossible for a character as absurd as the Easter Bunny to exist. A year later, I came to the same conclusion about the big jolly guy. I didn’t see my parents as deceptive, or myself as naïve – this exit from childhood fantasy was more like an induction, or the first of many doors opened into rational adult living. I preserved the fantasy as best as I could for my younger brother, and played along with my parents whenever Kris Kringle’s name came up. My experience must not be unusual, as many children’s Christmas films deal directly with a similarly gradual onset of Santa skepticism – that moment where one’s imagination is put in conflict with the dawning truth that the world operates on particular rules that are impossible to break. Gravity, time, matter. In this way, such films imbue an adult and a child’s view of Christmas simultaneously by investing in the illusion while also showing its manufacture. But these films (as children’s Christmas films will unsurprisingly do) ultimately demonstrate the impossible fantasy to be undeniably true, to the dismay and shock of enlightened skeptics like James Caan’s Walter Hobbs in Elf or Judge Reinhold’s Dr. Neal Miller in The Santa Clause. And Reinhold’s […]

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Back in July of 2010 it was announced that Disney was putting together a live action Tinkerbell movie called Tink, and that Elizabeth Banks would star. That sounded like a fun idea, but July 2010 was a long time ago…whatever happened to it? Apparently it’s still a possibility, and while talking to Movie Hole, Banks spilled a few more details about the concept: “It’s a live action Tinkerbell movie sort of in the vein of Elf in which I would play Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell gets thrown out of Never Never Land, and it’s about where she goes and who she meets and the adventures she has…Tinkerbell is one of the greatest characters because she’s mischievous and snarky and fun and sexy and jealous and vengeful.” Invoking the name of Elf  is a pretty bold move. Could Disney really make something that funny? The possibility is there, as Banks is a talented comedic actress, and the script is being written by Fright Night screenwriter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer veteran Marti Noxon, who is no slouch either.

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Elf

Who knows Santa? I mean personally? I bet you don’t. I don’t either, but we’re talking about you right now. Buddy the Elf knows Santa. He makes sure to tell everyone he sees when he ventures to New York City to meet his real father. Another question. Who doesn’t like Elf? You can walk away now if you said, “I don’t”, because this Commentary Commentary is not for you. The Christmas season is upon us, and we felt it was time to hear what director Jon Favreau had to say about this ginormous Christmas gem. There are two commentary tracks on Elf – thanks, Infinifilm – but we’re rolling the dice on Favreau over the film’s star. As a wise man once said to me over Twitter, “Glean his insights so we don’t have to listen; let us hear the entertaining actor ourselves. So sit back with your eggnog or your mini candy cane or your Christmas fudge – I’m rocking all three as I write this, the first indication I should get myself to a dentist pronto – and delve into all the glorious bits of information we gathered while listening to the Elf commentary track. Oh, eggnog. No one understands me like you.

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How to Pick Christmas Movies to Watch with Grandma

We’ve all been there. It’s holiday time, you’re stuck at home with extended family you see but once a year, conversation topics have run thin and you cannot stuff your face with anymore Christmas cookies to keep from having to fill the awkward lulls. Before you go into diabetic shock, why not let a movie do the talking (and entertaining) for you? The question then becomes – what is a good movie to sit down to watch with grandma that won’t have a sudden sex scene or slasher moment that will not only horrify an older movie watcher, but will probably also scar you for life? (As the commercial showing grandma getting a True Blood DVD set proves, amorous vampires and fairies may not be for all ages). Have no fear – I have compiled a list of family-friendly fare that will not only wile away a few hours, but will make you look like a caring and thoughtful grandkid, which in turn may pay off in more holiday loot. (I mean that’s the point of the season, right? One time of the year being good actually pays off?) Grab your favorite Snuggie and pop one of these in the ol’ entertainment center!

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I know that the holidays are a time for cheer, goodwill towards others, and all that good stuff. But with all the stress, crowds, and busy schedules that also come with the season, it’s hard not to want to blow off a little steam. If you are willing to risk getting a last minute addition to the “naughty list,” here are some pranks inspired by holiday films that should keep you laughing (albeit usually at the expensive of someone else). I mean, who said April 1st is the only acceptable day out of the year to pull pranks?

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Drinking Games

In the days leading up to Christmas, everyone’s heading out to Christmas parties, watching holiday classics and drinking plenty of egg nog. Whether you’re watching a Phineas & Ferb holiday special or something more edgy like Bad Santa, you can apply this drinking game to bring some holiday cheer. Some movies like Elf might get you stinking drunk in the first couple minutes, but others like It’s A Wonderful Life will keep you dry for much of the film but then slam you in the face with alcohol for the third act. Either way, it’s a great distraction from the stress of the season.

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It’s that time of year again. A time to leer out your window suspiciously, a time to hear things that go bump in the night, a time to tremble with fear at the constant, piercing violin strings that follow you everywhere you go. It’s Christmas!

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cultwarrior-thanksgiving

This week’s Culture Warrior asks why there aren’t more movies about Thanksgiving. Christmas always seems to hog all the good ones.

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To hell with Anchorman and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Will Ferrell’s milestone performance so far has been Buddy the Elf.

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