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My favorite Christmas movie never makes the list of best Christmas movies, but it should. When I’m wrapping gifts, it puts me in the proper gift-wrapping spirit. It’s not “Scrooged” or “Dr. Seuss' the Grinch.” It’s not “Home Alone” or “A Christmas Story.” It’s definitely not “It's A Wonderful Life.” It’s Ice Cube’s “Friday After Next,” the third installment in the “Friday” trilogy from 2002.
You’re probably thinking: Ice Cube's "Friday After Next" is a Christmas movie? Allow me to explain why this cult movie classic is not only a Christmas movie, but the best Christmas movie. So put the children to bed, grab some gifts to wrap and prepare for a wild dash through the hood.
Ice Cube. (Photo by Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images).
A bad Santa relieves cousins Craig and Day-Day of their rent money the night before they begin their new jobs as security guards at a shopping center, which is frequented by bad cops, carolers and a host of hilarious characters.
- Craig and Day-Day must throw a rent party to raise money to thwart their eviction. But first, they'll have to chase Santa through the hood to exact their revenge.
Mike Epps. (Photo by Mike FANOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images).
The Soundtrack ️
But first, prepare to get in the Christmas spirit with the best Christmas soundtrack you’ve never heard. These renditions just might become your new favorites. It starts off with the Temptation’s "Silent Night," and features Krayzie Bones’ “Wonderful World,” the Westside Connection’s “It’s the Holidaze,” Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” and Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.” It’s not officially Christmas until I’ve heard these renditions.
You can’t help but laugh as the cousins navigate an encounter with an old nemesis, the wacky manager at their apartment complex and fidgety new boss, who runs the Holy Moly Donut shop. "Hold the flies." That line is one of my favorites in the movie.
Perfect casting, memorable characters
*(adult language/adult humor)
Poor Craig. He had to fight Deebo in "Friday." Then dodge the neighborhood drug dealers in "Next Friday." Now he has to get the rent money back from Santa, deal with Day-Day’s shenanigans and try to finagle a way to get Money Mike’s sexy girlfriend in bed.
Mike Epps as Day-Day is a scene stealer. I've seen this movie a million times, but I still laugh at all of the jokes he delivers. My favorite is when he takes his job as “Top Flight Security of the World” way too seriously. He insults women carolers, lies, and as usual, his cousin Craig must save him from himself.
Funny man John Witherspoon plays Craig’s dad, Willie Jones. Jones and his brother Uncle Elroy, played by Don Curry, run Bros Bar-B-Q, located in the shopping center where Craig and Day-Day work. My favorite scene: During the rent party, Jones goes down to Ms. Pearly’s apartment to use the restroom. Ms. Pearly has other plans for him, and Jones' wife sets it off.
Ms. Pearly ♀️
Played by Bebe Drake, Craig and Day-Day hate Ms. Pearly, who has a moustache that Day-Day said needs to be lined up. They also despise her incessant demands for their past due rent. In her bathrobe, she threatens to send her son, Damon, who was just released after 12 years from a level four prison yard, to pay them a visit — if the duo doesn’t pay up. Later, she has a hilarious run-in with Craig’s parents.
Santa jacks Uncle Elroy’s Rolex. Uncle Elroy said: “Not the rollie.” Santa replies, “Now, it’s a stollie,” before running off.
Katt Williams. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images).
You will never forget Katt Williams’ “magically delicious” Money Mike. He wears outlandish outfits, has a sexy young girlfriend and owns the store Pimps and Hos. He provides the movies biggest laughs when he is chased through the hood by Damon, played by Terry Crews.
Comedian Rickey Smiley is no ordinary Santa. He’s not fat or jolly; he is stealthy. He steals gifts and stockpiles them for himself. Craig and Day-Day chase him all through the hood bringing the movie to its funny conclusion.
That's my favorite Christmas movie. It's not heartwarming. It won't evoke nostalgic childhood memories of setting out cookies and milk for Santa. But it will make you laugh and be merry. So there's that.
Banner: Cast of "Friday After Next." (Photo by Ray Mickshaw/WireImage) via Getty Images.