Film Review Special: Christmas 2012 Review
Christmas Film Review 2012
Half of my genes come from Jewish stock and the other from that group of Scottish people who were smart enough to both get jobs following the North Sea oil profits south of the border and then spend their free time not really believing in god. Predictably this could lead to some of you none existent readers claiming I’m not really entitled to celebrate Christmas. To which I’d reply, fuck off, I listened to those shit song about Christmas nights, or Christmas troubles or Jesus, and I watched that god awful Asda advert that set back (or more accurately pissed in the face of) the cause of gender equality. I’ve earned the right to a day of family arguments and depressing television, besides if my ancestors on the Jewish side hadn’t bravely paid a dude 30 pieces of silver to betray a dude to some Roman dudes, then the 25th of December might not have become the day of bad cracker jokes and pudding that tastes like burnt wood you all know and love.
Credentials thus established, I’m doing a Christmas film review and I’m not just reviewing any Christmas film, oh no, I’m reviewing the pièce de résistance of Christmas films, the Terminator 2 of Christmas films, my personal favourite Christmas film. I don’t usually encourage the idea of a favourite; I’ve learned from experience that favourites change. Musically I once thought any road not leading to Blink 182 was a road best not travelled, now it’s ska-punk in general, headed by the likes of The Arrogant Sons of Bitches, Streetlight Manifesto, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and a Sheffield band a guy with the surname Brown introduced me to called Bison. Favourite is a description with an ever changing meaning, that’s progression, or regression depending on how you see it. You can mark specific times in your life by what was or wasn’t your favourite, which is cool but kind of means there will probably never really be a true, definitive favourite
The test of time is the mark, and sticking to the (possibly overly) optimistic thought I have plenty of time left to both expand and refine my tastes, I don’t encourage the idea of a favourite………………… Except in this case, cause the film I’m about to review perfectly sums up what Christmas is about; It’s got star studded cameos, runs roughshod through the spectrum of human emotion and permeates a kind of brutal honesty that’s stood the test of time. It’ll remain my favourite Christmas film even if I’m unlucky enough to reach old age, I speak of course, of JIGNLE ALL THE WAY
Film Review: Jingle All The Way
Director: Brian Levant (1996)
For those not in the know, Brian Levant is the genius whose work (Problem Child 2, Beethoven, Are we there yet, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas) shaped a generation’s taste for puerile humour and impressed upon them a healthy tolerance level for bad child actors. You could justifiably argue any one of Levant’s epics is his finest, but for me it’s the combination of Levant’s trademark style and the thespian calibre a true great like Arnold Schwarzenegger possesses, merged with the season of goodwill and jolliness that not only gives Jingle All The Way the number one spot on the list, but also allows it to stand as a beacon of hope on the podium of life.
Ho Ho Holy infant so tender and mild, it’s time for a Christmas plot summary………..
Arnold ‘Governator’ Schwarzenegger takes top billing as Howard Langston, a workaholic with the job title ‘mattress salesman’. Fans of world peace will be relieved to hear Howard is a hell of a mattress seller, even at Christmas during the office Christmas party he’s working late and taking phone calls from customers (each of which he refers to as his favourite). Unfortunately, no one ever considers the price at which such attentiveness comes and Howard’s family are the ones who suffer the most.
Howard’s pre-teen son Anakin Jamie (Jake Lloyd, yes as in that Jake Lloyd) is the biggest victim, being forced to endure the indignity of having his yellow karate belt upgraded to purple (yes I know, no martial art in the history of man goes from yellow belt to purple, but it’s Christmas damn it, miracles happen and if anyone can be trusted with such details, it’s a mind like Levant’s) without the sight of his dad watching proudly from the stands. Howard did try (once sure he’d spread as many mattresses as possible) to make it to the karate class, but the traffic was bad, and when he understandably tried to use the hard shoulder, traffic officer Alexander Hummell (Robert Conrad) a dick with a grudge against Christmas cheer and a taste for bomb disposal (comes up later) intervened. A humiliating sobriety test followed, a sobriety test that left Howard’s fatherly bond with Anakin Jamie left in tatters.
It didn’t go down too well with Howard’s wife Liz (Rita Wilson) who’s already stuck dealing with the unwanted (and incredibly-credibly sleazy) antics of neighbour Ted (Phil Hartman, who played Troy McClure in The Simpsons and should never ever change his voice for anything in the world, ever, seriously, voices like his should be bottled up in jars and sold whenever anyone needs a reason to smile, so good is Phil Hartman’s voice, I’d have sex with it). Ted is a divorcee whose kid worships him even though the man never sold a mattress in his life.
