Let’s try to not be snobs for a second. We realize that Arnold Schwarzenegger has done a bunch of bad movies. Everyone will admit that they don’t really find Sinbad very funny. And by 1996, we had more than enough movies about a dad who doesn’t appreciate his family, chief among them being Liar Liar. All of that is true.
But none of that changes the fact that Jingle All The Way is the greatest American Christmas movie of all-time.
Now you may be saying “But Matt, you already said that Die Hard was the greatest Christmas movie of all-time in a piece last week.” You would be correct, but American Christmas is a different animal. I’m not talking about Jesus and mangers and any of the religious elements. I’m also not talking about Santa or elves or any of that.
I’m talking about the presents. Just presents. I’m talking about the toy stores that are open until midnight where you still can’t find a parking space. I’m talking about the lines that you wait on during Thanksgiving to get a free Xbox game that you don’t care about. I’m talking about how out of nowhere Nintendo just decides that three of the Amiibos are going to be “discontinued” and now you can’t find a Villager under $50 on Ebay. That is American Christmas and Jingle All The Way captured it perfectly years before it even existed.
Full Disclosure: When I was a child actor, I auditioned for the role of Arnold’s son. I didn’t get it but Jingle All The Way has been a family favorite ever since. It has everything. Arnold is hilarious. Having an Austrian giant running around yelling lines like “Put that cookie down, now!” and fighting a reindeer are delightful. Sinbad the fast talking mailman is weird but he works here. Phil Hartman is excellent as the creepy neighbor who is trying to horn in on Arnold’s wife. He is so funny.
Look at the pieces individually and tell me that it doesn’t seem like the best movie ever. Arnold Schwarzenegger faces off against The Big Show dressed as Santa Claus. All of the parents looking for Turboman dolls can only find his pink sidekick, Booster. Sinbad blows up a radio station. Arnold runs down the street shouting the names of Santa’s reindeer in his horrible accent. Heck, he can’t even really say the word Turboman. At the end of the movie, Arnold literally turns into the toy that his son wants more than anything else and flies around the Christmas parade. It is the perfect ending to the perfect American Christmas movie. Give it another chance this Christmas just for the face Arnold makes in the beginning of the movie. It’s glorious. He ties a karate belt around his forehead and smiles. Perfection.
Matthew Nando Kelly is a staff writer for Pop-Break. Aside from Jingle All The Way reviews, he writes about television, film, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He loves U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. He can also occasionally be found writing lists on Topless Robot and his twitter handle is @NationofNando