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Thoughts On: “The Man Who Invented Christmas”

Hi, everyone!

Whew, what a year I’ve been having! But more on that in a post I’ll put up just before the new year…

Anyway, without further ado, last Sunday, December 17, I saw a film that inspired me to pen another installment in my series on holiday/Christmas/winter movies and specials.

What film was so special that it woke me out of my writing reverie (in terms of this blog, anyway)?

The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)!

I do not own any of the following images or videos!

Here’s the trailer:

No, Mr. Dickens, I wasn’t trying to read over your shoulder! Don’t mind me!

The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)
Plot: Charles Dickens, after a rush of inspiration, tussles with writer’s block, deadlines, and personal struggles as he strives to crack his latest work… A Christmas Carol.

There have been nigh countless adaptations of A Christmas Carol, from film, to TV, to stage––– from verbatim, to musical, to modernized, to gender-flipped––– from live action, to animation, to The Muppets! If you like A Christmas Carol at all, you have your favorite version or versions. You have your favorite ghost, your favorite scenes, your favorite lines… this story touches the hearts and souls of so many. Some may say such nearly-universal appeal cheapens it: I say, it enriches it. How special to be able to take a singular story about one person’s extremely personal journey and make it accessible and even relatable to so many.

Full disclosure: I’ve loved A Christmas Carol and so many of its adaptations for as long as I can remember. In fact, my very first acting role was as The Ghost of Christmas Present (my favorite ghost in the story)! Even though I was twelve at the time, I still remember so many of my lines, and would love to be involved in another adaptation of the tale someday.

Since The Man Who Invented Christmas is still in theaters as of this writing, and I do highly recommend it, I’ll do my best to avoid any spoilers of surprise moments. However, everyone has different definitions of what counts as a “spoiler,” so I shall still include my traditional warning…

Spoilers lurk beyond this point!

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Christmas/Holiday Movies: “It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie”

Hi, everyone!

I had a pretty hectic Halloween season this year, so I wasn’t able to continue my series about Halloween movies. However, I know that my subsequent series on holiday/Christmas/winter movies (and specials) only had half the amount of entries… that is, only two. Yikes.

So, I’m going to rectify that this year, starting…

now!

For those of you who are new (or just don’t remember), this is how this series works…

This month, I’m going to watch (and, in some cases, re-watch) some movies that are perfect for the holiday/Christmas/winter season. These are not reviews, because I’ll only be writing about films I love and recommend. There’s no plan, method, or scientific algorithm to what movies I’m going to watch or how I’m going to structure these entries. I’m just going to have fun with it, and I hope you will, too!

First up, a TV movie that I believe is ridiculously underrated…

It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002)!

I do not own any of the following images or videos!

Here’s the trailer:

It’s ALWAYS a merry Christmas with The Muppets!

It’s ALWAYS a merry Christmas with The Muppets!

It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002)
Plot: The Muppets are putting on a big Christmas show to save their theater, but when everything goes wrong and Kermit the Frog’s spirit seems broken, an angel comes to show him what the world––– and his friends––– would be like if he’d never been born.

I also have a very personal connection to this movie, which you’ll have to read on to find out about!

Spoilers lurk beyond this point!

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Thoughts On: “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday”

Before we get started, follow Pee-wee Herman’s adventures on his official website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and his new YouTube channel, and join his FREE Premium Diamond Platinum Fan Club!

I’ve written about Pee-wee Herman twice before. Both times, I predicted I’d end up writing about Pee-wee’s Big Holiday when it was released on Netflix.

… I’m psychic!

I was so excited for Pee-wee’s Big Holiday that I stayed up until 12:00 am PT––– 2:00 am my time––– to watch it the second it premiered!

This was how I looked just before 2:00 am on March 18.

This was how I looked just before 2:00 am on March 18.

Thank goodness I was on a different floor with the door closed… otherwise, my constant laughter would’ve woken everybody up!

All of the following images, videos, and GIFs belong to their respective owners!

Here’s the poster…

That’s about how high I jumped every time I heard news about “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.”

That’s about how high I jumped every time I heard news about “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.”

Here’s the trailer…

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday is written by Paul Reubens and Paul Rust, directed by John Lee, and produced by Judd Apatow. (You all know how much it means to me to see someone who’s both a writer and a performer!)

Let’s do this!

“Ha ha!”

