Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Top Ten Old Christmas Albums

As we prepare for Thanksgiving this week, it's time to start thinking seriously about Christmas music. Some people think it's too early for Christmas music, but I think that's crazy. The truth is, Christmas music is great all year round and only gets better the closer we get to Christmas.

So today I will share with you my top ten list of amazingly fantastic Christmas albums by dead or almost dead people (to keep in line with the theme this blog, of course):

10. Elvis Presley: Elvis Christmas
You pretty much need an Elvis album in your Christmas music collection. Some of the songs on this album are a little strange, but it's worth it if only for the extremely Elvis-y Blue Christmas and Here Comes Santa Claus.

9. Frank Sinatra: A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra
Frank singing classic Christmas tunes. Can't go wrong with that!

8. Christmas With The Rat Pack
Who doesn't love the Rat Pack? They're certainly entertaining and there aren't many other Christmas albums featuring drunk, middle aged men forgetting the words to Christmas songs. Best song: Marshmallow World.

7. Nat King Cole: Christmas For Kids: From One To Ninety-Two
I discovered this album when I worked at Zany Brainy and we played it all Christmas. It has lots of happy fun songs that you won't find on a lot of the usual Christmas albums. And Nat King Cole has a great Christmas song voice.

6. Ella Fitzgerald: Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas
First of all, I love when Ella wishes me a swinging Christmas. That's really all their is to say. Best song: Sleigh Ride.

5. Andy Williams: Merry Christmas
Listen, Andy Williams is Christmas. His version of Sleigh Ride on this album is disturbingly '60s and makes me want to do a weird Ann Margret dance, but I cannot stop listening!

4. Nat King Cole: The Christmas Song
For those of you who need more traditional Christmas songs, this is the perfect album.

3. A Charlie Brown Christmas
This one is so amazing that I listen to it year 'round. The piano is fantastic and it's just an all around feel good album. I especially love My Little Drum.

2. Bing Crosby: White Christmas AND Merry Christmas With Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
Yes, these are two albums, but some songs overlap and they really should be one album. Bing and the Andrews Sisters are just fabulous together and very old-timey. I especially love Jingle Bells.

1. Andy Williams: The Andy Williams Christmas Album
Yes, this is the best Christmas album of all time. It has everything—all your favorite classics plus the weird '60s influences we've come to know and love from Andy. Buy it now before Christmas is over!!

And an honorable mention goes to a completely amazing remix of Happy Holiday by Bing Crosby. I want to dance every time I hear it.

So, those are my favorite old Christmas albums. What are yours?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Old Christmas Movies on the Big Screen

This year the Tivoli Theater in Downers Grove is once again showing some classic films that I'm pretty excited about. Namely, Miracle on 34th St. and White Christmas! Don't miss them if you're in the Chicagoland area!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Soylet Green is What?

"It's the year 2022... People are still the same. They'll do anything to get what they need. And they need SOYLENT GREEN."
Wow, Soylent Green, what can I say? I watched it over the weekend and it was ... interesting.

The basic premise is it's 2022 and there's apparently been a population explosion and Global Warming has come to fruition, causing fresh food, electricity, and housing to become hot commodities. One day, an old rich man is murdered and a cop, played by Charlton Heston, takes it upon himself to solve this murder case, while also stealing the rich man's food and having sex and taking endless showers with his woman. Pretty soon he learns some disturbing details surrounding the case and flips out and gets shot. The End.

Where does the Soylent Green come in, you ask? Good question. It's literally only mentioned about three times in the entire movie. This was surprising to me, given the name of the film. The focus of the movie is on this murder case and, almost more than that, on the many strange goings-on of the future. While some of these predictions are interesting, they do not make for a very creepy movie, and the ending feels somewhat anti-climactic since we haven't really gotten a feel for the prominence of Soylent Green. If I hadn't read that tagline at the beginning, I don't think I would have even known that Soylent Green was a very big deal.

Probably the most fun part was seeing what these filmmakers thought the world would be like in 50 years, only 13 years from now!

Some highlights:

  • Global Warming sets in, causing problems for our crops and animals. The solution: heavily processed food using whatever edible, living things there are, such as soybeans and kelp.

  • Apparently in the future, sexy women will come with swanky apartments, literally as part of the furniture, which is what we will call them. "Furniture"

  • The population of New York City will grow to 40 million (about 5 times what it is now. Better start having more kids!), and anyone who's not wealthy will be lucky to get an apartment and may resort to sleeping in stair wells.

  • As a result of this population explosion, riots are frequent and "riot control"
    consists of large dump trucks that scoop people up in the front and dump them into the back of the truck. I think the scene depicting that was supposed to be creepy, but it wasn't.

So is it worth watching? Eh, if you like Charlton Heston and/or sci fi movies, probably. I'm glad I watched it, but it's probably not something I need to see again and it definitely didn't weird me out as much as anticipated. But you may not want to take my word for it ... I don't have the best history with sci fi movies.