Beautiful, Wretched, Magnificent Holiday Movies

It’s that time of the year, folks: the time when ABCFamily, Hallmark, Lifetime, and others devote large swaths of programming time to cheesy holiday movies.

They feature just about every actor you can imagine, picking up some cash during off years.  Neil Patrick Harris and Rob Lowe have done a bunch, including the one they appeared in together.

Oh Clarissa, you can do so much better

If the Jesus isn’t your thing (and it definitely isn’t mine), don’t worry.  Even the options with “Miracle” and “Angel” in the title rarely feature that dude.  He gets a mention sometimes in the ones with dying kids, but otherwise you can weed out the religion with a brief glance at the summaries.

Mostly, they are of the magnificent cheese variety.  Love Actually, while an excellent film on its own, has a lot to answer for.  These clumsy imitations feature mediocre writing, phoned-in acting by big-name cameos, and location fudging that makes ER‘s “Brownline Subway” look like high art.

My holiday confession:  I’m addicted to them.

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10 Cent Review – Super 8

super 8

Thought provoking family sci-fi film about loneliness and alienation (pun intended)

Super 8 was not the best movie of 2011.  Super 8  may not have even been the best alien movie of 2011 (I hear great things about  Attack the Block which I still have to see).  It was, however, the best live-action, family film I’ve seen in a very long time.  Heartfelt performances (can someone give Kyle Chandler the awards he deserves?), geeky childhood enthusiasm, and small town desperation combine to create something special.

3 1/2 Alien Thumbs Up