Now that Halloween is over, we can start thinking about Christmas. The dominant holiday of only two-sevenths of the world's population (not counting the non-religious hangers on) is rearing its head early this year thanks to Friday's release of "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas." This third installment of the stoner comedy franchise will hopefully be another riotous satire full of political incorrectness, and the series' typical play with race, creed, sexuality and politics ought to fit perfectly with the many themes, positive and negative, associated with the day when we commercially
exploit celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Plenty of film franchises have tackled the cinematic equivalent of a holiday special, giving us such sequels as "Christmas Vacation," "Ernest Saves Christmas" and "Friday After Next." But there are plenty series that still haven't ventured into this territory yet. Is it because, like a Christmas album, such entertainment distinguishes itself as only appropriately enjoyed one time of year? Nah, because if it's good enough, we'll surely be listening to Justin Bieber's "Under the Mistletoe" long after Santa's back at the North Pole, and if it's good enough we'll be watching Harold and Kumar and "Neil Patrick Harris" in their madcap 3D adventure over and over months after all the Christmas trees are taken to the curb.
Which movie characters would you like to see get their own Christmas movie? I've come up with a short list of ideas of film franchises that could easily make the Yuletide stride. Check them out after the jump.
Title: "Christmas Clerks"
Even though I hated "Clerks II" with a passion and prefer the recent (comparably) dramatic turn Kevin Smith took with "Red State," I can think of no filmmaker more suited for a Christmas movie than the man behind "Dogma" and "Mallrats." And, of course, the original "Clerks." That debut of Smith's brought us all back to our horrible first (and in some cases present) jobs behind a counter. And when are customers the least tolerable? That's right, during the holiday season. He could bring the action back to the mall, which is an even more miserable place these days since the smart shoppers are now buying everything online. Apparently Smith was at one time going to make a Mallrats sequel titled "Mallrats 2: Die Hard in a Mall. Well, "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie. Maybe something can still come of the idea.
Title: "Ocean's Twelve Days of Christmas"
Even though technically the next sequel in the "Ocean's" series should be titled "Ocean's Fourteen," I'd like to see it step back a number in order to have that perfect holiday-themed name. Just imagine all those movie stars in one of the biggest Christmas movies ever. And what better time to rob a casino than December 25? The original Rat Pack version began at Christmas then set the heist on New Year's Eve. But as we've learned from the "Home Alone" franchise, thieving is best during the holidays, because that's when people are spending the most. Think of all the Christmas lounge music that can be licensed for the soundtrack! To get you in the mood, read some Danny Ocean fan fiction set at Christmas.
Title: "The Dark Silent Knight"
Speaking of George Clooney and silly ideas, let's talk about Batman, who has been featured in plenty of Christmas-themed comic book stories through the decades. As most superheroes unfortunately have, certainly, but Batman seems one of the less appropriate characters for such holiday fluff. At least in the post-Frank Miller era. Oh, but here's an idea based specifically on Miller's earliest involvement with the Dark Knight as a co-writer and illustrator. 1980's "DC Special Series" #21 went as the cover title "Super-Star Holiday Special" and included a Batman story titled "Wanted: Santa Claus...Dead or Alive." Sadly it didn't feature a battle between the Caped Crusader and Kris Kringle. It was more like a "Home Alone" plot, in which Batman captures a gang of thieves who've stolen all the Christmas receipts from a department store. And he locates these crooks with the help of the Star of Bethlehem. Obviously I am aware, before the comments come in, that "Batman Returns" was basically a Christmas movie, but that was a whole different, unrelated franchise. And that film is 20 years old. It's time for a 21st century Batman Christmas story.
Title "Uncanny X-Mas"
Here's an idea for an even more appropriate Christmas-themed comic book movie. Don't make me spell it out for you. Like Batman and most other superheroes, the X-Men have had their own share of holiday stories, including one special episode of the '90s animated series. Isn't it funny when Wolverine is a regular old scrooge? And when he's on the cover of his own comic putting the claws in Santa Claus? Actually, forget the rest of the X-Men and just make the third solo "Wolverine" movie a Christmas movie. Cranky old Logan will escape the holiday cheer at the mansion and wind up being visited by the ghosts of his past.
Title: "On Her Majesty's Secret Santa"
Like Batman, James Bond has already sort of had his own Christmas movie with "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," which is complete with its own popular holiday tune, "Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?" But like with Batman, that was the old version of the series, actually the only installment starring George Lazenby. It's almost as isolated in the character's history as the old version of "Casino Royale." Now that 007 has been rebooted with a more "real" approach, why not revisit this same story all over again too? I'm kidding about the title suggestion. How about just a new adaptation of "OHMSS" with either Daniel Craig or whomever fills the role next (Idris Elba!)?
Title: "Christmas Pie"
This time I'm not joking about the title. In fact, the title is pretty much all I've got. But now that the "American Pie" series is picking back up with the upcoming "American Reunion," it's only a matter of time until they at least release a direct-to-video installment centered around the holidays. Especially if the new "Harold and Kumar" movie does well. Because we can never have enough raunchy Christmas movies.
Title: "Toy Story 4"
Seems so logically the way to go with the next "Toy Story" movie that I don't want to even give Pixar any ideas. They'll have better ones anyway.
Title: "Must Be Santa"
Don't try to tell me Bob Dylan doesn't have his own film franchise. He's been the subject of so many documentaries that I'm qualifying him. Anyway, D.A. Pennebaker kind of made a sequel to "Don't Look Back" with the outtake doc "65 Revisited," so again, I'm qualifying him. Really, I just want to know what Christmas is like for the guy and so I'd like the next doc about him to be a verite work that follows him around during the holidays. And I don't want anything forced, of course, but if it's nothing like Dylan's "Must Be Santa" music video, I'm going to be very disappointed.
Title: "Shanghai Silent Knights"
Just forget that I already used the "Silent Knight" pun. Instead focus on the serious need for another sequel to "Shanghai Noon," one of the most underrated buddy comedies of the last 20 years. Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan are a terrific duo, and even if "Shanghai Knights" wasn't nearly as fun, they deserve another shot at this series. If for nothing else, we need more modern movies that pay homage to the action films of the silent era. Now, Christmas may be a sad time for silent comedy, as it is the day Charlie Chaplin died. Also, shockingly there seems to have been no Christmas movies among the great silent comedians' works. Buster Keaton later appeared in a holiday episode of "The Donna Reed Show," but that seems to be it. Still, I'm sure they could figure something out, and maybe bring Hollywood's other great silent comedy fan, Johnny Depp, into the fold. Forget "The Lone Ranger," here's the western comedy he belongs in. Really, Christmas or not, I just want another "Shanghai" soon.
"Wet Hot American Summer"
Title: "Wet Cold American Christmas"
Since David Wain seemed to personally enjoy my list of ideas for the potential "Wet Hot American Summer" sequel, here's another quick idea: Christmas. That's all the plot you need with this ensemble, just as "summer camp" was really all you needed for the original movie. I already hinted at the concept of going forth with three more season-specific films, and nothing is more popular about winter than its beginning, specifically the Christmas part. They could also combine this with the ski resort idea I gave them. Again, think of all the sweaters for Gene to fondle. As evidence that Wain and company need to do a Christmas movie more than anyone, here are some classic "Stella" shorts: