Slate has an article about the five worst Christmas movies. But there are so many to choose from! I know that it is risky to list my candidates because all bad movies have their guilty pleasure fans, Christmas movies more than most. They can be more powerful family bonding experiences than the classics. As my son and I always say, “Just because a movie is awful is no reason not to watch it.” So, with that in mind, here are some of my candidates for the worst Christmas movies ever, but I am more than happy to hear from anyone who loves to hate or just plain loves them.
A classic of the “so bad it’s not exactly good but it is kind of mezmerizingly hypnotic” is Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, featuring Pia Zadora. Even without the Mystery Science Theater 3000 commentary, its calamitous ineptitude is weirdly enjoyable.
Part of what makes Christmas with the Kranks so awful is the abuse it inflicts on its original inspiration, a sweet-spirited novel by John Grisham called Skipping Christmas, about a couple who decide to avoid commercial Christmas craziness and find it more complicated than they thought. But most of what makes it so awful is its contempt for its audience, also evident in train wrecks like Four Christmases, Deck the Halls and Surviving Christmas.
Santa Claus: The Movie No: the advice. This overstuffed turkey stars Dudley Moore as an elf recruited by bad guy John Lithgow to sabotage Santa’s operation.
Jungle All the Way I particularly dislike movies that promote the idea that what matters about Christmas is the presents. This story of two dads battling to get the last Turbo Man toy for their sons is supposed to be hilarious but it is just empty.
Fred Claus An efficiency expert tries to improve operations at the North Pole while Santa’s clumsy brother Fred deals with sibling rivalry issues and the problems of towering over the elves.
If you have a favorite terrible Christmas movie, let me know!