Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Announcement of this Year's Shitmas Contest Winners! (The Box of Shitmas, Scream Poster, and the Christmas Evil/Jack Frost Blu-rays!)

Here is the announcements of this year's Winners from the 3 Contests that were held during this year's Shitmas!

First up is "The Box of Shitmas" Giveaway which was put together by IconVsIcon.com's head honcho Jason Price, my buddy Garrett Sawaia, and myself!



The Winner of this Giveaway is Scarletjupiter from the comments section! Here's everything that's coming your way Scarlet . . .

3 Gift Cards totaling $75

4 Random Funko Mystery Minis

Not 1, Not 2, But 3 Copies of "Illegal Aliens" on  DVD

This Christmas Ornament that's supposed to be Rick Grimes 

Some Random Shit!!

Even More Random Shit!

There might be some more odds and ends that end up this before I mail it off to you, depends how much room is left in the box!


Up next is the Vinegar Syndrome's Releases of Jack Frost & Christmas Evil Blu-ray/DVD Giveaway and that was won by Twitter User @ASliceofIce


And Finally the Winner of the “Scream Poster” from Hoss Creative goes to Twitter Handle @HawkPapa84

Thanks again everyoneand with that Shitmas 2016 is Over! Catch you guys in 2017
- Tom

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Shitmas Hangover (Year 6’s Shitmas Wrap-up on The Acid Pop Cult Podcast!)



   Welcome to the 6th Annual "Shitmas Hangover" everyone! This year's Event included a great mix of both Shitmas Veterans as well a some newcomers! I hope to have you all back for Year 7!

As I done in previous years, I teamed up with my friends over at the Acid Pop Cult Podcast for an in-depth wrap-up about this Year's Shitmas Event! (LINK)

I talk about my thoughts on each of the 25 posts, give shoutouts to everyone's sites and share some other Holiday Happenings from this past month!

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I announce the 3 Contest Winners from this year's Big Giveaways and then I'm going going on a break for the rest of the week!

Merry Shitmas to All and Thanks Again everyone's continuous support of SMF!

- Tom

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Cobra (A 25 Days of Shitmas Post from Icon vs. Icon's Steve Johnson)

Cobra
Steve Johnson - Icon vs. Icon

Well here we all are, gathered under the Shitmas tree to talk about some of our favorite holiday films. In the past I have spun yarns about John McClane and his exploits at Nakatomi and Dulles Tower. I even went as far as telling tales of Martin Riggs, Roger Murtaugh, and Matt Hunter. That being said, I know you are clamoring with excitement for one more story of 1980’s style justice. Well boy do I have one for you... Grab your spirit of choice, get comfortable, and have a listen to my tale of Marion “Cobra” Cobretti.


Our story begins with a shot of our titular hero’s silhouette riding a motorcycle against a deep red background. Beautiful. Just fucking beautiful. Of course that shit gets interrupted pretty quickly by the assholes of the film. A big ole’ group of jackasses clanging axes together in a circle. There’s an obvious joke here, but I am going to let that go for now. Look at me taking the high road. Don’t get used to that shit. These guys are being led by none other than the night slasher, played by 80’s badass Brian Thompson. The dude is a damn specimen. More on him later… 



It doesn’t take long for Cobra to get mixed up in some hijinks. A shotgun toting tool enters a grocery store during the Christmas season and starts shooting up the place. Told you it was a Christmas movie. Moving on... This guy does more damage to the goddamn produce than he does to any of his hostages. Well except for the guy in the hat who didn’t run fast enough. Sorry bro... After wasting the guy, mr. shotgun cocks his weapon about a hundred fucking times for no reason. While this asshat is busy dicking around with his weapon, Cobra makes his way into the store and then proceeds to spend a few minutes screwing with this guy. He even takes time to take a sip of that sweet Coors beer. Simply badass... Eventually Cobra gets tired of this dirtbag and offs him by first throwing a knife into his chest and then shooting him a dozen times. Considered that disease cured.



After a hard afternoon of saving the day, Cobretti retires to his humble abode to get some much needed rest. How does a badass rest? He eats pizza by cutting it in half with scissors, while cleaning his gun and watching the news. We are then abruptly shown just how nasty the night slasher and his crew can be. This guy and his jolly bunch of assholes straight up just attack people in their cars and cut them up. Shortly thereafter a debate breaks out amongst the detectives on the case on whether or not Cobretti should be involved. Now is the time I get to talk a bit about Andrew Robinson and his portrayal of Detective Monte. This dude is one of the bitchiest cops in cinematic history. All he does is complain about Cobra and his methods. Stop being a pussy Monte, Cobra doesn’t like your bullshit rules.



Back to the night slasher. He’s out doing his thing and this time he gets spotted by Ingrid Knudsen portrayed by none other that Brigitte Nielsen. Jesus was she hot in this film… I mean the things I would… Sorry about that, back to the story. Cobra finally gets the go ahead to shakedown as many people as he needs to in order to take the night slasher down. Here’s where we get our montage of the film and boy is it a good one. You get shots of Cobra walking the streets, the night slasher being a psychotic stud, Ingrid modeling, closeups of eyes, and a great 80’s jam. Fan-fucking-tastic!



