Under The Mistletoe
And to think, we almost had to endure another Christmas season without Justin Bieber’s Auto-tuned Ontario swag ringing our sleigh bells and playfully jostling our glass tumblers full of egg nog. How we would have managed I do not know, but such fears are now decidedly moot. With Under The Mistletoe, the Prince of Long Island Mall Riots has crafted the perfect soundtrack for mitten shopping in Limited Too. This is fifty minutes of inoffensive oven baked Kringle pop that, if you’re lucky, will finally replace the copy of the Kenny G’s Miracles that haunts your mother’s stereo at this time every year.
Bieber keeps the standard count low on Under The Mistletoe, possibly because this is only his second album and he didn’t feel like forking over all his profits to the estate of Johnny Marks. We get a tender “Silent Night,” an Usher-laden “Christmas Song,” a “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” that retrofits its verse with the bass line from the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” What is JB suggesting with this latter bit? If he fancies himself the new Michael Jackson, he’s dead wrong, for MJ as a fetus had more heart and gusto in his voice than Das Biebz. Maybe Justin is trying to equate the King of Pop with Santa Claus. I can see a correlation: They’re both magical figures who live(d) in remote kingdoms surrounded by much shorter subjects. Alas, Michael was a Jehovah’s Witness, so he’d probably poo-poo any link between himself and that most famous of toy-distributing elves.
Bieber duets with Mariah Carey on her modern day Yuletide classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and it’s certainly acceptable, save the fact these two would-be lovers are separated by twenty or so years. That makes things a little…statutory. How would their careers be affected if forty-something Mariah actually did hook up with seventeen year old Bieber this Christmas? One thing’s for sure: Nick Cannon would go back to just being the loser from Drumline, and half a billion True Beliebers would be dying to turn Mariah into a canoe. Still, the Carey/Biebz courtship would transfix the globe, and if they turned it into a reality show the ratings might surpass O.J. levels.
Under The Mistletoe’s originals are exactly what you’d expect from Bieby: overproduced FM pablum that boast a neutered sexuality and the requisite Yuletide themes. The Chris Brown co-penned “Christmas Eve” only merits mention for Justin’s failed attempt to make snacking sound seductive (“Leave some cookies out, I’mma eat ’em up…”). “Mistletoe” sounds what I think I remember Disney’s Jonas Brothers sounding like—introverted acoustic bounce covered in breathy teenage desire. I don’t think the Jonai ever used vernacular like “Shawty,” though, mostly because they’re Christians from Texas. I’m not even sure Justin mentions anything about Christmas in the desperate “All I Want Is You.” He talks about snow a little…that’s pretty secular. C’mon, Bieber, where’s the cooing about frankinsense and myr?
If Under The Mistletoe will be remembered for anything in the centuries to come, it will be Justin Bieber’s cocksure hip-hop re-imagining of “Little Drummer Boy” featuring Busta Rhymes. A brief taste of the traditional rum-pum-pumming quickly gives way to a canned beat and some laughably stupid lil’ tough guy rap from the Biebz. Eventually Busta fires off a speedy verse about wearing chinchilla-based garments and being obsessed with Twitter. Look, I’d listen to Busta Rhymes rap product descriptions out of SkyMall, and while his performance here isn’t bad, the simple fact his most prominent work this year is one verse on the Justin Bieber equivalent of “Funky, Funky Xmas” does little to quell my seasonal depression. In a just world, Busta would be the one releasing 2011’s most highly-anticipated Christmas album, and Justin Bieber would be one of his interns.
According to Wikipedia, it took nineteen people to produce Under The Mistletow. All those cooks and they still couldn’t convince Justin to record a dubstep version of “Mr. Grinch” with guest vocals by Russell Brand? That seems like a missed opportunity, but I’m sure the screaming pre-teens of the world won’t care. They finally have a version of “Silent Night” they can masturbate to, at least until Justin’s metabolism catches up with him. The only thing I want for Christmas is for this kid to be frozen in carbonite so an entire generation of girls aren’t disillusioned the first time they see photos of him leaving a Waffle House sporting a few extra chins, a muffin top, and the weight of the real world on his shoulders. That’s when we’ll all really need the mistletoe.
FINAL SCORE: Two and a half Busta Rhymes verses about chincillas and Twitter (out of four).
Help me, I am in list hell.
xXx (2002) – Bald mush-mouth Vin Diesel makes his mark as extreme sports fanatic / government spy Xander Cage in this deliciously brain-dead dick slap of an action thriller which also features Rammstein, Danny Trejo, Samuel L. Jackson, and a scene in which our hero parachutes out of a stolen Corvette he just drove off a bridge while Drowning Pool plays in the background and Tony Hawk looks on in amazement. That moment alone stands as a metaphor for our entire decade.
xXx: State Of The Union (2005) – We were all hoping Vin Diesel would reprise his role as Xander Cage in the xXx sequel; alas, he was too busy making The Pacifier or some equally-neutered career-killing crap. Ice Cube was kind enough to step up and offer a performance that’s almost 100% Christmas ham. The surrounding movie is just as pork-laden, so much so I’d be surprised if State of the Union isn’t FDA-regulated.
Snakes On A Plane (2006) – Samuel L. Jackson atones for the sins of his awful Shaft remake with this bountiful cheese-fest, which became a cult classic before it even hit screens. Some say the film couldn’t live up to the dizzying Internet hype, but I think it delivers on all its promises: nudity, Keenan Thompson, Julianna Margulies (continuing the cinematic legacy of horse shit she touched off with Ghost Ship), and an f-load of snakes on a m-f’n plane. There was also that tasty Cobra Starship theme song.
Ghost Ship (2002) – If memory serves, this was the first movie Julianna Margulies did after turning down half a bajillion dollars for a seventh season on “ER.” What a way to give NBC the finger. “No, keep your money and your highly-acclaimed medical drama…I’d rather do Friday The 13th on a boat.” I’ll never forget that final scene of Julianna watching the killer step off the ghost ship in slow motion, set to the most insane rap metal you’ve ever heard. It makes me smile just thinking about it.
Kangaroo Jack (2003) – Jerry O’Connell. Anthony Anderson. A sassy kangaroo in sunglasses with a ton of stolen money. I’m surprised Cuba Gooding, Jr. isn’t in this somewhere. Still, it’s a sight to behold.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – The make-up in this live action adaptation of the classic Seuss cartoon is comically horrifying. You just want to hit every Who in Whoville with a shovel in the hopes it will de-ugly their face. You can hardly tell what Jim Carrey is saying half the time, which is additionally “side-splitting.” Just a nauseating mess that still might be funnier than any Will Ferrell movie when you’re eight beers to the wind.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009) – Kevin James could have made a really funny mall cop movie. Instead, he turned in Paul Blart, the first act of which is so awkward and depressing you’d think it was some kind of half-assed sequel to Punch Drunk Love made by D+ film students. Then Paul’s mall gets taken over by the worst actors on the planet, and the whole thing turns into the Least Plausible Live Action Cartoon In The History Of Mankind. Paul Blart is truly a monument to shitty, WTF? filmmaking. Load up on the laughing gas and rent this pile of confusion.
Freddy vs. Jason (2003) – An amazing film to see in the theater as [SPOILER ALERT] it posits no clear winner. The audience (read: three teenagers) I saw it with immediately launched into a heated and expletive-filled argument regarding the movie’s true victor once the credits rolled. Well played, Hollywood. The ultimate horror showdown is a draw. On the other hand, you made us watch Kelly Rowland act, you owe us something.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002) – If you’re main complaint about Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies so far has been the noticeable lack of Busta Rhymes, go back to this early century classic. Busta and talk show queen Tyra Banks trap a bunch of dumb white kids in a haunted house for a reality show. You-know-who shows up, leading Busta to lay the smack down as only he can (“Trick or treat, motherfucker!”). This is the kind of escapism our country needed in that strange post-9/11 pre-Billy Mays world.
Revenge Of The Sith (2005) – They turn R2-D2 into Inspector Gadget in this one. They also kill someone from heartbreak and have Yoda counsel Anakin in a little girl’s closet. Not as dreadful as the two other prequels, but still a hard kick in the junk from a man who once gave us greatness.