The A to Z index of the best Christmas movies of all time - top ten - 10 wicked films







Some of Jimmy Watson's friends, with the Magic Dinobot




Jingle All the Way is a 1996 American Christmas family comedy film directed by Brian Levant. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad as two rival fathers, mattress salesman Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) and postal worker Myron Larabee (Sinbad), both desperately trying to purchase a Turbo-Man action figure for their respective sons on a last-minute shopping spree on Christmas Eve. The film's title is borrowed from the lyrics of the popular Christmas song "Jingle Bells".

We found the film very watchable again over time, since there is nothing quite like it out there, and Arnold, as the former Terminator, brings home that there is festive spirit in all of us, no matter who we are. So, well done to Arnie for taking on such tongue in cheek roles. And, we've all felt that fear at Christmas, of not having that present for our loved ones.

Inspired by real-life Christmas toy sell-outs for such items as Cabbage Patch Kids, the film was written by Randy Kornfield. Producer Chris Columbus rewrote the script, adding in elements of satire about the commercialization of Christmas, and the project was picked up by 20th Century Fox. Delays to Fox's reboot of Planet of the Apes allowed Schwarzenegger to come on board the film, while Columbus opted to cast Sinbad instead of Joe Pesci as Myron. Jingle All the Way was set and filmed in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul at a variety of locations, including the Mall of America. After five weeks filming, production moved to California where scenes such as the end parade were shot. The film's swift production meant merchandising was limited to a replica of the Turbo-Man action figure used in the film.

Upon release, Jingle All the Way grossed $129.8 million worldwide but received generally negative reviews from critics, though the humor and Sinbad and Schwarzenegger's performances received some praise. In 2001, Fox was ordered to pay $19 million to Murray Hill Publishing for stealing the idea for the film; the verdict was overturned three years later. Jingle All the Way is the third and final collaboration between Sinbad and Phil Hartman after Coneheads (1993) and Houseguest (1995), and the last film featuring Hartman to be released during his lifetime before his death in 1998. In 2014, the film was followed by a sequel in name only, Jingle All the Way 2, starring Larry the Cable Guy. 


Workaholic Minneapolis mattress salesman Howard Langston loves his wife, Liz, and nine-year-old son, Jamie, but rarely finds time for them. He is often put in a bad light by his neighbor, divorcé Ted Maltin, who harbors unrequited feelings for Liz. After missing Jamie's karate class graduation, Howard resolves to redeem himself by fulfilling his Christmas wish for a Turbo-Man action figure, a popular television superhero; despite Liz actually having asked him to buy one two weeks earlier, which Howard forgot about. On Christmas Eve, Howard sets out to buy the toy, but finds that every store has sold out, and in the process develops a rivalry with Myron Larabee, a postal worker father with the same goal.

In desperation, Howard attempts to buy a figure from a counterfeit ring run by con men dressed in Santa suits, which results in a massive fight in the warehouse that is broken up by the police. Howard narrowly escapes arrest by posing as an undercover officer. Exhausted at his failure and out of fuel, Howard goes to a diner and calls home, intending to tell Liz the truth. Jamie answers the phone but keeps reminding him of his promise to be home in time for the annual Holiday Wintertainment Parade. Losing his patience, Howard yells at Jamie, after which he feels guilty and depressed after Jamie scolds him for not keeping his promises.

Howard finds Myron at the diner and they share their experiences over coffee, where Myron tells him of his resentment towards his own father for failing to get him a Johnny Seven OMA for Christmas. During their conversation, Howard and Myron overhear a radio station advertising a competition for a Turbo-Man doll. The ensuing fight between them results in the diner's phone getting disconnected, forcing them to race to the radio station on foot, where the DJ reveals to them that the competition was actually for a Turbo-Man gift certificate. The police are alerted, but Howard and Myron escape after Myron threatens the officers with a seemingly phony letter bomb. Officer Alexander Hummell, whom Howard has run into several times already, investigates the package, only to have it detonate in his face.

Upon returning to his Suburban, Howard finds it stripped by car thieves. He takes a tow truck home, where he finds Ted putting the star on his family's Christmas tree. In retaliation, Howard starts to steal the Turbo-Man doll Ted bought for his son, Johnny, but can't bring himself to do it. Unfortunately, Liz catches him in the act and Howard is left alone while his family goes to the Christmas parade with Ted and Johnny.

