Me: “Why are you carrying the toilet brush around with you?”
Kieran: “I needed it.”
Me: “… Yeah, OK.”
Me: “Why are you carrying the toilet brush around with you?”
Kieran: “I needed it.”
Me: “… Yeah, OK.”
OK guys, I’m not gonna lie… this is less of a crappy Christmas film review and more like a review of Mom’s reactions to the crappy Christmas film. I vaguely know what happened in those two hours but much of it is pieced together from the tried and tested story line that Christmas films follow without fail.
So, we are in the middle of some mad amount of snow here in England and for some reason the house is really cold – bad insulation, I’m sure. We had just got settled down after a long ten minutes of trying to keep every body part covered, with Mom one end of the sofa and me the other, under a mass of blankets.
Me: “Right! Christmas film!”
Mom: “….. You’re facing the wrong way, now….”
Me: “FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”
We had also been decorating the house all day for Christmas and Mom was adamant that I should have a wreath hanging up in every single god damn room.
Mom: “Look! They’ve got two or three holly leaves outside the house… did I say leaves?”
Me: “Yes, Mom, they’ve just got three leaves hanging up outside….”
We’re introduced to a woman in the ‘business of love’ as she has decided to become a wedding planner. She is currently tackling her first job and planning her cousin’s wedding who is much more like a sister to her. Kelsie, the wedding planner, is super stressed so obviously she runs into someone at the coffee shop and has to babble profusely to show how stressed she is. As this is a thoroughly modern film we get to see the texts she is sending floating around on the screen, yet we still have to hear her inner monologue as she types out her own messages. It’s already all quite annoying.
Kelsie then walks into handsome man #1 and we are unfortunately privy to more of her private thoughts like a weird festive version of Bridget Jones. She lets this mystery man go first because she bumped into him, except this man is also getting 12 coffees, 12 muffins and a blueberry scone. She is gonna be soooo late to this party she organised herself.
Whilst in the coffee shop her cousin phones to request ice sculptors. Almost before the phone has gone down Kelsie’s aunt pops up on the other side of the screen. She has heard ice sculptors are being requested and she would really rather not. Witch.
Kelsie: “Can I get a blueberry scone?”
Barista: “I’m sorry, I just sold the last one to that handsome gentleman.”
Me: “Thanks for spelling that out for us.”
She chases this man down, rambles something about a therapist, and offers to pay him double for the scone which he turns down. He also turns down triple. He also turns down 7 dollars and a gift card to an unknowable shop. He must really love blueberry scones.
Barista: “I have a plain scone and blueberries from my lunch?”
Mom: “Awwwww that was nice of him. I don’t know what he expected her to do but… it was a nice thought.”
Despite the fact she is late to this party, Kelsie is taking time outside the house to text some anonymous person. When she finally shifts her ass into gear her cousin, Emily, has requested to be announced to the room and Kelsie sets off to do this until she stops to have a charming conversation with her Aunt Olivia. Her cousin has been standing in this room for a long time before she manages to get announced to the party and it was not worth waiting that 5 minutes for.
It turns out the guy from the coffee shop bought the scone for Aunt Olivia, which Kelsie was also trying to do, and now he knows everyone’s names too. Aunt Olivia introduces Kelsie to the editor or manager of some wedding magazine, who I believe she is probably trying to impress. She gives the wedding photographer’s name to the woman in secret and I can’t tell whether she was impressed or didn’t know who the fuck Kelsie was on about at all.
Handsome man #1 is Connor and he is also Emily’s ex-boyfriend. Due to this previous occupation he could apparently be planning to ruin the wedding or Kelsie’s new business or even steal all the family’s money…. however it is that he plans to do all of this. Kelsie keeps telling herself she is a fierce warrior for some reason but it never really works out. Obviously she walks over to Connor and jumps to some major conclusions about his tea leafing ways before Aunt Olivia makes a speech about Emily and her fiance, Todd.
Connor: “Seems like a nice guy.”
Me: “Wooooooow look at her fiance. Doesn’t he just look like the most vacant person ever.”
Connor can’t promise the wedding wont be ruined after all and Kelsie flails her arms at a bunch of people in order to follow him out the house and into his car. Connor reveals he a private investigator, hired to look into Todd, which to Kelsie means someone hired him to ruin the wedding. She just can’t get that delusion out of her head. Whenever Kelsie stops to listen to her inner monologue everyone around her must wonder what the fuck she is doing and whether she’s alright because she stops for quite lengthy periods of time to make weird faces and look around suspiciously. Connor, bizarrely, offers to be a team and she can help out to make sure the wedding doesn’t get ruined. He does tell her where he’ll be that evening though, in case she changes her mind, but to me it just sounds like slave labour.
Mom, realising this film was just a recording and not live: “Can we get this film over quicker by not watching adverts?”
Kelsie keeps texting this anonymous person, so knowing Christmas films it’s probably a dead relative. At the dress fitting Kelsie runs through the three bridesmaids: Jealousy, Bitterness & Clumsiness. Emily wants to get out of wearing the traditional family dress and basically asks how they can sugar coat this turd of news and let her mother know. Apparently Kelsie is doing this right now over text before she has to take a call from the mystery man himself. The backdrop of the restaurant looks rather festive.
