The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 3

James Proclaims (6)

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Another day, another Christmas(ish) film.

But just what is behind door number 3?

Goodness me, it’s Lethal Weapon.

Which is, surprisingly enough, another Shane Black film. Although he’s not the director this time, but he did write the script.

Richard Donner was the man in the director’s chair (he also directed Superman the Movie and The Goonies, so is second only to George Lucas in the cinematic narrative of my childhood).

I’ve loved this film since I was a teenager so it’s pretty hard to be impartial.

I think I probably taped it off the telly but it was always one of my ‘go-to’ movies in the halcyon days when I actually had time to sprawl on the sofa and devote hours at a time to watching stuff and ignoring my homework.

Still, it holds up pretty well today, albeit the eighties soundtrack and Mel Gibson’s mullet do date it a little. It’s fun, fast-paced and comes in at under two hours, which is all I really ever require from a film.

Score for Christmasishness

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Like the previous two entries, Christmas is not the central theme to this movie, but it does manage to neatly weave Christmas into the plot at times – the drugs bust and subsequent shoot-out at a Christmas tree dealer is a nice touch, as is the ‘Dear Bad Guys’ note that is left on a Christmas tree for Garey Busey’s ‘Mr Joshua’ prior to the finale.

The movie gets  a bonus Christmas Tree for the carol-singing cops.

Plus the film opens and closes with Christmas music so I’m not sure what else you can ask for from a Christmas movie.

Except maybe a bit less violence and death.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like… No, My Mistake – It’s Looked Like This For A While…

James Proclaims (4)

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And so today is the last day of November.

Which is a good thing, because November is rubbish.

But tomorrow is December.

And December is better.

Because it means that Christmas is coming, and Christmas is good.

That said, Christmas has been very much on the agenda for a while now. I think my ‘office’ Christmas party was being discussed as far back as June, and certainly large sections of major retail outlets have been dedicated to festive fare for more than a few months now.

Throughout November innumerable towns and cities have turned on their Christmas lights. The John Lewis Christmas ad has been launched to the usual misplaced fervour of excitement, although this year it seems to be the subject of controversy on the basis that they nicked the idea off a children’s book. I thought that stealing the work of others was par for the course in advertising, but people are upset because the John Lewis advert is meant to be its own artistic endeavour for some reason. I suppose it has been a Christmas ‘tradition’ since 2007 so you can understand why people are upset.

Perhaps, more controversially, some people are claiming that this year’s Debenhams Christmas advert is better than the John Lewis one anyway.

So basically, Christmas is ruined already.

Although, now I think about it, the only John Lewis Christmas ad I can even remember is the one that had the penguin in it and apparently that was way back in 2014, so clearly, I haven’t been paying much attention to them anyway.

The penguin ad was pretty cool though.

Or was it?

I can’t actually remember.

But penguins are always cool, so it must’ve been ok.

Anyway, the point is that Christmas is almost upon us.

And, once December arrives, the Christmas cacophony just gets louder and louder, be it retailers who want to deprive me of my last few pennies, or everyone wanting to know what my plans for the festive period are (I don’t have any – I never have any, beyond eating lots of food and watching lots of telly and maybe, if push comes to shove and I really have no alternative, spending time with other people).

The 1st December also brings with it the magic of the Advent calendar. I always get a chocolate Advent calendar. I’ve had one every year for as long as I can remember.

Actually, that’s not true – I can remember when I was a small child having to make do with a picture-based Advent calendar, like a chump, but at some point I was upgraded to chocolate and I haven’t looked back since.

I’d genuinely be upset if I didn’t get one this year.

I’m 38.

Anyway, these days there are lots of other kinds of advent calendars available as retailers try to make us part with even more of our hard-earned cash. You can get beer, prosecco and even Lego Advent calendars to name but a few.

I’m not sure how I feel about any of those.

I’m happy with a daily bite of, often poor-quality, chocolate.

I’d certainly be disappointed if presented with the Kellogg’s Variety Pack Advent calendar, which I saw in a supermarket yesterday. Cereal variety packs are for summer staycations, not for counting down to Christmas and frankly, even if every door was Co Co Pops it wouldn’t be great but you know that some doors are definitely going to be Corn Flakes. Corn Flakes have no business in an Advent Calendar!

