Dyl’s Favorite Movies of 2020

Hiya folks. Welcome to Dyl’s Movie Stuff’s yearly countdown of the best movies the year had to offer.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, 2020 was a weird year. The whole world was kinda turned on its head. I’m not really sure why. (Sarcasm.) But, that turn seemed to hit the movie industry especially hard. I didn’t make a most anticipated movies list this year, but, if I had, I’m not sure more than a handful of them actually came out. Honestly, not a lot of the big blockbusters did. I saw less than a third of the movies listed in theaters. That hurts. Also, that leaves Top 10 lists like this one in an interesting predicament. For example, the Oscars were supposed to be held tonight. They’ve since pushed back until nearly May. Many of the top contenders are coming out now instead of several months ago as the Academy has adjusted their window to allow for some 2021 movies to be eligible. But, not I. No. Even when the world throws everything into a tizzy, I believe the top 10 movies of 2020 should be made only of movies that, well, came out in 2020. So, I’m not gonna sit around any longer. I’m ready. I’ve seen most of the movies I think will qualify. I’ve arranged them nice and pretty. It’s go time. Let’s take away the Oscars spotlight. Oh… the Golden Globes are tonight? Eh, who cares? I feel like I have more street cred anyways. (Can you believe they put Minari in the best foreign language film category? It’s an American movie made by Americans in America about America! Anyways, moving on.)

Lastly, before we get into it, I feel like I need to put the same disclaimer that I do on every list. This is MY list. It’s super subjective. I do not claim to speak for everyone when I make this list. Therefore, your favorite movie of the year might not have made it. I’m sorry. I’m glad you liked it, but I either didn’t care for it as much as you did or I straight up haven’t seen it. If you bring it up in a fair and agreeable manner, I’d love to discuss it with you. On the flip side, there’s a decent chance that you hated one of the movies on my list. Again, sorry, but it’s MY list. Got it? Good.

As always, I’m gonna do a couple of smaller awards and then move onto the Top 10 list. Without further ado, let’s jump into it.

Worst Movie of 2020

Normally, I don’t like to do a “Worst of” but this year has had an especially long line of stinkers. This dawned on me as I was watching New Mutants and realized it wouldn’t even come close to making the list. Because I’d rather watch New Mutants five times in a row before I’d put on any one of these.

Imagine what it’d be like if Tommy Wiseau directed Fifty Shades of Grey. That’s 365 Days in a nutshell. Honestly, Disney was saved a lot of embarrassment by quietly posting Artemis Fowl on Disney+, because this is easily one of the worst movies the company has ever made. Fantasy Island is an absolute joke of a movie. Easily the worst time I had in theaters last year. The Turning just pisses me off royally, because I was semi-enjoying it until that out of nowhere twist ending that threw everything else out the window. And, finally, Robert Zemeckis is one of my favorite directors of all-time, but every single decision he made in The Witches felt like the wrong one.

And the winner is…

Honestly, it was a close call, but too much of Artemis Fowl is just permanently seared into my brain for the rest of eternity. You’ve got one of the least likeable leads in Disney history. Josh Gad doing this weird gravely Batman impression, which only becomes more terrifying when you see his real nature. Dame Judi Dench trying to be a badass while saying “Top of the mornin’ to ya.” That stupid, stupid looking unicorn. The god-awful special effects. And, the fact that the whole thing reeks of a Men in Black ripoff. Part of me wishes this had come to theaters like it was originally planned to, because I would’ve loved to see how hard this thing bombed. I haven’t read the books, but I’m guessing they deserved a lot more respect than this piece of garbage.

Now, onto the praise

Best Supporting Actress of 2020

Maria Bakalova somehow managed to hold her own against Sacha Baron Cohen, while also bringing a lot of the heart to Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Barbie Ferreira absolutely nailed the socially outcast friend with the heart of gold in Unpregnant. In Hamilton, Phillipa Soo brought life to a character who’s often just a footnote in history. Youn Yuh-jung played probably the coolest grandma ever to come across in the big screen, portraying her as both playfully coy and lovingly earnest. Helena Zengel‘s role as a non-English speaking child who was raised by Native Americans and is forced to integrate back into American society could not have been an easy one, but she pulled it off tremendously.

And the winner is…

Easily THE breakout star of 2020, Maria Bakalova did the impossible. She stole the spotlight from Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat. Do you know how hard that is to do? But, she managed to be just as funny, while also imbuing her character with a lot of heart. She can do it all. From ruining Ruddy Giuliani’s career to making herself look like a fool at a gala to having a authentically moving moment with her would-be babysitter. All of this without ever hesitating. In fact, it was Cohen that had to save her from Giuliani because she refused to break character. Overall, I do believe that Tutar is a more rounded character than Borat ever has been and a lot of that praise should go to Bakalova.

Best Supporting Actor of 2020

Chadwick Boseman‘s death is going to sting for quite some time, but, luckily, his last performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was also one of his best. I was blown away by Bo Burnham in Promising Young Woman, as I found myself both loving and hating his character over the course of the movie. 2020 was 100% the year of Sacha Baron Cohen, as The Trial of the Chicago 7 gave him a chance to show of his serious side and he hit us with one of the year’s more powerful performances. Humanizing the man who killed one of our founding fathers out of jealousy is not a simple task, but it’s one that Leslie Odom Jr was perfectly suited for. I spent my Independence Day sobbing over his performance, which was definitely unexpected. And, lastly, Robert Pattinson gave the most villainous performance of the year in The Devil All the Time, as a scummy Southern preacher who preys on young girls.

And the winner is…

Chadwick Boseman was so good in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Honestly, even with how brilliant everyone else in this category is, it wasn’t even close. In fact, I’d probably say Boseman’s performance was THE performance of the year. The character he portrays in just so tragic. He’s had an arduous past and, unfortunately, will have an even worse future. And, Boseman portrays all of that pain and suffering wonderfully. You can feel the years of strain, as every single minor slight or inconvenience pushes him closer to his breaking point. He’s arrogant, brash, violent and more than a little foolish, but you still can’t help but feel sorry for the guy. It’s a beautifully complex character and an excellent example of Boseman’s natural ability. He was definitely taken from us too soon.

Best Actress of 2020

Haley Bennett managed to justify her character’s weird obsession with swallowing things by showing the realistic heartbreak in Swallow. In Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Viola Davis showed us that Ma Rainy wasn’t going to let the system play her, even as a black lesbian in the 1920s. Frances McDormand gave us probably the most realistic look at the grieving process in Nomadland. Promising Young Woman gave Carey Mulligan the perfect opportunity to stretch her acting legs as someone trying to get revenge on men who take advantage. And, lastly, I didn’t realize that Aubrey Plaza had such strong dramatic chops. I’m glad she showed them to us in Black Bear.

And the winner is…

Carey Mulligan was an absolute force to be reckoned with in Promising Young Woman. First of all, she was intimidating as hell. I wasn’t sure if she’d be able to pull of the badass vigilante aspect but she definitely proved me wrong. How suddenly she managed to go from blackout drunk to stern and judgment was absolutely staggering. And the absolute savagery she’d lay down at the men’s feet was fantastic. I found myself rooting for her in the same way I root for Batman or John Wick. But, like most roles built on vengeance, it’s not enough to portray your character as badass. You’ve got to be a bit vulnerable too. And, Mulligan, of course, knocks that part out of the park. You can feel the years of distrust and heartbreak in every decision she makes. Getting into a relationship is especially hard for her, because she more or less has PTSD. She manages to hit that perfect balance between heartbreak and ass-kickery. It’s a wonderful role and I can’t imagine anyone other than Carey Mulligan playing it.

Best Actor of 2020

In The Trial of the Chicago 7, Yahya Abdul-Manteen II steals the show as a black man trying to get a fair trial while getting anything but. I know that he was essentially just playing himself, but Pete Davidson‘s emotional range in The King of Staten Island completely blew me away. Delroy Lindo‘s monologue towards the end of Da 5 Bloods alone would get him a nomination from me. There weren’t many cool action movie guy vibes in 2020, but, luckily, Matthew McConaughey brought enough to fill out the whole year’s quota as a marijuana entrepreneur in The Gentlemen. And, of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda stole all of our hearts as the young, scrappy, and hungry revolutionist who did not throw away his shot.

And the winner is…

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is filled to the brim with Earth shaking performances. Seriously, all of the cast deserves recognition. However, it was Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who really stood out to me. He is just a man who’s trying to get a fair trial. He doesn’t want to be tried with the others. In fact, his lawyer isn’t even present during the trial. And, the judge won’t even allow him to speak. These repeated racist injustices build on him and break him down until he eventually snaps. What follows is one of the most hearbreaking and memorable scenes of the year. The judge wants to sell this guy as a big, scary Black Panther, when all he’s looking for is to be treated like a regular human being. It’s truly heartbreaking stuff. And Abdul-Mateen portrays all of that anguish and heartbreak perfectly. I don’t see his name brought up too often in this year’s Oscar race and that’s a shame, because he elicited more emotion out of me than most.

Best Director of 2020

Judd Apatow has a special gift for taking standup comedians and telling their stories in really meaningful ways, which he did again this year in The King of Staten Island. After decades of directing some of Pixar’s most moving films, Pete Docter may have went out on a high note with Soul. Even without all of the scares, The Lodge felt so cold and claustrophobic, which is a credit to Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala. Aaron Sorkin somehow manages to tell us exactly the political story we need right now. This year it was The Trial of the Chicago 7. Great performances don’t mean a thing without a great director. In Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, George C. Wolfe is that director.

And the winner is…

For decades now, Aaron Sorkin has been taking what should be relatively boring subject matter and turning it into cinematic gold. And, he definitely did it again with The Trial of the Chicago 7. It’s a movie filled to the brim with passion and intrigue. Managing to make a story that’s almost fifty years old feels as fresh and vibrant as if it just happened yesterday. Sorkin manages to make the court room sequences just as tense as the passion boiling over during the riots on the streets. Every single performance, every single line, every single moment: they all land perfectly. While it may not feature as much flair as some other movies that came out this year, I can’t think of a more perfect directing job than Sorkin’s.

The Best Movies of 2020

Honorable Mentions

The Devil All the Time is probably the most epic feeling movie of the year with a story spanning decades featuring tons of memorable characters and jaw-dropping moments. Like I said earlier, we didn’t get a lot of kick-ass cinema this year. Luckily, Guy Ritchie took care of us early with a good old fashioned violent, funny, adrenaline rush in The Gentlemen. It was honestly a blast. Never Rarely Sometimes Always was heartbreaking. Telling the story of two teens who travel to New York to get an abortion in one of the most realistic movies of the year, it’s not a fun movie. But, it’s definitely one of the most important of the year. (Side note: If you want a less heavy version, see the also incredible Unpregnant. Though, honestly, you should see both.) No movie I watched at home made me miss theaters more than News of the World. Between its intense shootouts and the moving story, I wish I had seen this with an audience. Swallow manages to make one of the weirder premises of a movie (a girl has an addiction to swallowing dangerous items) work really, really well by hitting you hard on the head with emotions.

10. Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman is an absolute thrill ride of a movie. I think I felt every possible emotion over its runtime. From the pure vindication you feel as she’s getting revenge on these scummy dudes to the heartbreak and anger as you learn more about why she’s doing it, it’s a real roller coaster of emotions. Plus, as you can tell in my actor nominations section, I thought the performances were phenomenal. There has been some discourse about the ending. Some people don’t think it quite works. And, while I see where they’re coming from, I had no problems with it. Everything rang true to me. But, again, different strokes for different folks. I, for one, very much enjoyed Promising Young Woman. I think it’s almost the perfect movie for our times. I think it’s a strong, feminist statement. And, most telling, it’s one I plan on revisiting soon.

9. The Invisible Man

Now, this is how you remake a classic monster movie! Don’t turn it into a bad, modern day action movie. Don’t just remake a classic almost beat for beat. You take what still works about the original, the scariest core concept, and you see how it would fit into today’s society. Make it scary for today. And, if you can, make it impactful. Give it a message. In short, do exactly what you did in The Invisible Man. This remake really drives home why you should be afraid of him. Not only can he literally attack you from anywhere, he can make you seem crazy by just as easily pretending not to be there. They’ve turned a campy, quirky villain into a homicidal, gaslighting psychopath. It’s very effective, managing to be both timeless and super timely. Plus, Elizabeth Moss knocks it out of the park as always. Just an all around, perfect, scary, movie. Now don’t screw it up, Universal.

8. Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods has a lot to say. It’s tackling our involvement in the Vietnam War, PTSD, what it meant to be black in the 70s, what it means to be black now, Trumpism, racism, manliness, and, honestly, probably a lot more that I’m not remembering. For most filmmakers, that would be a lot to tackle. Probably too much. But, for Spike Lee, it’s just right. Each of these is covered gracefully in really impactful ways. And, most surprising of all, this movie is a lot of fun. These characters are people I’d want to spend time with. They all feel real. And, there are some outlandish, hilarious moments that are going to stick with me forever. So, yeah, for it’s mix of poignant messages and laugh out loud moments, Da 5 Bloods easily earns it’s spot on my list.

7. The Lodge

The Lodge is one of those movies you recommend to people just so you have someone to talk to about it. I feel like it’s all I could think or talk about for two weeks after my viewing. I started so many conversations with “I saw the craziest movie the other day.” In fact, because I knew that my little sister isn’t much of a scary movie fan so she’d never see it, I explained the entire plot to her during a car ride one time. The entire thing. I didn’t miss a single beat. That’s how memorable all of this was to me. I haven’t been hit like this by a revelation in a very long time. Seriously, go watch The Lodge. If you like The Shining, it’s a lot in the same vein as that. Just a little different in ways I can’t quite comment on without being spoilery. And, the less you know the better. I loved it. I think you’ll love it too.

