- Title 'Twas the Fight Before Christmas
- Director Becky Read
- Year 2021
- Run time 1hr 31m
- Genre Documentary
- Tagline A true tale more tangled than your Christmas lights
Twas the Fight Before Christmas follows the story of a North Idaho neighbourhood turned upside down by one man's obsession with bringing Christmas cheer to all, through the biggest community Christmas event America has ever seen. Christmas-loving lawyer Jeremy Morris' plan hits a snag when the home owners' association informs him that the event violates the rules of the neighbourhood. A contentious fight over the festivities erupts and things snowball out of control. As the situation escalates, the film asks the question, who wins when different rights and interests collide?
|0:43||“So, we’re at the North Pole storage.” I hate him already.|
|3:12||Emotional blackmail on the Christmas Tree front.|
|4:06||Argh, haven’t watched the Lampoon ones yet.|
|7:30||How can he compare his light show to the Berlin wall? WHA?|
|12:57||Surely you can’t live somewhere if you haven’t read the rules for where you live?|
|18:50||It is intimidating to face off against a lawyer, I reckon.|
|25:34||You can’t record someone without telling them, can you?|
|30:06||She sounds surprised that the neighbours didn’t rush to meet the people who threatened to sue them.|
|33:23||“Dolly the camel is not an ordinary house pet.”|
|40:28||They understand it’s just about some lights on a house, right? Christmas will still happen.|
|44:09||Wasn’t expecting a gun-toting militia to rock up in this, I must admit.|
|46:33||Wife leaves. Thank goodness for some sense.|
|53:54||“This constant loop, a never-ending cycle of crazy.”|
|59:37||“It was embarrassing,” he says, not realising he’s the embarrassment.|
|1:03:56||It’s like a reverse of ‘you can’t handle the truth’, she’s getting calmer, he’s about to explode.|
|1:14:56||It’s an absolute rollercoaster.|
|1:24:55||“There’s no victory in that.”|
This is such a good documentary, a really insightful look at both sides of a neighbourhood war, with one side coming out a bit snippy but mostly fine, and the other looking like an absolute madman obsessed with Christmas and also suing people - two things you wouldn’t think go hand in hand. The film is really neatly put together, gradually peeling away layers to reveal more and more the obsession and hatred that developed.
Any sympathy you might have had for Mr Morris at first quite quickly starts to fall away when he continually compares his situation to genuine world atrocities, all-too-easily turns to the lawsuit as a way of getting his own way, and very soon stops talking about the fact this all started as a charity event. Any charitable feelings were lost along the way.
This is five stars for an incredible documentary but let’s be clear, one star for the terrifying true story.
Rating: 5 / 5