Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’17: A Christmas Prince

A Christmas Prince

Netflix is finally going after the sweet, sweet schmaltzy cinematic trash money that ABC Family has been hogging to themselves for years. To wit, I provide you the trailer, which essentially plays the entire movie out in 2 minutes:

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The Nightmare Before Christmas

Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor 2016: 9/25

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It’s no secret that I’ve spent most of my life disapproving of this movie. I watched it a fair amount as a child, as my aunt gifted me a copy one year for the holidays. Then I grew out of it, left it in that great pile of films I once enjoyed but didn’t feel much need for any longer.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas

Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor 2016: 8/25

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I love this special. It is unassuming, low-budget, hurried in its production, and unique. The child characters are voiced, hilariously, by inexperienced real children. Its soundtrack is among my favorite music, Christmas or otherwise, that I’ve heard in my entire life.

It’s just wonderful. And I discussed in our holiday episode last year. So I’m not going to go to too much trouble reviewing it here. It’s a 30-minute (less, really) family-friendly Christmas cartoon that does its job, and well. A classic if ever there was one.

★★★★☆

GOOD

Four Christmases

Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor 2016: 7/25

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Four Christmases isn’t a great movie, or a great Christmas movie. It just sort of is.

I saw this film, directed by Seth Gorden, when it arrived in theaters in 2008. I had gone with my family, which probably peppered my experience with a good vibe that wrongly colored my experience and my memory of this one as being enjoyable. It’s not worthless; it’s just too long and too lacking in humor. Oh, and too silly. And too big-budgety to feel like it’s got any soul in it.

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Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor 2016: 6/25

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Talk about a trip through time. It’s not just an old episode of America’s longest running sitcom, animated or otherwise, it’s the first episode ever aired. This aired on 17 December, 1989. I was only 2 years old at the time.

I grew up with The Simpsons, and was a full-fledged fan at 5 or 6 years old. It accompanied my formative years in a pretty significant way. Nearly as long as I’ve been a television watcher, I’ve been a Simpsons fan.

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Bojack Horseman Christmas Special (Sabrina’s Christmas Wish)

Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor 2016: 5/25

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This was actually the first Christmas special I watched this year. Days behind on trying to write about each of these films, I scrambled to remember what all I’ve seen, and decided to cheat a little by going straight for the TV shows (read: short and easy to catch up writing on).

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Marry Me For Christmas

Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor 2016: 4/25

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I don’t know why I’m disappointed. I didn’t have expectations going in. Netflix estimated this as a 2 out of 5 for me. They weren’t far off.

Marry Me For Christmas is as slow, trite, predictable and insipid a Christmas movie as anyone could conjure up. I didn’t realize when I started it up that it was a made-for-TV movie, which pretty much explains all this. Even the soundtrack just sort of plods along, jingling here and there to remind you of its presence.

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Elf-Man

Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor 2016: 3/25

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I made a trip recently with some friends down to one of our local comic shops, which sits just a few doors down from a used media store: games, TV, books, movies, toys and so on. And there I found a rack of suggested Christmas viewing. I picked up a few DVDs of films I hadn’t seen, of which one was Elf-Man, directed by Ethan Wiley and starring Jason “Wee Man” Acuña of Jackass fame. I picked up the box, had a laugh, showed it to my friends, then said I didn’t have the guts to buy it. Then I saw the sticker price of $2.99, remembered the spirit of my Annual Exploratory Christmas Endeavor, and decided, “why the hell not”.

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Power Rangers Megaforce: The RoboKnight Before Christmas

Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor 2016: 2/25

This was the longest 23 minutes of my life.

Since I was a little boy, the production values of Power Rangers have vastly improved, and the almost sickeningly wholesome messages in the show are still there, which is good for the kids. Nothing that’s wrong with this kids’ TV special has to do with the Power Rangers gimmick itself or even bad writing; rather, it turns into a clip show for some reason to fill out the greatest part of its runtime, and some of those clips are just montages of seemingly disjointed clips from the show with no real relation to each other, or to the theme of this episode which is supposedly about Christmas.

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