Tag Archives: Mel Gibson

Christmas Movies That Aren’t

As the Christmas season winds down and we reach that most treasured of days, I hope that you are spending the next couple of days close to those you love. As you fill your gaping maw with sugared treats and completely overindulge yourself in every form of excess, do so as a family. The world of DVD and digital streaming has been overloaded to bring you all of the well known holiday classics which take us all back to a simpler time in our lives and remind us of the true reason for the season.

Each year I enjoy a few standard Christmas classics, mostly of the comedic variety. Probably the same films and television episodes with which you are familiar and appear on many of these lazy, hastily written holiday movie guides. While putting forth even less effort I bring you:

Top 5 Movies That Mention Christmas Briefly, but do not Place The Holiday Central to Their Plots(catchy no?)

L.A. Confidential:

Based on the James Ellroy novel of same name and boasting an all-star cast of Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacy and Nicole Kidman. This police drama about the deaths of hookers who look like movie stars set in 1940s Los Angeles is a top notch thriller. Everyone is dirty, but they don’t all necessarily prefer it that way. The film succeeds by showing that everyone has a motivation for their choices, right or wrong.  So where is the Christmas? This film opens with several drunken police officers leaving an office Christmas party to work over some suspects believed to have injured a fellow officer. This event termed “Bloody Christmas” by the newspapers is in many ways what brings our heroes together on their way to solving the crime.

Lethal Weapon: 

image property of Warner Bros.

image property of Warner Bros.

Before Mel Gibson was an Oscar winning director and crazy conspiracy theory spouting DUI recipient, he was an actor in action movies. This little gem from the late 80s is still the best example of that work. Gibson plays Martin Riggs, a suicidal cop who shoots first and later, often failing to ask questions. His partner is Roger Murtaugh played by another future crazy person in the form of Danny Glover. The two uncover a massive drug smuggling ring which leads them to Mr. Joshua (Gary Busey being another future nut job). Working on this film must have come with some amount of hazard pay. Lethal Weapon is also responsible for 3 sequels and turning every movie for 15 or so years into a buddy/action/comedy. So where is the Christmas? Late in the film when Mr. Joshua decides to make things personal, it is a Christmas Eve street fight between him and Riggs that decides nothing and ends about the way you would expect it to.



Image Property of 20th Century Fox

Image Property of 20th Century Fox

Is this a horror movie? Is it a comedy? I cannot say for certain. I can say it was the 80s, I was a boy and I loved this movie. A teenager receives a Christmas gift in the form of a strange adorable and easily merchandised pet. He is instructed to not get him wet, not feed him after midnight and not to expose him to bright light. He does all of these things and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.




Die Hard/Die Hard 2: Die Harder: 

It seemed simple enough. Fly out to LA and visit your estranged wife for the holidays. When terrorists take over the Nakatomi tower they didn’t count on wise-cracking New York city cop John McLane and his ability to… well… kill terrorists. The best action movie–maybe ever– begins and ends with Christmas.

image property of 20th century Fox

image property of 20th century Fox

While subsequent sequels removed the Christmas angle, Die Hard 2 reveled in it. With Holly and John McLane reconciled, living in LA and visiting DC for the holidays. Who could have expected that terrorists would take over the airport? Never travel with John McLane on the holidays unless you like spending Christmas eve fending off terrorists.

Have a Merry Christmas Cool Shippers!!

What did I miss?

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“Stumped” by Celebrity Endorcements

Clint Eastwood made quite a stir at the Republican National Convention last week. Eastwood’s usage of an old vaudeville era bit to show his displeasure with the job performance of our president was a success or an embarrassment depending on your political affiliation. Why was Clint even at the Convention? Why was he given free reign in a historically prized time slot? Easy! Americans are celebrity obsessed.

Does anyone understand our sick fascination with celebrities? Entire periodicals are dedicated to what they eat, where they sleep, who with, and what they do in their spare time. We cannot get enough of the mundane details of these glittery people.  Celebrities stumping for candidates is hardly new. Every four years various famous and semi-famous actors, athletes and musicians turn out to support the candidate of their choice.

Celebrities from the idiotic (Toby Keith) to the highly intelligent (Ben Stein) step up each election season to tell you who to vote for. Even celebrities who don’t live here and cannot vote get in on the stump. (Bono, Mel Gibson) The tactics used range from simply playing a few songs at some campaign rallies (Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne) to making campaign videos suggesting that if you plan to vote for someone other than his chosen candidate then just don’t vote (Matt Damon).

I hate everything about this practice! Not only because the liberals get better celebrities (all the way back to Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack Stumping for John Kennedy), but the idea that we common folk should be lectured by the shiny millionaires about which politician will do the best to solve our common little problems makes me want to rip the remainder of my hair out.

image appears courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Then we are supposed to react something like this:

“Well Ron Howard thinks Obama is a good choice…I liked Happy Days…I want to be happy…a vote for Obama is a vote for Happiness”

Or something like that. It is insulting and preys on the uninformed.

During the conventions and beyond both parties will trot out whomever they can to win your vote. This week’s DNC will be overrun with celebrities attempting to sway your opinion. Just do me a small favor whenever one of the parties tries to employ this tactic–try to really listen. Consider the actual issues and listen for substance. Try to forget the endorsement is coming from an actor who made a movie about smoking drugs and a late night trip to a third tier fast food joint (Kal Penn) and consider what is actually being said. Even Dirty Harry should not be able to sway your vote without some facts…Punk.


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