Me: “We should have had some giant bows.”
Both looking around
Me: ….. OK, maybe not in here…”
Mom: “The fireplace looks good, though.”
Me: “Well just look there and….. over by the curtains…. and…. the chair looks more festive and…. this blanket! And those thermal socks on the floor add a festive…. flair….”
All of the bridesmaids were discussing Connor which I totally missed when Clumsy throws cookies around the place. It’s alright though because Emily pops out in her dress.
Mom: “That’s awful.”
Me: “Huh? OH. Oh.”
Todd is at the door now, so Emily is carted off to get changed again before they let him in. Todd just wanted to drop by with surprises for the bridesmaids and Emily, which appears to be jewellery. Showing him out, Kelsie stands next to the door to take yet another call – this time from the caterer – when she sees Todd outside flirting with the receptionist and standing under some mistletoe. Kelsie cares not that the caterer is going through a divorce so can’t make the wedding and is more concerned by Todd giving what appears to be his number to the receptionist in her notebook. At the desk Kelsie thinks about looking in the notebook and is about to see what Todd wrote when Emily pops out again.
Mom: “She’s the most simple wedding planner I’ve ever met. Surely she’s there to tell the bride she looks hideous. Tell her to pick another dress and don’t be surprised if he cheats on you, if that’s what you turn up in.”
Me: “Maybe you should be a wedding planner?”
Some guy called….. Charl? Charles? Sharl? something is at the house and he is either the caterer, the wedding cake maker or a mad scientist. For some reason Emily wants to make gingerberad for the first time ever and wants to give this to all of her guests to presumably give them food poisoning. At this point Kieran walks in and the next thing I know, Michelle, the receptionist, is in the house. Apparently there has been an elaborate plan to get into Michelle’s bag and so Kelsie can check out the notebook.
Kelsie caves and visits Connor who is sitting in the same place in the restaurant he called her from like he’s been expecting her these past three days. He also has his files all over the table taking the ‘private’ out of ‘private detective’. There is an odd conversation where they try and order each other’s food when the the waiter pops up and appears to know Connor well. There appears to be some issue with Kelsie ordering the lobster for him so I’m presuming he’s allergic.
The big reveal here is that Todd’s family aren’t as well off as everyone thinks but as we’re suggesting bankruptcy here Connor believes they may just be after money. He also wants to use yet another party that Kelsie has planned to check out Todd’s finances.
Mom: “How do you know he’s not a fraud?”
Me: “What, Connor?”
Mom: “Yeah, he might want to get into his computer to steal the money!”
Good point, but it turns out Connor owns the resraurant he’s always sitting in with the mad chef/waiter who won’t stop talking and at any rate we could just kill the man with a lobster. Aunt Olivia is running late because she doesn’t want to hear about Tim and Linda’s boat (Todd’s parents) and there was a break from the film here whilst I laughed at Mom at the end of the sofa, caccooned in three blankets.
Mom: “You need more candles in here.”
Me: “I could set fire to those ones I MEAN LIGHT!”
Mom: “I’ve only just put that garland up there, you won’t fucking set fire to it.”
I was starting my own fire hazard instead of watching the film and looking out for all of their fire hazards. To say these people are supposedly bankrupt they still live in a big ol’ house they could sell to make money. They also have a boat they cold sell. There is a horrible moment when Kelsie is not paying attention to Linda and agrees to let her sing for her son’s first dance because she sounds like Celine Dion apparently.
Mom, hiding face
Linda: “Who do I need to kill to get a drink around here?”
Me: “But I like her, she’s relatable.”
Mom: “Wait! You missed it! There’s a pregnant woman carrying drinks around!”
Kelsie chases Connor down through the house and into the study, where he is casually trying to get on Tim’s computer by guessing the password. Apparently this is easy because people always pick something arrogant.
Mom: “Name of the boat.”
Kelsie, babbling on about finding the password
Mom: “The name. Of. The boat.”
They have just made it into the laptop when Tim walks in to his own study as is his right. Kelsie starts madly kissing Connor in an attempt to make all of this look very casual. Even more bizarre is the fact Tim actually leaves them to it.
Mom: “This film is so bad it’s made me sober.”
Kieran: “I’m going to watch the football.”
Mom: “I’d rather watch the football.”
Kieran: “I’d rather watch the fireplace thing they have between the films. I’d rather watch 2 hours of that.”
Back to the film….
Mom: “OH MY GOD WHAT IS WITH THIS WOMAN AND THIS STUPID THING ON HER HEAD ALL THE WHILE!?”
Or maybe not… In all fairness Aunt Olivia is always wearing embellished head bands but the fact she is a grown ass woman means she has no excuse. She is also against this news of Kelsie making out with Connor but is happy for her to go off and test a bunch of cakes with Emily in front of the cake guy/mad scientist. There is something wrong with him in which he believes he is not good enough and wants them all to give up on him.
