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Movie-A-Day #357: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

December 23, 2011

This great Tim Burton/Henry Selick collaboration still gets trotted out every Halloween because it is deservedly a classic. But “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has much more to say about the yuletide spirit than the Halloween spirit. Season’s greetings!

Movie-A-Day #356: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978).

December 22, 2011

Happy birthday to Robin and Maurice Gibb, two-thirds of the Bee Gees. Maurice died in 2003, but Robin turns 62 today. The Bee Gees were THE top 40 supergroup of the 1970s. But as is often the case, the fame that followed their string of hits led them to make an absurdly ridiculous failure like “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” About 90 percent of what was cheesy and trendy about the ’70s got rolled up into this one, which makes it fun in its horribleness. But in the end what doomed the movie is the simple fact that the Bee Gees were not, nor would ever be, the Beatles.

Movie-A-Day #355: 200 Motels (1971).

December 21, 2011

Frank Zappa, one of the great creative minds of the 20th century, would have been 71 years old today. He was more than just a fringe, novelty rock star. His work gleefully subverted the paradigms of jazz, classical and popular music, and blurred the lines between the sublime and the profane. Plus he was a strong social and political voice who wasn’t afraid to face down power and debunk idiocy. He was like Igor Stravinsky, Christopher Hitchens and Chuck Barris crammed into the same body. Zappa took special delight in tweaking his peers in the peace and love generation, which is one of the driving forces in his anarchic farce “200 Motels,” about a band of free-lovin’ rock star freaks on a trek across Middle America.

Movie-A-Day #354: The Hebrew Hammer (2003).

December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah, mensches! The Festival of Lights starts tonight, and as rare as it is to find Hanukkah-themed movies, it’s even rarer to find Jewish badasses in film. That’s where “The Hebrew Hammer” comes in to save the day. He fights for the rights of the Chosen People with a little blaxploitation swagger along the way. Shalom!

Movie-A-Day #353: Flashdance (1983).

December 19, 2011

Happy 48th birthday to Jennifer Beals. “Flashdance” made her an instant ’80s icon, but it was “The L Word” that showed her staying power.

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