8 Christmas Movies Christmas Clearly Wants No Part Of

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8 Christmas Movies Christmas Clearly Wants No Part Of

Unless the constant stream of Mariah Carey songs echoing throughout the aisles of every CVS in America didn’t tip you off, it’s officially the Christmas season – which means that it’s also the Christmas movie season.

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In addition to spending time with loved ones and mainlining eggnog like you have a fiery hatred for your own arteries, one of the best things about Christmas Time is the aimless time spent motionless watching holiday movies on TV. 

Obviously, some films have become family traditions, like Miracle on 34th StreetA Christmas Story, and the greatest literary adaptation to feature both a Knight of the British realm and Gonzo the Great. Plus, for a lot of folks, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas until John McClane drops Hans Gruber from the top of Nakatomi Plaza. God Bless us, everyone.

Even some of the more off-beat Christmas-set films have seemingly entered people’s holiday rotations. There are folks who enjoy Terry Gilliam’s Brazil as a Christmas movie, while others prefer the ‘90s rave culture “caper” Go. And, in recent years, Stanely Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut has become a seasonal favorite amongst those who wish It’s a Wonderful Life had more Illuminati references and prolonged scenes of graphic nudity. 

But not every holiday movie is part of the holiday movie canon. There are a number of mainstream Hollywood Christmas movies that, for whatever reason, Christmas seemingly doesn’t want to touch with a 10-foot, candy cane-striped pole. Even goddamn Fred Claus gets more Yuletide love than movies like… 

‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’

The Movie: 

Paul Blart: Mall Cop technically takes place before Christmas (on Black Friday, to be exact), but it sure ticks several Christmas-y boxes. It’s a parody of the holiday classic Die Hard, and is set in a mall on the busiest shopping day of the season. The mall is decked out with seasonal decorations, including Santa’s Village, where the mercenaries have disguised themselves as elven helpers.

Why it Never Became a Holiday Staple: 

For one thing, Paul Blart: Mall Cop wasn’t even the best mall cop-based movie to come out in 2009. And, presumably, most audiences would rather just watch the original John McClane than a John McClane knock-off played by a mustachioed Kevin James on a Segway. 

‘Look Who’s Talking Now’

The Movie:

Since every child’s inner Bruce Willis-sounding voice eventually dies off by around the age of five, the third film in the Look Who’s Talking saga desperately pivoted to focus on talking dogs instead of babies. Also Christmas. Look Who’s Talking Now is full of holiday elements, from Kirstie Alley being forced to get a job working with a mall Santa to the climax in which the family is attacked by wolves on Christmas Eve. Seriously.

Why it Never Became a Holiday Staple: 

I mean, nobody wants to observe Jesus’ birthday by watching a dog that sounds like a listless Danny DeVito spout off 500 variations of the same humping joke.

‘Just Friends’

The Movie: 

Ryan Reynolds plays a hot-shot record producer who (*gasp*) used to look like Ryan Reynolds but in an unconvincing fat suit seemingly stolen from the set of Friends. When he returns to his hometown for Christmas, he attempts to win over his high school crush.

Why it Never Became a Holiday Staple: 

Even aside from the cringey prosthetic-heavy flashbacks, this movie is a disaster. Part of the problem is that Reynolds’ protagonist is such a repugnant sleazebag that not even a visit from three ghosts could redeem him to the point of marginal likability. 

‘A Merry Friggin’ Christmas’

The Movie: 

On paper, A Merry Friggin’ Christmas seemed like it had the potential to be the greatest holiday comedy of all time – Robin Williams, in his final starring role, playing the uncouth patriarch of a dysfunctional family? His wife is portrayed by the great Candice Bergen, and his son is Joel McHale? Oh, and the rest of the cast includes Lauren Graham, Tim Heidecker, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Clark Duke? Perfect, right?

Why it Never Became a Holiday Staple: 

For a movie in which Mork runs over an unhoused Santa Claus and attempts to chainsaw his lifeless body to pieces, A Merry Friggin’ Christmas is shockingly unmemorable. It’s a weird attempt to blend saccharine family fare with pitch-black vulgarity that never really clicks on any level.

‘Pottersville’

The Movie: 

If the idea of acclaimed actor/grizzled eccentric Michael Shannon starring in a low-budget Christmas movie wasn’t odd enough, the 2017 comedy Pottersville (inexplicably named after the alternate reality from It’s a Wonderful Lifealso boasts Bigfoot sightings, monster hunters, and at least one furry orgy.

Why it Never Became a Holiday Staple: 

Did we mention the furry orgy? Pottersville didn’t just do poorly with audiences and critics; it was a lightning rod for controversy, becoming the focal point of a scandal involving a failed multimillion-dollar film production initiative in upstate New York. 

‘Green Book’

The Movie: 

It’s hard to believe, but there’s a movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture just four years ago that takes place at Christmas – yet nobody seems even remotely interested in adding Green Book to the list of celebrated Christmas movies. The film literally ends with one character inviting his new friend to Christmas dinner, Lethal Weapon-style.

Why it Never Became a Holiday Staple: 

Green Book was rightly criticized by many (including the subject’s own family) for telling the story of legendary Black musician Don Shirley exclusively through the perspective of his dumb racist acquaintance – not coincidentally, thanks to a screenplay co-written by the son of said dumb racist acquaintance. 

‘Surviving Christmas’

The Movie: 

Ben Affleck plays a millionaire who hires the family occupying his childhood home (played by James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, and Christina Applegate) to pretend to be his family for Christmas, even forcing them to read from a script – making it all the creepier that Affleck’s love interest is his faux sister.

Why it Never Became a Holiday Staple: 

It’s… not good? Despite an intriguing premise, the movie was a behind-the-scenes disaster, its release was delayed by a year, and to avoid competing with Christmas with the Kranks, it ultimately came out in October, just in time for Halloween. 

‘Collateral Beauty’

The Movie: 

The second-worst thing Will Smith has ever done is arguably Collateral Beauty, the 2016 Christmas fable in which Smith plays a father who, while grieving the loss of his daughter, is visited by the personifications of abstract concepts Love, Death, and Time. Kind of like A Christmas Carol, if Charles Dickens’ ghosts all looked like hot movie stars who shop at Forever 21.

Why it Never Became a Holiday Staple: 

Spoilers for the wackiest Christmas movie ever made that doesn’t star Tim Allen: the spirits turn out to be actors hired by Smith’s business partners to make him look crazy, thus forcing him out of the company. I guess taking gigs in elaborate metaphysical cons targeting victims of horrific tragedies is just par for the course when you’re a struggling New York actor? 

Then, in the rare double-twist, these “actors” also turn out to be magical beings who really do embody Love, Death, and Time. Presumably, most people don’t want to spend their holidays being jerked around by a movie that feels like a fever dream produced by Hallmark. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).

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