Still the Advent calendar craze is the inspiration for the next adventure on James Proclaims as, starting tomorrow, I will dazzle the blogosphere with a daily review of a film.

A film that is a bit Christmassy.

I’m calling it The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films.

To qualify the film (or TV special in some cases) has to have some link to Christmas. It also has to be something I plan to watch in the next few weeks (or have already watched so many times that re-watching it is unnecessary) which would rule out a number of films that other people seem to really enjoy around this time of year.

Like 2003’s ‘Elf’. Because although I have seen it, I don’t remember enough about it to write a review of it, but I do remember enough to know that I didn’t really like it that much. I know other people like it, but those people are wrong. Having said that, I did enjoy the 2014 cartoon-musical version of it voiced by Sheldon off of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and Mark Hamill off of ‘Star Wars’, but I won’t be including that either.

Worry not though, for that still leaves plenty of Christmas(ish) films to choose from.

Indeed I’m still not sure how I’m going to get it down to just 24 films.

But I will.

So get ready for a feast of festive films.

Yule Love it!*

 

 

 

*Bonus points if you can recall which Christmas Film that particular line is from.

Let’s All Just Take A Moment to Acknowledge My Momentous Achievement

James Proclaims (4)

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This month I have derided, mocked and otherwise made-fun of various November ‘traditions’. Many of my posts this month have been mock-ups of potential novels in an affectionate sendup of National Novel Writing Month, while I have also derided (at times with a touch less affection) such November notables as Movember, Black Friday (and it’s even stupider sibling ‘Cyber Monday’) and World Sandwich Day.

All the while though, I have been participating in the bloggiest of all the November novelties. For I have been ‘secretly’ participating in National Blog Posting Month (or NaBloPoMo) for which the goal is to produce a blog post for every day of November. That’s thirty posts in thirty days.

As a writing challenge it’s much easier than NaNoWriMo, but it’s still no mean feat I can tell you.

I haven’t been this productive on my blog since I did the same challenge two years ago.

Back then I swore I’d never do it again, because it’s really hard think of sufficient things to write about in order to produce that many posts.

Out of desperation I did stupid things during my 2015 NaBloPoMo challenge, such as writing a post on November 5th saying I couldn’t think of anything to write about. This was ludicrous for two reasons, firstly the ‘I can’t think of anything to write about’ post is all well and good later on in the month but using it up on day 5 was throwing away a potential lifeline very early on. Also, it was Guy Fawkes Night, so I should have just written about that. You’ll note I did not make the same mistake this year and Mr Fawkes very firmly had his place within my 2017 November challenge.

Anyway, today marks the day that I have achieved the thirty posts in thirty days challenge. It’s a day before the end of November because I posted on the last day of October.

Because that was Halloween, which seemed an obvious thing to blog about when trying to generate lots of content.

However, in the spirit of this being a November-specific challenge I will post something tomorrow too.

It will be an explanatory post about what will be happening on this blog during the month of December.

Because I’m extending this blogging party right up until Christmas and possibly beyond.

Do try and contain your excitement.

Not NaNoWriMo – Part 12

James Proclaims (4)

As November draws to a close, so too must my series of not-novels that I won’t be writing for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

If you’re actually participating in NaNoWriMo, and you haven’t yet given up, then worry not – you still have another two days to hit the coveted fifty-thousand-word count. Also, I salute you, I don’t think, in previous years when I have tried to do NaNoWriMo, that I ever made it past day 15, and even that year I’d really started to fade quite badly by around day 8.

But for my little series lampooning the modern novel, this is the twelfth and (for the time being) final contribution.

To be honest I’m amazed I’ve managed to churn out this many.

When I came up with the concept at the start of the month I only anticipated producing five. But it seems that, while I’ve oft struggled to find the requisite inspiration to produce my own novel, I seem to have no difficulty in finding the inspiration to mock the novels of others.

I’m not sure what that says about me as a person.

Probably nothing good.

But I’ve quite enjoyed it.

Particularly the fact that some people have told me that they would actually buy and read some of these nonsensical novels.

To be fair, they’d probably all sell a lot better than the kind of introspective, self-indulgent lament on modernity that would inevitably be the focus of any novel I might actually be bothered to produce.

And high sales figures is the motivation behind today’s, final, entry into the collection:

Dan Brown

What’s that?