After dropping off Jamie and Johnny, Ted attempts to seduce Liz, but she violently rejects him by dousing him with egg nog. Meanwhile, remembering his promise to Jamie to go to the parade, Howard decides to attend as well, but runs into Hummell again. The resulting chase leads to Howard hiding inside a storage room, where he is mistaken for the actor portraying Turbo-Man and dresses in the highly technological costume. As Turbo-Man, Howard uses his chance to present a limited-edition action figure to Jamie, but they are confronted by Myron dressed as Turbo-Man's archenemy, Dementor.

Despite Howard's pleas for Myron to stop, a long chase ensues, involving a jetpack flight. Myron acquires the toy from Jamie but is cornered by police officers, while Howard rescues Jamie. Howard reveals himself to his family and apologizes for his shortcomings. The police return the toy to Jamie while Myron is arrested, but Jamie decides to give the toy to Myron for his son, proclaiming his father as his true hero. The crowd carries Howard away in a hero's fashion, while Myron, Liz, and Jamie watch happily.

In a post-credits scene, Howard finishes decorating their Christmas tree later that night by putting the star on top. However, when Liz asks him what he got for her, he shockingly realizes that he forgot to get her a gift.


- Arnold Schwarzenegger as Howard Langston
- Sinbad as Myron Larabee
- Phil Hartman as Ted Maltin
- Rita Wilson as Liz Langston
- Jake Lloyd as Jamie Langston
- Robert Conrad as Officer Alexander Hummell
- Martin Mull as a KQRS D.J. (Mr. Ponytail Man)
- Jim Belushi as Mall Santa
- E.J. De La Pena as Johnny Maltin
- Laraine Newman as First Lady
- Harvey Korman as President
- Richard Moll as Dementor
- Curtis Armstrong as Chainsmoking Booster
- Danny Woodburn as Tony the Elf
- Paul Wight as Giant Santa
- Daniel Riordan as Turbo Man
- Bruce Bohne as Santa at Warehouse Door
- Phil Morris as Gale Force
- Amy Pietz as Liza Tisch
- Chris Parnell as Toy Store Sales Clerk
- Nick LaTour as Counterman
- Kate McGregor-Stewart as Toy Store Customer
- Verne Troyer as Mini Santa (uncredited)


The film draws inspiration from the high demand for Christmas toys such as the Cabbage Patch Kids and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which often led to intense searching and occasional violence among shoppers, such as the Cabbage Patch riots, over finding the toys. Randy Kornfield wrote the film's original screenplay after witnessing his in-laws go to a Santa Monica toy store at dawn in order to get his son a Power Ranger. While admitting to missing the clamor for the Cabbage Patch Kids and Power Rangers, producer Chris Columbus experienced a similar situation in 1995 when he attempted to obtain a Buzz Lightyear action figure from the film Toy Story, released that year. As a result, he rewrote Kornfield's script, which was accepted by 20th Century Fox. Columbus was always "attracted to the dark side of the happiest holiday of the year", so wrote elements of the film as a satire of the commercialization of Christmas.

Brian Levant was hired to direct the film. Columbus said Levant "underst[ood] the humor in the material" and "was very animated and excited, and he had a vision of what he wanted to do". Levant said "The story that was important to me was between the father and son ... it's a story about love, and a father's journey to deliver it in the form of a Turbo Man doll. The fact that I got to design a toy line and do the commercials and make pajamas and comic books was fun for me as a filmmaker. But at its root, the movie's about something really sweet. It's about love and building a better family. I think that's consistent with everything I've done."

