Brian’s Annual Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’21: 8-Bit Christmas

A pile of people form the shape of a Christmas tree.

From my Letterboxd account:

I think the greatest backslide in popular culture may be the internet age ushering in the arrival of “things you recognize” as a marketable, profitable subject for creative content. Few things gross me out, deep down into the pits of my soul and body, like being pandered to by some cynical company who thought (not without cause), “we can show these hogs a bunch of references to their glory days and they’ll open their wallets and shake out all the cash until there’s nothing left.”

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Encanto | Disney Movies

I went into this movie entirely blind. I didn’t even know it existed until a week or so ago, and I hadn’t seen a trailer or read a blurb about it. I did know that the critics are largely for it, though.

As the opening exposition was dumped, I had a little conversation with myself:

“This is a lot. This is a lot of really weird stuff. This setup is completely bizarre and convoluted,” said one part of me.

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Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’21: A Christmas Hero

A Christmas Hero is fascinating. Every indicator seems to point toward a docent at the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum who’s suddenly come into some money and also has vague but strong feelings about planes and veterans, wanting to make a movie that doubles as a goodhearted holiday pick-me-up and some good advertising for the museum.

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Announcing Brian’s 6th Annual Exploratory Christmas Endeavor!

Greetings, friends, and happy holidays. I’m starting a little early this year to compensate for the days in which I goof up and fail to stick to the plan. But as you may know, every year at Christmastime, I try to watch some piece of Christmas media everyday in the lead-up to Christmas.

Part of why I do this is because of a genuine affection for Christmas, and a desire not to miss any of the classics I love to catch year after year. Some of my genuine, must-watch favorites include It’s a Wonderful Life, Almost Christmas, Tokyo Godfathers, Christmas Vacation, and yes, if you must know, A Christmas Story. These are my list-toppers, but I’ve been curating a list of every Christmas film I’ve seen, in order from most- to least likely viewing for me during the holiday season, and you’re invited to look it over on my Letterboxd profile.

The links in the above paragraph go to podcast blog write-ups I’ve done on the films, and I’d love it if you gave them a once-over. Interestingly, I’ve never written about A Christmas Story because, I suppose, I’ve genuinely forgotten to watch it now for several years running. I consumed a very thoughtful Folding Ideas essay about how A Christmas Story sort of incepts another generation’s nostalgia into our heads, and how, apart from that, it doesn’t have much to offer as a film. I’ve considered it, but think that it still speaks to some wider truths about Christmastime for an American family, for better or worse. Perhaps this will be the year I do write about it.

At any rate, I’ve also compiled a Letterboxd list of the films I will try to get to this year. As of the time of this writing (around noon on Black Friday 2021), the list is primarily what was left-over from last year, so I’ll have to spend some time looking it over and getting it in order. You can follow this blog for the reviews, or follow me on Letterboxd, since sooner or later, I hope to get the reviews of that platform and this one in parity. You can also keep up with the growing Christmas films list, and let me know in the comments of these blog entries, the Letterboxd lists, or the Letterboxd reviews whether you agree, or think I’ve got my head way up my own chimney.

Thanks as always for your time and attention. Please stay safe and warm this holiday season, and I hope you find a hundred things to celebrate and be thankful for. Try to keep things humble and not be swept up in (or complicate, with your orders) the supply chain issues threatening to show international capitalism for the precarious, fragile scam it actually is. Let’s all pinky promise to sit by a window when the snow is coming down, hot beverage in-hand, and just enjoy some silence and peace at the end of this very difficult year. Let’s give something to someone we love, or a stranger, or an overlooked coworker, that might make their day a little brighter. Drop off a card to the one-person-show restaurant worker down the street who always remembers your name and favorite order. Shovel someone else’s snow or deliver something to a friend so they can spend a little more time off their feet.

Be good this holiday season. The holiday season is the model we should really follow all year long.



The French Dispatch

At the time of this writing, I’ve given this film 4 out of 5 stars, and I think that’s more aspirational than anything: at the risk of being dishonest by not siding with my immediate feelings, I’m putting my faith in something deep down inside me that says, “there is so much to this movie that even if you didn’t feel it all tonight, you will upon repeated viewings, and this is the rating you will eventually give it.”

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