On the 4th Day of Christmas The Snooty Ushers bring to you…
The Ushers’ Favourite Santas
We’ve done a lot of thinking here at Snooty Ushers HQ about what is on the checklist for a decent Christmas film? The scene where the family finally realise the true meaning of Christmas? That heartwarming, gooey feeling you get? The snow-covered scenery? But the one thing we all agreed on as the most important – a good Father Christmas.
So here are some of The Snooty Ushers’ favourite Santas in film. Not all from the best movies, just our favourite Santas. Enjoy.
Special Mention: Leslie Nielsen, All I Want For Christmas (Dir, Robert Lieberman, 1991)
James: When walking past a santa on the street, the youngest child in the family says words to the effect of “Why go to a fake Santa? He can’t get you anything. You have to go to the real Santa – at Macy’s”. Leslie Nielsen plays that Santa in this early 90s rom com, and he’s only in 3 scenes. He plays it pretty straight, but hey, I wanted to give him some love. Wouldn’t he make a great comedy Santa? *checks out Santa Who?* Well, not really.
Special mention number 2: Jack Skellington, A Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick, 1993)
James: I’ll admit, this is a cheat, but it’s my list, so Jack Skellington makes it! His attempts to take over Christmas go predictable wrong as his macabre makeover misses the meaning of Christmas by just a little bit. Still, points for effort!
Paul Giamatti, Fred Claus (David Dobkin, 2007)
James: Fred Claus (Vince Vaughan) is the younger brother of Saint Nick (played by Paul Giamatti), and became a repo man who needs bail money from his brother, and so ends up working at the North Pole. Now obviously, this is the story of redemption for Fred Clause, but Giamatti is unsurprisingly great as Santa. As an efficiency expert (Kevin Spacey) threatens to close down the whole operation, Santa is injured and Fred has to step up. But the film doesn’t go the easy cynical route, neither is it a kid’s film, and Paul Giamatti’s nice guy act (he just doesn’t do enough of them!) is the reason this works. Well that, and a really funny scene with Frank Stallone, Stephen Baldwin, and Roger Clinton in a “Siblings Anonymous” support group. It’s not a classic, but Paul Giamatti is a classic Santa in it.
Tim Allen, The Santa Clause, (Dir John Pasquin, 1994)
Welshy: I love this movie, The idea is hilarious and Tim Allen nails it as Scott Calvin Advertising Executive and not a very good, part time dad. He has a life changing experience when he hears a noise on the roof one night. It is funny and imaginative, playing with typical images and motifs of Christmas and the North Pole. It’s great to watch the physical change that Allen goes through, its great make up and he plays it up. It was Allen’s first feature film after Home Improvement and he delivers in spades. Any Family can’t help but fall in love with this new Saint Nick.
Richard Attenborough, Miracle on 34th Street, (Dir, Les Mayfield, 1994)
Dave: I love this film. I love Santa Claus and no actor has brought the character to life better than Richard Attenborough. This is a wonderful film and a great update of a 1947 film that was a staple of my Christmas viewing as a child. Attenborough plays Kris Kringle a department store Santa, who professes to be the real thing, and he is pitch perfect. I just love the idea of just believing in something, an idea or a person, anything, just because you want it to be true and every time I watch this film (I am now 39), I find myself believing in Santa and imaging he looks just like Richard Attenborough.
James: I definitely agree we saved the best until last. The original version of Miracle of 34th Street pretty much cemented what we think of as the modern Father Christmas, in film at least (the story of Coca-Cola advertising campaign creating the red and white outfit is an urban myth, their marketing executives wish that it happened that way), and Richard Attenborough just takes it to the next level. He is great. He IS the best Santa to ever be put on screen!
Agree? Disagree? Let us know who your favourite is. We’ll be back tomorrow with another Christmas article!