Saturday, January 12, 2013

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Dr. Seuss, Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman
Starring: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Molly Shannon
Rating: PG
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars!!

I'm still wayyyy behind on these. I'm so far behind that I'm not 100% certain of the order anymore..but here goes anyway!

This is one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time. I've always been a big fan of the cartoon, and (even though I was only 11 at the time) I was skeptical when they announced that they had made it into a live action movie. As an 11 year old at the theater, I was amazed. As a 23 year old at home, I still marvel at some of the fabulous film-making exhibited on this project. 

I've had access to this movie ever since I can remember, as we received the VHS tape immediately following its release when we (my brothers and I) were younger. When we got older, my mom gave our VHS tapes away, and my younger (middle child) brother and I both acquired copies of the DVD, so that we wouldn't have to lose out on this Christmas tradition.


(I'll keep this part VERY brief, since you should already know)

The Grinch (Jim Carrey; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) (first name "The", last name "Grinch") is embittered by the Whoville society, and put out by their Christmas joy. Curious after a run-in with him, Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen; Underdog) investigates his life and tries reaching out to him. He resists at first, and does so to the point of "stealing Christmas". But you'd never expect what happens after that!


I. LOVE. THIS. MOVIE. Everything about it (in my opinion) is well done. The makeup and set is so extravagant. I just learned in my preliminary research for this entry that this film actually won an Oscar for best makeup! I'm not surprised but I'm impressed! I also never realized until my most recent viewing that this was directed by Ron Howard. Ron Howard has a great reputation, but that began with this movie. He did a thorough job as director, and all aspects (especially the artistic ones) are fantastic.

The Mayor (Jeffrey Tambor; Arrested Development) and Betty Lou Who (Molly Shannon; Superstar) head up an excellent supporting cast, but Taylor Momsen's naive but bold and intelligent Cindy Lou, combined with Jim Carrey's over-the-top and ironically lovable Grinch make for a fantastic leading duo. Even Anthony Hopkins as narrator adds an excellent layer of quality.

For the record, I like Momsen's version of "Where Are You Christmas?" better than Faith Hill's (though hers is good, too).

I also think that the screenwriters and director did a great job maintaining Dr. Seuss' original work. In a full length adaptation that was previously only 30 minutes, one may have to take some liberties. The liberties taken in this particular case, however, simply help the story by giving it background, and still make it flow. They did an incredible job combining Dr. Seuss' story, Boris Karloff's Grinch, and modern day children's humor to make an incredible product. 

What Can We Learn From This Movie?

It's simple really. It's a Christmas lesson that was not first addressed in this movie, and it will definitely be addressed in the future.

People who are mean are probably hurting. 

Not me of course. I'm just mean!

The Grinch was widely considered grumpy, evil, and mean, but only because he had bitterness in his heart. He was bullied because he was different. He got upset and he held a grudge. Should he have held a grudge? No, but you can't change other people's behavior, you can only change yours.

Cindy Lou Who's compassion, though it seemed futile for a long time (most of the movie) eventually reached the Grinch (They say that his heart grew THREE sizes that day!). 

SO. Here is what I'm trying to say: Keep going. Being compassionate (as Cindy Lou can attest) is discouraging at times. Persevere. Everything has an impact, even if you can't tell that at first. 

*steps off soapbox*

This really about wraps it up. I highly recommend this movie. It IS a Christmas movie but it works anytime. The lesson is still as important, and the comedy still relevant. If you haven't seen it by now...don't wait til next Christmas!

Thanks for reading, guys. I really appreciate it. Please leave me your feedback on here, Facebook, Twitter, or somewhere relevant where I'll read it! Thanks so much! God Bless!!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Written by: John Hughes
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara, Tim Curry, Rob Schneider
Rating: PG
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Wow. I am behind. I'm so sorry to the Archives Report faithful out there. I've probably got five or six movies clogging up my queue right now. You can tell they've been there awhile, because it's January 9th and the next three after this one are also Christmas movies. So...hopefully you're still in the spirit!

I found this movie in the Wal-mart $5 bin, but it was not this year. It was several years ago, in fact. I always found it odd that the original just made it down in there this year, but the sequel has been in there for awhile. It mostly baffled me because "2" had always been my favorite.

This is an Archives Report first (and not because it's the first entry of 2013, although that is true), in which I have reported on a sequel immediately following the original. I have reported on sequels but not the originals, and have also never written on a movie in which a subsequent sequel was produced, with the exception now of Home Alone.

I know what you're thinking, and I promise the next review I write will not be on something written or directed by John Hughes.

Brief Synopsis:

Kevin (Macaulay Culkin; Home Alone) has returned a year after his last Christmas adventure (though he mysteriously ages from 8-10 years old). His entire family is around before leaving on another Christmas trip and he inevitably has another spat with them the night before they leave. They don't leave him at home, like the year before, but instead the threat of missing their flight has them running through the airport, and they lose Kevin. Kevin then accidentally boards a plane to New York City, instead of his family's flight to Miami, and heads straight for the city in which The Wet Bandits Harry (Joe Pesci; Goodfellas) and Marv (Daniel Stern: Bushwhacked) have escaped to. This sends Kevin on another whirlwind adventure, and maybe he'll stop the bad guys...again!!

My thoughts:

This movie is so much fun! If you thought the first was fun, strap in, because I like this one better. Obviously, the plot is a little less feasible than the first, but the sight-seeing is better, the cast is funnier, and the traps hit the bad guys harder. 

Some highlights for me:

1. Tim Curry (Clue: The Movie) and Rob Schneider (The Benchwarmers) as hotel concierge and bellboy, respectively. I've always been a big fan of both of them, and they show some of their great comedic chops while at work in this film. They were both quite young at the time, but at the top of their game nonetheless.

2. The slapstick has upped. I'm a huge slapstick fan (as I'm sure I've made clear to you if you've ever watched a movie with me) and this movie has it. The scene in which Harry and Marv chase Kevin back to his Aunt and Uncle's house that's being renovated, and Kevin gets still one of my favorite slapstick scenes of all time...and I've seen some doozies. 

3. Donald Trump cameo. I emphasize writing reviews after a fresh viewing for precisely this reason. I've seen this movie probably a hundred times, and I never noticed this until this viewing. When Kevin first enters the plaza hotel, he asks a man for directions and it's Donald Trump!!

I haven't much to say about the film other than that. Generally implausible premise (but not impossible, I shouldn't think) and Harry and Marv probably should've died a few times, but other than that, a fun, family movie!

What Can We Learn From It?

There isn't much in the way of life lessons here, other than to treat your family well because you're never sure when you're going to lose them, or accidentally let them get on a plane to New York while you go to Miami. 

Final Thoughts:

Even though Christmas is over, I'd go ahead and recommend you watch this film. It's fun, good slapstick, family friendly, and has good life lessons. You really don't see too many movies like this one anymore. Cherish your kids and stand up to the bad guys, and you'll do just fine.

Thanks for reading! I'll continue to try and knock out my ever-growing list as the week continues! Please leave me your feedback in any way, shape, or form you choose! Thanks so much for reading!!

God Bless!