Tag Archives: Treat Williams

Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square

A holiday musical you say? I’m still riding high on Jingle Jangle, so sign me right up. Dolly Parton is my spirit animal, she’s magical unicorns shaking her pretty mane and making the world a brighter place.

Christmas on the Square is about a bitter woman named Regina (Christine Baranski) determined to sell an entire town that she’s apparently inherited from her estranged father. She serves eviction notices to every single person who lives and works there, including her former beau, and when they dare to protest, she moves up the date to Christmas Eve. What a Grinch! No, wait, Baranski was in that, wasn’t she? What a Scrooge! Is that safe? Man this woman is prolific.

As you might guess, Dolly Parton is herself hidden amongst the townspeople, masquerading as the town’s only homeless person but actually an angel in disguise. An angel come to stage an intervention!

Now, on paper this musical has everything I need in order to activate my merriment and good cheer, but on Netflix, it just wasn’t working for me. It’s a very traditional kind of musical, old-fashioned and janky, with campy over-acting and random singing, and set pieces that don’t trouble themselves to feel like anything other than the studio backlot affair they are. I understand it’s been adapted from an actual stage play, but I do expect at least a half-hearted attempt to make it feel more cinematic, and less claustrophobic. But everything feels corny, like a Hallmark movie crossed with your kid’s school Christmas pageant, and deeply phony. I couldn’t get into it, and that’s despite the very welcome invitation from Parton’s glowing songs, and even some pretty nifty choreography.

It wasn’t bad enough to turn it off – or perhaps I just didn’t want the trouble of finding something else – but I sort of wish I’d never turned it on. There’s LOTS of Dolly on Netflix these days, and literally anything else is a heck of a lot better.

Second Act

I didn’t expect to like Second Act. I didn’t expect Second Act to be good. But I definitely didn’t expect Second Act to be so monumentally stupid.

It shouldn’t be too much to expect the writers of a big studio release to do some research and get at least up to a basic level of knowledge on the major plot points of their film. But that clearly IS too much to expect, because Second Act, a film about an outsider crashing the 1%’s corporate party, literally gets everything wrong about business when, after taking some creative liberties with her online profiles, Jennifer Lopez’s character, an assistant manager at a grocery store, secures a consultancy at a fake multinational company. A fake multinational company which seems to have its own skyscraper in Manhattan and which has made numerous questionable decisions, including having its R&D located in the same Manhattan skyscraper at its executive offices, categorically banning the use of non disclosure agreements, and making product decisions based on thirty-second presentations from two teams of four pitted against each other in a spontaneous three-month-long competition at the insistence of Lopez’s main rival. None of those things would or could ever happen because they are insane, but they happen in Second Act because that’s what the plot requires.

If that wasn’t infuriating enough, Second Act ALSO gets everything wrong about parenting, teen pregnancy, abortion and adoption, which should probably be tagged with a spoiler alert if I thought anyone would care.

And just in case I hadn’t been turned off by those shortcomings, Second Act throws in some needlessly cheap “comedy” including Jennifer Lopez taking a tumble during what should be a triumphant exit, and an exploding flock of doves released during Team Lopez’s product presentation.

Please don’t reward Second Act’s laziness and idiocy like I accidentally did after failing to find something for us to watch on Netflix earlier this week. I know you are better than that and will continue to say “no” to monumental stupidity. Say “no” to Second Act.