It’s never a good sign when an overtly Christmas-themed movie isn’t actually released in December. So it was for Reindeer Games, a misbegotten Ben Affleck vehicle which was apologetically dumped into cinemas during the less-than-festive season of February 2000.
Affleck’s questionable taste levels have become an established part of his movie star persona these days. For every Gone Girl, there’s a Gigli. For every Shakespeare In Love, a Surviving Christmas. Reindeer Games falls into the category of movies that probably sounded good on paper, but evidently completely fell apart in execution. Little wonder co-star Charlize Theron now describes it as one of the worst films of her career.
In more capable hands, it probably could have worked. Reindeer Games is clearly heavily influenced by the kind of movies The Coen Brothers were hitting big with at the time – small-time criminals getting caught up in convoluted crime plans that belie the essentially small stakes at play.
Unfortunately, the script for Reindeer Games is an irredeemable mess, stuffed with clunky Christmas metaphors that are clearly aiming for quirky and ironic, but wind up making the characters seem clinically insane. It’s a disaster, but an undeniably watchable one.
In this week’s episode, we break it all down, including the laughable innuendo, ludicrously complex plot mechanics, disturbing kissing technique and much more. We also check in with our listeners, brainstorm some drinking games and attempt to salvage the movie with some sequel pitches.
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Next time, our Christmas-ish season continues with a trip to mainland Europe, and a cult classic that we’re surprised it’s taken us this long to cover. Until then, happy listening and remember – nowhere, anywhere, ever, having sex to Christmas carols is never less than deeply weird.