Top 5 Non-Christmassy Christmas Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon

Originally posted at Drew’s Movie Reviews to kick off his blogathon. Go check out Drew’s blog now if you don’t follow him already!

You try saying that title after a few cups of eggnog! Does anyone actually drink eggnog? I’ve heard it in Christmas songs I’ve seen it in Christmas movies…but I’ve never actually had any! I guess there’s a first time for everything. Speaking of which, this is certainly not the first time I’ve taken part in Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon, but it IS the first time I’ve sent my post to him on time! For…any actual Blogathon he’s hosted, actually. I’m so sorry Drew!

It’s getting tougher each year to pick a topic for my post, but after last year when I defended Die Hard’s status as a Christmas movie my theme for this year has picked itself out. I’m going to list my Top 5 Non-Christmassy Christmas movies! You know, those movies you find yourself watching in October or November when the festive vibes are kicking in, but it’s not socially acceptable to be in the festive spirit yet!

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#5 Die Hard (1988)

Defending Die Hard’s Christmassy status is difficult enough, but last year Bruce Wilis himself declared that it wasn’t a Christmas movie. C’mon, man! When the winter months are filled with sickly sweet family movies, sometimes you need to see Bruce Willis kick some ass whilst still feeling festive.

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#4 Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

I love a good rom com, and Bridget Jones’ Diary is up there with the best of the very best. Bridget is just so relatable, and the scene with her and Mark Darcy with his ugly Christmas jumper is brilliant!

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#3 The Harry Potter Series (2001 – 2011)

Christmas features very sporadically in all of the Harry Potter movies but for years now, the main UK TV channels feature them heavily in December, and so for that reason, it’s sort of become a tradition to watch them annually at that time of year.

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#2 Shazam! (2019)

This year has actually brought a new movie to my annual Christmas watch list! (I’m going to have to START in July at this rate). Shazam! has it all, it’s a cool and funny superhero movie, it has some touching family moments…and it takes place at Christmas! Winner winner, turkey dinner.

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#1 Just Friends (2005)

I’m a huuuge Ryan Reynolds fan, and Just Friends features Ryan Reynolds at what I consider one of the best moments in his career. Embarrassingly, I could probably recite the entire movie to you, I’ve watched it that often!

Now, as part of Drew’s blogathon, he hosts a huge celebrity party (ever the hostess with the most-ess) and we’re allowed to bring any guest we choose. I seem to have worked my way through the entire male Star Wars cast…but I don’t think you need more than one guess as to who I’m bringing this year…

Keanu, we are going to have a most excellent time!

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The Grinch (2018)

the-grinch-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family

Runtime: 86 Minutes

Main Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Cameron Seely, Pharrell Williams, Kenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury

Plot: The age-old story of why the Grinch hates Christmas, and how he steals Christmas away from all who live in Whoville.

My Thoughts: I’m ‘that person’ who patiently waits for Halloween to be over so I can get the Christmas decorations out of the cupboard, make my house smell like a batch of mulled wine is forever being brewed, and live on a diet consisting almost solely on mince pies until the big day. That also means I’ve been itching to watch my first Christmas movie of the year, even if it meant watching a movie about a grumpy green guy who hates it!

We all know the story of the Grinch by now, don’t we? We’re all probably questioning whether we needed an animated remake too, aren’t we? Thing is, do I really need to buy another box of mince pies this weekend? Not really – but they’re going to brighten up my day anyway! If you’re hoping to see some kind of twist on the original then you’ll be sorely disappointed, but it’s really hard to not be pulled into the charm of it all!

I don’t remember the last Illumination movie I watched at the cinema – do they all have their own shorts now? This came with a Minions short called Yellow is the New Black, a fun little story but honestly, I’m pretty tired of the little yellow guys now.

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Best Bit: I can’t pick one moment, but my favourite thing about the movie (and most animations to be honest) is the little funny details that you could miss if you blink. Do you question why the Grinch is naked when every Who in the village wears clothes? I realise now why I might struggle to sleep at night if this is what I’m thinking…anyway! There are so many little hidden jokes in here you’ll need to watch it at least twice to spot them all.

Worst Bit: If it wasn’t embarrassing enough to be sitting in a packed cinema screen on opening night by myself surrounded by families, the swift punch to the feelings towards the end of the movie made me cry…which in turn made another Mum start chatting with me on the way out. 4 months I’ve managed to stay incognito!

Fun Trivia: In Despicable Me 3 (2017), the oldest of Gru’s girls, Margo, is seen wearing a T-shirt with this version of the Grinch on the front. Being as both are from Illumination Entertainment, this was clearly a nod to the upcoming film. In the first Despicable Me (2010) film, Margo had a Lorax shirt, teasing Illumination Entertainment’s The Lorax (2012), a fellow Dr. Seuss film.

