Happy Friday, bitches! The holidays are upon us (more or less), which means that we’re all probably pretty knee-deep up with the S’s: Santa, Shopping, Sephora catalogs, Shit I’ve Bought That I don’t Need, Stress, and Sickness. Everyone I know is coming down with something, including yours truly. Y’all, I am so fucking sick right now. I should NOT be at work, but we’re crazy busy right before the holidays, so I really can’t get away (I shouldn’t even be writing this right now, either…). I’ve got some kind of sinus infection that may or may not have spread to my eardrums, which, according to the nurse practitioner who peeped at them, are all jolly and red like Rudolph’s nose. Yaaaay. I feel so festive, except totally not.
Actually, I kind of feel like this kid:
Fucking, will someone please get me a sippy cup full of Juicy Juice (and gin) and a goddamn cuddle blankey? For the fuck of shit.
And when I feel like ass, there’s usually one thing that usually makes me feel better, or at least distracts me from my pain long enough to stop me from acting like a toddler all night, and that is to watch a movie. Usually when I’m sick I’ll curl up on the couch and watch the really bad girl movies that I otherwise hate like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (I know, shut up). But, since it’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, let’s talk about the best & worst holiday films of all time:
Anything With Tim Allen in it: Santa Clauses 1-3, 4?, Christmas w/ the Kranks
I hated Home Improvement. Not only were the jokes entirely too reliant on gender stereotypes, they were just cheap and staler than the fruitcakes my mom makes every year that I never eat. So, there is really nothing to endear me to a Tim Allen holiday vehicle, because Tim Allen is always Tim Allen is always Tim Allen. Bonus points, however, for these films being bereft of that nonsensical Tim “the Toolman” Taylor caveman grunt. What was that?
Anything With Vince Vaughn in it: Fred Claus, possibly Four Christmases
I wanted to like Vince Vaughn. I really did. Swingers was great for its time, and I’ve always sort of loved Clay Pigeons. But, you know, I somehow rented the Breakup and it was all over after that. And then there was Fred Claus. I mean really. VV is no Tim Allen, his career was not on the Tim Allen career trajectory (towards the toilet, natch), so helming a schlocky holiday schmaltzfest was entirely unnecessary. It just didn’t need to happen, and it was bad. Oh, and don’t even get me started on how much I loathe Paul Giamatti. Sideways was bad! Bad, I say! Bad and overrated like Crash, only with more gratuitous sexytimes (that were decidedly un-sexy). But, you know, sometimes actors just need a payday at the expense of a meaningful psedo-religious holiday. I guess all that beer & coke bloat isn’t going to pay for itself…
Unlike the previous two, I’m not going to shitcan this one over it’s lead actor. I’m not really on the Ben Affleck hate train, but this film does the doodie to itself, really. An action-packed, bad-guy-tryin’a-go-good-but-his-past-just-keeps-pulling-him-back-in heist movie with a Christmas theme? Oh come ON. It’s like they were trying to make a younger, sexier Die Hard crossed with some wannabe-Tarantino shit. Ugh. Bottom-barrel viewing.
Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Fuck you, Jim Carrey. I’m never forgiving him for ruining one of America’s most-beloved Christmas stories. The fucking out-of-left-field, unrestrained, wacky bullshit green Careymonster was NOTHING like the calculated, brooding cartoon Grinch we grew up with. But the craziest part is that the over-the-top Grinch character was not even the worst part of this flashy production. The Grinch backstory subplot was emetic as well. This movie is the star on top of the Holiday movie FAIL heap. Like Counting Crows cover if Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, this is one remake that NO ONE asked for, NO ONE likes, and is a flaming embarrassment for all involved, the degree to which it almost completely ruins the original. Almost.
The Star Wars Holiday Special
This was the beginning of the end for the SW franchise, really. I mean, yeah, all the elements of Lucasian suckitude were present in all three original Star Wars films, but at least they were kept under wraps. Now, Lucas claims to have had little-to-nothing to do with this exercise in holiday brandwhoreing, but, um, we’ve all been here for Episodes 1-3 and Jar-Jar don’t lie, George. Jar-Jar don’t lie. Yippee!*
*please someone get this joke.
Meet Me In St. Louis
This is the film in which Judy Garland sings “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Surely, one of the more heartwrenching holiday songs of all time. I do not recommend watching this part while alone/single, unless you really like your face to turn into an oozing, tearstained snotball. Only, when I watch this, I don’t weep for lost loves or the passage of time, but instead for the loss of talents like Garland in the entertainment industry. Long gone are the days of classy (besides the drug stuff & all), preternaturally beautiful and talented screen sirens. Heidi and Spencer are here to stay. Ponder on that, and try not to gargle with a Smith & Wesson.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
It’s the squirrel scene. And the moose-shaped eggnog cups. I think this movie actually gets funnier with repeated viewing. Like the Jelly of the Month Club, “It really is the gift that keeps on giving.”
I love anti-feelgood holiday movies. The darker the better, really. And it doesn’t get any better than post-Cancer (or, pre-actual-cancer, however you want to look at it) Dennis Leary kidnapping a couple of annoying, yappy yuppies on Christmas Eve. If you haven’t seen it yet, you positively must.
Bill Murray is the best Ebeneezer Scrooge ever. I love this movie because it is SO 80s, and it was SO 80s when it was made. It’s almost like the producers were holding their breath waiting for it to get dated, because how could it not? It’s like the holiday version of She-Devil, only better. It’s amazing, really, how a film with so much hairspray and such high shoulder pads could still be an irrefutable instant classic.
The Family Stone
This is one of those films where the ads did not do it justice, so a lot of people who would have loved this movie skipped it. But trust that this actually is a holiday movie for people who don’t like holiday movies (or, at least, peeps that don’t admit to liking holiday films). For those of you who haven’t seen it, the basic premise is this: A guy brings his uptight girlfriend home to meet his quirky mixed-bag of a family, who then completely tear her to shreds.
By far the most sentimental on this list, this movie is really as close to perfect as it gets. It’s got a little something for everyone: some slapstick, romance, oddball family hijinks, dysfunction, an impossibly scathing sense of humor, and a subtle undercurrent of sadness that will sneak up on you and quietly break your heart. Or maybe just my heart, because around the holidays I do tend to get embarrassingly mushy and ridiculous. Without a drop of alcohol in my system, I still have those “Daddy’s Gotten into the Eggnog” moments where I get all weepy and tell people I love them. So take what I say with a big, fat grain. However, I do believe that this is one of those movies with enough snark to balance out the overarching sweetness of the Home for the Holidays convention.
The only drawback here is that it is a weeee bit too prosh. Like, the romantic sub-plots are kind of head-slappingly obvious and yet still contrived. Also, there’s a brother who is deaf, gay AND in an interracial relationship! Hmmm… But what really saves this movie is all of the awesome acting. Rachel McAdams is great in everything she’s in, but she RULES in this movie. She talks mountains of shit in lightning speed sign language like she’s really been conversing that way with her brother all her life. Talent, man.
Anyway, what are your favorite and least favorite holiday films?