THE FILM YAP » Yuletide We Never Shut Up About Movies Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:14:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Film Yap’s Holiday Gift Guide for the Cinephile, Part 1 Thu, 15 Dec 2011 15:54:33 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Ah, yes, the Yuletide season is once more upon us. You know what that means — stress on your bank account, stress on you, stress on your family. And standing in line while the sweaty guy in front of you who smells like cheese and sauerkraut paws all over your item, hoping he doesn’t take the last one before you get a chance to grab it.

Well, The Film Yap is here to ease your Yuletide burdens for the movie lovers in your life. Any one of these items will make your cinephile squeal like a ‘tween during a “Twilight” movie. Here you’ll find the must-haves for your movie maven, things they’re dying for or maybe, just maybe, something they don’t even know about.

So how can you repay us for this invaluable service? I’m glad you asked: Each item is linked to a location where you can find and purchase these items, and by clicking through and purchasing, and in making your cinephile’s Christmas bright, you’re helping The Yap do the same!

12 Angry Men: Criterion Collection Blu-ray

A Top 10 film of all time. If you haven’t seen this movie, you can’t call yourself a movie buff; you just don’t qualify. The very definition of the term “timeless classic,” “Men” is the quintessential American film, perpetuating our country’s values like no other. An absolutely scintillating drama that takes place, save for one scene at the film’s conclusion, entirely in one sweaty room, with a group of jurors haggling over the fate of a young man accused of murdering his father. Issues of race and class emerge, as do the notions of justice, civic duty, conscience and just plain doing what’s right for your fellow man.

Of course, Criterion is the filet mignon of home video, so you’ll pay for it. But your movie lover will love you all the more for your sacrifice, and you will be a Yuletide Hero.

Evil Dead 2: 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray

Sam Raimi’s cult classic is another must-see for horror and comedy fans alike. This is an easy pick and a solid double for your movie lover, who might have this on DVD but needs to upgrade.

Movie-themed T-shirts

$20, Busted

BustedTees Holiday Gift Guide – Put An End To Crappy Gifts

It’s perhaps the truest test of a movie buff for the geek who recognizes a T-shirt emblazoned with an obscure reference to a movie. If you see a “Jack Rabbit Slims” T-shirt and smile or go giddy when you spot an “Omni Consumer Products” sweatshirt, Busted Tees is for you.  Busted Tees has some of the best of the bunch, from this shirt equating Google with SkyNet to dozens of other references from popular movies and TV shows.

Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray

<sigh>Yes, the “Star Wars” saga is arguably the series to have of any movies, and far be it from The Yap to tell you not to buy. But this set should be subtitled “The Further Pillaging of the Holy Trilogy and its Three Crappy Prequels by George Lucas.” Yes, we get even more “NOOOOO!,” more Greedo shot first, more Hayden Christiansen’s ghost and even more tweaks, adds and ruins from The Beard himself. But somehow we “Star Wars” fans can’t help ourselves and just continue to clutch at every new edition of our beloved franchise. It’s like being married to a woman addicted to plastic surgery: At some point, you realize she looks completely different than you remember her, but there’s little you can do but sit there and watch. Over and over and over again. And cry. And show your kids. And tell them about how great “Star Wars” used to be. Then realize you’re just like your parents … and cry again. But do your movie lover a favor: Pick this set up for them, so they don’t have the guilt of buying it theirselves.

The Making of The Empire Strikes Back

A wonderfully detailed look into the making of the best film in the “Star Wars” trilogy, “Making of” is a fascinating read from inside George Lucas’ inner circle. Crammed full of spectacular art, behind-the-scenes pictures and a host of “Star Wars” artifacts that make them feel all nostalgic for “Empire” again. Oh yeah, it’s also crammed full of the fascinating story of the making of the film. This is one of those books that, even after reading it cover to cover, your movie lover will pull out a couple of times a month and flip through and invite people over just to show them. It’s the essential piece they didn’t know they needed.

The Art of Pixar

A look back at 25 years worth of the greatest animated movies in cinema history. (That’s right, I said it). Stunning, beautiful art with the scripts for each film to date (up through last summer’s “Cars 2″), this tome is a treasure.

