10. Jimmy Boyd, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
This Saks Fifth Avenue potboiler from 1952 about a child catching his mother being sexually assaulted by an elderly home invader only becomes even creepier when you realize the kid’s mom isn’t cheating on his dad, but that Mommy and Daddy have a Santa fetish. Also, what 13-year-old still believes in St. Nick anyway?
9. Lou Monte, “Dominick the Donkey”
With Italy in the midst of an economic crisis, Lou Monte’s 1960 holiday jingle about Saint Nicola outsourcing his Christmas present deliveries in the Italian mountainside to a retarded donkey suddenly feels more prescient than ever. But that doesn’t make it any less irritating.
8. Dan Fogelberg, “Same Old Lang Syne”
The concept is touching enough: Fogelberg runs into an old flame at the grocery store on Christmas Eve and they grab a drink and reminisce. But melodramatic lyrics (“She went to hug me and she spilled her purse/And we laughed until we cried”) and gratutious details (“We took her groceries to the checkout stand/The food was totalled up and bagged”) make “Same Old Lang Syne” a cloying annual annoyance.
7. Neil Diamond, “Cherry Cherry Christmas”
In this new addition to the schmaltzy, nonsensical holiday song canon, Neil Diamond wishes you “a very, merry, cherry, cherry, holly-holy, rockin’-rolly Christmas,” before idiotically exclaiming, “Cherry Christmas, everyone!” at song’s end.
6. Cyndi Lauper, “Christmas Conga”
Holiday cheer has always been all-inclusive. Hell, even the Jewish Neil Diamond has released three Christmas albums. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say a Latin house anthem with lyrics like “Bonga, bonga, bonga, do the Christmas conga!” probably wasn’t necessary. But we still love you, Cyn.
5. New Kids on the Block, “Funky, Funky Xmas”
This timeless boy-band classic features inexplicable British accents, inexplicable rapping, inexplicable lyrics like “It’s snowing outside, but we ho-ho-hoing,” and—less inexplicably, obviously—Santa Claus burning his butt.
4. The Cheeky Girls, “Boys and Girls (Xmas Time Love)”
Best known for their hit “Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum),” this Transylvanian duo cracked the U.K. charts in 2004 with a yuletide song based on Sabrina’s “Boys (Summertime Love).” The song doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Christmas, but there are some synthesized sleigh bells and the video features the bikini-clad twins frollicking in front of a Christmas tree at a festive pool party, so I guess that counts in England.
3. Clay Aiken, “Merry Christmas with Love”
This inspirational carol about a lonely widow featuring lyrics like “This year there’s no one to open the gifts/No reason for trimming the tree” was originally sung by Sandi Patti in the early ‘80s, but Clay Aiken resurrected it for his 2004 album of the same name, instantly catapulting it onto nearly every Worst Christmas Song list.
2. John Denver, “Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)”
Almost everyone can relate to the sentiment behind “Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas),” but a grown man singing “Now I’m almost eight, as you can see” is profoundly unsettling (not to mention absurd), even if that man is the eternally youthful John Denver.
1. NewSong, “The Christmas Shoes”
For over a decade now, NewSong’s contribution to Christmas music has ruined the holiday season for millions of people around the world. In the song, the narrator (played by Rob Lowe in the video below) meets a little boy who’s “dirty from head to toe” and who asks him to buy a pair of shoes for his dying mother so she looks beautiful in case she “meets Jesus tonight.” Half-step key changes and a children’s choir are added insurance in case you haven’t felt cheaply manipulated enough. Putting “The Christmas Shoes” at #1 on this list doesn’t do justice to how horrendous it is. The enormous gulf in quality between our #2 pick, “Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas),” and this song is the equivalent of a 3.0 and a 10.0 earthquake on the Richter scale. It’s not just the worst Christmas song ever, it’s one of the worst songs ever recorded.
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay
After walking back almost all of its bad decisions ahead of this year’s Oscars, there’s no way AMPAS isn’t going to do the right thing here.
Eric and I have done a good job this year of only selectively stealing each other’s behind-the-scenes jokes. We have, though, not been polite about stepping on each other’s toes in other ways. Okay, maybe just Eric, who in his impeccable take on the original screenplay free-for-all detailed how the guilds this year have almost willfully gone out of their way to “not tip the Oscar race too clearly toward any one film.” Case in point: Can You Ever Forgive Me? winning the WGA’s adapted screenplay trophy over presumed Oscar frontrunner BlacKkKlansman. A glitch in the matrix? We think so. Eric and I are still in agreement that the race for best picture this year is pretty wide open, though maybe a little less so in the wake of what seemed like an easy win for the Spike Lee joint. Nevertheless, we all know that there’s no Oscar narrative more powerful than “it’s about goddamn time,” and it was so powerful this year that even the diversity-challenged BAFTAs got the memo, giving their adapted screenplay prize to Lee, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, and Kevin Willmott. To bamboozle Lee at this point would, admittedly, be so very 2019, but given that it’s walked back almost all of its bad decisions ahead of this year’s Oscars, there’s no way AMPAS isn’t going to do the right thing.
Will Win: BlacKkKlansman
Could Win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Should Win: BlacKkKlansman
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay
This season, Hollywood is invested in celebrating the films they love while dodging the cultural bullets coming at them from every angle.
You know, if it weren’t for the show’s producers effectively and repeatedly saying everything about the Academy Awards is terrible and needs to be changed, and the year’s top-tier contenders inadvertently confirming their claims, this would’ve been a comparatively fun and suspenseful Oscar season. None of us who follow the Academy Awards expect great films to win; we just hope the marathon of precursors don’t turn into a Groundhog Day-style rinse and repeat for the same film, ad nauseam.
On that score, mission accomplished. The guilds have been handing their awards out this season as though they met beforehand and assigned each voting body a different title from Oscar’s best picture list so as not to tip the Oscar race too clearly toward any one film. SAG? Black Panther. PGA? Green Book. DGA? Roma. ASC? Cold War. ACE? Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Even awards-season kryptonite A Star Is Born got an award for contemporary makeup from the MUAHS. (That’s the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild, not the sound Lady Gaga fans have been making ever since A Star Is Born’s teaser trailer dropped last year.)
Not to be outdone, the Writers Guild of America announced their winners last weekend, and not only did presumed adapted screenplay frontrunner BlacKkKlansman wind up stymied by Can You Ever Forgive Me?, but the original screenplay prize went to Eighth Grade, which wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. Bo Burnham twisted the knife into AMPAS during his acceptance speech: “To the other nominees in the category, have fun at the Oscars, losers!” In both his sarcasm and his surprise, it’s safe to say he speaks on behalf of us all.
As is always the case, WGA’s narrow eligibility rules kept a presumed favorite, The Favourite, out of this crucial trial heat. But as the balloting period comes to a close, the question remains just how much enthusiasm or affection voters have for either of the two films with the most nominations (Roma being the other). As a recent “can’t we all just get along” appeal by Time’s Stephanie Zacharek illustrates, the thing Hollywood is most invested in this season involves bending over backward, Matrix-style, to celebrate the films they love and still dodge the cultural bullets coming at them from every angle.
Maybe it’s just tunnel vision from the cultural vacuum Oscar voters all-too-understandably would prefer to live in this year, but doesn’t it seem like The Favourite’s tastefully ribald peppering of posh-accented C-words would be no match for the steady litany of neo-Archie Bunkerisms spewing from Viggo Mortensen’s crooked mouth? Especially with First Reformed’s Paul Schrader siphoning votes from among the academy’s presumably more vanguard new recruits? We’ll fold our words in half and eat them whole if we’re wrong, but Oscar’s old guard, unlike John Wayne, is still alive and, well, pissed.
Will Win: Green Book
Could Win: The Favourite
Should Win: First Reformed
Watch: Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir, Starring Honor Swinton Byrne and Tilda Swinton, Gets First Trailer
Joanna Hogg has been flying under the radar for some time, but that’s poised to change in a big way.
British film director and screenwriter Joanna Hogg, whose impeccably crafted 2013 film Exhibition we praised on these pages for its “disarming mixture of the remarkable and the banal,” has been flying under the radar for the better part of her career. But that’s poised to change in a big way with the release of her latest film, The Souvenir, which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Prior to the film’s world premiere at the festival, A24 and Curzon Artificial Eye acquired its U.S. and U.K. distribution rights, respectively. Below is the official description of the film:
A shy but ambitious film student (Honor Swinton Byrne) begins to find her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but untrustworthy man (Tom Burke). She defies her protective mother (Tilda Swinton) and concerned friends as she slips deeper and deeper into an intense, emotionally fraught relationship that comes dangerously close to destroying her dreams.
And below is the film’s first trailer:
A24 will release The Souvenir on May 17.