Film: Christmas Turkeys
Saturday 07 December 1996
Studios also issue plenty of "family entertainment" over the holidays, which often equals "pulpy child fodder for exhausted parents". So, festive films are generally aimed at a cracking combination of the infant and the infantile. Christmas past has seen Steve Martin abase his comic talents in Nora Ephron's Mixed Nuts (set in an American-style Samaritans office and featuring a gun-toting Santa) and the rather more high brow The Muppet Christmas Carol, admirable for its casting of The Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens, and the slightly less expressive Michael Caine as Scrooge. In 1988, Bill Murray failed to sparkle in the same role in Scrooged!, an updated version of the fable set in a TV studio, while Albert Finney's miser had to belt out sophisticated lyrics such as "I hate people" in an embarrassing musical- Dickens put out in 1970. Five years ago, spoofmeister Leslie Nielsen donned Santa's red robes for All I Want For Christmas, a gaggingly sentimental piece of family nonsense in which two kids try to reunite their divorced parents, a product probably on a par with the quality 1964 film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, which has earnt a place high up in the pantheon of dreadful cult C-movies. Perhaps most heinous of all was the 1985 Santa Claus, which released onto unsuspecting audiences little Dudley Moore in the role of a disaffected elf at Santa's arctic toy factory.
This year, there's a noticeable absence of narrative tinsel for both children and nominal grown-ups. A live action 101 Dalmations starring Glenn Close as Cruella De Ville, the new Star Trek movie and the wickedly black Roald Dahl's Matilda suggest that children are getting off lightly. The same could not be said for adults whose stockings will be stuffed with no-brainers such as the Stallone actioner Daylight!, twin Andy Garcias in the unbelievably awful Steal Big, Steal Little, and Dennis Hopper baring more than his soul to a schoolgirl in Acts of Love.
This year's trophy under the tree, however, must be Arnie's Jingle All the Way (with James Belushi, above), a film with a title that proves the art of Christmas movie-making will never die.
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’