Great Northern Popcorn Red Foundation Antique Style Popcorn Popper Machine with 8 Oz Kettle

Any movie is better than popcorn, and no movie room worth its salt can say it’s fully decked out without an awesome old-timey popcorn maker like this. With an eight-ounce kettle, you’ll have enough popcorn left over for all of your friends, and you’ll be able to make a little money, too, especially if you charge what the theaters do.

The Alien Anthology (Blu-ray)

A franchise with two films that are legit classics (“Alien” and “Aliens”), one that’s better than you remember (“Alien 3″) and one that has a couple of moments but is overall a flop (“Alien Resurrection”), this is one of the better anthology sets you can pick up. Why? The extras. Outstanding and honest, the set openly discusses the failures of the last two films and includes a frank discussion of David Fincher’s original vision for “Alien 3″ talking about his involvement and the film’s failures. Also, interesting tidbit: “Alien 3″ originally was going to take place on a planet made entirely of wood that housed a colony of monks. Since this set has already been out for a year, you can get it for a song.

Back to the Future Trilogy (Blu-ray)

This, along with the “Alien” set, is the must-own Blu-ray box set of the past year. It’s a trilogy with few weaknesses (yes, the second and third films are increasingly cartoony, but are still dynamite family entertainment). As with its “Alien” cousin, though, this set is made with its extras and there are some awesome ones here, too. Tops among them is a multi-part look at the making of the films, with highlights being storyboards from the first film’s original ending, and Steven Spielberg’s story about how he convinced the head of Universal Studios to not title the film “Spaceman from Mars.”

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Becoming Santa Sun, 16 Oct 2011 19:32:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

“Santa” follows Jack Sanderson, who, upon finding a photo of his father dressed as Santa, decides to become a Santa for a holiday season, fully immersing himself in the culture.

He starts by growing out his beard and bleaching it white, buys a suit, and he’s ready, right?

Wrong. He goes to Santa School — a fully immersive subculture of mall, sidewalk, and department store Santas — and gets a full crash course on how to be jolly old St. Nick.

And he finds it’s not as easy as sitting on your duff and handing out candy canes. Jack and the other Santas fend off difficult questions from children (in a test session, their teacher, as a child, asks Santa to find and kill Osama bin Laden, among other things), and learn the rules of being Santa — including that Santas cannot call children “kids,” have nonthreatening, easy, but vague answers to any question they’re asked, and can “ho” only three times.

There are some interesting historical tidbits about the origins of Santa and how he came to be such a cultural icon throughout western civilization, as well as the various benevolent (and not so nice) versions of Santa throughout the world — including the interesting (and racially incendiary) story of Black Peter, whom, in some civilizations, is Santa’s more sinister sidekick who punishes the bad children while Santa rewards the good ones.

An interesting side note to this film is that there is never any talk of Santa’s authenticity. We get the occasional tidbit about “believing” in Santa, but that’s as close as we get to dealing with that little roasting chestnut.

“Becoming Santa” isn’t a hard-hitting social justice documentary, but it’s a fun change of pace to much of Heartland’s more serious content. It will certainly lift your spirits and make you appreciate the plight and the life of Santas all over the world.

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The New Christmas Classics, Part I Thu, 10 Dec 2009 06:00:25 +0000 Continue reading ]]> “It’s a Wonderful Life”? “White Christmas”? Old news.

You’re a modern kind of person, and want a new contemporary Christmas classic to go with it, right?

Of course you are. You like your movies made in the past 30 years or so, and don’t have time for all of that black-and-white movie nonsense.

Here, then, are the Christmas classics of the new millenium, those holiday movies that will make every Yuletide season the hap- hap- happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with  Danny F**king Kaye.

Gremlins (1984)


It’s easy to forget in all the chaos of this movie that, at its center is a Christmas film. Kindly Rand Pelzer (Hoyt Axton) buys his nerdy son Billy (Zach Galligan) an exotic pet for Christmas, and all hell breaks loose as he proceeds to break each and every rule set up for the poor guys. On the plus side, the green reptilian little buggers did take care of that bitch Mrs. Deagle for Billy, so maybe he owes them one.

Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard

What’s Christmas in LA without a downtown highrise, your wife’s douchebag cokehead co-worker putting the moves on her, and Eurotrash terrorists messing up your evening? For John McClane (Bruce Willis), it’s just another day at the office. I hope he at least got holiday pay. For my money, the best moment not involving an automatic weapon? The beginning, where the dude on the plane tells John the remedy for plane travel: walk around barefoot on the carpet and make fists with your toes. To this day I do that every time I travel. Yippee kye aye, melon farmer.

