December 11, 2011

Four Really Bad Holiday Movies

Just about anything that’s on the Hallmark or Lifetime channel as a “Made for TV” Christmas movie isn’t on my viewing list. That may put me on the “naughty list” with fans of those cable channels, but they all feature bad actors and similar plots. And aren’t they all filmed in the same snowy subdivision in the western suburbs of Chicago, do they just use B-roll from “Ordinary People” or “Home Alone?”

Now that I’ve revealed myself as Mrs. Scrooge, let me have at four holiday movies that run over and over on television, and make me grab for the remote. Please let me find “Elf” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” and don’t make me watch these. Here are my four picks for worst holiday movies:

4. The last incarnation of “Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street.” (I could barely stomach the thought of Sebastian Cabot as Kris Kringle in the very bad Made for TV 1973 version that contained lots of stars from the time, Jane Alexander, David Hartman, Roddy McDowall, Sebastian Cabot as Kris (oddly sans his natural beard; he was forced to shave and wear a false beard for the role), Suzanne Davidson, Jim Backus, David Doyle and Tom Bosley.)

But I cannot tolerate the 1994 feature film starred Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins, Dylan McDermott, and Mara Wilson. According to Wikipedia, Macy’s refused to give permission to use its name and was replaced with a fictitious name. Little Mara Wilson, while so adorable in “Mrs. Doubtfire” is sickeningly sweet, and much of the movie is different from the original classic. The original version with Maureen O'Hara as the mother, and Natalie Wood as the daughter just shouldn't have been remade. It stands as a classic.

3. Jim Carrey in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Yes, I know I’m a Grinch for saying so, but I don’t think his weird antics transfer to a live action Grinch. This Ron Howard film came out at holiday time in 2000, and was the number one film in the country for four weeks. Despite its popularity, the critics didn’t like it much and neither do I. Howard took on a difficult task basing a movie on a thirty-minute television special based solely on a children’s book. Much had to be invented, and I think it steered away from the original charm of the short television piece. That being said, I haven’t enjoyed much of Jim Carrey’s work except for “The Truman Show,” one of my favorite movies.

2. National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation”. This is a very funny movie, but it’s just too close to home for me. We indeed have own Cousin Eddie (though he’s on my husband’s side.) We don’t seem him anymore because of some family spat that didn’t concern or involve us. On my side of the family, I had some very weird great aunts who probably would have wrapped a cat. The first “Vacation” movie is hilarious, but this one certainly “jumped the shark.” Rated “L” for lame.

1. In my humble and basically uneducated opinion, the foulest holiday movie of them all is “Bad Santa.” Billy Bob Thornton plays—guess who—Billy Bob Thornton as a caricature. I have to turn my head away when it comes on the tube.