5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Favorite Christmas Movies

Regardless of the fact that stores shove the holiday cheer down our throat since the middle of October, there is still something magical and sacred about our favorite Holiday in the year: Christmas. Regardless of the fact most people find it an excuse to stuff their faces with tones of fatty foods and sweets, or that others are simply too stressed out with gift shopping and other things that must be prepared, Christmas is still a wonderful holiday that many await with great pleasure. Especially children.

It is a time for family, it is a time for giving and receiving, and it is a time of happiness. It is also the time for us to re-watch traditional Xmas movies like Home Alone, the Nightmare Before Christmas, Miracle on 34th street and many other. You probably already know about the famous Easter effs of Pixar, and the fabulous Lord of the Rings productions, but there is a lot of trivia on holiday classics that you should also know about. Here are five interesting things you did not know about your favorite Christmas movies.

1. Nightmare Before Christmas

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If there is anything in this world adored more than Christmas, that is Patrick Stewart. After his viral spread of Star Trek: The Next Generation Mashup of Captain Picard Singing Make it So, he lent his musical talents to Tim Burton and Henry Selick for the introduction to the Nightmare Before Christmas. Nevertheless, the most interesting about this rendition, is the fact that it never happened, because Stewart’s voice is so immediately identifiable that test audiences wasted more time murmuring among themselves than actually taking a look at the animation. Eventually, the scene was cut, but the recording did make it into the soundtrack list.

2. Miracle On 34th Street

Miracle

Unlike many Christmas movies which are a little to unreal, Miracle on 34th Street is firmly grounded in reality, and Santa Claus remains directly tied to the Spirit of Christmas. Because the movie was released on the 20th May, Century Fox tried to hide the film’s Christmassy slant. Edmund Gwenn’s interpretation of Santa is probably the best I have ever seen. It is most definitely the extravagant beard that made his rendition of Santa unforgettable.Eight year old Natalie Wood, who played the part of Suzie, actually believed that Edmund was the real deal, but she soon realized that he was just a nice old man with an awesome beard.

3. The Santa Clause 

the santa clause

As is the case with most Disney movies, The Santa Clause also has a reference to a sexual joke, but an unusual one at that. The story of the movie is about a murderer who takes over Santa’s job. Early in the movie, he receives a phone number and jokes around that it is actually 1-800-SPANK-ME. The funny thing about it was that parents and kids actually rang the number, and it turned out to be a sex chat line. After several complaints Disney cut the line off.

4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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Although I can’t quite understand how this movie became so popular, I must admit that I really enjoyed it. It is one of those classical Xmas movies that one must see at all cost. The 1966 adaptation of the book sticks close to the source, with only one major deviation: they made the Grinch Green, when it is not specified anywhere, that he could be green. As a matter of fact, the first book published with the Grinch was black-white-and red.

5. It’s a Wonderful Life

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 It’s really hard to find something wrong about this incredible and seamless movie. The story-line may sound simple, but it gives an entirely new perspective on the destiny of a normal man who wants to escape his hometown of Bedford Falls, yet remains trapped there out of duty. The iconic ending, which could have only been created by a master such as Frank Capra, is unparalleled. But we want to stick to the purpose of the article, so here is the interesting trivia you probably did not know about “It’s a Wonderful Life”:

It was shot during a heat-wave! This means that not only did George Bailey have to reenact the existential crisis of his character, but he had to do so while trapped in a stiffing heat. Talk about acting skills.

Oh, and one more thing:

Happy Christmas to y’all! 

3 Movies About Adult Autism That You Need To Watch

The issue of adult autism is not a new one, but a deep one and has been debated in the world with concern, passion and a lot of frustration, as for many years there was this general shared opinion among doctors and specialists that when they grow up, children with autism become… something else. There have been many efforts to acknowledge the real drama of these adults, awareness and lobby campaigns have been developed, governments striven to make all the necessary changes that these people to benefit from the proper care and the specialized support they need.

Cinema has this interesting role to either transport us in a fictional universe, purely for our entertainment or our education, but sometimes it has also the spark of genius to present us real stories inspired by real people, or at least to turn reality into a form of fiction that is meant to open our eyes to the problems existing maybe two feet a distance from us. Autism in the movies has had its share of representations and some movies overcame their need to entertain with the strange and the uncommon, but also to depict in the hard-core way a reality we may not be very well aware about.

Statistically speaking, movies depicting children with autism are a bit more than the movies about adult autism, but this category also has some truly incredible pieces of art that you should see, not because the subject is interesting or educational, but mainly because if they would have had the same marketing as blockbusters do, they would too have become icons in cinema history. So let’s see 3 movies about adult autism and take the opportunity to learn something about life.

1. The Black Balloon (2008) – because different doesn’t mean alien

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This is maybe one of the most disturbing movies about adult autism you will get, and if Rain Man was your idea of how autistic adults behave, you should need to explore more. Charlie is a true, by the book, all bad symptoms showing autistic teenager. The movie makers weren’t at all shy or prude in presenting you with all the gory details of what an autistic adult’s family may go through. This is a story about accepting the different in our lives and coming to terms with a reality that is ten times more painful than any movie could describe.

2. Snow Cake (2006) – When Ripley meets Metatron

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This may have been one of the best and emotional shattering interpretations that Sigourney Weaver has ever gave on the silver screen. Forget everything you know about Aliens and forget everything you know about Alan Rickman’s soft spot for epic movies and comedies, and tune in to this true work of art. Linda is the autistic adult and her everyday routines, her tantrums and her scares, her authentic display of emotions will make your skin crawl, as she can be your neighbor, or the woman behind the counter at your local store.

3. Mozart and the Whale or how movies about adult autism can make you believe in love

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This is a lighter one, a movie about a love story between a girl who meets a boy. The problem is that they both present Asperger’s Syndrome characteristics and the fun part is, they present it the real way, not the overly dramatized Hollywood style. The tribulations of the two, the funny situations that they have to deal with and the awkwardness that surrounds them both make this movie not only a fun and interesting thing to watch during a rainy day, but it will teach you a thing or two about compatibility, love, acceptance and a few compromises any relationship seems to need.

These three movies about adult autism aren’t the only ones. The Temple Grandin biopic is as real as life can get, while others, more inclined to the fictional side, add also great value to the ways we look at autistic adults, their families and the challenges they have to face every second of every day, for the rest of their lives.

Characters Coming Back from the Dead: Miracle or Cinema’s Favorite Trick?

There are a lot of complaints from the movie and TV critics regarding entertainment industry’s passion for resurrecting characters it just killed a few moments ago. Just as Kyle Buchanan was saying in an article on Vulture

Give it a little time, and that superhero will be back in battling form, resurrected by cloning, or a twin, or a reboot.

And he is right, as it seems that some fictional characters coming back from the dead make still the easiest trick when movie makers either want to keep us chained to our chairs for a whole franchise to get displayed before our eyes, or the popular request is so pressing, that they just have to find a trick to turn a dead character into an alive one.

From this point of view, George R.R. Martin, known for pleasurably killing his characters at will, managed to make them stay dead (with a few exceptions, but no spoilers, people!) despite millions of readers or TV show Game of Thrones viewers who almost rioted. And are still rioting once 2 chapters.

But going back to the trick of making fictional figures come to life after an apparent (or downright real demise), Brian from Family Guy is, of course, alive and kicking, while history of movie making (including TV – and why not be honest, literature as well) managed to score some pretty neat tricks when resurrecting some people. So let’s go back in time a little and see  a few characters coming back from the dead in almost miraculous ways.

1. Bobby Ewing

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Off course you remember Dallas and of course you remember Booby was killed at some point and was AWOL for an entire year, only to conveniently show up fresh and good looking from the shower, because hey, it was Pamela who dreamed an entire season. He was not dead at all, of course, just that his wife had some serious sleeping disorders.

2. Fox “I Want to Believe” Mulder

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One of the most famous characters coming back from the dead in the 1990 – 2000 era is, unquestionably, Fox Mulder. The characters in the X Files happened to die, be killed, experience comas, be exposed to deadly viruses and generally living near-death experiences and surviving them with a frequency that would have made even Highlander jealous. But one time, Mulder gets abducted by aliens, left back on Earth for dead, buried and brought to life. He did leave the show eventually, but hey, the fans weren’t still ready to let go. Of course, aliens were involved one way or the other in his resurrection. And Scully’s medical skills, of course.

3. Loki as the absolute character coming back from the dead

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If you didn’t see Thor: The Dark World yet, this is going to be a spoiler, so skip it if you don’t want to know any more details. So Loki is kind of the villain of the year 2013. And sometimes in the middle of the movie, puff! He dies. Now, we bet that all ladies in all cinemas in all corners of the world had the same reaction Dana Scully had in 2000: “This is not happening!” It didn’t happen, relax! Loki is fine and dandy and he probably gets ready to set up a plot and a scheme even more vicious to take over the world. How did he got back to life? Who cares, he’s Loki, he can do whatever the * he wants!

4. Gandalf

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In a supreme sacrifice act, Gandalf fights the demon and, naturally, gets killed, only to come back bigger, better, faster, more, and with a new set of clean clothes, to take everybody by surprise and make them believe in magic. Nobody questioned Gandalf’s death, as it was probably the less plausible. James Bond returned from the dead once and since you can’t have a James Bond series without the 007, you can’t have any LOTR universe without Gandalf in it.

5. R – Coming back from the dead dead

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What can be more dead than a zombie? Probably the corpses smart enough to stay six feet under and not get out there to find food only to get butchered by other fictional characters. Whatever. R – from the movie Warm Bodies is not totally dead, not totally alive and not a total zombie. So he was the perfect recipient to receive a strong injection of love to make his heart pump and his soul shine once again. Classic love stories have nothing on this one!

So these are only five characters coming back from the dead. We didn’t mention Batman, Spock or other “celebs” because you already know about them. These you may have forgot or skipped when you made the list with “movies with resurrected characters to watch.”

Top 7 Best Marvel Movies Since 2000

With the arrival of “X-Men” in 2000, the landscape of cinematic blockbusters changed irrevocably. Superheroes and super-villains that came from the Marvel universe still provoke excitement among fans and new-comers. Sure, the Batman and Superman films were released once in a while to remind us that the comic books of Marvel still belong to the world of films, but the last 13 years have seen many awesome movies that started the superhero movie renaissance. The sheer proliferation of Marvel franchises has left us with a difficult decision: to rank the best, the worst, and the ones which situate themselves somewhere in the middle. Of course, it also depends on personal taste, and some of you might not agree with our top 7, but we have created it according to the best special effects, acting, plot, superheroes and villains. Let’s take a look at them.

7. Iron Man 2

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Although we very much love the Iron Man series, and Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) adorable personality, we just couldn’t rank the second Iron Man movie better. It lacks some of t he excitement that we became used to in the first movie, and it seems like a movie put together from scenes that have no rhyme nor reason. Although the adoration for Iron Man 1 might have people rushing to see it, prepare to be a bit disappointed.

6. X-Men: First Class

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As we said before, we have taken many factors into account when creating this top 10. If we were to consider only the strength and talent of the lead performances, “X-Men: First Class” would definitely be in the top three. Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, and James McAvoy’s Professor X make a formidable “duo”. Their bromance takes them to ugly places however, they have to fight for the survival of the Mutant race.

5. Punisher: War-Zone

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The Punisher” is an excellent movie, which sadly enough, was not very well advertized. But even if it wasn’t this doesn’t stop you from seeing it. Blame the marketing, blame the fact that people did not consider it any good, but blame yourself for not downloading it today. Ray Stevenson plays a bad-ass Frank Castle, who exhales badassery with every breath. Watch it today.

4. Iron Man

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A lot of credit was given to Robert Downey junior for his remarkable performance in Iron Man 1, but we should also thank the director, Jon Favreau for giving the characters enough space to truly express themselves. The movie is a Rock Star, exactly like its lead-character. The armor is amazing, the romance story subtle and exciting, and the finish… well, not all that we had in mind. When it could have ended with a big bang, it ended in a whisper.

