Christmas movies. For the most part I hate them. They all follow the same pattern; that Christmas is awesome, all you need is love, and other such boring predictable nonsense.
People that watch Christmas movies every year annoy me. Worse, people that watch the same movie year in, year out annoy me. Why, I ask? “Because you have to. It’s Christmas,” is normally the reply. That’s usually the same answer I get when I ask why we have to go to the Christmas Market. A film that somehow is designed to be watched at a certain time of year instantly goes on my ‘couldn’t care less’ list. Now, I’m not saying all Christmas movies are bad (although most of them are); it’s just this notion that because they involve Christmas, and because everyone loves Christmas, these movies get a free pass, no matter how awful they may be.
And the whole yearly thing gets on my nerves too. I watch a film again, because I like it or because it’s intriguing/interesting enough to merit a second or third viewing; not because the time of year dictates I should, nay, must watch it. And besides, I highly doubt I’m going to catch something on the ninth viewing of Home Alone that I didn’t pick up on the first time round. Other than that’s its still shit.
Now, before you go thinking I’m some sort of Christmas hating Scrooge (or an Anti-Claus; sorry) I should say that I love Christmas, but Christmas movies are usually so asinine to the point of insulting that I struggle to get any enjoyment out of them. Take a film like Miracle on 34th Street for example; the ending of that film is never in doubt. Come the close, everyone will know that Kris Kringle is actually Santa; everyone will have learned an important lesson and Christmas will be a happy and joyous time for all. It fills you with warm fuzzy feelings because, once again, everyone loves Christmas, and most people will forever think it’s a good movie because of the feeling it gave you rather than it actually being a decent film.
Even for a film that was fun the first time, like Elf, has become such a staple of the festive period that I can’t even hear people say that they’re going to watch it this Christmas without getting annoyed. And even it follows exactly the same template as Miracle on 34th Street, and countless other Christmas films. There’s no real jeopardy or excitement, nothing to get particularly worked up about or interested in and there’ll always be a character who absolutely hates Christmas at the beginning yet will come to love it by the time the credits roll, probably due to some now resolved childhood trauma where they didn’t get the present they wanted. The ungrateful swines.
To quote the Joker, I’d like Christmas films more if they would ‘introduce a little anarchy.’ A highly irreverent Christmas film would be wonderful in my opinion. Last year, we had Rare Exports, a rather bizarre Christmas film from Finland about an evil Santa Claus that was both utterly bonkers yet highly Christmassy. Ok, I doubt you’ll see it pop up on many Christmas TV schedules and it’d likely make Grandma choke on her turkey, but at least it did something different. A classic example of film that has all the hallmarks of a traditional Yuletide movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation which is genuinely funny, genuinely Christmassy, and genuinely truthful about this time of year. Yes, come the end it falls into the usual Christmas movie trappings but the preceding craziness and fun sets it apart from the usual tripe you see peddled on channels like Christmas 24.
TV seems to have gotten it right as far as Christmas episodes are concerned, with a lot of science fiction shows refusing to go outright sappy and putting their own festive spin on things. And yes, while a lot of shows usually end up doing their own take on Dickens’ Christmas Carol, such as Smallville Lexmas which, terrible title aside, actually subverts the moral of the Dickens story and has Lex turn even further to the dark side by the end of the episode, there’s still a lot of enjoyment to be had seeing familiar characters put in a classic setting. Then you have the Chuck episode, Chuck Versus the Santa Claus, which traps the Buy More staff in the store at the hands of a gunman all while wearing Santa hats and with fake snow all around. Again, this episode has a dark heart, with Sarah killing an unarmed man who knows Chuck’s secret, and then lying to Chuck about it. Supernatural’s Christmas episode titled…uh, A Very Supernatural Christmas has an evil Santa Claus, pagan gods, a dad being murdered in front of his son and fingernails being pulled but at the same time is a amazingly sweet episode which deals with the relationship between the brothers. Even the Misfits Christmas Episode has the gang killing Jesus. Ok, not the actual Jesus, but still…
So, do yourselves a favour. Seek out a different kind of Christmas film. Refuse to watch these middle of the road, unoriginal and uninspired festive offerings. You deserve a better standard of Christmas related entertainment.
And at the very least, there’s always Doctor Who. And for that, we should be very thankful.