happy holiday! happy Jette!

The news is that Sony/MGM is releasing a Cary Grant DVD boxed set on Feb. 7, 2006. The set will include four movies already available on DVD: Only Angels Have Wings, Talk of the Town, His Girl Friday, and The Awful Truth. That’s nice.
The boxed set will also include the 1938 movie Holiday, which has not yet been released on DVD in this country, and which is one of my all-time favorite films. Y’all know that for years, I have been dying for this movie on DVD, and have bribed people to record it when it plays on cable TV. I wore out one videotape already. No news yet on whether the DVD will be available individually, but I’ll buy the whole boxed set if necessary.
No news yet on special features either, but I suspect a bare-bones release. In an ideal universe, the DVD would also include the 1930 version of Holiday, which I have never seen. However, only one print of the 1930 movie remains, and the Library of Congress has it. So the odds of our seeing it anytime soon are pretty slim.
This is Christmas a month early for me. This is what I intended to ask Santa to bring (along with a DVD release for A Foreign Affair). This is a wonderful holiday treat. I cannot wait for Feb. 7. I may have to schedule a movie-night party to inflict this fine film upon all my friends. It is a great holiday season movie and I wish it were available right now, but February is fine too.
I will now go dance around the room some more. Holiday on DVD! Finally! Yay!

I survived the Turkey Marathon

So no one wanted to go with me to the Turkey Marathon of films at Alamo Downtown last Saturday night (and well into Sunday morning)? Well, fine. Wimps. I went anyway. I decided it would be a mini-adventure, that parking downtown would not be too terrible on a holiday weekend, and that I would enjoy seeing films in genres about which I am not very knowledgeable. Also, I told myself I didn’t have to stay for all four films if I got too tired, although I ended up remaining there for the whole marathon.
I did have a great time, although I wish more people had been in the audience. Maybe 30 people turned up for the first movie; by the time the fourth one ended, the number was down to 10. The Turkey Marathon movies were the kind that improve with a large audience. Still, the people who were there all seemed to be having fun. Tim League introduced the movies and then sat and watched the first two or three—he ran the projector for the final film.
I took advantage of the small audience to nab a sofa. Alamo Downtown has these nice squishy sofas in the back row. I’m not sure if I’d ever seen a movie from the sofas before. I’m not very tall and it’s difficult to see if you’re in the sofa row and the row in front of it is occupied. But no one sat in front of me, so I had a perfect view. I think I should pick the sofas more often, especially if I have someone with me like my boyfriend who can sit on the other half, as opposed to a stranger. (The other half of the sofa I picked had a crack in the seat, so no one wanted to sit there, luckily for me.) Let me tell you, if it weren’t for the comfy sofa I might not have lasted through all four films. I don’t know how those Butt-Numb-a-Thon people last through 24 hours.

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turkey, anyone?

Is anyone going to the Turkey Marathon at Alamo Downtown on Saturday night? It’s only $10 for four movies and it sounds like fun. I haven’t seen any of the four movies: Blood Freak, Silent Night Deadly Night, Darktown Strutters, and Inframan.
I’m not very knowledgeable about what I’ll call the drive-in genre, so it would be quite educational for me. I realized last week that I know next to nothing about the Shaw Brothers, for example. Also, I think I should build up my filmgoing stamina with a good quadruple-feature. (I wanted to brave the 24-hour Butt Numb-A-Thon, but couldn’t get in. Not sure I could last through that many films.)
The only difficulty is that I am a wimpy sort of person who likes to get a good night’s sleep, and the films run from 9:30 pm until dawn. I don’t have an office job, so my sleeping schedule isn’t set in stone, but it’s still tough to stay up all night. So I’m toying with the idea of going, but may wuss out at any moment. If someone else accompanied me, it’d be more fun for both of us, plus I’d be more likely to go at all. (The Beau is uninterested.)
So if you’re thinking of trying the Turkey Marathon, let me know.
Speaking of turkey, I highly recommend reading this charming Thanksgiving tale about turkey and tacos. I would like to note that in my family, oyster dressing and cornbread dressing are not inserted in avian cavities. That just seems … wrong, like yellow turkey gravy (ew, gravy is brown, people) or low-fat pecan pie.

