IS ‘LAST CHRISTMAS’ THE WORST FILM OF THE YEAR
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Tuesday 26th November 2019
Last Christmas may be the worst film of the year – so why is it box-office gold?
Last Christmas, this year’s festive schlockfest, is bad. Oh, it’s bad. It looked OK on paper: a Christmas romcom written by Emma Thompson and directed by Paul Feig of Bridesmaids, a catchy George Michael soundtrack, a festive Covent Garden setting, Michelle Yeoh – what’s not to love? But it is bad. It is not only one of the worst films of the year, it’s possibly one of the worst films … ever?
But despite being objectively terrible, it is one of those interesting cinematic phenomena where audience opinions differ greatly from those of critics. Its user score on Rotten Tomatoes is currently 81% (against a 48% critics’ score). In its first week of release, it has knocked Joker, the first film in a decade to hold the No 1 spot for six weeks, off the top spot at the UK box office. Predictably, given its twee London setting and cute British cast, Americans are cosying up to it, too; Last Christmas has grossed $22m at the US box office.
So how has this year’s worst film become such a box-office hit?
So bad it’s good?
It is so confident in how terrible it is, that it is kind of irresistible – it is defiantly, wonderfully, wildly c**p. The humour tries desperately hard to be politically correct, but in the process somehow ends up being the opposite. While between them, the two leads – the equally fresh-faced and posh-voiced Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding – have about as much charisma as a Tesco turkey-and-stuffing sandwich. And the less said about Emma Thompson’s easten European accent the better.
The film is literally based on a song
Spoiler alert: the film is based on Wham!’s song Last Christmas. And, crucially, the film’s twist is that it has interpreted the lyrics “Last Christmas I gave you my heart” as literally as possible. Just consider that for a second. It is somehow both completely predictable and jaw-droppingly shocking, a real “wow they really just went there” moment. How could I not have seen this coming? How COULD I have seen this coming? How am I seeing this … at all? It actually needs to be witnessed to be believed, and in a culture where we discuss what we’re watching more than ever before, that might be a major motivation for people shelling out for a ticket.
It already has cult classic status
The moment it is revealed that Michelle Yeoh’s character is actually called Santa (!) this film reaches the dizzy heights of cult horribleness. Within minutes, it surpasses all expectations in terms of awkwardness; any film that gets a British audience to actually turn around in their seats and look at each other in disbelief, surely deserves the accolade of cult status.
Camp, silly fun
It is full of colour and absurdity, not unlike many camp and terrible romcoms of the 90s. In a world of Jokers, Christopher Nolans and Javier Bardems, audiences are crying out for escapism, something utterly silly and bravely sappy. As the world burns and governments collapse, Emilia Clarke skipping through Covent Garden in a leopard print coat could be just the tonic.
The spirit of Christmas
Perhaps Last Christmas inadvertently embodies the Christmas spirit. Contrary to what Richard Curtis would have us believe, for many of us the festive season involves dysfunctionality, stress and unresolved, deep-rooted problems; all of which Last Christmas has in glittering stockingloads. Maybe Christmas movies should not be about Renée Zellwegger falling fetchingly out of a black cab, or the cream of the British acting crop wearing Christmas jumpers in Surrey cottages as Celia Imrie makes irreverent quips over the cranberry sauce; maybe, just maybe, Christmas movies should be as horrible and unsettling as possible.
Last Christmas: Production Budget $25–30 million. Box office $38.5 million
Dylan B Jones
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby
FACT OF THE DAY
26 November 1789
First national Thanksgiving held in America
Happiness is…this Christmas or that’s what we hope
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
My boss is going to fire the employee with the worst posture. I have a hunch, it might be me.
Love is… still being smitten with each other after all these years
TRACK OF THE DAY
Got To Get You Into My Life – Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers
Highest Chart Position: No.6 15th September 1966
WHAT DAY IS IT?
Tuesday 26th November 2019
Native American Heritage Month – November
November is Mantee Awareness Month
©2019 Phil M Robinson & jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk