The greatest Christmas movie ever 

Now that the holiday season is upon us, it’s time once again to watch the greatest Christmas film in history.

And no, I’m not talking about It’s A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story, or even one of the several dozen renditions of A Christmas Carol — including the CG one with Jim Carrey. (Everyone knows the Muppets made the definitive version.)

Instead, what I’m talking about is Vendetta: A Christmas Story.

This movie’s awesomeness is unparalleled. For the uninitiated, “Vendetta” is a 20-minute film that first appeared on the Internet in the late 1990s. Back then, the movie took about three hours to download. Surfing the Web in those days involved lots of thumb twiddling, as well as enduring your modem’s electronic screeches.

The film, produced in the style of a 1980s cop show, depicts Santa Claus being pursued by special agents. He gets shot at, beaten, chased and stuffed in a trunk. It’s everything you could ask for in a holiday film.

I especially loved “Vendetta” when it first came out, because it demonstrated that you don’t need expensive sets, famous actors or lots of cash to make a film. You just need heart … and a lot of free time.

“Vendetta” was made in that weird era when professional, homemade films were possible — albeit relatively difficult — to produce. These days, consumer video-editing software is abundant, and computers are much, much faster.

That’s not to say filmmaking is easy — it’s not. But it’s definitely easier now for people who know what they’re doing.

“Vendetta’s” filmmakers had little money but plenty of creativity. They essentially made a fun, entertaining flick with consumer-level cameras and dollar-store props.

And I admire that. Audiences today are desensitized to the big-budget splendor of Hollywood. We take all their work for granted. That’s why it’s refreshing when a good, low-budget film comes along. We can see filmmaking’s fundamentals in their raw form.

Also, low-budget filmmakers have to have the basics nailed down. They can’t use big-name actors or special-effect sequences as a crutch. To pull off their film, they have to have a solid script, competent camera work and exceptional editing — all of which “Vendetta” showcases.

What’s more, “Vendetta’s” creators give the the film away. I doubt they’ve made money with it. They should have, if they haven’t. It’s a creative gem, and what’s more, it’s hilariously entertaining.

So this holiday season, here’s a giant thumbs up to “Vendetta” and to its creators. For me, Christmas isn’t complete until I’ve watched it at least once.

9 comments on “The greatest Christmas movie ever 

  1. Awesome! I missed it at the theaters when it first came out. Some claim it was an early Sam Peckenpah effort—largely dismissed at the time as not being quite ready for the non-existent prime time WB lineup. Something about it being far too violent for adults. The backstory on this little film, as I remember it; say’s that the renters of the studio (apartment) failed to make a trailer for it and so no one bothered to go see it upon its release to nowhere. Eventually it was locked away in the vault of one, Dash Albert Riprock—a former washed-up wanna be high school drama class actor. He immediately saw the nostalgic value of the film, and had it stored away in the archives of the UCLA (his Uncle Clarence Lenny Albert’s) closet. There, it remained until his recent passing from an (accidental) oversight on his part. Fortunately, it came to the attention of director, J.J. Abrams— who promptly saluted it—and then carelessly tossed it into a $5.00 bin of movies found at a local Walmart. Where an astute young (former) Real Estate office employee—by the name of Allen—then spent his last five bucks to purchase it. He borrowed the money, for the tax on the purchase, from one Mable T. Bartholomeus—who happened to be unlucky enough to be standing behind him in the checkstand line. From there the details become a little bit hazy. Legend has it; he failed to park his car in the bedroom that night, and chose instead, to leave the video copy of the film in the glove compartment of his car—which he absentmindedly left parked in a carport instead. Supposedly, thieves stole the video from the glove box that night in a failed attempt to steal his car, when Allen, carelessly neglected to leave his car keys in the ignition. However, the thieves were caught red handed later that day, because Allen’s car had just been painted with one coat of racing car red (by Earl Scheib for $19.95!), and thus, the paint job hadn’t dried sufficiently. Officer, Harry (the donut eating cop) Henderson, then posted (the now Academy Award winning) film on YouTube for everyone to see, in hopes that maybe someone might claim the little gem of a film. And the REST as they say…did me good. In fact, I got 40 winks. Oh, the film? It’s been restored to its original VHS beauty and is now playing on the internet to stooge acclaim. Leonard Maltin raged about having to pay to see it—but he was the only one who did. Paid to see it…that is. 😀

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