The Five Best Contemporary Christmas Movies

Five Best Christmas Movies
Is There A Problem Officers? Eddie Murphy in Trading Places.

If the weather outside is frightful, watching these five contemporary Christmas movies will make you feel delightful. I try to watch all the following Christmas movies at least once during the holiday season. There are of course the classic movies like A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) and It’s a Wonderful Life. I like these films, but I tend to enjoy contemporary Christmas flicks more, maybe because I haven’t seen them quite as often.

5. Trading Places (1983)

Wealthy brothers Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche) Duke make a one-dollar bet, on whether genetics or environment influences a person’s behavior.  The pair orchestrate an elaborate plan to send cultured snob Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Ackroyd) into abject poverty and poor street hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) straight into Winthorp’s lavish lifestyle.

five best Christmas movies
Happy New Year! Ackroyd and Murphy.

When Billy Ray finds out what the Dukes have been up to, he and Louis team up with prostitute Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Butler Coleman (Denholm Elliot) to turn the tables on the wealthy brothers.

I’ve been watching Trading Places every Christmas since I was a teenager. It’s hilarious and features some stand-out performances, specifically from Denholm Elliot. And watch for a very young Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul), in a jail cell scene with Eddie Murphy.

4.The Family Stone (2005)

Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) brings his uptight girlfriend, Meredith Morton (Sarah Jessica Parker), home for the holidays to meet his unconventional family. A prude, Meredith feels like Everett’s whole family hates her.  So she calls her sister Julie (Claire Danes), asking her to come to Connecticut so she’ll have an ally.

Five favourite Christmas Movies
Odd Woman Out: The Family Stone

The Family Stone also stars Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson as Everett’s parents Sybil and Kelly, Luke Wilson as his brother Ben and Rachel McAdams as his sister Amy. My favorite line in this movie is when Meredith, upset with  Everett’s family, is out at a local bar with Ben. He tells Meredith she just needs to be herself. “You have a freak flag. You just don’t fly it.”  Continue reading “The Five Best Contemporary Christmas Movies”

Films, Hot Men

A Funny (And Painful) Thing Happened On My Way To TIFF

Hugh Jackman
A True Gentleman: The ever-gracious and classy Hugh Jackman at TIFF.

I’m still not sure if my baby finger is broken or just badly bruised but I twisted it pretty badly on a GO Train door between rail cars yesterday. I was headed downtown with my friend Nikki to see Hugh Jackman at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) yesterday.

Today, I still have no idea what the extent of the damage is. I can tell you one thing, though – as swollen as my finger got yesterday, there wasn’t a chance in hell I was missing the Red Carpet Premiere of Hugh Jackman’s new movie The Frontrunner at Ryerson Theatre yesterday.

A Smile And A Wink

Finger Woes: I bought a finger splint as a temporary measure.

Was it worth a swollen finger in the end? Hugh arrived just as the movie was starting and headed inside. I was a little worried it was all for naught, but as he passed me and the other people (mainly women) I’d been waiting with all afternoon, he waved at us and said “Don’t worry, I’m coming back out.”

He spent a lot of time with the crowd once he returned, autographing items and posing for pictures. As soon as I got a wink and smile from Hugh after I’d thanked him for autographing the picture I’d brought, the throbbing in my finger magically disappeared!

Of course the pain has returned today, with a vengeance. But, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do and to meet and talk with Hugh Jackman again this year was worth the price of a damaged pinky.

The Frontrunner is the story of American Senator Gary Hart’s presidential campaign in 1988. His campaign was destroyed when he was caught cheating on his wife. It opens in theaters on November 21.

Hugh Jackman
He’s Baaack!: Hugh returning to fans.

Hugh Jackman
Horsing Around: Hugh posing for a selfie.


Step Brothers: What Not To Do in a Job Interview

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Step Brothers. Sony Pictures.

If you’ve ever seen the movie Step Brothers, which was released in theaters 10 years ago today, you will know that there’s at least one, albeit extreme, life lesson included – what not to do in a job interview.

Life goes haywire for Dale Doback and Brennan Huff at the start of the film when their parents, Robert and Nancy, meet at a conference, fall in love and get married. The pair are thrust together in the same house and even have to share a bedroom. Although this is a common occurrence for a lot of children in modern families these days, the main difference here is that Dale and Brennan are 40-year-old men.

Sibling Rivalry

Things get off to a rough, and hilarious, start for the new step brothers, played by John C. Reilly (Dale) and Will Ferrell (Brennan), who were brought together not only by circumstance but by their sheer and utter laziness. Each has lived with his respective parent his whole life and they despise each other on sight, which eventually culminates in a knock-down, drag-out fight on their parent’s lawn, the repercussions of which include a TV ban during Shark Week. But even worse, they both have to find a job.

That same day, after a family dinner, Dale punches Brennan’s egotistical, ass-hat brother Derek (Adam Scott) in the face, gaining Brennan’s respect and the two discover they have much more in common than not. “Did we just become best friends?” Brennan asks. “Yep!” Dale replies.

Dale’s long-suffering father Robert (Richard Jenkins) and Brennan’s mom Nancy (Mary Steenburgen) pull some strings and get the two man-childs job interviews at several potential workplaces. For anyone who has ever been on lot of job interviews, watching the two of them show up wearing tuxedos, interviewing as a team, pushing people out of their way as they strut through a reception area and Dale yelling, “We’re here to f*ck sh*t up!” will find this scene extremely cathartic.
Continue reading “Step Brothers: What Not To Do in a Job Interview”

Films, Hot Men

A Closeted Tom Cruise Fan Comes Out

I hate to admit this, but I love Tom Cruise. Not Tom Cruise the brain-washed Scientology fool with his arranged relationships/marriages/couch jumping antics, I’m talking Tom Cruise the actor. And before you say you can’t stand him or “he makes my skin crawl,” you must admit the man can act. And very often, he can act well. The first film I remember seeing him in was Risky Business (1983). Admit it ladies, I know I wasn’t the only teenage girl at the time who enjoyed watching him dancing around in tighty whities in his parent’s living room, singing along with Bob Seger.

Tom Cruise
Interview With Vampire: Louis and Lestat.

And let’s not forget Cruise’s chilling portrayal of one of my favourite literary characters, The Vampire Lestat, alongside the equally hot and talented Brad Pitt (who co-starred as Louis), in Interview With The Vampire (1994).  I wasn’t all that confident about Cruise playing Lestat when the casting was first announced. But when I sat down in the movie theater and he appeared onscreen, I changed my mind in a hurry. If that movie didn’t get your blood pumping, I’m not sure what would. 

Cruise was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, in his role as Frank T.J. Mackey in Magnolia in 1999. He has also won Golden Globe Awards. But anyone who had to sit through the hot mess that was The Mummy (2017)  would not be surprised to learn that the film garnered him a 2018 Razzie Award for Worst Actor. Continue reading “A Closeted Tom Cruise Fan Comes Out”


Terminator Genisys Does Not Disappoint

The Terminator is my favourite movie of all time so although I was excited to see Terminator Genisys, I wasn’t expecting much. So when Dougie and I went to see it yesterday, I couldn’t believe how giddy I got at times. The visual recreations of the T-101 and Kyle Reese’s arrivals in 1984 were absolutely spot on; the naked Terminator’s conversation with the punks and even Kyle Reese’s momentary stop in the department store to grab a jacket and the exact same pair of Nike running shoes he wore in the original film. They got everything right, including the dialogue – and I should know, I’ve seen The Terminator enough times that I’ve practically memorized every line. Keep Reading!