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Film / Jingle All the Way

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"Put that cookie down! NOW!"
Howard Langston

A 1996 Christmas-themed comedy film directed by Brian Levant and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Workaholic mattress salesman Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) is a constant disappointment to his son Jamie (Jake Lloyd). After missing his son's karate practice yet again, to compensate for this own Bumbling Dad nature, Howard decides he is going to get Jamie the toy he really wants for Christmas: A Turbo Man action figure. Unfortunately, the Turbo Man action figure is the hot toy of the season and is in short supply, and Howard has waited until Christmas Eve before trying to find one. Subsequently, he finds himself competing with crazed mailman Myron Larabee (Sinbad) and massive crowds of other parents to get the same toy. What follows is a comedy of errors as both men race to get the toy.

It is also the last comedic role for Ah-nold, and one of the last for Sinbad. The film is based on the holiday crazes for both Cabbage Patch Kids dolls and Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers toys.


A Direct-to-Video "sequel" was released in 2014, starring Larry the Cable Guy.

This movie features the following tropes:

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    First Movie 
  • 555: The number of the radio station.
  • Accidental Truth: Myron bluffs some police officers by claiming the package he's holding contains a bomb. Turns out it actually does, but he didn't know that until it went off.
  • The Ace: Ted, as far as being a father and homemaker goes.
  • Adorkable: Surprisingly enough, for someone played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Howard has a few moments of this, namely thanks to his Nice Guy personality. Until you tick him off, that is.
  • All Part of the Show: The climactic confrontation pits Howard as Turbo Man against Myron as Turbo Man's nemesis Dementor in a mock battle during the Christmas parade. The danger turns real as Howard's son Jamie gets involved, and ends up hanging by his fingers off the top of a building. Subverted by Howard's wife Liz, who realizes her son isn't supposed to be a part of this, and the cops who arrest Myron after the fact.
    • Since Myron was bound with cheap-looking rope instead of actual handcuffs, with his hands tied in front of him rather than behind, it suggests that he isn't really being arrested; Dementor's "capture" could have been the show's intended climax. His own Paper-Thin Disguise must have kept the officers from recognizing him as the mailman bomber, or else he would have gotten far more severe treatment, (though he does end up having half a pain dozen very real guns pointed at him).
  • Animals Hate Him: Howard rubs Ted's reindeer the wrong way and it tries to bite him when they first met. What's odd is that the reindeer never seemed to sense anything slimy about Ted.
  • Ash Face: The Jerkass motorcycle cop after accidentally setting off Myron's mail-bomb.
  • Bad Santa: The film depicts a large group of mall Santas in a large black market operation making counterfeit toys, including one whom is a ninja Santa wielding candy cane nunchucks, and even one who is Big Show.
    Big Show!Santa: I'm gonna deck your halls, bub.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Howard uses a toy police badge to pretend to be an undercover cop when the police raid the Santa Claus toy counterfeiting operation.
  • Big "YES!": Howard, when he finally gets his hands on the Turbo Man action figure at the big parade.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Ted appears to be a nearly perfect man: a devoted single father who dotes on his son, a master at cooking and home repair and has a seemingly limitless supply of free time to devote to helping others. For most of the film, only Howard can see him for what he really is: a Smug Snake whose every move and thought is dedicated to seducing every woman he comes across, whether they're single or not.
  • Bond One-Liner: "You started it."
  • Brick Joke: "Ta-ta, Turtle Man!"
  • Bumbling Dad: Howard, to an extent.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Sweet lord, Howard. This movie could be renamed "The Worst Christmas Eve Ever".
    • Myron gets his share of being one as well.
    • The Motorcycle Cop also is on a count of always falling victim to Howard and Myron.
  • The Cameo: Yeardley Smith, who was the voice of Lisa Simpson, appears in an extended scene as a woman in a fur coat with the shopping bag that Howard thinks has the last Turbo Man sale in which he confronts and asks to buy it from who even offers to give him her phone number, however, when thinking that he has some kind of a crush on her.
  • Catchphrase: Several.
    • For Turbo Man: "It's turbo time!" and "You can always count on me!"
    • For Howard: "You're my number one customer!" when he's making calls at work. One of the things that cements (both to himself and to his wife) that her accusations of being a workaholic are true is when he accidentally says it as he's trying to calm her down.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Ted mentions early on in the film that, in a Crazy-Prepared move, he purchased the Turbo Man doll months in advance and it's currently under his tree. Howard, both out of desperation and being pissed at Ted, breaks in and tries to steal it during the third act.
    • Howard reminisces early on how he once made a treehouse for Jamie in the backyard (although his craftsmanship was pretty lacking, but Jamie loved it nevertheless). Once he's reached the Despair Event Horizon on the third act, Howard looks out the window and sees the treehouse and decides that he has to at least try one more time to look good in his son's eyes, and so he goes to the parade, setting up the climax.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: An odd Real Life application. Schwarzenegger has jokingly threatened to force the legislature of California to watch the film 13 times if they couldn't come up with a budget.
  • Cool Toy: The basis for the film is the full-on riots that are being triggered by parents rushing to purchase the Turbo Man doll. Inverted with the Booster doll, because he's such an example of an In-Universe The Scrappy that nobody has purchased any.
  • Curse Cut Short: Unusual variation: Howard says "That son of a..." at one point, but nothing actually prevents him from completing the epithet.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Howard and the Department Store Santa (played by James Belushi).
  • Demand Overload: In-Universe. The type of toy popularity seen here is based on toys like Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle Me Elmo becoming the hot toy in demand. Toy companies seek reactions like this.
  • Description Cut: Subverted. Liz tell Jamie that Howard won't be late; he's just working really hard. Cut to the mattress factory where Howard works, where a Christmas party is taking place... but then the camera pans to Howard, who is indeed working hard in his office.
  • Determinator: Howard goes to great lengths to find the Turbo Man.
  • Disneyland Dad: Ted's son Johnny flat-out states that Ted was an equally absent father up until the divorce happened and then he started showering him with gifts and acting like a perfect father (and then he tells Jamie that it probably would be a good thing if his parents divorce, if that makes Howard do the same), implying that Ted is doing this on top of using his son as date-bait.
  • Easily Forgiven: Jamie shrugs off Myron putting his life at risk: "Hey, it's cool."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Myron pulled out a random package out of his bag and said it was a bomb, it was just to force the police to let him go. He was shocked and disgusted when the bomb went off, telling him it really was a bomb.
  • Exact Words: When Howard and Myron fight over who got to the radio station first with the right quiz answer:
    DJ: Are you two under the impression that I have a Turbo Man here in the studio?
    Howard: Yeah.
    Myron: That's what you said on the radio!
    DJ: NO NO NO. What I actually said was that whoever won would get a Turbo Man eventually. (chuckles) You see, what we have here... is a gift certificate.
    (Howard and Myron look pissed)
  • Expressive Mask: The costume used for Turbo Man's pink saber-tooth tiger Booster has a fully animatronic head with moving jaw, blinking eyes and twitching ears. It even gets used in the parade.
  • Expy: Turbo Man is a thinly disguised parody of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, of which there was a similar holiday toy craze in the early 1990s that inspired the film.
  • Family Man:
  • Freudian Excuse: Myron has become a massive cynic and Jerkass concerning the holidays because not only did he have a pretty bad home life growing up, but his wife cheated on him and left him, taking custody of his only son with her. Because of this, he's grown desperate to give his son a good Christmas and is willing to go to insane lengths to do it.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • During the parade, one of the kids attacking Booster calls him a "fag".
    • Ted, the way it always looks whenever he is flirting with women, and especially Howard's wife.
  • Going Postal: Myron is definitely implied to be the type. He even exploits it during the scene when he threatens people with a (alleged, then unknown to him real) bomb package by painting himself as even more borderline insane that he really is.
  • Groin Attack: Jamie does this to Myron who is dressed as Turbo Man's archnemesis Dementor.
  • Heel Realization: Howard has one just as he is about to steal the Turbo Man doll that Ted plans to give to his son.
  • Hello Again, Officer: One of the best examples of this trope, ever. Getting pulled over by a cop, then accidentally running over the cop's motorcycle, spilling his coffee...then there's the bus, and a bomb, and well...
    Officer: You just can't stay out of trouble, can you?
  • Heroic Rematch: Howard and Myron battling for a Turbo Man toy meant to be a giveaway at the Christmas Parade, dressed as Turbo Man and Dementor.
    • Howard facing off against Ted's reindeer when he breaks into Ted's house to steal the Turbo Man doll he bought for his son.
  • How About a Smile?: After the two store employees laugh derisively at Howard and Myron asking if they have any Turbo Man figures in stock, Howard grabs the two and menacingly asks, "Where's your Christmas spirit?!" The two employees flash a nervous smile, and Howard says, "That's better!" and sets them down.
  • Hummer Dinger: Howard drives a GMC Suburban that doesn't see any use beyond that of a normal car.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The raffle ball scene in the mall.
  • I Will Show You X: "I'm gonna deck your halls, bub!"
  • Impersonating an Officer: See Bavarian Fire Drill above.
  • Indecisive Parody: This movie can't seem to decide whether it's a heartwarming Christmas flick or a satire of holiday consumerism.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Ted's son Johnny when he suggests Jamie's parents getting a divorce might be a good thing.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: "Es el tiempo del Hombre de Turbo!" translates to "This is the time of the Turbo Man!", much wordier than "It's Turbo Time!"
  • Jerkass:
    • Ted to the max.
    • Myron.
    • The Motorcycle Cop.
    • The two toy store employees who mock Howard first, then mock both him and Myron from Howard asking them if there is any possible left over Turbo Man dolls that they may have available in which they are after in the last moment. Following everybody in that same store who follows along with the mockery. Including all of the other toy store employees after that in time passing scenes who you see doing the same.
