Nitpicking Movies: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Should I be concerned that my favorite holiday movies all involve somebody stealing Christmas?

Based on a poem Tim Burton wrote while with Disney, The Nightmare Before Christmas acts as a twofer holiday film, providing viewing pleasure for both Halloween and Christmas. It features an amazing score by Danny Elfman and is probably the film that best showcases Burton’s visual style despite being directed by Henry Selick. (By all reports, Burton actually had little to do with the film aside from providing some sketches and the original poem; Selick essentially did an impression of Burton’s style and did it better than Burton ever did in his own films.)

Overall, the movie is charming, creative, and the right combination of macabre and heartwarming. Let’s see what sort of nitpicks I can toss at it from the peanut gallery.

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Nitpicking Movies: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

My favorite Christmas movie, without question, is How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The creative team, which included the likes of Chuck Jones, Boris Karloff, and Thurl Ravenscroft, put together an adventure with a gleefully evil villain but still managed to make it one of the most touching Christmas films ever conceived. So, naturally, I’m going to spend some time here picking it apart.

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Prisoner of Azkaban

Nitpicking Movies: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Like its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban marked a potentially perilous place for the film franchise. Chris Columbus chose not to return as director. Richard Harris, who had played a perfect Dumbledore, died before filming began. A new director, a new cast, and a new visual style could have sunk the franchise.

Luckily, the third film of the series made very few missteps. While the style was definitely different from its predecessors, audiences largely enjoyed the changes. This not only turned Prisoner of Azkaban into a success, but laid the groundwork to allow new directors to make each future installment their own.

Yes, the Harry Potter movies seemed to turn every potential problem into a resounding victory. And that’s good – otherwise these nitpicks would seem mean-spirited rather than an opportunity to poke fun at a pretty solid film.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Nitpicking Movies: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

After the smashing success of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the franchise needed a strong follow-up. Failure to keep the momentum could have caused the film series to stumble, as happened with Disney’s ill-fated attempt to adapt all seven Chronicles of Narnia. Fortunately, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets did the job well.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets provided a strong second chapter that continued the trend of staying mostly true to the novels that served as source material. It showed that Warner Brothers had struck gold with the casting of Daniel Radcliffe and demonstrated the progressively darker tone that sequels would take.

It also has several things that make me scrunch up my face and go, “Huh?” So, as with its predecessor, I’m going to launch into a series of nitpicks about this film.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Nitpicking Movies: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for we dumb Americans) is my favorite film from the Harry Potter series that I’ve seen because it’s the story that feels the most like an introduction to a magical world. Like all the films, it does a pretty good job of adapting J.K. Rowling’s original work and features an amazing cast that not only introduced the world to the likes of Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson but also included such great stars as Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, and more. It’s a fun time and a good movie, so now I’m going to spend some time going on about nitpicky details.

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