Now is the point in the story where shit really hits the fan. It turns out the old night slasher has some friends on the police force and he has obtained Ingrid’s location. After fighting off the advances of her photographer, Ingrid is quickly fighting for her life. While she barely escapes, the same can’t be said for the cop on duty in the building. That dude gets absolutely destroyed by the slasher’s van. Damn I love Cannon films! Ingrid finds her way to the hospital and Cobretti is there with questions. When Cobra realizes he has his witness, an artist is brought in to draw a composite sketch. This sketch is by far one of the worse drawings of a human being’s face I have ever seen. How the hell this guy still has a job, I don’t know… Moving on… 


It is determined that once Ingrid gets out of the hospital, she will be moved into a safe house until this maniac is caught. Turns out the night slasher has plans of his own. By dying his hair and making himself look a little less like a raving psycho, he infiltrates the hospital’s protection of Ingrid. Of course he has to slash an employee before getting to her. He just needed those glasses to complete his ensemble. These idiots simultaneously go after Cobra in his own damn apartment. Big mistake… Cobra takes those guys out with the quickness and returns to the hospital just in time to save Ingrid from certain death. Unfortunately the night slasher slips out just as easily as he slipped in.



The plan for the safe house is still on, but Cobra first takes a good tongue lashing from the higher ups concerning his bad attitude and lack of cooperation. Turns out they wanted that terrible composite drawing of the killer. Christ, I’m not sure what use to them it would be, but more power to them. Good luck with tracking a guy down when the drawing looks like a 3rd grader drew a picture of lurch. After his superiors are done giving him shit, Cobra quickly tries to get Ingrid the hell outta town. Right on cue, the slasher shows up and starts wreaking havoc throughout the streets. We’re talking epic car chase territory. Cars get blown up and make incredible jumps. This shit is epic. Unfortunately our handsome hero does lose his badass car in the fray. It’s a damn shame too. That car was badass.



We quickly get whisked away back to police headquarters were Cobretti continues to get shit from the higher ups. Hey guys, this psycho gets shit done while you all sit on your asses bitching. Cut the bullshit and let the man do his job. Cobra blows this shit off and heads out into the country to hide Ingrid away from the slasher and his group of axe clanging dickheads. Of course they are right behind them thanks to their inside source, who is the officer assigned to help protect their witness. Traitorous bitch! Anyway, Cobra eventually sniffs out this rat and prepares for war. By preparing for war, I mean he constructs his own uzi complete with a red dot laser sight and lays out his collection of hand grenades. You have to love an affinity toward the use of hand grenades. He eventually puts his macho shit aside for a few minutes to make out with Ingrid. Way to go Cobretti. Getting shit done on the streets and the bed. You have to admire his work ethic.



All seems fine the following morning, but that quickly comes to a screeching halt. A gang of god knows how many bad guys invades this sleepy little town to off Ingrid and Cobra once and for all. No dice guys… They apparently didn’t do their homework on their opponent. All of these assholes meet the business end of Cobra’s uzi and hand grenades. Cobra kills everything that fucking moves and there is a lot moving. I can’t help but wonder what the total body count was. It’s got to be in Commando territory. All of this commotion leads up to the final battle between the night slasher and Cobra in the factory from Robocop. Seriously, this has to be the factory from Robocop. Turns out the night slasher isn’t so tough. After what seems like forever struggling over a knife, Cobra impales the bastard on a giant hook and sends him to a death by fire. What a great way to send that piece of shit off. Well done Cobra… Well done… So what does a hero do after he kills the bad guy? He punches Detective Monte in the face and rolls off on a bike with the girl. I think I’m in love…



You cannot go wrong by adding this to your yearly Christmas viewing list. Cobra is pure unadulterated fun. It’s got action, hot women, uzis, and hand grenades. What more could you want? I must depart now so I can finish assembling a few weapons while eating pizza with scissors. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little contribution to this year's festivities. I wish you and yours a Merry Shitmas and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree (A 25 Days of Shitmas SMF Review!)



Today I was in the mood to do another Shitmas Post before this Year's Event Wraps Up tomorrow, I ended up settling on "The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree", a TV Special that originally aired in 1979! With a runtime of just under 25 minutes, the special in it's enteirely can be found on youtube in this video below incase you have never seen it or what a refresher . . .



Our Special begins on Christmas Eve with Papa Bear strutting down the Festive Streets of Bear Country with a an enormous salmon he just caught for his familes' Holiday Feast! 


When arriving home to his Tree House he sees that the rest of the Family of Bears (Mama Bear, Brother Bear, and Sister Bear) are waist deep in all kinds of Christmas Ornaments and Trinkets. The Bears unpack their beautiful tree topper (a 18 Point Star) but have yet to get their Christmas Tree to put everything on yet.



Papa Bear recruits the two Bear Cubs to help him go find the perfect tree for the family, while Mama Bear puts the remaining decorations. Passing by the nearby Tree Lot ran by a Bear named Gus, the 3 Bears head far away from their home to find their perfect tree!

Hey Griswold, where you gonna put a tree that big?

But each tree that Papa Bears deems worthy of their home is actually already the home of some other tree creature! From Skunks to Eagles (and even some Wolves), the Papa comes very close to issuing an eviction notice with the chop of his ax! 

With it getting very late into night and a snow storm taking the fun out of things for the two smaller bears, Papa decides that at this point any old tree with do so he settles on the next tree that he sees!


Before cutting it down thou the Elder Bear realizes that inside lives a Tiny Snow Bird and his Family. The birds are busy dressing a measly twig branch is their family and it's there that Papa Bear sees that all along he had it wrong and spares this family the blunt of his ax!

