Now, I’m hoping unlike last year I will actually be able to make it through the entire advent without losing my tiny mind and suffering from an overload of Christmas cheese. Unfortunately, I don’t mean legit Christmas cheese; I would throw myself into a genuine cheese coma in a heartbeat.
Let’s also not forget our daily Christmas predictions either! If I manage to get through the entire 25 days we can do a grand total of just how many families the spirit of Christmas tore apart this year!
Nevertheless! Let’s begin our shit-show Christmas journey with a gift. Ya know… the true meaning of Christmas.
So I watched the short opening credits for this film in absolute amazement and horror. This is the first time we’ve gone so old with a festive film – there will be no texting dead parents on an unlimited tariff here.
We open up on a very snowy Georgetown where people have no regard for spooking horses because an olde school taxi backfires loudly as it passes a horse drawn carriage. In all honesty if I was that horse I would have spooked at the mere site of this travelling circus.
The taxi driver pulls up outside a building and starts bleating ‘Susan’ as if he has never actually said the word before and is still trying to get to grips with the pronunciation. For some reason this actually works and out pops the Mom from Malcolm in the Middle. For some reason Bud, the taxi guy, tells her she is his first stop today despite the fact she doesn’t get in the cab and no one gets out… He then asks her not to forget him and she confirms he is the first in line and not to worry before he drives off…. They might not be worried but I certainly fucking am.
As is required with all small town films everyone waves to Bud as he drives past, honking his horn freely and basically just making noise, both audibly and visually. Bud briefly stops to scream at a bunch of kids to write letters (hopefully to Santa and not to inmates at the local penitentiary) before continuing on to the service station again for no other reason than to be told he needs to look after his car otherwise it’s gonna break the fuck down. Bud is already irritating the hell out of me and is using god knows how much fuel just doing laps of this godforsaken town.
On his tour of the town Bud drives past a guy called Jake, who has just left the bank of Georgetown looking mightily pissed off while someone chases after him trying to explain something or other. Unable to read a room or the local high street, Bud hangs out of his window to remind Jake his kids still need to write their letters. From the look Jake gives him his kids might actually be writing to the local penitentiary before Christmas is through.
I hope to good christ someone kills Bud soon as he finishes bleating at everyone and rocks up at a hotel. I can’t tell if he lives here or what but they appear to have a desk in the lobby which handily has a copy of motor repairs. Realising his car really is fucked, like everyone has been telling him, Bud immediately starts writing a letter to Santa and to be honest I’m just surprised he can write at all.
Having had enough of Bud’s shit we end up in New York where architect Mr George Billings turns up at his office and not one god damn person will leave him alone. The man just keeps charging through the office, ignoring everything his staff are telling him about an important meeting, and instead is more excited to put a tiny piano in a giant doll’s house that is taking up most of his desk. I presume Alex is his daughter and he assumes she is just gonna love this eyesore.
There is a terribly boring meeting where people discuss where to build shit and the CEO of the company apparently really loves… trees.
Thomas Renfield: “People… we’re putting our money into year-round living. We’re selling clean air. 24 hour security. Trees. Lots of trees. Shade.“
Me: “Huh… apparently trees are sentient and in the security business now.”
I forgot this was an old school meeting, a time before everyone was forced to endure lengthy powerpoint presentations. I much preferred the grand unveiling of this bad boy and plans to build a new estate somewhere up north.
Cue a strange self-help session between Renfield and George where we lightly skim across the fact George has recently lost his wife, been throwing himself into his work and Christmas is a terrible time to try and get over a loved one. Thanks for reminding us, Tom. Either way we’re off to Georgetown, Colorado!
Prediction #1: George is gonna fall in love with Susan up there in the mountains.
George: “You want me to go there and survey the area.”
Renfield: “Two days, tops.”
George: “Just like Vermont last year?”
Renfield: “Exactly the same, you go in as a tourist.”
George: “So as not to make anybody suspicious and drive the real estate prices up.”
Me: “Thank you for that wonderfully scripted business plan, gentlemen.”