3. Thor, and Thor: The Dark World

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There have been countless of movies with Thor and the vikings in the past, but the more that appeared, the more pathetic the story seemed. This is why THOR had a huge responsibility to live up to, and although many considered that it would fail, they were wrong. Chris Hemsworth’s natural charisma and powerful constitution make him one of the best Thor’s in history. Also, the mix between high-fantasy Asgard and the Earth scenes blend together perfectly to create one of enjoyable Marvel Franchise. Oh, and did we mention that Natalie Portman is in it? Thor, the Dark World, on the other hand, is somehow dorky and silly, but still super fun. The only person I feel bad about in all of this, is Loki.

2. Captain America: The First Avenger

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Out of all Marvel Movies, this is the one I enjoyed the most, because instead of trying to make Captain America look bad-ass and super-cool, they embraced everything about his dorky and old-fashioned personality. This patriotic superhero in red, white and blue is like a valuable jewel from the past: a selfless hero who actually has ideals. You Should definitely see it!

1. The Avengers

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For me, it was the Avengers that sparked the taste for superheroes and the Marvel universe once more. Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, the Black Widow, Loki all come together for an epic battle between good and evil. I would be inclined to say that Loki somehow steals the stage with his amazing performance, but maybe it’s just me. Although it takes quite a while for the movie to build momentum, the destination is A-M-A-Z-i-N-G. The movie simply radiates joy, and excitement, and there are no excuses for not seeing it, at least once. 

When Movies Beat Reality. And Logic. And Us.

They always say that life beats the movies, as it is often so surprising, so challenging and so mind – blowing, that the entertainment industry should focus more on real experiences than fiction. But you have to be honest, just as the movies critics and the fans were many times before, the movies beat reality any day. Cliches, you say? The same cliches, over and over again, used forever and for always, in spite the fact that everybody knows they are cliches and they teach us a bunch of wrong things? Apparently, you can’t have a box office success without using a few tricks that managed to piss off even the most passionate movie fans along the years, just as you can’t have reality plunging into a movie, as nobody goes to the cinema to see ugly women brushing their teeth and looking zombified, cause you know, aesthetics and all.

So basically, we are a bunch of ranters who complain about the movies cliches and bad lessons they teach us, but won’t pay a dime to see “realistic” movies that mirror realistic life. And why would one do that? But, these much circulated cliches make our life more interesting and more entertaining and there are a lot of fun instances when movies beat reality. So let’s see a few of them!

1. The Villain gets it in the end

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Always. Easier, harder, trickier, but the villain always gets it. And no, this is not quite as reality works. But the most important question is: say you’re a villain who wants to take over the world and become all great and powerful. Like don’t you watch a few movies before? Don’t you want to see where your predecessors made the mistakes that led them to their demise? Like, seriously, before coming up with a master plan, don’t you do your research and your homework? All villains in all movies end up ass kicked. Are they all stupid? I for one would love to see the villain prevail in a movie, but that would just be wrong cinema, of course. In real life, actually, many villains are still on the loose. Unfortunately. They should get it in the end. But I miss an original villain who just laughs best. For the variation.

2. Steering the car wheel: movies beat reality with mechanics

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How to film a car scene, inside the car, and let the viewer know the character is driving? Easy! Make him steer that wheel like he’s taking a needle curve every four seconds. While still maintaining a straight direction on a very straight highway. I understand it is quite dull to film a guy just holding his hands on the wheel in the right position and glue his eyes on the road, cause, you know, it is kind of dull, but movies have this talent of giving us bad driving lessons, like it is OK to play with the driving bagel however you want or don’t even dignify the road with a glimpse.

3. The U.S. is the only country in the world threatened by aliens, monsters or deadly viruses

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You know people always complained that in the movies everybody speaks American English, and we mean wild undiscovered portions of Siberia, Japanese Yakuza clan members or European countries inhabitants, fictional worlds like Asgaard, not to mention terrorists who by no means could ever speak with a British accent. But this is just the ice on the surface. While everybody in the world understands and speaks American English, America is actually the only place that attracts aliens, monsters and deadly viruses more than porn sites attract teenagers. Do movies beat reality? Well… think about it this way: even the aliens that invade the U.S. are ambitious enough to learn American English enough to say “Peace? No peace…”

There are a lot more. The woman who wakes up in the morning wearing perfect make – up. The couple who has awesome sex standing (you try that at home and see how exactly movies beat reality) and check upon your policemen friends, as three days before pension they got shot or involved in their “last” case that keeps them busy for the next year.