You were hoping for an action-packed thriller starring everyone’s favourite ‘Symbologist’ Robert Langdon? You wanted a slightly incoherent plot underpinned by historical inaccuracy, written with questionable grammar and sentences like “the tall man picked up the big red book”?

You wanted conspiracy theories, implausible dialogue and easy-to-spot plot twists?

Sorry, you won’t find any of that here.

This is a slow-moving piece of high-brow literary fiction about the ruminations of a retired postal worker as he comes to grip with the passing of time and the ever-changing state of the world around him. ‘Dan Brown’ is the eponymous hero of the story, not the author. The author is me. James Proclaims. Surely that’s abundantly clear if you look at the cover of the book?

DAN Brown

No, you can’t have your money back.

A Slightly Confusing Metaphor To Illustrate How Utterly Redundant Cyber Monday Is As A Concept.

James Proclaims (4)

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Sometimes I like to think of Black Friday as the ‘bad guy’ in a second-rate action flick. He’s over-the-top and stupid, but poses a genuine threat to our hero – ‘Captain Common-Sense’.

Oh no! How will Captain Common-Sense survive that unbeatable deal on headphones? How will he remember that he already owns a perfectly good pair of headphones? Headphones that he barely uses anyway. With deals that good, surely, he’s going to be tempted to part with his hard-earned cash on another frivolous purchase. Curse you Black Friday!

Of course, if the movie runs true to form, Captain Common-Sense beats the temptations of Black Friday and wins the day.

And although it’s a genuinely dreadful film, the battle between Black Friday and Captain Common-Sense does well enough at the box office to merit a sequel.

And the sequel is vastly inferior to the already-bad original.

Because in an attempt to make a bigger, more compelling bad-guy, the studio massively misjudges what made the first film popular, which was that, although kind-of inane, Black Friday poses a genuine threat to the wallet of Captain Common-Sense because his deals are ‘for a limited time only’. That’s where the jeopardy is.

So, given that Captain Common-Sense has now prevailed, for any kind of sequel to work, the bad-guy needs to be a bit different.

Not exactly the same but with a different name.

And as far as I can see, the only difference between a ‘deal’ on Cyber Monday as opposed to a ‘deal’ on Black Friday, is that the Black Friday fake deals are available online and in-store, whereas Cyber Monday fake deals can only, by definition, be online. So Cyber Monday is exactly the same as Black Friday, only not as good.

And given that Black Friday is already pointless, Cyber Monday must therefore be worse than pointless.

And on that note…

Happy Cyber Monday everyone!

Let’s Make A Day Of It

James Proclaims (4)

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I enjoy a made-up-day as much as anyone. This month alone we’ve observed ‘World Sandwich Day’, ‘World Television Day’, ‘World Toilet Day’, ‘World Kindness Day’, ‘Beaujolais Nouveau Day’ and the ever-ridiculous ‘Black Friday’.

And those are just the ones I’ve mentioned on this blog. I missed the opportunity to cover ‘Hug-a-Bear Day’, ‘Spicy Guacamole Day’ and the truly oxymoronic ‘Use Your Common-Sense Day’ which are apparently also November ‘events’

But today brings a rare treat, for whoever organises the ‘World Days’ has made a double booking. That’s right, November 26th allows us to celebrate two different causes concurrently (well three if you count International Aura Awareness Day, but I’m afraid that might be a step too far for me)

Although there is a slight conflict of interests.

For today is apparently ‘Anti-Obesity day’ and, simultaneously, ‘World Cake Day’.

It does cause something of a quandary.

How can I support both days?

My only conclusion is that I must eat all the cakes, to save everyone else from obesity.

You’re welcome.

Not NaNoWriMo – Part 11

James Proclaims (4)

Back by ‘popular’ demand, here is my eleventh suggestion for a novel that I could have attempted to write during the annual novel-writing festival that is NaNoWriMo.

But to be clear, I’m not writing any of them.

Because they are not good ideas.

And today’s ‘not good idea’ is the following:

Children Of Dystopia

Are you a young adult (or do you fit into the incredibly vague parameters of what might qualify as a young adult)?

If the answer is yes, then maybe you’d like ‘Papier Mache Gorillas’, one of my earlier efforts at a potential YA novel. Or maybe you’d enjoy ‘The Golden Socks’ a magical children’s novel that should appeal to all ages.

