Glenn Beck’s The Christmas Sweater has taken its rightful place as a Christmas classic with this year’s re-showing of last year’s Glenn Beck’s The Christmas Sweater. The Christmas Sweater is an allegory created by Beck originally in book form, later taken to the stage, which was later put to film and finally, filmed on stage showing him on stage in a film on stage. Seriously.
Sadly, I missed last year’s live event, in which Glenn told the tale of his not real, yet brutal childhood. To be fair to the artist known as Glenn Beck, I went into the film wanting to cleave his chest open with an axe, which I admit is slightly biased. He managed to change my opinion. I now believe Beck to be the best self-help speaker/complete madman going today. Never have I been so taken in by a personal message of perseverance, while at the same time feeling an unexplainable creepiness in my bones. On the surface, it’s self-help but underneath it’s a slow mental breakdown. Seventeen showers in and I cannot rid myself of the deep, dirty feeling Glenn deposited in and on me that evening.
Glenn has had some hard times in his life, which he refers to as “The Storm.” Knowing Glenn’s history, I went in understanding his personal storm was alcoholism, which resulted from the pain of losing his mother at the age of 15. Beck’s alcoholism lasted for years and he committed heinous acts one does not normally associate with a self-help speaker. For instance, as a morning DJ, he called his rival’s wife on the air and made fun of her recent miscarriage. Sadly, that sort of hilarity did not make it into The Christmas Sweater.
Not much of reality made it into The Christmas Sweater either, though Glenn would very much like us to believe the tale is true. Being a gifted orator, he chooses to reveal his horrible struggle with alcoholism in the most off-putting manner possible, by magically becoming a twelve-year-old boy in front of our eyes. He tosses on a long sleeved thermal shirt, with a T-shirt on top and talks in that weird grown man acting like a boy voice that has disturbed many mature adults over the years. Now he’s Eddie. Because who wouldn’t want to hear an allegory of alcoholism and death via a grown man acting like a child?
Eddie has it hard. His Dad just died and his mom “works two jobs so I can spend more time with you.” That sort of logic permeates the movie. Eddie wants a bike for Christmas, but gets a hand knitted sweater instead. I’ll just sum it up quickly: Eddie is mad and his mom dies because of it, then Eddie goes to live with his grandparents, meets a creepy hillbilly named Russell and finally runs away on the bike he would have gotten on Christmas if he hadn’t been acting like such a dick.
This is where it all comes together. Eddie crashes his bike in the darkness and runs into a cornfield. He’s crying. He’s scared. A storm is on the horizon. Russell appears and speaking like an AA sponsor, tells Eddie he needs to walk through his storm to get to the other side. “Don’t fear the storm, Eddie, fear the corn.” (One of the real take home bits of advice from the film). Then Eddie collapses on the ground. Obviously, this is the big moment. This is where his simplistic tale has been leading. We all need to walk through our storm. Of course, Glenn doesn’t.
Suddenly he wakes up in his grandparents farm. His mom is there. IT WAS ALL A DREAM! Which is a great ending – but completely undermines every single word Glenn Beck has said about walking through your personal storm to this point. His entire film and stage show is completely meaningless! Only a tremendous moron would fail to see this!
So, I was forced to look deeper to find the true meaning of this film. And it was there. Glenn is insane. Every single moment of the show, his voice is cracking, as if he is going to burst into tears. And many times he does weep openly, at one point even collapsing into a fetal position, while a very large, black woman comes out and sings.
But even that wasn’t it. I had to go deeper. And I did. This is the meaning of The Christmas Sweater: Don’t wear a fucking thermal long sleeved shirt on stage. My God, did he sweat. How many times can one man change an outfit and still look like he just took a dip in Lake Moron? At one point, his chin was like a waterfall of perspiration, as it flowed onto his shirt, like the mighty Niagara Falls. It was one of the most upsetting visuals you will see at the theater this year, which is why I have to highly recommend this film!
See pure, sweaty madness when it’s out on DVD. It’s worth every penny.