Trail Mix – Jingle All The Way

“Where’s your Christmas spirit?”

Trail Mix takes a look at classic movie trailers from years past to explore their relationship (however sometimes tenuous) to the films themselves and to the movie promotion of today.

We’d previously discussed, here in the hallowed virtual pages of Trail Mix, how 1993’s Last Action Hero all but “killed the Terminator” when it came to derailing the then-impervious career of Arnold Schwarzenegger. True, many fans consider the Austrian Oak’s late 90’s output to be about as useful as his later aspirations towards politics, but amid all the Erasers, Collateral Damages and End of… uh… Dayses? There’s one Clinton era Arnold masterpiece that I can’t help but return to time and again. And it’s a Christmas movie too!

There are indeed many, many grievous sins committed by Jingle All The Way, from introducing masked butcher of Star Wars Jake Lloyd to the public at large, to being a slightly less than dignified venue for the final screen appearance of Phil Hartman. But there are also a myriad of pleasures to be gleaned from this fairly modern holiday classic, and not just reveling with ironic detachment in Schwarzenegger’s various “Get to DA Choppa”-isms.

There is also that though, “Put Da Cookie Down!” and various musings on the lore of the infamous Buzz Lightyear/Power Rangers pastiche “TurboMan” at the center of the film’s plot rank right up there with any of the classic lines from Twins or Kindergarten Cop (the less said about Junior the better). Seriously, why would Arnold’s character name his son “Jamie” when he can’t even pronounce it? There’s even some inventive action sequences here too, with the chase scene in the mall being a clever, tongue in cheek callback to Commando, with, of course, significantly less murder.

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“Weeeeeeeell…”

Sinbad is also in this movie…

Moving on, Jingle All The Way also serves as a pretty great 90’s time capsule. With Amazon, eBay and Craigslist available in the palm of everyone’s hand the conflict that drives the film (deadbeat dad Arnold faces off against Sinbad to find an impossible to find toy for his rotten asshole son Jake Lloyd) is something that hardly seems possible anymore (though those currently in the torturous death throes of hunting down an NES Classic may disagree) and where else are you gonna see WWE’s The Big Show (then WCW’s The Giant) toss Verne “Mini Me” Troyer across a room at the behest of Jim Belushi and Mickey from Seinfeld? Nowhere. That’s where.

One can only dream of a reality where Joe Pesci, the producers’ original choice, was cast in the Sinbad role. We never see Sinbad’s son either, leading me to develop my own head canon where he’s just trying to get the toy for himself, or that there’s some kind of Psycho type situation going on where he’s just imagining a family that’s still alive, having suffered some sort of unspeakable tragedy that caused Sinbad to have a total psychotic break.

Sadly, 2015’s Jingle All The Way 2 did not continue this film’s story line and answer any of the lingering questions and dangling plot threads laid bare by the original Jingle’s complicated narrative. But if you were looking for a story where Jake Lloyd grows up to be a weird asshole that everyone hates because he ruins everything, there’s always real life…

 

 

Kevin Hawkey is the co-founder, head writer and editor of Riot-Nerd. He enjoys Fighting Games, Metal, Marvel, Horror and all the weird shit in between. A lifelong Philadelphian just as comfortable in a circle pit at Underground Arts as he is drooling over the new Hot Toys figures at Brave New Worlds, Kevin’s idiosyncratic sensibility gives this site it’s unique dichotomy between “riot” and “nerd”.
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