Merry Christmas

May you have a wonderful Christmas time full of joy and peace among your loved ones. And may you always find the time to do what you enjoy.

Rotten Tomatoes

Mildly Enthusiastic Review: Bridget Jones’s Diary

Looking for a sort of Christmassy, light and meaningless movie to watch before Christmas, I re-stumbled upon

er-bridgetjonesdiaryBridget Jones’s Diary

Category: Movies

Find it on: IMDb

What it is:
An adaptation of a once-popular British book about a woman who’s so weak-willed and disorganized that just about anyone can identify with her (?). Very loosely inspired by Pride and Prejudice, mostly in that one guy is a cad and the other is called Darcy, it tells a story of Bridget, who can’t do anything right but will end up with the perfect man anyway, to make every woman in the world feel better about her romantic chances.

How I found it:
The first time I saw it was in a theater: I was in high school and my friends were going and at the time it sounded like nothing I would enjoy because I scoffed at romantic comedies and at enjoying myself when watching a movie. I was all about Bergman and boredom back then.

Summary judgment:
For what it is, it’s a competent movie that I can enjoy at least for Colin Firth’s performance.

Best things about it:
It’s light and mostly unpretentious. Colin Firth gets to revisit and play with his classic performance as Mister Darcy Proper and he’s quite charming in this role.

Worst things about it:
I wish Bridget had one good quality. One would be plenty, really. But instead she’s a complete failure: a (Hollywood-)fat, messy smoker without interests or self-esteem. It saddens me that the producers of this film think a female character has to be so pathetic to make women like her. And why-oh-why would Darcy ever be interested in Bridget? When did she ever do anything to attract him?

Other pluses:
✤ I enjoyed seeing James Callis as Bridget’s friend, Tom: I’ll forever love him for Sex, Chips and Rock’n’Roll, my Favorite Show Ever (TM).
✤ I never really got Hugh Grant’s attraction but at least as a villain he convinces me more than as a straight romantic interest.
✤ It is a good-looking movie and I’d take Daniel’s apartment any day.

Other minuses:
✤ The cutesy humor doesn’t usually work for me, though I understand why it would work for people less critical of Bridget’s character.
✤ This time around I actually felt sorry for Natasha. Apparently intellect and competence stand for nothing.
✤ Have the writers of this movie ever been out in the snow? You can’t run in it in your underpants, period.

How it enriched my life:
Most Christmas movies are not that great and I like having one more that I can watch around this time of year, even if it’s not a masterpiece.

Fun fact:
The only thing I remember from that first time I watched this movie in a theater was the song “It’s Raining Men” and how I didn’t like it. But, guys, I was way too young to appreciate the attractiveness of a Darcyesque character then.

I will be coming back to this one. See the scarcity of watchable Christmas movies.

Recommended for:
Fans of romantic comedies and incompetent women who only pretend to be fat.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Next time: BBC’s Pride and Prejudice (yes, we’re still at it)

Sounds of Music

Christmas Songbook: 2000 Miles

This series of posts needs to finish with my favorite Christmas song which has held this position for the last couple of years (a gooood couple of years) and hasn’t been dethroned yet. My favorite is always the song which makes me feel most Christmassy at heart and this is by far

“2000 Miles” by the Pretenders

A special badge for marking the things that continue to delight me.

Album: Learning to Crawl

Year: 1984

Category: Christmas playlist

Why it rocks:
This is not a very insightful song or one that would say anything original about Christmas but somehow, to me, it manages to contain the heartbreaking beauty of this time.

Favorite bit of lyrics:
“In these frozen and silent nights / Sometimes in a dream / You appear.”

Favorite moment:
How it fades in at the beginning and how happy it makes me when I recognize that this is the song playing.

Best for: The moment just before the Christmas Eve dinner when the guests are almost arriving, the tree is up and everyone is getting excited.

Sidenote: The Pretenders is my second-favorite band name ever (the first is the Replacements).

Sounds of Music

Christmas Songbook: Silver Bells

So in 2009 Dylan recorded a Christmas album and everyone’s (who cared) jaws dropped open. But it was really such a Dylan thing to do. Me, I was always happy he did that because what’s better than two things you like separately? Two of them combined. (Somebody needs to come up with chocolate flavored comic books.)

“Silver Bells” by Bob Dylan

Album: Christmas in the Heart

Year: 2009

Category: Christmas playlist

Why it rocks:
I love getting ready for Christmas: shopping, cleaning, worrying about who to invite, you name it, I don’t mind. And this is a song which captures so well the feeling of Christmas in the city, rather than in some imaginary idyllic cottage in snow-covered woods. It’s an idyllic city though: it makes this time sound restful rather than full of berserk last-minute shoppers who curse one another in the mall parking lot.
And Dylan’s rendition makes the song sillier and more fun in the “anyone can sing” spirit. As someone who’s always the worst caroller, no matter what group I’m in, I really appreciate that.

Favorite bit of lyrics:
“Strings of street lights, even stop lights / Blinkin’ bright red and green / As the shoppers rush home with their treasures.” So visual.

Favorite moment:
Just the carelessness of his voice throughout.

Best for: A restful cup of cocoa after a whole day of frantic pre-Christmas pushing through a crowd of shoppers with their treasures.

Sidenote: I can only talk about a small selection of my Christmas favorites but “Must Be Santa” is totally on the playlist too.

Sounds of Music

Christmas Songbook: Blue Christmas

To celebrate Christmas, which is my favorite holiday bar none and I’m not ashamed to admit it, all December songbook posts will focus on, well, Christmas. Here’s a classic rendered newer:

“Blue Christmas” by the Lumineers

Album: Blue Christmas (single)

Year: 2016

Category: Christmas playlist

Why it rocks:
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Elvis version. It’s been on my Christmas playlist forever, together with a ton of other Elvis songs. But I really like the way the Lumineers do covers and this one particularly. The way he seems to force those words out talks about more heartbreak than Elvis ever intended for this song and the simple arrangement underlines the truth of the voice. It also does justice to the pretty, pretty melody of the song.

Favorite lyrics:
I like how “blue snowflakes” turn into “blue heartaches.” It makes no sense but is true to the character of the cover.

Favorite moment:
His voice on “you’ll be doooooing alright.”

Best for: Dropping exhausted after a whole day of pre-Christmas cleaning. But the closer you get to actual Christmas, the more you should switch to Elvis’ version.


Have Yourselves a Yummy Christmas

redesign-xmas2015Here I am, not gone from blogging for ever but certainly for a while. I’ve got a better explanation than usual: since September I’m a mom and it leaves little time for writing (or even – gasp – reading) and so until I arrange things better I’m doing the bare minimum. At any rate, we baked ginger cookies (see above) and made the Christmas card (likewise) so maybe things are getting back on track. At any rate, have a wonderful Christmas time and I’ll be posting whenever I can.