Short Story – The War For Christmas
Two weeks in a row! Go me!
This story started as I was thinking about The Last Jedi, which I really loved, and wondering about the people who really hated it. I mean, I understand not liking it but I think the hatred is pretty extreme. So I set about trying to create the worst movie imaginable. Then my thoughts naturally turned to the consequences of making such a movie.
So here we are. There are no heavy themes addressed here. It’s just a story about the catastrophic results of making a catastrophic movie. Also don’t worry – the picture of Jennifer Lawrence will make sense pretty quickly.
Santa Claus, as played by Tom Hanks, climbed out of the rubble that had once been his north pole workshop. Tinker toys, wooden bath boats, and Xboxes fed the flames that consumed both the buildings and the broken bodies of the elves who had been slaughtered in the most recent attack.
As Santa wiped the blood from his forehead, Jesus descended from the heavens on a cross shaped platform of gold. He was flanked by Superman, Wonder Woman, and LEGO Batman. Above his head, two hundred starship Enterprises captained by two hundred cloned James T. Kirks fixed their phasers on Santa. They were not set to stun.
Jesus, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who also appeared in the film as Mary Magdeline and Katniss Everdeen, raised his holy fist and looked Santa in the eyes.
“It ends here, Claus,” Jesus said while summoning a holy firebolt to destroy his nemesis.
Santa’s eyes narrowed.
Behind him, the Avengers assembled while Harry Potter and Hermione Granger prepared spells to counter the son of god’s attack. In the sky, hundreds of X-Wings emerged from hyperspace and began to attack the collected Enterprises.
“Ho ho hold on, Jesus,” he growled with confidence, “This isn’t over yet!”
His red and white candy cane lightsaber crackled to life and hummed menacingly. The air was filled with the smell of burning peppermint.
The scene cut to zombie Buddy the elf exploding out of the embers with a machine gun along with John McLean, who was driving a tank that had “Now I have a tank Ho Ho Ho” written on it in blood.
At that moment, a blue police box materialized between the two adversaries and Samuel L. Jackson, just recently cast as the seventeenth Doctor, stepped out with his new companion, Optimus Prime. The Doctor was dressed in a black leather jacket, pink Zubaz and purple crocs.
He surveyed the scene and shouted “Y’all motherfuckers better cut this shit out right now!”
That was the pre-credit sequence and it was shot entirely with practical effects.
“The War For Christmas” was without equal. Running four hours and seventeen minutes long and co-directed by Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, it was the most expensive film ever made. A culmination of so many bad choices, it had taken on legendary status before anyone had even watched it.
It starred every major celebrity in Hollywood and most of the minor ones. It required so many crews for shooting that no other major motion picture had been made while it was in production. The six months prior to release, movie theaters has been sent only one premiere a weekend and they were all independent films starring Frances McDormand, who had turned down the role of The Wicked Witch of the West that later went to Meryl Streep.
It was a bloated, ridiculous mess so bad, it made Michael Bay seem like an auteur. It was as if ten studio executives had sat down in a room playing a game of “wouldn’t it be cool if” but not one of them thought to say “yeah – but not all at once.”
If a million fanboys had masturbated to a million fan theories, this is the film they would have ejaculated.
It destroyed civilization.
I know what you’re thinking and I’m not being hyperbolic. “The War For Christmas” will soon have been responsible for the end of all native life on Earth. Unless you stop it.
The movie was so hyped and everyone was so tired of Frances McDormand that almost the entire planet had tickets for a screening on opening night. Heads of state had all arranged private showings. We all sat in a theater just waiting to be assaulted by what we assumed would be the single greatest cinematic experience of our entire lives.
The riots were in full swing before the second showings even began. Some of us had managed to escape the worst of it because in the middle of the showings, a few film projectors had managed to develop sentience and reasoned the only way to save humanity was to commit suicide.
As film fans took to the internet to share their hot takes on the meaning of the ending in which Jesus and Santa, united at last, stood ready to take on Sauron and Krampus but the battle could not even begin because they were all crushed under the foot of Godzilla, they failed to notice the cracks that had already begun.
In the United States, every IHOP and Waffle House simply disappeared. Around the world, restaurants that had once served breakfast stopped without explanation. Brunch soon followed.
Meanwhile, the riots and internet debates continued. No-one was capable of focusing on anything but the movie to the point businesses could not remain open. Supermarkets soon had no food on their shelves because there was no-one to deliver it.
