Ah December…the time we get to take a break from writing about horrible wrestling and instead go dumpster diving into the world of horrible Christmas movies! We’ve been doing this I believe since year one at WrestleCrap, so there ain’t no stopping us now. And this year, you get a double dose, as we do a two-fer-one with myself and Art tackling both Jingle all the Way and its horrifically unneeded sequel courtesy of WWE films, Jingle all the Way 2!!
You know, as someone who kinda prides himself on his knowledge of atrocious yuletide celluloid, I must confess: I am not all that familiar with Jingle all the Way. In fact, prior to sitting down to induct it, I think I’d only seen it once, and that would have been the year it originally came out on VHS (what’s that??)…which was like 17 years ago. Seriously, there are people reading this that were not ALIVE when this thing came out. And I know I can’t be the only one who feels really old reading that sentence.
There’s a fantastic Christmas present for us all.
Merry Christmas, see y’all next year!
No no, I wouldn’t do that. Especially not after I just watched this again. Look, I remember it being bad, but I didn’t think, at the time I watched it originally (17 years ago, remember!), that it was so horrible I had to watch it annually. And there are films I do that with. We’ve got El Santa Claus, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, The Star Wars Holiday Special. You want bad?
Then say hello to Chewbacca’s kid Lumpy. That’s bad. (And accessible by clicking here.)
Jingle All the Way? This isn’t bad by my standards. Now that’s not to say it’s GOOD by any stretch of the imagination. But I will give it this: it may be the most incredibly, amazingly, mind bogglingly stupid movie I’ve ever seen. Also, kinda creepy. In fact, I dare say that Grandpa Itchy spanking it to virtual porn pales in comparison to some of the horrors unleashed in this 90 minute poop fest.
That counts for something, right?
SPEAKING of horror…and Star Wars for that matter…the first primary character we are introduced to is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son, who is played by none other than…
LITTLE ANI HIMSELF, JAKE LLOYD!!!!
I know a lot of folks absolutely hate Episode I, and I totally get it. It is by far the worst of the Star Wars films, and nothing else is even close. But while many feel that Jar Jar ruins the film, he is to me about number 8 on the list of my personal issues with that flick. That kid you are looking at right now? NUMBER ONE WITH A BULLET. His acting was beyond awful. If I ever hear anyone yell “YIPEE!” again, I promise you I will punch them right square in the mouth.
Anyway, he’s Jamie. You will know this because Arnold says his name in every single sentence he speaks to him.
“How are you, Jamie.”
“Jamie, let me into your room.”
“Jamie, your mom and I named you Jamie because we like the name Jamie.”
Don’t believe me? Here, take a listen.
The other thing repeated? “Turbo Man.” In fact, I dare say it’s a toss up as to what is uttered more. I’d go back and check, but even I have more of a life than that. If you want to, knock yourself out. In fact, here’s a drinking game you can play while you watch this idiotic pile of crap.
Anyway, Jamie loves Turbo Man. Just like every other kid in the film. And every adult in the film. Seriously, there is not one person in the entire show that says, “Turbo Man, that thing sucks!” No, it’s unequalled love for it. So it’s no surprise that Jamie loves watching the show.
What IS a surprise, however, is that in the episode he is watching at the beginning of the film, Harvey Korman makes an appearance as the president. As you will recall, he was also on The Star Wars Holiday Special. I don’t know whether we should congratulate him or declare all future viewings of his filmography off limits. Think I’ll go with the latter; I still love Blazing Saddles. Plus, he’s not in drag in this movie (or that one) as an intergalactic Julia Child ripoff.
Let’s meet the rest of the primary characters!
Here’s the mom, who is a very classic “hot or not” proposition. Looking at her here, I am thinking yeah, pretty hot. Elsewhere in the film, I am thinking, no, absolutely not. It’s a weird dichotomy. And I had zero idea this was actually Rita Wilson until I IMDB’ed this thing. Did you know that she was Tom Hanks’ wife? I sure didn’t! The things you learn right here at WrestleCrap.com! Let’s refer to her as Mrs. Gump throughout the rest of this write up.
