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'Christmas With the Kranks" doesn't have anything wrong with it that couldn't be fixed by adding Ebenezer Scrooge and Bad Santa to the cast. It's a holiday movie of stunning awfulness that gets even worse when it turns gooey at the end. And what is it finally so happy about? Why, that the Kranks' neighbors succeed in enforcing their lockstep conformity upon them. They form a herd mentality, without the mentality.




Christmas with the Kranks



The movie is not funny, ever, in any way, beginning to end. It's a colossal miscalculation. Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis star as Luther and Nora Krank, who live in a Chicago suburb with their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo). Julie is going to Peru in the Peace Corps, so this will be their first Christmas without her, and Luther suggests that instead of spending $6,000 on Christmas, he and Nora spend $3,000 on a Caribbean cruise.


Sounds reasonable to me. But perhaps you're wondering how a couple with one child and no other apparent relatives on either side of the family spends $6,000 on Christmas. The answer is, they decorate. Their street coordinates a Christmas display every year in which neighbors compete to hang the most lights from their eaves and clutter the lawn with secular symbolism. Everyone has Frosty on the rooftop.


As a satire against neighborhood conformity, "Christmas With the Kranks" might have found a way to be entertaining. But no. The reasonable Kranks are pounded down by the neighbors, and then their daughter decides, after having been away only about two weeks, to fly home for Christmas with her new Peruvian fiance. So the Kranks of course must have their traditional Christmas Eve party after all, and the third act consists of all the neighbors pitching in to decorate the house, prepare the food and decorations, etc., in a display of self-righteous cooperation that is supposed to be merry but frankly is a little scary. Here's an idea: Why don't the Kranks meet Blair and her fiance in Miami and go on the cruise together?


The movie's complete lack of a sense of humor is proven by its inability to see that the Kranks are reasonable people and their neighbors are monstrous. What it affirms is not the Christmas spirit but the Kranks caving in. What is the movie really about? I think it may play as a veiled threat against nonconformists who don't want to go along with the majority opinion in their community. What used to be known as American individualism is now interpreted as ominous. We're supposed to think there's something wrong with the Kranks. The buried message is: Go along, and follow the lead of the most obnoxious loudmouth on the block.


So distant are the spiritual origins of the holiday, indeed, that on Christmas Eve one of the guests at the Kranks' big party is the local priest (Tom Poston), who hangs around gratefully with a benevolent smile. You don't have to be raised Catholic to know that priests do not have time off on Christmas Eve. Why isn't he preparing for midnight mass? Apparently because no one in the Kranks' neighborhood is going to attend -- they're too busy falling off ladders while stringing decorations on rooftops.


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Executive producer Little Steven gives the latest Tim Allen holiday caper, Christmas With the Kranks, a garage rock revival makeover. The esteemed DJ/New Jersey gangster/musician arranged and produced six of the 12 cuts, which range from girl group splendor (the Charms' charming rendition of "Frosty the Snowman") to the Ravi Shankar-meets-Phil Spector wall of sitars and strings that permeates Tina Sugandh's lush "White Christmas." Also included are originals by the Raveonettes (the punch-drunk, vibrato-filled "Christmas Song") and the Ramones ("Merry Christmas [I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight]"), which along with the Brian Setzer Orchestra's rousing "Nutcracker Suite" are among the record's best bets for a long night chasing mistletoe. Christmas With the Kranks is surprising to say the least, and its fresh take on the genre is fun without being cloying, resulting in a road trip-worthy collection of holiday favorites meriting an extra mile or two.


In addition to streaming, Christmas with the Kranks is available on AMC. The network will be the exclusive broadcast home for the film from November 27 through December 25. AMC can be found through live TV streaming services such as YouTube TV, FuboTV, Philo, and Sling TV.


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Cable TV subscribers can watch Christmas with the Kranks for free on AMC. Users can also access AMC content through live TV services such as YouTube TV, FuboTV, Philo, and Sling TV. Prices vary depending on your subscription.


Christmas with the Kranks is directed by Joe Roth and written by Chris Columbus. Besides Allen and Lee Curtis, the ensemble cast features Dan Aykroyd, Julie Gonzalo, Dava Hulsey, M. Emmet Walsh, Elizabeth Franz, Cheech Marin, Jake Busey, and Tom Poston in his final role.


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She never takes no for an answer and knows exactly how to get what she wants, from negotiating charity donations into her no-Christmas agreement with Luther, to fighting her way into the last hickory honey ham at the grocery store.


Synopsis: Luther and Nora Krank (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) face the prospect of their first Christmas without their adult daughter and decide to take a cruise and skip Christmas altogether, much to the consternation of their neighbors.


Luther Krank is fed up with the commerciality of Christmas; he decides to skip the holiday and go on a vacation with his wife instead. But when his daughter decides at the last minute to come home, he must put together a holiday celebration.


1. when explaining why shes not gonna celebrate christmas jamie lee curtis could be like "lets just say ive had... bad luck with holidays." (play 4 notes of "laurie's theme" so the audience gets the joke)


It's bonkers that because every single person in this movie is such a stick-up-the-ass, can't-mind-their-own-business maniac about Christmas, you wind up siding with Tim Allen's Luther Krank (lol).


But wouldn't you know it, pressure arrives from without in the form of Vic Frohmeyer (Aykroyd) who accuses them of being Grinches who are ruining, RUINING I say, the entire neighborhood's vibe with their lack of decoration. What follows is not a tale of a neighborhood allowing its members to follow their bliss and celebrate in their own way, but a madcap farce forcing the Kranks to come back around. Which they eventually do when they learn their daughter is returning home for Christmas after all.


The film, it seems, wants audiences to be ideologically on Frohmeyer's side, rooting for him to turn the Kranks into Christmas-lovers once again. He doesn't ask if the Kranks might be Jehovah's Witnesses now, or Jewish, or even atheists. Christmas must be celebrated in the neighborhood style. "Christmas with the Kranks" would make a good double feature with Michael Haneke's 2009 proto-fascist yarn "The White Ribbon." 041b061a72


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