The first movie reviewed for Mad Maz’s Christmas Review Series was Miracle on 34th Street had a solid message about consumerism pre-Black Friday culture. Store in that movie were rewarded for not being greedy money-grubbing and heartless corporations and the general public, though still in need of Christmas shopping, weren’t as desperate as it seems people are today when it comes to consumer goods. Jingle All The Way, however, is the opposite side of that coin. If the other movie represents the goodness of man and the spirit of Christmas, this movie represents mega-ridiculous holiday shopping that doesn’t just border on insane, it sets the bar for it. And, to make things worse, the movie isn’t too far off on its depiction of American culture around the holidays and the desperation for people to get extravagant goods for themselves, families or others.
Workaholic Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) wants to make things up to his son, Jamie (Jake Lloyd), 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.
Howard goes through hell to get his son the coveted Turbo-Man you, the best-selling toy ever, but the real fun of this movie comes less from Schwarzenegger and more from the people around him and the additional crazy lengths they go for the same doll. Howard’s journey begins at the first toy store where, upon opening, people rush the door, run over the store clerk, all to get their hands on the coveted toy. And things just get crazier from there. He gets into a battle with a mailman for the same toy, assaults a small child, gets scammed by a Christmas Santa and his elf (after they sing him an awesome tune) and that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. This movie requires you to suspend your disbelief on the lengths a person would go to for a toy… or does it? I’ve seen some pretty horrific online videos during the shopping-season.
Howard’s nemesis in the movie is a local mailman named Myron who, like Howard, is attempting to gain the love of his son by getting the Turbo-Man doll as well. They become enemies when it becomes clear that there aren’t many of them out their to purchase. But neither parent is too different from one another as they both have problems with their home lives and think getting their child the toy will fix everything. And, in a lot of ways, that is the main thing wrong with the shopping-culture– everyone thinks that material things will fix all. I am one for getting presents, trust me, but there is a limit.
The entire movie, all of the battles Howard has to go through, add up to a fairly interesting climax in which Howard and Myron literally become the toys that they are trying to purchase…well… not literally… they basically end up in costumes from the Turbo-man show and end up duking it out against each other right in the middle of a massive holiday parade. These are some of my favorite scenes in the movie and feel quite epic despite being fairly low-budget.
You. Need. To. Watch. This. Movie. That’s it… that’s my recommendation! With family, without family, it’s just a fun time. The acting isn’t amazing… it’s Schwarzenegger after all– but for one, I miss Sinbad a bit so I always like seeing him on film when I can and for two, the over-ridiculousness of the movie is entertaining in and of itself. And it has a pretty decent message to boot. And, hey, maybe you will be able to appreciate the small things after watching this movie!
The story is based on the 1980s shopping frenzy over the Cabbage Patch dolls. (and I thought It might have been off of Ferbies!)
In March 2001, a U.S. District Court jury in Birmingham, Michigan, ruled that 20th Century Fox stole the script idea, “Jingle All the Way”, from Detroit High School biology teacher, Brian Webster. The studio was ordered to pay $19 million, later reduced to $1.5 million. Webster submitted the script, then named “Could This Be Christmas?”, to the studio in 1994 and never received payment or credit despite the film making $183 million. Fox appealed and the verdict was reversed, since Webster’s script was submitted after the studio had already purchased a treatment (summary/outline) of what would become the film’s script. The court acknowledged that it is not difficult to believe that two writers can independently create a plot using similar inspiration/experience.
The Turbo Man TV show that Jamie watches at the beginning of the film, is a parody of the popular science fiction action adventure fantasy TV series “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”.
You can actually buy official Turbo Man action figures on Ebay.
Turbo-Man’s red suit is modeled after DC Comic superhero The Flash.