    • The con men Santa Clauses at the warehouse, but most of all the leader, played by James Belushi.
  • Keep the Reward: In the end, Howard manages to get Jamie the Turboman doll through a lot of Contrived Coincidence. But upon seeing all the trouble Myron went for it despite putting him in danger, Jamie gives him the doll to give to his son. When Howard questions why, he answers "I don't need it, because my dad's the real Turboman!"
  • Large Ham: Sinbad seems to take great delight in shouting his every line.
    • Jim Belushi goes to town with mocking Howard as a chicken and then shouting “dog pile!!!” when him and the other sleazy Santas jump on Howard.
    • In-universe; Howard, trying to make amends for missing Jamie's belt ceremony, remarks how cool it looks and riffs a Bruce Lee impression.
  • The Mall: In one scene, Howard seeks the toy at Mall of America.
  • Mall Santa: Howard meets a whole gaggle of them in a factory. One of them is Big Show.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Howard chases a little girl who has a raffle ball that bounced away from the store. When he finally catches up with her and wants to trade balls, he is repeatedly hit by numerous mothers' purses and called "pervert".
    Howard: I'm not a pervert! I was just looking for Turbo Man doll!
  • Moral Event Horizon: Discussed In-Universe and ultimately defied. At the beginning of the film, Ted smugly tells Howard about how he bought his son a Turboman months earlier, before the surge in demand. Stressed out and empty-handed after spending the whole day driving to every toy store in town, Howard disgruntedly breaks into Ted's house to steal his. However, right as he's about to leave with the Turboman in hand, Howard decides that he can't bring himself to steal from a kid on Christmas, and turns around to put the toy back.
    Howard: What am I doing? Stealing from a kid? I can't do're going back.
  • Motor Mouth: Myron rants A LOT.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: When the crooked Mall Santa prepares to fight, Howard says he's not going to hit a Santa Claus, to which the crooked Santa asks if he's chicken, and proceeds to dance around saying "Chick chick chick chick" and then flapping his arms saying "Bawk bawk bawk bawk!" Howard then snaps and assaults the Santa with his own fake beard.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: The bomb didn't badly hurt any of the police officers, including the one who was holding it when it blows up.
  • Not So Different: Howard and Myron are both very similar in their goals and motivations. The difference is that, while Howard's still got a pretty good life, Myron had a fairly difficult life and has become a cynic because of it.
    • Same can be said about Myron and Jamie, as they both don't like being disappointed by the parental figures in their life. There was even an Imagine Spot Howard has about the matter.
  • Oh, Crap!: Howard, twice. First finding out at the last moment that the Turbo Man dolls are most likely sold out, and second in the very end after managing to fulfill Jamie's Christmas wish, when he finds out that he didn't get anything for Liz.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Howard's Turbo Man mask consists of a transparent yellow visor, yet neither his son nor his wife recognize him until he takes off the helmet. Moreover, they should easily recognize his voice, but they don't.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: A few.
    • "I'm gonna deck your halls, bub!"
    • "Hey, Myron! I've got a special delivery for you!"
    • "You just can't stay out of trouble, can you?"
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "You've picked the wrong day".
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Myron
  • Punny Name: The name of the weatherman emceeing for the Wintertainment Parade is "Gale Force".
  • Rage Breaking Point:
    • When Howard finally attacks this cardboard Turbo Man model in a store, after having spent a long time in so many stores trying to find one for his son with no luck. He first punches it, and it hits him on the back of the head as he turns around, causing him to get even more irate enough to grab it and tear it to shreds.
    • Over this entire Turbo Man issue, Howard also finally loses it with his son, Jamie over the phone at one point when Jamie quotes something Turbo Man said, failing to realize that Jamie is well unaware of what hell he has been through that whole day with what he has been all over trying to find him. From his censuring tirade, he also ends up hitting Jamie's Rage Breaking Point because of the way we see Jamie respond right back to him before slamming the phone on him, even though Howard tries to apologize just after. All leading to Howard having much regret.
    • Liz is pretty annoyed with the crap she's had to put up during the day and Howard constantly disappointing everybody... then Ted finally showcases himself as the perverted freak he really is and tries to make a definite move on her while they look for a parking spot at the parade. She hits him with a mug of eggnog (which he had given her before) and storms out of his car.
  • Real Place Background: The film takes place in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota and several local landmarks are seen and mentioned, such as the Mall of America and Lake Minnetonka, and Howard's flight as Turbo Man careens all over the downtown Minneapolis skyline.
  • Re-Cut: There's an extended edition of the movie, although aside from the novelty of seeing unused footage inserted into the movie, it's the inferior version, as none of the new scenes offer anything all that worthwhile and it slows the pacing down. Plus, they moved some music tracks around.
  • Retail Riot: More than one fight breaks out over the Turbo Man dolls.
