Whether it's for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, or Festivus, we're all taking time off for the holidays and it's a great time to consume pop culture. Here's what the Double Viking staff is doing, watching, seeing, reading, and otherwise consuming over our extended break...
Christmas Day has always been a day for the movies in my family. Last year I had Christmas with my daughters and went to see The Good Dinosaur. The year before that, I didn't have them and my lady friend and I went to see The Imitation Game. This year it'll be Passengers, which was sort of a compromise because I wanted to see A Monster Calls and she wants to see The Space Between Us. This seemed like the fairest way to deal with this, and I can always go to sleep if it sucks because they've got those awesome reclining seats at the theater.
I'll also be catching up on a bunch of movies I've missed throughout the year. My full list of movies to catch up on before the end of the year will, inevitably, take me into the early days of 2017, but it includes films like La La Land, Moonlight, Nocturnal Animals, and a bunch of other movies our readers don't give a shit about. There will also be some watching of the Christmas essentials like Scrooged, A Christmas Story, Bad Santa, Christmas Vacation, A Miracle on 34th Street, The Nightmare Before Christmas... a shit load of Christmas movies.
I used to also use this time to catch up on comics, but since I haven't had a pull list in nearly two years now, those days are over. I'll also be using those Amazon gift cards from various relatives to fill in holes in my Star Wars and He-Man collections. Other than that, lots of lounging, lots of sleeping in, lots of nights listening to The Velvet Fog croon with Dorothy or John Denver's immortal classic...
Any way you slice it, that's a pretty good time right there.
I'll stay up listening to Queen.
It’s got to be Passengers.
Sorry, Rogue One. I’m sure you’re lovely, and my teenage self will hold a candle for George Lucas’ money spinning franchise forever. But we’re getting a Star Wars every year forever, now. We’re only going to get these fresh original science fiction properties until movie studios come to their senses and go back to adapting nineties cartoons.
I’m not alone in this—my wife and I don’t get to go to the movies together very often thanks to our adorable but time-consuming pet human, but for this one, my other half has been planning babysitting plans for months. It helps that she has a girl-crush on Jennifer Lawrence that makes me think she’s one step away from making me wear a Katniss mask to bed.
As far as the rest of the holiday period goes, my viewing will be dictated primarily by the aforementioned pet human. She’s just turned a year and a half, and my wife and I have been fighting a losing battle to keep her from having too much screen time. The thing I’m most excited to introduce her to, though, is a quaint British cartoon called The Snowman, which is kind of like Frosty, except it features a young David Bowie, and the titular Snowman literally melts to death at the end.
They made a sequel recently that brought the Snowman back to life, twenty years after the fact, but my daughter’s not allowed to watch that. The message she’s meant to take from this is that sometimes, your loved ones leave you, so enjoy them while you can.
It’s harsh, but it’s the lesson we all need during this, our first Christmas since Bowie returned to the stars.
I'll start Christmas off with Passengers, which I'm hoping will be another entry in the recent spate of "smart sci-fi" movies, which deal plausibly with artificial intelligence, alien life, space travel, and even how gravity works.
I'll be reading both volumes of Star Trek: The Fifty-Year Mission, a tremendously fun and insightful behind-the-scenes look of every aspect of the Trek phenomenon, from the TV shows to the animated series to the conventions to the reboot movies. A dear friend gave them to me as a gift and they're very inspiring to any writers or filmmakers who are fighting to get their work seen.
I also plan to finally check out some of the Marvel Star Wars comics. Rogue One has made me hunger for any stories about the beginnings of the Rebellion. The first six issues of Marvel's new canon, starting with Skywalker Strikes, are supposed to perfectly recreate the wit and heart of the Original Trilogy. A lot happened before the Rebels settled on Hoth, and I can't wait to read about it.
On TV, I'll start the second season of The Man in the High Castle, a great premise that has suffered from some clunky storytelling and generic characters. Still, I have to see if our heroes enter or create the "right" timeline, where America and its allies won World War II. I'll also continue Black Mirror, an eerie Twilight Zone for the 21st century that's so prescient it seems to already be coming true...