Staff Picks January 2021

Emily’s Picks

Videogame: Pikmin 3: Deluxe

Such a sweet, fun, mellow little game! Play as a team of tiny explorers and gather a squad of Pikmin– cute little plant creatures with unique powers –to help you solve puzzles, fight alien creatures, and collect food to save your home planet!

CD: Labyrinth: The Original Soundtrack

Feeling nostalgic? This soundtrack has all the iconic David Bowie songs from the Jim Henson classic, as well as a few selections from Trevor Jones’ weird and wonderful score. Synth-y and danceable, and very, very fun. It will have you doing the Magic Dance!

Jessie’s Picks

DVD: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

“Jake Peralta is a Brooklyn detective with a gift for closing cases and little respect for authority. When no-nonsense commanding officer Raymond Holt joins the 99th precinct with something to prove, the two go head-to-head.”

Audiobook: Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen

“Lady Georgiana Rannoch has once again been called into service by Her Majesty the Queen. This time she’s sent to Nice on a secret assignment that’s nothing to sneeze at – recovering the Queen’s stolen snuff box. As much of an honour as it is to be trusted by Her Majesty, an even greater honour awaits Georgie in Nice – as Coco Chanel herself asks Georgie to model her latest fashion. But when a necklace belonging to the Queen is stolen on the catwalk, Georgie has to find two priceless items – and solve a murder. How’s a girl to find any time to go to the casino?”

 

John’s Picks

DVD: The Woman in the Iron Coffin

This gripping documentary pieces together the clues to uncover more about the identity of a woman mysteriously buried in a rare iron coffin in Queens, New York City. The puzzle begins with twenty-first century construction workers discovering the coffin, but you go back in time and learn about the history of nineteenth-century manufacturing, NYC social life, slavery, and smallpox. An informative journey!

CD: Harvest by Neil Young

Maybe one of the best albums of all time? This 1972 album helped propel Neil Young’s early career and includes some of his most iconic songs like Heart of Gold & Old Man. It’s an absolute rock classic with rhythmic music and a touch of folk.

 

Kim’s Picks

DVD: The World Before Your Feet

Quitting his civil engineering job, Matt Green spent six years-plus hoofing it over the five boroughs of New York City.  Sleeping at friends’ homes and cat sitting for the $15.00 per day he needed to survive his 8,000-mile journey during which he found the site of the first birth control clinic in the U.S. and was entranced by a community garden in an unlikely venue, Green and his audience learn that the process is the goal.

Libby eBook: Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Wahoo the boy, Tuna the girl, Alice the alligator, Derek the TV reality show star, and a concussion-causing frozen iguana are prime characters in this exciting and funny tale by humorist and social activist Carl Hiaasen.  Ostensibly a young adult novel like Skink:  No Surrender, it can be enjoyed by adults as well.   Hiaasen’s pleas for environmental responsibility fit seamlessly into the action.

Mary’s Picks

DVD: Hector and the Search for Happiness

A heartwarming journey that’s a great pick me up if you’re feeling in a rut yourself. You can’t go wrong with travel and meeting a diverse group of people.

CD: Dolly by Dolly Parton

I’m not a country music fan, but absolutely love Dolly Parton. I love her music, her voice and her as a person. Her music will put a smile on your face and put you in a good mood.

Stephanie’s Picks

DVD: CB Strike

“Cormoran Strike is a war veteran turned private detective operating out of a tiny office in London’s Denmark Street. Though he’s wounded both physically and psychologically, Strike’s unique insight and his background as an SIB Investigator prove crucial in solving complex cases that elude the police.”

Audiobook: The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

“A flight attendant wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man – and no idea what happened. Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and flight attendantthe accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police – she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home – Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?”

All quoted material is from catalog.ccls.org.

New Releases

MoviesCome Away
Made in Italy
The Rental
Tenet
Come Away
The Craft: Legacy
The War With Grandpa
Honest Thief
Alone
Infidel
Roadkill
Kajillionaire
Great Performances: Now Hear This season 2
American Masters: Keith Haring-Street Art Boy
Jiu Jitsu
The Last Shift
Dream FactoryYellowstone season 3
The German Lesson
Our Time Machine
The Sommerdahl Murders series 1

TV Series
Perry Mason season 1
Death in Paradise season 9
Church Folks
The Secrets She Keeps
Father Brown season 8
Yellowstone season 3
The New Pope

