A slight change of plans, as I wasn’t able to see Creed 2 over the weekend like I had planned. But I thought why not kick Christmas month off with a Christmas movie! That’s right, a whole month dedicated to only Christmas films!
Just kidding. I’m not doing that. Only horror movies get that honor.
Seeing as it is December and Netflix does have a new Christmas movie starring Kurt Russell as Santa no less, I thought it might be worth taking a look at.
So, let’s find out if we have another modern day Christmas classic on our hands, or if this is another Deck the Halls with Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito.
After watching Christmas Chronicles or should I say, rewatching it like 2 times, since I kept falling asleep, sadly, this isn’t going to be considered a classic. It does pick up greatly once Kurt Russell eventually shows up, but the wait to get to that point had me struggling to stay conscious.
Our two leads are a brother/sister duo who I’ll be referring to as Little Woman and Asshole. Little Woman is 6 going on 35, as she acts like a bitchy ex-girlfriend rather than a 6 year old child. I say 6 but she could have been older, I don’t know kid ages.
She’s young enough to still believe in Santa Claus, so… Actually, that’s not the best indicator of age, seeing as I was almost 10 when I found out Santa wasn’t real. When you’re close to hitting your teens, it’s maybe a good idea to tell your kids Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy aren’t real.
I think ideally age 8 is considered the cutoff date, but I don’t have kids (thank god) so I don’t know. I’d imagine getting that giant info dump that your whole childhood beliefs are a lie can be pretty traumatic. Your kids might end up like this loser, wearing the pink nightmare bunny suit from A Christmas Story.
No bunny suits for The Christmas Chronicles, just these two annoying kids. Kate, who I will be referring to only as Little Woman, loves Christmas. But this year isn’t as happy as past years because their firefighter father, played by Oliver Hudson, Goldie Hawn’s son, died while trying to rescue someone in a burning building.
Kate’s… I mean, Little Woman’s brother Teddy who I renamed Asshole, it was Little Psychopath but Asshole seemed more fitting once I found out he was just acting out because his dad was dead.
Anyway, Christmas was once Asshole’s favorite holiday, but now that it’s just the three of them, he can’t stand it. To make things worse, he is charged with keeping an eye on his annoying little sister since their mom has to work late shifts every night.
Little Woman is obsessed with this old video camera she found among her dad’s belongings. She spends most of her time recording messages to Santa or going through the old tapes her father recorded.
So what are the chances that at least one of those tapes is a sex tape? Pretty high, I say.
Talk about a Christmas gift.
Charged with watching his bratty sister, Asshole disobeys his mom and goes to hang out with his friends, where they steal a car. Little Woman followed them and recorded the theft, threatening to blackmail him with the evidence.
But seeing how much this would upset their overworked mom, she decides to hold on to the tape and not mention anything.
While flipping through some old Christmas footage, she notices something when her parents leave the camera running. It’s Santa planting presents under the tree! He does exist!
Though in this world I’m not sure Santa doesn’t exist, as no one acts as if he’s something made up. They just act like he’s Jesus, where they believe in him, they just don’t believe he is him.
She talks her brother into setting up a trap for Santa, since their mom is off working another late shift. They set up the camera and wait for Santa to arrive. But like any kid that age, they couldn’t stay awake, just missing him by seconds.
But Santa triggers one of the bells they set for him, alerting them that he was there.
With the camera in hand, the two run outside to find Santa magically slipping into their neighbor’s chimneys. Not to mention the floating sleigh getting carried by 6 flying reindeer.
Little Woman wants a closer look with her camera and manages to sneak aboard. Asshole follows after her, hiding in the back of the sleigh as Santa is still in the distance, jumping from rooftop to rooftop.
Or so they think.
Santa dumps his magical sack of toys in the back and takes off, unbeknownst to him he has two unwanted passengers.
Getting cold by the high altitude, Little Woman asks Santa for a blanket, frightening him so much, he loses control of the sleigh, throwing them out of the sky and tossing the toy sack, along with Santa’s cap out of the sleigh.
They crash-land somewhere in Chicago. With the sleigh destroyed and the reindeer running off, Santa is up shits creek with a turd for a paddle. Without Santa’s cap, he can’t zip around like we saw him earlier, breaking into people’s homes.
Now he and the two annoying siblings must find a ride, but seeing as they’re kids and don’t have any cash, plus the only thing Santa seems to keep on him are toys he never delivered to adults when they were kids, the three go to a restaurant and beg for a ride.
Santa knows everyone by name, but people are assholes and won’t help them.
Santa recognizes the bartender who just got out of prison. He recently also just stole a car, a car Asshole steals back. Now they have a new problem, the cops are after them.
The three split up, Little Woman goes to try and find the reindeer, while Santa and Asshole try to out run the police.
One of the cops chasing them is Winston from New Girl, I really wish we got more of him, but we only get one more scene with him after the police chase. Instead we get the guy from The Expanse. Which is fine, I like him too, but still… More Winston, please!
