Tag Archives: Dramatics

Christmas Advent #22 – Christmas Next Door

It’s 6:54 on a Saturday morning…. Let’s just get on with it and see how awake I am by the end of this.

 

Cue city skyline, festive streets and a skating rink. At least I can always rely on Christmas film opening scenes to have my back. Wait, WHAT!? There is a woman, out on her front lawn just jamming a fuck off bow onto a life-like deer decoration. I really think that should count as both animal cruelty and a crime against fashion.

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The reindeer is watching where she’s going to try and shove that bow very closely

Oh great, Jessie Metcalfe has just pulled up in a sports car to tell this woman the entire street is insane and he would rather not turn his entire home into a fire hazard, thank you and goodbye. The residents of this street seem REALLY against this man who won’t decorate his house. Even this woman’s friend is trying to tell April if she puts one more decoration up in this house she will have turned into a crazy cat lady. That is until she spots two wooden cut outs of Santa beside the chair and loses her tiny mind.

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That’s not joy. That’s a cry for help from someone being held hostage by two wooden Santa cut-outs

Friend: “Oh my god! You still have these!?”

April: “Er, yeah, forever! Do you remember why Mom and Dad gave me these?”

Friend/Sister?: “Yes, I do. It was so you could get your picture taken with Santa Claus, even though you were too old to sit on this lap at the mall, and you cried all the way home.”

April: “No, I’m sorry. You can never be too old to sit on Santa’s lap.”

Me: “…. It’s too early for this shit.”

April: “Here, take a picture of me to send Mom.”

Friend/Sister?: “She will love it.”

Me: “Yeah, I’m sure she’ll really appreciate it.”


There is something which sounds a lot like a riot outside but apparently it’s just Jessie Metcalfe and his buddies and we don’t seem concerned that he might be starting WWIII out there. April has a really hard time understanding that not everyone is quite as crazy as her and I really don’t think adding wine to this mix is going to help any… Meanwhile, Jessie is with his buddies watching football and… what, do they have the fucking windows open or something? How is April hearing him from two doors down!?

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think he might be a happy batchelor…

Maybe it was simply seeing all those bros but when I stretched I managed to high five myself. Although… on closer inspection of these ‘bros’ I feel they’re probably married with kids and so ensues a conversation where two of them try to convince Jessie Metcalfe that he’s missing out. I don’t know about you but their opinions did absolutely nothing for me.


Jessie Metcalfe: “Look, it’s not that I don’t like kids, I’m crazy about my sister’s.”

Friend 1: “Then why’d d’you buy this big house?”

Me: “What does living in a big house have to do with not having children…? Do we all have to live in tiny bungalows?”


I have no idea what Jessie Metcalfe’s character’s name is but it sounds a lot like his friend calls him Uncle Claire. I mean, I’m all for this, and it turns out Uncle Claire won’t be going skiing this Christmas because Bridgette, who he has only been seeing for a few months and is not his girlfriend, is not a fan of the outdoors, either. There’s a lot of things she ain’t but I wonder what she is.

Prediction #1 – Bridgette is neurotic as all hell

Uncle Claire writes books, one of them even being a cookbook, and makes a mean guacamole, we are lead to believe. In complete opposition of this fun, giant house where we get to eat pizza and watch grown ass men run head-first into each other on TV, we go back to Santa’s workshop where we get to drink wine and be driven insane by April and her need for her sister to be engaged already. Her sister is in some sort of orchestra and she really thinks April should audition. Can’t wait to see what instrument this woman can play… Probably that weird stick with bells on.

The woman can’t audition without suffering from hiccups and still can’t get over her first audition where something so terrible happened she has taken it into adulthood with her to put her off ever playing music in front of an audience again. Let that be a lesson learnt.

Oh christ, she plays and teaches the violin. I do not mind when the conversation quickly diverts to her sister and how her boyfriend Steve has only recently bought a restaurant and is now working around the clock. People love owning restaurants in Christmas films, it’s one of the things we can really take away with us from this years advent challenge.

The next day Jessie gets a calls from his mom where she lectures him about letting his niece and nephew down and…. this incredibly successful and eligible batchelor is called Eric. That is a huge disappointment after Uncle Claire… Uncle Claire is also a huge disappointment himself because he has gone to his agent to ask for another extension on his book. I guess there is only so much you can write about enjoying single life.


Agent: “Just between us… what’s taking you so long? I mean it’s not like you’re writing ‘War and Peace’.”

Me: “See? He gets it.”


Eric is getting tired of writing the same thing over and over again so goes home and turns up his stereo to help him concentrate. I don’t know how good the acoustics are in this street or how thin the walls are or even how good April’s hearing is but Eric’s music really puts her off her violin lesson she is teaching. HOW DOES SHE KEEP HEARING THIS MAN!? Unfortunately, while seeing out her student, she runs into a guy called Conrad and I can’t tell whether we all universally hate Conrad or she was just startled that the man was standing on her lawn, waiting for her. Conrad is also not a fan of the lack of decorations outside Eric’s house but the author has more important things to do like be out of coffee and need to go to the store.

I am hoping that Conrad lives between April and Eric, otherwise he is just hanging around on people’s lawns and waiting for them to leave their houses. There is a guy like that on Mom’s street dubbed as ‘Irish Mick’ who walks up and down the street all day long, hoping he might catch you on the way out so he can tell you how cold the weather is lately. Conrad, however, is offering up the services of the neighbourhood to decorate Eric’s house free of charge and with no input from him required.

Prediction #2 – When Eric finally requires the neighbours help they will be more than delighted to ferret around in their garages and slap all of their back-up Christmas decorations on the man’s lawn

Having this crazy guy camp out outside his house is the least of his problems because Nick, his agent, is calling and Eric is getting no more extensions to keep pumping out the drivel he has been capable of over the last decade. Just dedicate a paragraph to how big your TV is and be done with it. It is at this point I find a dog hair in my water, which is strange because we don’t own one.

Moving swiftly on… April rocks up at Steve’s restaurant with her violin. Unfortunately she is late for… something with Steve and her sister because she just had to play at a wedding and had to redo the wedding march three times because the groom kept trying to make a break for it. This also means she lost her chance for a surprise dinner date with Steve’s friend the ER doctor which would have been quite awkward because she is actually there to play violin and accompany her sister on the piano. Maybe she could have taken mouthfuls of dinner between verses, or something. Either way, Eric has just waltzed in with presumably Bridgette of the great indoors.

I don’t know about you but I would not appreciate April walking around the tables and playing her violin when I was trying to eat. This also means Eric recognises her and puts her off her music when Bridgette realises that is the music teacher with the annoying students her not-boyfriend has been telling her about the past few months. April interrupts their conversation about not-boyfriend and girlfriend plans over the festive season, which is probably for the best because I believe Eric was going to try and let her down not so gently, in a public place.

Oh, how about that, Eric’s sister won’t be making it back home just yet and has called up their mother to inform her a massive snow storm has thoughtfully cancelled everyone’s flights for the foreseeable future. It may just be me but their parent looks overjoyed that her daughter possibly won’t be back for a week and now she gets the grandchildren all to herself. I am starting to wonder if Eric’s sister and her husband may be making this snow storm up so they don’t have to go home for Christmas this year.

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‘Oh, honey! How thoughtful to get me such a lovely, early Christmas present!’

April also gets an early Christmas present from her sister, who is about as thoughtful as the snow storm, and has booked April in for an audition with her orchestra. That audition she clearly wanted no part of. Eric’s mom suddenly becomes everyone’s mom when she phones her son, pretending to have the flu, and tells him he’s going to need to take his niece and nephew in for the festive season.

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Shit… why did I lie so publicly about liking my sister’s kids?

Eric: “How long does the flu usually last?”

Eric’s Mom: “Oh, at my age… who knows?”

Me: “Might last forever! I might just simply die!”


I understand the man’s frustration, the difference being my brother would rather trust a babysitter they had never even met before than drop his kids off with me for a few days. They certainly wouldn’t come back the same way they had left and they would have added quite a few choice words to their vocabularies. It is complete news to us that Eric thinks he suffers from some sort of Christmas jinx and that is why he usually leaves town for the season. I can only feel the fact he has to give up his over-compensating sports car and take his sister’s car instead, to even fit these children in, feeds directly into his delusion that he is cursed.


Nephew: “Nice driving, Uncle Eric.”

Eric: “What? I’m not used to driving this boat.”

Me: “I think I might know where you’re going wrong…”


These kids are immediately on the ball and ask why the hell Uncle Eric hates Christmas so much and where is their Christmas tree and cookies and stockings and strings of popcorn, damn it! What sort of Christmas hell is this, Uncle Eric!? I can’t believe that in this man’s giant house he only has one bedroom and is having to sleep on the sofa… One call from his sister kicking his ass into gear later, we are at the Christmas tree lot, trying out best not to pick a tree which looks like it’s been infested by bugs.

In a scenario much like Martin’s, when he picks his over-sized tree, Eric ends up bringing back a fir monster, just in time for April to see and watch him total Conrad’s lawn decorations in his attempt to get the thing off the roof of his car. We meet Chelsea and Liam, finally learn each other’s names and find out Eric has no Christmas tree ornaments.

Prediction #3 – April has more than enough ornaments to share

Bingo! April kidnaps the kids and takes them back to her house, filling their head with all sorts of festive decorating ideas that Eric wants no part of.

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April made all of her Christmas hostages learn a simple choreographed dance to perform inside of their glass cells

I can confirm the tree that they come back to decorate is not the same one they picked up and their festive cheer is really adding to Eric’s festive drought issues. The man won’t even let April climb a tiny ladder to put more decorations on because that is apparently how he broke his leg 6 years ago. I am going to say it was more than likely a faulty ladder or his inability to climb vertically than anything to do with Christmas being out to kill him. It’s out to kill a lot of people but a single batchelor really doesn’t fit the bill. Maybe once he’s married to April and has kids of his own he can really start looking of his shoulder with any real sense of dread.

Probably fearing electrocution, Eric passes the switching on of the Christmas lights to Chelsea. She doesn’t have a book to write.

Prediction #4 – Eric lost the love of his life over Christmas and that’s why he thinks he’s cursed and April is going to break that curse

I adore the Santa which has made it’s way onto Eric’s lawn the next day but immediately confused as to why April is outside putting up more decorations. She is a one woman fire-hazard all on her own.

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Oh, he’ll never notice that.

April and her sister’s mother will be joining them for Christmas day, just in time to meet Eric no doubt, who her sister is just full of questions about. Now… when April finally tells her sister Eric’s full name the penny drops and her sister tells her how Steve owns all of his books. This man’s face is on the front of every single one of his books so how did she not know who he was when she was staring at him in the restaurant while her sister played violin over his table!?


Sister: “His books are part of the reason why Steve still has not proposed.”

Me: “I’m hearing part of the reason. Could the other part possibly be your batshit insane sister?”

April: “What kind of books does he write?”

Sister: “The kind which give men great reasons to stay single.”

Me: “Well then they’re clearly not that good because Steve has been dating you for years already.”


Eric’s mom is having the best Christmas of her life, pretending to have the flu and no grandchildren running around the place. Eric, on the other hand? Still can’t write anything and is having to keep his relatives occupied by playing video games with them. I don’t know why they couldn’t have done this on their own but… When the kids bring up the fact they need to buy their parent’s Christmas presents I am immediately thrown off by the fact they actually need to go and buy supplies. That’s not… shopping for presents. That’s making them. Eric just wants to buy people gift cards and be done with it but is unable to withstand the pressure these kids are applying.

Prediction #5 – Bridgette will go down terribly with these children and so Eric will dump her for the violin teacher two doors down that they truly love

As predicted, Eric runs into April whilst Christmas shopping and she is way too excited to hear that Chelsea and Liam are with him. Or rather… waiting in line with Bridgette to meet Santa. Oh…. Christ no.

Prediction #6 – April is going to go and meet Santa too

April takes her chance and whisks Eric away in order to help him buy a present for his mom. Meanwhile, Bridgette is wondering how fucking long this is going to take because, as a not-girlfriend, she is not required to look after these children. We also hear that the one year Eric bothered to buy people presents they were in his car when it got stolen at the mall. So far we have breaking a leg and losing a car as to the reasons why Eric doesn’t celebrate Christmas. With another hour to go I can’t wait to hear what else the man has.

Settling on handmade jewellery for his mother, directed by April, Eric does something which freaks me out a little. In order to check how it looks he asks if April would try it on. I don’t…. It just feels strange. Like you’re looking at this woman and trying to imagine her as your mom… it’s all…. very odd. Which leads us straight into the revelation that April is single and isn’t that a surprise.

Luckily Bridgette is there to ruin the moment and text for help from the queue to meet Santa about 10 feet away from where Eric is admiring April’s neck and trying to super impose his mother’s face on hers. After a fun-filled day with these kids it is no wonder they’ve all passed out on the sofa when Eric’s mom rings him up. I feel he probably shouldn’t have muted the weather man, who was just commenting on the strange week of weather they will be getting, to listen to his mom pretend to cough some more.

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God, he’d better be buying this. I’ve got the book club around at 2.

Prediction #7 – Thoughtful snow storm is on the way to… Eric’s neighbourhood

Eric bravely leaves his relatives to make their own Christmas cards on his very expensive glass table in order to pretend to work on his book some more.

Prediction #8 – His next book will be the beginning of a new series about how men should commit to relationships and how to survive with women

Prediction #9 – Eric’s new book will inspire Steve to propose to his girlfriend because the man can’t live without directions from a book

April’s sister is always wearing really nice kimono jackets and I’ll say! Here we are at day 22 and April’s Christmas audition is also set for the 22nd December. Kismet! April tries to enjoy her Christmas baking scene but can’t stop staring at that reminder on the fridge that she’ll be getting hiccups in a few days time. Not listening to a word his relatives have just said, Eric happily sends them over to April’s house for more glue and a million hours later realises they’re no longer in the house. I am really surprised they can’t hear him calling them from his own living room, we hear everything fucking else around here.

We finally learn April’s sister is called Elaine and is helping his niece and nephew make Christmas cookies.

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Elaine is laughing because if she does not she will murder this man and force him to make Steve marry her

April is going to have a busy 22nd! That’s the day of the neighbourhood Christmas carolling, too! That’s if anyone makes it that long, it looks as though the cookies are being decorated with PVC glue. Eric never even makes it out the door because he gets distracted by April’s extensive record collection which used to belong to her dad and we hear how he used to be a Jazz pianist and Eric suggests there is more to him than being a batchelor writer.

Lawn Santa thought that would be the perfect time to creep back on to Eric’s lawn until Eric brandishes him over his head like Leatherface brandishing his chainsaw. Packing the kids off into their room, Eric tries to unwind with his bros  but keeps finding glitter all over the place.


Eric: “Erm… can you not leave your empty beer cans lying around? There are kids in the house, ya know?”

Me: “I can’t even begin to understand that opinion of an empty beer can.”


Eric’s bros are worried that the ‘last man standing’ might be going down in a ball of flames and soon they’ll have nowhere to go to play poker until 2 in the morning. That’s fair but at least he’ll be busy whilst April is on a date with the ER doctor at Steve’s restaurant. As soon as the ER doctor gets up Elaine is sitting in his seat, bugging April about the audition and handing over Eric’s books in order for Eric to sign.

Prediction #10 – April is going to check out some of these books and wonder who the fuck this guy even is

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April loves a good picture book

Of course Eric is just letting his bros out the door when April is being dropped off by the ER doctor. He is feeling some way about this but I am more concerned that she is not carrying a single book on her when she marches up to her house. You had one job, April!

The next day a snowman has joined Santa on Eric’s lawn and he finally decides to confront Conrad about it who is adamant it is the work of Christmas elves and not him. I get the feeling that Eric should stop throwing them on the curb outside his house and the reason they keep coming back is some innocent pedestrian thinks they have been blown off the lawn and keeps returning them. Try throwing them in the nearest skip. If they come back then you know they’re possessed and you need to contact your local priest.

Thankfully April’s violin music calms him down just enough to head inside and fold some washing up, which he is still doing when she brings his books over to be signed for Steve. Despite the fact that he was just folding his washing up right in front of them, April points out the stockings the kids have made from Eric’s socks and hung up, much to his alarm. Apparently asking April about her late night is more important than saving his socks and making sure the woman definitely doesn’t have a boyfriend.

Eric signs these books with the generic messages authors have to keep on hand before complimenting April on her music skills and offering to help her with her hiccup issue when auditioning. Eric immediately asks his phone, like the woman has never thought about googling how to get over it herself and, if she hasn’t, then she’s clearly been living under a tinsel-covered rock. One of the methods to reduce stage fright is to laugh as much as you can and I can only imagine who much more insane that would make the woman look at the side of the stage.


Eric: “OK, well method 4 seems a little more reasonable. Imagine every seat in the audience is filled with a clone of your favourite person, preferably someone who encourages you.”

April: “Well that seems more reasonable.”

Me: “It sounds about as reasonable as imagining everyone naked, which is also one of the worst pieces of advice ever. You’re supposed to be concentrating on your music, not the new robot uprising which would definitely happen and then the clones start ripping each other apart and the music just makes them angrier until they all turn on you and start detaching your limbs like you weren’t a fleshy human. So… don’t do that.”


Prediction #11 – Eric is gonna rock up at the audition and all will be well, no hiccups included

The next evening Eric and Bridgette are heading off to a Christmas party with his agent and she is less than happy to find these kids hopping in the back of the car and coming along for the ride. Not even the promise that they will be locked up in another room with some Christmas films is enough to put a smile on this woman’s face. Not even alcohol is enough to put a smile on this woman’s face!

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For God’s sake someone put a drink in that woman’s hand before she kills a man!

Nick is concerned his client is going to miss the deadline of his book and breach his contract, which would be fun Christmas viewing, but simply walks off and hopes for the best. God knows how the rest of that evening went because the next day April is offering to take Chelsea and Liam ice skating when Eric will be too busy being a failing writer. Or, rather, he lied and is trying to make the existence of his niece and nephew up to his not-girlfriend by cooking her dinner, which goes well right up until the point it turns out she hates children and Eric is nothing like his books promised her. If Bridgette is happy to date that kind of guy then I think it’s fair to throw her out to the wolves already.

I presume the children probably revealed Eric’s real plans that evening because April is well aware his date has gone terribly when he turns up early to the ice rink and forces him into some skates. It also turns out April did read those books she was holding on to and tells the man he really needs to find some new material because it seems a lot like he’s saying the same thing over and over again but in different words. Smashed it, April! This is of course the perfect time for Eric to walk April two houses down the street and hear how much she loves Christmas.


April: “Gosh, how can you deny that Christmas is just the best time of year? The air, so cool and crisp, you can smell fireplaces…”

Me: “You can smell fireplaces? You should really probably go and check that out…”


We finally find out that Eric proposed to someone in the past, right there on Christmas Eve, but she had fallen in love with someone else by then. I think feeling you have a Christmas curse because of this one incidence and never celebrating Christmas again is a bit far but… he’s made a somewhat successful career out of it so who am I to say? Cue the kids interrupting their first kiss before it can materialise – because we have to save these things until the end of the film – and everyone goes their separate ways. Until the morning, that is…

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I got laaaawn ornameeeeeents, they’re multiplyyyyyin’

The kids are overjoyed about these multiplying lawn ornaments and Eric finally gives up and lets the elves have their way. There has also been a bizarre lump of snow on his lawn this whole time that I just cannot work out. It’s not like he’s been clearing the drive every day and dumping it there because it hasn’t changed for the entire film. Maybe it will all crumble away at some point and we’ll find another fucking lawn ornament.

Meanwhile, April is feeling confident enough to call ahead and confirm she will be at the audition later that day. She really did leave that a bit late… Eric is also sending over new pages to his agent and is HOLY FUCK WHAT IS THAT!?

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Just. Look. At this. Look at this!

Jesus Christ it’s like finding weird symbols out in the woods made of sticks and you realise you’re on cult property now. Otherwise known as April’s front lawn. She’s mithering around and rearranging the ornaments to distract herself from the upcoming audition which means she is perfectly placed for Eric to come up, tell her to play the festive piece he has heard her practicing and return her plate that I didn’t know he had even stolen. At least April is glad to hear he’s exploring a new avenue for his writing and she inspired the entire thing.

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Catching pneumonia is all part of leading a happy batchelor lifestyle

The woman cannot help mentioning the neighbourhood Christmas carolling again before she marches away to audition in what can only be described as a kill room. Maybe they picked it because the hundreds of screaming victims before her have proven how wonderful the acoustics are in there.

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Oh an audition you say? Here? In this sterile empty room? Sure, that seems legit.

While April is playing with absolutely zero hiccups we are treated to a very short Christmas montage where Chelsea and Liam are putting even more fucking decorations on that damn tree! Unfortunately, Eric has to drag them away from this pointless activity to go and see his agent Nick who is worried the publisher may not like the new pages as much as he did. Eric is still nice enough to give his agent a present that the man is just shocked is not in the shape of a gift card.

I still cannot get over Eric’s beige jumper and maybe that’s why Conrad initially looks so shocked to see the man joining them for carolling. The men shake on the fact they have come to the mutual agreement that Conrad is completely fucking insane before everyone walks off into the night to stand threateningly in front of people’s houses.

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Just keep smiling, honey. Don’t show them your fear.

We all take a break for hot chocolate and cookies which also gives Eric the perfect opportunity to ask how the audition went and invite April to watch a movie with Chelsea and Liam that evening. This means it is the perfect time to encounter Bridgette on Eric’s doorstep and April quickly runs away because that woman has a mean scowl on her. Bridgette merely rocked up to tell the man he shouldn’t be a part of the dating world, for the good of the community, and April turns around just in time to see the man kissing the woman on the cheek.

Completely oblivious the next morning, while dropping these kids off with April, Eric tries to rearrange the movie night and April stares at him in horror as she thinks he is trying to cheat on his girlfriend with her because claiming she is working slamming the door in his face. No doubt Eric wants to attribute this to the Christmas curse but there is no way he can blame the curse when his agent meets with him to tell him the publishers adore his new book and want to sign him up for two sequels.

I really do believe the man just said he would be calling his book ‘Uncle Christmas’…. What are these people seeing in him!? April is helping Chelsea and Liam wrap presents which is when she comes across a necklace Eric has brought. Apparently it is not for their Nan, who Eric has already bought a gift for which clearly goes against April’s original advice to the man, and so presumes it must be for Bridgette. The kids don’t bother to correct the woman on this point and nor do they bother to look out the window where Eric has pulled back up with a car jammed full of lawn ornaments.

I adore his mother on the phone who has claimed the Dr wants her to rest indoors for one more day… as she is waltzing around the streets doing her Christmas shopping. Luckily Eric is far too happy about the news from his publisher to question all of the background noise in his mother’s house and even shares the good news with April when picking the kids back up. It is only now that the man thinks there may be anything wrong with the woman because she keeps turning him down but, as always in these films, only gives a vague reason as to why. If she had just shouted at the man that morning this would have been all cleared up already…

But theeeeeeeeen we wouldn’t be waking up on Christmas Eve to a far too happy Uncle that is forcing his relatives back out on the ice rink to meet up with his bro’s kids. It also turns out bro #1 was the guy who kept putting ornaments on Eric’s lawn so it’s a good job he didn’t go too crazy at Conrad. Back at home, while cutting out pieces of foam into nondescript shapes, the kids reveal to Eric that April thinks he is buying necklaces for Bridgette. Unfortunately his message to her goes unheard because she is back to playing at the restaurant with Elaine.

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Save the all caps and urgency for a real emergency, buddy!

We get a surprise visit from Eric’s sister, brother-in-law and mother who come by with a mass of presents and his mother finally reveals she was never ill at all. If me and my future kids ever have the misfortune of me being a mother she is all of my mother goals. At least the entire family is impressed by his massive Christmas tree and his cooking but not impressed enough with him to actually read any of his books.

Inspired by his entire family asking who April even is and why he’s such an idiot, Eric rushes out to the restaurant and demands to talk to the woman between the tables, chasing her around while she tries to drown him out with her violin. April is so shocked by the fact he actually brought this hideous necklace for her she simply passes her violin to the nearest customer… which she might want back because she passed her audition.

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April had really been hoping this necklace was for Bridgette so she’d never have to see it again

April, being the kind of woman she is, is more than happy to go back and meet Eric’s entire family but they cannot do this until it has begun snowing on cue and the film has ended.

Ya know… this film really wasn’t all that offensive. Especially when I consider how early I started watching the damn thing. If you don’t want to be too offended either, head right on over here.

Now…

 

Prediction board – 5/11

  • Prediction #1 – Bridgette is neurotic as all hell – Oooooh yeah. CORRECT!
  • Prediction #2 – When Eric finally requires the neighbours help they will be more than delighted to ferret around in their garages and slap all of their back-up Christmas decorations on the man’s lawn – Turns out this was never needed because Eric found the Christmas cheer all on his own. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #3 – April has more than enough ornaments to share – Hell. Yes. CORRECT!
  • Prediction #4 – Eric lost the love of his life over Christmas and that’s why he thinks he’s cursed and April is going to break that curse – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #5 – Bridgette will go down terribly with these children and so Eric will dump her for the violin teacher two doors down that they truly love – Those kids felt nothing for Bridgette! I don’t know whether that’s actually worse! They literally cared so little for her that they had no feelings whatsoever! INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #6 – April is going to go and meet Santa too – I really thought this was coming! But no. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #7 – Thoughtful snow storm is on the way to… Eric’s neighbourhood – Not a single snow storm, either! How incredibly unthoughtful of it. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #8 – His next book will be the beginning of a new series about how men should commit to relationships and how to survive with women – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #9 – Eric’s new book will inspire Steve to propose to his girlfriend because the man can’t live without directions from a book – We can only presume here and as this is a big life event for Steve I will not say he did marry into this batshit insane family. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #10 – April is going to check out some of these books and wonder who the fuck this guy even is – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #11 – Eric is gonna rock up at the audition and all will be well, no hiccups included – Disappointingly he did not show up naked and laughing manically to try and alleviate April’s stress. INCORRECT!

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: Well, if Eric had had one in his house April probably would have heard the fucking thing.
  • Piano: There was a piano! It only accompanied April but it was there! CHECK!
  • Carolling: Carolling in cult-size proportions! CHECK!
  • Christmas Montage: It was short lived but it was there. CHECK!
  • Fire Hazards: Despite it being in snow, every single person’s god damn lawn was a fire hazard. It was beautiful. CHECK!
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: I…. I don’t know!
  • Snowing on cue: I think it snowed a bit… it wasn’t exactly on cue though.

 

Today wasn’t quite as painful as yesterday but my god it’s taken about 3 hours just to review this damn film. Good job needing to be at work on time isn’t a thing right now! Although I feel early morning’s are not good for my predicting skills.

In fact, this year, apparently nothing is good for my predicting skills. Looking at you, tomorrow.

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Christmas Advent #21 – A Christmas Wedding Date

What’s even more common at Christmas than an unrealistic business deadline? A Christmas wedding which eats into everybody’s own, personal celebration time!

I am starting this one very early in the morning so… we’ll see how this goes. When I look around I’m still unsure what my bleary ass eyes are trying to tell me, sometimes. And, for better or worse (ahhhhhhhhhhh see what I did there without meaning to!), I cannot find as link to this film. Just so you know. In advance. So! Let’s get into it!

 

Festive streets. Check. Office buildings. Check. Homeless Santa. Check. Giant Christmas lights that look like weapons of mass destruction. Check. Oh, should have guessed weapons of mass destruction were mentioned, there’s Trump tower! Just can’t keep away from anything that looks like a bomb, can he?

Some woman, living in the kind of apartment I’ve always wanted, is carrying a mirror around with her and brushing her hair 100 times. You have to have very specific hair in order to do that. If I do that either the brush gets stuck or my hair quadruples in size. Either way she hasn’t bothered with the top of her hair so when she assures herself she looks fabulous she can only mean from the ears down.

I’m not surprised she lives with alone with a cat because she keeps talking to herself and loves grooming. Oh, also, she’s being fired. Looks like she did too good of a job, merging those two banks that she was so proud to read about in the paper this morning, and now she’s no longer needed. I find the set up of this guys office bizarre and he has his back to his own door… That’s the sign of a massive bellend if ever I saw one.


Guy: “Becks, now don’t get angry, business is business, you know that. Here. A token of our appreciation.”

Becky: “It says ‘To Barry’.”

Guy: “Ooh! Here you go!”

Me: “Oh my god… is Barry getting fired too!?”


Yes he is. On meeting Barry I worry that, when he says he’s going down to Florida to spend Christmas with his folks, that he is never coming back. And his ‘folks’ won’t have seen him either. Oh, Barry. Becky has her own concerns, though, because the lucky bride has rang her up to ask where her RSVP is and she thinks Becky should get over her doubts about coming home, her dad has been dead for 3 years already, isn’t that long enough? Who cares if you have a strained relationship with your mom? Pffffft.

Becky… I don’t know what is going on with this woman… When she phones people up, trying to sell herself for a new job, she keeps asking to meet up with them on Christmas Day and then seems offended when no one will be in. Honestly, the most interesting part of the film so far is her cat. I am mesmerised by it.

With absolutely nothing else to do, Becky decides to head on home for the Christmas Eve wedding and cannot avoid the perky taxi driver who just wants to be everyone’s best friend. God help us all.


Taxi Guy: “Ah! Christmas weddings are the best! Who’s the lucky guy?”

Becky: “Oh, no, no, it’s not me. I’m just a guest.”

Taxi Guy: “Oh, sorry, Miss.”

Becky: “Don’t be. I mean, honestly, who has time for relationships these days? And marriage? It seems like one big investment.”

Taxi Guy: “Big investment?”

Becky: “Yeah, and like many investments a lot of them go bust.”

Taxi Guy: “Oh, I never figured marriage that way. I always thought of marriage as a gift you give yourself.”

Me: “And I have never, not once, thought of marriage that way.”


Taxi Guy is way too busy trying to convince Becky that marriage is the best thing that could ever happen to a person and seems not to have noticed that, around here, the rules of the road are completely different to everywhere else in the world. Apparently, here, people are allowed to pull off their drives without checking for traffic and you happen to be driving past then that is your fault.

Prediction #1 – Becky will blame banging her head in the taxi on the fact all this weird shit starts happening to her – like the Christmas feels.

For some really fucking bizarre reason this guy is handing out Christmas ornaments to his passengers and everything looks like a dual purpose weapon in this film. The guy also claims he only knows Becky’s name because it was on her luggage tag but both me and Kieran believe…

Prediction #2 – Taxi Guy is Santa! And has shaved his beard off for the warmer climate

I can’t wait to see how and why Becky’s relationship with her mother is so strained when her mother seems delighted to see her and has even made her her favourite cookies. Maybe Becky’s issue with her parent was the fact she kept feeding her carbs. Isn’t that the ultimate form of motherly love? Seeing as the woman is far too busy waiting for her daughter to return and baking cookies, she never got around to redecorating any of the rooms and Becky has to face a picture of… Chad. It’s basically a cube with hair, wearing a football jersey.

Prediction #3 – Chad is invited to this wedding and Becky will need to forgive him or even possibly fall in love with him over the span of one evening


Becky: “So are you going to the wedding?”

Mom: “Unfortunately I’ve got to open the diner. It’s pretty dead around the holidays but the sign says ‘Open 7 Days a Week’.”

Becky: “Well, business is business, right?”

Mom: “Well, there are people who depend on me, you know? Folks with no family? Where would they go if I wasn’t there for them?”

Me: “I think the point is they wouldn’t go anywhere. They’d stay home.”


The more and more I see these pair together, the more and more I get the distinct feeling most of the issues actually lie with Becky. Feeling a little guilty about the fact she abandoned her mother, alone, after her father died Becky decides the most she can do is give her that Christmas ornament from beardless Santa. I, personally, would have plunged it into the side of her neck but her mother is far too nice and hangs it up on the tree, instead.

The next morning Becky realises she is way late for the wedding when her mother calls her to check she is awake and that the wedding starts at 1pm sharp. I hate sunny Christmas films, probably because we never actually get a white Christmas around here and this all feels way too real. Either way, Becky is working her way down that sunny street and leaving a trail of destruction behind her as she interacts with every person who just wants to get through their Christmas Eve.


Girl Scout: “Would you like to buy some Christmas cookies?”

Becky: “Cookies? No, I don’t want to buy any cookies. Cookies make you fat and especially around the holidays there is a lot of temptation. So no, I don’t want to buy your cookies.”

Me: “Could have just walked past her and ignored her…”


On entering the blast radius of the wedding venue, Becky is accosted by someone called Jenny who used to be fat and now has fake boobs that she wants people to touch. When someone called Molly walks out in an identical dress I realise these are bridesmaids and Becky probably feels a way about not being asked to be her best friends bridesmaid, despite the fact she hasn’t spoken to or visited these people for 3 years.

This is the worst wedding ever. Worse than the two I actually attended and inadvertently almost ruined. Jenna is being lead down the aisle by Chad who almost bolts at the sight of Becky and when Alison, the actual bride, shows up, the woman at the keyboard…. well I don’t know what the fuck that was, quite frankly. This entire thing is a shit show.

I recognise that vicar!! Or whatever you call them. I am very sure he is normally on the Christmas circuit, too. At least Becky feels the same way I do about this guy inviting God down to this little love-fest. Maybe if they had actually invited God he would have remembered to bring the rings, unlike Mark’s best man who has to borrow a random one from the crowd, instead. Such a beautiful ceremony.

The way Becky marches up to the bar after that train crash you would have thought she was going for the hard liquor but lets us all down by ordering a water. There is a strange interaction with some drunken guy who is a sex pest and… why has Chad’s coach been invited to this wedding? Either way, he thinks it’s probably best to go over to Becky and ask her to stop shaking the wedding gifts that are not hers. Oh, fucking hell, these two greet each other by…. singing to each other. Singing to each other.

Apparently no on has seen this woman for 10 years, 4 months and 3 days but her dad only died years ago. Personally I would have ran the fuck away from Chad when I realised he had been counting the days we were apart because that makes him either a very accurate stalker or he has been counting down the hours to his sweet revenge. Thank god she was only drinking water! It’s going to make navigating out of this hell hole much easier.

Chad is delighted hear that Becky is married to her job and has lead a boring life whilst he went away to Paris, learnt to cook, fell in love and now owns a restaurant.


Chad: “I thought I had everything figured out but… I figured wrong. That fell apart 3 years ago.”

Me: “Were you… were you dating Becky’s Dad?”

Becky: “I’m sorry.”

Chad: “Oh, it’s OK, we weren’t meant to be together. She was always on the go, always had some place else she needed to be that was more important…”

Me: “Like the grave…”


When Molly interrupts this delightful conversation about hating women who are too busy to settle down, by kissing Chad, Becky thinks that some things never change. I mean… the man was very clearly not enjoying that but, whatever. Luckily our attention is diverted by the sex pest and the best man who are doing shot and shouting about their old football team. Doesn’t this day just keep getting better? Yes, it does, because when Molly laughs she snorts like a legit pig.

Prediction #4 – A million years ago Becky thought Chad was cheating on her with Molly and left before he could explain

I thought this shit was over but now we’re being forced to sit down and eat while Alison hand feeds Mark wedding cake at the top table. Vomitous. I look up when Jenna starts speaking and am alarmed by the fact she seems to have broken her own wrist just to get out of this never ending event. The conversation has turned to having crushes on teachers and why Becky and Chad’s relationship failed so, I don’t blame her.

I’m glad Molly has been dragged away but am worried for my very soul that someone has called her up and handed her a mic. That voice. That laugh. I thought we had it bad with Cynthia but she’s got nothing on Molly, here. When Molly cannot help making fun of Becky everyone seems alarmed when the woman storms out of the venue and why she didn’t find that joke funny about her being forever alone and living with a beautiful cat as amusing as the rest of the guests. With absolutely nowhere else to go she wonders the street, crying, until she finds her way to her mother’s diner and hogs the women’s bathroom.

I don’t know how long she was moping in there for but Chad has had time to turn up and order apple pie and coffee in that time. He manages to cheer Becky up when he informs her Molly is still a cocktail waitress and has gotten nowhere with her life but when Becky claims that’s totally cool because she has everything she could ever want I adore her mom’s face across the counter, clearly calling bullshit.

Still being hopelessly in love with Becky, Chad thinks they should take another chance together and this woman just keeps saying ‘business is business’ to people like it actually matters to them and she couldn’t possibly hang around until lunch tomorrow with the man when she needs to get home, feed her cat and find a job. Not appreciating the truth bombs being thrown at her from every direction now, Becky heads on home to have a lie down and think about all the people she has already been mean to in the past 24 hours and how much she probably still loves Chad.

And that is why, the next morning, she wakes up to find it is Christmas Eve all over again! Not that she realises this when she checks her phone in the morning and has to have her mom explain it to her while dragging her luggage to the curb and thinking she has a taxi to catch. Worried that her mother may be getting dementia it takes the paper boy lobbing the Christmas Eve edition at Becky to start believing something may be up. Like… reliving the same day over and over again or seeing Santa in the reflection of a shop window. Becky is completely unphased that she is talking to this spectral man who is not really there and just keeps shouting at him about how he was supposed to have picked her up.

As predicted Becky blames that bump to her head for her hallucinations and none of this is down to fate trying to show her how jaded she has become in the last 10 years, 4 months and 3 days. All Becky needs to discover is why the hell she has been put in this never ending cycle and it will all go away. Oh christ… that means she has to keep sitting through that wedding, over and over again. Please woman! For the love of god just find your soul so we can get out of here! What I do adore is Becky coming to terms with this horror show.


Becky: “Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve done something before?”

Chad: “Like deja vu?”

Becky: “No, like you and I, having this conversation in this exact same spot.”

Me: “Yeah. Deja vu.”


Becky has turned to the hard liquor during her second run through and is also freaking out Chad when she starts predicting what will happen next and why the hell couldn’t she have warned the man about that fucking oncoming laugh from Molly? How many times? At least Becky has the presence of mind to leave before Molly’s speech and call the airline asking for an earlier flight out of this hellhole. Unfortunately, Santa is on the other end of the phone and lectures her on her lack of Christmas spirit.

I am comforted to find that this film is only an hour and 45 minutes long and, with adverts, that should make the entire thing a lot less painful. Becky thinks it would be prudent to drop in on the vicar and ask him what he meant in his wedding speech about a master plan for everyone’s lives but ends up just freaking the guy out because he hadn’t shown anyone his speech yet. Which he was writing… a few hours before the wedding… I have zero idea how to vicar but I would definitely just have a stock speech I pulled out at every event.

Somehow the woman has managed to make her day worse by getting water thrown over her on the way to the wedding. The weather is… pretty hot I mean… it would have dried in a few minutes if she had let it but she, instead, elects for the most hideous dress she can get hold of in the hopes it might ward of sex pests.

Becky seems to be having a lot more fun this time around, which also includes doing shots with the sex pest. Apparently bright colours and alcohol attract them so… you should probably avoid all of that. Alcohol also makes you slightly insane when you bump into your ex-boyfriend. Fair warning.


Chad: “Who are you? What happened to the old Rebecca? The one that I fell in love with.”

Becky: “The one you cheated on? Yeah, she’s gone now. She’s been replaced by a better Rebecca.”

Me: “The drunk, colourblind one.”


The next run through, Becky manages to get herself escorted off the property and sent to jail. She is right, the new Rebecca is way better than the old one. Her mom attributes her daughter’s crazed ramblings about being ‘stuck’ to being under a lot of stress from work. She does actually give some sound advice about trying something completely new when you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, which is nice, and is very touched when Becky asks to spend the day with her and ends up being dragged to the diner.


Mom: “Well, it’s not the same since your father passed away but… I really can’t imagine this town without it.”

Becky: “So many memories…”

Mom: “Oh… all of them good ones.”

Me: “Not a single robbery at gun point? Not one brawl? Wow.”


Becky is all forgiven by her Mom because it’s Christmas and she’s very lonely at this time of year so I feel that Becky is well on the way to escaping Christmas Eve.

For some reason Becky has only just remembered she has a company credit card but the day she bothered to buy herself a new car and fancy dress merely ends with her sitting around, eating popcorn and being lectured by Santa on the TV about her materialistic ways. Eurgh, that means more bonding time with her mom. Again. Day after day. At least she is eating something new every day and is actually present at the diner when Alison turns up for her pre-wedding coffee.

This film is sending some real mixed messages about women needing to be very thin and not eat cheese, bacon, pancakes or ice-cream. Alison is also there to break the news to her best friend that Chad never cheated on her with Molly and she’s a total idiot for thinking so. That’s probably why, after the ceremony, Becky decides to approach Chad by singing to him, instead and heading outside for a drink. People are very OK with being sang at, around here.

Despite hearing from her best friend that Chad never cheated on her, Becky still claims he did, right to his face… and no one seems bothered enough to properly correct her and tell her what really happened! There is still half an hour left of this film, other than that revelation, what the hell could be left?


Becky: “So what do you do for fun?”

Chad: “I don’t even know where to start.”

Becky: “Well, what about ice skating.”

Chad: “Ice skating? You hated ice skating.”

Becky: “Well, no, I hated falling down. But people change.”

Me: “Now I simply adore falling down.”


The next run through of Christmas Eve, Becky signs up for both ice skating lessons and baking lessons from her own mother. If she kept fucking up this day she could become a pro skater and baker in time for the Christmas Day she actually gets to enjoy. Now I can’t even balance properly on my own two feet so I was predictably awful at balancing on two thin blades ON ICE.

Eventually the woman begins to improve so I guess she just wasted a good 6 years of her life attending the same wedding over and over again. To the point of falling asleep during the ceremony, which I cannot blame her for, and stalking Chad to the skating rink early on Christmas Eve morning so she can sing her way into the room and announce her arrival.


Becky: “They’re having a Christmas Eve morning special. Wanna be my partner?”

Chad: “I haven’t seen you in over 10 years and the first thing you ask me is to go ice skating with you?”

Me: “Actually, the first thing she did is sing to you so this request is dramatically more normal.”


Becky is now freaking out everyone in town with her expanse of knowledge of them and all of their inner workings but that’s apparently OK and no one is going to report her to the police because she is bribing them with cigars.

I am confident that when Becky buys out the entire girl scout’s cookie stock and starts handing them out to people on the street that this is the final run-through and we’ll never have to deal with this awful wedding ceremony again. Although… Becky has been working dramatically on improving the entire thing which is astounding, seeing as she only has a few hours every morning to sort this shit out.

I missed (I say ‘missed’) a bit when Kieran started talking to me but it appears that Chad and Becky have completely ditched the wedding so she can invite Chad to a tiny, hidden table and serve him a meal she cooked for him. In order to end this hellish day Becky invited her mom to the reception, just in time to hear Becky giving her own speech about how great everyone is and how she has become a totally different person in, apparently, only 24 hours. I’m surprised her mom isn’t getting her committed.

Both me and Kieran are perturbed to see the sex pest inviting Becky’s mom to dance, which Becky doesn’t notice because she’s too busy staring at Chad and reminiscing about the last 6 years she has spent reliving the same day.

To prevent from confusing herself, I feel that Becky should have gone to bed wearing different clothes and doing her hair differently so she could tell she wasn’t damned to an eternity of terrible wedding receptions and doesn’t keep talking to random Christmas ornaments given to her by taxi drivers.


Becky: “Why are you so shiny when I’m so blue?”

Me: “Well, that’s just a question for the ages, isn’t it.”


Chad is nice enough to turn up at her house, cook her breakfast and make sure it is portable in case she doesn’t have time to eat it before her flight. Still worried she may take that flight I am confused why he also pops a marriage proposal. He was really setting himself up for potential misery with that little stunt…

I do appreciate, however, that when Becky heads out to tell Santa the taxi driver she won’t need that lift to the airport after all and is never leaving home again… she doesn’t actually have a job she needs to get back to. She does have an apartment to sell but that’s about all.

Honestly guys, I think you should appreciate the fact there was no link to this film so you couldn’t possibly be tempted to go and check it out for yourself. I took this one for the team!

 

 

Prediction board – 3/4

  • Prediction #1 – Becky will blame banging her head in the taxi on the fact all this weird shit starts happening to her – CORRECT! It was fun to watch her hit her head though.
  • Prediction #2 – Taxi Guy is Santa! And has shaved his beard off for the warmer climate – I…. still don’t really know who the taxi guy was… INCORRECT?
  • Prediction #3 – Chad is invited to this wedding and Becky will need to forgive him or even possibly fall in love with him over the span of one evening – I mean, technically it was more over like 6,000 years of Becky’s limbo-ed soul time but as far as Chad is concerned… CORRECT!
  • Prediction #4 – A million years ago Becky thought Chad was cheating on her with Molly and left before he could explain – CORRECT and CHECK to the eye roll.

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: I believe in this case this would have been classed as animal cruelty
  • Piano: The singing was enough, let’s not give them a musical instrument, too
  • Carolling: Does the impromptu singing from Becky and Chad count?
  • Christmas Montage: No one deserved a montage today
  • Fire Hazards: Only the wedding guests after taking all those shots
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: I wasn’t paying enough attention to know when Becky’s Dad died.
  • Snowing on cue: We’ve had many a sunny Christmas film, this year! I guess you have to include non-snowy states, too.

 

I now know that trying to watch a ‘cheery’ and ‘uplifting’ Christmas film so early in the morning is a terrible deal. For me. Unfortunately I’m going to have to make a few more bad business decisions because early morning is the only time left for me to review.

God. Help me. Tomorrow. Or whenever you’re ready, buddy.

Christmas Advent #20 – A Magic Christmas

We’re on the home stretch! I don’t know what today will bring but I am sure as shit that it will be astronomically better than what we had to suffer through yesterday. Let not ‘A Fairytale Christmas’ darken our Christmas door like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

The difference is, as a child, I was always fascinated with that guy and I despised the Ghost of Christmas Past. That is why we are not going to look back on yesterday for a moment longer! And awa-ay we go!

 

Oh, this time we have an aerial shot of a nice looking neighbourhood and we even get a narrator this time, telling us this is a the Carter’s family story. We lovingly drift through everyone’s room while they’re sleeping, including teenage kids Kyle and Sienna and their parents Jack and Holly.

I have never felt so informed after a minute into a Christmas film! I am honestly amazed. Other than the fact that when she wakes up she has to hear the words ‘Good morning, Mrs Carter’, I don’t know why Holly is so shit up by the alarm clock. Ace! This film is being narrated by the family dog! Really, this couldn’t get much better, right now.

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Best Christmas film character. Right up there with Jackie. I love Jackie.

Pancakes and…. eggs? For breakfast? The dog said he loves Holly’s cooking though and I am just going to trust in his judgement. Both me and Kyle are concerned by the crooked, fake Christmas tree at the foot of the stairs but I feel he is exaggerating about his friend on the basketball team getting a real, 15 foot tree every Christmas. Probably just after attention. Perhaps he will turn to drugs when he realises they are by far easier to source than attention from your family.

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I have questions… and they’re not about the tree.

Holy shit…. no… not again. Look who it is! It’s Belle’s sociopathic, egotistical and completely deaf, blind and dumb excuse of a dad! Yet why am I still happier to see this guy, two days in a row, than I was at the prospect of seeing the other Jack again?

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He knows he’s going to be a terrible father and is going to do nothing to change it

I think we should focus on the fact that Buster has not been walked this morning but instead we are far more concerned with outdoing each other in the present department.


Sienna: “Oh my gosh my phone is so slow! I’d better be getting a new smartphone for Christmas.”

Jack: “Errrr, cellphones are a little expensive, maybe you’ll get one next year.”

Kyle: “If she’s getting a new phone them I’m getting a car.”

Holly: “Well if he’s getting a car, I’m getting a new kitchen.”

Me: “This is really not how the progression of Christmas presents go, guys…”


After a family breakfast, where it appears teenagers don’t actually have the time to eat anything, we learn from the master Oracle himself, Buster, about the Carter family business that was set up in 1949 by Jack’s grandfather. It appears to be some sort of bakery which Holly manages to keep stocked on her own because Jack just wanted to travel the world and become a great writer, instead.

Prediction #1 – Jack will realise his dreams and that is what he meant when he mentioned he would be making more money next year

Prediction #2 – Jack might not love the family business right now but it will turn out to mean a lot to him when he finds his Christmas spirit


Buster: “The bakery struggles a bit financially…”

Me: “Well no shit! I’ve just watched Jack serve to people and claim it’s on the house!”


Apparently Jack likes to dabble in the stock market in every second of his free time but is not very good at it. What happened to the dream of writing and travelling the world? You have gone in a very opposite, corporate feeling direction here, buddy. Jack starts complaining about how they are barely making ends meet before he serves another person and refuses to let them pay! I have zero sympathy for this man or his financial concerns and seemingly neither does Holly when she lectures him about giving away her hard work for free.

As per usual it is a mere few days before Christmas when shit starts to kick off. Some place called ‘Fathering Pines’? is closing down but are offering great rates for their final season. I believe it is the look that Buster gives to Jack, seeing right into his very soul, that convinces the man to call a family meeting and let them all know they are off to Fathering Pines.

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Holly is the only family member left who still believes in her husband

Jack: “We are about to embark on an adventure that the Carter family has not undertaken in many, many years. Not only will it bring us closer together as a family but it will give me the opportunity to write my #1 bestselling novel.”

Holly: “Honey!”

Jack: “And I can say it in two words… Christmas Vacation!”

Me: “… How fucking long are you going for to write a novel?”


Prediction #3 – Fathering Pines will be nothing like what Jack and Holly remember it as… the place is closing down, after all

The kids really think they have more important things to do, like play major basketball games and go to their best friend’s party, but Jack is adamant that life is passing them all by. I think his children are doing just fine in the ol’ life department. I really believe this is quickly becoming about Jack’s own, personal mid-life crisis. When the man starts harping on about going off the grid with no phones, Internet or laptop I am getting flashbacks… Jack will even be writing on a typewriter!

Holly is suddenly all for this vacation and I do not understand why all of these people want to be so close to each other as a family! You’re probably not going to like what you find out about each other and realise those phones and laptops were a very healthy barrier to stop you from murdering your entire family one night for the insurance. … I’m just sayin’.


Jack: “Sienna, what did I say about the phone, sweetheart?”

Sienna: “Dad, that’s not fair at all, Kyle gets to bring his ball.”

Jack: “I hardly think that’s the same thing.”

Kyle: “Yeah, Sienna, definitely not the same thing. I mean I can’t take selfies and Snapchat with my ball.”

Sienna: “OK, but what if there’s a blizzard and an earthquake and it causes an avalanche and bears start to attack us and we’re lost and we don’t have a phone and…”

Me: “And then! There was an eagle! And it just swooped right in!”


Prediction #4 – They are going to need to use the emergency phone Jack is locking in the car’s glove box

On their long journey Jack is trying to make his kid’s pee to a schedule and becoming very excited about how much writing he thinks he can get done. I am also very worried about the condition of these roads going up to the resort… at least Buster seems optimistic about the entire thing. I imagine the facts he is keeping from us, in order to keep up his friendly, family dog facade, is that he can’t wait to chase down the local wildlife through the woods and drag it back to the cabin for the family to scream over.

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Anyone else worried the sound of Jack’s typewriter is going to start an avalanche?

Predictably the kids are not impressed with the log cabin and the amount of dead animal heads which have been mounted to the wall. Or the fact they will be sharing a room… with a bunk-bed… And where the hell did Holly get all that fresh food from? They drove it all the way up here? I suppose… at least it would have stayed cold in the boot?

Prediction #5 – We’re going to get snowed in

After Jack spends a long time standing outside of the lodge and wondering where he would be if he was firewood he finally ropes his son into going to hunt for the stuff. I am more horrified to find that the lodge actually has central heating and the man was mildly considering making his family suffer until he could build a fire… at least Holly is there, speaking some sense. Or maybe it was the fact she saw her husband go off into the woods with their teenage son and the tiniest axe ever, to collect firewood, which made her turn the heating on. She can see two cases of hypothermia coming from a mile off.

Wilderness Jack is just returning from his expedition when a car pulls up at the resort and some guy called Robert hangs out the car door in order to hail Jack down. As this film is all about knowledge sharing we meet Robert’s wife Eva and his teenage son Tommy, who Sienna needs to immediately stop fawning over because the boy thought it prudent to wear sunglasses whilst sitting in the back of his parent’s car. No, girl, no. Think about what you’re doing.

Turns out Jack and Robert used to both come up to the resort as kids and Jack has been bringing his family here every year since. Inviting them all over for coffee the man is obviously staying in the largest lodge on site and Eva is having a panic attack when Buster runs all over their furniture. Luckily Robert remembers they have a cleaner who can fix everything right up for them so she should just chill and enjoy sitting down in their very own festive fire hazard. That’ll help her calm right down.