Music
Johnny Cash and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra & Johnny CashMargo Price
Hey World by Lee Brice
B4 the Storm by Internet Money
What Could Possibly Go Wrong by Dominic Fike
Art of the Mandolin by Avi Avital
Country Things by Granger Smith
Digging Deep: Subterranea by Robert Plant
Southern Symphony by Russell Dickerson
Wonder by Shawn Mendes
Weird! by Yungblud
Perfectly Imperfect at the Ryman by Margo Price
The White Stripes Greatest Hits by The White Stripes
Songs of Comfort and Hope by Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott
Death of A Optimist by Grandson
ADHDThe Greatest Secret by Joyner Lucas
Detroit 2 by Big Sean
We Will Always Love You by The Avalanches
Cuttin’ Grass by Sturgill Simpson
Take Heart (Again) by Hillsong Worship
McCartney III by Paul McCartney
The New Ok by Drive-By Truckers

Audiobooks
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
The Greatest Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Long Time Coming by Michael Eric Dyson
Happiness Becomes You by Tina Turner
The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson
The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher
Hush-Hush by Stuart Woods

Roku Roundup: See What’s New on Netflix This January

It’s a brand new year, and that means new shows and movies to watch on Netflix! Here’s a rundown of all the things to look out for this month.

Last month was a big one for movies, from Oscar hopefuls to Christmas romcoms, and although January can’t white tigerquite match that output in quantity, the month’s few big releases are sure to make up for it in quality. Pieces of a Woman, a critically acclaimed drama about grief and motherhood, starts streaming on January 7th. Later on comes Netflix’s big release of the month, Outside the Wire, a sci-fi action thriller starring Anthony Mackie as a soldier who must team up with an android to stop a devastating nuclear attack. Finally, on the 22nd, The White Tiger makes its premiere on the streaming service. Fans of last year’s Parasite might enjoy this story of a young Indian man who goes from an impoverished driver to a wealthy socialite using only his wit and cunning.

If it’s binge-able TV you’re looking for this month, you’re in luck, because Netflix is dropping a whole host of shows, from series premieres to new seasons of old favorites. On the first of the month, the third season of breakout hit Cobra Kai—a follow-up to the Karate Kid movies—makes its premiere. cobra kai Also debuting its third season is Matt Groening’s hilarious animated fantasy series Disenchanted (look for it on the 15th). Those looking for a calmer start to the New Year can tune in on the 1st for Headspace Guide to Meditation, a brand new series dedicated to teaching the basics of relaxing, mindful meditation. Fans of the eccentric antics of Nicholas Cage will want to catch his new series, The History of Swear Words, where the actor breaks down the etymology and linguistic history of everyone’s favorite oaths and curses—premiering on January 5th, it’s sure to be an interesting time. Finally, closing out the month is the new series Fate: The Winx Saga, a teen fantasy-drama based on the nostalgic cartoon series.

These titles are exclusive to Netflix, and can’t be seen anywhere else. But with Roku Express+ devices you can watch all the shows and movies Netflix has to offer, as well as a huge selection of films from our VUDU library. Click here to reserve your Roku and start streaming today!

New Releases

MoviesMulan 2020
Mulan
Antebellum
Bill & Ted Face the Music
Unhinged
Words on Bathroom Walls
The New Mutants
Relic
Ava
Blackbird
The Argument
Hard Kill
Misbehaviour
Spontaneous
A Rainy Day in New York
The Devil Has a Name
Summerland
The IrishmanThe Irishman
Foster Boy
Wonders of the Arctic
Represent
Age of Nature
Desolation Center
The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story
Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin
The Walrus and the Whistleblower
Policing the Police 2020
That’s Wild
Us + Them
Islands of Wonder
Caniba
Extra Innings
S&M2 Metallica & San Francisco Symphony
Becky
Guest ArtistBill and Ted Face the Music
A Tramway in Jerusalem
The Girl with a Bracelet
The Load
Prehistoric Road Trip
Shaped by Faith: Fitness in the Spirit
The Cordillera of Dreams
Mossville: When Great Trees Fall
Cassettes Go Hi-Fi
The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel
Circles
Retaliation
Driveways
How About Adolf?
Someone Somewhere
Still Here
The Cuban
Christmas at the Plaza
The Wolf HouseA_Rainy_Day_in_New_York_poster
The Short History of the Long Road
Accidental Blessing
Clementine
The Audition
A Christmas Love Story
Fourteen
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda
Secret Zoo
The Gasoline Thieves
Buoyancy
Train to Busan Presents Peninsula
Babylon Berlin season 3
After We Collided
The Broken Hearts Gallery
Higher Love
Dave Not Coming Back

