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Movie Review: Jingle All The Way (1996)

During the 1990’s, there seemed to be a lot of holiday themed movies targeted to children. I didn’t mind this because I was a child back then and loved nearly every single movie released during this time. One of the movies that I really loved back then was Jingle All The Way.

In October 2021, YouTube allowed Jingle All The Way to be watched for free with ads. I took advantage of this and re watched the movie. I really enjoyed watching the movie again, so I decided to write a movie review about it for Blogmas 2021.Jungle All The Way is an action/ adventure, comedy Christmas movie directed by Brian Levant. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman, Jake Lloyd, Rita Wilson, and Robert Conrad. YouTube’s plot synopsis for the movie is…

Christmas; It’s the most magical time of the year. High powered businessman Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger), is hard at work taking last-minute orders from customers to whom he just can’t say no; like his son, Jamie (Jake Lloyd), asking for the hottest action figure of the season — Turbo Man! Unfortunately, Howard is facing one BIG problem: It’s Christmas Eve, and Turbo Man has been sold out since Thanksgiving! Howard’s down-to-the-wire trek to find Turbo Man quickly turns into an odyssey wilder than he could have ever imagined. In the course of his seemingly endless Yuletide misadventures, he finds himself in a no-holds-barred fight-to-the-finish with a crazed postman named Myron (Sinbad), who is out to claim the last Turbo Man for his kid. It’s enough to scare away even the bravest of men. But to Howard, this is war — and he’s determined to win…no matter what!

The movie is really enjoyable and I loved watching it again. The story about how much two fathers wanted to see their children happy on Christmas morning is a sweet one and seeing Arnold and Sinbad play the fathers is very enjoyable. Also, the references to popular culture during the 1980’s and 1990’s and parent’s desperate attempts to acquire popular toys, especially ones based off superheros and action movie characters, was good to see.

Watching the movie was very nostalgic for me. I really liked the movie when I was a child and it reminded me of the frenzy that would sometimes occur at department and toy stores as parents would search for the perfect toy for their child for Christmas. In the 1990’s, this was often reported on the news as well as if there were any arrests due to any fights that broke out in the stores. Also, growing up I really liked superhero and comic book movies and cartoons. Seeing a movie based off this made me really happy.

Even though I liked the movie growing up, I began to not like it as much as I got older. After re watching it, I can now fully see what I didn’t like with the plot, as well as what some of the movie critics didn’t like about the movie when it was released in 1996. Back then, movie critics didn’t like the plot of the movie. Some of the movie critics liked the family friendly nature of the film, but didn’t like the movie’s fixation on the commercial and materialistic nature of Christmas. Other Christmas films, such as The Grinch and A Charlie Brown Christmas, do address about the commercialism and materialistic nature of Christmas. As for Jingle All The Way, the movie address it in a different way with a different outcome than other movies and TV shows.

The plot of the movie focuses on two fathers who tried to buy the perfect toy for their sons for Christmas. Like I already mentioned, this was a well publicized issue back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Back then, hugely popular toys such as the Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle Me Elmo would create large lines at toy stores and would sell out very quickly. Also, there were parents who would do anything to get these toys for their children. This would sometimes result in parents who would fight each other to get the last toy in the store.

I really like this part of the story. It was current in 1996 and it is still a problem today. The problem with the movie is the focus on appeasing the children with a toy for Christmas. I do believe children should receive toys and great gifts from their parents, but when I re watched the movie, I realized Howard and Myron are both are so focused on buying a toy for their children that they do things that they may have not done in any other situation. This emphasis both fathers put on buying their children not just toys, but the just right toy, isn’t as heartwarming as The Grinch or A Charlie Brown Christmas. Also, it had to take Howard’s son to tell his father that it was more important to him to have his father at home than a perfect toy. Because of this, I had to think very hard about the plot of the movie and why I liked it as child.

As a family movie, it is a good movie. The plot is very accurate about how people feel about Christmas presents. As a child, I didn’t understand the problems with buying Christmas presents because I was a child. Now that I’m an adult, I can see and understand it better. I think the movie could’ve been written better and showed the adults’ motivation to buying their children the perfect present. Also, I think the point of view of Howard’s son about his father could’ve been included, especially since his son portrayed as being very obsessed with Turbo Man and not interested in his father very much.

Other than that, the movie is still a pretty good movie. Is it perfect? No. No it is not. That doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable or something a family could watch together. It depends on what you feel comfortable watching during Christmas time and if a specific message (Such as family is more important than presents, materialism, and commercial Christmas) in a movie is important to you.

Well, that’s all for now! Than you for reading!

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