Ho, ho, ho, folks.
It’s that time of year when an overload of Christmas movies and generally big-ish movies, old and new, appear on TV. From the benchmark-setting It’s a Wonderful Life (dir. Capra, 1946) to the modern classic Elf (dir. Favreau, 2003), we all have a favourite – my girlfriend’s favourite happens to be Home Alone (dir. Columbus, 1990). In this post, I’ll be discussing my favourite.
So, what is my favourite Christmas movie? Well, it stars a prominent action star…but it’s not an action movie. Who is the lead actor? Schwarzenegger. What is the movie? Jingle All the Way (dir. Levant, 1996) – it is my favourite now, as it was my favourite during my days as a child.
If you’re unfamiliar with Jingle All the Way, the movie tells the story of a dad (Schwarzenegger) on a Christmas Eve hunt for the world’s most popular action figure, the Turbo-Man. Having missed his son’s recent karate presentation due to his OTT work commitment and never really being there to spend time with his son, Howard (Schwarzenegger) comes across as a rather flawed parent – his flaws as a parent drives his determination to find his son a Turbo-Man doll. As one would naturally expect, Howard isn’t the only father out on a Christmas Eve shop for his son – he runs into and engages in a shopping war with postal worker, Myron (Sinbad) – their engagements occur in a diner, a parade, a radio studio and various shopping malls. Whilst the mini shopping war is happening, Howard’s single-fathering neighbour, Ted (Phil Hartman), is trying his best to lure Liz (Howard’s wife – Rita Wilson) into his bed…kind of. It’s rather creepy – ultimately, Liz doesn’t leave Howard for sleazy Ted.
Obviously, this isn’t your generic type of Schwarzenegger movie – it’s an out-of-prime comedy in his filmography. However, in comedic ways, Schwarzenegger does produce occasional one-liners, which are not too cheesy, thankfully. The “good guy vs. bad guy” convention from the action genre is used in this movie – Schwarzenegger is the good guy, whilst Sinbad is the opponent in the quest for a Turbo Man doll, making him the bad guy. I suppose that the “good guy vs. bad guy” convention does have to be carried over into this genre as it simply works best for the acting of Schwarzenegger…it is also what we as an audience would expect to see. For your information: Schwarzenegger does THE BEST ninja impression ever – view closely.
The appealing thing from this movie is how the story is pretty much based on the real happenings of people on what is one of the biggest days of the year, Christmas Eve. Essentially, this movie isn’t really a kids movie, like The Santa Clause would be – it’s aimed at the people who have experienced last-minute shopping. The story doesn’t deal with the fiction or legend of Christmas (Santa etc.), it is a real world story – to some degree, this is one of Schwarzenegger’s most realistic movies. The most unrealistic happenings would probably be the events in the last 10 minutes or so – funnily enough, my least favourite scene in the movie. So yeah, one of the main reasons that I love this Christmas movie is that it doesn’t deal with the magic/legend/fiction of Christmas, but it deals with the people trying to make Christmas magic for a loved one.
Thanks for reading and have a happy new year, folks.
Jingle All the Way IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116705/?ref_=nv_sr_1