Jingle All the WayNovember 22, 1996
A harried father decides to dream the impossible dream, to get that year's hot toy for his son just before Christmas Day.
Release Year: 1996
Rating: 5.0/10 (33,024 voted)
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman
Meet Howard Langston, a salesman for a mattress company is constantly busy at his job, and he also constantly disappoints his son, after he misses his son's karate exposition, he tries hard to come up with a way to make it up to him, this is when his son tells Howard that he wants for Christmas is an action figure of his son's television hero, Turbo Man. Unfotunately for Howard, it is Christmas Eve, and every store is sold out of Turbo Man figures, now Howard must travel all over town and compete with everybody else including a mail man named Myron to find a Turbo Man action figure, and to make it to the Wintertainment parade which will feature Turbo Man.
E.J. De La Pena
(as E.J. de la Pena)
Jeff L. Deist
(as Jeff Deist)
Two Dads, One Toy, No Prisoners.
Release Date: 22 November 1996
Filming Locations: 7th Place Mall – St. Peter & Wabasha Streets, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $12,112,267
(24 November 1996)
Did You Know?
The story is based on the 1980s shopping frenzy over the Cabbage Patch dolls.
When Howard is 'going to work' and Jamie is trying to talk him into staying, at first the cereal bowl has only a little bit of cereal. Then in the next shot, it is almost full again.
[when an attempt to flirt with Liz ends with her throwing egg nog in his face]
Well… that didn't exactly go as well as I'd hoped.
Did the final product mean to age so well and stand as the true meaning of Christmas? Was it satire or all a very lucky accident? Either way, its fun
Satires are hard to come by. Good satires are much more rare. Satires
that fooled everyone, from the audience to the actors playing in the
film are toughest to find. Jingle All The Way achieves just that. By
throwing a social commentary joke over the heads of audiences instead
of into their minds, and then by delivering a biting message that
stands just as true today as it did when it first came out, Jingle All
The Way went from disappointment to one of the most realistic holiday
films ever, despite its lack of realism. The hypocritical statements
are flying in this first paragraph, but the truth is almost everyone
missed the joke, the main picture. What looks like pure family fun
turns into commentary with an attack on commercialism and the American
public buying into the scheme. Even if you don't want to look into the
deeper details, why skip out on Sinbad and The Terminator going at it?
Jingle All The Way follows a workaholic dad by the name of Howard who
disappoints his wife and son year after year. After missing another
karate practice, Howard promises to not only show up at the parade the
next day, but also get his son the TurboMan doll that is based off
Jamie's favorite television show, favorite cereal, and favorite hero.
The catch is simple: it is impossible to find the doll since it's a
massive hit. Not only that, but most shipments are not arriving on
Christmas Eve (notice the setting getting a bit dangerous), therefore
increasing the supply-and-demand. Howard is still determined to find
the doll and not disappoint again. Christmas Eve turns into D-Day on
the shores of stores across the nation.
This sort of idea has always been present in television shows
everywhere, but to take a simple concept and stretch it into a
full-length motion picture is a challenge to the utmost level.
Thankfully, we have good writing by Randy Kornfield, decent direction
by Brian Levant, and the supervision of Chris Columbus (Home Alone,
Harry Potter, Mrs. Doubtfire, Adventures in Babysitting). Looking past
the seemingly heavy dosage of criticism against American society and
Big Business, we see the cast throw our victim fathers into every
possible awful and unfortunate scenario possible, and the range of
ideas presented are amazing.
Arnold Schwarzenegger must have a sense of humor, because he isn't
afraid of embarrassing himself by getting beat up and pulverized by the
holiday rush, a bitter mailman, and a Santa Claus that can scare blind
children. His performance by no means is Oscar-worthy, but we see him
with his determination like in his usual action films, but in a whole
new arena, a totally different atmosphere, and that just adds a dosage
of humor to the entire film. To see an action star have to claw his way
out of a melee of people trying to get bouncy balls is priceless.
Almost as rare as Schwarzenegger looking wimpy is Sinbad in a superb
film. His performance as the disgruntled mailman just matches him
perfectly, and his determination to get the doll is just as bad.
Rounding out the cast is a bunch of underrated and/or B-list stars like
the brilliant Phil Hartman, Rita Wilson, Robert Conrad, and James
Why in the world would anyone want to skip a movie in which we see a
rumble involving an angry dad and a bunch of Santa Claus frauds running
an illegal toy-manufacturing/distributing operation (Best scene of the
movie for sure)? Why miss out on The Terminator take on a raging
reindeer? Why skip out on a mailman posing as TurboMan's villain and
flipping the bird to spectators during a family parade? With an endless
amount of silly, over-the-top, brilliant moments in which represent
Christmas at its truest, Jingle All The Way stands as the most
realistic holiday movie ever, since it really shows what its all about.
Forget the sappy messages you see in Christmas movies, it doesn't
matter what you did, what illegal things you performed, how many
assaults you have committed, as long as you get that gosh-darn toy for
your child in Christmas, it will all be forgiven.
Everything in this film, whether unintended or intentional, downplays
the meaning of Christmas and all that goes on. There isn't a single
decent Santa Claus in the film; they are all corrupt human beings with
a different agenda. The stores are not trying to please anyone; they
just want money for themselves and enjoy seeing people scrap for
chances of earning a doll like starving dogs fighting over a hunk of
meat. The main child doesn't say he wants his dad to stay home for
Christmas, he says he wants a certain doll, and even recites the entire
commercial, including the final words "Batteries Not Included." Nobody
is helping each other; everyone is fighting, pushing people towards
aisles and toy displays. While the entire thing is comical, it truly
does happen in the real world. There was even one pivotal scene in
which Byron the mailman discusses the importance of getting that
special gift; he compares himself to another child that got the hot
item on a certain year. Byron is disappointed, grows up to become a
loser; neighbor that gets the doll becomes a multi-millionaire.
Can a Christmas without material possessions scar you and turn you into
a loser? Or is it Commercial America making it seem that way? Is this
film a perfect satire or did it accidentally become that way? While the
clues are pointing towards lampoon, Levant looks like he really aimed
for the heartfelt, emotional Christmas movie with the bittersweet
ending. Instead, we get a film that predates (and apparently predicts)
the Tickle Me Elmo, Pokemon, Playstation, and Furby holiday horror
stories. From the campy introduction to the hysterical final showdown,
it's a great movie for what it is, and after aging like fine wine,
becomes something moreaccidental or not.