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!

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: The Perfect Holiday

Seasons greetings, friends. Welcome back to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever. If this is your first post, welcome. I’m spending this Christmas season going through and reviewing some of the worst Christmas movies ever made. Why? Because it’s 2020. That’s why. And I may or may not just be a sucker for self-punishment. But, let’s not waste anymore time. Let’s get to today’s movie.

I’m going to admit something. I had super low expectations for The Perfect Holiday. I mean… well, duh, right? I’m working my way through a list of the worst Christmas movies ever made and this made the cut. How could my expectations not be super low? But, as someone who’s sat through their fair share of Madea movies (the first six) and keeps up on the critical reception of most wide releases, I know that comedies for Black audiences can get pretty damn awful. I don’t know what it is. There’s just something about targeting that audience that makes the writers especially lazy. Then, the studios get to say that Black movies don’t sell. Which, they don’t because of general lack of quality. And the whole cycle repeats itself over and over and over again and… that’s not actually what I’m here to talk about. Point is, the fact that The Perfect Holiday beat A Madea Christmas to a spot on this list was not a good sign. 

But, here’s the thing. I actually kind of liked The Perfect Holiday. Maybe I’ve just seen too many bad movies lately. It’s changed my point of view. Maybe I’m just in a good mood. I don’t know. But, I thought, at its core, this movie works pretty well. Sure, there’s plenty of stuff that didn’t (we’ll get to that), but it’s nowhere near the travesty that most reviews would have you believe. First of all, Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Union are a pretty perfect couple. I believed their chemistry. They’re both likeable characters, dripping with charisma and sex appeal. And, I was rooting for them to get together. I dug the Christmas link too. The fact that he’s a mall Santa who only flirted with her because her daughter wished someone would is cute and original. I’ve not seen it before at least. I also liked the wrinkle that her oldest son didn’t want them to be together, because he wanted things the old way. As the oldest of three in a split family, maybe I related to that a bit more than most would, but I think it’s pretty universal. It also led to some cute hijinks, as the kids tried to get them to break up. The only part of their relationship that I didn’t really buy was the fact that he lied to her about what type of work he did. He says he did it to protect the kid-Santa relations, but it felt like something tagged on just to make sure there was enough plot to this movie. Overall though, the dating and family angles of this movie really worked for me. It’s nothing groundbreaking. It’s pretty cliche romantic comedy fare, but it served its purpose well. 

It’s too bad they decided to devote so much screen time elsewhere then. This is where The Perfect Holiday kinda falls apart for me. See, we spend a lot of time focusing on other, less relatable, more ridiculous, and less funny characters in this movie. First of all, there’s the kids’ father and Union’s ex-husband, J-Jizzy played by Eddie Murphy’s brother, Charlie. I think whoever decided to put this character in has seen Love Actually one too many times. Because they kind of just ripped it off. Remember the storyline in Love Actually featuring Bill Nighy as that terrifically over the top rocker trying to make the year’s best Christmas song? Yeah. That’s what this plotline is too. They’ve even got the devoted manager who’s desperate for his bosses approval. The only thing The Perfect Holiday adds to the equation is children. This musician also ignores his kids. But, let’s be real for a moment. If Bill Nighy’s character had kids, he’d ignore them too. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Charlie Murphy’s performance isn’t half as engaging as Nighy’s. For one, he’s not believable as a hip hop artist. Two, he’s not very cool. Three, you don’t feel bad for him in the same way you do for the former, even though this movie really, really tried. And, finally, he’s just not as funny. This character and this subplot could’ve been cut altogether and I wouldn’t even notice. 

But, he’s not even the most unnecessary character. In fact, he’s only third on the list. Ahead of him are two cringe worthy, all time low performances by Queen Latifah and Terrence Howard. I don’t know what the writers were thinking here. It’s bad. It’s really, really bad. Latifah plays a character called Mrs. Christmas, who randomly appears throughout the movie to kind of nudge the characters in the right direction. I don’t know if she’s supposed to be some kind of fairy godmother or Mrs. Claus or an angel or what, but I was baffled every time she’d show up. Plus, she demolishes the fourth wall, constantly making eye contact with the audience while narrating what JUST happened. I don’t get it. I mean… I understand when a character like this exists in Rudolph or Elf. They’re mystical movies where magic doesn’t feel out of place. This is reality. Other than these two at least. Oh, but who is Terrence Howard playing? Uh… Uhm… According to the credits, his name is Bah Humbug and he’s… trying to make Christmas awful? Creating chaos? Trying to add comedy to this movie for no real reason? There for a paycheck? Just weird? I don’t know. He just shows up alongside her, does something stupid, makes a goofy face. And, well, that’s it. I really don’t understand. At one point, he shows up as a child with snot running down his nose screaming about how he has to “go dookie.” I wish I made that up. I had to watch it over twice to make sure what I was seeing wasn’t some kind of fever dream. I have so many questions! Who? What? When? Where? And, most definitely, why? But, I’m also afraid of what answers I might receive. 

