Tag Archives: christmas

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 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