By: Emily Kellas
You will find no one who can compare with my level of Holly Jolly-ness around the holidays. Santa has personally reached out to commend me on my use of “Ho, Ho, Ho” as a statement of goodwill towards man rather than a comment on someone’s character. So when holiday movie season hits, I am the first in line, on the couch, or logged in to see them. Now I have my personal favorites (It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Miracle on 34thStreet, Christmas Vacation, Elf, The Santa Clause… the list goes on) but there are some movies that just did not invoke the holiday spirit, but instead took it and dumped it to the tiptop of Mount Crumpit. So I dug through the Who-ville sludge to give you the Top Ten Worst Christmas Movies Ever… as I see them. In no particular order, here they are in all their scroogy glory.
Four Christmases (2008)
Vince Vaughn is not meant to make Christmas films. Period. Fred Claus was bad, but there is only room for ten on this list. The main characters are both annoying, and decidedly not funny as they begrudgingly go to their family Christmas parties. Normally a fan of Reese Witherspoon, Four Christmases made me question her talent. So I quickly watched Walk the Line and was relieved to realize it wasn’t her, it was this ill-fated Christmas film that was bad.
Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
2004 was a bad year for Christmas films. You would think after The Santa Clause that Tim Allen would understand the in’s and out’s of a good Christmas movie. Alas, Christmas with the Kranks flops. Without their daughter home Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen decide not to celebrate Christmas, until she comes home unannounced and forces her parents into a last minute holiday. Last minute is how I would describe the film. The film seems like it was thrown together with no real concept.
Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish (1998)
Sorry to all of the billionaire children in the world, but I don’t really care about your Christmas, nor am I terribly sympathetic to any situation you find yourself in on the holiday. Especially if your Christmas involves an “It’s a Wonderful Life” story line. The kid for “7th Heaven” takes over the role made semi-famous by McCauley Culkin in this ridiculously unnecessary Christmas film. The original Richie Rich wasn’t necessarily a classic, so making a successful Christmas film based on the character was a long shot.
Some of you may disagree with me, but Prancer is awful. I can vivdly remember being in elementary school and when the teacher pulled out the Prancer VHS on the last day of school before winter break. The class let out a groan, and settled in for a long, boring, hour and a half. A little girl finds Prancer, Santa’s reindeer, and spends the rest of the movie trying to convince her crumudgen farmer father that he is real. Don’t get me wrong I love when a Christmas movie keeps the spirit of believing alive, but couldn’t they have done it with some more pizazz? Full of long, slow, sequences it is the best Christmas movie to put on if you need to put your children to sleep.
Surviving Christmas (2004)
There isn’t much to say other than… Ben Affleck (during the Gigli days) and James Gandolfini. Bad… very bad.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
No movie on this list makes me more upset than this one, so prepare for a short rant. The original 1947 Miracle on 34th Street has since become one of the quintessential Christmas movies. I respect John Hughes, but was he so hard pressed for original material that he had to take a classic, and remake with the old guy from Jurassic Park?! Mara Wilson was adorable in the 90’s I will give her that, and she fit the part of the logical Susan Walker, but let’s be honest folks, she was no Natalie Wood. All-in-all the film makes me cringe, and yearn for the original in stark black and white, as it should be.
The Family Man (2000)
This one may or may not be slightly personal. An investment banker bachelor, Jack Campbell, gets the opportunity to see what his life would have been like if he had stayed with his college girlfriend. Though a so-so film, The Family Man is on my list mainly because of it’s leading man, Nick Cage. In a season full of warmth and joy, Nick Cage just doesn’t fit the bill. I feel bad for Don Cheadle because he was the only good part of The Family Man.
Mixed Nuts (1994)
I’m starting to see a theme, avoid Christmas films released in 1994 and 2004. I just recently watched this one, coming into it with high hopes based on its star Steve Martin, but I was quickly disappointed. The plot, if you can call it that, was confused, and lacked any cohesive direction. “The events focus around a crisis hotline business on one crazy night during the Christmas holidays.” I honestly have no idea what happened. The characters were frankly annoying, and void of any endearing qualities. It was certainly not one of Nora Ephron’s better films. I’m pretty positive there was a reason I had never heard of this misguided holiday film.
Sequels of The Santa Clause (1994), and any Home Alone (1990) after the second
Ok I’m grouping these together because everyone knows what I’m talking about. The Santa Clause staring Tim Allen was one of the best Christmas movies to come out of the 90’s and certainly one of Tim Allen’s best performances. But, as usual, movie execs believe that if a film is successful, and speaks to audiences, then a sequel certainly will. WRONG. The sequel has Santa in search of a bride, and third has him at war with a Martin Short’s Jack Frost. They were simply weird, and paled in comparison. As for the Home Alone movies, how many sequels are there now? Five? Six? And only two star the reason why Home Alone did so well, McCauley Culkin. After the second one they just started throwing random kids into the same role of outsmarting criminals through a series of slapstick hits, kicks, smacks, falls, and slips. Did they think we wouldn’t notice? Poorly conceived, with equally terrible acting, you understand why they are on the list.
Any Movie Made for ABC Family, Lifetime, or the Hallmark Channels
Women of all ages, across the country, are yelling at their computer screens, and most likely think less of me as a lady for this, but let’s face it, I’m right. They are awful. Just about every single one of them. Again it’s the lack of originality that gets me. I just can’t watch the same Christmas scenarios played out over and over again. Most of them seem like they were conceived using a holiday themed Mad Lib. And for some reason these channels believe that they have to keep churning them out. There are so many half-assed Christmas movies playing on these channels at all times that it almost makes me dislike the holiday… almost.