Prediction #2: George is totally gonna give the game up at some point and betray his company in the name of Christmas spirit and not making a profit off these people or their tiny town. Fuck trees.
George goes back to his office and packs a bunch of loose pencils and assorted protractors into a briefcase because apparently architects like to travel light.
Back at home there are a bunch of kids running around an old woman in the kitchen whilst shouting about butter. This is why I hate children. George waits until his daughter’s friends have gone home and she is getting ready for bed bed to break the news they’re leaving in two days for Colorado. Merry Christmas, kid.
Alex: “Daddy, but my friends are here.”
George: “You can make new friends in Colorado.”
Me: “… But you’re only going for two days…”
Prediction #3: They get snowed in at Colorado and have to stay at that terrible hotel with Bud in the lobby writing letters to Santa.
Bud would live for this next part where George suggests Alex writes a letter to Santa so he knows where they’ve gone. George does a 4 minute, poignant sketch whilst describing Christmas in his small, childhood town which we don’t even get to see! Which leads me to believe what he handed to his daughter was just a mess of doodles. He probably just drew some dicks or something.
Alex: “This Christmas… I’ll have you all to myself.”
Me: “… SHE KILLED YOUR WIFE!”
Prediction #4: Alex killed her Mom so there was more Christmas cheer to go around.
Bud is back, stalking Susan down the street so he can hand her his god damn letter. Unfortunately for George and the rest of humanity it looks like Bud is the one picking them up from the airport.
Bud: “Did you write yours yet?”
Susan: “Ahhhh no, not yet.”
Bud: “Susan, you spend so much time helping others with their letters, it’s time you paid attention to writing your own.”
Me: “Why, are they all illiterate? If Bud can fucking write, anyone can.”
Prediction #5: Susan hasn’t written her letter because she probably suffered some tragic past and doesn’t believe her wish for a family will come true but it will and she will gain both a husband and a murderous little daughter in the very near future.
There’s an awkward moment when Bud’s car backfires even though he’s not even in the damn thing and the engine isn’t running, which doesn’t fill me with confidence for this trip to the airport.
Prediction 3 edit: Bud’s car breaks down when he is supposed to take them back to the airport and they miss their flight.
In the street Susan thinks this is the perfect time to tell two children how sorry she is their Father lost the ranch, just before Christmas, and to see them have to go. Both kids ride off on a horse without saying a word because the high street is not a place to bring up the family’s financial struggles.
Meanwhile, getting off the plane, some crazed woman named Joanne seems to have grown very attached to George and Alex and wishes them a very Merry Christmas before disappearing.
Prediction #6: Joanne pops back up at some point and puts strain on George and Susan’s relationship
Oh… the faces on these people when Bud and that car turn up…. Apparently Bud has been doing this for 40 years in the same friggin’ car and don’t I believe it. All the way back to the town Bud is holding up traffic because his cab goes about 2 miles per hour and I pray he doesn’t charge them via the meter.
OK so…. I don’t know why she did but thank god Alex brought along the sketch George did earlier in the movie which we never got to see because it is glorious.
Apparently Georgetown looks so much like the place George was born but I am personally thankful it looks nothing like it. That is the stuff of nightmares. Thank Christ he bought those protractors with him.
Bud hints at some 100 year old legend but doesn’t actually explain anything, even when the kid asks him outright what the hell he’s whittling on about.
George: “Get back inside, Alex.”
Me: “Yeah, Alex. Get back inside that rusty death trap with the Christmas decorations on it.”
Instead of dropping them at the hotel, Bud drops them at the Post Office where Susan works because George already has photos he needs to send off to New York right away! Luckily Alex lags behind so she is outside to witness Bud’s car finally break down in all it’s glory. The whole town gathers around the car, like monkey’s at a safari park, and Alex gives them all a look which suggests she sees their primitive behaviour and is not a fan. They didn’t behave like this in New York.
George isn’t too surprised when she delivers the bad news to him and is probably, and rightly, more concerned that the post office is a complete fire hazard! Yes! We are officially back! (Note to self: Announce fire hazard of the year once this fever dream is all over.)
