November 28, 2006

Season’s Gleanings

It always amazes me what drivel the studios turn out at year’s end to scrape a few more bucks together. I often think that I should just make a indie Christmas film, which I gotta believe would be at least five times as good as what currently serves as cinematic cheer. The plan would be to make it on a modest budget and *gasp* focus on a story that doesn’t revolve around people getting Christmas trees shoved up their asses. I am only further encouraged when startlingly terrible films like last week’s Deck the Halls or recent gems like Christmas With the Kranks can actually fetch millions, despite a mountain of bad reviews, based almost solely on the fact that people are swept up in the holiday spirit.

Granted, I have no illusions about the studios’ good intentions, or the integrity of Hollywood in general, but I can’t think of any mainstream film genre where the bar is set so ridiculously low, and the return so undeservedly high. I’ll take a full day of A Christmas Story any year.

So, let’s make a Christmas movie, and we can all split the millions we are sure to rake in from a healthy box office. What shall our story be about?

Commentary (26):

1. coudal says… nov 28, 2006 | 10:39 am

The heartwarming story of a suburban boy who refuses to believe in Christmas until a tear in the fabric of the universe accidentally switches him into the body of Judas Iscariot and vice-versa.

“Freaky Good Friday”

Whaddaya think?

2. bearskinrug says… nov 28, 2006 | 10:40 am

How about this:

A retired army Colonel is living in the mountains with Santa Claus, when Santa is kidnapped by some of the Colonel’s ex-soldier buddies. And they want this Colonel to assassinate the president of some Latin American country or they’ll kill Santa!

3. Greg says… nov 28, 2006 | 10:43 am

Lets buy the movie rights to David Sedaris’ Holidays On Ice and produce it as a series of intertwined stories a la Pulp Fiction, but we’re going to need a Zeke scene.

4. Shaun Inman says… nov 28, 2006 | 10:49 am

How about a small design studio in Chicago that unknowingly hires Santa Claus as their new copy writer? (It’s possible. Chicago is practically in Canada—which is practically the North Pole.) Through snowballing, holiday hijinx Santa comes to realize that no one in the office can read! Christmas morning Ol’ Saint Nick gives the gift of literacy to his new friends. Cue an a capella Carol of the Bells and fin.

Pure holiday gold.

5. Smallest Photo says… nov 28, 2006 | 11:19 am

Screw Santa. I want to see:

Doctor Detroit 2
This time with more Ho, ho, hoes.

6. Reuben Whitehouse says… nov 28, 2006 | 11:20 am

‘Santa Begins’: Follow the story of Young Claus and the tragedy of his youth which drove him to breaking into peoples’ houses every year and stealing cakes from their fireplace until a group of volunteer Lawyers from the Bronx counsel him onto a higher path of social giving.

7. Sharif says… nov 28, 2006 | 11:22 am

Christmas Eve: A pair of Amish teenagers, whose rumspringa has led them to seedy New York City on the day before Christmas, are shocked to discover the girl (coincidentally, named Eve) is pregnant. Unable to find lodging, they spend the night in a Staples. Three of their town elders sense that something wonderful has happened, and head north towards the bright light of the city (stopping briefly at an outlet mall to pick up gifts). Hilarity ensues.

Of course, we’ll need a promotional tie-in with Staples, a soundtrack by Eve6 and, for the trailer, a shot of someone getting hit in the crotch.

8. Dean says… nov 28, 2006 | 11:39 am

I’m in if I can do the soundtrack…

9. Hugh G. says… nov 28, 2006 | 11:55 am

Holy shit, you guys are hilarious! I’d pay to see any one of those movies.

Man, I needed a good laugh like that. Thanks!

10. Dale Cruse says… nov 28, 2006 | 1:01 pm

This needs to involve Parker Posey somehow.

11. Joshua says… nov 28, 2006 | 1:21 pm

Haven’t you realized that the money is no longer in the theaters? It’s in the living room. It’s all about the TV seasons now. Why make 1.5 hours of entertainment and reap millions, when we could make 20+ hours of entertainment, spread out throughout the year and reap 10’s of millions??

Imagine this, every episode is exactly the time that’s it’s happening, 1 hour. And the entire season lasts 1 day. It’s about some people who’s plane crashes at Christmas time, and they get stuck on a island. They all have to learn to work together and find a turkey on the island so that they can all have christmas dinner. Meanwhile, some of them are still stuck in the plane trying to figure out how to escape, one Mexican, one really smart white guy, his brother and one mental patient. After the turkey is caught, they realize there will only be enough turkey for 5 of them, so every episode, they have to vote off one person from the dinner. BUT, if that wasn’t enough, the last 10 people voted off form a jury, and at the end they vote on who will get to marry the mental patient.

Then during the finally, a ship comes to save them all (even though they have no idea where they are), but the only people that can leave are voted on by America as to who we want to come back (obviously not the mental patient and his new wife). The vote takes place by making them sing… and dance.… AT THE SAME TIME!!!

But in the end, Santa goes to the island too, and leaves them presents, a pallet of food and supplies, and everyone realizes that Christmas really is everywhere and we are all connected.

We release the DVD exactly 1 year after the season airs, right around next years holiday season, so we make money on it twice. The stores will be sold out of the DVD Season the day it hits the shelves.

12. Blake says… nov 28, 2006 | 1:30 pm

I’m in full agreement. I have zero interest in any “Christmas” films this year. In fact, I can’t remember the last Christmas film I was remotely interested in. “Grinch” comes to mind, but I never considered that a holiday film. Strange…just doesn’t feel Christmas to me. Feels like an over-budgeted Jim Carrey flick.