Cake guy: “Please, just give up on me. I put a whole lemon in that cake…. a whole lemon. What was I thinking?”
Mom: “Is everybody who lives in this village a fucking idiot?”
Back at her apartment that night Kelsie is still texting some anonymous person with ‘charming’ accounts of her day.
Mom: “She goes to bed with all the lights on.”
I have no idea what’s going on at this point, all I know is my Mother is sober and Kieran has disappeared into the upper regions of the house. Oh, and Connor thinks Kelsie is actually quite smart.
Kelsie: “I’m only sitting because I want to.”
Mom, look of despair
Me, dying with laughter
Mom: “How does she know he’s not fleecing them to keep his business open because no one is ever in that restaurant but them two!”
Kelsie is giving away Todd’s Wednesday plans with Michelle so they can follow him and make sure he isn’t…. I don’t know, the worst person on earth.
Me, skipping the ads: “It’s ok, we only have 50 minutes left.”
Mom: “You said that half an hour ago.”
Me: “That’s because time is actually going backwards watching this film.”
Mom: “Oh god, she has binoculars.”
There is some weird, terrible tailing of the victim and music is playing so I feel a montage coming on, which it does, while Todd walks up and down the street.
Me: “Is he…. Is he just walking up and down the street?”
Mom: “Well he’s been walking for 48 hours because them two have gone home and changed their clothes since.”
Suddenly we’re not following Todd and Connor and Kelsie are sitting in a restaurant.
Me: “Is this his restaurant? Oh wait, no, it can’t be, it’s full.”
Mom: “Yes, his restaurant doesn’t have people in.”
The waiter belives these people are engaged in some forbidden love and that calls for Shiraz. When Kelsie starts thinking to herself as she texts we realised we hadn’t heard it for a while but apparently Connor can hear thoughts because he heard her text. CALLED IT. SHE’S TEXTING HER DEAD MOM. He’s probably wondering why the fuck this woman is apparently texting and paying the phone bill of a dead woman.
Kelsie: “I know it sounds crazy but… We have to keep the people we love close.”
Me: “Yeah, but not pay their phone bill for them.”
Mom: “So does she go back and answer herself?”
Me: “Does her mom even have a phone?”
Mom: “Maybe she’s put the phone in the coffin with her? But then how does she carge it up in the coffin?”
Me: “Can’t be in the coffin then. She has to have a phone or the message wouldn’t send. She’s got her Mom stuffed in a chair like Norman Bates!”
They now have food and candles, which is really just drawing attention to these forbidden lovers, and they’re pretty distracted to say they’re tailing Todd.
Connor: “It’s funny, you’re not the pain the ass I thought you were gonna be.”
Me: “You’re worse. Why is he touching her?! Why are they holding hands!?”
Mom: “They’ll be planning their own wedding in a second. Can’t be worse than the job they’re doing already.”
When Todd turns up with Michelle, Kelsie turns on that shit fierce warrior she’s always banging on about and marches over there, shouting about some engagement with her cousin. Now Connor is there and Todd is all defensive because apparently Todd is just trying to buy Emily her dress, which is meant to be a surprise because he has known Michelle for years. Her husband actually set this whole thing up as he owns the restaurant. Connor decides it’s time to take crazy home. When Todd confronts him, probably to give him business advice on how to run a restaurant, Connor is hardpressed not to punch Todd in the face and manages to walk away.
Mom: “Walk away Connor. Walk awaaaaaaay. Con…. CON AIR! He so-no never mind.”
For some reason Kelsie keeps hanging around with Aunt Olivia, despite the fact she’s a dick. Mom is also calling that Aunt Olivia is the one who hired Connor in the first place. There appears to be some sort of black mail in his history and they paid Connor to never talk to Emily again….. Oh, I don’t know. Whatever it is, obviously Kelsie immediately goes to confront Connor about it but we have no idea what she’s gone to confront him about because we’ve lost the will to live.
Mom: “Quick! Fast forward the adverts!”
Me: “We’ve got 30 minutes left!”
Mom: “YOU TOLD ME…”
Me: “I said 50 minutes last time, not 15!”
Mom: “Actually, we should probably watch the adverts, it might make a nice break from the film.”
Kelsie walks into her apartment and her phone starts ringing.
Mom: “Well it ain’t your mother ringing.”
I straight up died. That one caught me by surprise.
Me: “Do we drink Baileys or wine?”
Mom: “I ain’t drank any Baileys! If I have, this film’s sucked it out of me!”
Me: “I said do we, not did we!”
Mom: “I was gonna say! This fucking film, I never even tasted it.”
At the church, which may or may not be the rehearsel because everyone is wearing black, Kelsie apologises to Todd but hes more complimentary than offended. As far as I can tell a) Connor was planning to get back into her good books and b) this is the wedding despite all of the sombre clothing. Kelsie runs over to the restaurant when George (the waiter guy, apparently) tells her the freezer’s broke, which would ruin… whatever catering he was suddenly doing until it turns out it was all Connor’s idea and everything is fine. Connor does want to speak to her though and try to make this all better.