TV SeriesThe Crown season 3
The Crown season 3
Schitt’s Creek seasons 4, 5 & 6
Riverdale season 4
The Neighborhood season 1
The Resident season 3
Why Women Kill season 1
The Plot Against America
Black Lightning season 3
Hidden series 2
Monogamy season 1
Mayans M.C. season 2
The Trouble with Maggie Cole
Penance season 1
Letterkenny seasons 5 & 6
Better Call Saul season 5
Cobra Kai seasons 1 & 2Disco Kylie Minogue

Music
Limbo by Amine
Power Up by AC/DC
Starting Over by Chris Stapleton
Fun by Garth Brooks
CYR by The Smashing Pumpkins
Plastic Hearts by Miley Cyrus
Disco by Kylie Minogue
More Love: Songs from Little Voice season 1 by Sara Bareilles
McGraw Machine Hits: 2013-2019 by Tim McGraw
A Decade of Destruction Volume 2 by Five Finger Death Punch
A Drummer Boy Christmas by For King & CountryA Drummer Boy Christmas
Kings’s Disease by Nas
Palo Alto by Thelonious Monk
Suite: April 2020 by Brad Mehldau
Eddie by Busty and the Bass
10 Songs by Travis
Legends Never Die by Juice WRLD
As Long As You Are by Future Islands
Strange Days by The Struts
Live From the Troubadour by Tanya Tucker
Live From the Forum MMXVIII by Eagles

Audiobooks
A Promised LandA Promised Land by Barack Obama
Fortune and Glory by Janet Evanovich
Hidden in Plain Sight by Jeffrey Archer
Marauder by Clive Cussler & Boyd Morrison
The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly
Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz
All That Glitters by Danielle Steel
Daylight by David Baldacci
Hot to Trot by M. C. Beaton
Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory
Piece of My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke
How to Raise an Elephant by Alexander McCall Smith
War Lord by Bernard Cornwell
The AwakeningDolly Parton Songteller by Nora Roberts
The Best of Me by David Sedaris
One Life by Megan Rapinoe
Dolly Parton, Songteller by Dolly Parton
Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer
The Butterfly Effect by Marcus J. Moore
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin
Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith
Let Love Rule by Lenny Kravitz
No Time Like the Future by Michael J. Fox

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Off-Beat Offerings: Not-Quite Christmas Movies

There are a lot of Christmas movies out there. Probably too many to count, although we’ve made lists of some of our favorites. And this year more than any year seems like the perfect time to stay in, curl up with some hot cocoa, and watch as many as you please. If you’re like me, though, you might feel like the comfort and joy of all the old holiday standbys can get maybe just a touch too sweet. Maybe you need something a little different, a little off the beaten path to break up your Christmas movie routine. If that’s the case, you might want to die hardcheck out some of the less-traditional Christmas films we have in our collection.

Die Hard seems like an obvious choice for this list. There’s been so much debate in the popular culture about whether or not it counts as a Christmas movie that it has almost accidentally become a holiday classic. It’s easy to see why—this movie is action-packed and fun, with lots of explosions and quotable one-liners to enjoy. The Christmas setting is just icing on the cake. But Die Hard isn’t the only Yuletide action flick. Lethal Weapon is set around the holidays too, and while its Christmas-y trappings aren’t as obvious as Die Hard’s, it still packs in those action movie thrills and would probably make for great double-feature viewing paired with Die Hard.

If you want to make it a triple-feature, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a crime thriller with a heavy helping of dark, dry humor, set in a not-so-snowy Los Angeles at Christmastime. Even all on its own it makes for a pretty fun watch, especially if you’re a fan of gritty mysteries or Robert Downey Junior. For a more classic-style mystery, check out The Thin Man, a 1938 caper in which a retired detective and his wealthy wife go to New York City for the holidays, but end up investigating a murder.

Batman Returns is one of my personal favorite not-Christmas Christmas movies. Tim Burton’s dreamlike, gothic style is on full display and works so well to tell a story of everyone’s favorite caped crusader. But despite the eerie atmosphere, the movie is set at Christmastime—Gotham City’s annual Christmas tree lighting is interrupted by the Penguin and his goons, and one of Batman and Catwoman’s encounters takes place under the mistletoe. Those little holiday touches make it work that much more. (And for the comic book superfans gremlinsout there, both Iron Man 3 and Shazam! take place at Christmas too, so there are plenty of ways to get your heroic holiday fix.)

A not-quite Christmas movie list wouldn’t be complete without a few horror movies, and we have plenty to offer. Gremlins is a family-friendly horror classic, with great creature effects and a holiday setting that accentuates some of the movie’s best moments of humor and fear. Krampus is a truly underrated flick from 2015, in which a dysfunctional family’s holiday gathering takes a dark supernatural turn. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a darkly comical Finnish feature about mountain drillers who uncover a creature that might be old Saint Nick. And even though it doesn’t quite hold a candle to the original (which is unfortunately out of print), the 2019 remake of Black Christmas provides some good, old-fashioned Yuletide scares.

Finally, to save the very strangest for last, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is a low-budget 1950s sci-fi feature with zany visuals, odd characters, and a plot that’s so bad it just might be good. Fans of MST3K-style hate-watching will want to check it out.

Wherever you are and whatever you’re watching, we hope you have a safe and happy holiday season!

Christmas Family Films

Arthur Christmas (2011, Rated PG)
When Santa’s youngest son, Arthur, realizes a special Christmas present hasn’t been delivered, he tries to use Santa’s high-tech equipment to deliver it.

Blizzard (2003, Rated G)
When a young girl’s best friend moves away, her aunt tells her a story about an ice skater and an enchanted reindeer to cheer her up.

Call Me Claus (2001, Rated PG)
Santa Claus’ 200-year contract is almost up, and he must convince cranky TV producer Lucy to take his place.charlie brown

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965, Not Rated)
Charlie Brown, disenchanted by the commercialism of the Christmas season, tries to get in the holiday spirit by directing the local Christmas pageant.

The Christmas Toy (1986, Not Rated)
On Christmas Eve, a child’s toys are afraid they’ll be replaced. They journey from the child’s bedroom to the Christmas tree to meet the new toys.

Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury (2011, Not Rated)
Hiccup and Toothless of How to Train Your Dragon go on a wintry adventure and discover a new island full of dragons.

Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas (1977, Not Rated)
Emmet Otter and his Ma, short on money to buy Christmas presents for each other, each secretly enter a talent contest to try and win the big prize.

Frosty the Snowman (1969, Not Rated)
Frosty is brought to life by a group of children, and must find his way to the North Pole so that he does not melt.

The Grinch (2018, Rated PG)
The Grinch, a cynical grump, tries to ruin Christmas for cheery Whoville, but has his heart changed by one girl’s generous spirit.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1967, Not Rated)
The original animated classic, narrated by Boris Karloff. The small-hearted Grinch tries to steal Christmas, but learns that the true spirit of Christmas can’t ever be taken away.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000, Rated PG)the grink
Jim Carrey stars as the titular green grump in this whimsical live-action adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s beloved holiday tale.

It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002, Rated PG)
On Christmas Eve, the Muppet Theater is in danger of being torn down, and Kermit wishes he was never born. But some angelic intervention shows him how much his friends care.

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983, Rated G)
Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and all their Disney friends reenact Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947, Not Rated)
The real Santa Claus is hired by Macy’s to be in their Thanksgiving parade, but then has to prove in court that he is who he says he is.

Miracle on 34th Street (1994, Rated PG)
After making a public appearance, the real Santa is framed for a crime, and must prove he is really Santa, not only to the court but to a precocious young girl.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992, Rated G)
All your favorite Muppet characters act out a colorful and hilarious version of A Christmas Carol, with Sir Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge.

A Muppet Family Christmas (1987, Not Rated)
The cast of the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and even Jim Henson himself all find themselves muppet christmas carolsnowed in at a little old cabin on Christmas Eve.

Penguins of Madagascar: Operation Special Delivery (2014, Not Rated)
The wily band of penguins must deal with unexpected relatives, Lunicorns, and the Evil Officer X in order to deliver Christmas joy to the world.

The Polar Express (2004, Rated G)
A doubting young boy boards a magical train on Christmas Eve, and takes a journey to the North Pole that restores his faith in Santa Claus—and Christmas itself.

Prancer (1989, Rated G)
When a little girl finds a wounded reindeer and nurses it back to health in hopes of returning it to Santa, her kindness touches the hearts of all the troubled souls in her small town.