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Forget about the dog, concentrate on the impending doom

I am suddenly unsure whether Sienna is actually interested in Tommy or just his phone or why the boy hands it over so willingly. He is clearly not your average teenage boy who needs to keep that phone under lock and key lest his parents discover what his real interests are. God help you on your journey, Sienna.

While the kids stand out on the balcony and freeze to death the adults remain inside and discuss how Robert is actually good at capitalising on the stock market and was a millionaire before he even left college. Now he simply dabbles in anything he likes and it always seems to work out for him… as well as Eva who is the owner and executive chef of a five star restaurant in Beverly Hills.

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Eva is actually younger than Robert… but more possessed by Satan

When asked about whether Jack had actually managed to get anywhere with his writing career his first instinct is to lie as extravagantly as he can and claim he has 5 bestsellers to his name! That is… until Holly sees into the future and how fucking more awful their situation could get and informs their hosts he is just joking and making him look quite insane in the process. Never fear, though, Robert and Eva thinks running a bakery sounds just adorable. As adorable as that moose head hung up on the wall with a little Santa hat perched on top. Just… exquisite.

Despite the warring of children that want to stay to watch the big game and hear Tommy play guitar (good god no) and parents who want to get the fuck outta there before they have to jump in the hot tub with Eva and Robert we all end up back in our own, respective cabins… One where people try to force you play charades and you have to listen to the big game on the radio, instead.

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Sienna was wondering whether the fire was big enough to jump into and get out of charades

The next morning we are at war again when Robert’s family try to invite everyone for breakfast and snow mobiles and Jack just wants to… well, fuck knows what he had planned out in the wilderness for his family. Eva really hates this dog but Robert thinks Buster would look great on the back of a snowmobile so off we all head to the mountains so Jack can watch his family enjoy themselves from the edge of the forest. Now that’s what I call family bonding.


Robert: “A little perseverance, hard work, luck, you’re going to be fine! You’re gonna be writing that novel before you know it!”

Me: “I’m sure he would if he had actually sat down at any single point yet to start typing.”


Robert pulls some snowshoes out the boot of his car so he and Jack can reminisce about the great ‘Karl Carter’s Fathering Pines Winter Olympics’ which he made all of the local kids get involve with and potentially break all of their ankles whilst snowshoeing across country and hiking up mountains for a magical Christmas tree that could grant eternal happiness. As it turns out Jack and Robert always came last…

Prediction #6 – Jack is going to go off in search of that magical Christmas tree and Buster is going to have to save his ass

There is an awkward moment where Jack considers himself to be middle class and Robert things very much otherwise but we forget all about it in order to take part in a snowshoe competition which Jack spectacularly loses.

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Maybe if you were a better father you’d be able to win snowshoe competitions

I imagine that Robert and Eva are so big on spending time with Jack’s family because they don’t want to spend another single second alone with each other which leads to a debate about which wife will be cooking the best dinner that evening and how they really should all eat together more. I honestly could not think of anything worse…

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I live next to a god damn supermarket and don’t have that many condiments!

Sienna: “Hey, I’m sorry, Tommy lives really far away and I don’t have that much time with him.”

Holly: “You got him this morning! And he is just a boy, this is your family!”

Sienna: “Dad was just a boy before he became Dad to you!”

Me: “Woah there, what?!”

Kyle: “Husband to Mom.”

Sienna: “Ok, whatever, it’s the same thing.”

Me: “No one gonna correct the girl? No? OK. Good look passing your biology test.”


In an attempt to feel closer to their children they have Sienna commentate on what she would put on Facebook or Instagram if she had just taken a picture of her family and also want to hear all about the time Kyle was playing basketball with Brad at the park. It turns out their biggest concern should be the fact Holly wants to run a successful business in the modern world but doesn’t know what a hashtag is or how to use one.

Luckily Robert’s family is also shit at talking to each other and would rather take pictures of their food and send it to their friends, talk to their personal trainers and answer business calls. Sienna is trying to figure out how to use the typewriter and is probably typing the meaningful prose ‘I hate my family’ while Jack is giving Kyle some sort of back massage in front of the fire. I believe this is why we don’t have family time…

Jack has just started to actually work on his damn novel when the power goes out in the entire resort. I have a feeling that Kyle likes his dad a lot more than his sister and that’s why Jack, even more bizarrely, turns to Kyle whilst out in the darkness searching for more firewood to talk to about his sister’s boy craze.


Jack: “Hey, can I ask you something?”

Kyle: “Yeah.”

Jack: “How do you get along with your sister?”

Kyle: “I dunno, fine?”

Jack: “Something’s bothering me. Ya know… this boy thing… she won’t really talk to me about it. I mean even the sweetest of boys can break a young girl’s heart and I worry about her.”

Kyle: “Dad, don’t worry, OK? I’m gonna take good care of her.”

Me: “I’ll beat the shit out of her if she so much as looks at a boy.”


By the time Jack and Kyle have discussed the finer points of life and return to the lodge, Holly has already set the entire place up with a bunch of candles and would really rather Jack didn’t go back to working on his novel and, by association, his life long dream. I mean… can he just not, right now.

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Please note that the family have given Buster Jack’s blanket

The next morning Robert comes by to check up on everyone and reveals the fact they have a back-up generator which they have been enjoying since yesterday evening when the Carter family were beginning their slippery slope into pneumonia.


Kyle: “Hey, Mr. Jones, do you think it would be OK if erm…”

Robert: “Turn on the big game?! It’s already on, buddy!”

Me: “How many big games are there…?”


Robert mentions he has been scribbling down bits of poetry for the last few years and would love Jack to take a look at it, which really only fills me with both hilarity and dread before the Carter family basically charge the much bigger lodge they have at their disposal. Turning to family games we pitch each family against the other and learn that Sienna would rather be part of the Jones’ family and Tommy thinks ‘Ear Wax’ is a movie.

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The answer was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Beneath this there was a drawing of what looked like a flat turd. Just so you know.

After being somewhat inspired by Robert’s scribbled poems, Jack heads back to his freezing cabin so he can do some writing and leaves his family in the care of Robert. I doubt they’ll notice he has even gone. When his family do show up again Jack has written absolutely nothing and blames this on Robert showing off how great his life and finances are. Rather than listen to her husband’s miserable paranoia, Holly goes off to ‘warm up the bed’, as if she cared whether the man freezes to death or not.

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Those who can’t do, Druid

Prediction #7 – Jack will be much the richer for all the time he actually spent bonding with his family. Eye. Roll.


Holly: “So the kids are with Robert and Eva: Robert ordered some pay per view game on TV for Kyle to watch and Eva is chaperoning Tommy and Sienna in the hot tub and later…”

Jack: “Wait a second…”

Holly: “I’m going to go over and help Eva make lunch and see if we can co-exist together in the kitchen.”

Jack: “Tommy and Sienna are in the hot tub….?”

Holly: “Honey, it’s fine… and it’s the perfect time for you to get some writing done!”

Me: “Yeah, good luck with that now.”


Unable to shake the very real fear of teenage pregnancy, Jack sits outside to type in a chair he didn’t even bother to clear completely of snow. I don’t know what Buster did to deserve this but he’s sitting out there with the man, too. I at least hope that Jack is going to use up all of those discarded pages as fuel for the fire to stop his family from freezing to death… This time Jack blames his terrible writing on both Robert’s flashy wealth and the fact Buster was meant to be his muse and isn’t even paying attention to the man.

At this point it very much does not surprise me that Jack doesn’t even know what to write about or what genre to start in. Buster thinks it would be a much better idea to head over to the Jones’, just in time for Jack to walk in and overhear the kids talking about how cool Tommy’s dad is compared to theirs. Fuck knows what he did with Buster but Jack swiftly exits stage left.


Sienna: “Tommy, do you wanna get like… married so your Dad can be my Dad and… this phone, I just love it so much.”

Tommy: “Errrrr, Kyle? Do you wanna refill?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s right, run the fuck away.”

Kyle: “What would you do if Mom and Dad saw you with that?”

Sienna: “Please don’t tell them.”

Me: “He literally told them over hamburgers the other night. He literally said it, right to your Dad and nothing happened. You just concentrate on your wedding, love.”


Kyle thinks now would be a good idea to offer some brotherly advice… sitting up on the landing where a conversation can be heard from across the entire lodge, while Tommy goes to get some more drinks. Maybe that’s why Robert is sitting out on a bench, outside Jack’s cabin, just waiting for Jack to stroll past so he can offer him hot cocoa and so he doesn’t have to listen to the strange wedding plans of teenagers.

Jack attempts to tell the man they should really be spending time with their own families but falls at the final hurdle and cannot turn down one last challenge from Robert. Christ only knows what the man has dreamt up on that bench because, back in his kitchen, WWIII is about to break out when Eva and Holly both want to make their famous desserts and both think theirs would be better. Inspired by seeing their husbands struggling up the hill with some rubber rings and to their ultimate demise, both wives agree to their own competition. It’s probably for the best, having a full meal prepared for the kids when they have to break the news to them that both father’s died in a tragic, unplanned sledding accident.

All Jack has to do is win this race and Robert will forget about all those other times he beat his ass. That is… if either man could agree on who actually won… While the dad’s are arguing up a hill and the mom’s are arguing in the kitchen, Kyle thinks this would be the optimum time to pay Tommy a visit and tell the boy he will beat him into a different nationality if he hurts his sister. Isn’t everyone getting along just great!?


Holly: “Eva… this is fantastic.”

Eva: “This is awful!”

Holly: “Well… that’s a little harsh.”

Eva: “No, it’s awful because it’s so much better than mine! Oh my God, I can’t stop eating this thing!”

Me: “All I’ve ever wanted in life is a brownie that brought me to tears and I couldn’t stop eating until I caused myself diabetes. All I’ve ever wanted.”


At this point I remembered I am making beer cheese soup and pretzels for dinner and felt much better about life. After being fed all that dessert I can understand why the kids are so sad about leaving the giant lodge and having to return to their own crap shack. Meanwhile, Jack is up a mountain, offering up his family in a competition to find the giant, magic tree before the Carter’s do.

Prediction #8 – Tommy has decided that he likes Sienna enough to let their family win, even after his dad tells him that he loves him

Robert is far better at motivational speeches than Jack, who has just broke the news to his family by telling them this is actually all just a story his Dad used to tell him as a child. I should point out, at this point, that Sienna has occasionally been reading books lying around the lodge for entertainment and that her bringing a map downstairs isn’t too much of a Christmas coincidence.


Holly: “OK… We’re gonna need a map.”

Sienna: “Wait, wait! Like this one?”

Jack: “Where did you get this?”

Sienna: “I found it the other day in a book.”

Jack: “No, this is my map! I drew this when I was 9 years old.”

Me: “But you didn’t find the tree when you were 9 years old… why are you going to follow that map?”


Buster’s narration kindly tells us that sometimes, you don’t really know what you’re looking for and I can fucking believe it right then when Jack does not want to stop and check out the view and would rather reenact one of the travelling scenes from Lord of the Rings. Meanwhile, Robert has driven his family down to the town in order to ask around about this mythical tree.

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Any minute now. Orcs.

Guy: “You don’t find the sacred tree… it finds you. … But try that way.”

Me: “If it’s gonna find you anywhere, it’ll be over there.”


I am beginning to fear actual pneumonia and possible frostbite because Holly looks like she has left the cabin in her pyjama bottoms and they’re all going to die of exposure, including the Jones’ family who has stumbled upon a man…. digging snow… in the middle of some snow… who is also lost….

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This man is legit shovelling to nowhere

Prediction #9 – Both families will converge on the tree at the same time and won’t be able to decide who got their first until the kids call them out on their utter bullshit

When Jack sends his family on up ahead with the dog and the map not a single one of them questions why he’s staying behind. It’s to talk to his dead Dad, of course, and ask for help finding the tree but I adore the fact not a one of them asks what he is doing or cares about the fact he is no longer with them. Buster is their new father figure now! Probably follow a map better, too.

With absolutely no sign from above or even a single ray of light pointing them in the right direction, Jack believes Buster may be the key after all and he will lead the way. I doubt it, seeing as he’s walking at the side of Holly and is not leading anyone anywhere. Nevertheless, Buster does find them the tree which looks like a hunk of deadwood. Great for kindling, though!

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Oh… yes, erm… I’m so glad you found me!

It is at this point, when the Jones’ family appears over the horizon to see the Carter’s have found the tree first, that Jack has his breakthrough moment and realises he already has everything he needed. Including this massive dead tree in the middle of the wilderness.


Sienna: “I love you too, Dad, and I’ll stop texting on my phone so much.”

Me: “No, please don’t, it turns out you’re all really boring people.”


Robert is the only member of his family to be impressed by the hunk of kindling but they make an effort for the man, anyway. After all, he may be crazy but he does pay the bills… I like the optimism of these people that they’re all going to make it back to the cabin and be able to cook Christmas dinner without any limbs or digits falling off from the cold. Or, in fact, find their way back to the cabin at all.

It turns out dogs can sense and hear not only spirits but the spirits of magical trees, too.

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Never judge a tree by it’s rotten ass roots

I… do not understand how Tommy managed to get Sienna gift or how she managed to get one for him either, which is probably why we don’t actually ever see what the fuck those gifts are and gloss over the fact that, in the background, those two kids are passing the same gifts back and forth to each other.

Holly and Eva agree to work together and combine recipes whilst Robert and Jack believe they can buy and renovate Fathering Pines. Jack even finishes his novel and you’d have thought, after all those mere minutes of planning out his future career he might have put more than 10 seconds into the artwork of his book cover…

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Just take a moment to consider Jack actually liked and signed off on this cover

But there we have it! A completely harmless and for the most part unassuming Christmas film. Not too offensive and not too unbelievable by Christmas film standards. If you want to watch a perfectly average film, which seriously makes for a change, this season, then head over here.

Now let’s see if I’ve actually improved any at guessing over the last 20 days…

 

Prediction board – 2/9

  • Prediction #1 – Jack will realise his dreams of writing and that is what he meant when he mentioned he would be making more money next year – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #2 – Jack might not love the family business right now but it will turn out to mean a lot to him when he finds his Christmas spirit – Accccctually… no. It meant more to Holly. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #3 – Fathering Pines will be nothing like what Jack and Holly remember it as – I think the issue here is that it was everything they remembered. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #4 – They are going to need to use the emergency phone Jack is locking in the car’s glove box – No avalanche. No kidnapping. No fire. No nothing! INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #5 – We’re going to get snowed in – How did we not get snowed in!? INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #6 – Jack is going to go off in search of that magical Christmas tree and Buster is going to have to save his ass – Even if Buster had had to save his ass I don’t think he would have at this point. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #7 – Jack will be much the richer for all the time he actually spent bonding with his family. Eye. Roll. – Yyyyyup. CORRECT!
  • Prediction #8 – Tommy has decided that he likes Sienna enough to let their family win, even after his dad tells him that he loves him – No. Their family just lost naturally. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #9 – Both families will converge on the tree at the same time and won’t be able to decide who got their first until the kids call them out on their utter bullshit – Nope. Again. Robert’s family just lost naturally. INCORRECT!

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: That would have been interesting to see during an avalanche
  • Piano: No, that would have turned into a competition too, I’m sure
  • Carolling: No. Thank you producers.
  • Christmas Montage: No time! We were scaling mountains and running snowshoe races!
  • Fire Hazards: Oh yeah, Eva set up that living room well
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: Nothing. There was no actual proof that anyone died during a past Christmas! Is this the only one!?
  • Snowing on cue: We were up a snowy mountain… You do the math

 

I have somehow got even friggin worse at this game! I need to bow out quickly… and not just because my hands are legit freezing as I type.

See you tomorrow! If my hands even make it…

Christmas Advent #19 – A Fairytale Christmas

Now… I am not trying to be mean but when I looked through my last few recorded films I wanted to get this one, with Haylie Duff in it, out of the way quicker than the others… Nothing against the woman, other than the fact she can’t spell our name properly, but ya knooooooow…. Lizzie Mcquire…

Who knows, she might pleasantly surprise me. Let’s see.

 

Ooh, this time we get a Christmas tree decorating, present wrapping, tag writing opening credits montage! The very first of it’s kind! Not quickly followed by an aerial shot of the city either. Instead we get Belle, walking down the street with some roses, hailing down work men on rooves, being handed a free wreath and giving to charity. Ain’t she just delightful?

She has only just gotten into the art…. gallery? and put her roses in a vase when Tony waltzes in with more roses and claims great minds should definitely go to dinner together. Belle’s father pops around the corner to basically give props to Tony for trying to date his daughter again before disappearing. Worst. Father. Ever. Tony decides to wage actual warfare and claims if she wants to be freed from the worst pick-up lines in history then she’s just going to have to go to dinner with him.

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Reacted no Dad ever to a man trying to date his daughter


Belle: “Look, you are smart and good-looking and charming… Any girl would be crazy to not want to go out with you but…”

Me: “I have to brain cells to rub together and I’d rather not. And no, Tony, before you say it I am not a lesbian.”

Belle: “… we’re friends.”

Me: “You’re friends with this!?”


Belle fears she may just be a challenge for Tony to overcome but legitimately can’t go to dinner because her dad is sending her off somewhere to meet with a new client. Oh christ…. her name is Belle, the estate has a library, she loves books, she’s being sent away over Christmas, it’s called A Fairytale Christmas… It’s been 6 minutes, 3 of that was ads before the film even started and I’m already wondering if I can do this. At least we can depend on the owner wanting to auction off all of the contents of his house before selling it and wants all of this done before Christmas. Tight and unreasonable deadlines are what we know around here.

Prediction #1 – Belle is going to regret agreeing to that date with Tony for when she gets back because he’s going to turn into a jealous little prick

Or maybe whoever Katie is, who he has phoned to take Belle’s place, will keep him occupied instead. I don’t think Belle’s dad should be left alone for any period of time because he stopped listening to her in order to laugh at the concept of Garfield hating Monday’s when he’s a cat. I can see why he sends his daughter out to meet the clients and deal with the finances. Her dad thinks the problem of a guy who isn’t her type but just won’t leave her alone is to simply… go out with him! Give him hope! End up with a stalker when you realise you can’t stand him! We haven’t had too many terrible parents this year but this guy has already shot to the top of the list.

We do get some aerial shots of a vineyard though, where some guy is wondering around and frowning at his grapes. Not a euphemism. I am not entirely sure whether Belle has found herself in the correct place because she is still wearing the same clothes, it’s still the day and she’s casually stepping out of a tiny car. If it was that easy to get to why were they making such a big deal about shipping her out there for Christmas?

At Vic’s Cafe we meet, presumably Vic, who is studying to be ordained online as a second job. Yeah, I see what they did there. Apparently it’s very common for people to double up on jobs around there which is an interesting theory when some towns we have already visited seem to have about 50 residents. Like that time Teddy Jr. was the local mechanic, Dr and musician

Vic is happy to assure Belle that everything is homemade and take her order but not so happy when she asks about the Lowell estate and warns her not to go there. Fortunately Angie, the estate manager, is eavesdropping from the end of the counter and pops over to introduce herself. She works for Mr Lowell and is still alive to tell the tale, which is apparently something to be admired.


Vic: “How long you in town for?”

Belle: “I guess however long it takes me to catalogue all the items in his home.”

Angie: “That is gonna be a while.”

Vic: “Yeah, hey, perfect! You know, you’ll be here for the Christmas party. Now that is quite something! Look, I can’t promise to take you as my date but I’ll save a couple of spots for you on my dance card.”

Me: “Good Christ, no.”


Hopefully Angie is willing to take us under her wing because I severely distrust everybody else right now. Belle looks to be rocking up to the estate at around midnight and I hope the guy greets her at the door with a shotgun or something. He should be suitably paranoid and alone, this time of year. Unfortunately the client is not impressed to see a woman on his porch and would much rather deal with her dad. Clearly the man hasn’t spoken to her dad at any great length and I very much suggest he gives up and takes Belle’s help.

Apparently the man inherited the house from his grandparents and simply believes its a house with way too much stuff in it.


Belle: “There’s no Christmas decorations.”

Me: “Why, you wanna catalogue those, too?”

Guy: “I plan to be out of here by Christmas.”

Belle: “Huh, that’s too bad.”

Me: “………. YOU KNEW THIS.”


I am honestly counting the minutes until this film is over but at least I get some entertainment from the guy watching Belle struggle to carry her luggage up the stairs. This guy is just a barrel of fucking laughs as he miserably informs us he doesn’t sleep in the house for personal reasons so Belle can have the master suite, he has a dog called Beast, his fiance named him and he’s not engaged anymore, thank you and goodnight. Belle has put her gloves on in order to check out all the books in the library but it’s not a fun library I mean… there’s a bible in it, for a start.

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Damn, she made it up the stairs. Will just have to try and kill her another way.

I’m not sure if we have actually heard the client’s name yet, I have not been paying attention, but the guy seems mildly surprised that books could be worth so much. Just so long as Belle knows he doesn’t need her advice and won’t be waiting on her then they should get along just grand. I’m never sure why, out of these situations, women stick around and fall in love with these men after the first meeting. Sure, maybe in real life you might miss out on talking to a guy again because you met him when he was having a bad day but I would be on the phone to my friend telling her about how this guy was a massive prick, I was going to do a shit job, steal his dog and did she wanna get cocktails when I got back?

At least Beast is happy to break into the woman’s room and spend the night with her, instead. For some reason, finding his dog gone in the night, really upsets out client which gives him reason to wonder around the house without a top on and pay a visit to Belle. Avoiding looking at the man’s abs and receiving a lecture about working until 1:30 in the morning on other work, Emily has won the battle of who Beast loves more. This should make it easier to kidnap him.

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Those abs are the main reason this man even got hired, the most you could do is make sure they were uploaded in HD quality

This guy adores being topless. He just loves it. Now he’s going for a jog around the vineyard because he can and waltzing into the kitchen so Emily can ask why the fuck he hates shirts so much. I don’t know why she bothered to make enough breakfast for him too, he clearly wasn’t going to eat it and everyone is very shocked by how much Beast loves the woman. Even Angie, who is here to give Belle the grand tour and amaze her with their grapes.

We finally learn our client’s name, Hunter, and that he was raised by his grandparents who converted the barn to throw parties in every other week. She says barn conversion but I am seeing a very poorly built barn that has not been converted and they’ve just cleared it out so they can fit tables and chairs in it occasionally… I don’t know what lies those grandparents were telling people…

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I’m no architect but I can’t help thinking structures should not have open holes in the them

Ah, fuck, Angie mentions an annual Christmas dance that his nan used to hold in the barn and we know where this is heading. Hunter hasn’t been back to the place much and recently quit his job in San Francisco so he can go and travel the world instead.

Prediction #2 – Belle demands that the annual Christmas dance be held in the barn again

Prediction #3 – Hunter is avoiding his fiance and the rest of his life to jog shirtless in Thailand instead

Hunter even has a solarium with a vase of roses in the middle. Apparently it’s strictly off limits but as his grandmother’s favourite room she planted the roses and Angie comes in to water them occasionally. I wonder if he believes they’re magical roses or just has no concept of what plants require to live. But no, really, this couldn’t be much worse.

Oh, no! It could! Tony has dropped in to speak to Belle’s dad about his date with another woman last night! I am very surprised when, asking her dad for his blessing to marry his daughter, her dad confirms she is not a deal sign off on. I doubt that mindset will last for long, though, especially when Tony mentions nudging her in the right direction. If her dad had been listening to her the other day and not laughing about Garfield in the paper, he might have heard that Tony isn’t even her type.

Back at the vineyard, Hunter is being suitably creepy by staring at the woman from about 10 feet away until she notices him and then walking off without a sound. Despite this she has left him a note to say there is some meatloaf in the fridge if he gets hungry and her handwriting can only bring me great joy. Man eats meatloaf, man probably falls in love, man has to jog it off again in the morning. I don’t know how many calories were in that thing but he’s jogged right off the estate…

Hunter is far too busy being shirtless to check out the portfolio Belle is working on and she thinks it would be a wonderful idea to clean up the solarium and pruning the roses while he is out running errands.

Prediction #4 – Hunter is eventually going to find her in there and he’s gonna be beyond pissed and want her to leave before for some reason he thought he could sell the house without her ever going in there

It very much appears as though that moment may be now as Hunter searches around the house for her and ooh! There she is! The woman has hilariously pruned the roses so much they are now just a tiny bunch and bought new flowers in which sparks of an argument where Hunter seems to think a new buyer would not care about the fact they had just purchased a solarium and just chance upon it one day like… the fuck is this? That or he just cuts it straight off the side of the building and takes it with him because he seems to think it’s not even part of the house.

The man gets so angry about the fact women don’t like being shouted at that he knocks the roses clean off their tiny table and can’t believe Belle thinks it would be OK to quit. She can’t even muster the amount of fucks it would take to kidnap the dog and so she slowly wheels her luggage away, down the garden path. I’m not sure what Angie’s actual job is because she’s always hanging around in Vic’s Cafe and… I think the owners name is Barney! I’m getting very mixed messages from everyone, even when Angie nips out to her car to shout at Hunter over the phone.


Angie: “How dare you shout at Belle! This is not how you were raised!”

Hunter: “Angie have you seen her? Is she OK?”

Me: “………. OH! That’s actual concern! I thought that was like…. but seriously, is she OK ’cause….”


I don’t know how impressed the woman is going to be to see the man arrive over her cobb salad but off he rushes, anyway. Even Beast knows how likely it is that his owner will fuck this up so is gonna wing man him. When Hunter asks Belle if they can talk outside both Angie and Barney pull faces that suggest they would rather they stay right where they are so they can hear this conversation and gossip about it later. The man apologises but notably leaves his dog out in the car… should probably… not do that if you’re gonna sit down and have lunch with these people. Oh, OK, never mind, down he goes.

The man agreed to be nicer, more civil and polite when they got back but opening Belle’s car door for her and taking her luggage is going way too fast, too soon. The man hopes that by showing Belle a picture of his dead fiance, Helen, that he was hiding behind a dresser in her room that it might explain a lot of things. I am also confused by the solarium: Hunter claims it was Helen’s favourite room and Angie claims it was his grandmother’s. Was he… dating his grandmother? They were one and the same person? Helen was a reincarnation? I don’t….

The man is now wondering around the place smiling and staring at the side of Belle’s head in a very strange, sudden and not a little creepy change of heart. When her dad calls her later that day she shouldn’t be too surprised to find Tony is having lunch with him and bribing him with wine. Apparently, if you can’t eat with the woman you love then her father is the next best thing?


Belle: “I thought you had a meeting today?”

Dad: “Well… since as it was originally your meeting I’m going to let you call them up, apologise and reschedule.”

