REPOST: Christmas Movie Roundup!

December 25, 2011

bad-santaSo, recently Kassandra the Work-Wife told me “You need to review something new. I’m tired of the looking at the poster for Midnight Meat Train. It’s boring.” As I was in the multi-day process of returning home from Iraq, I told her it might take awhile. “Oh, stop being such a baby about things. All of a sudden you’re so self-centered: ‘Wah! I can’t review movies because I’m traveling for the next 72 hours! Wah! I can’t keep texting you internationally because my phone bill was $500 bucks this month! Wah! I can’t talk to you right now because we’re being rocketed and I have to run to a bunker!’ Jeez, find your balls, cowboy up and review a freakin’ movie will you?” Unfortunately, I’d have to get around to seeing one worth reviewing, and that hasn’t happened yet. Instead, I thought we’d do something a bit more seasonal. I mean, it’s Christmas and all, why have some horrible B-movie’s poster plastered on my site over Christmas? So, here’s a quick holiday movie roundup. Just a quick (and easy) way to celebrate the season. So, in no particular order:

It’s a Wonderful LifePoor George Bailey. His youthful dreams of living a life of adventure have curdled into middle-aged disappointment. Add to that the various and sundry failures that have stalked him his whole life, and his impending financial ruin, and it’s easy to understand why he’d seriously consider jumping off a bridge. But he’s also married to a babe-a-licious Donna Reed, so he’s got that in the win column. Frank Capra’s movie is not so cloying as its reputation would make it seem, finding joy and humanity in the heartbreak of the average man.
Timeless Holiday Message: Life is hard, but that’s what makes it precious. Plus if you can land Donna Reed, you’re luckier than 99.999% of the rest of the hetero male population.

Miracle on 34th StreetSome kid doesn’t believe Santa exists. But then the real one shows up working at Macy’s. Or something. Natalie Wood was in this movie. And Macy’s was prominently featured. I think Santa has to appear in front of the HUAC at the end. The volume was off when I was watching this, but that’s what it looked like. Anyway it ends with everyone believing in Santa Claus, and Santa working for Macy’s, I guess.
Timeless Holiday Message: Macy’s has a really good PR department. It’s good to perpetuate myths and lies. Santa’s a dirty commie.

The Santa ClauseTim Allen murders Santa Claus and has to take his place. Wackiness ensues. I’m not sure how they padded this thing out to 90 minutes but they did. It was a huge hit. Anyway, it was the 1990s and we believed all sorts of dumb stuff like tortoiseshell glasses were attractive and Tim Allen was funny. For our sins we were afflicted with numerous sequels and other Tim Allen holiday movies.
Timeless Holiday Message: Each holiday season Tim Allen visits us all to bring a little misery into our lives.

Elf–Will Ferrell is a human adopted by an elf (Bob Newhart), and grows up working in Santa’s toy factory. With a note-perfect performance by Farrell–who happens to be about a yard taller than everyone else–this is actually a funny enough premise to carry a movie. But director John Faverau sets his creation loose in New York City to reunite with his father (James Caan). If, like me, you’ve ever wondered what Sonny Corleone would do when confronted by a dude in a green velvet jumpsuit claiming to be his son, this movie supplies the answer. Along the way we get generous helpings of Zooey Deschanel’s big blue eyes and endearing spaciness.
Timeless Holiday Message: Bob Newhart is freaking hilarious as an elf. More movies need stop-motion narwhals. Zooey Deschanel’s eyes are hypnotic.

White ChristmasBing Crosby took a break from getting hammered and beating up his kids to crank out this musical with Danny Kaye. He and Kaye play World War Two veterans who put on a show to save the ski resort that their old General had sunk his savings and pension into. In the movie Crosby was a Major and Kaye was a private. In reality, the rank culture in the Army would have made sure all these dogfaces hated one another. Kaye would resent Crosby for being an officer; Crosby wouldn’t have deigned to talk to Kaye, and the General would have treated them both with less respect than you give the average farm animal. But this is Hollywood, so it’s one big love-in. Also Rosemary Clooney shows up and even in her youth looked like a wildebeest.
Timeless Holiday Message: Bing Crosby was a very, very bad man and George Clooney got his looks from someone else.

How the Grinch Stole ChristmasHollywood takes a revered childhood classic and promptly urinates all over it.
Timeless Holiday Message: There’s a special place in hell waiting for Jim Carrey.

The Shop Around the CornerThe basis for the far, far inferior You’ve Got Mail. I watched this with an ex-girlfriend. After a while she said, “Wow. Jimmy Stewart was hot. It’s almost disturbing how hot he was when he was young.” “Yeah,” I concurred.
Timeless Holiday Message: Before he was perpetually middle-aged, Jimmy Stewart was hot.

Jingle All the WayArnold Schwarzenegger battles an alien hunter for the last action figure that happens to be the hot Christmas toy that year. At least I think that was the plot. I didn’t watch this movie. Would you?
Timeless Holiday Message: You should be prepared to punch someone—maybe many people –in the face if you want your kids to love you.

The Family ManNicolas Cage plays a career-minded single guy who learns the true meaning of Christmas when he wakes up in a parallel universe wherein he is a dorky husband-and-father who works a crappy job as a tire salesman. Yet the love of his family makes this hellish existence ever so much better than his life as a rich, swinging bachelor.
Timeless Holiday Message: If you’re happily single without kids you’re just deluding yourself, because you’re actually miserable and should just stick your head in the oven. And you’re also probably in Al Qaeda. Freak.

Home AloneGod I hate this film. If Macauley Culkin was my kids, I’d leave him at home, too. Actually, I’d probably see if I stuff him into the Salvation Army donation box outside the nearest gas station. Annoying little bastard.
Timeless Holiday Message: The fact that Macauley Culkin grew up to be a very screwed-up adult is all the Christmas miracle one can hope for.

Black ChristmasThe movie that started this blog. A bunch of sorority babes are snowed in at Christmas and stalked by a serial killer. For some reason or other director Glen Morgan seems to think we’d rather see scenes of the killer’s twisted childhood rather than scenes of the sorority chicks having pillow fights or eggnog wrestling. Glen Morgan is an idiot.
Timeless Holiday Message: If you’re going to set a movie in a sorority house, there should be a lot more chicks in lingerie.

Bad SantaA drunken, foul-mouthed mall Santa. A viscous dwarf as his elf sidekick. A truly weird kid. Lauren Graham. A wooden pickle. Betrayal. Murder. Anal sex. John Ritter. Bernie Mac.
Timeless Holiday Message: This is the best holiday movie ever.

Die HardWhat? It takes place over Christmas Eve, so that makes it a Christmas movie in my book. It tapped into our late-‘80s anxiety over being left behind by emergent economic superpowers in Europe and the Pacific Rim, and then quells them in a soothing hail of gunfire from blue collar hero John McClaine. Now I have a machine gun. Ho! Ho! Ho!
Timeless Holiday Message: Yeah! Bruce Willis kicks ass! USA! USA! USA!

So there we are. Wow. That was probably more work than reviewing a new movie. Oh well, too late now. Here’s wishing a Merry Christmas* and I hope you’ll join me for the year-end round-ups just as soon as I see a few more movies (which will be as soon as it’s not colder than penguin’s butt outside).

*Or whatever godless pagan holiday you choose to observe instead of Christmas, you heathen.

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