Santa’s Little Helper – #MovieReview

On the twelfth day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me Santa’s Little Helper. No not a full length feature about the dog from The Simpsons. That might be worth watching. This is a straight to DVD production made by the WWE. Yep, it’s a Christmas film made by and starring – pro wrestlers. Turns out that’s not a good idea at all.

Okay so here’s the plot of this, I guess we’ll call it a film? There’s a rich dude who is a jerk and he is going to foreclose on a youth center. But tables turn on him and in the next five minutes he loses his job, loses his girlfriend, gets his car repossessed, and gets his house foreclosed on. Meanwhile at the North Pole, Santa Claus is in need of a new helper. This is described as, “the ho ho ho” and as being, “the vice president of Santa Claus” at various points in the movie. Santa has a personal trainer who he asks to check out that jerk guy (Dax the Ax by name) for the job because, uh reasons? The trainer who is of course the love interest for Dax, puts him through a series of tests to see if he’s qualified for the job. Long story short, he gets the job after doing some humiliating stuff, loses the job, gets the job back, saves the youth center and the trainer gets the job in the end. Spoiler warning. Oops, should have put that earlier.

Here’s what’s amazing about this movie. And I don’t mean in a good way, I mean it’s amazing that any of this exists.

  • This has brilliant dialogue such as, “the car and I are in love”.
  • Also, “You’re giving Dax the Ax, the ax?”
  • Also, while talking to a building, “I’m going to take you down!”
  • Apparently the north pole looks exactly like a log cabin in the woods.
  • They have, “elves” there. How do we know they are elves? Two ways. First, they wear wool knit caps. Second they have pointed ears. The total number of elves we see with pointed ears (which by the way are just cheap bits of plastic glued to the wool knit caps)? One. But we know they must have pointed ears because they keep calling the trainer who has round ears, round ears. She has round ears due to a genetic birth defect. How do I know that? They say it like five times in the movie just to remind you that she is an elf and not just a normal human. Also, she has a low opinion of her looks because her ears are rounded, giving Dax the Ax the opportunity to hit on her and for her to say, “You really think I am beautiful?” despite the character being played by a woman that fits all the stereotypical ideals of Hollywood beauty.
  • The first test Dax has to do is go into a biker bar and say he hit one of their bikes because A) apparently that’s what Santa Claus needs and B) it gives a bunch of pro wrestling actors the chance to use their sweet, sweet wrestling moves in the bar fight scene.
  • Later in the movie there is a rival elf who wants to be, “the ho ho ho” and challenges Dax to a ropes competition. The actress playing the elf is a pro wrestler too so we get to see sweet, sweet wrestling moves on a ropes course too.
  • The second test Dax has to do is to dress up as a mascot at a kids pizza place during a kids birthday party. He threatens to punch one kid in the face and smashes the birthday boy into his own cake. Apparently this is the guy Santa Claus needs. But it’s okay because he turns the party into a food fight and everyone loves him for it? I dunno, wrestling logic I guess.
  • The third and final test Dax has to do is to help a stranger in need. This turns out to be an older man who has just been mugged. He lost his ring in the mugging and it was a family heirloom he was going to pass down to his kids. Dax the Ax sees the kids who did it and threatens them with bodily harm and returns the ring to the guy. The test is passed (the only test out of three he passed if we are keeping count) and the guy turns out to be Santa. So to be clear, Santa Claus needs a guy who, gets into a bar fight, wouldn’t last an hour working at a Chuck E. Cheese, and threatens to punch teenagers to get a ring back, but lets them keep the cash from the wallet. I guess Santa Claus needs some muscle who is not very good at following through?
  • The reason Santa Claus gives for wanting to hire Dax? He has potential to be a good man. Yep, that’s it. He didn’t want to find someone who was actually good. Or hire the trainer elf despite her being the most qualified. (Is Santa Claus a sexist? I don’t know but the WWE sure might be)
  • They use, “North Pole magic” by ringing a bell in this movie. At one point, the trainer uses it on Dax and he is wrapped up in wrapping paper. Apparently despite him being a pro wrestler, wrapping paper is just too hard to break out of.
  • Dax steals the bell in an effort to save the youth center but his first thing he does is to wish for a new car. This dude has not changed at all by the end of the movie but Santa still wants to hire him. Seriously?
  • This movie is an utter train wreck but it’s kinda hilarious to watch because you can see how some of them must have been thinking, “if The Rock can do it, so can I. This movie is my big break!”

