2 professional movie hecklers pick the best (and worst) holiday films
Vancouver's Gentlemen Hecklers on the Christmas movies they love, hate, and love to hate
Few Christmas traditions are as sacred as the viewing of favourite holiday movies, good and bad — and there is certainly no shortage of either.
Comedians Eric Fell and Patrick Maliha are no strangers to the wide world of bad movies and TV. As two thirds of the Gentlemen Hecklers, they put on movie-riffing events at Vancouver's Rio Theatre every month or so.
"We screen a cheesy film [and] we provide commentary for the movie, as a service for the movie — and of course for the audience — to make the movie funnier," Fell said. "We're not shouting at the film; we're kind of playing with the film."
With almost five years of professional movie heckling under their belts, Fell and Maliha joined B.C. Almanac guest host Dan Burritt to take listener calls from around the province about loved and loathed holiday entertainment.
Burritt: The prime minister just weighed in on this and said it absolutely is a Christmas movie.
Fell: It is a movie about a family coming together, and what's more Christmasy than that?
Maliha: We actually did Die Hard 2 as the Gentlemen Hecklers. We riffed on that, and that was — wow, the difference between the two films as far as quality goes is astronomical.
Fell: Oh, absolutely. And it's not until you really, really watch it that you go, this makes no sense. [But] I'll even take the scenes with Argyle, I love Die Hard so much.
A Christmas Story
Maliha: [One of] my favourite movies in the Maliha household that we never miss. One of my absolute favourites.
Fell: A Christmas Story was based, I believe, on a story called In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. And [it was] originally published in serialized form in Playboy magazine, of all things.
Maliha: And the exteriors for the house were filmed in Toronto! There's your Canadian link.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean
Fell: It's masterful.... Ever since I was little, I still on Christmas Day when I get socks, I say, [Mr. Bean voice] Oh, Christmas socks!
Maliha: I think that my favourite line in that Christmas special is when he goes, [indistinct grunting in Mr. Bean voice].
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Burritt: Who's the best [Ebenezer] Scrooge?
Fell: Michael Caine in Muppet Christmas Carol.
Maliha: [Michael Caine voice] I'm going to have to go with Michael Caine in Muppet Christmas Carol.
Fell, exasperated: Oh my god…
Anya MacLeod, calling from Cumberland: I abhor this movie so much.... Everything about it is so wrong. Just the small things, like the wardrobe choices. Like, why is this woman wearing a toque in a church for a wedding?
Maliha: We have a very intelligent listener on the line right now.
Fell: You're our favourite caller so far.
Jingle All the Way
Maliha: One of my favourite movies that I love to hate. When it came out, people were like, Schwarzenegger in a Christmas movie? This is insane.... And here we are 20 years later and you can go anywhere and be like, [Schwarzenegger voice] Jingle all the way! C'mon! And everybody knows what you're talking about.
'80s TV specials
Fell: I like to watch all the really cheesy '80s cartoon specials.
Maliha: The California Raisins. "Little Drummer Boy." Can't miss that.
Fell: Pac-Man Christmas is up there too.
Maliha: Pac-Man Christmas is amazing! The one where they have to find the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future and he eats an energy pill and eats them.
Fell: One that I really enjoy that's really bad is the He-Man Christmas special.
Burritt: That may or may not be on a DVD in my house.
A Christmas Prince
Fell: It is unbelievably bonkers. I swear it was written by some sort of trope algorithm.
Maliha: It's so bad that Netflix itself tweeted [about it]. Apparently there's 53 subscribers who have watched A Christmas Prince every day that it's been out. I think they should actually call the police. Those people may actually be — something is wrong.
Fell: That's their cry for help. That's their code for, we're being held against our will. Because no normal human in a perfect state of mind would watch A Christmas Prince once, let alone 18 times.
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny
Fell: I couldn't even call Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny a movie. It's just some things happening. At one point there's a gorilla trying to pull Santa's sleigh, and it's a dude in a gorilla suit. The Ice Cream Bunny is a dude in a bunny suit, and it's terrifying.
Maliha: And the whole time you're watching it, you're just like, these children were traumatized by being in this film.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. Listen to the full interview below: