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Original or Remake: Holiday Movie Edition

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We live in a day and age where every good idea is worth recycling over and over again. Did you like Spider-Man? Great, here are three different versions? How about Ghostbusters? Try them with women? Despite the endless supply of creative writers out there (ahem), Hollywood loves to go back to the same old well to produce stories we’ve all seen before. And it’s no wonder why. We love them. Some are awful. Others are outstanding. Hollywood will keep trying until they get it right… and then try some more. Holiday movies are no exception. Let’s stack up these original Christmas movies with their remakes and see what comes out on top.

The Grinch

There are a few movies that are an absolute staple around Christmas time. A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life – just to name a few. And of course, The Grinch. But which Grinch does your household watch? For years, there was only one choice: the classic, animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, released in 1966. Then in 2000, Jim Carrey put on the green in the live-action version. Which did you watch? Let’s see how they measure up.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

Runtime: 26 minutes

Animations were based on Dr. Seuss’ drawings

Narrator, Boris Karloff delivers an evil, wicked Grinch

“You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch!” Recognize that voice? That’s Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice of Tony, the Tiger

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Runtime: 1hr 44 minutes

Jim Carrey goes full cartoon in his portrayal of the Grinch

Narrated by Anthony Hopkins

We get to see the Grinch as a little kid. Cool or terrifying? You decide.

courtesy of KCLSU.org

A Christmas Carol

 Another Literary classic about a grump ruining Christmas, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a timeless story about the importance of kindness and generosity. This story has been told and retold so many times in so many forms, it might be impossible to compare them all. Instead, let’s compare two of the fan favorites.

Scrooged (1988)

It’s that other movie from the 80s with ghosts starring Bill Murray

A modern take with vintage Murray laughs

The hair. Oh, the hair!

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Muppet hecklers, Waldorf and Statler are funny and spooky as Jacob and Robert Marley

The Great Gonzo narrates as Charles Dickens with his comical sidekick Rizzo the Rat

Great Music! (unless you count that super sad song sung by Scrooge’s girlfriend, Belle

Miracle on 34th Street

Some of the greatest Christmas movies grapple with the relationship of Christmas wonder and the real world. The Santa Clause, starring Tim Allen is about a cynical divorcee forced into the role of the magical Santa. Jon Favreau’s Elf, starring Will Ferrell is about an Elf from the North Pole coming to New York to meet his real father. This injection of Holiday magic into everyday life is what we all hope for this time of year and no story does it better than A Miracle on 34th Street. But which version to watch?

A Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Edmund Gwenn might be the real Santa Claus

Takes place in Macy’s

The old school black and white movie on the TV next to the fireplace is might as well be a Norman Rockwell painting

A Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

Mara Wilson’s (Matilda) peak adorability

Takes place in ‘Cole’s’

They sprung for reindeer

What’s Played in Your House

It simply is not the Holiday season until we build a fire, bake some cookies, and watch some of these classic movies. Every household has its own list of Christmas movie essentials. What kind of house are you in? Parents, have your kids not seen the original Grinch? Kids, do your parents make you watch that old black and white movie? Whatever you watch, these movies will be sure to add to your holiday cheer.

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The All-Time Greatest Video Game Movies

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Most video game enthusiasts would agree on one thing. Video games should stay on consoles and not as TV or movie adaptations. Given Hollywood’s track record of adapting video games, it’s difficult to capture the essence of a beloved video game and make a two-hour movie about it. Let’s be real here, not all video game movies suck. You would have to look past some plot holes or bad characterizations to realize it wasn’t a bad movie after all. But which ones are worth watching? Here’s a list of the best video game movies of all time.

Warning: Potential spoilers ahead

1. Mortal Kombat (1995)

Any movie critic or gamer agrees that the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie is one of the best video game movies ever.

The story follows Liu Kang (Robin Shou) as he tries to defend the earth from being invaded by the Outerworld. Not only that, he seeks to avenge his brother after being killed by Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa).

As you watch the movie, it looks like a video game because the audience will see fight scenes from different “arenas.” And if we’re to look at this in the video game context, there are “cutscenes” for the audience to understand the story better. If we look past the cheesy dialogue and the visuals (okay, fine, it was released in the ‘90s), it’s a good movie based on the plot. Plus, it stays true to the video game’s story. Even non-players of the game will see how the story goes.

While the scenes with Liu Kang vs. his enemies are considered the best, we have to give Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby) credit for fighting Goro, a Shokan. It proves that he’s a real martial artist, but it doesn’t discount him being “the funny guy” in the movie since he kicks Shokan in the nuts in this fight scene.

Here’s a clip of Johnny vs. Goro in Mortal Kombat 1995.

The 1995 movie did have a sequel, but it had negative reviews from critics and the audience. There is a new Mortal Kombat movie, available for streaming on HBO Max. Mortal Kombat (2021) does have some significant changes and much better special effects. But, the original adaptation remains a fan favorite.

2. Resident Evil

Okay, there are six movies in this series, but the entire Resident Evil movie franchise delivers in action and horror as a whole.

The movie franchise’s main protagonist, Alice (Milla Jovovich), teams up with beloved characters from the game, such as the Redfield siblings (Claire and Chris), Jill Valentine, and Leon S. Kennedy. They’re up against countless zombies and the well-known video game villain, Albert Wesker.

Among the six movies in the franchise, the first movie takes the cake as the best Resident Evil movie of all time. If you plan on starting the franchise, get hyped by watching the trailer of the first movie:

3. Sonic The Hedgehog

Before its release, Sonic the Hedgehog was met with backlash over Sonic’s original design. 

Sonic’s original design and Twitter reactions:

But the designers changed it and made it look like the game’s version, earning praise from the general public. Without the change, it would not have been the hit it was at the box office and the audience.

The movie follows the speedy hedgehog, Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz), as he loses rings and evades Robotnik (Jim Carrey) from eventual capture. He also gets Tom’s (James Mardsen) help to retrieve the rings and forges a close friendship with the human.

It’s a hilarious movie with excellent visual effects that will keep your eyes glued to the screen. It even imitates Quicksilver’s speed-up/slow-mo scenes, allowing us to witness Sonic’s super-speed in action. Plus, it also incorporates other pop culture references that will make you chuckle.

See Sonic in full speed and power in this clip:

4. The Angry Birds Movie

Who would’ve thought that the viral mobile game app, Angry Birds, would get a movie adaptation? Of course, your first thought could be, how on earth would birds getting thrown at green pigs become a movie?

The writers were able to flesh out a plot with birds dealing with anger management issues, and greedy pigs aim to steal and eat their eggs. But the main trio, Red, Chuck, and Bomb, are determined to stop these hungry pigs from eating their hatchlings and recover them to their parents.

It’s not until the end you’ll see how the gameplay was incorporated on the big screen. It was a nice take on how they wanted to defeat the evil pigs for stealing their eggs.

The voice cast includes Jason Sudeikis as Red, Josh Gad as Chuck, and Danny McBride as Bomb.

The sequel, Angry Birds Movie 2, was much more well-received than its predecessor. That’s a rarity in Hollywood. It’s one (well, two) of the best video game movies you’ll ever watch, even if you haven’t played the game.

Check out the trailer for The first Angry Birds Movie here:

5. Detective Pikachu

Even if you didn’t play Detective Pikachu on the Nintendo DS, you will still appreciate the storyline and characters in the movie adaptation.

It’s a whole new story, as it deals with Tim (Justice Smith) trying to uncover the mystery of his father’s disappearance. He’s joined by Detective Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), who is Tim’s father’s Pokemon.

Even if Pokemon wasn’t a part of your childhood, the movie does a great job introducing characters and their powers. Aside from that, it has stunning visual effects that will leave you breathless. Not only that, you’ll laugh or chuckle because of Ryan Reynolds’ one-liners and shed a tear because of some heartwarming or sad moments. That’s why it’s one of the best video game movies of all time.