Arnold Schwarzenegger was quickly cast. He became available in February 1996 after Fox's remake of Planet of the Apes was held up again; Columbus also exited that project to work on Jingle All the Way. The film marks Schwarzenegger's fourth appearance as the lead in a comedy film, following Twins (1988), Kindergarten Cop (1990) and Junior (1994). Schwarzenegger was paid a reported $20 million for the role. He enjoyed the film, having experienced last-minute Christmas shopping himself, and was attracted to playing an "ordinary" character in a family film. Columbus initially wanted Joe Pesci to play Myron. Comedian Sinbad was chosen instead, partly due to his similar height and size to Schwarzenegger. Sinbad was suggested for the part by Schwarzenegger's agent, but the producers felt he was unsuited to the role of a villain as it could harm his clean, family-oriented comedy act and reputation, although Sinbad felt the character would generate the audience's sympathy rather than hate. Furthermore, he missed the audition due to his appearance with First Lady Hillary Clinton and musician Sheryl Crow on the USO tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but Columbus waited for him to return to allow him to audition and, although Sinbad felt he had "messed" it up, he was given the part. He improvised the majority of his lines in the film; Schwarzenegger also improvised many of his responses in his conversations with Sinbad's character.


Filming took place in Minnesota for five weeks from April 15, 1996; at the time, it was the largest film production to ever take place in the state. Jingle All the Way was set and filmed in the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minnesota at locations such as Bloomington's Mall of America, Mickey's Diner, downtown Minneapolis, Linden Hills, residential areas of Edina and primarily downtown Saint Paul. Unused shops in the Seventh place Mall area were redecorated to resemble Christmas decorated stores, while the Energy Park Studios were used for much of the filming and the Christmas lights stayed up at Rice Park for use in the film. The Mall of America and the state's "semi-wintry weather" proved attractive for the studio. Although Schwarzenegger stated that the locals were "well-behaved" and "cooperative", Levant often found filming "impossible" due to the scale and noise of the crowds who came to watch production, especially in the Mall of America, but overall found the locals to be "respectful" and "lovely people." Levant spent several months in the area before filming in order to prepare. The film uses artistic license by treating Minneapolis and Saint Paul as one city, as this was logistically easier; the police are labeled "Twin Cities Police" in the film. Additionally, the city's Holidazzle Parade is renamed the Wintertainment Parade and takes place on 2nd Avenue during the day, rather than Nicollet Mall at night. Levant wanted to film the parade at night but was overruled for practical reasons.

The parade was filmed at Universal Studios Hollywood in California on the New York Street set, due to safety concerns. The set was designed to resemble 2nd Avenue; the parade was shot from above by helicopters and stitched into matte shots of the real-life street. It took three weeks to film, with 1,500 extras being used in the scene, along with three custom designed floats. Other parts of the film to be shot in Los Angeles, California included store interiors, and the warehouse fight scene between Howard and the criminal Santas, for which a Pasadena furniture warehouse was used. Turbo-Man was created and designed for the film. This meant the commercials and scenes from the Turbo-Man TV series were all shot by Levant, while all of the Turbo-Man merchandise, packaging and props shown in the film were custom made one-offs and designed to look "authentic, as if they all sprang from the same well." Along with Columbus and Levant, production designer Leslie McDonald and character designer Tim Flattery crafted Turbo-Man, Booster and Dementor and helped make the full-size Turbo-Man suit for the film's climax. Principal production finished in August; Columbus "fine-tun[ed] the picture until the last possible minute," using multiple test audiences "to see where the big laughs actually lie."


Opening on November 22, Jingle All the Way made $12.1 million in its first weekend, opening at #4 behind Star Trek: First Contact, Space Jam and Ransom; it went on to gross $129 million worldwide, recouping its $75 million budget in the first ten days of release. The film was released in the United Kingdom on December 6, 1996, and topped the country's box office that weekend.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 19% based on 47 reviews and an average rating of 4.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Arnold Schwarzenegger tries his best, but Jingle All the Way suffers from an uneven tone, shifting wildly from a would-be satire on materialism to an antic, slapstick yuk-fest." On Metacritic the film has a score of 34% based on reviews from 23 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.

Emanuel Levy felt the film "highly formulaic" and criticized Levant's direction as little more advanced than a television sitcom. Although he felt that the script did not provide sufficient opportunity for Hartman, Wilson and Conrad to give exceptional performances, he opined that "Schwarzenegger has developed a light comic delivery, punctuated occasionally by an ironic one-liner," while "Sinbad has good moments". Neil Jeffries of Empire disagreed, feeling Schwarzenegger to be "wooden" and Sinbad to be "trying desperately to be funnier than his hat" but praised Lloyd as the "saving grace" of the film.

The New York Times critic Janet Maslin felt the film lacked any real plot, failed in its attempt at satire, should have included Myron's only mentioned son and "mostly wasted" Hartman, while Levant's direction was "listless". Similarly, the BBC's Neil Smith criticized the film's script, its focus on the commercialization of Christmas, as well as Schwarzenegger's performance which shows "the comic timing of a dead moose," but singled out Hartman for praise. Chicago Tribune critic Michael Wilmington panned the film, wondering why the characters (primarily Howard) acted so illogically: "Howard Langston is supposed to be a successful mattress manufacturer, but the movie paints him as a hot-tempered buffoon without a sensible idea in his head." Jack Garner of USA Today condemned the film, finding it more "cynical" than satirical, stating "this painfully bad movie has been inspired strictly by the potential jingle of cash registers." He wrote of Levant's directorial failure as he "offers no ... sense of comic timing," while "pauses in the midst of much of the dialogue are downright painful." Trevor Johnston suggested that the film "seems to mark a point of decline in the Schwarzenegger career arc" and the anti-consumerism message largely failed, with "Jim Belushi's corrupt mall Santa with his stolen-goods warehouse ... provid[ing] the film's sole flash of dark humour."

IGN's Mike Drucker praised its subject matter as "one of the few holiday movies to directly deal with the commercialization of Christmas" although felt the last twenty minutes of the film let it down, as the first hour or so had "some family entertainment" value if taken with a "grain of salt". He concluded the film was "a member of the so-corny-its-good genre," while "Arnold delivers plenty of one-liners ripe for sound board crank callers." Jamie Malanowski of The New York Times praised the film's satirical premise but felt it was "full of unrealized potential" because "the filmmakers [wrongly] equate mayhem with humor." Roger Ebert gave the film two-and-a-half stars, writing that he "liked a lot of the movie", which he thought had "energy" and humor which would have mass audience appeal. He was, though, disappointed by "its relentlessly materialistic view of Christmas, and by the choice to go with action and (mild) violence over dialogue and plot." Kevin Carr of 7M Pictures concluded that while the film is not very good, as a form of family entertainment it is "surprisingly fun."






It's a Wonderful Life 1946 (James Stewart)
White Christmas 1954 (Bing Crosby)
Elf 2003 (Will Ferrell)
Miracle on 34th Street 1994 (Richard Attenborough)
The Snowman 1982 animation
The Polar Express 2004 animation
Love Actually 2003 (Colin Firth)
Jingle All The Way 1996 (Arnold Schwarzenegger)
Home Alone 1990 (Macaulay Culkin)
The Muppets Christmas Carol 1992
The Grinch 2018
The Man Who Invented Christmas 2017
Spirited 2022 (Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds)
Die Hard 1988 (Bruce Willis)
The Nightmare Before Christmas 1993 animation








Alien 1979 (Ridley Scott)

Big Hero 6 - Walt Disney animation

Blade Runner - 1982 & 2017

Chappie 2015 Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman

Ex Machina - 2014 (Alicia Vikander)

Honey I Shrunk The Kids 1989

I,Robot - Will Smith 2004 (Isaac Asimov)

Men In Black 1997 - Will Smith

Predator 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger

Real Steel 2011 Hugh Jackman (Robots)

The Food of the Gods H. G. Wells 1976

The Relic 1997 - Penelope Ann Miller (Horror)

The Terminator 1984 Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Thing 1982 (Antarctica) John Carpenter











THE MAGIC DINOBOT - From Jameson Hunter, an original short story with potential for adaptation as a TV series idea, germinated in 2016. While attending a school in Hailsham, Jimmy dreams of building a giant robot ant as a special project, then one day his dreams come true when the robot he has built is transformed into a living, breathing, companion. NOTE: This story is Copyright © Jameson Hunter Ltd, March 30 2016. All rights reserved. You will need permission from the author to reproduce the book cover on the right or any part of the story published on this page. JIMMY WATSON - His mother, Marion, teases her son about his dreams to build a large robot ant with a drawing of her son riding on the ant's back. Then it comes true.

















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