Now, For Those OTHER Christmas Movies . . .

I love Christmas, always have, but we didn’t really do traditional X-mas films when I was growing up. We watched, well, alternative choices.

A few of these films could arguably have been placed on last week’s poll as well, but I was searching for a certain balance in both numbers and tone. And then, there’s the problem with traditions, Christmas or otherwise—what is sacred to you is stupid to someone else, and what you do or sing or watch every year might be dismissed by others as being silly or unimportant. You ridicule my L-E-O-N candle holders (as opposed to N-O-E-L)? Well, I ridicule your egg nog. Seriously, I don’t even get egg nog. That shit’s nasty.

As always, voting lasts one week. Results will be posted on 12/19.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year . . . After Halloween, Of Course.

Well, this one was close. Your favorite traditional Christmas movie is . . .

In a surprise comeback, the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim narrowly wins with a total of five votes. Honestly, I’ve never even seen this particular version—I’m far more familiar with the one starring George C. Scott and, more importantly, Roger Rees. But that’s not so surprising; I haven’t seen almost half the films on this list, and some of the ones I have seen, well, I watched them so many years ago that I barely remember them at all.

Tying for second place is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Scrooged (the more comedic version of the Dickens’ classic). Third place is also a tie between A Christmas Story, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and the animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Each nominee scored at least a little love, though, except for the poor black and white version of Miracle on 34th Street with Maureen O’Hara and little Natalie Wood. Admittedly, I wouldn’t have voted for it, either—if pressed, I probably would have chosen How The Grinch Stole Christmas—but I actually like this movie. I thought it was sort of oddly endearing . . . and so much better than the 1994 remake with Mara Wilson and Richard Attenborough.

But the best Christmas movies—my Christmas movies—are yet to come.

Ho Ho Ho . . .

It’s December now, so I think we all know what we’re legally required to talk about: Christmas movies.

Santa is watching you . . .

The original plan was to make up a poll about favorite Christmas movies. Then I googled “favorite Christmas movies” and ended up with about 25 different nominees.

I decided I had to rethink this a bit.

If you don’t see your favorite Christmas movie on this poll, it is because of one of three reasons:

1. It will show up in next week’s poll about favorite non-traditional Christmas movies.

2. I selected an alternate version of the same story. (For example, even though I have three different versions of A Christmas Carol on this list, there are still about, oh, 87 other ones to choose from.)

3. I don’t like you. And neither does your momma.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

The Masterwork of the Master of Suspense?

Well, this is a first. We have a three-way tie for your favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie. But you all know how I feel about first place ties, so your winner is . . .

Rear Window!

Rear Window is my personal favorite Hitchcock film, so I was happy to see that it made a surprising comeback at the last minute. I think I first saw it in one of my film history classes and fell in love with it immediately . . . despite Jimmy Stewart’s somewhat aggravating voice. I don’t know, there’s just something irritating about it. James Roday does a hilarious two-second impersonation of it, though, in an episode of Psych.

Second place goes to Vertigo and Psycho, which both scored six votes each. If Rear Window hadn’t made a last minute comeback, I’d have had to vote for Psycho simply by default. I haven’t seen Vertigo, or at least, I haven’t seen 98% of Vertigo. One of my English teachers in high school wanted to demonstrate a principle of something or other and had us watch the last five minutes of the movie. The last five minutes. You don’t watch the last five minutes of a mystery! That’s horrible! I was so pissed. He also forced us to read someone’s introduction for The Great Gatsby before we read the book, and it told you what happened at the end. Mr. Schaut, I’m here to tell you: you’re a good teacher and beloved by many students for your zany enthusiasm for what you teach, but you have absolutely NO respect for spoilers, none at all.

I do like Psycho quite a bit, though. It’s been years since I’ve seen it all the way through, but I love Anthony Perkins in it. He does creepy oh so well.

"A boy's best friend is his mother."

