Archive for November 1985

One Magic Christmas

November 22, 1985

A holiday flop destined to become a cult favorite among cynics who love it when well-intentioned, sincere family films fail miserably. Mary Steenburgen is Ginny, a bitter, pragmatic woman who works a supermarket job she hates because her dreamer husband (Gary Basaraba) is out of work. Christmas is around the corner, and Ginny’s two kids keep pestering her about Santa, but her mind is elsewhere because the family is about to move and she can’t stand Christmas anyway (she even refuses to say “Merry Christmas”). When her husband goes to the bank to withdraw gift money for the kids, a burglar shoots him dead and then takes off in the husband’s car — with the two kids in the back seat! Then the car goes off a bridge and the kids drown! Yes, this is a treasure trove of sick laughs — and it’s from Disney!

Not to worry, though: none of it really happens, and this is all a plot engineered by one of Santa’s guardian angels to make Ginny believe in the magic of Christmas. (Jesus, talk about a hard sell.) But that isn’t even the best part. The best part is, the guardian angel is played by Harry Dean Stanton! He lurks in the street following Ginny, or sits up in a tree singing, looking like a cross between the Shadow and a child molester. No matter how much soft light the director throws on Stanton, he looks exactly like the coke-snorting asshole he played in Repo Man. I don’t even think you realize how insane this movie is. Miss it at your peril.