Of course we have Arnold himself as the workaholic dad, Howard. God bless you if your name is Howard, but Arnold Schwarzengger should never be named Howard. Unless he was doing a Howard Cossell biopic. That would rock. If I ever win the lottery, I will pour all my winnings into creating movies with similarly horrible premises.
The late, great Phil Hartman is also in the movie as the uber Christmas king of the neighborhood. He attempts to parlay his extravagantly lit up house and ability to make hot cocoa into getting laid.
Hey, remember when I said that I would make stupid movies with stupid story lines?
Someone beat me to it.
So being a nonstop worker bee, Howard is constantly missing Jamie’s activities. Early in the film, Howard misses Jamie’s karate awards hootenanny, which leads to the kid being very upset. It also leads to acting between Arnold and Ani. ACTING. Arnold is horrible, but Ani is so much worse that I can barely believe it. To think George Lucas saw this and said, “Yep, that’s Darth Vader, right there.”
Anyway, Howard asks Jamie what he wants for Christmas and he says a Turbo Man action figure. Which causes Howard to look on in a very, VERY creepy manner.
A word of warning: if that image scares you, just stop reading now. The director of this film has an obsession with extreme Arnold close ups, and they get way more disturbing later in the picture.
And by later, I mean 2 minutes later. And they happen a LOT throughout our 90 minute runtime. In the interest of expediting things, let’s get the worst ones out of the way in animated GIF form.
There. Hope you’re still with us (though I can’t blame you if you aren’t).
So yes, everyone is out on Christmas Eve (remember that detail, it’s important) looking for the same unobtanium: the elusive Turbo Man action figure. Sure, his idiotic pink sidekick Booster is available, but everyone hates him. They just want Turbo. And it is here that we meet yet another primary character: Myron the Mailman, portrayed by Sinbad (or as my high school girlfriend dubbed him “Jokebad”).
He and Howard get along quite well at first, but that is very short-lived when they discover they are both after the same toy. This of course leads to a fight (the first of approximately 812 in the film), which of course leads to…
…Sinbad spread eagle for your viewing pleasure.
Idiotic battles are the story of the day in Jingle All the Way. Ever wanted to see Arnold Schwarzenegger get KO’ed by a cardboard cut out?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
While Howard is out running around like a numbskull, Ted comes over to help Mrs. Gump with her last minute holiday preparations. He plays with the kids, helps with chores, bakes some cookies. He then notes that she probably needs to take a shower. If the guy is trying to get lucky, I doubt that’s a winning line. But she decides that she does, in fact, need to bathe and heads upstairs.
At this precise moment, Howard calls home, only to find Ted answering. This leads to an enthralling conversation about Mrs. Gump’s cookies. And by “cookies”, I mean her “vagina.”
Don’t blame me, just reporting the facts here.
Meanwhile, Howard runs into his old friend Myron, which leads to more ACTING. Ok, I may be reconsidering my stance that Little Ani gives the worst performance in this thing. Arnold is ATROCIOUS. Think I am exaggerating? You make the call.
Holy crap – now we’re going to the site of the first Nitro, the Mall of America! If he goes to lunch at PASTAMANIA, I’ll never say another bad word about this movie. If they go to that shop that only sold flags from around the world, I’ll go so far as to give it a 10/10 on the IMDB page.
Sadly, neither of those things happen. Instead, we wind up at yet another toy store, and they DO have Turbo Man figures. But just a few of them, so they are going to hand out lottery balls to choose who gets them. Also, they note, they’re going to double the price of the figure, which has customers appalled.
So let me get this straight – the parents in this film are willing to literally run people over with cars in order to get them, but doubling the price of a $10 figure is completely reprehensible?
Anyway, they hand out 50,000 super balls to the 50 or so people waiting. And yes, Arnold’s ball bounces away.
Fire up the laugh track!
Having lost his super ball of destiny to a child who has to have been fathered (or is it mothered?) by SNL’s Pat, Howard runs into Santa Claus.
You know, even as I wrote that sentence, I knew it made zero sense. And I felt really filthy mentioning PAT. But that’s what happens.
And good news for Howard – Santa DOES have a Turbo Man doll. And a midget. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the midget that Jesse Ventura gunned down on RENEGADE. Good to see him finding consistent work.
The bad news for Howard is that Santa isn’t going to just give him the doll; he’s going to have to pay for it. This leads to a never-ending scene in which Howard, the midget, and Santa go to Santa’s black market workshop. That may sound like hyperbole, but trust me, that’s what happens. It’s a place where they manufacture and stock pile toys that they sell to desperate parents at jacked up prices.
Speaking of jacked up, let’s have another fight scene!
When you start stealing bits from Santa with Muscles, you know it’s bad times. Didn’t A Christmas Story 2: Ralphie’s Quest to Get Him Some do the same thing? Well the one thing that neither of those movies had was The Big Show hitting yet another midget so hard he flies 200 feet. Usually that’s where you’d think I was making this up, so here’s the animated GIF to prove I am in earnest.
This movie is bad enough to make Jake Lloyd drink.
Which he does. Sadly, it’s just a dream sequence. Having Jake Lloyd: alcoholic 8 year old would have at least brought some drama to the festivities.
After escaping Santa’s warehouse of shoddy merchandise, Myron and Howard wind up hanging out at a coffee shop, where a DJ (not Mike Check) announces that the first caller to name all of Santa’s reindeer will win a Turbo Man doll. The two bum rush the pay phone (oh how I miss the days before cell phones) and promptly destroy it. Because, as we’ve seen, nothing in this film actually avoids destruction. But hey guys, don’t worry, as the bar keep tells them that the radio station is just two blocks away. And off the go running to get there.
Ok, now remember when I said earlier it was Christmas Eve? That leads me to something else I’ve not really discussed yet: the movie has no concept of time. I’ve never seen any type of story, be it book, show, cartoon, movie, whatever, with less of a concept of it. Virtually every single scene in the entire movie takes place on Christmas Eve. And when I say “Christmas Eve,” judging by the sun, I mean “Christmas Eve between 11am – 3pm.” They drive places, they wreck cars, they destroy toy store after toy store, they see kids drinking, they go to Santa’s warehouse…all in the same day. So the idea that they could somehow run two blocks before someone else in the entire city calls in to name the reindeer so as to win the toy everyone wants isn’t out of the question.
So they get the radio station and…three guesses? Yep, they destroy the place. And then Sinbad runs in with a BOMB. See, because he is a postal worker. And while we are at first under the impression that it’s not a real bomb, it does in fact explode. Because of course it does.
Deciding that buying a Turbo Man figure is now impossible, Howard determines the next best course of action is to STEAL one instead. And his plan is to steal one from his neighbor, Ted.
Again, the movie makes no sense at all here; I mean, sure, Ted is a womanizer, but how is he a VILLAIN in any real sense of the word? He puts up Christmas decorations, gives people hot cocoa, and likes to listen to Christmas carolers. He has a pet reindeer. Sure he tries to get some on the side, but he’s a bachelor…so why should’t he? And as for having a Turbo Man figure, again, he didn’t do anything wrong there. He just planned ahead.
Finally, even Howard thinks the better of it, but before he can actually return the present, he gets caught by Ted’s pet reindeer. Which he promptly punches in the mouth.
Maybe we should just be happy that the reindeer didn’t explode.
And, again, to recap: we are to boo the organized, Christmas-loving family man, while we are to cheer the reindeer punching thief who destroys half the town whose primary hobby is ignoring his family.
Everyone got that?
All of this leads up to the big Christmas Eve parade…a parade which features the SANTA IN LATEX MARCHING BAND!
While part of me wants to go into a long diatribe about where on earth such an idea would have originated, the larger part of me just wants this stupid movie to be over. Tell you what. Down in the comments section below, the best answer as to the origin of the Santa Latex Marching Band will get a free autographed book from yours truly. Knock yourselves out.
