The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – A FDWG Movie Review

Nightmare Before ChristmasHallowe’en this year marked a minor milestone in my house.  After Charlotte got her sackfull of candy, we returned home and watched The Nightmare Before Christmas.  We watched the whole thing, and as far as I can remember this is the first time she’s sat with me and watched an entire full length feature film, animated or otherwise.

This is a Fat Dad With Glasses review, which means I’ll be mostly covering it from the father-of-a-five-year-old-girl angle.  If you want my grown-up independent type view point… Here you go:

Despite being a fresh take, it still features a pretty derivative theme.  However, the movie is very entertaining.  It’s a masterwork of visual and musical achievement.

If you would like that opinion expanded upon… Seriously?  You can go pretty much anywhere else on the internet.  Or bait me with a comment below. It’s shockingly easy to get me to talk about something “I’m not gonna talk about” with comments.

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Phoning It In: Christmas Music

Well, it’s that time of year again.  With only one week until the big day, Christmas Music is once again taking over the airwaves.  And, once again, I got to hear the same joyous chestnut twice today.  Did you know it’s Christmas time?  I was only moderately aware that it was until the song came on and reminded me.  Twice.

It reminded me of a time 5 years plus a week ago when the same thing happened.

A Muppet Family Christmas (1987/89)

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to almost all Christmas media, you might as well call me Scroogey McGrincherson.  I loathe almost all of it.  I can think of maybe 5 Christmas songs that don’t make me want to shove an electric drill into my ear, just to stop the screaming.  Quality “Christmas Specials” are fewer and farther between.  I can tolerate some of the old stop-motion specials.  Mickey’s Christmas Carol is decent enough.  I’ve been known to enjoy the movie “A Christmas Story”, and I’ll acknowledge the existence of some absolutely amazing Christmas episodes of NBC’s Community.  Jim Henson’s The Christmas Toy is also fantastic.  But there is one golden egg, one diamond in the rough, one sparkling jewel of Christmas joy amongst the media-stocking that is otherwise full of Christmas Coal.  That piece of greatness is “A Muppet Family Christmas”.

muppetfamilychristmas

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It’s a New Year

“Hey, Bruce, it’s a new year!  You can finally stop complaining about Christmas stuff, right?”

Wrong.
Holy fuck are you ever wrong.
I’m still complaining about Christmas stuff, because here it is… Christmas is over…  more than 2 weeks have past since 12/25/08 and yet there are those that refuse to let it go.  The those that there are, of course, are those in the business of advertising.  Anyone on radio, or television that created an ad geared towards the Christmas/New Year’s duo, or a “Happy Holidays” jobby, is still running the piss out of their ad on every medium they can manage.

So I say to you, dear advertiser, Stop.  Just fucking stop it right fucking now.  Two weeks.  Get over it.  9 fucking days have past since New Year’s Day.  You shouldn’t even be running the New Year shit anymore.  There are no Holidays left to be happy in.  Not for months.  So just stop it right the fuck now.  I should not have to hear about elves, boxing day, boxing week, Holidays, or any of that other shit for a good long while.

If you’re the advertising director at any form of broadcasting station, be it radio, television, webpage, or even wired telegraph, and someone comes to you this week with any Holiday/New Year themed ad…  I don’t care if it’s a major client, your boss, anyone…  Here’s what I want you to do.

I want you to take out your cell phone.  I know you have one.  Take it out of your pocket, and press the little button that lights up its display.  Now, walk over to whoever presented you with this ad, and show them the date… really, really, close to their face.  Tell them that unless you missed a memo, you’re pretty fucking sure it’s not the Holiday fucking season any more, and stab them in the eye with the pointiest, sharpest edge of your phone.  Grab them by the hair and drag them into your cubicle.  Yes, your cubicle.  I know you’re not nearly important enough to actually have an office.  Point their head at the calendar on your desk.  Ruffle through the pages of the calendar with your free hand.  Ask if they see how many pages are left.  Is there a lot of them left?  If at any point they ask “What?”, I want you to bang their head against the desk.  When they’ve agreed that there are a lot of pages left, tell them the next time they come to you with a Holiday themed ad with that many pages left to a calendar, you’re going to shove a Candy Cane up their ass, twist it around, and break it off.  One for each day left on the calendar before the Holiday season returns.  They’ll know you’re serious, too… because you just got a metric shit-ton of reduced Candy Canes from Wal-mart.  Know why they’re reduced?  ‘Cause it’s not fucking Christmas anymore.

