Thursday, February 25, 2021

Must-watch holiday movies and specials you forgot about

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Some of these movies are essential viewing because they're beautifully crafted. Others demand your time because they're so wonderfully terrible. Not much lives up to that description quite like The Christmas Tree. Deficient in animation, acting, and common sense, it's an overlooked classic for all the wrong reasons. It takes place in an orphanage run by the hilariously sadistic Mrs. Mavilda, where the orphans' only friend is a tree they call Mrs. Hopewell until the kindhearted Judy and her children Lily and Pappy (yes, Pappy) move in.

Everyone except the appropriately named Helen Quirk as Miss Mavilda sounds bored out of their minds in this film. One scene where Judy flatly says, “Rayyyy,” after her husband materializes from thin air is ten times funnier than any of the intentional jokes. Worse, the kids are either played by tiny toddlers too young to understand concepts like “enunciation” and “inflection,” obvious teenagers, or in one case, a full-on adult doing the least convincing kid voice ever heard.

The Christmas Tree is only fit for undemanding children, not least because it seems to have a child's understanding of how the world works. The goat-voiced mayor apparently has nothing better to do than find jobs for newcomers in town and hand over donations to the orphanage (which he measures in bags, not dollars). We could go on and on about all the hilariously bizarre stuff in this special, but it's better if you just see it for yourself. Even then, you might not believe it.

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