Tag Archives: netflix

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

Farewell, Leslie Knope, and Thanks for Everything

Dear Leslie Knope,

You don’t know me but I’m very familiar with your work. For the past 6 years, I’ve watched in awe as you have worked tirelessly to better your crazy little town of Pawnee, Indiana–not unlike my own hometown. Tonight, that all comes to an end (at least, until I delve into my Netflix queue again) and I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks.

First, thank you for introducing me to the world you live in. I won’t just miss you, but also your friends and the family you’ve built in the Parks and Recreation department. Donna and her unending love for her Benz. Tom and his many pursuits of both businesses and the ladies. Andy and April’s weirdly perfect loving relationship. Chris and Ann’s unending support for those around them (who I’ve already made my peace with). Ben’s love of the calzone. Ron Effing Swanson. All of these people go into making Pawnee, and you, the wonderful thing I’ve born witness to for the past 6 years.

Oh, and Jerry/Garry/Larry/Terry I guess. Whatever.

Second, thank you for being one of the first blatantly feminist characters I ever saw on television. I’ll never forget being introduced to the Pawnee Goddesses and wishing I could go back in time to when I was a kid and be a member of that troop. I loved that you considered not dating Dave because he didn’t know enough about the female political icons who adorned your office. The fact that you eventually became friends with Madeleine Albright was amazing. Thank you for slamming the media about the way women in politics are treated.

In short, Leslie, thank you for being you. You showed me that it’s OK to make mistakes and have flaws as long as you care passionately and never give up. We can use more women–people–like you in the world and you have undoubtedly inspired countless young women to speak a little louder, push a little harder, and down some whipped cream unabashedly.

I like you and I love you. And I will miss you, Leslie. I can’t wait to see what you do next.

Molly

The series finale of Parks and Recreation airs tonight on NBC at 10/9c.

Recommendation of the Week: The Fall

Police procedurals about white male serial killers murdering white women are a dime-a-dozen these days. Shows that were once inventive and the best of the genre are either over or tired (Law & Order, CSI, etc.).

Enter The Fall, a British drama about two hunters, a serial killer, Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), and the police officer, Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson), trying to catch him. The beautiful Belfast, Ireland provides an antithetical backdrop for the horrific crimes. Additionally, Gibson must battle sexism, politics, and her own psyche as she closes in on the killer.

Don’t expect any stereotypically dramatic scenes of frustration or fear from Anderson’s Gibson as she solves the crime. Gibson is completely in control of her emotions, of her surroundings, of her sexuality at any given time. Gillian Anderson gives a quiet and subtle performance of a complex woman who understands the implications of what it means to be a woman in power who shows her emotions.

Contrary to many similar shows, the identity of the killer is not a secret to the viewer. We get to know the criminal as well as the police. Spector is a husband and father. He works as a bereavement counselor. He’s handsome and charming. …he also stalks and kills young women. The Fall utilizes Jamie Dornan’s physicality and good looks as a way to mess with the viewers’ perceptions. Many scenes with Dornan have no dialogue and are acted entirely through facial expressions.

The second season of The Fall dropped on Netflix Friday. The whole series is only 11 episodes so you can easily binge-watch it before Fifty Shades of Grey comes out on Valentine’s Day. It is unknown as to whether there will be a third season.

Have you already watched The Fall? Just now starting? Hurry up and finish. I need to talk about that ending.

Molly