Favorite Holiday Movies, Journalism And Ethics

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Winter holidays are favorite fodder for movies, but not all of them are worth your valuable viewing time. We take a look at some of the best movies made for the season, and ask you to share your favorites. And Molly Ball of The Atlantic joins us for a discussion of what the changing landscape of journalism ethics may be as we head into the Trump presidency.

Featured in this Show

  • Your Favorite Holiday Movies

    We talk to a film critic about his favorite holiday movies. We also dig into some movies that take place around the holiday season, and take calls about your favorite movies to watch around the holidays.

  • Holiday Movies You Can Watch Again And Again

    It’s that time of year again: the weather is colder, the days are shorter and people are gearing up for the end-of-year holidays.

    Many families have traditions of watching Christmas or Thanksgiving movies together every year as a way to get into the holiday spirit or wind down from a busy holiday celebration.

    “A lot of Christmas movies, the enjoyment of them, is to watch them in big groups. It’s not something to just sit down and do by yourself,” said film critic Mike Mayo.

    Here are some of his favorite holiday movies:

    “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965)

    One of the reasons this movie has remained a favorite for many people, Mayo said, is the Vince Guaraldi music – especially “Christmas Time Is Here.” He said he thinks the music sets the perfect sad, yet happy, mood.

    “We love those characters so much, the simplicity of it, it is just one that we have to watch over and over again,” the critic said.

    “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” (1987)

    This is one of Mayo’s all-time favorite movies. Ever.

    “To me, it’s just the perfect pairing of Steve Martin and John Candy, and this basic, simple story of this guy who wants to get home to his family and all the things that conspire against him,” Mayo said.

    He said he thinks it’s an absolutely wonderful movie that he can watch again every year.

    “The Desk Set” (1957)

    Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn star in this move from the late 50s that is not as well-known as a Christmas movie, but the finale of “The Desk Set” is at Christmas time. The movie takes place in a New York City office building, Mayo said. Tracy is trying to bring a new computer into the office, Hepburn works in the research department and everyone is afraid the computer is going to replace them.

    “The two of them working as just really an old comfortable pair together … again, it’s one I can just rewatch every year,” Mayo said.

    “Scrooged” (1988)

    This isn’t one that Mayo watches every holiday seaon, but he said he sees this movie regularly.

    Bill Murray plays a TV network executive on Christmas Eve who goes through everything Ebenezer Scrooge does in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” While the violence can get a little bit much for a Christmas movie, Mayo said he loves the speech Murray gives at the end of the movie.

    “I think (“Scrooged” is) some of Bill Murray’s best work that he’s never really been recognized for,” he said.

    “Gremlins” (1984)

    Mayo said this movie is set in the same town as “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and it has a lot of big Christmas stuff in it.

    “We don’t think of it as a Christmas movie because there’s so much else going on, but that’s the way it ends,” he said. It’s worth another look for those who haven’t seen it for a long time, even though it’s not one of his personal favorites, Mayo said.

    “Love Actually” (2003)

    Mayo said he’s surprised at how popular this movie is, although it stands up well. The movie follows the love lives of couples in the months leading up to Christmas in London.

    “It’s one of the movies that has a really big ensemble cast, and it’s telling four or five different stories all the way through … not all the parts of it work perfectly, but taken altogether it’s a really enjoyable movie,” he said.

  • Journalism Ethics In The Age Of Trump

    In the age of fake news, fact-checking, Twitter, and targeted criticism towards the press from the president-elect, we talk to a national political reporter about journalism ethics in the age of President-elect Donald Trump.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Karl Christenson Producer
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • Mike Mayo Guest
  • Molly Ball Guest

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