In fact, let’s just get to the conclusion as nothing much happens before it other than Mrs. Gump clocking poor Ted with an egg nog thermos. Whatever. So as Howard is running away from the cops for whatever reason (most likely due to blowing something else up), he ducks into a building where various men remove all his clothes while he just kinda stands around.
Really. Not making this up.
And yes, you guessed it, he winds up as Turbo Man in the parade.
Now I want you to look at that. I was going to say “look at that closely”, but that’s just an instinctual thing to write. No, I want you to close your eyes, open them for like a split second, look at that image, then close them again immediately. I don’t want you spending time studying it or anything.
Ok, now…who was that as Turbo Man?
Congrats – you are smarter than anyone else in this movie.
See, because his wife, nor his son, recognize him despite being literally FACE TO FACE WITH HIM.
Ok, I mean, maybe the mask obscures his face somewhat. Maybe the kid has vision problems. But they carry on a flippin’ conversation, and he can’t tell this is his DAD?
Meanwhile, Myron shows up as Turbo Man’s arch-nemesis and is soundly defeated in a manner not seen since the hey day of Barry Horowitz. No one saw that coming, right?
And did I forget to mention Z-grade special effects?
Ones so bad they would have had Ed Wood shaking his head?
Finally, this imbecilic movie ends with an imbecilic scene in which Howard’s wife and son, who you might recall is named JAMIE, discover that he is in fact TURBO MAN.
Yes, let’s all look on in slack jawed amazement.
You mean to tell me Turbo Man is really my gigantic dad who speaks in an absurd Austrian accent?
Why this movie couldn’t be any stupider if it starred Santino Marella and Larry the Cable Guy.
OR COULD IT?
Art, take it away!
A sequel to Jingle All the Way sounds like a disaster on paper, especially a sequel made in 2014 with Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced by Larry the Cable Guy. Still, I suppose that’s a better casting change for Jingle All The Way than, say, Predator or Terminator.
As for Batman & Robin, I’d say it would be a toss-up.
Larry the Cable Guy, as you may have noticed, has had a career downturn in the last five or six years, which is really saying something seeing as the lead roles he was playing in his heyday were in films hovering in the single digit range on Rotten Tomatoes.
In fact, not only do his top four reviewed films include a Tyler Perry movie with a 19% approval rating…
In this movie, Larry the Cable Guy plays Larry the trucker, a divorced dad who, unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger’s improbably named character Howard, works only part-time so he can spend time with his daughter, Noel.
Also along for the ride is Larry’s buddy Claude, a largely extraneous character played by Santino Marella. Astonishingly, Santino doesn’t speak in an Italian accent despite being billed as “Santino Marella” in the credits. He must have prepped for this role for months, because he almost sounds like he could really be American (or Canadian).
But then, we couldn’t have a Jingle All the Way movie where an actor has an inexpicable foreign accent, now could we?
Thanks to WWE’s curious commitment to kayfabe, Santino’s lack of accent in the film has kept any of his lines from being used in the commercials shown on WWE. They’ll show you commercials of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H doing charity work right after they’ve pummeled a handcuffed Daniel Bryan, but they won’t let fans know that Santino isn’t really Italian.
So Larry is poor but fun. Noel’s stepfather Victor, on the other hand, is super-rich but boring.
To drive home the fact that he’s boring, Noel’s boring stepdad Victor is given the most boring job imaginable, owning and managing a boring box company.
“Baxter Box Company is up 20% this year,” he tells Larry at one point. You wouldn’t think the box industry would have many ups and downs, but what do I know about the economy? I hear he now has factories in both Springfield and Flint, Michigan.
Christmas is going to be a point of contention this year, as Victor and Larry each have Noel at their houses for half the day. The stepdad is jealous of Larry, thinking Noel loves him more because he’s fun, while Larry is jealous of Victor, thinking Noel loves him more because he’s rich.
As a result, rich dad and poor dad are always trying to outdo each other for the affections of Noel, whose name means, “Christmas,” by the way. Symbolism, man.
Once, Victor uses a snow machine to allow him and Noel to have a snowball fight. Larry tries to top this, so he and Santino pack a trailer full of snow but forget that snow is actually frozen water and can melt.
Santino tells Larry that he shouldn’t try to compete with Victor because his daughter loves him plenty already. Normally, this realization would come in Act 3, but since we’re only 25 minutes into the movie, Larry ignores this sound advice for the next hour.
Before I saw the movie, I really wanted to hate the daughter, who is filling the same kind of role Jake Lloyd played in the original movie, but sadly for this induction, she’s actually cute as a button and not a whiny little brat. Little Noel is always going on about how great the stuff is at her stepdad’s house, from the Christmas tree to the chef, but she also thinks that all of Larry the Cable Guy’s crappy attempts at topping her stepdad are also just great, so that reduces her smackability significantly. Just don’t put her in a lead role in the next Star Wars.
Instead of Turbo Man, this year’s hot toy is Harrison Bear (which looks more like a dog). It’s a stuffed animal with a computer chip inside, not unlike Conan O’Brien’s Wiki Bear, although, unlike the late night skit, this bear learns words it hears instead of reciting facts about Custer’s Last Stand and the Zodiac Killer.
Noel says she has a special wish for Christmas and needs to mail her letter to Santa. You can see where this is going from a mile away: Larry is going to think it’s a wish for that talking bear, but it will actually be something sweet and non-commercial like her mom and dad getting back together. Larry, assuming she’s talking about the bear, will go to ridiculous lengths to get it, only to find out the true meaning of Christmas by the end of the movie.
So Larry volunteers to mail the letter, knowing that he can just open it and find out what his daughter wants for Christmas, but Santino meets Larry at the mail box and gives him a stern lecture on why he should never open mail addressed to someone else. You know, if Santino ever returns to the ring, he can switch gimmicks to an Irwin R. Schyster-like mailman who cuts promos every night about all the fans committing mail fraud. He could call himself, “USPS.”
“Boy, who pooped in his hash browns?” wonders Larry. Probably X-Pac, Larry. Probably X-Pac.
Santino guilt-trips Larry into not opening his daughter’s letter addressed to Santa, then mails his own letter to Santa because, despite appearing to be a well-adjusted, rational adult for the rest of the movie, here he’s delusional and, just like his WWE character, thinks Santa Claus is real. I guess WWE Studios didn’t want to tell young viewers that Santa’s not real, even if it meant making Santino’s character look like a mental patient to anyone over the age of eight. Rather than realizing that his best friend is insane, Larry almost heeds his advice and mails the letter after all so it can end up in the dead-letter pile at the post office.
At the last second, though, Larry has a change of heart and does a very bad thing, reading the letter to Santa. Thanks to his daughter’s poor spelling and spacing of her letters, Larry can’t figure out that she wants her family “together as one.” Someone get that girl a tutor.
When stepdad Victor finds out that Noel gave her Santa letter to her dad, he realizes that Larry is going to out-Christmas him by buying whatever was in the letter. And he can’t just ask his stepdaughter what she wants, because she says her Christmas wish won’t come true if she tells anyone. That’s birthday wishes, sweetheart.
Larry asks a guy at the toy store (which features a logo suspiciously similar to that of Toy Story) exactly what toy it is that his daughter has asked for, so he tells him that when she writes, “her a sone,” she must mean Harrison the talking bear.
At least that clears up why the writers named the bear, “Harrison.” It turns out it’s an excuse to have a mistaken-identity plot, rather than a nod to former president William Henry Harrison who, unlike Teddy Roosevelt, not only didn’t get a doll named after him, but died of pneumonia shortly after taking office.
Unfortunately, all the stores are sold out of Harrison bears, and doubly-unfortunately, Victor has hired a John Laurinaitis-esque man from his box factory to tail Larry and find out what he’s up to. Once the teddy bear secret is out, the spy buys up all the Harrisons in town as soon as they come back in stock so Larry can’t get one for her.
