Some of My Favorite Christmas Movies

Last night I cuddled up with one of my favorite littles and watched Elf.  You can tell how engaging the story was because she actually cuddled the whole time!  People all around me have been telling me for years how great this movie is, so last year I saw it and was charmed. Now I would like to share some of my own can’t miss holiday movies:

Elf (2003)

I have friends on both sides of the fence on this movie.  Some of my friends, like Bryan, finds it creepy,  My friend Bridgette says it is one of the best holiday movies (she is the one who introduced me to it!)  My friends Shelby and Stephen are always quoting from the movie, and the phone scene is one of her favorites!  What’s YOUR favorite color?

 

Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

This show debuted in 1965 and it has aired on broadcast television every year since then, making this year the 50th anniversary of the classic animated show.  Not many people know that it was originally commissioned by Coca Cola and was produced on a shoestring budget in a matter of months.  Many people favor the rousing speech Linus makes when telling the original Christmas story, but I confess my favorite part is the dancing.  I think it would be really fun to do a flash mob of the dance scene at work (Barnes & Noble) to the song, “Linus and Lucy”.  It’s been done before:

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Want To Be The Ultimate Show Biz Manager? You Need Jimmy Fallon

If you are looking to be the ultimate manager, you need Jimmy Fallon in your back pocket. Looking to reboot a TV  series?  Recreate a very special moment from the original show in a skit on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  Promoting a new album?  Show off your mad skills with the Wheel of Musical Impressions.  Want to cement your place in pop culture history?  Dance your heart out (again) with a flash mob style performance of your iconic movie dance sequence.  Want to hook the cool kids?  Try out a new app with Jimmy on the show.  Jump start your career by getting a shot on Jimmy’s show. Here are some of my favorite spots (so far) from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Footloose entrance with Kevin Bacon

Here is Kevin Bacon’s Tonight Show entrance, dancing to two of the most popular songs from his 1984 movie FootlooseNever performed by Moving Pictures and Footloose performed by Kenny Loggins.  The movie was released long before anyone ever even thought of playing ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’.

 

Full House reunion on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, and John Stamos all came to wish Jimmy luck on his move to the Tonight Show in this skit recreating a scene from a very special episode of Full House back in the 80’s. Love the hair and catch phrases…and the Teddy Bear Song!!  And there always was a lesson, wasn’t there?   I am looking forward to 2016’s Fuller House.

 

Jesse and the Rippers

Six months earlier, on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, was the reunion of one of the best fictional bands I have ever seen, Jesse and the Rippers with frontman Jesse Katsopolis (John Stamos).  The band performed the biggest hits of their career:  Forever (cover from The Beach Boys), Little Sister (cover from Elvis Presley, jesse’s idol), Hippy Hippy Shake (the Beatles perfomed this is 1963), and Everywhere You Look (the theme song from Full House).  Thoroughly enjoyable.

 

Jimmy Went To High School At Bayside with the Saved By The Bell cast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Dennis Haskins, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley, and Mario Lopez)

This was a clever skit transporting everyone back to Saturday morning TV and the lives of the kids at Bayside High.  When Zack called a time out, it brought me right back!  It really was amazing that all these years later, they looked very much like the characters they played 25 years ago.  The inside jokes are super fun, too (I especially liked the one about Elizabeth Berkley being a stripper).

 

Lip Sync with Emma Stone

IMHO the best performance of any of the lip syncs I have seen on the Tonight Show.  Jimmy starts out strong with Fancy by Iggy Azelea, but then Emma kills it, with Blues Traveler’s Hook. It was amazing!!  Mr. Roboto by Styx was Jimmy’s second selection and it was well done, but then Emma closed with DJ Khaled’s All I Do Is Win and boy, did she ever!!  Epic.

 

Daniel Radcliffe performs Blackakicious’ Alphabet Aerobics

I had never heard Alphabet Aerobics.  I doubt that anyone can do it as well as Harry Potter did here.  Flawless.

 

Wheel of Musical Impressions with Christina Aguilera

I have seen some fun Wheel of Musical Impressions, but I do love Christina, so that’s the clip I am sharing.  Her impressions of Cher and Britney were dead on.  Jimmy did just as impressive a job as David Bowie and then Michael McDonald.  Also fun to check out is Ariana Grande’s ;ip sync clip (find it on youtube) where she impersonates Britney and then Christina!

 

Dubsmash with Selena Gomez

I had never heard of Dubsmash before I searched it for this post, and does it look fun!!  I will have to try it out and post it.  Here is Jimmy and Selena with scenes from movies and commercials, then one of Selena’s own songs, Same Old Love.

