Santa Claus does not exist. Humankind had to create Santa Claus to fill a void. For the most part Claus is a fat jolly white guy. You can truly says the creators went to the well for the image.
By Michael Bergeron
Welcome to world where Father Santa, Silent Santa Deadly Santa, Bad Santa, Porno Santa, Macy’s Santa, Corporate Spokesman Santa, Jack Skellington Santa and Santa Baby cross paths as myth journeys into real life.
Santa Claus is like the internet – the Bearded One can be everywhere in the world at the same time.
Most people eschew the Santa concept about the same time they’ve jettisoned The Easter Bunny yet fewer reflect on how creepy it actually is to have little children lined up in malls and department stores for the chance to sit on a stranger’s lap.
Santa movies don’t come any more finely tuned than this pitch perfect spoof that stars Mel Gibson as Chris Cringle, with Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Ruth Cringle and Walton Goggins as the unsmiling iceman Skinny Man.
Not even pleasantly plump, Gibson plays Cringle as an everyday guy who just happens to have a godlike ability to command an army of elves and deliver presents around the world. Other than that he’s a cranky old man who’d just as soon bequeath a lump of coal for little bastards walking the wrong way across the lawn.
Everything in Fatman plays with a sense of realism befitting a crime thriller, the brother writer/directors Eshom and Ian Nelms see to that. Skinny Man has been hired by young Billy (Chance Hurstfiled) to kill Santa and delivers a stoic performance motivated in no small manner by his own unhappy childhood.
Cringle has been reduced by a failing economy to hiring out the elf factory in the off-season to manufacture aircraft control panels for the Department of Defense. There’s spectacular gunplay followed by an apt conclusion that apes Fatman’s mocking tone.
Fatman is currently available both in theaters and streaming.
The Christmas Chronicles 2
In some ways The Christmas Chronicle 2 is Fatman unwinding in a less fatalistic universe. You have Santa (Kurt Russell ruling the roost) and Mrs. Claus (Goldie Hawn) as well as a brat that wants to spoil everyone else’s happiness played by the go-to troubled teen currently in movies Julian Dennison (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) playing a holiday saboteur named Belsnickel, a name that tells you all you need to know about this pint-sized Scrooge.
Russell and Hawn together in a film are as close as one gets to classic Hollywood star couples that were a staple of ‘30s & ‘40s films. They haven’t even been in that many films together. Russell is a Good Terminator Santa.
One sequence has Santa busting out in song at an airplane terminal with passengers angered at canceled flights, with Darlene Love no less (as an airline hostess) joining in the warbling. The song generates such excitement it could literally have been in The Blues Brothers. Chris Columbus (Harry Potter, Home Alone) directs.
CC2 it the epitome of the holiday film the kids watch while the adults are in the kitchen basting the boozy banquet.
The Christmas Chronicles 2 is currently available on Netflix.
An uneven film that takes a positive stand on the altruistic nature of people Dear Santa documents the United States Postal Service’s Operation Santa® program.
All those holiday missives sent by kids to Santa are collected in regional mail centers that assign select letters to volunteers to make that wish come true. It’s easy to see Dear Santa boosting the participant level of this wonderful organization.
The doc follows the volunteers mostly although we also hear testimonials from some youngsters who will later get a just reward. The doc travels around the country showing the program in full swing in places as diverse as Brooklyn and Chico, California. The latter city was subject to an influx of population when nearby Paradise was all but burnt to the ground in last year’s forest fires.
If there’s a problem it’s in the staged nature of the storyline. No matter how much joy the events conspire to unfold you can’t help but notice the fact that the camera is inside at the Christmas dinner table pointing at the very kids who will act surprised when the knock at the door announces their presents.
Dear Santa premieres this Friday, December 4 both in theaters and via streaming.