By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Having been a fan of Mick Foley's for several years now, I'll support anything he's involved in. I love his writing style, his credentials in wrestling and his opinion on a lot of things, but most of all, his love for Christmas. As a major "mark" for Christmas myself, I'm a sucker for a good Christmas movie. And yes, even the crappy ones (I'm still contemplating whether I should review "Jingle All the Way 2" at some point). But don't get me wrong! "I Am Santa Claus" was by no means crappy. In fact, it was actually quite great.
Foley is excellent at promotion and marketing. He was smart in wearing Santa-themed attire all year round in an attempt to peak interest in his new documentary, "I Am Santa Claus." And it worked. It definitely got me interested in what it was all about, even though I probably would have checked it out anyway. As the release date of the documentary grew closer, I saw Foley doing more and more interviews advertising it, calling it "a movie that will make you cry" and completely exaggerating its emotion. I can't say it was the emotional thing I've ever seen, but Foley was right: there definitely were parts of the movie that made me "feel" inside, and I'm sure you'd feel the same way if you saw it.
I waited until getting home from college to watch it, so I sat down to check it out on Netflix only two days before Christmas. By the way, Netflix (along with all the other platforms it's available on, including iTunes) are great. It's easy and convenient, especially for those that constantly use Netflix and frown upon buying it in DVD form (you know who you are). Now onto the documentary itself. It follows the lives of various men who portray Santa Claus every December. These are the same Santas you see at meet and greets, in malls and other places. On the outside looking in, they may appear to be ordinary people just playing a character, but from watching this movie, you'll learn they are anything but.
These gentlemen don't just portray Santa. They are Santa (does the title of the movie make more sense to you now?). They love the holiday so much that they feel the joy they give to kids whenever granting their wishes. And it's not just a part-time job. Sure, their biggest business only comes during December, but they are Santa year round. One of them even believed they really were Santa and changed his entire mindset as a result.
But all of the Santa impersonators were different in their own way. One of them didn't have any family, one of them ran a gay bar, and one of them didn't have any family in addition to being gay. It was that last guy that evoked the most emotion out of me. He found his "soul mate" online and had been talking to him for over six years ago, but the only issue was that he lived so far away that he couldn't relocate. The moment where they finally meet face-to-face is an emotional one. On the whole, though, all the Santas have their own story, including Mick Foley! It's what makes each of them unique in their own way.
Another emotional part of the film came when Mick Foley's son (whose name escapes me at the moment, he has a few of them and I can't remember which one it was) celebrated his last Christmas where he believed in Santa Claus. He had on the Santa tracker (remember that?!) and discovered Santa was in New York, where they live. Mick saw this as a chance to get him to bed, but the kid wouldn't budge because he really wanted to see Santa. He ended up bringing an impersonator in and the kid bought it. Mick said it brought him an infinite amount of happiness. It was touching to say the least.
And those are only a few of the highlights of the movie. I don't want to get into too much more in risk of giving anything away, but trust me, you'll love it. It clocks in at only an hour and a half, so it isn't too long or too short. The time absolutely flies by because you're so invested in the story. Most of all, it's very interesting to see all of these "Santas" out of their element, what they do for a living, the hardships they face, the countdown to Christmas and so much more. It's relatively family-friendly with the exception of a few f-bombs, but if you're kids are accustomed to that kind of thing, then it shouldn't be a problem. As I write this, it's already after Christmas, but still make time to check out this documentary as soon as possible. It's that good.
Should you watch this movie? Yes.