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Christmas movies to sleigh you – Update

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, we are feeding our Christmas spirit with Christmas movies…


In the first Lockdown, we watched through all the Marvel MCU movies in order (we weren’t nerdy enough to slot the TV episodes in order too). For the festive season, we have decided to work through a – fairly random – pile of Christmas films, and I thought I’d take you with me on that sleigh ride.

So far, and ranked in order (upwards) – I will update as we go along – latest updates in bold below:

#9 – The Christmas Chronicles

A jolly tale with Kurt Russell. Bad but jolly. Having seen the trailer for Christmas Chronicles 2 it could have been worse, we might have seen that. To be fair, there are some excellent moments, including Santa Kurt banged up in a jail cell with musical prisoners and a cool sax. May just edge into the watchable with that…

Better movies to come, methinks…

#8 – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

A product of its time – Chevy Chase is a combination of winning and really annoying. It’s the first time that I have seen the movie the whole way through, I’ve tried three or four times before and not made it past 22 minutes. Not hilarious, but a few genuinely funny scenes, and the nagging question as to why everything’s alright for Christmas once the compensation arrangements have been finalised…

A child of its time.

#7 – Gremlins

A very Mogwai Christmas to you!

Accompanied by hot dogs, nothing made in a blender with all due respect to one of the Bad Gremlins. A sharp, nasty and cute Spielberg presentation masterpiece with annoyingly catchy music and a brilliant view of how much fun Snow White can be. Some nice digs at consumerist Christmas, and Gizmo is so much cuter than Baby Yoda. Fab!

It reminded me of a couple of things: craving food after Midnight, shunning water, avoiding the light. Turning into Sources of Evil. But I wrote in my previous post about the kids coming home for the holidays, so no need to repeat myself.

#6 – Die Hard 2: Die Harder

Let it snow on the soundtrack, lots of snow and heavily armed terrorists – a sure-fire Christmas hit. Notwithstanding those credentials, it still feels it has sneaked onto this list, much more of a Summer popcorn-busting movie. A sneaky twist that’s not that surprising and a lot of very well choreographed action scenes. The Family scoffs at anything beyond the original, but there is fun to be had here and hasn’t aged too badly

Yippee-ki-yay…!

#5 – Nativity!

Shameless manipulation and Martin Freeman doing his Everyman schtick. Love it! Had the Offspring cringing nicely, and we knew we’d struck gold when one demanded never to have that sort of movie inflicted on him ever gain. Yesssssssss! Hollywood is shown to have a golden heart, so this movie needs to be put at the far, far away fantasy end of the spectrum…

#4 – Frozen

A true classic. Not totally Christmas-themed, but enough snow and reindeer action to squeeze in. Beautiful animation, a kick-ass soundtrack, including That Song, what more can you ask for in a holiday film. A neat subversion of the usual fairy tale tropes to boot. Not too much saccharine, and any that sets off a Mush Alert, just Let It Go…

#3 – Arthur Christmas

Saw this last night eating hot dogs on hot dog platters, and some ace Christmas bark (melted and re-formed white and milk chocolate with random stuff stuck in it).

Christmas bark, anyone?

First time I’ve seen it and it’s a hoot. Stellar cast, great animation – Aardman, without a naughty penguin or cheese in sight. A cartoon with a warm mix of Mission: Impossible and Santa Claus: the Movie.

#2 – Love Actually

Perfect casting, sharp writing, believable characters. Class act.

#1 – Elf

In my top three fave Christmas movies – along with Die Hard and White Christmas. Buddy Elf is the role that Will Ferrell was born to play. Very funny, not sickly but perfectly judged, and James Caan and Mary Steenburgen add extra class to the proceedings. Well, class.

Gets me every time, as my gleeful Offspring pointed out to me at the end…Big Softies of the World unite.

Take Elf for a spin…

Make sure you don’t sit on a Throne of Lies this Christmas!

Have as happy a festive season as possible…

Cheers,

Alan

Alan Camrose

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Driving home for Christmas (from uni)

In a year where Dancer and Prancer have been temporarily subbed by Tracker and Tracer, it has been good to welcome home the Offspring back from their unis in time for Christmas.

