‘Last Christmas’: Proof for why songs shouldn’t become movies
Christmas movies are one of the great joys of the holiday season. Home Alone, A Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and countless others get us in the spirit of Christmas more than sparkling lights or the smell of fresh pine in our living rooms. However, the classics seldom lean on a title that immediately evokes a holiday tune. In fact, these titles almost always indicate a real stinker.
Millennials will remember Paul Feig from his role as Mr. Pool on ABC’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch or skinny fat-camp counselor Tim from in the childhood classic Heavyweights. However, he went on to create cult classic series Freaks & Geeks and direct a handful of films, including the monster hit Bridesmaids in 2011. However, his most recent effort is proof he should stay away from the Christmas genre.
Last Christmas, named after WHAM!’s 1985 banger, presents itself as yet another gooshey X-mas fluff piece in its trailer. We see Daenerys herself, Emilia Clarke, playfully getting pooped on by birds in the role of Kate as she tries to make ends meet working as an elf at Santa’s workshop as she continues to bump into handsome male suitor Tom as they volunteer at a homeless shelter (This is so sweet, I need an insulin shot!).
However, the reality of Last Christmas is a much more disheartening tale. Kate’s love story is not what she believes it to be, and *SPOILER ALERT*, it is all in her head as a great hallucination.
At the beginning of the story, Kate tells us she is the recipient of a heart transplant. It’s later revealed Tom was her donor, and all they had together was a fantasy. Not only is this a cop out ending, but also it leaves something great to be desired from the normally heart-warming tidings of a great Christmas movie.
Christmas carol stinkers
Last Christmas isn’t the only holiday film failure titled after a great song. Nearly every forgettable Christmas picture is named after a great carol! Made-for-TV’s 12 Dates of Christmas starring Road Trip’s forgotten Amy Smart isn’t fired up on the big day.
1991’s All I Want For Christmas is similarly awful, despite starring the great Lauren Becall and hilarious Leslie Neilson. Regardless of these examples, we may still see a few musically-titled flops on cable during the yuletide season.
For example, recent Netflix sensation Holidate director John Whitesell first dipped his toes in the Christmas movie pool in 2006 with Deck the Halls. It may have a great ensemble cast with Mathew Broderick, Danny Devito, and Kristin Davis (Sex & the City’s Charlotte), but ultimately gives us a forgettable cookiecutter holiday story.
For the record, it lost about $2 million at the box office, but shows up on the TV as we await Christmas dinner at our family’s houses each year.
Are there any good Christmas carol movies?
Jingle all the Way might be the closest thing to a successful holiday movie named after a song. Its absolute craziness is almost so bad it’s good.
Arnold Schwarzenegger searches for a Turbo Man action figure for his son as stores sell out and the clock ticks closer and closer to Christmas Day. The actor-turned-Governor looks like an actor figure himself, sticking out like a sore thumb amongst the cast with his massive build and unexplained accent.
He fights with Sinbad (haven’t heard that name in a while) for the coveted toy, before the two make amends as the magic of Christmas takes hold. Phil Hartman’s late genius keeps it afloat, but ultimately it’s totally off-the-wall, erratic and makes us feel like Turbo Man’s jetpack has run out of gas as we plummet to Earth’s snowy surface.
Every great Christmas movie has a solid moral tied to the important values of the holiday season: goodwill toward men, family, and charity are more important than great wealth and selfishness. The moral of this story of Christmas films’ past? Stay away from song-titled movies!