My Favorite Scene: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) “Marley and Marley”

When I was a kid, and during my marriage before my wife passed, it was a RITUAL ABSOLUTE that we watched The Muppet Christmas Carol.  Every family celebrates the holidays differently, and this is probably the only one the crossed over from my childhood to my adulthood….but I’m really glad it did.  The Muppet Christmas Carol was made in 1992, three years after the tragic and untimely death of Muppet founder Jim Henson.  Despite a dozen attempts to do other things with the core group of characters over the years under their stewardship at Disney, The Muppet Christmas Carol-to me-is the last thing that carried the Henson magic with it.

Not only is it a great Muppet film, it’s a fairly faithful (with pigs and frogs and whatever Gonzo is) adaptation of Charles Dickens’s Christmas masterpiece.  It pushed the boundary, as all of Henson’s films did, of what was possible with puppets, and while it’s all-ages appropriate, both the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future scared the willies out of me when I was a kid.  I still find the floating doll face of Christmas Past creepy.  But it has wonderful songs (my favorite obviously being Statler and Waldorf’s Marley Brothers duet), funny moments, and unlike a lot of the humans who find their way into Muppetland, Michael Caine put in an extremely good performance as Scrooge.  It’s clever, joyous, a little weird, and endlessly inventive.  That was the Henson magic.  The magic that took a piece of felt and turned it into a universe of characters that would and will entertain and educate adults and children alike for decades.  So if you’re wondering what to do on Christmas Eve as a family…you could do a lot worse for traditions than adopt my family’s.

Michael Caine in The Muppet Christmas Carol

Top 10: Trailers for 2017 Movies

X-23, Dafne Keen, Logan, Wolverine, Hugh Jackman
A great trailer is designed to do one thing: get you back to see the feature.  However, trailers are also an art form unto themselves.  The best ones use music, imagery, mystery, and intrigue to set the stage for the film they’re promoting.  There were some great trailers for the films of 2017, many of which did not live up to the trailers that preceded them.  That doesn’t mean those trailers aren’t worthy of recognition, though.  As we wrap up 2017 (good riddance), it’s time for the deluge of TOP 10 lists.  Here are the ten best trailers for movies released in 2017. Continue reading Top 10: Trailers for 2017 Movies

15:17 to Paris Trailer #1 (2018) *Clint Eastwood’s Next Directorial Effort*

Clint Eastwood is 87-years-old and he keeps getting better and better as a director.  His last film, 2016’s Sully, is among the best in his filmography, and he’s not slowing down.  Eastwood is next tackling the true story of a terrorist attack on a Paris train.  Eastwood cast the actual three heroes in the incident in his film, and it’ll be interesting to see if they either get overwhelmed by the filmmaking process or bring untold authenticity to recreating the incident.  Full synopsis below.

From Clint Eastwood comes The 15:17 to Paris, which tells the real-life story of three men whose brave act turned them into heroes during a highspeed railway ride on a train in France. The 15:17 to Paris is directed by veteran actor/filmmaker Clint Eastwood, director of the films Gran TorinoInvictusHereafterJ. EdgarJersey BoysAmerican Sniper, and Sully most recently. The screenplay is written by Dorothy Blyskal; based on the story by Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone. Produced by Clint Eastwood, Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera, Jessica Meier, with executive producer Bruce Berman. Warner Bros will release The 15:17 to Paris in theaters everywhere starting on February 9th, 2018 early next year.