Leo (Stephen Hagan) and Emily (Lacey Chabert) have been together nearly a year when he reveals a big secret. He’s been studying in Philadelphia under an assumed name, but he’s really Prince Leopold, heir to the throne of Cordinia. Prince Leo brings Emily home for Christmas, and Queen Isadora (Jane Seymour) is pissed. A lowly commoner?!?! Gross. Must protect monarchy from Yankee at all costs.
And make no mistake: Queen Isadora has a plan. The plan’s name is Natasha, Duchess of Warren (played by Seymour’s own daughter, Katherine Flynn). No one much cares for Natasha, but her peerage is suitable, and that seems to be all that matters. Of course, it’s not great for the monarchy if the prince abdicates the throne before he can become king. As the only heir, perhaps the Queen should be a little more flexible with her son. Instead she seems intent on making sure he reigns with a broken heart.
Meanwhile, Emily finds unexpected support in the castle’s staff. A kind butler tucks her under his wing, instructing her on royal etiquette. It won’t be enough to thaw the Queen’s heart, if she does indeed have one; she’s set on humiliating Emily to drive her away. Long live the Queen.
Not to worry: the romance genre guarantees a happy ending. I have a good feeling this one’s going to work out.
Prince Edmond (Jordan Renzo) rarely visits home anymore, so to butter up his mother (the Queen!), he brings her a gift that’s sure to delight her: a third Corgi. One can never have too many Corgis. Little Mistletoe is no doubt a very good boy but the royal Corgi handler refuses to deal with him, not being of royal Corgi lineage, and already being too old to be trainable to a royal standard at just a year old. After an incident with a royal ham, the Crown Prince’s judgment is deemed unfit for rule, which is kind of extreme. To prove his seriousness, he invites an American dog trainer named Cecily (Hunter King) to come rescue his royal butt.
Prince Edward should likely be spending his time getting to know his subjects and country again before his ascension, but mostly continues to be useless. Fortunately, Mistletoe’s naughty side gains the palace some notoriety when he becomes a Youtube sensation, making the monarchy surprisingly relevant for a viral moment.
Dogs make everything better. Mistletoe can humanize an aloof prince, prompt charity work, and even make sparks fly between a lowly commoner and a future King.
The Christmas Eve Banquet is extremely important to Prince Jack (Travis Burns) and the Kingdom of Edgemont. Celebrity chef Gideon Oliver fails to impress him with a menu including deconstructed caprese (how much less constructed can that salad get??) which is how he somehow stumbles upon Jessica’s failing hole-in-the-wall restaurant.
Jessica (Shein Mompremier) loves infusing childhood comfort foods with a touch of something unexpected. But after failing to gain New York City’s attention for six months in a row, her landlord has given her one final month’s warning and Jessica needs a Christmas miracle. Luckily, Prince Jack is quite taken with the single bite of meatloaf he’s tried, and hires her on the spot to cater his event.
Proving that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, romance inevitably blooms between the prince and the chef. You can tell Prince Jack’s feelings are pure because Jessie teases him about his pretentious menu and he doesn’t threaten to have her beheaded. It’s a romance made in heaven. Cue the food porn.
Except of course every romance needs its obstacles: the paparazzi! the meddling mother! the crazy ex-girlfriend! Can their love possibly survive?
The Disney+ streaming service has allowed Marvel Studios ample opportunity to explore the lives and adventures of superheroes who otherwise haven’t nearly enough screen time. In The Guardians of The Galaxy Holiday Special, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) get their own little side mission as they visit Earth to find Peter the perfect Christmas gift.
What does one buy for an orphaned Celestial-Human hybrid raised by Ravagers to be a legendary outlaw, captain of the M-Ships Milano and Benetar, and leader of a ragtag team of criminals? Well, if you’ve been paying attention, the answer is pretty clear: Kevin Bacon.
On Earth, Mantis and Drax inevitably stir up some trouble while trying to kidnap a famous movie star.
Enjoy an incredible Disney meta moment as Drax and Mantis are mistaken for costumed characters on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard and get bombarded by tourists and have an altercation with a Go-bot.
Learn what it takes to get a couple of aliens drunk as they visit a bar and enthusiastically do shots.
Act surprised when the LAPD proves to be alarmingly trigger-happy.
Wonder how a candy cane can be mistaken for a man.
And then our two heroes will zip back to Knowhere on their newest ship, The Bowie, with a cargo hold full of decorations and ugly Christmas sweaters to make Peter’s holiday all merry and bright. Mantis has a big reveal, Chris Pratt has a terrible wig, and the soundtrack features every offbeat Christmas song James Gunn could scrape up, plus one he helped write himself.
It’s nice to see the Guardians settling and thriving on Knowhere, apparently respected members of the community. The special is bookended by animated flashbacks to Peter’s first Christmas with Yondu, so even Michael Rooker rejoins the gang, along with Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Kraglin (Sean Gunn), and even Cosmo the Spacedog (Maria Bakalova).
Set between Thor: Love and Thunder and and Guardians Vol. 3 (which comes out in May 2023), the holiday special is in fact canon to the MCU and has a few dishy winks to fans, including what Groot and Rocket might have on their own Christmas wish lists.
Amanda’s boss was invited to the kingdom of Pantrea to even their famous Christmas festivities. Boss lady can’t be bothered but Amanda (Roxanne McKee) can’t pass up an all expenses trip, so she poses as her boss and starts clicking her camera.
Naturally there’s a handsome prince involved. Technically speaking, Prince Leopold (David Witts) is already engaged to Duchess Catherine (Sophie Vavasseur), but don’t worry, she’s a crown-hungry snob so you won’t feel bad when she inevitably gets overthrown.
Amanda is very bad at explaining why she’s traveling under a different name and why she doesn’t seem to know her own biographical details. Her hands are oddly shaky for a photographer (even for a photographer’s assistant), and despite the fact that she’s there to take photos, she actually starts competing in the holiday events, shirking the duties the royal family has for some reason flown her around the world to perform.
Feminists often have to push their quibbles aside in order to enjoy a holiday romance. Heck, humans often have to push their common sense aside, but if it’s all in good fun, many are happy to do so. Picture Perfect Royal Christmas, however, has a premise that can’t stand up under its own weight. It’s utterly ridiculous at every twist and turn, likely a movie that only the most diehard royal-romance devotees will be able to tolerate.
Between tours of duty, Dee Dee (Megan Park) is helping her cousin’s bakery land a big account when Colin (Julian Morris) practically mows her down in a hotel lobby, crushing the pastries. She makes him repay her by playing piano for her children’s choir. Then he gets shuffled along to family dinner, where Dee Dee’s family enacts My Big Fat Italian Dinner Party With Gravy, tossing him a towel to help out with dishes, and making up the couch so he can stay over. Naturally, neither Dee Dee nor her family realize that Colin is the Crown Prince of Exeter.
The King and Queen are preparing Colin to assume the crown, but to do that, he’ll have to get married first. His parents have an arranged marriage in mind, so it’s no wonder he falls for Dee Dee instead, a woman willing to bust his balls and even exercise the word ‘no’ once in a while.
Romance tropes abound: secret identities, family traditions, crown-chasing shrews, love across classes, and a charity ball. Most importantly though, Julian Morris has a royal butt that’s actually majestic.
Angelina (Aimee Garcia) is a pop star who hasn’t felt particularly inspired lately, but her label thinks she’s been reaching into her bag of hits a little too often lately. Their solution is to force her to record a Christmas single even though there’s only about three weeks left until Christmas!
Inspired by a fan video, Angelina decides to visit 15-year-old fan Cristina (Deja Monique Cruz) at her high school. They bond over their dead mothers and a freak snowstorm compels her to stay and have dinner with Cristina and her single dad, Miguel (Freddie Prinze, Jr.).
As a sentient human being, you can figure out what happens from here. There’s not a lot to recommend it, to be honest. It’s high cheese. But since it’s new this year on Netflix, at least you can rest assured you haven’t seen it yet.
