Tag Archives: Movies

Peter Billingsly Christmas Movie Criss-Cross


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Elf is the most popular films airing on televisions this Christmas season.  This classic Christmas fantasy comedy film stars Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, an elf who learns in life that he is human.  Buddy travels to New York City to meet his biological father Walter Hobbs (James Caan).  While in New York, Buddy gets himself into all sorts of silly hijinks.  Other notable actors in the film include Zooey Deschanel, Bob Newhart, Peter Dinklage, Andy Ritcher, Kyle Gass, and Jon Favreau (who also directed the movie as well!).

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I’ll have to admit that I have seen scenes of this film multiple times already and I can definitely say it’s a classic.  But after a while, there was one notable element that shocked me about the film.  It has to do with a minor character called Ming Ming.

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            After watching the beginning a few times, I noticed the actor portraying Ming Ming looked vaguely familiar to me.  I took to the IMDB website to conduct my research and what I found was absolutely shocking.

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Get ready for this folks – the actor Peter Billingsly, who plays Ming Ming (Buddy’s apprentice), was Ralph Parker in A Christmas Story!

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Ah, yes – A Christmas Story.  The movie where Ralph wanted a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle for Christmas.  All the adults scolded him, explaining that he would shoot his eye out with the BB gun.  It’s another treasured Christmas film that was released back in November 18th, 1983.  Decades later and A Christmas Story is still played 24 hours on Christmas Day.

With that, it seems we have ourselves… a Christmas movie criss-cross!

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Peter Billingsly first starred in A Christmas Story, his first Christmas-themed film.  Twenty years later, Billingsly was Ming Ming in Elf.  This marks his second appearance in a Christmas movie.  Two Christmas movies, same actor.  Billingsly is the true star in this special Christmas movie crisscross.

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If you are just as shocked as I am, you are not alone.  I must’ve seen the opening scene dozens of times and never knew how I didn’t catch that special cameo.  Peter Billingsly appearing in another memorable Christmas film was amazing to find out.

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In the end, this special Christmas movie crisscross makes Elf and A Christmas Story even more memorable than ever.  Its great to know that Peter Billingsly was still in movies mere decades after being Ralph Parker.

We may have just discovered Peter Billingsly as Ming Ming the elf, but he will forever still be little Ralphy Parker – the kid that wanted a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle for Christmas.

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AHS: White House Christmas


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Happy Monday folks!  December is here, which means the Christmas season is upon us.  Many people are out grabbing their Christmas trees and gathering their decorations.  Advertisements for shopping deals on Christmas presents are on full blast for this month.  It’s just like the tagline of Games of Thrones goes – Winter is Coming.

While many are excited about putting up their own decorations, there are some that are quite shocked at what the White House has on display this year.  Melania Trump, the first Lady of the United States, decided to spread the Christmas cheer with a rather… DARKER sort of decor.

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Image result for melania trump christmas tree 2018

During a recent video showcasing a tour of the White House, Melania Trump walks through a hallway of blood red Christmas trees.  These trees line up side by side, leading up to a huge lit Christmas tree on the front.  The room is lit with white-orange lighting hanging from the ceiling.

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Image result for melania trump christmas tree 2018

Image result for melania trump christmas tree 2018

Image result for melania trump christmas tree 2018

Throughout the video, we see many Christmas tress all around the offices.  The lighting becomes a dark orange glow, spreading all across the hallways.  In one room, a model version of the White House and other Washington monuments sits on a marble table.  A bouquet of flowers is put within the middle between two highly decorated Christmas trees.  There is even a Christmas wreath decorated with pencils labeled with the term ‘Be Best’, showcasing the first lady’s anti-bullying initiative.

Melania went decked out the White House in the spirit of the patriotic theme “American Treasures”, which looks to recognize America’s “unique heritage”.  The color red is seen all around the hallways, playing a significant role for the theme.

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Probably one of the creepiest aspects of the decorations are the blood red trees in the hallways.  It certainly presents a type of… EERIE mood if you will.

These decorations are too amazing that even MakeSandcastlesNotWar had a few things to say about the idea:

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  • Looks like Melania Trump stole Dandy Mott’s dark red lighting idea from American Horror Story: Freak Show!

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  • I guess we can now say that Netflix’s House of Cards is really being played out right now.

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  • Speaking of American Horror Story: Freak Show, Gloria Mott must’ve had some influence in the Christmas tree decorations.

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  • Those aren’t blood red Christmas trees – those are the costume props for The Handmaid’s Tale

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  • If you look close enough, the twins from The Shining should come out any minute
  • This year at the White House… There Will Be Blood.

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  • The red Yips Yips have gotten a lot bigger since I last saw Sesame Street.

In the end, these decorations are just simply brilliant.  There are so many zany references that people are finding from these peculiar photos.  These past Christmas seasons have been cheerful with the Obamas, but the Trumps took an interesting turn for their seasonal decor.  It truly is an actual American Horror Story being played out in our eyes.

      Let us celebrate the beauty of this chilling Christmas decorative theme here at the White House.

How The Grinch Modernized Christmas


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One of my favorite Christmas stories is Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!  The Grinch was the ferocious monster that hated Christmas every year.  He glared towards the Whos down at Whoville whenever Christmas was coming around.  Throughout the story, he manages to figure out what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.

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Image result for how the grinch stole christmas

This book was published by Random House in 1957 and was adapted into a 1966 animated TV series starring Boris Karloff.  The story was adapted into a live action film over 30 years later with Jim Carrey starring as The Grinch.  Eighteen years later, The Grinch is now out in theatres nationwide.

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The Grinch adapts from the original story, with Benedict Cumberbatch as The Grinch in the newest film installment of the franchise.  The film ended up grossing over $91 million in the box office.  This was Illumination’s second Dr. Seuss film adaptation after The Lorax back in 2012.

But what’s intriguing about this adaptation isn’t so much the milestones it achieved this year; rather, it’s the clever advertising placements that was created for The Grinch.

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Image result for universal studios The Grinch Campaign

Image result for universal studios The Grinch Campaign

Universal had an interesting challenge for their marketing — how to convince consumers to see a Christmas-themed movie based on a familiar tale from Dr. Seuss.  One of their key components was creating snarky billboard campaigns tailored for individual locales and designed to separate The Grinch from other fall offerings.  In other words, The Grinch would mock events happening within the local town/city the advertisement was being placed.  Whether it was on a YouTube teaser or television ad, this modernized version of The Grinch was seen everywhere.

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In the end, the campaign was a major success.  Eighteen percent of ticket buyers were between 18-24.  There were more audiences that saw The Grinch than Despicable Me 3 on Summer 2018.

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It was another brilliant marketing and advertising campaign that worked wonders for America.  All Universal had to do was teach an old dog new tricks in order to have a wider audience range.  This movie was intended mostly for families, but they also wanted to target young adults as well.  There have already been a film and animated TV series created in the past, so this was something to really think about in this 21st century.

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Universal truly slayed it with their campaign, making The Grinch the number one movie in the box office this month.  They modernized The Grinch, as well as his characteristics, to fit into this digital age.

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If you are still seeing The Grinch all around your area, you can thank Universal for their amazing campaign.

MakeSandcastlesNotWar Halloween Titles 2018


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Happy Halloween, fellow readers!  No new PR news or anything of the sort, being that I will be too busy celebrating Halloween.  Instead, I figured its time to review some of the best horror TV series/movies to check out today.  Whether you’ve come back from trick-or-treating with your friends and family or just staying in the whole night, this is the time for some scary content.

Here are some of the best TV series/movies to check out this Halloween:

American Horror Story: Apocalypse

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The eight season of American Horror Story brought audiences into the world of doom and gloom in this apocalyptic-themed chapter.  Michael Langdon, the child born in American Horror Story: Murder House, is known as the Antichrist of the world.  After the apocalypse went down, many characters find themselves victims into the hands of Michael Langdon.  Many former characters from previous seasons return on screen as we gather more clues about Langdon’s plan.

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With no allies in sight, Michael Langdon now must find more people to do his bidding.  What is Michael Langdon’s next plan?  You can find out how it goes down on the next episode tonight at 10 PM on FX.

Halloween (2018)

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Almost forty years after the first film, the eleventh installment of the Halloween franchise has been released.  Jamie Lee Curtis returns in her role as Laurie Strode as she prepares to face Michael when he returns to Haddonfield, Illinois.  Forty years later and the battle still reigns on for Laurie Strode.  Be sure to check out Halloween at your latest movie theater this year.

The Haunting of Hill House

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If binge-watching series on Netflix is your idea of a good Halloween night, definitely check out The Haunting of Hill House.  This Gothic horror series is an incredible ode to Shirley Jackson’s famous novel.  The Crane family reunite twenty-six years later, with their personal demons still by their side.  It’s a creepy series that comes with a surprising twist that could have you re-watching it again.  Definitely check out The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix.

Haunted

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Another interesting horror series out is HauntedHaunted tells various tales of people’s paranormal experiences they have had in their lifetimes.  Some of these participants are still haunted by their demons to this day.  From ghosts to scary demons, viewers are taken into the bizarre world of the supernatural.  When your browsing through selections on Netflix, Haunted will definitely be a good choice for the night.

That is all for today.  Have a wonderful night and check out these amazing series for a spooky Halloween night.

 

MakeSandcastlesNotWar Spookiness Update 10/18


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Things have been spooky around MakeSandcastlesNotWar lately.  Another shocking crossover on American Horror Story: Apocalypse here, another Halloween sequel there.  There was also that intriguing artwork that I found around Salem a.k.a. Witch City.  Lots of horror-themed topics on this Halloween month.  This is the month where both TV series and movies move towards the horror genre.

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And it will continue that way for quite some time.  Next week’s episode of AHS will feature a shocking full-on crossover to season one where Madison Montgomery and Behold Chablis will enter the Murder House, the place where it ALL began.  What kind of dark and disturbing history does Michael Langdon have?  Who will make their return in the Murder House?  Will we see other characters returning from Coven?  All of our burning questions will be answered next Wednesday.

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But if you thought that’s the only horror series out this year, you haven’t seen NOTHING yet.  A special horror series was recently released on Netflix that was based on a classic Gothic novel (hint: it was already discussed during the Summer Reading series this year!).  You’ll have to wait until next week to see what unfolds here.  One thing is for certain – it looks like American Horror Story: Apocalypse isn’t the only twisted horror series being discussed here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar.

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Two infamous horrific series discussed in under one week.  Halloween month will continue with even more spookiness than ever.  Surely there isn’t as much PR nightmares going around, but these series will surely be a treat.

Enjoy some more insightful quotes for now, but our Halloween-themed posts will be returning real soon.