Publication Date: October 26, 2010
Luther and Nora Krank typically do Christmas on overdrive but when their daughter, Blair, joins a Peace Corp trip in Peru for the holiday season they’re faced with a holiday season alone. Luther crunches the numbers and finds a vacation would save them a lot of money and stress. The Krank’s neighbors aren’t on board with their decision as it jeopardizes the block’s chances of winning the local decorating contest. With the Kranks fighting everyone, what happens when their daughter decides to come home for Christmas?
Fans of John Grisham may find Skipping Christmas somewhat different from his usual fare. It is an unashamedly fluffy comic holiday farce. There are few surprises and, while I’ve never been a Tim Allen fan, this one is better on the screen (there is a feeling that it was written expressly for film) but formulaic comedy fun in any format. Luther is a stock curmudgeon while Nora is his hesitant conspirator who is willing to stand by her husband (provided they make their usual charity donations) but would truly like for everyone to be happy and get along.
Skipping Christmas reads as a throwaway contract book. Its an easy fluffy read that one would not expect of an author usually finding himself in the legal thriller genre. Perhaps a nod to reader expectation is Vic Fromeyer (played by Dan Aykroyd in the film), the self appointed leader of the neighborhood decorating committee and, in the book, near psychotic in his pursuit of the Kranks. There is a decided lack of holiday spirit in his taunting, bullying and machinations that leads one to wonder what it would be like to not be a Christian and living on that street. On screen there’s a rounding out of a person who just really cares about the holidays and winning while on page he’s a character in need of control. In most other respects, the film is pretty faithful to its on-the-page counterpart. The Kranks upset everyone from the Boy Scouts to their neighbors and in order to pull everything together for Blair, they need the help of their friends. To compare Skipping Christmas to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation lacks justice in that the former doesn’t have the wacky comedy complexity of the latter. It is pure Christmas feel-good and likely not intended for anything else.
There are few real messages in Skipping Christmas. There’s the sense of community and compassion for others but that’s all counterbalanced until the end of the book. In real life when Blair calls from the airport wanting to show her Peruvian fiance her special holiday traditions the parents would say “We didn’t really plan for that, sweetie.” The extent to which they went and the pulling together for Blair is perhaps somewhat unrealistic especially given what we’ve already seen of the characters. The best thing about Skipping Christmas is that its fun, fast and not something one much give lot of thought. There are minor errors typical of any published work but nothing really to interrupt the flow of the piece.
At the end of this fairly short read, Skipping Christmas is a feel good work. If you’re looking for something quick, pick it up today.
Amazon U.S. Amazon U.K. Amazon CA
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
Twelve Days In May: Freedom Ride 1961 chronicles the journey of 13 black and white Civil Rights Activists from Washington D.C. to New Orleans. The riders planned a protest of the southern states ignoring two Supreme Court rulings that segregation on buses crossing state lines was unconstitutional. The protest was meant to be peaceful and shine a light on the nonobservance of the rulings in the south. What met them on their journey was violence and hate.
The author sent me a hard copy of this book in exchange for my review.
Continue reading Twelve Days In May: Freedom Ride 1961 by Larry Dane Brimner
Publication date: May 25, 2010
From June 28 to July 3, 1969, a series of riots broke out at the Stonewall Inn in response to a raid by the New York Police Vice Squad Public Morals Division.
Continue reading Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter
Release Date: February 2, 2010
In 1951, Tobacco Farmer Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer. Before her death, cervical cells were harvested without her consent and became the first human cells to grow in a lab. They would grow an entire generation of new cells in a 24-hour period. Over the years those cells, known as HeLa to scientists, became a hot commodity in the scientific world standing at the forefront of some of the greatest medical breakthroughs, but Henrietta Lacks remained largely unknown. Unknown—until her daughter started looking to find out more about the mother she’d never known.
Continue reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
DVD Release Date: September 22, 2017
A young man (Lars Berge) looking for his big break decides to take his chances as The Cherry at the Drag Club, Cherry Pop.
Continue reading Cherry Pop (2017)
Publication Date: April 30, 2017
Elliot Rose is the guy that makes the ghostly events happen on the television show Ghosthunters UK when he runs into a real ghost. Gordon Cole was Hapkito, a popular wrestler in the 80s. Gordon thinks that his return is some higher elevation achieved but what’s really going on?
Continue reading The impending Sausage Sandwich of Doom by Kirk St. Moritz
Publication Date: November 6, 2017
Zenka is a Hungarian pole dancer that mob boss Jack Murray saved from certain death. When he discovers that he has a son and finds that he’s not everything he could have hoped for, Jack asks Zenka to transform his warm-hearted and weak-spirited son. Will Jack and his son, Nicholas, turn out to be cut from the same cloth?
Continue reading Zenka by Alison Brodie
Release Date: December 12, 2010 | DVD Release Date: November 29, 2011
Tucker (Suburgatory’s Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine, probably best known for Breaker High) purchase their dream vacation home, a lakefront cabin in West Virginia. On the way to the cabin, they come across a group of college students at a gas station, headed out to camp by the lake. Dale approaches Allison (Katrina Bowden of Sex Drive) at the urging of Tucker, who thinks he needs to build self-confidence. Allison and her friends are startled by Tucker and Dale’s hillbilly appearance and what follows is a night of misunderstandings and revenge.
Continue reading Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Release Date: February 13, 2015 | DVD Release Date: July 21, 2015
What We Do in the Shadows is a Mockumentary following four vampires who share a flat in Wellington, New Zealand.
Continue reading What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Release Date: October 8, 2015 | DVD Release Date: September 6, 2016
Super awkward camerawoman, Deb Clarington (Maria Thayer of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Hitch) wakes up on the Fourth of July in the bed of Ryan (Argo’s Michael Cassidy), the hottest guy in town. Not sure how she got there and not eager to leave, Deb doesn’t realize the turmoil brewing outside her door. Can Deb and Ryan escape the zombie apocalypse?
Continue reading Night of the Living Deb (2015)