It isn’t easy to pinpoint a good scene in the movie, but here’s one that will make you laugh:

6. Tomb Raider (2018)

Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider movies weren’t up to par as a video game movie adaptation. But Alicia Vikander’s take on the English archaeologist had a much better reception.

It’s an action-packed movie that highlights Lara Croft’s strengths. Some scenes will put you at the edge of your seat and will leave you wondering how Lara could survive this trial. It’s an enjoyable and fun adventure movie that has some levels of predictability. Nevertheless, it leaves you wanting more and gets you excited about what’s to come.

Watch Lara Croft solve a puzzle as they get closer to knowing the mystery behind a historical figure:

7. Warcraft

The PC-based strategy game had its video game movie adaptation in 2016. 

It tells the story of humans and orcs fighting against one another. The humans are defending their land, while orcs aim to invade and colonize their world. But behind all the fighting, the characters are left wondering if war should be their only way to solve their problems.

The game’s lore is integrated into the movie and gives its audience a reason to explore it. Plus, despite some narrative concerns, the acting of the main characters is superb.

The cast includes Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Toby Kebbell, and Dominic Cooper.

Explore the World of Warcraft (pun intended) here with an official compilation clip of all the Orc Battles:

8. Rampage

If you’ve heard about the arcade game Rampage, you would know that you play as the monsters as you try to avoid getting killed by the military. But the movie adaption puts a human element with the monsters.

When three animals are exposed to manipulated pathogens, Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) is enlisted by Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomi Harris) to prevent something catastrophic from happening. However, Okoye has a close bond with one of the three animals (a gorilla). So, it’s up to them to help stop the other animals from wreaking havoc.

You might have to watch it mindlessly to enjoy it. Even so, it makes you want to root for Davis Okoye and his gorilla, hoping that they can stop the other animals from destroying their city. While the dialogue could have been refined, it is still a video game movie worth checking out in your spare time.

Check out this clip to get a preview of the movie:

9. Silent Hill

Get the heebie-jeebies by watching the Silent Hill movie adaptation. The story revolves around Rose, a mother desperate to help her adopted daughter be healed. In pursuit of healing, Rose (Radha Mitchell) ends up in a car accident with a police officer, and they get stuck in Silent Hill, where they aim to find Sharon (Jodelle Ferland). There, they discover some mysterious and disturbing occurrences.

Story-wise it doesn’t capture the depth that video games have. However, it makes up for the creepy vibe and gore and includes characters in the games. Plus, the visual effects aren’t that bad considering that it was released in the late ‘00s. Overall, many Silent Hill gamers think this is one of the best video game movies. However, even without the gaming experience, horror fans may still find this worth watching.

Watch the trailer for the psychological horror movie here:

10. Monster Hunter

Here we have another Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson team-up of another popular video game. Although it may not follow the gameplay of the Monster Hunter games, it’s still a video game movie that you could consider watching.

The story follows Lt. Artemis (Jovovich) and her band of soldiers. They get transported to another land where monsters reign. Their attempts to fight the new enemy seem futile with their weapons, but they encounter a Hunter (Tony Jaa) that could help them defeat these monsters.

Overall, the movie doesn’t break the stereotypes about video game movies. However, this isn’t a bad adaptation if you’re looking for a fun film to stream. Unfortunately, you may have to overlook some elements in the story. But in the end, it also delivers in the special effects and casting department. 

If you’re interested in watching Monster Hunter, here’s a nine-minute preview provided by Entertainment Access:

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The Official Rules to Binge-Watching with Your Significant Other

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It’s happened to all of us. You started binge-watching a show with your significant other, and then somebody does the unthinkable: They watch an episode without you. Or the last episode you watched ended on a crazy cliffhanger, and you can’t wait to see what happens next, but your partner is dragging their feet to watch again. This is unacceptable.

But it’s not their fault. It’s not like there are official rules to binging TV with your partner. We’ve all just been navigating this crazy, crazy world on our own. Well, I’ve changed all that. After time and thoughtful consideration, I have prepared a list of rules to clear up any discrepancies and settle all disputes. So read below and share with your partner. I present to you, once and for all, the Official Rules to Binge-Watching with Your Significant Other.

1.    The Pilot Episode Principal

You and your significant other cannot officially commit to binge-watching a show until after you have both assessed the first episode. Maybe you and your significant other set out to watch that epic fantasy show with all the violence and nudity that ended a few years ago. Or maybe you want to catch up on the superhero show so you can watch the finale at the end of the week in real-time. Either way, you need a taste of the show before you join in on this adventure.

Watch the first episode together and talk about it before committing.

What did you think?

How did you both feel about it? Did the show grab you? Do you both like the genre? Was it too confusing? Did you like the humor? These are the questions to ask each other before watching the next episode. You might not be completely sold on the show. One might like it more than the other, and that’s fine. More on that later. Just get a gauge for your partner’s interest. Maybe she laughed harder than you did. Maybe he’s more into than you.

2.    Thou Shalt Not Cheat

Here it is in writing: No watching the show without your significant other. This cannot be stated enough. Watching the show by yourself is a HIGH CRIME. This is akin to infidelity. Once the trust is broken, it is difficult to regain.

The Sleeping Amendment

It’s 3 am, and you’re 6 episodes into your binge. Your favorite character walks in on his best friend in bed with his wife. Before the best friend can say anything, your character reaches in the dresser, pulls out a revolver, and shoots them both dead! Your jaw drops. You can’t believe it. You look at your girlfriend to see her reaction… and she’s snoring. Credits roll, and Netflix asks:

That question is for both of you. Translation: your binge-watching is over for the night. You cannot continue to the next episode while your significant other is sleeping. You may, however, finish any episode that you started together. It doesn’t matter if they fell asleep with ten minutes left or if they fell asleep during the opening credits. So, it is written.

3.    It’s Called Binge-Watching. Not Snacking.

You’ve both agreed to binge? Great, now get on with it. But remember, they call it binge-watching for a reason. The term binging refers to indulging in an activity to excess. Binge drinking does not mean a glass of wine with dinner. No one binge eats a salad. Similarly, you don’t binge-watch a show one episode at a time.

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon: they all conveniently have an automatic ‘Play Next’ feature. It’s there for a reason. You might not get to watch a whole season in a sitting. Maybe one evening, you only have time for a single episode. And that’s okay. But burning through the show as quickly as possible is the goal.

4.    The Mercy Rule

If you have committed to binge-watching a show with your significant other, but over time you realize that you’re just not feeling it as much as they are, cut it loose. I know you value the quality time with your partner as much as the show itself, but sometimes it’s okay to let it go. Tapping out of a binge is the respectable and dignified course of action. In doing so, you give your significant other permission to go on without you and watch the show in their spare time.

In doing so, three provisions come forward:

  1. You, henceforth known as the Quitter, may request a recap of what you missed should you decide to jump back in.
  2. The Quitter may watch the show on their own time should they wish to catch up, but their significant other is NOT REQUIRED to rewatch with them.
  3. The Quitter is not expected to watch the show during quality time. They gave up on the show; it is no longer their cross to bear.

5.    The Statute of Limitations

Sometimes life gets in the way of what’s really important. Maybe you picked up an extra shift, or you need to help your sister and her boyfriend move because he’s a scrawny loser who doesn’t have any friends to help. These things happen. But binging with your partner should take some priority. If your partner is consistently waiting for you to make time to watch your show together, resentment builds. Agree on a maximum acceptable time between viewings. This is different for every couple. Whether it’s two days or a week, set a cap for time off. If the said time has elapsed, either party is free to ignore the Cheater Rule.

