Catastrophic Christmas Films

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Grace Rivera

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D.C. Thompson, J1 Staff Writer

As Christmas comes upon us, so too does the horde of oh-so-many movies, both good, and terrible… Mainly the latter.  Not to say all Christmas movies are bad, anybody can name at least one classic: Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, Die Hard, The Christmas Without Santa Claus, the list goes on.
However, there are just as many bad movies pushed out each year, some of which are ridiculous to the point of infamy. This is a list of only some, both old and new.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians  (1964): The ’60s Went Above And Beyond. 
Despite its intense title to make you think of a Caesar-like movie of Claus waging war against an interplanetary race, “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” is far more tame and easygoing than one would believe. Yet still, in being easygoing, “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” is a film that did not age well, with numerous issues that may make it a difficult watch if you’re invested.  Starting off, the first issue presented is the costume design. Granted, it was the 60’s, however even then they are laughable still. The Martians look like comic book villain henchmen, who were tasked to be down in the sulfur mines bare-faced, and there are many other costumes that must be seen to be understood.
Nonetheless, the costumes one can adjust to, however the plot itself is a rollercoaster …. as in it ends before you can even process what happened. The film speeds through the plot and adds on small subplots that ultimately
lead up to nothing or are forgotten.  Despite that, they still manage to have some scenes linger awkwardly for far longer than needed, with awkward staring between characters. Speaking of, the writing is extremely forced at times, and the poor performance from the actors – child ones especially- certainly does not help to resolve that issue. The poor performance continues with some characters speaking over each other in scenes where they clearly forget their lines. Along with multiple seconds of staring -or even worse, Santa’s disturbing laughter- until someone says something, it gave me second-hand embarrassment at times just watching. However, clocking in at only 80 minutes long, it definitely could have been worse time spent. It keeps you entertained, if a bit bored.  It doesn’t do wrong with its message, and the film is oddly good at giving insight on how the ’60s were like at the time, making that the biggest captivating sense at times. Overall, despite its stellar name, “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” is a forgettable film of low-quality production, with aging doing little to help it, 60 years later.
Hit Entertainment

Santa With Muscles (1996): Hulk Hogan Plays Santa Claus… Need I Say More?

The 90’s were a strange time. The internet took popularity, society began shifting towards embracing weirdness, and comedies had a peculiar, puberty-esk era as they tried to catch this aforementioned shift. One such comedy is “Santa With Muscles,” a movie that describes itself perfectly. Its leading actor is much more surprising, however…Some may remember the famous wrestler Hulk Hogan, who achieved status on the internet for his over-the-top performance on the verge of irony.  What may be less known, however, is that Hogan had a shockingly extensive 0career, though his performance in some of his earlier pieces especially… is shaky at best.
That said, it should be stated that Hogan’s acting does make the movie far more enjoyable to watch as if his sheer presence alone isn’t enough.  His bad acting actually compliments the movie, which is your average 90’s
holiday film, fit with every trope you could expect, ramped up to max. Selfish millionaire gets amnesia, thinks he’s Santa, and fights a gang of villains only comparable to Dr. Evil himself, to save an orphanage… It’s a wild ride.The film is full of shoddy editing, with explosions that look like they were produced from an early 2000’s movie-maker video and lazy cinematography that nearly made me sick at times with the shaky cam. The writing itself is also questionable, with enough plot holes to make swiss cheese ashamed, and plenty of laughably bad acting, between line deliveries, to awkward interactions. However, it should be stated clearly: I did not have a bad time watching the movie.  In fact, I enjoyed myself from start to finish, with the film properly earning the title of ‘So bad it’s good’, and legendarily so. In full earnest, it gives Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room” a run for its money, on how impressively terrible it is.  Overall,Santa With Muscles” is a silly, light-hearted film that’s good to laugh at with friends, and despite being terrible in production, it’s worth at least one watch for the sheer experience alone.  And unfortunately, that’s where the lighthearted side of this review ends…  The following is genuinely bad, and shockingly so.
Netflix

Love Hard (2021): The Romanticism of Dysfunctional Love.

Not to be confused with the occult classic “Die Hard”, “Love Hard”‘s only connection to Christmas is that it takes place during the holidays. Nonetheless, this review shall be for that status.…And what a status it that is.  Watching this movie feels like it should have been a horror rather than romance, adding to Netflix’s unfortunate status of horrid movie originals (Cuties.) The entire premise revolves around catfishing… and love blossoming from such. A combination that should never be combined for an audience’s viewing consumption. The (moderately spoiled) story itself follows our main protagonist, Natalie, played by Nina Dobrev. She gets catfished into flying across the country to meet a man she only met 4 weeks ago… without telling anybody the address she was going to beforehand in case something happened.  Luckily, she doesn’t get murdered, but still meets someone drastically different from expectations. Our catfisher in shining scales is Josh, played by Jimmy O. Yang. Over the course of the movie, Josh, with the movie’s continual pushing of pity, makes Natalie feel bad for him, and realize she’s in love with him. This, on its own, is bad enough, however, Natalie isn’t completely off the hook either, as along her journey, she ends up catfishing someone else. This makes both protagonists utterly reprehensible. However,  almost all characters in the film are bad people in one way or another. The only good person is the man who Natalie ends up catfishing, and thank goodness he gets his good ending in not having to date her.  On the topic of the rest of the characters, though, each one of them is cringeworthy for their male-obsessed attitudes, stereotypical stoner/punks, and downright misogynistic attitude. The main “antagonist” (even though the protagonists are more evil than him)  is akin to a Disney Channel show villain, but at least the film seems self-aware of his shenanigans and has fun with it. But by far, the worst two people in the whole movie are our main characters, Natalie and Josh.  Not only do they both end up catfishing someone, but Josh peer pressures  Natalie into engaging him. Furthermore, in one scene, they cause a random newsboy to most likely lose his job, and they laugh about it, after acknowledging what they did would cost the newsboy his work. It makes you hate both of them, not feel bad for their situation.  Luckily, the movie has them both admit what they did was wrong, and in front of their families/friends, no less, so the film knows they’re bad enough for that. However, they still get their good ending.  It’s a punch in the face to see them start dating by the end because none of it is deserved for either of them and yet their families/friends cheer for them?
It’s easy to see what the producers/directors were attempting in their message: to accept oneself for who you are. However, their execution is abhorrent, instead practically saying that it’s okay to catfish someone else, and all will be
alright if you do. The only thing worth making this movie a watch is being with friends and being able to laugh at it. The movie has plenty of humor, although it’s typically filled with pop-culture references and makes fun of Millenials/gen Z kids in ways that have been done hundreds of times already to the point of staleness. With that in mind, the film still has its moments of being stand-out with its jokes, and sometimes, the actors do appear self-aware of how over-the-top their characters are, taking advantage of it and making it entertaining enough to sit through. Love Hard” is a predictable film that’s not worth watching as a love story. It’s mediocre in plot and characters, yet still disgusting in its implications and how it executes its message. It’s good for a laugh, but you’re much better off finding something different on Netflix.—–Regardless of your thoughts towards the holidays, it is indisputable that there are a lot of movies. And, with it, there’s bound to be at least a few bad ones. The most we can do is sit back, and try and have a laugh at some of the ones we find, as the ones here were only scratching the iceberg. We hope you have a good holiday, and that you can relax after such an… Interesting, last 2 years.