That’s all of the horrible Christmas movies I can take for a while. My next movie reviews will be for the worst films of the last decade (one per year). I can’t wait? Err actually I can.

Merrily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

An Accidental Christmas – #MovieReview

On the eleventh day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me An Accidental Christmas.

Have you ever thought to yourself, what I really want to watch is the Parent Trap but during Christmas and without any interesting camera effects, and taking place on a beach? Well, this is the film for you. As a bonus it has acting as wooden as a solid oak desk. The whole thing was dull and heartless despite being a supposed love story of reconnection.

The kids in the family basically trick their separated parents into spending Christmas at this beach house they own and falling back in love. There’s not any more to the plot and you have to suffer through ninety minutes of it for it to end exactly as you would have predicted.

For this one I actually have two antidote films to watch instead. Obviously you could just watch The Parent Trap (either version) but that wouldn’t be a Christmas movie. Still, it’s much better than this one. My second antidote film is Christmas in Connecticut. It’s a good solid comedy and it also involves lying and subterfuge but in a much better way.

Tomorrow I will be posting the last of the Twelve Terrible Days of Christmas. I hope you have enjoyed these reviews more than I have enjoyed the utter hell of watching these movies.

Merilly Yours,

Slick Dungeon

Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas – #MovieReview

On the fifth day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas.

Here is a movie that could have worked and been a cute romantic comedy if the premise wasn’t so absurdly stupid. This is about a young woman who is a bit stuck in life, getting small time jobs and getting fired from them. She’s also been dating a bit but hasn’t found her true love yet. She has a roommate who is supportive of her through thick and thin. Jess, the woman, finally goes on a successful date and is promptly killed in a car accident because she was texting and driving with the guy she just had the date with. The next day she wakes up as a literal ghost. She turns to her roommate to get help and they find out that she needs, “big love” to ascend to heaven. She goes on dates with the dude but in the end she still doesn’t ascend. Finally they figure out that her big love needed is more or less to apologise to her roommate for not being there for her. Then she goes to heaven and in less than a year the dude ends up dead too and goes to heaven. Apparently heaven is the bar where they had their first date and played trivia night.

Honestly the romance kind of works and so does the friendship with the roommate but the whole literal ghost thing? Not so much.

I had a few questions.

  • Why is she sometimes intangible and sometimes not? That makes no sense.
  • They keep talking about It’s a Wonderful Life, why didn’t they end the movie that way?
  • It was really obvious that the actress kept almost touching stuff but then realized oh wait I am a ghost and can’t touch that. Couldn’t they have increased the special effects budget slightly to make that more believable.
  • At one point she has to ask her friend to open the door for her. Can’t she just walk through the wall since she is a ghost?

The obvious antidote to this movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. Just rewatch that.

Merrily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

Four Christmases – #MovieReview

On the fourth day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me Four Christmases. This movie takes one Christmas and somehow makes it into four terrible Christmases which adds up to one terrible movie.

This stars Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn as a couple who have dated for about three years and avoided having Christmas with their families by lying about doing charity work. That last part tells you what horrible people these are if they are willing to lie about something like that. Had there been any character growth by the end of the movie I might have gotten over that but in the end they do the same type of lying but about their first child being born. What was the point of this whole movie if that happens? I got the job impression the whole time that these were self centered jerk wads and were never going to change and the end confirms that.

Let me explain. No there is no time. Let me sum up.

The couple get caught on camera trying to leave for a vacation on Christmas Eve after they have told their parents they were doing charity work. They are caught red handed and now have to spend Christmas day visiting with each of their divorced parents. Needless to say things get out of hand and comedy ensues. In the end this couple is supposedly brought closer together and learn that Christmas and families are not so bad.

Normally in my reviews at this point I would give you a list of questions I had while watching it. But this time my only real questions were; how long was this day because no way they fit all those visits into less than twenty four hours and why did anyone think this film was a good idea? So instead I am going to give you the one and only reason to watch this at all.

  • John Favreau in a mohawk acting like a UFC fighter aggressively eating chicken.

That’s the best part of this. Other than that skip it.

The best antidote to this one is Love Actually because in that movie you get the impression that nice people are in love, actually.

Merrily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

Christmas with the Kranks – #MovieReview

On the third day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me Christmas with the Kranks.

Slick Dungeon here, still stuck in a dungeon, still slogging through the worst of the Christmas movies available.