Belle: “I think my hands are full here!”

Dad: “Listen, Belle, I have earned my leisure time.”

Belle: “Yes, Dad, I think you have but not if it’s going to interfere with business!”

Dad: “Listen, if you don’t want to call them then I’ll fire off an email and let them know that you’re out of town and it slipped your mind!”

Belle: “No! Don’t do that, I’ll… handle it.”

Dad: “Good girl. How are those e-cards coming?”

Belle: “Fine. I’ll finish them tonight.”

Dad: “You, my love! enjoy that library.”

Me: “You know what? Between your dad and Tony, Hunter is a good choice.”


It can only improve his standing when he brings her wine from their private reserve that she can drink while strolling around the vineyard. She also gets the chance to whinge about her dad and how the art gallery and auction business was originally his dream but now he’s bored of it all it’s mostly up to her to run what appears to be a very successful business. Belle’s dream is to deal in rare books. One day. Maybe when she’s killed off her father and claimed his insurance.

Hunter’s grandma loved books too, which means she can only approve of Belle from beyond the grave and is probably very opposed to her grandson trying to sell off her entire damn library. Apparently the pair realise they have been out, talking for hours, but their quarter full wine glasses beg to differ. More like 30 minutes. Tops.

It’s amazing how quickly Belle has forgotten about this man screaming at her and breaking vases this morning. Take the man’s wine and manual labour by all means but don’t forgive him that easily! Unless…. he is going to abandon his morning jog halfway through to come back to the house and cook you an inedible breakfast. Then you just leave before he can give you food poisoning in time for the holidays.

At some point they decided they would decorate the house for Christmas after all, which really is pointless seeing as this man’s plan, as far as anyone is concerned, is to leave before Christmas. No doubt this has changed but let’s just behave logically here for a moment. Heading out to cut down their own Christmas tree – because Nan and Grandad foresaw this and planted their own fir tree row – we get to witness the worst falling on the floor with the other person on top of you scene, ever. The man practically lunges at her the moment he realises she is going down. These scenes need banning. Those and the ones where women are incapable of understanding how a ladder works so simply throw themselves off the top instead.

Thank god Beast was there to break it up.


Angie: “How was your time in the woods?”

Belle: “It was… perfect.”

Angie: “That’s… an interesting choice of words.”

Me: “It is, isn’t it? I would have to believe the woman had never seen a tree in it’s natural habitat before if she came back and said that to me. Wait… where is the tree? Where’s the dog!?”


Angie tries to very unsubtly convince Hunter to hold the annual Christmas dance in the barn because they have nowhere to host it this year and it will need to be cancelled. At least the Christmas Festival hasn’t been cancelled but how could Belle possibly go when she’s so busy? I’ll tell you how, Hunter is going to readjust the deadline Belle needs to be done by, despite literally 6 seconds ago saying he couldn’t host the dance because he wants to be gone before Christmas. Go figure that one out.

Dad manages to phone from another lunch with Tony and I’m just gonna skip right ahead to the part where Tony decides to buy the estate for her because she said she loves it so much. Like legit he’s gonna buy the house for her. I…. At least elsewhere Belle and Hunter are accosted by a Santa in the street, telling them to write their letters to him and Hunter has to ruin it by wishing for Isabella. Who, ya know, Belle.

At least he tells the woman she needs to set some serious boundaries with her father after he sends her a bunch of invoices to look over. Belle is saved by the giant ‘Christmas Dance Cancelled’ sign so they can change the subject and Hunter can whinge some more about how it shouldn’t be his responsibility to be a decent human being once in a while.


Hunter: “You heard Angie’s hints…”

Belle: “Yes, she’s very subtle. I think she gets it, ya know? She knows you’ve got a lot going on.”

Hunter: “I do! You know, I don’t have time to host a Christmas party.”

Me: “Mate! You’ve been jogging around without a shirt on for 50% of this film, I think you’ve got plenty of time.”


Hunter does a complete 180 on the idea because Belle was totally cool with being mistaken for his date for the night. Can they just agree to get married and live forever in that damn house so this film can end already? Back at the house, Hunter is liquoring Belle up some more in the library but she asks for 30 minutes before he heads on in. 30 minutes so she can decorate an entire fucking tree and the room. Not only is this woman a pro but, if the montage leads us to believe anything, it’s that she somehow makes decorating very sexy so that we all get the point. It’s the equivalent of the library slipping into something more comfortable. Which is jogging bottoms and a jumper you’ve had for 6 years.

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Honest to god the only thing missing from this montage is some sexy bass in the background

When Belle shows the man some pictures she has already taken of the library he can barely recognise the place. That might be a problem when any prospective buyers that aren’t Tony rock up to view the place. Belle has been a bit heavy-handed with the editing suite, it seems. She also found a terribly constructed version of ‘The Night Before Christmas’, courtesy of Hunter, age 7, so they decide to read it together which is nothing if not painful and I don’t know how many times Hunter has repeated this book but the woman has fallen a-damn-sleep.

I am very sure the man throws an upholstered curtain over her and just leaves her to wake up with the absolute worst neck in the morning. The next morning there are many people walking around the estate with Santa hats on, so you can distinguish them as people working on the barn, and getting the entire estate ready.


Hunter: “You know, if you wanted to take the next couple of days off, I’d be fine with that.”

Belle: “Are you considering staying through Christmas?”

Hunter: “No.”

Me: “That’s… not how time works.”

Belle: “Well, if you need me for a couple of extra days I’m happy to make the time.”

Hunter: “Anything to prolong your time in this library, huh?”

Belle: “It’s…. not just the library….”

Hunter: “…..”

Me: “It’s your dog.”


For some god forsaken reason, Belle calls up her dad and invites him to the dance and Hunter was right, we need some serious boundaries in place here – Dad and Tony are only going to fuck things up for at least 10 minutes of film time and I really don’t know whether I can sit through sulking and people losing their shit over nothing.

Well, since these two have decided to start kissing and open the floodgates they apparently can’t stop, which is why it’s the perfect time for Tony to walk in. Theeeeere we go. Hunter refuses to listen to Belle telling Tony they’re not even dating, Tony is completely unphased by the fact she was kissing this other bloke, Hunter looks like he might take Tony’s offer on the house and for some reason Belle decides to go with Tony to dinner, where her Dad is waiting, instead of telling him to fuck off and go hang out with the dog some more.


Dad: “OK! Who’s hungry!?”

Belle: “I’m not going to dinner with you, Dad. Can you please give us a minute?”

Dad: “Oooooh somebody’s on edge.”

Belle: “You really don’t get it do you?”

Dad: “I am clueless!”

Me: “…. I have nothing to add here.”


Dad, having all the grace of a teenager with hearing difficulties, does not want to hear about all of his flaws and would rather just sulk and tell the woman she needs a vacation, instead. After realising her dad is possibly the worst human being on earth she returns to the house so she can go to bed and cry on the poor dog. Honestly, the entire thing is just tragic. Like… the entire film.

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A woman pointing out a mans flaws!? Must be a lesbian, or something.

I am quite amazed that Hunter is still willing to help with decorating the barn after the fallout of the previous evening but there he is, anyway! Talking to Belle is a step too far, apparently, which is only made worse when her dad and Tony rock up to help out. I think I would rather set the barn on fire with them in it… I’m unsure why her dad asks to speak with her for a moment because he moves her approximately 4 feet away and starts explaining, loudly, about how much of a prick he’s been. I assume that Hunter leaves the barn at the moment the man says ‘I’m going to change’ because he can’t possibly believe any of this shit is taking place on his property.


Angie: “Are you OK, love?”

Belle: “No. No, I don’t think so.”

Angie: “I think I have just the thing to cheer you up.”

Me: “Tequila! Which… you keep in the boot of your car… Oh, no, dresses. You don’t know me at all.”


I miss another smaller and inconsequential montage because Angie asks what the deal with Belle’s Dad is and I just can’t even begin to think of the words which would express how quickly she needs to just forget that thought and leave the country.

I assume everyone else at this dance has shown up early and dressed to do yoga so it makes our assortment of main characters even more overdressed when they pop up in the barn, one by one, like the Noah’s arc we never heard about that was full of failures and quickly shipped off to hell. Poor Hunter is trying to give the woman a corsage when Tony comes over and demands he speaks to her because he paid good petrol money to get there. I don’t know why the woman can’t let the man down as harshly as possible and really has to explain to her dad that she doesn’t want to live with Tony and why would he try and sell her like livestock to her future husband?

Saving the woman from a complete meltdown, Hunter takes her for a dance as far away from the barn as it is humanly possible to get. The next state. No, I’m kidding, they just dance around in a circle on a bridge and talk about how Hunter is dead inside. When Tony comes marching over, again, and Belle is, again, far too nice to the man and tries to explain to him that she doesn’t love him we witness one of the greatest examples of mansplaining I have ever seen in a film.

The man forcibly kisses Belle, Hunter is blind and presumes she was totally into it and he is also deaf and doesn’t hear her shouting at the man. Unfortunately, by the time Belle has turned around, Hunter has completely disappeared. I’m surprised she didn’t turn around to find his shirt, tie and jacket on the floor while he ran freely across his estate, topless, again. Tony cannot read a fucking room to save his life and turns up to discuss matters with Hunter – Christ knows how he knew where to find the man when he was last seen walking in the opposite direction. Still completely oblivious, Hunter just wants Belle to be happy and so Tony capitalises on the situation whilst drinking all of the man’s fine whiskey.


Tony: “You know, me and Belle are meant to be together. She never loved you. In fact, she never in liked you.”

Hunter: “Then why pretend?”

Tony: “The library. All she ever wanted was a library. Hate to be the one to break it to you.”

Hunter: “Of course.”

Me: “Oh, yeah, that explains it all! Women are totally fickle that way, aren’t they? Hey, high five, bro.”


When Hunter agrees to whatever deal Tony was willing to make on the house Tony turns and around and bids the man farewell with the strangest fucking noise I have ever heard. I’m very sure he calls the guy Derek, I mean… he was drinking that whiskey pretty quick, he may have done.

Belle enlists Angie’s help to find Hunter and honest to god I have not laughed so hard for an entire wrap up of a film. I… someone had to sit and edit this shit, ya know. They edited it and then were like yeah, seems legit, let’s put that out into the world! That happened and it can never be taken back.

Tony appears once more, Hunter also appears to scream at the woman and say he never wants to see her again, Tony leads Belle away and probably straight into a shotgun wedding he has set up in the back of his Jeep and then both Angie and Belle’s dad pop out the house to tell Hunter he’s a bellend. It would, of course, have helped if a) Hunter had paid any attention to Belle telling him Tony was not her boyfriend and just obsessed with her and b) if Belle had bothered to tell Hunter she loved him and not just various, surrounding people.

I believe we are actually seeing a kidnapping taking place so it’s a good job Hunter can run quickly. He’d probably run quicker if he took his shirt off but whatever, let him look around for a while. Belle stops to shout at Tony and poke him in the chest some, trying to inform the man that she doesn’t love him, before he blocks her from getting back over the bridge. Then comes the single greatest moment in cinema history.

When she can’t get around him…. she simply goes around the bridge and Tony stands there completely flummoxed by it. His face tells me he cannot believe she has just left him like she wasn’t trying to get around the man two seconds ago. This has turned into the most fascinating thing I have ever watched. We are operating on 3 Day Christmas levels of sheer wonder right now! What I find more wonderful is that when Hunter runs across the bridge to Tony he would technically have ran straight past Belle, heading in the other direction, at the same time.


Hunter: “Where is she!?”

Tony: “She’s gone.”

Hunter: “Gone? Where?”

Tony: “Back to the house.”

Hunter: “I don’t understand! She loves me!”

Tony: “I know… she went back to the house for you. It’s over, you won, she loves you.”

Hunter: “I’m going back to the house!”

Me: “I can’t breathe!”


The man then promptly runs back to the barn. I’m fucking dying here.

Hunter proposes in the middle of the barn and Belle decides to enter in the most turbulent contract she will ever face in her life. A year later they are getting married on Christmas Eve, Barney is officiating, Beast brings over the rings and WE ARE FREE!

WE’RE FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I’m exhausted. Lose the will to live here, in even worse quality than I experienced it in.

 

Prediction board – 3/4

  • Prediction #1 – Belle is going to regret agreeing to that date with Tony for when she gets back because he’s going to turn into a jealous little prick – So very CORRECT!
  • Prediction #2 – Belle demands that the annual Christmas dance be held in the barn again – It was more like Angie but Belle helped so… CORRECT!
  • Prediction #3 – Hunter is avoiding his fiance and the rest of his life to jog shirtless in Thailand instead – Unfortunately he never got there but he wasn’t avoiding his fiance… considering she was dead, she was more avoiding him, than anything. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #4 – Hunter is eventually going to find Belle in the solarium and will be illogically pissed – Oh, very CORRECT

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: This film was so terrible I don’t think I’d have batted an eyelid to see a sleigh out in the desert
  • Piano: There was zero time for piano in this film
  • Carolling: No, thank the lord
  • Christmas Montage: Yeah… I mean I’m scarred for life from that one decorating montage but sure! CHECK!
  • Fire Hazards: Other than natural fires because… desert…. not really!
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t listen hard enough to figure out when dead relatives actually died
  • Snowing on cue: Again, film so terrible I wouldn’t have questioned it, but no

 

That was…. that was something. I thought we had had some awful films this year but… I’m going to have to do a Christmas wrap up because I really think this might have been the worst yet. Ever.

I don’t normally like to wish my life away – unless it’s the morning and I’m waiting for a suitable hour to drink – but I can’t wait for tomorrow and to forget this film ever took place. See you then!

Christmas Advent #18 – A Taste Of Christmas

I’m really hoping for food in this film but I feel we could also swing into ‘why I oughta’! I’ll show you a taste of Christmas!’ territory and… ya know, I’d also be happy with that. But seriously, we have no seen enough Christmas food yet. Last year we got an entire Gingerbread competition. This year? Mmmmm not sure Carla’s mom would have been too impressed by the offering’s of Jackie’s support group. Probably would have started an all out gingerbread war.

Let’s do a crossover sequel! It would be perfect! Ohhhh Taste of Christmas, you already have so much to live up to!

 

Not an aerial shot of the city in sight…. hmmmm. OK. Instead some woman is checking herself in the mirror to make sure she really does remember how to wear a scarf and… god I hope she hasn’t just left her house empty while the fire is still going. There were some boxes by the front door but I was far too concerned with the very real fire hazard that was happening before my eyes.

For some reason, on a stroll down the street, she finds the sign for Al’s Baitshop and Electronics, advertising there Christmas bait at 50% off, just hilarious. Woman! He’s doing the best he can to make live bait sexy! In fact, she seems to be treating every local shop this way until a guy named Eddie, up a ladder and hanging lights on the lampposts, stops Emily, our complete maniac, to say hi. She’s just come back to town which might explain why she keeps laughing at everything and why everyone keeps greeting her.

Next is banker James who sent her a letter about her grandmother’s estate and would she mind coming to see him when she gets it? Shit. Sorry Grandma. Emily seems completely unphased by this but James watches her go just long enough for me to think…

Prediction #1 – There are some strange clauses in order to inherit Grandma’s estate

This woman is getting around! Next we find her with Ollie who is presumably head of the local newspaper and thanking him for writing a beautiful obituary. Grandma has been dead 4 long months but Emily is already back and running her bakery, which was also named after her! I hope… she knows how to run a bakery? There is a strange moment where Emily is walking down even more street and looks down a side alley to find Ed at the bottom, casually playing with some more lights and staring back at her. No one seems concerned about this and Emily goes to open up shop.

Her assistant, Cody from Bate’s Motel, is both late and working on eating them out of a business. Emily is actually a lawyer but categorically did not move back to Nelson Creek to stop being so lonely and find love. Oh, well…. too bad, Emily. In fact I believe you have just turned your open/closed sign over on the face of your next true love, waiting creepily outside the door!

We are treated to a wonderfully terrible French? accent while the man admires a till from the turn of the century and probably just hopes the shop takes card as well as shillings. Our plucky assistant is on hand to divulge her boss’ entire life story before she disappears to answer a phone. Why is everyone’s speciality either a macaron or a macaroon? Emily has chosen almond macaroons and I’m not sure she actually offers the man one but he takes one anyway so he can profess how great they are.


Gerard: “Incroyable! What’s your secret!?”

Emily: “Errrr… their double-baked.”

Me: “As you would have seen, on the sign in the display, if you hadn’t gone around stealing them instead.”


Outside Eddie has the misfortune of running into Adele, who is the new store manager of ‘Forge Mart’, and has just set up a sign outside because she hates last minute shoppers. Isn’t that… just going to attract them? Especially now she has demanded Eddie strings some lights up on it, too? I don’t think… I don’t know…

Emily is certain she had met Gerard before and was so distracted by him and his French accent she never saw a parcel get delivered and simply left on the floor of the shop. Suspicious. God, I wish I could get screenshots of this film. Behind the counter is a giant wall with little signs on showing off all the flavours of everything the shop has to offer. Including… ‘carrott’. CARROTT. I am too busy checking the other flavours for more glaring illiteracy and almost miss the fact Emily and her assistant have pulled out a giant home-made advent calendar in the shape of a house. Emily gushes over the memory of getting a Christmas calendar every year when she was little like that’s not something over 50% of the population also do.


Assistant: “Well, it’s December 1st. You gotta open the door.”

Emily: “What? Now?”

Me: “There more I learn about you the more I am sure you are not qualified to run this business.”


Inside there is a suitably creepy note about someone having a secret and Emily will just have to keep opening doors to figure out which murderous bastard is after her from the town. What a delightful Christmas gift… My bets are on Eddie whose secret is that he is trying to fleece kind old Grandma Pam out of a Christmas tree for $65 in his weird side alley tree lot. Grandma Pam’s granddaughter, Chloe, calls out to Emily as she passes to announce that it is Christmas tree day and also look at this French guy who just turned up to buy a wreath.

Chloe is very easily distracted and this time asks for a quarter to go run off and put it in a charity worker’s bucket who definitely wasn’t there two seconds ago… I fear kidnap is afoot… It also turns out that this guy selling Christmas trees for extortionate prices is Jock or John but looks exactly like Eddie on account of them both wearing hats and having the same face. This is going to get confusing very quickly.

Grandma Pam is trying to lug this tree around because she refuses to pay Jock’s $20 delivery fee but Chloe is still begging for this quarter so that both she and the charity worker can grin at each other for two seconds too long. I don’t like any of these people so far… Meanwhile, Emily is being told by James the banker that she either needs to sell the bakery or the house otherwise the bank will be coming for her to help pay off her late grandmother’s debt. A debt that she wracked up by taking out a loan to put Emily through law school.

Prediction #2 – Baking and lawyer powers to the rescue!

James keeps piling on the bad news by also informing the woman that Forge Mart has a new store manager who has decided to start baking their own goods in-house and thinks Emily would struggle to sell the bakery with this new competition looming. We only have until the end of the month (yawn) to sort this whole shit storm out.

Prediction #3 – Gerard is the baker at the test kitchen at Forge Mart!

Thank god I made that prediction in time! The next second Emily is scoping out the competition’s long ass queue to check out Forge Mart’s new French bakery. Emily immediately slips on her crazy lady facade and is angry at the man for not immediately stating his business the moment he met her and already feels betrayed. At least her rage enables her to remember that Gerard used to own a bakery near Central Park which she interned at one summer. When Emily sees a sign for double-baked almond macaroons she loses her shit just a little bit.


Emily: “Hang on… you came into my bakery just to spy on me!? Where I used to work they would call that corporate espionage.”

Gerard: “Espionage?”

Emily: “Yeah, you were trying to be all charming and French…”

Gerard: “But I am French.”

Me: “Mmmmm debatable.”

Emily: “Just so you could talk me out of my recipes!”

Gerard: “But that’s not your recipe, that’s an eclair au chocolat.”

Me: “Then why in God’s name have you put them next to the sign for macaroons!”

Emily: “I don’t care what it is! Who did you steal this one from!?”


Emily doesn’t even give a shit anymore and Gerard tries to imply that she stole recipes from her own grandmother. As she barges her way out of the store she comes across Adele, the new manager, who is equally concerned that Emily was trying to steal their ideas and should ban her from the store. Gerard laments the fact he would have hired her if she a) didn’t already have a job and b) wasn’t so crazy but Adele is confident point a) won’t be a problem for much longer.


Adele: “Ooh, this looks like we’re in France.”

Me: “I’ve been to France and they didn’t feel the need to hang up their own flags every 2 feet in order to remember which country they were supposed to be in…”


Emily probably shouldn’t have left her assistant alone for so long because she is casually informing Ollie about the calendar and their first clue. Then again, if she didn’t want people to ask about it she shouldn’t have left it on the counter… Ollie is just trying to get a picture of the thing for the paper but Emily won’t stop ranting about Gerard and I hope Ollie just goes with the first shot he gets and prints it.

Prediction #4 – The mystery of the advent calendar will actually be wonderful publicity for the bakery

Today’s clue rambles on about surprises and Ollie takes an unflattering picture but it seems to do the trick because the next day Emily appears to have stolen Gerard’s queue in order to check out the advent calendar. Also, people keep complimenting each other on their poinsettias which I find a little strange… Emily has no concept of suspense or maximising her publicity and tries to open the last door way ahead of time, much to the horror of her crowd.

Two old women just want to live through Emily and demand she goes back to opening the doors in the order they were meant to be opened in. Day 3’s clue prattles on about following your dreams even if things aren’t what they seem and this is apparently too much for one woman who has to leave because of the romance of it all. She was actually meant to be dropping off those poinsettias for Emily but instead jabs them at James on his way in the door and asks if he can walk the 6 steps across the shop and drop them off instead. This of course leads Emily to believe James has brought her flowers because the old women interrupt him when he’s trying to explain about the crazy lady that just left the shop. At least business is picking up?

The townsfolk even think it would be a good idea to open the calendar at the same time every day so they can all congregate, be nosy and buy enough sweets to give themselves diabetes. Emily’s grandmother contributed a lot to Nelson Creek. Emily will be contributing a national health crisis. Her assistant is hanging around long after the bakery has closed, probably to avoid going home to her child, who I think is actually Chloe, and posts a picture of the advent calendar on t’Internet.

Prediction #5 – Attention just became national

Adele is not impressed by the publicity her competition is getting which has actually lead Emily to lock away the calendar in a cabinet, with Ed’s help. From the way he is tenderly levelling the now framed article on her, from the local newspaper, I would say my bets are still with him for sending the calendar.

Prediction #6 – Gerard will turn on his boss because Emily is actually the lesser of two evil’s

Prediction #7 – Someone is going to break into that cupboard and either steal the calendar or reveal who it is was from, leaking it to the press and hoping to ruin the big surprise – more than likely Adele

Prediction #8 – Actually, it was from Grandma

Emily is putting her new flowers in the window when she finds what looks like a little tin angel but I can’t be sure because the sun is shining on the TV and I’m too lazy to get up and close the curtains.


Emily: “Huh! My Grandma had one just like this!”

Me: “Well, seeing as this is her shop I would say it’s more than likely hers, don’t you think?”


Emily is now in prime position to look across the road and see Gerard handing out free samples on the street, much to her horror. Not to be outdone, the woman attempts to do the same but instead almost gets hit by traffic when she storms over there with her own plate of goods. Despite the fact Emily has already mentioned her internship at Gerard’s cafe in New York, he pretends that this second mention of the place has suddenly jogged his memory and dubs her ‘Raspberry Lady’ because she asked them to be removed from her plate on account of not liking them. I’m with her on this one.

The pair should not be left alone together. Now they have both entered into the Christmas Fair in a few weeks to try and decide who the townsfolk like better. I’m not entirely sure the answers to her rage are to complain about the man in front of a customer and then commence to eat her own stock… Ollie is having better luck living out his dreams as an investigative reporter, asking the local bartender who he think sent the calendar. On account of today’s clue mentioning a place where people gather and have fun together Ollie has found himself at the bar.

Every business is capitalising off the woman and the bartender has even started a pool to guess the secret admire for $5. Bet no one is brave enough to guess Grandma! Ollie throws in Art, the bartender, as a complete wildcard and man I hope it turns out he’s right! The only other guesses on the board are, predictably, for Eddie and James.

Unaware that a bar full of people are taking bets out on her, Emily is at home looking through old boxes and wishing her Nan was there to tell her what to do. She even goes so far as to put the old tin angel on the fireplace to watch over and probably experience some sort of poltergeist activity at some point. It happens a lot in these films and not one person is concerned enough to move home…

The next day Emily has a crowd waiting for the daily clue, including one man behind the till who I really hope works there occasionally… It would actually be an opportune moment to rob the place without anyone paying the slightest bit of attention. Good for him! We also learn that life is a series of crossroads but as long as you stay true to yourself you’ll be grand. Emily has also set up a little board in the baker where she pins the clues every day – apparently she’s not so bothered about those going missing – before she hits us with this revelation.


Emily: “I think the answers are in the clues…”

Me: “Woman, it’s been 40 minutes and 5 film days… what the fuck is wrong with you.”


These old women are still living their best lives through Emily and are even feeling a touch of Miss Marple about them and oh my god that guy didn’t work there! This guy just pulled off the robbery of the century… Not that Emily cares because she thinks if she plies all of the possible suspects with their favourite treats then… I don’t know, maybe someone will just come spilling out of them. WHY IS JAMES ALWAYS CARRYING POINSETTIAS AROUND WITH HIM!? IS NO ONE GOING TO ASK!? And why is Chuck/Jock/Jack on the list of possible suspects? Did she think being sold an overpriced tree was his way of flirting with her? In that case he’s in love with Grandma Pam and you need to step the hell back.

I’m not sure what the actual plan was here but, either way, if Emily is moping around on her sofa I assume it didn’t work out the way she wanted. Her assistant turns up with Chloe, who has made her a gift, and wants to know where the woman’s tree is. Cue Chuck/Jock/Jack at the door, delivering the tree as promised. I don’t know why Emily checks what his name is because she went and delivered him muffins yesterday… Chloe has made a paper angel for Emily which she jabs at random into the branches.

When Emily’s assistant offers an invitation to go carolling with them I don’t think she was including Chuck/Jock/Jack who was also casually looking at the photos on her mantelpiece and probably stole the angel while he was at it. I’m not sure why the man agreed to go when he can’t even sing but at least Gerard and Eddie were there to try and impress with their vocal skills. The creepy charity worker is also back to shake her bells at Chloe and start grinning at her again. This has all the makings of a Christmas horror story…

Glossing over the fact that Chuck/Jock/Jack has been in town for approximately 2 seconds he believes he is also in the running for this great relationship race and thinks Emily invited him despite the fact that it was her assistant who asked… I think he’s been huffing too much pine out there in his Christmas tree lot… Gerard cares very little about this man’s delusional ramblings and quickly leaves him alone in the town square before he suffers from a contact high.

I don’t know if Art the bartender wanted to keep his pool secret but Ollie has reported about it in the paper so it’s too fucking late now. He also gets a call from a local TV station about reporting on the calendar and when they ask him for an interview he informs them he is also the Mayor. I really don’t know how much of that is true… but it’s too late now because we’re at open mic night and crazy poinsettia lady can sing real nice like.

Gerard takes the opportunity to quiz James on all of the women in his life. Emily’s assistant, Chey, is defined by her nose ring and the fact she’s a good mother, Ivy, the crazy lady is defined by plants (there are worse things) and Emily is defined by baking and swigging beer (possibly my favourite of the three).

Ivy just wants to know who Emily actually fancies and for some reason we keep zooming in on the ring of keys Eddie has attached to his belt. Yes, we know he has a copy of the key to the cabinet. Yes, we know eventually it’s going to go missing and someone is going to steal the calendar or ruin Christmas, whichever comes first.


Ivy: “Is it true that men in the city just walk right up to you and start talking?”

Me: “I’m not sure being asked for your money and your phone counts as flirting…”


Prediction #9 – Ivy and James will get together instead

Gerard orders the women three shots from across the bar, which is sweet, and Art explains that it is tradition for the men of our species to buy the women a drink in order to get their attention. I’d like to see this mating ritual featured in Attenborough’s next documentary series. Just give us a 10 minute slot during an episode, that’s all we need.

Poor Gerard believes the women at the other table are laughing and toasting their shots because they’re having a great time when in reality they’re just trying to figure out how to call the man a snake in French. To be fair his constant staring at the table is starting to become more and more sinister by the second. Ivy distracts us by reciting today’s clue about speaking from the heart which only encourages Emily to march over to Gerard to confront the man about the Christmas Fair. James promptly and sensibly excuses himself from this war zone before he can get caught in the crazy blast radius.

Trying to prove to the woman that he is not a complete arsehole, Gerard invites Emily to his kitchen as two friends who may like to bake together and has also found the time to order her another beer. This woman is gonna be rat arsed by the time she leaves this place… The alcohol probably goes a long way to accepting this invite to bake after hours at Forge Mart and also to get up on stage and sing the ’12 Days of Christmas’ to this group of people. Going with a crowd pleaser she gets the entire bar involved and thank Christ on a bike we don’t have to sit through the entire thing…

The next day Gerard is furious that his gold leaf has not been delivered and it’s probably over with Emily and Chey, instead. I hope she uses it for the Christmas Fair… Adele thinks this whole Christmas calendar craze, which is robbing her of her customers, calls for more drastic action but Emily and Gerard think a cooking montage of chocolate ganache truffles is the way to go instead. This festive bonding time is coming just in time for Adele to steal that calendar and all blame to fall on Gerard so Emily can feel misplaced betrayal.

Especially after she has just opened up about missing the opportunity to move back home before Grandma croaked it. Now, if a man I barely knew and hated 80% of the time suddenly picked up food and tried to hand feed me I would not happily be trying to chew his hand off. I would also make sure I had finished my wine before packing up my stuff and making a break for it.

really wish I could take screenshots of this film because Emily finds a random box in the bakery kitchen and when she opens it it literally illuminates her face. I mean, I think we’ve found Gerard’s gold leaf but come fucking on. You could have just had an actual shot of it and Emily still looking as puzzled as she does now about being blinded by this random box. We have also skipped many a day of Christmas because we are now on Day 16, all of which have been published in the paper so Ivy can read over them and think about how lonely she is.

Prediction #10 – James is always carrying poinsettias around with him because he genuinely is in love with Ivy and keeps buying them from her!

Gerard pops into her shop looking for flowers which are more warm than hot, more hi than hello, more look than a leer and more smile than a smirk. Ivy understands every fucking word of this and pulls out a ready made arrangement for this very purpose. I would find this strange but this woman… I imagine she has an arrangement for every possible situation on earth in that shop. She promises not to tell anyone that Gerard is buying or sending flowers and rushes over to the bakery to find out what she missed from the old women.

They have narrowed their suspicions down to four contestants: Chuck/Jock/Jack, Eddie, James and Gerard. You know… the people it has always been because there are apparently no other men in this town and did they seriously call people all the way over here for this!? They might be retired but other people still have jobs, ya know! Emily is totally cool with her love life being discussed by the town, so much so she is offering them free biscuits and paying no attention to Adele marching around outside the shop and taking pictures of her through the window. A natural stalker, she is not.

She does, however, make an excellent shit stirrer! Emily decided to use the gold leaf on the cookies which she genuinely was going to use in the Christmas Fair (amazing!) and when she shows Gerard the picture he storms across the road, ignoring the very creepy grinning charity worker and unleashing all of his European fury. Trust me, we’re good at it.

Despite the fact he watches Chey and Emily try and figure out who even ordered the gold leaf he claims everyone is a thief, slams the door so hard the bell falls off the door and causes Emily to rush out of her own bakery to start a war in the middle of the street. Ivy thinks this would be the perfect moment to deliver the flowers from Gerard and Emily is so enraged she shuts everyone out of her shop, including poor Chey who just wants to pay the damn bills.

Gerard could not possibly think about baking for the Christmas Fair without his gold leaf and concedes so he won’t have to be screamed at some more in public. Adele, meanwhile, is sitting in what appears to be a shack and trying to report Emily’s bakery for a health violation. With everything going so right for the woman, James thinks this would be a wonderful time to call and remind her she does need to sell one of her grandma’s properties before the bank rips it from her cold, floury hands. In good news, however, the bakery’s bank deposits are through the roof this season! That’s a good sign, non?

I don’t know why the whole town has congregated to bowl together, you’d have had to drag me kicking and screaming from my house where, if you had managed to get me to the bowling alley, I would have used a ball break my own ankles and get out of playing. Emily is obviously paired with Gerard who shouts ‘goal!’ after all of his strikes and seems to very much grasp the fundamentals of bowling. I really don’t know how much more time has passed because the man mentions Emily won the Christmas Fair, which is news to me. Adele is pretty good at bowling and Chuck/Jock/Jake is very interested in Eddie’s keys so I can only imagine when the two of them are going to help each other right out of this Christmas nightmare they have found themselves in.

Eddie comes to the rescue when Chuck/Jock/Jack becomes a leering pervert but Emily really could have dealt with it herself by just breaking the man’s fingers. Unfortunately, Adele is going to win unless Gerard can perform a miracle, which he is likely to do and in return is allowed to ask Emily any question he likes whenever he gets a strike. All he’s really concerned about is when she learnt to bake, what cookies she first made and what’s her favourite thing to bake. When she was 5, gingerbread men and bread. See! I listen! The man manages to get a perfect score and during all the excitement Chuck has managed to steal away the cabinet key in order to ruin Emily’s big day.

Most men would rather just call a woman lesbian if they get turned down, rather than wonder what it is about themselves a woman might find so repulsive and possibly improve their character in any way shape and form (because how could you possibly improve on perfection), however Chuck is in such denial he is willing to go much further than that. At least Adele is a fan of this scheme.

With only one more day to go Emily still has zero clue who this guy is but think it’s more important to ruin Chey’s Christmas by telling her about the debt her grandma was in and how she will likely have to sell both the house and bakery to help pay it off. Due to the shop having no bell on the door, neither of the women see the health inspector turn up until some weird wild west music plays in the background. David Rosales would like to inspect your kitchen now, please.

The man has come equipped with his own little testing kit and after 30 minutes deems the kitchen spotless. Not being a complete moron about where an anonymous tip might have come from he heads over to Forge Mart, with his entrance music in tow, and performs another spot inspection in the bakery. As it turns out he isn’t able to get that far because Adele doesn’t even have a food prep license and I believe Gerard may be out of a job. Bring in Chuck, then. Come on. Let’s get this over with. Oh, look, a news van!

I really can’t believe Chuck’s first point of call is to seriously just try the door to the bakery and hope it had been left open…. Like she would lock away an advent calendar but forget to lock the fucking shop. Jesus Christ. Failing the front door the man casually climbs on the roof and trips through the skylight. Double thumbs up to this guy…

Ollie rocks up with the TV crew before Emily has even got through the door and I am mildly surprised to see the advent calendar still in the cabinet. Maybe we are yet to find Chuck’s crushed body in the kitchen, impaled on a cake stand. Oh, shit, I wasn’t half wrong. Emily’s interview is interrupted by Chuck rolling around the floor of the kitchen covered in flour and… how did he manage to get cookies on top of himself….? Kinda awkward, seeing as Ollie just mentioned they never experience crime around these parts.


Emily: “Chuck, please tell me what you’re doing here. Tell me what you’re doing here!”

Ollie: “Are you OK?”

Emily: “We’re going to call the police!”

Ollie: “No! No police. It’s just a misunderstanding, we can’t have a scene.”

Me: “Says the man who invited a TV crew over…”


It takes approximately 0.4 seconds for Chuck to point the finger at Adele and the poor advent calendar is left to sit there while Emily and Chey clean up the bakery. Ivy delivers the news that Adele’s bakery has been shut down and Gerard is out of job which should be no trouble for the man, considering Emily owns the bakery over the road. Adele’s Christmas is set to be the best one yet when she tries to ignore the call she is receiving from Forge Mart headquarters but in other parts of the town the TV crew are having a much nicer time.

Art has even brought his own pool with him to the bakery for the great unveiling where someone even took a chance and bet on Emily herself. The man has managed to raise $500 for the winner. Luckily the two old women are sitting at the front of the crowd, knitting, and spilling all sorts of tea which I already guessed about pairing people up. Ollie starts off the festivities and Emily steps forward to give a terrible speech no one much cares about before she opens the last door.

Cracked it!!! Grandma did it in order to spend one last Christmas with Emily! And fuck me Gerard guessed right! Everyone is very emotional, James admits he lives Ivy and Art hunts down Gerard, where he is standing literally across the road, in order to let him know. He is also standing in just the right spot to see Adele getting into a car with Chuck and driving off into the distance. I am very sure they are now fugitives…


Old woman: “Well, I didn’t see that coming!”

Ollie: “That’s why they call it the news. It never grows old.”

Me: “Try living in 2018.”


Gerard waits until everyone has left the bakery, including Chey leaving with Eddie, before he pops on over to help her pack up for the night. The woman is still trying to blame him for attempting to put her out of business until he admits he is an actual secret admirer of hers and she invites him to bake with her again sometime. Which, from the way he’s kissing the woman, might actually be a metaphor for something this time.

I’m not sure if it’s a Christmas tradition for all the main characters in the film to get together and eat together for Christmas but that is what’s happening and Emily even finds another tin angel to put on the mantelpiece which I fear is more like a harbinger of death than a sweet reminder from her grandma. Art and his wife came over to cook so that Emily could enjoy one last Christmas in her grandma’s house and the woman just conveniently forgot to mention that Forge Mart called her yesterday and asked if she would stock their bakery too. No doubt to stop her from suing their asses for a lot more money.

Without even looking at this contract James is positive she will be able to keep the house if they can work something out. Chey stays in work, Gerard has a new job, Chloe WHAT IS WITH THIS CHARITY WORKER WHO…. only Chloe can see. If that was grandma then she is creepy as all holy hell and if it wasn’t grandma then what the fuck is happening here!? Oh, yeah, that was grandma. Be creepier, ghost nan!!

We end on a delightful montage of the shop doing well the next Christmas and some generic French music rolls for the credits.

I mean… I have some serious questions about grandma…

 

If you couldn’t tell from the lack of screenshots for this post, I could not find a link to this film anywhere but neither did I over-tax myself with searching… Maybe you can do better.

Oh, also, while just searching for this film in general it turns out it also goes under the name ‘The Christmas Calendar’. In case you want to relive this film over and over and over again.

 

Prediction board – 5/10

  • Prediction #1 – There are some strange clauses in order to inherit Grandma’s estate – Nah, not really, she was just terrible at finances. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #2 – Baking and lawyer powers to the rescue! – Errrrrm, again? Nope. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #3 – Gerard is the baker at the test kitchen at Forge Mart! – Finally! CORRECT!
  • Prediction #4 – The mystery of the advent calendar will actually be wonderful publicity for the bakery – So very CORRECT!
  • Prediction #5 – Attention on the advent calendar just became national – OK… maybe it was more local… INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #6 – Gerard will turn on his boss because Emily is actually the lesser of two evil’s – Unfortunately he never got the chance… I’m sure he would have, though! Still. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #7 – Someone is going to break into that cupboard and either steal the calendar or reveal who it is was from, leaking it to the press and hoping to ruin the big surprise – Again, no one got the chance because they are friggin’ useless. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #8 – Actually, the calendar was from Grandma – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #9 – Ivy and James will get together instead – God bless you crazy Ivy. CORRECT!
  • Prediction #10 – James is always carrying poinsettias around with him because he genuinely is in love with Ivy and keeps buying them from her! – That’s potentially the most adorable thing we’ve heard this season. Homes for plants! CORRECT!

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: I don’t think the horses were allowed due to hygiene restrictions
  • Piano: You can’t bake and play at Christmas! That would be a double Christmas threat
  • Carolling: It was more like a strange singing competition but yeah. Sure. CHECK.
  • Christmas Montage: I’m not complaining about the amount of food montages we have been treated to this year. CHECK.
  • Fire Hazards: No. How boring.
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: Grandma! Left alone and terribly lonely! CHECK.
  • Snowing on cue: Due to the amount of arguments that took place on the streets, I don’t think adding snow and ice to the equation would have been the best idea..

 

I am so good at scoring 50% these days…. What has happened to me!? I don’t have that many days left to pick this up, either.

We’re gonna charge straight into tomorrow and get this shit down!

Christmas Advent #17 – Romance At Reindeer Lodge

After 17 days I have had enough of weddings, children and marketing experts working on 2 week deadlines before the New Year. That is why I have chosen this film, advertised to me constantly during my foray into the Christmas24 world, where I hope there will be none of this. I am very sure it’s just people trying to have a holiday.

But if there are no real reindeer knocking around and derailing people into nearby fences then I will be bitterly, bitterly disappointed.

 

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Classy motherfucker, ain’t ya?

Our initial Christmas tree opening scenes, which I get very excited about, are quickly ruined by an aerial shot of a city at night before we drop promptly into an office party. One woman, Maude, is still working her butt off and looking very un-festive when her friend, Karen, rocks up to tell her Santa is likely to lob a lump of coal at her head for working so close to Christmas. Yes, let us all believe in Santa and this very important rule of his. Please. Before we get concussion.

Not even the fact Derek from accounting has been asking about her is enough to lose interest in this business proposal she is drawing up. In all fairness I would rather continue to work than go out and face an accountant who likes the sound of his own voice but here we are anyway, grabbing a glass of champagne and talking about true love.

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Colonial chic was really in this year

Maude: “Yeah, I’m engaged… To Manchester Software. We’re spending Christmas together here in the office.”

Karen: “So you’re working through another holiday?”

Maude: “I am. Don’t think of it as work, think of it as love.”

Me: “This woman is on crack.”


I…. don’t know how this continues to fucking happen. This woman’s name is Molly, not Maude. How, in fucks name, when you shorten her name to ‘Mol’ can you possibly make it sound like Maude!? Twice! Also, I was kinda looking forward to a unique name we have not already encountered in another bloody film before it. And… she dresses like a Maude.

As it turns out Molly did too good of a job this year on the software because their manager would love to reward everyone by closing the office until the New Year and paying them their regular pay for 2 weeks. This is. The best boss. Ever. The man is even going to change the alarm codes so Molly can’t try and sneak in and torch the place in her misplaced anger.

Over in… somewhere else… an office guy bids farewell to Jared, another office guy, and wishes him a safe trip. I have a feeling this may be a working Christmas as he tries to clear some account from the company books by the end of the year. Well ain’t that just another convenient 2 week deadline? Meanwhile, Molly has been unable to look up from her phone long enough to notice the metric shit ton of Christmas lights that are strung up around her, prompting Karen to invite her friend over for Christmas.


Molly: “You guys are the sweetest. I appreciate it but…”

Karen: “What?”

Molly: “I’m not very good company at Christmas.”

Me: “I like to sit and think about how I am completely alone since my parents died and how hard it is to survive their favourite time of the year without them… It keeps me pretty busy.”


Looks like I counted out Molly’s mother a little too quickly because the woman is on the phone to her daughter the next morning. Her mother is going off on a cruise, probably trying to sail away from the prevailing grief for her deceased husband and getting really fucking drunk at the bar in the process. The next event happens very quickly… Molly turns on the radio, calls into a competition for a holiday to Jamaica she just heard about, wins right there on the phone and then immediately packs her bags.

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I doubt a radio station that doesn’t have the money for it’s own logo is going to send you to Jamaica…

On account of the giant sun hat the woman is wearing she didn’t notice Jared standing in line to board the flight and steals his place. The man is a little confused by her attire, which is pretty summery, and has to wonder if the woman has ever been to Jamaica before.

Prediction #1 – Oh, you meant small town Jamaica that’s up a hill somewhere in the northern hemisphere!

Unfortunately the woman ignores all of Jared’s efforts to inform her she isn’t going where she thinks she’s going because she’s on a very important call with someone called Mr Roberts  who never received his proposal and she can’t check where it got to because the office is closed. That’s a bit of a bastard. After the third attempt Jared gives up but at least the woman at reception is nice enough to point out to him that they’re actually flying to Jamaica, Vermont. I wonder how long it will take Molly to freeze to death and become an international symbol of geographical ignorance?

The flight the pair are on is minuscule and I would be dying. No. No thank you. Especially having to sit opposite from Molly for 2 hours who has just found out she is on the way to Vermont, wants the plane turned around and can’t believe this tiny plane doesn’t have Internet access. Considering the plane is excruciatingly tiny the air steward has to take drink orders on a notepad.

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Just looking at this makes me nervous

In reality Jared would despise the sight of Molly by now and her ‘can I talk to your manager’ haircut but he still seems pretty taken by the woman. With absolutely no other choice when the airport actually closes down the night, Molly has to go with the old guy, Chris, who has been waiting for her to show up so he can escort her back to his lodge where there is a pre-paid suite all set up and waiting for her. The guy would have had me at pre-paid but Molly takes about 2 minutes more of convincing before she gets her ass into gear.


Molly: “Airports don’t close.”

Chris: “Well, this one does and it’s a long walk back into town from here.”

Molly: “You know, I can probably come with you and figure all this out in the morning.”

Chris: “Well, that’s the Christmas spirit!”

Me: “Is it?”


Chris prattles on about a big snow storm coming that they will be lucky to avoid at all now he spent the last few minutes trying to convince Molly to get in his car, where she also finds Jared waiting, another guest at the lodge. Priceless.

Prediction #2 – Molly is going to get snowed in for the entire festive period and be unable to work and it will be healthy for her

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I have some questions…

Arriving safely at the lodge in Chris’ death-mobile they are met with a pretty friggin’ impressive lodge. Apparently Chris never finished the lights before his guests arrived and I’m really not surprised seeing as the damn building is so big. He really should have gone with that excuse, rather than claiming that Christmas simply came to early and having me fear for his long-term memory. Personally, Molly never saw the point of putting lights up just to take them down again after a few weeks and has clearly never lived in an area where the lights stay up all year round to avoid that hassle.

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Good luck navigating this when you’re still half asleep and on fire!

I am happy to confirm the lodge would be quite difficult to navigate in a fire and fucking hell Zelda Spellman is married to Chris!  I watched another Christmas film with her in the other day (for fun, can you believe) where she was a completely needy psychopath worried that her mother was inevitably going to die one day! Now she is simply called Penny and wants nothing more than to burn her guests alive. She also looks like a glimpse into the future of how Molly will look in a few years. Jared should take a good, hard look at Penny and be sure this is what he wants…

Penny had a feeling that this would happen and assures Molly she asked the radio station to make sure they told contestants they would be heading for Vermont. I would have adored this mix-up… It’s motherfuckin’ Zelda Spellman and she knows how to decorate for accidental fires in every single room of the house. She has even provided all guests with hideous Christmas nightgowns from the turn of the century in case they get cold. I hope she’s provided the same for the men, too.

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I’m so happy with this death trap I could cry…

Now is the perfect time to reveal the lodge has no Internet access for relaxing purposes but I wouldn’t be too fussed because I just heard the words ‘Happy Hour’. Molly heads over to Jared’s room to interrupt his call with his office, where I predict the below two seconds before we see him turn over a file with ‘Reindeer Lodge’ printed on the front.

Prediction #3 – Jared is there to try and sell Reindeer Lodge or boot Zelda out of her home for not paying rent

I don’t know whether I am more outraged that this man is trying to make Zelda homeless or that Molly doesn’t appear to have brought a charger with her for her own phone… For someone so plugged into technology all the time you never go anywhere without a charger… Jared suggests she tries to get the airline to contact her via the hotel instead, which I suppose she has to do through fucking telepathy seeing as she can’t get a hold of them right now.


Jared: “Look, about earlier, I really didn’t know that you didn’t know…”

Molly: “That I was going to the wrong Jamaica?”

Me: “Yes he fucking did! Why else would he be trying to warn you the entire time?!”


After blatantly lying to the woman’s face we head downstairs for happy hour where two other guests are talking to Chris about the reindeer in the area and how shy they are where strangers are concerned. Yes! Real reindeer, here we come! Eventually. When they’re used to strangers.

Prediction #4 – At some point a reindeer will take a specific liking to Molly and Jared will look fondly on as she is floored by nature… metaphorically speaking, not like the reindeer is going to trample her or anything

Greg and Kayla are at the lodge to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. It’s kind of a working anniversary as the pair of them are photographers and are working on their first Christmas-themed book which they hope will include reindeer in their natural habitat. The lodge actually is actually on a 1,000 acre large registered nature preserve, just to complicate things for Jared, somewhat.

Prediction #5 – Jared’s company wants to make the place into a multi-storey car park or ski resort or something

Prediction #6 – Jared will decide that nature is more important than people dying on ski slopes and also wants to preserve the place where he met his future wife so they can spend all of their wedding anniversaries there too

Prediction #7 – Molly will already have bonded with the reindeer far too much when she hears of Jared’s plan and feels utterly betrayed

Prediction #8 – Molly will probably offer her own marketing expertise to help save the lodge

Jesus… I’m tired after that. I deserve a mince pie…. I should point out that this entire time Chris has been sitting in the corner and whittling away at a piece of wood so when Molly notices a bunch of shelves with carvings on she can ask him if he did them all himself. 2 minutes in and the woman is already falling prey to Christmas, just as it should be.

Happy hour turns out to be milk and cookies and you know… I think I could live with that. I need to go and find my own Reindeer Lodge. In fact, I should go and just open my own failing lodge up a mountain somewhere because if these films have taught me anything it’s that you don’t even need to be good at business, eventually a bunch of strangers will come along, perform a Christmas miracle and help you out of debt. It’s just the way the world works, ya know?

Zelda is more concerned that Christmas Eve is a week away and her tree still isn’t up. At least she can rope the guests into helping them decorate the place… more? The next day Molly rushes down in her hideous Christmas nightgown to answer a call from the airline and I fear that Chris, Greg and Kayla haven’t moved because they’re still in the exact same placed as the night before. Still riding that milk and cookies high, I guess.

Molly is trying to talk on the phone when Penny (Zelda) presents Greg with a jar of what are apparently questions and asks him to read out the Christmas question for the day. I am intrigued…


Greg: “In the 12 days of Christmas how many pipers are piping?”

Greg and Kayla: “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…”

Molly: “11 days!?”

Me: “Oh, is she just… imbued with a Christmas magic she didn’t even know about?”


Ya see… the woman has been told she is stuck there until the end of the week unless the airline has a cancellation so I really don’t see why she doesn’t just wind the fuck down and take her pre-paid holiday! Seeing as Molly technically got the answer to today’s question correct she gets to do the honours of opening the advent calendar, which involves both chocolate and daily mantras. Zelda is really about mental health around here… Molly is told that every Christmas is a journey so just give in already.

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Bet Chris whittled that…

Prediction #9 – Molly will get the chance to leave early but in the end will not take it

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Alright, Santa, it’s not a competition…

Someone has been nice enough to take everyone into town, so Molly can get some decent clothing, where there appears to be a shop that specialises in jumpers and I adore everything about it. I want to live there. I want to be Mayor of wherever the hell this is.


Shopkeeper: “Reindeer Lodge! Well, I haven’t heard about the place in years!”

Me: “How? You live in the same fucking area…”

Shopkeeper: “I used to take my kids up there when they were little. They used to have those reindeer tours, do they still have those tours?”

Kayla: “We haven’t seen any reindeer yet but we’re hoping.”

Shopkeeper: “Oh, I don’t think people are interested in that kind of thing anymore. Maybe if you had a ninja reindeer robot but…”

Me: “Says the woman stocking a llama Christmas jumper and making all of this so much worse…”


All Molly asks for is something a little less festive and the tone this woman takes makes me think she has gone round back to pull out her specialised ‘funeral attire’ range. I’ll you fucking less festive! Kayla admits to business being slow lately so she wants this anniversary to be on point and seems a little surprised that Molly ain’t that struck on Christmas. I have also seen far less festive jumpers hanging up than the… thing… that the shopkeeper rushes out of the back room with. Even worse, Molly appears to buy the damn thing.

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This is the least festive jumper she has. Just think about that for a second.

Kayla: “So, anybody special back home?”

Molly: “Oh, I’m not a ‘relationship’ person.”

Kayla: “That is ridiculous. I believe there’s someone out there for everyone.”

Molly: “Why do married people always say that to single peopl….”

Kayla: “Hi, honeybunch!”

Greg: “I got some great shots for the book, all we need now are those reindeer photos.”

Molly: “You really like reindeer, don’t you?”

Kayla: “Oh, his grandmother…”

Me: “Is a reindeer!?”

Kayla: “Always says that a reindeer is the symbol of true love.”

Me: “Damn.”

Greg: “It’s actually a Nordic myth, Grandma is very old world.”

Kayla: “Yeah, I know it sounds a little weird but she always says that when a couple first meets they go into the wilderness under a full moon and then see a reindeer.”

Greg: “It means they are destined to be together.”

Kayla: “Forever.”

Me: “That or they kill each other in a bitter battle of survival out in the woods, I guess.”

