“I really like Christmas. It’s sentimental, I know, but I just really like it.” This first line of one of my favorite Christmas songs pretty much sums up my feelings about Christmas. There’s nothing like it. From just before Thanksgiving on, the anticipation of Christmas is palpable. The nip in the air, the lights, the gifts, the parties, and the decorations all explode in an array of colors both inside and out. The joy of the season is amplified by an orgy of food, friends, family, and of course films. Holiday films if you prefer, although I can’t think of any good Hanukkah movies, so let’s focus on the only films that really matter – the ones surrounding the big JC’s b-day.
The problem with my love of Christmas and my love of movies is Hollywood. They take advantage of people like me, people who have the urge to turn on Christmas music in the fourth quarter of the Detroit Lions game; people who want all of their senses experiencing Christmas. Unfortunately, each year Hollywood gives lovers of Christmas everywhere the finger by putting out winter crapfests in an attempt to play on our emotions towards the season. It’s a money grab that even Scrooge himself would envy.
It’s now time for the world to acknowledge that just as Spike Lee has the sense to call his movies “joints” rather than films, so too should Christmas movies be identified as a lower class of film. I’d put them somewhere above B movies and the earlier mentioned NYU grad’s drivel, but not quite on the same level as legitimate mainstream film. Parental advisory stickers can be placed on Holiday films so we know just what level of crap is coming.
To assist Hollywood in correctly classifying Christmas movies, I have come up with my own rating system for Holiday films:
Rated JM (for John McClane)
These Christmas movies are very close to legitimate films, and are often mistaken for them, but do not be deceived. These are Christmas films because they take advantage of the Christmas time of year and a backdrop of Christmas. Those greedy bastards in Hollywood know that if you throw some snow or a Santa suit in the mix, some cable affiliate somewhere will replay it at least once annually. Some of these films even try to pass as legitimate films by being released sometime other than winter. We aren’t fooled. These include Die Hard 1 and 2, Trading Places, Gremlins, and Lethal Weapon to just name a few.
Rated JC (for Jesus Christ)
These are religious movies. Nuff said. In addition to manipulating our love of Christmas, the chosen people of Hollywood know the best way to guarantee ticket purchases around the holidays is to combine the Christmas season with religious guilt. Americans everywhere are thrilled to show how they remember the reason for the season by watching a crappy movie about the only story everyone knows. The Nativity and Jesus of Nazereth are really the only two that come to mind, but I’m sure there are more (I was going to include the Jesus Chainsaw Massacre also known as the Passion of the Christ, but I’ll save that for my Easter blog)
Rated S (for Santa)
These movies are blatant in their manipulation of everyone’s love for Christmas. Any film that has Santa, an elf, or a reindeer as a character, takes place in the North Pole, or has Christmas in its title fits this category. These films include most animated movies released around Christmas, The Santa Clause series, Elf, Santa Claus: The Movie, All I want for Christmas, Christmas Vacation, and of course the annoying Fred Claus. I’ll also throw in that movie with the kid that was molested by Michael Jackson.
Rated RC (not Romantic Comedy, but Romantic Christmas)
These films may be known as white Christmas, because Hollywood assumes black people don’t celebrate Christmas, or fall in love. These films may also be known as upper class white people need love too. The plot surrounds some rich annoying yuppie falling in love with another rich annoying yuppie or with their awkward opposite around Christmas. Puke! Love Actually, Just Friends, Four Christmases, The Holiday, While You Were Sleeping, and The Family Stone barely scratch the surface.
Rated CCTV (Crappy Christmas on TV)
I assume they make these because 90210 actors and Rob Lowe gotta eat. They put some actor that hasn’t been relevant since the 80’s or 90’s in some made for TV movie and throw it up on either the Hallmark Channel or ABC Family when it isn’t running one of the Harry Potters. I can’t even bring myself to write some of these titles, but my wife’s seen them all.
So there it is. The blight on filmmaking that is the holiday film – Bah Humbug!
By Matt—Lunchtime Movie Review