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Jingle all the way

A 1996 Christmas film. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Howard Langston, a father who is a constant disappointment to his son Jamie (Jake Lloyd). After missing his son's karate practice yet again, he only lets down the boy even further in his repeated attempts to try and get a Turbo Man action figure to compensate for his own Bumbling Dad nature, while competing with mailman Myron Larabee (Sinbad) to get the same toy. What follows is a comedy of errors as both men race to get the toy.


The film was a modest box office hit. It earned $129,832,389 in the worldwide market. With $60,592,389 in the United States market alone, it was the 23rd most successful film of its year. Critically, it was given a mediocre reception by the media, even earning a Golden Raspberry nomination for its director; it subsequently became a running gag on Late Night with Conan O'Brien when "Arnold" made appearances via Synchro Vox (he always found an opportunity to bring it up as an "all-time Christmas classic", despite it being completely irrelevant to the matter at hand). However, it still reruns regularly on Disney-owned stations such as ABC Family, and some hold it as So Bad It's Good or even decent despite its flaws. It is also the last comedic role for Ah-nold, and one of the last for Sinbad.

Word of God says that the film was inspired by the Cabbage Patch Kids craze of the early 1980s.


This movie features the following tropes: Edit

  • Actor Allusion: "You can't bench-press your way out of this one!" Howard's character wouldn't likely have time to work out much...
  • All Part of the Show: The climactic confrontation pits Howard as Turboman against Myron as Turboman'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 ths 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.
  • Ash Face
  • Bad Santa: A whole group of them making counterfeit toys.
  • Batteries Not Included: Jamie includes this stock phrase in his description of Turbo Man.
  • Brick Joke: "Ta-ta, Turtle Man!"
  • Bumbling Dad: Howard, to an extent.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Schwarzenegger has threatened to force the legislature of California to watch it 13 times if they couldn't come up with a budget.
  • Cool Toy: Well, duh.
  • Curse Cut Short: Unusual variation: Howard says "That son of a..." at one point, but nothing actually prevents him from completing the epithet.
  • 555: The number of the radio station.
  • Groin Attack: Jamie does this to Sinbad who is dressed as Turbo-Man's arch nemesis.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Sinbad's monologues were likely this.
  • Hello Again, Officer: One of the best examples of this trope, ever. Getting pulled over by a cop, then running over the cop's motorcycle, spilling his coffee...then there's the bus, and a bomb, and well...
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The raffle ball scene in the mall
  • Indecisive Parody: This movie can't seem to decide whether it's a heartwarming Christmas flick or a satire of holiday consumerism
  • Jerkass: Myron, Ted, and the motorcycle cop.
  • Large Ham: Sinbad seems to take great delight in shouting his every line.
  • The Mall: In one scene, Howard seeks the toy at Mall of America.

 I'm gonna deck your halls, bub.

  • 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!

  • 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.
  • Oh Crap: Howard, twice. First finding out too late the Turbo-Man dolls were sold out, and second when he didn't get anything for Liz.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Howard's Turboman 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-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: Several.
    • "I'm gonna deck your halls, bub!"
    • "You've picked the wrong day."
    • "Hey Myron! I've got a special delivery for you!"
  • Rocket Punch: "TA TA Turtleman!"
  • The Scrappy: Turbo-Man's sidekick Booster is a in-universe example. The kid fans hate Booster so much that they attack the guy who wears Booster's costume at the parade.

 Myron: You know what? Nobody likes you, Booster!

  • Sleeps with Everyone but You: Sinbad's character's ex-wife, apparently.
  • The Stinger: Howard realizes that he didn't get Liz a present.
  • Straight Man: Howard.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: "Jungle All the Way," which of course samples "Put that cookie down!"
  • Television Geography: KQRS is not located in downtown Minneapolis, but Golden Valley instead. Additionally, Mickey's Diner is located in downtown St. Paul, not Minneapolis.
    • 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.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: In the end, Howard finally manages to get Jamie a Turboman 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 Turboman doll when his own Dad is Turboman.
  • Title Drop: Inverted. The title comes, of course, from "Jingle Bells," which occurs twice in the movie.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Howard, who clearly cares for his son, but can't always show it because he's working so often.

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