by Chris Bovey
They finally killed it. Hollywood has been trying for so long to kill my childhood Christmas movies and they finally did it. I am a junkie for A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I watch 'em every year. Most recently I was watching A Christmas Story and found myself not so much relating to Ralphie as I did when I was a kid. But I had become the old man, wanting to give my 7-year-old his first BB gun knowing that I shouldn't — it is an amazing quality that movie has, to be able to hit on both levels.
Clark Griswold is the dad I am now, bumbling and yearning to give my kids the awesome Christmas that I always had, but always managing to screw it up somehow. While hanging lights this past weekend, I find myself up on a 14-foot ladder and somehow shock myself with 120 volts while my boys are standing down at the bottom asking, "What was that sound, Dad?" I am Clark Griswold. So you can see that these are more than just movies on a shelf to me — they are me.
So I got excited when I saw A Christmas Story 2 at the Redbox. I am like Ralphie unwrapping his secret decoder ring! Or the old man and his leg lamp. I pop some corn and watch it intently for a glimpse of what could be a second strike of lightning, or just a shock from the Christmas lights. I am not naive. I know I can't expect the same magical glow that the original produced; it just can't happen. Like the Star Wars nerds watching Jar Jar, this movie was the nail in the childhood Christmas movie coffin. As I watch it I find myself trying so damn hard to like it… OK, Ralphie has grown up and wants a car now instead of a gun. I suspend all the nerd boy gotchas — Why didn't they film this at the original house? Why was this shot in Canada in the summer instead of Cleveland in winter? — and pretty soon I found my memories shattering like the leg lamp in the window. I thought I heard the sound of taps being played… gently.
Then it jogged my hatred for another pointless straight-to-video sequel, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure. I tried so hard not to rent this movie, seriously. But every time I would pick it up a little voice would say, "Hey, Randy Quaid is still in it! He wouldn't do anything to screw with your Griswold Christmas memories."
Yeah, he would and did. So instead of a Christmas full of mishaps around the house during the holidays, Eddie and his family go to Hawaii or some crap, I get mad even thinking about it. No Griswold family Christmas tree, no lighting ceremony — just Randy Quaid and a monkey. This is what the Joey spinoff was to Friends, pure evil. I just saw Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo repriving their original roles in a 30-second Old Navy commercial, and if you haven't seen it you should look it up. There was more thought in that 30 seconds than both of these sequels combined.
So Hollywood, I would love to thank you personally for destroying my childhood Christmas movies and I would love to help you out by submitting some ideas for future pointless christmas sequels:
The Grinch Who Re-stole Christmas. In this wacky follow-up to the beloved childhood classic, we find the Grinch has gone back to his meanie ways and teams up with a sidekick, a purple grinch (voiced by R. Kelly). Featuring special guest appearances by No Doubt and Michael Bublé.
Next on the crapfest wish list it's Christmastime Charlie Brown 2: Worst Tree Ever. We freshen up this dated classic with some of today's hottest names! Old Charlie Brown is forced to raise $10,000 dollars by Christmas Eve or else his dog Snoopy (voiced by Taylor Swift) will have to be put down! So they decide to auction off the classic tree when hilarity ensues. A story the whole gang will love!
Lastly it's A Christmas Carol 2: Tiny Tim's Tiki Party. We see Tiny Tim fully grown and living with his Cratchet cousin, Mini Mike, in tropical Hawaii! Tim gets visited by three ghosts of his own! The Ghost of Lame, Mediocre and Epic Parties all in one night! Will Tim and Mike be able to pull off the epic party to end all parties? Stay tuned from guest appearances by Scrooge (Ed Asner) and his sexy sister Martha (Jenny McCarthy)!
So there you are, Hollywood. Churn out more crap and make a quick holiday buck. I will be cradling the shattered pieces and super-gluing them back together.