My Rating: 3 and a half out of 5 screaming goats, which have the power to make any and every child under 10 years old laugh till they cry!

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Going Off Topic #14 – 1,000 Movies Later

So this is quite exciting! Since I opened a Letterboxd account around 3 years ago, I’ve not only kept a movie diary to log all the movies I watch (and my ratings) but also put a good few hours into logging every movie I’ve seen previously. Whilst I can’t say for sure I managed to remember them all – I’ve spent enough time on it to be able to say I’m 99% confident that I located them all.

Why is this exciting do you ask? Well, when I watched Bohemian Rhapsody last week and logged it in my movie diary, I realised it was my 1,000th movie! I have officially seen 1,000 movies in my lifetime. I know that number means very little to a lot of movie bloggers out there but it’s a pretty cool milestone!

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It also marks the 81st movie I’ve seen this year…I’m hoping the festive period will give me the final push I need to make my target of 100 for the year!

Speaking of the end of the year on its way…I’m gearing up for the festive season! I’m off to see The Grinch tonight (an odd choice maybe for the self-proclaimed Queen of Christmas) and on the weekend we’re going to get stuck into Christmas shopping and decorating the house. Last Christmas was really odd having such a small baby so I’m extra excited for this year! Santa has already started getting presents ready…

Do you know what’s weird though? I don’t feel like this year has a big Christmas release at the cinema. We had the Hobbit movies for 3 years running, then Star Wars Episode VII, Rogue One, Star Wars Episode VIII…and then what? Fantastic Beasts is out next week, that’s too early. I’m looking forward to Aquaman but I don’t feel the hype…Disney really should have let Solo have a Christmas release.

Anyway, however you’re spending it, I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Christmas in July Blogathon – Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

Originally posted on Drew’s blog here as part of his Christmas in July Blogathon – be sure to check out the other posts!

Opening my laptop this morning, trying to decide what to write about for Drew’s annual Christmas in July blogathon (which I am once again fashionably late for) I was horrified to read the news title “Bruce Willis CONFIRMS Die Hard is not a Christmas movie”. Aca-scuse me?!

The terrible statement was made during his appearance on his very own Comedy Central Roast. Come on, Bruce! This is something us movie fans have been arguing about for years, in fact, YouGov even ran a poll on it, in which over 50% of people also claimed Die Hard isn’t a Christmas movie.

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If you haven’t guessed, I am firmly in the Yes camp. In fact, I only watched Die Hard for the first time fairly recently, because I’d been told it was a Christmas movie and so it felt wrong to watch it in any month other than December. In my eyes, any movie that takes place during Christmas counts. That’s why you’ll find me rewatching Love Actually, Just Friends, and Bridget Jones’s Diary every single year.

I’d really love to settle the debate once and for all so please let me (and Drew!) know – is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

Now, the best part of Drew’s Christmas in July blogathon is the after-party. We’re allowed to bring 1 guest of our choice. My previous guests have been Dan Stevens, Oscar Isaac, and Chris Pratt. I would bring Bruce Willis this year but there’s no chance now he’s trying to ruin my festive spirit so his invite is in the bin. As I still have another year and a half to wait to see him again in Star Wars, I’ll bring Adam Driver with me this year! Drew can you make sure the heating is on, please? He’s decided to come shirtless!

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Christmas in July Blogathon: 5 Movies to Show my Daughter

ORIGINALLY POSTED at Drew’s Movie Reviews here. Please check out Drew’s blog and the rest of the entries to his Christmas in July blogathon!

I can’t believe I’m taking part in Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon for the 3rd year running! Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year, and so I don’t need many excuses to talk about the festive season and related movies. Thank you Drew for hosting again!

This year, Christmas is going to be pretty different for me, as I’ll have a 2-month old baby! Part of me is dreading the chaos, but mostly I’m looking forward to making the holiday a magical time for this little one. Of course, that’s going to include brainwashing introducing her to some of my favourite Christmas movies! That’s why this year, I decided to dedicate my blogathon post to 5 Christmas Movies to Show My Daughter.

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The Snowman (1982)

Wait, don’t call Child Protection Services yet! I don’t mean the upcoming horror/thriller by the same name. I mean the classic British Christmas TV movie, The Snowman, where a boy builds a snowman that comes to life on Christmas Eve. It’s a magical story and features one of the most beautiful songs, ‘Walking in the Air’. We might even follow it up with the 2012 sequel, The Snowman and the Snowdog, but it still makes me cry!

