There’s no denying that the holidays are happening on campus and everywhere else. This weekend should bring the year’s first boozy eggnog bashes and bar crawls built to boast ugly Christmas sweaters. This time of year also brings end runs for the NFL and NCAA football alike, along with top-ticket movie releases, ratings-grabbing holiday TV specials, and an abundance of oddball surprises on Blu-ray. Here are the 12 coolest things to do this weekend, if you can’t find that sweater…
College Football Conference Championships
As end-of-semester exams loom for most of us, college football players now face their own finals. Friday night sees Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona Wildcats. Saturday brings Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Missouri Tigers; Florida State Seminoles vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets; and Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers.
A Very Grammy Christmas
CBS follows up this morning’s announcement of most of the Grammy Award nominations with a special showcasing holiday hits as interpreted by Maroon 5, Ariana Grande, Tim McGraw, Pharrell Williams, and Sam Smith. The show’s big gimmick is that the nominees for Album of the Year won’t be revealed until this actual primetime broadcast. Ho-ho-ho.
(in theaters now)
Ancient Egypt has inspired horror movies from 1932’s original The Mummy right up to this found-footage fright adventure. An ancient curse lures various characters into the long buried title object by causing very modern mayhem. Amidst Hollywood’s holiday excess, The Pyramid presents a nice B-movie big screen alternative.
Knicks at Hornets
More or less embodying the word “dreadful” this season, the 4-16 Knicks traveling to the 4-15 Charlotte Hornets is nonetheless the NBA game to check out tonight. The Hornets have been buried by a ten-game losing streak, so the point of pride in breaking it against New York may be just the spark required to make this a turnaround moment. Same goes for the Knicks, who have lost their last eight in a row on the road.
Tales From the Crypt/Vault of Horror on Blu-ray
England’s Amicus Productions specialized in gruesome, gothic horror anthology films during the early 1970s. For Tales From the Crypt and Vault of Horror, the studio turned to classic ’50s fright comics from the U.S., producing a pair of cool cult classics. Especially relevant for the current season is the Crypt segment “…And All Through the House,” in which sexpot Joan Collins must contend with a psycho killer Santa Claus. Each movie gets a typically great deluxe treatment on a double feature Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.
Blues at Islanders
New York’s first place Islanders host the hot, 16-8 St. Louis Blues for what promises to be a satisfying Saturday afternoon match-up. The Isles are one a three-game winning streak while the Blues, coming off two straight losses, have something to prove. Pucks should fly.
James Franco hosts Saturday Night Live
Following funny video promos in which he states he only hosts Saturday Night Live “to get laid,” James Franco returns to the show for the third time. The musical guest Nicki Minaj who, last time she appeared, played an amazingly funkadelic Bride of Blackenstein. Track records are good going into this episode.
Roller Boogie/Heavenly Bodies on TCM Underground
TCM Underground is the overnight Saturday film series in which the Turner Classic Movie channel showcases cinematic oddities that oftentimes aren’t presently on home video. At 2:15am EST, bosomy grown-up Exorcist babe Linda Blair leads a posse of disco skaters to save their favorite rink in Roller Boogie (1979). That’s followed at 4am by Heavenly Bodies (1984), in which gorgeous aerobics instructor Cynthia Dale dons a battle leotard to defend her Dance-ercize studio from closing.
Naked and Afraid: Franco and Rogen
Going where no big screen comedy duo has ever gone (publicly) to promote their new movie, James Franco and Seth Rogen, stars of the upcoming The Interview, strip down and go back to the land on the Discovery channel’s hit series. Expect myriad uses of the term “junk.”
Robot Chicken Holiday Special
The full title of this Adult Swim chestnut says what needs be said; it’s The Robot Chicken Lots of Holidays but Don’t Worry Christmas is Still in There Too so Pull the Stick Out of Your Ass Fox News Special. Seth Green and company’s animated toys wreak havoc as expected over the Yuletide, along with Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and whatever else they come up with tonight.
Dying of the Light
(in theaters now)
Nicolas Cage stars in yet another below-the-radar action bash. What’s intriguing, though, is that it comes from legendary filmmaker Paul Schrader, the screenwriter of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, and director of the cult favorites Hardcore and Cat People, as well as last year’s Lindsday Lohan sex oddity, The Canyons. When Nic Cage goes truly weird, the results are often truly rewarding. Dying of the Light seems well worth a look to see how that pans out.
Week 14 of NFL 2014 comes loaded with crucial match-ups, potential heartbreakers, possible shocking wins, and everything else that there is to look forward to on, as is said, “any given Sunday.” The difference now is that we’re three weeks away from the end of the season. Games to set aside time for include Ravens at Dolphins, Steelers at Bengals, Colts at Browns, and Texans at Jaguars.