The Bears figured they will pick up a tree from Gus' Lot on their way back but are sad to see that the lot is all sold out! 

Returning home empty handed the Bears spirits are so lifted when they see their Home . . .



You see all the other Forest Creature who's houses that they spared earlier that evening have returned the favor by decorating the outside of Tree House in Spectacular Fashion! 

The Family of Bear now with their new found friends celebrate the true meaning of the Season by getting together with Loved Ones and realizing that all Creatures from the Biggest of the Big to the Smallest of the Small all deserve to have a Merry Christmas! Well Save for this Guy that is . . .



This really was a great Holiday Special that I'd totally recommend watching with the Family, as sated above this one is currently streaming on youtube, but you can also find it on a DVD that also includes 4 other Winter Tales!




 Merry Shitmas
- Tom

















Friday, December 23, 2016

Frosty The Snowman (A 25 Days of Shitmas Post from Icon vs. Icon's Dolores Price)

1969. Led Zeppelin’s first album was released. Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon - because aliens totally did it before but whatever, right? Go human race! Children’s Television Workshop introduced “Sesame Street.” Four epic days of rain, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll were held outside of Woodstock, N.Y. Mario Puzo published “The Godfather” while Kurt Vonnegut published “Slaughterhouse-Five.” Epic year, right? The epicness went into overdrive with the release of the beloved Christmas classic “Frosty The Snowman.”



The animated television special was the brainchild of Gene Autry, who wrote the song, in addition to “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer” and “Here Comes Santa Claus.” Could you imagine an Expendables version of Christmas with Rudolph and Frosty kicking major ass? Yeah. Bitchin’.
Anyway, the film starts with this big-nosed ass telling us what’s what. Apparently the first snow of the winter season is magical and if it’s on Christmas Eve, well it’s like “Practical Magic” epicness.
There’s an elementary school with random kids stuck there on Christmas Eve. Who has school on Christmas Eve? At any rate, we are introduced to Professor Hinkle, a shity magician. He’s the professor of suck. He has a rabbit with bloodshot eyes and isn’t good at his job. The kids are unimpressed and soon sent out to the schoolyard without hats and coats to run off their despair. They build a snowman and Shitty Magician Hinkle’s hat turns it real - cue Frosty, who proclaims, “Happy Birthday!” because … it’s his birthday?



Obviously, Hinkle wants that fancy hat back because it’s red hot magic and a ticket to billions. Too bad his pet rabbit doesn’t want him to have it so Frosty gets it back. However, Frosty is worried. Yes, he’s a formerly non-functioning creature brought to life who isn’t the brightest crayon in the box. But he has feelings. He worries. He’s somebody! He sees this crazy thermometer go from freezing to blazing in seconds and he’s alarmed! If he melts he will get “wishy washy,” which is a nice way of saying dead as a doornail.



So, only one of the kids does something. Her name is Karen. I guess the other kids had things to do. Anyway, she takes Frosty to the train station with that red-eyed rabbit so he can get to the North Pole where it’s cold as shit year-round. Cold = Frosty not dying. They scurry through town frightening a police officer directing traffic who chokes on his whistle. Did he die? Then they get to the train station who happens to have a way for them to go to the North Pole for the one time price of $3,000.04. Hot damn. This is 1969 so I Googled it. I went to this CNN Money page where you can use a calculator to determine the amount today. This amount in 1969 is $19,104 today. WTF That’s some coin, especially for some wimpy cartoon chick named Karen and an anthropomorphic snowman.

Anyway, the ticketmaster says, “No money. No ticket.” These are words to live by, are they not?! The weed-eyed rabbit and Karen are like, “This ain’t gonna stop us!” They have Frosty hitch a train like a hobo and it’s all good if Karen is home before dinner because her mom is laissez-faire parenting - a free-ranger of sorts.
So, they’re cruising but this crazy magician found them because of course he did! He hitches a ride by grasping underneath the railcar because he’s hot on that magic hat trail. Too bad Karen’s really cold. She’s so cold she’s sneezing. Oh the despair! So, they get off at the next stop, forcing Hinkle to jump off, bouncing off frozen rocks and trees. I never understood that in cartoons - he’s the Terminator! Snow and icicles fall on his head but he’s good!

So, brainiac Frosty ditches the refrigerator car for the windy, frozen tundra. The red-eyed rabbit is freezing but we only care about Karen because she is a young cartoon child. Luckily they come upon more magic in the form of woodland animals decorating for Christmas Eve. These animals live in the forest, know about Santa, how to decorate, can speak to rabbits and build fires! Now that’s some magical shit!


So, our crew needs help and instead of the Marines or the president they want Santa Claus. Santa is all powerful! So, Frosty and Hinkle eventually meet again because of course they do. Hinkle is gonna murder Frosty for his magical hat. Despicable.
Oh shit, here comes Santa Claus and he’s bald! Bald yet he speaks fluent rabbit, so there’s that. I contemplated not spoiling this film but I’m definitely going to spoil the fuck out of it. So, Frosty dies in this poinsettia greenhouse and it’s fucked up to see him as a puddle. There’s a sad retrospective song when he “dies” and it’s over the course of the 20-minute long film thus far - so many emotions were emoted.

However, don’t you fear because Christmas snow can never disappear! Menacing yet nice. I guess. I don’t know. Anyway, Karen has no friends only Frosty, which is pathetic. Hinkle tries to flex nuts on Santa but it’s Santa! However, it is disconcerting Hinkle is 40+ but is a Peter Pan motherfucker still getting gifts from Santa to the point where it carries weight against a magic hat. Now, that’s some Christmas shit.
Anyway, evil magician Hinkle is gonna go home and say he’s sorry to Frosty 100 zillion times before morning. That’s a lot of times. The end. Jesus is the reason for the season.