Connor just wanted to show her the deeds to the restaurant. George was gonna lose the place and Connor took what he thought was a loan from Emily’s Dad but turned out he told Connor never to go back or he would tell Emily he had blackmailed the family.
Suddenly the pregnant woman from the party is back and Mom is calling that the baby is Todd’s. Just as we get past the part where people should stand up if they’ve got any issues with the wedding – which are numerous – Connor bursts in better late than never with the pregnant lady. Aunt Olivia demands he is allowed to speak and we find out the pregnant lady is Monica, a former maid to Todd’s family. They kept her employed throughout the pregnancy until they found out the father was in fact Todd and then they promptly fired her. Because an angry pregnant woman is no threat whatsoever, oh no.
Kelsie looks more pissed off that she planned a whole wedding her cousin has just ran out of. When Todd tries to run up to Connor and beat him up he just falls over and stays on the floor for a bit instead. Kelsie goes out to speak to Emily, who is dismayed she didn’t know, although this is like being expected to know your cousin is still texting her dead mother and paying the phone bill for it. We are also expected to believe that Emily would rather ask how Kelsie’s love life is going with her ex after her own wedding was just ruined.
And out pops Connor! Emily graciously leaves the pair to chat and it turns out the dead uncle hired Connor….
Mom: The uncle who died!? How did he know!?”
Connor: “He called me near the end and heard from one of his friends I was a P.I. now. He felt something didn’t feel right about Todd.”
Me: “But…. the pregnant woman…. and he was already dead…. these two things aren’t connected.”
Mom: “She must be 18 1/2 months pregnant at least.”
Out in the courtyard there is an argument about who is going to end the wedding, because everyone is just glad it’s over, before Connor thinks everyone should stay because hes gonna propose and they’re gonna go inside and get married.
Mom: “They get married quickly in these films.”
Me: “Do you think they have shorter life spans so they have to get everything in quicker?”
Mom: “Oh good, she’s wearing the family dress.”
Me: “It makes her look pregnant.”
Mom: “You did say they move quick in these movies.”
Me: “Look Mom, the next film is called ‘Will You MERRY Me’.”
Mom: “Right. Film’s over. I think I need a stiff brandy…..”
When asked to review this film mom gave the following statement.
Best. Film. Ever
So. Ok. I already knew Christmas channels existed where a plethora of straight-to-TV films are rolled out 24 hours a day (disclaimer: even when they say Christmas24… They don’t mean it. It’s more like Christmas 16 but that sounds like the media nickname given to a group of victims who were killed by a festive spree killer dressed as Santa).
For this merry ass time of year I thought I would subject myself, my family and friends to a Christmas film a day until the big day. Not your big, budget films who may have seen the bright lights of a cinema screening – I ain’t interested in those, that’s what Sky Christmas is for – but the low-budget, homely, bizarre, nonsensical ramblings of the straight-to-TV variety.
Thank god Christmas 16 exists because it’s gonna see me through this one.
So let’s get this show on the road folks! It’s time to welcome in the season with *extra extra long drum roll*
A Rose for Christmas
We start straight off with a montage of people parading through the streets on very non-Christmassy floats while a Christmas song plays in the background… I’m already all over this.
We quickly drop in to a woman teaching a high school art class where all the students look as if they could be the same age as her and are suspiciously hiding their faces by all turning away from the camera. This, however, gives us a great view of their artwork and I have to say… I hope none of them are pinning their hopes and dreams on this art degree.
The woman is trying to tell the students their art will look amazing no matter what happens because it’s Christmas and Christmas apparently makes people blind. One student, Eric, is more interested in his phone than painting a bunch of festive candles but seems very cool about the teacher removing his phone from his hand and replacing it with a paint brush.
Unnamed woman: “You know how you love lifting weights? Why don’t we try lifting a paint brush?”
Eric: “…. OK….”
Me: “…. She knows that was his mobile, right? Not a modern, compact weight that allows you to send messages, take calls and connect to wifi?”
Quickly moving on from this and Eric’s confused expression we are dropped into a suspiciously festive boardroom that’s been decorated as if people need visual cues to tell them it’s Christmas. …. Odd…..
Standing in front of that infamous boardroom Christmas tree we all have in the office, a young, generic looking man in a suit is speaking to a bunch of older partners and telling them they will need to work Christmas because he kindly moved a January deadline hella forward for them.
One guy, who I presume is the boss, seems pretty happy about this and loudly proclaims in front of everyone that ‘Bulldozer Cliff’ has struck again and done a fantastic job… although not everyone seems to think so. The rest of the partners are leaving the room and glaring back at ‘Bulldozer Cliff’, although it’s hard to tell whether they’re angry about the deadline or just cannot fucking believe the madness that leaves their bosses mouth every time he thinks up a new nickname for them.
It’s safe to say everyone hates Cliff…. Apparently even the boss does, as he tells his employee they are shipping him off to California where he will…. I’m sorry what was that? He will be supervising the building of their ‘Rose Parade’ float? To increase the companies visibility to competitors and clients overseas?
