Christmas movies are a time honored tradition, and there are many that touch on the spirit of Christmas and what the holiday means to society during the time period in which it was created.

In today’s post we do some film analysis on what may, or may not, be considered a classic in the genre of Christmas movies. The movie in question is none other than the 1996 laugh riot, Jingle All the Way.

Watch: Jingle All the Way Breakdown

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Best Christmas Movies

Why Jingle All the Way 

Jingle All the Way was directed by Brian Levant, produced by Chris Columbus, and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sindbad, Rita Wilson, Jake Lloyd, Jim Belushi, Martin Mull, and Phil Hartman.

Jingle All the Way was an attempt to expose the darker side of capitalism, commercialism, and consumerism by using the exact methods mentioned to drive viewers to the theaters and cash in on the Holiday movie frenzy.

A succinct way of putting it is that Jingle All the Way is the type of Christmas movie that fights fire with fire, and our video essay and film analysis aims to find the deeper meaning in this Holiday film and to touch on some of the blocking and staging used in this Christmas movie that may, or may not, be geometric easter eggs for the Soul of Christmas. 

Jingle All the Way - Christmas Tree - StudioBinder

The Soul of Christmas

Now, that isn’t to say that the film doesn’t do a really good job of showing how our own lives and family values can often be too involved with buying affection, but I suppose there is a more effective and noble way of doing so.  

Jingle All The Way sets out to be a fun Christmas movie that the whole family can enjoy and is truly elevated by the performances from Sinbad and Phil Hartman. Arnold Schwarzenegger is good in the film, and Rita Wilson delivers on the shallow character she’s afforded by the script, but the fact is that the movie is well shot and paced perfectly. 

To this day, Jingle All The Way serves as a Holiday movie worth a watch even if we can all admit it not the best Christmas movie of all time, but it has its moments and some of the best we got to see of Phil Hartman.  

Jingle All the Way - Naughty vs Nice - StudioBinder

Naughty vs. Nice

Jingle All the Way

Why watch Jingle All the Way?

No one is saying that this is a perfect movie, but there are some seriously great things about the movie which includes parts of the screenplay, acting, and many of the filmmaking and editing techniques.

For slapstick humor, there are few films that do a really great job of layering everything together in a way that is as enjoyable as this film. The fight scene with the Santa Claus cons stands out as something you might see in an action film but because this is a kids movie this scene is often seen as an overly violent homage to Arnold’s other films.

If you have a sense of humor, even a small one, you can find a lot of great moments that make you smile here are there. In general, the film is cynical but that doesn’t mean it is wrong or, itself, morally bankrupt.

Jingle All the Way - Christmas Present - StudioBinder

Christmas symbology

If you hope to get a big laughs from watching two absent fathers try to buy the affection of the respective sons, then you need to have them attacking each other and deploying dirty tricks at all costs.

Most films don’t need to be The Godfather, which when boiled down is a movie about family values and violence, so I guess in a way Jingle All the Way is just like The Godfather

But it’s not like it has the same childhood infatuation with a toy and family issues as say, Citizen Kane… oh wait, it does! If you can’t enjoy Jingle All the Way for what it is, then you may just be a Grinch yourself. 

Up Next

73 Best Crime Films of All Time

Now that you’ve gotten a healthy dose of Jingle All the Way, why not brighten things up by checking out our list of the best crime movies of all time. Once you’ve watched all of them you can assemble your own team and pull off the heist of the century. You son of a gun… I’m in. 

Up Next: Best crime movies ever →
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  • SC Lannom is a screenwriter and director living in Los Angeles. He works as a writer, director, and content producer here at StudioBinder.

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