It’s that time of year where holiday movies come back on streaming services and cable TV. Every year, iconic movies like Home Alone, The Polar Express, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are replayed. However, there is one movie that is a dark stain on the holiday season: the atrocity titled Elf.
Every time I express my disdain for this movie, people stare at me in disbelief. “Shelli, Elf is so funny!” “Elf is a classic!” “It’s nostalgic!” I can never bring myself to agree with any of these positive sentiments or the 85% it received on Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately, each year in band we watch Elf during finals week and I am forced to sit through an hour-and-a-half of what I consider a cinematic crime.
Why the hate for Elf? For starters, Buddy is the most insufferable character in holiday movie history. In the movie, he ruins the Santa experience for children at the mall by exposing the mall Santa as a fake. He FIGHTS Santa in front of a group of children—so much for the “holiday spirit.” For someone who claims to be a champion of Christmas joy, this fight is oddly contradictory to his supposed values. He’s also a certified creep, especially when stalking Jovie, his main love interest played by Zoey Deschanel, following her into the shower and proceeding to sing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with her. Do elves not have something called personal space or privacy?
The movie’s humor depends on immaturity and disrespect. What’s so funny about slathering pasta with syrup? He ridicules publisher Miles Finch by repeatedly calling him an elf, despite seeing the anger it causes, an example of his clear disregard for the feelings of others. My biggest question is how the thirty-year-old Buddy gets away with all of his irritating shenanigans. Sure, he grew up in the North Pole and there are probably cultural differences, but I’m sure they teach basic respect and manners.
This is by no means meant as an attack on actors or crew who worked on this film. But the fact of the matter is that Elf is the movie that stamps out my holiday spirit. There are plenty of incredible and heartwarming Christmas movies that aren’t Elf; my proposal is that this holiday season, we cancel Elf and replace it with a holiday movie that truly embodies the spirit of the season (in other words, any movie that isn’t Elf.)