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Cut the Cord: Christmas
December 2022. Volume 1, Issue 12.
Welcome to the final Cut the Cord of 2022.
This month’s issue is all about Christmas movies you can find on free streaming services.
Whatever you celebrate, I hope it’s a nice one. That it’s relaxing and recharging and fulfilling.
And filled with movies.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
A holiday favourite for generations… George Bailey has spent his entire life giving to the people of Bedford Falls. All that prevents rich skinflint Mr. Potter from taking over the entire town is George’s modest building and loan company. But on Christmas Eve the business’s $8,000 is lost and George’s troubles begin.
What is there to say about It's a Wonderful Life that hasn't been said?
Nothing! It's amazing and perfect and beautiful!
So instead, I will tell you a personal anecdote I have about this movie.
A few years ago, for Christmas, a bought everyone in my extended family tickets to go see It's a Wonderful Life on the big screen. We all sat together, my mom, my grandma, my aunts, everyone. We laughed, we cried - literally. It was beautiful. And one of my new favorite Christmas memories with my family.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)
After being traumatized by his brother Billy’s murderous rampage years earlier, Ricky Caldwell has become a serial killer himself and is now living in a mental hospital. Relating his story to a psychiatrist, Ricky recounts the details of their murder sprees and vows to avenge his brother’s death.
I know that it seems kinda weird to be suggesting a Part 2 instead of the original, but I'm doing it with Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 for two reasons:
The original isn't currently on a free streaming service.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is cobbled together with flashbacks from the first film. It's about 70% just clips from the first movie. As I wrote in last year's Staff Picks: Winter (Not So) Wonderland, I find that movie to be truly chilling. But if you've never seen it, might as well skip it, get the highlight reel moments, plus some new stuff (like the infamous "GARBAGE DAY" line) - right?
The Silent Partner (1978)
Toronto, Canada. A few days before Christmas, Miles Cullen, a bored teller working at a bank branch located in a shopping mall, accidentally learns that the place is about to be robbed when he finds a disconcerting note on one of the counters.
The following previously appeared in my piece Holiday Heist and Horror:
Elliott Gould shines in this Canadian thriller that has been more-or-less forgotten in the States. Despite winning the Canadian Film Academy Award for Best Picture, this masterpiece never found an audience here, which is a complete shame.
With that being said, you probably don’t know this sleeper hit, so I’m going to write very little about it — you should just go experience it. I will say that Christopher Plummer is terrifying as a career criminal who stalks a bumbling Gould. What more do you need!
Jingle Bell Rocks! (2013)
In his search for the twelve best, underappreciated Christmas songs ever recorded, director Mitchell Kezin both asks and answers the question, “Why, when Christmas rolls around, are we still stuck cozying up with Bing Crosby under a blanket of snow?”
I like Bing and Buble as much as the next guy, but I'm also a fan of Christmas music that's not just the usual carols, so I really dug Jingle Bell Rocks! It's all about dumpster diving in record stores, creating annual holiday mixtapes, and the thrill of finding a tune that hasn't become a Christmas favorite...yet. It's a fun doc for people who like to find their entertainment off the beaten path.
Thanks for asking, I will tell you some of my favorite indie x-mas songs...
"Christmas TV" by Slow Club. Everyone thinks they're called Snow Club just because they wrote a Christmas song. It's my very favorite Christmas song.
"Santa's Broke" by Dale Hollow. I discovered Dale's music this year and I've become obsessed. Look for his name to pop up on the site again.
"This Wholesome Christmas Eve" by Ruen Brothers. I have talked, and will continue to talk, about how much I love Henry and Rupert's music. They are my favorite band. I wish they would put out an entire Christmas album.
I could go on, but I'll save the rest for another time.
A rowdy, unorthodox Santa Claus is fighting to save his declining business. Meanwhile, Billy, a neglected and precocious 12 year old, hires a hit man to kill Santa after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking.
On a recent episode of The Vince Vaughn-a-thon, we talked about the Mel Gibson of it all. If you want to hear our thoughts on the kind of person he is, you can find them there.
If you can't get past the things that he's done/said, skip this one. It will be impossible for you to see him as Santa Clause.
Even a grizzled factory foreman version of the character. Santa's broke and he has bills to pay, so he accepts a contract with the US military.
This ain't your Edmund Gwenn Santa.
All the meanwhile, he's being followed by Walton Goggins as a hitman on a contract from a spoiled, coal-receiving rich kid who wants him to take out the big man for leaving him high and dry.
It's a very divisive movie, but you can see why. If it sounds like your thing, I promise that it will be. If it doesn't, welcome to our website.
Santa Claws (1996)
A young man finds his divorced mother having sex with a man in a Santa Clause hat and shoots them both dead. Years later, now thinking he is Santa Clause, the man develops an obsession with an erotic horror film star named Raven and begins stalking her.
With a budget of what looks to be whatever we had around, 1996's Santa Claws is a shot-on-video softcore slasher that is light on both the core and the slash. Is it instead a criticism of the very thing it is - the B-movie horror flick with a little too much nudity and plenty of mean spirit? Probably not, but it does deliver all of those things.
You will notice here the absence of our typical handy "where to watch" button that normally sends you to JustWatch, telling you if the movie is on Hoopla, Kanopy, or whatever.
Because this movie isn't streaming.
"But why, Patrick, would you include it on a list of free streaming titles?" Well, I've resisted (for an entire year of crafting this newsletter) the urge to include movies on YouTube. Not only is that a fickle place to hold flicks because they can disappear at any time (well, can't they do that on any site?), but it's also kinda...illegal. I guess. Who knows? Who cares? I don't. I'm gonna try to not make this a habit, but I just couldn't leave this one off.
If you want to pay a few bucks for it, Terror Vision just put out a new Blu-ray. They really loaded it up with features.
I want it myself. Who wants to buy me a Christmas gift? After all, I've saved you so much money Cutting the Cord.
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.
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