Merry Fuckin’ Christmas

It’s Christmas Day.  Well, more like Christmas Evening, I suppose.  Well, whatever time of day/year it is, it’s fucking Christmas.  Which means there’s only a couple more days left of the shitty Christmas songs, and Radio can soon go back to shitty Nickelback songs.   And stores will soon be able to take down their decorations, and mark them at discount prices.  And people will buy them, even though they’re mostly broken and no one has any use for them at all.  And all the men and children of the world can start playing with all their new toys.

I got quite a few of them, myself.  3 Xbox360 games, powertools, not-so-powertools, flashlights and enough candy to put Jabba the Hutt into a diabetic coma.

Wonka Cheesay Solo.

Now, of course I got more than my share of socks, gloves, clothes and other shitty stuff…  But as I get older–and as the nail that sticks out of our hardwood floors gets hungrier–those gifts become less and less shit, and more appreciated.  Which is frustruating to say the least.

I don’t want to be that old.  Being that old means you’re only a stone’s throw away from saying things like, “Who’s this one from?  I can’t read the tag.”  Or taking twenty minutes to unwrap a single present.  Maybe you’re trying to save the paper… or maybe you don’t have the strength to tug on the goddamn scotch tape and thin paper, either way you’re fucking old.  
It’s funny, too, how many different things people can do that makes them forget how old they are.  Men and toys, for instance, makes them completely unaware of their age.  If a 12 year old boy unwraps a bb gun, or a 80 year old one, they have the same stupid grin.
But with clothes, it’s a whole other story.  When you’re really young, you just throw that shit aside, and wait until it’s time for you to open up something that doesn’t suck.  
Then you get a bit older–still a kid, but don’t think you are–and realize that you could definitely use some new clothes, but don’t want to waste a gift on them.  Now, of course, you don’t want to seem unappreciative, so you fake interest and try to seem grateful as you set them aside and wait until it’s time for you to open up something that doesn’t suck.  
Then you get a bit older still, maybe you’re living on your own or something, and you realize that owning more clothes, specifically in the S&U category, means fewer trips to the laundromat/laundryroom/home to your parents to do laundry.  You’re not really quite faking it any more… you find yourself actually appreciating the clothes on some level as you set them aside and wait until it’s time for you to open up something that doesn’t suck.
Then you get older still, a kid (but probably shouldn’t be) maybe you’ve got kids yourself, and you realize that for all intents and purposes, you’re just too fucking old for Christmas to be about you any more.  You had a hard time telling anyone what they might be able to get for you, because, if you’re lucky, you realize you’ve got what you need and that you’re ahead of pretty much anyone else you can think of.  So you say “Fuck it,” and enjoy and appreciate everything because it’s all icing on a great big fucking awesome cake with chocolate sprinkles and ice cream as you set stuff aside and wait until it’s time for you to open up something else that doesn’t suck.
And if you’re reading that and thinking “Easy for you to be happy, you got like 200 bucks in Xbox games alone,”  Shut the fuck up.  This year I would have been happy getting a Celine Dion CD covered in Donair Sauce, rolled in rice.  ‘Cause I’ve realized I’m too fucking old to expect to get a goddamn thing.  And when you stop expecting everything in life to get handed to you long enough to think of your family, your friends, and all the great fucking things that surround you, Spec-fucking-tacular things start to surround you.
But I still don’t want to be old enough to know that.

Machete License

I’m feeling particularly lazy today. A kind of Garfield lazy, I think. It’s Monday, and even though the day is already over, I still feel like I’m in a box, with the covers over my head, avoiding everything.

I guess that’s because I’m so fucking sick of Christmas, it’s ridiculous. I don’t get excited for it until, maybe, the 23rd. Before that all the rigmarole that everyone is going through just pisses me off to no end. Not so much when it’s those close to me, but when it’s these idiots on the streets or in the stores losing their minds over everything… I start to wish I carried around a machete.

I mean really… this time of year, there should really be a license you can get or something. The Machete license. Pass the machete test, and you get up to 10 machete swings, per week, with total impunity. I’d probably save mine up for any trip to the Dollar Store, but I’m sure I’d spend a few here and there throughout the week. Hack off some guy’s little finger because he’s talking on his cell phone while paying for groceries at the checkout. Take a big chunk out of the shoulder of some useless father who’s letting his 5 year old kid run up and down the aisles at breakneck speed. Get out of the car at a busy intersection and go after the first impatient son of a bitch that honks their horn…

Yeah, I need a machete. My folks were telling me a story today at lunch, and I think the person involved should count themselves damned lucky that the 10 Machete Swing License isn’t available, and that I wasn’t there with one.

If you haven’t seen them before, some local companies have taken to adding “Maternity Parking” spaces in their lots. They’re just next to the Handicap spots, and they’re courtesy of the company for pregnant women, or parents of newborn children.

