Christmas movies are great. Or, rather, as a general rule Christmas movies are great. The stop-motion classic Santa ClauseIs Comin’ to Town takes us on a nostalgic trip back to the Christmases of our childhood. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas envelopes us in all of the warm Christmas feels that each new Hallmark Christmas movie attempts to duplicate. However, among the great Christmas movies that we enjoy every year are sprinkled some clumps of movie coal. Some Christmas movies are downright awful, as the following list proves.
6. Saving Christmas
I was fully prepared to scorn this Kirk Cameron vehicle because I don’t get too worked up about the “War on Christmas.” I mean, if corporations like Target and Starbucks stop using the name of Jesus as a marketing tool, I’m all for that. Except, oddly enough, Saving Christmas isn’t even really about the “War on Christmas.” It’s a movie that seems to encourage Christians to embrace the secular aspects of the holiday. And it does so in a very poorly written, acted, and directed way. You know what would make a great Christmas movie starring Kirk Cameron? A movie in which Kirk Cameron is barred from ever making another movie. That would be the proverbial Christmas gift that keeps on giving.
5. Surviving Christmas
The name is really all you need to know. No one in a Christmas movie should have to survive Christmas. That’s about as un-jolly a premise as can be cooked up inside of a desperate Hollywood writers’ room. The movie also stars Ben Affleck who was still in his “halcyon” days associated with starring in Gigli. In other words, Affleck had apparently suffered a concussion at some point during the early 2000s and lost all ability to discern between good and bad movies; Surviving Christmas is a bad movie.
4. Santa’s Slay
In this 2005 comedic-horror Christmas movie (none of those adjectives really go well together), Santa is revealed to be the misunderstood son of Satan. I don’t have the space to rehash the entire backstory of Satan’s son named Santa, but it involves an angel defeating Santa in a curling match a thousand years ago. The booby prize for that curling match was that Santa had to deliver presents to good boys and girls on Christmas for, you guessed it, a thousand years. Well, portending much carnage, the thousand years are up and Santa is free to be the serial killer son of Satan that he is. If you do choose to watch this horrible Christmas movie, I recommend putting the kids to bed first.
3. Santa Claus (1959)
Where to begin with this one? For starters, let me say that if Santa Claus was better known, it would probably sit at #1 instead of coming in at #3. It’s not only terrible in all the ways a movie can be terrible, it’s also bizarre. In this Mexican produced movie, Santa Claus lives in space with Merlin (yes, the Merlin). While in space, Santa hears that the Devil is sending a demon to earth to corrupt good boys and girls. The bad news is that Santa has a very small window of time to fight the Devil and his demons. Santa’s reindeer are giant windup toys that will turn to dust if not back in Santa’s space house by midnight on Christmas Eve. What’s worse, in that eventuality, Santa, who would be stuck on earth, would starve to death because he can’t eat earth food. Did I mention that Santa has apparently enslaved hordes of children, and forces them to make toys? The depiction of the children is the stuff of SJW nightmares… on second thought, maybe this movie isn’t so bad after all.
2. Die Hard
Die Hard is a fine movie. Filled with fun action sequences, great one-liners, and Bruce Willis at his snarkiest and prickliest, Die Hard may be one of the greatest action movies of all time. However, many people angrily swear that Die Hard is a Christmas movie (and by “swear,” I mean with actual cuss words). And, so, for this list Die Hard is being judged according to their violently tremoring wish that the movie be considered a Christmas movie — and Die Hard is a terrible Christmas movie.
Filled with crime, violence, explosions, and much cussing, Die Hard is almost utterly antithetical to the Christmas spirit. Maybe if John McClane had offered Hans Gruber a plate of sugar cookies shaped liked reindeer instead of shooting him in the end, Die Hard would make for a decent Christmas movie. As it is, Gruber dies without ever experiencing the joy of the festive holiday.
I despise Elf. The movie is poorly written, poorly acted, and poorly directed. And it’s also beloved my millions. This explains why it’s #1 over movies like Santa’s Slay and Santa Claus (1959); it’s inescapable. Why some people love Elf is beyond me. The silly one-liners are delivered with the usual ham-handed intensity that Will Ferrell calls acting. The sight gags and pratfalls are the sort that fourteen-year-old boys dream up. And to add insult to injury, Ed Asner plays Santa Claus. The most unjovial man in the world playing Santa Claus is too much to forgive. Besides, the final scene is what would happen if the worst producers at Hallmark had a bigger budget.