From December 1 – 25, I will endeavor to watch a different Christmas movie each day and write about it on this blog. Here are the parameters:
- The movies I choose from cannot have been distributed in theaters for wide release (so no Elf, The Santa Clause, etc.). Movies made for TV, direct to video, streaming, or otherwise independent are up for grabs.
- I will only cover live-action full-length feature films. No reality shows or television shows (but again, made for TV movies are fine). I also won’t cover any holiday specials (ex. the Bob Ross special, Mariah Carey holiday special, Charlie Brown Christmas, etc.).
- All the available movies to stream (along with a Hallmark wildcard) are in a Google sheet, from which I’ll randomly choose one each day. If the movie turns out to be truly unwatchable within the first 10 minutes, I will redraw.
- Each movie will be rated based on a very strict set of Christmas criteria.
Got it? Let’s go!
Second Chance Christmas (2017)
Directed by: Danny Buday
Written by: Kelly Goodner, Mary O’Neil, and Angela Worth
Starring: Katrina Begin and Tilky Jones
Synopsis: “In this Christmas time romantic comedy,Caroline is unhappy in her marriage and makes her way to file for divorce. On the way, an accident occurs and everything in her love life is about to change, as amnesia is now setting in.”
Watch on: Hulu
If at Christmas time, you’re looking for a movie that strikes the tones of While You Were Sleeping mixed with a broke-ass Overboard, may I recommend UPTv’s Second Chance Christmas.
Caroline and Jack meet after he sets up an elaborate trap of balloons at a party to woo her. (This is their first ever encounter and it’s more elaborate than his eventual marriage proposal.) Fast forward and they’re happily cohabitating with a puppy.
But fast forward another five years and they’re very unhappily married. Jack is lazy, unmotivated, and unemployed, while Caroline carries all the burden of the house (but, of course, the movie portrays this as being her fault, too).
She finally gets fed up after a very snarky and pathetic fight, and makes Jack sign a vet bill, but it’s really divorce papers, and on her way to take them to the attorney, gets hit by a car, rendering her a total amnesiac.
Jack seizes on the opportunity to rewrite the narrative of their marriage, while her mother gladly hops in, also telling her she doesn’t have a company to run, because they are terrible, terrible people.
(As a sidebar, it reminds me a bit of an actual good piece of media, Undone, which is much more with your time.)
The movie gives us our first repeat performer with Tilky Jones playing another total douchebag. If in Naughty & Nice he was moderately charming, he is completely insufferable in this movie as he is gaslighting his wife throughout the entire movie and we’re supposed to find it romantic.
The best part of the movie is when Caroline begins to figure out the truth of her situation. There’s never quite the j’accuse moment you’re hoping for, but there is a great scene between Caroline and her dad that explains a bit more about how she got too “businessy” before the coma and became a bad friend. Also, her dad is literally the only rational person in the entire movie.
When Caroline gets her memory back and decides to win back Jack, it’s not surprising, but it is frustrating. They do get their Second Chance after all.
A real Christmas movie should be so full of snow that the characters are at risk of suffocating on it. The more snowflakes, the snowier (and more Christmasy) the movie.
Snowmeter: 3 out of 10 snowflakes. There isn’t a ton of snow, but there is some teeth-chattering, so it appears to be authentic.
What emotional cord is the movie trying to strike? Is it all about believing in the season? Or is it about the disillusioned bakery owner finding love once again? The higher the mistletoe, the feels this movie has.
The Feels: 0 out of 10 mistletoes. The only emotion this movie made me feel was anger.
Related to the previous metric, but different, how much of the grieving process is portrayed in the movie? Was Christmas Mary Sue’s dead dad’s favorite holiday? Is this Lori Loughlin’s first Christmas without her husband? The more tombstones, the more our characters are grounded in the true meaning of the season–mortality.
Deathmeter: 1 out of 10 tombstones. Caroline’s best friend has a dead mom, but other than that, everyone in this movie is alive and well.
How good of a job does the movie do at getting you in the mood for Christmas? The more snowy white Santa beards, the more Christmas cheer.
Overall Christmas Spirit: 5 out of 10 Santa beards. It’s pretty Christmasy and will get you in the mood for Christmas when it isn’t making you furious.
Would I Recommend? Only if you find gaslighting to be romantically charming.