6. Soul

I’m not gonna lie. As a massive Pixar fan, I kinda sorta trashed Soul a bit after watching it for the first time. While I did enjoy it, I was reluctant to give it my full praise because it felt a tad too similar to Inside Out and Coco for my taste. I just felt that the movie was going over ground Pixar had already covered so beautifully. Luckily, none of that criticism stuck on my second viewing. I almost ended up having to look at it as its own independent experience and not part of the larger Pixar brand. And, on its own, Soul is an absolutely beautiful movie, both visually and emotionally. The animation in these movies keeps getting better. You could take a background frame from one of the city scenes, remove the cartoon characters, and pass it off as a photograph. It’s breath taking. Then, on an emotional level, I think this is one of the most grownup Pixar movies yet as it focuses on dreams and the meaning of life. Ultimately, it teaches us that it’s the little stuff that makes life truly worth living. That just being alive is worth it. That’s beautiful and resonant. And it’s exactly what we needed in 2020. Oh, and, of course, it’s got that Pixar charm with hilarious characters and a unique world building. If it’s not nominated for Best Picture, I will be quite disappointed. While still not my favorite Pixar flick, I don’t believe one has earned its nomination more than this one.

5. The King of Staten Island

As I said before, Judd Apatow has a gift for taking his comedian friends and telling their stories for everyone to see on the big screen. Take that and mix it with Pete Davidson’s really unique world point of view and you’ve got something special in The King of Staten Island. Also, like I said, I was blown away by Davidson’s remarkably honest portrayal. You could feel the sadness radiating off of him as a man struggling to take life seriously after the loss of his father. But, he also did a really good job of showing that spark he got when hearing about all of the wonderful things his dad did. It was a really poignant portrayal and one that impressed me quite a bit. And, he’s not the only one that brought the heat either. Both Marisa Tomei, as his heartbroken mom ready to finally move on, and Bill Burr, as the step-father figure trying to do his best, brought some of the best performances I’ve seen either do. Both were contenders for the best performances of the year and I’m still kinda upset neither made it. (It was just a really strong year though.) Also, surprisingly, Maude Apatow, Judd’s daughter, really gave a convincing performance as Pete’s little sister that was both disgusted by and wanted the best for her brother. That was really believable stuff. Honestly, the whole movie was filled with heartfelt and funny performances. I’d recommend it to just about everyone. Even if you’re not a fan of Pete Davidson’s, I think you will be by the time the credits roll. It’s one of the best feel good movies of the year.

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

It would be really easy to say that Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom coasts on some fantastic performances. After all, Viola Davis is a national treasure who brings her A-game playing a diva who knows how talented she is and isn’t going to take any shit even though she’s a black, gay woman in 1927. And, as I’ve already gone on about plenty, Chadwick Boseman gives the best performance of his life and possibly the year. So, yeah, the performances in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom are really, really good. But, I wouldn’t say that’s all it has. The script is nearly perfect. It laments on the struggles of African Americans during that time period without ever feeling preachy. Everything that’s occurring here feels like it would happen on your typical summer afternoon. Nothing feels like it was written specifically for the screen on stage, even though there are monologues aplenty. Plus, there’s the one-two punch of heart shattering moments at the end that’ll stick with me forever. I’ll never forget Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and I’m glad it exists to cement Chadwick Boseman’s legacy.

3. The Trial of the Chicago 7

When the Academy Awards are given out on April 25, I fully expect The Trial of the Chicago 7 to win Best Picture. Because, in my ways, it’s kinda the perfect movie. It’s wonderfully directed by Aaron Sorkin. The cast is made up of all-stars who each deserve praise and admiration. The script is beautifully elegant with each character getting their own moment to shine and plenty of quotes that could rallying cries. And it covers some of the most important topics that are relevant today. Are protesters patriotic? Are they to held responsible when certain factions of that group become unhinged? Is there automatically a tinge of racism in today’s justice system? These are all questions that were huge in the 70s and are still major struggles today. This is a movie that feels like it as written specifically for this moment in time. It’s both inspiring and heartbreaking. I would definitely call it mandatory viewing. I hope the Academy pushes it in front of as many people as possible.

2. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Sometimes the year-end Top 10 all comes down to timing. And no one has better timing than Sacha Baron Cohen. In fact, in the future, whenever someone asks me what 2020 was like, I’ll probably just show them Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Because it’s all here. Trumpism. Racism. COVID. Sexism. QAnon. #MeToo. It’s all here. It’s all on display. And, in ways only Cohen’s Borat can do, it’s all on display for us to laugh at. It’s both deeply disturbing and gives us a chance to lighten our loud a bit. And it’s exactly what I needed in late October of 2020. And, honestly, it’s kind of impressive how well this improv heavy script held its story together. Like I said before, there were parts of this movie that genuinely moved me. Now, of course, there’s the question of timelessness. Will Borat 2 still be funny when it’s no longer relevant? Personally, I think it will be. It’s just a perfect time capsule for what this shitshow of a year was. I think even future generations will get a kick out of laughing at our misery in the same way we can revisit Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. I hope we never need Borat again. But, I’m glad he’s always around if things get too bad. And, I’m more than grateful he gave us his Subsequent Moviefilm.

  1. Hamilton

Honestly, I’m a little reluctant to have Hamilton on here. Because I can’t stop asking myself “Is Hamilton really a movie?” I mean… it’s a recording of a Broadway show. Surely that’s not cinema in its purest form. I’ve gone back and forth and back and forth on this for months now. This went on until literally the last second. I had a version of this list made up without Hamilton on in. And it felt weird. It was like making up the invites to your birthday party without your best friends. How was I going to leave out the moving experience I had all year? The movie that reignited my patriotism right when it was being tested the most? That restarted the flame that is my love for both musicals and history? The soundtrack that defined my entire year? No. There’s no way I could leave Hamilton off. And giving it an honorable mention didn’t feel right either. After all, it was my favorite movie of the year.

And, well, that’s it. Time to officially put 2020 to bed for the most part. I’ll probably write up one more piece on the Oscars, since they’re sure to be interesting. Other than that though. Yeah. We’re finally done with that shitshow of a year. Honestly, not bad movie wise though. There weren’t a ton of big releases but that gave the smaller stuff a chance to really shine through. And, overall, I’m not at all unhappy with my Top 10 list. It’d be solid any year, let alone one where I only saw two of them in theaters.

Hopefully 2021 will be even better though. I’m hoping to get back to the theater on a regular basis. Start reviewing stuff again. You know, the normal stuff. We should have more than enough movies in the pipeline to keep the theaters open. Unless everything turns to shit again, which I, optimistically, don’t think it will. But, either way, I’m looking forward to what movies 2021 has to offer. And, as always, I’ll be here to talk about them.

