This year, I take no prisoners! This Year I’m going through the following 24 movies/specials on every night leading up to Christmas.
Since I’ll be watching these after work, these posts will show up somewhat late…and some may be short cuz…y’know…I ain’t Jack Bauer and I’ve got to sleep sometime! (Plus work!)
Here is the list (which will be pinned to the top of this page) of the movies and specials I’ll be going through and will be updated with a link to the review (in no particular order):
- A Christmas Story
- National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
- Miracle on 34th Street
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas cartoon
- Polar Express
- Home Alone
- Die Hard
- Nightmare Before Christmas
- Charlie Brown Christmas
- Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
- Muppet Christmas Carol
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- Muppets Family Christmas
- Mixed Nuts
- Christmas Office Party
- Christmas in South Park
- Star Wars Christmas Special
- Love Actually
- Babes in Toyland
- People’s Choice: Earnest Save Christmas, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, White Christmas, Fred Claus, Jingle All The Way, Bad Santa, The Little Drummer Boy
- The Night Before
SCROOGED is my all-time favourite Christmas movie. Bill Murray at his absolute comedic peak. Bobcat Goldthwaite still endearing and riding out on the popularity of the Police Academy movies. And I’m convinced the world needs more Carol Kane (who’s skills are now on the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). So I won’t verbally assault you with my biased opinion.
Instead, let’s explore the three parodies that appear and rank them in legit watchability if they were really made. If you don’t remember them, watch this clip:
THE NIGHT THE REINDEER DIED – A Christmas action adventure starring Lee Majors. I feel that if this was made today, we’d see David Hasselhoff in this role. I think with the right budget and right director, this could be a fun movie. Heck…if Die Hard can be a Christmas movie, this qualifies too! 7.5 Incoming Missiles out of 10.
A BOB GOULET’S OLD FASHIONED CAJUN CHRISTMAS – If Will Farrell impersonates Robert Goulet like he did on SNL signing Christmas tunes, I’m all in! 7 Jambalayas out of 10.
FATHER LOVES BEAVER – Interesting premise…not sure it’s exactly Christmassy…so pass. 2 Beaver Cleaver’s out of 10.
SCROOGE (LIVE) – With the success of live musicals such as Grease and Hairspray being shown on TV, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before something like this happens. Not sure if Mary-Lou Retton could still pull off the flips but I’d give it a try! 7.6 Mice With Reindeer Antlers out of 10
As for Scrooged itself, a solid 10 Bill Murray Improvisations out of 10!
So I’m going to admit 2 things here right up front:
- I absolute LOVE A Christmas Story.
- There’s NO WAY IN FUDGIN’ HELL that it would get made today. (Except I didn’t say “FUDGIN”)
So let’s start with the over-the-top caricatures of Asians working at a Chinese Food restaurant singing Fa-la-la-la-la to Ralphie’s family on Christmas Eve because Christmas dinner was ruined. There’s ZERO chance this scene makes it into the final cut of the film.
Let’s also notice the glaring sexualisation of women in the form of a lamp (It’s a MAJOR AWARD!).
This wouldn’t be in it either because does the fact that it’s a “Woman’s Leg” lamp add anything to the tackiness of the gift? If this was made today, the lamp would take the form of some elephant or vaguely shaped phallic symbol.
And a kid pretending to shoot things with a gun??? Ok…we live in the age of the Walking Dead. This would be fine.
But the fun of this story is that every character is a caricature as seen by a 9 year old boy. Are some of things offensive to an adult? Maybe. Are these same things offensive to a kid? It probably doesn’t even cross their mind. Children live their lives in broad strokes and not in the nuances.
This is Ralphie’s Christmas Story…and that’s why this is still timeless (even if it’s a 1950’s era movie made in the 1980’s)…and it’s why all of this is okay.
So put on your favourite pair of pink bunny PJs, grab a fresh glass of Ovaltine, and watch an 80’s classic.
Oh…and don’t shoot your eye out, kid!
9.5 Surly Santa’s out of 10
MIXED NUTS came out in 1994 during the waning hey-days of Steve Martin. It was that era where his comedies still had box office clout but they were giving diminishing returns.
There are some good things about this movie. Steve Martin’s monologue at the end is just great. It would be welcome in the same category as Linus’s Christmas monologue in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or Bill Murray’s excellent monologue at the end of “Scrooged”.
But to get there…boy…
I will say this: it was fun seeing Jon Stewart in his first ever movie roll (as a rollerskater who carries a Christmas tree with Parker Posey), witnessing Adam Sandler in his absolute best (best role in the movie), being surprised of a Haley Joel Osment cameo (shortly after his role in Forrest Gump), confused seeing ultra-jock Liev Schreiber (another first role!) as a crossdresser, happy to see Steven Wright being “meh”, and nostalgic seeing Garry Shandling (RIP Larry Sanders).
