Thursday, December 14, 2017

'A Christmas Story Live!' Airs This Sunday

The cast of "A Christmas Story Live!"
Chris Diamantopoulos, Maya Rudolph, Tyler Wladis and Andy Walken star
in A Christmas Story Live! (FOX)

 TV 

A Christmas Story wasn’t a big hit when it came to theaters in 1983. In fact, it wasn’t until after years of broadcast TV viewing that made the film a holiday cult hit. Many years later, the story was transformed into a Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical. And this weekend, that musical comes to the small screen in a big way.

FOX will air A Christmas Story Live! this Sunday, December 17 which several new songs have been written for the three-hour special. Newcomer Andy Walken stars as Ralphie Parker, the little boy who will stop at nothing to get his parent to buy him a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. He is joined by Maya Rudolph (as Ralphie’s longsuffering mother), Chris Diamantopoulos (as Ralphie’s leg lamp-loving father), Tyler Wladis (as Ralphie's younger brother, Randy) Jane Krakowski (as Ralphie’s teacher, Miss Shields), Ana Gasteryer (as an overprotective mother of one of Ralphie’s friends), David Alan Grier (as the department store Santa Claus), Ken Jeong (as a Christmas tree salesman, PRETTYMUCH (as the Hohman Indiana Carolers) and Matthew Broderick serves as the show’s narrator.

'Deck the Halls' by Pentatonix - Video of the Day

 VIDEO OF THE DAY 

Pentatonix sings "Deck the Halls." (That one guy really needs to do something about that mustache.)

This Day in Pop Culture for December 14

Saturday Night Fever was released in theaters for the first time on December 14, 1977.

America Catches 'Saturday Night Fever'

The movie Saturday Night Fever arrived in theaters on this day in 1977 and propelled both John Travolta as well as the music group, the Bee Gees to even greater stardom that they had already achieved. However, the only songs actually written for the movie were "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever." The original release of the movie was rated R, but a second, PG version of the film was released two years later that took out the nudity, bad language and violence. The film was re-released a third time in 1980 alongside another Travolta hit – Grease. The film had favorable reviews and was nominated for four Golden Globes and an Oscar for Best Actor. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

After Theater Viewer Frustration, 'Olaf' Comes to TV

Olaf's Frozen Adventure air on December 14 and 19, 2017 on ABC.
Olaf likes to give warm hugs. (Disney)

 TV 

For a limited time, Disney paired the short, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure along with Coco, currently playing in theaters. But many parents were unaware and unprepared that was the case and were upset to have to sit through the Frozen film before getting to the “good” picture. Disney’s plan all along was to have Olaf play in theaters a short time and then “surprise” TV viewers with news that the short would become a Christmas special afterward. The plan may have backfired as some folks may be getting burned out on the Frozen franchise, but true fans (and there are a lot of them) are thrilled knowing that Olaf and the gang will be back on the small screen Thursday, December 14 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure includes four new original songs and welcomes back the beloved characters (and cast) of the 2013 Oscar-winning Frozen. During the special, Olaf (voice of Josh Gad) teams up with Sven on a merry mission. It’s the first holiday season since the gates reopened and Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) and Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel) host a celebration for all of Arendelle. When the townspeople unexpectedly leave early to enjoy their individual holiday customs, the sisters realize they have no family traditions of their own. So, Olaf sets out to comb the kingdom to bring home the best traditions and save Anna and Elsa’s “first Christmas in forever.”

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is directed by Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton (who also worked on the Prep & Landing holiday special which will air afterward) and is produced by Roy Conli. The featurette includes a screenplay by Jac Schaeffer and four original songs by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure repeats on Tuesday, December 19.

This Day in Pop Culture for December 13

Dick Van Dyke was born on December 13, 1925.

Dick Van Dyke is Born

Screen legend Dick Van Dyke was born in West Plains, Missouri on this day in 1925. Best known for his roles in the musicals Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Bye Bye Birdie and for his starring roles in the Diagnoses Murder and his own sitcom, Dick Van Dyke shows. In Murder, he co-starred with his son Barry Van Dyke. His most recent movie appearance was in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pastor Tells Kids Santa Isn't Real - Video of the Day

 VIDEO OF THE DAY 

Tis the season for another Christian Christmas controversy. Here, Pastor Dave Grisham of Last Frontier Evangelism, goes about telling kids at a mall that Santa isn't real. Do you agree with his approach?

‘The Last Jedi’ Continues the Adventure with a Strong Female Presence

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Rey (Daisy Ridley) in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (All photos by Lucasfilm/Disney)

 MOVIE REVIEW 

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Domhall Gleeson
Reviewing Star Wars movies when they are done well is tough. We all have expectations when we walk into the theater to see the space spectacle and when those expectations are met, it’s hard to find fault. That is the case with the latest installment in the franchise, The Last Jedi. Just as The Force Awakens brought back the fun, thrills and charm of the original trilogy, so does this one. The two and a half hour movie flies by without hardly a dull moment and is a Christmas gift to all of us.

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Oscar Isaac
If you remember from The Force Awakens, we were left with Rey (Daisy Ridley) finding Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a secluded island literally in the middle of nowhere just before the credits rolled. Before The Last Jedi begins here, we witness a space fight with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and BB8 taunting General Hux (Domhall Gleeson in one of the film’s funniest scenes) only to be reprimanded by Leia (Carrie Fisher).

This Day in Pop Culture for December 12

The movie "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" came to theaters on December 12, 1967.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy shared the screen for the last time on this day in 1967 with the release of the film, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. The forward-thinking movie about interracial relationships also starred, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton. The story about a white woman bringing home a black doctor home to meet her parents was directed by Stanley Kramer. At the time, interracial marriages were still illegal in some parts of the United States. The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress for Hepburn.