What are the 10 worst festive films of all time?
PUBLISHED: 10:49 21 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:49 21 December 2019
Last Christmas made Liz Nice wonder about the worst Christmas films of all time. Has she missed your (least) favourite?
Last Christmas (2019)
I went to see the film Last Christmas. It had all the ingredients of a festive classic. Love story. Emma Thompson. Her from Game of Thrones (Emilia Clarke). The songs of Wham! Yet, it left me cold. Broadly, it's about a girl who has been ill (I can't say why or will spoil the contrived plot) who is selfish and thoughtless. She upsets all her friends, ignores her clingy mother (Thompson), makes life difficult for her boss, who keeps letting her get away with it for some reasons and 'outs' her gay against her sister's wishes. That's about it, apart from the bit where she falls in love with an elusive but very handsome man, helps the homeless and organises a singsong. (Wham, obviously).It does have a good twist and a very funny (though screamingly obvious) joke about Emma Thompson's neighbour, 'Dick'. It also has a sweet ending. But it is also so determined to be right on that even if you are right on, at the end you feel as if you have been accused of something.
Christmas message: Vote Remain
Worst film?: Some say so. But though awful, it's also kind of addictive.
Here are some of the other contenders for worst Christmas film. What do you think?
Love Actually (2003)
Personally, I love Love Actually and always did, even when it was getting panned by the critics when it first came out. Yes, it's schmaltzy, yes there is a brilliant article that did the rounds a couple of years ago arguing that it is terribly sexist and patriarchal with the women mere pawns of the predatory men. And yet, it is touching, has some beautiful love stories (Colin Firth's love of a woman who can't speak English, Andrew Lincoln's unrequited love for Keira Knightley, Gregor Fisher's devotion to Bill Nighy) and even though some of it is frankly ludicrous (Kris Marshall pulling three dim Americans, Liam Neeson ending up with Claudia Schiffer) somehow the mix works. Plus, it has Emma Thompson breaking everyone's heart as she silently discovers her husband Alan Rickman's infidelity. What's not to love, actually? However, it is on the list because all the men I work with insisted.
Christmas message: Love is all around.
Worst film? Oh, cheer up!
Jingle All The Way (1996)
This film is ludicrous, but knows it. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a distracted dad who wants to prove to his son that he does care really by buying him that year's must-have toy, Turbo Man. Heavily influenced by the desperation of parents to buy a Buzz Lightyear doll one year, the film rings true, has laugh out loud slapstick and a keen sense of how ridiculous it is being.
Christmas message: The greatest gift you can give your family is time.
Worst film?: Too many laughs (whether unintentional or not) to be truly awful
Deck The Halls (2006)
Basically a bust up between Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick as they battle to be their neighbourhood's most Christmassy man. Danny DeVito wants his house to be visible from space so goes all out with the Christmas lights, which Broderick ends up trying to sabotage. They end up so involved in their rivalry that they alienate their families but all ends well, if you can see the ending whilst hiding behind your hands at how corny it all is.
Christmas message: Christmas is about family, not personal glory
Worst film? It comes close.
Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
This was actually based on a rather good and thought-provoking book called Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. I really enjoyed the book but the film butchers it. It's about a couple (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) who try to skip Christmas but basically aren't allowed to because their neighbours take it all extremely personally. Plans to use the money they saved to go on a cruise end up skuppered.
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Christmas message: Skipping Christmas is not allowed. You must be the same as everyone else.
Worst film?: With that message, definitely.
Surviving Christmas (2004)
Lonely Ben Affleck is desperate not to spend Christmas alone after his girlfriend dumps him and ends up paying the family who live in his old childhood home to pretend to be his relatives.
Christmas message: Money can't buy you love
Worst film?: The box office thought so. It was a colossal flop.
Four Christmases (2008)
Reese Witherspoon is in this so it ought to be good. However, it isn't. Reese and Vince Vaughn (who cancels out Reese) try to avoid their families at Christmas but end up having to spend the festive season with all four parents individually, hence four Christmases. Here, they learn things about each other they don't like, almost split up, but ultimately realise that their efforts to resist the delights of family are wrong.
Christmas message: If you don't want children, you're weird.
Worst film?: Even Reese couldn't save it.
Fred Claus (2009)
Vince Vaughn is in this as well (never a good sign) and he spends most of the film looking as though he would rather not be. He plays Fred, Santa's bitter older brother, forced to move to the North Pole to help out with Christmas in return for his brother (Paul Giamatti) bailing him out of jail. Naturally, the Christmas spirit eventually catches up with him.
Christmas message: Christmas (and family) get you in the end.
Worst film?: A bit too forgettable to be the worst ever.
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
The best Christmas film ever if you ask me as suicidal George Bailey (James Stewart) ends up being shown the value of his life by an angel after he loses heart because of money worries. Fortunately, he decides to live after realising the value of a small town life, and all his neighbours rally round to help him. However, children across Britain hate it because their parents make them watch it and it commits the ultimate cinematic sin of being in black and white.
Christmas message: No man is a failure who has friends
Worst film?: No! Black and white rules.
The Holiday (2006)
Another one on the list because the men in the office insisted. Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz swap homes so Cameron comes to stay in Kate's cottage where Jude Law, is handily placed to mend her broken heart. Meanwhile Kate goes to live in Cameron's place in LA, meets a lovely old man who turns out to be a famous writer and is cheered up by Jack Black. Anyone who can't predict how this turns out has never seen a film in their lives, but Kate's put down of her unrequited love - a rakish Rufus Sewell - near the end makes it the stuff of feminine legend.
Christmas message: Love nice men not love rats
Worst film: Britain has never looked this beautiful, but if you can swallow that and drink to the blindingly obvious plot 'twists', you'll be breaking out the Baileys and dancing in your paper hat.
Do you agree with our list of the 10 worst Christmas films? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org