8-Bit Christmas (2021)
December 7, 2021 1:07 PM - Subscribe

Set in suburban Chicago in the late 1980s, the story centers on ten-year-old Jake Doyle's (Winslow Fegley) herculean quest to get a Nintendo game system for Christmas.

Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max.
posted by DirtyOldTown (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I will give this a review that other parents not fond of family Christmas movies will understand as a glowing review: I did not hate this, and I was not resentful of it as a use of my time on a weekend afternoon. My kid had a blast and I laughed several times.

A person would assume that this was simply A Christmas Story retrofitted with late 80's nostalgia in place of late 40's nostalgia. It's not. In fact, the screenplay takes great delight in setting up cliches and then taking a weird turn. Poor Jake's story is like a tween Job. He just suffers and suffers and it's pretty funny.

Also, the 80's nostalgia, while inescapably sugary in spots, feels not only fairly genuine in its affection but is combined with a real specificity of place. This isn't a story about just anywhere in 1988. It's a story specifically about Chicagoland and its suburbs in that time. I live there now and a bunch of those bits worked well.

Anyway, this is mildly entertaining piffle that didn't irritate me. But for a kid's Christmas movie, that makes this a 4 stars out of 5 kinda deal.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:16 PM on December 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

I, perhaps surprisingly, watched this with the family the other day. I'd say it is better than "mildly entertaining piffle" personally. Its from the Canadian director Michael Dowse of Fubar, Goon and Stuber fame and despite some shots of Chicago, it appears to be largely shot in Southern Ontario (there's no mistaking the light). While yeah it is different than the overplayed A Christmas Story it does follow a similar structure and is attempting to mine Gen-X / older Millennial nostalgia in a similar way. I laughed more than I cared to admit as someone who generally dislikes most comedies. It isn't say Nativity!, one of the better of the modern Christmas family films (is AD/BC a family show? probably not but we watch it every year with the kid) but it didn't hurt my head like most family films.
posted by Ashwagandha at 4:14 PM on December 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

We watched it with the kid and liked it. Jake is more like a kid version of Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation than an 80's Ralphie from A Christmas Story.
posted by jordemort at 7:26 AM on December 9, 2021

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