The Top 10 Christmas Movies

gremlinsBy: Billy BeerSlugger

The essential list of Christmas/Holiday movies for your holiday season per myself. I left off animated features so don’t be mad that Polar Express or Charlie Brown’s Christmas Special isn’t on here.

10) Gremlins: A black comedy based at Christmas time, it features a a cute as can be Mogwai named Gizmo that  spawns mutated versions of itself when it comes in contact with water and they wreak havoc on a small town during the holiday. Director Joe Dante also directed Innerspace and The Burbs. Little known fact is that Howie Mandel did the voice of Gizmo.

9) Elf: I’m not particularly a big fan of this movie but it does have it’s funny moments and one liners.  I guess I hoped it was a little more dark or had some more adult humor in it being that it was Will Ferrel’s next movie after Old Shool. Mary Steenburgen has been the mom in every movie since Clifford.

8 ) Trading Places: This movie you may not really think of as a Christmas Movie per se but it was shot pretty much entirely in Philadelphia which basically put it over the edge for me. Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd change work and socioeconomic backgrounds on a bet from their bosses. Murray and Ackroyd get even in the end but not without a bunch of humorous scenes, a view of early 1980’s Philadelphia and a completely gratuitous and non-essential shot of Jamie Lee Curtis’ breasts.

7) Bad Santa: Billy Bob Thorton is a safe cracker and his dwarf partner Marcus are mall thief’s extraordinaire.  They use Billy Bob as a alcoholic Santa and his Marcus as an elf for cover. Billy Bob drinks, womanizes and commandeers husky Thurman Murmon’s house. There are too many one-liners in this movie to leave it off the list.

6) Home Alone: I remember having to get this movie the day it came out it was that big of a deal when I was a kid.  The plot revolves around Macaulay Culkin being left at home during a family trip and dealing with “Wet Bandits” Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci.  Lot of physical humor in this as you know and nothing gets kids laughing like people getting kicked in the nuts or falling down.It’s what has kept America’s Funniest Home Video’s in business for 20 years now.

5) A Christmas Story: many will argue that this should be higher on the list but a couple years ago TNT or TBS ran it on repeat for 24 hours which I subsequently watched the movie twice during the day, when I went to bed and when I woke up the next day and now want to never see the movie again. The Trailer Here!

4) Scrooged: An updated, comedic Scrooge yarn with Bill Murray in one of his best roles as an asshole TV Executive who is visited by three ghosts and eventually sees the error of his ways.

3) Die Hard: Bruce Willis starts the franchise off with a bang in this 1988 blockbuster which redefined action movies. Set on Christmas Eve, John McClain must save his wife and coworkers from terrorists who hold them hostage at a company Holiday party in a Los Angeles skyscraper. Check out the condense version here!

2) National Lampoons Christmas Vacation: “Shitters’ full!”. One of the classic Christmas Movies from the late 80’s which has Chevy Chase reprising his role as Clack W. Griswold this time seeking to have his extended family over for the perfect Christmas turns into anything but. This is one of the few movies I can watch over and over. SQUIRRELLL!!!!!!!!!! Check out the trailer HERE!

1) It’s a Wonderful Life: I can’t go through the Holiday’s without watching this movie.  Released in 1946, Frank Capra’s drama staring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed speaks to the human spirit, hope and the power of family/friends.  It brings us back to a simpler time in America and the protagonist learns all is not lost when even when it seems. If you’re looking for a feel good, uplifting Christmas movie this is it even if it’s a tad too long.

Others receiving consideration: The Ref, Miracle on 34th St., The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Digital 3D: Lousy name, Great experience

christmascarolposter-790607By: Sean Millski

I went into my first new 3D movie, The so-called Digital 3D, thinking it was going to be like the 3D movies of old, the ones I grew up with…Blurry, oddly colored images briefly darting off the screen, flying over the audience and into your face…. but I was way off, it wasn’t like that at all. It was much, much better.

