Countdown to an Entertaining New Year

With a new year just moments away, which of our timely tales will cause the most reflection this long holiday weekend? Will Star Wars: The Force Awakens continue to break records and burn the brightest at the box office (while taking wishing upon a star to a whole new level?) Will Joy share wise business tips with those short-sighted guys running The Big Short or will they end up the biggest losers? Might Daddy’s Home inspire moviegoers to stay home this weekend with their dysfunctional family members, including those party girl Sisters, or send them running straight to their local movie theater, sans relatives? Perhaps everyone can travel alongside Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip to catch the biggest, most imaginative view this weekend. There will still be plenty of space on the road for Will Smith’s inspiring Concussion, sure to teach its audience not just the value of head gear but the benefits of movie watching as a safer sport. A relaxing time at the movies is just waiting to be had! Even The Hateful Eight, all wrapped up in duplicity and deception, can’t spoil the latest love fest taking place.

It’s safe to say, the year 2016 promises comedy and calamity, danger and drama, entertainment and enlightenment, animation and, of course, the most awesome adventures within movie theaters coast to coast.

As you resolve to be an all-around better person, may the best stories meet you in the new year and whatever coast you find yourself residing, Happy New Year at the movies!!!

Santa and the Stars Unite

Santa Claus may have headed back to the North Pole for another year, but he left presents galore for the (movie) believers among us. For the folks flying Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he left cherished memories of George Lucas’s continuing blockbuster saga blended with the force of modern-day technology (as a shout out to the younger, less “technologically challenged” fans). In modern, blended families, Daddy’s Home for the holidays inspired its share of laughs, leaving industrious Joy to mop the floors with the rest of the competition. To those hard-partying Sisters, Santa left some much-needed aspirin and chamomile tea to celebrate their still-scenic box-office local (where, like their childhood home, they will eventually be removed). Fast talking Santa supporters Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, meanwhile, were still coasting on that well-traveled road to fame, fortune and leftover milk and cookies.

On that long road home this holiday weekend, there were joyful moments, stars galore, family reunions and those chatty chipmunks.

Which of our Santa-approved tales made for the ultimate Christmas gift?

Estimated Domestic Box Office Results:

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens $153.52 million.
  2. Daddy’s Home $38.8 million.
  3. Joy $17.5 million.
  4. Sisters $13.88 million.
  5. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip $12.7million.

A Season (and Stocking) full of Stories

“Christmas isn’t a season, it’s a feeling.” Edna Ferber

Will Santa and his reindeer be feeling the force of cinematic love this holiday weekend, forgoing a trip around the world for a stopover at a festive movie theater? After receiving the best box-office debut ever, maybe the best spot to view Star Wars: The Force Awakens is from high atop his sleigh, where naturally the brightest stars reside. Following a wish upon a star, will the sleigh driver give our characters just what they want for Christmas? Perhaps he’ll bestow Sisters with the gift of handy party tips (and more appropriate behavior). Maybe he’ll direct Alvin and the Chipmunks: (on) The Road Chip leading to the best presents for talking, animated animals. The kids controlling The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 certainly require no map leading to success, but how much longer will their satisfying games last?

What about hardworking Joy (who strangely resembles that Hunger Games girl?) After years of building the family dynasty, what could she possibly need (except, of course, a few days off and a break from her crazy family?) Then there’s Creed, who clearly still believes in Santa and is hoping for a sequel, something that obviously doesn’t fit under a tree. Does the man in red have the power to make that happen? Now that Daddy’s Home, will he learn the value of family (hopefully, shunning advice from those lovable but misguided sisters) or will he be stricken by the Concussion only those with the star power of Will Smith can inflict? Of course, a Point Break may be in order, as the FBI tangle with a definitely-on-Santa’s-Naughty list group.

Whether naughty or nice, may the stars guide you on your search for the perfect (entertaining) gift and as you head home for the holidays, I hope all of your wishes come true!

Merry Christmas!

The Force of the Stars

Where would we be without the Stars? This festive weekend at the movies, they led us to the brightest spot, and record-breaking, box-office gold, as Star Wars: The Force Awakens stirred generations of moviegoers. Sisters were feeling the force of spending time with family over the holidays while Alvin and the Chipmunks (invited audiences on) The Road Chip leading to more wholesome family fun (and Santa Clause). The kids from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2 were enjoying a holiday diversion, happily handling those starry leftovers quite nicely with sadly, no Santa in sight. Creed still believed in happily ever after (hello, sequel) and all of our characters remembered what it’s like to be a kid again on their quest for the best storytelling Christmas ever!

