Assuming you've been paying attention to that omnipotent narrator behind every movie trailer ever, you're already well aware of the annual threat facing our most sacred of institutions. That's right, folks: this year—just like last year, and every other year I can remember—little ol' Christmas is being assailed on all sides by the forces of evil. Fortunately, I've seen at least three movie previews this season that claim to be working on the problem of "Saving Christmas"—a calling that Hollywood has been happy to shoulder for some years now. And in spite of the fact that I have absolutely no idea what that means, I think it's time they were applauded for it.
• Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)—Starring the late, great Jim Varney, Ernest Saves Christmas stands as not only the finest of the nine Ernest films, it's also the benchmark for the whole Christmas-saving genre. Enlisted to help Santa Claus find his successor, the bumbling Ernest fucks some shit up, annoys Vern, freezes Santa's sleigh in mid-air, and poses the ceaseless rhetorical "Knowwhutahmean?" to the delight of children everywhere. But does he save Christmas? You'll just have to read the title for yourself.
• Die Hard (1988)—Christmas was apparently in a whole heap of trouble back in '88—and who knew the terrorists were in on that shit, too? Good thing Bruno was in his PRIME back then, "Yippie-ki-yay, motherfucker"-ing all over that particular holiday season. Christmas is saved yet again—and perhaps for the first time ever by a bloodied, near-broken, and barefoot mercenary.
• Babes in Toyland (1986)—To be fair, this made-for-TV adaptation of Victor Herbert's 1903 operetta is more specifically about saving Toyland than Christmas, but its heart is certainly in the right place. Starring a visibly drug-addled 11-year-old Drew Barrymore, Mr. Miyagi, and an appropriately doofy (and near-fame) Keanu, BIT is awe-inspiringly bad—a patchwork of forgotten lines and broken character married with mid-'80s, made-for-TV production sensibilities. Perhaps the only film that explicitly failed to save Christmas. ZAC PENNINGTON