It's been ages, but The Velvet Blog occasionally likes to soften the blow of particularly harsh film reviews by appending the phrase "Garnish with Fluffernutter."
Why? Because we can.
Today's poorly received film is Andrei Konchalovsky's The Nutcracker. Er, no, actually, it's The Nutcracker in 3D. Really, that's the official title. (I think it's a pretty solid rule of thumb that any movie that includes 3D as part of its official title is going to be rough going.)
Roger Ebert is somewhat taken aback:
From what dark night of the soul emerged the wretched idea for “The Nutcracker in 3D”? Who considered it even remotely a plausible idea for a movie? It begins with an awkward approximation of the story behind the Tchaikovsky ballet, and then turns it into a war by the Nutcracker Prince against the Holocaust.
Am I exaggerating? At one point, the evil Rat King (John Turturro) has his troopers snatch toys from the hands of children so they can be tossed into furnaces, and the smoke will emerge from high chimneys to blot out the sun.
Yes. And the rats are dressed in fascistic uniforms. Against them stand our heroine Mary (Elle Fanning) and her Christmas present, a nutcracker (voice of Shirley Henderson) that has imprisoned a handsome prince (Charlie Rowe). And two-legged helicopters swoop low over screaming children, and the city is laid waste, and the rats dream of world domination.
You may be in disbelief. I was. “The Nutcracker in 3D” is one of those rare holiday movies that may send children screaming under their seats. ...
Only one thing could have made this film worse, and they haven’t neglected it. That would be to present it in 3-D. They have.
Garnish with Fluffernutter.
Ouch. Not even my addition of Fluffernutter will help.
I leave you with The New York Times' explanation of the film's PG rating:
“The Nutcracker in 3D” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). No blood but quite a bit of suspense and violence, including an electrocuted shark and a decapitation.
Because nothing says Happy Holidays quite like an electrocuted shark. (Which, oddly, I don't remember from the stage production.)
In all fairness, Scrooge, the 1970 musical version of A Christmas Carol, scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.