One Magic Christmas | Chicago Reader

One Magic Christmas

What would you think the dangers are in casting Harry Dean Stanton as a “Christmas angel” who has to hover solicitously around small children? Do you think that any of these dangers have been avoided in this clumsy Walt Disney attempt to revive the sentimental Christmas films of Hollywood past? Can you believe that they've actually been exaggerated by dressing Stanton in a grimy overcoat and slouch hat that make him look even more like a refugee from an Officer Friendly movie? Alas, such gaffes are only typical of director Phillip Borsos's unthinking but overbearing approach to the material. The plot hangs on a nasty bit of blackmail, with Santa Claus saying, in effect, to unhappy housewife Mary Steenburgen, “Cheer up or we'll kill your husband and children.” Screenwriter Thomas Meehan seems to have had It's a Wonderful Life in mind; the results are closer to A Nightmare on Elm Street. With Elizabeth Harnois, Gary Basaraba, and Arthur Hill (1985).

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