Category Archives: Media

Molly Jolly Christmas Day 13: Married by Christmas

The Challenge

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!

Married by Christmas (2016)

Directed by:  Letia Clouston

Written by:  Alison Spuck McNeeley and Casie Tabanou

Starring:  Jes Macallan and Coby Ryan McLaughlin

Synopsis:  “A high level executive must find herself a husband before Christmas in order to inherit a fortune.”

Watch on:  Hulu

I have to say,  maybe the Christmas madness is getting to me, but I actually thought this movie was pretty cute!

A reverse The Bachelor (the Chris O’Donnell movie, not the reality show), Married By Christmas, alternate title The Engagement Clause, finds Carrie desperately hunting to get married by her sister in order to inherit her family’s company.

I have to admit, her sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law are pretty annoying. Despite the fact that Carrie has worked at the family company for the last seven years and her sister has never had anything to do with it, as soon as they learn they stand to inherit, they get their greedy little hackles riled up.

So, I was definitely rooting for Carrie’s crazy scheme, which included a rote but fun online dating montage and eventual reunion with her (not as yet revealed) gay best friend from high school.

Of course, the real love interest in the movie is the brother-in-law’s best man, and Carrie’s work rival, Dylan. He’s an interesting romantic lead. Cute, but not overly–very realistic. And the movie reveals absolutely nothing about him. No backstory whatsoever.

I kept waiting for some reveal like that he was a widower or worked part time at a homeless shelter or something, but nothing. His entire purpose in the movie was to be a romantic foil to Carrie, which I found to be rather enjoyable, if not odd.

The ending actually surprised me and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I won’t spoil it for you here, because I think this movie is actually worth a watch if cheesy Christmas movies are up your alley. But I do think it maintains Carrie’s goal to have a strong career, which I appreciate.

All in all, it is a pretty decent romantic comedy and Christmas movie, with an assistant that gives me broke-ass Paula from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend vibes (and I mean that in the best way possible).

Rating:

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: 0 out of 10 snowflakes. They make no motions of hiding that this was shot in California with zero snow.

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:  6 out of 10 mistletoes. This was cute, but the romance is just a bit too weird for me to rate it as high as 12 Dates.

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: 0 out of 10 tombstones. Aside from the dead grandma who’s will kicks off the plot, there is no mention of death in this movie at all. But considering no one is grieving the woman, I’m leaving this at a 0.

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:  4 out of 10 Santa beards. It’s a Christmas wedding but feels more like a straight-up rom-com than a Christmas movie.

Would I Recommend? Definitely worth a watch for fans of romantic comedies and/or corporate takeovers.

Molly

Molly Jolly Christmas Day 12: Second Chance Christmas

The Challenge

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.

Rating:

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.

Molly

Molly Jolly Christmas Day 5 – 11: The Ultimate Christmas Present

Well, I immediately failed the experiment. My Christmas spirit was not strong enough to overcome my weak body which was hit with food poisoning, a migraine, and arthritis in the span of a week. I’m sorry to have let you down.

But there’s still time to enjoy at least 75 more Christmas movies before Saint Nick blesses us in two weeks. Additionally, I have added one new tool to my rating arsenal:  the death meter. It’s only a Christmas movie if at least one of the main characters is grieving, isn’t it?

Without further ado…

The Challenge

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!

The Ultimate Christmas Present (2000)

Directed by:  Greg Beeman

Written by:  Hallie Einhorn and Michael Hitchcock

Starring:  Hallee Hirsh and Brenda Song

Synopsis:  “A girl steals a weather machine from Santa Claus, to make a snow day. The machine breaks, and causes an out-of-control snowstorm.”

Watch on:  Disney+

If you’re looking for immediate ’90s nostalgia, this is the Christmas movie for you. Lizzie McGuire’s mom, the little girl from You’ve Got Mail, and Spencer Breslin in one movie? It’s too good to be true!

Allie (Hallee Hirsh) is your typical kid looking for a way out of homework when Santa accidentally drops a weather machine into her lap. What starts as a simple snowday soon spirals into a storm that gets out of control, shutting down portions of the state and threatening to keep her family apart for the holidays.

It’s a sweet movie overall as it mostly centers on the friendship and antics of Allie and her best friend, Sam (Brenda Song!). There’s also a whole weird B-story with Peter Scolari as a crazed local news reporter/weatherman that’s pretty entertaining.

