8-Bit Christmas review: You don’t need to be an ’80s kid to love it, but it helps

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You never need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to making a good holiday movie. As long as it evokes a particular set of emotions, hits the right nostalgia button, and features a few jingle bells, any movie can make it feel like Christmas.

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And it’s even better when a movie finds a way to feel like Yours Christmas.

This will probably be the case for many who watch 8-bit Christmas, the new holiday comedy about a kid who will do whatever it takes to make sure the hottest gift of the late 1980s — a Nintendo Entertainment System — is under its tree on Christmas morning.

Winslow Feglie screams in a scene from 8-Bit Christmas.

playing with power


the director continue And stuber From a script penned by filmmaker Michael Downsey Kevin Jacobowski—who also wrote the book that inspired the film— 8-bit Christmas cast timmy failure Star Winslow Feigley as Jake Doyle, a kid living in 1980s Chicago who craves an NES video-game console, but who finds his attempts to secure a failed man at every turn. With the console selling out everywhere and many crazy parents looking to keep it out of the hands of kids, Jake comes up with an intricate plan to get the holiday’s most sought-after gift—but he has to pull it off. Will need a Christmas miracle.

Jake’s story is offered as a flashback, with Neil Patrick Harris playing the role of the adult Jake, who is now moving to his childhood home with his daughter. Harris’ character is much more than a passive narrator, however, as his memories of that memorable Christmas are punctuated with self-editing and colorful exaggerations that are part and parcel of his memories of parents from an era. Those who feel a world away from today.

Neil Patrick Harris falls on the snow near Santa Claus in an 8-bit Christmas scene.

time machine

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Downey does an amazing job of capturing the small details of life for middle class, suburban families in the ’80s. From school closures on the morning radio to the signature hair and fashions of the time to Christmas shopping at the mall – and all the crowd and chaos that goes into it – the film packs in the many sights, sounds, and spirit of the holiday. Period.

All those meticulous design elements—along with Fegli’s performance—and June Diane Raphael (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Steve Zahn (the things you do, white Lotus), who play Jake’s overworked, forever estranged parent—blend together wonderfully to sell the story’s period setting from the inside, while Harris’ role takes on that era’s self. Provides conscious commentary that only comes from looking back at it now. For kids who grew up in the ’80s, the film will likely feel like a lovingly crafted time capsule, just like 1983’s a christmas story Presents a rose-tinted recollection of his own main character’s Christmas adventure in 1940.

As a result, a christmas story And 8-bit Christmas share a lot of positive qualities, and comparisons are easy to make, given the basic premise of both films: a child endures one insane ordeal after another in search of a Christmas gift no one thinks he should get. However, children who grew up a christmas story But Ralphie’s quest for the Red Rider air rifle or its founding in a pre-WWII suburb would never quite be associated, possibly feeling a deeper connection. 8-bit Christmas, which transcends similar themes into more familiar surroundings—both in its duration setting and its feelings of time.

8-Bit Christmas (2021)

8-bit Christmas


family comedy


Neil Patrick Harris, Winslow Feglie, June Diane Raphael

the director

Michael Downs

something for everyone

Fun, funny performances abound 8-bit Christmas, as well, Fegli took on each of his scenes and was doing so with an astonishing level of comfort, given that the film became so heavy in the period decades before its lead actor was born. It’s hard for Jake not to take root in his quest, even when it leads him in the direction a parent is still in his 80s, thanks in no small part to Feglie’s investment in the character. Reason will not allow.

8-bit Christmas It never stops feeling like a film that would be a blast to work on, and it can often take an otherwise entertaining film to the next level. Sure, it feels superfluous to call 8-bit Christmas A holiday classic premieres the same week, but Dawse’s film checks all the boxes—especially for anyone who grew up in America during that particular era.

The best Christmas movies all walk a fine line between being timeless and timely, evoking a certain set of emotions and memories, regardless of where they are set, as well as how the holiday was shaped by that particular era. Also provides a snapshot. 8-bit Christmas Offers all that and more with another heartwarming, hilarious film that the whole family will connect with, no matter what generation you were born in or what you hope to find under the tree are doing.

holiday comedy 8-bit Christmas Premieres November 24 on the HBO Max streaming service.

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