- Dolores Price
https://www.facebook.com/iconvsicon/

Thursday, December 22, 2016

An Office Christmas Party Carol (A Special Shitmas Poem via Russell Hackett)


An Office Christmas Party Carol
By Russell Hackett
Fresh December snow barely hides a litany of old, rusted hulls. A dull, 3-floor building sits wretched in the distance, its face pocked with chipped stone and broken windows, for instance; a dead pine rots all alone.  
Mr. Lockette, crass and stuffy behind a mahogany desk, sipping Whisky poured from a fine wooded cask. On a tall back-chair, he rests his smarmy ass. Before him a pile of papers, although his eyes are glued to the cup of vapors. 
Mr. Crumpet, hardly the wise, sitting nearby etching in a tablet, looks on in surprise; bowed head and hard smile merely a disguise. “But Mr. Lockette” he decried, “the people, they must eat, for this is Christmastime, haven’t they earned a treat?”
Lockette does not reward Crumpet with a look, but rather vocalizes with an icy shard, still ignoring the books. “Do YOU need food, Mr. Crumpet? Do you know what’s for your own good?”
***
The cafeteria dimly lit without reason, lack of heat chilling, scant decorations distilling the joy of the season. With head in hand employees sit, staring down at meager meats and buns remiss, nothing filling.
***
Late at night, Mr. Lockette rests comfortably in his 4-poster bed, under satin sheets that glow like rippling ocean waters under moonlight. His sleep is rote, a scant wheeze rumbling from his liquored throat.
Multiple figures appear before the bed, dressed in gray-black thread, bearing chains. Lockette stirs and strains, barely able to conceal his dread. “Holdstadt, Wendell, Drummond and Klatt?”
“Herbeweizer Lockette, we are here, steadfast, to show glimpses from Office Parties of Christmas Past” – The men and women hover, swinging their chains of steel in circles above Mr. Lockette, as he cringes and shrinks beneath the covers.
The chains strike cloth, skin, and bone, chinking, slapping, and crunching, each blow a deeper tone.  Lockette twists and turns, unable to avoid the debilitating churns raining from all sides, unable to scream out as blood flows to his head and spikes.
***
He awakens chained to a chair in the cafeteria, surrounded by screens, cold breath escaping his gullet in misty streams. Although his face is pristine, Lockette’s body slumps, limp, fresh blood oozing from wounds with sheen.
The screens flicker to life, old black and white footage of revelers in fancy dress, spirits sloshing as glasses clink, men simper as women wink.  Lockette winces with realization. His heart sinks. 
Voices echo, “This was us, before you arrived, a once per year celebration now deprived. You chased us away with uncharitable dismay. You must pay. You must pay.”
***
Lockette awakens outdoors sprawled in snow, condition poor, his bedclothes a shambling mess, dried blood coating mangled bones and scattered flesh. With fading strength, but reigning power, he manages the names of three more. “Gordon, Monroe and Morgan, do get back to work and spare me this bore.”
A circle of gawkers gathers, cell phones squawking unintelligible matter, as a larger male hovers with a mud-caked shovel. “Herbeweizer Lockette, bleak financial drafter, we are here to show you a grizzly death and our lives thereafter.”
Suddenly bereft of his former indignation, Lockette spies a clearing so vast with white-clothed tables fit for a grand celebration. A fresh hole, much the same, dug so deep, centered with stone bearing his name. Lockette, aghast, sits, and begins to weep.
“But I’ll change, all I can be, you will see” Lockette cries. “You can have anything you like, all the riches, wealth and ware; just please end this godforsaken nightmare.”

The crowd chants in jubilee, “It is too late. Now you must sleep! You must sleep! Soon to sleep. Soon to sleep! ”

Psych Season 5 Episode 14 The Polarizing Express (A 25 Days of Shitmas Post from Acid Pop Cult's Jeremy L. Morrison)



Last year I had zero feedback on my "Psych" Shitmas post so, I figured it best to double down and go balls deep with Season 5, Episode 14: The Polarizing Express. A buddy of mine used to tease that "Scrubs" was the best show nobody watches. Well it is my opinion that "Psych" is the best show nobody has ever even heard of. If you bring it up in casual conversation, or on a mediocre podcast such as Acid Pop Cult, your friends, or co-host Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon, will softly roll their eyes and indulge you while you explain a plot point or pineapple gag, all the while wondering to themselves, "how the fuck does this virgin have three kids."

I digress...

As mentioned before, The Polarizing Express is deep in the heart of season 5's run and it is this writer's opinion that at this point in Psych's run the show-runners could get away with practically anything as nobody was really paying attention at the network. The show had a loyal following, had been on for a handful of years, and kept its production costs modest with a nice Canadian tax break. What were they going to do? Cancel it? I think not. No, Psych had found itself in a rare sweet spot among cable shows. And more importantly, they were having fun. This episode was co-written and directed by series star, and producer, James Roday, perhaps the biggest fan of 80s pop culture to find himself in the Hollywood system. It's beyond me why more horror and pop culture fanatics don't pray this guy makes more art. He is essentially a successful version of anyone you'll meet at a con. Wait, whoops, I just solved that riddle. Sometimes you just have to talk yourself through a theory. Am I right? 

