Jingle All the Way (1996)
December 14, 2022 7:25 AM - Subscribe

Workaholic Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) wants to make things up to his son, Jamie (Mannequin Skywalker), and wife, Liz (Rita Wilson). He promises to get Jamie the hottest toy of the season, Turbo-Man -- even though it's Christmas Eve and the toy is practically sold out. As Langston hunts down the elusive gift, he runs into mailman Myron (Sinbad), another father on the same quest. With the clock winding down, Langston's moral code is tested as he starts to learn the real meaning of Christmas.

Also starring Phil Martman, Robert Conrad, Martin Mull, Jim Belushi, Harvey Korman, Laraine Newman.

Directed by Brian Levant. Written by Randy Kornfield.

19% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Starz. Also available for digital rental. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (14 comments total)
it is not a good movie, but it hit cable at the right time for my kids to watch it a lot. "Ta-Ta Turtleman" is still a phrase used regularly in our family to dismiss people.
posted by jkosmicki at 7:33 AM on December 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

The story is rote, the emotions are canned and 100% phony, but the sequences are generally pretty funny and Arnold is very game. I can watch this every other year or three while wrapping presents and mostly enjoy it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:46 AM on December 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

Heh ... I didn't mind this one, it was ok - yeah - the acting was a bit stiff, but - it hit all the right notes overall.
posted by rozcakj at 8:14 AM on December 14, 2022

Small point of order:

The actor who played Jamie was Jake Lloyd, and not "Mannequin Skywalker". (Unless you were making some kind of comment about his performance in Phantom Menace a couple years after this.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:16 AM on December 14, 2022 [3 favorites]

posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:12 AM on December 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

People bitching at Lloyd over PM almost drove him to suicide, maybe cut the actor some slack in the future for his child acting.

And on topic, this movie isn't very good.
posted by Atreides at 11:31 AM on December 14, 2022 [5 favorites]

I know someone who worked in costuming on this movie and the only thing I know about it was that the studio had rules in place about keeping her and all of the other female crew members away from Schwarzenegger because his behavior towards women on his previous films had been egregious enough that they felt there was a reasonable chance of lawsuits.

Given the amount of wild stuff that I've heard of being overlooked on movie sets I can only imagine how bad Arnold's behavior would have to be for studios to take quarantining him seriously.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:38 AM on December 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

People bitching at Lloyd over PM almost drove him to suicide, maybe cut the actor some slack in the future for his child acting.

It's not really Jake's fault he wasn't good at acting. He didn't hire himself, after all. I'm not contacting him to tell him I hate him, though, just remarking to friends on the internet that he was markedly not-good.

Even so, I'm not a monster. I wish him well, particularly given his diagnosis as a paranoid schizophrenic with anosognosia. (RIP to my cousin Gary who passed last year and is why I know way more about that combo than I might.) It seems as likely as not that Jake Lloyd was destined to have a difficult way in life. And Star Wars fans include some of the worst people in fandom. I don't doubt they gave him hell.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:43 AM on December 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

It's not really Jake's fault he wasn't good at acting. He didn't hire himself, after all.

Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen are VERY good at acting, but still, in the prequel trilogy their performances were abysmal, therefore I never blamed Jake Lloyd for what was obviously George Lucas' long-standing issues with writing and directing.
posted by mikelieman at 12:02 PM on December 14, 2022 [5 favorites]

He's sort of the quintessential fingernails-on-a-chalkboard child lead in this movie, too, though. And while this is also a pretty shoddy screenplay, there is the thing that unlike Christensen or Portman, he doesn't have any other work that looks any better.

Again though, I'm not going to try and contact him to tell him he ruined anything for me, I'm just noting in the context of reviewing the film(s) that he was particularly not great.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:28 PM on December 14, 2022

I 100% believe the Arnold-as-walking-lawsuit stuff.

Even aside from [various allegations], if you listen to the audio commentary to T3, he's such a creep. He does a cringe-inducing monologue about how great the scene is where the T-X increases her bust size at will. It's creepy that he focuses on it at all, but he stays with it until it gets worse.

Anywho, back to this movie, I find that the stars in this one for smaller roles are all clearly having a blast and that's a big reason why I find it guilty fun.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:40 PM on December 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

Conan O'Brien used to do a bit with "Arnie" where he would inevitably work in a reference to his "smash hit holiday classic Jingle All Da Vay!"
posted by praemunire at 1:46 PM on December 14, 2022 [5 favorites]

The fun thing about this movies is the odd turn it takes about a third of the way in.

It starts out as a pretty standard "Parent doesn't have the Christmas spirit but will learn it before the end of the movie" kind of deal but then it veers way of course.

Suddenly you have Phil Hartman skeeving all over the wives, baking cookies in another man's kitchen.
You've got Sinbad threatening to blow up a radio station, the lesser Belushi brother running a ring of underground santas selling knock-off toys, Christmas parades being hijacked, it's chaos.

And then it just sort of goes back to a regular Christmas movie.
The Dad learns a lesson, the kid gets the toy, family harmony is restored.

It's like the middle of the movie belongs to a completely different premise.
posted by madajb at 5:15 PM on December 14, 2022 [4 favorites]

That's really the part I like: the unhinged middle!
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:14 AM on December 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

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