Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jingle All the Way

Day 358 - 12/24/09 - Movie #358

BEFORE: It's early morning on Christmas Eve, and there's time for one more movie, before I pack for Massachusetts - we're driving up for Christmas at my parents' house. (Got to remember to pack a few DVDs...) I left this film out of my Schwarzenegger chain earlier this year, with tonight in mind, apparently.

THE PLOT: A harried father decides to dream the impossible dream, to get that year's hot toy for his son just before Christmas Day.

AFTER: Well, the whole movie takes place on Christmas Eve, so what could be more appropriate? I'm not expecting a great storyline, this is another one of those films that I don't want to carry over into the next calendar year, so I'm anxious to clear it off my list...

This movie shows just how far a parent is willing to sink to get his son the unobtainable toy - here it's an action figure named Turboman, but it could just as easily be a Cabbage Patch Kid, or a Tickle-Me-Elmo, or...geez, what is this year's hot toy? It's some kind of robot hamster, right? Boy, I'm out of touch. With a 1 year-old niece and nephew, I have to start thinking about this sort of thing.

Anyway, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Howard Langston, a furniture dealer who doesn't spend much time with his son, but he's willing to lie, cheat, steal, and trample toy-store employees to get a Turboman figure - since he apparently doesn't possess the necessary skill to read his son a story, or toss a baseball back and forth. Really, when the kid says "I want this toy," what he means is, "I want YOU to get this for me," which is just an extension of "Love me, daddy." So under all the craziness and the silly stunts, there is something of a message, but the father just doesn't pick up on it.

Like "Christmas Vacation", the movie relies mostly on slapstick - Arnold punching out a reindeer should have been a career low. And like last night's film, it features a number of SNL veterans, like Phil Hartman, Jim Belushi, and (future SNL star) Chris Parnell. Also, like last night's film, I've met one of the stars in person - Jake Lloyd, who autographed an 8x10 photo of himself as Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode I", which is hanging in my basement collection (70 Star Wars autographs and counting...)

Also starring Sinbad (as another father looking for the same toy) and Rita Wilson, with cameos from Robert Conrad, Martin Mull, Harvey Korman, Phil Morris (Jackie Childs from "Seinfeld") and Curtis "Booger" Armstrong. And was that wrestler "Big Show" as the giant Santa? Why, yes it was - very few people could tower over Schwarzenegger...

RATING: 5 out of 10 traffic tickets (Bad acting makes it a 4, but I'm adding one for having a mostly positive message - spend time with your kids, not money on toys)

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