Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Seven: Terrible Christmas Specials

Christmas brings that warm fuzzy feeling. That happy glow. Candy canes and cocoa, time with favorite loved ones, and a sparkling tree. It can also bring stress, short tempers, fruit cakes, that Grandma murdered by a Reindeer song, and pine needles EVERYWHERE.

And unwanted guests. Like Orko.

And so after celebrating the Great Christmas Specials, I thought I'd list the truly terrible ones. This is not to say that all are horrible (some are). When it comes to Christmas there's the happy, bemused irony of an ugly sweater and the gross cold clanging ring of rock bottom commercialism. My list starts out with dreadful favorites, specials that I love to watch every year despite (or maybe because of) their ridiculousness and it ends with genuinely wretched examples of holiday cheer at its most sneering.

10. Babes in Toyland: What's more fun than Drew Barrymore and Pat Morita battling evil in a town full of walking talking toys? Keanu Reeves lipsyncing! That's right, this 1986 made for tv movie is incredible. I look forward to watching it every year.

9. Home Alone II Lost in New York: A movie that dares to ask the question "What does it take to lose custody of a kid?" Home Alone is a classic and almost plausible aside from the sadistically cartoon attacks on the thieves. Home Alone II is just silly enough to make my list of terrible movies, as in terribly fun to watch. I credit Tim Curry, mostly.

8. He-Man Christmas: Amy and I love to laugh in hysterics through this entire special. I can sum it up by telling you it includes a scene when Earth children explain the book of Luke to Orko and another when Skeletor gets a puppy. And you can watch the absurdity for yourself, because I found the whole thing on Youtube!

7. Twas the Night Before Christmas: Anything funny I could say about this special has already been said in the AV Club's write up on this special here. They really nailed it. And it's on Youtube in its full length too! Christmas miracles abound!

6. Santa Claus the Movie: This movie has it all! Dudley Moore, John Lithgow, and the 1980's obligatory cool homeless child character. Even as a kid I used to tune out halfway through this. It was a good 'read the Sears Wishlist catalog' movie then, and it's a good 'online holiday shopping' movie now.

5. Yogi's First Christmas: Oh, I just hate this cartoon, and yet every Christmas I watch it at least once. I can remember my Mom saying when I was very young, "Well, turn it off then!" but I never did. In my defense, we had three channels, so it was that or football and I was an eight year old girl.

Somehow I find my dislike of it oddly comforting, and the season just wouldn't be the same if I didn't take the time to roll my eyes at it, groan at the terrible jokes, or feel super uncomfortable when that girl bear gets way too 'pawsy' with Yogi.

4. Assorted Lifetime Christmas Movies: You know exactly what I mean. I'm not talking about the occasional awesome movies the Lifetime network airs around the holidays like A Smoky Mountain Christmas

Don't put down my Dolly.

I'm talking about the ridiculous movies with titles like, 'Recipe for a Perfect Christmas' (real movie title) or 'Comfort and Joy' (another real movie title) about single Moms running from a dark past meeting a mysterious strangers who either kidnap them or sweep them off their feet (or both) depending on where the darts the Lifetime movie writers toss at story boards land.

3. George and the Christmas Star: I can't even begin to explain what this cartoon is about. It sounds like an elevator ride through an easy listening vortex and barely touches on anything to do with Christmas. Narrated by a series of loosely related surface thoughts, it's about as irritating as 1980s Canadian cartoons get. Also there are space pirates AND singing robots? I know that sounds awesome but don't be fooled, it's not.

2. Christmas Comes to PacLand: That's right, another cartoon from the 80s so bad it doesn't even have a photo on IMDB. A clear cash in on a popular fad, this 1982 poorly written, poorly voiced gem from (of course) Hanna-Barbera is difficult to sit through even to make fun of. And that's saying something.

Here's the whole awful special! I'm so sorry.

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000): It's ironic to me that Ron Howard put together a movie about a a creature stealing the goodness of Christmas from the Whos while he was stealing the image and story rights from Dr. Seuss's spinning grave to sell an over commercialized piece of garbage.

"No, louder Jim. Really scream in the kids' faces!"

Don't let your children near the repackaged drivel of the Jim Carey version. Make sure they grow up on the animation master Chuck Jones' cartoon that relies only on Dr. Seuss's actual word play and artwork. Think of it this way, whose vision would you like to share with them? Dr. Seuss' or Ron Howard's? Ron Howard never won the Pulitzer Prize and he's never going to.

Ugh. That trailer is more like a horror movie where the monster destroys my childhood.

Woof. I'm going to go drown those last few movies away with a heavy dose of cocoa, extra marshmallows. Have a wonderful evening, everyone!

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