Tag Archives: media

Miscellaneous TV Write-ups

See below links to my miscellaneous write-ups on all things television for Culturess, /Film, and ScreenRant.

Culturess

10 shows that prove we’re in a golden age of queer comedies

77th annual Golden Globes live stream: Watch online

Abbi Jacobson and D’Arcy Carden to star in Amazon’s A League of Their Own remake

Bob’s Burgers: Our 10 favorite episodes, ranked by how much we love them

Bob’s Burgers: The definitive ranking of Thanksgiving episodes

Cheryl and Toni, Micah and Jose, and 5 other LGBTQ+ couples we’re obsessed with this year

Everything we know about HBO Max so far

GLAAD reports more LGBTQ+ characters than ever before on television

GLOW’s cancellation highlights a frustrating trend regarding which shows Netflix axes

Haute Dog is here to brighten up your 2020 with fun antics and cute dogs

Here’s how you can watch Hulu’s Hillary docuseries online

Hulu’s Hillary: A portrait of America’s most hated woman

James Comey is no hero, and Showtime’s The Comey Rule won’t change that

Netflix piloting a speed-binge feature for some terrible reason

No one asked for a Weeds sequel, but we’re getting it anyway

PEN15’s sophomore season is full of heart and magic

SNL’s cold open is the queer pandering we deserve

Space Force: Everything we know about Steve Carell’s new show so far

The Crown’s season 3 trailer is finally here!

The first Stranger Things 4 teaser arrives “from Russia with love”

Transgender actress Josie Totah set to star in Saved by the Bell reboot

Haute Dog’s Jess Rona spills the tea on competitive dog grooming

Haute Dog’s Matt Rogers shares the secrets of hosting and culture

The trailer for Shrill’s final season shows off a bold and brave Annie

Shrill’s final season is a bittersweet testament to friendship

Final season of Special sees Ryan fully embrace his identity

/Film

The 20 Best Bob’s Burgers Episodes Ranked

15 Shows Like Brooklyn Nine-Nine You Need To See

ScreenRant

Joe Pera Talks With You: The 10 Best Episodes, Ranked According To IMDb

Mrs. Fletcher: 10 Cringiest Moments From Season 1

New Girl’s Coach: 9 Major Characters Who Had to Leave Sitcoms

Queer Eye: 5 Things Netflix’s Reboot Does Better Than the Original (& 5 It Does Worse)

Queer Eye: We’re In Japan! 10 Hilarious & Unforgettable Memes

Sex Education: 10 Hilarious Memes Only Netflix Fans Will Understand

The Circle: 10 Things That Prove It’s A Reality Show Version Of Black Mirror

Bling Empire: Most Popular Cast Members, Ranked By Instagram Followers

Lupin: The Main Characters, Ranked By Intelligence

Molly

Recommendation of the Week: Surrender Your Sons

Adam Sass’s debut novel, a young adult queer thriller, is the perfect read for to kick off your Spook-tober. Surrender Your Sons follows Connor Major, a recently out gay teenager who is isolated in a small town in Illinois.

His only salvation from the Reverend who has taken over every inch of his tiny town, including his mother, is his boyfriend, Ario, and his weekly Meals on Wheels delivery to a disabled patient, Ricky Hannigan.

Unfortunately for Connor, his mother and the Reverend discover he uses his Meals on Wheels trips to also see his boyfriend, and put him under strict house arrest.

It’s not long after this that his mother willingly has him kidnapped and taken to a secret island in the middle of Costa Rica with the hopes that when he comes back, he’ll no longer be gay.

Even worse, Connor soon learns that the Reverend is at the center of this horrible conspiracy, his power looming even larger on the island, as Connor tries to unravel the mystery thanks to a clue from Ricky.

Conversion therapy and its many sins and cruelty are the throughline of Surrender Your Sons. Sass does a masterful job of proving that, despite the loss of focus on the topic, conversion therapy has never gone away; it’s just better at hiding itself.

With the dramatic Lost setting and Wilder Girls vibes, Surrender Your Sons threads plenty of tension and mystery on top of the devastation, making it so that readers keep turning the page, even as the realities become more gruesome.

But even though much of the queer experience for many people (both on the page and off) can be traumatic and violent, Sass also weaves in a powerful narrative of queer resilience, joy, strength, and love.