Prep and Landing (2009, Rated G)
An unlikely pair of Christmas elves partner up to help with Santa’s elite Prep and Landing unit on Christmas Eve.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964, Not Rated)
A young reindeer mocked for his shining red nose joins Santa’s team and guides his sleigh through a blizzard, saving Christmas.

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970, Not Rated)
A stop-motion animated origin story that answers every question you might have about Santa Claus.rudolph

Santa Claus: The Movie (1985, Rated PG)
A master toymaker journeys to the North Pole and is given the opportunity to become Santa Claus, but first he has to stop an evil toy tycoon from taking over Christmas.

The Santa Clause (1994, Rated PG)
After putting on Santa’s coat on Christmas Eve, ordinary guy Scott Calvin accidentally becomes the new Santa Claus. But can he live up to the task?

The Santa Clause 2 (2002, Rated G)
Eight years after becoming Santa, Scott finds that he must get married or lose the job forever. To make matters worse, he finds out his son is on the Naughty List.

The Search for Santa Paws (2010, Rated G)
Santa Paws—Santa Claus’s loyal pet dog—journeys to New York City to find Santa and restore the spirit of Christmas.

Shrek the Halls (2008, Not Rated)
Shrek has no clue how to plan for the holidays, but is determined to make Christmas perfect for Fiona and their babies.

The Star (2017, Rated PG)
The story of the first Christmas, told through the eyes of a brave little donkey and his animal friends.

Toy Story that Time Forgot (2014, Rated G)
In the days after Christmas, Woody, Buzz, and the Toy Story gang go on a playdate and find themselves stranded with a horde of delusional action figures.

Staff Picks December 2020

STAFF Picks (1)

Emily’s Picks

DVD: The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker has always been something of a holiday tradition in my house, and for anyone who can’t go nutcrackerout to the ballet– this year or any year –this recording is a great substitute! The timeless ballet is performed by the legendary Bolshoi Ballet Company from Russia. The choreography in this production is splendid, the set design is gorgeous (and appropriately festive!), and of course that classic score is as beautiful as ever. This is the perfect watch to get you in the holiday mood.

CD: Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald swinging christmas

This was THE staple Christmas album in my house growing up, and for me it just doesn’t feel like the holidays without it. Fitzgerald puts her merry, jazzy spin on all your favorite Christmas songs. Standout tracks include “Sleigh Ride,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”

Jessie’s Picks

DVD: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Murder Under the Mistletoe

“A stylish and sexy period mystery stars Essie Davis as Phryne Fisher, a glamorous lady detective in 1920s miss fisher christmas (2)Melbourne. In ‘Murder Under the Mistletoe,’ Phryne’s Christmas in July turns deadly when trapped inhabitants at a snowed-in mountain lodge find themselves being killed off according to the song The Twelve Days of Christmas.” a jazz and blues christmas

CD: A Jazz and Blues Christmas

A compilation of Christmas hits featuring artists such as B.B. King, Ray Charles, and the Ramsey Lewis Trio.

 

John’s Picks

DVD: Christmas with the Kranks

“Don’t you EVER say hickory honey ham again!” A goofy—perhaps even a bit cringey—Christmas comedy lead christmas with the kranksby stars Tim Allen (as Luther Krank) and Jamie Lee Curtis as (Nora Krank). The Kranks decide to skip Christmas, but when they’re in desperate need of a Christmas miracle, their militant-like neighbors pitch in to show them the true meaning of the holiday.

Audiobook: The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto

New York City is the crossroads of the world, and it is recognized as the most island at the centerprogressive and culturally diverse city in the world. How did it get like that? Well, Russell Shorto argues NYC’s progressive roots are founded in its colonial Dutch origins. New York City was named after the Duke of York (King Charles II’s older brother), when the English seized the colony from the Dutch who called the island New Amsterdam. Shorto tells the often overlooked story of New York City’s Dutch colonial history and how that period is still impacting the city nearly 400 years later.

 

Kim’s Picks

DVD: Pizza: A Love Story

History and pizza mix in this super entertaining DVD documentary about what many consider the world pizza love story (2)mecca for thin crust, charred (not burnt) pies:  New Haven, Connecticut.  Italian immigrant workmen started the revolution when they couldn’t find anything in the U.S. like their home pies.  The century-old Pepe’s, Sally’s and Modern enjoy a friendly competition to rank as the best.  Celebrities and politicos have made pilgrimage to each.  Musicians Michael Bolton and Lyle Lovett wax enthusiastic about their favorite emporia.  Remember:  the oven is key.