Moon Knight is the sixth limited series from streaming service Disney+ sharing continuity with the MCU. Oscar Isaac pulls double duty as Marc Spector/Moon Knight and Steven Grant/Mr. Knight, two identities or “alters” of a man with dissociative identity disorder (DID). Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, DID is a mental disorder distinguished by at least two enduring personality states. Steven Grant is the quintessentially mild-mannered British gift shop attendant, introverted and socially awkward. Steven suffers from blackouts and flashbacks of someone else’s life, despite chaining himself to his bed at night to avoid waking up in another unknown locale. Discovering his Marc Spector identity, however, is not exactly a relief. Marc is a mercenary with an American accent, a marriage on the brink of divorce, and a magical costume. Both identities become the avatar of Egyptian moon god Khonshu; while Marc is the brutal personality, capable of violence, Steven contributes wit and problem-solving, and the two battle for control of their shared body when things turn ugly. It’s a fascinating portrayal of mental illness enmeshed with mystical powers, but it’s not the first or only time Marvel’s heroes have grappled with mental illness.
David Haller, Legion
In FX’s 2017-2019 series Legion (an underrated, must-see show), Dan Stevens plays David Haller, a man committed to a psychiatric facility for a substance use disorder and a recent suicide attempt. Rescued by a team of mutants, David learns he is the biological son of Charles Xavier himself, and that the voices he hears may not be schizophrenia after all, but his father’s nemesis, literally living rent-free inside David’s head. David’s powers are potentially near limitless, but harnessing his mental illness proves challenging, and his psychopathy blurs the line between hero and villain.
Scarlet Witch, WandaVision
Just three weeks after the events of Endgame, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, suffers from such trauma and overwhelming grief due to the loss of her love, Vision, that she manifests an alternate reality as a coping mechanism. Set in the comforting world of sitcom nostalgia, Wanda lives out the happily-ever-after that she and Vision never got. Episodes are structured around the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) and demonstrate the complexities of mental health. However, some coping mechanisms are unhealthy, and grief is never a strictly linear journey.
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver is HBO’s funny weekly satire of politics, news, and current events, featuring deep-dive explorations of hot topics such as net neutrality and government surveillance, interspersed with running gags and in-jokes, like Jeff The Diseased Lung In A Cowboy Hat, and Oliver’s frequent rants against “Business Daddy” AT&T, HBO’s parent company.
Beginning in February 2020, however, John Oliver started a bit that instantly had fans transfixed. Viewers were mesmerized and scandalized; Oliver, seemingly out of the blue, began referring to Adam Driver in an oddly sexual and violent manner. And he kept it up. His comments were random, unexpected, and a little like train wrecks – viewers just couldn’t look away. It was a fantastic bit of television that deserves to be shared and relived.
Adam Driver: A Rudely Large Man
In February 2020, Oliver was in the middle of talking about India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Modi had once walked out of an Oliver interview, which Oliver compared to Driver recently walking out of a Marriage Story interview. From there, Oliver looked lustily at a photo of Driver while uttering “Step on my throat, Adam Driver, you rudely large man. Break my fingers, you brooding mountain.”
Oliver’s comments seem to suggest a sexual appreciation for Driver’s size, and that his desire would be fueled by a little light masochism. However, coming from Oliver, these comments aren’t really about pleasure, they’re about eliciting a laugh. His Driver comments, buried in the middle of a segment about Modi’s efforts to marginalize Muslims, shocked his audience with their incongruence. Oliver immediately recognized that his audience was entertained and appalled, perhaps in equal measure, and it made him want even more.
Adam Driver Fever
In March 2020, John Oliver was already talking about the coronavirus and its worrisome spread. North American audiences were just starting to think about how it might affect them when Oliver made a hard right turn. “There’s only one infectious disease that two thirds of the world should be getting right now, and that’s Adam Driver fever. Shatter my knees, you fuckable redwood. Snap off my toes, you big, unwashed buffalo.”
Adam Driver is an unconventional heartthrob who first gained attention on Girls, playing Lena Dunham’s creepy, pervy boyfriend, but gained international notoriety when he was cast as Kylo Ren in the recent Star Wars trilogy. That movie paired Kylo’s emo-heavy anger with his bare, broad chest and a pair of strangely high pants. The width and breadth of his chest became an instant fixation.
