Rabbit Hole Staff Picks For December 2022

Is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” going to be on this months staff picks? Scroll down and find out now!

Jason Soto (Host Whatever with Jason Soto, That’s Da Bomb, Yo!, Co-Host Between The Scares, CineGamer, I Have A Weird One, Musically Ignorant & Sporadicast):

Marcy Playground-Marcy Playground (Album-1998)

Yeah, yeah, another ’90s album. But I LOVE this album. Every song is just great and it’s vastly underrated. I don’t hear enough about it. Many people will know “Sex and Candy” but “St. Joe On The School Bus” fucking rocks!

Lisa Leaheey (Co-host Whatever with Jason Soto, Between The Scares, The SibList, & Sporadicast):

The Exorcist (1973)

In October, I recommended a television show based on one of (in my opinion, THE) the best horror movies in history. Well, perhaps you didn’t know that movie was a Christmas release. Yup – The Exorcist released on December 26, 1973. You think the “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?” debate is heated? Well, cool down with the frigid temperatures in Regan MacNeil’s bedroom. Based on the brilliant novel by William Peter Blatty and directed by William Friedkin, The Exorcist chronicles the torment endured by single mom Chris (Ellen Burstyn) as her daughter Regan (Linda Blair) descends into the grips of the demon Pazuzu. How did this happen, you ask? Because sweet, young Regan played with a Ouija board by herself. Read the damn instructions on the box!! It says for 2-4 players!! Anyway, a young priest and an old priest eventually show up and we see my favorite frame in all of cinema and we send Captain Howdy on his merry way. If you’re tired of family gatherings and pretending you’re happy to see Aunt Mildred or you’ve just had too much dessert and that pea soup is roiling in your stomach, give an old Christmas classic another viewing. What’s more festive than a good old fashioned possession?

Rob Branch (Co-host CineGamer, Top 5 A Thru Z, Whatever with Jason Soto, Lyrical Innuendo, & Sporadicast):

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser’s redemption on Christmas Eve.  As a fan, growing up with The Muppets, this is one of my all-time favorite Muppet movies!  All I am going to say is this: Statler and Waldorf!

Sorry this is shorter than my average picks, but what can I say.  MUPPETS!

Pete Rangel, Jr (Co-host Top Five A Thru Z & Sporadicast):

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever might be almost 3 hours long but at least to me it was worth the time spent to see it. A great tribute to Chadwick and also a nice set up going forward to the franchise. Nice new character introductions and a great story. Check it out.

Lackey (Co-Host Musically Ignorant & Sporadicast):

RRR (2022)

My Staff Pick for the month is the Indian film RRR. Directed by superstar filmmaker S.S. Ramajouli, RRR is nominally a historical drama about real-life Indian freedom fighters Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem. In reality, it punts historical accuracy out the window in favor of epic action, twisty drama, rousing music and dance, and anything else you could possibly ask from a movie. The performances are top notch — it may seem churlish to praise a white actor in a non-Western movie, but Ray Stevenson’s Governor Scott is the most delightfully over-the-top villain since Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham — and the effects are the best you’ll see this side of an MCU movie. One of the best films of 2022, easily. Available on Netflix in the US but see this in a theater if you can — I saw this at my local art-film house and the crowd’s cheers were as loud as they might be at any rock concert.

Marc Armstead (Co-Host Word of (Hell)Mouth & Sporadicast):

