a Christmas Con

Zachary Ansley and Edward Asner in The Christmas Star (1986)

Whilst he might share the same beard and bulbous belly as Santa, convict Horace McNickle (Edward Asner) doesn't do Christmas although he has an interest in a Santa's grotto as that is where the money is stashed he is doing time for. When he learns that it is all going to be destroyed Horace breaks out of prison dressed as Santa and takes refuge in the basement of a building where two children find him and think he is the real Santa. But for Horace these children and their friend John (Zachary Ansley) are perfect to work for him to find the stolen money. That is until he starts to realise that all is not well with the children and he actually grows quite fond of them.

I don't know what has happened this year, I usually love watching and reviewing Christmas movies but for some reason those which I have found to watch are failing to hit the mark and are struggling to nudge me in to the Christmas spirit. In truth it might not be the movies because no matter what time of the year if you have things on your mind even a great movie can disappoint but still a movie should be able to distract you from the real world for 90 minutes even if it doesn't excite you as much as you would like.

Fred Gwynne and Edward Asner in The Christmas Star (1986)

That is the problem I have with "The Christmas Star", a Walt Disney movie from 1986 starring Edward Asner, as it goes through the motions with this grumpy convict who tries to use some naive kids only to end up feeling for them. On top of that we have a poor detective who can't get home to spend Christmas with his family as he is after the escaped convict. And of course we need some problems with one kid having a dad who shows him no love and others whose parents are going to have to move as the place they rent is being sold. The trouble is that none of this is that gripping, even when it tosses a huge curve ball of a weird scene at the audience towards the end.

The thing which "The Christmas Star" has going for it is that simple fact that Edward Asner is perfectly cast. The grouchiness which he gives Horace is full of that cynicism which is amusing and despite being a bad guy there is something quite warming about him, a sense of being protective which works in the movie's favour.

What this all boils down to is that "The Christmas Star" probably holds a soft spot in the heart of those who watched it as children back in 1986. But for me this was just another Christmas movie which failed to deliver what I want from a Christmas movie which includes putting me in the Christmassy swing of things.

Tags: Christmas Movies

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