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Monthly Archives: December 2010

a very special christmas special: “The Snowman” (1982)

Call me one of them liberal, east-coast, Volvo-drivin’, latte-drinkin’, public radio givin’, Obama votin’, gay marryin’, baby abortin’, Trader Joes shoppin’, tofu eatin’, 30 Rock viewin’, Salon readin’, book ownin’, French lovin’ elitists, but if you want to watch a story about a snowman who magically comes to life due to the magic of Christmas that doesn’t suck ox nor ass…. then you need to get with this jive, right here.

It’s The Snowman.  Maybe you saw it on PBS in the 1980s.  Or maybe you’re British and you saw it on ITV.  Anyway, it’s practically wordless, so I’m not going to say any more about it.  It’s just freaking magical and beautiful and I love it, so there.

 

 

Ok, this version cuts “Walking In The Air” into two pieces, so here’s the full song.  And here’s the 1983 intro, where we learn that the little boy grows up to be David Bowie.  Seriously.

And that means that, if you want, you can watch “Walking In The Air” with the sound turned down, and play this song instead.  But only if you absolutely must.

And: Merry Christmas.  We’ll do this again next year.

 
 

a very special christmas special: “Frosty The Snowman” (1970)

Every Christmas special I’ve reviewed here, I’ve been able to find something to like.  Even Alf’s Special Christmas, which bothered me on several levels – I can appreciate what they were trying to do, even though it was completely wrong.   But, see, Alf’s Special Christmas was wrong in the same way that the restaurant screwing up your order is wrong – like if you ordered pizza with pepperoni, and got green peppers instead.   I don’t like green peppers, but green peppers are at least edible.  But there are some things that are just wrong, like, ordering a pizza with pepperoni and instead getting a broken lightbulb and a used syringe.

There’s no other way around it – I do not like Frosty The Snowman.  I’m not proud of this, because so many other people love ol’ Frosty and that hat of his.   I love Rudolph and The Year Without A Santa Claus and The Little Drummer Boy and all the other Rankin/Bass classics.  I’ll sit through A Garfield Christmas even though I don’t like Garfield anymore, just because his old TV cartoons aren’t bad.  I’ll watch The Star Wars Christmas Special all the way through and moan and groan like everyone else but I will get through it.

After watching Frosty The Snowman, I was shocked to learn that it was only a half an hour long.

I don’t know what it is about Frosty.  Maybe it’s the fact that the story has no meat to it whatsoever.  Maybe it’s the fact that the “Frosty The Snowman” song is just annoying and cloying.   Maybe it’s the fact that the animation is terrible.  And not charmingly terrible, either.  But – ok – I sat down and watched this thing, and here’s 10 things I noticed.  Take ’em or leave ’em.  If you love ol’ Frosty, feel free to send hate mail.  I stand by my position: Frosty The Snowman is bloody awful.

Watch it – if you must – and read my 10 things – below the cut.

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a very special christmas special, “John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together” (1979)

As you are probably aware, based on my previous posts about A Muppet Family Christmas and The Christmas Toy, and my yearly exultations that The Muppet Christmas Carol is the best and most faithful film adaptation of the original book A Christmas Carol despite being narrated by Rizzo the Rat and Gonzo the Great, the Muppets and Christmas occupy roughly the same spot in my brain.  It’s that soft, gooey, marshmallow-like cluster nestled at the back of my hippocampus, near the base of my occipital lobe.  If you were to poke it, I would involuntarily start waving my arms around like Kermit.

However, I have never actually seen John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together until today.  Part of this may have to do with the fact that it has never been officially released on VHS, and part of this may have to do with the fact that it came out the year I was born and I was too busy spitting up strained squash and eating stuff I found on the carpet to notice.   Either way, I found it on the Youtubes, and have decided to write about my experiences watching this holiday gem for the first damn time.

Aaaaaaand… push play.

Fade in on the late John Denver, sprightly and alive and in the middle of his “Oh, God” heyday.   Because ‘tis the glorious season of Yuletide, he’s dressed like a Dickensian gent, resplendent with his purple top hat and all.  At this point, things could really go either way – of all the M.O.R. artists ever to walk this Earth, John Denver is the M.O.Riest.  For every heartfelt, aching ballad like “Leavin’ On A Jetplane,” there’s an “Annie’s Song.”   For every “Rocky Mountain High”, there’s a Coors beer commercial where a bunch of people start singing “Rocky Mountain High.”   And, of course, there’s that big old slice of bitter irony pie you have to mention when you’re a heartless bastard like me and someone brings up John Denver: “Leaving On A Jet Plane” was written by a man who died when his private plane crashed.  Either the jokes make themselves or they really, really don’t.  I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

And, either this is going to be the most goddamn heartwarming thing I’ve ever experienced, or it’s going to be 2 solid hours of molten Velveeta cheese.  Things don’t look so good when ol’ John starts singing “The 12 Days Of Christmas”, a song that’s only tolerable when Muppets are involved.

Thank God there are Muppets involved.  Fozzie screws up his lines, Miss Piggy adds some “ba-dump-bump-bumps” to her FIIIIIVE GOOOOOLD RIIIINGS line, and all is right with the world.

 

There’s more, after the break.

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