The True Meaning of the Season: Holiday Movies We’d Actually WatchBy Neil Genzlinger David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
Another weekend, another batch of Christmas-themed movies, new or rebroadcast. On the Hallmark Channel, you can see fare like “All I Want for Christmas” and “Annie Claus Is Coming to Town.” On Lifetime, there’s “A Nanny for Christmas” and “Holiday in Your Heart,” among others. You know the ingredients: a single parent, a plucky child or two, a hardship of some kind, a serendipitous meeting that leads to love.
Yet with all this, you may find there are still some stories that have not appeared on anyone’s schedule. Here are five Christmas movies I’d like to see. Feel free to add your own:
A Tantrum for the Holidays A well-known TV star on an airplane flight forces the pilot to abort his takeoff and prompts a nationwide military alert because he won’t stop playing games on his cellphone. While cooling off in the airport’s Naughty Room, he meets a pretty single mother whose bright but emotionally fragile son can’t get past Level 49 of Angry Birds. While awaiting arraignment, they learn that the true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with whether you have upgraded to the iPhone 4S. Alec Baldwin stars in this heartwarming holiday tale, filmed entirely at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Naked Came the Santa A talentless, troubled starlet uses the time between prison sentences to pose naked for a has-been girlie magazine. While doing the shoot, she meets a down-on-his-luck photographer’s assistant, a single dad who just a few months earlier was riding high as the showrunner for a TV series based on the magazine but was demoted when it proved to be the most embarrassing offering of the fall season. While waiting for someone to leak the nudie snaps to the tabloids, they realize that the true meaning of Christmas has little to do with getting your picture taken while wearing nothing but an elf’s hat. Lindsay Lohan stars in this inspiring story of degradation and wasted opportunities.
The 78-Pound Turkey A glum polygamist who by unfortunate coincidence is both newly widowed and newly divorced realizes that with all those major life events there is no way he’s going to be able to do his income taxes himself this year. The pretty young accountant he hires to help him was conceived using a sperm donor and has just learned that she has 73 half-brothers and half-sisters. Together they realize they don’t have nearly enough place settings to accommodate the whole family for the holiday dinner, and that the true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with how many marriage licenses you have. Kody Brown of “Sister Wives” stars in this feel-good story of rampant overpopulation.
The Christmas Candidate A former presidential candidate, who dropped out of the race after the number of women accusing him of improper behavior reached three figures, takes a job as a department-store Santa just to pay the bills. The first elf he makes a pass at, a single mother whose three kids are sitting right there, decides to teach him a whimsical lesson and sends each of the kids up to Santa’s lap to ask for hush money. Together they discover that while no one likes any of the current candidates, everyone would vote for Santa, and he re-enters the race and wins in a landslide. Together they learn that the true meaning of Christmas is basically irrelevant in the down-and-dirty world of politics. The real-life Republican candidates all have cameos in this delightful tale of image manipulation and opportunism.
Holiday Hook Shot A wealthy basketball star whose wife divorced him when she thought the N.B.A. season would be canceled because of a labor dispute lets himself fall out of playing condition by drowning his sorrows in eggnog and Hostess cupcakes. When the strike is settled, the gorgeous personal trainer he hires in a desperate effort to get back in shape convinces him that the best exercise, besides sex, of course, is to use his money to spread Christmas cheer, mostly to car dealers by buying expensive automobiles. Together they learn that whatever the true meaning of Christmas is, gas guzzlers have considerably more leg room than those puny hybrids. The Harlem Globetrotters play the role of the basketball team in this moving story of greed and calorie consumption.
Now, your turn. Can you think of any Holiday Movies starring the Sister Wives?