I know that there is a lot of debate at this time of year about what the best Christmas film is. Something that will keep happening until everyone just accepts that it’s The Muppet Christmas Carol. Many people may mistakenly believe that Home Alone is superior. Some may even believe that its sequel is the best. While both films are great in their own right, they’re just not the greatest. A lot of what makes the films good is down to Macaulay Culkin. So, it was very upsetting for me to learn that there is a fourth film in the franchise that sees Kevin McCallister played by some other kid. Yes, I knew about the disappointing 3rd film but another sequel that tried to recapture the magic of the first two? I had to see what this was about.
After Melissa McCarthy was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar in 2019, I finally thought that Hollywood was ready to offer her some juicier roles. I know that she loves a comedy but, as we’ve seen, they don’t always work out well. Can You Ever Forgive Me? forced people to see just how talented a performer she is beyond slapstick. I get excited every time she appears in a new film but, for the most part, I end up disappointed. That doesn’t stop me hoping and I will give pretty much everything a try if she’s in the cast list. The fact that her latest film also stars Chris O’Dowd was just an added benefit. He’s another great actor who hasn’t been given the kind of meaty role that he deserves. Maybe this time would work out for both of them?
When I review the first book in the Artemis Fowl series, I mentioned that wanted to read it before watching the film. It’s always tricky when it comes to book adaptations that you care about. Especially when you care about it for nostalgic reasons. You obviously want to it be as good as possible, but you also know that there will have to be changes. You can’t get everything into a film version without the runtime being uncomfortably long. Which is why I don’t normally reread books just before I watch a film. Otherwise, you’re too close to it to be objective. But with Artemis Fowl, it had been too long since I’d read the series for me to be happy to watch it. I needed to refamiliarise myself a little more first. But would it be my undoing? I was already going in with low expectations thanks to the criticism the film garnered. Would my recent reread cause even more problems? I had to find out.
As soon as I saw the trailer for this on Netflix, I knew that it wasn’t going to be the film for me. It just looked stupid and just sitting through a short preview made me cringe. Yet, part of me did want to watch it. I was intrigued about just how bad it was going to be. I wanted to see just how embarrassingly awful James Corden’s performance turned out. How over-the-top and unsubtle Ryan Murphy’s message of inclusivity was. How cheesy the choreography would be. I knew that I’d watch it eventually so it was just a question of when. I decided that, whatever happened, I couldn’t let it be the first film that I watched in 2021 because that would have felt as though I was jinxing my entire year. It also felt like the most appropriate film to end 2020 on. After all, the year has been a huge shit show. It’s not as if this film could make it anyway worse. And maybe it would put everything into perspective?
I’m writing this on the 16th day of December, which means we’re on the 16th day of advent. This means I’ve just watched my 16th Christmas film this month. I’ll be honest, I’m starting to get a bit tired of festive movies. It doesn’t exactly help that the majority of them have been terrible. This is mostly because I just went with whatever was available on Netflix or free on Prime. Also, time was a factor. I’ve had to go for shorter films this week in order to fit everything in. Regardless of the reason, I’ve been subjected to a fair few dreadful films. Admittedly, there have been some high points but, I’ll be honest, Fred Claus wasn’t one of them.
For advent last year, I tried to watch a Christmas every day leading up to Christmas. I’m pretty sure that I managed it but I can’t actually remember. I was supposed to be posting each film on my Instagram story but I kept losing track of which day I was on. In the end, it was just better for everyone that I gave up. This year, I’ve vowed to do the same thing and, hopefully, keep up with my Instagram story record. I was already getting into the festive spirit thanks to The Princess Switch: Switched Again. So, I decided to keep the joy going with the most ridiculous looking film that I could find on Netflix. To be fair, I have already watched a lot of the shitty Christmas films on there for the TBT posts in past years. It left with one of the horrifying Nativity series or this monstrosity.
Do you know who I blame for Cats? All of you. All of you who came out of Les Miserables thinking “that wasn’t bad”. All of you who applauded Ann Hathaway’s Oscar win for being snotty while singing a song that made Susan Boyle famous. All of you who proclaimed that Russell Crowe wasn’t as bad as you’d thought. All of you who thought Amanda Seyfried was anything other then screechy. All of you who thought Tom Hooper’s decision to stick a camera really close in his actor’s face was anything but him showing off. You made his already ego trip of a movie seem justified. Les Miserables wasn’t a good representation of a musical. It was just one long film where Tom Hooper was showing off. But it fucking worked. And now he’s made this abomination and its all your fault. I knew this would happen. Okay, I didn’t know exactly this would happen but I knew we were playing a dangerous game. If you’ve seen Cats and you regret it, just remember, the few of us who didn’t like Les Mis tried to warn you.
I watched the first Daddy’s Home film because I have a secret of Mark Wahlberg. And by love, I mean I appreciate how much he’s willing to make fun of himself. It must have been after watching The Other Guys, the first film he did with Will Ferrell. It was so much better than I ever would have believed and Wahlberg was a big part of that. Although, I can’t pretend that I enjoyed the film. I didn’t. I just think the pair were super funny together. Funny enough to make me want to see their next team-up Daddy’s Home. Once again, it failed to do anything exciting and was a big disappointment. So, I decided to skip the festive follow-up when it was released.
In previous years, I haven’t felt very festive at this time of year. Although, in previous years I’ve been working in a job I hated. A job that only got busier and more hectic as we got closer to Christmas. A job that only got worse thanks to the terrible catering management team. I had some great friends at that job but it still wasn’t enough to make me care about Christmas. This year is different. 2019 has been a great year for so many reasons. I’ve got a job that I not only enjoy but that is finally getting me on the right career path. My sister had a baby. My twin sister is getting married in February. My parents are both retired and enjoying their free time. It’s been a positive 12 months. So, I was actually feeling pretty good going into advent. But I wanted to feel even better. I decided to push myself further into the Christmas spirit by holding my own Christmas film advent calendar. Every day I’ll aim to watch a different Christmas film. Some will be good, some will be bad, and some will be so bad that they’re good. You can keep up with my daily viewings on my Instagram Story Highlights. Fingers crossed I can make it for the next 20 days. I’ll either run out of time or run out of Christmas films.
Christmas films are a complicated thing. There are so many classics but, let’s be honest, they’ve sort of ground to a halt in recent years. Christmas films just aren’t as good these days. Seriously, I think that last one time a festive movie really spoke to audiences was Elf and that was way back in 2003. I can’t even remember a Christmas film that’s come out since. Okay, there are the terrible Netflix films that I love so much but they’re hardly good. Something being so bad it’s impossible not to watch isn’t the same thing. So, I guess the world is waiting for something great. On paper, that film could easily have been Last Christmas. Co-written by Emma Thompson? Check. Directed by Paul Feig? Check. Starring Emilia Clarke? Check. Soundtrack celebrating George Michael? Check. What is not to love there? So, could Last Christmas really fail? I had to find out.