So, a nice horror film yesterday – although nice really isn’t the right word for Black Christmas – and today I reckon we are due a comedy.
And today it’s…
29th November, Day 30
Jingle All The Way (Brian Levant, 1996)
Arnold Schwarzenegger is Harold Langston, an overworked salesman who is neglecting his family in the run-up to Christmas. When he misses his son Jamie’s (a pre-Phantom Menace Jake Lloyd) karate belt presentation, he promises his wife Liz (Rita Wilson) that he will get Jamie his favourite toy – the Turbo-Man action figure. The only problem is problem is that they have been sold out for months. He meets postal worker Myron Larabee (Sinbad, sometime before he ended up in a Philadelphia hospital with Rob Thomas and Dennis Reynolds) at the opening of a toy shop, but they are unsuccessful when it comes to finding a Turbo-Man. This leads to Harold going to extremes to try to locate the toy, at times working with, and at times against Myron.
All this time, he misses more and more important events with his family, allowing ideal batchelor and sleazy neighbour Ted (Phil Hartman) to start weezling his way into the Langston household. Will Harold be able to find the Turbo-Man toy? Will Jamie ever forgive him if he doesn’t? And what is more important – toys or family?
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt this month, it’s that family comedies are difficult to get right. Inspired by various sell-outs like Cabbage Patch Dolls and Power Rangers, the idea came together after the Buzz Lightyear toy shortage in 1995. Arnie signed on in February and the film was released in November 1996, and there are plenty of signs of the rushed production. This script needs polishing slightly more, and the film is padded and pretty uneven. For example, there’s an entertaining part with a criminal operation run totally by Santas which seems like it’s from a different film. Similarly, the parade ending doesn’t really follow the what has come before. Sinbad is pretty good throughout, and Phil Hartman is great, but Arnie is a bit… well, not great. Still, there is that charm to Arnie, and the film, that makes it fun to watch.
It’s definitely not a classic, but it’s entertaining enough.
Tomorrow it’s time for another foreign language film, as it’s time for the Finnish film RARE EXPORTS!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
12th November, Day 13: Trapped In Paradise
13th November, Day 14: Reindeer Games
14th November, Day 15: Joyeux Noel
15th November, Day 16: Nativity / Nativity 2 / Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?
16th November, Day 17: Jack Frost
17th November, Day 18: Jack Frost
18th November, Day 19: Arthur Christmas
19th November, Day 20: The Santa Clause / The Santa Clause 2 / The Santa Clause 3
20th November, Day 21: Miracle On 34th Street
21st November, Day 22: Miracle On 34th Street
22nd November, Day 23: Scrooged
23rd November, Day 24: Scrooge
24th November, Day 25: The Muppet’s Christmas Carol
25th November, Day 26: Elf
26th November, Day 27: Home Alone / Home Alone 2
27th November, Day 28: The Grinch
28th November, Day 29: Black Christmas
29th November, Day 30: Jingle All The Way