Christmas with the Kranks Preview

Time has truly flown with the calendar cycle as we are already at the end of the line. Time for transition time! This is where the last film in the cycle has to overlap with the next film in the cycle. In this case the film has to both appear on our Calendar and also… drumroll… bring an atypical BMT film along for the BMT ride. What does that mean? Well it is truly our most convoluted and confusing cycle we’ve ever done, which obviously means we love it. Basically there are several types of terrible films that we typically don’t watch for BMT. To help understanding these types of films Patrick has prepared a handy guide:

  • Missed Opportunity – Juuuust barely over 40%. So critics thought you were so bad you’re good, or good for what you are? Critics are also idiots and your movie is in actuality terrible.
  • Kids’ Films – You probably sold the movie as a romp that both 5 year olds and parents alike can laugh at. In reality you made a fake movie with fake money and overlaid ADR farts on top. Good job, is that what they teach in film school?
  • TV Movie – We obviously don’t watch shit SyFy originals, get that junk out of here (until now!)
  • Mockbuster – You want to trick me into watching your dumb ass intentionally bad shit? … fine, but only this once
  • Christian Films – These get major releases, but usually aren’t our bag. A liiiiiiittle holier than thou. Unless you’re Madea, then I love you. Saving Christmas here we come!
  • Straight-To-DVD – You couldn’t even get your shit together to get released to a theater? 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain got released to theaters! What are you doing with your life?
  • Foreign – You got some big names to run around on a Taiwanese production for a week, you’ve unlocked the key! Pay celebrities money to sell their souls.
  • pre-1980s – Everyone knows prior to the blockbuster era the bad movie landscape was dominated by hacks, if we wanted low-hanging fruit we’d go and make fun of community theater productions.
  • Bargain Bin – There was a time when terrible films were found like buried treasure in the bargain bins of local blockbusters. That time has passed… until now.

So how do we bring one of these terrible films along? Mash-up the titles of course. Using this first entry as an example we are starting with the Christian Films and mashing it up with a film from the Calendar. That’s right! We’re watching Saving Christmas with the Kranks. A mash-up of the Kirk Cameron barely-a-movie garbagefest, Saving Christmas, and what is likely the worst major Christmas release of all time, Christmas with the Kranks. It’s a Christmas miracle in August! Look at how nicely the titles flow into each other. Hooray. Saving Christmas is by all accounts not a real film, but rather a 79 minute Youtube response video to the made up “War on Christmas.” We actually told ourselves we would NEVER watch it and yet here we are. Bring a Friend was an offer we couldn’t refuse. Ho ho ho, everyone. Let’s go!

Christmas with the Kranks (2004) – BMeTric: 55.5

ChristmaswiththeKranks_BMeT

ChristmaswiththeKranks_RV

(Impressively low rating. I always like holiday films because you get that extra bump. That bump on the ‘06 mark might seem like a DVD release bump, but it isn’t. It is a bump around Christmas 2005 when a number of people saw it over the holidays. Solid stuff. This is a lower number of votes than I expected, I assumed a family film like this would be hugely popular regardless of quality. Go figure.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Noxious holiday movie in which suburbanites Luther and Nora Krank, whose daughter has joined the Peace Corps, decide to forgo celebrating Christmas and take a Caribbean cruise – which, according to their outrages neighbors, is positively un-American. Alleged comedy pays homage to mediocrity, crass consumerism, and love-it-or-leave-it conformity. Screenplay by Chris Columbus, based on John Grisham’s novel Skipping Christmas.

(Noxious! People hate this film. “Pays homage to mediocrity” is a great line by the way, and probably could be used to describe 25% of BMT films ultimately. I would say this is likely to be boring … except people hate it so much that in reviews for Saving Christmas (made 10 years later) people still mention Christmas with the Kranks as the worst Christmas movie ever made! Get me amped, no joke.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frNRluzraJU

(It certainly is getting me in the spirit! I hope the soundtrack is exactly that in the film, just wall to wall Christmas music. Was this a last gasp of Tim Allen the movie star? He had Wild Hogs, but that was kind of explicitly “look at all these older actors!” wasn’t it? He did do a great Dad with a capital D back in the day.)

Directors – Joe Roth – (Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Freedomland; America’s Sweethearts; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; Notes: Mainly a producer now, notably on the xXx franchise. Was married to the daughter of Samuel Arkoff titan of horror production pre-1980. Part owner of the Seattle Sounders F.C.)