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Christmas/Holiday Movies: “The Muppet Christmas Carol”

I had so much fun writing about Halloween movies, I decided to extend the series and write about films perfect for Christmas/the holiday season! Most will probably be about Christmas, but I’m leaving myself wiggle room for other holidays and general winter movies.

Remember, these are not reviews: I’m writing about films and TV specials that I love and recommend.

My favorite Christmas movies generally have a nice mix of humor, fun, wackiness, and heart––– and some good music doesn’t hurt, either.

This first film has all of that, and more. Warm up your voices, because it’s time for…

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)!

By the way, if you like the Muppets, make sure you check out The Muppets on ABC!

I do not own any of the following images or videos!

Here’s the trailer:

I’m not sure why there’s music from Beetlejuice in the trailer, but it works.

I'm smiling already!

I’m smiling already!

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Plot: Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy, bitter businessman, despises Christmas and all forms of kindness and charity; but this Christmas, he just might get a chance to redeem himself…

Spoilers lurk beyond this point!

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Halloween Movies: “The Monster Squad”

This month, I’m going to watch (and, in some cases, re-watch) some movies that are perfect for the Halloween season. These are not reviews, because I’ll only be writing about films I love and recommend. There’s no plan, method, or scientific algorithm to what movies I’m going to watch or how I’m going to structure these entries. I’m just going to have fun with it, and I hope you will, too!

The one promise I’ll make is that I’ll only include spoilers after the jump.

For this inaugural entry, I’m going to write about a movie I just saw for the first time––– well, all the way through, anyway…

The Monster Squad (1987)!

I do not own any of the following images or videos!

Here’s the trailer…

I’ve known about The Monster Squad for a while, though I don’t know exactly how long. When you love the Universal Monsters as much as I do (and I’m sure many of you do), you read a lot about them and other films that reference or utilize them. I was bound to come across The Monster Squad at some point. And I did. I read about the plot, found out some trivia, and watched some clips. All signs pointed to this being a film I’d love.

So recently, I finally ordered the twentieth anniversary DVD online. I watched it with my family, who had never even heard of it until I told them about it. Luckily for all of us, my gut instinct turned out to be a bullseye: we loved every minute of it––– and if you love monster movies, you will, too!

Here’s the basic, spoiler-free rundown…

The Monster Squad (1987)
Plot: Some young friends obsessed with monsters suddenly find themselves face-to-face with the Universal Monsters and must stop Dracula’s plan before it’s too late.
Monsters: Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolfman, the Gillman, and the Mummy
Scare Factor: It may be scary to kids about five years old or younger, but it all depends on the kid. If this kid has already seen some monster movies, especially ones with the Universal Monsters, he or she will probably be fine. For everyone else, watch it and have fun!
Gore Factor: The gore’s pretty minimal.
Family-Friendly Factor: There’s some scattered swearing and some suggestive comments. Some people may find a couple of words offensive.

Look out! Behind you!

Look out! Behind you!

ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! Spoilers lurk beyond this point!

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Thoughts On: “Frozen”

Hi, everyone!

This is the first of what I hope to make a series of posts in which I write down and share my thoughts on various films. Some will be new releases you can experience in theaters, while others will be films you can check out on DVD. No matter which film I’m writing about, I will always take great care in regard to spoilers: if I feel compelled to write about one or more spoilers, I will mark them very clearly so you can choose to skip them and come back to read them later. (You’re welcome.)

I’m starting this series because I saw a film entitled, Frozen, and felt so strongly about it that I wanted to share it and my thoughts on it with anyone and everyone I could. This is why these posts are not intended to be “reviews” or summaries, as well as why I will neither be going out to see every single new release so I can post about it here, nor writing about every movie I do end up seeing. None of those prospects is why I started this series.

When the credits began rolling on Frozen when I saw it for the very first time, I had an overwhelming feeling (one of many, actually) that I just couldn’t shake, and didn’t want to, anyway: I have to tell everyone I can about this film. That feeling inspired not only this post, but this entire new series of posts, and I want to stay true to it.

All images belong to Walt Disney Pictures.

All images belong to Walt Disney Pictures.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to our inaugural “Thoughts On” post! The film: Frozen, from Walt Disney Animation Studios, originally released on Wednesday, November 27, 2013: Thanksgiving weekend. (You can check out Frozen‘s very “cool”––– pun intended––– official website here!) To start off, let’s get one thing straight…

Should I see “Frozen”?

