I have to watch Christmas movies. My DVR is set to find them every single year, whether they beunder looked gems that I’ve simply never gotten around to seeing or classics that I know by heart. Yes, I have a stack of Christmas movies in my DVD collection, and I’ll catch one in the theatre every year if the buzz is good. Unfortunately, I’m sometimes disappointed in what I see, and not every Christmas movie leaves me feeling that holiday cheer. Below are five examples where I’ve felt more Scrooge and less Cratchit.
5. Fred Claus (2007). Oh, how I wanted to like this movie. I like Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Spacey, and Christmas movies. It should’ve been a no-brainer. Instead, this movie is a combination of silly gags that go nowhere and sped-up action made to look wacky. It’s a shame, not only because of the great cast, but because it’s also a great idea for a Christmas movie. Unfortunately, it’s only mildly amusing and rather forgettable. When I heard they were making a comedy about Santa Claus’ jealous younger brother, I was excited. Such a shame I got coal in my stocking that year thanks to this turkey. The moment we are told that Christmas (and Santa) are run by a huge corporation, it’s all down hill from there. Santa doesn’t answer to a bunch of guys in suits, thanks.
4. Jingle All The Way (1996). This movie is (in)famous for being the last comedy Arnold Schwarzenegger has starred in to date, and being a massively panned holiday flick. Even for people who don’t listen to all the “Christmas is too commercialized” whining will find reason to turn their noses up at this flick. The plot centers around Schwarzenegger going crazy all over town trying to find a specific toy for his spoiled brat of a son, and gives us the impression that he’ll only be a loser if he doesn’t find it. I’ve been told that it’s different when you watch it with kids, and am fully aware that it actually has plenty of fans (it has to date made a ton of cash), but to anyone else over the age of ten, it’s very awkward and silly. And not in a good way.
3. Christmas With The Kranks (2004). Or, as I like to call it, “The John Grisham Christmas Debacle”. Yes, everyone’s favorite legal thriller author wrote the book Skipping Christmas, which was the basis of this awful Tim Allen vehicle. Full of bad prat falls and weird slapsticky moments, this movie is about how a couple wants to go away on a Caribbean vacation instead of staying home for the holidays…and what douchebags they apparently are for feeling that way. As much as it was hated by critics everywhere, it’s somehow another awful Christmas movie that was actually a hit in theatres and on home video. If you like watching Tim Allen fall down, you should check it out. That’s pretty much the plot.
2. Surviving Christmas (2004). The also-bad movie Christmas With The Kranks was originally called Skipping Christmas (from the book of the same name) before this movie was announced to also be in production at the time. A very awkward and uncomfortable film about a man (Ben Affleck) paying another man (James Gandolfini) to help him re-create the Christmas of his childhood, this movie was a screw-up in many different ways. First of all, it was released over a year after it was completed, and found its way into theatres in October! A box office flop, it was then released on home video less than two months later, where still no one cared about it. Yet another movie with a very talented cast, it’s simply not funny and makes the assumption that slapstick is enough to carry a holiday film. It isn’t.
1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). It’s a bad idea to take a beloved children’s book and classic animated TV special and turn it into a live-action film. To make it a contradiction of itself is even worse. A monster hit in theatres (it stayed there into March of the following year!), a huge hit on home video, and now an annual tradition on TV, this Jim Carrey-starring movie is beloved by people everywhere. But anyone without small children will see it was dumb and goofy, with Carreymanaging to mug it up through pounds of admittedly impressive make-up and effects. The biggest problem with this film, besides being an unnecessary remake of a readily-available classic? It preaches against the commercialization of Christmas and is yet one of the most commercialized Christmas movies ever made. This Grinch wound up on everything from fast-food containers to pencil boxes, and you couldn’t go anywhere for months without seeing Carrey’s green face slapped on something.
Luckily, there are few Christmas movies that I despise, and can even tolerate the ones that appear on this list a time or two. Still, with so many wonderful holiday classics to enjoy and new ones being created every single year, there’s no reason to settle for Spam when you can have ham. Sit down and enjoy Jimmy Stewart instead or watch Ralphie pine for his Red Rider BB gun. Either choice is going to leave you in better holidays spirits than anything you’ll find here.
Those are five of my least favorite Christmas movies. What are some that you can’t stand?