Arthur Chrismas

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Netflix sent us this DVD about a month ago, and we patiently saved it up for Christmas… and then other things ran a bit too late for us to watch it on Christmas. Oops! We probably deprived a poor household with actual children from watching it. Somewhere in Farmington, harried parents probably put in a copy of Reservoir Dogs for the kiddos instead.

But we finally saw it the day after Christmas, and that's close enough.

It starts out describing how Santa does things these days: very high-tech, assisted with a horde of elves, and a superfast stealth craft that's more flying saucer than sleigh. The old sleigh and the reindeer have been relegated to a forgotten corner of Santa's North Pole base.

The organization up there is vaguely monarchical, with the title of Santa being passed down from generation to generation. The current Santa is tiring after 70 Christmases; his heir apparent is the no-nonsense Steve Christmas, who's driven the big technological makeover of the operation and runs it like a martinet. His younger brother, Arthur, is a bumbler, earnest believer in the Christmas spirit, and (like the sleigh and reindeer) has been shuffled off to a obscure office, answering kids' letters to Santa.

But this year, a bike destined for Gwen, a little English Girl, somehow got mislaid. Big-picture guy Steve notes this as unfortunate, but acceptable. Santa, tired, meekly agrees and settles in for a long winter's nap.

Arthur, however, views this as not at all acceptable; aided by 136-year-old (and slightly demented) GrandSanta, and wrapping elf Briony, they set off in the old sleigh with Gwen's bike. Hijinks ensue.

This is made by many of the same folks that did the wonderful The Pirates! Band of Misfits, although it's not quite as wonderful. Rated PG for "some mild rude humor", it's a good choice for family viewing.

URLs du Jour


  • [Sammy and Martin] Today's image stolen from Cracked, and you should check out their article "13 Awesome Photos That Will Make You Happy to Be Alive"

  • What'd I get? Well, let me tell ya: DVDs: Futurama: Volume 7; Iron Man 2; The Dark Knight Rises; The Avengers; Brave. CDs (yes, they still exist): Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn In Session; Sunken Condos by Donald Fagen; That's Why God Made the Radio by The Beach Boys; Privateering by Mark Knopfler; Born To Sing: No Plan B by Van Morrison. Books: The Bookwoman's Last Fling by John Dunning; Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d'Art by Christopher Moore; The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker; Holidays in Heck by P.J. O'Rourke; Spade & Archer (a prequel to The Maltese Falcon) by Joe Gores.

    And (last but not least), beef jerky from McKinnons Market and a couple biiig bottles of beer from local Throwback Brewery. Specifically: "Hog Happy Hefeweizen" and "Dippity Do American Brown". Now all I need is a football game on TV; I understand there are some coming up.

    I have very generous friends and family.

  • I didn't have anything sensible to say about the Newtown CT horror. If you want cheap strident emotionalism it's easy enough to find elsewhere. The folks who brought you the phrase "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste" are busy at work trying to push through "gun control" legislation in the heat of the moment.

    Which brings to mind a Thomas Szasz quote:

    The FDA calls certain substances "controlled." But there are no "controlled substances," there are only controlled citizens.

    So it is with "gun control"; the aim is not to control guns, but to control citizens.

    That's the primary goal of your average 21st Century American Progressive, and they'll use any pretext—including your understandable reaction to murdered children—to get it.

  • Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, was apparently taken with the "we gotta do something" disease, and went on-air with advocacy of "armed security" of "every single school in America". The response of Cato's Gene Healy deserves your attention. Bottom line: top-down "solutions" conjured up out of panic and fear will inevitably lead to misallocations of scarce resources that will leave us all, including the kiddos, less safe.

    Is that irony? I can never tell.

  • But enough seriousness: there's a nice little story from Walter Mosley in the December Atlantic magazine, and the folks there have put it online: "Reply to a Dead Man".

  • I'm a huge fan of the FX network series Justified, a potent combination of wonderful acting, plotting, mordant humor, shocking violence, and bad language. Among the supporting talents is Nick Searcy, who plays Art Mullen. As we await new episodes coming up in a few weeks, you could do worse than take a few video lessons from Nick Searcy's Acting School.

    Nick also did this unconventional ad for… well, let's leave it as a surprise. Check it out: