Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Very Disney Christmas: "One Magic Christmas"

Because nothing gets people in the Christmas spirit
like horrible suffering and torment!

One Crappy Christmas

      One Magic Christmas is a 1985 Christmas movie made by Disney , with all the happiness and joy of the Great Depression. The film has never been as remembered as other Disney CHristmas films, though most who have seen it consider it heartwarming film, while others think it's depressing and soulless. Guess which one I am. Directed by Phillip Borsos (Far Away Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog) and written by Thomas Meehan (Spaceballs). The film follows mother Ginny (Mary Steenburgen), who's lost her Christmas spirit and takes it out on her kids, Abbie (Elisabeth Harnois) and Cal (Robbie Magwood) and husband Jack (Gary Basaraba). When Santa Claus (Jan Rubes) sends Christmas angel Gideon (Harry Dean Stanton) to restore all Ginny's Christmas spirit, he goes insane and drives her to several horrible breakdowns. What? That's what I got out of it.

Don't you judge!
Sad Sack of Coal

      Wow. Way to kick things off Disney. This movie is about as holly and joy as a special Christmas episode of an A&E show. Now to be fair, not every Christmas movie has to be happy and fun. But there's a difference between using drama and sadness well, to strengthen our Christmas spirit, and the depressing awfulness that goes on here. Now, Spoiler Alert beyond this point... though for a nearly 30-year old movie that I didn't even knew existed since these past few months, I don't think anyone will be covering their ears. Especially since this is all text. At one point in the film, Gideon, in order to help get Ginny in the Christmas spirit, allows a bank robbery to happen, during which her husband is shot and killed and then the robber steals her car with her kids inside, leading to Ginny stealing the bank robber's car, which runs out of gas, but it doesn't matter since the bank robber crashes off a bridge, plunging himself and the kids into an icy lake, causing Ginny to return home thinking her husband and children died in horrific ways only minutes apart from one another. Merry Christmas! See, that's a big problem. The kids and husband are all brought back in some weird "It Was All a Dream" type thing, but the mental scarring Ginny goes through will still be there everytime she walks into that bank or drives across that bridge. And what ultimately brings back her Christmas spirit? Her daughter, giving her a letter she got from Santa himself. Which begs the question, why didn't they just do that first?

Bad Momma

      The rest of the film fails spectacularly too, all child killing aside. Ginny, despite people telling us she's good, really comes off as too mean and heartless to really be likable. She yells at her daughter when she asks her to mail a letter to Santa and just generally acts like a jerk to her family just because that actually believe in a holiday about family and caring. God, what assholes! I get that times were tough and she was facing a harsh reality, but she could have at least tried instead of immediately trying to ruin Christmas for her young children. And, generally, the film spends so long wallowing in the sadness the Christmas season can bring that it's hard to imagine any young child making it through this movie without bursting into tears. The hardships of Christmas time shouldn't be ignored, but when over the entire first hour is about this sadness and awfulness, it's kinda hard to get cheery in the last twenty minutes, when Santa pops in and makes everything better. Of course, Gideon makes Abbie run away in order to take her to Santa, terrifying Ginny all over again, just hours after she thought her kids were dead. But still, YEAH SANTA HAPPY CHRISTMAS HOORAY!

Gideon appearing magically in Abbie's dark room as she sleeps?
Who serious though that was a good idea!
The Verdict

      If you want your kids to be scarred emotionally and afraid during the most wonderful time of the year, then One Magic Christmas is the film for you, you sicko! One Magic Christmas is a literal assault of depressing and horrible moments, one after another, being beating onto a character so unsympathetic that it's hard to want to see her get redeemed. Worse still, the film seems to believe that a cheap "magical" ending with Santa Claus can make up for the ugly and mean first hour. I mean, read the bank robbery scene again and look at the poster. How many parents showed this to their kids and spent the night consoling them? One Magic Christmas is easily one of the worst Christmas films I've ever seen. And I've seen some Christmas films. One Magic Christmas gets 1 and a half stars out of 6. 

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