When Connor makes it onto the island, he learns he’s not the only person in his situation, eventually having to choose whether to save himself, or work with the other teens to defeat the Reverend and escape together.

This includes a blooming romance with another camper, Marcos. Unlike Ario, who pressured Connor to come out before he was ready, unwittingly putting him in danger, Marcos and Connor have matching scars.

Beyond the numerous beautiful and powerful queer themes, Surrender Your Sons is a masterful thriller and mystery, begging to be read and re-read with its numerous breadcrumbs and easter eggs and incredible supporting cast. You can get your copy today at your local library or wherever books are sold.

Molly

Buy your copy of Surrender Your Sons here to support independent bookstores.

Disclaimers: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Special Announcement From the End of the World Movie Club

This Saturday, September 19, marks the official six month anniversary of the End of the World Movie Club. This is the first time I’ve written about it on my blog, but if you follow me elsewhere, you already know I’ve been running a virtual movie club since the early days of covid quarantine.

When I first started the virtual movie nights, like everyone else, I was desperately missing human contact (I live alone) and was needing some form of escapism for a few hours after mindlessly doom-scrolling for hours on end each day.

I naively thought we would past all this by now. (Mock me if you will.) Perhaps it’s better to say I never thought we’d reach a six month milestone of quarantine and/or this little movie club.

Over the last six months, we’ve celebrated and rallied around Pride and Black Lives Matter, mourned losses, honored heroes, and laughed a lot. I hope it’s been as enjoyable for all of you as its been for me to curate and run it. If you haven’t joined us yet, please do.

In addition to watching “together,” I’ve tried to use my background in film history and media studies to add context and insight for special themed weeks focused on the works of Bong Joon-Ho, Rian Johnson, and even silly movies like Austin Powers or Twister.

As we grow, I’ll work to find new ways to develop and engage with this side of the End of the World Movie Club and would love to hear from you (either in the comments below or on Discord) about what is and isn’t working for you.

All this to say, happy anniversary, as odd as that is. I don’t know how much we should celebrate that we’re still in this never-ending apocalypse, but the whole point of starting this was to have fun and escape problems of the real world for a little while, so I guess I’ll keep trying to make that happen.

Without further ado, this week, in honor of our six month anniversary, the End of the World Movie Club will be partying hard and rocking out! For the first time ever, we’ll be watching four movies this week with our first ever double feature!

On Thursday and Friday, we’ll watch some rocking teen movies before chilling with our double feature picks on Saturday night. Check out the schedule below and we hope to see you on the Discord:

September 17 at 9 p.m. CST- Can’t Hardly Wait (Netflix)
September 18 at 9 p.m. CST- Josie and the Pussycats (HBO/Max)
September 19 at 8 p.m. CST- Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (Hulu)
9:35 p.m. CST – Pineapple Express (Netflix)

Molly

What Should a Dramatization of the Trump Era Look Like?

As a pop culture junkie living through the first-ever reality star President, I’ve spent maybe a little too much time wondering what the inevitable series of political biopics and miniseries about the Trump Era and all of the events surrounding it will look like.

With the shortening of the news cycle, so much has happened this year that we’ve already forgotten about (Trump was impeached in January) let alone before he even took office (the Access Hollywood tape). In my eyes, a sweeping, well-done narrative would actually be both enlightening and engrossing, not to mention the fun there is in dream-casting. (Patti Lupone as Nancy Pelosi? Allegra Edwards as Kayleigh McEnany or Ivanka? Holland Taylor as Hillary?)

However, it would be too easy to go into parodic territory. Long before Trump came down the escalator, when he still hosted The Apprentice, people did bad impersonations of him, telling friends, “You’re fired,” across the table at dinner parties. (Guilty.) This has only increased since he took office. But it’s not funny anymore.

It’s one thing to impersonate a guy with funny hair who hosts a successful reality competition show who says incendiary things on cable news but mostly stays away. It’s another thing to impersonate the President on Saturday Night Live, or a talk show, or at a dinner party, who makes fun of disabled people, disrespects war heroes, refuses to attend the funeral of civil rights icons, and basically violates everything to do with common decency and respect in the name of America First.

Regardless of what policies you support or which party you’re registered with, the research and statistics show that Trump has not made America great again. He has done everything in his power to ignore the coronavirus pandemic and act like we’ve defeated it when it’s only getting worse while working to undo the legacy of presidents before him.

At this point, to portray Trump in any fashion is to perpetuate his image and legacy. From a practical, artistic standpoint, it’s impossible to do a portrayal or impersonation of Trump and have it taken seriously at this point. Even if Daniel Day Lewis did his method acting most, we’d all still laugh at it because that’s what we’ve been trained to do since 2015–laugh at the “orange man” so you don’t take him seriously and notice what he’s actually doing. From a political standpoint, to keep impersonating Trump is dangerous. It contributes to mythmaking, positive or negative, and no good can come of that.

So to answer the central question posed in this post’s title, what should a dramatization of the Trump Era look like? We’re getting our first taste very soon. Showtime announced this week their new miniseries, The Comey Rule, and yes, it looks as gross and trite as it sounds.

With Jeff Daniels as the eponymous James Comey and Brendan Gleeson doing his damndest to “seriously” portray Trump, The Comey Rule seems to be prestige television’s answer to my question. However, I would argue that building off of what I’ve stated above, Trump should be entirely absent from any dramatizations of the Trump era.

The Comey Rule is a bad idea for lots of reasons (least of which it seems to ignore the Hillary Clinton mess entirely and start with Trump in the White House?). But the story could easily be told without Trump in it at all. (No shade to Gleeson, who is a fine actor.) But if this is a taste of the kind of stories Hollywood thinks we should tell about the Trump era, I’ll pass.

Molly

Read more about The Comey Rule here: James Comey is no hero and Showtime’s The Comey Rule won’t change that

Outlander Coverage

Outlander season 5 finale live stream: Watch onlineBelow are links to all of my coverage of Outlander for Culturess.

Season 5

Outlander season 5 premiere live stream: Watch online

Outlander season 5 premiere review: A Fraser’s Ridge wedding

Outlander season 5 episode 2 live stream: Watch online

Outlander season 5 episode 2 review: A new apprentice

Outlander season 5 episode 3 live stream: Watch online

Outlander season 5 episode 3 review: In this world

Outlander season 5 episode 4 live stream: Watch online

Outlander season 5 episode 4 review: Aimless and lost

Outlander season 5 episode 5 review: An underwhelming reunion

Outlander season 5 episode 6 live stream: Watch online

Outlander season 5 episode 6 review: Still a woman

Outlander season 5 episode 7 live stream: Watch online

Outlander season 5 episode 7 review: Murtagh, my friend

Outlander season 5 episode 8 live stream: Watch online

Outlander season 5 episode 8 review: The hanged man

Outlander season 5 episode 9 live stream: Watch online

Outlander season 5 episode 9 review: Once bitten

Outlander season 5 episode 10 live stream: Watch online

Outlander season 5 episode 10 review: Justice for Bree

Outlander season 6: Here’s hoping for less sexual assault and trauma

Molly

Star Wars Coverage

See below links to all of Star Wars write-ups for Pop Culture Club, Culturess , Dork Side of the Force, /Film, and The Mary Sue.

Pop Culture Club

How The Force Awakens Helped Me Grieve

Culturess

Our first look at Keri Russell’s character in Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker

Ewan McGregor can’t stop talking about the new Obi-Wan series

Is Disney continuing to queerbait fans with The Rise of Skywalker press tour?

The Rise of Skywalker: Was Kylo Ren redeemed?

The Rise of Skywalker: How did the movie handle Carrie Fisher’s legacy?

Look to J.J. Abrams’ first TV show to understand The Rise of Skywalker‘s ending

Sorry, Baby Jabba: Baby Yoda is the only baby the Star Wars universe needs

Why Obi-Wan showing up in the Andor series would make perfect sense

Dork Side of the Force

Why Mitch McConnell is our Galaxy’s Emperor Palpatine

Why #ReleaseTheJJCut fan movement is here to stay

Why Star Wars is the perfect comfort watch right now

How you can marathon Star Wars to celebrate May the 4th

How Star Wars revived its franchise with Episode I

How Star Wars actors’ careers have changed through the decades

5 little-known facts about the Star Wars Holiday Special

/Film

Star Wars Movie Villains Ranked Least To Most Powerful

The Mary Sue

What’s Going on With Star Wars’ Shift to TV and Storytelling Growing Pains?

Molly

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 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