Anywho...

Where was I? James Roday. Got it. Aside from being a cool dude with a great head of hair, Roday is actually one helluva director, and model American. His episodes always seemed to really go for the Easter Egg quotas for fans to flip out on. The Polarizing Express was no different. In fact, I feel like Roday gets away with so much more as this is his Christmas Carol episode. Before the opening credits wrap you'll see more surprises in the dream Shawn Spencer finds himself in than something with a rather high number of cameos. I can't do all the metaphor work for you. It's late.


So the episode starts out with Shawn finding himself in a bit of hot water. It appears that the local news outlets have gained access to security footage of him breaking into a crime scene to snoop around. The talking heads wonder why a psychic would do such a thing and it looks like the criminal he helped bust is about to walk free. Well, as you can imagine, Chief Vick is not happy. Nor is Henry, Shawn's father, played by the always amazing Corbin Bernsen, who finds himself out of his job as consultant with the SBPD. 



Shawn, never one to accept blame, stays a little to late at the Psych Office and begins to doze off while watching television. This is where the fun begins folks. Shawn comes to, but not really, and is confronted by none other than Tony Cox as Tony Cox as Tony Cox in Bad Santa, but if he were still Tony Cox. Still with me? Cuz I'm lost. I love this show!


As we continue through the episode we see that Tony Cox, Shawn's subconscious, is here to show Shawn what life would be like for his friends and family if he had never returned to Santa Barbara. Even though the trips through this alternate timeline are told through Shawn's self absorbed eyes, there is a bit of truth to what Shawn and Tony Cox discover about everyone. Henry would have found himself alone in the latter part of his life. Gus would probably hitch his wagon to a woman that would abuse him for his generosity. Lassie would have ended up with too much power and it would of corrupted his better intentions. Jules would have never found herself being transferred to Santa Barbara and not have had the opportunities to become the stellar detective she has become. But most importantly, Shawn would have never grown up and learn to trust those most important in his life. He would have continued to push everyone away, and ultimately found himself following in his father's footsteps toward a sad, lonely life. Merry Christmas, comedy fans!


Back in the Psych Office, Shawn wakes up with the ability to recall new information that helps him to begin to put together new leads toward catching Czarsky, the episode heavy, but first he must begin his X-Mas Apology Tour '10, starting in Guster with shows in select cities Lassietown, Julesburg, and Henryville. Unfortunately Henryville is sold out and Stub Hub is not accepting calls at this time. 

With the third act in sight, all is forgiven and Shawn is back with his pals at the SBPD. Of course there is a suspenseful twist to the episode, which I won't spoil for anyone interested in checking this Christmas classic out for themselves, and the witty charm flies at you faster than Charlie Sheen outrunning Henry Rollins in a high speed chase south toward Mexico. 


The thing I love most about Psych is the heart. Many shows give you thrills a minute and laughs a plenty, but it's rare for me to find a show where you want to believe these characters exist in the world and you root for their relationships. Psych has never failed me. I've never been let down by an episode. And their holiday shows, specifically their few Halloween and Christmas episodes, are real high points of the series. The Polarizing Express is no exception, and quite frankly may be the measuring stick that I hold other holiday episodes of beloved series by. I strongly urge you to check it out, even if you've never seen an episode of the series before. Maybe it is not the best jumping on point to offer, but damn it's a solid episode to a pretty fun show.



- Jeremy L. Morrison

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Lois & Clark: Season's Greedings (A 25 Days of Shitmas Post from Secondhand Terror's Chris Roberts)

I am a huge nerd.  My penchant for movie love goes far beyond horror (though that's where it primarily stays) and delves deep into sci-fi and yes, superheroes.  None more than Superman.  I have tomes of back issue comics, graphic novels and almost every incarnation of the character on DVD.  In fact, when my wife and I named our son Clark, both sides of our families assumed my connection to Superman when, in fact, I hadn't even given it that much thought.  We just liked the name.  My love for the Man of Steel didn't start, however, with Christopher Reeve, as it did with most people.  My Superman was Dean Cain. 

I am a die hard fan of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.  I always loved the idea that Clark Kent just happened to be Superman, as opposed to the other way around.  Yeah, the show got crazy in it's last two seasons (anybody remember the Lois Lane clone?), but the show was a huge part of my growing up.  So this year, I decided to stroll down memory lane, blow the dust off of my series box set, and have a look at one of the craziest Christmas episodes of any television series in, well maybe ever.
Season's Greedings was the Christmas episode of L&C's second season and featured a calvacade of famous (and soon to be famous) guest stars. It also happened to be written by Cain himself.  The episode opens with Lois Lane and Clark Kent (Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain) walking to work and discussing the holiday season.  A man is hanging a wreath from the gated entrance of the Coates Orphanage.  He drops the wreath and, of course, Clark is there to catch it.  Lois is not a fan of the commercialism of Christmas, considering it just another holiday, like Arbor Day (no joke, that's the line).  Sitting on a park bench are George and Louise Jefferson.  Well, it's Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford, reunited as a disgruntled toy maker (Mr. Shott) and his long time secretary/sidekick (Ms. Duffy).  Technically, Sherman Hemsley is the closest this series will get to The Toyman, but in name only.  By the way, for the remainder of this article, I'll just be calling Mr. Shott and Ms. Duffy "George" and "Weezy" respectively.  It's easier.

