I’m Dreaming of a Celluloid Christmas Part Deux, by John Ostrander

John Ostrander

John Ostrander started his career as a professional writer as a playwright. His best known effort, Bloody Bess, was directed by Stuart Gordon, and starred Dennis Franz, Joe Mantegna, William J. Norris, Meshach Taylor and Joe Mantegna. He has written some of the most important influential comic books of the past 25 years, including Batman, The Spectre, Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawkman, Suicide Squad, Wasteland, X-Men, and The Punisher, as well as Star Wars comics for Dark Horse. New episodes of his creator-owned series, GrimJack, which was first published by First Comics in the 1980s, appear every week on ComicMix.

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5 Responses

  1. Ali T. Kokmen says:

    I don't think anyone mentioned it in the previous thread, but I've got to put in a word for one of my favorite Christmas films: WE'RE NO ANGELS–the original, with Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, and Aldo Ray. Not the later, indetically titled, sorta remake with Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn. Bogie, Ustinov, and Ray play three convicts escaped from Devil's Island who fall in with a befuddled local shopkeeper and his family. Their initial plan is to rob the store to aid in their escape, but they wind up helping the store and its family. If it were made today, the film would probably be done as a black comedy, but the 1955 original has an odd, sweet tone that makes it one of my favorites. And seeing all these great tough-guy actors playing, basically, light-hearted and funny just makes my day.And while I understand why Miracle on 34th Street (the original!) might not be on everyone's must-see list, it has a great spot in my heart for how the trial proceeds and resolves because everyone, independently, acts in their own self-interest. That overarching good things can arise from individuals doing what's best for them is not something you see in every story!

  2. Martha Thomases says:

    In my opinion, HOLIDAY INN is far superior to WHITE CHRISTMAS, if only because it has Fred Astaire dancing with fireworks.

    • Marilee J. Layman says:

      It has the black face, but I still like it better. All of the holiday performances are great.

  3. Michael H. Price says:

    Smart insights, there, John. Less a matter of WHAT one digs, than of WHY one digs it. Yep, the "Peanuts" specials lost their sense of direction after that first gala event to such an extent as to diminish the perceived finer appeal of the original.I've been chastised a time or two on account of mentioning Terry Zwigoff's "Bad Santa" in the same breath with Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life." Both similarly dark in outlook, both similarly concerned with hard-earned redemption, however different their respective narrative tones. Film historian David Thomson's 1985 novel "Suspects" — which imagines intertwined sequelized developments to quite a few acknowledged classic films — catches up with "Wonderful Life's" George Bailey as a haunted soul "torn between Santa Claus and the Bogeyman." Or words to that effect.Favorite "Miracle on 34th Street" here is the 1959 live-teevee version with Ed Wynn and Susan Gordon (daughter of exploitation filmmaker Bert I. Gordon). Resurfaced as a kinescope a couple of years ago, with a Library of Congress screening. Holds up nicely.Grateful for the opportunity to compare notes. Still especially fond here of 1942's "The Man Who Came to Dinner," with its curmudgeonly central figure showing a benevolent face to the public and a grumpier side in private, and its subcurrents of romance and slapstick and "Arsenic and Old Lace"-style homicidal mania.

  4. Mike Gold says:

    Badder Santa is a wonderful film. I haven't seen the family version (more like Addams Family) that John's referring to, but damn, Badder is damn funny. Of course, my family's idea of Christmas cheer is going out to see Beavis and Butthead Do America and my all-time favorite musical, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, so take my recommendation with a grain of salt peter.