'Twas the Fight Before Christmas (2021) Poster

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a darn good story...
ops-5253527 November 2021
And i cant wait till the sequel, triquel and quatrel shows up, just to come to an end of this the grinch vs the grumps or was it the vice versa, just to summarize the whole skit, its a big serious joke of grumpiness among people of the nation of the bold and the free and all its 794 amendments that give every american ''the right to...''

yes its a documentary, a very well made production, just like a yuletree chain of different colours and opinions, and dead stubborn neighbours that just want peace and quiet in their backyard, while mr morris griswald wants to show off his carnival of x-mas lights and gadgets.

Im a fan of light displays myself, at a lower standard then the culprit in this film, but among top 5 in consumption of electricity in the neighbourhood. Im ready to dim the lights if asked to, but i would become the usual grumpy old man that i am. The gig idea though makes me giggle, sounds more like a shilling in my own account if you search me.

This is the worst of the worst in neighbourhood disputes, you just have to watch it, i feel for both parts, and maybe its time to reel oneself out of the project and buy an empty farm instead. Its a funfare in the name of christmas, and a muddy new year to them all.
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Unfortunately Incomplete
pacocharte26 November 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Without actually spoiling anything just yet, it's important to note that the court battle behind this case is still pending and could be unresolved 3-5 years from now. Hence, the filmmakers should have probably waited until we know what the final outcome will be.

**Many Spoilers Ahead**

Basically what you have here is a disruptive, spoiled manchild in Idaho who - unfortunately for the HOA of his neighborhood - happens to be a hyper litigious person, even for a lawyer such as himself.

Long story short is this guy had a known history of hosting disruptive, potentially dangerous "Christmas" events at his previous residence which was under the jurisdiction of a certain city government that began to deny him permits for his spectacles. So being the fake and disingenuous purveyor of "Christmas cheer" and the entitled brat that he is, he finds a new neighborhood outside of any city's jurisdiction and thus an opportunity to circumvent the permit process and host bigger "Christmas" events than ever, despite his neighbors (by way of the HOA) stating right up front that this type of gathering (and lighting) were not permissible under their bylaws. Naturally, being who and what he is, he immediately embarks on a lawfare and intimidation campaign against his HOA using every legal trick and bad faith action in the book in order to 1) force his neighbors to allow such an event, 2) satisfy his obvious ego and lust for attention and 3) ensure that his wife and kids will probably never have any friends in their neighborhood on the basis of his childish and incessant adversarial posturing.

Ultimately he settles on a First Amendment platform and cites as his primary piece of evidence a letter that was sent to him by the HOA stating that his over-the-top "Christian" or rather "Christmas" displays and bringing large numbers of strangers into the neighborhood could, among violating HOA bylaws, also offend non-Christians or those who don't celebrate Christmas in the neighborhood. Never mind the fact that most of the members of the HOA and residents of the neighborhood are themselves practicing Christians. But his true piece de resistance was that he secretly recorded all of his communications with neighbors and the HOA and selectively edited several audio clips to paint the exchanges in the worst possible light and help him weave his religious freedom/pro First Amendment narrative. It should go without saying that Fox News and every possible "conservative" media outlet and columnist then took up his "cause" and casy a national light on the poor people in this quiet neighborhood. After all, when important context is ignored, it played right into the insufferable Bill O'Reilly's annual whine-fest he called "The War on Christmas."

All in all the film was well made by a British crew (judging from the accent of the director) and the story is presented in a logical, linear fashion with copious interviews, audio recording snippets, and down-home genuine neighbor involvement. Perhaps the saddest and most genuine personalities to come through (in some ways unintentionally) were those of Mr. Christmas's wife and children. His wife demonstrates all the textbook behaviors of Stockholm Syndrome and my guess is that she doesn't have a high paying skill that she could fall back on so she stays with her husband rather than divorcing him and forces herself to adopt his narrative so as not to do any more damage to her mental health than his crusade has already done. His poor kids are of course too young to realize that the reason other children don't come over to play is that their father has made it his mission over 3 years to essentially terrorize his entire neighborhood and push them to the point of exhaustion and potential financial ruin.

