From “A Night Before Christmas” to “Die Hard,” the Christmas film has always been a standby for Hollywood, often designed to leave audiences with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside after the credits roll. It’s typical family fare that we’ve come to expect, and they always try to remind us about the true meaning of Christmas every chance they get.
Except for the times they actually don’t, which is pretty often. Here are 8 instances when classic Christmas movies pretty much taught the worst lesson possible to whoever doesn’t sleep through them. Also, we might be using the word “classic” a bit loosely here…8. It’s A Wonderful Life – Contemplating suicide isn’t all that bad.
The Movie: “It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of those Christmas movie classics that came into consciousness mostly because it was cheap to air movies that were in the public domain. Despite its early poor reviews and box office returns, this movie ended up making its mark by sheer luck.
The main conflict of the film involves our hero, George Bailey, who works for the Buildings and Loan Association, and his money troubles. His uncle loses $8,000 that was technically stolen by Mr. Henry Potter, a majority shareholder in George’s company, and totally not related to Harry. This money was needed to keep the company afloat, and now, George finds himself in dire straits, to the point where he nearly attempts suicide. Then, George makes a turnaround, gets help from his family and friends, and manages to make back the money that went missing, and then some. Happy holidays!
The Unfortunate Lesson: …Except it took a near suicide attempt for George to realize all of this. Which makes it seem that a suicide attempt is just the moment of clarity people would need when they’re in a bind. Not to mention the fact that nobody bothered to deal with Mr. Potter. At all. He pretty much got away with stealing $8,000, and is still the majority shareholder of the Buildings and Loan Association.
That’s sort of like realizing what happened to this country during Martial Law, and then electing Imelda into power again and again. Oh, wait.7. Jingle All The Way – You have to buy your kid’s love.
The Movie: Arnold Schwarzenegger stars with Sinbad (Remember him?) in a Christmas caper designed to warm the heart, as they race to get the must-have toy for the season: the Turbo-Man action figure. At some point in the film, Arnie ends up wearing a Turbo-Man costume, and wins his son over despite being a workaholic absentee parent the remaining 364 days of the year, because wacky hijinx. And, oh, Arnold’s kid was played by Jake Lloyd, just in case you didn’t hate the movie enough based on the synopsis alone.
The Unfortunate Lesson: So. A toy, or, you know, becoming a superhero for one day magically makes all your mistakes as a dad perfectly okay? The funny thing is, in their attempt to satirize the crass commercialism that the holidays have broken down into, they pretty much ended up glorifying it, seeing as the Turbo-Man movie tie-in toy is a collector’s item on ebay.
The only “collector” that should be handling a Turbo-Man action figure is a garbage collector.6. Elf – Kidnapping is okay, as long as you’re Santa Claus
The Film: Elf is the story of a hilarious mixup that results in a baby ending up in Santa’s sack on his way back to the North Pole. This baby grows to become Will Ferrell, as one of Santa’s not-so-little helpers, who discovers that he was actually a human, and travels back to America to find his biological father.
The Unfortunate Lesson: Like the unbelievable amount of leeway most of us are willing to give our celebrity idols, Santa Claus apparently gets a pass for what amounts to kidnapping all because he’s Santa Claus. And, oh, he made Will work for him for decades. For free.5. The Santa Clause – Manslaughter is okay, as long as you steal their identity afterwards
The Film: Tim Allen accidentally kills Santa Claus one fine night, then notices himself slowly metamorphose into Santa Claus. It’s kinda straightforward, really.
The Unfortunate Lesson: No attempt to report the accidental death at all? Well, it looks pretty much like killing someone is perfectly fine, as long as you can take over their life afterwards. No wonder “Source Code” was well-received.4. The Muppets Movie – If you can’t beat ‘em, count on head trauma!
The Film: It’s the first Muppet film in 12 years, and it’s pretty long-winded, but here: let’s have David Willis of Shortpacked! describe it in the only way he knows how. Got that all?
The Unfortunate Lesson: Ultimately, the $10M goal they needed wasn’t met. Apparently, economic bailouts can’t be powered by nostalgia alone. Despite that, a knock on the head suddenly makes the film’s antagonist change his mind about the whole thing, which pretty much made the entire film’s conceit a waste of time.3. 9 Mornings – Simbang Gabi is an excellent time to mack on ladies.
The Film: Just so he could receive his inheritance, the hedonistic Piolo Pascual has to complete all nine masses of Simbang Gabi, which he begrudgingly does. Along the way, he discovers there’s more to life than money, and even finds love in what he thought was a hopeless place!
The Unfortunate Lesson: That hopeless place? Church. Now, if you happen to be professing to be some kind of religious, spiritual person, the last place you should be girl-hunting in is church. But no, that never stopped Piolo, because his unbridled masculinity simply cannot be repressed.2. Home Alone – You can’t count on adults for anything
The Film: Oh, come on. You don’t need me to explain the story of “Home Alone” for you, do you? I mean, the title and Macaulay Culkin’s face says everything that needs to be said, right?
The Unfortunate Lesson: One thing that goes unsaid? How incompetent all the adults are, from the criminals trying to rob Macaulay’s house to the policemen who never bother to check up on him properly. It strains one’s suspension of disbelief that none of the proper authorities in Chicago who have already been notified that there is a kid who is home alone would even know how to remotely handle that situation.1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas – Childhood trauma makes adulthood sociopathic behavior okay, and gifts define Christmas happiness!
The Film: Jim Carrey stars as the Grinch in this classic. Essentially, it’s all about how a Christmas-hating cave-dwelling creature attempts to steal Christmas for everyone else as a massive middle finger to everyone for his ruined childhood. Eventually, a little girl gives the Grinch a present, and he has a magical change of heart Whee!
The Unfortunate Lesson: The Grinch gets a pass from everyone all because he had a horrible childhood. Apparently, that’s now an excuse for trying to ruin everybody else’s, although the unfortunate implication that gifts alone define how awesome Christmas is for kids should not go unnoticed, too.
What do you think? Did you just hear your veil of suspended reality break and feel all the warm and fuzzy feels slither away? Blame Kel in the Comments Section. He has no problem with that.