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The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Cringe Christmas: (Hilariously) Bad Christmas Movies

Photo courtesy of IMDb
Photo courtesy of IMDb

As much as I love to revel in yuletide corniness and heartfelt hokiness when it comes to films, I am not immune to complete Christmas cringe. It’s so easy for a Christmas film to be cringe-worthy. Just add cliched themes of “believing” and embracing your inner child, some festive puns that your weird uncle will appreciate, and a very boring ribbon-wrapped heterosexual romance, and you too can have your very own cringe holiday film!

Of course, I could talk about every Hallmark movie involving a bookish white girl named Ashlynn who is unhealthily obsessed with Christmas, wants to run away with a soft hunk named Derek, Dylan, or Dan, and open up a New England bookstore. But, here’s the thing: those movies aren’t really funny. If you’re going to have an awful Christmas film, at least sprinkle in some comedic compensation! 

Without further ado, I would like to mention some Christmas movies that are hilariously bad. Yes, I, at some point in my life, did have the pleasure and displeasure of watching these “so-bad-it’s-good” bangers that made me laugh for all the wrong reasons. No matter how underwritten the plot is or how awkward the acting may be, these movies truly tickle every funny bone in my body.

Mixed Nuts (1994):

I actually think the plot of this film, in theory, is interesting. Consultants of a suicide prevention hotline called “Life Savers” are being evicted from their place and keep finding themselves in increasingly bizarre scenarios. In practice, though, this plot doesn’t go anywhere, especially when combined with oversaturated dark humor. 

But, what I did like is when the humor would veer towards randomness and unabashed irony. There is a beautiful irony when the main character, Philip (played by Steve Martin), gets broken up with by his girlfriend because she is seeing a psychiatrist, and he specializes in talking mentally unwell individuals out of suicide. I did actually laugh when Adam Sandler’s nonsensical character blasted the Alvin and the Chipmunks “Christmas, Don’t Be Late” song while a woman was just stuck in an elevator. He contributed virtually nothing to the plot, and yet, he was surprisingly a great fit among the other unhinged cast of characters (good job, Adam Sandler!)

I would’ve liked the dark humor much more if it was spaced out, but the irony certainly saves this film from being a total blunder. I also think this movie didn’t need to juxtapose the dark humor with “heartfelt” moments that just felt jarring to me like please, just stick to the silly shenanigans and whimsical wackiness, for everyone’s sake.

Photo courtesy of IMDb

Home Alone 4 (2002): 

We did not need a FOURTH Home Alone movie. Heck, we didn’t even need a third one, but at least that one didn’t attempt to “continue” the story of Kevin McCallister. Still, Home Alone 4 is hilariously enjoyable. All the adults in this film are terminally stupid, the pacing is awful, and the editing is perfectly below average with its goofy Microsoft PowerPoint transitions. 

Even the “sentimental” divorce subplot was insanely funny to me. As an ambassador of the Child of Divorce embassy, I can truly say that I wasn’t moved at all by Kevin being stuck in the middle of his parents’ divorce. Why? Because they don’t do anything with it! They just have the stepmom as a goofy minor antagonist. Wow, the seemingly nice stepmom is NOT actually nice! Who would’ve guessed that? She’s even more basic than the “wicked” stepmother archetype. Honestly, what would’ve made her more unserious is if she was maniacally stroking a cat while plotting against a literal 8-year-old. 

Speaking of antagonists, good ol’ Marv is more delightfully stupid and silly than ever. Even though he’s mostly sticking to “been there, done that” shenanigans, he is a joy on screen and I would love to see him in an intentionally comedic movie. Shout-out to the scene where he is literally on fire, and his wife, Vera, goes, “You’re smoking,” and he is like, “Aw, thanks, honey, you’re making me blush.” 

This movie would’ve been (barely) passable as a standalone film. But, hey, at least it’s so forgettable that you probably won’t even associate it with the Home Alone series. 

Deck The Heart (2021):

I wasn’t going to mention any typical Hallmark Christmas movie, but this one in particular was so hard to ignore. How could I not mention a film like this, which, by the way, is labeled as “A Candy Cain film”? 

Photo courtesy of IMDb

The rich main character, Chris, offers $12,000 for someone to decorate his house. This man just has money to throw around to pay someone to decorate his house because it turns out he’s a Christmas maniac who is too busy being a capitalist to even have his own capitalistic Christmas. If only I could find someone to pay me to hang up some wreaths and put tinsel everywhere!

What’s even funnier is that the woman in charge of decorating does the bare minimum and gets so much praise for “sprucing up the place.” When guests come over, they are somehow impressed and spellbound by the (minimal) amount of decorations everywhere. Wow, look! She put up a single “Keep Calm and Jingle All The Way” sign on the wall, isn’t that amazing? Okay, but wait until she reveals her most colossal decoration: hanging outdoor lights, but not just any lights, blue outdoor lights! Who would’ve seen that coming? Not me!

The stiff acting is painful and lacks any conviction, but who needs that when you have a great plot? Oh, did I say great? I meant GRATING! I don’t expect cinematic intricacy when it comes to a YouTube movie but any semblance of solid writing would be great. 

While it’s mostly boring, it has some unintentionally hilarious moments. I shouldn’t be laughing at a scene where one of the main characters talks about how her family doesn’t care about holidays or birthdays at all but it’s hard when the film inputs a crowd “Aww” sound effect. It’s like the writers think that the viewer is way too stupid to understand that they have to feel sorry for the character. 

I appreciate how this movie tries to be a movie. It needed to be loaded with more stupidity for it to be passable, but the piss-poor acting was still impeccable on its own. I love movies where the dialogue of the characters is so bizarre that it doesn’t feel like the characters are even talking to each other. Are these characters making any sense when communicating with each other? Nope, and that’s peak cinema to me!

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