Last Call: An overlooked Christmas movie, a gripping podcast, and the best holiday album

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Just Friends

My favorite Christmas movie is one that often gets overlooked: Just Friends. Yes, it’s the Ryan Reynolds in a fat suit movie. In high school, Chris (Reynolds) is in love with his best friend Jaime (Amy Smart), then grows up into a handsome record executive. Chris gets stuck in his hometown over the holidays and tries to win her heart: Only problem is that he’s saddled with crazed pop star Samantha James (Anna Faris, never ever funnier). Deadpool showed us all what a gifted comedian Reynolds really is, and in Just Friends he commits wholeheartedly, with pratfalls and bitchslap fights with the guy who plays his younger brother. Best of all, there’s holiday mayhem that Christmas Vacation would envy. I swear, it’s the hilarious highlight of my annual holiday viewing lineup. [Gwen Ihnat]



Give me all of your true crime content. There is no pulpy book or made-for-TV movie too lowbrow for me when it comes to this stuff. Jon Benet special? Watched it. Law & Order’s Menendez Brothers mini-series? Watched it, too. But I recently stumbled across a podcast that’s actually fairly refined and smartly edited and I’m not ashamed to admit I listen to it: Casefile. Our sharp colleagues at The A.V. Club listed it as one of their best podcasts of 2016, so I’m a little late to the game. If you too were a Serial fan and haven’t given this a listen, it might hit the spot. [Kate Bernot]

Christmas Caravan by Squirrel Nut Zippers

My all-time favorite Christmas album. No additional commentary necessary. [Kevin Pang]