Offspring 2 made her way back in the Mini in a flurry of tyre pressure and dead battery warnings to make the journey just that little bit more exciting. Followed by me driving back a shortish distance round the M25 with her to her digs to pick up the stuff that she’d:

  • forgotten
  • changed her mind about its usefulness until next year
  • changed her mind about how cute it would be to have it at home base
  • decided to torment me about trying to fit in the car (making me pleased she doesn’t ski)
  • all of the above

Less Driving Home for Christmas, more 2000 Miles.

Offspring 1, based in the Midlands, was given one shot: popping back to his uni for spare earphones is not going to happen…

His pad was like the door in the Advent Calendar that it’s best to leave closed. My reflexes as Bin Czar (see previous) allowed me to dodge the fifteen sacks of rubbish that the four guys had managed to skillfully accumulate over the weeks, transforming from trash into art.

Student kitchen

More rank than a military parade. The bin men have sensibly disguised themselves as posties on bin days.

Offspring 2, not to be outdone on extremes, regaled us with the resurrected chicken, the one that had been left for weeks in the fridge by one of them at their lair. Offspring 2 claimed innocence, so she can be let off this time, including from the rampage of the revenant. The same fate will not befall the Christmas lunch turkey. That was an unexpected blip in the fascist stormtrooper work details set down by the housemates aiming for the tidiest and most wholesome student digs in history.

Very low bar, and I remember limbo dancing under that standard when I was at uni.

Age provides perspective and in my case self-knowledge.

The great thing about university accommodation is that the door can be shut on it from a parent’s point of view with a flick of the rose-tinted spectacles- a point of view eagerly adopted…Now it’s the why are there six open tubs of butter in the fridge conversation and that the smoked salmon has been taken out to make room for the cider. The bonus Santa sacks of washing lovingly saved up to be brought home at the end of term brought a tear to the eye.

Christmas will iron out all of those things out and create a smooth and seamless festive period, as seamless as those bags of rubbish. Great to have them home.

Cheers,

Alan

Alan Camrose

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The Game’s Afoot, Santa…

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix. You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, we are trying to find a game to play for one to three households…


This is a more or less COVID-free blogpost in the hope that we will have a predominantly COVID-free 2021. My thoughts are with anyone affected and thanks to all key workers of all types.

Christmas is nearly here, the stupid jumpers, the funny (in your dreams) hats, all that stuff. And the games.

One of the great pleasures is sitting around a table, on the floor, wherever, and breaking out a game for all the family. Assuming of course that agreement can be reached as to what to play. Winner chooses. Of what?

The Household, brimming with Christmas spirit, has a number to choose from, they appear to multiply in the cupboard. What sort will hit the spot, preferably none with a running total to avoid anyone asking for a recount, that never seems to work so well.

Highly cerebral and scary – Funny Bunny – pic below – invented by those twisted fiends at Ravensburger who are probably poachers with fluffy red-brown tails. It involves a tense and lethal journey around a treacherous meadow. A meadow that eats bunnies. It culminates in a break-neck lollop to the top of the hill to crown King Thumper. Not for the faint-hearted. Mind you, it pairs well with strong alcoholic drinks.

Unleash your inner evil rabbit

Cerebral – Scrabble. This is the variant requiring a minimum of six-letter words to be put down, no swapping, and absolutely nothing in Swahili or Klingon.

Sheer luck – Anyone for Chess? That does look fun based on our Queen’s Gambit experience where it appears to be a drinking game. We have never got on with the four player version with the extra colours, or is that Ludo?

Queen takes paw

Villain bent on world domination – One of those hidden traitor games where someone – assuming they can keep their cheating, lying face straight. Often that baby-faced Grandmama lurking in the corner like a viper…No offence…

Monopoly – In a class of its own for internecine skulduggery (see Scrabble – above). My mother-in-law used to demand all of the pink ones before the game started as a pre-conditon for playing. A bit like a Wonka Golden Ticket. Brutal. Suffice to say we never everplay this game with Offspring Number One, he has inherited her ways of evil that overwhelm our feeble resistance.

Other family games – Mother’s general aversion to games apart from Funny Bunny limits the debate somewhat. We shall work on her this Christmas, she will crack and victory shall be ours, MWAHAHAHAHAHA. That is, opening the box.

Reducing the world to a coloured game board where the rules are clear and outcomes – within bounds – predictable sounds like the best game in town this Festive Season…

Cheers!

And a Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Alan

Alan Camrose

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