6 Degrees: Holiday Films Recommended

MIracle 47


As our local art house, Tampa Theatre, is gearing up for the Holidays by showing the original 1947 “Miracle on 34th Street”, we’ve decided to begin with this one too. It’s a great film to kick off the holidays as the action unfolds at the start of the annual Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.

Things to know about “Miracle on 34th Street”

*Cary Grant turned the part down. Perhaps with his innate sense of comedy and marketing of his own character, he knew that the strongest leads in this film weren’t for the males!

*Natalie Wood debuts with one of the best performances by a child in film for that era or any other era to date. Her young and slightly cynical persona as Susie, the young level-headed and sensible little girl who dreams of living in a real house someday, is the glue that makes the film work. Had the part gone to a sickly sweet child without any patina of sophistication or age beyond her years, then the film would have made no sense. The point was to create a strong motivation for Kris (Edmund Gwenn) to convert the non-believers.

*It’s still the Best of the Series-no remake has come close to the original 1947 film.

*Fem Flicks: It’s one of the earliest films that portrays a working, divorced mother even with a semblance of realism. Maureen O’Hara does a brilliant job with this part.

*Santa on Film: Edmund Gwenn gives a pivotal performance as the Macy’s Santa on trial

Fred Mertz Foreshadowed: The small role for William Frawley was also pivotal. His cynical and worldly views underscore the Capra-esque overtones seen in the courtroom scenes.

*Capitalism is featured front and center in the plot. But the real heart of the story is the human elements of faith and forgiveness that bind the main characters together. The weakest link is the male lead given to John Payne. Although Payne does quite a good job in the role, his part is not the essential one for the success of the story.

Miracle on 34th Street is definitely recommended viewing for all who have not seen the original. The black and white film needs no colorized version to give it life. To kick off the Holiday Season, it should be the first on everyone’s list.

As mentioned above, Tampa Theatre is showing Miracle on 34th Street this week. They are going to show other films in their Holiday Film Series, including It’s a Wonderful Life from 1946, Holiday Inn from 1942, White Christmas 1954, and Home Alone from 1990.

The List of Holiday films featured in 6 Degrees is essentially an American Christmas Story. Americans seem to embody all of the elements that comprise the best and the worst parts of the Christmas season.

White Xmas

The 6 Degrees List varies slightly from the Tampa Theatre list. I would definitely recommend seeing White Christmas on the big screen. It was a VistaVision Creation of the fifties, and the colors and the pageantry are all part of the lost era which was the Golden Age of Hollywood.

a xmas story

But instead of showing Holiday Inn, 6 Degrees includes for week 3, A Christmas Story. It’s a nostalgic look at a bygone era. The saga of Ralphie and his quest to own a Red Ryder Rifle at Christmas still rings true for many of us.

Xmas Vacation

For week 4, Christmas Vacation. It’s the modern day classic comedy that embodies so much of the silliness of a Saturday Night Live ensemble with the heartwarming feel of a true Hallmark Christmas classic. Chevy Chase is never better than in this role of Clark Griswold.

a xmas carol


For Christmas, Eve some version of the Nutcracker is always worthwhile. My personal favorite is still the Baryshnikov version. And for Christmas day, the Dickens story of A Christmas Carol is still the best of stories to savor and to dissect. We are all Scrooge’s in some part, as we enter into the Christmas season. So it is fitting and appropriate to spend at least part of your Holiday with the Dickensian model of Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is the perfect vessel to reflect and to identify with all of our inner ambivalence and anger over the commercially created Christmas season.

Happy Holidays to all our 6 Degrees Readers and we’ll see you @ the movies!

