Christmas entertainment has a storied history from classic songs to classic movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. The modern idea of Christmas has been big business for almost every facet of our economy for decades so it’s no wonder that Hollywood keeps churning out new Christmas movies every year. Every now and then new movies become new classic like Home Alone or Elf, and sometimes we end up with turds like Surviving Christmas or something completely forgettable like… say, Unaccompanied Minors. Which will these recent Christmas flicks be?
Krampus – This 2015 Christmas horror comedy opened in 2015 to box office success, quadrupling it’s budget, but lukewarm reviews. It has familiar elements of other Christmas classics such as Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, and Gremlins like annoying family visiting for the holidays, a son’s wish catalyzing the story, and cute but devilish creatures terrorizing everyone, so it already conjures up good feelings from the ghost of Christmas movies passed. But with all that it has going for it, something hard to pinpoint seems to be missing and Krampus remains mostly overlooked.
Will it be classic? – Possible… but not likely.
The Night Before – A holiday themed Rogan/ Goldberg buddy comedy may seem like just another Superbad or Pineapple Express (How cool, or potentially terrible, would Superbad Santa be?) but the final product turned out to be a little more. Filled with plenty of cheer, laughs, and homage to other modern day Christmas hallmarks like Home Alone, Die Hard and Run-DMC’s ‘Christmas In Hollis’, The Night Before has the potential to surpass other recent holiday comedys and simply not be overlooked as the years go on.
Is it sponge-worthy?: Of all the recent Christmas movies, The Night Before stands the best chance of repeated viewings over the decades
Bad Santa 2 – This 2016 sequel to it’s dark comedy predecessor, 2003’s cult classic Bad Santa, tried to strike the iron while it was ice cold with predictable results. While there is still some great dark and sexual humor like the original, and Kathy Bates makes a great addition to the cast, it just doesn’t fire on the same cylinders. The character of the kid, Thurman Merman, who was so hilarious and endearing in the first, just doesn’t work as a grown up. The short jokes at Tony Cox’s expense get really old really fast. And while Billy Bob still has the character of Willie down pat, this new iteration just parallel the original too much, much like Home Alone 2 did to Home Alone. All of these factors led to a box office and critical flop.
Does it classic?: Absolutely not
Office Christmas Party – This 2016 Christmas comedy about office workers trying to save their branch through partying (what could be more American?) was a box office success but only occasionally hit with critics. A talented cast, fun premise, and festive location helped pump Office Christmas Party with plenty of holiday cheer. While it’s great fun, it will mostly like be another A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, great fun, but widely overlooked.
Do you classic, or not?: Slightly less likely than Krampus
Daddy’s Home 2 – I’ll be honest, I haven’t see this one yet, even John Lithgow wasn’t enough to get me to the theater. I tried watching the original Daddy’s Home and gave up 10 minutes in. I did honestly want to check it out but better fare drew my attention instead. But what I can tell you is that Daddy’s Home 2 has been a box office success but a critical flop. It will probably go down in history as another forgotten Christmas sequel like Friday After Next. (which I love, btw)
Love The Coopers – Boasting a fantastic cast and several laughs, 2015’s Love The Coopers makes for an entertaining enough film… once. But repeated viewings are not likely for this festive dramedy about the different relationships surrounding an extended family getting together for Christmas. In the end, with all it has going for it, it still feels like an American version of Love Actually that overall falls, and feels, flat with a slow pace and several under-developed characters.
Classic, or smassic? – It may feel like a Love Actually clone, but it won’t make the same leap from box office seasonal success to satellite, cable, or streaming standard
Bad Moms Christmas – No. Just… no. All around.