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Shrek the Halls (2007)

How on Earth is Shrek the Halls 10 years old already?! Another short TV movie that’s been an annual event in my family since it was released. We’re big Shrek fans in my family (only the first 2 movies though) and we sadly know all the words to this! If you’ve never seen it, after the hustle and bustle of the Shrek family settling down on Christmas Eve, Donkey, Shrek & Fiona tell the tale of the night before Christmas…in their own special way!

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The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Muppets were a huge part of my childhood, it was my favourite show when I was little and I’ve continued to love them ever since. In fact, the song ‘Life’s a Happy Song’ from the 2011 movie was the song my husband and I walked back down the aisle to on our wedding day! I’m hoping my daughter will have the same sense of humour as I do, so I’m sure she’ll love watching The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Whilst those are 3 movies that I think any child would easily enjoy, mine is going to have accept the fact that she’s going to have her Mum & Dad’s favourite Christmas movies ever forced upon her. Let’s start with Dad, shall we?

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Jingle All the Way (1996)

I can’t believe that 9 years ago I had no idea Jingle All the Way existed. I was invited to my (now) husband’s parents house over Christmas where they sat for their annual watch of this movie, and I loved every second. In fact, it’s impossible for anyone to eat a cookie around me without me shouting ‘put that cookie down, NOW!’. So whether she loves it or hates it, a bit of Arnold Schwarzenegger is always needed at Christmas!

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

I talk far too much about the National Lampoon’s movies so I’ll keep this brief, but there’s no way it couldn’t have been in this list! I’m just dreading the moment in a few years time where my daughter will complain about having to watch it and exclaim ‘this movie is as old as you!’.

Finally, part of Drew’s tradition is to host a party of our favourite celebrities, and we all get to add a name to the guest list. I think it’s only fair that I throw Dan Stevens an invite this year, and carefully place as much mistletoe around the venue as possible!

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Christmas Catch Up & Rogue One Thoughts

Merry belated Christmas everyone! Thankfully I haven’t worked out a proper schedule for this blog yet, because I’m currently in that limbo period between Christmas Day and New Year’s day where I don’t know what day of the week it is, or even time of day. Not that it matters that much, because every meal of the day consists of turkey and chocolate right now. Whilst sitting in my current food coma though, I thought I would catch up on everyone’s posts and share some thoughts on Rogue One which I saw yesterday.

Christmas Day was wonderful, and I got to split the day with both sides of my family. Don’t you just think a home cooked Christmas dinner is the greatest part of the day? Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I could have wept tears of joy at the sight and smell of pigs in blankets, roast parsnips and sausage meat on the table. I just wish I could have eaten more!

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Of course, I also had some wonderful presents! My husband and I didn’t buy each other gifts this year because we’re in the process of buying our first home (help!) but I was blown away by the generosity of my friends and family. There was a big Star Wars theme going on which was great fun! 15-year-old me would be so proud and confused to learn that her future self 12 years later was still asking for the same presents, a new pair of Vans and the latest Pokemon game! That’s right, I’m currently playing Pokemon Moon and my husband got Pokemon Sun. My Vans weren’t any old Vans either, but the new Woody editions from the Toy Story collection! I should have tried to take a good photo of them straight away but I was too excited and haven’t really taken them off yet.

I also got the full Series 4 set of the Lego Star Wars Microfighters which were extremely fun to put together, and the Lego U-Wing from Rogue One which I haven’t even dared to take out the box yet, that’s going to take at least 3 hours to build!

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Boxing Day brought my family’s group trip to the IMAX, a group which seems to get smaller each year sadly, but us hard-core cinema goers packed into the car and said ‘no thanks’ to the sale shopping. It feels pointless stressing this to you guys, but I just love IMAX so much. The intro sequence gives me chills, and it’s the only way to watch a movie like Rogue One!

As for the movie itself, I feel like I need a second viewing before I can put together a proper review. It was so much different to what the other Star Wars movies have been like, but at the same time, it felt so right! I’m just pretty incoherent about it all still, really. At first I was disappointed that most of the clips in the trailer never made it into the final movie, but I get the feeling the powers that be changed their mind on how it would all end. I’m absolutely in love with that a*****e droid, K-2S0 though, he was my favourite part by far! Move over, BB-8.

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We’ll be with you, Jyn. Cassian said we had to.

I think I need only say ‘corridor scene’ and you’ll all know what I mean. Chills, man, chills. Also, ‘be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director’. Ugh! Chills again. Scary as hell. Also scary? The level to which CGI has come. It’s not quite advanced enough for it to be perfect, but still, kudos!

I’ll get a proper Rogue One post ready over the next week or so but for now, another island challenge awaits me in Pokemon Moon, and I’m also preparing a list of books I’m planning on tackling as part of a New Year’s resolution. What about you, what was your favourite Christmas gift this year?

