I was going to call this a movie review, but I don’t trust myself to follow through and meet the criteria necessary to be considered as such, so let me be clear – this is a collection of words about a movie. Not a movie review.
Please don’t look at the tags for this post.
On Thursday night, I was looking through the TV Guide to see if anything interesting was on. And then I found it: Jingle All The Way. The 1996 Christmas movie that is considered a comedy, but makes me laugh for reasons other than the script.
Before I get into it, why in the world is the movie called, Jingle All The Way? Like, what are they jingling? I know it’s a line in a Christmas song, but this isn’t an Instagram caption. You can’t just mysteriously drop a lyric into the title of a movie and walk away. You actually have to have the movie match the title.
Could they not call it, Bad Dad & Sinbad? Honestly. I thought of that in five seconds.
The movie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad. I will refer to them as Arnold and Sinbad throughout this post because I never really paid any attention to their actual character names.
For the record, Arnold plays Howard, and Sinbad plays Myron.
The movie begins with Arnold showing up late to his son’s Karate…recital? I’m not sure what to call it. It’s the thing where the kids get a new belt. Wikipedia calls it a Karate class graduation, so let’s go with that.
Arnold gets home and his wife is mad that he works so much and always misses out on things. His son, Jamie, gives him the silent treatment, so Arnold tries to make him laugh. What page of the parenting handbook is that on?
Realizing that his humour won’t win back his son’s love and affection, he promises to buy Jamie the one thing he wants for Christmas. Really, Arnold? Just one thing? What a cheapo.
The kid recites a TV commercial for a Turbo-Man action figure. Every kid is going to get one and whoever doesn’t is going to be a loser.
And that sets in motion the rest of the movie. Arnold doesn’t want his kid to be a loser, so he goes to great lengths to acquire a doll that is already sold out everywhere.
On some level, it’s sweet, I guess?
Then we find out that Arnold’s wife told him to buy the Turbo-Man doll weeks ago, but he didn’t listen to her. In fact, he probably didn’t even hear her because when his son told him about the doll, he acted like it was the first time he had ever heard about it.
To recap, so far: Arnold doesn’t listen to his wife, and neglects his son’s extra-curricular activities.
On his quest to track down a Turbo-Man doll, he runs into another Father of the Year (FOTY) candidate, who also hasn’t bought his kid a Turbo-Man doll yet – Sinbad.
Sinbad is a mailman and feels the need to carry his satchel full of mail around with him.
By the way, this is happening on Christmas Eve. In what world do they deliver mail on Christmas Eve? Also, Arnold left it to the final day to buy presents for his son? Sorry, a present. Singular. ONE.
Bad Dad & Sinbad (see, has a great ring to it) go all over town trying to track down any Turbo-Man dolls that are left for purchase. They find their way to a store at a mall, where each customer has to take a ball with a number on it, and if their number is drawn, they win the right to buy the doll.
By the way, there were like 54 raging lunatics at that store, trying to get their hands on this doll. Do these parents not plan ahead, or did they all miss a Karate graduation and are throwing a hail mary to win back their kid’s love?
Also, why didn’t the manufacturer of the Turbo-Man doll expect this much demand? Was this a sign of the times? 1996? Wikipedia says this movie was based on the sell-outs for: Cabbage Patch Kids, Furby, and Tickle Me Elmo.
Back to the mall.
Arnold’s ball bounces away from him because of course it does. It ends up in the hands of a little girl in a stroller, who makes “na na na boo boo” faces at Arnold. That just provokes him – he has a very short temper – and the chase is on.
Arnold stalks the little girl and follows her around an obstacle course before sliding into the ball pit and lunging at her.
Can we get some mall security? What’s that? We have mothers with big purses, instead? Well, alright then.
The Mothers of ‘Merica (MOM) take their swings at Arnold, like he’s a garbage can at an Astros game, as he exits the ball pit. And that’s it. They don’t confront him any further. They don’t call security.
While all this is happening, back at the house, neighbour Ted is doing everything he can to steal Arnold’s wife away from him. Ted is recently divorced and has a son, who has a Turbo-Man doll sitting under the Christmas tree because it was purchased months ago.
Alright, so that means he bought the doll in October, or earlier. Why are you even saving it for Christmas? Just give it to your kid in October.
The neighbourhood loves Ted because he bakes cookies and has hot chocolate ready to serve on a tray. In their eyes, he is the most eligible bachelor on the block. And that might be the funniest thing about the movie.
Ted is a creep. The end.
Meanwhile, Arnold & Sinbad have made their way to a radio station because they’re giving away a Turbo-Man doll to the first caller to name all eight reindeer. They go in person because Sinbad broke the phone at the diner (they were commiserating, at the time), and uh, what are cellphones?
Arnold finds the Radio DJ’s booth fairly quickly. Is there no security anywhere in 1996? He breaks in like a madman and confronts the DJ, who is none other than WILLARD KRAFT with long hair.
That’s right, it’s the school administrator from the original Sabrina The Teenage Witch, which came out three months before this movie did in 1996. The more you know.
Anyway, Arnold names the eight reindeer and demands the doll. Sinbad enters the room and pulls out a “bomb” from his mailbag/satchel because they’re living in a crazy time.
This is how you know it’s peak 1996. The unabomber (guy who mailed bombs to people) was apprehended on April 3, 1996.
Arnold, being Arnold, tells Sinbad to “put that away”.
IT’S A BOMB, ARNOLD. NOT A CHOCOLATE BAR.
If you put a bomb away, it’s still a bomb. Granted, if it’s away, no one will open it and set it off. BUT STILL. Why is no one running out of that building yet?
Willard Kraft from Sabrina The Teenage Witch finally tells them that they don’t actually win a doll. They win a gift-certificate.
Way to go, Willard. The movie could’ve been over right now, but noooo.
The police have shown up, but Sinbad pulls out another “bomb” from his satchel and leaves it for the police to deal with while he escapes with Arnold.
Uh, hello? It’s 1996 and you’re letting two guys with a bomb just run away? YOU OUTNUMBER THEM. YOU’RE THE COPS. SET A PERIMETER.
I get that television shows with cops and detectives weren’t a thing in 1996, but come on.
One cop picks up the package, claiming to have been on the bomb squad, and declares that they’ve been duped.
And then the package explodes in his face because it just so happened to be an actual bomb. Oops? Don’t worry, he lives. Doesn’t even fall over, actually. And his cop friend makes a joke, “How many years on the bomb squad?”
So, it’s fine. Just another day on the job in 1996.
And then we get to the part of the movie where Arnold turns into Turbo-Man and rides on the float in the parade. Why is the parade a day before Christmas? I don’t know. Those road closures must’ve been a pain.
There’s a long fight scene where Sinbad becomes a Dementor (not the Harry Potter one) and tries to kill(?) Arnold.
Fast-forward a bit and Arnold picks his son, Jamie, out of the crowd and calls him up to the float to give him a Turbo-Man doll. Finally. Jamie can’t believe it and after a loooong conversation with Turbo-Man aka HIS DAD IN A COSTUME, Jamie says he wishes his dad was here for this.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME, JAMIE?
How do you not recognize your dad’s accent? How do you not recognize his face? He’s wearing a helmet with a see-through visor. Wake up, kid!
I didn’t find this part believable at all.
Arnold takes off his mask and the kid is just floored. Get this boy a chair, he needs to sit down.
By the way, no one in this movie ever looks cold. They’re in Minnesota. It’s Christmas Eve. People are wearing winter clothes, but more as an accessory, than a roadblock to frostbite.
Arnold’s son is wearing a winter hat that doesn’t cover his ears. This bothers me the whole movie. Are you trying to look like Joe Pesci in Home Alone? Is it a fashion statement? Is the hat too small? Ask for one for Christmas!
I don’t get it.
One of the main advantages of wearing a hat is that it covers your ears. Nope! Not this one. He wears it above his ears, which means his ears freeze, right? NOPE! His ears are zero shades of red, which means he’s not cold, which means it’s not cold in Minnesota on Christmas Eve!
Look, I realize this movie started filming on (checks Wikipedia) April 15, 1996 (a whole 12 days after the unabomber was caught, which begs the question, was the bomb scene in this movie too soon?), but can the actors at least pretend like they’re cold?
Throw in a shiver or a lip quiver during one of your lines. Put ketchup on your uncovered ears, so I think they’ve frozen over due to your own inability to properly wear a hat. Anything to make me believe you’re pretending to be cold.
At the end of the day, Jamie gives the Turbo-Man doll to Sinbad because Arnold is Jamie’s hero now.
UNTIL YOUR NEXT KARATE GRADUATION WHEN HE FAILS TO SHOW UP.
After all that. AFTER. ALL. THAT.
If you’re wondering what Arnold got his wife for Christmas, I’ll tell you.
He got her nothing. He forgot. He didn’t get his wife or son anything for Christmas, but at least his son isn’t giving him the silent treatment anymore, so I guess this movie accomplished something.
And that’s my
movie review collection of words regarding Bad Dad & Sinbad Jingle All The Way.
Thanks for reading.
I forgot to mention, if this movie took place in 2019, every scene would have to be re-written, except maybe three.
Let me know what you thought of this post. Should I do more like it? Have you seen Jingle All The Way? Yay or Nay on Bad Dad & Sinbad as an alternate title? Anything else you want to say, go for it.