 

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Neil Young sing Fancy

And finally, I do love Jimmy Fallon musical impressions.  Neil Young, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, and a cast of thousands (so it seems).  e has a knack for pairing songs with unlikely performers.  My favorite is Jimmy doing Neil Young singing Iggy Azelea’s Fancy, where he is joined by Crosby, Stills, and Nash.  So many years later and those guys are still in harmony!!

 

 

Who’s Singing, Isn’t That (fill in the blank) ?

While researching a fun post about one hit wonders of the 70’s, I noticed songs from several actors on the list.  It made me curious.  Which came first, the acting fame or the singing??  I set out to find some intel on these people.

Easy Come, Easy Go by Bobby Sherman

I’m starting with one of my teen crushes, Bobby Sherman.  Bobby was a singer long before he was an actor.  It wasn’t unti his role as shy, stammering Jeremy on Here Come The Brides that he was rocketed to superstardom.   Eventually, after guest-starring on an episode of Emergency, he left the acting spotlight and became an EMT.  Here he is, with that killer smile, singing Easy Come, Easy Go.

 

The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia by Vicki Lawrence

My friends and I were just talking about this song a couple of weeks ago.  We decided it was the ultimate in cheesy 70’s music.  Vicki was an established comedienne and actress long before she made musical history with her one and only hit song.  Fun fact: the musicians playing in the song are the popular studio musicians knows as The Wrecking Crew.   I found a great video of Vicki and Reba McIntyre singing the hit, which Reba covered in the 90’s.

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Love and Mercy

My very first rock concert was The Beach Boys at SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) when I was in my early teens (this was around 1972, for those of you who are trying to do the math.)  I attended a program for inner city kids at Vincent House (one of the local community centers), where I met Maureen, a college student from LeMoyne who volunteered there.  She invited a friend and I to travel home with her to Albany for the night.  It was exciting to travel overnight with someone not in my family but the thing I remember most about the trip was the slightly nauseous feeling I had that night after leaving the concert.  Now I know it was from all the pot smoking.

The next time I paid any attention to the Beach Boys, other than singing to their songs on top 40 radio,  was when they guest starred on Full House in the 80’s.  Who didn’t love the TGIF lineup?  I really doesn’t matter how implausible the plot was, it was just good fun to see the guys joke with the Tanner clan (and watching them ‘act’ was pretty funny.)  Here are the Tanners singing with the Beach Boys at a concert:

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So Long, Farewell

Saying goodbye is often hard, especially when it is a television series that you have been binge watching for weeks or months.  Fans usually rave about the writing or actors in their favorite shows, but I am sure it’s no surprise that I focus on the music.  Here is a list of my 10 favorite songs in series finales:

1.  Breaking Bad     Baby Blue by Badfinger

I started watching this show specifically because I wanted to see the series finale  (entitled “Felina”) and the final song, Baby Blue. My musician friend John started to work it out on his guitar, so of course I wanted to learn all about the song.  I was hooked by the show almost immediately and was mesmerized by the fantastic writing, binging on multiple episodes every day for two weeks.  I may have been a little dark and morally ambiguous by the last couple of days.  Incidentally, this song led me to my new favorite Pandora radio station, the Badfinger station.

2.  Freaks and Geeks       Ripple by The Grateful Dead

I found Freaks and Geeks on Netflix and savored every episode of their one season.  I thought the finale told such a compelling story of how these characters had grown and expanded their horizons throughout the series.  “Discos and Dragons”  had the cool kid role playing with the geeks, the frustrated rock drummer branching out into disco dancing, and the good girl taking a walk on the wild side.  The Grateful Dead seemed so appropriate for Lindsey’s next chapter.  I found a great version of this song that is part of the Playing For Change movement, which takes musicians from all over the world and puts them together playing popular songs,

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Top 10 TV Themes I Love To Sing To

Billboard.com came out yesterday (10/6/15) with a list of 50 TV Theme Songs That Have Hit The Billboard Charts.

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/6715359/50-tv-themes-songs-chart-hits

I compiled my own list of TV theme songs that I love to sing along to. While perusing the Billboard list, there seem to be a disproportionate number of songs from cop and detective shows,  In the end, I did find that we had several songs in common.  I have put the Billboard list number in bold if a song appeared on their list.  Here are my picks with accompanying videos:

10.  Growing Pains: As Long As We’ve Got Each Other, performed by BJ Thomas and Jennifer Warner (# 35 on the Billboard list).  I loved how this psychiatrist had such dysfunctional kids, just like real life.