A whole queue of people are waiting to hand in their Christmas letters to Susan on Letter Day (which is a national holiday) and one kid basically hands over a package, which in this day and age would cost him a fortune to post. Finally George gets up to the counter and is alarmed to find out it’s only open to receiving Santa’s letters and certainly not some real world letter like sending film negatives over to New York for a job.
George is fucking baffled and tries to pull his New York businessman shit with Susan who is not having it and I love her. Nothing like a bit of hatred to really build a long-lasting relationship on!
At the hotel we walk in on some woman getting kids ready to play angels in what I presume is a nativity play and not their regular daytime attire. Even worse it turns out this woman is Hennie, Bud’s sister, and they run the hotel together. I can’t even at this point. The man owns two businesses and still needs a loan off Santa to fix his car.
Alex wants to help them light up some tree but Hennie tells her she needs to write her letter to Santa first. Alex immediately rushes off to do just that whilst George looks on and wonders why the fuck she never listens to him when he asks her to do something first time. Just before Alex is led off to her room by Bud, and probably to a Business 101 lecture, Hennie suddenly, and without warning, recruits Alex as a shepherd in her play.
George: “We won’t be here for Christmas.”
Hennie: “We’re short on shepherds this year.”
Me: “Oh well, better scrap all those plans you had, then. Georgetown needs underqualified shepherds.”
It’s only now that George starts questioning the fact everyone believes in Santa and that they’re all quite mad up here. It’s taken him long enough; I called the madness the moment I saw Bud’s taxi. Hennie ominously confirms tonight all will be made clear… maybe it’s the night they get a care package of all their medication dropped off or something.
I have to say I am impressed by the hotel’s capacity to catch on fire too.
Bud explains he can’t take George and Alex back to the airport and some guy called Hank will be doing it instead, totally blowing my prediction out of the water. George basically reveals that even he knows Bud has asked for a new motor for Christmas but explains this again to his daughter, just in case her tiny, infantile brain couldn’t grasp the simple grown up conversation. In all fairness the kid probably wasn’t listening because there was an icecream sundae in front of her. I know I wouldn’t have been.
The moment Susan steps into the hotel Hennie is trying to set her up with George because apparently the entire town knows she is desperate for a man. She calls her Aunt Hennie but I can’t tell if it’s actually familial or just a really small town.
Susan had actually turned up to see if they could get a boy called…. Scruff? … back into the pageant even though he turned Hennie down point blank. Can’t say I blame him at this point.
Hennie: “He’s here!”
Susan: “Who’s here?”
Hennie: “A man!”
Me: “It’s really refreshing to see a woman with such high standards on screen.”
Cue the terribly awkward interruption of George and Alex’s dinner when Susan is basically thrown down into a seat by Hennie. This prompts an apology from both adults about their recent behaviour and I’m sad we’re not seeing more sass from Susan. Another argument is brewing though, I’d bet my Christmas on it.
George is called away to answer a phone call and just happily hands the care of his daughter over to this postal service employee, regardless of whether either of them were happy about it. Don’t forget, you can offer anyone up for anything at Christmas and they can’t say no! The man even requests Susan finds them a tour guide for tomorrow to take a look around Georgetown, as if she doesn’t have enough to do with all these Santa letters rushing in. She has to agree though because Christmas.
Back in New York Renfield looks drunk as fuck but he’s been waiting for George to get to the damn phone for so long he probably had time to plough through a mini bar. George tries to blame Letter Day for his own late post and promises he’ll call tomorrow. In a perfect power play Renfield pulls the ‘No, I’ll call you‘ card and demands a full report by then too.
George: “The whole town was mailing letters to erm… Santa Claus.”
Renfield: “Santa Claus?”
George: “Everyone I’ve met believes in Santa Claus. It has to do with some legend.”
George: “Well I’ll find out more tonight when we light the tree.”
Me: “Fuck, he really is drunk if he’s forgotten what trees are…”
There are some seriously sinister overtones to that call and I don’t know how long Renfield just kept repeating words back to George because a lot of time has passed and now it’s dark outside.