You’d think that stores would be suspicious of one person buying up EVERY unit in stock and assume that he’s from a competing toy store or a scalper looking to re-sell the toys for jacked-up prices, but no.
At one point, the bad guy camps out in front of the store and buys up all the bears before any of the other campers can, like it’s the Atoms-Sharks Pigskin Classic.
Poor Larry also can’t just order the toy online because they can’t deliver it until the 26th, despite the fact that Amazon offers one-day shipping for a small fee, including for such products as The Death of WCW 10th Anniversary Edition.
All sorts of shenanigans take place in Larry’s quest to get the bear, including a Santa-themed bull-riding contest with Harrison as the prize. Santino, who does not ask Larry how he knows what Noel asked for, nor why he needs to buy her the bear when Santa can just deliver it himself, tries to help out, but lasts no longer than he did in the 2009 Royal Rumble.
Larry cheats and glues himself to the saddle, and despite Victor’s evil henchman paying off the operator, he wins first prize. Unfortunately, the teddy bear is actually the second prize, so instead of winning a Harrison the talking bear, Larry wins a romantic trip for two to the Poconos. Santino volunteers to go with Larry, which is funny because of gay.
Later, Larry defrauds a charity toy give-away by pretending to be homeless and snatching up a Harrison bear, but then he runs into a little boy who says his dad is in prison, so he gives it up out of guilt.
Then the kid does a heel turn, calls him a sucker, and runs away, selling it to the evil toy-buyer working for Victor. DTA, Larry.
Later, Larry tries to buy a bear from the clerk at the toy store, who is scalping stolen bears for $500 apiece, but the cops show up and impound all the toys as evidence.
Larry calls the whole experience an “epic fail,” betraying that a 2014 sequel to Jingle All the Way starring Larry the Cable Guy is slightly behind the times.
Eventually, Larry figures out that Victor is behind the whole bear-hoarding scam and follows him to his secret stash in the box factory, but they get locked in by accident and won’t be let out for two days. No thought is given to the idea of using a cellular phone to call for help, which is why this Jingle All the Way sequel ought to have been made in 1997, if at all. One of the reasons why, anyway.
The evil box factory man gets found out by a news reporter and an angry mob, then rats out Victor as the mastermind. He’s not really a bad guy, see, he was just following orders. That excuse didn’t fly at Nuremberg, but it did fly when the Big Show was knocking out senior citizens in 2013, and it flies here.
Meanwhile, dad and stepdad hash out their differences and decide to have Christmas together, and only then do they realize that they have cell phones… but there’s no reception.
Finally, Larry figures it’s time to git ‘er done (which amazingly he goes the entire film without saying), breaking out of the warehouse with a forklift. He and Victor head to a tree-lighting ceremony, which Victor, as one of the most important businessmen in town, sponsors every year. Apparently, the city runs on the box industry like others run on steel or coal or automobiles.
However, the angry mob of bear-less parents and children chant against the bear-hoarding Victor until Larry convinces him to give away all the bears to the crowd for free.
On Christmas morning, Victor and Larry both give Noel the bear they think she asked for, but that an hour ago everybody watching at home already figured out she didn’t ask for. Noel says that what she really wanted was her family “together as one.”
The two dads look at the letter to Santa again, and the letters slide across the page into place to reveal the real message, although the effect makes it look like someone spiked their egg nog with LSD.
And see? Santa gave her what she asked for! D’awww! Although the more I think about it, the more disturbing it gets. Are we to imagine that Santa Claus, instead of sticking to making and delivering toys, is now in the business of mind control, secretly manipulating family members into being at a certain place at a certain time?
Fortunately, before the family film can venture to far into Manchurian Candidate territory, the credits roll.
All in all, this movie could have been so much worse. In fact, not only is it better than the original, it is the best WWE Studios film I’ve seen, although those are not very high honors at all.
Sure, I didn’t laugh once, but at least in the end, the daughter’s stepfather didn’t get dumped for being square and replaced by Triple H (like in the Chaperone) or get killed and replaced by Triple H (like in Inside Out), and nobody got turned into a box.