Adam Driver: Pensive Bison
A month later, Oliver tackled the lack of paid sick leave for people needing to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure, symptoms, or diagnosis, a serious subject he had no problem making weird. “I wouldn’t want anyone with the coronavirus serving me my next meal, unless of course that person was Adam Driver. Sneeze in my McFlurry, you pensive bison. Ravage my lungs, you relentless hillock.”
Bodily fluids aside, Driver’s the kind of man women actually want, not the kind Hollywood honchos assume they do. He’s big and he’s strong, but his masculinity includes an incontrovertible sensitive side. He’s less chiseled and less pretty than any of the Chrises; instead of being gym-toned, Driver’s strength and vitality are come by honestly, having joined the Marines after 9/11. He has an authenticity to him that’s much more alluring than other cookie-cutter leading men.
Adam Driver: Meaty Oak Tree
By May, the audience was fully behind Oliver’s man crush, though viewers still felt it a bit jarring listening to a woman describe an uncomfortable COVID-19 test and then witnessing Oliver’s uncanny ability to turn it sexual. “Yeah, that sounds pretty unpleasant, unless of course your brain is being pulled out through your nostril by Adam Driver. Pull my heart out through my ear, you meaty oak tree. Impale my brain, you unacceptable monstrosity.”
This wasn’t the first time Driver had been compared to an oak tree. In 2019, he starred in Burn This on Broadway, opposite Keri Russell. In their review, New York Magazine described Driver variously as “immense,” “incomprehensibly large,” and “a wise old oak tree on Viagra.” Oliver is nearly 6 feet tall himself, but perhaps at 6’2, Driver would make him feel small and safe, which clearly appeals to many women as well.
John Oliver: Size Queen
In a later segment about the WWE, a clip was shown featuring chairman Vince McMahon talking about content being “a driver in terms of stimulating interest.” Oliver’s response? “You just said ‘stimulating,’ ‘strong men,’ ‘underwear,’ and crucially, ‘driver,’ all in the same sentence, at which point everyone’s mind turned immediately to getting absolutely bone crushed by Adam Driver.”
John Oliver continues to reveal himself as a size queen, though fantasizing about being dominated by a larger partner is hardly new. Driver’s movie roles seem to encourage this, with one particular scene in Marriage Story in which his character punches a wall in frustration being a particularly fecund source.
John Oliver: Hand Fetishist?
Expanding on his sexual wrestling fixation, Oliver demands that Driver “Chokeslam me to hell, you nasty shed. Jam your mandible claw down my throat, you irredeemable steer.”
Cheirophilia, also known as hand fetish, seems to be common among Adam Driver’s fans. His hands are, for lack of a more precise measurement, huge. Women’s preference for bigger, more dominant men is a biological construct, a product of evolution, and reinforced by cultural clichés like “tall dark and handsome.” Large men often trigger primal, even animalistic urges.
Oliver to Driver: “Beg Me To Stop”
Once the joke had caught on, Oliver knew he either had to bring Driver on board, or let it go. He couldn’t keep viewers invested for months and fail to provide a pay-off. Behind the scenes, the show contacted Driver, but on screen, Oliver took the bull by the horns. “What of Adam Driver himself? Is he bothered by this continued sexualization? He might actually have pretty good grounds to have me reprimanded legally, to which I say: ‘Do it.’ Slap a restraining order on me, you forlorn block. Beg me to stop, you menacing obstacle.”
John Oliver’s thirst has repeatedly drawn on the fact that Adam Driver is a big, hot man. His features may be slightly irregular, but together they work so well that even a reserved, middle-aged, straight male can’t help but stan. Yes, it’s a joke, but it’s funny because it’s true, and it seems both less dirty and somehow dirtier coming from Oliver’s repressed little mouth. Oliver’s appreciation may in fact be indicative that Driver is no ordinary hunk; he is a sexual orientation unto himself.
