When it comes to Christmas movies, people can’t seem to get enough. From hundreds of Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies, with the same exact plot, to sequels and full series that never needed to happen, the obsession with Yule Tide content has produced some serious steaming lumps of…coal. Could people have been happy with just re-watching Home Alone and Die Hard, it is a Christmas movie? We think so. But audiences everywhere seem to disagree, and that’s why we’re here today.
Call us Scrooge. Call us the Grinch. Call us whatever you like – someone needs to speak truth to pine scented power and that someone is us. Though we all love popping popcorn, making hot cocoa, and wrapping ourselves in a blanket burrito in front of the TV, nothing makes us, and Santa, cry icicle tears harder than a Christmas movie that falls flat. So Today, Scarlett Media Presents our top 10 movies that ruin Christmas and kill the Christmas spirit so thoroughly they give the Grinch a run for his money. If you feel that grinchy spirit, don’t forget to like and subscribe or leave some coal on the dislike button if you disagree and don’t mind being wrong.
Number ten. Home Alone 3.
It’s entirely possible you’ve escaped the curse of knowing that a Home Alone 3 even exists; it’s so horrible, people try not to mention it. But don’t worry, you’re not missing anything: we watched it so you don’t have to. First and foremost, who the hell is this child? One does not make a Home Alone movie without Macaulay Culkin. That would be like leaving Mariah Carey off a Christmas playlist. Secondly, poor-man’s Culkin basically goes through the exact same plot as the first movie except they added some complicated bit about North Korean spies and a microchip that we don’t fully understand. Needless to say, the Christmas loving world learned the hard way that lightning can only strike once when it comes to small, blonde children booby trapping their house against wanted criminals. More does not always equal better.
Number nine. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
This one hurts us more than it hurts you. We all wanted I’ll Be Home For Christmas to work. The ‘90s most beloved teen actor, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, was fresh off Home Improvement, and audiences were excited to see where JTT’s acting career would take him next. Turns out: not very far. Rotten Tomatoes probably sums this up best with the critical consensus being “Neither parent nor child will find any merriment in this mess.” Factor in the very strange plot of a son who hasn’t come home for Christmas since his mom died being bribed by his father with a Porsche as well as the truly unfortunate dialogue that has college students referencing swirlies for some reason? And you’ve got a truly Grinch-worthy Christmas movie.
Number eight. Christmas Prince
Christmas Prince was essentially marketed as Netflix’s version of a Hallmark Christmas movie, and technically we can’t fault them there since they basically succeeded. We just expected more from Netflix. And for that, we will shame them. The plot revolves around a reporter who is assigned to report on the royal family of a made up country. In order to get access to the family, she pretends to be the tutor for the queen’s daughter who has Spina bifida. Eventually, the girl learns the reporter’s secret but doesn’t care because she treats her like a normal person and not like a disabled child and they bond and find love in unexpected places. Is this the main plot? No. The writers decided it’s more in the Christmas spirit to focus on the eldest royal child who doesn’t want to be king despite pressure from the family and who *SPOILERS IF YOU CARE* turns out to not be a blood relative to the family, anyways. The princess briefly talks about how she can’t become queen because of the patriarchy, and then we turn our focus back to the prince where we learn that the dead king’s dying wish was to change the way the line of succession is done and wants the prince to be king despite not being a blood relative. Could he have changed all the rules and let the female child be queen? APPARENTLY NOT. The ending is more Christmasy still because of course the prince/now king proposes to the reporter despite having known each other for approximately 2 weeks. Also, all the people playing Brits are American and all the people playing Americans are Kiwis and we do not understand these casting choices.
Number seven. Happiest Season
We know this one’s going to be a bit controversial, so feel free to leave us ice cold comments. Audiences were so excited when it was announced that a proper studio Christmas movie starring Kristen Stewart, Dan Levy, and a bunch of comedians would be released to Hulu. Not to mention the fact that it would center around an LGBT love story. There was a light at the end of the pandemic Christmas tunnel. Unfortunately, the movie focused so singularly on the crappy behavior of Stewart’s movie girlfriend that audiences were left without any feelings of Christmas cheer. They made the girlfriend character so unlikable, in fact, that the consensus around the Twittersphere is that everyone was rooting for Kristen Stewart and Aubrey Plaza, who played the girlfriend’s ex. If that doesn’t tell you how crappy a person is, we don’t know what does. The many comedians, Dan Levy included, had great moments on their own but it wasn’t enough to save the oddly paced and not very jolly movie. It can essentially be summed up as a bad attempt at a modernized version of The Birdcage. With snow.
Number six. Jingle All the Way.
This 1996 Christmas movie starring none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger is a staple on bad Christmas movie lists, and for good reason. The rare 15% on Rotten Tomatoes can be attributed primarily to the fact that it doesn’t even know what kind of movie it is. As most critics will point out, it vacillates wildly between satirical commentary on materialism and insane slapstick comedy. Add to that the Governator trying to be lighthearted and jolly, and you’ve got a lot of cringeworthy moments. Even though it is decidedly a killer of Christmas spirit, we think you should give it a try for unintentional laughs alone. Knock back an eggnog or 5 and enjoy Ah-nold and Sinbad duke it out over the one remaining toy coveted by all children. Just don’t expect to be filled with love of all by the end.