So, overall, The Perfect Holiday is definitely a mixed bag. Overall, I didn’t hate it though. The core story and relationships actually worked quite well. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of weird in this movie. Like, really, really weird. Personally, I don’t think it took away from the experience all that much. It’s still more or less a perfectly average, mostly non-remarkable, dime a dozen, romantic comedy. Just, you know, be prepared to see a tiny Terrence Howard dressed as a little boy cowboy. 

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: Black Christmas (2006)

Hello, hello everyone! Welcome back to Dyl’s Movie Stuff’s Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever, where we are ringing in the holidays with some of the worst movies ever made. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve kind of fallen behind again. Exactly whose idea was it to watch a movie a day during the busiest season of the year again? Damn, that’s right. It was me. And, they couldn’t even be good movies either.  Oh well, I’ll catch up. It might not be today. Or tomorrow. Or this week. But I will catch up. Anyways, let’s get to today’s movie. It’s our latest and, surprisingly, last Christmas horror film on this list. 

So, I watched Black Christmas. No, not the original cult classic that would actually probably keep me entertained. And, no, not the 2019 movie, which would’ve allowed me a little more insight into modern Hollywood. I watched the first remake. The one from 2006, produced by Harvey Weinstein and starring a lot of actresses from the CW. That’s the one I had the pleasure of watching this holiday season. You know what really sucks though? I haven’t seen the original. So, I have nothing to compare this one to. I’m positive that one isn’t quite this bad though. There’s no way. 

My main takeaway from the 2006 version of Black Christmas is how remarkably unscary it is. It’s insane. I’ve seen a lot of bad horror, but I don’t think I’ve seen one fail to generate scary visuals like this one did. First of all, the killers themselves aren’t scary. In fact, they’re super comical. The boy is out here looking like Bart Simpson with an eyeball eating fetish, while the girl looks like a middle schooler in an old lady costume. It was bad enough when the camera never really focused on them for “dramatic effect,” but, when they were shown out in all of their glory, it was extremely hard to take them seriously. The final act where they fought within the walls of the house especially bordered on self-parody. It was like Sin City if Sin City didn’t know what kind of movie it was. Oh, and the jumpscares in this were horrific. Not one of them got me. And I’m very reactive to that sort of thing. The tension was just off. I think it’s because they chose to have quiet moments with almost no score. Music is super important when it comes to making something scary. 

I was going to say that I was never unnerved by this Black Christmas, but that’d be a lie. I was never scared. That’s true. But, I was grossed out. Because this came from a very specific, very regrettable era of horror. For context, it came out two years after the first Saw movie. The same year as Saw III. And, like they often do, Hollywood had taken away the wrong lesson from the original Saw. Suspense? Good storytelling? Something original? Nah. People wanted gore. They wanted heads to explode. They wanted organs everywhere. And, gosh darn it, they wanted the room to be soaked with blood. And, Black Christmas (2006) delivered. There’s heads being cut in half. There’s organs wrapped around Christmas trees. There’s plenty of eyeball eating. There’s cookies made from human flesh. It’s just absolutely disgusting. Honestly, I cannot stand this type of horror. This doesn’t creep me out. It just makes me uncomfortable. If I wanted to be grossed out, I’d go online, where I can see the real stuff. I’m here for you to scare me. But, I know, that would take too much effort on your part. 

And, lastly, I don’t feel like I connected to any of these characters. There are about a dozen or so victims in this movie. Half of them literally only have one or two lines. They’re just there to be killed off. The other half are only remarkable in the fact that they’re not immediately stabbed. They’re not more interesting. They just have more screen time. And, to a certain degree, I get it. This is a slasher movie. They aren’t known for their top notch character development. But, then I think of movies like Halloween, Alien, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, and, heck, even Silent Night, Deadly Night and how I remember the victims there. I remember the “final girl” because I feel like I’d gone through an adventure with them. I don’t know these characters. They gave each of them a small moment of character motivation, but, if you asked me to draw a line from the characters’ looks to their motivations or (god forbid) their names, I would definitely fail. They’re all super interchangeable pretty white girls and I’m pretty sure the writer was cool with that. 

