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Stephen Colbert's kid screenwriters and some famous pals craft the greatest holiday movie ever

Kids, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

With the holidays fast approaching like a runaway Christmas train with an eggnog-blasted Santa at the controls, it’s an inescapable conclusion that the overwhelming majority of holiday movies are cold garbage. Stephen Colbert knows it, having attempted to save Christmas himself at one point, but he’s just one man, dammit. Luckily, on Friday’s Late Show, Colbert brought some backup, in the form of a classroom of adorably energetic script doctors, who applied their collective imagination to spitballing the greatest holiday movie of all time. Ladies and Gentlemen, Stephen Colbert and eight of the finest screenwriters in all the land (and some celebrity ringers) bring you . . . Santa Fight: Saving The Holiday From Atnas!

Colbert and a roomful of excited kids is comedy gold, naturally, with the Late Show host riding avuncular herd over ideas ranging from Home Alone-style extreme violence, to martial arts-style extreme violence, to evil twins, to talking snowmen. (Colbert is especially good at making sure everyone’s voice is heard and respected, an inclusive and respectful creative process that no doubt reigns in exactly zero percent of more “grownup” writers rooms.) And if the results have a certain Axe Cop vibe to them (mainly because kids invariably are drawn to axe violence, for some reason), we learn some important lessons from the Santa Fight brainstorming session.

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  • Bruce Lee is, unfortunately, no longer available.
  • The police may brush you off with their signature greeting, “Have a 911-derful day.”
  • There’s a little kid named Tyler who’s going to run a movie studio one day.
  • The most devastating martial arts move in the world is surprisingly cost effective.
  • Santa’s parents had a whole “Tomax and Xamot” philosophy when it came to naming their twins.
  • There is no way Santa Fight: Saving The Holiday From Atnas wouldn’t be better than the following: Jingle All The Way, Jack Frost, An American Carol, Christmas With The Kranks, Surviving Christmas, Saving Christmas, and [shudder] Deck The Halls.

To prove that last point, Colbert called in some favors for the film’s teaser trailer from the likes of Nick Kroll (voice of kung fu sensei snowman), Rachel Dratch and John Oliver (axe-toting elves), Laura Linney (disgruntled Mrs. Claus), and Bryan Cranston in a dual role as both Santa and his bad-breaking younger twin, Atnas. Santa Fight: Saving The Holiday From Atnas—saving your holidays from the bad Christmas movie blues. With an axe.

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About the author

Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.