At the moment, the case is in sort of legal limbo awaiting the decision of an appeals panel of judges who are tasked with reviewing a lower court judge's overturning of a previous unanimous jury verdict in the manchild's favor. It could still be appealed to the SCOTUS as he insists he will do if the appeals panel doesn't find in his favor, so this could stretch out for quite some time.

One thing I wished the producers would've done is seek out any neighbors who might have been in support of Mr. Christmas and his plans, which - by the way - he has carried through with every year anyway despite the HOA's attempts to stop him. It would have been interesting to see IF any of them support him and how many if so. But alas, my suspicion is that there aren't many, or the ones who do don't want to upset friendships and neighborly relations by going against the HOA and bylaws they agreed to when purchasing their homes.

6/10 just for something Christmas-themed and entertaining to watch during the holidays.
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Love Christmas
jayaxelhickey25 December 2021
Good for him. Them People in that neighborhood are Christmas grinches. All them people in that neighborhood think they are better then other people. I hope they lose.
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Thank God I don't live next to him
almanac-3917830 December 2021
It's an interesting documentary. The residents of West Hayden Estates come across as sane, likeable people who just don't want their peaceful community spoilt by a horde of people gawping at a tacky, OTT Xmas display. Jeremy Morris, on the other hand, comes across as an arrogant, selfish, obsessed dictator, who was probably indulged too much as a kid and hasn't grown up since. He's also delusional, actually comparing his tacky Xmas display to the Berlin Wall, and himself to a surrounded US Commander in the Battle of the Bulge, and he seems to think that being a lawyer makes him God. Wanna know why people hate lawyers so much? I give you one Jeremy R. Morris.
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This movie will make you think about what's really important in life
story_by_corey28 November 2021
There a several subplots within this story. One of them was Kristy Morris. It wasn't her idea to start the fight, but she also wants to be a good wife and support her husband. She is a brave woman who pays a massive price for that support. She talks about her family being forced into an existence of isolation, so many of life's experiences lost to time and facing down potential financial ruin with each court case. I felt sorry for her situation. I found myself wishing Jeremy would look into her eyes and perhaps see there are more important things in life than getting your way. But that didn't happen and at the end of this show, I felt sad for both Kristy and all the people living in that neighborhood. I hope all of them one day may find peace again.
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An ordeal to watch but timely portrait of delusional self interest
mike-325127 November 2021
Fairly well made documentary, which I guess is why we suffered the whole thing but it also had that accident you can't look away from feel. Lot's of interviews from the effected people, with some pretty intelligent commentary about the "villain."

A sign of the times in that we have a guy who just wants to do what he wants, and the heck with everyone else in close proximity. Then, he hides behind the "personal freedom" and "religious discrimination" covers.

I'm guessing this little film won't help his lawyering business but then, this is the U. S so who knows?
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Good story,
runner14027 November 2021
I'm not a fan of HOA's in the least bit but I'm even less of a fan of bullies. And even less of bullies who feel entitled to throw their weight around to get what they want and revel in wasting the time and resources of the world at large. I hope Mr. Morris watches himself in the film, reads these reviews, and takes a good long hard look in the mirror and realizes everyone knows he never acted in good faith nor is he a good Christian. News flash, Morris, Christmas isn't about lights and gross displays of entitlement and the desire to be the center of attention. It's about loving and helping OTHERS!! You could have helped so many people with the money you spent on your show.

For the record, the filmmakers did an excellent job with the story.
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Sad, deluded bully
Dorveille29 December 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Jeremy Morris is a man who loves Christmas, he likes to decorate his house open it to visitors to raise money for charity. That is all well and good, admirable in fact. But the way in which he goes about it is absolutely wrong, and has led to years of unhappiness for those around him.

What he fails to understand is that altough you live in a free country, that does not give you the right to do whatever you want. Freedom comes at a cost. You do not live in an isolated bubble, you have to show some consideration for your neighbours also.

Has he not already proven that he holds little regard for the law? Before he moved the neighbourhood he had held a previous Christmas event which attracted thousands of people and he hadn't bothered to obtain the required permits to do so.

It is utterly absurd that he tried to accuse the neighbours of religious discrimination. Who would want to have thousands of people descending on their street when all they want is a quiet Christmas, don't the neighbours have the right to that?