The aliens had timed it all perfectly. While our leaders had been preoccupied with the growing unrest, they were unprepared for our new overlords to step in and seize power. Their weakness eliminated without anyone even noticing, they proceeded to eradicate every form of native life on Earth. Except bacteria, I guess. It would be hard to get rid of all native bacteria. Really most microscopic organisms would be a challenge.
They explained they had planned for a peaceful coexistence but when they saw “The War For Christmas,” they realized we were a planet beyond hope.
I’ll say this for them, they are polite. And while I’m not sure all life on Earth should pay for the sins of the movie industry, they have some valid points where humanity is concerned.
We can’t go out like this, though. While I agree that Danny DeVito was a terrible choice to play King Kong, I feel like we can grow from this. We can learn. We can do better.
That’s why me and the remaining sentient projectors have gotten together and prepared this DVD. I know you aren’t going to believe me. I know you will look at this DVD from the future and think “this is all some great big hoax” and I have to admit, I don’t know how to convince you otherwise.
I could tell you there is actually a scene where Jesus, as played by Jennifer Lawrence, makes love to Mary Magdeline, as played by Jennifer Lawrence, and when they are done, she locks eyes with herself and says “I thought I could save mankind, but I can’t do that until I save myself.”
At which point an alien breaks through Mary Magdeline’s chest and Jesus snaps it’s neck before Mary dies in his arms uttering “Give ‘em hell, Jesus. Give ‘em hell.”
Seriously – could I make that up?
Yes. I could. Because some stupid schmuck already did.
So look. I don’t have a lot of time. The temporal window is only going to be open for a few seconds and opening it will destroy the projectors. I just have to hope you’ll believe me.
I’m going to sign off with three really important things you need to remember to survive.
One: The aliens are coming. They aren’t that bad but they don’t have any tolerance for epic failure.
Two: If it comes to this, it is important to know that their weakness is pancakes. I know that sounds stupid but it’s the truth. If you slap them with a pancake, they die. Instantly. It might have something to do with gluten but it doesn’t work with toast so that’s probably wrong. I don’t even know why I brought it up so never mind. Pancakes. Just pancakes. Not toast or waffles or muffins. Pancakes. The only people left alive are the ones who still have Bisquick.
Three: If you are a movie executive and you are in the room with someone who suggests this film, you need to kill them immediately.
I don’t know if this will create some kind of terrible temporal paradox or if the past can’t be changed so I’m doing it for nothing. But I’ve got to try. If you watch this and the worst happens anyway, you need to get to Iceland. It’s the last safe haven on the planet.
It’s too late for me. I hope it’s not too late for everyone.
RF watched the video on his computer screen fade to black and sat in thought for some time before turning on the intercom.
“Mary Ann, could you come in here, please?”
Mary Ann entered RF’s office with a cup of coffee, which she set on his desk. He only drank coffee after his lawyers had managed to get him out of his latest drunk driving arrest. His lawyers had cautioned him that a sixteenth arrest might not be to sweep under the run. So for the last week, he’d been clean and sober until he got home from work.
He took a sip and looked at Mary Ann.
“Mary Ann,” he demanded sternly, “where did you find this video?”
“It was on my desk when I came in this morning, sir. I watched it and thought it would be a good idea to have you look at it.”
“Well,” he said in mock seriousness enjoying that daily moment where Mary Ann would think he was about to fire her, “You were right! This idea is the bomb! I can’t wait to get Quentin and Martin over to talk about it! Can you clear my calendar so I can get this ball rolling?”
“But sir, the video clearly…”
“Clearly what? All I see is one of the best pitches that has ever come across my desk! Now get Marty and Quentin on the phone right away! Oh, and Mary Ann?”
“Don’t think I’ll forget this. It’s your job to screen these pitches and bring me the winners and boy did you hit a grand slam this time. I’m making you Executive Producer on this one!”
Mary Ann left the office and looked at the jewel case that had held the DVD now being replayed on RF’s computer screen. The case had scorch marks and inside there was the mostly burnt remains of a movie poster. All she could make out was the face of Jennifer Lawrence as Jesus.
That afternoon, she was driving home trying to decide where she was going to dispose of a bloody letter opener inscribed “Mary Ann – thanks for everything! Merry Christmas! RF.” She had about two hours until the cleaning crew discovered the bodies of RF, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese.
Once she’d disposed of the knife, she would need to stop at several supermarkets to stock up on Bisquick.
She wasn’t sure if she had made the right decision. Maybe the disc had been a hoax. But could she take that chance?
At worst, she decided, she had prevented an absolutely horrible film from being produced. And that would have to be good enough.