the 12 crappy movies of christmas

This Christmas I watched 12 crappy Hallmark movies and here are my crappy findings:

The Nine Kittens of Christmas–When the cat answers the phone at the end, I rolled my eyes so hard I flipped over the couch.


Christmas in Tahoe

When two things I hate collide—Train and Hallmark XMas movies. When the guy from Train sang his XMas song, I rolled my eyes and fell out of my chair.


Journey Back to Christmas–When Candace Cameron Buree went forward in time from 1950s to the present and found the future to be too progressive. I rolled my eyes and hurt my neck.


A Christmas Together with You–In this crap burger the male lead trying to save the family b and b or whatever well his dog hides/sneaks in the backseat of the female leads car and she has to turn around and drive back to return the dog. And I’m thinking did the dog open the door? Did the dog have the keys to the car? Or did the guy put the dog in her car because he’s a creeper and knew she would come back with the dog?


Christmas Cookie Catastrophe– At the end Santa or some dude who looks like Santa is revealed to have stolen a cookie company recipe even though the recipe is on the bag of cookies all so the two leads—a widower and uptight business woman—can dry kiss at the end. So bad it hurt my feelings.


The Christmas Train–Danny Glover in hallmark hall of shame kidnaps co workers to forcethem/trick them into falling in love on Christmas or something. 48%on Rotten Tomatoes and Deborah said it is dumb don’t watch it so I watched it because I have low self esteem.


Family for Christmas–So in this one Santa sends a successful but uptight news woman forward in time where she is a wife and mother and has to pick out raisins from cereal and cook for her ungrateful husband. she decides being a housewife preferable to being an award winning journalist.

–4 and 5–

Sisters/two uptight business women swap jobs for some reason and they both fall in love in the workplace and renovate a theater. The city sister goes to the city and the city sister goes to the country. Even though they are from the same hometown. This one is two movies for some reason though pretty much the same movie.

My favorite part was when they were both over.


A Royal Corgi Christmas–So I mixed up ‘a very corgi Xmas’ with ‘a royal corgi xmas’. Spoiler alert: Both are crap burgers that involve charming dogs—and the dogs are more charming than the actors.


Hannukah on Rye–This one has so many Jewish stereotypes I actually lost track of them. They play the Fiddler on the Roof music, the meddling parents try and set up the two leads and the plot involves dueling secret latka recipes. I’m embarrassed for all involved. PS; It’s also a ‘Youve Got Mail’ ripoff.


A Christmas Wish is the most hysterically sad and depressing feel good XMas movie I’ve ever watched with Deborah. It was the gateway drug for awful Hallmark movies. Spoiler: too poor for an XMas tree equals a laugh riot. It’s like if Tiny Tim was even more sad and depressing.

documentary recommendation: gabo–the creation of gabriel garcia marquez

maxresdefaultI’ve been listening to One Hundred Years of Solitude as an audiobook and watching this documentary on Marquez’ life and work. I’m still taken by the idea of a large story following several generations–seven generations I think and I’m taken by the idea he was influenced by his Grandparent’s stories where local stories, fantastic details and family legends mix together. I also love how the doc is unapolegetically in Spanish.

documentary recommendation–joan didion: the center will not hold

Quite a few students asked me about watching this 2017 Netflix documentary on Joan Didion. One of my favorite writers and I enjoyed the film. Fascinating to see personal interviews as well as to hear excerpts of some of her iconic essays.

documentary recommendation: trudell

One of my favorite writers, activists and speakers.

John Trudell: It has been, literally, the most blood thirsty, brutalizing system ever imposed on this planet. That is not civilization. That’s the great lie – is that it represents civilization. That’s the great lie. Or if it does represent civilization, and that’s truly what civilization is, then the great lie is that civilization is good for us.

film recommendation: moonlight

I’ve not watched Boyhood and in fact I’ve not watched many films concerning youth and masculinity lately–mostly because of my teaching schedule and work. Moonlight though came up on some podcasts I listen to and admire. And I have to say the film is rather amazing–subtle and subdued. I was taken with the music and also with the visual metaphors–the use of water and beach scenes. So much to say about this film. One particular performance I admire comes from Mahershala Ali as the father figure in the film. The swimming scene is particularly visceral and emotional.


the handmaid’s tale tv series adaptation

Margaret Atwood’s classic novel appears to have a well produced series adaptation coming to the internet. I was disappointed with the 199o film adaptation. This looks promising though.

film recommendation: book of life

Had some time this SpringBreak to watch some films and this one by Jorge Gutierrez is beautifully animated. I liked the mix of modern music and the Mexican folklore. I was also struck by the theme of death and grieving families.

quick review: cesar chavez

MV5BMTM5NTkyOTMxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODA1MDYwMTE@._V1_SX214_AL_I’ve been waiting to watch Diego Luna’s film and finally had some time this weekend. The reviews were poor on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes and Marshall Ganz–a man who knew and worked with Cesar Chavez–criticized the film for the one dimensional version of Chavez’s life. I have to admit though I found Michael Peña’s portrayal of Cesar Chavez to be subtle and very powerful.

documentary recommendation: the untold history of the united states

oliverstoneuntoldhistorPeter J. Kuznick’s research translates well to this Oliver Stone directed series of hour-long documentaries. I found myself admiring the post-structuralism historical mode as well as the well constructed mix of photographs, film footage and news reels.

film recommendation: world’s greatest dad

WorldsgreatestdadThis film is from 2009 and from director Bobcat Goldthwait. I missed it because of a limited release. I most admired Robin Williams playing a frustrated writer and teacher in this dark comedy. Love the scenes in poetry class.

“I used to think the worst thing in life was ending up alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel alone.”

documentary recommendation: shepard and dark

untitledFascinating documentary about Sam Shepard’s forty year letter writing correspondence with friend Johnny Dark. Shepard stands as one my favorite authors and I enjoyed the inside look into how Shepard works and operates as a playwright–travelling around with his dog and his typewriter.

film recommendation: under the skin

11178828_800Based on the surrealist novel by Michel Faber, the film adaptation was much different than the book. I admired director Jonathon Glazer’s experimental style and how images drove the story instead of plot or dialogue.

film recommendation: enemy

Enemy-dvd-release-dateThe film Enemy based on Jose Saramago’s novel The Double was a nicely surreal and non-linear film I admired quite a bit. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film with sex and political power themes that stayed with me far past the viewing. The ending here is nicely cryptic and creepy.

writerly gear: hybrid mechanical keyboard

7bf2a57baa94686ddfd3aac9e7920a34_largeI have had so many conversations with students about how great old school mechanical typewriters are for the feel and cadence in the act of writing. Yet we love the ease of the word processor. In fact once I had a dream I plugged an old typewriter into my MacBook Pro.

I rarely post writerly gear on this blog but when I saw the Qwerkywriter prototype on Kickstarter I couldn’t resist.

Via Gear Hungry :