Audiobook: The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien (Also available as an eBook on Libby!) silmarillion

Christopher Tolkien edited his father’s “preamble” to The Lord of the Rings to provide insight into the really, really olden time, i.e., before the era of the hobbits and Sauron’s last stand.  This is therefore a genealogy of sorts.  It seems that even Tolkien enthusiasts rarely finish this tome, but reading a little at a time will clarify the happenings in Middle Earth before Bilbo and Frodo’s tenure.

Mary’s Picks

DVD: The Man Who Invented Christmas

the man who invented christmasThe journey that led to Charles Dickens’ creation of ‘A Christmas Carol’, a timeless tale that redefined the holiday.

Audiobook: NPR Holiday Favoritesnpr holiday

A compilation of NPR’s holiday favorites that are nostalgic, comical, and just what you want to listen to during the holidays.

Stephanie’s Picks

DVD: Elf

“A human baby accidentally ends up at the North Pole and grows up among the elf elfcommunity. Buddy, as he comes to be known, knows that he’s “special”. When he’s 30, Buddy learns from Santa that he’s really a human. He decides to go in search of his father, to find out where he belongs. He walks to Manhattan, and is immediately run over by a cab. His father at first rejects him and Buddy ends up in a department store where other elves are working. But all the while, things are looking bad for Santa Claus. When Santa crashes his sleigh in Central Park, it’s Buddy’s moment to shine.”

CD: NFR! by Lana Del Rey

“With the creation of her Lana Del Rey persona, nfrsinger/songwriter Lizzy Grant stitched together the iconography of a fading American dream with soaring but melancholic pop songwriting, becoming an icon unto herself in the process. Her distinctive approach blurred sadness and longing just as it did past and present, drawing on the influence of classic American pop while integrating modernized touches like trap beats and millennial cultural references. With [her] sixth album … Lana Del Rey expands her vision with the most daring and vulnerable work of her catalog.”

All quoted summaries from catalog.ccls.org.

Christmas Favorites

Almost Christmas (2016, Rated PG-13)
When a bickering family gathers for Christmas, the family patriarch has one holiday wish: that for the next five days, they all try to get along.

Bad Santa (2003, Rated R)
A foul-mouthed thief gets a job as a shopping mall Santa Claus in order to pull off a series of Christmas burglaries.

Black Nativity (2013, Rated PG)
A young boy forced to spend Christmas with his estranged relatives decides to try and make his way back christmas carolhome in this inspiring musical adventure.

A Christmas Carol (1951, Not Rated)
The classic holiday tale of Ebenezer Scrooge (played memorably here by Alastair Sim) and his three ghostly visitors.

A Christmas Carol (1984, Rated PG)
A full-color, made-for TV adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic filmed on-location in London and starring George C. Scott as Scrooge.

A Christmas Carol (1999, Not Rated)
Sir Patrick Stewart plays the role of Scrooge in this Hallmark TV production.

Christmas Child (2003, Not Rated)
A disillusioned and dispirited journalist visits a small Texas town at Christmas, and while investigating the maker of a nativity set, uncovers the secrets of his own past.

Christmas Cottage (2008, Rated PG)
A young Thomas Kinkade returns home to find his family’s cottage on the brink of foreclosure. This inspires him to paint a mural that will launch his career and restore his town’s Christmas spirit.

Christmas in July (1940, Not Rated)
When a clerk is pranked into thinking he’s won $25,000, he and his girlfriend go on a mid-summer Christmas shopping spree that soon turns into a slapstick riot.

A Christmas Story (1983, Rated PG)
A young boy living in Depression-era Indiana must convince his parents to buy him the Christmas gift of his dreams, a Red Ryder BB gun.christmas story

A Christmas Tale (2008, Not Rated)
When the matriarch of a deeply troubled family needs a bone-marrow transplant, the three youngest members of the family gather everyone together for a holiday they hope will bring peace.

Christmas Vacation (1989, Rated PG-13)
The Griswold family hosts an utterly chaotic Christmas gathering for their kooky, dysfunctional relatives.

Elf (2003, Rated PG)
Buddy, a human raised by elves at the North Pole, takes a journey to New York City to find his birth father, a miserly businessman with little Christmas spirit.

Feast of the Seven Fishes (2019, Not Rated)
In 1983, a working-class Italian boy brings home his wealthy, Protestant girlfriend for his family’s annual Christmas feast.