Third place goes to The Birds, which managed to score three votes. North by Northwest picked up a couple as well, and Dial M for Murder and The 31 Steps each got a single vote. Very last place is awarded to Strangers on a Train, Rope, Rebecca, Shadow of a Doubt, and Notorious. None of them were loved at all. Or at least voted on—I actually enjoy Rope a lot, despite (once again) Jimmy Stewart’s somewhat aggravating voice. It’s sort of an odd movie because it’s very much shot like a staged play, but it’s really interesting nonetheless. I hate to say it, but I’d actually be curious to see what a remake looked like.

In other news, it’s my birthday today, which means two things: one, chocolate cake for breakfast, and two, I don’t have a new poll for you today. I forgot to come up with one over the weekend, and I don’t feel like trying to hastily put one together now. So we’re having a one-week poll hiatus. I will, however, try to get out my ridiculously overdue review of Immortals out in the next couple of days. I know you’re all dying, just dying, to read it.

Feel to free to find some chocolate cake while you wait.

Because This Guy Managed to Make Birds Scary . . .

For this week’s poll, I did consider going holiday themed . . . but ultimately decided against it. I really haven’t seen that many Thanksgiving movies. I haven’t even seen ThanksKilling yet. And yes, that’s totally a thing. I’m not making it up. It’s a movie about a homicidal turkey that kills college kids. Isn’t that just the best thing you ever heard?

Anyway. Today’s poll won’t have anything to do with turkey or mashed potatoes or genocide. Rather, we’re going to focus on one of the most well-known directors in film history: Alfred Hitchcock.

As always, please keep in mind that Hitchcock was fairly prolific, and your favorite movie may not have made the list. I’m genuinely interested in any underappreciated films you think deserve more attention—I can add them to my ever-growing Netflix queue—but if you’re just going to throw a temper tantrum about how nobody understands true genius anymore or something in that vein . . . well, that’s your prerogative, of course, but just know that I’m not going to take you very seriously.

This poll will be up one week. Results will be posted (probably) on November 28th.

Engage!

The Trekkies were hardly united on this one. I must actually fulfill my duty as tiebreaker this week. Therefore, your least favorite Trek character is . . .

Chakotay from Star Trek: Voyager!

The tie was between Chakotay and Ezri Dax. I’m not nearly as familiar with DS9 as I am with Voyager, but I always got the impression that Ezri got a worse rap than she deserved. I didn’t like her when I was a kid, but that’s probably because I was pissed off that Jadzia left. Anyway, I simply couldn’t pick anyone other than Chakotay, no matter who he tied with, because the first officer is definitely my least favorite character in the Trek universe.

Why? Well, for pretty much the reasons that Pat and Kate already mentioned in the comments section of the poll: Chakotay is not only a stereotype but an exceptionally bland stereotype at that. I don’t really know what he’s there for except to say vaguely spiritual things to Janeway and, occasionally, B’Elanna. Culture in Trek is sort of tricky by the very nature of the universe, but a Native American character could have actually been interesting. At the very least, he could have had a damn personality. Chakotay was a captain in the Maquis, for Godssake. Isn’t a personality, like, a prerequisite for rebellion leadership positions?

With Ezri Dax automatically getting bumped to second place, third place is awarded to a three-way tie between Neelix, Dr. Pulaski, and Harry Kim. Oh, poor Harry Kim. Can you believe he never got promoted, not once, not in seven seasons? Tom Paris got reinstated, demoted, and promoted again in the same span of time. Kim is unloved, I tell you. Course, he doesn’t have much in the way of personality, either.

Lwaxana Troi, Deanna Troi, Travis Mayweather, Wesley Crusher, and Kes all managed to pick up a vote. I have never understood people’s hatred for Lwaxana Troi. I mean, I get Deanna, despite the fact that I like Deanna—she’s got some of the worst dialogue in all of Trek—but what isn’t to like about Lwaxana? Humor? Mud baths? Naked weddings? I’m beginning to wonder if there are some Trekkies out there who simply can’t stand Majel Barrett. Again, TOS is not at all my expertise at all, but . . . is there really anything that terrible about Nurse Chapel? Nobody voted for her in this poll, but the rants I found about her in various forums were stunning. I mean, did she even do anything?

