Tis the season… #3: Monkey’s Xmas Movie Marathon

One of the things I remember loving as a kid was that glorious, inexorable build up towards Christmas. Teachers became increasingly apathetic. Parents more frantic and thus more susceptible to nagging. And from about mid December onwards you always found yourself inundated with crappy Christmas themed movies.

Movies about Christmas angels teaching children the true meaning of the holiday season. Movies about old men who may… or may not… but just may actually be ol’ jolly Saint Nick. The Christmas episodes of your favorite cartoons (how were the Flintstones celebrating the birth of Christ in prehistoric Bedrock? Magic). And who of my generation has successfully managed to block out 1985’s ‘Santa Claus: The Movie’? Someone actually thought it was a good idea to make THIS guy:

John Lithgow in a more stable moment

… the villain in a live action kid’s film about Santa. And for him to say “Puce Juice” a lot.

However times passes. Childhood ends. Innocence dies. As do puppies. But at least we still got da movies!

Christmas movies have become an exercise in out’n’out suckitude recently. God knows what possessed Vince Vaughn to make ‘Fred Claus’ and ‘Four Holidays’ back to back. I hear ‘Elf’ is alright, but I think I can live without seeing Will Ferrell in tights.

Nor do I have ANY interest in seeing Tim Allen play Santa over and over and over again. Tim Allen? You just know that someone out there remembered that retarded ‘hoh hoh hoh hoh’ sound he used to make on ‘Home Improvement’ and screamed “Eureka! Hoh hoh hoh? What about ho ho ho! Gentlemen, we have our Santa!”

Go back to Tool Time, asshole!

That being said, I have a few festive faves tucked up my sleeves, and no, none of them are the usual It’s A Wonderful Miracle on a Reindeer’s Christmas Carol. Or whatever.

Ladies and gents, the Monkey’s Top 5 Yuletide Movies of choice:

5. JINGLE ALL THE WAY

Yes, I’m recommending another movie I haven’t actually seen. I spent a cumulative total of 6 years working in video and DVD stores, and you wouldn’t believe the demand for this piece of shit from December 20th-24th. The other 51 weeks of the year? Nada.

Just enjoy the idea that someone convinced the mighty Arnold Schwarzenegger that pulling THAT face was the best way to promote his movie. And to think during filming he could have ‘accidentally’ snapped Jake Lloyd and spared us all that particular take on Anakin Skywalker…

4. HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMASSir Anthony Hopkins solemnly narrating a Dr. Seuss book is weird. All those people wearing bizarre Seuss-ian make-up is weirder still. But one urban legend about this movie takes the cake…

Ron Howard wanted to audition Jim Carrey for the role of the titular green sominabitch. Unfortunately he chose to audition him whilst Jim was in the midst of making cruddy Andy Kaufman biopic, ‘Man on the Moon’. Carrey went completely cuckoo-magoo playing Kaufman, so much so that he had to audition as Andy Kaufman playing Jim Carrey playing The Grinch. One can only guess at what went through Howard’s mind… before bringing Carrey on board and paying him an estimated $20 million for his performance.

It IS the season for giving I guess.

3. SCROOGED

Because there was a time when all Bill Murray cared about was being pants-shittingly funny. A dark take on the Christmas Carol we’ve seen a billion times, this movie was supposed to be darker still until studio execs came to their senses / ruined our fun. Brief glimpses of what this movie should have been are seen in the little details…

Murray plays Frank Cross, a heartless TV exec (there’s another kind?) that needs to learn the true meaning of blahblahblah. Behind Frank’s desk, his wall is emblazoned in huge letters with the dictionary definition-like:

‘Cross – something people get nailed to’.

Ouch! If you haven’t seen it, you won’t be disappointed.

2. BAD SANTAIn what must have been quite a stretch for Billy Bob Thornton, he plays an ill-tempered, child hating, alcoholic asshole who takes a job as a department store Santa so as to rob it with his midget crim buddy, who’s posing as an elf.

Of the 5 movies I’m listing, ‘Bad Santa’ easily has the most anal sex jokes (unless there’s deleted scenes in The Grinch I haven’t seen yet), which makes it fun for the whole family in my book. You gather round the tree, eating pudding and sugar cookies whilst Junior asks you what “You’re not gonna shit right for a week” means… now THAT’S Christmas. Yup, it’s gonna be a while before we get the Rankin & Bass version of ‘Bad Santa’.

Sharp writing, great performances… the only thing lacking that could have pushed this film to another level was Bill Murray, who had to withdraw from the project due to scheduling issues with ‘Lost in Translation’. Damn you, Sofia Coppola!

1. DIE HARDIt taught us how to laugh. It taught us how to love. It taught us how to make fists with our toes…

‘Die Hard’.

How is this a Christmas film? Well, it DOES take place on Christmas eve. It DOES have Christmas music (as performed by Run DMC). And we even get a weird Santa impression from Alan ‘Motherf’n’ Rickman.

Not only do we get Bruce Willis turning the cool factor up to 11, but its a film that espouses the purest ideals of the season. John McClane always puts his family first, even when his wife changes her last name (oh that Holly Gennaro). He’s always prepared to give (machine gun fire) rather than receive. By sharing and caring with his new black cop buddy Al, John helps Al to learn and grow and to eventually kill again (death by cop, baby). And just like Jesus, he’ll pummel a Euro-scum terrorist to death with his bare hands if the situation calls for it.

We could all stand to learn something from John McClane.

Until next time, I’ll be adding that chesty Bonds singlet to my Christmas list and trying to achieve male pattern baldness as quickly as possible. May your days be Yippee-kay-ay and Motherfucker,

BPM

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