Post film critic Stephen Hunter throws out the first humbug of the season with his assessment of Santa Claus.

So what I’m saying is: Santa’s not ancient and venerable. He’s not from anything. He’s not holy. He just represents the tendency of modern culture to mix things together until they achieve the right harmonic balance for mass marketing and, at that point, standardize them into icons.

But it’s not just the modern day image of Old Saint Nick that’s got Hunter channeling Scrooge. It’s having to sit through all the bad movies featuring the big guy.

But even worse than old Saint Synthetic are the movies he occasionally stars in, ho, ho, ho. These things can ruin a week faster than a broken bottle of bourbon or a missed call from an agent. In fact, it’s no surprise that the best of the holiday movies usually sidestep the whole Santa thing, and focus on more genuine issues of family or community.

My favorite holiday picture is Richard Donner’s version of A Christmas Carol, Scrooged, starring Bill Murray. Except for the last ten minutes when the central character is redeemed (Bill is far better without redemption) and the cast sings "Put A Little Love In Your Heart".