Number five. Frozen.
Get those angry replies stewing like a Christmas pot-roast, because we’re coming for your faves. Fans are unsure whether Frozen is technically a Christmas movie, but we don’t care because Christmas movie or not, it has ruined Christmas. To parents who have to buy their kids a new Elsa dress every Christmas since they grew out of the last one, to the average bachelor and bachelorette who miss decorations that don’t have the face of a buck-toothed snowman on them, adults everywhere are experiencing Frozen Fatigue. We never had a chance when they wrote a song so deeply connected with snow and cold weather. Human beings are terrible people and can’t help themselves when it comes to singing songs relevant to their surroundings, and that has never been more true. One simply cannot make it through the Christmas season without having “THE COLD NEVER BOTHERED ME ANYWAY” screamed in their face at least once. It might be a delightful Disney classic, but we would like for the Holidays to…let it go.
Number four. Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
Audiences loved The Santa Clause so much, multiple ‘90s kids still misspell the man’s name Clause instead of Claus. In true Christmas spirit, studios wanted to capitalize on this success as much as possible and decided that there were addendums to the original Santa Clause. The first added clause was the plot of the second movie in the series, where he was required to find a wife. It was just meh. When it was announced that Martin Short would be in the 3rd and final installment, audiences were excited. Surely the comedy duo that is Martin Short and Tim Allen would revive the series to its original glory. Spoiler alert, it did not. Basically, it is revealed that if a Santa ever wants to stop being Santa, they just have to hold a special snow globe and say they wished they’d never been Santa – kind of a weird combination of the Wizard of Oz and It’s a Wonderful Life. Martin Short who plays Jack Frost decides he really freakin hates Santa and tries to force him into saying this. Critical consensus is mostly that it’s just as boring as watching red and white paint dry. Not even Martin Short’s over the top performance could save it. One film critic literally said it’s “the cinematic equivalent of tertiary syphilis”. Even if it were watchable, we could never forgive them for taking Bernard the elf from us.
Number three. Christmas with the Kranks
Oh Tim Allen, how far you have fallen. Audiences were understandably excited for Christmas with the Kranks: Tim Allen had cemented himself as a holiday classic, Jamie Lee Curtis is a national treasure, and Dan Aykroyd is one of the best comedic actors. Alas, Santa would not be delivering a box office success. Basically, Jamie Lee and Tim Allen decide they don’t want to do Christmas this year and decide to boycott it and their neighbors Dan Aykroyd and a woman are really freakin upset about this. They try to force Christmas on them and we give them some credit here because making people do stuff they don’t want to is at the heart of every Christmas gathering. Also, Dan Aykroyd’s wife is revealed to have cancer because it isn’t a Christmas movie until some middle aged woman is sick with a tragic disease. Major complaints are that it is deeply unfunny slapstick. And unfunny slapstick is just sadder than a sparse Christmas tree. It has an impressive 5% on Rotten Tomatoes, and for that, we applaud them.
Number two. Fred Claus
Fred Claus is particularly disappointing because if you told us right now they were making a movie where Vince Vaughn plays the jealous younger brother to Paul Giamatti’s Santa Claus, we would forget all about the trauma of the actual movie and fork over all our Christmas money to see it. As it turns out, the universal downfall of poorly received Christmas movies is an inability to combine sentimentality and much too much slapstick. We’re not sure who decided Christmas was the kind of holiday that needed a Three Stooges vibe, but we have a feeling it might have been Jack Frost. Watching Paul Giamatti Claus have a snowball fight with Vince Vaughn sounds funny, but if you’re trying to get in the Christmas spirit, we assure you, this is not the place to go. The snowball fight features devastatingly terrible CGI and devolves quickly into attempted vehicular manslaughter. Fred, you really are a disappointment.
Before we get to the number one way Hollywood is trying to thaw our Christmas spirit, leave us a gift under the subscribe button and ring that holiday notification bell so you never miss our lists of more movies, shows and games we can hate together.
Number one. The Christmas Shoes
The freaking Christmas Shoes. We’re going to try to get through this one without screaming, but we can’t make any promises. First of all, this entire movie is based off of a song. Not a book. Not a play. Not a short story. A song. The song takes you laboriously through a story about a man who watches a dirty, poor little boy try to buy a pair of shoes for his mother who is apparently dying very soon but the boy does not have enough money. The man, of course, buys the shoes for the boy, because every man wants to imagine himself being the hero in what amounts to tragedy porn set to music. Surprisingly, turning this story into a motion picture did not make it any more palatable. It’s even more vomit inducingly schmaltzy and fake than the song we all suffered through in 2000. It somehow has 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, and we suspect a Christmas conspiracy.
Do you agree with our list? What movies make or break your holiday season? Check out our other Christmas video to see if it made that list and stay tuned for more videos every week. And as always, thanks for watching.
Writer: Arielle Andreano
Editor: AB Scarlett
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See Hosseinzadeh v. Klein, 276 F.Supp.3d 34 (S.D.N.Y. 2017); Equals Three, LLC v. Jukin Media, Inc., 139 F. Supp. 3d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2015).