Bad Santa (2003)

Bad Santa

Gleefully, wickedly, horribly, wonderfully perverse, “Bad Santa” is the annual must-see for the drunk, single, divorced uncle at everyone’s Yuletide  gathering. Billy Bob Thornton stars as the title character, whose contempt for the snot-nosed, pants-peeing rugrats he has to endure every year is as unmistakable as the mess he leaves when he rips off the department store dumb enough to hire him. It’s the movie your mom starts quoting after that third glass of egg nog (at least mine does). Also memorable as John Ritter’s last, and perhaps best, performance.

A Midnight Clear (1992)

a midnight clear

A oft-overlooked gem, this is a member of the obscure Christmas war picture genre. In 1944 France, a group of American soldiers encounter a platoon of German soldiers at Christmas and forge an unlikely bond with them in the middle of a war, and find that they may be forced to fight their new friends. Features a very good cast that includes Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinise, a pre-“Entourage” Kevin Dillon, and Frank Whaley.

Scrooged (1988)


This genre-bending take on “A Christmas Carol” finds bah-humbug TV exec Frank Cross (Bill Murray), on the verge of screening another version of the famous tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge, finds himself visited by those very same ghosts. Soon Frank is confronting his own past, which led him away from love and deep personal relationships and toward the excesses of money and power.

Click here for Part II

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The New Christmas Classics, Part II Thu, 10 Dec 2009 05:45:57 +0000 Continue reading ]]> “It’s a Wonderful Life”? “White Christmas”? Old news.

You’re a modern kind of person, and want a new contemporary Christmas classic to go with it, right?

Of course you are. You like your movies made in the past 30 years or so, and don’t have time for all of that black-and-white movie nonsense.

Here, then, are the Christmas classics of the new millenium, those holiday movies that will make every Yuletide season the hap- hap- happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with  Danny F**king Kaye.

A Christmas Story (1983)


 The slam-dunk of the list, bar none the greatest Christmas film of all time. Everyone knows the story of little Ralphie and his quest to get himself the Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Every scene is note-perfect and imminently memorable and has at least one quotable line, from “Oh, fudge” to Scut Farkus to Victor, the Lone Ranger’s cousin’s horse.  And even though it’s on for 24 straight hours Christmas Day, for some reason it never gets old.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

 Christmas Vacation

 No Christmas film has ever drawn bigger laughs than this one. The antics of Clark W. Griswold aren’t 100% on the comedy hit-o-meter, but the ones that do are among the best you’ll ever see in a holiday movie. It’s the universal truths in the film–the overzealousness some exhibit toward the Christmas season, the irritation at it from others, and the lunkheaded relatives who seem to try their hardest to ruin everything, not to mention that we’re doing a perfectly fine job of screwing it all up ourselves, thank you very much.

But I digress. Chevy Chase’s egg nog-fueled rant is one of the greatest of any film, and Randy Quaid’s portrayal of Cousin Eddie is spot on, before he went crazy for real.

Elf (2003)


When Santa (Ed Asner) visits an orphanage one Christmas eve, he’s too busy stuffing his face with Oreos to notice the baby stowing away in his pack. When he gets back, Santa doesn’t know where the baby belongs, so he allows the elves to raise him as one of their own. As poor Buddy (Will Ferrell) grows to freakish proportions, it soon comes out that he’s a human, and he heads to New York to find his father.

And yes, I could have put any number of pics in here of Will Ferrell as Buddy, but I chose to foist upon you the enchanting eyes of Zooey Deschanel instead. I think I made the right decision.

The Polar Express (2004)


 Perhaps the most contemporary film on our list, “Polar Express” employs Robert Zemekis’ now-infamous motion-capture animation with a photo-realistic version of Tom Hanks playing multiple roles and voices as a young boy who doesn’t believe in Santa rides a train bound for the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Creepy dead eyes aside, the animation is spectacular, especially the action scenes on the train. This is another movie our kids will be showing their kids.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Nightmare before christmas

 A dual-purpose Halloween and Christmas movie, “Nightmare” follows Jack Skellington through a stop-motion journey through Christmas Town. We see this land of eternal Christmas through the eyes of the king of the garish, ghastly Halloweentown. What Jack sees is a visual Wonderland, and so do we.

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