Why must Christmas movies be so…terrible? What is it about the holidays that turns regular moviegoers into big balls of mush? I feel like a big green cynic but bah, humbug! I hate when it magically starts to snow when two people kiss. I hate when families gather round a piano to sing carols. In movies, extended families always fit around one large table. Nobody ever has to sit at a wobbly card table. Nobody ever has to balance a paper plate on their lap, trying not to let a lake of gravy scald them. Nobody ever gets stuck sitting between two lefties. The turkey comes out golden brown and nobody ever gets salmonella. Nobody ever buys their brother a sweater that doesn’t fit. Nobody ever has to skype Christmas greetings because they drew the short straw at work. And most of all I’m sick of everybody always falling in love at Christmas. Has anyone actually ever fallen in love at Christmas? Isn’t that like having your first date on Valentine’s day?
Here’s a bunch of sappy Netflix movies I’ve watched while wrapping my oddly shaped gifts (in movies they’re always easy to wrap boxes and nobody has to hunt for scotch tape for 2 hours) so you don’t have to.
Holiday Engagement: a woman breaks up with her perfect fiance the week before she was going to trot him out to her family at Thanksgiving. Since 30 is “in her rearview mirror” and her mother’s determined not to have an old maid for a daughter, she does what any reasonable woman would and hires an actor to pose as her intended. So of course they spend an awkward holiday weekend pretend-planning a wedding (while buying actual dresses and china) and – wouldn’t you know it – falling in love. Hated every minute of it and even seeing Shelley Long as the obtrusive mother didn’t mitigate this for me in any way.
Merry Kissmas: Two people meet in a mistletoed magical elevator and so of course they must begin the 89 minute process of falling in love. It’s slightly awkward because she’s actually engaged to someone else, but don’t worry, he’s a dick, and we don’t feel sorry for him in the least. We have to sit through the couple getting into a cutesy flour-fight while baking suspiciously perfect cookies, and then they top it all off by adopting a shelter dog.
12 Dates of Christmas: I’ll see you your rescue dog and raise you some orphans! Remember when Amy Smart was almost a thing? I think she probably peaked around Butterfly Effect, which was at least a decade ago. So now she’s relegated to the land of bad Christmas movies, where washed up TV stars frolic. Mark Paul Gosslar co-stars as the man she’s bound to fall in love with. The catch? 12 Dates of Christmas is holiday Groundhog Day. Poor Amy Smart keeps waking up on Christmas Eve trying to find the right combination of Christmas cliché to break the spell and let her live happily ever after with Zack Morris (hint: it will involve both an orphan AND a rescue dog).
The Heart of Christmas: Just in case you thought I was going a little soft on 12 Dates, now I’m going to shit all over a kid dying of cancer. Because really, how better to up the Christmas ante than with childhood leukemia? I don’t necessarily want to make light of a very serious disease but then again, the movie does star Candace Cameron Bure (from that other early 90s TV show, Full House) as a workaholic mom who has no time for her kids until she discovers a blog written by a woman watching her 3 year old son go through chemo, and spends all her time reading that instead, still netting no time with her kids, but man do your little heartstrings get yanked. A sick kid’s not going to see another Christmas? You know what that means! Time to get the whole town to band together and sing Christmas carols in the street! Candace is very lucky that the only thing she loves more than god is shitty movies – she’s been able to nudge her career along by combining the two into a putrid Christmas holiday special nearly every season since her husband retired from the NHL. I assume they cover her SUV payments. Early next year her old sitcom’s getting a (Netflix!) reboot, so I guess her Christmas wish came true.