Skywalker competed (and conquered) Sisterly love, Chewbacca and Han Solo traded barbs with a boxer, Alvin and company were road chipping, make that tripping and a bunch of hungry kids were still in it to win it. Lucky for us, in the starry-eyed land of make believer, we’re all winners.

Did that winning, storytelling road lead you to the brightest Stars this weekend?


Estimated Domestic Box Office Totals:

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens $238 million.
  2. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip $14.4million.
  3. Sisters $13.4 million.
  4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2 $5.6 million.
  5. Creed $5.09 million.

It Happened One Holiday Night: The Conclusion

[originally appeared December 19, 2012]

When we last saw Mr. and Mrs. Clause and company, they were traveling inconspicuously through the movie version of Hollywood on a scenic, Christmas tour. Their favorite stop, The Shop Around the Corner, where tiny surfboards and sand dollars hang from beach-themed Christmas trees. Heading down the beach block, they visit The Preacher’s Wife, who gathers everyone by the cozy fireplace where A Christmas Story is being told. The ‘bah humbug’ among the group are getting Scrooged on hot chocolate and sugar cookies as The Bishop’s Wife is wrapping presents for the Babes in Toyland. Taking a stroll along a well-decorated Sunset Boulevard, the Claus’s and fellow travelers spot a family of sightseers enjoying their National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The Gremlins are shouting We’re No Angels to holiday shoppers, unaware that Santa is within earshot. Following their day of sightseeing and shopping, the Christmas lovers re-board the train and Jingle All the Way home, where The Nightmare Before Christmas is nowhere to be found in this dreamy seascape. They’re thankful the Bad Santa was exiled decades ago for all things good. Losing their disguises, the Claus’s are just in time for a meet and greet with Santa, where they feast on candy canes and a variety of Christmas cookies. St. Nick thanks his lucky (movie) stars he’s so close to the beach, where he can walk off those unsightly holiday pounds. Thanks to the soothing powers of salty sea air, a revitalized Santa, along with the Mrs., heads back to the North Pole, ready for his around-the-world adventure. With the sounds of Christmas tunes in the air expressing glad tidings of comfort and joy, movie buffs and seaside lovers can all agree, in their little starry town, where dreams come true, It’s a Wonderful Life

The Movie Stars Align

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” When our infamous stars align, will they find George Lucas’s continuing saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens encompassing the biggest spot in the cinematic solar system this weekend? I think that’s a safe bet, but what about those starry-eyed Sisters? With feet planted firmly on the ground, will they find the light leading to familial box-office success? Perhaps success-driven Alvin and The Chipmunks: (will be taking the) Road Chip to fame and fortune, at least among the younger generation. Maybe the ageless secret to success will be found In the Heart of the Sea (if not in the hearts of ticket-buying movie lovers).

As the clock gets ready to strike a brand new year, will fortune continue to strike the heartfelt kids of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2?

This being the time of year when magic inexplicably happens, is it possible that evil Krampus will turn good before Santa Claus shows up? The accolades, meanwhile, have been piling up for boxing believer Creed as well as The Good Dinosaur (whose name alone tells you which of Santa’s list he’s on this year). What will they be getting in their Christmas stockings?

Beneath those magical, starry skies, which movie gift will you be giving yourself this weekend?

The Movie Heart Remains True to the Hunger Games

With Christmas less than two weeks away,  were you all shopped out and ready to veg out in your local movie theater? Within that darkened haven, the sea had risen, the stars were shining and the hunger games exploded. During these sweet days, faith was ironically found in the eyes of a boxer (along with the usual eyes of a child).

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2 once again played well with audiences looking for a Jennifer Lawrence sighting before her next “festive” film, Joy enters the cinematic race. A race for survival was occurring In the Heart of the Sea, where Ron Howard’s homage to Herman Melville’s, Moby Dick gave audiences a peek at Chris Hemsworth Christmas Wish List (#1 being reaching dry land then, naturally, reaching a top box-office spot). Krampus, sure to end up on the Naughty List, was once again scaring those kids who found The Good Dinosaur entertaining but too good to be true. Creed, meanwhile, was still fighting the good fight, enticing weary Christmas shoppers into believing in his powerful plight (as opposed to the powers of a good holiday sale).

As Santa Claus gets closer, do you have faith in the powers of make-believe?

Estimated Domestic Box Office Totals:


  1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2 $11.3 million.
  2. In the Heart of the Sea $11.01 million.
  3. The Good Dinosaur $10.5 million.
  4. Creed $10.12 million.
  5. Krampus $8.01 million.