Little Woman tracks down the reindeer thanks to a Christmas tree ornament. It’s Santa tech, just roll with it.
She gets the reindeer to trust her by feeding them candy canes, maybe the worst thing you could feed an animal, but again, these reindeer can also fly, so I’ll overlook the high risk of diabetes.
Meanwhile, Santa and Asshole crash their car and are about to both get arrested when Little Woman shows up riding the reindeer, giving Asshole a chance to escape.
Santa stays behind but tasks them with finding the magical sack of toys, as it is a portal to the North Pole where his elves make the toys and can repair the damaged sleigh.
Here is where things kind of start to slip for me. Santa now spends the rest of the movie behind bars, trying to convince the officers he’s Santa. Only Winston saw the reindeer fly off, while the other cop didn’t.
That means no more fun things with Santa, now it’s just the two kids.
Little Woman crawls inside the toy sack to find the elves, while Asshole stays outside guarding the sack.
Three thugs who steal cars for a chop shop are patrolling the park like most car thieves do. I mean, where else would you find cars to steal but the park?
Anyway, when they find Asshole and the sack, they decide to either A) Knock him out AND grab the bag or B) They decide it might be a good idea to also kidnap him.
The answer was B of course. Like most car thieves, they also steal kids. They don’t even first check to see what’s in the sack until they get to the chop shop. Once they start opening presents and the only thing they get are lumps of coal, the head honcho orders the kid to be killed and the bag to be burned. You know, like most criminals would do who specialize in stripping cars for parts.
Any easy fix to this would be simple. Just have the thugs in the park knock Asshole out or hell, just shove him on the ground and have them steal the sack. Then just have Asshole follow them back to the chop shop where he sneaks in to try and steal the sack back, only to get caught.
When in doubt, just do everything the original Adventures in Babysitting did, that’s my motto.
Meanwhile inside the sack, Little Woman has convinced the elves to help Santa. They break out of the sack and attack the thugs, saving Asshole from getting murdered. Though the elves seemed like they were about to kill Asshole by chain sawing him in half, crotch first if Little Woman hadn’t intervened.
The elves get the sleigh up and working again, even freeing Santa from jail. But not before Santa put on a musical number with his cellmates.
Santa’s watch gauges how much Christmas spirit the world has, if we lose too much of it all hell breaks loose.
Santa only has about an hour to finish delivering the rest of the presents, but with the help of Little Woman and Asshole, he might just make it.
Asshole pilots the sleigh while Little Woman tosses Santa the presents.
So one thing I noticed, he only ever delivers at least one present to each house. And a lot of the time the house already has several presents under the tree. So… I guess my question is… what does Santa really do again?
It kind of defeats your ticking clock scenario you’ve set up here when kids are already going to wake up with presents under the tree regardless if Santa shows up or not.
See what I mean by this world not really making sense? The whole Santa thing never made any sense anyways, but as kids we don’t fucking know that. And that is who this film is for, kids who still believe in Santa.
I remember it being kind of awkward in the theater seeing Elf with my little brother at the time who did still believe in Santa when they come out and say, yeah Santa isn’t real.
The Christmas Chronicles doesn’t dare to go there, so parents you won’t have to have the “talk” just yet.
So of course they manage to deliver all the presents, saving Christmas for the world. In kind of a bizarre twist, it’s revealed that Santa didn’t really need anyone’s help, he just wanted Little Woman and Asshole to have a better bonding experience, giving Asshole his magical cap and stealing Little Woman’s video tape.
There is one more twist at the end for who plays Mrs. Claus, I kind of thought it might be Goldie Hawn and I was right.
In the end, it turned out better than I originally thought. Kurt Russell is fantastic as Santa, I have no idea if his beard was real or not but regardless, it was still impressive. He also gives this really fantastic speech while he’s in the interrogation room. It was kind of chilling and scary. Like some Snake Plissken snuck out or something.
He really makes this movie, but it takes a bit for him to even show up in the movie, sticking us with these kids I didn’t care much for. We’re meant to feel sorry for them because their dad died but I was mostly annoyed at how they acted, mostly to each other. Asshole even throws his tiny sister across the room out of anger.
There’s another movie somewhere where she hits her head, killing her and the rest of the movie is him trying to cover it up.
I’d also like to have seen this movie have more humor to it. A lot of the jokes fell flat or were just nonexistent. I’m not even sure kids would have found the funnier parts funny.
It does focus a bit more on the action, the scene where the sleigh loses control was incredibly thrilling, even the car chase sequence was fun and well executed.
I’d give this film a RENT rating, seeing as it’s a Netflix original, it might be worth getting the family together and watch come closer to Christmas. It’s also good if you’re slightly tired of watching the usual classics like I sometimes am. Either way it’s harmless and worth seeing if you get the chance.
Want EARLY access to our videos, uploads, and movie/script reviews? Members get them FIRST! Follow this link to our Discussion Forum.
And be sure to check out our Notes Service, where I give my detailed thoughts and suggestions on your script.