I’ll see you guys next time. Thanks.

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: The 10 Worst (and 5 Best) Movies

Hello. Hello. Hello. Merry Christmas! We made it all the way through Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever! For those of you who don’t know. I spent the whole month of late November/December watching and reviewing some of the worst Christmas movies ever made, because Christmas 2020 was bound to suck anyways. It was quite the challenge. There was a lot of bad stuff to parse through. But, we’re here now: on the other side. And, well, that was fun. I don’t think I’d ever do it again… or at least not something of that size. This was just too much, but I’m glad I stuck with it.

28 truly awful pieces of cinema have been seen by me. And, I figured I’d recap and celebrate by counting down the worst of the worst. But, then I got to thinking, I enjoyed watching a couple of these though. So, what counts as a truly bad movie? Is it one that I can laugh at or one that was absolute torture to get through? Then, I thought “hey, why not do both?” And that’s just what I’m going to do. First, we’re going to go through some of the most painful movies I’ve ever seen. Seriously, my critera here was pretty much “what would I never, ever want to watch again?” Then, we’ll cover the more fun entries. I would have no problem gathering some friends together, having a couple of drinks, and laughing about how these movies are so bad, they’re good. Because, as I’ve said, sometimes it’s just fun to enjoy a bad movie. But, first,

THE WORST OF THE WORST

10. Jack Frost (1997)

This is the “scary” Jack Frost movie for those keeping track at home. It’s also the one I didn’t really spend much time reviewing. Because this movie is bad on purpose, which, quite frankly, I hate. So, I guess congratulations Jack Frost creators. You did what you set out to do. You made a bad movie. I bet you wish you were on the other list though. Too bad. Your movie sucks. Moving on.

9. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Frankly, I don’t like that I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus made this list. I really respect the Sprouse twins. They’ve made me laugh a lot over the years. But, their performances here were god awful. Actually, everyone in this movie is bad, which led to one of the longer, more painful viewing experiences of this entire month. Plus, it wanted too badly to be Home Alone or Jingle All the Way so bad. Sorry, Dylan and Cole. You’re still cool in my book. This movie sucks though.

8. Black Christmas (2006)

So, I’ve never seen the original Black Christmas, but I still completely hated this version. I hate when horror films are more interested in gore than they are effective scares. That’s definitely the case with this unscary remake. This whole movie just kinda feels icky and gross. Plus, the villains are two of the least frightening in horror history. I’ll probably go back and watch the original at some point, but I’m forever staying far, far away from this disaster.

7. Elves

My sister recently asked me about Elves. After reading my review, she was very confused about why this had a Nazi subplot. I didn’t know what to do other than shrug. Honestly, this was one of the weirdest backstories I’ve ever seen in a horror film. If only it were more entertaining, I’d call it good bad. But, holy crap, this movie is booooring. Still, I recommend that YouTube video that summarizes the whole movie in five minutes. That’s a good viewing experience. The actual whole movie: not so much.

6. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny

Now we’re getting into the movies that actually give me PTSD. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny is so bad that 70% of it’s runtime is a completely unrelated movie. Seriously, we kind of just leave this story behind and are told the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk instead. I should be grateful though because both Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny are terrifying in this. The less of them the better. This feels less like a movie I watched and more like some bizarre drug induced nightmare I had.

5. Santa’s Slay

I’ve never seen a movie as mean spirited as Santa’s Slay before. Seriously, all the way down to it’s core it’s mean. This movie hates absolutely everyone. It’s like watching a mad man make a movie that plays out all of his worst, perverted fantasies. I’m all for a sick, demented time, but this just felt angry.

4. An American Carol

Speaking of offensive and angry, An American Carol. I challenge anyone with decent taste to watch this movie and laugh. All of the jokes fall extremely flat. They brutally mock entire religions and political beliefs. And, the moral goes completely goes against Charles Dickens’ original. It’s sad that Zucker, one of the funniest film makers of all-time, has fallen this far. In fact, it makes me love Airplane and Naked Gun just a little less.

3. Santa Buddies

Woof. You see that image up above? See how it’s just dogs staring blankly into the camera? Like, there’s obviously someone with a treat right behind the camera guy. Well, now imagine their mouths moving and some horrible child actor’s voice coming out. And they’re trying to save Santa. Now, imagine this goes on for 90 minutes. That’s Santa Buddies. When I review it originally, I called it pure torture. I stand by that remark, yet somehow there are still two movies coming that are worse.

2. Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas barely counts as a movie. It’s just Cameron lecturing you for an hour about the “War on Christmas” and then they dance. That’s it. Seriously. It’s terrible. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

1. Santa’s Christmas Elf (Named Calvin)

Say what you will about any movie on this list. Heck, any movie in this challenge. Or, you know, any movie ever made. But, AT LEAST THEY MOVE. I can’t say the same about Santa’s Christmas Elf (Named Calvin). This is just 75 minutes of creepy, vintage, still images with an annoying voice, very reminiscent of Mr. Bill talking over them. And it feels like it lasts an eternity. This has to be against the Geneva Conventions or something. I have to be owed compensation after watching this. Can I call my lawyer? Someone has to make these people pay for forcing this cruelty upon the world. They can’t just keep getting away with it! (Side note: the producers also made Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, so, yeah, they deserve two spots in hell.)

The Best “So Bad, It’s Good” Movies

5. Silent Night, Deadly Night

Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about Silent Night, Deadly Night. I have no idea if it was bad on purpose. Heck, I don’t even know if it’s bad. So, putting this on the “so bad, it’s good” list might be cheating a bit. This might be a legitimately good movie. I can’t tell. I just know that I enjoyed myself tremendously while watching it. I saw a decent amount of Christmas themed horror this month and this one definitely was my favorite. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for alternative programming this Christmas season.

4. Magic Christmas Tree

First of all, Magic Christmas Tree is absolutely insane. You never know where this plot is going to go. It just jumps from one extreme occurrence to the next. Second, it can be easily be read as a super villain origin story with one of the main plot points being to kidnap Santa Claus. And, then finally, it features one of the greatest fourth wall breaks in the history of cinema. Seriously, gather some friends up, have a couple drinks, and enjoy this bizarre, out of this world trip.

3. Santa Claus

Santa Claus, a Mexican film from 1959, definitely takes the cake for weirdest interpretation of a famous fictional character I’ve ever seen. This Santa is just so freaking weird. He’s creepy. He lives in space. He uses children from different countries around the world instead of elves. He has robot reindeer. I don’t even know how to describe the nightmare fuel of a machine he uses to watch over all the kids. And, he fights Satan himself. Seriously, you’ve got to see this to believe it. Definitely a highlight from the month.

2. The Star Wars Holiday Special

If you’re a Star Wars fan with a sense of humor, you’ve got to subject yourself to The Star Wars Holiday Special. It’ll make everything else seem so much better in comparison. Seriously, the decision to put Jar Jar in Episode I doesn’t seem so weird when you’ve seen a Wookiee grandfather watching VR porn in the middle of his living room. Or Bea Arhtur as a singing bartender on Tattooine. Or Luke Skywalker in an insane amount of makeup. Or, heck, realizing that this is the first time audiences saw Boba Fett. It’s a weird trip. But, with the right group of friends, it can be a very rewarding one.

1. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2

Now, Part 2 I have no problem putting on the list. It is absolutely a “so bad it’s good” movie. First of all, the entire first half of the movie is just a recap of the first one. So, technically, you don’t have to have seen Part 1 to understand this one. Though, I definitely still recommend it. Second, this features one of the most over the top, campy lead performances in horror movie history. Seriously, I was dying laughing at the way this guy delivered his lines. Pair that with some ridiculously over the top kills and you’ve got yourself a good time. The two night adventure of Part 1 and Part 2 was easily the highlight of this whole experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if I revisited these two movies over and over and over again.

So, that’s my list. I checked it twice. I would absolutely not recommend anything on that first list. They’re all complete trash. And, there’s a couple of hidden gems on the second that almost made this challenge worth it. I’d say to get in the right mindset and maybe give a couple of those a try.

Either way, thank you! This month has been a lot of fun and I appreciate those of you who’ve been reading along at home. Like I said, I probably won’t do anything quite like this ever again. Though, I can definitely see more “so bad, it’s good” reviews coming in the future. Until then, Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And, most importantly, Happy Life Day.

Now it’s time to catch up on some of 2020’s best movies I missed for my Top 10 list, which should be up in a couple of weeks.

See you guys soon.

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: Jingle All the Way 2

Merry Christmas, one and all! Welcome back to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever! We made it! It’s Christmas! This is the last review for this challenge. I hope you had as much fun reading these as I did writing them. Wait. Let me take that back. I hope it wasn’t as torturous for you to read about these movies as it was for me to watch them. Anywho, don’t worry. This isn’t the last write up for this series. I’ve got a special Top 10 list coming tomorrow. I’m gonna try and actually rank some of these, which should be incredibly difficult. They’ve all been incredibly bad. But, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about the latest nightmare first.

I’ve noticed a bit of a trend in the almost 30 movies I’ve watched for this challenge. Christmas sequels just aren’t very good. Whether it’s a holiday spin on something that wasn’t very Christmasy in the first place (Star Wars Holiday Special, Santa Buddies) or a belated sequel to a beloved Christmas classic (Home Alone 3, A Christmas Story 2), they’ve all been pretty darn bad. And, well, I just had the “pleasure” of watching another one. Jingle All the Way 2 is in the later category. It’s another belated sequel that has almost none of the charm or iconic imagery of the first one. (Side note: Is Jingle All the Way a classic? I feel like it’s kind of in this in-between, grey area. Some like it. Some hate it. I don’t know what the consensus is.)

I will give Jingle All the Way 2 a tad bit of credit though. Compared to all of the other sequels on this list, it’s not horrible. It’s the fact that it’s called Jingle All the Way 2 that hurts it so much. When I think of Jingle All the Way, I think of big, over the top, ridiculous action-comedy set pieces. I think of Arnold noises, Sinbad yelling, and silly superhero costumes. It’s big. It’s bombastic. It’s, well, the type of movie they don’t really make anymore. In short, it’s kind of Arnold. But, Jingle All the Way 2 kind of grounds it in a weird way. They’ve kept the parents trying to hunt down the biggest toy of the season, but there’s no action here. It’s just your typical Larry the Cable guy comedy. There are a few punches thrown, but I wouldn’t call any of them fights. I don’t know. Maybe I’m alone on this. But, this isn’t Jingle All the Way to me. It’s basically a completely different movie.

Also, when I say that it’s the best of the sequels watched, please don’t mistake that for me saying Jingle All the Way 2 is good. It’s most definitely not. It is a Larry the Cable Guy comedy through and through. There are no less than three jokes about him pooping his pants. Git R Done is said. And it’s very much a Blue Collar vs White Collar story. Plus, not a single character in this movie is likable. The kid especially annoyed me quite a bit. It’s definitely a bad movie. It’s just not the travesty that a lot of other belated Christmas sequels are. Heck, it’s probably even the best Larry the Cable Guy movie I’ve seen outside of the Cars franchise. But, that really says less about this movie and more about Larry and Christmas sequels.

Overall, I didn’t have the worst time watching Jingle All the Way 2. I still definitely wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It does not live up to the status of the first one. And, honestly, it’s still a bad movie. But, what I do recommend is watching the original again. Because I want to have that discussion. Right here. Right now. Is Jingle All the Way a classic? I don’t even know how I feel about it. So, please, answer my question so I can make my mind up. It’s bothering me. I think I like it, but also the nostalgia is heavy on that one. I’ve gotta go. Otherwise, I could talk about this all day.

See you tomorrow for my Top 10 Worst Christmas Movies list!

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever

Hello. Merry Christmas Eve! Welcome back to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever. For the last month, I have been watching and reviewing some of the worst Christmas movies of all time. And, well, it’s kind of sucked. In fact, you might say it’s turned me grumpy. Nah. I’m just messing. I’m not going to be that lame. It really has put me in quite the mood though. But, I’m almost done. Like, really, really close. So, let’s get this over with shall we?

Do you remember those super corny meme commercials Wendy’s made a couple of years? You know, the ones where the sandwiches were so good that it made people strike meme poses. They sucked. Everyone hated them. They felt so out of touch and dated. Clearly made by someone who doesn’t understand meme culture beyond knowing that it’s popular. It was cringe personified. Well, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever is pretty much the movie version of that.

First of all, a meme is never going to be enough to carry a whole movie. They’re relatable images. In this case, it’s funny because the cat is making a grump face. Then, you throw a line in there like “Mondays suck” or “I hate waking up” and everyone giggles because #relatable. There’s no plot to a meme. No real character. Heck, even the image itself isn’t all that important. You just take something and make it relatable to your life. If it clicks with others, you have a popular meme. And, everyone else does the same. Within a week, you’ve got thousands of versions of the same joke. Over and over and over. It’s great. Until it’s not. Because of the repetition, these jokes also go stale incredibly fast. Within a couple of days, we’re onto the next joke and there is no looking back. Thus, it’s ridiculously naive to try and make a movie out of a meme. First of all, like I said, there’s only one joke to tell. She’s a grumpy cat. Second, by the time you finish making your movie, the joke has been dead for months. No one cares anymore.

But, since they made the movie, how is it? Well, it’s simply not good. Because, uh, the plot is super similar to Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Like, shockingly so. In this, Grump Cat belongs to a suffering pet store in the mall. It’s about to saved from going out of business when they get their hands on a million dollar dog. Two thieves then learn about this canine and try to steal him. So, it’s up to Grumpy Cat and her new human friend, who can understand her after being granted a wish by Santa, to stop them after the mall has closed. Que a lot of running between stores, using the merchandise to take the crooks down. The only thing this movie has that Paul Blart doesn’t is talking animals. Well, talking and paint ball wielding. And car driving. Yes, we see Grumpy Cat drive a car. So, let that be a reminder the next time you’re suffering through a Kevin James movie. At least it doesn’t have a talking cat in it.

Shit! I mean… at least Paul Blart doesn’t…

Anyways, if Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever was just a bad movie, I could maybe give it a pass. It definitely wouldn’t be a movie for me, but I could see how maybe someone out there might enjoy it. Nah. What makes it truly horrific is the fact that it’s constantly interrupting itself. I understand that this was originally a TV movie with commercials. I get that. But, do we really need Grumpy leading us into and then easing us out of every commercial break? Seriously, she’d pop up in the middle of a scene and say something clever about how they’re never going to escape this, the screen would go black, and then she’d pop back up to catch you up on where you just were. Or, worse, there would be an extensive gag pretending that it’s a different program or just straight up plugging her merch store. Would this have worked better when watched in its original format on Lifetime? Maybe. I doubt it would be less annoying, but I can see how it might work. But, when watching this as a commercial free rental on a streaming service, it’s absolute torture. On one or two of the intros, Grumpy Cat broke the fourth wall, asking why I was still watching, and I was honestly asking myself the same question.

So, overall, I definitely would recommend skipping Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. It’s just not funny at all. It feels like it was written for 15 year old girls, but somehow missed and is a favorite among Karens who share Minion memes on Facebook. It’s ridiculously uncool and I’m shocked they got Aubrey Plaza to be part of it. That must’ve been one heck of a paycheck. And, if Grumpy Cat stands for anything, it’s milking something for a profit. Go to grumpycats.com for more information.

Also, yes, I named this challenge Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever specifically to pay homage to this movie. Was it worth it? Is it funny? No. Not really. But, now you know.

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: A Merry Friggin’ Christmas

Merry friggin’ Christmas, everybody! (Sorry. I had to.) Welcome back to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever. Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been going through and reviewing some of the absolute worst Christmas movies of all-time. Because it’s 2020 and everything sucks anyways. Today’s entry might be the least bad movie I’ve watched all month, which, you know… isn’t saying all that much to be honest.

I’m not going to lie. I walked into A Merry Friggin’ Christmas wanting to like it. I know I’ve watched a lot of comedically talented people make some really unfunny movies this December, but I still held out hope. There’s no way this cast could make something all that bad. After all, I’ve been a die hard Robin Williams fan my entire life and Joel McHale starred in Community, which is probably my favorite sitcom of all-time. So, yeah, I had decently high hopes for this. And, you know what? It didn’t really disappoint. It’s by far the best movie I’ve seen come out of this challenge (with the possible exception of Silent Night, Deadly Night). Now, would I have liked it if I went in with normal expectations? If it wasn’t on my list of the worst Christmas movies ever? Probably not. But, with those lowered expectations, I thought it was a decent time.

It all comes down to enjoyment factor. I found myself doing something during this movie that I haven’t most of the rest of the month. I was smiling and giggling at jokes that the movie was telling me. I actually laughed at a movie… for things that were intentionally funny. That’s a brand spanking new emotion. Or at least one I haven’t felt in a long time. Don’t get me wrong though. This movie has it’s fair share of cringe. It’s got more than average. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that most of the jokes here don’t work. In fact, it gets a tad unnessecarily dark towards the end with the guys thinking they accidentally murdered a guy and now have to hide a body. Williams’ character even busts out a chainsaw to cut them up. Then, it’s followed by a scene where a little boy dreams that a snowglobe is telling him Santa doesn’t exist. It’s maybe the weirdest transition in any movie I’ve ever seen. And, that’s kind of the norm for A Merry Friggin’ Christmas. It’s all over the place. But, this cast is so talented and so generally likeable that you’ll still feel like you’re having a good time. Or not a bad one.

The only real, genuine complaint I have against this movie is that it feels a tad melancholy due to the fact that it came out after Robin’s suicide. This is, of course, in no way the movie’s fault. As I’ve said before, most of his work has a weird aurora of sadness over it for me now. I just can’t help it. This one in particular feels extra dark though, as he’s playing a depressed man who feels their entire life has been a failure. It’s not too much of a stretch to put this and real life together. And, well, it kind of brings the mood down a bit.

So, overall, would I recommend A Merry Friggin’ Christmas? I honestly don’t know. This month of shitty movies has screwed with my taste so much. I think I almost liked it. But, like I said, it could just be that my expectations are all out of whack. Take that however you want I guess. All I know is that I’m going to need to recalibrate my taste buds once this challenge is over. I don’t even know who I am anymore…

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! Welcome back to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever! This holiday season, we’ve been counting down some of the worst Christmas movies ever made. And, guess what? We’re almost done! Yep. We’re only a few days away from the big day and, therefore, only a few bad films away from the end of this challenge. Unfortunately though, we’ve got quite the hurdle to overcome today. Let’s get to it.

Upon it’s release in 2014, Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas became the lowest rated movie on IMDB. Think about that. Worse than The Room, Birdemic, every shitty horror film you’ve ever seen. The worst movie of all-time. (FYI: It’s since fallen to #6.) If you’re like me, the question is simple: is it really that bad? And, the short answer is yeah, kinda.

Honestly, there’s really not a lot to Saving Christmas. The “plot” is one of the simplest I’ve ever seen. We open with a huge monologue from Kirk Cameron about how important Christmas is and how we should be fighting the “War on Christmas”. This goes on for about ten minutes. Then, we cut to a Christmas party. Everyone is having a good time except for Cameron’s brother-in-law, who isn’t feeling the holiday spirit and is hiding in his car. Cameron then follows him into the car and they debate about how many of the commercial elements of Christmas actually do have roots in Christian beliefs. It’s a whole of Cameron pushing up him metaphorical glasses as he goes “uhm, actually” while stock footage plays in the background. Then, rejuvenated in his love for the holiday, the brother-in-law leads the party in a hip hop musical number, which goes on entirely too long. Then, our story wraps up with them enjoying dinner as Cameron narrates to us what the point of it all was. Seriously, that’s it. This movie is 95% Cameron talking directly to the camera about how we don’t “get” Christmas.

Here’s the thing. Having been born in 1992, I barely know who Kirk Cameron is. The only thing I know about him is that he’s super religious and had an actress fired from his show after she posed for Playboy. So, screw him. I don’t care for him spending a whole movie telling me how I should celebrate Christmas. This is literally the same as going to a party, getting wasted, and then accidentally starting a conversation with the wrong guy. You know the feeling. You just feel so trapped. You don’t want to be rude, but, also, you’re desperately looking for an out. That’s the whole movie. Kirk Cameron is mansplaining Christmas to you, while you beg for the credits to start rolling. Then, there’s a dance. And it may be worse than the lecture.