I hope the entire town didn’t turn out to this tree lighting ceremony because it amounts to about 50 people, but we’re all out there greeting each other and giving a special round of applause to ‘our friends from New York’ which is currently just Alex. Luckily Susan can be trusted and did not just kidnap the child, which would have made for an awkward applause to… no one.
George turns up just in time to hear about the legend of Georgetown and how a 100 years ago their forefathers were caught in a blizzard and almost starved to death. Santa turned up, apparently also lost in this blizzard on Christmas Eve because the satnav was yet to be invented, asking for some food but was denied because the forefathers were probably already drawing straws to see who they would eat next. Fortunately for Santa some kid took pity on him, stole a bunch of food and went out to feed him. Santa, in a turn of events, said he would reward the kid 100 times over before disappearing on his no doubt usual mince pie and brandy trail across the world. Fuck starving travellers. However on Christmas Day they woke up to a shit load of food, blankets, toys and a convenient trail into a valley that is presumably now Georgetown. Santa had the touch of Jesus about him in those times.
At some point during the story some kid turns up on a horse. Alex spots him and is either plotting to be charitable to the kid, the need for which is signified by the dirt all over his face, OR she’s planning on murdering him too and taking his horse.
For some reason the town welcomes their Christmas tree into the world by singing ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ loudly at it every year. Susan and George start singing at each other like a weird sing-off and I don’t know about you, I don’t even like making eye contact with my friends when I speak to them, let alone sing at a stranger I just met and argued with that morning.
The next morning Alex rocks up at the post office, already confident to roam the town on her own, to drop off both her letter to Santa and her Dad’s boring business correspondence. I am horrified to learn that Bud is also the fucking assistant post master as well. Next it will turn out he’s the 100 year old boy from the legend.
Susan pops out from behind the counter to announce she will be their tour guide today and without consulting Alex or her father agrees to have Alex back for pageant practice at 3pm sharp. Susan finally hands over her letter to Santa but it’s probably just a wish that both George and his child go back to New York and she never has to give another damn tour again.
Three seconds later Susan is speeding them around the town in a horse and carriage in a possible attempt to kill them all off and make doubly sure she never has to see them again. In honour of the horse and carriage I have added an extra generic Christmas counter this year at the end of the post.
On this tour it turns out that no one actually knows what miracle is going to befall the town, so instead they just build the worst snowman I have ever seen. Now is the perfect time to reveal that George is an architect so that Susan can look at the terribly constructed snowman like…. ‘Wait, what?’ Alex continues to drop him in the shit by mentioning he recently built a ski resort over in Vermont and Susan begins to fear he may have the same ideas about Georgetown. In the child’s defence she does try and immediately flick her father back out of the shit by revealing they’re actually there on vacation because her Mom died last Christmas.
Susan has an awful lot of information to digest here and think she may as well continue taking them down this depressing road. We pass through a valley which used to belong to Jake Richards and stop outside his house with a sign advertising his 160 acres are being foreclosed by the bank and are for sale.
We come across the guy from the bank putting the sign up and I feel a little conflicted as it turns out he is Bob Truesdale and also the Mayor of Georgetown. Susan wants to know more about when Jake and his children will be made homeless but Bob is more concerned whether George is having a good vacation or not. Rather than face this crushing defeat we go back to Susan’s to drink hot chocolate and admire her photos.
It turns out Susan was mostly raised here but spent 10 years in Denver. When her Dad died she came back to sell the house but instead decided Denver life wasn’t for her anymore, took over her Dad’s job as post master and forged a new life which she doesn’t. Want. Ruined. By. George’s. Ski. Resort.
We have some bizarre arguments about whose hometown was better and whose hometown isn’t even on the map anymore because shopping centres and… Look, I don’t know, but Susan has George all figured out whilst Alex just wants to ride around in the sleigh some more. To avoid any more awkward conversation George decides pageant practice would actually be a great way to kill the afternoon.
After all that George still has the confidence to basically invite Susan to the dance in town tonight. This man is either as clueless as Bud or has the unassailable confidence typical of his species.