As a movie buff, I would’ve ran to the theater to see this new technology if someone had come up with some cool, kick-ass new name meant to distance themselves from the old 3D format or to take a second and say “Hey man, This is something different” but they didn’t. They just added the word digital and I guess hoped that would do it. That monumental marketing failure has left me, and the rest of the movie-going public, slow to catch on to the new way to watch movies. It‘s no longer a momentary parlor trick that happens a few times during a hazy green and red colored flick. The new and vastly improved effect is an amazingly realistic depth with an even more amazing image clarity! I came away thinking “That was F’ing awesome!”. The digital technology offers a new viewpoint for the movie goer, a new perspective. It’s almost as if you’re in the movie! I don’t know how it all works, something about 48 frames per second and polarized ocular distance, but I know I like it!

The most noticeable and impressive change is the depth. you see things clearly that are in the foreground and in the background and as if they are, in fact, in front or behind each other. The characters have a realistic roundness to them. I can’t explain it, you have to see and judge it for yourself. The preview for the upcoming December release of Avatar, a combo Live-action and CGI animated film looked even more impressive! The effect on the Live action actors was flat out amazing! I think I will buy a ticket in advance for the first time ever.

So what did I go see? I went to a Loewes/AMC theater to see the IMAX presentation of Disney’s A Christmas Carol shown in Disney’s own Digital 3D format. I was Psyched but was disappointed to find that AMC’s IMAX screen isn’t the huge, 7 story wrap around I thought it would be. Instead it’s a flat, traditional screen that’s maybe a little bigger than normal. You also still need to wear 3D glasses. The new glasses aren’t green and red anymore, they’re both tinted black in a plastic, one-size-fits-all frame that you drop into a collection bin on your way out of the theater. They need to work on that end of things.

As far as A Christmas Carol was concerned ,I’ll give it a B-. It was good but we all know the story so no surprises there. Jim Carey’s face is flawlessly reproduced as a withered, bitter Ebenezer Scrooge. Gary Oldman, Cary Elwes and a few other actors are also easily recognizable. The facial details of some of the minor characters could use some work though. Also impressive is Jim Carey’s voice performances of Ebenezer and all three spirits. Gary Oldman also put in a great voice performance as Jacob Marley , Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.

Over all, I think I expected more imaginative storytelling from Disney but the IMAX Digital 3D, albeit horribly named, made it all worth while.

The Hurt Locker

HLposterUSA2By: Billy BeerSlugger

The Hurt Locker is a movie that follows an elite group U.S army unit in the Iraq war in 2004. It is without a doubt one of the most kick ass movies I have seen this year. The premise of the movie is this; the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit disarms bombs. However, this isn’t American soil and this task is made harder by the threat of insurgent snipers and remote detonation.

Jeremy Renner plays the lead and does a superb job pulling off the alpha male, adrenaline junkie leader of the unit, wearing a protective suit (and sometimes not) to diffuse bombs and IED’s.  Renner shares a kind of Lethal Weapon/buddy aspect to the movie with costar Anthony Mackie.

What is great about the movie is how believable it is.  That’s always the sign of a great movie, how you can kind of lose yourself in the characters and story.  The kind of story you rarely find in Hollywood these days and it’s not hard to see why it was an independent film. During it’s limited release the movie went on to the garner critical acclaim and several independent film awards including best picture, best actor, breakthrough actor, cinematography, screenplay and director.

Director Kathryn Bigelow also directed one of my favorite movies of the 1990’s, Point Break.  Barry Ackroyd (veteran of United 93) should be commended on shooting the movie in a very natural and raw way.  Word is that writer Mark Boal stayed with and went out on routine daily activities with a bomb squad in Iraq. Jeremy Renner trained with real EOD teams prior to shooting and the film was made in Jordan, mostly about 3 miles away from the Iraq border. It brings an authenticity not seen in other Iraq War movies.

Overall, this is just a really good movie.  We’re not really big on endorsing movies here on but this anti-hollywood movie with no headline name and just flat out great acting, story, action and cinematography really blows our skirt up.

I doesn’t hurt that there’s really no women in the movie.  Women, while I support serving their country in most capacities, are not meant to die on the front lines of battle which is why you won’t see one until Lost’s Evangeline Lilly shows up as the main characters wife. Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential) also make cameos.

When it comes out on Netflix or whatever, take the 2 hours to watch this thrill ride.  Like my indie pick last year, The Wrestler, this movie could make waves come Oscar season.

60 Minutes of Unchecked Facts

It's more like 42 minutes and 18 minutes of commercials.

