Friday, 13 December 2013

FSF Lesson #16 - Xmas Special: How To Be The Best Grinch You Can Be


Last week, Film School Friday surprised readers with a little pop quiz to keep people on their toes. Congratulations to those who passed the test with high marks. For those who failed, years of shame and ridicule await you. Today, I thought I'd keep the surprises coming...WITH A TERRORIST ASSAULT ON YOUR FAMILY!!! ...Just kidding. Instead, I thought I'd mix things up towards the end of December with... a surprise Christmas special. Ok, I know what you're thinking. How left-field is this guy? How does he continue to dazzle us at every turn with his bizarre, almost schizophrenic approach to film writing?... What can I say? It's a gift.

For our Christmas special, I considered celebrating the joys of the festive season, explaining to readers how to make the perfect Christmas film or how to be the best Santa Claus you could be, but then I thought better of it. Everywhere I look, there's Christmas advertising, annoying jingles and too many damn reindeer jumpers so forget It's A Wonderful Life, bin your copy of Elf and throw Love Actually in the fire... 2013 is the year of The Grinch

Lesson #16 - How To Be The Best Grinch You Can Be

How great is The Grinch? He doesn't take shit from anybody. All those Who's from Whoville can just go Who themselves for all he cares. Shame about the ending though. Why go to all that effort stealing the presents only to give them all back? I can't understand it myself. Now how can you be the best Grinch you can be without giving into the Christmas spirit at the last hurdle?

Start Small

Scrooge had the right idea. Whether he was played by Michael Caine or Bill Murray, Scrooge did his utmost to ruin the lives of everyone around him. Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy... all suffered because of Scrooge's mean streak. Now that's good Grinching. He would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those pesky ghosts... Bah humbug! But is that enough to really ruin Christmas? Surely a true Grinch could do better than that...

Up The Scale

Now you could keep your workers in the office on Christmas Eve to maximise their sadness. You could even turn away visitors seeking donations for charity. But if you really want to be the best Grinch you can be, try blowing stuff up. I find using missiles launched by mind controlled penguins usually does the trick and if that particular skill isn't in your repertoire, watch Batman Returns to get an idea of how one goes about doing these things. Super villains do everything on a bigger scale so this is definitely a step in the right direction but to really ruin Christmas, we can't just mindlessly destroy everything, as fun as that may be. No. We have to go to the source.

Very Bad Santa

Jack Skellington could have been an honorary Grinch but just like Scrooge and indeed the Grinch himself, Jack ruined his plan at the last minute. It's a shame as his idea was faultless in design. In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Skellington planned to kidnap Santa and take his place in order to claim the holiday for himself. That's pretty damn Grinchy but I think we could take things a step further.

tom-hanks-santaOnce you've taken over Santa's role, it's vital that you do a terrible job of it. For tips, I would recommend Bad Santa, which stars Billy Bob Thornton as a sex addict who drinks like a fish... who's an alcoholic. For a less conventional approach, consider viewing the Finnish fantasy film Rare Exports, which features a feral Santa slaughtering all of the naughty children and any annoying adults along the way. However, if you really want to mess up the kids, then The Polar Express is the way to go, or as we call it in my house, That Creepy CGI Film With The Zombie Mannequins And A Thousand Tom Hanks's. Those cold lifeless eyes will give children more nightmares than a thousand killer Santa's.

No More Santa

Ruining Santa's image is a perfectly valid option but I think it also sounds like a lot of effort, especially when you're dealing with all of the children out there whose faith in the big C is nigh on unshakable (To clarify, the big C refers neither to a disease that has taken the lives of millions or an award winning show starring Laura Linney). To really shake children's belief in Christmas, just take Santa out of the game completely. When no presents appear on Christmas morning, that's it. Game over man! Game over! 

Tim Allen was a fool and the reasons why could fill an entire Film School Friday but today, I'm specifically referring to how he messed up his chance to ruin Christmas in The Santa Clause. There was Santa, dead at his feet and what does Allen do? He only puts on the bloody suit and ends up filming two more Santa Clause sequels, ensuring that each entry was progressively worse than the last. Surely, the obvious thing to do was to simply bury the body and move on with our lives, Christmas free.

I'll admit though, Santa's death was a stroke of luck in that film. How often is Father Christmas going to slip on the roof and fall into your yard, breaking every bone in his humongous body? I can tell you now loyal readers, you're more likely to see a sequel to It's A Wonderful Life starring James Stewart than ever see that happen in your lifetime. So let's get creative.
Booby Trap

Let me ask you this. If two burglars try to break into someone's home at Christmas time, who the hell would booby trap their house when they could just call the police? Crazy old Culkin, that's who. At the tender age of eight, Macaulay Culkin showed more psychopathic tendencies in Home Alone than Travis Bickle at a President's convention but as crazy as he is, the kid was also a genius.

If you want to get Santa out of the picture for good, which I know you do, wait until Christmas Eve and then booby trap the hell out of your house. Heat up the doorknobs, ice up the roof, leave out broken Christmas ornaments, get the glue and feathers ready... ok Culkin clearly got a bit carried away towards the end but isn't that true of every young aspiring psychopath? There's no way Santa will make it out alive if you follow Culkin's plan to the letter. Job done.

Inspire The Youth

So you've done it. Santa Claus is dead. No more presents and certainly no more festive cheer. Most Grinch wannabes would stop there but if you really want to be remembered, take some inspiration from the classic holiday slasher Black Christmas and go on a mad killing spree. It's worth remembering that there's going to be a lot of pissed off kids hanging around on Christmas day with little to do so think about bringing them on side. Personally, I couldn't think of anything scarier than kids like Culkin waking up Christmas Day without presents. The carnage, oh the carnage!

Hopefully now, when people say the word 'Grinch', they'll no longer think of Jim Carrey selling out to make a quick buck. No, they'll think of you; that mad son of a bitch who killed Santa Claus and turned Christmas Day into a violent murder spree which will be remembered for generations to come. Now that's how you ruin Christmas!

Next week, Film School Friday is taking a week off for the Christmas holidays - when else will I watch Jingle All The Way on repeat? - but we'll be back in two weeks time to welcome the new year in with a party special! Just make sure you line your stomach first with plenty of snacks and keep yourself hydrated. It's gonna be a doozy! See you in two weeks...

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