Pageant practice is an absolute train wreck and looks like it might top () for worst play ever. During all this George has been sketching out his visions for the future and proving protractors can do your art the world of good. Not good enough to stop him tearing up his future vision and having a change of heart about the entire thing, though.
George calls his doubts over to Renfield, but not before checking whether Alex’s fuck off doll’s house will get there in time for Christmas with express shipping. Those forefathers could have lived in that box during that blizzard, it’s ridiculous!
Back to business, George just wants Renfield to leave the damn town alone and go butcher someone else’s hometown instead of this one. Not listening for one second Renfield simply demands that George holds a town meeting tomorrow night and it was only at this point I realised George was in Georgetown and no one could have come up with any better name for the main character. ‘Make it as easy to remember as possible, guys! Bud ain’t so bright.’
Never one to let something dent his unassailable confidence George can be found that evening, dancing with Susan in a bar that is far too small for this live band and Christmas hoedown that is being thrown. Everything about that place is a fire hazard from the giant hanging candy canes, the live band on a tiny balcony, the fake snow on the floor and the overcrowding. Oh. And the highly flammable booze.
That mysterious, grubby child shows up on his horse again and hangs around by the door watching the other kids play some macabre game that looks like assault as they drag another child around by the arms and force him to kiss an unsuspecting and now very unhappy girl. The grubby child is the one and only Scruff and… I have questions.
Is his actual name Scruff? Did his parents somehow know or dream of a child that was perpetually covered in dirt 24/7? Or did he just decide he was going to live up to their expectations? If that’s just his nickname what the hell is his real name!? And why do the adults also call him Scruff? WHO CALLS THEIR KID SCRUFF!? AND IS IT SHORT FOR SCRUFFINGTON?!
Either way these other kids give Scruff some shit because… he’s moving. The kid has literal dirt wiped across his face but these kids decide to taunt the boy with a situation that is completely out of his control. Go and wash your damn face! If you don’t have running water there is god damn snow outside! Go melt it in a bucket!
I’m still clearly and completely bemused by this character but Alex is either still willing to be charitable or murder the kid for his horse because she stays behind to stare at him some more.
Scruff: “Who are you?”
Alex: “They call me Alex.”
Me: “Because that is my name. Now, I have some questions….”
Either way that kid is out of there with the first barrage of Alex’s questions about the ranch. He didn’t come here tonight to be asked questions, he came to be mocked some more by the village kids! Scruff rides off into the distance without even a backward glance at Alex while she stands in the street and watches her future horse/father leave her out in the cold.
Susan decides she has had one spinning-on-the-spot-dance too many and George casually leaves his child with all these complete strangers while he walks the postmaster home (the current one, not the old deceased one).
Susan: “You know, when I see Bud’s cab or hear it sputter and clatter down the street… I can’t help thinking of this place. Our town.”
Me: “Maybe because… you’re standing in it at the time?”
In a very vague and poetic way Susan is basically telling George to not dare build a new fucking estate in Georgetown and how about he helps build them a new summer theatre instead. There is some strange talk about everybody who walks everybody home being special and after reminding the woman she has no partner George thinks that’s the perfect time to kiss her. You know, because she’s free and single.
What is even stranger is he appears to go home and report all of this to Alex as an alternative bed time story. If I had to listen to George recount his days to me I’d never sleep again. On being asked if he thinks he could ever be in love again, George decides to break into song and honest to god, me and Alex both have the same expression the entire time because how much fucking eggnog did the man drink tonight? And it just doesn’t. Stop.
Alex is once more left unsupervised which, at this point, I’m thrilled for her to be away from that singing psycho and is sledding down a hill with a bunch of her new friends because fuck old New York friends. At the bottom of the hill Scruff is waiting, not at all ominously like a horror movie villain, on his horse and casually tells Alex to get on and ride off with him. Neither Alex or the kid who runs back up the hill with the sled find this behaviour strange in the slightest but maybe she just finally sees her chance to capture that horse.
