Nationals Baseball: So what SHOULD I watch

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

So what SHOULD I watch

Nats aren't doing nothing. Well probably, Ian isn't going anywhere (doesn't make sense for 2015 given MI issues). ZNN or Fister might (there is AJ Cole depth, or Blake Treinen if necessary) but it's hard to find a trade partner who will give up anything great for what amounts to a 1 year rental. 'Tis a brave new world we live in where the most important thing to have is not talent but years of cost control. Marginal wins per dollars is for suckers. Projected marginal wins per projected dollars adjusted for inflation is the new hotness.

So as we cuddle on our couches as cushy as Heath Bell guts and dream about next season (which barring major injury issues is going to be the third playoff year in four seasons) here are the Christmas specials & movies that I actually try to watch every year because they are good, not because they are on and make good internet surfing background noise.


I watch it every year and every year I'm like. You know, this isn't very good. It's ok. It kinds of drags, the humor is hit or miss and a bit dated, and it never quite hits me emotionally. But still Murray is compelling, I love me some Karen Allen, and I'm a sucker for a good sing along ending (see: It's a Wonderful Life)

A Christmas Carol 

George C Scott version

Die Hard 

I said it was my favorite Christmas movie and I wasn't lying. It isn't a CHRISTMAS movie - a movie that would make no sense with Christmas removed - like Miracle on 34th St. or Jingle all the Way, but it is a Christmas movie - a movie where Christmas fits in and makes everything make more sense. Why is he travelling to see Holly and his family in LA? It's Christmas. Why is this huge building nearly entirely empty? It's Christmas (and under construction). But why is the Nakatomi corporation there? Holiday party. Why is police response at first tepid? I'm sure Christmas had something to do with it. Not only that it sprinkles Christmas around in away that seasons the movie with seasons greetings, be it Argyle playing "Christmas in Hollis", the "now I have a machine gun, Ho Ho Ho" part, or the Christmas tape used to put that gun on his back.  I hopefully don't have to tell you why the movie itself is awesome but hopefully this clarifies the whole Christmas issue beyond it just being set on Dec 24th.

Die Hard 2

Well, I've already watched the first one and it is a DVD 2-pack. Not a classic by any means but better than the 3rd which is a good movie but it ain't really Die Hard to me. Formula matters.

Bad Santa

I like it. It's on. There are parts I'm not crazy about (outside the negotiation scene, "half",  Bernie Mac's character holds no interest for me; I'm not a big fan of scatalogical humor). But the scenes between Billy Bob and Thurman Murman are gold.

It's a Wonderful Life

The Christmas part of it is kind of minimal. Really it's just there for the climax, but what a great ending. In fact so great, it gave us unarguably the greatest Christmas related SNL sketch. (If you say "Schweaty Balls" is better so help me Santa I will hunt you down and I will destroy you)

Home Alone

I don't actually try and sit and watch this from beginning to end, though I will. The beginning of the movie is a bit exposition heavy and really I don't care about his family. Who does? They're props who's only purpose is served by being removed. I like picking it up when the mom meets up with John Candy. From then on the movie is great. You get your heart strings tugged with the mom struggling to get home and Kevin going to the choir and finding out about his old neighbor. You get your senseless cartoon violence from the home invasion. You get John Candy. You get the happy ending. What more do you want?

Meet Me in St. Louis. 

I might not watch the whole thing, but I do try to catch "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas". It's one thing to say, ha ha, the lyrics are so depressing!It's totally another to watch the movie, see how they got to that point (man, they overly love St. Louis - proto Cardinals fans, I bet) and then hear Judy Garland sing it.

Hey Arnold! Christmas special 

This one is kind of strange but it strikes me as a perfect encapsulation of the Christmas spirit that I feel compelled to watch it every year. Short of it is Arnold (this was a Nick show in the 90s) is trying to get his secret santa recipient back with the daughter he gave up during the Fall of Saigon (show went in some weird directions, stay with me). That in itself is pretty Christmas spirity, you know, it's not about the gifts but about family, but that's not the kicker. You see, in order to get this done he needs to trade Christmas shopping for research from a government worker. The deal falls apart when he fails to get one item, the most popular item of the holiday season. The girl that has a crush on him, who is also generally mean to him all the time because she's a bully, overhears it and trades that item, which she also wanted more than anything and received as an early present, to the worker convincing him to stay and find the daughter. Then in the end, when it all works out, she's standing outside in the snow with a simple Merry Christmas that Arnold who is inside, can't hear. No acknowledgement of sacrifice necessary, just content in the knowledge that she made his Christmas better. BAM! CHRISTMAS! In your face It's a Wonderful Life!

Nightmare Before Christmas

It only half works because a lot of it (the better part I'd argue) is more Halloween related and it does fall apart in the end but I still prefer it over almost any other animated take on Christmas.  "What's This" should be a holiday standard in my book.

What I don't care for? Christmas Vacation.  I have never gotten the appeal of Chevy Chase - not in SNL, Fletch, Caddyshack, Community, anything. I think I liked him most in Three Amigos and it is scarily apparent the drop off in comedic talent from his co-stars. But hey, just one mans opinion.   Christmas Story.  Dull dull dull.

What if I'm stuck on a terrible channel? Default to ABC Family. Those generally have the highest production values and are less likely to be pure sap (Hallmark) or emotional (Lifetime).  But still it's like the baseball playoffs - a crapshoot. I'll give you my favorites on each channel off the top of my head.

ABC Family : "12 Dates of Christmas" with Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Has a time travel hook that works pretty well
Hallmark : "Come Dance with Me" with Andrew McCarthy. I don't know why but it feels like an adult take on these movies. I mean it's not serious or anything, just... grown-up. That's how I'd explain it. Hard to find these types of movies with people in their 40s in the leads and no kids.
Lifetime: "A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride" with Dylan McKay and Nick Swisher's wife. Maybe I just like this because it's not as standard as the plot is mainly about a adult child trying to keep her mom from getting married. But Luke Perry is an underrated "guy in this" actor, and Joanna Garcia is good.  "Privileged" 4 Eva.


Anonymous said...

A no vote for Christmas Vacation? Cousin Eddie is comedic GENIUS!

blovy8 said...

Is Christmas Story replacement level yuletide for you since it's freely available?

sirc said...

Don't say "scatalogical."

Alastair Sim > George C. Scott

Think the Pirates might want to move Jordy Mercer now?

blovy8 said...

I like Elf too, but maybe it's because I wonder how much longer Bob Newhart will be around.

The Princess Bride is set around Christmas too, I believe. Not as strong a connection as Die Hard, clearly, but along the lines of the "Lord Of The Rings, hey there's snow so whatev's" idea.

blovy8 said...

I would include Holiday Inn as a favorite just for the awesome drunken dance that Fred Astaire does, but then I'd have to get past the minstrel show for Lincoln's birthday.

Harper said...

Anon - "You serious, Clark?" (It's an anti-Chevy thing, sorry)

blovy8 - give me Lombo over Christmas Story.

sirc - ok. ummm "poopy humor"?

Not disagreeing with your comparison but I need color.


blovy8 - I'm so so on Farrell. It's growing on me.

Really on tPB? Don't think of it like that.

blovy8 - Where they sing about missing the blackface of long ago? Yeah. I also had an issue with "choreography" which sounds like old people complaining about kids. (but it's well done so I let it pass).

Clip&Store said...

Interesting piece here, BHarp is among the worst baserunners in baseball, with RZimm being towards the top

blovy8 said...

Look, it's kind of like laughing at Mr. Ed (which I do, because even though they're hack jokes, coming from a horse's mouth they are absurd), the obvious Farrell persona obscures the other things that are kinda good about that film. The underlying labor/middle management relationship is interesting. Can you be relentlessly positive in a negative world? Can James Caan participate in something worthwhile where he can actually change? Is Ed Asner doomed to be Lou Grant forever? Should we remember that Zooey Deschanel has a nice voice in the face of everything else she has going for her?

blovy8 said...

As for Christmas Story, I guess despite the overexposure, and the fact that I'm pretty much too young to be of that nostalgic demographic, I do like Jean Shepherd getting something after pretty much only "influencing" things like A Thousand Clowns and Network, which are great films. To bring it back around, he was a fairly big White Sox fan too which is rarely as easy as liking the Cubs, goats notwithstanding.

DezoPenguin said...

"A Charlie Brown Christmas," "A Garfield Christmas Special," and "Muppet Christmas Carol." Michael Caine rules.

Chaos said...

Alistair Sims, excellent but the George C. Scott version wins for overall cast. Believe me, I know, I own 7 different editions. It's a sickness (also a first edition set of Dickens' works). Scrooged is fun.

.....and hey, Heath says he's lost 35 pounds and wants to drop 10 more before ST!

Chaz R said...

What about the original Rocky movie? That was set over the holidays with the match between Apollo and Rocky on New Years Day.

JE34 said...

Elf is becoming a steady favorite in my house... and I'm not one for Tim Allen but the Santa Clause is not without its charm.

They're not movies... but A Charlie Brown Christmas and the original Grinch are required viewing!

Sirc said...


Anonymous said...

Please tell me Uggla isn't even plan D for second base.

Froggy said...

Uggla, as predicted. Playing with house money (Braves on the hook for 2015 salary). No brainer

Bjd1207 said...

Yea don't read too much into the signing. The braves are paying him to try and regain his form in our minors system, not a terrible situation. He won't see the majors unless he lights it up in his minors stint

Zimmerman11 said...

Heath Bell, Ian Stewart, Dan Uggla?

Rizzo??? This is fixing the bench?

Chaos said...

Uggla's a great signing. No risk, no expense, who knows? If he actually makes the club, he'll hit more balls out than Fransden. That said, I hope Rizzo still a better pickup for the bench in his back pocket.

blovy8 said...

Can a Lombo signing be far away?

Bjd1207 said...

Haha like I said guys, don't look too much into these signings. They're all for minor league contracts. It's a "show us you still got it" offer and if they don't got it, they won't play.

I'm way more interested to learn that Asdrubal Cabrera just got signed by the Rays. That frees up Zobrist for a deal...

sirc said...

But why would they trade Zobrist now? They absolutely are contenders in the east, and Zobrist will be worth more in July than he is right now.

I think they'll keep Zobrist, play him in left, and listen to offers later.