It’s upon us again. The time of year where we sit with our loved ones to watch films showing us how we should be interacting with each other. As those bells jingle over the title to introduce the wholesome Christmas picture you watch each year, consider the following moments that may make you reconsider whether your kids should be anywhere near these festive season films.
A Christmas Story (1983)
In true American style, all Ralphie wanted under the tree was a functioning firearm. Each and every adult he comes across rightfully calls out the inevitable danger of a child with a gun. He even begs Santa in all his 1950s wide-blue-eyed innocence and for all that he promptly receives a North Pole boot to his face. Once he eventually manages to secure the rifle, his first shot sends the bullet straight back at his eye. It’s a tremendous cautionary tale, but doesn’t really give you the warm Christmas jingles.
Home Alone 1 & 2 (1990 / 1992)
I’m going with the combination here because they are ostensibly the same film with the same premise, even to the point it happens at Christmas again. Today’s kids don’t have the terror that they could be forgotten. A simple text to a parent with ‘WTF!?’ ends Home Alone right there, but in 1990 a 10 year old had to defend himself from 2 professional home invaders with stylised violence that was strangely focused on attacking their genitals. The option to call the cops was always there, Kevin just enjoyed inflicting absolute pain.
The young Mccalister boy needs to be on a Law Enforcements watch list.
Christmas Vacation (1989)
It’s rated PG so we can consider it all and while this is undoubtedly a classic that hits all the right Christmas Means Family notes, there are enough moments to fast forward if you’re watching with the kids. It boils down to a tie between the Clark finally snapping to deliver a diatribe of profanity in front of his family who are close to the edge themselves and the ongoing fantasy he has about a random department store woman to the point he blocks out everyone else from his imagination to watch her skinny dip in his mind’s eye.
Love, Actually (2003)
Wow, take your pick! A friend trying it on with his mate’s wife, A family almost destroyed through infidelity, getting propositioned for a 5 way in a bar… How did this become a Christmas staple? The major weirdness sits with Liam Neeson. I get that he has a deep emotional connection with his step son, but when the jovial banter suddenly turns to how this recently widowed man wants to bang an imaginary girlfriend in the kids bed, there should have been an awkward silence and end the conversation there. I mean the kid just lost his mother! I find that a lot more cringe worthy than watching Stacey West and Bilbo Baggins simulate a blow job.
The Santa Clause (1994)
From the outset, this film grabs children by the shoulders and screams “Santa can die! Santa can DIE! For all the assumed immortality of Santa, a simple fall from a roof (where he should be very well trained it it’s terrain) kills old Kris Kringle. The transference of power is incredibly simple and dangerous. Luckily Scott Calvin is essentially a good person, he loves his son, is civil to his ex-wifes new partner who is a sanctimonious jerk. Scott’s only real issue is that he’s just too focused on work. Imagine if Santa fell off O.J Simpson’s house. Actually I’d watch that Christmas movie.
Jingle All The Way (1996)
Schwarzenegger has his comedy hits and misses and this leans heavily in the latter, yet each December I find myself joining Arnie on the hunt for Turbo Man. The spirit of Christmas lives in this movie, if your Christmas is steeped in stepping on people for consumerism, potentially killing midgets during a Santa brawl and solving all problems with extreme violence. This holiday classic also manages to cram in domestic terrorism against law enforcement. It’s still quite unexplainable why a mattress salesman is the most jacked man on earth.
Rudolph: The red nosed reindeer (1964)
In a stop motion (in itself slightly off putting) classic, loved by children for over 50 years, we see the titular deer born to an alpha male dickhead who stifles his child’s ability to breathe because his red nose will cause ridicule from his buddies down at the lodge (I assume there is a magical reindeer lodge in the north pole). Cast away, with Santa’s blessing. This infant and another ostracised character in Hermes the elf aren’t accepted back into society until they prove they have a use in their world. This is skipping over all those abominations on The Island of Misfit Toys. Also, when was Dentist code for Gay? Was it a 60s thing?
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
Netflix will move Heaven & Hell to get their own Christmas classic and the recent Christmas Chronicles is a pretty good run at it. Kurt Russell tears up the screen against some fairly average counterparts and brings some real slick bad-assery to Santa. It’s a great touch when the adorable CGI elves turn up, only to give them a moment where they turn into the tiny dinosaurs of Jurassic Park 2 and unleash a murderous rage on a gang. It all culminates when they pry apart the legs of a kid and one manic elf approaches him welding a chainsaw with an intent to remove the teens nether-regions. The punishment for landing on the Naughty list seems to have escalated from getting coal for Christmas.