Three staffers, three unabashed recommendations.
Like so many other people on staff, I’ve given a good deal of thought to Christmas movies that aren’t about Christmas. You might have read my last installment in this series, a brief write-up of While You Were Sleeping; Psych: The Movie also recently enjoyed these hallowed halls of holly, or however that song goes. But a movie I haven’t talked up nearly as much, despite always feeling it’s good holiday viewing, is Money Train. Joseph Ruben, who’s overseen a number of dysfunctional (to say the least) homes on the big screen, helmed this 1995 shoot-’em-up starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as foster brothers who are closer than most identical twins. They both work the transit cop beat, but they’re otherwise polar opposites: Harrelson is the fuck-up, and Snipes the good son (where have we seen that in Ruben’s oeuvre before?). Women (Jennifer Lopez, offering an early glimpse of her Out Of Sight star quality), ambition, and just plain bad luck come between the brothers, who have to knock out a tyrannical Robert Blake before the movie wraps. The holidays provide the backdrop and the fuel for a heist on the eponymous mode of public transportation. It’s loud and brash, and gets by in good part on the cast’s great chemistry. Money Train is also the last movie Harrelson and Snipes made together—a cameo in Play It To The Bone for the Blade star notwithstanding—but they hadn’t lost their rapport. [Danette Chavez]
A home rowing machine
In summer I exercise outside. In winters past I’d promise myself I’d go to the gym instead, and I never, ever did. Gyms suck. So this year I bought myself a home rowing machine, and it is wonderful. I work out in the winter, without ever stepping foot in a dumb gym. Plus, I watch the TV I want to watch. The only downside to my home rowing machine is that, because it was cheap, it’s developed an annoying habit of squeaking just when a TV actor drops their voice dramatically, and I have to rewind and turn up the volume to hear what they said. I image if I had dropped a bigger chunk of change for a more expensive machine, it might not squeak, but it’s a small price to pay for the big advantage of working out in my own home. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]
Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin cream
Winter has arrived in Chicago, and with it a dramatic increase in the amount of time I spend every day thinking about different moisturizers and the necessity for such. Last winter I discovered the one thing that actually works to banish the flakes that start forming on my cheeks as soon as the dry indoor heat kicks in. That would be Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin cream, which smells vaguely medicinal and comes out of the tube a shade of yellow reminiscent of the faded mustard color sometimes used to paint hospital hallways. I’m not really selling it as a luxury beauty item with that description, I know, but I don’t really need to go on and on about its aesthetic virtues, because this stuff works. Red, chapped cheeks? Soothed. Flaky skin that only looks worse when you put makeup on it? Smoothed. It’s even effective against Kleenex nose. And yes, it’s expensive, but here’s the thing—the sheet masks they sell at Sephora and the like are insanely overpriced. Go to a Korean grocery store (or even on Amazon) and pick up a big stack of them for $1 apiece, then spend the savings on this cream. Sound good? [Katie Rife]