Humanity To Driver: “Collapse On My Chest”
In a segment about Trump’s wall, Oliver somehow finds himself comparing it to other, more conventionally attractive walls. After calling a stone wall “scorching hot” and a wooden one a “big tease,” he inevitably flashes a picture of Driver on screen, noting “This human wall? Collapse on my chest, you impenetrable barrier. Crush my ribcage, you load-bearing behemoth.”
Driver’s smoldering intensity, quiet magnetism, and conspicuous physicality very much confirm that he’s a dominant alpha, but the kind who’d ask for consent. Oliver, of course, has not only given consent freely, he seems to be writing a pretty persuasive invitation.
Adam Driver: Masculinity Minus The Toxicity
Oliver even turned his obsession to the Supreme Court, admonishing Amy Coney Barrett’s use of the term ‘sexual preference.’ “No one chooses to be attracted to the same sex or a different sex, or Adam Driver. We all simply are. Dislocate my ankles you rusty cello. Tie my fingers in a square knot you emotionally unavailable water tower.”
Oliver is hitting on a vibe that most people find attractive in a partner: the desire to please. Driver seems like a kink-positive, generous lover, the kind who takes direction well. Adam Driver is masculinity without the toxicity.
John Oliver Thirsting Adam Driver Is A Mood
In the last episode of the year, Oliver is once again overcome by his Adam Driver hunger, commanding him to “crush my larynx, you unwieldly boulder” when the segment is interrupted by a ringing telephone. Driver’s on the other line, seemingly exasperated. “What’s wrong with you? I don’t know you and now random people on the internet ‘stan’ us, claiming that you ‘thirsting’ over me is a ‘mood.’ I’m sick of people stopping me on the street and asking me if I’m going to punch a hole in you like a Marriage Story wall!”
Adam Driver’s hotness is a direct challenge to men everywhere, proving you don’t have to win the genetic lottery to be hot. Confidence is hot. Vulnerability is sexy. And a good sense of humor is worth its weight in gold.
The Matrix ranks very high on my list of favourite films. But I have always wished the series stopped there. To put it politely, the Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were not very good, and as far as my lists go, they only rank very high on my list of unnecessary sequels. Given that trend, it seemed inevitable that The Matrix Resurrections would be nothing more than another unnecessary entry in the franchise. And yet, The Matrix Resurrections feels surprisingly worthwhile, feeding viewers’ nostalgia by making that yearning the core of the film.
Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is the creator of a massively successful videogame trilogy about the Matrix, a virtual world created by machines to hold humans captive. Thomas (a.k.a. Neo) has everything he could have wanted, but can’t escape the feeling that something is not quite right with his world. So when a stranger (Jessica Henwick) offers him the choice of escaping to the “real world”, you know he’s going to take it, if only to find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Except for the up-front reference to the Matrix as a video game concept, the plot is literally copied and pasted from the first film. Those similarities work in the Matrix’s world since we were told in the first trilogy that Neo’s adventures were not the first time around even then. What is confusing to Neo is that he, like the audience, thought he had broken the cycle by making different choices than his predecessors and ultimately by sacrificing himself to save humans and machines alike from the malevolent Agent Smith.
One key difference between this film and Neo’s last adventure is his focus. This time, he’s not trying to save humanity. He’s only trying to rescue Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) from the Matrix. That narrow mission is a welcome change from the previous two entries in the series, which had so many moving parts that they left Neo and Trinity offscreen for extended periods of time. In the original trilogy we were repeatedly told their love for each other made Neo different from his predecessors so it feels right that this time, Neo’s mission is to save their relationship.
No other stakes than that are needed. For Neo, saving his love is enough, as it should be. It’s refreshing that writer-director Lana Wachowski was able to resist the “bigger is better” ethos that all-too-frequently derails sequels (Venom: Let There Be Carnage shows how easy it is for a sequel to lose sight of what made the first movie succeed). Happily, that choice is what makes The Matrix Resurrections worthwhile, not just because it avoids the sequel trap, but because in doing so it gives us the chance to move past the other sequels to a world that feels limitless (mirroring the end of the first film). We finally have a satisfying end to Neo and Trinity’s story.