Mitchell Kezin has an obsession that few people may admit to, but many may share. Kezin collects Christmas music, but not the typical songs you hear every year. He searches high and low to find songs like “Santa Claus Is A Black Man”, “Close Your Mouth (It’s Christmas)”, and “Merry Christmas Someone”. For Mitchell, this obsession began when he was just a child, listening to the Nat King Cole song “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot”. The lyrics resonated with Mitchell, and he’s spent his life collecting the odd and obscure hits that collectors share around the globe. Traveling across the country, Mitchell meets with musicians, fans, and other avid Christmas music collectors to explore what it is that makes this style of music so oddly popular, and showcasing some of his personal favourite holiday hits.

Jingle Bell Rocks happens to focus on a subject that there is no middle ground on. Honestly, how many times have you heard somebody say that they kind of enjoy Christmas music? It’s typically one of those things that you enjoy, usually to strange levels, or something that you’d rather not have to deal with. In fact, you probably know someone who will desperately avoid the mall during the holiday season, just to escape listening to “White Christmas” once more. Mitchell Kezin is certainly not one of those people, and the various musicians, DJs, and collectors he speaks to are definitely huge fans of holiday themed music.

If you find yourself firing up the old record player somewhere around the middle of November just to play those old Christmas records, you’re going to need to see Jingle Bell Rocks. You won’t find the familiar tunes of Bing Crosby here, as Kezin digs up some of the most obscure songs around. Many of these records were released between the ’50s and ’80s, and most of them celebrate a slightly grumpier look at the holidays, something that builds from the various times they were created in. Commercialism, war, and racial inequality are a few of the themes these songs tackle, and it’s the reason that many of them became such underground hits. These songs simply reflect the attitudes of the time they were made in.

Kezin does a fantastic job of showcasing some incredibly odd songs, as well as finding out why Christmas is such a special time of year, even winding up with its own musical genre. If you’re anything like this reviewer, and are an avid fan of holiday music, you’re going to find plenty of hits to add to your collection, and it’s all thanks to Jingle Bell Rocks.

Is Jingle Bell Rocks opening weekend worthy?

If you like Christmas music, you cannot miss this movie. It’s everything a holiday music fan could ask for. Featuring great songs that stray from the norm, and a group of people who know all about a love of the season, this movie will brighten your holiday.

Jingle Bell Rocks opens Friday, December 6, 2013 at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Check their website for information.

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