Comment: Why Are All Christmas Films Rubbish?

Is it just me, or are all Christmas films complete rubbish? Okay, so it probably is just me, but nevertheless I’ll bah humbug my way through this. Let me ask you a question: what do you say when someone asks your favourite Christmas film? Love Actually perhaps? Home Alone maybe? The Nightmare Before Christmas? Well, in that case, I don’t mind. You’re free to go. However, if you are one of the other kind of people, stay right here, I’m not done with you yet.

Love Actually: Not actually a Christmas film

The films mentioned above are all fine because they aren’t Christmas films. They’re films with plots and ideas that could operate just fine if it wasn’t Christmas at all. When I say I hate all Christmas films I’m talking about real Christmas films. You know the ones. All colourful-wolourful and oldy-woldy, with cheeky merriment and whimsical japes. Oh, how I hate them. And if you are one of those people who simply cannot resist guffawing like a twit, having just seen a full-grown leotard-clad actor stumble into a Christmas tree, then yes, I hate you too. Okay fine I don’t hate you, but I do harbour a small amount of tinsel-wrapped resentment towards you and your movies.

You might have the impression by now that I’m talking, in part, about Elf, and you wouldn’t be wrong. I can say that I’ve watched the film once, many years ago, and if I was any kind of half-decent writer I’d have watched it again for research. But I’m not, and I’m certainly not willing to risk watching that pile of pointy-shoe-wearing dog waste again for the sake of a well-evidenced opinion. I was not surprised to find that many people shared my opinion of the film, but I was horrified to discover that as many people adore it in the most sickening of ways. In short, Elf is the Marmite of Christmas films.

Joking aside, why do these kind of films persist on plopping into our existence? Elf is by far at the top of the dung pile as far as these travesties are concerned, yet year by year the movie makers churn out dozens of the same low-content, high-drivel rubbish and make actual money out of it – people clearly still go and watch them. So maybe they aren’t so bad after all?

I’ve heard it said that those jokes you get inside Christmas crackers are made deliberately terrible, the idea being that we can all laugh aloud and bond over how bad they are together. Perhaps the same can be said of the Christmas film. I seriously doubt that anyone involved in the production of such a film could be oblivious to just how bad they are, so surely they must be made intentionally bad. And people seem to like things like that.

As you’re sitting down with the family, all jumpers and mince pies, through your tinsel-tinted eyes do you really think you could disapprove of a cheesy old Christmas movie? We know that they’re terrible. That’s why they’re an essential part of Christmas. They give us something to bond over, and if anything that’s the point of this time of year.

Maybe I’ve just been a Scrooge until now, but okay. Fine. You’ve convinced me. All Christmas films are rubbish – but that doesn’t mean they can’t be great.

William Hoole

Images: New Line Cinema (featured); Studiocanal (insert)

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