Category Archives: Christmas
It’s that time of year. Time to cut down the Christmas branch, take a trip down Pa’s slide, and grab a little bit of barbecue with Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas.
“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon
Hello, and welcome to another installment of “The Ten Percent,” a regular column where every other week we’ll take a look at the inverse of Sturgeon’s Law; in other words, the small portion of everything which is not crud. Remember, for each film or television show that gets people caroling years or even decades after its premiere, there are hundreds of others that disappear quicker than a snowbank in Hawaii. It’s not a question of genre – the Ten Percent has room for slapstick holiday comedy, high-toned holiday drama, quality holiday animation, and science fiction with a holiday theme. Oh, and over there you can find show-stopping holiday musicals chatting with bloody holiday horror (okay, that one might be a stretch). At any rate, the Ten Percent last because they are high quality productions which demand more of their viewer than simple passive reception. Simply having a holiday theme is not enough – as we’ve written about before.
Usually every Friday at this time Biff Bam Pop! presents the newest episode of The GAR! Podcast, the Glenn Walker and Ray Cornwall weekly podcast where they talk unrehearsed about whatever happens to come to mind, an audio-zine for your mind, a nerd exploration of a nerd world. This week however, GAR! is on a short hiatus for the holidays. In its place we’re featuring an episode that you might have missed before GAR! came to Biff Bam Pop!. Stay tuned for a blast from the past of The GAR! Podcast, after the jump.
Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.
Sometime in the early 1970s, I was introduced to true horror. The vehicle of this introduction was not the movies Jaws (which made me afraid of the ocean), nor The Omen (which made me afraid of British people), nor any of the other horror masterpieces that I somehow was allowed to watch at the precocious ages between six and nine. No, the horror genre was thrust upon me via the wonders of television, which opened a window to a world of elemental evils, mutated minions, and surly Santas. Of course, the world I speak of is that of the Rankin Bass Christmas television special, the most frightening, twisted universe that humankind has ever uncovered.
“But Jim,” I’m sure you’re saying. “Those are classics, full of joy and Christmas Spirit!” And I would respond: “Why are you talking to your computer screen? You know I can’t hear you, right?” Then I would add “You’re wrong!” And I’ll explain why after the break.
Since Christopher Eccleston regenerated for the first time in the new “Doctor Who” series, and David Tennant re-emerged as The Doctor to fight a duel for the Earth against the Sycorax – the Doctor Who Christmas Special has become a world wide holiday tradition. Every year since, The Doctor fights for all of us to have a safe Christmas, and this year is no different, even with Peter Capaldi still adjusting to the role. In “Last Christmas” by showrunner Steven Moffat, The Doctor reteams with Clara, along with Nick Frost as Santa to save us all. Meet me after the jump for my review.
“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon
By now it should come as no surprise that we are big Frank Capra fans here at “The Ten Percent,” and while his It’s A Wonderful Life rightly comes immediately to mind around the holidays, today we’re going to take a look at another Capra Christmas classic: Meet John Doe (1941). The film is seventy-three years old, but if you’ve never seen it – beware of spoilers after the break!
Since Ensley F. Guffey and I began writing the “Ten Percent” columns for Biff Bam Pop!, we’ve started our posts with science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon’s famous quote that reminds us that “Ninety percent of everything is crud.” We then go on to explore an item of popular culture that isn’t crud; that belongs not to Sturgeon’s 90%, but rather to what we call “the Ten Percent” – that tiny slice that’s worthy of thoughtful examination and that shows the heights of human creativity, beauty, imagination, and exhilaration.
But it occurred to me that we had maybe not created a solid baseline. We’re asking you to trust us that the movies and other things we write about are worthy of the “Ten Percent” label, but we haven’t ever had The Talk with you about the dangers of dreck. So, in the spirit of the holidays, allow me to educate and elucidate. (I had this whole smartypants thing about artistic composition and the uses of negative space to give deeper meaning to positive space, but I scrapped it in favor of what comes next. I think you’ll be glad.)
Since the return of the “Doctor Who” television series in 2005, the annual Christmas evening specials have become a tradition, and most often, a major event in the continuity of the series. This Christmas is no different, even in an already exciting year for Who fans the world over. Tonight, Matt Smith regenerates into Peter Capaldi, and all of the loose ends surrounding the Eleventh Doctor and his demise come to fruition. Tonight, we have been promised, all will be revealed. Join me, after the jump for my thoughts on “The Time of The Doctor!”
Christmas-based horror is a sub-genre that is seldom recognized, but actually includes a vast array of titles dating back decades. A few are quite well known, with titles such as the original Black Christmas pioneering the ‘slasher’ film, and Gremlins showing kids everywhere the fun that can come with a little yuletide terror. There’s no real point in listing the holiday horror most of us know: all five Silent Night, Deadly Night films (and the remake) or Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. And films that take place during the holiday but have very little to do with it are only worth mentioning in passing, such as I Come In Peace (aka Dark Angel). With that in mind, here’s a list of ten little-known films that are worth adding to your holiday viewing playlist. Some may not be to all tastes, but there is definitely fun for everyone.
For the past three decades A Christmas Story has become a holiday cult classic. Whether it’s a 24 hour marathon on Christmas Day, a Broadway musical adaptation, or sequels (good and bad), the film co-written and narrated by the great Jean Shepherd and directed by Bob (Porky’s) Clark has become a tradition in many households across America. Today on Biff Bam Pop’s Holiday Gift Guide we’re taking a look at “A Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday Classic” by Caseen Gaines. See you after the jump.