6.    After Binge-Watching, Never Fall Behind Again

If you and your partner binge-watch to catch up on a show that is on air, you have not graduated to the status of a ‘regular viewer.’ This is an elite status that is not as common as it was 20 years ago. Some people prefer to wait for a show to end before they binge the whole thing from start to finish. But for those who enjoy a regular viewer status get to talk about the show with other viewers in real-time. You can talk about the latest episode at work, and you no longer have to run from spoilers. That’s why it is important to stay caught up on the show.

Should you and your partner miss the show when it airs (or when you agree to watch it), you have until the airing of the next episode to watch the show together. If you still haven’t watched the last episode before the day of the new episode, both parties can catch up on their own. If you couldn’t spare an hour all week, that’s on you.

By Reading This You Have Officially Agreed to These Rules for Binge-Watching

There you have it. No longer will you be able to hide behind your ignorance. These rules have been made clear. Now that you and your partner have read these rules, the slate is officially wiped clean. Any grudges or punishments for past injustices are no longer valid. But from now onward, both parties are expected to binge by the rules.

Be sure to check back with us for our upcoming article on Amendments, Exceptions, and Acceptable Punishments.

Looking for a comprehensive list on all the streaming services and their prices? Check out this article.

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Elon Musk Hosting SNL, Yay or Nay?

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The second richest man in America is set to host Saturday Night Live this coming May 8. Wait, what? No offense against Elon Musk but is the longest-running late-night comedy show all in it for the Musk support or ratings? 

Some SNL cast members were dumbfounded when the TV producers chose Elon Musk to host the May 8 show. The Tesla and SpaceX owner tweeted on his account, “Let’s find out just how live Saturday Night Live really is.”

Bowen Yang, an SNL cast member, posted his Instagram story referring to Musk’s Tweet and captioned it, “What the f—- does this even mean?”

Will this be the kind of joke we’ll hear from the business tycoon this coming May 8? I certainly hope not! 

Musk and His Insensitive Comments

Getting a bump in ratings and views is certainly every show’s goal. With SNL’s ratings spiraling downwards since last spring, it undeniably needs something that will create a stir. But is Elon Musk the kind of stir the show needs? It probably depends on whether or not you agree with some of his COVID-19 slurs. 

Elon Musk has received a bad rap about his insensitive comments on the COVID-19 pandemic. He compared the national stay-at-home mandates to “de facto house arrest,” as seen on his Tweet last April 29, 2020. He also said he doesn’t support the vaccine, and there’s no way he’s getting one because the “coronavirus panic is dumb.”

Does he even realize the number of deaths caused by the pandemic — 570,000 to be more approximate. And does he even realize that SNL’s long-time music producer Hal Willner was also a COVID-19 casualty and died in April last year? If I were to host SNL in the coming week, I’d take all that back! 

And a year after, voila, Elon Musk did. His tweet from April 8, 2021, said, “To be clear, I do support vaccines in general & covid vaccines specifically. The science is unequivocal. 

In very rare cases, there is an allergic reaction, but this is easily addressed with an EpiPen.”

SNL Cast and Fans Speak Up

Musk’s Tweet is perfect timing to be wholeheartedly welcomed by SNL cast members if you ask me. But some cast members are still criticizing this decision. One cast member Andrew Dismukes posted an Instagram story with the caption, “ONLY CEO I WANT TO DO A SKETCH WITH IS Cher-E Oteri.”

Another cast member Nora Dunn also vehemently refused to be on the show with the controversial CEO. And apparently, some Twitter users think so too.

Josh Gondelman tweeted, “Elon Musk hosting SNL is huge for guys still making “that’s what she said” jokes who think they’d be great at hosting SNL.

Eve 6, everyone’s favorite alt-rock band of the 90s also tweeted, “elon musk is incapable of being funny which in and of itself is funny but im sure snl will figure out a way to make it not funny”

And user Keith Edwards said, “Elon Musk hosting SNL is the most reckless casting decision they’ve made since Donald Trump.”

SNL aims to go for relevance and ratings this quarter. So they need to create a buzz and get people talking and posting on social media. But will Musk and his 45 million followers be the hero that saves the show? I guess there’s only one way to find out! 

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