If there’s one thing that you can truly enjoy about holidays with your family, it’s that when you do a family activity, you’re at the will of said family. If the majority wants to go see Christmas lights, you go see Christmas lights. If they want to go play Old Maid until 2:00 a.m., you go play Old Maid. And sadly, if they want to see a horrible holiday-themed movie, well... you suck it up and see it, too. The good part of the story (and trust me, there aren’t too many more good parts below) is that I got in for free. Moochers can’t be choosers.
Yes, as was already stated, the family chose to be more festive this year and treated the gang to a matinee viewing of “Deck the Halls,” starring Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick. I could easily sum this up as a horrible “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” wanna-be, but I think Rotten Tomatoes sums it up best by saying it’s a 9% (at the time of this writing).
My aunt and I couldn’t figure out why this movie was made. It definitely isn’t an instant classic, not remotely close. There was nothing new in the story-line department. The acting in it was even worse than anticipated. Then realizing the serious lack of holiday-themed movies this season, it all made sense – let’s make a crappy movie quick buck.
How exactly do you make a lame Christmas movie? Use any, or all, of the following:
Stretch the realities of how far money stretches
Have a family lease a nice house in a quaint little neighborhood. Make the father-figure a salesman (who can sell anything) at a car dealership that has 12 other salesmen in a small town. Make the wife a stay at home mother who does nothing. Give them teenage twins (who are, well, hot – case in point #1, case in point #2). Then, have the father become obsessed with something absurd and spend thousands of dollars on Christmas lights, electricity, power generators, decorations, etc... all the while supporting his family.
Pick on the nerd
Every story needs the good guy and the bad guy. In the case of holidays, make the good guy a nerdy dude, maybe an eye doctor. Whatever the occupation, he needs to be very straight-laced and anal to a T. We’re talking themed days on the advent calendar, leader of the Christmas festival in town, organizer of the caroling club, etc. Get the idea? Okay, good... now, as soon as the film begins, have the antagonist do mean things to him! Things that could potentially bring about lawsuits are good. Things that could kill someone, even better.
Break out into song
When everything is bad and it seems like the movie can’t get any worse... don’t let it. Instead, enlist a genuine Broadway player in your cast and have them “randomly” start a song. For a more dramatic effect, have whoever is standing around join in. Chills people. Instant chills.
MTV will report on anything
Remember the absurd thing I was talking about earlier, well, create a tie-in with MTV and make it appear that they’re on your beck and call to report the news. Even if it’s Christmas day, they’ll be there in a flash, that’s their guarantee.
Gotta have a good moral
If you thought the Grinch’s moral was good, watch out. Like Suess knew what he was talking about. I’ll give you the best moral ever – traditions are only good if they’re accidental. Yeah, I know... genius! What’s that? You like all of the holiday treats your grandma makes? Lame. C’mon people, be random!
I almost wished that it was two years ago and we were seeing “Christmas with the Kranks,” and then I remembered how I tried to hold my breath trying to kill myself. It didn’t work, sadly.