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Obligatory Christmas Post: The Santa Clause

December 10, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is nearly finals week. And I probably should be studying. But in elation of finishing my Shakespeare paper, I decided to write a Christmas-themed blog post, about one of my favorite Christmas movies: The Santa Clause, starring Tim Allen.

Some might say that it’s not quite as classic as Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life. And it’s not. But unlike those movies, it’s well-paced and it’s not two hours long. Let’s face it: It’s A Wonderful Life just drags on and on. Also, Jimmy Stewart’s character has a horrible grasp of economics. And Miracle on 34th Street? Its defense of the verisimilitude of Santa Clause is hardly convincing. I would still place The Santa Clause below A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott or Muppets) and The Homecoming. Don’t even mention that awful children’s movie with Will Feral. (Misspelling intended)

The Santa Clause came out in the mid-1990s, back in Tim Allen’s heyday. Tim Allen’s main strength is his use of sarcasm, and pretty much everything he says in this movie is sarcasm. It’s a good thing this movie was made back in the day when Disney movies were allowed to have biting humor instead of political correctness.

Tim Allen has some of the funniest lines in this movie, all from making fun of other people, especially his cynical ex-wife Laura and her goofy husband, Neil. “You got more important things to worry about…like where Neil’s gonna get his sweaters when the circus pulls out of town.”

Why do I single this movie out for special attention. First, because it makes hilarious hay of political correctness. Scott Calvin is a businessman, and then becomes Santa Claus, who runs a materialistic operation designed to give stuff to kids, and he’s the good guy. The villains of the piece are the sensitive teachers, the bureaucrats, and Neil, the psychiatrist. The film has some of the funniest anti-political correctness moments ever, like the scene in the schoolroom. Fat Kid: “No stupid, the elves make the toys.” Teacher: “We don’t say stupid, and we don’t say elves. They’re little people.”

Secondly, it seems to me like this movie is actually an allegory of belief in the Christian God. In the beginning, Scott Calvin claims to believe in Santa Clause for Charlie’s sake at the beginning of the movie, yet he doesn’t truly believe. Even after he sees the evidence–Santa falling off the roof, the sleigh and reindeer, the north pole–he refuses to believe. Only Charlie, with the heart of a child, believes in Santa Claus at first. When he is at the north pole, he tells the elf Judy “I see it, but I don’t believe it,” to which she replies “seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing.” Scott Calvin gradually comes to believe in Santa Claus, but his belief is opposed by the educational establishment, the bureaucrats and government workers, and Dr. Neil and Laura, the politically correct couple of the 90s. Ultimately, though, Neil and Laura come back to belief in Santa Claus.

Yet a third reason to like it is that when Scott Calvin first gets the naughty and nice list, he looks at the page and says incredulously “Armand Assante?”

The fact that my brother used to genuinely resemble Charlie gives me great joy.

It’s too bad they never made any sequels. Merry Christmas.

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