Peter Billingsley

i like the tin man

Is it too early for Christmas movies? Not if this weekend’s box office is any indication, with The Best Man Holiday giving Thor: The Dark World a run for its money. Also, it was pretty much this weekend 30 years ago that a little classic called A Christmas Story debuted in movie theaters nationwide. Today, Bob Clark’s beloved adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s autobiographical stories is a staple of the season. Back when it opened on November 18, 1983, however, it bowed in third place behind fellow newbie Amityville 3D and the ongoing hit The Big Chill. But it rose to first place in the following week, only to fall back down and eventually way out of the top ten by the very holiday in its title. More people saw Yentl on Christmas weekend that year than A Christmas Story. As is the case with most holiday movie favorites, this one really gained popularity and became canon through cable television airings. Now, of course, it’s run on repeat in marathon form every December 24-25. Last year, the Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry, where it joined It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. Like those movies, this is now almost as big a part of the holiday as visiting Santa and decorating the tree. For some people, it’s probably even inspired new annual traditions. I bet there are fans out there who have duck for Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant in honor of the movie. […]


A Christmas Story

Sometime around fifteen years ago, A Christmas Story was something of a modern cult classic. It was kind of amusing and kind of off-beat, and you could make a connection with someone if you mentioned it and it turned out you both liked it. Or, at least, that’s how it was where I grew up, which was the area of Northwest Indiana where the story was set. A funny thing happened in the late ’90s, though. TNT started playing the movie on cable for 24 hours straight during Christmas, the concept caught on, and now, thirteen years later, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know about Ralphie, his Red Rider BB gun, and Scut Farkus. But another funny thing happened, too. After so many years of repetition, the movie has started to feel a whole lot less quirky and fun. At this point, it’s probably the most overrated holiday movie ever, and all it takes is one person dropping quotes from it at a Christmas party to get me to make internal noises of frustration. Joe Dante’s Gremlins has had almost the exact opposite lifespan. It came out a year after A Christmas Story, was a pretty gigantic hit right away, and established itself as one of the iconic ’80s blockbusters quite quickly. But, over the course of the last couple decades, its influence has faded a bit. Despite the fact that the movie is set during Christmas, and is about the perfect Christmas present just as […]


Christoph Waltz

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily roundup of all the casting news you care about, and maybe (probably) one or two items you don’t. Some info has finally leaked about James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller’s upcoming sequel to The Muppets. Turns out it’s going to be a caper movie, somewhat along the lines of The Great Muppet Caper, but with more of an international flair. How international? So international that THR is reporting they’re closing in on signing Christoph Waltz to play one of the main, non-Muppet roles—that of an Interpol inspector. Other important parts for humans are said to include a Russian femme fatale and a male lead with mysterious intentions. Actors looking to land the part should start sending in their shifty-eyed head shots now.



Back in ’82 this little movie came out about a boy who found an alien in his backyard. It was called E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Ever heard of it? He phoned home and whatnot? This was basically the movie that solidified Steven Spielberg as being not just a guy who was making great movies everybody liked, but as being the most important director in the world: the guy. When you see that Amblin Entertainment logo you know you’re in for a certain kind of movie designed to appeal to everyone, and it’s an image from E.T. that gets the job done. Russkies came out in ’87, when the outbreak of Spielberg imitator movies about kids going on adventures was in full swing. This one is about a group of kids who find a Russian naval officer who has washed up on the coast of their Florida town. Even Spielberg knockoffs as bad as Mac and Me still get mentioned when people start talking about the good old days of the 80s, when family programming was king, but I’ve never in my life heard anyone bring up Russkies. Considering two of the main three kids in this movie are a young Joaquin Phoenix (pre-hobo beard) and Peter Billingsley (pretty much the king of 80s nostalgia), how is this movie completely forgotten?



It’s no surprise that Couples Retreat was… not good. And we now know (thanks to this week’s Reject Report) that it won the weekend box office with $35 mil. So, what gives?



Kevin Carr takes a look at this week’s movie releases, including Couple’s Retreat, Paranormal Activity and Toy Story & Toy Story 2 in 3D Double Feature.



We get our first viewing of the poster and the trailer within.


Kristen Bell goes on a Couples Treat

Throw in Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn and mai tais. The movie could be worth getting dragged to. Especially if you want to see Iron Man 2.

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published: 01.31.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015

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