Lucky Christmas

You may or may not be a fan of Hallmark movies and that’s absolutely okay either way. I’ve come to think of them as comfort food in movie form – warm and predictable in a way that makes you feel happy and safe. Not to mention the guaranteed happy ending: when life is hectic and challenging, it can be nice to know that the characters you’re investing in are definitely going to wind up happily ever after.

However, fan of the genre or not, one Hallmark movie was always going to have the distinction of Worst Hallmark Movie, and I humbly nominate Lucky Christmas.

Holly (Elizabeth Berkley) is a single mom who pays for rent in cooking because she never has the cash (thank goodness for obliging grandparent-types). She works three jobs so I’m not sure where that money’s going, but let’s concentrate on the sympathetic figure she cuts and not think too deeply on details – there are bigger problems ahead.

Holly’s about to have good luck and bad luck. Bad luck: someone steals her car clunker from the bar one night. Good luck: those obliging, grandparenty landlords of hers have an unused vintage Camaro she can drive instead. Good luck: she wins the Christmas lottery, worth a million dollars. Bad luck: the winning ticket was in her car. The stolen one.

Across town are two idiot criminal buddies who call to mind Marv and Harry of the Wet Bandits. Mike (Jason Gray-Stanford) and Joe (Mike Bell) are bumbling fools who’ve accidentally set fire to an entire job site, and then accidentally stolen a car and then deliberately held ransom a lottery ticket for a piece of the pie since they know they can’t cash it themselves. If you’re wondering at this point, like I was, when Holly’s going to get her love interest in this damn holiday romance, the bad news is: she already has, and you missed it. You assumed, because of the many, many Hallmark movies like it, that Holly would get a decent guy. Instead, she’s getting Mike, one of the criminals. I resisted this insinuation for so long that I had mentally prepared for Holly to live happily alone forever after, but no, Mike was pretending to like Holly in order to suggest she post a reward (a large percentage of the winnings) for the return of the ticket, but then she unwisely lets him get close to her kid, and she’s apparently got such low self-esteem that a dirty rotten scoundrel is as good as she thinks she can get.

Now I know that Elizabeth Berkley fell pretty far between her stint as Jessie Spano on Saved By The Bell to her turn as Nomi in Showgirls, but this? This is cruel. This is too much.

[Sidebar: am I the only one who watched the recent Saved By The Bell Reboot, for which Jessie Spano returns as a guidance counsellor and AC Slater as the coach? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…it’s actually pretty good.]

Mike is a loser, and Holly deserves a better fate, for this one can never deliver the happy ending this movie promises. She deserves to discover that not only is she more than enough on her own, it’s actually much preferable to be alone than to be with a partner who will only drag you down. I know Hallmark defines ‘happily ever after’ as coupled, but there’s more to life than romantic love. And what’s romantic about a relationship that starts out as a lie anyway? I realize that watching a Hallmark Christmas movie means just buying into the fantasy and not asking questions, but this, to me, was more of a nightmare.

10 thoughts on “Lucky Christmas

  1. Willow Croft

    Re: working three jobs in a country where the federal minimum wage is 7.25 an hour, and you are lucky to get that in many states (Santa Fe, New Mexico being one of the exceptions with a “livable wage” set at, I believe, $12.10 an hour). Many businesses simply hire part-time employees to avoid providing benefits, many working people are in this gap where they can’t qualify for the health insurance marketplace but also can’t get medicaid (it’s one reason why I was terrified to leave New Mexico) so they have no health insurance still. And you are lucky, here, to get that 7.25 an hour job, because many employers won’t even pay that much, especially in a “right to work” state like Florida where I was offered the whopping pay of $4.00 an hour for a job during an interview, and another interview, where I was conservatively dressed in a button down shirt, suit pants and flats and was told that “I didn’t dress good enough to work in her [the employer’s] office, and during the initial training for another job I was told I wasn’t allowed to have pink hair and the supervisor made his admin assistant walk the catwalk in front of me to show me “what a woman should look like” and she followed up with the fact that she used to just wear jeans and t-shirts but that her boss took her shopping and bought her clothing and made her wear what clothing he provided to her to wear. I don’t have kids, I’m not a single mom, and I have both a BA and a MA and I cannot afford to support myself on my salary from a single job. I’ll be lucky if I find a job here in my new locale. With the day job back in New Mexico (which I am trying to find here), having to commute to the place where I can get internet, and then going onto the day job, and then coming home, and trying to keep my writing/editing business going even without internet at my home office, my waking hours were 3 am to about 9 or 10 at night. Sometimes eleven, but I’m not in my 20s anymore and it’s really hard to function with three jobs, like I was able to/had to do back in my 20s. Welcome to the employment reality in the United States.

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  2. Willow Croft

    I’m lucky that I at least have internet here in my new locale for my home office, and that it works, and that I’m not paying almost $100 for internet that doesn’t work, since big internet company providers have adopted the practice of gouging customers that are rural for internet service. And, once I find a day job (knocks on wood), I will be incredibly, incredibly lucky, because so, so many people have it so much worse than I do. And that is just so heartbreaking…

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  3. Willow Croft

    Also, the reality here in the US is that so many people adult children have had to move into/”rent” from their parents and grandparents (like me!) due to the employment situation here. I took a gamble and relocated out of state because I was furloughed from my two jobs (actually, technically three, I just realized, with the business) due to the coronavirus, so I actually took the money from my stimulus and unemployment and moved to another state and a bigger city so I could hopefully expand my job opportunities. *crosses fingers* I’m also looking at fields that are high demand jobs in other countries, in even-more-of-a-long-shot hope that I might be able to emigrate someday. And, again, I’m not as bad off as many people here. I just can’t imagine what people do who have kids, or elderly parents, or other people dependent on them for being the sole breadwinner.

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  4. Rosaliene Bacchus

    I haven’t seen this one. Thanks for the warning. Last night, I forsook the Hallmark Christmas movie to watch the HBO release of its Bee Gees documentary, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart. Their music lighted up my young life when I most needed it.

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      1. ninvoid99

        I still have no interest as I grew up on the show in the 90s but then I went to high school already with a growing sense of cynicism as I began to detest the show and its spin-offs. I don’t think I could watch the new show now as I would have no personal connection to it.

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  5. rdfranciswriter

    Yeah . . . my cable system can solicit me all they want to “upgrade” to voice remotes so I can say “Peacock” into it . . . but they gotta give me something other than Saved by the Bell reboots (and off network-NBC reruns) to take the bait. But . . . as you have said, a few others tell me that it is — shockingly — not that bad.

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