Jingle All the Way

Sometimes Wooden but Never Not Funny

What it’s about

Howard, a haggard salesman, promises his son a Turbo Man toy for Christmas. He is forced to fight every parent and travel all over town to get the toy after he forgets to buy it.

My thoughts

Basically if you like Arnold Schwarzenegger, like comedies and like Christmas films then in all probability you like this film. But if you are not a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, are not big on comedies and are not big on Christmas films, then you will likely find this film a bit rubbish.

And it really is as simple as that. Actor/comedian Sinbad plays Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nemesis, and puts in an excellent performance helping to make this film a non-stop bundle of laughs. But as the narrative progresses it becomes clear that the main nemesis is the titular character’s neglect of his son.

And it is the resolution to this neglect that gives this film its feelgood factor, and is what makes this film truly worth watching. That is to say this film is more than just an endless bundle of laughs, it has substance.

Not much, but as much as can be expected from what is a typical non-terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger film. All in all, that added to the fact it is a gloriously fun watch makes it a worthy addition to any Christmas viewing list, meaning from me it’s a thumbs up.​

​Director: Brian Levant

Writer: Randy Kornfield

Genre: comedy, action, family

Year: 1996

​Runtime: 95 minutes

Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

A film that will make you truly believe

What it’s about

This is the third remake and arguably the best version of a timeless Christmas classic the story of which was first penned by Valentine Davies, and sees a lawyer and a little girl fighting to save Christmas by proving that a man claiming to be Santa Claus is the real thing.

What you will learn from watching it

​What this film does really well is capture the fact that it is people that make Christmas what it is. People fighting for each other, people uniting with each other, more importantly people willing to believe in each other.

And really that’s what this film is about, the power of belief. And no belief is more important than a child’s belief that he or she has the right to believe what they wish. And that’s what this film does best, show just how important it is for a person to not only be able to believe, but to be allowed to believe.

Is the story any good

What director Les Mayfield along with screenwriters George Seaton and John Hughes perhaps do best is bring the story into the 90s world, many a great story has failed on screen when brought into a modern setting, but this is not one of them.

With excellent performances all round, most notably Mara Wilson as six-year-old Susan Walker, but also Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle this is a film with a story that reaches deep and will most definitely make you believe that Christmas miracles can happen.

Final words

Any person who loves Christmas films will surely appreciate this film, but even those who are indifferent to Christmas films will likely enjoy it. Is it one of the best Christmas films out there, probably not but it does tell one of the best Christmas stories.

That means without a doubt this film gets a solid thumbs up from me.

Director: Les Mayfield

Writer: George Seaton and John Hughes

Genre: fantasy, family

Year: 1994

Runtime: 114 minutes

Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

A film that will make you truly believe

What it’s about

To save Christmas a lawyer and a little girl must prove that a man claiming to be Santa Claus is the real thing.

My thoughts

This is the third remake and arguably the best version of a timeless Christmas classic. With excellent performances all round, most notably Mara Wilson as six-year-old Susan Walker, but also Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle this is a film that will most definitely make you believe that Christmas miracles can happen.

Is it the best Christmas film out there, no. Is it one of the best Christmas stories out there, yes. That makes it definitely worth watching meaning from me it’s a thumbs up.

Director: Les Mayfield

Writer: George Seaton and John Hughes

Genre: fantasy, family

Year: 1994

Runtime: 114 minutes