Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’18: White Christmas

I’ll admit it. I could have paid closer attention to White Christmas. My attention was so divided, in fact, that I don’t remember what I was doing besides watching it. I may have been playing Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and in my defense, you would too.

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Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’18: The Christmas Chronicles

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The Christmas Chronicles, one of Netflix’s barrage of original Christmas flicks for 2018, is not good. Directed by Clay Kaytis of The Angry Birds Movie, it is a mostly joyless, sometimes crass, often formulaic, persistently ugly movie with nearly no redeeming qualities. Its creators seemed to have had a hard time deciding between whether it was a kids’ film or something edgier–and it has none of the charm or personality to pull off either.

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Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’18: A Christmas Prince: Royal Wedding

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I reviewed A Christmas Prince when it first came out, and while I thought it was just the worst, I could have imagined things still worse and let it pass mostly on its good looks. A Christmas Prince, if you don’t remember, is the schmaltzy ABC Family-style nothing-movie that 53 people watched every day for a while.

The film was vapid, trite, predictably-scripted, poorly-acted, and unsurprisingly, precisely what the average Netflix viewer was looking for. Given that this must have been made on a shoestring budget, it’s hard to deny Netflix their well-deserved win. They gambled on a sure-thing and it paid off.

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Ralph Breaks The Internet

I loved Wreck-It Ralph. It was original, funny, and most importantly very sweet and genuine. It held up on repeat viewings back then, and I watched it again after watching Ralph Breaks The Internet to check that my memories weren’t wrong. They weren’t.

But the fact I had to check at all isn’t a great indicator of Ralph Breaks The Internet‘s quality. And before we go any further, I have to get out ahead of myself and say this is not going to be a negative review.

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Ranma ½, The Movie: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China

I’ve wanted to see this film for at least twenty years. It’s horrible.

As I recounted in my review of the Ranma ½ Christmas special, Tendo Family Christmas Scramble, when I was little, our Blockbuster’s limited selection of anime was nearly all the anime I had access to, and among those, I could only take home the ones that didn’t warn my parents about explicit content. Ranma pushed the limits with occasional exposed breasts in the TV show and OVA, but I watched when my parents weren’t around.

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The Hate U Give

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The Hate U Give drew tears out of me three times. It also startled me into flailing my hands in the air and jumping around in my seat twice. I don’t think I’ve ever hyperventilated, but the closest I may have come as an adult was during a scene in The Hate U Give when tears were spilling down my face because I was positive the movie was about to portray something horrifying.

And the reason I was breathing heavily through my mouth, tears gushing forth, feeling hot behind my ears (a sensation I can’t say I’ve ever felt before), was that the movie effectively convinces you that what may happen next is practically guaranteed to. It does this effectively because it is an honest reflection of reality. In reality, the thing I was afraid of seeing on-screen happens. It famously happened here in Ohio a few years ago. It will happen again. Maybe it happened somewhere in America today. I haven’t looked in the news.

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Pacific Rim: Uprising Is Not Very Good

When I saw the first Pacific Rim, only a few months ago, I had heard that it was just a “live action anime”, and took that to mean “stupid and full of robots.” And while that turned out to be the case, what I hadn’t appreciated until around halfway through was that it really was aspiring to be everything that anime is: melodramatic, taking itself too seriously, full of insane characters and silly expositional dialog…

Once I realized all that, I was able to enjoy it more. It was stupid, and its characters didn’t know it, and its writer, director, and actors all seemed to. What fun!

Uprising, based on the trailer, looked like more of that.

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Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’17: King of the Hill: Pretty, Pretty Dresses; Hillennium & ‘Twas the Nut Before Christmas

Mike Judge and Greg Daniels’ King of the Hill is one of the greatest shows that ever aired on television, animated or otherwise. If you need me to explain why, you really need to go back and watch the show. Start at the beginning. Then do your best to sort of grin and bear everything after Season 6. It’s not bad. It’s just not the same.

Anyway, there have been a few Christmas episodes and I recently re-watched the first three of them: Pretty, Pretty Dresses; Hillennium and ‘Twas the Nut Before Christmas.

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