Yes friends, it’s time to discuss the “Christmas Blows” movie. It was a trend that began with this 1996 film and continued a good ten years. The concept is simple: a “middle-class” father gets preoccupied with one tiny facet of Christmas, gets into a fight with another similarly preoccupied, but lower class, father. Their rows cause a lot of damage for the town. In the end, both learn Christmas is about the spirit of brotherhood and friendship — or “brothership” as I like to say. So, let’s take a look at the film that started it all, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s opus, “Jingle All the Way.”
Plot: The Terminator plays one Howard Langston, an overworked business man who has a hard time connecting with his kid Jaime (“Star Wars” destroyer Jake Lloyd). Howard misses the kid’s soccer game or school play or appendix surgery. You know the scene. He’s so busy working, he leaves late and gets caught in traffic. Of course, this being “Jingle All the Way,” this means we have to watch Arnold do the drunk driving test. Get used to the cop that stops him. He’ll be popping up later.
Howard tries to apologize to the kid, this somehow leads to the kid (poorly) acting out a commercial for the number one Christmas toy of the season: Turbo Man!
They put some effort into the toy as it almost seems like a product one would find on store shelves. It’s the closest this film gets to reality.
Howard promises to get one … and is later informed by his wife (Rita Wilson) that he was supposed to pick one up months ago because tomorrow is Christmas Eve Day! (GASP)
Forced into going Christmas shopping in the hopes of finding a Turbo Man, Howard claims he’s going to the office, much to little Annie’s — er, I mean his kid’s dismay. The family is supposed to go the Minneapolis Christmas Eve parade. Turbo Man’s going to be there!
As he’s leaving, he sees his neighbor (the late great Phil Hartman in a role that will bring you to tears because it’s a damn shame that dumb bitch killed him and not Andy Dick) taking his reindeer for a walk. I’m not kidding. The neighbor casually mentions he has a Turbo Man under the tree and secured months ago. Only a real idiot would try to find one now, on Christmas Eve.
At his fist stop, Howard meets Myron (Sinbad). I guess he’s supposed to be a half-employed mail man. Though wearing a traditional uniform, the logos on his coat and jacket suggest he works for a private parcel service. Myron goes on a rant about how greedy toy companies under manufacture the toys as part of some evil winter time plot. I think it’s adapted from Sinbad’s comedy routine, because he delivers the speech with that sort of “Evening at the Improv” cadence. At the end of it, he discovers he’s strangling another mother desperate to get into the toy shop. When it opens, Myron and Howard are laughed at because they both want a Turbo Man.
Thus begins their epic battle to find the toy. Over the next hour, the two will pull pranks and assault each other in a dark and disturbing way that just shouts “Christmas!” I’m not going to outline them all, except for this gem: Howard and Myron rush to a radio station because they promise a Turbo Man to the first person who came name all of Santa’s reindeer. As Howard tells the panicked DJ the answer, Myron arrives, pulls a package from his bag and announces it is a “explosive” device. This turns out to be a ruse, but a few minutes later, he pulls the same trip on the police. As Howard and Myron escape, the cop who pulled over Howard arrives and claims the box is a harmless package.
Eventually, Howard ends up playing Turbo Man at the parade. Myron assaults the guy playing Turbo Man’s rival and steals the costume. They vie for the special edition parade Turbo Man with um … it’s the exact same doll we’ve bee seeing the whole movie. Jaime almost falls off a building and Howard leans how to fly.
I’m not kidding.
In the end, Jame gives the doll to Myron. When Howard ask why, Jaime (poorly) delivers the line. “I’ve got the real Turbo Man at home!” Which sounds a little pervy when you think about it.
Analysis: Fucking stupid bitch! The death of Phil Hartman makes me equal parts sad and enraged every time I think about it. By all accounts, Phil was the kindest person in comedy. His presences alone could hold a poorly written sketch together on “Saturday Night Live.” His Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure characters on “The Simpsons” are a classic.
His wife, Brynn Hartman, was stupid selfish coke-whore bitch. She shot him and then herself. In a sane world, Hartman would have lived and made his dream project, “Troy McClure in ‘The Contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Horatio Hufnagel‘” I’m not kidding. He wanted to make a live action Troy McClure movie.
As for the film itself, the unpleasant property damage nature is unsettling. This is highlighted by the very odd bomb sequence, which ends with a Looney Toons style button. While, like Crow T. Robot, I think a good action sequence belongs at Christmas, this particular moment in the film just, to me, comes from the deepest trenches of some screenwriter’s battered soul. It also comes to typify the kind of hijinks subsequent “Christmas Blows” movies aspire to.
That’s all that needs to be said.
“Jingle All the Way” is by far more watchable than other films in the “Christmas Blows” subgenre. At out last Yulemala celebration, we watched “Deck the Halls,” which was a painful experience. At least in this film, you have the soon to be former Governor of California shouting “Jaime!” and “Put that cookie down!” in ways only he can.
I think the film can be best summed up by my girlfriend’s daughter. She watched the film in absolute silence until the Christmas parade. The scene cuts to a shot of a balloon made to look like a certain red-nosed reindeer. “Rudolph!” she shouts with a certain glee. Her favorite part: a two second shot of a character in a much better Christmas show.