Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Boiler Room Elves’ Top 5 Santa Films

As Boiler Room Elves, we’re usually pretty busy around Christmas time. There are cookies to bake and the boilers need extra attention in winter. But we don’t go in for that whole making presents for free thing. We may be unionized, but we’re not communists. So when Bossman Andrew asked us to write about Santa, we told him we didn’t have the time. Then he showed us our contract. Grr. So here are our five favorite portrayals of Santa.

1. Miracle on 34th Street (1947): Probably the best known Santa film, this one perfectly shows the true spirit of Santa. In it, a man is accused of being insane because he thinks he’s Santa. A trial is held. Is he the real Santa or not? The films lets you decide and it’s pretty heartwarming along the way. A bit of trivia here, the real Santa has a cameo. Next time you watch, see if you can spot him.

2. The Santa Clause (1994): This one completely annoys Santa and he won’t even watch it because he’s offended by the suggestion he’s under contract to be Santa! He does it all out of the goodness of his heart (plus he failed out of business school after some prof told him his business plan would never fly. . . but you didn’t hear that from us). Still, the movie is enjoyable, heartwarming and funny, just the kind of thing to make you laugh at Christmas time.

3. South Park: Red Sleigh Down (2002): How can you not love this episode: Santa Claus as action hero! In this South Park episode, Santa gets shot down over Iraq and must be saved by Jesus. And in the end, Santa dispenses a little hot red justice on his captors and then magnanimously tells people that they shouldn’t just think of Santa on Christmas, they should think of Jesus too. Good stuff.

4. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964): True story. Elves are really big on documentaries.

5. Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer (1964): Although this story is mainly about Rudolph, they do a great job depicting life at the Pole (minus a few labor violations) and Santa. The one complaint we have about this show it the depictions of the Elves. We’re waaaaaaaaaay cooler than that. And there aren’t enough cookies.

So if you want, list your favorite Santa films, memories or whatever below. Or more importantly, tell us what your favorite cookies are. You never know when you may get a surprise care package down your chimney.

63 comments:

CrispyRice said...

LOL! I have to admit a fondness for Santabot on Futurama. "You've all been very naughty!"

Merry Christmas, Elves!

T-Rav said...

Interesting choices, Elves. I honestly was not expecting a South Park episode to be in the mix there. I fully agree on #1, #2, and #5, however.

As an honorable mention, I would suggest the film "Santa Claus" and its MST3K treatment, "Santa vs. Satan." Santa must outwit and outmaneuver the devil to fulfill his mission of bringing presents on Christmas Eve--in Mexico, no less. It's pretty awful, and by "awful," I mean "awesome."

rlaWTX said...

TCM had a Christmas movie list on last night. #1 & #2 were on the list. They must have missed the others. At the end, they had some movies that are set at Christmas - but aren't "Christmas-y", and they included Gremlins but not Die Hard - a serious lapse!

Thanks for the list, BRE!!

Individualist said...

Dear Boiler Room Elves

A very good list. The only problem is that I am not sure which is the politically correct take on Santa Claus conqueres the MArtians.

I know you state it is a documentary but according to Plato we must edit history and tell only the correct stories.


Santa Clause wears Red (the color of communism) and hands out toys to children so is a good socialist.

However he does this on a religious holiday and only gives presents to Good chidren meaning he makes moral judgements of people so perhaps the Red is for Red State and then he is evil.

The Martians come from a Red Planet and are Green which bodes well (they are good socialists who care about the environment) however Mars is the God of War and the martians are always so fond of Death Rays.. so are they War mongers.

Since this movie does not clearly portray who are the good socialists it appears that perhaps this portion of history should be ignored in the PC world.

What do you guys think! Perhaps you have some insight. All Praise the One!

BoilerRoomElf said...

Crispy - Santa himself was (perhaps understandably) not fond of that particular portrayal...

T-Rav, we like South Park for driving home the real point of Christmas in a not-so-subtle way!

And in MST3K "awful" general equals "awesome" no doubt!

BoilerRoomElf said...

rla - NOT include Die Hard on a Christmas movie list?!? We'll put them on our "naughty list" as well. Nothing says Christmas quite like Germans stealing millions of dollars. Hmph!

Joel Farnham said...

Hey, how about "Die Hard" and "Lethal Weapon"? Where do those two fit in?

BoilerRoomElf said...

Individualist, we see you have done your share of philosophical thinking about SC vs M. We'll put you down for extra cookies.