Molly: “You learn something new every Christmas.”

Me: “Like Greg’s grandma is the head of a cult!”


The book is being dedicated to the one and the same grandma so they desperately need those reindeer photos to remind her of all those favourite, festive ritual sacrifices under the full moon. With nothing better to do Molly is searching for a charger for her phone and hearing tales from the locals about how no one thinks about Reindeer lodge anymore but all seem to have fond memories of the place.

Prediction #10 – The whole town will come to the lodge’s aid because they all love reindeer around these here parts

Jared had actually bought the last charger and was going to gift it to Molly on Christmas but seeing as she is so desperate for the thing he hands it over without a fight. Molly demands she gets him something in return which leads her over to a reindeer ornament that looks like it’s been crafted (expertly) out of tin foil. Apparently all of them are unique and hand-crafted right there in Jamaica and it’s also noteworthy that, one time, her dad bought her something very similar.

Prediction #11 – Molly will find very personal ties to Reindeer lodge which will only reinforce her endeavours to save the place

Jared settles on letting Molly buy him Vermont’s own version of Jamaican rum punch from a place down the street. Hot buttered rum… holy fuck let me at it! I immediately paused the film in order to Google this cocktail and check the cupboard for rum. Apparently it dates back to colonial days! This film has just come full circle! Molly should have just rocked up in her office gear!

When Jared asks about the deal with the reindeer ornament Molly is very forthcoming and explains how they had very little money, as a family, and would have to make their own ornaments but she could never get the reindeer right. Then, one Christmas Eve, her dad got stuck in a snowstorm, which it sounds like he never returned from, but had left a gift for her under the tree which was a perfectly carved reindeer he had made for her. These reindeer are getting serious air time in this film without even needing to turn up.

Molly’s mom now lives in Florida with her new family and although they’re great and live in Florida where she could be riding rollercoasters all year long she just doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere anymore. Awwww. Jared is not so forthcoming with the sob story of how it’s just him and his dad and they’re not even close so quickly distracts Molly by asking a horse and carriage to take them up to the lodge. THERE IS A DOG SITTING NEXT TO THE DRIVER! I’M DONE HERE.

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Do me a favour and just stare at this screenshot until you start to see a dog

I had to rewind this because when they finally turn up at the lodge and Greg gets a picture of them in the carriage there is no dog… Maybe he fell off halfway up to the lodge but I like to believe that he was another paying customer and got dropped off on the way. Everyone else has been busy finishing setting up the lights and it is a tradition for Penny to bring out hot chocolate and to toast the lights when they’re turned on.

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There’s a reason all of these small businesses are failing financially. It’s glaringly obvious.

There is a brief moment when a tiny red dot appears on Chris’ head and I fear the snipers have finally found him but it’s just more Christmas lights. I also hope that Greg and Kayla have asked for Molly and Jared’s permission to use their photo in their book… something Ian was kind enough to ask about a few Christmas’ ago. Molly might have changed her mind about Christmas lights being worthless but that all really depends on whether the snowman outside of her window turns around in the night and threatens to murder her in her sleep.

RARL_13
They say his head spins around and he projectile vomits sleet

In the next room Jared might also be changing his mind about Reindeer Lodge when he phones up his boss to let him know the place really isn’t just a property and he’s gotten himself into a little situation, up on that mountain. We never hear the rest of this conversation but I really hope that he hasn’t already shipped this relationship with Molly when he has known her for roughly 24 hours. Or maybe he was referring to the abundance of Christmas lights that have appeared this morning that definitely weren’t there last night. They’re multiplying…

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I can safely say we have never seen a curtain of lights before

Jared: “Any sign of those reindeer yet?”

Chris: “No, not yet, but you never know. They have a habit of making an appearance when you least expect it.”

Me: “I’m not sure… when that would be in a place called Reindeer Lodge where people come to see the reindeer…”


Chris has been banished to the porch in order to continue his whittling and my god, I honestly believe the situation Jared was referring to was his interest in Molly. He is even asking the man to show him how to whittle so he can make her a god damn reindeer and profess his everlasting love under the full moon.

Prediction #12 – See above


Molly: “Please let me know if you have another cancellation! Yes, Merry Christmas to you too. Oh! Let me help you!”

Penny: “Thank you! So no luck with the airline?”

Molly: “Still no cancellations. They’re fully booked until the New Year.”

Me: “But you just said… another cancellation… implying there had already been one… What?”


Molly assures Penny she is having a good time but she really didn’t plan to spend her Christmas looking out of the kitchen window, watching Jared chop firewood, and decorating Christmas cookies with Zelda Spellman. His head bobbing around in the background through the window is actually pretty distracting… which is why Penny sends Molly out there to offer the man a cookie from the damned.

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‘Kill…. me….’

Molly claims she helped make this delicious gingerbread man without specifying she only iced the damn thing and as instant karma the in-house photographers appear to get a picture of the pair. As more karma for taking credit for Penny’s baking, Chris appears out of the woods to announce they have some reindeer problems.

Prediction #13 – The reindeer have escaped! Guess they really will turn up when you least expect it… probably when you’re trying to drive out of town

Aaaaaand no, the reindeer are sick and need quarantining for their own protection. Greg and Kayla really wanted a picture of those reindeer for their book and now it looks completely unlikely that will happen. Grandma gonna be pissed… Luckily Greg gets to open the advent calendar today claiming a Christmas surprise will come his way. In order to cheer the man up everyone elects to help put up the tree which… Jared may or may not have chopped up for firewood… At least that’s cheered Greg up.

We’re going on a tree hunt! We learn that Jared works in real estate finance and works for his father! No wonder the two aren’t close…


Jared: “I was one of those boarding school kids who barely came home.”

Molly: “Even at Christmas?”

Jared: “Well I had my own tree in my room. My dad would send me money for gifts, I’d buy them, wrap them up and put them under the tree and then on Christmas day I would open them up and pretend to be surprised. Well, not every year….”

Molly: “Jared, that is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Me: “You don’t get out much, do you?”


Electing not to tell Molly about the current state of the world Jared assures her that sometimes peace and quiet is nice, alone and away from the big cities. At least this Christmas Jared believes he is not alone and Molly ruins their moment when she promptly trips over a branch and floors the man. They had plenty of time to get that kiss over and done with but for the film’s sake Kayla and Greg call them over because they’ve found the stables where they believe the reindeer to be.


Kayla: “What are you doing? Greg! Chris said the reindeer were sick.”

Greg: “I’m not going to bother them I just want to get one picture.”

Me: “In their natural habitat: the barn.”


Listening to no one Greg spies something off and breaks into the barn to reveal… there are no reindeer.

Prediction #14 – There are no reindeer! 

Literally a second later Chris appears to confirm the same thing. Thank you, buddy! But also… what? Chris has zero idea what happened to the reindeer but one day they simply wondered away and never came back. Seeing as they’re on a nature reserve, Chris didn’t see why he should try and hunt them down and let them go on their merry way.

Prediction #15 – The reindeer will be back just in time to stop Greg and Kayla being sacrificed by the cult and to save the lodge


Chris: “Would you have come to a place called Reindeer Lodge if you weren’t going to see any reindeer?”

Me: “Errrr… yes?”


It’s no wonder no one has been up to take part in the reindeer tours! Although if they treated it like a safari tour or a zoo they could just claim the customers had been unlucky that day. The amount of times I’ve been to Cheshire Zoo and seen nothing is in no way able to put me off… and Cheshire Zoo sure aren’t wanting for money like Craig and Penny are. Greg seems very upset about not having picture of reindeer for this book dedicated to his grandma…

Penny is also doing a damn terrible job of pretending she wasn’t crying when Molly walks in.


Penny: “We got some bad news in the mail, today. I guess we’ve fallen a bit behind on… the bills and things.”

Me: “Take some of those lights down. That might help.”

Molly: “Will it help when the reindeer come back?”

Penny: “I’m afraid that really won’t make much difference. People aren’t too interested in our reindeer tours these days… Sign of the times, I guess: why come all the way up here to see a real reindeer when you can just watch them on your phone?”

Me: “Well… because you don’t have any actual reindeer, for a start.”


Feeling bad that she has been moaning this entire time Molly looks like she is about to join her future self in crying at the thought of losing her future home. I suppose that’s why she feels like she can go through her future self’s mail and check out their eviction notice which, if Jared’s call is to be believed, they only have until Christmas Eve to sort out other accommodation.

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I think the real question is what would you do if you met your future self running a failing lodge up in the mountains?

Molly pulls Jared away from tree decorating in order to let him in on this little secret but doesn’t get very far before Kayla storms through the place, crying and claiming everything is wrong. The drama! Apparently the couple have had a bad year and they were really counting on this book to work out and have started fighting over it.

Prediction #16 – The book will also really help with publicity for the place

Jared is on hand to skulk around the bottom of the stairs and eavesdrop on Molly trying to assure Kayla that her relationship is not like Christmas lights and will still be up all year round! This really only encourages Jared, from the look on his face, and soon everyone is helping Penny to decorate the tree with ornaments, which were all given to them by various visitors staying at the lodge and so we can take a trip down memory lane and get sentimental over the place in order to save it. Even Greg shows up to help.

I’m surprised Penny doesn’t roll out the hot chocolate to commemorate the lighting of the Christmas tree, too. Chris assures his wife that even next Christmas everything will be just fine which is probably why we find Jared sitting out on the porch, whittling in secret, before he is interrupted by Molly. The woman really wants to help the lodge and clearly puts the fear of god into the man when he thinks about her discovering his secret and never celebrating Christmas again.

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Fuuuuuuuuuuuck

Despite the fact Jared can only ‘kinda’ cook that doesn’t stop him and Molly heading into town to pick up all the ingredients for a Christmas dinner from a list Kayla has written them which lists an active ingredient as either cranberries or Ecuador… Molly has never made a Christmas dinner, Jared can only kinda cook and Kayla doesn’t have eligible writing. I wonder what Greg is going to bring to the table.

Even the checkout girl is harping on about Reindeer Lodge and how it used to be a family tradition. I can’t help feel all of these people must know there are no reindeer, like they stopped going because no one was seeing any reindeer… Either way, Molly has contacted a reindeer preserve in Quebec with an over-population problem who are willing to help. Let’s just casually forget that an entire other herd didn’t just go missing, they’re probably still in the reserve and that if the first herd didn’t like the area around the lodge why would the second? And what if they meet up and fight to the death? It will be Grandma’s full moon cult killings all over again!

Jared doesn’t try too hard to put the woman off the idea, despite it making his alter ego’s life more difficult, and even lets her tell everybody else about their plan, to get the entire town to help import these reindeer across Canada, over dinner that evening (which looks fine, by the way). Kayla thinks they could hold a charity auction but Penny fears they have nothing to offer. If this is going to save Greg’s book then he is all for helping out, and offers the townsfolk not only their photographs in this silent auction but also a chance to meet the author’s of the upcoming book ‘Christmas in Jamaica’. I think they should offer up some of Chris’ carvings, too.

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This woman just wants to watch the world burn.

At this point, during the preparing montage where we decorate the stables, I am very sure we could have made all of this money from opening up a nursery specialising in selling poinsettias across the country. They are everywhere in this film. When Penny finds everyone exhausted after a hard day’s work she leaves them sleeping in front of the unattended fire and just hopes she will get a chance to cash in on both their home insurance and Chris’ life insurance at the same time. It’s merely her Plan B. Nothing serious.

Even random people are now helping to put up the signs for the auction around town when who should roll up but Jared’s father, asking for directions to the lodge. Chris brings in a CD player into the stables that he used to use to play music for the reindeer.

Prediction #17 – The music will bring the reindeer back

Prediction #18 – Jared’s father will reveal why his son is really there ungraciously and probably severe any remaining familial ties they had by trying to make him choose between business or the lodge

Prediction #19 – After spending two seconds at the lodge, Jared’s father will probably come around and at the risk of losing his son, decide not to try and foreclose the lodge

Seriously, I can’t stop with this film and that only means I’ll probably be fucking wrong by a landslide. Molly and Jared are left alone in the stable which gives them plenty of time to start dancing to the music and for, predictably, Jared’s dad to show up at the worst possible moment.


Jared: “Did you mean what you said to Kayla?”

Molly: “You heard that?”

Me: “Seeing as that was now a few days ago I am surprised she immediately knew what the man was referencing… he could have been talking about them discussing how they best liked their bacon cooked from this morning.”


Being introduced to William, Jared’s dad, is enough to send Molly storming off out of the barn and pointing out all the moments where Jared could have come clean about what he was really doing there.


Jared: “What was I supposed to say? ‘Oh, you won a trip? I’m here to foreclose on two sweet, old people and their reindeer ranch.'”

Molly: “No, but I would have appreciated the truth.”

Me: “I would have just thought you were Satan the entire time.”


Penny interrupts this revelation that Jared was terrified of losing the woman to let Molly know she has a call. Predictably, there is a cancellation that Molly can catch the next day and Penny is very concerned that she will be missing Christmas if she is flying around, instead. I am unsure whether Penny and Chris knew what Jared was doing there, I presume so… I would have been bribing him a lot more, in that case.

Jared is furious at his father for ruining his Christmas and it’s probably not a great idea to anger the man if you want to convince him not to sell the place. I’d do it out of spite for being shouted at and told I’d ruined Christmas. Meanwhile, Molly is helping Kayla get ready for, technically, her first big show and can’t help asking why the woman is leaving the lodge and Jared behind her. Kayla promptly hands all the clothes Molly has just packed back to her and I would, legit, have admitted defeat at that point because fuck packing.

As per usual we have to wait just long enough to presume no one is coming to the auction and, unfortunately, have Jared’s dad turn up to see the empty stable. At least Penny is willing to offer the man a cookie after Molly and Jared have abandoned ship to probably go argue some more. Oh! And here’s everyone now!


Shopkeeper: “Hey! I was just telling Molly and Kayla here why we’re all so late! Mrs Elliott’s cows got out and blocked the main highway. Nobody could pass! We all had to take the side road!”

Me: “Good God I need to live here.”


I really want my biggest concern in life to be the fact I can’t get up to the silent auction, being held in a stable, to bid on a painting, to help fund the relocation of a herd of reindeer, to our town’s own nature reserve because the highway was blocked by cows. That’s all I’ve ever wanted 2 days before Christmas.

Jared will not give up on hounding Molly around the stable and thinks the best way he can do this is by appearing out of nowhere and saying ‘Congratulations’ very loudly.


Jared: “Are you really leaving tomorrow?”

Molly: “Yeah, I have to get back to work. It’s where I belong.”

Me: “That and the fact you never got back to that client who is still waiting to receive that proposal you promised you’d look into…”

Jared: “I thought you weren’t sure about that.”

Molly: “Yeah…”

Jared: “What if you belong here? With me.”

Me: “What!? You don’t even fucking live here!”


Let’s just… think about Jared’s relocation plans for a minute while he apologises and tells the woman he’s in love with her. Oh look! It’s a full moon!

Prediction #20 – Molly is gonna find Jared’s whittled reindeer under the full moon and just know they are meant to be together. Forever. Just like Grandma planned all along and is part of her diabolical plan…

Jared’s father can’t help noticing the amount of times Molly has stormed away from his son in the past 6 hours so goes out to talk to him while he tries to whittle away at this reindeer. He needs to hurry up, Molly still needs to find that somewhere before she leaves to prove me right. Apparently, Jared’s grandfather used to do the same thing and clearly the talent wasn’t hereditary because Jared’s reindeer sucks. William has decided he actually needs to improve his relationship with his son, powered by Christmas cheer and his oncoming retirement, which is why he is not going to rip the lodge out from under Penny and Chris’ feet and leave them homeless.


William: “I know I’ll never be able to make up all those years to you but… to me that’s just a figure on a balance sheet. All these people up here, tonight, it’s obviously much more than that.”

Jared: “It’s a part of the town, it’s… they love it. I’ve only been here a little while, I can tell, why?”

William: “I knew you had something else on your mind. I could hear it in your voice on the phone.”

Me: “That and the fact he told you he had his doubts and had found himself in a bit of situation, yeah, sure.”


I am surprised that Jared didn’t continue to hound Molly and give her the good news but instead chose to wait until the next morning, at the very last moment, as she has already said goodbye to people, opened the Christmas advent calendar and is heading to the airport. Opening the advent calendar message of the day it tells her ‘the best Christmas gift is love’ which she feels she is severely lacking in right then and would rather just eat the chocolate, thanks.

Speaking of last minute, Molly decides to call that client while she is waiting in line to check in as if she didn’t have signal the entire time at the lodge…


Molly: “Hi Mr Roberts! It’s Molly Clarke from Manchester Software, we spoke last week about the proposal. Well, I know it’s Christmas Eve bu… No, I do have a life, I… Not a problem, we can speak after the holidays. Bye.”

Me: “Now that man knows how to celebrate Christmas!”


God fucking damn it. When looking in her case for her ID she instead finds the occult reindeer that Jared carved for her. What happened to leaving it outside under the full moon for her to find!? Out in the wilderness, buddy!! I would hardly call a local Vermont airport the motherfuckin’ wilderness! It has Christmas decorations and closes at night! Help me out there!

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Jared really captured the eyes…

Back at the lodge Jared is ‘gifting’ the owners with a ‘Vermont Gift Deed’ which will be set up as a permanent trust so the lodge will belong to them and the town forever. I’m not sure… where the fact the place is on a registered nature reserve comes into all of this because OHHHHH those extra lights were on the back porch. That explains it.

Also, seeing as the full moon is actually good for at least 6 days (by the naked eye, anyway) Jared is able to stand out on the lawn, staring up at it and be more easily accessible for Molly to stroll back and find him.


Molly: “I found this in my bag.”

Jared: “I didn’t know what else to do.”

Me: “Except find her and explain that the lodge was no longer in danger? Bother to say goodbye? You thought sneaking into her room and planting a hand-carved, wooden reindeer in her suitcase was the way to go?”


I swear to GOD the reindeer that are strolling through the woods are the exact same fucking green-screened reindeer that knocked Maddie off the road. Penny is also claiming that the Christmas miracle of true love brought them back and everyone sneaks up in order to watch reindeer casually stroll around Penny and Chris. I hope they’ve apologised for fucking off and almost putting the couple out of a home.

And there we have it! If you want to watch some beautiful whittling then head right here.

Now let’s look at these predictions I am aware I have done terribly on.

 

Prediction board – 11/20

  • Prediction #1 – Oh, you meant small town Jamaica that’s up a hill somewhere in the northern hemisphere! – CORRECT.
  • Prediction #2 – Molly is going to get snowed in for the entire festive period and be unable to work and it will be healthy for her – INCORRECT! She actually found another hobby to work on.
  • Prediction #3 – Jared is there to try and sell Reindeer Lodge or boot Zelda out of her home for not paying rent – Oh boy, yes. CORRECT!
  • Prediction #4 – At some point a reindeer will take a specific liking to Molly and Jared will look fondly on – Unfortunately this never occurred, I would have liked to have seen her reaction to a real-life reindeer. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #5 – Jared’s company wants to make the place into a multi-storey car park or ski resort or something – CORRECT! People just love good real estate.
  • Prediction #6 – Jared will decide that nature is more important than people dying on ski slopes and also wants to preserve the place where he met his future wife – CORRECT! Good for you, buddy.
  • Prediction #7 – Molly will already have bonded with the reindeer far too much when she hears of Jared’s plan and feels utterly betrayed – INCORRECT! She actually bonded with her future self
  • Prediction #8 – Molly will probably offer her own marketing expertise to help save the lodge – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #9 – Molly will get the chance to leave early but in the end will not take it – CORRECT! Stopped by a tiny-eyed reindeer
  • Prediction #10 – The whole town will come to the lodge’s aid because they all love reindeer around these here parts – HELL YEAH! CORRECT!
  • Prediction #11 – Molly will find very personal ties to Reindeer lodge which will only reinforce her endeavours to save the place – Mmmmmm, nothing really came of this. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #12 – Molly will find this whittled reindeer out in the wilderness under the light of a full moon – Make that in the middle of the day under the fluorescent lights of the airport check in desk. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #13 – The reindeer have escaped! – We’ll never know… that is the reindeer’s secret and theirs alone…. UNKNOWN!
  • Prediction #14 – There are no reindeer!  – CORRECT! Phew, just in time.
  • Prediction #15 – The reindeer will be back just in time to stop Greg and Kayla being sacrificed by the cult and to save the lodge – Although this would have been a good alternative ending… CORRECT!
  • Prediction #16 – The book will also really help with publicity for the place – We can only assume so but… sure! CORRECT!
  • Prediction #17 – Chris playing their favourite music will bring the reindeer back – Unfortunately…. no. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #18 – Jared’s father will reveal why his son is really there ungraciously and probably severe any remaining familial ties they had by trying to make him choose between business or the lodge – Ooooooh so close. Half a point.
  • Prediction #19 – After spending two seconds at the lodge, Jared’s father will probably come around and at the risk of losing his son, decide not to try and foreclose the lodge – CORRECT! That Christmas spirit can do weird things to ya
  • Prediction #20 – Molly is gonna find Jared’s whittled reindeer under the full moon and just know they are meant to be together. Forever. Just like Grandma planned all along and is part of her diabolical plan… – INCORRECT! Sorry Grandma.

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: If they didn’t even have wild reindeer they weren’t going to have tame horses
  • Piano: I think we’ve had our piano fix for this year already
  • Carolling: Thank GOD no.
  • Christmas Montage: A festive stable decorating montage!
  • Fire Hazards: I have never been so amazed in all of my life by one person’s affinity with a fire hazard
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: Errrrr…. sure
  • Snowing on cue: All of the god damn time

 

20 god damn predictions! But hey, at least I got over 50% non?

Ya know… the past few films really haven’t been all that bad. I don’t feel completely traumatised, at least. Let’s see what the remaining days can do to me.

Christmas Advent #14 – 3 Day Christmas

Usually, when I pick films, I just hit record on a bunch of films and see what pops out the other side. When it comes to actually watching them I check all of the recordings and read the synopsis. That is exactly why I chose this film for Day 14:

A father is convinced that his family needs to reconnect with each other. He has the perfect answer: lock them in the house over Christmas without heating or power. That should do the trick!

Now come on. Please. I have nothing but the highest of hopes for this clearly delusional man. We’ve done anonymous Christmas gifts and Christmas weddings and music lessons and saving Christmas tree nurseries. Now it’s time for a hostage situation.

Please. Do go on.

 

This film even opens up with home movie style shots of Christmas’ past and two brothers constantly being dicks to each other…. wait… that one kid got a gun!! You’re giving the kid who keeps picking on his younger brother a gun!? You’re about to lose a son, people.

Back in the present one of the kids is all grown up and sitting in traffic while the radio tells him there will be no snow this Christmas but they will be getting 60mph winds, so there is that to look forward to. The reason for this hold-up in traffic? Well….

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I don’t believe the stop sign is needed. I believe the floating port-a-loo would do the trick alone.

Another film and another teenage girl. I have a feeling this one isn’t quite as loving and charitable as Abigail from yesterday… and probably neither are her younger brother and sister who are all knocking around the house, bored. Back in the traffic jam and all of the construction workers stop in order to watch the inevitable happen, a rope snaps on a portable toilet and the thing comes down on our main guy’s car. Now… I really think it should have smashed straight through the window but instead he appears to just get toilet juice all over his car that he happily clears off with the windscreen wipers. Guy must be a modern day Buddha.

This guy is apparently in accounting and I’m confused why all of his staff seem to be standing around in the foyer all dressed up. Is he late for a party in… the middle of the day? He’s handing gifts out either way while some woman hounds him into his office telling him his brother called a million times and there is some guy waiting for him in his office, who also brought her a Christmas jumper that she is being made to wear. I have…. I have so many questions but no words with which to phrase them, right now.


Guy: “What did my brother want?”

Woman: “He wouldn’t say, he was talking so fast. Something about ‘the end is near’ or ‘beer’ or ‘peer’…. The end is beer? Could that be it?”

Guy: “No, no, no, it’s Armageddon again. Perfect.”

Me: “Oh yeah, that ol’ chestnut.”


The guy waiting for our main man in the office is ‘The Muffin King’ and this man is very confident about his new selection of iced bran muffins which he is calling ‘Bran New’. Get it? He has even brought an entire basket of them over, which is nice. In return our main man hands him a hefty folder which are, apparently, the Muffin King’s taxes for the year. Donald The Muffin King just really wants to hear that he never has to pay taxes again and I really don’t know who is more insane: our guy’s brother who has managed to ring all of the phones in the office simultaneously or The Muffin King who is pissed that the woman is no longer wearing the ‘gift’ he gave her.

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The face of a woman who will try to break news to you gently but will ultimately fail

Martin, our man, assures his assistant she should go and enjoy the party which actually is happening out in the office in the middle of the day in order to answer the phone to his brother, Sam. I hope Sam is the kid who owns the gun, it makes sense that he would believe in the end of the world by now.

Martin abandons his own work place in order to drive up to Sam’s house which is surrounded by chain link fence and barbed wire but he does seem to have let a bunch of garden gnomes in, which is nice of him. Martin is greeted by having an American football launched at his groin which really just confirms Sam is the older, insane brother. As a gift to the entire family he has stored up provisions for the end of the world in his basement. So thoughtful! I mean… the barrel of rain water should probably be outside collecting resources but hey, we’re cool man! But down that football!


Sam: “Food, shelter… and if I don’t have it I can make it. Or kill it.”

Me: “This is the first time I’ve really felt like I’m in a realistic American setting…”

Martin: “Where is my daughter?”

Sam: “In the house. She might even be sober by now….”

Me: “Immediately abort creepy Uncle’s house! Abort! Abort! Abort!”


If you ask me his daughter seems very much sober because she can look at the moose head on the wall and accurately assess that yes, it is disgusting. Her cousin Corey (or possibly Gorey, I’m not ruling it out of this family) is an absolute prick and has all the makings of a serial killer, I swear to god. This is quickly turning into some sort of outback Christmas tale that I am fully invested in.

I am slightly confused why Martin’s daughter is there in the first place, however, as he seemed shocked she was there at all and she was annoyed he had taken so long to get there. I don’t…. How did she even get through the security measures at the bottom of the drive?

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Regret marriage? No. Why would you say that?

Girl: “Bye Uncle Sammy-Sam, Aunt Marilyn. Absolutely love what you’ve done with the place. The tinfoil window dressings! Very… redneck bunker chic. Lovin’ it!”

Sam and Marilyn: “……….”

Martin: “Again… my apologies.”

Marilyn: “It happens.”

