The new spirit of holiday movies

After a year that churned out “Jonah Hex,” “Cop Out” and “The Box,” no one is expecting Hollywood to explore the true meaning of the holidays or whatever helps angels earn their wings. But without even a Santa flick or slapstick mistletoe rom-com, we’ve got to wonder — how is Hollywood planning to cash in this year?

It could be that, in 2010, audiences are too cynical about the season — or just queasy from hearing “White Christmas” since October. “People are getting sick of the commercialization of Christmas,” says Wheeler Winston Dixon, professor of film studies at the University of Nebraska. “The few fairly recent iconic Christmas movies are mostly sarcastic takes on the holiday, as in ‘Scrooged’ and ‘Deck the Halls’; films in which the holiday is something to be endured, rather than celebrated.”

But film critic Dave White of Movies.com doubts that anything you see over the holidays — whether heart-warming or satirical — is related to audience demand. “Hit them with easy, recognizable stuff that they already know,” he says of the studios’ strategy of sending out remakes and sequels. “That’s where the money comes from. Whether or not there’s a demand for ‘Little Fockers,’ it doesn’t matter. That’s how they do things at Christmas.­”



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