So, imagine it’s several weeks after Christmas, classes have started, and there is not a remaining ounce of Christmas spirit to be seen. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect time to watch a horrible children’s Christmas movie with your friends? Because that’s exactly what I did.
“A Fruitcake Christmas” is one of those films that we bought on a whim but could never bring ourselves to watch.We have had this movie sitting on our coffee table for months, gazing at us with its awful box art of a computer-generated worm staring into our souls.
Normally these kid’s movies aren’t bad enough to laugh at, but this one ended up being the perfect film to bring us back into the swing of things after break.As the name suggests, this movie is a Christmas movie that has a story focused on a fruitcake.
Surprising, I know.
This is part of a series of Christian children’s films called “Hermie and Friends,” which I feel is over-saturating a market that is already filled by “Veggie Tales” — one of my personal favorite series as a kid despite not actually being Christian. While I’ve never watched anything else from the Hermie series, I can tell that they are much worse at trying to teach children anything about history and morality simply because of the writing.
This film is about a town of sentient insects preparing for Christmas in the middle of a famine. There isn’t enough for everyone to eat, and they are resorting to eating snow to fill their stomachs. It had a pretty harsh starting point already, but where this becomes increasingly dark is when we learn that two cockroaches have been collecting what little food is left lying around and keeping it to themselves, forcing a slave ant to carry it for them.
Yes, a slave ant.
This kid’s movie is depicting these two cockroaches as fat, capitalistic slave owners who abuse bureaucracy for their own gain. One of the running gags in the film is that one of the cockroaches is so fat that his buttons are popping off his shirt despite everyone else literally starving to death around them.
Wait a minute. … Thinking back, these two were the only ones wearing clothes in the whole film. Literally, everyone else was naked. Why have them clothed? That just means that clothes exist in this society, and everyone else is just naked all the time. If they weren’t clothed, then we could assume that there aren’t clothes, and it wouldn’t make it weird.
One of the town’s big traditions is to make a giant fruitcake to share amongst themselves, but after everyone wakes up on Christmas morning, the cake has mysteriously disappeared. The whole town immediately blames the cockroaches, but Hermie says that people are innocent until proven guilty and asks God if he is right about that.
And then God replies.
Straight up, every character can just talk into the sky and converse with God directly, with him replying to them.
In this world, how could people not be Christian, if he is literally only a couple words away from being able to confirm or deny things? This also makes me question whether God is humanoid in this world or if he is a bug too, because there are no signs of humans at all.
After God tells everyone it is bad to jump to conclusions, everyone immediately agrees that the cockroaches are guilty, and they work on plans to break into their house and steal the cake back.
They go and attempt to distract them with carols, but since they don’t believe in Christmas, they just shut the door with a “bah humbug.” Get it? They’re bugs.
This sounds to me like a conflicting message to kids.
Capitalists love Christmas because it is the time of year they make the most money. Company’s call Black Friday so because it is the one day every year where their books go from red to black, meaning they’ve finally made a profit for the year. I don’t know a single company that doesn’t capitalize on Christmas and the Christmas spirit to make more money, so I feel like this depiction of the bugs may confuse kids later on. Companies don’t love Christmas for the same reason, and they can’t help but love the extra dollars that will line their pockets if they use the holiday to their advantage.
The plot of the movie is a mashup of “A Christmas Carol,” “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and other Christmas movies about people hating Christmas only to love it by the end. At the end of the film, the cockroaches feel guilty and recreate the scene from the end of the grinch where he rides down the mountain in his sleigh, pulling the sleigh themselves and crashing at the bottom, throwing the cake back where it belongs.
I honestly think Seuss’s lawyers should investigate this, because it feels like a one-to-one recreation.
In the end, everyone shares the cake and is happy, meaning that in this movie’s eyes, collecting and sharing resources amongst the masses is the happy ending. It didn’t mean to, but I feel like this movie may have taught some future adults that capitalism is bad, and pooling resources is good.
I rate movies from 10 to -10, with negatives being so bad it’s good. This film is a -5, because while it was fun to laugh at at some points, it still looked awful and was trying way too hard to shove awful life lessons down my throat. Go watch some “Veggie Tales“ if you’re really looking for a kid’s Christian movie, because they at least teach some real lessons and won’t give your children nightmares from the animation.
This week, I want to shout out voice recording studios for making people in cartoons actually sound good. There was a single actor in this film who recorded his lines from a different location from everyone else, and it is so obvious that whenever he talks there is still a lot of static and background noise. If everyone records in the same studio, then the consistency of the sound allows the viewers to become more easily immersed in whatever they are watching.
This article was originally written for The University of Tennessee’s Daily Beacon’s Bad Movie Showcase.
Editing done by Evan Newell