Here are my top ten corniest holiday movies:
This classic films may resonate especially with today’s audiences. An actor posturing as Santa who has a drinking problem loses his job only to be replaced by a man who says he’s the real deal. The film purports to tell the story of the spirit of Christmas. Perhaps, the classic would have been more compelling had Santa had landed on 125th Street instead of 34th Street. Share the wealth. (Occupy Christmas!)
Home Alone (1990)
When Kevin McCallister, an awkward 8-year-old, is accidentally left at home while his family flies to France for the Christmas holiday, you quickly learn that this situation only could have happened to the McCallisters and in a Hollywood film. Had this family been black, they would have spent Christmas in jail.
Soul Food (1997)
Though the film scores cool points for bringing warm and fuzzy images of black family life to the silver screen, that sentiment is lost on the audience by the middle of the film. While Soul food pleasures the belly it ultimately killed Big Mama. What a downer!
Call me Claus (2001)
Lucy Collins (Whoopi Goldberg) is a cantankerous television producer who, like characters in countless other Christmas films, also doubts Santa. It turns out Santa wants to retire and guess who’s his replacement? The idea that Santa can be a sister is cool but whether you can believe that the new Santa can fit a pile of dreadlocks under Santa’s hat is another matter altogether.
After years of watching this Dr. Seuss classic on television, the film version starring Jim Carrey crystallizes the story as a whiny fest. The song “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch” doesn’t help matters either. On the whole, the story asks its audience to sympathize with an ugly troll, with had a rough childhood, that stages a coup on Christmas on the town of Whoville. The film sends the wrong message. Heck, almost everyone claims that they had a sucky childhood. Sour grapes!
Friday After Next (2002)
If slapstick is your brand of funny then this film should be in your queue. This sequel is chock-full of screwball knee-slappers: two cousins are jacked by Santa for their Christmas presents and rent money.
Moral of the film: Christmas in the ‘hood can change your life (for better or worse.)
Bad Santa (2003)
Films about curmudgeon Santa Clauses are far from original, but this one breaks the mold. This Santa (Billy Bob Thorton), an alcoholic-conman, joins forces with his elf (Tony Cox), a real-life midget who plays his sidekick. The scene collapses as a dark comedy when an overweight little kid becomes a regular customer at the mall. The two find common ground for being outcasts. Yawn.
Last Holiday (2006)
What’s your bucket list for your last holiday? When Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) is diagnosed with only three weeks to live, she empties her savings account and goes on a vacation of a lifetime that includes a swanky European hotel, skiing and yes romance with Sean Matthews (LL Cool J). This carpe diem holiday film is a tad over the top. Everybody knows black folks don’t go skiing.
This Christmas (2007)
When the Whitfields come under the same roof after four years another holiday film rife with clichés is born. Loaded with ample bickering, infidelity, and a soul food dinner that serves as a cure-all.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, the title is a knock-off from Donny Hathaway’s 1970 classic for which the singer Chris Brown inserts his unremarkable rendition in a choir scene.
The Perfect Holiday (2007)
If the title doesn’t turn you off, this second-hand Miracle on 34th Street certainly will. A little girl asks Santa at the mall to send her mama a man. What’s with all the stereotypes: the film promotes that black women can’t keep a man and that little black kids are unimaginative.
Wouldn’t they ask Santa for a Wii, an iPod or some greenbacks?
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