So on this occasion, apparently all of the Handicap spaces were full, because as already mentioned, it’s almost Christmas. This old guy, handicap sticker and all goes to the store and can’t park in any of the blue spots, so he parked in the Maternity spot, since it was open, and next closest, and he probably would have fallen in half had he tried to walk from the back of the parking lot.

He comes out of the store with his wife, gets to his car–and this is about when my parents pull into the lot–and starts getting screeched at by a pregnant woman, here into referred to as “Nature’s Miracle”, for parking there with his handicap plates and handicap tag hanging in the window. “Don’t you realize those spots aren’t for you? Blah blah, Call the cops, blah blah, I’m pregnant, blah blah, etc.”

Dear Nature’s Miracle, here’s a news flash for you:

Doo Dee Doo Dee Do, Doo Dee Doo Dee Do.
Doo Dee Doo Dee Do, Doo Dee Doo Dee Do.
Those spaces? They’re a courtesy granted to you by the store. They’re completely unenforcable by law. If you had called the cops, they would have told you to calm down, and quit being a fucking nutbar. Would you have gone off half cocked if it had been a car with some 13 year old kid with a case of Cerebral Palsy so bad they could barely move? Yeah, he’s an old guy, and he could walk…. But how far? They got a handicap tag because at some point they could not, under their doctor’s recommendation, walk more than 50 feet unassited. Don’t like it? Call Dr. Hugginstuff and get him to fill in some forms for your temporary handicap parking permit.
Now, while I understand completely that being pregnant is an ordeal I will never, ever fully understand, it doesn’t change some simple facts. One of these facts is that many people are worse off than pregnant women. Many people are so close to falling apart that walking at all is a bad idea, even though they must because they have no other people in their lives to help them get by.
I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you, Nature’s Miracle, but you could argue ’til your face is as blue as the tag in buddy’s window, but it will never, ever give you more of a right to park there than he does, I do, or anyone else. It’s a courtesy extended to you by the company that owns the store you’re shopping in. That’s it. If I want to be an asshole, and park there, the unpregnant man that I am, you can do sweet fuck all about it. At least, not until you get them to pass a law requiring Maternity spaces, protected by the law, in all public parking areas. You do that, and I’ll lobby for my machete license. I bet we’re both in for a helluva long wait.
Besides, it’s Christmas. Calm the fuck down. It could be buddy’s last Christmas. Hell, it could be your last Christmas. Especially if my bill passes first.

Yet Another Reason To Hate

So, after making my post the other day, and linking the “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” video, I half watched it as Mel read the entry.

At 1:18 the line  The bitter sting of tears is sang by none other than Sting himself.  Now I find it hard to believe that they were able to convince Sting that this was a cool idea.  I’d imagine that in the 80s, at the height of his popularity that Sting was probably pretty pretentious.  I could be wrong.  Maybe he didn’t develop that particular trait until years later.  But I imagine he was anyway, because it makes that shot that much funnier to me.

Let’s assume for the sake of our sanity that it was indeed Sting that was singing that line, and that’s why he was lipsyncing it in the video, and not just because Bob wanted to have a nice closeup pun shot for his extremely important and world-saving video.  How exactly did he convince Sting that it wouldn’t be lame for him to sing it?  Did he trick him into singing the entire song, and editted the ol’ Police in for that set of lines?  If he did, is that the whole reason he wrote the line “The only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears”?  
But if you listen to the song, it doesn’t really sound like the voice changes.  Bob’s website says it’s Bono and Sting singing the line.  But, almost 25 years later, I have no troubles whatsoever disbelieving something like that.  I think it’s just Bono singing there.  And that Bob put the closeup on Sting lipsyncing because he could.  I think he tricked Sting into lipsyncing the whole song in front of the microphone, and that he was too stoned to notice that no one else had to do the whole song.  

Sting: Too Stoned To Notice.
I really believe Bob Geldolf is that diabolical.  And that lame.  He’s that diabolically lame.

Christmas Music

Well, it’s finally happened. With only 14 days left to go, Christmas music is finally taking a major share of airtime on the local radio stations. And as anyone who’s met me knows, I fucking love Christmas music. It makes me want to sing in joyous celebration; climb to the highest rooftop and gleefully thank all those around me for their love and appreciation.

I wonder if the sarcasm is as easily read above as I imagine it should be.

I can’t fucking stand Christmas music. It is, without a doubt, the worst form of music there is. Even Christmas tunes from artists and genres I do enjoy suck donkey dick so hard that it turns purple and explodes, donkey erectile blood running all down their faces.