George has created a ridiculous toy called the Atomic Space Rat.  It sprays a foul smelling mist that makes children greedy and makes adults act like children.  So George calls some children over who are building a snowman in the park and says he has something special for them.  That line would never fly now unless this was an episode of Law and Order: SVU.  But at least one of the kids has a brain in his head and asks "You aren't some kinda weirdo, are ya Mister?".  George introduces himself as a toy maker and hands him the Atomic Space Rat (ASR).  The kid runs around, spraying all of his friends and then they all decide to gang up on the little girl from the orphanage, Danielle.  She'll show back up later.  Clark's super hearing picks up the sounds of the children picking on Danielle and races to the scene, making up an excuse to Lois regarding last minute shopping.  A one-sided snowball fight ensues and Danielle is rescued by Superman.  He uses his super breath to blow the snowballs back into the faces of the would-be bullies.  Superman tells Danielle "Merry Christmas" and flies on his way.  
After the opening credits, we cut back to Lois and Clark.  Clark is once again trying to explain to Lois why the holiday is so great when they're stopped by very special guest star Dick Van Patten (Eight is Enough, Spaceballs) as Santa.  Not the real Santa, but the man from Coates Orphanage who'd dropped the wreath that Clark caught during the cold (get it?) open.  He thanked Clark again as the disguised Man of Steel puts some money in his collection bucket.  We get another thank you from Santa (he is literally credited in the IMDb as "Santa" for this episode) and a line that no one is really donating money or gifts this year to the orphanage and how these kids deserve a great Christmas.  Lois decides not to be so frigid (the cold puns keep coming kids) and donates some money as well.  Clark decides to stick around and talk to Santa some more.  We discover that Clark wants to help the orphanage by using Superman's influence to get more stores to donate.  The weird thing is, he never just comes out and says "I'll talk to Superman".  He gives some bull about "I know a guy", "the guy would love to help" and "he was an orphan too".  When Santa even asks if he knows Clark's friend, we get a real cheesy "You might, he flies into Metropolis from time to time!".  This Santa must be really dim if he can't just figure out who is going to help.  Then again DVP seems too humble to go asking superheroes for assistance.
As we make our way to The Daily Planet, we are treated to Perry White, the late, great Lane Smith (The Mighty Ducks, Son-in-Law), on the phone with his wife Alice.  He's telling her he's gonna put on that "special" Santa suit and ask her if she's been naughty or nice.  Gross.  Moving on to something a little sexier, we get a very early on screen appearance from Denise Richards (Wild Things, Valentine) as Angela.  She notices Jimmy Olsen, as played by Justin Whalin (Child's Play 3) getting ready for Secret Santa, of which he is in charge.  She starts talking to him, but he is so blown away by the lovely future ex-Mrs. Charlie Sheen, all he can muster is "I'm in charge of it".

 

Lois comes in and starts ranting about Christmas being so commercial and how she just wants to find what Christmas means to her on her own terms.  So she gets out her Rolodex (hey kids, remeber Rolodex?) and proceeds to call her father who puts her on hold and her younger sister who blows her off to spend the holiday with her new boyfriend in Venice.  Specifically Venice, California, not Venice, Italy.  That's supposed to be a joke, but it falls as flat as Superman on Kryptonite.  
Meanwhile, George and Wheezy are mixing up more chemicals to put in the ASRs.  We get the origin story for this Toyman and it ain't that fantastic.  He used to work for Metropolis Toys, but got fired when no one wanted to buy his teddy bears.  And Wheezy was his secretary.  So he is getting his revenge by using chemicals to make everyone want his new toys.  And also to punish children.  Kind of like an even lamer Halloween III.  That's when we discover that George has a warehouse full of ASRs that he is going to unleash on the world.  Well, actually, he has about twenty or so.  But he also somehow possesses green screen technology that makes it look like he has a warehouse full of ASRs.


Perry White just caught wind of the Black Friday-style riots going on over the ASR in various toy stores in Metropolis and wants Lois, Clark and Jimmy to go get the scoop.  When they get to the toy store, they find a mob in front waiting to get inside.  Lois and Jimmy push their way to the front, leaving Clark in the crowd.  They show press passes to get a glimpse of the ASRs and when the store manager unlocks the door, chaos ensues.  This poor guy is thrown out of his own store.  Literally.  Some parents pick this guy up and toss him like a rag doll so they too can get into the toy store before it opens.  Before he can get trampled, Superman swoops in and picks him up off of the snow.  While Superman is asking the store manager about donating to the orphanage, George and Wheezy have made their way inside the store as well so they can see if the spray works on adults like they'd hoped.  Sure enough, Lois gets sprayed in the face.  Now, one thing I didn't mention earlier when I spoke of my love for this series is that it premiered when I was about 10 years old and ended right as I was becoming a teenager.   Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane was my sexual awakening.  I still think she's beautiful.  Not enough that I watched Desperate Housewives, but she still holds a place in my nostalgic little heart.


Now, having said that, I can't say the same feelings apply for Teri Hatcher acting (and talking) like a five year old.  I already have an actual five year old running around my house, I have no room for it running around my BluRay player or my nostalgic little heart.  But, we're gonna get exactly that for the next 10-15 minutes.  Complete with a high pitched baby talk voice.  Lois starts fighting over the ASRs with a woman, coincidentally played by Dean Cain's mother (thank you, audio commentary) and Clark and Jimmy get her into a cab, bound for the Daily Planet.  
As they return to work, Lois is still playing with a few of the rats, but won't let Clark or Jimmy get a look at one for the article they need to write.  Clark asks for just a quick look, causing Lois to stop, spray Clark and Jimmy with the ASR mist, laugh like a child and run away.  Clark and Jimmy now are acting like children too.  The two man-boys have a candy eating contest.  Clark does a "What's that?!?" to distract Jimmy, then uses his super powers to quite literally inhale Skittles like a vacuum cleaner.  As the adult children turn the bullpen into a playpen, Perry White comes out of his office and has to start acting like a stern father to calm his employees down.  Then he takes the ASRs from Lois as a punishment for drawing hopscotch lines on the tile floor with a Sharpie.  
Johnathan and Martha Kent (Eddie Jones and K Callan respectively) stop by the Planet, gifts in hand, to visit Clark.  Only to have Lois grab their presents and find Perry White, who got misted off screen, dancing on his desk to Chubby Checker.  Martha catches Clark using his powers to play a prank on Lois, so we get a good old fashioned scolding, complete with full names (Clark Jerome Kent) and ear pulls all around.  It's about this time that Clark snaps out of it and starts trying to piece things together.  It apparently lasts a little longer on Earthlings than on Kryptonians. 
Now, George and Wheezy are heading to skid row to offer work to the homeless.  And by offer work to the homeless, I mean taunt the roughest looking S.O.B.'s you've ever seen around a fire in a barrel.  He offers them money and booze to break into the toy stores of Metropolis and replace all of the toys with ASR displays.
Lois and Clark catch a break on the case and find out that the ASRs are being distributed by a man named Harry Hecklebaum (Dom Irrera, The Big Lebowski).  When they ask Harry about who makes the rats, he won't answer them, claiming he's "too busy making money".  So, to cause a distraction, Lois puts the baby doll voice back on and, while she grabs one of the rats, Clark grabs an invoice, throws Lois over his shoulder and runs out.  Journalistic integrity at its finest.  
While George and Wheezy are buying Cadillacs and fur coats (We're mooovin' on uh-up....), Lois and Clark are picking out a Christmas tree to put in Lois' apartment.  Lois shares a story about her first Christmas after her parents' divorce.  She got a crappy little Christmas tree and decorated it by herself.  Good times.  So, Lois has decided to save another scrawny tree from the local lot and have a Christmas dinner with her friends.  As they get back to work, they use the invoice to discover George and Wheezy's mist concoction is made up of ingredients that are harmless if boiled.  Rememeber that for later, ok kids?
The next day, we are handing out Secret Santa gifts and, uh-oh, Jimmy Olsen under the spell of the mist, rigged the whole thing so the entire office bought him presents.  Angela was the first to give him his gift and now she's upset with her new found beau.  While all of this is being sorted out, Santa comes into the Daily Planet bullpen with Danielle to warm up and talk to Clark.  Santa tells us that Danielle hasn't spoken since her parents passed away three years ago, but she's excited about Christmas.  Lois and Clark start calling around town to have the ASRs taken off of the shelves and they find out where the warehouse is located.  News anchors (including original People's Court commentator Doug Llewelyn) are warning viewers of the newfound dangers as Wheezy decides to cut her losses and donate George's original idea, a simple teddy bear, to Coates Orphanage.  George, on the other hand, decides to dump a truck full of his chemicals into the Metropolis water supply!  He's laughing loudly and maniacally as he does it. Talk about swinging for the fences.  Does Superman come to save the day?  No.  We still have fifteen minutes of air time, plus commercials.  
Lois and Clark find George in his warehouse sometime later and, for some reason, just go for a walk with him.  Lois decides to take one of his teddy bears with her.  As they're all approaching the orphange, they see Wheezy passing out the teddy bears.  Next to them, in the cross walk, they see three old women fighting over an ASR.  Apparently, they don't watch the news.  Clark explains to the old ladies what's been happening and takes it away, passing it to Lois.  Danielle remembers Lois and sees her holding the two toys.  As she sneaks away from the orphanage to meet them across the street, she doesn't see the horse drawn carraige that wasn't shown anywhere else in the episode.  George runs out to put himself in front of her when a $2000 digital blur of red and blue (Dean Cain's words, not mine {thanks again, commentary!}) sweeps out to scoop them both up and away from the horses.  So then, all of our major players come together and George and Wheezy fess up to Superman.  George loves children, but was so upset at how they didn't like his teddy bears, that he decided to create something that would turn them into little snots.  Because that's what you do when you love kids.  Danielle chooses the bear over the ASR and gives it a hug.  Then, Danielle says "I love you Mr. Bear".  Merry Christmas, everyone.  They stole the mute kid thing from Scrooged, so I'm not too impressed.  George and Wheezy go to jail, Superman uses his laser vision to boil the water in the city reservior, making what George did harmless (told ya to remember) and Superman flies Lois, Jimmy and Perry around Metropolis in a sleigh.  As it turns out, Perry's "special" Santa suit is a red Elvis costume.  Classy guy.  
Lois told Angela that Jimmy was high on ASR mist when he ruined Secret Santa, so the two run off to spend Christmas together.  I found it almost impossible to write this article without mentioning that Denise Richards played a character named "Christmas" in a James Bond film.  So there's me mentioning it.  
Lois goes back home to prepare a Christmas dinner that no one has come to eat.  As she looks around, saddened, a knock comes on her door.  Clark is there, claiming he was snowed out of his flight to Smallville.  Lois knows it isn't snowing and hugs him, knowing he chose her over his hometown Christmas gathering.  And as it starts to snow for real, they hold one another as carolers come to sing outside of the apartment building.