  • Rocket Punch: "TA-TA, Turtleman!"
  • The Scrappy. An in-universe one with Booster, Turbo Man's sidekick. It's a Running Gag that every store Howard and Myron go to is sold out of Turbo Man figures, but has a large stock of Booster figures. During the climax Myron-dressed-as-Dementor snaps to the guy in the Booster costume "nobody likes you, Booster!" and knocks him off the parade float, and the kids surround him and start beating on him yelling about how much they hate him.
  • Serious Business: "Who told you you could eat my cookies? PUT THAT COOKIE DOWN! NOW!!!"
  • Show Within a Show: The sentaiesque Turbo Man.
  • Sleeps with Everyone but You: Myron's ex-wife, apparently.
  • Slobs Vs Snobs: This is what the battle between Howard and Myron for a Turboman is partially depicted as. This trope is most prominently displayed when Howard and Myron run to their cars upon the tip that a store in the Mall of America has received a new shipment of Turboman dolls: Howard runs to his shiny new GMC Suburban with a car alarm, while Myron squirms his way into his banged-up Jeep CJ that barely runs.
  • Smug Snake: Ted
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Played for laughs when Howard and Myron are at the toy store in the Mall of America, and are fighting with other last-minute shoppers for the winning lottery ball. The soundtrack plays "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" during this.
    • The extended cut can be this for those who have only seen the original theatrical cut; in the montage of Howard checking tons of stores for Turbo Man, the theatrical cut is accompanied by a fast-paced remix of "Jingle Bells" by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, while the extended cut has the more melancholy "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" instead.
  • The Stinger: Howard realizes that he didn't get Liz a present.
  • Straight Man: Howard
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: This, which of course samples "Put that cookie down!"
  • Stylistic Suck: The Turbo Man TV show.
  • Television Geography: KQRS is not located in downtown Minneapolis, but Golden Valley instead.note  Additionally, Mickey's Diner is located in downtown St. Paul, not Minneapolis. What this basically means is that Howard pushed his broken-down van for upwards of ten miles.
    • Averted with the call signs of the radio stations: since the Twin Cities straddle the Mississippi, some of their stations begin with a K and others with a W.note 
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: In the end, Howard finally manages to get Jamie a Turbo Man action figure after all he's been through. When they see Myron get taken away by the cops, Jamie gets compassionate and decides to give him the toy instead so Myron can give it to his son, Jamie's reasoning being that he doesn't really need a Turbo Man doll when his own Dad is Turbo Man.
  • Title Drop: Inverted. The title comes, of course, from "Jingle Bells," which occurs twice in the movie.
  • Truth In Cinema: At the same time that the film was in theaters (the 1996 Christmas season), there was a massive craze for the Tickle Me Elmo doll. There were numerous reported incidents of crazed parents in massive crowds trampling and fighting each other to buy the doll as a Christmas gift for their kids, in scenes not too different than the films' depictions of massive crowds of parents vying for Turbo Man dolls. Additionally, the film depicts a toy store clerk getting trampled as a crowd makes their way into the store after they first open; On December 14, 1996, a Canadian Wal-Mart employee was trampled and severely injured after a crowd spotted him handling a box of Tickle Me Elmo dolls.
    • Also, the Power Rangers toys, which Turbo Man parodies. At the time the Power Rangers series began, no one had ever seen anything like it, and there was a general consensus that it would fail miserably. As a result, most of the major retailers didn't bother with much of the merchandise, which was bought up by smaller, independent retailers instead. Hence, when the show became a hit, stores were woefully understocked, leading to a huge craze during the holidays. To this day, the incident appears in marketing textbooks to illustrate issues of supply and demand.
  • Tragic Villain: Myron - his behavior and descent into madness is a direct result of being cuckolded by his wife, lacking a meaningful relationship with his own father, and letting down his son one too many times as Howard did.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: While this film hasn't dated horribly, there are a few elements that date it square to the mid-1990s. The biggest one is how the film uses Myron threatening people (including the police) with mail bombs for comic effect. Not only would this be considered inappropriate in today's terrorist-fearing society - not to mention how just making the threat would be enough to get Myron a lengthy jail sentence today - but it is also a reference to the Unabomber, one of the most notorious terrorists of the 1980s and 1990s, who was captured shortly before the film's release. Additionally, the Christmas parade depicts many 1990s fads, including Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots and Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: When Howard gets caught in the banner while using Turbo Man's jetpack, he gets nauseated due to rapidly spinning in circles, though the only indication of this the viewer is shown is Howard's cheeks bulging out.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Flipped on its head, as Howard is constantly afraid of disappointing his son.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Howard, who clearly cares for his son but can't always show it because he's working so often.
  • You Are Too Late: Howard shouts this at Myron when he tells the names of Santa's reindeer to the radio station manager and Myron arrives just seconds later.

    Jingle All The Way 2 
  • Catapult Nightmare: Larry has one at one point where a toy clerk tries to sell him Harrison Bears dressed like Victor and him.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Victor, Noel's stepfather, buys up all the Harrison bears just to make sure Noel gets one for Christmas, not realizing that this will deprive most of the town's residence of getting one too. Larry calls him out on it when he finds out what's going on and naturally when the town finds out, it royally backfires. It's only thanks to Larry and giving everyone a bear at the end does he make up for his mistake.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Larry learns this the hard why when he tries to ask two elderly women where they brought their Harrison bear. They assume he's trying to buy/mug it from them and promptly Groin Attack him.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Both Larry and Victor assume their daughter Noel wants a Harrison Bear for Christmas based on her letter to Santa. Turns out she wanted her whole family to spend time together. They just couldn't read her messy hand writing.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: Subverted in this case. Larry enters a mechanical bull riding competition along with other fathers assuming the Harrison Bear was first prize. He wins (through cheating) only to find out that the bear was a second place prize.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Sorta a theme in this one. Larry is the "slob" working minimum wage part time jobs and enjoying things like ice fishing while Victor is considered the "snob", being a rich and living lavishly. Though both are nice people and just want to make their daughter happy.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: A kid pulls this on Larry to get him to take pity on him and hand over the bear. When he tries to get it back, they wind up running in front of a crowd of people who assume Larry is trying to steal it from him.

You can always count on me!

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