Also, if you’re into Santas that are kind of weird, you’ll like this movie. He’s still nice, but also kind of a dick. (Spoiler:  the movie ends with him telling Allie she’s on the naughty list but may be able to work her way off.) And it features what may be the only portrayal of a 6′ tall Black elf!

All in all, I can guarantee that this Disney Channel Original Movie is better than half of the movies on my list, which is kind of The Ultimate Christmas Present.

Rating:

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: 10 out of 10 snowflakes. That’s literally the plot of the movie.

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:  5 out of 10 mistletoes. It’s pretty cute, but the kids (aside from Sam) are kind of jerks in this movie, too, so I ultimately wasn’t rooting for them that hard.

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. Aside from one throwaway scene about Sam’s dead dad, everyone 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:  10 out of 10 Santa beards. This is definitely the most Christmasy movie we’ve watched so far. Plus, Santa is in it.

Would I Recommend? Yes. It’s a cute family friendly watch with nostalgia for days.

Molly

Molly Jolly Christmas Day 4: The Knight Before Christmas

The Challenge

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!

The Knight Before Christmas (2019)

Directed by:  Monika Mitchell

Written by:  Cara J. Russell

Starring:  Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse

Synopsis:  “A medieval English knight is magically transported to the present day where he falls for a high school science teacher who is disillusioned by love.”

Watch on:  Netflix

Dead dad? Check. Disillusioned romantic lead? Check. Pretty people kissing? Check.

This movie, perfectly engineered to be an ABC Family/Hallmark rip-off, is Netflix’s latest high-production original Christmas feature. Gabriella–I mean, Vanessa Hudgens–stars as a science teacher who hits an English knight with her car and falls in love with him. Merry Christmas!

Sir Cole (the English knight) is sent to modern day Ohio to fulfill some kind of mysterious quest by an “old crone.” This is the shakiest part of the movie, and yet, it’s entirely what the movie hinges on.

How Sir Cole fulfills his quest and what that means is never really made clear to me or to him, I don’t think. And the Old Crone eventually lets him go back and forth anyway, so none of that really matters.

What matters is that a cute British guy wears sweaters and plays with a foam sword and we’re all okay with it. (And they let him become a cop for some reason?)

More importantly, Vanessa Hudgens does wear a lot of great high-waisted pants outfits in this movie, which I thoroughly appreciated. Other than that, the movie is pretty unremarkable and basic. Which is not a bad thing at all.

Rating:

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: 10 out 10 snowflakes. There is constant snow all over the place in this movie, to the point that children almost get lost playing in it. Amazing!

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:  7 out 10 mistletoes. I mean, we know he’s not going to go back to medieval times after he learns about Netflix right? (Cross promotion, yo!)

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:  6 out of 10 Santa beards. It’s certainly not the most Christmasy movie ever, but it’ll do the job in a tight pinch.

Would I Recommend? As basic as it is, it’s a cute movie and not a bad way to kill a few hours.

Molly

Molly Jolly Christmas Day 3: 48 Christmas Wishes

The Challenge

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!

48 Christmas Wishes (2017)

Directed by:  Marco Deufemia and Justin G. Dyck

Written by:  Neale Kimmel

Starring:  Madeline Leon, I guess?

Synopsis:  “For the first time ever, two junior Elves have to leave home after losing an entire town’s letters to Santa. While attempting to blend into small town life, they set out to retrieve every missing wish before Christmas Eve.”

Watch on:  Netflix

I’ve gotta hand it to 48 Christmas Wishes. It’s the first of these movies so far that’s actually elicited a laugh from me. “I love the smell of wishes in the morning,” uttered by a small child playing an elf, is guaranteed to make me guffaw every time.

This movie is on the weird line of being too boring to discern a plot but still being somewhat watchable. Two elves leave the North Pole to track down wishes in time for Christmas with the help of a Christmas-addicted kid. The girl elf in particular is probably the best actor in the movie. (Santa chews the scenery way up, not unlike the best of my community theatre comrades.)

48 Christmas Wishes did serve a purpose, though. It got me to think about the mechanics of so many Christmas movies that want to have their cake and eat it, too. 48 Christmas Wishes, not unlike The Santa Clause or Elf, conveys the North Pole both as a highly bureaucratic system that falls apart if one cog falls out of place, but one that also is full of magic.

Which begs the question:  if Santa is magical, why design a world that is so utterly mundane and human? (And also reliant on the slave labor of the Elvish race?!)

