Part of my court-ordered counseling I have to participate in involves me taking ownership of my problems. To that end, I feel compelled to own the fact that my favorite Christmas song is “Winter Wonderland.” There’s just something about getting married by a snowman that speaks to the sentimental fool in me.
And if “Winter Wonderland” is the greatest Christmas song of all time, then “The 12 Days Of Christmas” has to be the worst. In fact, it’s so bad I would even have to rank it below those trailer park Christmas songs like the one where mama was kissing Santa or that other one where grandma was getting run over by a reindeer. White trash sure do have interesting holiday traditions, don’t they?
The reason that “The 12 Days Of Christmas” makes me want to dig my brains out through my ears with a rusty spoon is obvious: the insane repetition. By the time they get half way through the song and you’ve already suffered through their grocery list of stupidity, you just know that the next time you have to endure the whole “five golden rings” section where they all take a deep breath before running down the remainder of the song, you’re going to bust out your axe and go all Silent Night, Deadly Night on them.
Ahhh, but you say, this movie is all about the 12 DOGS of Christmas. Right. And that makes it infinitely worse. You see, when you have a movie about the 12 DOGS of Christmas, you also have to have a 98 minute long story to go with it. And though “The 12 Days Of Christmas” may seem to take three to four times that long to complete, it actually is closer to only about an hour or so. And while the song makes you want to punch the singer in the face, this movie will force you to punch yourself in the face just to stay awake.
The movie takes place in 1931 which just happens to be during the Great Depression. To a certain segment of our not-dying-off-fast-enough population, this is what is known as “the Good Old Days.” I guess there’s just something about dirty unemployed bums standing over a fire in a barrel that speaks to the sentimental fool in them.
If you know the song, you’ll know that there are a bunch more dogs than just twelve. According to my calculations such a song would have to feature 78 dogs! I’m thinking that calling it The 78 Dogs Of Christmas would have turned off even the most ardent canine fetishist. And it’s probably a good thing they didn’t since they cheated us out of the final 12 dogs at the end anyway.
There’s this little brat who gets sent to live in Doverville by her bummy father. She’s supposed to be living with her aunt, but her aunt didn’t know she was coming and making matters even worse, this woman isn’t even her aunt, but a trampy hairdresser who apparently tramped around with Brat’s dad years ago. No matter though since there’s bigger problems awaiting Brat in Doverville.
Seems this here town’s got a bone to pick with man’s best friend! For some reason the town has banned all dogs! Egads! Not since John Lithgow had dancing banned in his town during the seminal Christopher Penn epic Footloose have we seen a more heart-wrenching city ordinance!
Of course, in Footloose the dancing ban was eventually explained while in this movie the dog ban never was, but that’s the difference between classic cinema and celluloid rabies isn’t it? Well that and a scene of Kevin Bacon’s body double dancing around in a barn.
If everyone in good old Doverville hated dogs there wouldn’t really be any conflict and thus no need for Brat to save the day. Naturally though there’s this crazy dog lady that lives just outside of town and runs a dog orphanage. What an unlucky break! To run a dog orphanage right next to town that prohibits dogs! What are the odds?
About the same as the odds that the football coach who has to take over the school Christmas program would need the crazy dog lady’s help since she can play piano whenever she’s not flouting her disrespect for the laws of the great town of Doverville.
And also the same as the odds that the Christmas show would be hijacked by Brat, Coach, and Dog Lady to advance their own pro-pooch agenda. As a strong Christian who firmly believes that Santa is the reason for the season, I was nauseated by their blasphemy.
The boredom comes fast and furious as this one stumbles and lurches towards the climatic school concert. The mayor’s brother is the dogcatcher and he’s got himself a crazed assistant and Mad Max-style dog catching motorcycle and sidecar.
He also has himself a little sideline operation involving dogfights which was rudely interrupted when Brat swung into the pit on a rope to save her friend’s pet sheepdog. I think that scene was right up there with the one where Brat and her own dog got locked inside a dog cage together and she started whining to be let out. Maybe someone won’t butt into someone else’s illegal dogfights anymore, huh?
Somehow or other it gets set up so that the Crazy Dog Lady is going to be forced to get rid of her dogs by Christmas Day or else and the next thing you know Brat is leading all her classmates in one of those “lets put on a Christmas pageant featuring a bunch of mangy mutts to save the dog orphanage” schemes last seen during the real 1930s in movies starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.
When I found out that all this doggy-doo was based on a honest-to-gosh book, I did some checking because I figured they must have taken some liberties with it because no book could possibly be this inanely irritating and still have tricked someone into paying money to make a movie off it. I mean, the whole idea is like something a seven year old girl would come up with.
Oh wait, it was something a seven year old girl came up with. This little twerp came up with the bright idea to re-write that horrid Christmas song to feature dogs instead of lords-a-leaping and maids-a-milking. Then some bigger twerp came up with the even brighter idea of using the now doubly-horrid Christmas song as a springboard for a dull, dingy drama that does the viewer dogstyle. It all made me want to go out back and do an Old Yeller to myself.
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