Girl Gang: Avengers Edition

I love a girl gang, obvi, but how about a Girl Super Team? For the purposes of this exercise I’ll include basically any woman who I think would be good in a fight, not just those from the Marvel universe.

Agent Margaret “Peggy” Carter

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Every team needs a leader and she’s probably over qualified for the job but I’d still like to have her around.

Diana, Princess of Themyscira

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I mean, of course.

Scrapper 142 AKA The Valkyrie

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She’s one of the greatest warriors of all time and I think some positive female role models like Diana and Peggy would be good for her.

Lara Croft

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Just in case any tombs.. need raiding…

Agent Susan Cooper

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Not only a deadly and capable spy but a master of disguise.

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Lightle-tainers of the Year

Adam Driver: Logan Lucky, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Mr. Driver has always been a very good, very understated, quality actor. He takes his craft seriously and it shows. Pairing him with Channing Tatum sounds insane, especially as brothers, but I didn’t doubt their relationship for even a second. His work in Star Wars has been outstanding from the jump but The Last Jedi burrowed its way into Ben Solo and gave Driver some excellent scenes to explore. I can’t wait for episode nine.

Kumail Nanjiani: The Big Sick, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley

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Mr. Nanjiani had a banner year both personally and professionally as he saw the true life story of how he met his wife adapted to a feature film that he wrote and starred in, and it was rightly very well received. This led to a delightful hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, all while enjoying the continued success of HBO comedy, Silicon Valley. He even found time to tweet occasionally. Nanjiani is one of my favorite comedians working right now and I am elated at his success this year. I’m glad I saw him live when I had the chance.

Taika Waititi: Thor: Ragnarok, The Thor: Ragnarok press tour.

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I’ve spoken a lot about Taika Waititi and I will continue in perpetuity. He’s lovely, he’s smart and witty and cares about hiring indigenous people for his huge blockbuster. He made one of the best superhero action films of all time and did so without losing his own style. I can’t wait to see what he does next and I hope it’s another big studio picture.

Mackenzie Davis: Halt and Catch Fire, Blade Runner 2049, That Episode of Black Mirror that I finally watched.

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I know she didn’t do all of this this year, but these are the things I watched and it was amazing. As Cameron Howe she’s so fierce and stubborn and inSan Junipero” so meek and quiet. Blade Runner had a lot of great women in it (Sylvia Hoeks and Ana De Armas are standouts for sure) and even though her part was small she brought a lot of personality to Mariette. She was coy and mysterious and I liked that she had empathy for Joe. I’m devastated that Halt and Catch Fire is over but if it means a promising film career for Ms. Davis, then all the better.

Idris Elba: The Mountain Between Us, Thor: Ragnarok, Molly’s Game

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Thank god for Taika Waitii for finally making Idris Elba hot again. I don’t know why the previous directors in the franchise wanted to hide his face under that weird helmet but they were wrong and they should feel bad. Renegade Heimdall was one of my favorite parts of Ragnarok. Mr. Elba did some tremendous work in other films this year too but all I’ll remember when the dust settles is the dreads.

Throwing Rocks At Trains

Christmas is about traditions. Visiting Santas. Opening presents. Seeing old friends. And in case you’re maxed out on sentiment, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is here with “A Very Sunny Christmas” to turn those traditions on their heads and remind you that Christmas sucks and nothing matters.A_Very_Sunny_Christmas_(27)

Mac fondly remembers taking presets from other houses and Charlie can’t remember anything because he typically spent Christmas huffing glue. Dennis and Dee are looking for revenge after the years of being punked by Frank who would buy them amazing presents and them keep them for himself, his attempt to teach the twins a valuable life lesson.A_Very_Sunny_Christmas_(2)

As Mac and Charlie confront their childhood traumas, Dennis and Dee try to “Christmas Carol” Frank using his old business partner, Eugene, whom he believes to be deceased. Their plan backfires of course, and they end up part of Eugene’s own revenge plot.

The two part episode is one of the best of the entire series. The soundtrack is fire, filled with holiday favourites the ever present jangle of jingle bells. Everything is decorated to the max and they had the foresight to write in a snow machine so the episode had a wintery feel despite being filmed in a sweltering Philly summer. There’s even a claymation dream sequence featuring Herbie the Elf.A_Very_Sunny_Christmas_(43)

As always, everything goes back to normal and the gang is left to do as they do best. Disrupt the neighbourhood and drink too damn much.A_Very_Sunny_Christmas_(45)

Entertainment Value: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Christmasyness: 🎅🏻🎅🏻🎅🏻

Happy Jane-Mas!

Happy Endings was the best sitcom ever written and I miss it every day.

They gave Christmas a try in the second season but it was dragged down by one of those weird sitcom contrivances that would be solved in the real world with a simple conversation. But it does have Adam Pally dressed as Santa!ADAM PALLY, CASEY WILSON

For season three’s festive episode “No-Ho-Ho” they present the idea that Jane was born on December 25th but changed her birthday to July 16th because she doesn’t want to share it with Christmas. Classic Jane. So the gang decides to postpone Christmas so she can have her birthday on her actual birthday aka Jane-mas. And yes I totally believe that Alex has no idea when her sister’s real birthday is.ADAM PALLY, ELISHA CUTHBERT,  ZACHARY KNIGHTON, DAMON WAYANS JR., CASEY WILSON

The road to Christmas is paved with good intentions. Brad gets sucked in by Hip Hop Santa, Max can’t lay off the Egg Nog, and Alex succumbs to her present-opening compulsion.

Meanwhile Dave and Penny try to find the perfect present for Pete, on Christmas Day, and they plan an elaborate scavenger hunt. It’s a weird plot line in the weird season arc of Penny’s weird love story. It’s completely irrelevant and goes nowhere. I was full time shipping Dave and Penny by this point and I firmly believe that if they show had continued they would have ended up together. he_a.jpg

Jane eventually leaves and finds a bar full of Christmas babies to commiserate with. Although they’re a lot more angry about their shared birthday and things soon turn violent. Brad of course comes and finds her and Jane-mas is saved. Thank god for Brad. Sometimes he is the most levelheaded and morally good person on the show and I love him and Jane together. In the end, they all get their perfect Christmas.

Entertainment Value: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Christmasyness: 🎅🏻🎅🏻.5

Surviving Christmas

This Christmas, celebrate with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon as they try to go to Fiji and avoid their crazy families in Four Christmases. I totally called that Brad and Kate were faking the bar scene meet-cute from the jump, but I still enjoyed it. Then they had me completely sucked in during their “why would we ruin our perfect relationship with marriage?” defence. Yup, fully onboard. Love these two.B002N1MPPM_FourChristmases_UXNL1._V144373257_RI_SX940_

First up it’s Brad’s dad’s house and uh, Jon Favreau looks incredible y’all. Brad’s family is a nightmare of stereotypes and I sympathize with him for choosing to change his name and not tell Kate his deadname. The whole point of changing your name is not having to use or acknowledge your old one.fourchristmases-mv-35

Next we have Kate’s mom’s house and oh wow Kristin Chenoweth is perfectly cast as Reese’s sister. Like genuinely perfect. But why is everyone judging her relationship? Are we really obligated to tell our partners every ugly detail from our past lives?? Also her niece is a fucking monster. And I love how invested Brad gets in the nativity play.original

I didn’t know this movie was about their relationship problems. I thought it was kind of just a bunch of jokes vaguely relating to Christmas. But it gets hella serious after visiting Brad’s mom. Jon Favreau and Katy Mixon were amazing in that Taboo scene though.

Obviously in the end they make up and decide to buy into heteronormativity (snore) and do the whole marriage and kids bullshit thing. They were so interesting before.72a3f21e2c

Oh well, another one bites the dust.