By: Billy BeerSlugger

I didn’t actually see this episode of the investigative news/magazine 60 Minutes since the Phillies were on but from what I and other people on the internet can tell you, their editor needs to do a little better in the fact checking department.

Their segment was on how illegal downloading was costing Hollywood 6 billion a year, which may or may not be that far off, however, the reasoning they give to support this claim is pretty much fabrication or conjecture which ever way you want to look at it.

First there is the claim that Organized Crime (the Mafia?) is making most of it’s money off of counterfeit movies.  Now I’m not going to dispute the fact that there are bootlegged movies out there but 60 Minutes is having me believe that Tony Soprano is behind all of this and not some dude with a DVD burner in his basement looking for some extra cash. I mean I could at least warm up to the idea if 60 Minutes gave me any proof. There was some talk about gangs of pirates using mafia style pickups but the focus quickly turned to illegal downloading.

Second, there is the segments claims by director Steven Soderbergh that piracy is costing the movie industry 6 billion a year.  Neglected is the fact that Hollywood continues to make more and more money each year. Another Soderbergh assertion is that fewer movies are being made and will continue to be made because of piracy.  Another assertion debunked given the statistics on movies 567 movies made in 2004 and 1038 in 2008, almost doubling inside of 4 years and still increasing.

I’ll give you that if movie tickets continue to go up every year then revenues should go up every year but you can’t really say that in this kind of economy.  Bottom line Hollywood made more money last year than the year before and the year before that.

The segment also delved into the role Bit torrent plays into illegal downloading and then cutting to a guy saying, “what we have done for 15 years is not put in any speed bumps, any technological blocks in the way of individuals so that the conclusion that the younger generation in particular draws is that if it’s so easy it cant be wrong.”

Well yes it is easy, people can choose to share anything they want on Bit torrent and if they choose to share or download things illegally it is on the government and the copyright holders to find a solution that does not intrude on the openness of the internet. The blocks and speed bumps the guy interviewed in 60 minutes is advocating sound a lot like bandwidth throttling and packet sniffing, things which go against the principles of net neutrality.

While there are millions of Bittorrent users out there, I only know about 3 people who could use Bittorrent effectively enough to download music, movies and the like. So if it’s so easy and so popular, why don’t I know more people that do it? Why can they use iPhones and computers but have no idea how to use Bittorrent even after I wrote an article on it?

I digress, the real focus here is on 60 Minutes and it’s one sided affair with File Sharing and the Motion Picture Industry.  There were a few facts thrown in about how the movie Wolverine was leaked and still did extremely well at the box office but overall there was not a peep from anyone on the opposing side of issue of illegal downloading.  Further, the “so called facts” that they gave didn’t coincide with any of the generally accepted statistics reported all over the internet.

I wonder how much money CBS makes off of Movie Advertisements a year?  Could this be yet another sacrifice of journalism for advertising dollars?  The whole thing to me seemed like a propaganda piece for the MPAA, chock full of bogus facts and subjective estimations.

Maybe more people would go to see movies if 90% of them were not lacking in substance, didn’t recycle old stories, didn’t remake old movies or have plots which are so horribly obvious as to the outcome that all you really needed to see was the previews.

What about the film-makers who are using file sharing technology to get their movies seen by the masses or the ones exploring new business models like some in the music business are. Let’s not talk to the copyright professionals or consumer advocates who render baseless most of the MPAA’s claims 60 Minutes. That wouldn’t be a balanced approach to the issue, would it?

P.S: Maybe if Steven Soderbergh didn’t put out pieces of crap like The Girlfriend Experience people wouldn’t walk out of the movie theater requesting their money back like me.

Media Conglomerates

By: Billy BeerSlugger

I get really weary of these media conglomerates the bigger and bigger they get.

Clear Channel.

  • 900+ Radio Stations
  • Formerly owned 40+ TV stations
  • Owns numerous outdoor advertising billboards and Taxi Cab displays.

