Jingle Bell Rocks! is a trippy, cinematic sleighride into the strange and sublime universe of alternative and underground Christmas music. The 2013 documentary features interviews and music from The Flaming Lips, Run-DMC, The Free Design, Low, Miles Davis & Bob Dorough, Clarence Carter, John Waters, and many more. The film was an Official Selection at the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival and DOC NYC.
The film follows Christmas music junkie Mitchell Kezin as he unveils twelve of his most cherished, alternative Christmas songs. With titles like, “Green Chri$tma$,” “Santa Claus Was a Black Man” or “Merry Christmas Someone” these funny, sad, satirical, and scathing songs explore the flipside of the Yuletide: racial inequality, religious freedom, nuclear war, family angst, conspicuous consumption, or just the yearning sadness of being alone at the happiest time of the year.
Hitting the road to uncover the stories inside the grooves, Mitchell hangs with his holiday heroes — musicians, deejays, record execs, radio hosts, composers, critics and fellow collectors — who share his passion. Through rollicking live performances, intimate interviews and a kaleidoscope of touching and kooky archive, we’ll journey deep into the Christmas cosmos, uncovering the remarkable stories behind twelve of the weirdest, wildest, most poignant Christmas songs you’ve never heard.
Equal parts social history, pop culture pilgrimage and revealing character study, Jingle Bell Rocks! follows a motley crew of merry misfits as they confront the Christmas music mainstream, reinventing the seasonal soundtrack for the 21st century.
Streaming courtesy of Kanopy. Run time 95 minutes.