The Wiz

For as long as I remember, watching The Wiz on Christmas Eve has been tradition. I couldn’t begin to tell you why because there isn’t anything particularly holiday themed in the movie, but we watch it anyway and sing all the songs. The Wiz is a movie adaptation of the Off Broadway play, which was an retelling of The Wizard of Oz featuring an all Black cast. One of the biggest differences between the movie version of The Wiz and the stage play was the depiction of Oz, in the play Oz is shown pretty much as it was in the original Wizard of Oz, however, for the movie the creators decided to remake Oz in the image of New York City during the 70’s. This choice wasn’t well-received by all audiences, but I absolutely loved how this approach found the whimsy and fantasy within the mundane; the munchkins spring to life from graffiti walls in Central Park, the cowardly lion is a statue in front of the public library, and the Wicked Witch of the West runs a sweat shop. The scene when Dorothy and crew enter the Emerald City is still one of my favorite moments in film to this day. The Wiz featured the who’s who of Black Entertainment. Legends such as Ted Ross, Nipsey Russell, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor. Diana Ross played Dorothy, a role she secured by convincing her protégé to become a part of the production, Michael Jackson. Behind the scenes, music was arranged by Quincy Jones and dances were choreographed by Alvin Ailey. The Wiz holds such a special place in my heart, I definitely recommend giving it a watch.

Bubbawheat (Co-host Lyrical Innuendo & Sporadicast):

Marvel Snap

I wanted to do something a little different this month. Generally I’ve been trying to share more recent things that I’ve been watching in the previous month to talk about as well as choosing things I don’t often get to talk about in other areas. There is a new mobile game that’s come out from Marvel called Marvel Snap. It’s fun, the rounds are short, there’s a collecting aspect to it, so it really hits all my buttons. On top of that, the pay to win aspect is extremely minimal, generally paying will just unlock extra cosmetic changes or it will move you up the collection ladder quicker. But the free version moves quick enough for the most part. The cards run the spectrum of the most popular Marvel heroes and villains to some of the more obscure, and their abilities often match quite well with their powers, though others are more of a stretch. It’s a quick game to get into, each match is only about 5 minutes give or take, and there’s plenty of interesting types of decks to build with a lot of room for growth in the future. Check it out and if you see Bubbawheat on your match screen, say hi.

Ryan Luis Rodriguez (Co-host Tales From The Double RR & Sporadicast):

Is That Black Enough For You?!? (TV-2022)

My recommendation is one written, directed, produced, and narrated by the legendary Elvis Mitchell, Is That Black Enough for You?!? It’s essentially a cinematic essay about blacks in front of the camera, finally hitting on the 70s and the era of so-called blaxploitation. Litigating racial inequality is always up for discussion. Immaculately prepared and handsomely realized, Is That Black Enough for You?!? is currently on Netflix.

Heather Baxendale-Walsh (Co-Host Word of (Hell)Mouth & Sporadicast):

Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey (Book)

An alien planet is doing apocalyptic things, and two groups of humans are busy fighting and killing each other. The crew of the Roci arrives primarily as observers of what is unfolding between the two factions, hoping to mediate. Admittedly, the theme itself is exhausting and has been explored before, but rarely with such raw diligence to the truth that not everything is black and white, and sometimes even the bad guys can do good, and the good guys can be bad guys.

If The Expanse series is teaching me anything, it is human nature to ignore its history and mistakes and continue forward with blinders up and guns blazing. It’s a new frontier for the crew of the Roci, but the same old problems. What I thoroughly enjoy about the series is the equal representation all sides and groups have and the fact that there really aren’t any straight good guys or bad guys. Even though morality seems easy to point out, each situation is relatively impossible.

Bear (Host With Strange Aeons: Visual Lovecraft Adaptations & Sporadicast):

Barbie In A Christmas Carol (2008)

Listen, I TOLD Jason that I wanted to do a Barbie movie back in October, but he said that he wanted spooky recommendations. So now, in December, I’m getting my retribution.

Barbie in A Christmas Carol is a good movie, dammit. I’m generally a passionate defender of the Barbie movies, but this is one that I make my friends watch. It follows the traditional Christmas Carol format (one raggedy bitch, three ghosts, you know the drill), albeit Barbie-fied. Rather than a miserly businessman, the movie focuses on Eden Starling, a singer and owner of a theatre. She’s arrogant and cold, and has a cat named Chuzzlewit to prove it. She hates Christmas, and prevents her employees from even talking about the holiday at the risk of being fired – not even convinced by her childhood friend and costume designer Catherine to give the employees the day off. That night, her late aunt Marie appears to her in ghost form, covered in chains and mirrors as punishment for abusing Eden as a child. This is where the standard Christmas Carol structure kicks in – with Marie concerned that Eden is going down the same path she did, and sending three ghosts to convince her otherwise.

