A Very Murray Christmas (2015)

A special kind of Christmas Special.

Sofia Coppola gives Hallmark a firm middle finger as she puts the finishing touches on her homemade Christmas card. A Very Murray Christmas is exactly that. It’s a Christmas Special that refrains from the usual Hallmark-esque genre where the holiday is glorified and seen as a joyous time where we can escape from reality. That’s bullshit (probably what Sofia said); a vast majority are experience a less than joyous time.

A Very Murray Christmas keeps the holiday very real and adult. It’s less like A Charlie Brown Christmas where our main character is depressed due to the idea behind Christmas, but more of depression and loneliness during a time expected for high spirits and togetherness. We have deadpan, diluted expressions from nearly every character, often seeming very exaggerated in the sense of their agony. They’re all in situations where everything is down.

This movie while destroy your expectations. Countless reviews have bashed this film and considered it trash, all because of some expectation they had of this Christmas Special. This speaks in light to Murray’s meme of the internet, where people think they understand him and love him, but it seems they really don’t get his persona. This is also something you wouldn’t expect in a Christmas Special, it’s truly different. Maybe even seem bad, considering the criteria that a normal Special would fill.

The cameos are funny, yet uncomfortable. Bill’s interactions with these characters definitely made him seem like the “ghost of Christmas present”, as he proclaims himself as in the film to one of the characters. There are characters who play themselves (Billy Murray, Chris Rock, George Clooney, Miley Cyrus) and then those who play fictional characters, but feel real to common roles they fill (Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones, Amy Poehler). I still don’t quite understand the motive for this, but it didn’t bother me much.

It’s a very weird film to dissect. It’s also important to realize that this is a CHRISTMAS special, and it is probably best to see this around the Christmas season. It will have a bigger impact on your viewing. Watching this January 7th, I had to put myself into the idea that it was a typical Christmas Eve in my 20s.

A commenter on a theverge article stated:

“Maybe it’s too much of the typical Hallmark-esque Christmas movie that dominates my household’s Netflix viewing this time of year, or maybe I just need some snark in my Christmas, but everything about that flick made me happy.”
It is at this point that the depressing, yet realistic Christmas eve turns into the Hallmark extravaganza.

It’s also important to actually examine who the director, writer, and producers are. Sofia Coppola. If you don’t know her or don’t understand her films, this film might not work for you. This content matter is different. Quite different from your typical Christmas film and subject matter. This is not intended to be common comedy with celebrities popping in being all funny and shit like it’s an episode of Saturday Night Live. This is a subtle and specific type of comedy that cries for help. It’s sad, depressing, but real and hilarious.

You might hate this film though. It’s definitely not for everyone, and I can see it being a film that you need to watch at a certain time with a certain emotion embodying your Christmas season.

I’d like to point out that there are singing segments in this film that go on for too long which really makes you think “okay can this be over now?” I think this is what Coppola was going for. Yes, the singing is really great at parts and it feels very warm and cheery, but here I am being a goddamn scrooge wanting to get back to the deadpan lifeless situations.

I’m excited to see this film next year.