Sam: “Take control, Marty. A ripper is rising and you’re going under. A little Christmas gift for you and the fam. Read it, watch it, do it. We did it. Saved our lives. ‘Course, I was always more prepared to handle that kinda thing.”

Martin: “You have become a very scary guy, Sam.”

Sam: “Be scary… or be scared.”

Marilyn: “Scared is scared.”

Martin: “………….”

Me: “……………………………………………..”


What the fuck?! Whaaaaat the fuuuuuuck!? I don’t know whether… I just don’t know how I’m supposed to… I can’t even. What is this. Do I love it or do I hate it and I’m just too shocked to realise it, yet? Sam hands over something called ‘3 Day Test’ which is apparently both a book and DVD in one, if we are supposed to follow his instructions on it. I can’t believe that, based on the title of this film, Martin is actually going to follow his mental brother’s advice. I guess these things really do run in the family.

Out in the car Martin’s daughter is trying to convince her dad she did not go off to college and start drinking… although… I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what happens in life. She blames it on her creepy ass Uncle just trying to yank her dad’s chain and also begins to  explain away being arrested, too. Apparently she was escorted to her Uncle’s house and it was not by the police. Unfortunately, the moment Martin hears the name Regis – which belongs to some hairy guy with tattoos – he can’t keep his shit together and his daughter simply clams up and demands to be taken home.

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I thought we had seen the gates of hell already, this year. I was wrong.

Back at home Martin notices the absence of his wife by pulling into the garage and seeing her car is not also there. I’m not sure if he’s supposed to know but she left a message for him that she would be back late from class because it was her big night. Martin looks more confused about what the fuck her ‘big night’ might be than he is by the leak in his ceiling that is being dealt with by a large bucket underneath it. Even stranger is his youngest daughter, possibly Josie, sitting in the dark and watching some Christian guy preaching on the TV, looking for all the world as though she may well have died a few days ago and no one has noticed.

When Martin tries to turn the light on his desk on she promptly demands they are turned off and instead of greeting the man herself merely holds her creepy-ass doll up for him to kiss. It gets fucking weirder when she holds the doll up to her ear, turns the TV off and informs her dad that Tina said they were rude just now and he could actually turn the lights on if he wanted.

Why in christ’s name would he want to lock himself in a house with these people for 3 days? Apparently Josie has told Tina they shouldn’t watch so much TV but the doll wants what the doll wants and I presume if she doesn’t get what she wants then she threatens to murder the entire family in their sleep.

Worried that his daughter, or Tina, have not eaten yet he asks where the hell her brother is. The answer to that is… keeping an eye on his sister via a camera mounted on a remote controlled car. Martin attempts to get his son, maybe Adam, to come down for dinner – stopping to turn a light on over a portrait of his father first – but Adam appears to communicate with one of those displays where you can type stuff in and it scrolls across to show the message. If that display is to be believed then Adam already ate. Kinda selfish.

At the dinner table Josie is feeding their pregnant dog, Splatter, with hot dogs off her plate and wondering when the puppies will arrive.

Prediction #1 – Probably at Christmas when you’re all locked in and it will really help bring you all together

I don’t have the mental capacity to make that many predictions about this film because I am mostly caught between staring in horror and typing furiously. I can’t quite believe what is happening in front of me.


Martin: “I thought you loved franks and beans?”

Josie: “Splatter loves franks and beans….”

Martin: “Well what do you like to eat, then?”

Josie: “Cereal.”

Martin: “You can’t have cereal for dinner.”

Me: “Like fucking hell I can’t!”


The mom finally returns and is just as fucking crazy as the rest of them. She wants to hear nothing about her daughter possibly spending the money she left for them to order pizza on buying booze for her boyfriend instead and would rather go and buy a Christmas tree. Martin is left at the table to talk to Tina about how a toilet fell on him today.

I have never experienced anything like what happens next. Josie is running around picking a tree that Tina likes and telling the Santa at the lot he’s not real because Tina said so, Adam is measuring trees with some weird ass device to find the perfect one, I don’t know why Lu, the eldest daughter, bothered to come because she already wants to go and Martin is shouting about being shown the good stuff. That is until he sees a tree that is about 20 feet high and has to go through it with a chainsaw to try and wedge it into the corner of the living room.

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Ya never know, the tree may help to keep the leaking ceiling up.

Josie is actually Jessie and one time she forced Martin to pay £413.16 to throw a birthday party for her doll, Tina. Martin is also very concerned that his son keeps spying on people with his toys whereas his wife is just happy the boy can spell and has good grammar. By the way, that leaking is the shower and his wife just really wants it fixed. Martin has no idea what classes his wife is even taking these days because he doesn’t pay attention and she thinks he should really just try actually talking to his children once in a while.

Haven forbid this argument leads us down to Martin’s desk where he starts watching the ‘3 Day Test’ DVD. The moment this insane American dressed in Army pants starts shouting at the camera in the middle of the woods about how kids are slaves to technology I can literally feel their freedom withering away. This guys suggests cutting off every single utility into the house and locking the doors for 3 full days, like his grown ass wife and teenage daughter aren’t capable of unlocking the front fucking door. Also, where will the dog go to take a shit?

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I suggest you do not go around messing with utility poles. In fact, don’t even touch one.

Apparently the only way to do this exercise properly is to spring it on your family without notice and at the most inappropriate time because that’s when real emergencies arise. The real world doesn’t wait for you to be done in the shower before a plane drops into your garden and cuts the heads clean off your garden gnomes with the landing gear and neither will this guy. By the looks of it neither will Martin.

I’m not sure what happened in the rest of that DVD or if Martin can actually read but he turns off the power first so can no longer see what he’s doing… a quick referral back to the book and there is large, bold font telling him to do this last, you fucking moron. Creeping around the neighbourhood and house Martin slowly steals all of his family’s belongings and slowly takes away their abilities to cook, clean or call for help. Thank fuck he doesn’t take Tina away otherwise that doll would have possessed the shit out him and sent him flying off the roof in the early morning.

I have to presume Martin is just slow because it is morning again by the time he is spray painting his windows black and has put up various signs in the windows about how his family is desperate and unplugged…. The elderly woman next door appears to appreciate his work though and watches the madman slowly and methodically ruin all of the windows of his house until he is ready to wake his family up and break the bad news to them.

Martin has gone legit insane and is willing to have them all die from pneumonia if that’s what it takes to feel closer to his family. It is at this very moment that the grubbiest looking news van and crew pull up looking for the ‘toilet guy’ and think the whole ordeal may have hit him a little harder than they first thought.

Indoors Martin is trying to convince his children that they are all slaves to oil until his wife, Jackie, has truly had enough and rips his dumb ass hat off his head to make sure he hears her when she shouts at him to turn the heating back on. The woman just wants to go Christmas shopping (a bit late, if you ask me) and not have a husband who is related to a batshit insane survivalist.


Martin: “I used to love Christmas! Where did it go!? But now Christmas is just another excuse for everyone to melt their credit cards, go further into debt and then expect me to fix it!”

Me: “Ohhhhh so that’s what this is about.”


Wanting to save her children from certain death she gathers them up in order to escape this hell hole and I can only presume she will run into the news crew as she leaves the house. The news crew have much bigger fish to fry out on the street, though.


Old Neighbour: “What do you two bozos think you’re doing!?”

Camera Guy: “We came to do a story on your neighbour.”

Old Neighbour: “Why!? He’s an idiot!”

Me: “Just… glorious.”


The crew don’t have too long to try and get the scoop on how it feels to get hit by a toilet because our old neighbour has already called the cops on Martin. Apparently she didn’t appreciate his work as much as I first thought… But fair enough, she thinks his family is being held hostage and she has taken action! It’s only going to look good for Martin when they see him arranging the living room furniture in order for him to set up their new sleeping quarters.

The real irony here is that Martin is going around screaming at his family for being too suggestible to technology and modern life when, after one DVD and a booklet, he has tried to lock his entire family in the house for three days and worry about things like not knowing how socks are made. As Martin is sat, alone, in his living room and surrounded by camping gear he hears a police siren outside.

The man was supposed to have blacked out the windows but, for the purposes of the film, he apparently forgot one so he could look out between the blinds and see his family – escaping the house via the garage – being herded away by an armed SWAT team before turning the guns on the house. When an army official asks Martin to leave the house via the front door he decides to do so whilst holding a frying pan up like a weapon. Good job the local news crew was there to watch this man get tied up on his lawn and accused of holding his family hostage.

Jackie comes to the rescue when she realises her husband is the only one with a job and if they take him away the shower will never get fixed, adamant they were not being held hostage. The kid’s faces seem to say differently but I am not surprised that the army immediately back off and apologise for the mistake. ‘Oh, no, I am very happy in this cult and they definitely have not threatened to kill me if I ever try to leave or get help from the outside world. Not at all. You just go home now, officer, and please pay no attention to the wild gestures I am trying to make with my eyes that I definitely DONT. NEED. SAVING. IMMEDIATELY.’

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It was unspoken during the film but I believe this woman was actually the devil

To top off the fact he probably just cost the government thousands of pounds in order to get the SWAT team out there on his front lawn, the camera guy from the local news hollers at him from behind the police tape asking what it feels like to be hit with a toilet. Yeah, that’s really gonna help him stay calm during this hostage situation, bud.

Despite the fact that Martin looks suitably fucked up after his encounter with the SWAT team and would probably be willing to finally back down, Jackie decides this is the moment to agree to the whole thing. It’s at this point she also breaks it to the kids they literally have zero gifts for Christmas. What has she been doing with all her time when she’s not working? I’ve also just thought that this man did not prepare beforehand for this ’emergency’ by getting non-perishable food in and their fridge and freezer has been off for about 4 hours already so… they’re all gonna look really great in 3 days time?

5 minutes in and the kids are already arguing. Adam even throws Tina into a tent because she’s just a fucking doll and definitely doesn’t eat clay. Yeah. For the next 3 days they will be drinking the water out of the toilet tanks and also searching for firewood….

Predition #2 – in the spirit of Christmas will Martin will need to chop up that damn tree and throw it on the fire

Martin is honest to god the most suggestible man on earth. The book tells him to burn the furniture so he looks around, looking past the giant tree in the corner, and starts wondering if he can burn the sofa. When his wife rightly believes she might actually like something to sit on after this hell is over, they head down to the basement where there is plenty of wooden furniture to burn but Martin is too sentimental about it all to do it himself. Jackie, however, does not care about Martin’s dad enough to try and save his old desk and commences to chop it up into tiny pieces for the fire.

As entertainment Martin thinks they should decorate the tree but not with the perfectly good ornaments they have up in the attic! Oh no. He wants to decorate with things that are just lying around the house! I wonder if he could make them all some tinfoil hats while he’s at it…


Jessie: “Paper angels!”

Jackie: “Oh, that’s a great idea.”

Martin: “There’s our angel! We’ll make stars made out of aluminium foil and strings of cranberry and popcorn!”

Jackie: “Which of course we will get from the cranberry and popcorn tree in our kitchen.”

Martin: “Come on, team, where’s your Christmas spirit!? You think they used to make Christmas decorations out of old cheap ornaments and tacky tinsel?”

Me: “Nooooo but I do believe they might have had access to cranberries and popcorn before they decided to decorate a tree with them….”


Out in the van we learn that the camera man might be little more than the local pervert who thinks reality TV is the way forward and the only show worth watching would be him on a deserted island with 10 supermodels. Ja. I can only hazard a guess that that would be a very real hostage situation…

Martin thinks that the perfect time to ask your wife whether she has ever regretted marrying you is when you have just locked her in a house with no heating, power or water for 3 days. Correct me if I’m wrong but I would have plenty regrets at that point, namely the fact I hadn’t cracked him over the back of the head with the frying pan the moment he dropped his guard.

In the middle of the night Sam and his son think it would be a wonderful idea to break in, steal half of the food and then wake everyone up by screaming at them and shining torches into their eyes.


Sam: “That’s right! It’s your Uncle Sam and I want you and you and you and you.”

Me: “But there are five of them….”


Unsure of which family member he has just cast loose and whether his son’s name is Gordon, Corey or… Nightcrawler…. Sam goes on to explain how life in a post-apocalyptic situation really works.


Sam: “Locking yourself inside! Nice, Marty, but that’s only the half of it. When the real battle starts the marauders will come and they’ll take your food and then they’ll take your women and children to start a new world.”

Me: “Abort mission! Abort! Abort! Abort!”


I do believe that Sam is threatening to return every night and seeing as he took the food tonight I really wouldn’t put it past him to actually take the women and children tomorrow… I think you actually need to call the cops on that guy…. And whoever had this idea and wrote this script really needs to take a good long look at themselves and what drives their characters… He then shoots his brother right in the chest with a paintball before leaving. Grand.


Jackie: “The power is going back on! We are returning to Earth!”

Martin: “You mean that same Earth with all that weird weather, random acts of violence and bomb-crazy dictators making every day a guessing game!?”

Me: “I believe the words you’re after are ‘Hey, how about we build a bomb shelter and I stop locking us all indoors?'”

Martin: “I’m tired of living in the dark!”

Me: “How in good god’s name is locking yourself in the house for 3 days suddenly going to enlighten you to all of Earth’s problems!? Other than the fact Trump would probably adore visiting a man who thinks the world is going to end and then you can ask him about raking the fucking living room carpet to stop it from catching on fire in the night.”


Martin still thinks they can make it through the next 2 days by surviving on a jar of pickles and burning his jumper for warmth and my god if this woman doesn’t fucking agree to stick it out with him. I hope she is documenting everything so that in 2 days time she can head right to a solicitor and start drawing herself up a very attractive set of divorce papers.

It is whilst they are trying to tidy up the living room – fuck knows why – that Martin and Jackie find out about A-Dog Productions from a bunch of discs he has left carelessly in their new bomb shelter. Their son has been downloading music and films online to then sell on to his friends and buy all the equipment in his room. Jackie is concerned this is actually illegal. Martin is concerned that he thought he was the one who bought all that stuff.


Lu: “Mom, seriously, I need to let Regis know I’m OK. I don’t want him to worry. How can I do that?”

Me: “Set fire to the house. Send a fucking smoke signal.”


Martin is losing his shit over Regis once more, who actually plays football and isn’t covered in hair but does have a tattoo which matches Lu’s. The way this man freaks out you would presume he was from the turn of the century and still thinks that cameras can steal your soul. Which, by the way he thinks the world is going, he probably thinks is very correct. Jackie suggests the man doesn’t go and talk to their daughter while he’s experiencing a hot flush but off he rushes anyway.

When Lu breaks the news to him that she doesn’t actually have a tattoo and he can stop having a heart attack he suggests they start talking about everything like they are best friends. Lu points out the fact he’s already had 17 years and never bothered to talk to her before so she doubts 3 days is gonna change much and would he please get out of her room and leave her alone, already? She would like to freeze to death in peace. Thanks.

Now that she doesn’t have a tattoo Martin is suddenly worried they haven’t prepared their daughter properly for the world and at 17 she might not be ready for college after all. I swear to god he thinks she’s going to get hit by an atomic bomb the second she leaves her dorm. Jackie thinks they may have a bigger problem because Adam has gone missing but at least Tina knows where they can find him?


Jessie: “Daddy… I’m not allowed to tell but I think Tina knows where Adam is.”

Martin: “Where is he?”

Jessie: “Adam will get mad if I tell so maybe Tina can tell you instead?”

Martin: “Jessie…. Tina is a doll. She’s 8 inches of cotton, plastic and a bad wig that’s going to cost me around £10,000 in birthday parties for the next 20 years, OK? Maybe we could just talk to each other directly, wouldn’t that be nice?”

Me: “Oh lord you gonna end up cursed, man.”


This appears to just be a roadshow of Martin going around and apologising to his family for being psychotic. Unfortunately I believe I was right about Tina being a living, cursed doll because I don’t think Jessie could manufacture that frown on her doll’s face, yet after Martin has apologised to her she goes back to looking like a normal doll. This family has so many issues they need to look into in another day’s time….

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It ain’t fuckin’ right, I’m tellin’ ya!

Turns out Adam was just hiding in the attic the entire time because apparently, when people search an entire house what they mean is they forget they have that mass of space upstairs that is still technically a part of their home. That or Jackie just couldn’t be bothered to look that hard.


Martin: “So… what is this place?”

Me: “It’s the attic, Martin. It’s your attic.”


I can only dread to think how Martin is going to broach the subject of illegally downloading music and films to sell when he has lost touch with reality and I’m sure his former reality didn’t know that much about the internet to begin with. Seeing as I was right, Martin quickly moves on to talking about his family and how he would go hunting and kill animals to win their love. …… We’re basically watching how, out of two brothers, one basically became a serial killing marauder and the other narrowly missed murdering to became… an accountant. We also learn that Martin was a bit of a prick in other ways, like growing his hair long and stealing acid wash jeans to get his Dad’s attention when it turned out he didn’t like gutting deer.

What I adore more is, when wondering how they can fix their broken relationship and their son’s illegal activities, Martin simply tells his son to sit there and think about a solution while he leaves to go be crazy somewhere else. Well wasn’t that a delightful moment of bonding, kids? There is still an hour left of this film so I guess that is why we’re back outside in the news van listening to the pervert making up a new show called ‘Redneck Redo’ where they polish a turd and send it on a date with a supermodel. I assume the turd is the pervert, again.


Camera Guy: “Is there any idea floating around in that extremely goofy brain of your’s that doesn’t completely degrade women?”

Pervert Guy: “What are you talking about!? I love women! All women!”

Me: “Yeah, I think that’s kinda the problem…”


On the pervert’s admission that he loves all women that is the old neighbour’s cue to knock on the van’s door and invite the pervert in for… a cup of something nice and hot to warm him up. I don’t even want to get into the sex drive that old people have in this area, there must be something in the teabags or coffee granules.

Swiftly moving on, Splatter is having puppies on the kitchen floor and everyone gathers around to watch from a safe distance and think about the miracle of life. Probably. This is just in time for, the next day, that bad weather the news guy was talking about to hit the town and knock over most of Martin’s signs he left dotted around the lawn. The weather didn’t stop Sam, however, who has broken in yet again and stolen all the dogs and Tina. How heavily do these people sleep!?

Also I am unsure when Christmas Day is, seeing as Jackie was banging on about having no presents… This time Martin and his family mean war and they’re going to wage it on the other half of their family. Apparently this means calling the camera crew into the house and watching Martin poke through that leak in the ceiling which has slowly been getting bigger over the last 6 months from when he first claimed he would fix it.


Martin: “Couple of days ago I told Don Brandle that I would tear apart my own house to find a tax deduction? Then I got to thinking… Over 50% of my tax payments go to some part of the Department of Defence, which is around $630,000,000. 2% of which goes to Civil Defence which is constructing shelters and early warning systems. So then, I thought, why can’t this test be a part of that budget? And have it be deductible! So based on my salary that deduction would end up being around $9,232.16. If Sam wants a war he’ll get a war but we’ll have the other Uncle Sam pay for it! It’s brilliant! Oh and this test will be televised. The IRS is gonna want proof of the test.”

Me: “I genuinely believe I need Martin as my accountant. I don’t even need an accountant.”


The entire family, except for Lu, is ready to destroy the house in order to set some major traps for Sam to walk into that night. The news crew, however, have just got the news that the wind knocked out the power across the entire city and now everyone is out on their lawns waving their arms around because that is what you do when the power goes out.

We then experience a home makeover montage with some footage from the camera crew covering the delightful, festive story about a man who went crazy in 3 days and covered his bath in clingfilm. As far as I remember Sam rarely took tours of the house so I am intrigued to see if he will be visiting every single room of the house that they have booby-trapped in order to set everything off. I also wonder how they’re going to hide the news crew when Sam breaks in…

Oh, I see, Day 4 is Christmas Day. Either way Sam and his son are back, dressed as Santa, and this time Sam goes and checks out the sleeping bags the family should have been in. This makes me worry, a lot, about what the man has been doing on his nightly visits before now. After the first encounter with Uncle Sam where we throw him down the stairs Jessie valiantly leaves Tina behind on the stairs where Sam dropped her. I hope Jessie and Tina have formed a bond strong enough that she overlooks being abandoned that one time…

Meanwhile their cousin is trying to eat clay muffins and getting glued to a sheet pan. It’s best you don’t think too hard about it. Just the sight of that child makes me worry about all the women who are going to end up murdered in his future. It turns out Sam has brought his paint gun with him again, which should be fun, and is also happy to abandon his son to the horrors of the house and national embarrassment when the camera crew film him rolling around on some tarpaulin, covered in washing up liquid and feathers.

Sam, meanwhile, is following all of the wires up into the attic where Adam and Jessie have been camped out watching the proceedings on some screens with power that they managed to source from somewhere. Sam starts laughing manically when he finds the children, another huge red flag, before Martin turns up and throws a football at his crotch. That ol’ family favourite.

Sam chases his brother off through the house with his paint gun and they end up in the bathroom together. I hope he’s gonna push his brother into that cling filmed bath which is now full before he wraps him up and drowns him. I’m not actually sure what the family planned and I’m going to let you watch this whole thing for yourself so you can marvel in the shit show with true wonder.

Everything ends up wonderfully, the family gets to go back outside again, the power appears to be on once more, they’re going to get the puppies back and the pervert comes up with a reality show that doesn’t involve super models.

I fear that Tina may still be a little pissed off about being left on the stairs though as the very last shot is her looking angry again. Maybe the sequel will be the family locked in the house for eternity with the doll as she rips their souls apart slowly, one by one.

Hey. We can dream.

If you want to be creeped out by someone else’s Uncle then please, head over here. I promise the man will deliver on withering your soul up just a little. If you like your soul… probably stay away from that.

I was also far too mesmerised by the entire thing to make any real predictions, so let’s see what we’ve got here.

 

Prediction board – 1/1

  • Prediction #1 – Splatter will have puppies at Christmas when you’re all locked in and it will really help bring you all together – CORRECT!

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: I can only imagine what damage we could have done with that
  • Piano: Thank God, no
  • Carolling: NO
  • Christmas Montage: There was a lot of preparing the house for internal warfare
  • Fire Hazards: Once Martin got involved with that fire then yes, the entire house
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: Oh… my…. god… I was so wrapped up in this film being batshit I didn’t even realise!
  • Snowing on cue: No snow, just hurricane-ing on cue

 

I finally did it! I finally got a perfect score! Because I didn’t know what the hell I was watching!

cannot imagine we are going to experience anything like this again this Christmas – unless I can find that film where a patient at the local psych ward decides to bring Christmas to the other patients, I’ve lost it somewhere – so this may actually end up being the highlight of the year.

God help us. Please. No. Not this. Bring on tomorrow.

Christmas Advent #13 – Sound of Christmas

Here we are. Day 13. Thursday 13th. Unlucky for…. no one.

My brain is suitably mushed but in one more day I will be free from work until the New Year. God bless people who just want to get drunk over Christmas and can’t possibly find the time or sobriety to open up the office. God bless wine.

I had been wondering if I needed any on hand in case this film should go the way of ‘The Sound of Music’; something I have never watched because I don’t think I could fucking cope with seeing that woman spin around on a hill and have any context for it. I like to assume she just escaped from a facility somewhere. Maybe we will experience the same but a woman will be galloping through the snowy woods, singing and slowly developing frostbite in all of her toes.

Probably best to go into this one sober so we don’t end up as that woman… Let’s begin!

 

Oh yeah. There it is. The beautiful city skyline and the festive streets. We only got one day off from this little vista, it would seem. It doesn’t last long because we are dropped straight into a music shop where some woman called Lizzie who looks horribly familiar is fawning over a grand piano neither her or her fellow music teacher can afford for their students.


Lizzie: “Couldn’t you just picture our students playing it? We could put it on the front cover of the brochure.”

Woman: “Mmmm, ‘The Brooklyn Music Institute! Now with really expensive pianos!'”

Lizzie: “See! That would make me wanna go!”

Me: “Seems to work for every other marketing campaign in the world, might as well give it a shot.”


As it turns out Lizzie is the one who teaches music and her friend looks after the finances because if it were left up to Lizzie they would be homeless and sleeping inside of their piano. In another turn of events Lizzie doesn’t like playing piano to an audience… this must make her music lessons unorthodox enough to lure in those rich parents who believe their children are gifted and only the most modern practices will really help their talents to flourish.

Meanwhile a poor teenager waits for their dad to be quite done with his work calls so they can leave the damn office and go home already. He also has a psychic PA sitting in the other room who brings things over to the guy before they’re even needed. I don’t know what this guy does, I was as about as interested in his conversation as his teenage daughter. This girl, Abigail, has been waiting to get their damn Christmas tree for 2 days already – there should be some sort of festive charity set up for the children left with single parents in Christmas films because they would have us believe they are never on the ball or pay zero attention to their kids because work comes first.

Lizzie flees the shop after a crowd have gathered to listen to her play the same piece over and over again and does not miss being on the stage. 10 years ago she totally choked during her debut concert in front of thousands of people and I’m sure that crippling embarrassment would hinder anyone for the rest of their lives. To take her mind off how shit she is, Sam, her friend, takes her off to find a Christmas tree which can cope with the pressure of being up on the stage for their Christmas concert. Love this woman.

Prediction #1 – Lizzie is gonna find a man who has enough belief in her to get her up on that stage!

Speaking of…


Dad: “You know what, let’s get out of here. Tokyo will be here in the morning.”

Me: “You can’t make those kinds of promises!”


Unfortunately for Abigail’s teenage temperament, the moment they try to leave the office some woman called Cynthia shows up who is both clearly enamoured with Brad, the dad, and with her work and offloads a shit ton of work on the man which needs to be done by…. Say it with me now folks! By the end of the year. Which is in two weeks.

Honest to God I think that should be part of the checklist next year. Maybe I won’t start until I only have 2 weeks left, either. Really give myself an unrealistic deadline.

TSOC_1
‘Do you WANT me to stab you in your sleep? WELL?!’

At least Brad knows the sullen look of a teenage girl is more terrifying than any demands a head of the company could make via Cynthia and takes his work off-road with them to go and pick out that Christmas tree. I distinctly remember the last time we picked out a tree a guy died… Obviously all of our characters have congregated at the Christmas tree lot at the same time and we also discover that Abigail is thinking about taking up piano lessons again. My god… could this be pianos big break this year!?

Prediction #2 – The new piano teacher Abigail has a lesson with tomorrow is Lizzie

Unable to multitask, by which I mean walk in a straight line and read documents, Brad promptly walks into Lizzie and drops his work everywhere. I have never once seen a man and just giggled at him because I thought he was so attractive. That’s generally how people end up being committed.