I've ragged on this episode a lot, but in all honesty, I watched it three or four times to prepare for this article and had forgotten how much I loved this show growing up.  It really does grasp the Christmas spirit in a sappy, 90s way.  As a Christmas gift to all of you, below is a link to this episode so you all can see how good (or bad) it truly is.  Don't say I never gave you anything.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

“It’s A Wonderful Life” (A 25 Days of Shitmas Post by Icon vs. Icon's Dolores Price!)


“It’s A Wonderful Life” is a beloved Christmas classic. So, I felt uneasy going into this review. Fantasy, drama, Frank Capra, what’s a bitter girl to do?
I took a deep breath, turned the sucker on and sipped my hate juice. All engines are a go, we have liftoff!

It starts with traditional Christmas imagery - upbeat music, greenery, bells, trees and snow but the Christmas part of the film takes a while to fully reveal itself.
George Bailey, whoever he is, is suicidal! Cue an outrageous image of constellations blinking as “angels” speak about poor George’s plight. My first thought was aliens, which is cool because I like aliens. However, I heard talk about wings and angels so … Jesus. The big white hype. I couldn’t shake the image so I kept thinking about angels from outer space. Now that’s a movie I could get behind.

Anyway, apparently God’s greatest gift is life but he makes angels like Clarence Odbody wait 200 years to get their wings so they can “see” all by themselves. Weird.
Then we meet George. Clarence sees George as a young lad saving his brother’s, Harry, life and losing hearing in one ear as a result. He also saves his boss, Mr. Gower, from the electric chair when he’s distraught with his son’s death. George’s Tinder profile heading would be “Sassy With A Big Heart.”


What’s up with the way George speaks as an adult? Is it a parody of the time? Did people talk like this? Another thing … he’s a recent graduate from high school but he’s damn near 40. He looks old as fuck. Then he goes to his younger brother’s graduation party and … everyone looks old! Maybe it’s because all they did was drink, smoke and dance. The good old days! Lemme get a Pall Mall and a Gin Gimlet. Thanks, doll.

Yadda, yadda, swimming pool, yadda, yadda, Mary finally gets her man Georgie Porgie Pudding and Pie, yadda, yadda, random robe, yadda, yadda, George’s dad dies. Tragic. What’s Mr. Potter’s problem? He is such a dick. Wait, does George have a lazy eye? The aliens are back. George postpones his travel plans to run his father’s business, Bailey Brothers’ Business & Loan, along with his crazy Uncle Billy.

Mary goes to college and George stays - did he forget about her? Anyway it doesn’t matter because George and Mary get married after she returns even though he said he didn’t want to get married. How romantic. They tried to honeymoon but townspeople were like, “George, give me my money” and George was like, “OK.” Hey Dirty, baby I got your money, don’t you worry.
So, George tries to better the town with affordable housing and his ridiculous nature. Mr. Potter hates him more - he’s the Mr. Burns of Bedford Falls, N.Y.  George’s brother Harry, remember that bitch, was in World War II and got the Medal of Honor for being badass. He’s coming home to be lauded, on Christmas Eve 1945 (OK, here’s the Christmas shit), and crazy Uncle Bailey loses an $8,000 bank deposit to Mr. Potter. What a dumbass. I Googled it and apparently $8,000 back then is $106,303.37 today so yeah, that’s some coin. Uncle Bailey is a silly, stupid old fool with a pet bird. Not a cool bird like a parrot. It’s like a big Raven or something. Weird. Could you imagine losing a large amount of money so foolishly - especially as a plot point in a beloved Christmas classic?



So, George apologizes to his family and tries to get Mr. Potter to save his hide - cue memorable quote, “You’re worth more dead than alive.” Then George gets wasted, as any red-blooded American would. He stumbles around and his guardian angel saves his life, especially since George was seriously contemplating suicide - remember from the beginning of the story? Could you imagine stumbling around your hometown wasted and some Irish looking guy being like, “Hey (insert your name here) I’m your guardian angel.” What the fuck! I would hope my guardian angel, if I had one, wouldn’t look like Captain Jim Brass from “CSI.”
Yadda, yadda, George wishes he’d never been born, yadda, yadda, this ain’t the genie from “Aladdin” and Clarence takes George down the twisted world of his longing to be not born.
Yadda, yadda, life ain’t like what it was because George Bailey wasn’t able to support the narrative. George is aghast and wants his life back, even though it is bleak. Yadda, yadda, cue credits.

I know it’s a Christmas classic but I always feel uneasy about giving an ending away so I won’t. So, George tried to get people’s money back and he wasn’t running a Ponzi scheme, apparently.
I was left wondering about Mr. Potter, that dumb old bitch. Why didn’t he redeem himself? If this were a fairy tale, he totally would have become a better person or died like the Queen in “Snow White” - yeah, that bitch totally died. However, maybe he was such an asshole he never could possibly have redeemed himself, like Ace Merrill in “Stand By Me.” Once a dick, always a dick.
The story arc is similar to “A Christmas Carol.” So, there’s that. Did I feel Christmas-y after watching this? No. I enjoyed George Bailey’s daughter commenting on Clarence, the guardian angel, saying, “Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.” So, Clarence got his wings after 200 years of torment. Way to go, God. Merry Christmas.





- Dolores Price
https://www.facebook.com/iconvsicon/