The Couch Potato Report – December 24th, 2009
Right now, The Couch Potato Report peels movies for the holidaysÖho ho ho!!
I am going to tell you about some new Holiday and Christmas releases on Blu-ray and DVD, and jog your memory with clips from some everlasting favourites!!
Some Holiday Classics, if you will.
We begin with the great, modern day classic NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION.
This laugh-out-loud/still very funny and heartwarming 1989 film stars Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, a father who always hopes for the best…but never gets it easily.
If you love this film, there is now an ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION of it available, which comes with the film on Blu-ray and a wide array of goodies, all packed in a Christmas Tin.
The goodies include an adult-size Santa hat, four coasters with images from the film, an “I Survived a Griswold Family Christmas” button, and a mini “collectible Moose Mug figurine,” from Wally World.
NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION has been a great holiday treat for twenty years now, and the ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION is a nice way to keep it around for at least twenty more!
And who knows, maybe 43 years from now they will be celebrating the film’s 63rd anniversary…of course, by then, they will be celebrating the 106th Anniversary of a long time Christmas classic…the 1946 film IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.
Director Frank Capra’s perennial Holiday Favourite stars James Stewart as a compassionate but hard luck businessman who gets to see what life would have been like if he never existed.
I have watched IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE every year for as long as I can remember, and I hope that is true for many more years to come.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE is new on Blu-ray this year and it looks great in High Definition.
The same is true with MIRACLE ON 34th STREET, it too is new on Blu-ray and also looks great!!
Actually, both versions of this film are out no win the new format…the 1947 classic, and the 1994 remake.
The remake is not an awful film, the source material is too strong for that to be possible…but it was and remains absolutely unnecessary! The original is just so…well, original!!
MIRACLE ON 34th STREET is about a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus. After that proclaomation he is institutionalized as insane.
But a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.
Edmund Gwenn won an Academy Award for his performance as Kris Kringle, and the film – the original one – was also given Oscars for Best Writing, Original Story and Best Writing, Screenplay.
Maureen O’Hara, John Payne and a young Natalie Wood also star, and each performance is timeless!
Among the bonus features on the 1947 version is a great retrospective look back.
The 1994 version of this film might be one that some people love, but for me the one and only version of MIRACLE ON 34th STREET is the one that came out in 1947.
It is a true Ho Ho Holiday classic!!
A more recent entry into the arsenal of Holiday Classics is the 1990 release HOME ALONE, about an eight year-old, who is accidentally left behind, and has to defend his home against idiotic burglars.
A very little Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin McCallister.
HOME ALONE is now available on Blu-ray in a FAMILY FUN EDITION that offers some great special features, including over 30 minutes of deleted scenes, on the set featurettes, new interviews, and a brand new commentary track featuring director Chris Columbus & Macaulay Culkin.
But primarily the disc features the fun film itself…a film that co-stars Canadians, and SCTV veterans Catherine O’Hara and the late, great John Candy!
There have now been four HOME ALONE movies, with the quality of each one dropping off with each one.
The only sequel that is worthy of re-watching is HOME ALONE 2 – LOST IN NEW YORK, and it too is now available on Blu-ray!
HOME ALONE 2 – LOST IN NEW YORK is basically a retread of the events of the original film, but this time they happen in New York City.
It isn’t a bad film, but it is just nowhere near as good as the original.
A side note now, before I continue…I have told you about six films so far, and four of them were brought to us by a filmmaker we lost this year…John Hughes.
Hughes wrote and either produced or co-produced CHRISTMAS VACATION, the re-make of MIRACLE ON 34th STREET and the HOME ALONE films.
The Holidays are always a tough time when one of our loved ones can’t be with us, whether this is the first year that they won’t be there, or the 20th.
If that is true with you, as it will be in the Hughes and Reynish homes this holiday season…I hope these movies can bring you some much needed joy.
I honestly, truly do.
The Couch Potato Christmas Report continues now with a spanking brand new release, a special episode of the television show IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA…this is A VERY SUNNY CHRISTMAS.
I have only seen this show about four arrogant and egotistical friends who run a bar in Philadelphia a few times, and I’ll be honest, I don’t like it. I know people who swear by it, but I am not one of them.
That said, I always get a chuckle or two from it when I am forced to sit through it…and that is true about this Christmas episode as well.
If you are a fan of IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, then A VERY SUNNY CHRISTMAS is a must see.
If you are not…why not go with something more traditional.
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS was the first prime-time animated television special based upon the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz.
The special debuted in 1965 and has aired every year since.
In fact, it now airs at least twice during the Christmas season.
If A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is too nice for you, how about HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS?
Based on the book by Dr. Seuss, this show first aired on December 18th, 1966, and it has aired almost every year since as well, and even though I own the DVD, I still watch it at least once when it airs.
And I usually since along with it too.
Love that Grinch!! Bad people who change their ways because of Christmas and the events surrounding it is a long running theme in a lot of films and television specials made and written for the Season.
Including the one that was written by Mr. Charles Dickens.
“A Christmas Carol” is a novella by Charles Dickens about miserly, cold, unfeeling, old and curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge and his holiday conversion and redemption after being visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve.
The book was first published on December 19th, 1843.
Over the years there have been many cinematic versions of it, but I think the best two are the 1988 version starring Bill Murray as a television executive who gets the ghostly visits.
And I am also partial to the 1992 version, called THE MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL
The story in both THE MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL and SCROOGED is the same, but the unique way the films are done have made them holiday classics in my homes since they first came out….and I am sure I will watch them every year as long as I can.
If you are looking for something to share with your family this Holiday Season, THE MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL and SCROOGED and available now only on DVD.
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, the animated version of HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA: A VERY SUNNY CHRISTMAS, HOME ALONE and HOME ALONE 2 – LOST IN NEW YORK, MIRACLE ON 34th STREET – 1947 and 1994 VERSIONS, ITíS A WONDERFUL LIFE and NATIONAL LAMPOONíS CHRISTMAS VACATION are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
Coming up on on The Couch Potato Report.
The TRAILER PARK BOYS are back in COUNTDOWN TO LIQUOR DAY, the great sci-fi film DISTRICT 9 makes it’s home debut, along with THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of ROBOT CHICKEN, Mike Judge’s EXTRACT, HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, and a great little film called (500) DAYS OF SUMMER.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, soon!!
For now, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, and that’s THE COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next time on The Couch!
The Couch Potato Report – December 24th, 2009