Because the radio is playing a hearty helping of Christmas music now, I got to hear “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” twice today. Two fucking times I had the pleasure of hearing celebrities whose relevance has long since faded caw and croon over the poor unfortunates starving in Africa.

And now, so can you:

Don’t get me wrong. I have no objection to raising the awareness levels world hunger. I can’t stand how much guilt we have to attach to it whenever we try, but I can’t complain about the desire to help others, no matter how much the method might annoy the living piss out of me.

But this one would piss me off even if it wasn’t trying to make me feel like an asshole just because I know I’m going to have a good meal every day–thanks to my darling wife–along with a fantastic string of meals on and around Christmas Day itself. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” would still piss me off, just for the stupid fucking lyrics that don’t directly involve hunger, starvation, glimmers of hope, dying and whathaveyou.

“There won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time.” No fucking shit. You just blew my fucking mind. I hadn’t thought of that. There won’t be snow in Florida either. There won’t be snow on around a third of the land surface of the fucking planet this Christmas. What’s your fucking point?

“The only gift they’ll get this year is life.” And, you know, all the help you’re going to give them, right? You are going to give them help other than just playing this stupid fucking song over and over and over again for the next few weeks until Christmas has passed and a few more children have starved, right? But besides that… what fucking gift am I going to get this year that’s better than life? Did Bob Geldof not even read this shit he was writing? This is some dumb fucking shit.

“Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?” The ones you’re singing about? Probably not. They likely don’t even give a shit–what with the majority of the continent not being fucking Christians and all.

“Feed the World. Let them know it’s Christmas Time.” Yes please. Feed them. But make sure while they’re eating, you let them know about the love of their Lord and Saviour Jesus H. Fucking Christ. Spread the word. SPREAD IT!  Don’t worry about what they believe, or disbelieve, or whatever.  Let them know.

And they keep bringing this thing out. I had to hear it twice today because they recorded a new one 4 years ago. It was the 3rd time they recorded this shit in a studio. Fuck you. It’s not any better, or relevant just because you’ve got Chris “I’m Physically Incapable of Looking More Like a Twat” Martin of Coldplay singing the opening.

He’s right. I physically couldn’t.

I know I shouldn’t hate on a bunch of people putting out a lot of effort to raise awareness of a particular issue. It was supposed to be a timeless, driving force of change, making the western world take a look around and see the shit piled around our own doorsteps. Instead, at best it’s a dated Christmas Carol that gets dusted off once a year to annoy people like me. At worst, it’s a funny reminder of just how much hair human kind was capable of growing, teasing, spraying and weaving 24 years ago. Epic fail, Bob. Epic fucking fail.

Christmas Trees

So… Yeah… I fucking hate Christmas Trees. I bet whatever German/Dutch asshole that first had the idea was a fucking masochist assburger. Seriously. Did he–no wait… it had to be a woman. Did she really think it was a good idea?

“Dieter, I have a vunderful idea.”

“Ja?”

“Let’s haul a living tree into our home, and decorate it with candles while saying a prayer for ze Baby Jesus.”

“Ja…”

Little did poor Dieter realize that this was actually punishment from his wife for the piss poor job he had done farming that year. If Dieter had done a better job raising cattle or sheep or hemp or whatever the hell they farmed in Central Europe in those days… we wouldn’t have Christmas Tree Fights today.

And tonight I, for one, am particularly pissed at Dieter for his fuckup. Because of him–and, of course, myself–I got to have my second… that’s right second Christmas Tree Fight of the Holiday season.

“But Bruce… I just saw Mel’s Blog… Wasn’t your Christmas Tree already up?”

You’re fuckin’ right it was up.

About 2 hours ago, Mel asks me if I think the tree is falling over. It looks like it has a slight lean to it, sure.

“But I think it’s just at the top, there. The star’s leaning that top branch over pretty good, and it looks like the whole tree’s slanted,” I reply even though I can clearly see that the bottom of the tree itself has a bit of a lean to it. But it looks sturdy enough. Fuck it. It’s not going anywhere.

Then, 20 or so minutes ago now, I’m in the shitter, reading the copy of Casino Royale that I found in a scrap car this past summer. And I hear a thud.

“Guess I was wrong,” I called out as I reached for the arsewipe.

Savage at myself for putting the tree up wrong in the first place, compounded by the fact that I didn’t fix it when it was mentioned, tripled by the fact that the water in the stand splashed over Mel’s presents under the tree, ruining one of them and fucking up the paper pretty good on three others, I started in on what would become my second fucking Christmas Tree Fight of 2008. Run-on Sentences RULE!

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fucking Dieter, I hate you, you mankind dooming, self loathing, shit for brains douche-hat.