‘Tis the season to be jolly, but some holiday movies will put their viewers in a sour mood. To keep everyone feeling nothing but cheer, The Daily Texan has compiled a list of movies to avoid this winter.
Jingle All the Way
An outrageous and unfunny satire of the commercialization of Christmas, “Jingle All the Way” stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a workaholic father on a quest to get his son (Jake Lloyd) a coveted action figure. Along the way, he encounters ruthless shoppers, crazy mall Santas, and a mailman (Sinbad) who wants to get the same toy for his own son. “Jingle All the Way” is wrong on so many levels, but Schwarzenegger playing the average suburban dad might go down in history as one of the most unconvincing castings of all time.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Director Ron Howard’s adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss story adapts Whoville into live-action too faithfully, resulting in a grotesque world filled with frightening-looking characters that will give the kids nightmares and make the grownups barf. In spite of a lively and enthralling performance by Jim Carrey in the title role, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” destroys the simplicity of its source material thanks to a bleak, convoluted script loaded with unnecessary backstories.
No, this isn’t “Jack Frost,” the family comedy starring Michael Keaton as a deceased father reincarnated as his son’s snowman. This is “Jack Frost,” the horror movie about a deceased murderer reincarnated as a killer snowman. To be fair, it’s a B-movie, and an intentionally bad one. However, beyond one ludicrous scene involving a shower, the film is rarely clever enough to be fun.
A Christmas Story 2
A cash grab sequel in every sense of the term, “A Christmas Story 2” was released straight-to-DVD in 2012. It shamelessly rips off the original picture so much that the movie can be called nothing less than offensive. “A Christmas Story 2” features Ralphie (Braeden Lemasters) as a teenager vying for the affections of his crush while struggling to raise funds to repair a car he damaged. While Ralphie was charmingly awkward in the original film, here he’s unlikable and occasionally creepy. Unlike his crush, viewers shouldn’t give this one a shot.
A faith-based dud from the much-maligned Kirk Cameron, “Saving Christmas” is less a movie and more a cheesy, unconvincing sermon that connects Christmas traditions with out-of-context details from the Bible. In a vomit-inducing display of his lack of self-awareness, Cameron spends most of the movie telling us about the point of the movie. Viewers will spend most of it asleep
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2
A Christmas-themed slasher about an insane killer (Eric Freeman) who seeks revenge on a nun (Lilyan Chauvin) responsible for the death of his brother. Replete with unintentionally hilarious line delivery by Freeman, “Part 2” is the kind of horror movie that scares people because it demonstrates how low human creativity can stoop.
Christmas with the Kranks
Safe and unremarkable, “Christmas with the Kranks” is a clichéd cash cow for stars Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. They play the titular Kranks, a couple who has decided to skip Christmas because they don’t want to celebrate it without their traveling daughter. The Kranks’ refusal to celebrate Christmas draws the ire of their neighbors, and what ensues is a story that urges its audience to celebrate a holiday because everyone else does. Just like its characters, “Christmas with the Kranks” conforms to expectations, and audiences will leave it feeling cold.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Kevin McAllister’s (Macaulay Culkin) escapades in the first “Home Alone” were heartwarming and fun, but his second adventure is downright mean-spirited. In “Home Alone 2,” Kevin gets lost in New York City and once again encounters his sworn enemies, a pair of incompetent burglars played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. The film attempts to translate cartoon violence into live-action, and the result isn’t funny – when Kevin’s elaborate booby traps work their magic, one can practically feel the burglars’ horrendous pain. “Home Alone 2” is a sequel that tries to be bigger and more bombastic than its predecessor, but it loses sight of the qualities that made the first great.
Santa with Muscles
Selfish millionaire Blake Thorn, played by Hulk Hogan (yes, you read that correctly), comes to think he’s Santa Claus after sustaining a head injury. Using his mighty fists, Blake stops an evil scientist (Ed Begley, Jr.) from destroying an orphanage to obtain the crystals beneath it. There’s no universe where “Santa with Muscles” isn’t dumb, and Hulk Hogan is a poor choice for a leading man. There are movies that are so bad they’re good, but few will be able to sit through this slog and laugh even once.
Director David Dobkin illuminates the life of Santa Claus’s (Paul Giamatti) greedy older brother, Fred (Vince Vaughn), who must repay a favor from Santa by working in the North Pole. Vaughn’s fast-talking performance drags down this dull, schmaltzy flick, which often lingers on slapstick scenes that never come close to being funny and wastes a talented cast including Kevin Spacey and Rachel Weisz. “Fred Claus” does have one touching scene at its climax, but it’s hardly worth the arduous viewing experience.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” tells the story of Martians who kidnap Santa to have him bring joy to children on Mars. Besides its cheap-looking sets and astoundingly bad acting, this sci-fi holiday movie mashup is remembered for its high level of cheese. It occupies an echelon of stupidity that murders brain cells. Santa might have conquered the Martians, but this film is far from a win.
Deck the Halls
Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito play two neighbors warring over who has the most Christmas spirit. Their battle involves a series of boring slapstick set pieces that culminate in both men realizing that Christmas is about friendship and love — how predictable.