Holiday Triple Feature (Not Rated)
A trio of old-fashioned Christmas films: Silent Night (2002), The Angel of Pennsylvania Avenue (1996), and A Christmas Memory (1996).

Home Alone (1990, Rated PG)home alone
After a series of mishaps, clever young Kevin McCallister is left home alone on Christmas Eve, and must defend his house from a pair of bumbling bandits.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992, Rated PG)
Kevin is left behind again, this time in the Big Apple. His traps must be bigger and better than ever if he’s to outwit his old foes, the Wet Bandits.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Not Rated)
When a desperate man contemplates suicide at Christmastime, he is visited by his guardian angel, who shows him what the world would be like if he were never born.

Joyeux Noel (2005, Rated PG-13)
Based on a true story. At the height of World War I, three enemy armies call a momentary truce and stop all fighting to celebrate together on Christmas.

Last Christmas (2019, Rated PG-13)
A year after receiving a life-saving heart surgery, a young woman can’t seem to get her life back on the right track. Then, just before Christmas, she meets a charming stranger who changes her prespective.

Love, Actually (2004, Rated R)
Follows the interconnected lives of eight different couples as they struggle with love and family in the month leading up to Christmas. madea xmas

A Madea Christmas (2013, Rated PG-13)
Tyler Perry’s indomitable Madea gets coaxed into spending Christmas in the country with an old friend and her daughter, and holiday hijinks ensue.

The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017, Rated PG)
Follows a frazzled Charles Dickens as he battles writer’s block and an ever-encroaching deadline to write one of the most unforgettable holiday tales of all time, A Christmas Carol.

The Nativity Story (2006, Rated PG)
A heartfelt and realistic retelling of the biblical story of Christmas.

The Night Before (2015, Rated R)
Three longtime friends, entering adulthood, realize that their tradition of Christmas Eve debauchery will soon come to an end. Together they set out to have one last, blowout Christmas bender.

Scrooge (1970, Rated G)
This lighthearted, musical retelling of A Christmas Carol features toe-tapping songs and a generous helping of sweet holiday spirit.

Scrooged (1988, Rated PG-13)scrooged
On Christmas Eve, an uncaring and cruel TV executive is visited by three ghosts who show him the error of his ways.

This Christmas (2007, Rated PG-13)
A family reunites for the first time in years for Christmas, and try to get along despite old baggage.

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas (2011, Rated R)
Years after their journey to White Castle, Harold and Kumar have grown apart. But a mistakenly delivered Christmas package full of “high grade contents” brings them together once more.

White Christmas (1954, Not Rated)
Two former soldiers and a duo of singing sisters travel to a remote Vermont inn for the holidays. After finding the inn is run by their old general, they decide to stage a show to save him from financial ruin.

Roku Roundup: What’s New on Netflix This December?

December is always a big month for movies and TV, and this year proves no exception. And even though we no longer offer Hulu as a streaming option on our Roku Express+ devices, don’t worry! Between holiday offerings, Oscar hopefuls, and several series premieres, we still have enough exciting original content from Netflix to keep you streaming all month long.

Although Netflix’s two biggest holiday movies—The Christmas Chronicles 2 and Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Story—debuted last month, the streaming site is still releasing a ton of fun seasonal fare this month. Rom-com fans will gbb holidaysfall in love with How to Ruin Christmas, a miniseries centered around an outcast daughter returning home and making a mess of her sister’s picture-perfect Christmas wedding, and then tune in again for A California Christmas, in which a rich young man finds yuletide romance while posing as a farmhand. Or if you want to indulge in some cozy nostalgia, take a look The Holiday Movies That Made Us, a fun docuseries that takes a closer look at some of our favorite Christmas films, premiering December 1st. Finally, Great British Bakeoff fans should snuggle up with their own Christmas treats to watch The Great British Baking Show: Holidays, which promises to deliver some festive fun.

Some big new movies are coming to Netflix this month as well, including black bottomsome possible Oscar contenders. On the 4th there’s Mank, David Fincher’s black and white behind-the-scenes story of the making of Citizen Kane, starring Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried. Then the 18th will see the premiere of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a biopic of the real-life blues singer that boasts some stellar performances, including a star turn from Oscar-winner Viola Davis as well as the final film appearance of the late, beloved actor Chadwick Boseman. Also new is Canvas, an animated tale about a grandfather moving on from grief, and The Prom, a star-studded musical from Glee producer Ryan Murphy. Rounding out the month with a bang is The Midnight Sky, a big-budget scifi thriller starring George Clooney.