Now… we don’t have a lot of floats and parades in England so I am not the governing body on commercial floats, but the very fact I am overseas and don’t know shit about this tells me… a float is not the wisest way to spend your advertising budget (albeit it will move so slowly people could probably read the full terms and conditions without having to turn their heads too far).
Time for a subplot! The art teacher apparently does not show her own art work to anyone. At this early in the game I’m going to say the last person she ever showed her work to then died in a tragic, festive accident and she’s never had the heart to end another man’s life like that.
When Cliff lands in California he arrives at the warehouse and promptly interrupts people at work, only to have the guy welding together two pieces of metal together take their face guard off and turn out to be our beloved, selfish art teacher.
Cliff: “I’m from North Lake financial. You’re building our float.”
Woman: “Oh yeah, I think you’re due tomorrow?”
Cliff: “Yeah, I’m early.”
Me: “… Is that correct meeting etiquette? Are you allowed to be that early?”
After some further awkward conversation and discovering this woman’s name is Andy….
Cliff: “Sorry if I came on a little too strong earlier.”
Me: “Two seconds ago.”
Cliff: “At the office they call me ‘The Bulldozer’. Any obstacle in my way I knock it over.”
Me: “I think he has the wrong demolition equipment….”
There is no time to be any more awkward because she receives a call and is rushing off to the Dr’s where her Dad is waiting and insisting he’s totally grand and not dying from the stress of arranging a parade.
Without giving Andy much of a choice the Dr offers her up to take over the entire parade and no one really puts up much of a fight – if you ask me Andy looked pretty happy about it and I fear mutiny is afoot.
Cliff, when delivered with the news that Andy’s Dad completely forgot to ask for float decorating volunteers (and sounds like he should have been checked for dementia rather than stress), putting them behind schedule, gives us a quick marketing lesson and reveals his strategy to attract volunteers. I tell you, I can’t wait to see what Tweets this man is gonna come up with…
It’s at this point I realise I want to kill Andy. Not only did she spray some nondescript, float decorating spray all over Cliff’s new suit three times but she’s a sarcastic little shit. Not in the charming or ‘life made me like this’ kind of way either, but in the straight up please, someone just slap her kind of way.
After Cliff’s failed attempt at marketing (what are these people doing!?) we then go around ambushing students, bribing them with pizza and, in one case, manipulating poor Eric into helping with the float by having his gym teacher offer to raise his overall grades if he does it.
Even with the dregs of the town waiting outside of the warehouse to volunteer, Cliff is adamant on interviewing these people because he is business man, hear him roar:
Cristine: “I’m trying to do one thing a day that scares me. Last week I tried rye bread.”
Cliff: “Rye bread!? Making it….?”
Cristine: “Eating it.”
Me: ” Don’t blame her. Rye bread is death.”
Every one of these interviews goes terribly but they’re so desperate they end up hiring anyone they can get their hands on. This culminates in an interesting discovery…
*Eric, pinning green flowers on the float*
Andy: “Hey Eric, I think the flowers here are supposed to be red.”
Eric: “Oh. OK.”
*Eric continues to use green flowers.*
Andy: “Wait a minute… has Eric been having trouble with colours?”
Me: “If by trouble you mean being colourblind, then yes. Also, is she just gonna let him keep on gluing green flowers in the wrong place?”
Motherfucking colourblind, people. Didn’t see it coming. Now just to solve the mystery of why Andy doesn’t share her artwork.
At this point Cliff just wants to try and find some common ground with this psychotic woman so he can get through Christmas without ending up in jail. After a bizarre conversation in the street where they establish that a) they remember each other’s names and b) Cliff has a mother (plot twist of the century) we head back to the warehouse and Andy claims they’ve worked it all out.
I mean…. I don’t know, maybe she just inherently distrusts anything that hasn’t been cultivated in a womb for 9 months.
Now we’re back on track it’s time to start handing out jobs:
Andy: “Ashley & Lou you will be on decorating duty with Emily. And Mary & Elliott if you could finish the critters, we need those by today. And Eric… I think I owe you an apology, you’re colourblind, aren’t you?”
Me: “Well fuck me, I hope he wasn’t trying to keep this a secret.”
Andy kidnaps Cliff in order to buy some missing supplies where a carefully crafted chain of events, involving inflated produce prices and a supplier in China, takes place in order for us to learn that Cliff speaks Mandarin and drives a hard bargain. I am betting this information/skill does not serve us beyond this purpose of impressing Andy and making sure they pull off the greatest Rose Parade float in history.
Cliff, however, finally gets a sneak peak at some of Andy’s artwork. He is so impressed he tells her she should sell this white-washed painting of trees at an art auction he’s heard of at some point during his stay.
… I saw it too. It was shit and I can confirm everyone’s regular blind, not just colourblind.
So after outing Eric and his condition, Andy sent Eric and Christine on recon to check out the competition. It turns out the other floats are shit hot and theirs doesn’t even have flowers glued on in the right places.
As it so conveniently turns out one of their team members has experience with hydraulics, another is great at physics and…. you know, let’s not even go into it because they finish this day by floating a giant ass beaver-bear hybrid along the warehouse ceiling and dumping it on top of the unfinished float.
