Disappointing Christmas Movies RankedPublished on December 17, 2016. Updated December 1, 2020
There are films that shouldn’t be missed every holiday season, and then there are films that should have never been made…and films to avoid at all costs during the holidays. Perhaps if getting a group together to binge on some egg nog, and enjoy a few good laughs are things that were not supposed to be “that kind of funny,” then put the following films at the top of your list. Still, consider yourself forewarned, especially when traversing the thin ice listed at #1, which may be one of the biggest Christmas let downs ever conceived.
10. Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas
Kirk Cameron has a heart of gold, but he’s that evangelistic type who came to his faith a little later than most, and because of the late arrival, it seemed he felt he was “behind.” He caught up by leaping so far in one direction, he forgot that not everyone shares the same world view, experiences or perspective. Now, he seems to be trekking back in the other direction while holding tight to his faith, and that’s confusion an audience gets in Saving Christmas. Sweet. Mercy. It’s a mess. There wasn’t enough content to really make it a movie-movie, so it’s full of Kirk’s musings, and too many outtakes during the closing credits. Kirk has never been shy about his faith, and neither has his sister. The difference…? People actually gravitate toward Candace, as opposed to Kirk. Folks often walk in the opposite direction.
9. Santa With Muscles
Remember when Hulk Hogan was the man? Like…really…the man. Not during the comeback of the last decade with the short-lived reboot of American Gladiators, rather the time period when movie deals were consistently pitched to him, and he was able to say yes, because he commanded some box office? Well, he made a Christmas movie back then (1996). If Jared and Jerusha Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre) were behind something like this, you could possess some expectation that they would take you into a world of unexpected holiday fun; however, this film features Hulk Hogan as a s***heel millionaire, who falls down a garbage shoot, and then due to his brain damage, he believes he’s Santa Claus. It quickly dissolves into one of those stories where someone at the party offers “Once upon a time,” and everyone else in the room adds a sentence.
8. Ernest Saves Christmas
For anyone growing up in the 1980s, Ernest movies were a hit. Dudes also wore brightly colored spandex shorts. It’s a bit heartbreaking that this film doesn’t hold up. Anyone interested in watching any of the Ernest movies, we’d recommend Ernest Goest to Camp, and leave it at that. The film features Jim Varney as Ernest, who finds himself in a pickle when he needs to help Santa Claus find a successor. The few memorable scenes dissipate so quickly it hurts to move on to the next. The film was successful when released, and here’s all you probably need to know about it. IMDb ranks it at a 5.5/10; Rotten Tomatoes 36/100; Wal-Mart customer reviews… 5/5. We’ll let you marinate on that for a moment. The biggest suck? Jim Varney was a very talented actor who died at 50… never really got to flex his skill set into maturity.
7. Four Christmases
It’s time to pick on Vince Vaughn. This guy seems obsessed with nailing a Christmas movie. The business aspect is easily understood. You can live off those residual checks for the rest of your life if you fall on hard times, but the catch is that you’d need to make a good Christmas movie first. Four Christmases does not fit in that category. It’s not Vince’s fault. This one never really seemed to stand a chance. Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon simply did not vibe on set. Reese is a very by-the-book, let’s plan things out type, and Vince is a “let’s riff” and see what happens type. If this film worked on any level, it was the frustration between the two as a couple. The film itself sets out to be another Christmas comedy of errors, with their need to visit four no-longer-married parents in a single day.
6. Fred Claus
A general rule of thumb: When a Christmas movie opens weeks before Thanksgiving, you know it can be avoided. The stink for Vince? He did Christmas movies that stunk in back to back years. This was actually the first, and it featured Vince as Fred Claus, a never-grow-up, immortal Claus, the brother of Santa. The thought of the film is funnier than the film itself. For example, Fred Claus’ desire to open an Off-Track Betting facility in addition to his current repo business. The assembly of talent for this film is insulting: Paul Giammati, Rachel Weisz, Kathy Bates…no. Stop it, y’all. If you have been nominated for, or have won an Oscar — you’re not allowed to do films like this. This is the drivel that drives people away from movie theaters! This is the stuff that is found in the $1.99 DVD section.
5. Jingle All The Way
In fairness to Arnold Schwarzenegger, this film is so bad it’s almost good. Watching Arnold try to do comedy is a real treat. It’s funny because it’s not funny. The exception is Kindergarten Cop, when there are so many five and 6-year-old’s present, the awkwardness of Arnold in the mix makes for serious comedy… but Jingle All The Way? The best thing about this film is the fact that Conan O’Brien trolled the former Governor of California, using this film as bait for years. Sadly, Conan’s departure from NBC meant that the sketch had to die, but it’s still easy to find. Jingle All The Way also features Sinbad, and a seven year old Jake Lloyd. If ever there were a perfect movie for good food/bad movie night in your holiday household, this one might be the winner.
4. Surviving Christmas
What. The hell. Was this? This was nearly the death of Ben Affleck’s career. When it comes to Christmas movies, this is about as bad as they can get when they’re made for nationwide theatrical release. Surviving Christmas features Ben Affleck as a white collar rich fella, who is wistful for Christmases of yesteryear. He travels to his old childhood home to meet the new residents, James Gandolfini and Catherine O’Hara. With his deep pockets, Ben coaxes these fine, regular folks into pretending like they’re his parents for the holiday season, driving them toward the mouth of madness. Doesn’t that sound hilarious? Ben Affleck acting like an insufferable a–hole? Then, pushing into the third act of the film, Christina Applegate is introduced to the comedy of errors. “Guts will bust from residual laughter,” said no critic or audience member…ever.
3. Christmas Evil
This is not a selection for the kiddies, but if you’re into some of the best-worst horror movies ever made, regardless of plot or character, this is a gem. This film was made in 1980. It’s not to be confused with Home Alone 3, which we’re pretty sure was Home Alone 3: Christmas Evil, but don’t quote that. This Christmas Evil follows a sociopath man, who has a host of psychological issues due to the childhood trauma of seeing his mom get freaky with Santa Claus. Imagine that scene in The Shining, but with Santa. This man now spends his days working in a toy factory–no kidding–and dressing up as Santa at night to spy on people around the neighborhood, and then he just starts killing. If you start this film, you must–repeat–must finish it. The end is one of the greatest of all-time.
2. A Christmas Story 2
Bordering on sacrilegious, A Christmas Story 2 was made, and released direct-to-DVD in 2012. There have been social crimes committed against humanity that have gone unpunished for millennia…this is one of them. It would be too much of a compliment to call this a steaming, hot pile. Frankly, it may be the biggest crock to ever be offered to humanity in the form of movie entertainment. This is billed as an “official sequel,” and it officially sucks so bad, every copy should be taken from homes nationwide, and burned at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. What’s most heartbreaking–aside from the writers replaying every joke from the original with a terrible twist–is the fact that Daniel Stern took on the role of The Old Man. Why, Daniel? Why…? It’s a paradoxical blessing that Darren McGavin and Bob Clark were both dead, and didn’t have to see this.
1. One Magic Christmas
What other film could top our list of worst Christmas movies, than something to be compared with It’s a Wonderful Life on our list of films you shouldn’t miss during the holiday season. One Magic Christmas is one of the greatest dupes of all time when it comes to DVD covers. For starters, the Disney signature is emblazoned across the top of the case, and the wonderful world of Disney soundtrack leads into what is one of the most depressing, dark Christmas films you might ever witness. This film is an emotional beat down–a combination of It’s a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Carol, with even darker tonality running throughout. The film should have been entitled Murphy’s Christmas Law. It isn’t without great moral value, or to say it’s poorly made, but it’s not the film to watch before gathering around the piano for your Christmas sing-along.