But if they both seem a little too saccharine for your tastes, then maybe you’d prefer something a little darker.

If so, does the idea of a dystopian world appeal? One where troubled teens do battle for some hard-to-define reason? Perhaps where many of the main characters meet violent and disturbing ends at regular intervals?

Perhaps you like your fiction bleak, humourless and set in a nightmare version of the future, a sort of ‘1984’ for young people but nowhere near as inciteful or reflective as Orwell’s masterpiece.

Despite the carnage and brutal loss of life, some of the main characters will make it to the end of the novel and there will be the beginnings of a romance forming between two of the central characters, but don’t get too attached, because there will be more death, destruction and trauma in the ensuing sequels, before the trilogy of novels concludes with the toppling of the antagonistic and corrupt authority figures and an ensuing, albeit vague, sense of optimism. Nonetheless any survivors will be so traumatised that there’s no conceivable way they can ever hope to recover any semblance of joy in their lives.

Enjoy it all again as the trilogy gets made into a series of films, although you’ll no doubt be infuriated beyond all level of reason with the inevitable plot changes that will be required to make the big screen adaptation of a such a convoluted plot even remotely possible.

The Lone Planet

Happy Black Friday Day

James Proclaims (4)

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Well, here we are again, at the culmination of the Black Friday celebrations. After an exciting ‘Black Friday Week’ in which the deals were, quite literally, too good to be true, we arrive at the day itself.

Black Friday Day.

Surely everyone’s favourite day of the year.

A magical day.

I’ve already bought five new TVs this morning alone.

It’s just a shame I’ve got to go to work, or I’d have probably bought another one.

To go with the sixth new sofa I’ve purchased.

Two years ago, I wrote about what a bizarre concept Black Friday is, particularly the preposterous way we have appropriated it here in the UK.

I’d have been totally fine with us appropriating Thanksgiving, which as far as I can tell is a bit like Christmas but in November.

I could get on board with that.

But Black Friday without a preceding Thanksgiving is lamentable.

Obviously because I wrote about it two years ago, there’s no point in me rehashing the same arguments – they haven’t changed so you can read them again by clicking here.

Did you read it?

Don’t I make a compelling case?

So why is it still going on?

Can someone please sort this out?

Or at least make the supposed ‘deals’ actually worthwhile?

I don’t want to be having this conversation next year.

It needs to stop.

I’m Still Not Entirely Sure What It’s All About…

James Proclaims (4)

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Is that the correct greeting today?

I don’t know. I’m British. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving over here. Or I don’t anyway. I can’t speak for all British people (unlike many Brexiteers who think it’s perfectly fine to speak for all British people all of the time…)

But I’m not familiar with anyone celebrating it over here.

I don’t think we even know what it is.

I wrote a blog post about how I didn’t really know what it was two years ago.

I still haven’t bothered to find out.

And I still haven’t tried Pumpkin Pie.

I don’t know if it’s even possible to get Pumpkin Pie in the UK without learning how to make it myself. And I’m not going to do that.

I mean maybe I’d bother to find out about Thanksgiving if my boss would allow me to honour my US heritage and have the day off.

But he won’t.

And there’s no way he can possibly know I was lying about having US heritage.

But if you are someone who knows what Thanksgiving is and actively celebrates it, then I really hope you’re having a good one.

Not NaNoWriMo – Part 10

Have I really come up with ten of these?

Well no, as it happens I’ve come up with eleven.

But this is the tenth.

The eleventh is coming soon.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Let’s just enjoy number ten.

For it is the wonderful:

Quest Fallen

If you like Sci-Fi and Fantasy, then you’ll love this. I mean if I ever write it obviously. Which I won’t.

But which is it?

Sci-Fi or Fantasy?

They aren’t the same thing you know.

Aren’t they?

Really?

In that case it’s probably safer to say it’s Fantasy because there won’t be anything remotely scientifically credible in it.

Or maybe there will be.

I don’t know.

 I don’t even know what it’s about. But there will be unpronounceable names. Of both people and places. And battles. And strange creatures.

And probably far too much about the politics of the made-up world in which it is set.

And not a single hint of anything resembling humour.

Because this is a serious genre and should be regarded as such.

Quest Fallen