The Friday High Five
Crappy Christmas Movies, Freezing to Death, and Realizing Your Hero is a Loser
Every Friday I share 5 things I enjoyed this week. Also, high fives are inherently cool, and I think we can all agree Friday is the bestest day. Hence the Friday High Five. 🙏🏻
December has officially arrived. I think we all know what that means.
Christmas is fully in swing here at the Pierce household. To be fair, we’ve been in Christmas mode basically since November 1. Christmas music on the radio. Had one of our trees up around mid-November, and put up the big one this week.
Yes, we have multiple Christmas trees. We have four, in fact: living room, family room, office, and my daughter has a 3-foot one in her room. I’m trying to convince my wife we don’t actually need a tree for the basement, which means we’ll probably be buying one this weekend.
I considered putting my foot down, but I don’t want to end up with Christmas trees in the bathrooms, too.
The only saving grace: maybe Santa will take pity seeing all these trees bereft of gifts and leave me some new underwear or perhaps a gift card to Hobby Lobby.
We’ve been watching a lot of Christmas movies. If I can be completely honest, we’ve been watching a lot of crappy Christmas movies. I don’t know why, exactly, but for some reason Christmas attracts the most low-rent movies per capita of any genre. And we watch them. This time of year, people crave that feel-good buzz of holiday cheer. Any port in a storm, I guess.
We’ve already watched 4 or 5 of these things. In the interest of public service, I’ll be reprising my rating of Crappy Christmas movies sometime soon. Some of these are actually not so bad.
I honestly expected Christmas to be the far and away winner of last week’s poll. Apparently, a lot of people also like eating turkey and watching the Detroit Lions reveal themselves to be turkeys.
5 Things I Enjoyed This Week
Captain America + Bucky Barnes 4ever
I am presently working on the first exclusive paid article for All the Fanfare, which will be in the bromance genre for which I am the president and also a client. They say to figure out what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. I’m slowly realizing what I love is watching dudes love each other.
Don’t ask me why. Let’s just blame it on my childhood and move on.
The next entry in that vein is what I’ve presently titled ‘How the Steve Rogers & Bucky Barnes Bromance Defined the MCU.’ I’m not writing this piece just because I’m a Bucky apologist; it’s totally true. Captain America: Civil War is the fulcrum which turns the entire MCU, and the center of that movie is Steve picking Bucky over Tony. It’s a freaking love triangle without the romantic bits.
Yesterday I got detoured picking apart the MCU’s other notable duos and couples, to support my argument that Steve and Bucky are the bestest. So expect the usual assortment of shenanigans and asides in an article that will probably take 10 minutes to read. I’ll be publishing the article next week!
Skyrim, once again
I just cannot quit this game.
I came down with a cold last weekend that pretty well knocked me out. Upside, I couldn’t do anything other than watch movies or play video games, which is basically my idea of heaven. Maybe I should get sick more often?
Xbox ran a Black Friday sale on the anniversary edition, a promotion against which my self-control was unequal. Deciding I needed to peep the new content, I fired up my last save and fell back into Skyrim, completely.
Some of the new features include survivability. Let me tell you something, brother: You haven’t lived until you’ve looked with utter relief upon a probably-definitely infested cave because you are freezing to death and need to seek shelter immediately. Oh, and you’re hella hungry but are down to your last haunch of rabbit. Fast travel is not a thing, by the way. Good luck.
I’ve started pre-planning long treks by loading up on food for the journey. Previously, I only ate in Skyrim when I needed some quick healing. You can also craft camping gear, which includes a super-helpful fire pit. Tracking down the necessary components turned into an adventure itself, one which is still ongoing.
Man, I love this game.
We’re in that first-love phase where every new snowfall is magical and wondrous. It also helps that temperatures are yet that the snow melts before it accumulates in threatening quantities. I’ll feel very differently about snow come February. As I’ve started telling my teenager daughter whenever I drop some truth on her: Trust.3
Climbing mountains in Skyrim while fat snowflakes fall outside is basically 4D gaming. I thought to take a picture of the TV and the snow, but my phone wasn’t right next to me and I couldn’t be bothered. Just take my word for it: It was flipping magical.
I really enjoyed the first Extraction, a Netflix exclusive that feels like a less-serious version of John Wick. But still kinda serious? The Extraction franchise evokes the action insanity of movies like The Expendables or The Fast and the Furious while still staying grounded and (mostly) realistic. Chris Hemsworth may end up with more lead in his body than a life-long Flint resident, but there aren’t any flying cars or stupid shit.
The sequel picks up immediately after the first film ends. Which, if you know how the first movie ends, is an absolute necessity. I really appreciated that Extraction 2 makes the consequences of the first movie a major plot point. You remember when Bane broke Batman’s back in The Dark Knight Rises, and then Batman did some pushups and magically healed himself? Let’s just say Extraction 2 doesn’t go that route.
Oh, and that Chris Hemsworth guy is pretty good.
Can’t Buy Me Love
When I needed a break from mulling over the MCU BFF angst, I started thinking about the next exclusive article. That piece won’t be about bro-love at all. Instead, it’s going to be a reckoning of sorts.
I don’t know how you learned about sex. I had The Talk (sorta).4 Also, 6th Grade Health class, which really only taught me that a dong looks hilarious when projected 8 feet tall. Everything I learned about sex actually came from 80s sex comedies.
Patrick Dempsey looms large in that canon. Also, Lambda Lambda Lambda.
I fired up Can’t Buy Me Love this week. I haven’t seen it since at least the 90s. It’s interesting revisiting it as an adult, who has had girlfriends and also the sex, versus the wide-eyed kid I’d been. It’s a bit troubling, to be honest. This guy was my hero?
The movie has lots of smart things to say about popularity and cliques, but the relationship stuff is… hmm.
More to come!
Which leads to this week’s poll.
I’m kinda dunking on Four Christmases here but I unequivocally love it. Vince Vaughn at his peak, doing Vince Vaughn things, will never get old. There’s also so many great lines. My wife and I quote the movie to each other year-round. Forget Cousin Eddie’s opinion about the jelly of the month club—this is the gift that keeps on giving.
I’ve just now talked myself into writing a piece about the Vince Vaughn Fred Claus / Four Christmas duology, which came out in successive years (2007 & 2008). I can only assume he took two swings at capturing his buddy Jon Favreau’s Elf magic before hanging it up. I’m still holding out hope for a third film, if for no other reason than three is a holy number.
One of the joys of having teenagers is using teenage lingo as though you were one of them, which only serves to exasperate them. It’s basically “how do you do, fellow kids” in real life. Ah, wacky fun.
I remember The Talk verbatim. My dad gave me the deets while driving my brother and I back to his house.
“You know about sex?”
“Ah… yes?” No. I definitely do not.
“Don’t do it. And if you are gonna, use a rubber.”
I was 12.