Friday, December 4, 2015


After a rout yesterday, we're starting to see a strong pattern emerge in the Chris Mack Best Holiday Movie EVER Tournament: You guys want feel-good, family-friendly movies with a strong holiday theme. Despite all of the moaning and wailing upon the bracket's release about Trading Places and Batman Returns and some others, you're all-in on The Santa Clause over Scrooged and Miracle on 34th Street. Is that because of name cachet? Are you inviting Duke to the dance just because they're Duke? Or are these legitimate preferences?

We're going to test that theory with a pair of match-ups in that vein this weekend, but before we get ahead of ourselves, we come to a battle between two movies that strike the anti-commercialism chord. Or at least one of them does while the other is a variant of an original story that struck the anti-commercialism chord nearly 50 years ago.

'Post-2000' Genre: (3) Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas vs. (6) Fred Claus

Fred Claus is a nice intertwining of stories with a legitimately great cast, from the above-the-marquee stars in Paul Giamatti and Vince Vaughn, to the supporting cast of Kevin Spacey, Elizabeth Banks, and John Michael Higgins. It has a classic villain in the storyline of Spacey trying to oust Giamatti's Claus, while Vaughn tries to figure out how he fits in to the family as the ne'er-do-well, but good-hearted younger brother Fred. (It's the holidays, ultimately everyone ends up being good-hearted.)

Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas sticks to the original Seuss storyline about as much as Johnny Manziel sticks to his sobriety on a bye week, in as much as the main character is a furry, green creature living in a cave above Whoville with his dog named Max. The film veers off though in it's depiction of The Whos as compared to the book and the animated special, in that they become much more directly antagonistic to Jim Carrey's Grinch rather than just being obsessively compulsive Christmas addicts. Getting some back story as to why the Grinch is the way he is is a nice way to flesh out the story and turn a 24-minute animated special into a 104-minute feature on why you should be nice to people who are different and appreciate the holiday season for its true meaning, not just "packages, boxes, and bags." But in the end, you can't sell me on Christine Barasnki as Whoville's head-turning stunner, and despite Jeffrey Tambor turning in a solid villain role, this isn''t "Arrested Development," and I don't dislike him enough to want the Grinch to get even with him. I more just kinda want to turn him off.

Day 4 voting can be done here.


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