I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1998)
What’s It About: Spoiled, privileged and conceited brat, Jake (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) has not been home to Larchmont, NY since he left for college in California. This year is different, however because he is promised a classic Porsche by his dad if he makes it home by Christmas Eve dinner. So you know, Christmas spirit and all ensue.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- This movie, like Christmas With the Kranks, is scored by John Debney but not supervised by Little Steven so I’m not sure if this will be as good.
- Who made Jonathan Taylor Thomas (JTT) a teen heartthrob?! He’s not that attractive. And I can basically say this now since his career more or less tanked since the 90’s ended.
- This is a college yet all the students look like high school kids. Especially JTT’s friend with the zits and braces. He looks 14. And he was stuffed in a locker (a locker at a college?!) by a bunch of jocks because the fake IDs JTT sold them didn’t work. So how old are these kids?!
- So JTT just said he was 18. But a moment ago his dad said that he hasn’t been home for the holidays in years. So he went to college when he was 15 or 16? Why are these details so hard to get right with screen writers?
- His dad is actually bribing his son to come home with the promise of getting a 1957 Porsche?! What kind of Christmas message is this?! And if this the only reason his son is even returning home then how shitty should the rest of his family feel?
- So after the plan to help the jocks cheat on a final gets sabotaged by a jealous suitor for JTT’s girlfriend, the jocks kidnap JTT and leave him for dead in the middle of the desert in a Santa suit. Again, what kind of movie is this? There’s literally vultures waiting around JTT. They left him for dead with no water, food or a cell phone!
- Now when JTT asks his dad for help because he’s in the middle of nowhere glued (yes, the hat and beard are glued to his face) to a Santa suit, his dad refuses to help him because they had a deal about making it home for Christmas on time for the Porsche. This is ridiculous.
- Old lady Tom Jones groupies! And one old lady tried to give JTT a toothless hummer. I’m half-joking, she sleepily plopped on his lap, but the joke was implied. Ho-Ho-Ho.
- Is everyone JTT meets on his journey a total dingbat?
- Shoot me now. I’ve made a grave mistake watching this.
- Is JTT ever going to try to change out of his Santa suit. That would be like the second thing I would’ve done. Wait is he naked under there?
- A fake Bavarian village in the middle of nowhere! Now this movie is talking my language.
- More examples of idiots on this journey. JTT writes on one of the bus passenger’s coolers that it contains a liver organ donor WITH CRAYON!! How did the cooler owner not know it was his? And how did he manage to snag the roast beef to use as the fake liver from the other passenger’s sandwich?! This is beyond stupid. But more than anything why is everyone falling for a crayon written organ donor cooler ruse?
- “You may be a fake boyfriend, Jake but you are a genuine butthole!” That’s really harsh Jessica Biel.
- And moments after Biel leaves Jake and the rival suitor, Eddie, are riding together and laughing and singing happily.
- And how does JTT think he’ll get back to New York from Wisconsin in just a few short hours?! He said he had to be back home by 6:00 to get the car. There’s no fucking way!
- And now JTT enters into a Santa themed 5k race. Why?! And of course he wins without proper training or a meal since he was left in the desert.
- The other Santa that JTT beat in the 5k happened to be the town’s mayor who wins every year and donates his prize to buy turkeys for the poor. So of course JTT learns the true meaning of Christmas and gives the money back to the mayor. Sheeeesh.
- JTT’s younger sister decides to help out JTT by using up her savings to buy him a plane ticket so he can be home in time. And at the ticket agent he has to use a personal code in lieu of proper ID. How did he think this would possibly work? Well yeah it doesn’t. The first sensible thing to happen all movie.
- WHAT? JTT somehow sneaks into the pet cargo of his flight to NYC. Not even in a pre-9/11 world would this be possible.
- And now he’s on the roof of a lady’s car hitching a ride home! She has to know a young adult male is on top of her car right? And she’s just OK with this? And then he steals a sleigh that was supposed to be in a parade. Not exactly model Christmas behavior is it?
- Jessica Biel lives in the same neighborhood as JTT and they go to the same college in California and date each other?! Convenient much?
- I have yet to have carolers sing outside my house and if it did happen I highly doubt they would be dressed in Victorian garb. But every Christmas movie has this scenario happen. Why?!
- Parades don’t typically march down side suburban streets. A-Rum-Pum-Pum.
- And in the typical and lazy movie writing, Jake finds his Christmas spirit and intentionally waits outside his house until the bet is over because of course the Porsche doesn’t matter to him now. But in way worse typical and lazy writing, his dad is just so touched he made it home by Christmas that he gets the car anyway. Fuck this movie sideways with a huge roll of shiny gold wrapping paper.
Is It Actually Jolly: Shoving a well-licked candy cane in every orifice of my body has more Christmas cheer than this piece of unentertaining shit. I really have nothing against JTT as a person but his character is as likable as a holiday fruitcake.
Jolliest Moment: Given the choice between this film and a seasick crocodile; I’d take the seasick crocodile. But If I had to pick a scene that didn’t make me want to eat a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce it would be me wishing there was such a place as that Bavarian village.
Dumbest Moment: Dumb? This movie insults dumb movies. Everyone JTT meets is so dumb they should be watered twice a week. But out of all the horribly idiotic scenes, the one that made me actually mad was the organ donor one. JTT sees a guy with a cooler, then a guy eating a roast beef sandwich and then a girl drawing with crayons and comes up with this plan to fool everyone on the bus to force the driver to stop the bus so he can go to the Bavarian village to find Jessica Biel. How he snagged the cooler, the roast beef (before the guy ate all of it!) and few crayons to write Live Liver Donor on it is complicated enough on a full bus and then for everyone to actually fall for this ploy is suspending the belief way too high.
Overall: I should’ve known what I was in for with a Disney produced Christmas “comedy” starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas but I like to think I can be easily entertained sometimes. Heck, look at my score for The Christmas Cottage. Yeah but teen comedies are way outside my wheelhouse these days, especially ones starring untalented kids that are frequently on Teen Beat. Just getting over the concept of some snobby kid who has to be bribed back home to spend the holidays with his devoted and loving family is hard enough but then you’d have to suffer through some of the most insipid and daft scenes imaginable. It’s an insult to your intelligence and a complete waste of time. Do yourself a favor and spend the 86 minutes calling a loved one or an old friend to wish them a Merry Christmas. Or spend the 86 minutes buying Toys For Tots. Hell, even bake some cookies, even it’s just for yourself; you’ll thank yourself later avoiding this trash.
Score: 2 Genuine Buttholes (out of 10)