Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’20: Happiest Season

Happiest Season poster.png

I was thinking about the way in which we are funneled by The Algorithm into our own isolated realities when I went to look up the Rotten Tomatoes reviews for Happiest Season on Hulu. You see, I was under the impression that the proverbial ‘everybody’ had a problem with this movie because it failed to stick the landing when commenting on lesbian relationships.

The thing is, when I think back now, I only saw that in two or three places. And they were mostly just snarky memes, not detailed arguments. And even if they had been detailed arguments, that’s still all they are: arguments. Opinions. The Algorithm has this way of making us thing the tiny personalized micro-zeitgeists in which it keeps us encapsulated are, in fact, the zeitgeist we are all living in. And it’s a great big lie.

Continue reading “Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’20: Happiest Season”

Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’20: Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas

Aggretsuko" We Wish You a Metal Christmas (TV Episode 2018) - IMDb

This is a weird one. Like Ranma 1/2’s ‘Tendo Family Christmas Scramble’, this is a Christmas episode of an anime. Unlike that, (and if anything, more in-line with another Netflix item of this sort, ‘Sabrina’s Christmas Wish’) this is a canonical entry into a straightforward, chronologically-plotted show that is released as a one-time Christmas gift to the fans, and lives forever-after outside the season arrangement of the series it belongs in.

Continue reading “Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’20: Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas”

Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’20: Pottersville

When it came to my attention that there was an 85 minute Christmas film starring Michael Shannon, Judy Greer, Thomas Lennon, Ron Perlman, Ian McShane and Christina Hendricks, and that it had a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, I knew that I had to see it, and quick. In fact, it is how I opened my 2020 Exploratory Christmas Endeavor. It was not, however, the first movie I wrote about for my Exploratory Christmas Endeavor, because despite its being only 85 minutes long, it was so bad that I managed to watch an entire other, better movie before finishing this one.

Continue reading “Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’20: Pottersville”

Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’19: The Knight Before Christmas

Well, this is interesting. Did you know there was a Christmas Prince extended universe? Or that within that universe Netflix exists and has Christmas movies? Which are the same ones you can watch in this real universe? Wow.

Continue reading “Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’19: The Knight Before Christmas”

Downton Abbey

For better or worse, Downton Abbey is… Downton Abbey. But for its feature-length runtime, this film is no more and no less than precisely what you think when you hear “Downton Abbey“.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but for me, it was at least a little disappointing. When I think of a television show getting a feature-length film, I expect it to be a little more. Animated programs like Pokémon and The Simpsons come to mind: there is an immediate, obvious difference in production value between the television shows and their full-length movies. Not only that, but when a 22-minute (or whatever length) TV show gets a long-form movie, the self-contained plots of these usually involve higher stakes.

And sure, on paper the stakes of Downton Abbey are high. At least, by the standards of a show where fancy dining making or breaking reputations can be considered high stakes.

Actually, there is something else that happens, or almost happens, rather, but it is dealt with so swiftly, and so early in the film’s runtime that it’s rather a laugh to even look back on it as an important moment in the film because the film itself doesn’t even bother to think that much of it.

I don’t want to poo-poo the movie. I love Downton Abbey too much to do that. But I still expected at least a little more.

I’ve been trying to finish writing this for like two weeks. I wish I had more to say about it. But it’s just a long episode of the TV show. It’s warm and fuzzy and pleasant and ultimately trivial.

So. Uh. 2.5/5. Good. Enough.

Aladdin (2019)

I did myself and this film a favor, I think, by not revisiting the original Aladdin first. I know that if I’d watched the 1992 classic before seeing the 2019 remake, or if I’d even watched it before writing this review, the new movie would seem worse to me. My memories of the original aren’t enough to color my opinion here, because as was the case with Dumbo, I haven’t seen the original on which this new remake is based since the 1990s.

Continue reading “Aladdin (2019)”