I will leave you with one of my favorite, unintentionally hilarious quotes of all time.

"I'm with Starfleet. We don't lie!"

Oh Wesley. You poor, sad, little guppy, you.

. . . To Boldly Rant Where Many Have Ranted Before . . .

Today’s question is for you fellow Trekkies.

As a geek, I can proudly say that one of our best qualities is our passion on any given subject. We are a passionate people, the geeks. When we love something, we love it deeply.

Of course, the same principle applies to the things we hate.

To make this list, I mostly just looked at several forums and saw which characters got bitched about the most. I tried to stick to main cast members for the most part, but a few guest stars seemed so wildly disliked that I felt compelled to include them as well. If your least favorite Trek character is not on this list, feel free to rant about them in the comments section. If your favorite character is on this list . . . sorry, buddy. There are some people I like here, too.

Voting is open one week. Results will be announced 11/21.

Question: In A Norse Mythology Movie, Would Brad Pitt Be Cast As Balder or Thor?

Brad Pitt’s been in a lot of movies, but his very best role?

Sometimes, I’m surprised by what these polls reveal, but not this time. If Tyler Durden hadn’t won, I’d honestly have been shocked.

But win, he did, and with a fairly decent margin, too. Second place goes to the Oscar nominated role Benjamin Button . . . and that’s a movie I’ll have to watch someday, just to make up my own mind about it. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard quite so many conflicting opinions on a mainstream film. My interest isn’t exactly high, though, so I can’t imagine it will happen anytime soon.

Third place is a tie between Mickey from Snatch and Jeffrey Goines from 12 Monkeys. Most of the films managed to snag at least one vote, all except A River Runs Through It and The Tree of Life. I don’t even know what The Tree of Life is about, to be honest. Presumably, somewhere, there’s a tree? Hell, there probably isn’t a tree. It’s just a giant silly metaphor, isn’t it? I think I’d rather see a movie that’s literally centered around Yggdrasil.

At least Ragnarok, for God’s sake. Norse mythology is so neglected.

Sorry, Achilles Is Not An Option . . .

Every actor is going to have some failed projects under his belt. Even actors that you adore will make a few missteps here or there.

Morgan Freeman's eyebrows: the most impressive thing about Dreamcatcher.

People make mistakes. These things happen.

But some actors seem to be a little more “hit or miss” than others, and Brad Pitt, in my opinion, is one of these actors. Some people will undoubtedly argue that he has absolutely no talent at all, but I honestly like a lot of Pitt’s movies, and I think he does a good job with several of his roles.

And then you see things like Troy.

And you shudder in abject horror.

So, here’s the poll for you today:

As always, the poll will be up for one week. I’ll post the results November 14th.

The Funniest Undead Brain Muncher Movie . . .

Well, this one was no contest. Your very favorite zombie comedy of all time is . . .

Shaun of the Dead won with nearly 50% of the vote, impressive considering how many nominees were on the ballot. A very distant second place goes to Zombieland, which sadly only managed to score a total of three votes. Third place is a tie between Army of Darkness and Re-Animator, while Very Last Place goes to several films: Bio-Zombie, Dance of the Dead, Black Sheep, Fido, Dead and Breakfast, Dead Snow, and Evil Dead. These films received no votes at all, which isn’t so surprising, really: most of them are not as well known, and anyway, it’s hard to compete with the awesome juggernaut that is Shaun of the Dead.

I’m honestly not sure what I would have picked, if I’d had been forced to choose, so maybe lucky for me that I didn’t. There are just too many funny movies about undead brain munchers.

I wonder if that says something about our culture? Eh. Too lazy to come up with a proper thesis.