This guy behaves like a bully, and comes across as the worst neighbour from Hell.

I really feel sorry for the neighbours.
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A lot of misplaced downvoting gives this a lower score than it deserves
donnellymatt15 December 2021
I guess a lot of people on here don't understand how to rate films. You'll notice a lot of 1/10 - 5/10 votes from people not liking the "villain" of the film. Ya duh, he's a lunatic. That's kind of the point here. The film itself is a very fun and fascinating, albeit sometimes frustrating watch. It's a well made narrative about a bully playing victim, while abusing and destroying an entire community and something I think a lot of people can relate to in these times. Fascists are crying wolf all over the place, co-opting struggle and oppression as their own. The giddy glee this man takes from hurting his community under the guise of "helping" others is jarring and genuinely frightening.
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Well made documentary about a bully hiding behind religious freedom.
danielgray197513 December 2021
Warning: Spoilers
HEAVY SPOILERS: This is a very well made documentary about a family's legal battles with an HOA over a Christmas light show, complete with a camel, live nativity, choir, and thousands and thousands of lights (think Clark Griswold on cocaine) put on in their Idaho neighborhood. Now, generally I can't stand HOAs, and I wouldn't ever live in a neighborhood that has one, and I totally expected to be on the Christmas guy's side, but man was I wrong. I can't stand a bully, and I have never seen a bigger bully hiding behind the "Christian Persecution/War on Christmas" nonsense in my life. He was threatening lawsuits before he even moved into the neighborhood, and btw, he's a lawyer, "thousands of times smarter than these people", which he'll happily tell you before he threatens to sue you...which is constantly. As a side note I learned he was educated at Liberty University, so yeah....anyway, he's going to spread Christmas Cheer and if you don't let him he's gonna ruin you, damn it!

I feel for that neighborhood. They just wanted to keep their neighborhood the quiet, sleepy little bit of paradise that they moved there to have, and it was all ruined by one guy, not his family mind you, just the husband. His poor wife just wanted to have a nice relationship with her neighbors cause she never had that growing up, as she lived in an isolated area with lots of space between homes, and her husband ruined it. She tried to be supportive, but this guy has a my way or no way mentality, believing he's like an American General, surrounded by hostile forces, to the point of quoting an American General's one word reply to the German Army when they told them to surrender during the Battle of the Bulge in a reply to the HOA. He compared himself to Moses according to one couple in the neighborhood, an actual Christian minister and his wife, whom I'm positive he probably accused of being "anti-Christian atheists." He had the Three Percenters running around the neighborhood, armed of course, cause that's their whole thing, and surprise, surprise it upset some people, but it's Idaho, so everyone is apparently armed. Nothing says Christmas Cheer like armed security from a militia! When things turn against him, Mr. Christmas says the Judge is corrupt and they live in a banana republic, cause of course they do. He says the HOA's lawyer is clearly a "commie." Jeez...the documentary crew must have the patience of saints to be around this ray of sunshine.

These are retirees and families with children for the most part, though the neighbors aren't exactly blameless in this whole thing either. This is a tight knit neighborhood, with everyone being close, and one guy tried his best to mess it all up with his righteous fury (and most likely political ambitions that a kerfuffle like this could jump start in the crazy right wing of our current times), though he actually made everyone else an even tighter group with his bull.

In short, he's a child that was bullied, so he became a bully himself as an adult, using lawsuits as his brass knuckles and conservative media as his bullhorn. Who knows how it will all end up cause he wants to take it to the Supreme Court should it be necessary. Keep in mind, nearly every single person in this neighborhood is a Christian of some denomination, they just don't want thousands of people in their neighborhood for several days each holiday season. They also didn't seem to appreciate being secretly recorded every single interaction that you have with a neighbor. I'm sure he's a real hit at parties. It's back and forth in the courts right now.

I can't believe it, but I hope the HOA wins.
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Documentary? Feels like a sitcom. SPOILERS?
justiceme-4346228 November 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Someone PLEASE make this into a dark, dark, dark, DAAAARRRRRKKKKKK comedy!!!!!

I sit through this documentary and it feels like an episode of the Office or Modern Family.

I could easily see that faux documentary style mixed with Deck the Halls and Christmas Vacation with perhaps some American Psycho mixed in for good measure.

Now the review:

Documentary wise, it's a good movie. Entertainment wise, it's a GOOD movie.

The movie starts off with this guy you just feel for! We all know or hear how absurd HOA's are to deal with. I was feeling the "let the guy have his lights and SURE a couple extra cars might swing by...what's the big deal".

Then it got to the details and when he mentioned the camel... ya knew the guy puts the cray in crazy.

After that you begin to REALLY see this guy that has some issues. Only child syndrome? Narcissist? Egomaniacal?

When his dad(Great mustache btw!!!) said he became a lawyer to basically feed his bullied inner child....*RED FLAG!!!!!*... after that the guy starts to almost become a Christmas themed Batman villain.

The question remains: why does he NEED Christmas so badly!?!!??? It's not because of religion and warm fuzziness. This guy has some DEEP seated trauma that he uses decorating to resolve. I FEEL he's recreating/seeking a lost childhood of sorts through these grandiose displays.

Everyone who does huge displays doesn't have issues but this guy definitely has some ticky ticky going on.

I ended up actually LIKING the neighbors!! The lady with the dyed hair....omg...I wish she was my neighbor!! And the cute blonde...her energy tells volumes without saying a word. Love them!!!

Poor Dolly though! Who does that to a person!?!?? He became the Grinch in the end for sure.

This should be a seasonal favorite just like Rudolph and Frosty.

But SERIOUSLY...SOMEONE make this into a DARK comedy!!
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Jeremy The Bully
jaketheodor8 December 2021
This documentary was so cringy I couldn't look away. Jeremy should be sued for single handedly ruining a community and bullying all of his neighbors.

He was bullied as a child and his way of getting back is by becoming a bully himself as an adult. How is this guy a lawyer? What a horrible human being. He should be sued for harassment to the Nth degree. Disgrace to the law profession!
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What a jerk
jhwalker-946-9147506 December 2021
I wanted to use stronger language than "jerk", but I don't use that kind of language.

It was obvious the HOA just wanted to keep down the disturbance associated with his Christmas "show", but this guy is a bully and has used the bogus "religious freedom" excuse to try to get his way (or the highway).

This is the kind of "Christian" that gives real Christians a bad name.

That said, the documentary was well done and I didn't down vote it for content - just be aware the content may make decent people furious.
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Painful to Listen to this Man
seanpelusi8 December 2021
In my opinion, this Jeremy character is an absolute lunatic and his wife is too. I feel bad for their children.

Thirty minutes is all you need to know this guy may have some screws loose.

I might throw a party if he falls off his roof.
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maheushellie27 December 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I love Christmas and seeing the lights and of course decorations, but this was taken way too far. I can't understand why this person wouldn't have just bought him and his family a place in the country to alleviate all the drama and court cost etc., but instead he chose to drive his neighbors crazy to just get his way, and that is most definitely selfish, so even as much as I love Christmas, this was extremely selfish and it's also not what Christmas is about.
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Very Interesting! Different...
nosborne-4809227 November 2021
Well, I thought this was wonderfully executed. Definitely falls into the category of horrible neighbor disputes. I have mixed feelings for Mr. Morris, on one hand the HOA did discriminate against him, yet while I respect his convictions his tactics were a little much. For me, its's clear the HOA thought they were being cute by sending that initial letter; and they never thought in a million years they would unleash an emotional, intellectual, monster! The hypocrisy of the judge's reversal was unbelievable ....almost like she was so frustrated that his plan was well thought out and flawlessly executed that she pretended to hear something different on those recordings (even though the neighbor lied under deposition)...ugh!