I’m glad I watched this. It was brand new for me and I love discovering new-to-me movies. Give it a try just for pure nostalgia’s sake.
As Steve Martin says, “In every Pothole, you can find the word HOPE.” There is a bit of Hope in this Pothole.
I promise you…it’s not going to be the worst Holiday Special I’ll be watching this year…I fear THAT one…if you know my list, you’ll know which one I mean.
5 Adam Sandler songs out of 10
So tonight I decided to knock off one of the all time classics, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
And I don’t know what it is about cartoons from back in the 60’s or earlier (like Rudolph) but people were asses back then! I thought it was just an anomaly when Santa was a dick to Rudolph but every single kid not named Linus was a complete asshole to poor Ol’ Charlie Brown.
It really wouldn’t have surprised me if Charlie snapped at some point in his life to get back at his so-called “friends”. Or maybe his life would’ve turned closer to this?
Where all people dicks back then? Or have we just become too soft to be able to absorb the onslaught of insults we were dealt in our youth?
That may become my university thesis if I ever decide to go back (I’m not!).
In any case, the ending is still sweet and almost cliche these days…but when I was a kid dealing with my kid life in the 80s, this hit home. I think watching this should be a right of passage for anyone born into this world.
Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown…signed my kid-self in solidarity.
PS…WATCH THIS BRILLIANT STRANGER THINGS PARODY OF A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS!
8 Sad Christmas Trees out of 10
Here’s the first of 2 movies on my list that I’ve never seen: Office Christmas Party starring TJ Miller, Jennifer Aniston, and a ton of future comedy legends (they know who they are).
I’ve been a HUGE fan of TJ Miller since his film debut as Hud in Cloverfield. (Hint: He was the guy we rarely saw behind the camera.) At the time, I didn’t know who he was but his voice was unique. Shortly after that, I stumbled upon one of his stand ups and after that, it was comic love at first joke.
Watch how quick he is in this stand up special…he totally improvised this whole routine!
I’m stoked that he’s getting his due by getting roles like this. He’s an undervalued talent who’s just coming into his own. But this isn’t a post about TJ Miller…let’s talk a smidge about Office Christmas Party.
Sure, this movie has tons of great moments that’ll make you wince and laugh then wince again for laughing at what you just saw. There’s a particular scene where someone not named TJ Miller used a 3D printer to make a copy of his junk…that’s the kind of stuff you can expect from this.
Not sure if it’ll become a classic Christmas flick but it’s good enough for a larf. It’s worth a night watching if you’re interested in crude comedy movies. Go ahead…I know you’re curious!
7 TJ Miller chaotic antics out of 10
The first time I saw The Nightmare Before Christmas it was mostly out of boredom one bored December night during university in the 90’s when I borrowed the VHS version from Jumbo Video (our local version of Blockbuster).
So I figured the best way to watch this vintage Christmas classic on VHS…and guess what? I own that. Yes…I still own a VHS and a VCR.
After being slightly annoyed that whoever watched this VHS last didn’t rewind it (ME!), I pressed play and the VHS whirred to life!
Got the quaint disclaimer that copying this VHS copy could lead to harsh penalties…oh the 90’s were a simpler time.
I gotta say…The Nightmare Before Christmas still holds up. The song are incredibly catchy and the characters are memorable.
(PS…the kid with the devil tail is voiced by Pee Wee Herman!)
The ending is sort of rushed but really, I can’t complain too much. There’s really nothing more to say after the Pumpkin King saves Santa and Christmas. We don’t need 5 endings like certain Lord of the Rings movies of the past!
With the latest trend of 80’s an 90’s nostalgia coming back (like Nintendo’s or tv shows like The Goldbergs), I’d highly recommend people cracking out their old VHS collections to watch some classics, if you’re able.
I’ve got a working VCR if you wanna borrow it!
8.5 ghouls out of 10
So I just learned that there are like 7 different South Park Christmas episodes…at least! So for tonight, instead of trying to plow my way through ALL of them, I decided to do the original one from Season 1 where we were all introduced to the magical wonderful whimsical Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo!
South Park has gotten edgier since this episode but it’s still pretty funny in parts. And the songs are still catchy as hell!
And even back in 1997, we were dealing with over-sensitive folk. The more things change the more they stay the same…but this episode is a clever take on what happens when everyone tries to cater to everyone’s sensitivities. This is the reason for South Park’s longevity and charm. It’s offensive…yes…but it teaches you without you realizing it.
Also, I completely forgot about this fake commercial:
Ohhhh…Mr. Hankey…(shaking head)
And it was the very first episode where Kenny doesn’t die in it! (Don’t say I spoiled that for you! The episode has been out 20 years! You had your chance!)
Now, I haven’t watched South Park in at least 5 or 6 years….maybe more. I forgot how good this show was. And after watching how great this was, I may make a side mission to watch the rest of the South Park Christmas episodes over the rest of the season.
10 solid logs out of 10.
Kenny gets his Xmas wish of not dying!