Please keep in mind that SC was wearing red before the Commies. (It was mostly to stand out against the snow so he wouldn't be mistaken for a reindeer, you know.)

The Martians are indeed green and live on a red planet, so you can see the obvious connection as to why SC was attracted to go there. Christmas colors abound!

And SC does indeed not fear going into War Zones. (See South Park, e.g.) He felt strongly that Mars was deeply in need of his kindness and generosity. Indeed, his version of socialism is one in which the good are rewarded, which is perhaps an ideal we can all strive for.

BoilerRoomElf said...

Joel, we heartily agree that Die Hard should be on any Christmas movie list worth its salt. However SC himself was unavailable to make a cameo, despite repeated requests and quite a cookie offering as payment. Thus, Die Hard is ineligible for a "Santa film" list.

BoilerRoomElf said...

Oh and indeed, in case we get buried in the boiler room and kitchen and don't surface again 'til next week --

Merry Christmas to all C-rama readers!

DUQ said...

Cool list! As for favorite Santa films, I have to go with "Miracle on 34th Street". I have to think about my favorite cookies.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks for the article Elves! Nice list.

I love the inclusion of the South Park episode. Good call!

tryanmax said...

Crispy, I second Robot Santa.

I think Tim Allen's portrayal was one of the unexpected best. (BTW, I saw a promo for his new show's Christmas episode where he's telling someone, "No way, you'll never get me in a Santa suit." I love Easter egg humor.)

I also liked Paul Giamatti's Santa in Fred Claus even if the film overall was a stinker.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, South Park has a great take on Santa and that episode in particular was great.

Interesting, what got the South Park crew noticed originally was a short film they put together on the web about a fight between Jesus and Santa over the meaning of Christmas.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy and tryanmax, I love Robot Santa. Those are some great episodes!

LawHawkRFD said...

I'll stick with the Santa in the original Miracle on 34th Street. As a former Macy*s employees, I may have a certain bias.

tryanmax said...

BTW, I plan on watching Rare Exports, a Finnish movie about the Claus, later tonight. I promise to report in on how it turns out.

BoilerRoomElf said...

Looking forward to the report, tryanmax!

Duq - think cookies...

tryanmax said...

For all you Robot Santa fans, I found some sheer-awesomness on the web: LINK

BoilerRoomElf said...

Bossman A, you're welcome for the list. And the next time you decide to throw our contract in our face right before the holidays, you should think twice!

Bossman L, the original 34th Street is the best, for sure.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I've never seen Gremlins as Christmasy for some reason, but I do see Die Hard that way.

AndrewPrice said...

BRE, You signed it, you deal with it. Mwooo ha ha ha!

Tennessee Jed said...

Strangely, I've never been quite as big a fan of Santa movies as some others such as Grinch and Charley Brown. Miracle on 34th is a classic, but here is a "non-link" to my favorite. It was a locally produced (by Philadelphia Bell Telephone) marionette version of the "Night Before Christmas. The whole thing doesn't run that long. This is the one I remember as a kid which is why it is my favorite:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsDBfPWDv28

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I have honestly never thought of Santa Claus v. the Martians as a metaphor for socialist on socialist crime. LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think Charlie Brown and Grinch are just so far beyond all other Christmas movies/specials that there's no comparison. Everyone seems to love those.

Here's you're link: LINK

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I've never heard of Rare Exports. I've noticed you see a lot of Finnish films though. I guess you've found a supplier! ;)

Ed said...

Glad to see the Elves at the film site!

Excellent list guys.

Favorite cookies are chocolate chip with walnuts!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Nice link on the Robot Santa!

fyi, my favorite line from all the Robot Santa stuff is when the parrot flies away from the cage and Fry yells: "I know where you live!"

tryanmax said...

Actually, I don't think I've ever seen a Finnish film before. I did recently watch a Swedish film, maybe that is what you are thinking of.

Netflix actually has a pretty decent foreign selection. It's the domestic selection that blows.

AndrewPrice said...

You've never finished a film before?!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

BoilerRoomElf said...

Noted on the official cookie list, Ed!

Also noted on the insult to Santa movies, Jed... we're just sayin'... But nice link!

Doc Whoa said...

Nice list!

On cookies, I like oatmeal raisin. Yum! And I can convince myself they're healthy. :D

ScyFyterry said...

Snickerdoodles!! Oh yeah!

Santa as communist? For shame Individualist!

Koshcat said...

I like "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" with the voice of Fred Astair.
-Just put one foot in front of the other, and soon you'll be walking out the door.

I love "Red Sleigh Down"!
-I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't let him live. He shocked Santa's balls!

There is also the first online South Park "Santa Clause vs. Jesus". Classic.

My kids have been watching "Santa Paws" recently. I don't recommend it.

T-Rav said...

I don't know, tryanmax--I don't trust those Finns. Actually, I don't trust anything that comes out of Scandinavia, up to and including IKEA.

Also, snickerdoodles are the bomb. That is all.

tryanmax said...

Family Guy did a Christmas episode last year, "Road to the North Pole," that they reran this year. It paints a pretty bleak picture of Santa and the north pole: Santa is a wasting stress case, the elves are inbred moron slaves, and the reindeer are wild feral creatures with a lust for elf flesh.

Of course, Stewie and Brian have to help Santa and "save Christmas" with disastrous results. It's actually sickly humorous until it gets to the "moral" of the story, which is we should all have an austere Christmas (just one present apiece) for the sake of staving off Santa's eventual cerebrovascular accident/myocardial infarction.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for reminding people that Christmas shouldn't be a celebration of hedonism and material things. But that message only carries meaning when you emphasize a meaningful alternative. I prefer Jesus, but if other people just want to focus on family and friends or just general goodwill toward men, that works too.

Seth MacFarlane can't cobble together anything more meaningful than fictitious health problems for St. Nick. Fortunately, as all of us here know, Santa is doing fine. Besides, if Santa did need someone to fill in (and that is a huge if) we know that Rush Limbaugh is the one he'd call.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Honestly, I've never bought anything from IKEA that I didn't regret.

Snickerdoodle are indeed excellent. I gotta go with oatmeal cookies though. That's my favorite.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I've never heard of Santa Paws and I suspect I'm glad I missed it!

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town is great! That's one of those songs (like the McD's song or the alphabet song) which I can sing on command. LOL!

And yeah, I LOVE the scene where Santa gets a little payback in Red Sleigh Down!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Family Guy has always been strongly liberal and this episode doesn't surprise me.

One of the things I love about South Park is that they are fair. They point out the stupidity on both sides and then they give you a strong non-hypocritical message. Thus, for example, they remind people that Christmas is a religious holiday without moralizing about it and without denigrating it. They are just reminding us of a stated fact, and in the process they are pointing out all the ridiculousness we've attached to it. That's not political, that's societal observation at its best.

I never got the sense Family Guy could reach that level or that they even tried. The show in my mind is very political and it's very left-wing, OWS, full of hate political. It's not just liberal, it's actively insulting in the name of being "provacative."

That's why I think South Park is genius, and Family Guy is just another liberal sitcom.

BoilerRoomElf said...

Tryanmax, Family Guy was also bitter because SC turned them down for a cameo. Their storyline took a decidedly anti-SC turn after that.

Oatmeal raisin for Doc Whoa and snickerdoodles for ScyFyTerry, also noted!

Kosh - isn't "SC is Coming To Town" the one with Burgermeister Meisterburger?

BoilerRoomElf said...

Re IKEA, little known fact -- it was started by a breakaway group of Elves! We have a knack for assembly you know. And we're small, so we don't exactly need sturdy furniture. It's an acronym for the International Kinship of Elves Association.

They were eventually bought out, and subsequently squandered their wealth on 1st class trips to Middle Earth. ("Back to the homeland!") Now they're back at the Pole, slinging cookie dough with the rest of us.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, then I expect you to stay away from røkt laks (smoked salmon for you Anglos) as well as butter cookies, cheese danishes (yes, they are really Danish), Swedish fish (yes, they are really Swedish), Jarlsberg cheese, Carlsberg beer, cottage cheese, or anything containing lingonberries.

I can't blame you for steering clear of lutefisk, though.

tryanmax said...

But I do agree that IKEA is crap. Though they do serve the best Swedish meatballs outside of Sweden.

AndrewPrice said...

Interestingly, my mother has a friend who shops there for Swedish Meatballs. I haven't been there in so long I didn't even know they sold them!

T-Rav said...

tryanmax, I steer clear of all that stuff already, so neener neener neener :-)

Family Guy can suck it.

tryanmax said...

Hey BRE, maybe you can help me out on something that confuses me.

"Claus" is the German short form of the Greek name "Νικολαος" (Nikolaos) and "Santa" is the feminine form of the Italian word for "Saint."

What's up with that?

tryanmax said...

Well T-Rav, as my grandfather would say, you just don't know what's good.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, They think "Santa"'s origins are actually from "Sinterklaas" merging with the British version "Father Christmas." Sinterklaas is "Saint Nicholas" in Dutch.

ScyFyterry said...

I hate to say it, but I like IKEA. I'm so ashamed. :(

Mycroft said...

Good grief, Individualist!
Have you forgotten that it's good for Socialists to be war mongers? After all, their motives are always pure.
Remember the war protests stopped once Obama was elected. And no one complained when Clinton bombed the hell out of Serbia.
It's only bad when Capitalists are war mongers.

AndrewPrice said...

Mycroft, Very true. It's amazing how quickly an evil war can become a noble war once a socialist becomes Commander in Chief.

Individualist said...

SciFiTerry

My mistake....

Karl Marx copied his beard spo

I guess I get confused

Outlaw13 said...

Red Sleigh Down was awesome. I don't think Santa was in it, but A Country Critter Christmas was a classic as well.

I also enjoy Santa's cameo in A Christmas Story, when he pushes Ralphie down the slide with his boot.

Individualist said...

OK Mycroft and SciFiTerri must have it right then....

Santa is the evil rightwing Capitalist

and

the Martians are the Noble Communist Environmentally Concerned Freedom Fighters...

That must be why they were wearing the Che Guevera shirts

That means though that appreciating the nuances of liberal movies that this is a metaphor for the Spanish Conquistadors conquering the noble Southwestern Native Americans.

Thanks, it is obvious to me now...

T-Rav said...

It's late, but since we were discussing the politics of "It's A Wonderful Life" not long ago, here's what one columnist had to say about it today.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view/2011_1221shopworn_flick_tells_sorry_tale/

I don't really agree with it, but I might as well throw it out there.

AndrewPrice said...

Yikes, talk about a cynical reading of the film. Of course, that is often what sells on line -- attack something people love, act all cynical about it, and then pretend you're better than the rubes who enjoy it.

It's interesting that for him the "good life" is a big city with a big job and anything else is depression ville. Jerk.

Here's the link: LINK

tryanmax said...

Truly cynical, and of course it gives in to the most common rewrite of the film that I've noted: that George Bailey was poor. Of course the movie works on a whole different level when you change the script. American Pie would be about chastity if you just take out all the sex.

I lately read another, nearly as cynical article about IaWL that claimed Bedford Falls would have been better of without Bailey because, in the years since the film's release, the only towns in NY State that have fared well more closely resemble Potterville. Unfortunately, that winds up being more of a sad commentary on NY than on Bedford Falls. (Sorry, I can't locate the article.)

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, it's pretty ridiculous when you inject your own facts and then base your analysis on those facts. Any movie can be about anything that way.

On the other article you mention, that's a pretty silly conclusion. There are so many assumption in there it's not even funny. Not to mention, there is no cause and effect between the movie and what happened in New York.

tryanmax said...

Just finished Rare Exports. It was, uh, interesting. Actually, I wouldn't be much surprised if this gets picked up for an American version.

In short, it's a Christmas horror and Santa Claus is the monster. But that doesn't mean they just changed the spelling of Claus/Claws. Rather, the story is loosely based on some of the, shall we say less rosy depictions of Santa? (Some of these depictions still survive in parts of the world as Krampus traditions.)

Interesting twist, Santa is never shown except for his horns protruding from a giant block of ice. Oh yeah, Santa has horns.

The real monsters of the film are the horde of "helpers" that look like various renditions of the Coca-Cola Santa if, instead of drinking Coke, he instead did meth.

As to how the film takes its name, well, that has to do with the ending and it's a rather humorous twist.

Matt Helm said...

Let's not forget about the Rat Pack dressed as Santas at the end of, "Robin and the 7 Hoods." As for Santa in Rudolph, he's really a bigot toward Rudolph until he finds out that his birth defect is beneficial to him. I love it regardless of that fact. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," and, "A Year Without a Santa Claus," are two favorites too. It's not Christmas without Rankin and Bass.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Hmmm...

I'll take The Lemon Drop Kid with Bob Hope. Santa in jail


Christmas Story Santa scene

I recommend Artur Christmas -- we loved it.

AndrewPrice said...

Matt, Santa as bigot! LOL! Pure Santa is taking a beating here! ;)

I agree though, it's simply not Christmas without Rankin and Bass. And I always wonder if they had any idea how enduring their shows would become?

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I completely forgot about The Lemon Drop Kid... good stuff! Bob Hope was always one of my favorites for goodnatured comedy.

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