Tis the Season for Bad TV

Photo Very Courtesy of Hallmark

For some reason, my tolerance for a movie’s quality goes up about 40 points if it features an evergreen conifer or a wreath. Nevertheless, Christmas movies are a good way to have little blasts of Christmas without all the additional weight gain. While we usually save the big guns for just before or on Christmas (looking at you, Clark), here are some we have watched that will bring the ho ho to your ho.

Office Christmas Party

Watch it. Without your kids. This is a surprisingly funny movie with snappy dialogue, a clear goal, and enough nudity to thrill you while not making you feel guilty. TJ Miller tries to jump a bridge in a Prius, Jason Bateman fellates eggnog out of a statue’s willy, and Kate McKinnon farts herself nervous. Just like any great comedy, the story builds into a crescendo and ends crazy into an appropriate Christmassy(ish) finish. For eighteen-year-olds. It had never occurred to me how lacking Christmas movies were in psychopathic hookers and eggnog blowjobs.  

A Bad Moms Christmas

I know, I know. I made the same face you’re making now when A Bad Moms Christmas was suggested last Saturday as our evening entertainment. But this movie is not bad. In fact, it’s pretty funny. Three moms have bad moms and those moms come to visit at Christmas. Hence – bad moms. If nothing else, it’s a great way to enjoy schadenfreude at the expense of someone else’s insane family over the Christmas holidays. Again, a bit off the wall and raunchy (sensing a theme here?) but still delivering a good theme and even a few little tearjerker moments. Also, who can miss with Susan Sarandon and strippers?

Operation Christmas Drop

Every year, I am consistently coerced by one of the people (read: women) in my life to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie. Sadly, it usually works. My mother, my sister Amanda, and Burke all know that A. I am a big softy for a heartfelt Christmas movie, and B. alcohol will make me agree to almost anything especially if I don’t have to get off my couch. A Hallmark Christmas movie is so formulaic that the balls to the wall chaos of a Mr. Potato Head makes it suffer a stroke. Girl has good job, girl has handsome boyfriend with one awkward facial characteristic (overly defined eyebrows) that clearly sets him as a bad guy, girl returns to hometown and finds true happiness at Dad’s toy store. While I am initially charmed by the Christmas-ness of it all, by the end I am paranoid that Burke will have to go to her hometown and I spend the ending credits drunk and checking my eyebrows in the bathroom mirror. Operation Christmas Drop is the closest I have come this year to watching a Hallmark movie and it wasn’t done without, I’m guessing, permanent damage. A congressional aide goes to a Pacific island Air Force base to investigate a cargo pilot who’s organizing a drop of Christmas presents to islanders living on an island somehow more remote than a Pacific atoll that we don’t want China to find. OK, I thought, willing suspension, and governmental oversight committees often make a Christmas movie sexier. But I was wrong. There wasn’t enough alcohol in the house and I over-trimmed my right brow. I will make none of these mistakes again.  

The Christmas Chronicles

I have long loved Kurt Russell and he’s a great actor. While I used to think that Wyatt Earp or Jack Burton were his signature roles, now that I saw him play Santa it’s a toss-up. Kurt as a stout, witty Santa is fun, especially since he wields it with an I played Snake Plissken attitude. To be sure, there are moments where you wonder if they’ve just taken it a bit too far (a bluesy jailhouse rock scene pops to mind). And the cheese gets very gooey and thick at times, but the gimmicks are mostly funny enough to get you through.

Other Christmassy Intake

Spotify’s Folksy Christmas is pretty good. It’s reminiscent of the music in a Christmas-time Barnes and Noble when the day manager who thinks he looks like Lou Reed is still a bit buzzed from the night before. This year’s John Lewis Christmas commercial did its trick (made me cry over my morning coffee). I considered basing an English lesson around its narrative structure and its supernatural ability to push one’s nostalgia and emotion buttons, but I ultimately decided that weeping in front of students in virtual form would not be a good way to go into the holidays. Lindt’s Advent calendar is doing the trick on a daily basis. Moreover, like any good partner Lindt keeps it surprising. Unlike, I should say, the Hallmark girl’s weirdly eyebrowed boyfriend, which is why he’s history.   

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