As Christmas approaches—which, we regret to inform you, it absolutely is, gobbling up the ground ceded by Halloween with its usual locust-esque Yuletide cheer—the traditional holiday movie is attempting to carve out some space for itself in a COVID-adjacent world. Can the twinned forces of nostalgia and commercialism manage to unite this year to save the cinematic season? Neil Patrick Harris’ new 8-Bit Christmas has a trailer that’s hoping to find out.
Directed by Goon’s Michael Dowse, the film sees Harris taking on a sort of Wonder Years/A Christmas Story role, thrilling the audience with a tale of his childhood quest for the ultimate status symbol of the late 1980s: A Nintendo Entertainment System.
(Or maybe the direct parallel there should be Harris’ own How I Met Your Mother, given the way his story frequently changes and mutates based on questions from his daughter, played by Sophia Reid-Gantzert.)
Written by Kevin Jakubowski (who also penned the book it’s based on, about a town that turns its back on video games after they provoke—spoilers—a TV-based dog crushing), 8-Bit Christmas follows Winslow Fegley (brother of Oakes) as Harris’ younger self, engaging in a war with various youthful colleagues in an effort to score the much-desired video game consoles after his parents (June Diane Raphael and Steve Zahn) both declare he won’t be getting one for Christmas.
And if the blaring strains of Europe’s “The Final Countdown” didn’t make it clear, we’re deep in the paint for ’80s nostalgia here, combined with the very particular longing that comes from wanting a very expensive video game system, and having no way, outside of the faint dream of parental divine intervention, of acquiring one.
8-Bit Christmas is headed to HBO Max; it’s currently scheduled for a November 24 release. Meanwhile, your childhood is getting further away by the minute.