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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I am a Montreal-based actor, writer and comedian. When U.S. President John F. Kennedy was shot, I was three days old. I cried all day. My favourite books of all time are Moby Dick by Herman Melville, The Last Temptation by Nikos Kazantzakis and The Ewoks Fun Time Activity Book by Chirpa and Pamploo. I am a member of The Vestibules, On The Spot Improv and The Best Buy Battery Club. Except for the Battery Club, I've been at all this stuff for over 20 years. Enjoy my blog.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The 12 Screenings of GeekMas

'Tis the season to be geeky....well, actually, all of the seasons are, really.  There is something about the yuletide season, though, that can serve up a special brand of seasonal geekery. It's always fun this time of the year to take a break from the shopping madness, the snow, the family commitments and all of that traditional non-geeky Christmas stuff and take in something truly odd and/or wondrous that is both truly geeky and filled with the spirit of the season.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Wookie Light Day, here are my ideal 12 Screenings of Geekmas.

12. Every Doctor Who Christmas Special (2005-2102)

I can't think of another SF/Fantasy franchise with nearly as many, if any, Christmas specials. Thanks to the great British tradition of airing Christmas specials of the most popular shows on TV on the evening of December 25 (What? How are they supposed to sell mountains of toys that way?), the last of the Time Lords has now given or will give us, 7, count 'em 7 Christmas specials.
They are:
The Christmas Invasion
The Runaway Bride
Voyage of the Damned
The Next Doctor
Doctor Who's A Christmas Carol
The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe
and the upcoming (which airs, you guessed it, tomorrow, December 25, 2012)
The Snowmen

11. The Six Million Dollar Man: "A Bionic Christmas Carol" (1976)

The hit 70's TV series about the adventures of super cyborg secret agent Steve Austin went through the paces of a rather uninspired reworking of Charles Dickens' classic seasonal tale, A Christmas Carol, back in December 1976.  The episode is notable on account of a scene where Colonel Austin, sporting his one season only 70's porn star 'stash, goes into a toy store. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice in the background a shelf full of the best selling toy of that yuletide season, The Six Million Dollar Man action figure.

Meta, man, just totally meta.

10. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) 

James Bond, in the person of one time 007 George Lazenby, must stop his arch nemesis, Ernest Stavro Blofeld, from carrying a biological terrorist attack on Christmas Eve, 1969. Includes the best Yuletide downhill skiing and stock car chases ever filmed.

9. Christmas with the Joker (1992)

The second episode ever of the landmark 90's TV show Batman: The Animated Series is, you guessed it, a Christmas one. The best line in any holiday themed TV show ever comes right after Robin suggests that he and Batman watch the seasonal classic "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve. The Dark Knight replies to the Boy Wonder's suggestion with, "I've never seen that movie. I could never get past the title".

8. Black Christmas (1974)

"The call is coming from inside the house!" originated in this film too.

Released four years before John Carpenter's smash hit horror movie, Halloween, this low budget Canadian horror movie marked the veritable virgin birth of the the holiday-specific teen slasher movie. According director Bob Clark, who went on the direct the seasonal classic A Christmas Story (1983), the unmade sequel was,interestingly, to take place on Halloween. Hmmm....

7. Star Trek: Generations (1994)

Captain Jean-Luc Picard's Nexus induced family Christmas fantasy marks the most substantial evidence of Yuletide tradition in the entire Trek franchise. We also learn that Picard is a big time retro type 'cause his ideal seasonal celebrations sure have a major 20th century vibe to them.

6. Things to Come (1936)

This prescient 1936 film, based on the book by HG Wells, predicted the outbreak of a second world war during the holiday season of 1940.  The film becomes a little less prescient, though, when it shows the war lasting well into the 1970's. Plus they're pretty clear on the prediction that there will be no more Christmas celebrations by the 21st century. Looking around my house right now, I know this is not so.

5.Die Hard II (1990)

The first Die Hard movie is largely considered the classic Xmas action movie of choice. However, its sequel, with its arctic gear commandos, winter wonder snowmobile chases and implausibly lethal icicles,  delivers much more Christmas spirit.

Bruce Willis once again shows off his super human crime fighting abilities when he rides one of the aforementioned snowmobiles at top speeds on a late December evening without even wearing a pair of gloves.

4. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

The single most popular Alternate History movie ever made. It's also fun to proclaim that during a screening of the seasonal classic and then take in all the strange looks.

3. Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964) 

This baby is go-to Christmas Cult Kitsch Classic. It is a perfect film when you're in the mood for spending the holidays with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang.

2. Gremlins (1984)

Darkly comical marauding mischievous and deadly mythical creatures creatures wreak a ton of entertaining yuletide havoc in a small town.

(SPOILER ALERT) Phoebe Cates's dad-dressed-as-Santa-getting-killed-while-stuck-in-the-chimney monologue is an all time classic of the genre.

1. The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

The legendarily badness of the Star Wars Holiday Special has become a staunch pillar of seasonal geekdom nonetheless. The legend goes that Carrie Fisher is leaning against Chewbacca in this shot 'cause she was a little too full of Star Wars Holiday cheer to stand on her own.

Merry Wookie Light Day Everyone! 

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