Christmas with the Kranks is about a couple of empty nesters whose daughter has just left to go to Peru to work in the peace corps. The dad played by Tim Allen has decided to skip Christmas and take his wife on a cruise to the Caribbean instead. Most of the movie is spent watching the neighbors, co-workers and non-profit organizations harrass the Kranks, trying to get them to do the same thing they have done for years and years. But surprise, surprise, the daughter comes home and the neighbors and the Kranks have to get together and whip up a bunch of Christmas for her asap. Everyone comes together and all is saved. Yay!

I have a few questions

  • Mr. Krank pretty much wants to opt out of everything Christmas because doing so would be cheaper and they can afford the cruise easier. He is harrassed relentlessly for this. Here is what I don’t get. Why can’t Krank do the non-monetary things like putting up decorations and attend parties but not pay for gifts and stuff? Who made these rules?
  • Also, why can’t the neighbors let up? Seems really out of the holiday spirit to hound people with intense peer pressure to conform.
  • Why didn’t the Krank parents tell their daughter that they were going to go on a cruise? I mean the whole problem at the end could be solved with a single phone call placed a week earlier.
  • Here’s one thing that bothered me to no end. There are some Cub scouts and their leader who are selling Christmas trees. They expect Krank to buy the same kind of tree as last year but Krank doesn’t want to. So they go away but when Krank needs a tree the scouts try to upsell him by a huge margin. This is extremely un-scoutlike behavior. How did the Boy Scouts allow people in their official uniforms to be portrayed like that?!
  • There were two instances of people getting electrocuted in a humorous manner. I know that has been done to death but I could have used more of it in this film.
  • The neighbors in this movie are so nuts, how does anyone decide to live there? If you don’t do everything you did the year previously you are dead to them. I think I would take my Christmas cookies and go live somewhere else.
  • The daughter is fawned over throughout the movie but we barely see her. Why is she worth all the trouble to these neighbors who clearly don’t like anyone doing anything they deem unusual?
  • What’s so wrong about going on a cruise for Christmas anyway? It’s like they think he is a Satan worshipper because of it. Back off people.

This movie should have been funnier but none of it quite works. It just comes off as kind of mean and troubling to me.

This movie is about a guy wanting to get away for the holidays. I have an antidote for that. Watch Home Alone to see just how bad things can go when you do leave. It’s much funnier and is rewatchable for a reason

Merrily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

Holiday In Handcuffs – #MovieReview

On the second day of Christmas, my horrid ex sent to me, Holiday in Handcuffs.

Hello everyone. This is Slick Dungeon and I am here to prevent you from seeing the worst of the worst of the Christmas movies. We’ve got 12 days of this in store for us so buckle up because these movies all stink.

Yesterday I reviewed Saving Christmas, starring Kirk Cameron. That film was terrible and while this one today is not quite as bad as that one, it’s still not one you should watch.

Here’s the plot of Holiday in Handcuffs. It’s the day before Christmas and a woman is stressed out to the max because she is interviewing for a new job. Her parents call and harass her about it, which results in a really bad hair day. She ends up late to the interview because of the hair tragedy and an immense amount of traffic. She doesn’t get the job. She is supposed to go to her parents house to celebrate Christmas. She plans to take her boyfriend Nick who she has been dating for a short time. Her boyfriend shows up at her current waitress job and dumps her. Then her parents call again fully expecting her to be on her way to their place with Nick. The woman, Trudie (played by Sabrina the Teenage Witch), panics and kidnaps the first guy she sees at gunpoint. Her plan is to have him pretend to be her boyfriend for the weekend and then they part company. The kidnapped guy, David (played by Slater from Saved by the Bell) had been in the diner to propose to his girlfriend. Through the course of the weekend they fall in love and everyone has a generally merry Christmas.

I had a few questions.

  • Mario Lopez is like three times bigger than Melissa Joan Hart so why didn’t he ever just overpower her at literally any point in the entire movie?
  • Who thinks the most romantic place to propose to someone is at a diner?
  • David tells several people that he has been kidnapped but no one believes him because Trudie tells them he likes to do this as a joke. But really, I don’t think in actual life it would have been that hard for him to convince people. He even gets to a phone but calls his girlfriend instead of the cops. What? Why? What kind of a moron is this guy?
  • Trudie spends the whole movie acting insane and so does the rest of her family but somehow David thinks this is great?
  • When the plot finally goes belly up and the cops do show up to rescue David, they arrest the whole freaking family. Grandma included. But it was clear that no one except Trudie even suspected that David was the victim of a kidnapping so why the heck would they be put in prison?
  • Of course we have to find out that there is more to Trudie but just because there is more to someone that does not really exculpate you from a felony does it?
  • It’s pretty clear David’s current girlfriend isn’t really right for him but does he have to go for the woman who kidnapped him? I mean seriously I wouldn’t get over that.
  • At one point David tries to escape. He is walking in a bit of snow but it’s not like knee high or anything. Trudie comes to get him with the car and says he has been walking for the last hour and has gone 1.8 miles. To which I ask, why is he such a sloooooow walker??? Trudie, dump this guy, he can’t keep up.
  • David is supposed to be this super successful vice president of something or other but of course hasn’t followed his own dreams of being an architect so that he can live comfortably. In the end he does become an architect with his own business but it is never made clear how he got his start up money, or why he would suddenly have connections in the art and architecture world. David is clearly up to felonious behavior now too. I think he got that from Trudie.
  • Also in the end David was supposed get married but he shows up and kidnaps Trudie, so they can be together I suppose. But here is the thing, Trudie sees in the newspaper that David is supposedly married now. You know what she doesn’t do? ASK HIM IF HE IS MARRIED NOW! I mean I think that is important information to confirm if you find your one true love. Am I crazy here? Wouldn’t you ask that immediately?

That feels like a good place to stop.

I will tell you that with these 12 days of Christmas movies, I am going to try to give you the antidote to each one. This one is about two people randomly getting together to fall in love over Christmas. I would call that Serendipitous. So naturally, the best alternative to this one is Serendipity. It’s not strictly just a Christmas movie but a lot of the best scenes happen during that season and really, how can you not like John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale? Plus you get Molly Shannon on the side.

That’s it for today but rest up because tomorrow we are spending Christmas with the Kranks and it’s going to take a lot out of me.

Merrily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

Saving Christmas – #MovieReview

12 Days of Terrible Christmas – Day 1

Welcome friends and Merry Christmas! It’s Slick Dungeon here and I am on a quest to watch twelve of the worst ever Christmas movies made and review them for you so you never have to see them.

You have watched Home Alone obsessively for thirty years or more. You crack up at Will Ferrell’s antics in Elf. You swoon over all the love actually going around in Love Actually. Yet, isn’t there something more? Something new? Something to get that Christmas spice a little more stirred up in your eggnog? Nope. Trust me, just watch Die Hard again.

For the next twelve days I am going to be reviewing one film per day. Since it is Christmas I wanted to start with one that has the word Christmas in the title. This one does. Saving Christmas is Kirk Cameron’s love letter to Christmas.

Before I get too far in the review for this one, I just want to make a few things clear. If you love to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Festivus, or the fact that Baby Yoda exists in the world, I think you should be absolutely free to do so. Enjoy it all you want. I am not here to denigrate anyone’s religion in any way. I think as long as we are kind to each other that is all that matters.

But no matter your system of faith, or lack thereof, I think we can all agree, bad film making is bad. Saving Christmas is, and I cannot state this enough, a masterclass in bad film making.

