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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Observer

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Scene Selections: Wintertime wonders

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Winter is here, and the end of the school year is rapidly approaching. As we’re gearing up for finals season, it’s important to remember fun and festivities are not too far away! Whether you’re looking for something to listen to while studying or need a good movie to watch in front of a warm fire, Scene’s got you covered.

“The Nutcracker” Anna Falk, Scene Editor

My love for “The Nutcracker” is a side-effect of my decades-long dance career. When I attended a studio, we put on a production of the ballet every December. Everything about it is beautiful — the costumes, the music, the added theatrics. I’ve been in nearly every role (except for Clara) from a little toy doll to the Sugar Plum Fairy herself, and it holds a very special place in my heart. I strongly recommend watching Marianela Nuñez’s incredible performance as the Sugar Plum Fairy for the Royal Ballet to understand even a small piece of the ballet’s charm.

“The Muppet Christmas Carol”Christina Sayut, Graphics Editor

Do I truly need to explain myself? Are you going to try and tell me that “No cheeses for us meeces” is not an absolute banger of a line? Sure, the original story is wonderful and sweet. However, there is a lack of Rizzo the Rat in the original. And this one has songs! This movie feels like receiving a warm hug and hearing the giggle of a close friend. The only thing that would make it better is if there was another rendition of “Man or Muppet.”

“Last Christmas” by Wham! — Natalie Allton, Scene Writer

Christmas media tends to be pretty one-note. There’s an overall feeling of warmth, of excitement, of joy. But don’t you ever get tired of it? Isn’t it all a little too upbeat? Where’s the representation for those of us who are not ready to have ourselves a merry little Christmas? In millennia of Christmas tradition, only Wham! has had the guts to deliver a song that functions as both a heartbreak anthem and as a synth-pop slam-dunk. Does “Last Christmas” actually have that much to do with Christmas? Hard to say. Do the sleigh bells in the verses get me in the holiday mood anyways? Absolutely.

“Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas”Peter Mikulski, Scene Writer

My sister has a predilection for second-rate holiday specials, and this one’s her greatest discovery. What can one even say about “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas?” Technically, it exists in the universe of The Muppets, but we only get Kermit — the rest of the characters are bizarre Appalachian originals like “Yancy Woodchuck,” “Hetty Muskrat,” “Chuck Stoat” and “Old Lady Possum.” Jim Henson’s sets recreate the bleak Middle American winter with uncommon accuracy; for much of the movie there’s no snow, just dead brown grass and leafless black trees. It’s the best — and only — retelling of “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry as a country music musical out there!

“It’s A Wonderful Life” Claire Lyons, Viewpoint Editor

Although “It’s a Wonderful Life” may seem like an overly sentimental Christmas classic at first glance, it’s surprisingly dark. The film follows self-sacrificing businessman George Bailey as he contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve and his guardian angel’s efforts to save him. The ending of the film reduces me to tears every year. Remember: no man is a failure who has friends.

“Miraculous Ladybug: A Christmas Special” Caitlin Brannigan, Scene Writer 

To preface this, although I have a special place in my heart for the animated superhero show “Miraculous Ladybug,” this is objectively not its best episode. Its charm is that it’s so bad, it’s hilarious. This special musical episode has fairly decent songs and really well-done animation to get viewers through the especially cringey moments. At only 20 minutes, it makes for a comedic interruption to the regular activities at the holiday family function. Gather up your cousins and force them to enjoy the “Miraculous Ladybug” experience over the holidays!

“A Cozy Christmas Inn” Rose Androwich, News Writer

In my house, one of our Christmas traditions is to watch several Hallmark movies. I chose “A Cozy Christmas Inn” because my family has always enjoyed watching the Hallmark movies in the genre of “inn renovation.” The renovation is always done by a single guy who is willing to do it free of charge. Throughout the film’s entirety — where there are about five plots — my family has a continuous stream of jokes. It’s not about the movie’s quality but rather about laughing at the classic Hallmark tropes used in each film.

“The Santa Clause” moviesCecelia Swartz, Scene Writer

I grew up watching these movies with my family. The first one is such a funny, yet heartwarming tale of a divorced dad who rediscovers the magic of Christmas when he accidentally becomes Santa. And then there’s the second one, when he needs to fall in love and find a Mrs. Clause to remain Santa? It’s absolutely adorable and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. We don’t acknowledge the existence of the third one because it’s weird — but the first two? They are pure, nostalgic joy for my generation. The movies themselves are well-done with compelling characters, a fun, colorful rendition of the North Pole and snarky reindeer. What more could you ask for?

“The Polar Express” Michael Askins, Scene Writer

There is just something so special about this movie which cements it as the quintessential Christmas movie for me. It was one of my favorites growing up and still has a lot of meaning to me now as an adult. Tom Hanks plays just about every role they would let him in this classic story about believing in the magic of Christmas. The soundtrack — which includes a beautiful score by Alan Silvestri, Hanks singing the iconic “Hot Chocolate” and “The Polar Express,” Josh Groban’s “Believe” and a series of classic Christmas songs — is consistently one of my favorite albums to listen to during the holidays.

“The Grinch”: Which would win in a fight? — Andy Ottone, Scene Writer

There’s been a lot of Grinches in popular culture. Too many, in fact. Any Grinch can steal Christmas, but can they throw hands? We’ll start with four:  the 1966 animated version, Jim Carrey, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matthew Morrison. Both Cumberbatch and Morrison’s Grinches are immediately out, as they aren’t that mean. This leaves the classic versus Carrey. Jim Carrey’s Grinch has most likely committed crimes unspeakable to Who-manity, but the 1966 Grinch is the physical embodiment of chaos. In the end, I think the 1966 version wins, and as a self-proclaimed Grinch expert, I’ll allow no further discussion on the matter.