Lastly, I can't help but laugh because there were literally NO people of color in this documentary (seems comical when WP fights WP), or the fact that the neighbors were perplexed by the weaponization of social media (this was taking place during DT's reign) ... I believe a certain news channel was referenced repeatedly and they are KING of fake news (you will reap what you sow)!
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Michael Scott: The Master Impressionist
Verfdie29 November 2021

both parties are idiots imo.
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This guy is a narcissist, liar and a bully
Athena17112 December 2021
Warning: Spoilers
He claims he and other lawyers reviewed the CC&Rs and found nothing that would prevent his Christmas Program? BS- there was a long list of clauses that he violated- which some news articles listed out. He turned their objections into a religious war to suit his agenda. Calling his neighbors "domestic terrorists"? I feel so badly for his neighbors.
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This guy is scary
jyunker-9984030 November 2021
This guy lives in his own world it looks like. Most of us live in the realm of a benefit of a doubt, this guy lives in whatever the opposite of that is. This guy's scares me more than most. Imagine the most hardcore Karen as a lawyer and you got this guy.
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HOAs are garbage!
gregoryjamesowens4 December 2021
Anyone, including those featured in this documentary, who disagree with this nonsense is an idiot. HOAs should be disallowed. Take your garbage somewhere else! And take away your garbage rhetoric of Conservatives. All of a sudden, wanting to put up holiday lights is white supremacy haha.
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Good doc. Entitled prick.
jameslacher-9403510 December 2021
This dude has no idea what it means to be a Christian. He's a poor man's Trump style bully.

Most people LIKE holiday lights. He takes it too far. What does he really want? He's just a narcissist.
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A Neighbor's Nightmare
mirissamartinez4 December 2021
This guy Jeremy, is an absolute nut job. He has no consideration for this huge circus of an event he wants to host every year for a month long, during what's suppose to be, the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. All he's thinking about is himself. He has to put on such a big show to fill whatever void in his life in a RESIDENTIAL neighborhood ! How has this guy stayed married for as long as he has? She's obviously nuts too. Good lord! They need to move and leave those poor neighbors alone!!!!!
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Your HOA is not as bad
jrbrooks-6888028 November 2021
Solid documentary. Heartbreaking story. I'm a Christian and do not agree at all with Jermeys behavior. Please know not all Christian's are like him. I stand with his neighbors and I hope Dolly's dog is in a good place.
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Sorry I watched!!!!
leslieannhoward-6592527 November 2021
Wished I hadn't watched. This man shows an appalling display of selfishness. Neighbors are a very important asset in life and he completely destroyed his opportunity. He should have looked for a house on many acres in the country to carry out his obsession.
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Man with stunning lack of insight terrorizes neighborhood
sammymitchelltweet2 December 2021
Warning: Spoilers
This film serves as an amazing example of "freedom for me but not for thee". Or perhaps, "rights for me with and whoopy, no responsibility for the rights of anyone else".

Suffice to say, a lawyer who considers Clark Griswold a real person as opposed to an amusing character one delights in visiting one day a year, decides to buy a house and bring his Christmas Vacation Vibe to this quiet and rather small subdivision. Esq (dragging his poor wife and kids behind him) purposefully move to a lovely neighborhood in order to have more space, evade any city ordinances that may apply, and to have the freedom to cover the landscape with a million lights and inviting every person within 250 miles to drive over and take a look. The lights and decorations are gorgeous. The family gives away cotton candy and hot chocolate. It's quite nice.

Except the other families who live in this quiet, upscale, woodsy, snowy paradise are trapped either inside or, if their luck runs out, outside their neighborhood trying to get to their really nice homes. It's quite the scene. Perhaps, more appropriate for a winter wonderland at the fair grounds?

Did I mention the HOA?

Anyway, our Griswold decides to couch his Xmas bitterness at his neighbor's concerns as a religious battle. He whines something about christians, declaring themselves to be the ONLY christians in the sub division. They are, of course, the very antithesis of Christianity...but that's another film. The wife gets away from her "bipolar" husband to join her parents in another state. This is after the right wing lunatics show up with guns. Did I forget to mention the 3-percenters and weapons performing "security" for the Griswold family? The wife is sad and exhausted with worry. She knows her husband has mental problems AND loves to fight. The poor woman and kids appears to be stuck. She seems depressed. Clark is manic 24/7.

If you want to feel sort of sad about human behavior, this is your movie. I felt like scooping up Mom and the kids and bringing them to my family for Christmas. We all just get along. Nothing too crazy. Just fun.

Our Clark doesn't give his family one thought thru this entire situation. I bet the kids are sweet. I hope they have friends in the neighborhood.
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