Holiday Hollywood Horrors

Tristan Boyd, Marry Gillis

The Holiday season is defined by tradition: families come together, and people engage in the same activities they have year after year. Most traditions that people keep are not necessarily rooted in the meaning of the holidays, but have become so over time, and among these traditions, perhaps none is greater than the annual holiday film fest.

Some movies have stood the test of time, with their brilliant stories, reverberating themes, or just the hilarity they contain. Disregarding the very few exceptions, everyone loves “A Christmas Story” and watches it every year, laughing at the same parts over and over again. The same could be said for “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “A White Christmas,” or in more recent years, “Elf”. The holidays just would not be the same without these classic movies.

Yet, not every holiday tradition is one worth keeping and unfortunately, for every holiday classic, there are at least five films that would make Santa Claus refuse affiliation with Christmas. It seems that a new tradition has been formed by filmmakers; to continue producing terrible movies every time this season comes around.

In this holiday season alone, audiences have been subjected to no less than three super-generic movies that have a Christmas label slapped on them and been presented as sugar-plum coated pieces of crap with hardly any artistic merit to redeem them.  And sadly enough, people can expect the same thing every year, and still pay money to see them!

One of these Holiday film Scrooges that has presented itself this year is the typical family based comedy, “Four Christmases.” This commonplace movie tells the tale of a modern American couple who are unfairly forced to spend miserable time with their obnoxious and embarrassing relatives, but then, in a sudden turn of events, realize just how important family is! Surprised? So are the millions of other people who wasted money on the same old tripe.

To cast even more bad light on the holiday season film genre, “Four Christmases” is not only one of many terrible Holiday films this year, but now joins the ranks of dozens of others that have come out in the past decade alone. Who could forget such favorites as “Christmas with the Kranks,” “Deck the Halls,” “The Santa Clause 6: The Reindeer Rebellion Clause,” “Fred Claus,” “Home Alone 10: The Shanghai Silver Bells,” and of course the heart warming tale of the butchering murderer optimistically titled “Black Christmas.”

Why is it though, that every holiday season brings these harrowing movies to the masses? Are these really just the holiday movies of our generation, destined to be classics in years to come, or are they just fuel for the fireplace on the cold December nights? I hope the latter.

The truth is, most of today’s holiday movies lack any originality or genuine emotion. Most filmmakers seem to be under the impression that regurgitating the same old storylines with the latest sinking stars is an acceptable way to celebrate. “Four Christmases” is just the same as 2007’s “This Christmas,” which was the remarkably similar to 2006’s “Deck the Halls,” which finds many of its twisted roots in 2004’s “Christmas with the Kranks” and “Surviving Christmas.”

If you really think about it, there is no movie quite like “A Christmas Story,” which was released in 1983. The movie is original and has never been duplicated in any way. The same is even true for the more modern film “Elf” which, despite Will Farrel’s tendency to make the same movies over and over again, presents a truly creative story while still keeping with the Christmas theme and even sets a new standard for Holiday movies.

In fact, “Elf” proves that there is still an original Holiday thought out there, people just have to demand it from Hollywood. And this is where the other shoe drops. We as film-goers need to start the revolution by refusing to see these terrible excuses for Holiday movies. So if we want to see more films reminiscent of “Jingle All the Way,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” or “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” we need to stop supporting these Christmas coals and ask Mr. Claus for a new Holiday classic.