They finish the day nicely by Cliff revealing he has bought Andy an early Christmas present. He has entered her into the art auction to showcase the work she was so clearly very confident about in her own home – so confident she covered it all with sheets and asked no one to look because, I don’t know, the sheer beauty and realism might blind them (I’m beginning to see a running theme here, and it’s not Christmas spirit).
Cliff: “It’s done. Look, they’ve released the programme.”
Andy: “Why would you do that?”
Cliff: “Challenge yourself, remember? That’s a two way street.”
Andy: “For me to fail miserably?”
Me: “At least someone’s talking sense around here….”
Andy is pissed, stares at her painting forlornly for a while and Cliff goes to talk to her father in a restaurant, because that’s what you do when the condescending woman you have been paired with gets angry at you for coming up with a batshit crazy idea you came up with without consulting anyone else first.
It’s during a float decorating, tree painting montage I realise these people cannot have day jobs.
After much team-bonding Cliff starts handing out gifts to everyone, having used his ‘business sources’. For a husband and wife who were only helping with the float because their children had left home and were travelling the world, he had arranged a Skype call in the office for them… something they could have arranged themselves if they actually cared about technology, time zones or their children.
Now, throughout the entire film Cliff is adamant that he has friends in town for Christmas so has no time for making plans. On Christmas Day, on a hunch, Andy goes over to the man’s hotel to find him alone. Now… if I had known he was lying about these friends I would presume the man wanted to be alone and was just far too polite to say so but oh no, she drags him out of the hotel and forces him to her house for family dinner.
Part of family tradition is to go out in Christmas jumpers and play ball in the park. This is followed by forcing people to sing rounds of Christmas carols while another family member plays the obligatory Christmas piano.
At this point Cliff and Andy are quite close and he’s even stuck around to look at an album of ‘family floats’ while they sit out on the porch. In reality I would have left the moment I found out sports were involved.
Actually, in reality, I would never have answered my hotel door.
We also discover that Andy is terrified to show off her artwork because, on a previous occasion, her paintings had been panned by critics and no one liked them. I mean… should probably trust their judgement, right? I guess we can only hope the people at the art auction have all been drinking whatever is in the water around there because it’s the only way to explain all of the serious ocular issues that keep cropping up.
On a quick test of the float, where a giant bear holding a fishing rod slowly rotates on the spot, something goes wrong with the hydraulics (surprise, surprise) and the whole thing has to be removed in order for the under-qualified volunteer to recheck his handy work. The other volunteers continue to decorate which appears to involve the women sitting around pulling the petals off flowers. I don’t… I’m not big on flowers or anything but I’m sure… I mean… gluing a petal on a float isn’t going to prevent it from shrivelling up and dying, right? This float is going to be rolling down the street covered in decaying plant life.
Aside from their questionable float choices Andy also has to rock up in the required transforming, extravagant outfit in order to attend the art auction/gala. There was no mention of this gala. Cliff is predictably impressed and off they go to the auction where he has to start the bidding process on her painting of her father’s house which I like to call ‘The Winter Shack’. It looks hairy for a moment or so there when no one, understandably, takes an interest but it all works out in the end and she raises an impressive 4 grand for charity.
As it turns out Andy and the other women had been pulling petals off flowers for hours on end in order for her to throw them around the place with Cliff. Just as his boss turns up. Oh boy, he is not impressed. Especially by the fact there is a bear, which he did not order!, with a detached head. He didn’t even want the bear in the first place but fuck me, if he’s getting a bear he wants it to have a damn head on its shoulders.
Boss – “I’m sure you had good intentions… but Cliff said you were out of your depth and this float would be a disaster with you in charge. It appears he was right.”
*Drops bombshell and walks off*
Andy: “You said that?”
Cliff: “No. Y-yes… but I didn’t know what I was talking about, I didn’t know you yet. I was just venting.”
Andy: “I can’t believe you would say that to him. I would expect that from art critics but not you, you never believed in me.”
…. This is why I am done with this woman.
In addition Cliff’s boss is so pissed he even threatens the man and his job if he doesn’t scrap the hydraulics and…. the water feature? On a float? There must be some serious money in this business…. Regardless, Cliff takes all the blame and attempts to leave town until Andy crops up again, fucking shit up.
Dragging the man back to the warehouse the rest of the team are waiting for them and at this point I am convinced she has actually locked them in there and won’t let them leave. We try for a pep talk but the man who was so sure of his hydraulic knowledge before all of this went tits up has some doubts:
Random man: “The hydraulics still don’t work, the bear isn’t finished and we’re thousands of flowers short…. am I missing anything?”
Me: “You’re a thousand flowers short because Andy was throwing them around the place earlier… try the floor.”
After corralling an entire football team, buying flowers at extortionate prices, letting a stressed out Dad look at the hydraulics and bribing float inspectors… it is time for the test. The test where the float stands still and the float inspectors don’t even check the whole thing won’t set alight when it starts driving down the street. But it passed so who cares!
We move on to celebrate New Year’s Eve where Andy and Cliff are totally in love now because being locked in a warehouse for three weeks decorating a float will do that to you.
