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Archive for December 18th, 2017

by Sam Juliano

Yuletide merriment has taken hold, though various melancholic remembrances are also part of the holiday season. Here at Wonders in the Dark, where movie fever is all the rage in December, plans are being made for the rush of late December releases in theaters, including The Post, Molly’s Game, Downsizing, The Phantom Thread and All the Money in the World.  Those in our ranks who take this sort of thing seriously have been struggling to finalize year-end lists, a task invariably complicated by the hankering to cram in some unseen films via online sources.  The traditionalists among us won’t want to miss the opportunity to watch A Christmas Carol (1951), It’s A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street (1947) for the sixth hundredth time,  or beyond that the musical Scrooge or those with a subversive streak, Bad Santa or Silent Night Deadly Night.  There’s always the Twilight Zone episode “Night of the Meek” with Art Carney or the Christmas Honeymooners episode with again features Carney with Jackie Gleason.  The options are really endless, if home viewing is prioritized.  We do plan to have our weekly Monday Morning Diary published on Christmas Day, a week from now as we did six or seven years ago when the holiday fell on a Monday.  We certainly want to hear all about what you all got under the tree now!  🙂

Ace writer James Clark continues on with his brilliant film essays, and he has some great stuff coming your way.  The Caldecott Medal Contender series is approaching the twenty mark, and what with the awards not set to announce until February 12th, it is a cinch there will be at least a dozen more to be published.  Part II of the Greatest Television Series Countdown draws closer, though still a good eight weeks away.  The holiday break will give some of the writers a chance to watch some of the series they are covering. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

The last time we heard from Sadie, that intrepid negotiator of an alligator, elephant, plane and train, she was busy writing a letter after she had finally met up with her Great Aunt Josephine, the most eccentric of animal lovers in the delightfully raucous Special Delivery.  The very first glimpse of her in the sophomore adventure The Only Fish in the Sea reveals her back in the saddle, as she is wearing her signature helmet, goggles and red scarf as she repairs her bicycle, following a frontispiece page featuring a huffing African-American boy.   Enter, stage left the bicycle-riding Sherman, arrives to inform this Nancy Drew of outdoor escapades that an incorrigible child named “Little Amy Scott” committed an act of familial treachery, by spurning a gift in front of a mortified birthday gathering.  As visualized by master scratchpad illustrator Matthew Cordell, the scene of familial rejection may recall a c omparable one in the “It’s A Good Life” episode of The Twilight Zone when a terrified family recoils after an eight year old boy sternly warns relatives in a living room that he will send anyone into the cornfield who doesn’t like what he is doing.  With mother, hand over her mouth, the father exhibiting a “deer in the headlights” look and the rest clearly chagrined this is a gathering of unhappy campers, though Little Amy is calling the shots in this household.  The artistic decision by the author of the Caldecott Medal winning A Sick Day for Amos Magee, Phillip C. Stead and Cordell to enlarge the drama played out in Amy’s home via a thought bubble is inspired as it gives readers quite a bit more of nuance than the singular proclamation Goldfish Are Boring! (more…)

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