Weekend Double Dirt: Christmas movie countdown


Daily Dirt for Nov. 13, 2021

Starting a new holiday tradition with the 30-for-30 holiday film countdown

Traditions come. Traditions go. And somewhere, traditions start. Today is that day as we unveil the Muddy River News holiday movie countdown. Sit back, grab that Mountain Dew with crushed ice and enjoy. Welcome to Vol. 126 of the Daily Dirt and the three thoughts that make up each and every edition.

1. This time of year is built around warm thoughts, warm food … and movies.

We’re “that close” to the start of the holiday season, the trifecta of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Maybe, just maybe, we could add a new tradition to the mix.How about “30 films in 30 days”? They all have some sort of Christmas theme intertwined in the plot, and by watching one film a day, starting this evening, we’ll complete the task around midway through December — helping create an added accent to the heart of the holiday season.

Today I’ll showcase the first 10 movies on our list, revealing Nos., 30 through 21:

30. “Batman Returns”: Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman is only one of the highlights in a film called “one of the darkest superhero movies ever made, and the Christmas noir elements make the story even chillier,” reports slashfilm.com

29. “Holiday Affair”: Robert Mitchum stars (as a guy named Steve, no less!) in this lighthearted look at economic hardship around the holidays.

28. “A Christmas Carol”: This is the 1951 version of Charles Dickens’ legendary tale.

27. “We’re No Angels”:Humphrey Bogart on a holiday movie list? Bazinga!

26. “Meet Me in St. Louis”: Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” makes this one a must.

25. “Home Alone”:The only Macaulay Culkin film worth watching.

24. “The Bishop’s Wife”: An oldie but goodie, featuring Cary Grant and Loretta Young.

23. “The Santa Clause”:Tim Allen accidentally kills Santa Clause. Ho! Ho! Ho!

22. “The Lemon Drop Kid”: This 1951 film introduced us to “Silver Bells.”

21. “Christmas in Connecticut”:Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan bring to life this highly acclaimed 1945 film. Dennis Morgan was one of the most underrated movie stars of his time.

2. If I had it to do all over again …

  • I would have learned to drive a stick shift.
  • I would have owned a truck.
  • I would have learned how to ice skate.
  • I would have learned how to bat left-handed.
  • I would have learned how to swim.
  • I would have visited Europe. (Actually, this is an outright lie. There’s no way I’d ever fly over an ocean. In fact, I have no interest in ever flying — again. I flew in 1969 over Lake Erie, and once I was that far up in the air — and over water, no less — cured me for life.)
  • I would have learned to ride a horse, but I would have wanted nothing to do with cleaning out a stable. I would have just wanted to show up and hop on the saddle.
  • I might have considered being a lumberjack.
  • I would have learned to communicate with a foreign language. I took four years of French in high school, but the only part of that language I really learned was “French fries.”
  • I would have become the lead singer of a Rod Stewart cover band. Wake up, Maggie, I think I got something to say to you.

3. My three favorite items to order at Culver’s:

  • The two-piece cod dinner, with broccoli and krinkle-cut fries as my sides. Culver’s has the greenest broccoli in town. This combo is — say it with a Spanish accent — el magnifico!
  • Two scoops of chocolate custard on a wafer cone. Not the sugar cone, the wafer cone. That’s very important.– The hot fudge sundae with whipped cream and a cherry, or cherries. 
  • Either a single or double butterburger. Plain, of course. And with krinkle fries. Two scoops of Blackberry cobbler or Andes Mint (or both) custard in a cup. It’s important to effectively alternate between cones and cups.

Daily Dirt for Nov. 14, 2021
Some bad, bad holiday songs … and the movie countdown continues

We could have started off with “Jingle Bells” or “Frosty the Snowman,” but we didn’t. I’ll leave it right there as you wander through today’s three thoughts in Vol. 127 of the Daily Dirt.

1. We’re hearing them already. Almost daily, more and more radio stations are breaking out the holiday music — but not all such songs are classics.

Not all carry messages of love and peace. Take, for example, the following … it’s our medal winners for the worst-ever songs of the holiday season:

Bronze medal”: “Please, Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk on Christmas” (John Denver): Really, John? Really?

Silver Medal: “Santa Claus Has Got the AIDs” (Tiny Tim): For those who remember Tiny Tim, a song like this is probably not a surprise. For those who have no idea who Tiny Tim — the “entertainer,” not the subject of a Dickens novel — was, go look up some information on him. Right now.

Gold medal: “The Little Drummer Boy” (David Bowie and Bing Crosby): Years ago, when I first saw the video of this I thought it was a spoof. No, it was (an attempt to be) serious. It simply didn’t work. The only way this presentation could have been worse was to have had Bowie wearing a matching cardigan.Honorable mention: “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo,” from the South Park show on the Cartoon Network.

2. We continue the “30 for 30” holiday movie countdown. Today we reveal Nos. 20 through 11.

20. “Edward Scissorhands”: Johnny Depp stars in this romantic fantasy set around Christmas time.

19. “Holiday Inn”: This 1942 classic introduced “Whit Christmas” to the world.

18. “Elf”:This might be one of only about three or four films starring Will Ferrell worth viewing.

17. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”:A cartoon film for the entire family.

16. “Scrooged”: Bill Murray adds a new take on Charles Dickens.

15. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”: OK, the kids get the TV for this one.

14. “The Muppet Christmas Carol”:This one, too.

13. “While You Were Sleeping”: A perfect Sandra Bullock holiday vehicle.

12. “The Ref”: An underrated holiday-themed film that stars Denis Leary. If for no other reason than Leary, this film deserves a watch.

11. “Trading Places”: Nothing accents the holiday like this Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd classic.

The countdown concludes tomorrow with Nos. 10 through 1.

3. In no particular order, five grocery-store cookies the world could do without: 

Nutter Butter: These the peanut butter family member the Reese’s clan kicked out. They’re simply terrible.

Any Newton that is not a Fig: Get rid of all of the figgy cousins that are showcased with different fruit flavors. They are not wanted.

Any Newton that IS a Fig: And for that matter, neither is the patriarch. No self-respecting snackologist should be caught with a package of Newtons, fig or otherwise.

Oreos: For all of my nearly 68 years I have felt Oreos were given birth to by some combination of chalk and dust. (For the record, I’m talking about the original Oreos brand. Some of the offshoots are passable, like the blonde Oreos, which, in fact, are pretty good.)

Double Stuf Oreos: The only thing worse than the regular Oreo? Yep, one that is twice as big as the original.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. His life is a Hallmark movie.

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