When the float parade rocks through town and the finished float drives past…. it is nightmarish at best. There is a giant bear, sitting next to a stream, fishing. He appears to have caught a small child with a severe disfigurement on the end of his line who, in turn, is also fishing.
I don’t know what the message was. I don’t know what the company it was promoting was. I don’t understand why people had to live in a warehouse for this and I don’t understand why people are applauding it. None of this makes sense without my own theory that there is something in the water and if everyone had stuck to alcohol they would have been safer.
Whilst the team are watching the floats from a balcony, Cliff’s boss rocks up and apologises for being a total dick earlier about the dismembered bear. He offers Cliff his dream job in the Singapore office but…. but Cliff turns it down because he’s gonna be the manager of an art gallery instead.
To be honest, Cliff’s boss takes this news so well and with so little fuss I think he was as sick of these people as I was. He looks the kind of man who lives off a steady diet of fine, aged whiskey so I presume he had not touched the water and thought everyone was fucking insane.
If you really feel the need to watch this film in a tiny box in the corner of a screen, then feel free to do so here.
If you want to read last year’s Christmas movie review (I recommend it), you can find it here.
Otherwise, look forward to tomorrow guys.
Mom, sitting in the dining room – “Come on anyway, let’s go sit in the more comfortable room.”
Me – “Is… is that what we’re calling the living room now?”
Tomorrow, CW4 is leaving us to move to London. He is…. he is……
He is about as stealthy as the T-Rex from Jurassic park and when he visits the floor above ours in the building…. we can track his progress across the floor. He is also the reason restraining orders exist, I am sure. He is obsessively bulking and gyming all of the time.
When not stomping around looking for food or being reported by women he is most likely to be found complaining about how he doesn’t have a can of Stella in his hand.
So here I have documented his best (this being the operative word) moments, including the entirety of our last pub meal together. He actually leaves tomorrow, but myself and two other people are not around, so unfortunately I will be missing the moment he gets gifted with his leaving presents, including ‘The Wankers Guide to Masturbation‘. Which you can buy here. Forever alone, I guess.
CW1: “Wait, let’s see if we can hear him!”
All listening to CW4 walk around on the floor above us.
Me: “Imagine trying to go ghost hunting with him, you’d be screwed. ‘I think I hear something…. Wait, someone check CW4 wasn’t moving around in a neighbouring town.’”
CW1: “In a hostage situation, if we were hiding, I’d be like ‘You can get the hell away from me.’”
CW5: “Imagine his SAS training…”
Me: “Yeah, if he parachuted in on the roof of a skyscraper they’d hear him down on the third floor.”
CW3: “Can we ask him to walk…”
CW5: “Normally? I can try, I mean… Right now it just sounds like he’s trying to break his own feet.”
CW1: “But he’s not hurting anyone right now except his own feet.”
Me: “And the structural integrity of the building. If this place falls down they’ll need to do an investigation into CW4.”
CW1: “We can hear you upstairs. We tested this time.”
CW4: “I think you’re joking though.”
Me: “We are not.”
CW1: “For lent we think you should give up storming.”
CW4: “I can’t even give up smoking, let alone storming.”
Me: “Storming is life!”
CW6: “That needs to be a t-shirt.”
Myself and CW3 pretending to shoot ourselves in the head due to regular CW4 bullshit.
Me: “Actually that kinda hurt, my nails are too long.”
CW4, during office table tennis tournament: “I’ve got my last match tomorrow. Someone’s gonna lose.”
Me: “Yes; statistically someone will lose.”
CW4: “Yeah, but pray it isn’t me.”
Me: “You want me to pray for you?”
CW3: “Hayley doesn’t pray.”
CW6: “If Hayley prayed for you, you’d burst into flames.”
Me: “I probably wouldn’t even mean to. It would just happen.”
CW4: “I didn’t like the man who presented. He kept doing weird hand movements.”
Everyone, watching CW4 flap his arms around: “…….”
CW4: “What was it CW3 said? He said limp….”
CW4: “No, no, Limp Biscuit!”
Me: “Oh my God, Fred Durst was presenting at a Google Training day!?”
CW4: “I don’t think that was his name.”
CW4: “Is psychology the one where you have to answer riddles?”
Me: “I’m not trying to Indiana Jones my way into a tomb…”
CW4: “No, like if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around.”
CW5: “That’s philosophy.”
CW4: “What’s that?”
CW5: “You literally just…… Never mind.”
More than once CW5 has put pepper into CW4’s tea.
CW5: “For his last day I was going to prank him by putting cyanide in his tea.”
Me: “That’s a big step up from pepper.”
CW5: “It’s the natural progression.”
Me: “I mean… whether he leaves on his own two feet or he’s carried out, the important thing is he is leaving.”
The Final Meal
It should be noted that CW4 did invite the receptionist who he is not so secretly in love with.
She said she’d come along.
She did not.
CW4: “I feel so stressed.”
CW5: “Well most people have a break between jobs. You leave Friday, move to London during the weekend and start work on Monday.”
CW4: “Yeah, that was a dick move.”
