Along with extra-crowded airports, there are a few other sure things we can expect each holiday season. For starters, someone will manage to get offended whether we say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." Also, for every one hit wonder that releases an ill-advised CD of Christmas classics, such as a hard rock cover of "Silent Night" or a rap version of "Away in a Manger," there will be several ill-advised Christmas movies. Actually there will be several terrible ones. Sometimes we get really lucky and the Santa of bad taste delivers multiple gifts in one: a bad Christmas movie featuring a soundtrack filled with bad Christmas covers too.
Before anyone accuses me of being a Scrooge, let me say for the record that I actually love Christmas movies -- good ones. I don't even have a preference for a particular type. Watching the Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life is just as much of a holiday tradition for me as watching The Ref, the dark Christmas comedy featuring a hostage-taker that's become something of a cult classic over the years. And then there's my other all-time Christmas favorite Die Hard. Yes you read that right. Though some forget that the Bruce Willis classic, which was named the greatest action film of all time by Entertainment Weekly, is actually a Christmas movie, it was in fact dubbed the greatest Christmas movie of all time by Empire magazine.
But as I noted on The Dylan Ratigan Show, for every It's a Wonderful Life and Die Hard, there is a Silent Night Deadly Night, a horror film in which a man dressed as Santa delivers murder and mayhem instead of presents. Despite receiving universally horrific reviews and sparking controversy upon its release for its excessive violence, for some reason this film has managed to spawn four sequels.
Then there's what I like to call the "...for Christmas" films, which begin taking over our televisions before we've even had a chance to put away our Thanksgiving leftovers away. As in, A Mom for Christmas, A Dad for Christmas, A Grandpa for Christmas, A Nanny for Christmas, A Boyfriend for Christmas," and A Princess for Christmas (to name just a few). I've noticed that when the two words "for Christmas" follow something, that's usually a sign that the movie in question is the cinematic equivalent of fruitcake: something that we all must accept as part of the holidays but accepting that fact doesn't improve the taste.
But most egregious of all there are the endless remakes of A Christmas Carol. Every year someone decides that they are going to produce the definitive charming twist on the Dickens classic, featuring some modern-day star of the moment portraying an updated version of Ebenezer Scrooge. Only instead of a greedy businessman Scrooge is a self-absorbed heiress/model/actor/actress/talent scout/Hollywood executive/professional athlete/tech mogul and I'm assuming as of this year, will be a reality star with a sex tape since that increasingly represents the pinnacle of success in America.
So with that in mind I thought I'd share my thoughts on some of the worst Christmas movies out there -- from those that missed the mark on the tube, to those that aimed to be holiday blockbusters at the theater but ended up being holiday busts. The one thing they all have in common is that they succeed in being bad in their own special ways.
Feel free to share yours in the comments. By the way, happy holidays and merry Christmas too!
10 Terrible Christmas Movies
10. New Year's Eve
Okay technically this isn't a Christmas movie per se, and technically I haven't seen it yet, but despite these two minor details (and my immense appreciation for the talents of Robert De Niro, Halle Berry and some of the other impressive members of the cast) the brutal reviews New Year's Eve earned from nearly every single critic who saw it earned it a spot on this list.
9. A Boyfriend for Christmas
The title says it all. Well actually it doesn't. The title should say A Boyfriend for Christmas...P.S. Did I mention this isn't a movie about a teenage girl but a grown woman with a career which makes this whole concept weird instead of charming?
8. Home Alone 4
The same tinge of sadness mixed with sympathy we feel when an athlete past his or her prime stays out on the court a year or more too long, is the same feeling I have about the final installments of Home Alone. The original is a true Christmas classic and the second one, while not exactly on par with The Godfather Part II, isn't bad either. But the later ones are heading into the sequel territory occupied by Speed 2 (the one Keanu Reeves skipped) and that TV movie sequel to Gone with the Wind that everyone pretends never happened.
7. Holiday in Handcuffs
Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez star in this heartwarming (or should I say "hart-warming"?) tale of a struggling artist/waitress who in the midst of personal problems kidnaps one of her customers and makes him spend the Christmas holiday with her family. Romance ensues. It's supposed to be funny. But for some reason I can't help thinking that if the gender roles were reversed this wouldn't be considered a romantic holiday comedy at all but yet another addition to the women-in-peril-stalker-kidnapping genre. Did I mention that it's supposed to be funny? Maybe if it were billed as a thematic sequel to The Ref and featured some of that film's Oscar-nominated actors in it, I'd feel differently.
6. Eve's Christmas AND Comfort and Joy
Two different movies, one theme: women devoted to their careers are destined to die miserable and alone unless fate intervenes in the form of a Christmas miracle to show them they would be much happier married with children... and nicer. Happier and nicer. Unlike those mean old career ladies.
5. A Carol Christmas
A Christmas Carol retold with the Ebenezer Scrooge character depicted by Tori Spelling portraying Carol Cartman, a selfish talk show host. What is there to really say about this film except that Gary Coleman portrays the Ghost of Christmas Past?
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