It has been the December tradition for me to offer Yulemala offerings here at the Satellite Show. Unfortunately, we’ve reached the point where all I have left is the not-that-bad Blizzard (featuring Whoopi Goldberg as the voice of a talking reindeer) and the utterly unremarkable Deck the Halls.
This was the last Christmas flick we screened at Yakmala and in its wake, we moved Best of to the December slot, inducting The Night They Saved Christmas into the Hall of Fame. Every year, we think about a Yulemala, but that means actually watching Christmas movies. I actually watched one on Netflix the other night on the advice of a friend and while it was laughable at spots, it was very slow and its ambition clocked in around 3 or 4 watts (the official measurement of a film’s creative hopes). All the other Yulemala entries work because they are a.) entertaining and b.) rather ambitious.
Yeah, even Santa Claus: The Movie has a certain ambition that is quite striking when you identify it.
And this is the pattern for a lot of the Christmas offerings. They’re too gentle for our purposes. This leads us to the “Christmas Blows” subgenre, the best of which is undoubtedly Jingle All the Way. The worst (er, “most mediocre”): Deck the Halls. The problem with using these movies is that they do succeed at their intended purpose. The mock the modern drudgery of the holiday season while still ending on a treacle note of brothership and familyhood. I suppose that makes Jingle All the Way all the more remarkable as it makes three or four complete orbits around its own intended purpose, still ends up being a bad Christmas movie AND manages to be wildly entertaining in spite of itself.
So where does that leave us? Well, I happen to have a Lifetime flick called On Strike for Christmas starring Princess Vespa from Spaceballs and other people. We’ve considered the sea of Lifetime movies for awhile and it seems we may finally dip our toes into that pool as something surprising happened on Monday evening that warmed my two sizes too-small heart.
The gang wants a Yulemala. They even suggested films. It’s a Christmas Miracle.
Marcia Gay Harden? Chris Elliot in an awful wig?? PETER O’TOOLE???? All of them in a Christmas-themed “Thomas Kinkade Begins” schmaltzfest? How could such a thing escape my notice?
At this point, the plan is to pair this with the Hulk Hogan classic Santa with Muscles and a third film to be agreed upon later. There are options. There’s the infamous Elle Fanning Nutcracker in 3D which is two cups of insanity and one pound of uncomfortable Nazi imagery. No, for serious. There’s a flick called The Elf Who Didn’t Believe, which, from the clip watched, abounds in stilted dialogue and anti-corporate messages. There’s Kelsey Grammer in Mr. St. Nick. Oh dear lord! And, of course, On Strike for Christmas.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been suffering from Holiday season blues something fierce this year, but I think this just about brought the Spirit of Christmas (food and brothership) back into my withered old soul.
Not sure if I hit every old hoary Christmas Chestnut, but here’s one more: Yes, Virgina, there is always another bad Christmas movie.