Christmas is coming

Just need to make it through today. And then it’s here. December is upon us, following that cruel calendar trick that brought Thanksgiving to us way too early.

Tomorrow begins for me, among other things, 25 days of watching Christmas-themed movies and TV shows. My general rule is don’t watch anything produced in a year beginning with 2. My one exception? Bad Santa, probably my favorite Christmas movie of all time. I call it “new,” but even that one’s 15 years old now.

When my students and I discussed Christmas movies today not a single one of my 11-year-olds had heard of it.

Thank God.

I don’t hate everything… this movie was great

Months ago I put a movie called Book Club in my Netflix queue. Released in May I had completely forgotten about it until it showed up at my house a few days ago. I figured if First Wives Club was funny this one would be too.

It’s not First Wives Club at all. It’s not man-hating or over-the-top girl power or anything like that. Yeah, the men in the movie are pretty one dimensional, but the women are actually compelling as characters and move the story forward. Plus they’re funny. And no one is taking this too seriously.

Ten of the most well-known actors of the past 40 years or so top the bill (yes, you read that correctly) and everyone hits his or her mark like someone who’s 40 years into a great acting career. Resting on laurels? Not really. There’s a sincerity in each role that goes beyond your average chick flick.

The film is directed by Bill Holderman. Who’s Bill Holderman? Alexa doesn’t even know. Guy doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. He’s gonna be our generation’s Garry Marshall if he can put together movies like this one. He and cowriter Erin Simms bring us quick, witty banter that is worthy of Nora Ephron. Dare I say Ephronian.

There’s a plot in there somewhere. Several actually. But it’s all about the people. Little stories. Their stories. Our stories. And you realize your life isn’t as weird as you thought it was.

Or maybe it is and you’re actually in a movie.

Hope it’s directed by Bill Holderman.

Weak end to weird show

I finally got around to seeing the final season of House of Cards this weekend. This is the show that I used to watch an entire season the first weekend it dropped.

It got weird the last few seasons. Weirder still without Kevin Spacey. And a weak end to an increasingly weak series.

But I just had to see how it ended.

And now I have.

Black Friday

I’ve never been involved in a “Black Friday” sale. I can barely handle shopping on a Tuesday afternoon; I’m not doing it with a bunch of clowns in the middle of the night.

My plan today?

Newspaper, leftovers, sports, repeat.

Actually that’s every day of my life.

Wouldn’t have it any other way.

IHOP brings it with Grinch-themed menu

I have never seen the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Won’t see the new version either, out in theatres now so I’ve heard.

Don’t need to. I’ve seen the 1966 cartoon and nothing could possibly top that.

Green pancakes and green hot chocolate, however, at IHOP? Yes, yes, yes. My take? Two green thumbs up.

And the world just keeps on getting better.

An Irish Thanksgiving

While the rest of the country looks forward to Thanksgiving I am looking forward to Saturday evening, when the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame bring their act on the road to LA to face the USC Trojans. (A Hollywood ending to their regular season?) The Irish enter the game 11-0, a victory no doubt assuring them a spot in the College Football Playoff. This game follows the team’s one-sided victory Saturday against Syracuse, who came in to the game ranked in the top 15 for the first time since I believe 1987. (Well, not really that long.) The game was played at Yankee Stadium, and it’s been a while since I saw a team play that well in pinstripes. Actually, the Irish didn’t even play great, which makes their (potentially) three final contests that much more interesting. This team playing its best can compete with anyone.

But first they’ve got to make it in Hollywood.

A little too much

Gary Giddins’ new biography of Bing Crosby, nearly two decades in the making (“part one” was released at the beginning of this century) should be the kind of book that’s right up my alley. It’s more than 700 pages long, covering exactly six years of Crosby’s life. Yup, it just focuses on “the war years,” 1940-1946.

You know those people who bore us on social media with pictures of what they eat for lunch every day?

That’s this book.