Christmas Movies Marathon: Day 9 – We’re No Angels

Welcome to my 31 Days of Christmas movie marathon.  This is a feature where I watch a different Christmas movie every day from now until Christmas.  The rules are simple: The movie has to be something I haven’t already seen and I must watch at least one Christmas-themed movie a day from now until December 25th.  They’ll be some bad ones and hopefully a lot of great ones.  Why put myself through this?  Because it’s a good way to catch up on a lot of Christmas movies and a good way to satisfy my OCD.

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… We’re No Angels

Not only did I not like this film, but I would go so far as to say that the poorly received 1989 remake starring Sean Penn and Robert De Niro is vastly superior to this rare Humphrey Bogart comedy.

I don’t want to dwell on all the reasons why I didn’t like this adult fairy tale-esque story surrounding three convicts, a family of do-dos, and the wake of angelic goodness to which the encounter of these two parties birthed.  Believe me, there are many.  Instead, I’ll just mention a couple of the more significant ones and then try to move on from there.

Both character’s motivations and overall plot are essential parts of any movie, especially in this case, where these two things are focused on so unabashedly.  So, when these two aspects aren’t working, the chances of it not sucking become pretty low.  The movie takes place on a minimal play-like set which practically begged for me to pay even more attention to the dialogue than I would have had there been different locations, or at the very least, less chatty sequences.  Being forced to continuously focus on such unbelievably ridiculous dialogue is not my idea of enjoying a good Christmas movie.  And the setting to which this all takes place on only highlights these character’s nonsensical reasoning towards justifying their actions.  I mean, who in their right mind would let three escaped convicts into their store, leave them unaccompanied for long stretches of time, allow them to interact with customers, and more importantly, allow them to stay the night?  These are escaped convicts; killers, cons, thieves.

In my struggle to figure out why this film is considered by many to be one of the greatest Christmas classic comedies I came up with these 2 explanations:

  1. Humphrey Bogart’s iconic status can do no wrong amongst his many fans, therefore making anything he’s in seem better than it actually is.  I call this the bogus Bogart factor.
  2. Fans of this film are able to ignore logic, accept the fact that every character in the film is a complete moron, and/or view the entire production as a live acting interpretation of a cartoon.  I would be on board with this line of reasoning – viewing the entire affair as a cartoon – had only there been some pratfalls and a skull crushing anvil in place of the snake.

Unless you are a Bogart completest I would advise against going out of my way to see this.


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