Analysis: You can’t turn a radio station dial without every other station being owned by Clear Channel.  You can’t miss billboards they own if you travel on major highways. If you live in a metropolitan area you have seen news and sports scores on top of taxi cabs.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp

  • HarperCollins book publishing
  • Elektra Records catalog
  • More than 150 Newspapers in Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, UK and Ireland and the United States.
  • Around 30 Magazines including GQ and Vouge.
  • 20th Century Fox (Film) and various other motion picture related entites
  • FOX Broadcasting Networks including FOX, Fox Business, News, Sports etc.
  • Fox International owns 120 channels around the world.
  • Social Network MySpace
  • Other online interests include (film review site),,

Analysis: Murdoch has his hands in pretty much everything. You’re not going to read an upper echelon newspaper in print or online that Murdoch doesn’t own. Many argue his Fox News network caters to a Republican agenda. It’s nice to own the biggest film rating website when your company makes movies. Rupert’s MySpace status says “Mogul”.

Walt Disney: Here’s what’s in the Mouses’ house.

  • ABC Television Network  has 226 affiliated stations reaching 99 percent of all U.S. television households.
  • ESPN and their channels.
  • Disney Channel, SOAPnet, A&E, the History Channel, the Biography Channel
  • Disney owns 277 radio stations in the United States through it’s stake in Citadel Broadcasting Corp.
  • 6 Magazines including ESPN the magazine. Marvel Comics and their catalog of charaters.
  • Hyperion Books (publishing)
  • Touchstone Pictures, Miramax Films, Pixar and a host of Buena Vista companies.
  • The Disney internet group includes,, among others.

Analysis: Mickey and ESPN are pretty big.  ABC reaches just about everyone in the U.S. They will keep making movies with moneymaker Pixar and new acquisition Marvel Comics to just about corner the Comic Superhero market. Why does Disney control and I was always a bigger fan of Donald Duck.

Viacom / CBS Corp.

  • TV Stations include: MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon,VH1, Spike TV, CMT, Comedy Central, Palladia, BET, Showtime.
  • Paramount Pictures including: Dreamworks, MTV Films, Nickelodeon Movies.
  •,,,,, (49%).
  • 140 radio stations
  • Publishing includes Kaplan, Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, The Free Press, The Touchstone, Fireside Group.
  • CBS Network consists of 29 stations. CW Network (50%).
  • Video Game Developer Harmonix of Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Analysis: I linked Viacom and CBS Corp together because even though they split up in 2005 after merging in 1999, Sumner Redstone still controls 71% of the voting stock in both companies. The influence MTV has on the youth of America turning them into mindless consumers is amazing.  Shows on MTV end now and they roll a Beatles Rock Band clip during the credits (Subliminal Commercial).  Palladia is actually pretty awesome and should be called Music Television.  I’m not sure who has more power at any given time: Sumner Redstone or Rupert Murdoch?


  • HBO, Cinemax, CNN, TBS, Warner Bros. Television Group, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies
  • Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, Castle Rock, Village Roadshow Pictures.
  • DC Comics (Batman + Superman)
  • People, Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune among a host of other magazines.
  • AOL,, AOL Instant Messenger
  • Warner Music Group – one of the big 4 labels.

Analysis: After betting the farm on AOL and it not working out they have fallen off a bit.  Time Warner posted a $16.03 billion loss for the final quarter of 2008 which may lead it to sell of portions of it’s assets.

General Electric:

  • NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Sci Fi Channel, Telemundo, USA, Oxygen
  • NBC Universal Television Distribution, Universal Media Studios
  • NBC Universal (80% ownership): Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures. Universal has production agreements with Imagine Entertainment, Jersey Films, Tribeca Films, the Kennedy/Marshall Company, Playtone Company, Strike Entertainment, Type A Films and Working Title Films among others.

Analysis: Just read that Comcast Corp could be buying the NBC/Universal entertainment division from GE. This lead me to write this article. NBC has fallen off after the loss of must see TV, NBA games and Monday Night Football. Universal does come out with a lot of movies though. Telemundo always has hot chicks on there.

Overall Analysis:

With such a small amount of companies controlling such a vast amount of media it’s a wonder everything we see, read and hear on radio, newspapers and TV is so homogeneous.  When someone like Sumner Redstone or Rupert Murdoch controls a vast empire of media, if a person, organization/corporation or member of government could persuade them to report the news a certain way or handle specific stories in a particular light or influence them whatsoever from a journalism standpoint this country is seriously fucked.  Knowledge is power and if you are controlling the knowledge or twisting the knowledge a certain way for hundreds of millions of people you can influence elections, shape public opinion and government policy. We as Americans are guaranteed free speech and press but I don’t think that’s what we’re getting from our media conglomerates.  When so much money relies on advertising these companies are effectively at the will of the advertisers and in some ways, the government which has found ways to censor news without effectively taking a newscast off the air.

