Friday, November 09, 2007
Another holiday season,another silly Santa movie
Opening up today is the latest entry in the Christmas comedy movie catagory,Fred Claus,starring Vince Vaughn as Santa's older brother(Santa being played by Paul Giamatti)who clearly has issues about his younger sibling's fame. It seems like every year around this time,we get a goofy comedy about Jolly Old St. Nick and his associates that ends up sweetly promoting the holiday spirit.
While I have no interest in seeing Fred Claus(and apparently,neither do most of the critics),it does make me think about some of these flicks and which ones are really naughty or nice. So,let's make a list but we don't have to check it twice of Santa mythos movies that are meant to make you belly laughs that shake like a bowl full of jelly(these corny Christmas lines are addicting,I swear!):
THE SANTA CLAUSE
I'm not a big Tim Allen fan and have not watched either one of the sequels to this film(especially not the third one,with Martin Short as an evil Jack Frost)but I must 'fess up to liking the original film. It was a cute little number,about a divorced businessman becoming closer to his son and being less of a jealous jerk about the new stepfather in his child's life by reluctantly giving into his fate as the new Santa Claus.
My favorite character in the film was Bernard,the head elf(David Krumholtz,currently one of the leading men on Numb3ers). He had the right blend of by the book,let's get cracking practicality with the sincere spirit of the season:
I caught this movie on USA last year and damn if Will Ferrell didn't make this sitcom concept so amusing. The man truly has a flair for making naivety work for him in almost any crazy character based storyline(but it may be wearing a tad thin as a movie schtick). As Buddy,a misplaced human raised as a elf in Santa's workshop who goes to New York in search of his birth parents,Ferrell is quite the merry maypole that all of the other characters in the film dance around.
Some of his best scenes take place in a department store,where Buddy gets a job as a holiday helper,but he's not very helpful when it comes to backing up the store's own Santa:
Full disclosure: I haven't seen this movie but after watching a few of the clips from it on YouTube,I may have to add this sucker to my Netflix queue(see,Hollywood and Prince,how YouTube can be your friend when it comes to promoting the old as well as the new?). Billy Bob Thornton plays one of the worst store Santas to ever be allowed in contact with children who ironically winds up being a mentor to one sad sack of a kid,who endlessly Q&A him about Santa lore.
In reading up on this film,I was surprised to learn that John Ritter made his final live action film performance here(not too shocking since Ritter played a key role in Slingblade)and that Gilmore Girls' Lauren Graham plays a love interest of Thornton's. Neither one of them appear in this medley of moments from the movie(which is so not work and/or kid safe)but knowing that makes me definately decide that Bad Santa belongs on my rental list:
This is another "not for the kids" holiday movie,with Adam Goldberg starring as the bad ass detective assigned to save Hannukah from Santa's evil anti-Semite son Damien(played by Andy Dick),who wants to wipe it off the Yuletide landscape. Most of the jokes are big and broad,not to mention that most of the punchlines are stereotype based,but that doesn't mean it's not good. It's an acquired taste,to be sure.
The movie really didn't get much of a theaterical release(most of it's fans probaly caught it on Comedy Central,like I did)but it is available on DVD and occasionally on cable. If you're in the mood for some unorthodox laughs,look no further:
SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS
Finally,what Christmas comedy list would be complete without this classic so bad it's good campy delight,with Pia Zadora as a Martian girl so fascinated by Earth's St. Nick that her daddy has him kidnapped and taken to their planet to cheer her and her brother up. From the shriekingly cheerful theme song to the pathetic attempts at f/x,this cult film is fun for all.
The best way to watch it is with the MST3K crew,who jump on it like a dog to a soup bone. The original gang of Joel and the bots are at their finest form in movie mockery,along with Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank. Believe it or not,there are rumors floating around about a possible remake of this film but I sincerely doubt it could be any more entertaining than the godawful goodie bag of holiday hijinks that was first made back in 1964:
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