Luckily, it’s soon ascertained Howard did once attend a karate-belt-giving-thing of Anakin’s Jamie’s and so he gets given a second chance. Give him a Turbo Man doll (which is a bit like Action Man, meets Buzz Lightyear in a bath of cocaine belonging to The Red Power Ranger) for Christmas, thereby cementing his role as a loving father, or fail in this quest and ruin not only his Christmas, but Jamie’s life, forever. A fact I’ll come to again later.
Unluckily, Howard, his head no doubt filled with the bedroom related comfort needs of the masses, selflessly forgot to buy Jamie a Turbo Man doll, and so, with the mocking yet oh so soothing dulcet tones of Ted, and (Ted’s pet Reindeer) in his ears, he must venture on an epic quest to find a Turbo man doll, thereby saving Christmas.
If you’re somehow enough of a cretin to doubt just how great a Christmas film Jingle All The Way is, then the paragraph after the next one should put you in your place, so read on, but start preparing your place now.
Sadly, the most obvious places to find Dolls, the nation’s toy stores, are all sold out of Turbo Man dolls, they do have plenty of Turbo Man’s sidekick doll Booster, but that’s for a reason. Booster is giant, pink half-sabre-toothed-tiger-half-fluffy-bear thing that parents will willingly let their children mob around and kick when given the opportunity (which they get given during a parade, more on that later). Booster, is basically a toy for neglectful sissy dad’s and Howard aint no sissy neglectful dad, he’s just a misunderstood mattress salesman, unfortunately this puts him in conflict with one of the greatest film characters in history, Myron Larabee (a now bankrupt Sinbad), the last angry black mailman. I’m not just saying that either, when we meet Myron, he rants about being a mailman, a fight with Howard later and the next time we see him he uses ‘what Jesse Jackson was talking about’ to try and be Howard’s partner, yeah right, this mattress salesman aint teaming up with no early rising letter delivering fool, fuck that!
Aside from Myron (and this is the paragraph that puts you in your place), Howard is forced to face off with a crooked black-market Santa (played by James ‘no the good brother was called John’ Belushi) and his evil assistant Tony the Elf (Danny Woodburn, who went on to much much better things). Evil Santa and Tony the Elf try to sell our hero an INFERIOR MEXICAN PRODUCT. The end result; Howard has to throw down with a bunch of Santa clauses including a giant that was played by WWF (now WWE cause otherwise Pandas would die) wrestler Paul The Big Show Wight. Oh and at one unrelated point Howard knocks a reindeer out in one punch, yeah, told you Jingle All The Way was worth watching, yeah, enjoy being in your place much.
There’s a bunch of other stuff which revolves around a radio show and that dick cop Hummell, but the real poignant stuff takes place in a bar. Howard randomly runs into Myron for the umpteenth time, and discovers that Myron isn’t the way he is because he’s a mailman, or angry or black, no, it’s because his father didn’t get him the precise toy he wanted one Christmas many years ago. Ever since that disappointment it’s been a downward spiral to being Sinbad. It’s a scene that really brings home what’s at stake, don’t get your kid the precise toy every other kid is getting, and bang, they’re darkside fucked for life, take that socialism and charity, materialism is the true saviour……………… well that and Jesus or so I’ve heard.
After that it’s some explosive stuff at the radio show I previously mentioned but probably could have held off mentioning till now, and then a big fuck off parade where Howard has to not only save Jamie’s Christmas, but literally his life in a convoluted plot development involving jetpacks and midget balls of fluff, oh and there’s a giant Booster played by a guy that sounds like Gilbert Gottfried who parents let their kids kick the shit out of, can’t forget that.
Plot summary ends.
What film could better sum up Christmas? Kids get their dream toy (of the moment), and neglectful (even if it’s for a just cause like mattress selling) parents get a chance to redeem themselves. The stakes are high, and if it goes wrong, family ties are broken irreparably regardless of how many karate lessons you’re mattress sales paid for. It’s exactly the type of stuff Jesus was talking about.
Merry Christmas one and all…………………except rapists……………………….. and terrorists……………………………. Oh and corrupt government officials…………… while I’m at it I can’t forget the racist sports fans……………. also anyone connected to the detention techniques used against Bradley Manning, The Mayan’s, the next fuck who tells me the world’s going to end because of the Mayans, Child murderers (including those encouraged to do so by their none-existent god or gods)……………………Daily Mail readers……………..none-supporters of independent film, every single person who wants to be prime minister, every fuck out there who when told I make films thinks it’s funny to respond with ‘what, porn films?’……………my former facebook friends who found themselves deleted after one instagram pic of their food too many…………………….The Tory party………………………anyone who thinks their faith makes them right, the monkeys of Sri Lanka and finally anyone who says a bad word about Sheffield Pete
Written By Sam ‘Was a Problem Child 2 too’ McKinstrie
Unnecessarily on twitter as McKinstHFP
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