How do I know this? Let me count the ways

  1. This starts with a voice over of Kirk Cameron before we go to a shot of… Kirk Cameron… but by a tree.
  2. Ol’ Kirk mugs it up for the camera by telling us how it matters how we come into this story and sips some hot chocolate. Kirk, reminder, you’re the film maker, you are deciding how we come into the story. I know, I know, he meant what attitude you have about the bible but that is just not made clear with that wonky voice over at all.
  3. Kirk tells us that Santa might be “on the team”. Here’s the team Santa is involved with, His team of reindeer. It’s really okay for people to believe or not believe in Santa as they choose. You don’t have to be Christian to believe in Santa and it’s okay to believe in Santa if you are a Christian. Let’s just not get up in each others faces about it.
  4. Kirk wants to make it clear that it is okay to love Christmas. You know, with the tree and the presents and the hot chocolate and the increased charity donations and whatnot. He tells us that as if someone is trying to stop people from having Christmas. While that might be true in some limited parts of the world it is, and I can’t really make this point enough, NOT true in the good ol’ US of A. No one is trying to take away your Christmas. Some people might want you to acknowledge that they don’t celebrate Christmas but I have never, ever, ever seen anyone be like, “How dare he wish me Merry Christmas,” It does not happen. Anywhoo…
  5. When we get done with the way too long narration about how, you better love all this stuff, we finally get to the movie itself. Okay, Kirk, you got me excited enough to be on board to see what you have to say, despite it being, well you just talking by a huge tree and sipping chocolate. This has to be about something right?
  6. Yeah, so it’s about a Christmas party. First Kirk goes in to say hello to his sister and then asks where his brother in law is. He is told that this year, Christian is just not that into Christmas. So now we know, Kirk is gonna save it. Totally save it I am sure. But first he offers to do bodily harm to his brother in law if he is, “acting out of line.” This is supposed to be a good-natured joke and all and I am sure Kirk didn’t mean anything by it but casual violence rises during the holiday season and can we please just not joke all the time about this stuff? There are real people who do go out and just beat on people and I don’t think that is exceptionally Christian.
  7. The bulk of this movie is a conversation that takes place… in a car in a driveway. Yep, that’s the big exciting locale for this.
  8. In the car Kirk convinces Christian that all this stuff that he sees around him, the trees, the gifts, Santa Claus, and what have you are all truly symbols for things that happen in the bible. I don’t know if he does or doesn’t really make that argument well but he certainly convinces his brother in law. After like ninety minutes of picking apart how, you know, having a tree isn’t idolatry or something. He also makes sure that we know that the historical Saint Nicholas beat someone up real good. So now Santa is cool even for adults okay? Sensing a little trend with Kirk enjoying some violence here…
  9. There is, well not a side plot because there would have to be a plot for there to be a side plot, but a part of the movie where these guys talk for like five minutes with their cocoa in front of their faces so no one can read their lips. It is one of the most dull sequences in a film I have ever seen.
  10. Did I mention most of this movie takes place in a car? It has little flash backs to biblical stories to give us a break from that but seriously, mostly car,
  11. Kirk wants us to think of Santa in Lord of the Rings terms. I think he should have gone for Narnia instead, it’s a much better fit.
  12. So the whole premise of this film is that this guy is not enjoying his own Christmas party because basically it is too materialistic and not biblical enough. He hides out in a car but then Kirk comes to get him out of the car. Now, I have never hid out at a party because I thought something was too materialistic but as an introvert, if I need to be hiding out in a car during a big loud party, seriously leave me there please. It’s too much with your actor self coming to talk to me when I purposely went somewhere no one will talk to me. Extroverts will never understand this.
  13. The climax of the movie is Christian going back into the party with new eyes. He sees that it isn’t just the nativity snow glob that represents baby Jesus. There’s also trees, you know made by God, there are nutcrackers to represent Herod’s soldiers and uh… somehow the presents under the tree are supposed to represent the city skyline that Jesus might have seen. If you weren’t sure if Kirk was okay with a lot of material goods around him, there is the proof. But when Christian comes in he like slides on the floor to the nativity ornament, apologizes to his wife for being a jerk and generally acts like a crazy man but with none of the fun of that. He’s not Chevy Chase trying to get Cousin Eddie to chill or anything. It’s just super weird. Also whatever house they shot this in is super huge and it’s very clear these people think having a lot of money is what God wants for them.
  14. I should mention the acting is… Well can I call it acting? I mean it’s just people having a conversation. I get the feeling they had this conversation and went, we should make a movie about this conversation! How should we film it? Let’s film the conversation mostly and throw in a couple of images… but while we have the conversation just in case anyone forgets we are having a conversation.
  15. The last, and most awkward part of this movie, I kid you not, has an evangelical rap group perform while the mostly (by which I mean 95%) white people try to break dance. Like eighties break dancing with pop and lock and stuff. It’s the kind where the people dancing have so little rhythm they literally have to slow mo it so it looks at all decent. As a white guy I can say, I think it is the whitest thing I have ever seen in all my life, this side of a mayo sandwich on wonder bread.

If you are wondering if I recommend this movie, you may have guessed I don’t. But seriously it is not because it comes at Christmas from a religious perspective. I don’t take issue with that. However, I can recommend a far, far better film as an antidote to this one. It gets at the true meaning of Christmas, it even takes someone who is not that enthusiastic about Christmas and changes his mind. It’s in all ways a nearly perfect Christmas movie and it achieves the same goal as Saving Christmas in about 30 minutes. Yes, I am talking about A Charlie Brown Christmas. It acknowledges the secular, it injects humor, and it asks people to remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. All of this without weird voice overs, Santa beating people up, and most especially without two dudes just sitting in a driveway for almost an hour.

I’ll be back with another Christmas doozy tomorrow. You get twelve days of this so buckle up! Merry whatever you celebrate, up to and including Festivus or even, baby Yoda.

Merrily yours,

Slick Dungeon