The Final two are here! For the final of the Holiday Movie Tournament we'll be focusing on two questions and they are different from the first round.
Question 1: Why is this movie THE Christmas movie?
Question 2: Why is this more deserving of being the perennial Christmas movie more than the one its up against?
Keep these two questions in mind as you read the arguments set forth by our two contestants and please remember to vote at the end.
Please remember to vote based on the argument presented and not just on which movie you like more!
Joseph (JATW) :
Well it’s come to this, only two movies remain and the choice before you is a difficult one. Personally I thought this movie might not make it out of the first round but clearly enough people believed in it to get it here and that has to count for something. To this point in the tournament everyone has doubted Jingle All the Way. Its competitors have questioned its validity, first as Christmas classic then as a film in general, yet it has forced its way to final beating out two Christmas juggernauts. This is the film of the people.
As I have stated in previous debates I believe that this is the best Christmas movie because of its relative relatability and humor. Though a bit of a pessimistic view of holiday season, the experiences caricatured in the film are becoming more common place within our cultures as we are becoming increasingly more materialistic. It gives us true experiences most people can relate to. I have never been left or left my child alone at home, fought terrorists throughout a high rise building or had to fend off dog eating puppets. I have however forgotten a gift or have had to run into a store for a last minute item and anyone who has also suffered this fate will know those shopping sequences are barely embellished. So as we gather around the tree with relatives, what better to way to bond than watching the harrowing encounters we have gone through for each other recapped starring THE action hero. Jingle All the Way is filled with humor and family friendly action fueled by a star studded cast and it is the best holiday movie of all.
I haven’t exactly been subtle in my bragging about Home Alone throughout this tournament. The reason for that being tournaments like this and countdown/rankings of holidays movies are all scientifically incorrect unless Home Alone sits atop them. We may have gone through others in the past; Miracle on 34th St, A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation to name a few. However in 1990 John Hughes released the definitive Christmas movie that has not and likely will never be topped. That movie is obviously Home Alone.
In the first two rounds I have given multiple reasons why Home Alone is most deserving of the top ranking including its soundtrack, cast, and how it’s ingrained itself into our lives so for the final I will give you one more reason. On its most basic level Christmas is the lifeblood of this movie. Anyone watching this movie at any point in the year will instantly feel the Christmas spirit. From Kevin roaming around his snow covered neighborhood to It’s a Wonderful Life playing in the hotel his family is staying in, the season is never forced but always present. The movie does this in truly authentic and almost indescribable way that just feels like the Christmas. There have been many attacks on the McCallister family dynamics throughout this tournament but I argue Home Alone is unparalleled in its true to life portrayal of a modern home. I touched on this in the last round but allow me to expand; the youngest is a pain, the oldest a jerk teenager, and the parents are just trying to get through the holidays without killing Uncle Frank. Yet through all of this turmoil, everyone is worried about Kevin’s safety, Kevin very quickly comes to regret his wish and by the end family is visibly relieved and grateful to finally be together on Christmas Day. They all clearly love each other through all their faults and it is a heartwarming moment to rival any holiday classic. Amid all the slapstick comedy and memorable lines Home Alone, like every great Christmas movie, is about the importance of family. There is a multitude of reasons and I’m sure everyone has their own but there is no question about it Home Alone is the greatest Christmas movie of all time.
Home Alone is great movie but it’s time is clearly done, people put Jingle All the Way in this position and the voters will also make it the best holiday movie. It is every bit as important as Home Alone and doesn’t suffer from being the stereotypical family movie. Most of the best holiday movies center around a family’s trial and tribulations, in this way Jingle All the Way has them all beat. We get the backstory and stakes out of the way right off the bat and strap in for merry adventure through consumerism. Jingle All the Way is a hilarious and original holiday work of art that truly captures the spirit of at least art of what the holiday has become. In this tournament alone we have seen movies that do what Home Alone does, it’s a nice little story of family. It is not worse for what is is but it is never more than that. This movie shares the relative modern qualities of Home Alone yet seems to get more relevant where Home Alone is starting to show its age fast. I mean seriously who’s afraid of a furnace in 2017, we have zombie conventions now. I am also obligated to once again remind the voters that there is a jetpack sequence in this movie. Jingle All the Way is a better holiday movie than Home Alone because it has the same amount of comedy but appeals to more people because it’s not about the faux innocence of a little troublemaker it's about Arnold living all our dreams and flying a jetpack. If we had more variation of real holiday movies like Jingle All the Way we wouldn’t have to suffer all the asinine arguments of the validity of Die Hard and Gremlins as Christmas movies. Jingle All the Way is hilarious and every bit as entertaining if not more so than any movie in this tournament but it’s originality is what makes it the greatest holiday classic.
So we’re really going to keep doing this? Ok, Home Alone is about a family's struggle to get back to their missing son and that oblivious, innocent child coming to the realization of how important his family is. Are we really going to let a movie about our uncontrollable consumer society top this tournament? Second or third place sure, but first? In the words of Kate McCallister “No. No, no, no. No. Wait. This is Christmas. The season of perpetual hope.” Let's not allow the bleak vibe behind a movie that feeds the worst parts of us to be declared the victor. Hasn’t 2017 been rough enough? You all know in your heart which movie truly captures the spirit of Christmas and it’s not the one with unnecessary jetpacks, cool as they might be. Home Alone is by far the superior film and I’m sorry to say it’s not particularly close. To prove that point let me ask one question which movie is better Jingle All the Way or Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Again a gut decision Home Alone 2 no question. It has all the amazing elements of the first and adds the eerily grinch-like Tim Curry, a scene in what every child believes to be the biggest toy store in the world and another slapstick booby trap sequence. It is pretty widely accepted that, Empire Strikes Back aside, sequels are never better than the original. So I ask if Jingle All The Way isn’t even as good as the sequel Home Alone inspired how can it possibly compete with the original. It is unfortunate that it took this long but I think I might have identified a problem with this tournament, the question of this debate from the start should have been what is the third best holiday movie of time because the two first Home Alone films are in class all of their own.