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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrencestein

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15 Responses to “Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrencestein”

  1. Pete B. says:

    I didn’t know you had to be Jewish to eat Chinese food on Christmas. My wife and I have been doing it for years.
    Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

  2. cadavra says:

    Funny that this notion really took off with A CHRISTMAS STORY…in which the family is decidedly not Jewish!

  3. DiscoNap says:

    Since there’s not a BYOB anywhere near, just thought I’d ask here how Poland somehow got on the wrong side of the best movie musical since Once and the best mainstream adaptation since Cabaret? Hooper killed is on Les Miz, whatever problems exist as far as bludgeoning and pacing are in the sacred text itself.

  4. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, this notion dates back much further. I can remember eating at Chinese restaurants in New Orleans as far back as the 1970s on Christmas Day — and Christmas Night, on a few occasions — because they were the only places open. Of course, at the time, I was dating my future wife, who is half-Jewish, so…

  5. Foamy Squirrel says:

    …which half?

    I’ll go hide over here, shall I?

  6. scooterzz says:

    i think that eating in chinese restaurants at christmas was popularized in ‘gypsy’ long before ‘a christmas story’…. also, i seem to remember reading a million years ago that jews ate at chinese restaurants on christmas because most chinese aren’t christian so their restaurants were open when the majority of others weren’t….

  7. Foamy Squirrel says:

    You were reading a million years ago? So Lex is right, you are OLD.

  8. scooterzz says:

    older than i ever intended to be….

  9. spassky says:

    “because most chinese aren’t christian so their restaurants were open when the majority of others weren’t….”

    Does this even need to be said? Why else would they be open?

    And yes, steamed dumplings, quart of lo mein, and spare ribs last night. Happy jew over here.

  10. Mike says:

    I wonder how true this is now that some of the Chinese restauranteers (is that a word) become second and third generation American. I ask because my Chinese food place is closed on Christmas.

  11. cadavra says:

    Well, it’s an old notion, to be sure, but my point was that ACS was the thing that really made it a factor in popular culture to the point that it could be the source of jokes and even songs.

  12. YancySkancy says:

    Mike: The word you’re looking for is restaurateur. (Note: no “n,” which I’ve always thought was odd, but I’m not French.)

  13. Mike says:

    Thanks Yancy. Normally the editor in the office next to mine can answer those questions, but he took the week off.

  14. Geoff says:

    Love the pic and growing up a Jew in New York, Christmas is ALL about movies and Chinese food. :)

    Saw my share yesterday…..The Hobbit uh diverting for sure but really no point as I would have thought. The big criticism has surely been that Jackson really padded the story which is obvious – the friend I saw it with who is a Tolkien-freak observed that there was a ton of Cimarrilion (sp) content in there. But padding and pacing was not necessarily the issue with me strangely enough….for a three hour “epic” there never seemed to be any real danger posed to these characters due to the CGI AND the fact that not one major character dies or even gets hurt….and that Gandalf or SPOILER ALERT those freaking eagles seem to always to come in for rescue at the last possible minute. I mean is Jackson serious about this??? There’s absolutely no tension at all outside of the scene with Gollum. No way he can sustain this for two more movies…..

    If you’re going to tell me that he’s just following the text, I call bullshit….Jackson is already padding a 270 page story for three movies, he could have taken some artistic license and had maybe two or three dwarves get killed….I mean there’s 13 of them! Make it a little more like Predator and have them slowly dwindle in numbers….I just never felt any threat from those creatures they faced, not at all.

    SPOILER ALERT

    And Django….wow! For the first two hours, the movie truly owned….Tarantino is obviously having a lot of fun with this content and so are the cast. One online critic nicely pointed out how it was just an abundance of riches with DiCaprio, Waltz, AND Jackson stealing the same scenes but Foxx really deserves plaudits for a nice slow-burn, long-con performance.

    Almost a masterpiece but as with Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino just cannot resist getting a little juvenile in the end and playing it for the cheap seats….some one needs to remind that him sometimes less is REALLY more. There was really no need to see Django shoot up that plantation house TWICE…just as there was no need need to end IB with that close up shot of having Landa getting the swastika carved in his head. If you think about it, that’s about 15 minutes of screen time that basically keep both films from being true masterpieces and it’s that kind of thinking that will probably keep QT from winning his Oscar….not that he really cares, but you know the Weinsteins are spending a ton to try to make that happen again.

    Fantastic movie don’t get me wrong…but I would have been plenty satisfied ending the movie seeing him ride off from those slave transporters in the field and just a couple of shots showing the plantation blowing up and him reuinted with Broomhilda….because at that moment, you know he had victory.

  15. scooterzz says:

    tarantino can’t help ‘playing it for the cheap seats’ because he comes from/is a product of the cheap seats…i honestly thrilled at the ending (and that song!) and wouldn’t have it any other way… and, as far as him not really caring about winning the Oscar, he wants it….
    that said, agree completely on ‘the hobbit’…can’t imagine how thin this thing will be by the third installment….

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How do you make a Top Ten list? For tax and organizational purposes, I keep a log of every movie I see (Title, year, director, exhibition format, and location the film was viewed in). Anything with an asterisk to the left of its title means it’s a 2014 release (or something I saw at a festival which is somehow in play for the year). If there’s a performance, or sequence, or line of dialogue, even, that strikes me in a certain way, I’ll make a note of it. So when year end consideration time (that is, the month and change out of the year where I feel valued) rolls around, it’s a little easier to go through and pull some contenders for categories. For 2014, I’m voting in three polls: Indiewire, SEFCA (my critics’ guild), and the Muriels. Since Indiewire was first, it required the most consternation. There were lots of films that I simply never had a chance to see, so I just went with my gut. SEFCA requires a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to be strategic, even though there’s none of the in-person skullduggery that I hear of from folk whose critics’ guild is all in the same city. The Muriels is the most fun to contribute to because it’s after the meat market phase of awards season. Also, because it’s at the beginning of next year, I’ll generally have been able to see everything I wanted to by then. I love making hierarchical lists, partially because they are so subjective and mercurial. Every critical proclamation is based on who you are at that moment and what experiences you’ve had up until that point. So they change, and that’s okay. It’s all a weird game of timing and emotional waveforms, and I’m sure a scientist could do an in-depth dissection of the process that leads to the discovery of shocking trends in collective evaluation. But I love the year end awards crush, because I feel somewhat respected and because I have a wild-and-wooly work schedule that has me bouncing around the city to screenings, or power viewing the screeners I get sent.
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