Writers – John Grisham (novel) – (Known For: The Firm; A Time to Kill; The Rainmaker; The Client; The Pelican Brief; Runaway Jury; The Gingerbread Man; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; The Chamber; Notes: His first novel was A Time to Kill written while he was serving in the Mississippi State House of Representatives. Was a practicing lawyer for 10 years, but has been writing full time for over 20 years now.)

Chris Columbus (screenplay) – (Known For: The Goonies; Gremlins; Gremlins 2: The New Batch; Young Sherlock Holmes; Only the Lonely; Future BMT: Nine Months; Heartbreak Hotel; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; Notes: The director of both Home Alones and the first two Harry Potter movies, he was well established for working with kid actors. Gremlins was his first optioned script, which he rewrote in Steven Spielberg’s bungalow)

Actors – Tim Allen – (Known For: Cars; Toy Story; Toy Story 3; Galaxy Quest; Toy Story 2; Big Trouble; The Santa Clause; Redbelt; The Santa Clause 2; Future BMT: Zoom; The Shaggy Dog; The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; Jungle 2 Jungle; Joe Somebody; For Richer or Poorer; Crazy on the Outside; Meet Wally Sparks; Who Is Cletis Tout?; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; Wild Hogs; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor in 2007 for The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, The Shaggy Dog, and Zoom; and Nominated for Worst Screen Couple for The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause in 2007; Notes: Most famous for Home Improvement, but have been a well-established television mega-star for over twenty-five years now. Went to jail for two years for drug dealing before turning to stand-up comedy.)

Jamie Lee Curtis – (Known For: Halloween; Trading Places; True Lies; My Girl; Escape from New York; Freaky Friday; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; A Fish Called Wanda; The Fog; Veronica Mars; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Prom Night; The Tailor of Panama; Forever Young; From Up on Poppy Hill; Blue Steel; Beverly Hills Chihuahua; Spare Parts; Fierce Creatures; Homegrown; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Virus; My Girl 2; Perfect; You Again; Drowning Mona; House Arrest; Terror Train; Halloween II; Queens Logic; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; Notes: The original Scream Queen! She is the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, and married to Christopher Guest. Launched her horror career with arguably the best slasher of them all: Halloween.)

Dan Aykroyd – (Known For: Ghostbusters; Ghostbusters; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; The Blues Brothers; Ghostbusters II; Trading Places; Casper; My Girl; 50 First Dates; Grosse Pointe Blank; Twilight Zone: The Movie; Chaplin; Tommy Boy; Antz; Driving Miss Daisy; Evolution; The Great Outdoors; The Campaign; Blues Brothers 2000; Sneakers; Future BMT: Crossroads; Coneheads; Exit to Eden; My Stepmother Is an Alien; Loser; My Girl 2; Celtic Pride; Feeling Minnesota; Loose Cannons; War, Inc.; Sgt. Bilko; 1941; Pearl Harbor; Canadian Bacon; She’s Having a Baby; Spies Like Us; Getting Away with Murder; Diamonds; BMT: Caddyshack II; Tammy; North; Nothing But Trouble; Christmas with the Kranks; Pixels; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Supporting Actor in 1989 for Caddyshack II; and in 1992 for Nothing But Trouble; Nominated for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Nothing But Trouble in 1992; Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Exit to Eden in 1995; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for North in 1995; Notes: Not much to say about him. Recently was in the news for trashing Paul Feig for the recent Ghostbuster remake, which Aykroyd himself cameoed in.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $73,780,539 (Worldwide: $96,572,480)

(Not fantastic, but also not terrible. Won’t get you a sequel though. I’m willing to bet holiday films tend to do okay, just because people want to see them around the holidays and you can usually take your family to them.)

#12 for the Christmas genre

christmaswiththekranks_christmas

(These movies certainly make money regardless of quality. Fred Claus made $75 million? Bizarre. The plot is a bit messy, but it is interesting that holiday films seem to go in waves. I wonder if they buy up scripts like this and just make them until there are none left and no one wants to watch them anymore, and then they just wait out the slow periods. Either that or the peaks correspond with the bad movie booms … Seems like we might be in a boom period if that was the case. I’m skeptical.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (7/131): A mirthless movie as fresh as last year’s fruit cake, Christmas with the Kranks is a coarse, garish comedy that promotes conformity.

(ugh, some awful writing there. Garish is what I’ve been hearing about it. Basically it promotes consumerism and is in general just kind of sickening. Conformity is right, as Maltin said, it kind of has a love-it-or-leave-it vibe going on.)