The Spirit of Christmas Past has always stuck with me. As a kid I would sometimes have to skip the scene because it freaked me out so much. I grew up in a shitty home situation, and this movie is shockingly on-point with its depiction of the fear and dread it can cause. There’s a surprisingly cohesive commentary about the effects of generation trauma, as the Spirit of Christmas Future reveals. After her employees come in late on Christmas, Eden fires all of them, leading to her destitution. Catherine has to leave town to find work, and when she comes back financially stable enough to adopt an orphan she was close to, she finds out that the orphanage was closed and all of the children were forced onto the street. Because of this, Catherine becomes just as cruel and bitter as Eden, running a successful fashion line where she similarly abuses her employees. Looking back, the fact that the children are forced onto the street in the cold of winter, with the implication being that they died from exposure, is grim as fuck for a kids movie. This fate freaks Eden the hell out, and she realizes that she can be a good and loving person just in the nick of time.

Obviously, I’m a little nostalgia-blind for this movie. I actually prefer Barbie in The Nutcracker as a holiday movie (next December, perhaps?), but this one just felt appropriate for this year. I watched it all the time as a kid, and then with my younger sister. I also had crushes on all the Spirits at some point, and the characters are Barbies, so of course they’re all beautiful. Anyways! Love this movie, love Barbie. Expect more from this series (there are like, forty-one of these movies after all).

Bill Szany (Co-host Top 5 A Thru Z & Sporadicast):

Quantum Leap (TV-2022)

Quantum Leap is a modern classic time travel tale. What makes it so unique is that Sam Beckett (and now Ben Song in the reboot) travels not just through time, but does so in other people’s bodies. Sam must travel within the years of his own lifetime as other people and correct things that “once went wrong” in their lives. Sam does this with the help of his Hologram friend Al. Ben does this with his Hologram fiancé Addison. I recommend all episodes, seasons, and iterations of this amazing show because it never disappoints.

The Vern (Co-Host Tales From The RR & Sporadicast):

She Said (2022)

I just watched She Said after reading the book by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey The book was really insightful and I thought it was a really good story on investigate journalism.  I learned a great deal on why it took so long to bring Harvey Weinstein down and why women were afraid to come forward.  When he tried to intimidate the two reporters and they just stick to the facts it was a thing of beauty reading how angry he was but couldn’t do a damn thing 

Now there’s a filmed adaptation starting Carrey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as the reporters who helped topple Weinstein’s reign. The cast is good and the movie does a good job at retelling key elements from the book.  The only issue I had is that the movie didn’t show how big Miramax and Weinstein was at the times the sexual assaults we’re happening.  It didn’t express how much that company  helped sparked the  independent film movement and how Harvey and Miramax won Awards and  made box office $$$ for it’s features and those involved. He was a big influence on movies being made and the movie treated him like a B movie producer.   While the movie focused more on exposing the wrong things Harvey did.  The book was more interested in trying to fix the system that allows people like Harvey to thrive.

I recommend reading the book highly but would suggest waiting til it’s streaming before you watch the movie. It’s good but you will be just fine watching it at home.

Mary Mitchell (Co-host I Have A Weird One):

Puddles Pity Party (YouTube)

My pick this month is Puddles Pity Party! Whatever your feelings about clowns, get over it, enjoy the music. This clown has the most golden voice I have ever heard. He slays covers. If you have a sense of humor that says “MST3K- Monty Python- Kids in the Hall…” you will enjoy the humor of Puddles. I saw him in concert last year and I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. Besides that of course is his voice, which is heaven, which sounds like a cold rocky river, which sounds like snow. Give it a goo. Puddles is one talented clown.

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