if you must shop on Friday …

Normally I dislike shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. The stores are crazy-crowded and the big retailers’ hype of the amazing sales, getting up at 5 am, blah blah blah just annoys me. I don’t go to malls unless there’s an extremely compelling reason anyway.
But … I am going to one sale tomorrow: Mondo Tees, the t-shirt and poster-selling arm of Alamo Drafthouse, is having a big t-shirt and poster rummage sale on Friday. The sale starts at 5 pm at Alamo Downtown; details are available here. How can you not love a sale that includes free beer?
I wrapped Christmas presents in movie posters one year, which was a lot of fun … if Alamo is giving away free cheesy movie posters I may do it again.
Another cool place for holiday film-related shopping is online: Aurora Picture Show, the Houston alternative-film theater, is holding online auctions for all kinds of goodies. The auction is called Foiley’s and starts Mon. 11/28.
Finally, a friend told me that she saw Christmas cards for the Castro Theatre in a San Francisco store. Has anyone seen these online? And why doesn’t the Paramount Theatre in Austin sell similar cards as a fundraiser? I would buy dozens. Guess I should email the Paramount and suggest it … or if I get my hands on the Castro cards, send them one as a hint.

Holly Hunter made out with Austin Pendleton

I would never have guessed in a million years that I would ever see Holly Hunter and Austin Pendleton a-smooching in a film. I am still somewhat stunned. I also laughed my head off.
I want to write a full review of Home for the Holidays, and I am sure I will at least write a six-minute review. But I am still floored about that scene and had to share. Also, it was very weird that Charles Durning’s character had the same name as my grandfather, because whenever Anne Bancroft started yelling at him to do something, it sounded exactly like my grandmother. If you are in my immediate family (which you are not, unless my youngest brother is visiting … hi!), this alone makes the movie worthwhile.
I watched Home for the Holidays in preparation for an essay I wrote for Cinematical about entertaining dysfunctional families in film. If you are reading this entry shortly after I posted it, you can look in the right-hand column and see a link to the entry, so I didn’t really have to post one in the previous sentence.

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six six-minute reviews: good night, grimm dying jerk

It’s time for another round of Six-Minute Reviews. I have the timer right here. I sent The Beau a long list of movies I hadn’t reviewed, and he sent me a magical URL that picks the titles for me, one at a time, in random order. (I was too lazy to rip up bits of paper and stick them in a hat.)
I have a huge backlog of films to review, including a few I didn’t include on the list because they haven’t been released in theaters yet (like The Ice Harvest). I’m going to review some of those for Cinematical and hopefully will find time to talk about the others here. Maybe they can get more attention than a six-minute review, but don’t count on it. I also didn’t include movies for which I already have a half-written review; I will deal with them later.
But for now, how about six reviews at six minutes each?

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Holidailies and other site news

We started working on Holidailies 2005 this week. For those of you who haven’t heard of this, it’s a collaborative project that I’ve been running every year since 2000, back in the days when I had an online journal and not a film blog. (This is a film blog isn’t it? Well, it was. Obviously I need to write more about film, as soon as possible.)
Holidailies started as an informal group of online journallers who pledged to update their sites every day in December. If you want a laugh, you can still see the Nibelung ring of Holidailies 2001 participants. I wonder how many of those sites are still active?
In the past couple of years, Holidailies has become spiffy and feature-rich and amazing, thanks almost entirely to The Beau, the database and code wrangler. About 120 people posted regularly to the Holidailies portal last year, plus another 50 or so who participated informally. We had a readers’ panel picking Best of Holidailies entries every day, too.
This year Holidailies will be even better. The site now has its own domain, we redecorated it with a new color scheme (I was tired of red and green), and The Beau is working on some more cool features. The new design and features haven’t gone live yet, but keep checking the site because it is going to look fabulous.

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not so easy

We are driving to the greater New Orleans area this weekend. There’s a birthday party for one of my nieces, so it’s a nice opportunity to visit family without all the craziness of a major holiday. It’s also a good opportunity to see the city of New Orleans, post-Katrina, without all the craziness of a major holiday. I did not want my first look at the city to be at Christmas time.
My boyfriend asked me last night what we are going to do, exactly. I’m hoping we can find something fun in the middle of all the devastation and restoration. I’m not sure what. Driving around New Orleans to see how it looks is not exactly fun. Looking at my grandparents’ old house, ruined by flooding, will not be fun at all. Going to the North Shore to see the relatives at my niece’s birthday isn’t sad, and may be interesting, but it’s not exactly a whirlwind of fun.

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