We’re all stuck in the house, right? There’s never been a better time to dig into those retro movies that you’ve always wanted to watch, but never had the time for. Personally, I’m a bit of a retrophile and tend to watch more older flicks than newer ones. On Fangirlish, you can now look forward to a retro review from me each Wednesday in this column. I’ll be highlighting one throwback movie a week, offering a spoiler-free review of the film, any throwback thoughts from my childhood, and where you can watch the movie yourself. Sit back, relax, and enjoy #WayBackWednesday.
The Santa Clause got repeat play at my house year-round growing up. I watched a fair amount of Home Improvement because of my crush on JTT back in the day, so I was quite happy to watch a Disney Christmas movie with Tim Allen. There are a few reasons I love The Santa Clause–humor, extremely relatable content, and the Santa Claus mythos–which is why I chose it for my Christmas week #WayBackWednesday column. Check out the trailer for The Santa Clause and let’s get started with #WayBackWednesday.
The Santa Clause tells the story of Scott Calvin, a divorced father of a young boy, Charlie, who while successful at his job as a toymaker, is struggling to be a good father. When an accident sends Scott and Charlie on a wild night flight of present dropping, cookie, milk, and cocoa consumption, along with some reindeer sass for good measure, Scott wakes up thinking he had a crazy dream and Charlie believes they had the greatest night ever playing Santa Claus. What follows is a hilarious and fun adventure of a man who learns not only that playing Santa is the best gig ever but also learns how to be a good father.
One thing that I’ve grown to appreciate about The Santa Clause over the years is how the humor hits me differently. I remember thinking the movie was fun and funny as a kid. I enjoyed the slapstick humor and some of the jokes. As an adult, I appreciate the banter between Neal (Judge Reinhold) and Scott (Tim Allen) much more.
I also appreciate lines like, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. When I wake up, I’m getting a CAT scan!” much more now than I ever did as a kid, despite having an understanding even then of what a CAT scan was.
The jokes hold up for me and I also enjoy the added humor the music choices bring to the comedy scenes. I can’t hear “Gimmie All Your Lovin’” from ZZ Top without thinking of The Santa Clause and for that reason, the song has made my Christmas playlist this year. If you’re in need of a good laugh this holiday season, I would definitely recommend checking out The Santa Clause.
Extremely Relatable Content
To give you some context for what I’m about to say, I’m going to have to reveal my age. I’m just shy of a year older than Eric Lloyd, who plays Charlie. You can do some math or googling there. I was also much older than I should have been to still be believing in Santa Claus. And part of me still really wants to believe, if I’m honest.
All that to say, I really related to Charlie’s struggles about believing in Santa. I’ve found that as a kid, I really related to Charlie, but as an adult, I relate much more to the plight of the adults in the film, making difficult decisions about how to talk to the kids in their life about hard things, how to not be cynical about the world and people in general, and how to still have hope, even when circumstances are not the best.
I think the plight of the adults is one thing that often gets overlooked about this film and truthfully, it’s not something I really considered until I sat down to write this post. While the humor in The Santa Clause is excellent, the extremely relatable content gives the film a little more gravitas.
The Santa Claus Mythos
One thing I never lacked as a kid was plenty of imagination. I have always loved myths and legends and The Santa Clause does an amazing job of creating and detailing the mythos of Santa. The costuming and detail that went into making Tim Allen become Santa is still truly magical to watch. The costuming has a warm and nostalgic look for me–somewhere between a Coca-Cola Santa Claus and Norman Rockwell–which just feels like Christmas to me.
As a kid, one of the things I loved about The Santa Clause was the way it explains the mechanics of how Santa works–he just knows who’s been naughty or nice. His bag of gifts refills itself. He can change his shape to go down into a house without a chimney and a fireplace will simply appear at the bottom. All of these explanations really gave me a sense of wonder, sparked my imagination, and became part of my own Santa headcanon. The mythos is what gives The Santa Clause its magic, and makes it a film I return to year after year.
If you’re looking for a film that you can enjoy with the whole family and with all the Christmas magic you can muster, look no further than The Santa Clause.
Until next week, I wish all of you a merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season. The holidays may look different this year, but at least we can still enjoy all of our favorite holiday films.