Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 King of the Hill: Weird December

The Theme Idea Lasted Only So Long...
Somewhere on my computer, or perhaps in the ether of this universe is the unfinished post of my first attempt to write my December summary.  I had partially written the first two movies in epic battle format.  Alas, the post is gone and I'm ready to start over.  The month started out with a theme, I watched two Christmas movies.  Then, well, everything got weird.  So, this month is the final month of my 2012 King of the Hill challenge.  Starting tomorrow, I'll begin the epic show down between the top monthly contenders to determine which movie is ultimate movie of 2012.

For those who do not know, the 2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge is my system for determining the best movie of year that I saw. One movie from each month will be selected and, at the end of the year, I will do a tournament style showdown where they will take each other on until the final movie has been selected. Bracket placement will be determined by the number of movies the monthly movie faced and won.

Home Alone v Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale
Kevin (Macaulay Culkin)  is a kid who must stand up to be an unlikely hero to protect his home from burglars who would destroy Christmas.  Pietari (Onni Tommila) is a kid who must stand up to be an unlikely hero to protect his home from Santa Clause who would destroy Christmas.  And that is where the comparisons between the two movies come to an end.

Home Alone is a bit of a classic these days.  It is about a boy, Kevin, who is left behind by his family on Christmas vacation.  Kevin, thinks that this is from a wish he made and enjoys the life of living on his own.  Unfortunately for him, he discovers that there are two burglars who are trying to rob his home.  He is the last line of defense and must overcome his fears to fight back.  Despite the fact that this movie is remembered as a wacky, slapstick comedy, the battle between the burglars and Kevin doesn't even begin until the last thirty minutes of the movie.  Most of the movie is about Kevin, his family, and his adventures alone.  After having rewatched this movie from 1990, I was surprised to find how well written it was.  The movie even has a deeper moral story, which was a bit touching.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a horror flick.  From what I can tell, it is based around the folk-lore creature known as Krampus.  In this movie, a group of Americans are digging up an old burial ground looking for the body of Santa Clause.  As it happens, Santa Clause is not the nice man everyone thinks he is.    He, in fact, abducts naughty children and torments and tortures them for being such monsters.

As much as I'd love to give a Finnish language movie the title, Home Alone is just a better film.  It is, if you can believe this, less campy.  The story is also stronger.  I'd still recommend catching Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale.

Winner:  Home Alone

Whip It v Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Whip It is not a Christmas movie.  It is a movie about a high school girl who sneaks off behind her parents back and joins a Roller Derby league.  Bliss (Ellen Page) comes from a home where her father hides his football watching, her mother hides her smoking, and Bliss is expected to do pageants because her mother tells her to.  When she discovers the brutal sport of Roller Derby, she signs up and joins the team.  The movie is a phenomenal story about family, growing up, and finding who you are.

If you do not know what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are, I feel sorry for you.  Stop, look them up, watch a few episodes.  This movie was the first live action film staring the four turtles, Splinter, and April O'Neil (Judith Hoag) as the fight the mysterious Footclan.  The film is a classic in my eyes and I actually have the entire movie, line-for-line, memorized.

Though I would love to award THIS movie to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I must recognize the fact that Whip It is a better movie on just about every front.  It has an amazing story, a wonderful cast of characters, and will most definitely survive the test of time.

Winner:  Whip It

Home Alone v Whip It
Interesting enough, both of these movies are about the power of family and the struggles that families face.  And while it is difficult to compare these two movies together, it is Whip It that has the stronger showing.  Home Alone is a comedy and while the movie is definitely a great film, you have to forgive some of the absurdity of the film.  With Whip It, you don't need to overlook the absurd and can let yourself fall into the movie.

Winner:  Whip It

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