Entertainment Value: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Christmasyness: 🎅🏻🎅🏻🎅🏻.5

The Only Way Is Essex

A benchmark of British culture is the Christmas Special. Americans settle for the occasional festive episode but the Brits make an event of it. One such event is the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special, and the world is a greater place for it. James Corden actually invented Carpool Karaoke in 2008 when he rocked out to “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and regardless of his other transgressions, I’ll always hold that moment in my heart. That and sight of Nessa dressed as Santa. I can’t get enough of her, truth be told, but especially in this episode. The bathtub scene, playing battleship with Stacey, exchanging glances with Smithy. It’s all good as gold it is.3B21CBA100000578-0-image-a-2_1481106991341

Rob Brydon is one of the UK’s greatest performers and I love him as Bryn. He’s so cheery and amenable. Every family needs a Bryn, toting around mistletoe and Mint Bailey’s. There’s a lot occurring this episode, most notably, Gavin and Stacey planning to move to Wales. Nessa and Smithy are navigating co-parenting young Neil (the result of some “rubbish” in the garden at Pam and Mick’s) and managing quite awkwardly due to his stunted emotional maturity and her tendency to shut everyone out.gallery-1481818945-gavin

Co-creators Ruth Jones and Corden have created quite a village to surround themselves with. Between the Welsh side and the Essex side, they’ve got all their bases covered and a Christmas gathering is the perfect setting to let them all loose. I love Mick and Pam so much. Michael Shipman is honestly one of the best TV dads. And I swoon for Gwen. She’s so pure. Just a beam of unconditional love and generosity. She reminds me of my Aunt Adele actually. I strongly recommend watching the rest of this series but if you can’t swing it, the Christmas Special is worth your time on its own. It’s like a warm hug on a cold day.65C88A2A-98A9-CE0D-F29913A067C50E09

Entertainment Value: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Christmasyness: 🎅🏻🎅🏻🎅🏻🎅🏻

Making a King

Well lord knows I love a movie about journalists, so sign me the heck up, Netflix Original A Christmas Prince. I already love Amber, our put-upon protagonist who gets an assignment to track down Prince Richard of Aldovia OVER CHRISTMAS, which is fine because she’s extra single and the only person who’ll miss her is her diner-owning father.1510940167-24428-454

Aldovia, which I think is fake, is a tiny country out of a storybook. It’s what Americans imagine Europe to be like if they’ve ever been there, sort of a cross between Finland and Switzerland. Everyone sounds British though.

Amber immediately gets an inside look at the Royal Family by pretending to be the tutor for the young Princess because of course she does. She’s nice to the little brat and gains favour with everyone in the palace quite quickly. When she finally gets a moment alone with the Prince, he reveals himself to be more thoughtful and reserved than his reputation suggests because of course he is. Naturally though, being royalty, he’s been promised to Lady Sophia and isn’t too happy about it because OF COURSE HE ISN’T.19d5929e-cccc-49be-9b2b-08b2a300946a-screen-shot-2017-12-04-at-32705-pm

He is obviously attracted to Amber because she’s cute and smart and doesn’t care about being a queen and she pretends not to like him because she’s a professional and needs this assignment to launch her career. Also he looks a bit too much like Mike Birbiglia for me too take seriously. Like I actually checked to see if they were brothers.maxresdefault (2)

There’s a lot more drama to be had than I expected. It follows the typical romantic comedy plot but with a side twist that (SPOILER ALERT) the Prince is actually adopted. Everyone finds out at the same time Amber’s identity is revealed and it tears them all apart. The romance kind of takes a back seat to stuffy bureaucratic procedures and like, a lot of conversations about duty and bloodlines.

Luckily it all gets sorted out in the (Saint) nick of time and Amber loses her job so she’s free to start a blog (honestly love don’t bother; blogs are so done) and well, you know, become the Queen of Aldovia. I like how when he proposes she’s like “No I can’t because of  these perfectly good reasons!” And he’s like “Nah babe, I’m a King. Normal people problems don’t apply to us.” And they lived Happily Ever After. I mean, we’ve all seen Into The Woods. These things always work out perfectly forever.f532be354e280d84f25f0782200cf2e133c54ce4

Entertainment Value: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Christmasyness: 🎅🏻🎅🏻.5