Me – “That should probably be written on his gravestone. ‘Here lies CW4. That was a dick move.'”
CW4: “The only day of rest I’ll have is the Saturday. Every Saturday, on my way to Asda, I go to the park with a can of beer, smoke a cig and watch the swans.”
Me: “I can’t, I’m actually dying right now. I can’t breathe.”
CW6: “Do you ever reflect on your previous weeks there?”
Me – “The bench feels a bit different today…”
CW4: “I don’t sit down.”
Me: “Oh shit, he doesn’t even have time to sit. He’s got places to stomp.”
CW1: “So who is getting him smashed at the social?”
CW4: “I’m not going.”
Everyone: “What!? Why aren’t you going?”
CW4: “Well why are none of you going? CW6 never goes. CW3 is on holiday. CW7’s wife is pregnant. CW1 has a wedding. Hayley…”
Me: “I hate people.”
CW4: “Hayley hates people! Why do I have to go!?”
CW1: “Because it’s your last one!”
Me: “It’s not on rest day is it? He can’t go on his rest day.”
CW4: “Nah, that’s not it.”
CW1: “Then what is it?”
CW4, looking wistfully at the ceiling: “………………..”
CW6: “I’ve never seen him so quiet.”
Me: “I imagine that’s the face he pulls when he’s watching the swans.”
CW6: “I hope he has sad music playing in the background…”
CW1: “Highlights? Lowlights? Speech?”
CW6: “Yeah! Speech!”
Me: “Shouldn’t he wait for tomorrow on his actual last day?”
CW6: “But a lot of us aren’t here.”
Me: “I know.”
CW4: “I don’t think I had any problems with any of you. I mean, I’ve never worked with you two. (Me and CW1.) I wish I had.”
CW3: “Hayley doesn’t.”
CW4, talking about the receptionist: “I asked her to thread my eyebrows and I wondered how that would work because I’ve only ever had them done by a dude….”
Me: “Yeah… women have opposable thumbs too.”
CW4: “Actually, I was thinking about the view I would have when she leans over…”
Everyone: “OH DEAR JESUS CW4!”
CW5, downing beer.
CW4: “I said I’d have to cut down my drinking when I move to London, but that’s not gonna happen, is it?”
CW6: “Nah mate.”
CW1: “You might have to when it’s 10 quid a pint.”
CW4: “I’m gonna have to find a new park…”
CW6: “Do you name the swans when you’re there?”
CW4: “I named one Daniel.”
Getting back to work and seeing the receptionist has put up a sign at the desk.
CW3: “Ooh, receptionist is currently unavailable.”
Me: “That’s just for CW4’s benefit.”
CW5: “How do you think he’ll react to the book we got him?”
CW3, putting on a voice: “Huh, huh, huh, you guys know me so well.”
Me: “Yeah, that’s it. I don’t even need to be here tomorrow.”
CW6 found a video that sums up both a) CW4’s natural stomp and b) the video we made of all the guys trying to reinact that natural stomp, which I can’t include here because here doesn’t technically exist, as far as they are concerned.
For other CW4 related posts, if you’re really that interested, check out the below because… HE AIN’T EVER COMIN’ BACK!
(I realised this is a bit confusing as someone left and he changed from CW5 to CW4…. I’m sure you can figure out which speaker he is from the dumbassery leaving his mouth, though.)
CW4 – “I can do an impression of everybody here! Except for Hayley and CW2.”
CW6 – “Do CW5!”
CW4 – “That’s easy! I do his all the time, it’s just posh.”
CW6, in a ridiculously posh accent – “Hello there.”
CW5 – “That’s not how I speak!”
CW6 – “Turning up with a top hat and a cane. And a monocle.”
CW4, in a posh accent – “Hello. I’ve just come back from shooting peasants in the park.”
Me – “Peasants!?”
CW6 – “Did you mean pheasants?”
Me – “He’s so rich he has disposable peasants on his land.”
CW4, to CW5 – “Right, come on, let’s go to the gym. I’m pumped.”
Me – “Shooting peasants will do that to you…”
CW6, in a posh accent – “Tally-ho gents!”
CW3 – “Are you not going with them?”
Me – “Don’t be silly, we’re from Wolverhampton. We are the peasants. CW6 can’t leave the office with them, he’ll be shot and plucked…”
Mom, calling upstairs – “Hayley!?”
Me – “What?!”
Mom – “Do you want a glass of wine?!”
Me – “No, ta!”
Sound of the front door opening and then closing.
Me – “…Did she just leave the house because I said I didn’t want wine?”
Me, checking Friday night plans – “Is it just me tomorrow until you get back from work? Please tell me it is.”
Mom – “No, Matt and Charlotte will be in but they’re going out.”
Me – “…”
Mom – “So they’ll be here but not here.”
Me – “…”
Mom – “You know what I mean!”
Me – “I do. I just think there are better ways to go about it.”
I thought the woman on ‘The Blacklist‘ was crying and shaking so much because she was just having a really emotional conversation with Reddington.
Turns out he was interrogating her in a walk-in-freezer.” – Me, misreading the situation