A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Sometimes justice wins out, even if it takes a while and may only be temporary.
Positive Role Models
Many people in the community of Hayden respectfully deal with Morris, despite his threats, bullying behavior, and terrorizing.
Violence & Scariness
Adults get angry and yell obscenities. A man harasses, threatens, and shows bullying behavior toward many people. A man threatens another with scary words. Adults armed with guns show up to a man's house, offering him protection.
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Some strong language includes: "f--k," "f--ker," "f---kng," "s--t," "bitch," "nuts," and "screw you."
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Products & Purchases
The film National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is referenced a few times. Facebook and Fox News are also featured.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 'Twas the Fight Before Christmas is a documentary about the 7+ years long battle between Jeremy Morris and his local neighborhood Home Owner's Association in Hayden, Idaho. Morris reminds everyone constantly that he's an attorney, and that he'll sue anyone who gets in his way. Soon, Morris comes up with the argument that the HOA persecuted him based on his religious beliefs (even though nearly everyone else in the neighborhood is also Christian) and that's why the HOA doesn't want him doing his gigantic Christmas lights decoration show extravaganza. In response, Morris throws his neighbors into a lawsuit, deposes members of the HOA, and wins the right to decorate his home plus $75,000 in restitution. But the community fight back. Expect strong language, including: "f--k," "f--ker," "f--king," "s--t," "bitch," "nuts," and "screw you." Not much violence except for people arguing, yelling, threatening, and harassing others (mainly Morris). Some "3 Percenters" show up with guns and offer Morris protection. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Ultimately a profile of Jeremy Morris and his Christmas house decorating obsession, this docu is both fascinating and terrifying. 'Twas the Fight Before Christmas is fascinating primarily because of the sheer insanity of Morris, a man-child who is the epitome of White privilege, entitlement, and unmitigated litigious power (Morris can sue for free and seems to have no problem nor consequence financially with spending all his time fighting the HOA for over 7 years). Moment after moment of absurdity follow Morris and his wife, as they're hilariously oblivious to how they come across to everyone. For example, before moving to Hayden, Morris informs the HOA (and many neighbors) that first, he's a very powerful attorney, and second, that they need to accept his demands or else they'll feel his legal wrath. And then after moving into their new home and neighborhood, the Morris's are genuinely shocked to find that no one in the neighborhood welcomes them.
Secondly, this film is terrifying primarily because it's an example of how easy it can be for someone to disturb, frustrate, and terrify the lives of many. Morris makes threats constantly, makes people cry, harasses and attacks people, and all the while speaks openly and earnestly to the camera as if viewers will naturally side with him. He's quite simply someone most people would never want to ever come across. Thankfully, the whole religious freedom aspect of Morris's lawsuit isn't really the focus of this docu (nor should it be, as Morris's religious freedom claim was a trumped-up, made-up argument: Morris never mentions religion or his Christian beliefs until reading a poorly-worded clause in an email the HOA sent him); instead, the film wisely and simply lets Morris speak for himself.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.