A Merry Fictional Blog Challenge

I can’t believe that in a week’s time, Christmas will be over! It feels like we spend so long getting ready for the huge event, and then it passes by without us barely noticing. With 4 work days to go I was in need of some festive cheer, so when I saw Katy at Oh So Geeky post her answers for her ‘A Merry Fictional Blog Challenge’ she couldn’t have had better timing!

If you’d like to get involved also, simply check out Katy’s original post. But without further ado, here are my answers!

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Advent Calendar: Traditions you celebrate during December?
Aside from the usual family traditions, we have a long standing tradition of a big family get together to the cinema on the Sunday before Christmas. It started many years ago with The Polar Express, and we’ve been every year since. In recent years we’ve seen The Hobbit trilogy, last year we saw The Force Awakens, and this year will be Rogue One. I say will be because we’ve had to change the date this year to Boxing Day!

Carols: What’s your favorite song(s)?
There is no possible way I could pick a favourite Christmas song, it’s my favourite time of year and there are too many! However, it always seems to be that Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is the first to be played on the radio, and that song is glorious.

Coal: A naughty character you’d send coal to?
I’d send coal to Ajax Francis, from Deadpool.

Fireplace: Favorite Christmas movie that melts your heart?
My favourite Christmas movies are Jingle All The Way and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but they’re comedies. There has never been an instance that I’ve watched The Polar Express without ugly crying into a mug of tea, however.

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Gingerbread: What’s your favorite holiday snack?
This might be an odd one, but After Eight Mints, and Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. I don’t know if they’re a worldwide thing or UK only, but I can eat an entire box of mints and/or an entire orange and not feel bad about how sick it would make me.

Hot Cocoa: What’s your favorite drink?
I don’t like hot chocolate or coffee, but Costa are doing a Hot Spiced Apple drink this year which is absolutely to die for!

Mistletoe: Character you’d like to meet under the mistletoe?
Only one?! I’ll go with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock.

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He seems confused…

Mittens: A cozy outfit that keeps you warm during winter?
The weather can be so odd here in the UK. In the winter I tend to wear exactly what I would any other season, but with a big winter coat and gloves in my pocket just in case!

Naughty: Three characters who’d make the Naughty list.
Paul Spector (The Fall), Man in Black (Westworld) & Rowan North (Ghostbusters).

Nice: Three characters who’d make the Nice list.
Moana (Moana, funnily enough), Jyn Erso (Rogue One) & Dustin Henderson (Stranger Things).

North Pole: If you could spend Christmas anywhere (even fictional), where would you go?
Maybe this is a boring choice as it’s real rather than fictional, but after spending 2 days at Disneyland California this year as part of my honeymoon, I would love to go back for Christmas, it would be magical!

Presents: A book or movie on your wishlist?
I’m planning on doing a lot of reading in the New Year, much more than the 2 measly books I managed in 2016! So I can’t think of one specific book right now, but I’ll have a whole list by January.

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Rudolph: What’s your favorite TV holiday special?
I’m sure there are some great ones out there, but another family tradition of mine is watching Shrek The Halls on Christmas Eve. It’s been so many years now we know all the words. We’re probably really embarrassing, come to think of it.

Santa: A character you’d love to exchange presents with? What would you get them?
I would love to work in the office from Parks & Recreation and take part in an office Secret Santa there. I’d rig it so I could buy for Leslie Knope so I could get her all sorts of stationery and organisational tools, because we have a shared passion in that area.

Scrooge: A villain you’d help see life in a different way?
Kylo Ren for sure. It wouldn’t work (I already tried at Disneyland) but I’d still give it a go. I would either end up a quivering mess on the floor (again, happened at Disneyland) or I’d get cut in half before I finished talking.

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I tried to sass Kylo Ren, and he really wasn’t impressed. I was legit terrified!

Snowflake: Something that makes you feel special.
Last weekend, doing a food shop at the supermarket. They were playing Christmas songs non-stop, and in the bakery isle there was a bit of a sing-a-long going on between some strangers, and it’s honestly one of the most special things to be a part of. It’s the littlest things in life sometimes!

Tree: What do you decorate your house with for the season?
We have our usual Christmas tree, tinsel around every surface we can find, and a few silly decorations too. This year my husband and I are sharing the Lego Star Wars advent calendar, which has a prime location in the living room.

Yuletide: The top 3 things in your life that make you the most happy?
Aside from family and friends (who are the true number 1) I would say coming home from a pants day at work to find my husband and 2 cats who are always happy to see me, lazy evenings spent on the sofa watching a movie, and pizza. Definitely pizza.

BONUS: Ugly Christmas Sweater: Would you wear a sweater Molly Weasley made you or avoid it like the plague?
OMG I WOULD WEAR IT WITH PRIDE.