So today is the first in my new series that I have, ingeniously, called Throwback Thirty. As I laid out in my blog update post, for the next 52 Thursdays, I will review a film that came out the same year that I was born. This is all in honour of my 30th birthday: an event that will take place on March 5th. Am I making a big deal of it in the hope it distracts me from the fact that I’ve not made it to the point I thought I’d be at this age? Maybe? Am I also hoping that seeming okay with it will make me comfortable with being a 30 year old? Maybe? Am I just using it as an excuse to watch loads of questionable 80s movies? Erm… hells yeah! I am a huge love of 80s films anyway so a year of watching some of my old favourites and some that I’ve never seen before sounds perfect. I’ve put the title of loads (way more than 52) films in a jar and each week I will pick out a title. By happy circumstance that first title I picked out was Twins. I guess it’s only right considering I am, in fact, a twin myself so this is also my sister’s 30th birthday year. In our 3 decades together, my sister and I have never got involved in a dodgy deal about a prototype fuel injector but we’ve got into some scrapes. I’ve got no doubt that I’d be the Danny DeVito of the pair and she’d be Arnie… although I’m not sure she’d necessarily think that was a good thing. We’re very different people. Me? I’ve been practicing trying to say “put the cookie down now” in my best Arnie voice ever since I watched Jingle All the Way last month.
Shopping at Christmas has to be the biggest pain in the arse. There are people everywhere and being around people isn’t good for my sensibilities. I’m not ruthless enough for the December chaos. So I tend to try and avoid the physical act of shopping and do my purchasing online. That, of course, is fraught with it’s own difficulties as the postal service takes a fucking age to get things here. I feel bad for postmen but why can’t they give me things when I expect them? As well as being glad I don’t work for Royal Mail, every year Christmas comes around makes me even happier that I’m not a parent. Fucking kids, eh. You spend a fuckload on a fake hoverboard and the bloody thing blows up. Having to track down that year’s ‘It’ toy just goes against my who shopping ethic. It’s not something I want and having to fight people for it is something I don’t have the inclination for.
I think the films and television of my youth has played a strong role in my current feelings about kids. Hollywood makes them seem way more trouble than they’re worth. Certainly my idea of waht it is to be a parent at Christmas may have been slightly skewed thanks to Jingle All The Way. The idea of having to compete with Sinbad to gain my kids love and stop my neighbour fucking my spouse just seemed like more trouble than it was worth. Sinbad: the best form of contraception.
To lay my cards on the table immediately, I kind of love Jingle All The Way. It’s such a fucking bad film that I feel as though I should like it. As I’ve mentioned before, I love an underdog. If a person is overlooked entirely then I’ll naturally be drawn to them. It’s the same for films. If everyone hates them I will naturally want to find loads of great things about it.
I’ll be honest, that’s a difficult thing to do with Jingle All The Way. It tries to so hard but fails on so many levels. It’s too bright, loud and ludicrous. Sinbad and Arnold Schwarzenegger are both terrible and fail to bring much humour to this tale of commercialism. The direction by Brian Levant is just fucking terrible and does nothing to make way for any comic potential.
I guess the narrative means well with its attack on Christmas consumerism. It takes its inspiration from past Christmas crazes of Cabbage Patch Dolls and Power Rangers, which both sold out before many desperate parents could get hold of one. Jingle All The Way turns a successful business and family man into an idiotic wreck in his pursuit of Turbo Man, the new super hero kids love. Going against all logic and common sense, Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) goes to great lengths to find his son’s most-wanted toy and, in the process, must overcome his new foe, postman Myron Larabee (Sinbad).
Christmas films are supposed to put you in a festive, happy mood. Jingle All The Way offers neither laughs nor warm fuzzy feelings. It’s a mediocre comedy that tries to tap into the Christmas market whilst also targeting the Christmas market. The writers obviously wanted to make a point about picking love and family over stuff but it gets lost in the mayhem on screen. Losing most of its satirical potential, the film instead focuses on violence and trying to get cheap laughs. There is no real
emotional connection and the dialogue is best ignored. There is nothing too offensive about Jingle All The Way I guess but there is nothing outstanding about it. It won’t leave you crying with laughter but it won’t leave you fighting the urge to vomit everywhere. Although, the last half hour is just batshit crazy; obviously from when the film-makers clearly stopped giving a fuck in order to get it ready in time. As Christmas films go, there are much better ones out there but, as I’ve already established, there are worse ones.