Also, there’s a whole weird subplot where the only two Black kid elves in the movie are slavishly flossing for hours on end for some unknown reason. (And by flossing, I mean doing the backpack dance.)

Rating:

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: ? out 10 snowflakes. I have to say, I honestly did not pay enough attention to this movie to tell you whether or not it snowed. So we’ll leave the snowmeter unrated this time.

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:  2 out 10 mistletoes. I neglected to mention above that the entire emotional core of the movie revolves around a dead dad. You can guess how much that moved me.

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:  8 out of 10 Santa beards. Of the movies on the list so far, this is by far the most Christmasy. It’s all about making Christmas wishes happen.

Would I Recommend? Meh.

Molly

Molly Jolly Christmas Day 2: 12 Dates of Christmas

The Challenge

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!

12 Dates of Christmas (2011)

Directed by:  James Hayman

Written by:  Aaron Mendelsohn and Janet Brownell

Starring:  Amy Smart and Mark-Paul Gosselaar

Synopsis:  “A story that follows Kate, a young woman who after a horrible blind date on Christmas Eve, wakes up to find she is re-living that same day and date all over again.”

Watch on:  Disney+

So let’s clear up on one thing right off the bat. Unlike Naughty & Nice, this movie is actually cute. It helps that Amy Smart and Mark-Paul Gosselaar headline it. (Disney shells out the big bucks.)

While the main premise is that of a rom com, it uses a decidedly Christmas-y/holiday premise, blending a Groundhogs Day/A Christmas Carol story to send Kate on a blind date with Miles to relive the same date over and over until she gets it right.

Also unlike Naughty & Nice, I actually rooted for these characters! Yes, of course, there were some ridiculous moments. Mark-Paul’s character is both a hockey player, a parkitecht (that’s a park architect), and a group home supervisor for underprivileged youth. Oh, and a widower. He’s also Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Only Disney could engineer this eligible of a bachelor.

While I’ve never found Amy Smart to be particularly winsome or engaging, she is charming and I guess I can see why she keeps getting cast in things. That is to say, this is exactly the perfect role for her.

What is unclear to me is what her character has done to karmically deserve this Scrooged scenario. Unlike Ebenezer, Kate is a pretty nice person at the beginning of the story. Her only real flaw is that she hasn’t gotten over her ex-boyfriend yet and still thinks she can win him back. Oh, and she doesn’t know how to bake (as her stepmom loves to point out).

So it seems a little weird within the universe of 12 Dates that someone like her would deserve to live the same day over and over again, especially because aside from one or two days, she’s pretty good in all of them and tries to be a different version of selfless many times over. It makes it very confusing as to what the moral of the story is supposed to be (other than a real woman should know her way around the kitchen), but it’s fun to watch nonetheless.

I am very curious about the sequel to this in which she accidentally confesses to him that she relived the same day 12 times and that’s why she weirdly knows everything him about him on their second date already and he calls Adult Protective Services. As already evidenced, I will watch anything with Zack Morris.

Rating:

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: 0 out 10 snowflakes. I’m sad to report that this movie had even less snow than Naughty & Nice, and that’s including the packing peanuts!

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:  8 out 10 mistletoes. This movie is much more emotionally satisfying. There’s a dead wife and a dead mom, so double deaths, plus the love story is actually romantic!

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. While Kate relives her Christmas Eve over and over until she gets it right, this movie honestly could be set at any time of the year.

Would I Recommend? Yes! This movie is actually watchable!

Molly

Molly Jolly Christmas Day 1: Naughty & Nice

The Challenge

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!

Naughty & Nice (2014)

Directed by:  Sam Irvin

Written by:  John Wierick

Starring:  Haylie Duff and Tilky Jones

Synopsis:  “A cynical radio host is banished to Colorado, where he has an on-air spat with a hopeless romantic. Soon, their antagonistic relationship sparks the interest of the whole town.”

Watch on:  Hulu

Pepper (Tilky Jones), of the radio show Pepper & Spice, is your typical shock jock who gets banished to Colorado from sunny LA after embarrassing the station’s biggest sponsor.

Meanwhile, Sandra Love (Haylie Duff) is a talk radio therapist who is upset to learn she has to babysit her new cohost, Pepper, and keep him out of trouble. In terms of meet-cutes, it’s a pretty absurd one, even for Christmas rom-coms. Yes that’s not one, but two, radio hosts in this movie.

Like any good made-for-TV movie, there’s some good B/C-list stunt casting. Terrence Carson (Living Single) shines as Pepper’s agent while Maureen McCormick (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!) plays Sandy’s mom.

The plot is pretty straightforward–opposites attract as the unlikely pair falls in love. While Tilky Jones is handsome and pretty charismatic, Pepper is an undeniable asshole throughout the whole movie with few moments of redemption, making it hard to see why Sandy–who has a PhD in psychology from Northwestern–would ever take a second look at him.

Despite some cute moments, I’m not convinced Pepper isn’t a terrorist. He fills Sandy’s office with packing peanuts (to make it snow), shoots at her with a nerf gun while they’re on the air, and even gets an old man killed! Yes, that is an actual plot point in this movie.

By the end of the movie’s proposal (involving Sandy and Pepper’s three listeners and the first actual snowfall of the whole movie), I felt pretty cold toward both of them. She turns down a promotion in Dallas for a guy who can’t even drive stick and they really think they’re going to make this marriage in Colorado work. Now that’s a sequel I would watch.

Rating:

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:  1 out 10 snowflakes. There was about 30 seconds of snow in the whole movie!

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:  4 out 10 mistletoes. Points for actual mistletoe in the movie, but Pepper is the worst.

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:  3 out of 10 Santa beards. The movie is more rom-com than Christmas movie.

Would I Recommend? Only if you’re a big Haylie Duff fan.

Molly

SNL 40: Growing Up a Comedy Nerd

In case you’re like most of the world and haven’t been watching NBC for the past few weeks, Saturday Night Live aired its 3.5 hour-long 40th anniversary special last night. The show was about 2 hours too long, but it was a fun tour de force for those who made SNL history and those who simply watched it.

Lorne Michaels explained that they invited anyone who ever hosted, was a musical guest, or was in the cast for at least a year. So, yeah, it was a big night (Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Laraine Newman, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, etc., etc.). Unlike normal SNL episodes where audience gags had random people in the crowd, last night’s audience gags would have Bradley Cooper and Chris Lowell giggling in the background, or Jon Lovitz the ghost watching on.

Overall, the whole thing was fun, but kind of one big circle jerk. One thing about SNL is it’s always had to balance its New York audience and the need to appeal to a wider, mass audience. Last night was no different. There was a long, sentimental montage about New York and 9/11 within the first hour of the show that, while appreciated, is still a bit boring for someone whose never lived outside of Oklahoma (or even been to New York). And then there were the jokes themselves.

I guess I was surprised that pretty much every single sketch was about SNL itself, which feels a bit like a missed opportunity considering all of the great talent there. Yes, it was a dream come true to have Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Jane Curtin behind the Update desk, but it would have been even better to hear them tell actual Update jokes for the full segment rather than tell a few throwaway masturbatory SNL jokes for 2 minutes.

Perhaps the weirdest part of the night was Eddie Murphy. SNL made such a big deal about bringing Eddie Murphy back for the first time since he left 30 years ago, I had pretty high expectations (along with a lot of other people, I presume). Before he came on, Chris Rock gave a full Eddie Murphy sermon, talking about how Eddie saved the show when it was near cancellation in the non-Lorne years and how there would never be a next-Eddie Murphy. All for Eddie Murphy to walk out and say, “Yeah, this is cool,” then be disappointed that they didn’t cut to commercial break sooner. Considering the show was at quite a lull then, it would have been nice if Murphy could’ve saved the 40th special, too, or at least act like he cared as much as Chris Rock.

All that said, last night was still fun to watch because it reminded me how much the show means to me and to a lot of other people. Throughout the special, they aired montages of old sketches and reduxed old sketches. Even the sketches I didn’t watch live were so immortal, I grew up with them (The Land Shark, Bass-o-matic, Mr. Bill to name a few). It was fun to relive every aspect of SNL history and rekindle my love for the show that started as a young child (probably too young–I remember singing the Ambiguously Gay Duo theme song on the playground without really getting the joke).

In short, SNL was my primary education in comedy, and last night was like the best family reunion ever–a little awkward at times when your weird uncle shows up late and drunk (I’m looking at you, Chevy), but you’re still glad you went.

Now go YouTube clips from last night, because I can’t pick just one to embed here.

Did you watch? I’d like to know what you think.

Molly