Thank you for stopping by That’s What I’m Talking About for today’s Mistletoe Madness spot. For a line up of all of the authors featured here and at The Book Nympho, and to enter the overall event giveaway for a free book (two chances to win!), please click on the image above or go to the kickoff post on December 2, 2013.
Book: Iron Night
Release Date: January 7, 2014
The 12 Days of Christmas Movie Countdown With Fortitude Scott
Let’s face it, holidays are stressful. Buying the right present, traveling home, being trapped in a house with relatives who would like to kill you and express that desire in increasingly vivid detail the longer the visit lasts… okay, that last part might just be me and my sister Prudence. But I bet everyone was with me until that point.
In college, I majored in film theory, and while that particular degree has brought me nothing but underemployment and regret since then, if there’s one refuge I can count on during the holidays, it’s in movies. So allow me to share with you my personal film recipe to a heart full of holiday cheer and spirit!
Die Hard (1988)
Listen, you’re still a ways out from Christmas itself, so you have to pace yourself. Start with Die Hard, the tale of a man who goes to visit his estranged wife at her company’s Christmas party, and ends up taking on a host of European terrorists with Vidal-Sassoon hair led by Alan Rickman’s classic character Hans Gruber. It’s Christmas spirit, but with bullets!
At this point in the season, you’re spending a good portion of your day wracking your brain for last-minute gift ideas for that impossible-to-shop-for relative. This is a good time for that most important of lessons – never buy someone a pet for Christmas, especially one that comes with very specific care instructions.
The Apartment (1960)
Jack Lemmon is a guy trying to climb the corporate ladder, and how better to do that than to let various bosses use your apartment as a venue for their extramarital affairs? Unfortunately for Lemmon, one of those bosses is sexing up Shirley MacLaine – after she discovers that all his promises to her have been false, she attempts suicide on Christmas. Lemmon finds her, and nurses her back to physical and emotional health. The movie culminates with Lemmon quitting the job he’d worked so hard to get and MacLaine realizing what real love is, and the pair getting together on New Year’s Eve. A roller-coaster between humor and drama, this is a great classic movie.
The Lion In Winter (1968)
You think YOUR family is dysfunctional? You have NO IDEA. Christmas in medieval England starts with King Henry releasing his wife Queen Eleanor from imprisonment (just for the holidays!), and things pretty much devolve from there. The highlight comes when the king’s three sons are caught attempting to depose their father at their mother’s instigation, and get put in prison as their father swears to sire new sons to replace them. Feel better about your own family situation while watching Katharine Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, and a very young Anthony Hopkins!
“Amends”, Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1998)
Okay, it’s not a film, but it is a fantastic episode from a great TV series. On this very special Buffy holiday episode, resident vampire Angel (newly returned from a summer vacation in Hell) is terrorized to the point of suicidal madness by the apparent ghosts of the many people who he murdered while a soulless killer, but is saved at dawn by a freak and magic snowstorm in a really poignant and lovely scene.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Okay, now that we’re within a week of Christmas, it’s time to start pulling out the classics and the big guns. This stop-motion classic is a feature of most people’s childhoods, and has the double-threat of not just incredible nostalgia, but of being extremely creepy if you watch it while drunk or high. (like most classic children’s fare, actually)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Now that you’ve already spent more than you really expected to on presents, why not watch a childhood classic about rejecting the materialism of the season? Go on, it’ll be great. Especially that part where Snoopy dances.
Downton Abbey, second season Christmas special (2011)
Okay, so it’s the second TV episode on the list. But you should still watch it and feel your heart expand multiple sizes. After two seasons of will-they-won’t-they-yes-they’re-engaged-no-that’s-totally-off-omg-Great-War, Matthew Crowley and Lady Mary finally really resolve their romantic issues and kiss as snow and holiday cheer swirls around them, and damnit it’s magical! Make sure you watch this one and not the *third* season Christmas special, because that one ends in a less uplifting way, with Matthew crushed to death beneath his car mere hours after the birth of his and Mary’s child. Whoops. Well, we’ll always have Season 2.
Based on the Terry Pratchett Discworld novel of the same name and plot, watch as Susan, Death’s granddaughter (portrayed than none other than Lady Mary Crowley!) saves the hell out of basically-Christmas with the assistance of a talking raven and the Death of Rats. Meanwhile, Death himself impersonates basically-Santa. Excellent fun.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Unless you are made of stone, you will be unable to resist watching as the Muppets and Michael Caine rock out in the only Dickens adaptation fit to be watched during the holiday season.
Love Actually (2003)
From romantic, to platonic, to sibling, to parent and child, Love Actually very movingly portrayed many different expressions and flavors of love, all wrapped up in a very overtly Christmas-themed bow. Bonuses include appearances by every British actor alive (okay, it felt like it – and it’s Alan Rickman’s second film on this list!), and for fans of Sherlock, here’s your chance to see Irene Adler levels of nudity from Martin Freeman.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
Accept no substitutes (especially not substitutes with Jim Carrey involved) – it’s the animated version or nothing, which kept to the strengths of the original text without asinine padding or additions. Pull strong, Max. Pull strong.
About the Book:
Underachieving film theory graduate and vampire Fortitude Scott may be waiting tables at a snooty restaurant run by a tyrannical chef who hates him, but the other parts of his life finally seem to be stabilizing. He’s learning how to rule the Scott family territory, hanging out more with his shapeshifting friend Suzume Hollis, and has actually found a decent roommate for once.
Until he finds his roommate’s dead body.
The Scott family cover-up machine swings into gear, but Fort is the only person trying to figure out who (or what) actually killed his friend. His hunt for a murderer leads to a creature that scares even his sociopathic family, and puts them all in deadly peril.
Keeping secrets, killing monsters, and still having to make it to work on time? Sometimes being a vampire really sucks.
Now, head over the THE BOOK NYMPHO to see today’s feature with Brynn Myers.