The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

Directed by Clay Kaytis

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The Christmas Chronicles has trouble getting going, but once it does it’s not far from the Christmas movies I remember so fondly from my childhood.  It follows two siblings, ten year old Kate and teenaged Scott, on the night of Christmas eve, the first since the death of their Christmas-loving father.  

In the year since he passed Scott has lost his way, at least that’s what the movie tries to suggest.  We know this because he’s mean to his sister (like all movie teenagers it seems), he steals a car, and he probably drinks beer.  He seems to me a normal, albeit stereotypical, moody teenager who has grown apart from his young sister.  Because of their father’s offscreen passing, however, it’s clear the movie will have Scott work through his grief and reconnect with his sister once it’s all said and done.

Kate clings to an old video camcorder which their father was so fond of.  While reviewing old footage she catches a glimpse of Santa’s arm coming out from the chimney, and that night, while their mother is working (they make it seem like money’s tight though they live in one of those absurdly nice, Crate & Barrel homes) they set up a camera in an attempt to catch Santa.

They spot him, of course, and then they wander outside where they find his sleigh running in idle.  They sneak in, startle the old man (played by Kurt Russell, of all people) and then come crashing down somewhere just outside of Chicago.  

Their goal is to gather the lost reindeer, find the dropped sack of toys, find Santa’s hat and then save Christmas.  It’s cute, I swear to God.

First of all, kids will probably love it, and second, it’s Kurt F*ckin’ Russell as Santa Clause.  I mean, it’s much more thrilling than it has any right to be, and there’s an undeniable charm to the character and the ways he surprises, disturbs and typically charms the people he comes across.  The best scene will come out of the blue and have Santa perform an Elvis-like Christmas ballad with the musical crew stuck alongside him in the drunk tank.  There is no reason for this scene to exist other than it’s fun and entertaining, and it is fun and entertaining.

The Christmas Chronicles is most directly comparable to The Santa Clause (1994) with Tim Allen.  That’s the Santa movie from my childhood.  I’m not sure how it plays for an adult, but for a child it’s perfect, and I think The Christmas Chronicles has the same charm.

Up Next: Say Anything… (1989), Life (1999), The Terminator (1984)

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