Loving Jingle All the Way is most definitely a generational thing. For people like me, who were in their early teens when it came out in 1996, it was a rather subversive movie. Not only a lesson in how the spirit of Christmas is corrupted by consumerism, but Brian Levant’s film also showed an entire generation weened on shows like the Power Rangers that guys in bulky suits with padded muscles fake fighting villains with fluffy henchmen are actually pretty dumb, and forcing our parents to buy all those related toys is even more dumb.
It also showed kids like me that men like Arnold Schwarzengger, an icon beyond measure whose face I’d seen countless times on the covers of a seemingly endless stream of VHS boxes and who represented violence and power and larger-than-life infallibility, could also be funny and goofy and gentle. For us, Jingle All the Way was a touchstone film that made us see media icons and consumerism and our own fandom in a strange new light, and it also brought down topical social issues – like postal worker rampages and depression – to a level we could maybe, kind of understand. I realize how silly that sounds, but that’s my point.
For others, Jingle All the Way is just that goofy family movie where Arnold Schwarzenegger fights Sinbad. And that’s fine. A movie doesn’t have to mean the same thing to everyone. It just goes to show that something as seemingly innocuous as Jingle All the Way can leave an impression on someone if it arrives at just the right time in their lives.
All of this is a long way of saying that even I – someone who unapologetically loves Jingle all the Way – has no insterest in the just-announced Jingle All the Way 2. The first film is such a unique product of its time that I just cannot see how a sequel makes sense, aside from the fact that those words together in that order are going to push plenty of DVDs at Walmart and rentals at RedBox.
It’s even more baffling with someone like Larry the Cable Guy, who represents none of the things Schwarzenegger did when he took on the role of a father who really isn’t trying as hard as he could, as the lead. Then again, I haven’t seen The Tooth Fairy 2, the other straight-to-video sequel where Larry the Cable Guy takes over an action movie icon’s family film. Maybe that creative team, who are also making this new movie, knocked it out of the park. I have no idea, and probably never will because there’s nothing about The Tooth Fairy 2 that sounds even remotely interesting. However, I realize why the generations above me would have said the same thing about the first Jingle All the Way, and look what that movie ended up representing. Maybe there’s a chance the sequel will do the same thing to a new batch of kids. I doubt it, but I guess the possibility is there.