Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Christmas Movie Cast-A-Thon

Jenna and Allie over at Flick Chicks are hosting a new blogathon, the Christmas Movie Cast-A-Thon. This is an amazing idea. Basically, we get to cast our favorite movie characters into stock holiday-themed roles. How could I resist the idea to bring together a strange bunch of characters for a holiday extravaganza? So let's begin. I have assembled the strangest group of characters you can ever imagine to create what might just be the most bizarre holiday film ever conceived by a human being, unless of course one of my fellow participants manages to outdo me.

So apparently, the plot of this Christmas film is that Santa Claus has to figure out how to get his toys to the children while dealing with Cold War paranoia and an insane Air Force general who thinks he is a communist spy, while some other people are trying to organize a bizarre Christmas party. Let's see what we can come up with.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

Say what you will about the overall quality of the film, but somehow John Call did a surprisingly good job capturing Santa Claus, the cheerful jolly old man who loves nothing more than bringing joy to everyone. He's also very clever, being able to outwit his would-be kidnappers and plot against anyone who wants to interfere with his goals. 

Santa's Helpers

Gunnery Sgt. Hartman (Full Metal Jacket,1987)- Factory Supervisor

Santa's got perhaps the toughest job in the world. He has one year to make toys for billions of children around the world, has to keep records, and make sure everything is perfect. This entails getting a large amount of elves to speed up production, and somebody has to keep them organized. Who better than a tough drill sergeant who can easily keep everyone in line. If there is a problem, if any toy is flawed in any way, he will know, and he will make sure the elf responsible never does it again. Under Hartman, the factory floor would be a bustling and busy environment, since nobody wants to cross a drill sergeant.

Gordon Gekko (Wall Street, 1987)- Financial Assistant

Hey, Santa's got to make toys for billions of children around the world. Obviously, he's going to need to get the materials to make them from somewhere. In order to obtain the sufficient material, tools, paint, and so on; Santa will need a lot of money. Who better than Gordon Gekko to secure it? After all, this is a guy who can get things done. He knows the business world inside and out and also knows how to bring in the money (if not always through legal means, but technically there's no real government in the North Pole). This is the guy who can make deals with other companies, and get Santa what he needs to make his delivery.

Ted Striker (Airplane, 1980)- Air Traffic

Flying a sleigh is hard work, especially in this day and age. That's why Santa has to keep in constant radio contact with his airfield so that he can get important updates regarding issues with weather and even other planes that might interfere with his deliveries. Striker has some experience in these types of situations. After all, he has on two separate occasions managed to barely avert an airplane disasters, so naturally he'd be the perfect candidate to help prevent those same types of situations happening to Santa. He'd mainly be working from the control tower this time, rather than flying himself, but this is a guy who is always prepared for everything.

Xena: Security

Santa's workshop is going to need security. After all, one never knows who might try to infiltrate and sabotage his operations or his workshop might accidentally get caught in the crossfire between nuclear war. Also, with Hartman in charge, someone is going to have to look out for the well-being of Santa's staff. Who better to fill both roles than someone like Xena? After all, she's not only a loyal and devoted friend committed to fighting for good, but she is also not afraid to get tough when she needs to, and always has a plan when danger is lurking. If anyone can protect the factory and make the staff comfortable, it's her.

Galadriel (The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit)- Therapist/Consultant

Santa might just have the most stressful job in the world. After all, he has to oversee the production of toys for billions of children, keep records on everyone who is born or dies, read a seemingly endless pile of letters and keep track of what is to be sent to each kid. On top of that, he also has to deliver his gifts all over the world in just one night, while simultaneously ensuring that everything is delivered to the right house. Obviously, he'd be constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown and would need someone to turn to. This is where Lady Galadriel comes in. As Santa's personal therapist, he can consult her about all his problems, and she can use her extensive kindness and wisdom both to keep him from going insane and to advise him in his operations. She would also be a valuable asset to the staff in general, as she can help elves through personal issues and stressful situations.

Lisbeth Salander (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, 2008)- Record keeper

Santa's got to keep track of who's naughty and nice, but he can't monitor every kid in the world. What he can do is get the world's greatest computer hacker to gather information on children. If anyone can gather dirt to warrant a lump of coal in a specific kid's stocking, it's Lisbeth. In addition to all this, she can get access to records, addresses, and anything else that may be of value, and she can even get a little bit of extra money when Gekko isn't enough (plus probably a little more to give her a comfortable life in the North Pole). She is also good for breaking up fights among the staff, and quietly investigating any problems that may occur on the factory floor. Also, given the person taking on the Grinch role her hacking skills may also prove useful in a few other ways.

Murph Cooper (Interstellar, 2014)- Flight Co-Ordinator

It's obvious that she's a genius when it comes to mathematics. She grow up with an understanding of intense engineering and even saved the world through her genius. She's also a brilliant physicist, having made calculations that aided in the colonization of other solar systems. Now she has a new, far stranger challenge: using all the available data to determine how Santa can accomplish his flight around the world, delivering presents to as many children as possible, in just one night. Accounting for black hole singularities has nothing on this problem. How could someone with a brain like hers resist such a challenge?


General Jack D. Ripper (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 1964)

Jack D. Ripper would obviously be a concern for Santa Claus due to his extreme paranoia. This is after all the guy who has become bizarrely obsessed with preventing the alleged danger of having his bodily fluids forcibly taken from him. Now he thinks Santa is a communist spy (he saw Rise of the Guardians, and nobody told him the Cold War's been over for 25 years) and needs to be stopped.  To call this guy trigger happy would be an understatement. At the slightest glimpse of Santa's sleigh his first instinct will likely be to assume it's a communist attack and begin launching nuclear missiles at it. Talk about a guy who ruins the spirit of Christmas, and he's too stubborn to simply get redeemed by hearing joyful music or visits from ghosts. Santa's got his work cut out dealing with this mess.


John McClane (Die Hard, 1988)

He certainly has a way of making things a bit more... interesting whenever he shows up. He has after all saved Christmas on two separate occasions and several other times had to save the day because he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Still, he does try to put family above everything else, though that can be difficult when he can't even get home for Christmas without having to save a bunch of hostages and destroy a building. No way anyone is going to get bored when McClane shows up.

Lara Croft (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, 2003)

Considering her vast wealth and her spacious mansion filled with secret rooms, Lara obviously has the means to throw a memorable Christmas party. She's also quite eccentric for a woman born into the English aristocracy, so this wouldn't just be your typical boring upper-class party with everyone in suits and dresses, classical music, and discussions about what "inappropriate" activities the lower class are currently engaging in. Lara's more the kind of person who would much rather find a way to incorporate firearms, daring stunts, and elaborate deathtraps into her Christmas parties (plus probably an amazing Christmas feast; at least provided she doesn't try to do it herself). Now what kid wouldn't want to go to that party?

The Children

Bruno (Bicycle Thieves, 1948)

The short-lived movement of Italian Neo-Realism was very heavily based on emphasizing the day-to-day lives of the working class in post-war Italy. This kid is perhaps one of the best examples of those ideas at work. Bruno's a good kid, just unlucky. It's people like this who could benefit from a lot of holiday cheer, and helping the poor is often associated with Christmas. Naturally, bringing in a kid from a film about borderline poverty would logically make sense. This almost seems like the kind of person a Hollywood Christmas film would put heavy emphasis on assisting, but the Italians emphasized the bleak truth.

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

She is a little bit older, but Hermione's extensive knowledge of magic could easily be of great use for any Christmas party, and she's got the compassion to go along with it. Hermione is a loyal friend and one who obviously cares about others. Someone with her would fit right into a Christmas film, or at least a really strange film like this one. She's already used her brains, skills, and compassion to save the world, she could probably find a way to use it to help the poor and make everyone's Christmas Day a little brighter.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Thursday Movie Picks Meme: Movies About Music

This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks Meme is movies about music, but there is a catch: we can't do biopics on musicians or anything about a real-life musician. That's not too bad. This might be (literally) a last-minute entry I quickly put together after realizing this week's theme, but I should be able to come up with something.

The Jazz Singer (1926)

Okay, so this is definitely not a movie that has aged well. In fact today it might be considered outright racist due to the infamous scenes of the main character performing in blackface. However, it did make a significant impact due to its technical accomplishments. The Jazz Singer was, at the time of its release, a huge gamble for Warner Bros. Studios. Sound technology had been experimented with for decades, but this is often credited as the first feature-length sound film (though technically it isn't so much a talking picture as it is a silent movie with short segments incorporating sound, usually for musical numbers).  It was this film that brought sound to the mainstream and made studios realize just how profitable talking pictures could be.

The Red Shoes (1948)

If one really wants to get technical, this film is mainly about the struggles of various characters to navigate the ballet industry, but ballet, by its very nature, based on music. The plot also centers around a performance of the ballet. As a result, it involves some incredible musical sequences, including an amazing (if heavily condensed) performance that actually managed to make me respect ballet for the first time in my life. We also can't forget that one of the other main characters is a musician and a composer, and his musical career is an integral part of the story.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

This bizarre film is a hilarious satire on the life of rock and roll icon Johnny Cash, represented here by the fictional character of Dewey Cox. The story of the film naturally concerns the strange events contributing to the rise and fall of Cox as a musician, who struggles with some unusual situations. Along the way, there are also cameos by famous rock stars. To call this movie surreal is an understatement, but it is still a lot of fun and definitely worth watching.