Back in town George is awkwardly hanging around listening to the guys’ conversation down at the service station. This is where he finds out the guys have pooled together to buy a new motor for Bud’s cab and they pray it gets there on time, otherwise it will shatter everyone’s illusion that Santa is real and why are the adults sending letters to Santa and believing in him if they’re the ones buying the presents anyway!? Either way, George needs a car for mystery business – probably gonna find a hilltop to yodel from or something.
Bob: “Anything I can help you with?”
George: “Yeah, I was wondering if I could borrow or rent a car.”
Bob: “What for?”
Me: “For hurtling towards a cliff but bailing at the last second so I can watch the car fly into the ravine and explode at the bottom. Why, what do you use your car for?”
I wish it was the latter but in fact George just wanted to go to the ranch and at this point everyone becomes ve-ery cagey and Bob offers to take him over there because he was already heading that way. How George is getting back and in how many black bags… well that remains to be seen.
Somehow even Bob knows that George works for Renfield and has spoken to him on the phone this morning. Bob, however, seems totally for this idea and I knew I didn’t trust him and his banker ways.
Meanwhile Scruff has taken Alex off to his ‘hideout’ which he doubly confirms no one knows about. Be creepier, kid, be creepier. He has, however, gone to the effort of cheering it up with Christmas decorations so at least you have something to look at while you’re being murdered. Scruff is quite disillusioned by these letters to Santa and the question of believing in Santa comes up. When we hit subject of ‘giving’ we are ‘gifted’ with… Look, I’m just glad I wasn’t drinking red wine because it would have been spit clear across the room.
Scruff: “This is a hawk. He’s my favourite. You take it.”
Alex: “But it’s your favourite.”
Scruff: “I got plenty more.”
Me: “Oh no, you mistake me. I can’t take this because it is pure nightmare fuel. Please cease drawing immediately.”
Moving swiftly on from that, Bob gently breaks the news to Jake that he needs to move out on Boxing Day by marching up to the man and telling him he needs to move out on Boxing Day (affectionately referred to here as… the day after Christmas. Come on people, you have Letter Day but not Boxing Day?!) Jake mistakes George for the buyer, which he categorically is not, and Bob throws him under the bus by saying ‘We-ell he basically is.’
As expected George is no longer on the Renfield boat and invites Jake to the town meeting tonight to try and help him fight the entire thing. All this without even asking why the ranch and land was being seized by the bank in the first place. Turns out no one is good at ranching in this country and a load of people are having to give up their homes because of it.
This is the perfect time for Renfield and his board of directors to show up with the longest cigarette I have seen in the history of people smoking cigarettes on film.
The primates are back again and at the sight of a limo they’re crowding around ready to pull the aerial off and chew on the wing mirrors. Alex, meanwhile, is pondering over this picture of a hawk and bemoaning the harshness of the world. Right there with ya, kid. When asked what the hell she even wants for Christmas Alex confirms a doll house, much to her Dad’s relief, two seconds before she says she has changed her mind and would rather see Scruff get his ranch back. Weeeeelllll fuck. I’d like to see you sing your way out of this one, George.
(Note: I would not like to see that. That was merely there for comic effect and a reference to your strange past behaviour. Please do not sing your way out of this one.)
All the way to the town meeting George is still telling Renfield he can’t buy the town without offering more advice than the fact they all believe in Santa. As far as arguments go it’s not the best I’ve ever heard. None of the town looks very trusting of Renfield when he claims he is the Christmas miracle the legend foretold and he is bringing cash registers to their every day lives. Renfield continues to throw George under the bus and for some reason the man just gives up trying to argue, leading to everyone hating his face.
Susan is vocally opposed to the idea and Bud stands up just so he can ask Renfield if he believes in Santa Claus. The townsfolk are very disturbed by the tiny model of Renfield’s proposed plans but I am more disturbed by this woman who has very prematurely grey hair. Maybe she accidentally heard George singing.
George is still trying to convince people he never wanted this, even whilst Susan and Alex are storming angrily out of the meeting. Bud and Hennie are still on George’s side but Renfield might be on the fence because he tells the man he’s fired. It is of no surprise when Alex runs off at the sight of her father but I’m more alarmed that no one goes after the girl who has just run off, crying, into the night. That was apparently a bad idea because now she has gone missing.
Not only is the girl clearly running off to Scruff’s hideout but a blizzard is blowing up. I’m hoping for a Santa hallucination here, guys! Everyone is dragged into the search for Alex and we finally realise Scruff may be able to help us out here. I still can’t believe everyone is calling this kid Scruff like it’s a legitimate name that needs no questioning and is even better when used in a dramatic scene.
Apparently we need to take two trucks up to the hideout because one Jeep wasn’t enough to carry all 5 people up the hill… Just a note, Scruff’s younger brother is either called Judas or Judith. Neither would surprise me. But it’s fine! The girl’s fine. Probably just a concussion from that beam that fell on her. No biggie.
The next day a new disaster strikes because no one can find a motor as old as the one Bud needs whilst the man himself is restless as shit, just waiting around for Christmas morning. Upstairs Hennie develops a strange twitch when she starts talking about Santa and fortunately Scruff turns up to say goodbye to Alex before it develops into a full-blown medical condition.
In only the way young children can be, their goodbye is blunt and to the point. As an adult you don’t get people looking you dead in the eye as you confess your Dad got fired over this shit before abruptly announcing they think they’ll be going now.
Meanwhile I immensely enjoyed Susan’s greeting to George when he turns up at her door again.
Susan: “Coffee’s hot.”
Me: “Yes it is. I think I’ll be going now.”
George’s apology is predictably ham-fisted and quickly becomes a rant about how everyone just needs to give in to Renfield and stop believing in legends and miracles before it does a complete U-turn and he then declares he needs to stop the man. Tonight. I’m not sure how he wants people to react here so it’s probably just best to hunker down and wait for Hurricane George to pass on through.
We get to witness the wonderful spectacle of the nativity play which is basically every child’s memory of Christmas throughout all of primary school… except I remember all of mine going much better and we at least knew how to pronounce the word Bethlehem correctly. Seriously, these kids were allowed to sing an entire song about the little town of Bethelhem. Not only did this song go on forever but everyone was encouraged to join in halfway through and this is the moment I remembered I needed to take my anti-depressants. Fact.
Also I am very sure Alex was supposed to be a shepherd due to the national shortage so I guess Hennie is just a pathological liar and merely lives to lure children into her plays of delusion and mispronunciation.
All that being said… the pastor believes so much in what George has requested to say that evening that he actually gives up his entire slot in their usual scheduling to allow the man to make his speech. Right on time Renfield and his cronies turn up at the church to hear the man out. By which I mean… right on time because they missed these kids butchering the name of a town that is well over 2000 years old.
As per his apology to Susan this quickly becomes a rant about how Renfield is going to trash Georgetown and their legend while a kid dressed as a wizard stands behind him. Wizards are wise too, ya know.
George: “For those of you whom I haven’t met…”
Me: “And fucked up your livelihoods already.”
George: “… my name is George Billings. My daughter and I have been part of your town for only a few days.”
Me: “But have already fucked this place up so much.”
George: “I wanted to speak to you tonight as someone who has lost something.”
Me: “My sanity.”
George: “More than once.”
Me: “Ooh…. no, still applicable.”
George really plays up the whole Jake Richard’s ranch ordeal and likens everyone to the boy in the legend who fed Santa 100 years ago to see if that will provoke any kind of response. They’re a tough crowd, so the man thinks now would be a great time to ask them all to sacrifice their own homes instead of the out-of-date date tinned goods from the back of the cupboard.
George: “Now there’s a way to help Jake and his family. If each of you were to go to Bob Truesdale at his bank and tell him that you’ll put up your home and your business as collateral to pay off what Jake owes… you can give the Richards’ family not just a second mortgage… but a second life.”
Me: “WOAH! GEORGE, NO!”
George: “Now I’m not asking you anything more than I’m asking myself.”
Me: “You don’t even have a job anymore! You have to give up your home!”
George: “I’ve got some savings…”
Me: “I’ve got fucking savings George but they ain’t gonna cover a whole frickin’ ranch!”
On the one hand… a businessman who will offer me money for my home and livelihood, on the other a singing architect who wants me to give my house up to the bank to protect a business which failed once already as did others like it across the country. Tough choice.
Please note the wizard looks displeased by the end of George’s speech and that guy is wise. Maybe he should have rallied the troops instead.
Much to my little surprise, because this is Christmas and people are lunatics, Bob even puts up his own house and the bank. I don’t know if putting up the very same bank that is dealing with the transaction as collateral is legally sound but… whatever.
Pastor guy: “Traditionally we all go outside, light a candle and gather at the tree for a final hymn.”
Me: “To bring about the end of days.”
Pastor guy: “Tonight, I propose we go to the Richards’ home, light a candle…”
Me: “And burn the place down!!”
Pastor guy: “… and wish our neighbours a Merry Christmas and the happiest New Years.”
Me: “Burning the place down would solve a lot of… never mind. They probably have premium ‘festive fire hazard’ insurance out on these places anyway.”
Cue Bob ripping up his contract with Renfield which amounted to a very aged looking single piece of paper, George resigning from a job he was fired from and the entire town driving to the valley like a creepy funeral procession.
The Richards’ family are moving out at that precise moment, because isn’t the evening of Christmas Eve a most wonderful time to move house?, and probably think the townsfolk are coming up here to lynch them or something. Turns out Scruff little brother is a sister and called Judith. I preferred my version.
On hearing the news Jake looks more pissed off that they couldn’t have come around and told him this before he started packing up his belongings. Also, how terribly timed would it have been if he had already moved out, 2 days ahead of schedule, and now the entire town is basically being used as collateral for an empty ranch. When Jake has no response the townsfolk start belting Silent Night at him in unison and honestly I don’t blame the man for pulling his kids in close because this mob just turned creepy as fuck. It looks and sounds like the indoctrination to a cult.
Before this point I never found the lyric ‘sleep in heavenly peace’ too sinister but now I’ll never think of it in the same way again.
Finally, forgetting about the cult murders of the previous night, it is Christmas Day: Alex gets her doll house, Hank got a new coat and new shoes, Bob got a new tie, some random guy got a year’s supply of bay rum but was only holding one bottle and I fear for him, Bud magically got a new motor which we all gather around and just take turns laughing in order to admire the car, George gets a girlfriend and Susan gets herself one hell of a burden because George has no job, house or prospects and gave away all his savings, so he will be sponging off her for a while.
And that folks! Is the end! I can’t believe I sat through an hour and a half of this…
Please feel free to watch George’s riveting and powerful speech here. Prepare to be moved… out of whatever room this is occurring in.
Prediction board – 2.5/6
- Prediction #1 – George is gonna fall in love with Susan up there in the mountains – saw that one coming a mile off.
- Prediction #2 – George will change his mind about profiting off the town – it was rambling and long and there were many U-turns and songs but we got there!
- Prediction #3 – Bud’s car breaks down and they have to stay in Georgetown – Bud’s car did break down but unfortunately the man arranged alternative, if not as festive, transport. Half a point!
- Prediction #4 – Alex killed her Mom so there was more Christmas to go around – I mean this was the wild card but I still think that kid has the potential to murder.
- Prediction #5 – Susan will wish for a family in her letter because running the Post Office is lonely work – We never found out and after watching the film I find it hard to believe she wished for George specifically after meeting the man.
- Prediction #6 – Joanne pops back up at some point and puts strain on George and Susan’s relationship – She never even showed back up, she was pointless! What’s more is I presumed everyone had multiple day jobs to save on casting costs, so they probably spent all their money to get Joanne The Homewrecker two minutes of air time and Bud just had to deal with working three jobs.
- Horse and Sleigh: CHECK
- Piano: It’s tiny and a toy but CHECK
- Carolling: CHECK
- Christmas Montage: Damn… not a single ‘tage.
- Fire Hazards: Not one but three! CHECK
- Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: CHECK
- Snowing on cue: We blizzard-ed on cue, man!
It’s been a long time and I’m clearly rusty. Hopefully we’ll do better tomorrow.
See you then!