So, yeah, that’s all I have to say about Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. Sorry it’s not a lot. This isn’t a whole lot of movie though. I would avoid it if at all possible. Unless you’re looking for this sort of thing. Then, by all means, you do you. Just leave me the hell out of it please.

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: A Christmas Story 2

Hello. Welcome back to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever, where I’m going through and reviewing some of the absolute worst Christmas movies ever made. I’m running behind and you know the drill so let’s skip the foreplay.

Why do they insist on doing stuff like this? Can’t a movie just stand on it’s own? With it’s legacy in tact? Why must they ruin everything? Or at least try? Basically, why does A Christmas Story 2 even exist? I mean… come on! You know that lightning isn’t going to strike the same place twice. Heck, you even say that line a couple of times in your own movie. The original was such a classic, such a masterpiece, that anything you made would pale in comparison.

The first mistake this movie made was the fact that it exists at all. Ralphie’s an annoying teenager now. Instead of ducking bullies and begging for toys for Christmas, he’s fantasizing about cars and girls. I’m sorry, but no one cares what a teenage boy wants for Christmas. It’s just not cute. Plus, the actor who plays him is somehow worse than the kid that did it before. In fact, every single performance is worse than the iconic originals. Ralphie’s mom and dad in particular seem to have been hit extra hard. The performances aren’t necessarily awful. They’re just not the characters we know and love. If you absolutely had to do another Christmas Story, why not make it an anthology thing? Follow a completely different group of characters like Home Alone 3 did. But, unlike that movie, it’d probably work here, because there’s nothing specific about Ralphie that was special. He’s just an average boy having a slightly above average Christmas. If this movie had been about teenage Steve who lives three doors down from Ralphie, I probably would’ve liked it a lot more. You don’t have to change anything else. Just make it slightly detached from the original.

Don’t worry though. If you were one of the few people who wanted to see an actual sequel to A Christmas Story, this movie has you covered. It brings back every single joke you laughed at the first time to be recycled once again. Only everything is significantly worse and less funny the second time around. Remember the kid sticking his tongue to a telephone pole? Well, now he sticks his whole damn mouth into a suction tube. The slightly over it Santa? He’s straight up Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa now. The bunny suit is swapped out for both a goofy reindeer costume and a sailor suit for his little brother. Ralphie says fudge when he wrecks his car. The Chinese restaurant is dragged into this for no real reason. And, gosh darn it, you knew they had to shove that leg lamp in there somewhere. Most sequels are guilty of this to some degree. South Park calls them “member berries,” where you show the audience things they liked before and go “member A Christmas Story?” But, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done quite so obviously as it is here. These don’t feel like clever callbacks. It feels like they forced references to the original in wherever they could. It’s lazy. It’s cheap. And I don’t like it.

To wrap up this review, I thought I’d do something a bit different. This isn’t my first time watching this travesty. In fact, it’s not even my first time reviewing it. Back in my Tumblr days, I wrote up a short little piece on this. And, I thought I’d let 2012 Dylan take this one home. So, here it is: A sequel no one wanted? Crappy acting? Reenacting scenes from the first one? Taking a cute little kid and turning him into an annoying teenager? Completely missing the fun of the first one? Actual cussing? Ridiculous plot? Potentially ruining one of the best Christmas traditions ever? I don’t think you even tried at all. Oh, and FUCK YOU! I will be pissed if they try to show this on Christmas Eve and it breaks up the awesomeness that is A Christmas Story marathon. Grade: F

Well put, 2012 Dylan. Well put indeed.

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure

Welcome to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever. Tis the season to be jolly. So, what the heck am I doing all of this for? Well, because I thought it’d be a fun, unique, interesting way to bring in the holidays. And, here’s the thing. I was right… But also very wrong. And it’s only now, 22 movies deep in the middle of a dog-centric stretch, do I realize that I should’ve played on the 12 days of Christmas thing. It would’ve been more on brand and much easier. Oh well. You live and you learn I guess. Anyways, let’s get to today’s movie, shall we?

It’s actually quite fitting that Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure would come directly after Santa Buddies on this list. They have a lot in common after all. Both are Christmas related entries to dog-centric family franchises that started off semi-beloved but went on for way, way too long. In Beethoven’s case, this is the seventh entry in the series! Seventh! And, like Air Buddies, this has very little to do with the previous movies. I’ve only seen the first two or three movies in the series, but they were nothing like this. Beethoven’s family (both the humans and dogs) are nowhere to be found. And, apparently, Beethoven is a huge movie star who travels around making celebrity appearances. I guess the plot mostly started going in this direction in the last movie. I don’t know. I liked it better when Beethoven was just a big, gross dog who made his owners angry. That’s Beethoven to me. (#NotMyBeethoven) Anyways, Beethoven runs into a Christmas elf who has lost Santa’s magical sack and the titular “Christmas adventure” takes place.

Here’s the thing though. I really don’t have that much to say about the actual movie itself. Compared to a lot of the trash I’ve watched recently, it’s really not all that bad. It sort of felt like your typical Hallmark or Disney Channel Christmas movie. It’s not good by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not going to offend anyone if you put it on either. There are a couple of cringeworthy scenes, sure. There are plenty of fart jokes. A couple of droll jokes. Some of Kyle Massey’s (AKA Corey from That’s So Raven’s) slapstick doesn’t work. It’s very obvious that the ASPCA gave them a lot of money to get their message across. And, well, there are a couple of talking dogs. But, none of it is going to stick with me for the rest of my life, cursing me with it’s existence like some of these other movies. Heck, even the talking dogs are done much better than in Santa Buddies. I’m glad they actually decided to give their faces just a tad of emotional range.

So, if you’re looking for something to put on this holiday season, you could honestly do a lot worse than Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure. I mean… you could do a lot better too. Actually, do a lot better. Don’t settle for this. Revisit a Christmas favorite. Keep ignoring that this movie even exists. Cool? Cool.

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: Santa Buddies

Hello friends! Welcome back to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever, where I’m going through and reviewing some of the worst Christmas movies of all-time. It feels like it’s been awhile. I’m sorry. I’ve fallen behind quite a bit. It’s a combination of too much Christmas festivities, a laptop that decided to die on me, and just a pinch of not wanting to watch these horrible movies. This one in particular was one I was dreading. And, boy, did it live up to it. This is maybe the worst movie I’ve seen yet.