Notes from the Global Village: Friday Five: Top 5 Picks


Top 5 Picks on 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies

1) Over ½ of Americans Now watch Netflix
2) Top 15 Christmas Films
3) Profile: Carey Mulligan
4) Interview: Niki Trumbo: Trumbo
5) Cate Blanchett: 5 best moments

Friday Five Recommended:

• The Martian
• Bridge of Spies
• Trumbo
• Spectre
• On Demand: Far from the Madding Crowd

Star wars logo

Star Wars anticipation has reached critical mass as we see articles with names like: “What to watch after watching Star Wars” or “Before watching Star Wars, watch this!” and “What we learned from the Star Wars trailer.” We see the focus on the character of Kylo Ren, speculation as to the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker…tracking the advance ticket sales for Star Wars, plus the speculation of the Box Office totals for the new movie.

All these things are not unexpected, but still scream for the phrase to be added: “Really? What’s the big deal?” The film is so highly anticipated that one can only hope that it may live up to a fraction of the hopes and dreams that have been invested into this single film.

Why I stopped Blogging about the Movieswas the title of a recent blog post by a critic at Film Waffle. It underscored the continuing problem with film blogs and blogging in general in that the sheer volume of material you find on the internet completely shrouds any content that might hint at a new or original thought or idea.

The trends of the moment  propel the viewing public forward with the massive amounts of messaging we receive on a daily basis. All this mass media tends to drown out all original thought or any new way of looking at any particular subject, including film.

One way of combatting this ongoing dilemma is to take a step back and simply try to reframe the question. What if…instead of simply writing about and regurgitating the same old material, the 6 Degrees blog looked at Films and Movie Trends from a “Big Picture” perspective? And, what if we tried to present the information in a weekly format using links to the Flipboard online magazine, 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies?

That is part of the solution we have come up with at 6 Degrees. The weekly link to the magazine will give you enough Film news to sink a battleship. We have taken the guesswork out of the equation. All the reader needs to do is  to scroll through the best articles and film news on the internet as it is presented in one location.

Meanwhile, back at the blog, we will continue to analyze and try to make sense of the fast-paced and ever-changing world of film and film-makers. That is our pledge to you.

 Happy Holidays and see you @ the movies!-ML Johnson



6 Degrees: Notes from the Global Village



Each week, we hope to bring you some of the highlights that are found in the online magazine 6 Degrees of Film at the Movies. There is no way that one film critic or even one film blog site can encompass the vast array of news found in the film and movie business in the 21st Century.
At 6 Degrees, we have decided the best way to connect our readers to the latest information is to feature the highlights found on a weekly basis in the weekly blog, along with some outstanding long reads and exceptional pieces to showcase. The world is changing and the business of film and the way we bring the news to you, the reader, is changing too. Here is the newly re-tooled. 6 Degrees of Film…

Notes from the Global Village:

We’re back with some takeaways for the month of November. First,

The big country

TCM: This weekend, they are showing two of our all-time favorites here at 6 Degrees. One is The Big Country, with Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Burl Ives and Charlton Heston. The plot is standard boiler-plate fifties, where a tenderfoot ( Gregory Peck) goes West to romance his girl. When he arrives, he finds himself in the middle of a range war with simmering tensions and long-standing prejudice and rivalries that soon alienate him from his shallow fiancée. In the end, what wins the day over tough-guy posturing and violent confrontations is one man’s courage to stand alone for what is right in the face of blind prejudice. That is what makes the film great, plus stellar performances from Peck and Burl Ives.

• Bullitt: One of Steve McQueen’s best films. This is another film that stands the test of time. It was a landmark film in the sixties, with one of the first car chase sequences that started the trend that has never really ended. But it’s the stand-out performance of McQueen as a lone wolf cop who fights “the man” when dealing with a corrupt politician and even his own department to find the truth. His dogged determination and unflinching courage in the face of impending failure and censure makes this film a classic A must-see for all 6 Degrees fans who follow the James Dean Legacy in film.

Friday Five: Recommended:

The Martian

1. The Martian
 2. Bridge of Spies
 3.The Peanuts Movie
 4. Spectre
 5.On Demand: Far from the Madding Crowd

Spectre bond