Christmas Weekend Recap: Scrooged + binging on Westworld

Happy last Tuesday of the year folks! Hope you had a lovely Christmas break. Mine is relatively mellow on Christmas day, though we did go up North to Duluth Friday and spent the night there to see the Bentleyville Tour of Lights (I’ve shared the pics here).

We came back in time for Christmas Eve church service, which was wonderful. For the next couple of days, we pretty much hibernated indoors as the weather is quite frightful outside. But hey, it gave us a chance to finally watch a Christmas classic we’ve missed all these years…

SCROOGED

scrooged

Thanks to Courtney’s post on her favorite things about Scrooged, I thought it’s about time I checked it out. My hubby and I loved Bill Murray and the movie is directed by Richard Donner, who I’ll love forever for giving us Superman: The Movie. Well, the updated Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has become a Christmas staple and it’s easy to see why. Murray is perfect as a selfish, heartless TV exec, he’s just effortlessly funny and the slapstick stuff was hysterical. Nice to see Karen Allen here too though she’s barely given anything to do. The movie itself isn’t exactly perfect but still it was a lot of fun and has that rousing ending with great music. Glad I finally saw this movie, a Christmas must-see movie I can now cross off my list.

WESTWORLD

westworld

If you were to ask me to sum up what I did on Christmas weekend… it’d be bingeing on Westworld! My hubby and I couldn’t wait to finally have time to devote to this series, and I much prefer to binge on tv shows these days, and having a free subscription to HBO on the first month certainly helps! It took us two days to get through halfway of the first season, with just five more episodes to go.

Well, first impression is… we LOVE it!! It’s definitely the kind of sci-fi shows we like… bold, visually-stunning, thought-provoking, well-written and well-acted… it pretty much ticks all the boxes of what a binge-worthy show should be. It reminds us a bit of another sci-fi we used to binge-watch, Battlestar Galactica, an ensemble-cast series which also deals with the interactions of humans and robots but I think Westworld is even bolder and sharper in scope. I love that the show is not melodramatic or bogged down by unnecessary romantic plots, but man does it give you a ton of stuff to think about. It’s what people call a mindf*ck in the best possible way! The cast are simply astounding and most of them bring their A-game to the series. If I had to list my four favorite characters, it’d have to be these:


Anthony Hopkins effortlessly adds gravitas as the park creator, whilst Ed Harris is wonderfully menacing and cool as hell as Man in Black. He’s such a terrific actor, and he adds SO much to his role. I can see why Margaret goes ga ga over him now 😉 I haven’t seen Evan Rachel Wood in hardly anything, but she’s no doubt the heart of the show and her acting is phenomenal!! I sure hope this show will give a boost to her career as she’s clearly very talented. As for Thandie Newton, this is perhaps the strongest performance I’ve seen her in, though she was memorable in Crash and Rocknrolla.


I’m also impressed with James Marsden who I think is an underrated actor who people might not take seriously because of his good looks. Well he’s still a sight to behold here as the cowboy Teddy, but at least he gets to show his acting chops too. I’m most intrigued by Jeffrey Wright‘s Bernard, as he seems to have a hidden agenda that’s been hinted out since episode 1. But please guys, NO SPOILERS in the comment as I’ve only got to episode 5. My hubby and I couldn’t help watching fan theories on youtube after each episode, there’s really SO MUCH to ponder and analyze, that’s why we’re limiting ourselves to a couple of episodes a day even though we can’t get enough!

The Nolans sure have the brains for storytelling. Jonathan Nolan‘s written a ton of my fave films with his brother Christopher (esp. The Dark Knight). Here he teamed up with his wife Lisa Joy who’s a talented TV writer in her own right. Executive producer JJ Abrams sure has a midas touch too, is there anything that guy can’t do?? I might also check out Michael Crichton‘s 1973 film Westworld in which the series’s concept is based on. I had no idea Crichton was also a film director on top of being a best-selling author.

Well, I’ll do another summary post again once I’m done w/ the season. So far I think Westworld does live up to the hype!


So what did you watch this Christmas weekend? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Westworld too!

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21 thoughts on “Christmas Weekend Recap: Scrooged + binging on Westworld

  1. Yay! I’m glad that I inspired you to watch my favorite Christmas flick! I haven’t caught up with Westworld yet…I know…I’m like 4 episodes behind…but I’m looking forward to watching the finale.

    1. Hi Courtney! Yeah your post was the needed boost for me to finally watch Scrooged. It’s been on my queue for ages. I have 2 more to go on Westwood now, man SO good!!

  2. Westworld is definitely the best show I’ve seen in 2016 as I just love so much about it including Evan who is one of my favorite actresses ever. I also love Scrooged though it didn’t come on TV this month.

    1. Yeah I’d agree w/ you on that Steven. It’s definitely the most provocative and addictive show in a while. I think the last series I was totally obsessed with was BSG. Evan is excellent here even amongst a strong ensemble cast.

  3. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!!!!!!! So glad you dig the show! You already saw my favorite scenes – the shootout in Lawrence’s town in episode 2 and the prison break in episode 4 🙂

    1. Hi Margaret! I’m glad there’s only one season of Westworld so far so it’s easier to catch up to than GoT. Those two scenes in episode 2 and 4 are great, though the last 5 minutes of episode 7 was truly mindblowing!

    1. Hey Paul! I’d imagine it’d be fun to watch Scrooged on the big screen. What, you didn’t rewatch any films w/ Meg/Michelle this weekend? I’m disappointed in you 😉

  4. I haven’t seen SCROOGED since high school but I remember I did enjoy it. I did watch a few movies over the Christmas weekend; was in the mood for westerns so I watched The Hateful Eight and Eastwood’s Joe Kidd. Then my mood changed to space adventure so I watched The Martian and Interstellar, the former somehow feels relevant in the divided world we live in now, don’t mind seeing two hours of entertainment fiction where ALL people came together to help each other. Still love Nolan’s Interstellar, saw it at the theater 5 times! Also finally saw Hunt for the Wilderpeople, a great fun!

    As you know I’m one of the few people who aren’t that impressed with WESTWORLD the TV show, it’s a well made show but I think it tried too hard to be clever with its mysteries. I did enjoy the last last 2 or 3 episodes. We can discuss my issues with it once you finally finish with the rest of the episodes. 🙂

    As for the original movie version, it’s a product of its time so it will feel dated when you watch it now but the TV show expanded on the ideas that were introduced in the film. Crichton actually directed some good films, check out Coma, The Great Train Robbery starring Sean Connery and I even enjoyed the silly 80s sci-fi action Runaway. I think the reason he didn’t last long as a film director was that most of the films he directed weren’t financially successful. His novels brought in more money so I guess he went that route for the rest of his career.

    1. Westerns for Christmas, well technically that’s what we watched too as Westworld is a western scifi 😉 Oh glad you saw Hunt for The Wilderpeople! It’s really a lot of fun, I hope Taika continues to make original films even after he’s discovered by Hollywood.

      Well, I have 3 more episodes to go on Westworld and I’m definitely impressed. I don’t feel that it tried too hard to be clever, I think the writing IS sharp and thought-provoking, and I like that it’s not overly melodramatic. Even the romance between William and Dolores didn’t make me cringe.

      Yeah even from the trailer the 1973 Westworld looks dated but I still might check it out. I’ll check out those movies of Crichton you mentioned. I really had no idea he was a filmmaker but yeah, certainly his writing career is far more successful. That guy is amazingly brilliant for someone who seemed ‘normal’ y’know, he doesn’t seem quirky/odd like say, Stephen King, ahah.

  5. Hi, Ruth. Jeffrey Wright was my favorite character and I was glad to see Hopkins give a good performance. I agree it was bold and visually striking and it was a nice reboot to the original film — loved Ramin Djawadi’s opening score. I’d like to buy the soundtrack.

    1. Yes, I grew to like Jeffrey Wright’s character more and more. Boy the end of episode 7 was something else!! The visuals are amazing, the set design is meticulously crafted. I love the juxtaposition of the old western landscape and the sleek futuristic design of the office where they built the hosts. And Ramin’s score is incredible, he’s now one of my all time fave composers!

  6. Happy Christmas Ruth! Big fan of Bill Murray myself and tend to revisit Scrooged every couple of years or so (watched it this Christmas Eve in fact).

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying Westworld, shame we have to wait until 2018 for season 2 but will be worht it so long as it helps maintain the creative quality. The film is definitely worth checking out, it dosesn’t delve anywhere near as deeply into the ideas the series explores but it’s certainly entertaining.

    1. Happy Christmas to you Chris! Bill makes even so-so films so watchable and Scrooged is a lot of fun.

      Yeah, I was just thinking about what we’ll do when we finish season 1?? The wait until 2018 will be agonizing. It’s such an addictive series! I have a feeling the film would feel shallow compared to the show.

  7. Pingback: Bye bye 2016! End of year recap & musings on favorite films we saw this year

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