Poster – Christmas with the Sklogs (F)

christmas_with_the_kranks_ver2

(That so very easily can be modified to be Christmas with the Sklogs, but why would we? It looks like straight trash. No bueno.)

Tagline(s) – Their Christmas will turn the town upside down! (C-)

No! Ho! Ho! (Nope.)

(Weird. The first tagline seems more like a riff on the poster… not really on the film itself. Get it? Tim Allen is upside down in the poster. The second is from an alternate poster and I kept it because it is truly a wonder to behold.)

Keyword(s) – christmas eve; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.6 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993); 67.3 Black Christmas (2006); 58.3 Deck the Halls (2006); 55.5 Christmas with the Kranks (2004); 51.2 Jack Frost (1998); 50.2 Santa Claus (1959); 46.5 The Traveler (I) (2010); 45.3 Unaccompanied Minors (2006); 44.4 Bad Teacher (2011); 44.2 While She Was Out (2008);

(Oh wow. Solid list of movies I’ve mostly never seen. We’ll be doing Deck the Halls eventually, I think it is on the calendar.)

Notes – The title of the John Grisham book on which the film is based is “Skipping Christmas”. It wasn’t used for the film to avoid confusion with another Christmas-themed film, Surviving Christmas (2004). (and eventually Saving Christmas, obviously)

The swimsuits the models are wearing in the advertisement for the cruise the Kranks are taking are the same ones Luther and Nora wear when they go tanning in the mall. (ha, love prop master 101 notes)

During filming, it was reported that the cast and crew had ingested over 10 pounds of fake snow. (gross)

Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Akroyd had previously starred in Trading Places, My Girl, and My Girl 2 together. They play neighbors in Christmas With the Kranks rather than love interests as they have in their previous movies.

When the Kranks are watching Vic Frohmeyer through the window, Luther says to Nora, “So you’re saying Frohmeyer has a problem with our skipping Christmas? Who’s he gonna call?” Dan Aykroyd, who plays Frohmeyer, also starred in the film “Ghostbusters” for which “Who Ya Gonna Call” was a line from the movies theme song. (Half the notes are about the dumb references in this film by the way. I deleted like four of the more unnecessary ones)

Tom Poston’s final film

Emmet Walsh and Tom Poston were both recurring actors on Tim Allen’s Home Improvement (1991).

When Nora drops the ham in the shopping center parking lot and the truck runs over it and she screams, you can hear the theme song from “Halloween”. (This reference on the other hand I approve of)

Lots of deleted and alternate footage appears in the movie’s trailer (included in the “Previews” section on the DVD). Some examples are: A book being opened to a photo of the Krank family.Nora Krank taking a photo of her husband and daughter outside their house.Luther Krank with a device in his mouth, obviously sitting in a dentist’s chair to get his teeth whitened and/or fixed.Luther Krank driving home with the skimpy tree on the roof of his car getting heckled by another motorist.A different cruise advertisement in the travel agency’s window.Luther Krank showing his botox-injected face in the hospital. (We only see it for the first time in the scene afterwards where he’s eating with his wife.)The shot of Blair Krank saying goodbye to her parents at the airport doesn’t have a screen credit over it as it does in the actual film. (cooool)

The $75 tree bought from the scouts is not tied to the car when Luther arrives at his house. (props)

Ally Sheedy was considered for the role of Nora Krank (Huh, that could have been interesting. I feel like I don’t see Sheedy in stuff that often)

When the power goes out, Luther asks Vic if he knows anybody at Con Ed. In Ghostbusters II (1989), Dan Aykroyd who plays Vic, and the other Ghostbusters pretend to be from Con Ed to dig a big hole in the middle of the street. (Also kind of a cool ref)

Julie Gonzalo, who plays Blair Krank, and Jamie Lee Curtis also star together in Freaky Friday (2003) in which Gonzalo plays the nemesis of Curtis’s daughter.

During the scene when Tim Allen is stuck hanging from his roof, you can see one of the fireman get hit in the face with the ladder. (goofs and bloops, loving it)

The Frosty prop used the film belonged to Tim Allen’s father and was brought overseas with him. He hung it at the Reichstag during the Fall of Berlin.It is a family heirloom and has made cameo appearances. Films in which Frosty makes an appearance include: Saving Private Ryan, Inglorious Bastards, Santa Clause 2, Dunston Checks In, Fury, Saw, Avengers II, The Pacifier, Frozen, every Fast and the Furious film, and all of the Exorcist films. (Got to end it there. That is super cool)

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