Holiday Favorites 2012: Andrew Disney's 'Clause'

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The Santa Clause

Welcome to Holiday Favorites, a series in which Slackerwood contributors and our friends talk about the movies we watch during the holiday season, holiday-related or otherwise. 

This installment comes from Andrew Disney, writer/director of Searching for Sonny, the Fort Worth-shot detective-movie spoof that screened at Austin Film Festival in 2011 (Mike's review). Here's his pick:

I started writing with the intention to impress everyone. First I thought Gremlins, but it was already taken. Then I thought Kiss Kiss Bang Bang because I do love films set during Christmas that have little to do with the holiday. But deep down inside I knew it would all be false. There's one Christmas movie I've watched every Christmas Eve since I was nine. Of course, I'm talking about the 1994 hit movie starring Tim Allen ... The Santa Clause (with special emphasis on the "e").

I distinctly remember sitting in the theater listening to my dad try to explain the legal definition of "clause" to me and my younger sister. The entire movie hinges on this pun, and I don't think I quite got it as a kid. As a nine-year-old, where would I ever encounter a "clause"? But now that I'm older and I'm looking back, I love how wonderfully bizarre this movie is.

Yes, on the surface it looks like a cheesy family flick about a divorced dad trying to be a better father than Judge Reinhold, but beneath that is a morbidly fantastical premise: If you kill Santa Claus and put on his clothes, you become him. Not in a figurative sense, but in an actual, literal, and more importantly, contractual sense. And there's no escaping it. Almost sounds like the premise to a horror film, as seen in this recut trailer version:

I don't know what the take-home message is with the film. And it's definitely not the greatest Christmas movie ever. But I love the alternate take on the Santa Claus mythos and how Tim Allen is carried away into this magical land of fantastical legalese. My favorite scenes have to be Tim Allen's physical transformation into Santa, especially those hopeless attempts at shaving his beard. I also love the interrogation scene with the cops. There's something about Tim Allen saying "Topo Gigio" that always gets me.

Want to watch? The Santa Clause is available to rent at both I Luv Video and Vulcan Video.