Unsolicited Endorsements: VIII

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

Song: The Christmas Shoes 

Many a soul reserve a particularly contemptible place in their heart for “The Christmas Shoes.” I suspect some may even call it the worst Christmas song ever, worse than even “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” or “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.” I say this because Jezebel held a contest for readers to decided the worst Christmas song ever, and it won, beating out, in the semifinal and then final, “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” and “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” 

I get the hate. The song is Canadian-tree-level syrupy and sad, painfully, depressingly sad. There is a ridiculously terrible movie based off the song, a movie that probably stars Jonathan Lipnicki or some other insufferable child actor*. And when you think about it, buying shoes for your mom who is on her deathbed is rather futile. The worst part about it is that the kid is kind of pushy – “Could you HUUUUUURRY Sir?” Settle down, my friend. The cashier is working as hard as anyone on a $6.32 hourly wage from Super Target can work.

*ZOMG!!!! – Rob Lowe is actually in the movie. My gosh, what was he doing between the Austin Powers flicks and Parks & Recreation?

But this song has been my favorite since the eighth grade. My very strange middle school teacher, who often did not shave her armpits (perhaps she was secretly French?), requested the song on KUDL or something and they played it. That was the first time I heard it, and I loved the sound. It doesn’t bog me down. I love the little kid’s voice. Maybe this makes me unlike 98 percent of the country or whatever, but that doesn’t matter. I’m listening to “The Christmas Shoes” in all its sappy glory as much as I can for the next two days. — Mark Dent


Short Film: “Wyckoff Place”

I rediscovered “Wyckoff Place” recently through the magic of Hulu after watching the film steal the show at a screening of USA Network’s “Character Project” short films at the Paris Theatre back in May. The simple 18-minute film, directed by Lauri Faggioni, features day-in-the-life scenes from the lives of six kids who live in a pre-war apartment building in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. “Wyckoff Place” isn’t plot-driven or thrilling or stylish. That’s not the point. It’s an incredible showcase of America at its idealistic best: Children from Puerto Rico, Yemen, Sudan and the United States living, laughing, playing and bickering with one another in hallways and stairwells, on sidewalks and stoops. — Asher Fusco

This is a simple recommendation. I stumbled across it on Friday morning, taking a couple minutes to click through the New York Times’ collection of photos from 2011. The photos are separated into six categories: Arab spring, Occupy, Nature, The World, The Nation and Milestones.

In the coming days you’ll probably see plenty of retrospective pieces on 2011; what the year meant, the themes, what comes next, and so on. But few will be as effective at explaining what 2011 means to you. From a barren horizon in Joplin, to the bloodied faces on Wall Street, to the forgotten images of the drug war in Mexico, this gallery is worth a few minutes of attention — and reflection. — Rustin Dodd


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