Pick your movie of the week: De Niro / Scorcese (Jan 5-11/20)

This year the release of The Irishmen marked the 8th movie directed by Martin Scorcese that stars Robert De Niro. I love this combo, so here are three great movies from that list for you to choose from to be our movie of the week:

Taxi Driver (1976)

Raging Bull (1980)

Goodfellas (1990)

2019: My Year in Review

My Top 20 Favourite Movies of 2019:

  1. ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke
  2. Hello Privilege, it’s me, Chelsea
  3. Toy Story 4
  4. Alita: Battle Angel
  5. Always Be My Maybe
  6. Marriage Story
  7. Jumanji: The Next Level
  8. Earthquake Bird
  9. Long Shot
  10. Avengers: Endgame
  11. The Great Hack
  12. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  13. The Peanut Butter Falcon
  14. A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
  15. The Irishman
  16. Judy
  17. Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker
  18. Rocketman
  19. Joker
  20. Yesterday

Bottom 5 of 2019 (descending order, #1=worst):

  1. Dumbo
  2. Noelle
  3. Fighting With My Family
  4. Lady and the Tramp
  5. Velvet Buzzsaw

Favourite Performances of 2019 (descending order, #1=worst):

  1. Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  2. Zack Gottsagen as Zak in Peanut Butter Falcon
  3. Adam Driver as Charlie Barber in Marriage Story
  4. Alicia Vikander as Lucy Fly in Earthquake Bird
  5. Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
  6. Teron Edgerton as Elton John in Rocketman
  7. Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino in The Irishman
  8. Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  9. Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland in Judy
  10. Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck (Joker) in Joker

Congratulations Yesterday. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland in Judy. 

Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck (Joker) in Joker. 

Best Quote:I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it’s a comedy.” — Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Joker.

 

2019 movies I’m looking forward to seeing…

  1. Atlantics
  2. Bombshell
  3. Us
  4. 1917
  5. Knives Out
  6. Honey Boy
  7. The Two Popes
  8. Dolemite Is My Name
  9. The Report
  10. Jo Jo Rabbit

Honourable Mentions: Little Women, Harriet, Ford vs Ferrari, Richard Jewell, Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Booksmart

Katherine’s Christmas Contribution

You may not know Katherine, but she’s definitely made an impression on you in one way or another. She was an American teacher at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, though she was originally from Missouri. It was easy career path choice for her for two reasons. First, she loved writing music and playing piano. She wrote her first musical composition at the age of 15, “Shadow March.” Second, she was super good at it! Originally a student at Wellesley, upon graduation Katherine Kennicott Davis was immediately hired by the school  as an assistant in their music department. In no time she was a full-time teacher who continued writing, playing, and climbing up the ladder of influence in the world of academic music, receiving an honourary doctorate from Stetson College in Florida.

In 1980 she died at the age of 87, having written approximately 600 compositions. She left all the proceeds and royalties from all of her music to the music department of Wellesley College.

Perhaps her most important song was the one that you and I have memorized. She called it “The Carol of the Drums,” though it would later be changed to “The Little Drummer Boy.”

This is a song my sister and I have talked to each other about for years as one of our top favourite Christmas songs. The idea of a poor boy who has nothing to give a king and decides to play his very best for the newborn on his drum is nothing short of inspiring.

Something about the song I didn’t know until this year is that it was first recorded by the Trapp Family Singers! Since then it’s been covered by Johnny Cash, The Supremes, Anne Murray, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, New Kids on the Block, Whiteheart (my sister’s and my favourite), Alicia Keys, Charlotte Church, Earth Wind and Fire, Bing Crosby, Bing Crosby with David Bowie, and even The Brady Bunch. It was also sung by the Vienna Boys Choir who recorded the song for the TV special it inspired of the same name. A special I grew up with and loved.

I once heard Michael W. Smith say that a music artist’s dream is that their music outlives them. This is certainly the case with “The Little Drummer Boy,” but this year we will remember the author of the masterpiece. Thank you for your song Katherine. I doubt it will ever be forgotten. 

Congratulations The Polar Express. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Robin Wright as Belle in Disney’s A Christmas Carol.

Best Actor: Though both Jim Carrey and Tom Hanks played multiple roles in their respective movies, I think the winner this week should be Hugh Laurie as Steve in Arthur Christmas. I’m not sure I’ve watched this movie all the way through, but I love Laurie’s voice. And since all of the actors this week are voice actors, Dr. House wins.

Best Quote: The thing about trains… it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.” — Tom Hanks as the Conductor in The Polar Express. 

Merry Christmas everyone!

O Little Town of Sussex

O little town of Sussex now
How still you are after five
Above thy deep man-oo-er heaps
Thy smells make angels cry

Yet in thy houses therein
Such pleasant people dwell
You make Saint John look oh so wrong
And Moncton look like hell

O little town of Sussex now
Your stoplights are so few
We smoke our slims and meet at Tim’s
For what else can we do?

Your tractors out on Main Street
As well as in parades
And by the moon hot air balloons
O memories they have made

The gateway to the Fundy trails
With graceful countryside
And murals here bring beauty near
We hear the train go by

O Freddy wishes they had
The great flea market thing
Oh come see us, and ski with us
Then Sully’s in the spring

Congratulations Elf. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Catherine O’Hara as Kate McCallister in Home Alone.

Best Actor: Steve Whitmire as Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit in The Muppet Christmas Carol (As well as many other voices).

Best Quote: “I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.” — Will Ferrell as Buddy in Elf.

My favourite Christmas movie characters of all time:

  1. James Stewart as George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  2. Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988)
  3. Kurt Russell as Santa Claus in The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
  4. Peter Billingsley as Ralphie in A Christmas Story (1983)
  5. Bill Nighy as Billy Mack in Love Actually (2003)
  6. Gonzo the Great as Charles Dickens in The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
  7. Joe Pesci as Harry Lime in Home Alone (1990)
  8. Jim Carrey as the Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  9. Will Ferrell as Buddy in Elf (2003)
  10. Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddy in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

 

Pick your movie of the week: Beloved Christmas (Dec 15-21/19)

Many Christmas (and Christmasy) movies are divisive. Some love 1951’s A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim, others find it creepy. Some find A Christmas Story hilarious, others don’t see the big deal. Even It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation have their critics. The reason for the name of this category is that these are three Christmas movies that nearly everyone seems to like to one extent or another. I never hear any arguments over any of these, and it seems most are happy with them, but which one would you choose to watch over the holidays?

Home Alone (1990)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Elf (2003)