Movies like Christmas Vacation, Christmas Story, A Wonderful Life come to mind. I don’t think it’s simple childhood biased. There’s something about a good Christmas movie that I can’t pinpoint, but it exists. Don’t see much on the horizon…but one will come soon. Until then, I’ll enjoy Chevy Chase a few more times.

13. Blake says… nov 28, 2006 | 1:31 pm

(On a side note: what the hell happened to Matthew Broderick?! When did Ferris Bueler get so lame?)

14. Greg says… nov 28, 2006 | 1:41 pm

When did Ferris Bueler get so lame?

Precisely the day Mathew started working on this movie.

15. Joshua says… nov 28, 2006 | 2:33 pm

Project X!!! Yes!!

16. Bill says… nov 28, 2006 | 2:59 pm

I don’t think you could ever outdo the greatness that is A Christmas Story. That’s why things like this make me sad.

17. Blake says… nov 28, 2006 | 3:42 pm

Heh. Project X. Monkeys. Bueler. Bueler. Vomit.

18. Adam Schilling says… nov 28, 2006 | 5:50 pm

Santa disappears for a couple of years and no one — not even Mrs. Claus — knows where he’s gone. Everyone just assumes he’s dead, but … he comes back! Where did he go? What did he do? Only thing is for sure … Mrs. Claus has moved on — she’s not Mrs. ‘Claus’ any more. And, she’s had a child with with her new fiancee, … or has she?

… pretty original so far, right? ;-)

The best bit is that while Santa tries to get back into the toy-giving game, his arch-nemesis — a massive-chain-toy-store (bald) CEO — will do everything in his power to wipe Santa out once and for all!

Tentatively titled ‘Santa Returns’. (teehee!)

19. El Mysterioso says… nov 28, 2006 | 7:00 pm

How about the broke guy whose website is sold but he won’t receive his money until after Christmas? Postpone the joy? Postpone the celebration? Hold off on the new car…or food? Its happening to me. Movie option available.

20. The Guilty Carnivore says… nov 28, 2006 | 7:24 pm

A bunch of vacuous television blowhards yammer on and on from their bully pulpit about how secularism has declared War on Christmas because some small town in Saskatchewan removed a manger from a 7-11. The talking heads are simultaneously given enemas by agnostic elves who really just want a vacation so they can sit around the North Pole drinking scotch and playing Everquest.

21. Jason Santa Maria says… nov 28, 2006 | 9:08 pm

WOW. We have ideas to take us through the next few years! And any of these would be infinitely more entertaining than our current box office options.

I would definitely lean towards a Sci-Fi space epic, possibly one that pits all of the holiday denizens against one another in a battle-royale for the rights to the most profit-winning holiday. It could even be a Godzilla-style series of films, Santa vs The Easter Bunny, Santa vs Tom Turkey, um… Santa vs Arbor Man

22. Dylan says… nov 28, 2006 | 11:20 pm

Leprechaun 7: Leprechaun vs. Santa Claus.

Off topic, yes. Idiotic, yes.

23. Robert says… nov 29, 2006 | 7:09 am

We have ideas to take us through the next few years!

And yet no-one has mentioned the obvious ‘Father XXX-mas’, in which a rugged, twenty-something Santa works his way through a list of scantily clad college cheerleaders, showing them in his own unique way exactly who is naughty, and who is nice.

“Christmas is Coming!” or some such strapline.

24. Mark says… nov 29, 2006 | 8:34 am

It’s obviously time to remake “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” new millennium style.

Santa, on the brink of a nervous breakdown due to the pressures of falling sales and overseas labor tensions, finally goes over the edge when Bill O’Reilly challenges him to a debate over who is really “looking out” for the world’s kids. Just before plunging into the icy depths, he is visited by the spirit of his old friend, Buddy the Elf (reprised by Will Ferrel).

Three more spirits come that night: the Ghost of Christmas Past (played by Ian McClellan), the Ghost of Christmas Present (played by DL Hughley), and the Ghost of Christmas Future (chillingly played by Marilyn Manson).

Of course, it can’t be realeased for five years because Peter Jackson will take on the FX extravaganza first only to come to blows with studio execs over money, in which it’s handed over to Kevin Smith to become “more cerebral.” He’s uncomfortable with the execs’ creative changes, Michael Bay gives it a go but somehow turns it into a Transformers sequel, and so Warner finally puts it into the artful hands of Chris Nolan.

I for one can’t wait to see Michael Caine as Saint Nick Christian Bale as Buddy!

25. hhh says… nov 29, 2006 | 10:01 am

Bah, humbug! Much like The Princess Bride, A Christmas Story is a steaming pile of horsedung that has hypnotized the public and reviewers alike into believing it’s a brick of solid gold. No thanks, I’ll just pop in a tape of A Charlie Brown Christmas and hope the Vince Guaraldi tunes will drown out the sounds of Bruce Springsteen singing Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

PS: Merry Christmas!

26. stb says… nov 29, 2006 | 2:05 pm

I think a good test of a Xmas movie is if you could ever imagine yourself watching it in July and enjoying it. A Christmas Story, Scrooged, Elf, Bad Santa, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Die Hard (It happened during Xmas!!!), National Lampoon’s Xmas Vacation, Nightmare Before Xmas are some of the ones that do it for me.