When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

Pages

The High And The Low In Holiday Movies

Dec 2, 2012
Originally published on December 2, 2012 5:59 am

My well-documented weird affection for Hallmark movies brings me — along with NPR.org movies editor Trey Graham — to Weekend Edition on Sunday to talk to NPR's Rachel Martin about the high-profile theatrical holiday film as well as the corny basic-cable incarnations that are appropriate to this season.

Trey was in charge of the high parts.

It's my duty, meanwhile, to tell you all about All About Christmas Eve and other punning titles that suggest that you, too, may fall in love with the assistance of Santa Claus. Speaking of which, I must say I'm a little heartbroken that I didn't have time to explain the great moment in Matchmaker Santa where a woman realizes that Santa may be real because he knew the "secret ingredient" she and her mother used to put in their cookies: something called "extract of vanilla bean." EXOTIC! SECRET! HOW DID SANTA KNOW?

I'm not proud of watching these. I just admit it.

Trey brings things up a little bit with the sprawling, excellent cast of Love Actually, a film that brings together that very cast with a mix of happy stories and sad ones. (I know he'd also want me to tell you he's a big fan of last year's Arthur Christmas, even though it doesn't come up in the piece.) And asked what his annual holiday viewing ritual is, he goes with A Lion In Winter, which is about as high as one's brow gets, no?

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. There's the holiday movie season in theaters - lush, big, Oscar contenders - and then there's the holiday movie season on your small screen. It certainly boasts a wider variety, though quantity does not always mean quality.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD FOR HALLMARK CHANNEL'S "A BRIDE FOR CHRISTMAS")

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: This holiday season...

UNIDENTIFIEDACTOR: (as character) You look beautiful here.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (as character) When you're truly in love, it can make you the happiest you've ever been.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Love is the best Christmas gift of all.

MARTIN: That's the Hallmark Channel original movie "A Bride for Christmas." Of course, there are some great movies to see this season, too, and not just one of the 150 versions of "A Christmas Carol." Now, here at NPR we take editorial balance very seriously. So, we have invited two experts to take on both the high and the low of the holiday season. Linda Holmes is a blogger for Monkey See, NPR's pop culture blog, and Trey Graham is the movies editor for npr.org. Hey, guys.

TREY GRAHAM, BYLINE: Hey.

LINDA HOLMES, BYLINE: Hello.

MARTIN: OK. So, Linda, I want to start with you. I understand you've become a kind of expert on the old Hallmark Christmas film.

HOLMES: I am. I have no idea how this happened, but it's just this entire genre of Christmas kitsch and I cannot live without it.

MARTIN: And they always have great music, like what we just heard.

HOLMES: Well, they do. And those great voiceovers, like: Love is the best gift of all.

MARTIN: It is, Linda.

HOLMES: Well, it is. You know, and many of these films, you know, rely on that idea that Santa will bring you love, which is great when you're single and you figure online dating didn't work, meeting someone at work didn't work. It's pretty much Santa or die alone.

MARTIN: OK. Do you have a specific list of these films that we can look forward to?

HOLMES: Well, you'll be able to find them around the dial by looking for holiday puns a lot of the time.

MARTIN: Really?

HOLMES: There's one called "All About Christmas Eve." There are...

MARTIN: About...

HOLMES: Right. I don't even know what it's about. It's about someone named Eve probably, just like the one that was just on called "It's Christmas, Carol," was about someone named Carol.

MARTIN: ...named Carol.

HOLMES: Yeah. And for the ones that are a little more bluntly titled, there's always "Matchmaker Santa."

MARTIN: I love it. OK. So, Trey, let's bring you into this. We have asked you here to raise the bar a little bit, to give us a sense of some hidden gems. When we're talking about really well-crafted holiday films, is there a kind of formula? Is there something specific that always makes these good?

GRAHAM: It depends on your appetite for sentiment. If you want a big, warm, open-hearted film, you're going to gravitate to a certain kind of thing.

MARTIN: Which I do.

GRAHAM: If you want a more complicated, perhaps a sadder, bittersweet kind of film, you might want to look for things like "Love Actually" is a great example of this kind of film. Really complicated structurally, A-list cast, great acting, terrific writing, good music, lively spirit, and there's a lot of people coming together and finding love, but there's also some really sad storylines.

MARTIN: Are there redeeming qualities, Linda, to the kind of kitsch holiday classic?

HOLMES: Sure. They are of very low-key sort of holiday-friendly sit-around-with-family kind of entertainment. The predictability is kind of a plus-minus, up-down thing. You know you're going to get a happy ending. You know you're going to get a story that's not too taxing. I love a good high-end movie, but I also love something that you just don't have to think about very much some of the time, and particularly around this time of year, which can be stressful.

MARTIN: It can a little bit. All right. Bonus points to both of you: is there a great Hanukah film in the high and low category?

HOLMES: You know, I wracked my brain. But in the genre I'm talking about, I could not find one or think of one.

MARTIN: I can't believe it.

GRAHAM: There is, there is...

MARTIN: So, there's not some film, "Maccabees" running around?

GRAHAM: There is a movie called "Maccabees." It's an animated film. I don't know how widely it's been distributed. There is the very special Hanukah episode of "The Nanny" from, I believe, season six. Go chase that down. And I was specifically forbidden by your producer from mentioning "Eight Crazy Nights." But it is a thing that exists. It is far and away not a family movie.

HOLMES: Yeah. If there is...

GRAHAM: Parents, don't show that one to your kids.

HOLMES: ...if there were one in my genre, it would probably be called, like, "It's Your Menorah, Laura," or something like that.

MARTIN: Ooh, that is good. If that doesn't exist, it should.

HOLMES: I was going to say, call me, ABC Family.

MARTIN: OK. Before I let you go, what is the holiday film you look forward to watching each and every year?

HOLMES: For all that I like my TV corny, silly ones, I watch "It's a Wonderful Life" just about every year.

MARTIN: Going with the classic choice. That's OK. Trey?

GRAHAM: I'm going to be a little perverse, and say that the movie I - and this is really true - the movie I watch every year is "The Lion in Winter," which is Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine at the Christmas court at, I believe, Chinon. And they get together and have the most epic squabbles. And my favorite...

MARTIN: Catherine Hepburn.

GRAHAM: Catherine Hepburn, Peter O'Toole. It is, I believe, the film debut of both Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton, and it contains lines like this one:

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE LION IN WINTER")

PETER O'TOOLE: (as Henry II) Well, what should we hang? The holly or each other?

MARTIN: Ah. But does it have Santa?

GRAHAM: There is no Santa, I'm afraid.

MARTIN: OK. We will have to leave it there. NPR's Linda Holmes and Trey Graham. You can hear both of them on the NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour at npr.org. Happy holidays to both of you.

HOLMES: And to you. Thank you.

GRAHAM: Thank you so much for having us. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.