Of course, a number of great shows return this month. On the 4th, animated comedy Big Mouth starts its fourth season, and the much-anticipated fourthbridgerton season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina arrives just before the New Year, on the 31st. But new things are in store as well! Tiny Pretty Things, a drama set in a ballet school and based on the novel by Sona Charaipotra, makes its series premiere on the 14th of this month. And fans of Shonda Rhimes are sure to be thrilled by the showrunner’s new series Bridgerton, a historical drama set in Regency London, which follows eight sisters as they look for love in high society.

These titles are exclusive to Netflix, and can’t be seen anywhere else. But with Roku Express+ devices you can watch all the shows and movies Netflix has to offer, as well as a huge selection of films from our VUDU library. Reserve your Roku today and start streaming today!

Movies for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving sits in an odd little place on the calendar, smack between two of the year’s biggest holidays, and the same thing could probably be said for the holiday’s few movies. Sure, everyone knows what they want to watch around Halloween (we’ve made a few lists ourselves), and there’s a pantheon of Christmas favorites to watch once December rolls around. But how many Thanksgiving movies can you name? Perhaps a few tried and true classics that more often than not get overshadowed by the many Christmas specials that start to recirculate around this time of the year. But there are still a few other gems to be found, and in the spirit of giving we’ve rounded them all up for you.

home for the holidaysPerhaps the most familiar type of Thanksgiving movie is the kind about a family getting together for the holiday, often to somewhat disastrous or at least dysfunctional effect. The most famous of these is probably Home for the Holidays, which stars Holly Hunter as a single mom returning to her childhood home and estranged family (played by a stellar cast, including Clare Danes, Dylan McDermott, and Robert Downey Jr.). Hannah and Her Sisters features not one but three of a complicated family’s Thanksgiving gatherings. And movies like Pieces of April, the sweet coming-out film Lez Bomb, and last year’s Friendsgiving all put their own unique spins on the trope. If you want really unique take on it, though, you might want to check out the darkly comic political satire The Oath.

Another familiar feature of Thanksgiving movies is the road trip movie, which follows the often-chaotic journey to the Thanksgiving gathering. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is the standout here, for obvious reasons. planes trains whateverWho could forget the charming pairing of Steve Martin and John Candy, and all the antics they get up to on their way back home for the holiday? It’s a classic, and for good reason. But another, much more overlooked movie in this category is Dutch. Although seen by some as a bit of a retread of Planes, Trains, and Autombiles, it’s still a sweet comedy with a good helping of laughs, and equally worth a watch.

Another Thanksgiving classic almost fits into the last category—since it features some travel, but no real road trip, however, it stands on its own. Scent of a Woman is a coming of age drama that follows another mismatched pair of protagonists: a young student at a preparatory school and a misanthropic blind man, thrown together for one strange and unforgettable Thanksgiving weekend in New York City. Featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Al Pacino and surprisingly heartwarming ending, this movie is a must-see.

For family fare that everyone can enjoy, there are several more options to turkey hollowconsider. The classic Peanuts special A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving jumps to mind. For a more offbeat but undeniably sweet family movie, consider checking out Turkey Hollow, a quirky family fantasy from Jim Henson Studios, with all the heartfelt humor and charming puppet creatures that the studio’s name promises. Also of note is the 2013 animated feature Free Birds, a film about a pair of turkeys on a mission to avoid being Thanksgiving dinner. The film may not have been a hit with critics, but it was generally liked by moviegoers, and is sure to entertain those with seats at the children’s table. And while they might not be strictly Thanksgiving movies, consider adding Fantastic Mr. Fox and Chicken Run to your watch-list as well—they don’t carry the holiday’s name, but they do have abundant fall atmosphere, beautiful animation, and the “dinner gets revenge” theme that is so oddly satisfying at this time of the year.

Finally, although it would probably feel more at home in a Halloween movie lineup, Addams Family Values earns an honorable mention on this list for no other reason than it features perhaps the most bonkers Thanksgiving pageant ever put to film. The pageant begins with a boy dressed as a turkey singing about how he wants to be eaten, and concludes with Wednesday Addams burning a pilgrim village to the ground. Pure demented fun!

Whatever movies you choose this year, we hope you have a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving!