I accept a job that entails crafting a Washington, D.C. travel guide for a Scandinavian tourism company. They assure me they can pay in U.S. dollars but I still fear receiving coupons for shrimp redeemable only in Stockholm. My birthday is spent in the company of good friends, delicious cake, and my roommate’s demon bitch cat who communicates not with its eyes or mouth but with its razor-sharp hell claws.
The Phantom Menace is released in 3-D and I come dangerously close to trying to interview Jake Lloyd about it; at the last minute I decide to wait until Jingle All The Way gets the 3-D treatment so we have a little more to talk about. I sign the contracts for my book deal with my Lego Darth Vader pen (I will fight adulthood until my goddamn dying breath).
An attempt to make enchiladas goes horribly awry and becomes the year’s one food-related incident I refuse to ever speak of in detail again. ScyFy airs a Leprechaun marathon that proves the beloved series peaked with Leprechaun 4: Lep In Space.
I immerse myself in Canada for the first time and discover Montreal can serve up a serious plate of nachos (the cheese, it covered all the chips!). Titanic is released in 3-D; although the temptation to shell out twelve bucks to watch Billy Zane’s big stupid head pop out at me is great, I avoid it just the same.
The travel guide job finally ends. I am not paid in fish or coupons for fish. I rejoice. “Desperate Housewives” goes off the air, reminding me that Marcia Cross exists.
Rodney King dies, suspiciously around the same time tortured chanteuse Fiona Apple reappears on the music scene. Conspiracy freaks have a hard time connecting the dots on this one, probably because they were too busy arguing about Prometheus’s status as an Alien prequel.
A visit is paid to my parents in Florida. We watch the Olympics together, during which my father reveals his lust for the people’s princess Kate Middleton. I am so disgusted by the sight of Mr. Bean during the open ceremonies I eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food in one sitting.
The button breaks on my only pair of shorts but I refuse to purchase a new pair because I am a big stupid man. I watch a bunch of Scott Baio movies and realize this bozo’s probably got more money than me.
The Great Billie Joe Armstrong Meltdown of 2012 occurs, but it seems a bit rehearsed, so no one really buys into it. I buy The Baddest of George Thorogood, not ironically, the same day I buy the second Old Skull record. I am wearing a tuxedo suit at the time.
I turn in my completed book manuscript. Hurricane Sandy makes a media darling out of Chris Christie, much to the chagrin of Cory Booker fans. Disney buys the rights to Star Wars and finally gives us Max Rebo die-hards something to talk about. For Halloween, I am the Alternative Lifestyle Lone Ranger (i.e. a dork in a cowboy shirt with a pink bandana around his neck).
The guitarist from Gluecifer gives me a copy of their second album on blue vinyl, bringing my colored vinyl collection up to one. I visit Connecticut and am reminded it is illegal on FM airwaves in that state to go more than five minutes without playing a Rolling Stones song.
I finish proofreading my book manuscript and decide to interview cartoon voice legend Joe Alaskey for shits and giggles. A Christmas miracle occurs when my family decides to get barbecue for Jesus Day dinner. I spend New Year’s Eve in airports, fending off screechy children and looking for a bottle of soda under three dollars. I end the year with a $2.49 Mello Yello.
I caught some of Sinbad’s recent stand-up special “Where U Been?” last night, and it gave me pause to consider the ridiculous, often windbreakered comedian’s entire filmography. One entry struck me as particularly notable as it seems to be unquestionably cursed. Indeed, everyone involved in this 1996 production has experienced some kind of major tragedy in the years since, and it has to make you wonder if the Devil himself was involved.
Of course I’m talking about Jingle All The Way.
In case you’ve forgotten, Jingle All The Way is the “classic” Christmas comedy in which Arnold Schwarzenegger runs all over the Twin Cities attempting to secure a “Turbo Man” doll for his loving son. Along the way, he tangles with the likes of Robert Conrad, Martin Mull, Phil Hartman, and the aforementioned Sinbad as another desperate father in search of “Turbo Man.” American absolutely rejected this mad-cap holiday caper, and for years the film’s title was synonymous with “painful, unfunny entity that will fail to improve finances or mental well-being.”
Let us now run through some of the misery and pain that has befallen Jingle All The Way’s principles in what I like to call “The Curse of Turbo Man.”
Jingle was probably the biggest dud of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latter-day acting career (until the following year, when he played Mr. Freeze in the cataclysmically awful Batman & Robin). The Austrian Superman only appeared in a handful of other movies before retiring from Hollywood to pursue a career in politics. Clinching the governorship of California, at first Arnie proved to be rather effective and popular. By 2005, however, “The Governator’s” approval ratings began to plummet as he wandered from one political gaffe to another. Rumors of the Schwarz’s return to acting have generally been met with the stink eye.
Sinbad hasn’t appeared in anything as high-profile as Jingle All The Way since the film’s release. In 2007, a rumor swept the Internet that the portly comedian had died of a heart attack. Surprisingly, this did little to help his flagging popularity. Sinbad filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009; a short time later, he put his million dollar home up to alleviate his tax burdens.
On May 28, 1998, famed “Saturday Night Live” impressionist Phil Hartman was murdered by his drug-addled wife Brynn in the couple’s Los Angeles home before she turned the gun on herself. Jingle All The Way would prove to be the actor’s penultimate film.
Being married to Tom Hanks, I suppose Rita Wilson doesn’t need to do all that much to survive. However, for the purposes of this curse it should be noted the largest roles she’s secured since JATW include Caroline in Gus Van Sant’s wretched Psycho remake and Jenna in Old Dogs. Woof.
Jake Lloyd traded up career-killers by moving from Jingle All The Way to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. As young Anakin Skywalker, Lloyd turned in such a miserable, grating performance it made every other horrible actor in that film seem tolerable. Trouble on the set of 2001’s Madison branded Jake “difficult” to work with. That’s not exactly a reputation you want before high school (especially if you’ve only worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jar Jar Binks). Jake Lloyd is currently attending college and probably hoping he won’t die before he gets a chance to redeem himself onscreen.
Robert Conrad was involved in a serious car accident in 2003 when he slammed head-on into a Subaru being driven by a 26 year old. Conrad was convicted of drunk driving, was sentenced to six months house arrest, and lost his license. The other driver would eventually die from their injuries.
In March of 2001, 20th Century Fox was ordered to pay high school biology teacher Brian Webster $19 million after it was determined the studio plagiarized Jingle All The Way from Could This Be Christmas?, a script Webster wrote and submitted to 20th Century in 1994 (the decision was reversed on appeal after it was determined Jingle’s script existed prior to CTBC?).
Seems like the only person to totally buck the Jingle curse was Brian Setzer, who contributed four or five songs to Arnold’s holiday misadventure. Brian and his rag-tag orchestra saw their popularity skyrocket during the late ’90s swing revival; nowadays, he mades good bank every December recording and releasing the few holiday hits he hasn’t already 1950’d up.
If you can think of any more examples of the Jingle curse, please, hit me up. Let’s malign this movie into the ground.