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With: Reverend Run, Wayne Coyne, John Waters, Doctor Demento, Bob Dorough, The Mighty Sparrow, Mitchell Kezin
Written by: Mitchell Kezin
Directed by: Mitchell Kezin
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 94
Date: 12/05/2014

Jingle Bell Rocks! (2013)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Xmas Blues

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The documentary Jingle Bell Rocks! chronicles the obsessive collecting of Christmas music, but not just the usual stuff by Bing Crosby or Elvis or Brenda Lee. We're talking very weird stuff, kicking off with Nat King Cole's "The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot," Miles Davis' "Blue Xmas," and even more obscure stuff. The movie can seem off-putting if your'e a fan of the traditional stuff, but it may make you open your eyes to more alternative tunes and the impulses behind them.

John Waters, who put together and released his own strange CD of odd Christmas tunes, is interviewed, as is Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, about his beautiful song "A Change at Christmas." And of course, the movie talks to Reverend Run about Run-DMC's great "Christmas in Hollis," as well as looking into its predecessor, Clarence Carter's "Back Door Santa."

Several of these collectors put together annual mix CDs that become yearlong projects. The director, Mitchell Kezin, appears, trying to analyze his own obsession. In spite of his trying to seem cool (or like a cool nerd), he often reveals the heartbreaking truth behind his love of the genre and of the season. In the end, Jingle Bell Rocks! is a wonderful documentary, especially for those who think likewise.

Oscilloscope released the movie in theaters and on DVD; extras include deleted scenes and extended interview footage, as well as other goodies.

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