“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Sidesplitting Serenades (2018)”!

Hi, everyone!

It’s time for one of Jammin’ with Jamie’s grand and beloved traditions! … If I love it, it counts as “beloved,” okay?

A certain divisive holiday is barreling down the calendar towards us… Valentine’s Day. Some people love it, some people loathe it, but either way, you can’t escape it. Regardless of your feelings for this holiday about, uh, feelings… you’ll love this week’s Jammin’ with Jamie, which is chock full of…

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“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Comeback Choruses”!

Hi, everyone!

It’s true! After a sudden and longer-than-anticipated hiatus, “I’m ba-ack!” Jammin’ with Jamie is returning to 89.3 WNUR FM on Satuday, February 3!

Without any further ado, let’s dive right into our first theme since our break! I can’t think of a much better way to celebrate a comeback with a cavalcade of…

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“Jammin’ with Jamie” on 89.3 WNUR FM!

Hello, all of you out there in Radio Land (and Internet Land)!

If I’ve linked you to this post, it means Jammin’ with Jamie will be on the air this Saturday morning at 7 am ET/6 CT on 89.3 WNUR FM! Tune in and jam with us over the air on 89.3 FM, or stream us live anywhere in the world at wnur.org.

Live tweet with us using #JamminWithJamie, and tag me @JackalopeJamie. I record every show, so if you like what you hear, let me know, and I’ll gladly send you that week’s jam session!

Jammin’ with Jamie spotlights music from film, TV, and stage, all under a different theme every week. By jammin’ with us, you’ll discover new favorites, remember old ones, and, before you know it, sing, dance, and laugh along with us for a fun jam session!

We also welcome the occasional guest star to our jam sessions. Those shows are very special, and they also get posted on my YouTube channel!

So start your weekend off right with the most fun hour of radio you’ll hear all week!

Jam with us on Jammin’ with Jamie, this Saturday morning at 7 am ET/6 CT on 89.3 WNUR FM!

Thank you for reading, listening, and “jammin’,”
Jamie Lee

“Jammin’ with Jamie” on Hiatus Until September

Hi, everyone!

WNUR is undergoing renovations, so Jammin’ with Jamie will be taking a break until September. Check back here to find out when we’ll be jammin’ again!

Thank you, Jammers, for your patience as WNUR continues to improve your listening (and jammin’) experience. I hope you consider jammin’ with us when we resume jammin’ Saturdays at 7 am ET/6 am CT on 89.3 WNUR FM! If you want to hear it in the meantime, let me know: I record every show and will happily send it to you! For more information about Jammin’ with Jamie, go here!

Thank you for reading, listening, and “jammin’,”
Jamie Lee

“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Sizzling Summer Songs”!

Hi, everyone!

In one of our many grand Jammin’ with Jamie traditions, break out your sunscreen, sunglasses, and short sleeves, because now that the heat and humidity are up, we’re going to again salute this sunny season with some…

Let’s heat things up!

“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Job Jams”!

Hi, everyone!

We’re celebrating the 4th of July on Jammin’ with Jamie, though in a different way than you might expect.

Since we jammed to politically-adjacent pieces recently, we’re going tackle this jam session from a different angle. We’re going to turn our focus to a subject that gets a lot of political attention from every side of the proverbial aisle.

So spruce up your resume and brush up on your interview skills, because we’re going to be jammin’ to some…

You’re hired!

“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Location Lyrics”!

Hi, everyone!

At this time of year, many of us travel, whether for day trips or full-blown vacations.

It’s time for the next leg of our Jammin’ with Jamie road trip that we started last week!

We’re already packed, so let’s set off!

Set your destination…

“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Travel Tunes (2017)”!

Hi, everyone!

At this time of year, many of us travel, whether for day trips or full-blown vacations.

We’ve done this a couple times before, which means we have some “frequent Jammer miles” on this Jammin’ with Jamie theme. This will be the first part of a two-part jam session, so make sure you stay with us next week, too!

No need to pack anything: just bring your singing voice and your senses of humor and adventure as we head out toward the horizon with a trunk full of trailblazing…

Let’s head out!

“Jammin’ with Jamie” Theme: “Rise Up Refrains”!

Hi, everyone!

Here at Jammin’ with Jamie, we jam to a lot of songs celebrating people (and other individuals) who take a stand. So I’ve decided to gather a whole group of them to create a powerful demonstration of…

What do we want?!