Democracy is only as good as the level of credible journalism in that Democracy.  I found a worthy cause for this issue calling for more diversity in media. Find out ways you can get involved at

Look for more info on these conglomerates on

One of the best speeches on Media I’ve ever heard.

2012 – Not A Space Odyssey

By: Billy BeerSlugger

Hasn’t this movie been done a couple of times before?  Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow ring a bell to anyone? End of the world by: Aliens, Global Warming and now The Mayan Calendar?  It’s a shocker that all three of these movies were directed, written and produced by Roland Emmerich.  The man seems to have a lock on “End Of The World” scripts in Hollywood.  I’m wondering if he has a wheel that goes around like The Price is Right and whatever doomsday scenario he lands on, that’s his newest movie.

The film will probably get panned because this isn’t 1996 and blowing shit up in CGI just doesn’t have the same effect on people as it did back when Bill Clinton was banging chicks in the White House.  And Amanda Peet has bangs?  What the fuck is up with that?

Anyway, I’ll probably get roped into watching this movie at some point and I think I’ll rather enjoy watching a fake California fall into the ocean.  That’s definitely going to happen in real life at some point too only John Cusack isn’t going to be able to drive a car and fly a plane through falling buildings to get out alive.

I’d like to give you more info on the Mayan Calendar but the Phillies are about to play the Rockies and this broad already gives a synopsis on a Youtube video.  She actually won an Emmy for it which is unbelievable because I didn’t know they gave out Emmy’s to Youtube videos.   I’ve had a crush on her for a couple of months and her mammoth breasts.  She (they really because I doubt she actually writes most of the shit) actually come out with some pretty cool content from time to time as well. Kind of like only better looking and with bigger tits.

Movie Poll

threemenWhomever was responsible for teaming Steve Guttenberg, Ted Danson and Tom Selleck is obvious comedic genius.  But which movie was better? Seriously?

[poll id=”5″]

The Girlfriend Experience

By: Billy Beerslugger

Steven Soderbergh is an Academy Award Winning director of such films as Sex Lies and Videotape, Traffic, Erin Brockovich & The Oceans 11 franchise.  His latest film, The Girlfriend Experience is a film about a $2,000 an hour call who juggles a boyfriend and the demands of her profession.

The film stars Porn Actress Sasha Grey in the lead.  As far as I can tell this is the first major mainstream release of  a movie with a Porn Star as the lead, or at least a Porn Star who still works in Porn.  I don’t know if you think it’s significant but I think it definitely reflects a change in the way the mainstream now more readily accepts people in the adult industry.

While the movie does have a Porn Star as the lead it is said to have very little nudity and no sex.

In case your a porn junkie like me here’s some links to Sasha Grey’s work.

Terminator 4 – Salvation

By: Billy Beerslugger

I have been a fan of the Terminator movies since birth.  I can remember watching The Terminator and Ghostbusters over and over as a child.  The film spawned the sequel Terminator 2, in 1991,which was not only awesome but blew the doors off of the use of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) in movies (although it did use a ton a actual stunts and real explosions).  Terminator 3 was a I’m guessing a way to get money for Arnold Schwarzenegger as he was running for Governor of California.  It really was not very good although I still want to give Clare Danes the high hard one.

In May 2007, the rights for the movie franchise passed from two feuding producers to a new company which planned a new Trilogy.  The first film of the Trilogy is Terminator: Salvation, scheduled to come to a theater near you on May 21st.  Pulling out all the stops they got the greatest action hero of today, Christian Bale (of American Psycho and Batman fame), to play the role of a grown up John Connor fighting in the resistance against the machines.

The film is one of the last for legendary special effects Stan Winston and is said to be once again pushing the limits in terms of that category.

I for one cannot wait for this movie to come out and is one of the few franchises/movies I will actually go to the movie theater to see.

I guess the only problem I have with it is that rapper Common is in the movie. While not a slight to Common I do generally hate movies with Rapper/Actors in them.