My picks for the two holiday movies you and your family should avoid like a zombie plague this season…
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)–F
Jack Frost (1998)–D-
by Martin Haber
I love holiday movies. In fact, as I sit here writing this, I have been sitting and watching holiday TV shows and movies in order to get into the Christmas spirit. However, I also have to admit that while I love many of these films, a few are absolute trash. A few are sorry low-budget dreck like the Mexican film Santa Claus (1959) (its plot involves a fight between Santa and Satan!!) or Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964) (the title pretty much says it all). These are bad, but given their financial limitations and insane plots, you pretty much expect what you get. The ones that really annoy me are the big-budgeted mega-productions–movies that really have no excuses for being THAT bad.
My first choice of an over-bloated and awful Christmas movie is a film that was very successful–the 2000 version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The movie packed folks into the theaters by the millions all over the world and the film was merchandised about as heavily as the average Star Wars film! And, the studio executives laughed themselves silly counting their money. Yet, I have the nerve to say that I absolutely despise the movie and especially hate how it was marketed. I remember before the film debuted how they brought out Theodore Geisel’s wife (that’s Mrs. Dr. Seuss by the way) to say that the film was exactly as Ted would have wanted it to be. Sure…and pro athletes never use steroids. The bottom line is that the original meaning behind the film was completely lost. In fact, it was completely BACKWARDS! Originally, the citizens of Whoville were sweet folks who really knew about the Christmas spirit–that it’s NOT all about presents and toys. Here in this $100,000,000 plus film, it’s the Grinch who thinks this is how Christmas SHOULD be but the Whos are all greedy and into the commercialization of the holidays! Considering that it is a film from a huge mega-corporation, this makes it even more frustrating. And so, instead of a wonderful and heart-warming story about decency and goodness (like the old cartoon), it’s basically a sellout film that is focused pretty much completely on Jim Carey’s antics and merchandising.
The other film I thoroughly hate is Jack Frost…which, fortunately, was not a huge box office champ–though sadly it did make money. The film is so bizarre and creepy that I wonder why anyone considered making it in the first place. The heartwarming plot is about a father (Michael Keaton) who is so self-absorbed in his trying to make it big with his band that he pretty much ignores his family. When he should have been home with his family for the holiday, he was out of the road…and dies in a car accident! It already sounds fun, right?! Then, inexplicably, the guy is soon reincarnated as a super-ugly and creepy walking, talking snowman!! While this sounds stupid, it really is much more awful than it sounds due to the special effects that bring this abomination to life. You ultimately know that this ‘thing’ will soon melt and wonder if there’s any point to it. Is there anything I liked about this film? Well, yes, Keaton’s singing was surprisingly good. But considering he only sings a tiny bit in the movie, there really is no reason to see this terrible film. And the kids will most likely be bored or terrified (borified?!).
As I said already, I do actually like holiday films and I want you to look for a follow-up article on a few terrific holiday movies–they are out there! But just because films like Jack Frost and How The Grinch Stole Christmas are played again and again and again each December does NOT mean you need to watch them or let your kids watch them. Heck…watching a blank TV screen would be better than watching these two Christmas turkeys!