Well the weather outside is frightful… but the fire is so delightful… and since we’ve got no place to go… what better time could there possibly be than now to make another list of terrible Christmas movies?
Bake some festively themed sugar cookies, grab your favourite brand of “eggnog”, and get ready to curl up under a warm blanket on the couch, because here’s my second list of 10 (technically 11) cinematic lumps of coal to watch that could potentially ruin the holiday season for you and your entire family if you’re not careful.
* Editor’s note - Hallmark Christmas movies are banned from being listed in this festive column. There’s simply way too many of them to sift through.
Honourable mention - Gumby’s Christmas Capers (1957)
If you’re looking for something mindnumbingly awful to watch, you can never go wrong with Gumby and his good pal Pokey. Gumby’s Christmas Capers didn’t make the official list because it’s just a bunch of shorts that only add up to 30 minutes, but watching all of them in a row was still painful enough that I started chugging eggnog about a minute in.
10. Jingle All The Way 2 (2014)
As a huge fan of Jingle All The Way starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad, this “sequel” with Larry the Cable Guy is downright disrespectful to the original’s enduring legacy! Despite the title it’s not a sequel, rather a stunningly bad remake/reboot. The reimagined plot features dad versus step dad in an all out battle to buy a talking bear toy for their daughter. More than a few eggnogs were needed to make it all the way through to the end, and I can only surmise it was produced solely to cash in on the original’s cult classic reputation.
9. Santa’s Little Helper (2015)
It’s not a “worst of” list without a Christmas movie starring a professional wrestler. This time around it’s WWE’s “The Miz” playing a businessman who gets fired from his job and is thrown into a competition to become one of Santa’s elves. I spent the majority of the 90 minute runtime gulping down eggnog and rolling my eyes at all the “jokes” that fell flat. Clearly made for kids, but why would you want to torture them with this kind of reindeer crud?
8. Pete’s Christmas (2013)
I found a bluray of Pete’s Christmas in the bargain bin and figured I’d give it a chance to see if it would make the list this year. If you’re in the mood to watch something bland that blatantly rips off Groundhog Day, look no further than this low budget made for TV snoozefest about a guy who’s forced to constantly relive Christmas day. I think I fell asleep about halfway through so I can’t remember how much eggnog I actually drank.
7. Jack Frost (1998)
I’d never seen Jack Frost before, but last year it was recommended to me by one of my Black Press colleagues (shoutout to Jessica Peters), so I made a mental note to give it a watch this season. I can’t say it was terrible because I did make it all the way to the end with no eggnog needed, but the film has a really emotionally manipulative storyline about an absentee father who dies in a car crash and then comes back to life as a snowman to help his traumatized son. The snowman has hilariously outdated special effects, which was the highlight of the film for me. Give it a watch if you’re in the mood to feel emotionally attacked this Christmas season, or if you just simply want to show your kids what CGI looked like before it was perfected.
6. Jack Frost (1997)
Another Jack Frost movie! This one’s not for kids though. Instead we get a “so bad it’s good” horror comedy about a serial killer who gets mutated into a murderous snowman and uses his newfound powers to exact revenge. Shot on an extremely low budget and not to be taken seriously at all, but with enough eggnog on hand, you’ll laugh the entire way through the brisk 90 minute runtime.
5. Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (2000)
The sequel to 1997’s Jack Frost is somehow even more low budget than the original and twice as ridiculous. The murderous snowman comes back to life and goes after the survivors of the first movie who’ve decided to go on a Christmas vacation to the Carribean. There was one point in the movie where I laughed so hard I accidentally choked on my eggnog and it came out my nose instead.
4. Reindeer Games (2000)
I happen to love this bloody Christmas crime thriller starring Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron, but I’ll also be the first to admit the storyline is absolutely ridiculous and you need a massive leap of faith in order to believe that the stupid third act plot twist could actually happen. If you’re wondering, Affleck plays a criminal who gets released at Christmas time and gets involved in a robbery with Theron and her “brother”. Eggnog will help make the plot twist easier to believe, but you’ll still be left scratching your head wondering how the screenwriter actually thought it was a good idea.
3. Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)
Last year I ripped into Home Alone 3, 4 and 5, so I figured I may as well take aim at the sixth movie in the series. There’s a spoiled British kid who’s left at home this time around, and a down on their luck couple, who you actually end up feeling sorry for by the end of the film, are the ones trying to break in to retrieve their missing property. The film does an okay job of swapping the original story around, but it’s still pretty bland. The kid is nowhere near as charismatic as Macauley Culkin, and the poor couple can’t hold a candle to the iconic wet bandits, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. I didn’t have any eggnog on hand when I watched it last year, which was quite the unfortunate decision on my part.
2. Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979)
“Is it really a Christmas film if it takes place in July?” Pipe down, this is my list and if I say it’s a Christmas movie it’s a Christmas movie.
That said, this seemingly forgotten Rankin/Bass stop-motion animation film is a wild mess of bizarre ideas strung together over an admittedly entertaining 95 minutes.
Rudolph’s nose stops glowing for some reason I can’t fully remember, Frosty the Snowman and his family (??) are given magic amulets to stop them from melting so they can all enjoy the fourth of July with everyone, and there’s an evil wizard named Winterbolt who lives in a lair with snow breathing dragons and a sleigh team made up of snakes.
What more can you ask for? I really enjoyed it, but let’s be honest here, all the eggnog I’d already consumed might’ve been the reason for that.
1. Fatman (2020)
I personally thought Fatman was a great movie, but I can also understand why my cousin Paul shut it off halfway through. Mel Gibson stars as Santa Claus, who unbeknownst to him, has a “hit” put out on him by an angry rich kid. Gibson makes for a great Santa and Walton Goggins is effectively creepy as the hitman who’s hired to track him down. With that said, the film is definitely a slow burn. It spends its sweet time building the characters and it takes forever for them to arrive at their final confrontation. You’ll either love it or hate it, there’s really no inbetween.
Pro tip, if you drink enough eggnog it’ll help get you through the slower parts of the movie where you’re wondering if things are ever going to pick up.
Tyson Whitney is a devout fan of cinema and the editor of the North Island Gazette in Port Hardy.