So, yeah. I don’t recommend Black Christmas. It’s really, really bad. It borders on self-parody but not in a fun way. And, it’s super gross. Like I said, I can’t compare it to the original, as I haven’t seen it. But, there’s no way this is even close to as good. The fact that the first is still talked about to this day while this has fallen off of the face of the Earth tells me all I need to know there. I will watch it someday. After I get the taste of this version out of my mouth. Because I have heard it’s decent. Until then though, I’m happy to leave Black Christmas in my rearview mirror without looking back. Because I’ll probably forget that it even exists in a month or so.

Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever: Deck the Halls

Hello everybody! I hope your day has been merry and bright. Welcome back to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever, where we’re going through and reviewing some of the worst Christmas movies ever made. And, honestly, today’s movie definitely has earned that spot. Let’s get to it.

Remember when I said that Christmas with the Kranks was hard to watch because I didn’t want to root for a couple of jerks? Well, Deck the Halls took that formula and ran with it. This one is so much worse. For those who don’t know, Deck the Halls is about two neighbors, played by Matthew Broderick and Danny Devito, fighting after one of them decides he wants to build a Christmas display that’s visible from space. Yep, it’s the whole neighborly rivalry thing again. Isn’t this plot completely played out at this point? Like how often do we have to see this? Even the Christmas lights thing has been done to death. There’s not enough new material here to fill a twenty minute sitcom episode, let alone an entire feature film. Plus, neither of these guys are likeable in the slightest. They constantly are doing despicable things to each other without having even a hint of empathy. Like, you’ve got to at least give them some kind of relatable motivation. “Because I want to” doesn’t really cut it. 

I’ve also got to apologize for criticizing Christmas with the Kranks’ jokes as harshly as I did. Sure, they were sophomoric and aiming for the lowest common denominator, but at least they made sense in the context of the movie. Deck the Halls is willinging to throw its plot away completely for a bad, lazy gag. Wouldn’t it be funny if Broderick ripped the doors off of his car? I mean… not particularly. Also, what does that have to do with anything? What if we had the guys catcall a couple of attractive women and then they turn out to be their daughters? What? No. That adds nothing to the story. It’s not funny. And, it wouldn’t have been cool if they were catcalling anyone really. Yeah, that joke feels like it was written by a couple of creepy ass boomers. It’s only one of several moments where the attractiveness of these teenage girls is the butt of the joke. They straight up infer that these teenage girls, their daughters are sleeping around. It’s quite insane. But, it’s definitely not the bit that’s aged the worst. Nope. That belongs to a completely out of nowhere, completely random, and insensitive gag about how the police captain in a crossdresser. Broderick’s character goes to the police station to file a report. While talking to him, he notices that the man is wearing a bra and panties. He reacts in horror and runs away. That’s it. That’s the joke. Because apparently a man wearing women’s underwear is the funniest thing the writers could think of. How exactly is this movie only 14 years old, but feels like it was written in the 60s?

Speaking of dated, the early 2000’s understanding of technology is so funny. The whole reason Danny DeVito’s character becomes obsessed with these Christmas lights is because his house isn’t visible on Google Earth. Which, as we know, isn’t a live feed. They take those pictures once every couple of years. Also, the finale revolves around how precious and cute it is that everyone uses their phones instead of waving flames in the air during a musical performance. You know, something we do every single day now. These aren’t really criticisms of the movie per se. I just found it funny watching so many years later.

And, well, that’s all I really have to say about Deck the Halls. Sorry this write up is so short. Honestly, it felt like I was just repeating myself from my write-up for Christmas with the Kranks. They feel very similar to me. Both are lazy, unfunny comedies about a couple of jerks feuding with their neighbors around Christmas time. Both came out around the same time. Both wasted immensely talented and funny casts. They’re almost the same. Honestly, I’ve got to stop thinking about them or they’re going to become one massive disaster in my head. But, it’s almost impossible to pick which one is worse. I want to say Deck the Halls. But, then, I remember the Botox scene from Christmas with the Kranks. But, there’s the catcalling. But the snowman. But the fireworks going off in the house. But the tanning. I don’t know. I can’t call it. They’re both just so bad.