I’ll be honest. I absolutely love stories that border on the ridiculous, the unreal, the fantastical, the unbelievable. I don’t mean fantasy. I mean real life that gets out of control. Hyperbole. Satire.
I totally crack up.
And there is no better example of it done right than the Christmas movie JINGLE ALL THE WAY. I watch it every year. A harried father tries to make up for working too much by rushing out to buy the hot new toy on Christmas Eve.
The fight for the Turbo Man doll, the stampede. Yes, overdone. But for me? Hilarious.
Bordering on ridiculous:
Oh yeah, that’s right. The Santa sweatshop. A bunch of con men dressed up as Santas selling overpriced toys. They come complete with candy cane numchucks.
And then there’s the part where the dad ends up dressed up as the toy, Turbo Man. And his nemesis throughout the movie, Sinbad, is dressed as Turbo Man’s nemesis. But what a perfect ending for such a fantastical movie.
This movie was grounded in something primal: a father trying to make things right with his family, struggling to earn back their trust. I rooted for him, cheered for him, hoping he’d pull through.
This satire on commercialism at Christmas time was balanced with the true meaning of the season and real heartfelt emotion that anyone could relate to.
This is the kind of stuff I love to read and write. And I’ve often had to rewrite to find that balance: toning elements down, beefing up the primal emotion.
How did JINGLE ALL THE WAY get it right?
- Great writing.
- Great acting.
- Finding that balance.
As a story, they did everything right too. Opening and closing mirror image and foreshadowing, making everything go wrong for the character, running gags, subplots that tied in. I’m sure it would pass the Blake Snyder beat sheet test.
The biggest aspect of believability is not whether what happens is truly believable. It’s in the setting up of expectations and the follow through. Not veering from the tone and style of the story. Building up to the ridiculous moments with the right emotions and set up.
What’s your favorite Christmas movie?