It’s that time again, when holiday movies and TV shows take over the airwaves. And why not gather round the television with the family and zone out on a holiday movie after a platter full of turkey or ham? But before you find yourself in the middle of a stocking-stinker, check out our list for the ten worst holiday/Christmas movies ever:
10. Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
When empty-nesters Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis decide to forego the usual Christmas festivities in favor for a luxury cruise, their uptight neighbors (led by Dan Aykroyd) go nuts: they picket the couple’s house, subject them to endless Christmas carols, and worse. At first, the movie seems to be on the Kranks’ side, but by the super-cheesy finale, the point seems to be that you should always conform to your neighbors’ Christmas wishes — regardless of how you may want to celebrate the holidays. What a confused and wrong-headed mess.
9. Reindeer Games (2000)
An actor for a knack for bad movies, Ben Affleck makes our Christmas movie list – twice. In this one, Affleck teams up with a embittered Gary Sinise to knock off an Indian Casino. But when Affleck gets double-crossed he learns…the true meaning of Christmas. At times, its bad in an enjoyable way, but most times its predictable and worn-out holiday fare (with character names like Nick and Rudy – you guessed it, as a nod to Santa and Rudolph). This is a holiday-themed action vehicle that crashes head-on into a brick wall.
8. Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights (2002)
Parents expecting to find a cozy holiday cartoon with a message were shocked by the no-holds-barred musical comedy – alongside the bathroom humor are an unbelievable number of product placements (with shouts-out to more than 25 different mall-based retailers) and for what? Because someone thought it might be a good idea to take Sandler’s infamous “Chanukah Song” (the eight days of Hanukkah) and turn it into a holiday movie.
7. Jack Frost (1996)
Visual effects are created in Hollywood – so is the rich tradition of attempting to make scary holiday films. Just check out Black Christmas (1974); Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974); Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984); Christmas Evil (1980); or Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984). But until they make Black Friday, Jack Frost has to take the Christmas cake, with the concept of a slasher…who’s actually a snowman. In this case, a serial killer named Jack Frost is being transported to his execution when a freak collision occurs, involving a truck carrying genetic material. Through his exposure to the body-altering chemicals, Jack Frost morphs into a killer snowman, intent on wreaking bloody revenge on the citizens of Snowmonton. Often described as a “comedy-horror film,” Jack Frost never recovers from its oh-so-stupid premise. Cheap-looking special effects and forgettable performances (including Shannon Elizabeth’s first acting role) helped solidify this movie’s reputation as a true monstrosity.
6. Surviving Christmas (2004)
The second Ben Affleck holiday flick on our list, this film stars Ben as a spoiled millionaire playboy who decides to head home for the holidays after he turns his friends against him. And his friends aren’t the only ones to turn their back on him; Jon Favreau (director of Iron Man & Cowboys & Aliens) was offered the chance to direct but turned it down to make Elf. The studio thought so much of Surviving Christmas as a holiday film they released it around Halloween instead of Christmas. You’d think opposite of James Gandolfini and Christina Applegate, Affleck might be able to find enough funny to bring the holiday hijinks home – but you’d be wrong.
In 1957, a great and gentle genius named Ted Geisler (aka Dr. Suess) sat down at his drawing table and created a simple masterpiece, a children’s story about a Scrooge-like creature. In 1966, Warner Brothers animator Chuck Jones turned the film into an animated classic. Nearly 50 years later, that classic cartoon still plays throughout the holiday season, inspiring whole new generations with each viewing. In 2000, director Ron Howard decided to turn it into a big-screen blockbuster, in hopes of squeezing more money out of the Grinch.
The problem though is while a lavish, live-action version of the story – starring Jim Carrey in furry green costume sounds like a no-brainer – the producers and director mess too much with the classic and need to go back to film camp. To fill the two hours, the filmmakers expand whole sections of the story, which don’t seem at all like anything Dr. Seuss would have written in 1957 or for that matter, in 2000. Instead Seuss’ heart-touching rhymes have been replaced with Carrey adlibs and references to pop culture (circa 2000). You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch!
4. Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
Produced by the same team that brought you Superman, this holiday time-suck stars Dudley Moore as an elf named Patch who with John Lithgow aim to turn Christmas into a mass-produced holiday. The filmmakers worked for months to train real deer to pull a sleigh – if only the same effort went into the rest of the film. It was one of the biggest box-office disasters in the U.S., while it did eventually make back the budget worldwide.
3. Four Christmases (2008)
Will Hollywood ever learn? Another worn out “you must learn the meaning of Christmas” calamity centered around families that don’t want to spend the holidays together – starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon.
2. Jack Frost (1998)
What was meant to be a kids movie turns into a perfect example of how NOT to make a Christmas movie. Michael Keaton stars as Jack Frost, the leader of the Jack Frost Band. They play, you guessed it, Christmas songs. But the film goes off the deep end when Keaton’s character dies in a car crash and is reincarnated as a snowman who must teach his son the true meaning of Christmas. So you can tolerate that? We should also mention that Keaton sings in the movie, and the soundtrack features Christmas songs by 90s pop icons Hanson and The Spice Girls.
1. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
Just take a moment and savor that title…Could there be a more colossally idiotic concept for a film? To its credit, the film explores the bizarre-o premise fully: the plot includes Martians actually kidnapping and trying to kill Santa, who is saved by a couple of resourceful Martian kids and some good-hearted, clanking robots. The film (and its no-name cast) is so awful that it routinely gets mentioned among the worst movies ever made of any kind. The film is so bad it even has its own cult of fans (it was featured on Mystery Science Theater) and has even spawned a novel and musical. At one point, Jim Carrey even rumored to be attached to a remake – thankfully, that never materialized.
Coming Attractions: The Best Holiday Movies Ever Made
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