9.  One Day At A Time: This Is It, performed by Polly Cutter.  One of the original girl power TV shows, I loved the spunk of Julie (Mackenzie Phillips) and the sweetness of Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli), and how their mom Ann didn’t take anything from anyone.

8.  7th Heaven, performed by Steve Plunkett (from the band Autograph, best remembered for the hit, “Turn Up The Radio”).  Even though I did not watch this show until I was an adult, as a PK (preacher’s kid), I enjoyed the storylines and antics of the Camden kids.  My sister also enjoyed watching this show in reruns, she saw so many that her toddler son knew the words to “seven kevin”, or so he thought.

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This Gleek Will Always Be a Daydream Believer

Embed from Getty Images

I am a Gleek and  I am not ashamed to admit it.  I totally get sucked into the lives of those glee club members and their fearless leader, Mr. Shu.  It is always the talk of the breakroom with all of my younger coworkers the next day (or there are shouts of, ‘No spoilers!  I haven’t seen it yet!”)  I even watched The Glee Project, Season 2 and cheered when my favorite contestant, Blake Jenner, won (he won the role of Ryder Lynn, for those of you who are wondering.)

The rich tapestry of songs during the six seasons of the show is like no other list of music anywhere, from classic rock to Broadway to rap to soul.   With all those covers and mashups to choose from, I would not have been able to choose which one was my favorite.  That is, until tonight.  Without any reservation, Kurt and Blaine’s duet Daydream Believer will always be the Glee anthem for me.

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My Favorite Oscar Moments

Watching the 87th Oscars was special for me this year.  There were so many moments that made my heart sing.

The award I was most excited about? That’s an easy one, Best Actress Julianne Moore in Still Alice.  Her performance was stunning and heartbreaking.  The movie was very true to the book by Lisa Genova, which is one of the best books I have ever read.  I have loved everything that Lisa has written.  She is a very talented author who folds her extensive science background into rich, compelling, human stories.  Still Alice was the first book I ever read by her, and Left Neglected was the one that had the most personal meaning for me. And now I am looking forward to Inside The O’Briens, which will be coming out this spring.   As a bookseller, she is always my go to author when someone is looking for multi-layered stories.  I have met Lisa a couple of times while vacationing on Cape Cod and she has always been warm, gracious, and down to earth.

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Carly Simon at the Oscars

Two weeks in a row I sacrificed my sleep to watch award shows.  Last weekend, SNL40.  This weekend, the Oscars.  I needed to know what went down so the next day I could be one of the cool kids. I already gave you my take on SNL40 (see post Miley Cyrus, Seriously?) last weekend and then was ready this weekend to catch some Oscar buzz.

One of the things I was wondering about was how the songs were selected. You know, the ones that played presenters on and offstage.  With over 80 years of film music to choose from, I thought it was interesting that they seemed to pinpoint obscure love songs from movie soundtracks from the 70’s and 80’s. Almost every song had personal memories for me.   But no one can top Carly Simon at the Oscars.

There were two Carly Simon songs, Nobody Does It Better from The Spy Who Loved Me, and Let The River Run from Working Girl.  I didn’t care so much about the Bond song (Pierce Brosnan is the only Bond I really like) but it was cool that it was played.  Working Girl is another movie on my guilty pleasure list.  Poor girl with a heart of gold makes good AND gets the guy.  It doesn’t get better than that in Hollywood.   Let The River Run is one of the most musically rich songs I know!  For me it is full of hope and longing and perseverance.  I crank it up and dance every time I hear it.

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Miley Cyrus? Serious?

I checked out the 40th anniversary special for Saturday Night Live last night.  I found it to be the same as all of my experiences watching SNL each and every other episode.  There were some great skits, characters, and performances, as well as some I could do without.  I am sure that others had encountered this as well week after week.

It was great to see two of my favorite Pauls there representing the early SNL years, Paul McCartney and Paul Simon.  When they burst into I’ve Just Seen a Face, I sang along with a huge smile (they should’ve seen MY face!) and was completely entertained. Paul McCartney later performed one of my all-time faves, Maybe I’m Amazed, and then Paul Simon did a hauntingly beautiful version of Still Crazy After All These Years.I was transported to another time and place with each of these songs, listening fondly and remembering.

It didn’t seem scripted and it seemed to embody much of what SNL tried to achieve during the last 40 years. With all those years of music to choose from, I was expecting some more great clips and performances from hoards of other musicians. Imagine my dismay when at the end of the special I had not been treated to other time altering performances, but instead watched Miley Cyrus performing a Paul Simon tune, and Kanye performing, well, I am not sure.

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