Lunatics and Laughter: A Postscript

Hey, everybody. Thanks so much for sticking with me for the 20 days of Lunatics and Laughter. It’s my second Reel to Reel project and, more even than the first one, I really believe that this is a viable format for discussing movies of all types, and I’m anticipating doing many more of them in the future. I started this year a little late, so it was shorter than the first one. That’s the bad news. The good news, however, is that I have an opportunity to do more new articles for the expanded eBook edition next year. Are you mad that I skipped Teen Wolf? Lachrymose there’s no Little Shop of Horrors? Despondent that I couldn’t find time for Dead Alive? Don’t worry, all of those and more are on the expanded list, and will be in the eventual book.

But now that phase one of L&L is over, I am already pondering what the next Reel to Reel will be. I love doing this, and it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also tougher than I would have expected. You see, I don’t just sit down and write the articles off the top of my head. I write as I’m watching the movie, no matter how many times I’ve seen it before, inserting analysis and jotting synopsis notes as I go. Then, after the movie ends, I keep writing (because I’m never finished), edit, format, and schedule the post. A 90-minute movie typically takes me two and a half to three hours to get the article ready for you to read. The longer the movie, obviously, the longer it takes. And when I’m working at my day job, it can be really easy to fall behind. For the last two weeks I’ve basically been doing a movie a night to keep up, which sounds like fun until you realize that if I slip up and can’t get it done, I miss a day and then feel very very bad about myself.

So I’m not quite ready to tackle another full-length R2R anytime soon. On the other hand, I don’t quite want to wait a whole year before the next one either. From the moment I first conceived of Reel to Reel I considered doing a Christmas-themed project, but that’s pretty daunting, as you really can’t get a head start on that. For the first Halloween project I started in May. The second one, the shorter one, began in September. But with Christmas movies, if I start watching them before Thanksgiving I can’t feel the spirit, so the time frame is even more compressed.

So how about this. What if, instead of doing a R2R Christmas movie project this year, I instead do a project featuring 25 Christmas television specials? They’re shorter. It should be less of a time commitment. And I’ve already got a trillion of them in my DVD collection.

So I went through my DVDs and picked out the candidates. Let me explain just how it’s going to work, though. First of all, TV specials only. No theatrical films this time around. Second, for the purpose of this experiment I’m defining “special” as a show with a running time of one hour or less. Any longer than that and it’s a TV movie, which I may give their own project someday, but not now. I’m also disqualifying any Christmas episodes of ongoing TV shows, although I again reserve the right to do another R2R project about those at some undefined point in the future. I will, however, allow one-shot spin-offs of TV shows or movies or early specials that served as a sort of pilot for future TV shows (henceforth allowing me to sneak in The Simpsons. You can accuse me of cheating if you want. My response to you is to write your own dang book.) Finally, I’m disqualifying any and all variants, parodies or adaptations of A Christmas Carol, because there are so flippin’ many of them I can easily devote an entire future R2R just to those.

So here are the 25 specials I’ve decided to go with, culled from my DVD collection. I intend to post these one a day, from December 1 to December 25. Consider it my own little advent calendar.

  1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
  2. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
  3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
  4. The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
  5. Frosty the Snowman (1969)
  6. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970)
  7. The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
  8. Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974)
  9. Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas (1977)
  10. The Fat Albert Christmas Special (1977)
  11. Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977)
  12. Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1978)
  13. The Small One (1978)
  14. A Chipmunk Christmas (1981)
  15. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1985)
  16. Jim Henson’s The Christmas Toy (1986)
  17. A Claymation Christmas Celebration (1987)
  18. A Garfield Christmas Special (1987)
  19. A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)
  20. Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special (1988)
  21. Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (1989)
  22. Opus and Bill in A Wish For Wings That Work (1991)
  23. The Flintstones Christmas in Bedrock (1996)
  24. A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa (2008)
  25. Prep and Landing (2009)

Are there others I could have chosen? Of course. Will I do an expanded version later? More than likely. But for now, I’m gonna spend November working on National Novel Writing Month (more on that later), so this is officially the last I’m going to think about R2R until I finish my NaNoNovel or until November 30, whichever comes first.

Thanks for playing along, guys! Stick around, because I’ll have plenty to talk about in the next few weeks!


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