Let’s just say Disney has a reputation when it comes to direct to video sequels. Plain and simple, they aren’t very good. They tend to be cheap versions of what worked so well without much of a story to tell or talented people left to tell it that’s rushed to make a quick buck or two. The Air Bud franchise in particular seemed to get hit especially hard. The first film, about a golden retriever who plays basketball, was a massive success. I remember it being all the rage in the 1990s elementary school cafeteria. Then, they made a second one, where he plays football. Not nearly as good but still successful. So, they moved to VHS and seemingly forced this poor dog to play every sport known to man. I mean… how the heck is a dog supposed to play baseball? Anyways, after running out of Dick’s Sporting Goods sections, some executive thought it would be a good idea to concentrate on Air Bud’s puppies instead. Because everyone but small children had abandoned this franchise several entries ago and kids love puppies. Also, you might as well have them talk. Because why not? And these poor puppies had to do so much more than play around in gym class. They sent these bitches to space, into tombs like Indiana Jones, and briefly turned them into superheroes. But, that’s not what I’m here today to talk about. Nope. I’m talking about the time they met Santa and had to save Christmas. More specifically (because there were a number of Christmas offerings), I’m reviewing Santa Buddies.

Now listen. I’ve sat through a lot this December. There have been movies that really, really hurt my brain. It’s been quite the ordeal. But, none of them, not a single one, tested me quite like Santa Buddies. This is the first movie all month that I straight up almost gave up on. This thing is torturous. Holy crap. There’s only so much a guy can put up with. And, apparently, dogs just standing around in semi-circles talking to each other is my breaking point. It was just so obvious that someone was standing off camera with a treat so the dogs would just stare at them for a couple minutes at a time. Then, they animated their mouths moving afterwards. The only problem with that is that the dogs then don’t have any expressions on their face. They’re just deadpan staring into the camera. And the voice actors don’t help either. Their performances are just as flat as the canines. So, no, I did not enjoy the monotone, expressionless golden retriever puppies standing around and talking about Christmas.

I would tell you about the plot, but, honestly, I was having an extremely hard time paying attention. From what I could tell, it was pretty generic. Apparently, Santa Claus has a dog named Santa Paws, who is the Santa for dogs. Santa Paws has a kid, who runs away to try and live a normal life. That’s when he meets the Air Buddies. Meanwhile, they’ve got a whole Elf style subplot where Christmas spirit is fading so I guess the whole North Pole is dying. I don’t know how they tied together. They might’ve explained it, but I really doubt it. Towards the end, I guess because Christmas spirit is so low, they have to have the puppies deliver the toys instead of the fully grown Santas. I don’t know. I just know that I was bored. It’s very cliched. And, story wise, it feels like it’s wrapping up for the whole second half of the movie. I kept thinking “Oh, thank god it’s almost over” only to discover there was still 40 minutes left. Seriously, I’d almost rather watch all of the other movies in this challenge again before sitting through a second viewing of this. It felt just about as long.

There aren’t even that many “so bad it’s good” moments in Santa Buddies. From my recollection, there’s only two. In the first, they are testing out a new vehicle for picking up Santa’s letters. It’s a typical USPS mail truck, but will change shapes depending on the country they’re in. When they bring up India, it transforms into this weird little car and the elf inside starts talking in his most offensive Indian accent. It’s definitely not the most offensive stereotyping Disney’s done, but to see it in a 2009 movie was pretty jarring. The other funny sequence has probably aged worse though. See, one of Air Bud’s children is apparently a rapper. And he talks like a rapper. It’s bizarre. Hearing a talking puppy say “fo shizzle” in a Disney movie is, well, it’s something. And, when the little Santa Paws meets up with this puppy, they have a break dancing battle. Oh my god. This CGI is the worst. First of all, the rendering is god awful. It looks like that dancing baby gif from the early 90s. There is no way anyone would buy that those puppies were actually in that living room. Second, THEY LOOKED NOTHING LIKE THE LIVE ACTION DOGS. They’re different breeds! Like, what the hell. I wish I could find a clip, because it’s hilariously bad. One of the worst CGI moments I’ve ever seen in a movie. Other than that though, there’s nothing to write home about here.

So, yeah, that’s a big no from me for Santa Buddies. This might be one of the most painful movies I’ve ever had to watch. It was absolute torture. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemies. Especially at Christmas. There’s almost absolutely no fun to be had here. It’s just a bunch of blank stares from puppies. I’d rather gauge my own eyes out then watch the two other Santa Paws movies. Honestly though, watch me do it that next year.

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: An American Carol

Hiya friends. Seasons greetings! Welcome back to Dyl’s Movie Stuff’s Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever, where I, Dylan, am going through and reviewing some of the worst Christmas movies ever made. It’s been quite the adventure, as we travel from one version of shit to the other. You never realize how many variations of crappy movies there really are until you just jump in head first. Today, we cover a new genre of crap that you don’t see much in holiday movies: the political satire. And, let’s just say this one is easily one of the worst “comedies” I’ve ever seen. Let’s get to it.

Ok, first off, An American Carol is not technically a Christmas movie. It actually takes place on the Fourth of July. But, it does adapt one of the most famous Christmas tales of all-time so I feel like it counts. And, man, if Dickens could see this he’d be rolling in his grave. This has to be one of the worst adaptations I’ve ever seen. On the most basic level, it gets the story wrong. Everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge was visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve: Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future (portayed as a grim reaper type). Well, An American Carol just tosses that right out the window. There are only three ghosts here. We have John F. Kennedy serving as the Jacob Marley, George Patton as the past/present/future, and, then, Trace Adkins as Death. It’s like they fell so head over heels in love with Kelsey Grammer that they forgot to cast the other part. Not to mention how much of an absolute slap to the face this is to Dicken’s intentions. The original story is actually pretty liberal when you think about it. An old man learns that money isn’t everything. Instead we should focus on love, good spirits, compassion, and charity. This version turns the moral into: war is good and we shouldn’t treat everyone the same. Which, I don’t know… is kind of the exact opposite message.

Honestly, it really, really bums me out that this was directed by David Zucker. He’s one of the absolute geniuses behind Airplane and The Naked Gun. How did he fall this far? This is the movie equivalent of watching your drunk grandfather rant about how much better this country used to be. It’s an angry, racist, homophobic, ageist, and fat shaming mess that’s done in the worst possible taste. This movie goes as far as to equate being against the War on Terror with being pro-Nazi. It’s just ridiculous. To say I disagree politically with this movie would be the understatement of the decade. It’s propaganda for the MAGA crowd before MAGA was even a thing. But, honestly, that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that this is so unfunny. I want someone to count how many times a character is hit in the head. I bet it’s over 50. Then, count how many times the butt of the joke is how fat Michael Moore is. I bet that number is almost as high. Even gags that are very similar to ones pulled off in Airplane just feel so mean spirited here. Honestly, I think I’d hate this movie just as much if Zucker and I lined up politically. It’s just not a pleasant experience.

And why’d he have to drag Leslie Nielson into this too? Isn’t it bad enough to make me dislike one person involved in those classics.

So, yeah, I freaking hated An American Carol. It’s one of the least funny, most offensive movies I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I even cracked a smile once. Plus, it made me look at the director of some of my favorite movies in a much different, darker light. This is what happens though. We grow old. We fall out of touch. And we make shit like An American Carol. Then, we die.

Merry Christmas!