The next day Lizzie finds some student named Jordan sitting outside on the steps of the music institute and they have a nice building, ya’ll! I’m pretty sure they can afford that piano. Unfortunately Jordan keeps forgetting his sheet music at home and his teacher, Mr Flannery, is going to yell at him again. This kid is depending on scholarships in order to keep having these private lessons but hasn’t heard anything back from wherever he applied. Lizzie has zero fear about this because apparently the Christmas concert is the big fundraiser which helps the institute fund all of the scholarships themselves. … I don’t really know how this works so I am not going to question. I’m just gonna believe it will all work out OK in the end.

Prediction #3 – Abigail probably won’t be that keen on piano lessons until she spots Jordan and then will have a very renewed interest in music


Sam: “Thank god you’re here.”

Lizzie: “What’s going on!?”

Sam: “They’re selling the building!”

Lizzie: “What!? Where did you hear that!?”

Sam: “The dentist on the fourth floor, he heard it from the accountant on three who apparently has a cousin who knows someone who works on the property manager’s office.”

Me: “Oh…. yeah…. don’t we all have that same cousin…”


Lizzie is very sure they should not trust a man who works with laughing gas as a career choice and just worry about the Christmas concert which they know for a fact is going to happen. She has even decided to call it ‘The Sound of Christmas’ featuring music that spans the centuries.

Prediction #4 – The building is getting sold and the Christmas concert will face cancellation after all the hard work Lizzie just this second put into it

Outside, Brad is staking out the Institute’s building with his faithful, psychic PA, Meg and just narrowly misses spotting Lizzie as she enters one of her classrooms to teach retired student, Earl. Earl’s hands may look arthritic but he plays the first few bars of ‘The First Noel’ like a pro… until he bombs because he finds the next part tricky. Nevertheless, Lizzie is inviting him to play at the concert because there is nothing like crippling nerves to really help you get over that tricky part of a song!

Earl starts explaining that he loves playing piano more than the company he ever used to own and he should have handed it over to his son years ago. Unfortunately they are not close now but Earl does remember that his son played this very same song once, when he was younger and used to take piano lessons.

Prediction #5 – Please tell me that his son is not Brad and that Brad is not standing 10 feet away at reception…

With a little bit of bribery – namely promising the best seats in the house to Earl’s son if he agrees to play in the concert – Lizzie commences with her lesson. I guess she really does have unorthodox teaching methods… Outside in the corridor Brad does hear the song and takes a stalker’s peek through the blinds but I’m not too disheartened that he doesn’t seem to recognise what might be his own dad because he also doesn’t appear to recognise Lizzie, who he just bumped into last night. I still have high hopes.

In a terribly boring meeting with Brad and Cynthia’s boss, who wants all of this extra work done, it turns out that the Institute is the very building he wants to take over by the end of the year. Uh-oh. Brad seems to think that none of the businesses currently in the building are very essential but it might go over better with the locals if the man added a coffee shop to calm them all down. Sure, getting them off their tits on caffeine is going to calm them. A gourmet market also seems like a good idea because people need a fancy sausage roll more than they need to ever hear a piano played again. Travis, their boss, needs a signature on this contract by next week at the latest, to avoid tax, and so Cynthia jumps on this tiny deadline as an excuse to work on this some more over dinner with Brad.

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Much of the meeting was spent debating whether Cynthia could write a date with Brad into the contract and not arouse suspicion with HR

Despite the fact Abigail has a ‘thing’ at home the woman is insistent and will just be bringing the work to him that evening, instead. In better, less desperate news, everything for the Christmas concert is slowly falling into place and Lizzie is off to interview their new private student over in Manhattan. Brad just wants Abigail to know that there is no pressure for her to take up this woman on her piano lessons because the memories might be too painful… seeing as how her mother is dead and all and clearly loved the piano. Maybe she even died in a piano-related accident!? At Christmas, of course.

Brad and Lizzie are surprised to recognise each other and the woman just laughs in the man’s face some more. The tenuous connection here is that Brad knows some guy called Dave and Lizzie taught Dave’s son Evan to play the piano but now the boy just plays keyboard in rock bands instead. I mean… ya win some, you lose some. After some profound quote Brad and Abigail seem sold on the woman but she is just about to start their first piano lesson when Cynthia loudly hurricanes through much to the disapproval of Abigail.

Away from this cougar we find that both Abigail and Lizzie have similar origin stories of people dying on them and we get down to business playing a piano duet. Ain’t nothing like a piano duet and giggling at each other to bond with your future mother. In spite of all the inane giggling Lizzie is still preferable to Cynthia who is trying to insert herself into all of Brad’s spare time like an insane stalker.

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Yeah… you just think about what you’re seeing here for a moment…

Back at the Institute, Sam finds Jordan still practicing his clarinet for the Christmas concert way after hours. He is more worried that the woman just burst in because he was playing out of tune and might be about to beat him for it or something. The boy can’t practice at home because it’s too loud and his mother happily abandoned him at the school as long as there is a teacher around because I presume they also think his clarinet playing is too loud. Ain’t bad though!

Prediction #6 – There is a piano and clarinet duo coming up at this Christmas concert

Which Lizzie practically confirms by asking Abigail if she would like to play in the Christmas concert. I’m surprised she didn’t ask bloody Cynthia if she wanted to play in the concert too when she was on her way out. Now that Cynthia is out of the way Abigail can concentrate on forcing her dad to keep his promises and decorate their Christmas tree finally. I don’t believe this man has put two and two together yet and realised the place his daughter has just decided to take music lessons at is the very place they are thinking about turfing out for gourmet scotch eggs. I believe that is about to change very swiftly as Brad and Lizzie have just ran into each other in the halls.


Brad: “Lizzie!”

Lizzie: “Brad! What are you doing here?”

Brad: “Oh, I was just picking up some papers. My company is going to buy this building and turn it into high-end office space. What are you doing here?”

Me: “What could a music teacher possibly be doing at a Music Institute?”


Based on their very brief meeting Lizzie thinks this guy is decent enough to possibly change his mind and asks to have a word with him in private. Her negotiation skills… aren’t great and she is already well pissed off that this man is trying to sell a building he had no idea she worked in but at least she feels as strongly about gluten-free cookies and overpriced cheese as I do. Cheese should be available to all, not just the gourmet market audience.

Not even hearing about the Christmas concert and the scholarship programme is enough to make this man suddenly turn on his company and his own livelihood. Who would’a thunk it, huh? While Lizzie is waving the fact she used to think she liked this man in his face, like waving a treat in front of a dog’s nose, Sam and PA Meg are eavesdropping outside and not getting coffee as they first claimed.


Meg: “This just got personal… We really shouldn’t be eavesdropping.”

Sam: “You’re right, we’re terrible… But if we go around back we’d be terrible but we could hear better.”

Meg: “What are we waiting for!?”

Me: “I adore these people.”


Lizzie seems to be having a hard time grasping that if a building is for sale then, eventually, someone is going to end up buying the place and probably changing it but she is still adamant that gourmet markets suck. She is also adamant that she is saving her school and fighting the man! Not Brad but The Man. Music teacher power!

Music teacher power involves stomping back and forth in Sam’s office and screaming about how impossible Brad is whilst Samantha decorates a tiny Christmas tree. It’s her way of coping with whether trying to find out if her employee still fancies the guy or not. The one thing they can agree on is not telling the students but I do believe Lizzie may be taking a bit far by claiming if they told the students it would just ruin Christmas. I mean…

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I, personally, let a Christmas tree do all of my fortune telling for me

Elsewhere, Brad is complaining about how he’s somehow the bad guy in all of this and attempting to buy a Christmas present for Abigail with the help of his mystic PA. Meg keeps telling him that she can see the Institute’s side of the argument too and maybe he might consider trying to convince Travis not to buy the building after all? Or at the very least convince him to let them stay on the ground floor. Screw the accountant on the third floor or dental hygiene on four! Brraaaaaad… ain’t so keen.


Brad: “Isn’t this one of those times where you’re supposed to tell me what to do?”

Me: “She has literally been telling you what to do this entire time…”


Now I know Lizzie said she didn’t want to tell the students and risk ruining their entire Christmas but Earl recognises a terrible poker face when one is looming over his shoulder during his piano lesson. In return Earl ends up giving Lizzie a lesson on how to negotiate with heartless businessmen and how to never give up the advantage. Feeling much more confident Lizzie arranges Abigail’s next lesson to be hosted at the Institute and to slowly make the girl fall in love with the place, throwing in a grand tour while she’s at it.

I believe that Lizzie went around beforehand and opened up all the doors of all the kids having their music lessons so she could show Brad how much of a bastard he would be to deprive them of music. I also presume Lizzie made Jordan’s room and his dreams of going to Julliard to study music the last stop on this magical tour to hang the carrot in front of Abigail. They also just randomly leave the girl in the room where he is having his lesson so they can talk outside about Lizzie’s shameless bribery.

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Tell me my favourite part of the this scene. Go on. I know you can do it.

From the vague expression on Abigail’s face as she passes her father by I can only presume she is going to hate the man if he tries to close down the building. She’s not going to hear it from Lizzie though, who sidesteps this teenager’s questions about what the hell they keep discussing in secret and tries to assure the woman he is usually attempting to do the right thing, even if it doesn’t look like it.

Prediction #7 – Abigail is going to have a huge sway in saving the Institute otherwise she’ll never speak to her father again

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Maybe if we shake our arms hard enough our wrists will simply snap in time for Christmas?

Abigail is contemplating joining the Christmas concert brigade which is going to be completely ruined if her dad goes ahead with this business deal. That’s probably why he turns back up at the Institute to walk Lizzie home – despite not knowing where she lives and if it’s nearby – and to try and announce a cease fire before his head gets knocked clean off his shoulders. They casually discuss Brad’s deceased wife, Amy, as they walk past a bunch of people in a side alley dressed as elves and handing out hot chocolate and food as if this is totally normal behaviour. I suggest not asking what the secret ingredients are that make that hot chocolate so chronically addictive…


Lizzie: “Seems like Abigail’s doing OK. You’ve done a great job with her.”

Brad: “I don’t know if I can take too much credit for that; Amy set a really good example. And if I’m being honest… you have a small part in that too.”

Lizzie: “Me?”

Brad: “Yeah, these last couple of days… she hasn’t gone near the piano in years..”

Me: “Bit difficult considering you’ve left it smack bang in front of the living room window.”


Brad, who apparently lives on the edge, takes a candy cane from these mysterious elves and that’s probably why it immediately starts snowing in the very specific vicinity of Lizzie. I presume it’s an immediate hallucination from a contact high with the sweets. At least Cynthia is there to immediately break the good mood by phoning and confirming the building has been sold.

The next morning neither Cynthia or Travis are impressed by Brad’s suggestion to keep the music school on the ground floor and help them out with the soon to be extortionate rent.


Brad: “I have some concerns about the building in Brooklyn.”

Travis: “Specifically?”

Brad: “One of the tenants is a music school. They do a lot of great work in the community and I think we should try and help them out.”

Travis: “Help them? I don’t understand…”

Me: “I’m a generic high-up businessman in a company and I can’t possibly understand the concerns of normal people. Maybe if I had been the main character in this film but… I’m not, so…. Bye.”


Realising that the building is important to Brad Cynthia jumps at the chance to try and make herself look great but only if that involves speaking about it over dinner. Again. Tonight. She got the craaaazy eyes on her…. Catching Brad at a bad time he agrees without realising the consequences of what he has just done.

Prediction #8 – When Cynthia finds out this is all mostly to do with another woman and not his daughter like he first claimed she is going to try and turf that music school out at all costs

I am unsure why there are a bunch of kids playing instruments on a tiny stage for Sam and Lizzie when all they are interested in are talking about Brad and the fact he hasn’t even spoken to her for two days and does that constitute as being ignored? Does she even matter to him? Is he even a good guy!? None of these doubts are helped along any when Brad merely drop kicks his daughter out of the car for her lesson and Lizzie hears about his dinner date with Cynthia.

Rightly so Abigail does not give a shit about discussing her dad and how crazy Cynthia is and just wants Lizzie to help her maybe practice for the Christmas concert and if she was to maybe perform at the Christmas concert which potential piece of music out of her mother’s favourite collection would Lizzie pick just in case she decides to play after all.  I hope they did actually cast a bunch of people who could play instruments for the movie and not just have everyone fake how talented they are.

Over at the sushi restaurant Cynthia loves staring directly into Brad’s face as he tells her about his Christmas plans which maybe involve a Christmas concert on Christmas Eve and then he just pretends he can cook for the rest of the season. Once more Cynthia is trying to integrate herself into the man’s life and it turns out she hates Deborah from accounting and the woman will probably just embarrass herself again at their office Christmas party.


Brad: “I don’t remember seeing you out there last year.”

Cynthia: “Maybe nobody asked last year?”

Me: “This ain’t the fucking prom, I’m pretty sure the company asks you when they host the thing.”


You can practically see those cogs, oiled up with the crazy, spinning in her brain when Brad casually announces they will definitely have to dance this year and join Deborah from accounting out on the floor. I bet Debs can throw some serious shapes.

Prediction #9 – Cynthia thinks this is a direct invitation but Brad will end up taking Lizzie instead because that is what an actual invitation looks like

The next day Lizzie is reminding Earl, up on stage, that he shouldn’t just stare at the piano and he should remember his audience from time to time. Love… unless his audience is back-stage the man doesn’t have a fucking chance. At least move the damn piano!

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That’s right, Earl. Don’t forget to turn the entire piano around, halfway through the show, so you can see your audience

It is at this point, when Earl is asking Lizzie how the hell she copes with being on stage, that I remember her own issues and how much of a fucking hypocrite she is for laughing at the fact this man might be nervous. Earl does point this hypocrisy out but the man is far too nice and quickly goes on about how lucky all of her students are, at least, to hear her play. God damn it, Earl. He has also still not called his son because he’s probably far too busy to attend a Christmas concert on Christmas Eve, of all days…

Prediction #10 – Travis is Earl’s son! This will change everything!

While Meg is showing Brad around the venue for their Christmas party, and the specific room they will be in when they suffer through Travis’ rigid speech on corporate profits and growth, she gets the chance to prod around Brad’s brain some more and check he really does like Lizzie. She even suggests inviting the woman to the Christmas party. Please, Brad! PLEASE!

I feel sorry for Travis who has Cynthia as a PA and the woman is trying to help him do his Christmas shopping. He can’t get his dad a tie this year because apparently that’s what he got him last year so Travis settles on cufflinks, instead. Cynthia wonders what the fuck a retired man would need with cufflinks and I rest my case early on my last prediction. We can all see where this is going now. Travis is very concerned that the deal still hasn’t gone through with the Brooklyn building and really hopes this isn’t to do with Brad and his music school…. Nothing should come in the way of Travis and paying the least amount of tax possible every year on his business.

With Abigail’s next piano lesson being taught back at her home it’s the perfect time to reveal she already knows that Lizzie has a fear of playing in public. The top theories flying around the school are either a past wardrobe malfunction or a piano catching on fire. The real story of Lizzie freezing up on stage is far less interesting but she still asks Abigail to keep it a secret. It’s really…. it’s really not that bad… but whatever. Seeing as Brad is late home and Abigail needs help baking cookies for school, Lizzie decides to stick around and help.

Brad walks in just in time to hear his failure at getting home on time has earned him clean-up duty and very little else. I hope he got paid some serious overtime at the office…


Brad: “That was fun tonight. Thanks for that.”

Lizzie: “It was.”

Me: “Fun!? He wasn’t even there!”


Brad has to break the news to Lizzie that the current owners of the building already agreed to sell and the new contracts are already being drawn up. She might not be able to perform on stage but she sure as hell believes she can take on a soulless businessman and get him to change his mind about turfing them all out onto the streets.


Lizzie: “We’ll invite him to the concert. Who can resist cute kids and Christmas music?”

Me: “The 10% of the population that I belong to?”


And there it is! Lizzie is invited to the office party in order to invite Travis to the concert when he’s too drunk to deny. We’ve all be there… agreed to something while we were drunk that we instantly regretted when someone reminded us where we were supposed to be next Saturday. In all fairness the dress that Cynthia is grinning at back in her office is beautiful but it doesn’t look like she’d be able to out-dance Debs in it…

Just before Brad leaves for the office party, once more abandoning his child who is apparently old enough to be left alone at night but not old enough to use the oven to bake cookies alone, Abigail assures him it’s totally OK if he starts dating again. I mean… if he picks the wrong woman she will make his life hell but as long as Abigail approves she shouldn’t have to go out in the night and cut anyone’s brake lines.

Sam, meanwhile, is also trying to convince her friend that dating is fine and she should stop worrying about the Christmas concert because it’s already sold out and everything is ready to go. Lizzie has some serious doubts that she can face the global superpower that is Travis and she may just freeze up and fall flat on her face all over again.

I am unable to listen to the brief conversation between Meg and Travis, where she basically tells the man she is coming for him and his job one day, because behind her there is a waiter who is putting tiny appetisers on a plate for people who just point at them like cavemen. I wouldn’t mind but they’re on the same side of the table. Serve your damn self! They’re only tiny fucking quiches, by the looks of it!

Either way, Cynthia rocks up just in time to see Lizzie’s grand entrance and she also has a really pretty dress but I am also unsure if she can out-dance Debs in it. Poor Cynthia, I actually feels sorry for the woman when Brad immediately carts Lizzie off to the dance floor so they can sway around to Silent Night. Always with the silent nights… Watching them from the bar I believe Cynthia now has enough ammunition to warn Travis about the upcoming ambush and scupper all chances of Lizzie’s talk going well.

Prediction #11 – Lizzie is going to tank this chat with Travis and the only thing that will save it is the invitation to the same concert from his Dad and a change of heart

Sure enough, when Travis comes up and informs Cynthia that the contracts have come back signed and the deal has gone through on the Brooklyn building she takes one fleeting look at Brad and decides not to try and fight his corner anymore. Ahhhhhh Cynthia.

Lizzie cannot stop herself from giggling inanely at this man either and he probably just agrees to go to the concert so she will stop trying to offer him piano lessons and laughing. We narrowly miss a conversation about Earl just before Travis reveals the deal has gone through and Lizzie regrets inviting him to the concert because now she has to give up a chair to the man. Lizzie exits stage right and Brad can’t believe business works this way!

Back at rehearsals the next day Lizzie is putting her own stage failure into perspective when she thinks about losing the entire music school and maybe that’s slightly more important and a bigger loss than the part of her soul that withered up from embarrassment years ago.


Lizzie: “What are we going to tell the kids?”

Sam: “Nothing.”

Me: “You… are going to tell them eventually, right? Before they try and walk into someone’s office cubicle and play the clarinet.”


Meg’s idea of tearing up the contracts is the best one I have heard yet but she is mostly there to inform Brad that Cynthia betrayed them because she’s jealous and doomed to be alone forever. You can imagine the shock that Brad met the news with that Cynthia was casually stalking him all these years. I say casual…. she couldn’t have been more obvious than if she had just assaulted the man.


Brad: “Cynthia does not have feelings for me. We’re co-workers, we’re friends! …… Oh no…. I honestly never saw it before….”

Me: “I thought all the bottles of wine she brought to my house and all the dinners we went on were just because she was an alcoholic!”


I’m not sure what either Meg or Brad believe will talking to Cynthia will change. It’s not like, on hearing how sorry Brad is, she has the power to time travel and stall the business proposition on the music school’s building. She says she begged Travis to reconsider but I imagine that just amounted to her bringing his morning coffee and scurrying back out of the office again. It’s also amazing how quickly people give up on their Christmas loves to tell them to go and find their true soul mate, which clearly isn’t them because they’re not the main character.

It’s also amazing that Lizzie is nice enough to keep teaching Abigail at her home. I’d have forced her to get really attached to the music school so she can see it be ripped down alongside me and ruin her relationship with her father. At least she’ll be playing at the concert, I suppose, as will Earl and Jordan who are sitting out on the stage discussing the downfall of the Institute. Jordan overheard the teachers talking about the building being sold and is now just casually spreading the news around and lamenting his future dreams of Julliard. At least it seems as though Earl may have an idea…

When Abigail finally confronts her father about what his deal with Lizzie is these days he confesses to helping his company to sell the building. Cue the screaming teenager!


Brad: “Abigail, sometimes in life things don’t work out the way we want them to. It’s just… business.”

Me: “Nooooo, I think that’s just life.”

Abigail: “Dad! That school is not just business to her, it’s personal!”

Brad: “Honey… I’m sorry.”

Abigail: “No, Dad, you’re right. Sometimes things don’t work out and there’s nothing you can do.”

Me: “Like being left with you.”

Abigail: “Sometimes things break and you can’t fix them!”

Me: “Like my heart!”

Abigail: “Sometimes we lose people and we can’t get them back!”

Me: “Like my mother!! …. Jesus kid how many more of these have you got?”

Abigail: “But you can get her back and you can fix this. So fix it!”

Me: “Thank god she’s gone.”


That was some pep talk! I’d also love to see just how the man is going to fix this when really Travis’ change of heart now depends on seeing his dad perform a song he once did, himself, as a child. I don’t think Brad can claim credit for that. At least he’s giving it a good go, though, ambushing Travis in the largest meeting room where he is sitting just to sign papers. That man just loves conducting business. Unfortunately, Travis is still not willing to budge on this music school business, no matter how sentimental Brad tries to get about community and tradition. Brad is nowhere near as good at pep-talks as his daughter and his little speech ends with his impending resignation on Monday morning. I am happy to confirm that Travis is mostly unphased by this news, either, and tells Brad to leave the letter on his desk. Ruthless!

Looking around his office I believe Brad may have just realised what he has done and wondering how he is going to pay the bills from now on. I’m not sure what resolution he came up with because Earl drops by, after getting Brad’s details from Sam, to see if he can help the man out. I presume, at this point, Earl is hatching a plan to surprise his son and just scare the Christmas spirit back into him. Also to lecture him about taking away his one god damn hobby that he’s started up in his retirement.

The Christmas concert is packed out and both Lizzie and Sam are ready to smash this shit. Travis already looks as though he would rather be back at the office working than here and can’t sit through Jordan’s clarinet performance without checking his watch. Now there is a man with an excellent poker face. To say that Lizzie hates the stage she sure is comfortable with going out there to introduce all of the acts.

Abigail is finally up and Brad has at least made it in time to watch her perform and shed a tear over Joy to the World. Travis is still poker-facing and wondering how many more talented students he needs to sit and watch before finally Earl rocks up to the stage and he looks adorable. If all old people were like Earl I might actually like them.

Earl happily reveals to everyone that Travis is his son, he loves him and he hopes he enjoys the song. Cue shock for most people and Earl smashes it on stage, making his son cry. Somehow Travis is still poker-facing through those tears… the man is a pro. Everyone applauds for Earl before Brad pops up on stage and brings Lizzie and Sam on the stage, as well as all of their students.

Brad reveals casually that a) he quit his job and b) Earl is still a chairman of the board of his company and he called an emergency meeting of director’s that evening. I’m very sure Travis did not realise that his father’s company would be matching the donations to the concert and putting them all towards an endowment for the music school. They’re also aiming to make it the best music school in the country so they figured they may as well gift the place with a proper grand piano which they had hidden below the mass of Christmas decorations at the back of the hall.

When Brad asks all of the people in the audience who have ever taken piano lessons with Lizzie to stand up I can’t help but feel that there should be many more musical prodigies in Brooklyn than we know of and that Travis must feel very outnumbered in that crowd. I was hoping for a riot but everyone is being very kind instead. So kind, in fact, that Lizzie overcomes her fear of an audience and goes to play the grand piano.

She really embellishes ‘Jingle Bells‘ but everyone thinks it was wonderful, Travis and Earl are happy and the school isn’t going to be replaced with gourmet stuffed olives. I don’t see why the gourmet market couldn’t have a single stand in the music school in order to provide energy to the students between lessons but hey… what do I know.

I certainly don’t know what’s happening to the dentist on fourth or the accountant on third, that I can say. I guess Lizzie wouldn’t be too bothered about turfing them out in order to grow the school’s capacity. We never even heard who on the second floor.

That film really wasn’t so bad and I am amazed that a Christmas film allowed a piano to be played without a single person trying to carol along to it. That is a show of willpower if ever I saw one. If you want to listen to an assortment of instruments playing Christmas songs and the entire picture turned backwards and horribly centred… then get yourself over here.

I will be heading down to check out my scores.

 

Prediction board – 6/11

  • Prediction #1 – Lizzie is gonna find a man who has enough belief in her to get her up on that stage! – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #2 – The new piano teacher Abigail has a lesson with tomorrow is Lizzie – Obvs. CORRECT!
  • Prediction #3 – Abigail probably won’t be that keen on piano lessons until she spots Jordan and then will have a very renewed interest in music – Unfortunately, Jordan and his apologetic, clarinet-playing face came too late. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #4 – The building is getting sold and the Christmas concert will face cancellation after all the hard work Lizzie just this second put into it – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #5 – Please tell me that his son is not Brad and that Brad is not standing 10 feet away at reception… – INCORRECT! We were totally looking at the wrong businessman here
  • Prediction #6 – There is a piano and clarinet duo coming up at this Christmas concert – INCORRECT! They clearly thought Abigail was too young to date in this film
  • Prediction #7 – Abigail is going to have a huge sway in saving the Institute otherwise she’ll never speak to her father again – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #8 – When Cynthia finds out Brad likes another woman she is going to try and turf that music school out at all costs – INCORRECT! She really didn’t try that hard
  • Prediction #9 – Cynthia thinks Brad is taking her to the Christmas party but will end up taking Lizzie instead – CORRECT! Poor Cynthia…
  • Prediction #10 – Travis is Earl’s son! This will change everything! – A little late but still CORRECT!
  • Prediction #11 – Lizzie is going to tank negotiations with Travis and only his Dad’s invitation will save the day – Actually… Travis took Lizzie’s invitation just to be a dick. INCORRECT!

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: That would have been an interesting thing to throw into the mix…
  • Piano: SO MUCH PIANO!
  • Carolling: AND NOT A SINGLE CAROLLER IN SIGHT!
  • Christmas Montage: Music took the place of montages in this film
  • Fire Hazards: People aren’t interesting in starting fires so much these days
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: Oh hella yeah!
  • Snowing on cue: I mean… yes it did but it was so incredibly poor that no, it didn’t

 

The end is in sight and I have surpassed my initial efforts last year. I’m feeling strong and off my face on Christmas food.

LET’S GO!

 

Christmas Advent #12 – Christmas With a View

I accidentally started playing my recording of Killer in My Village instead of this Christmas film to begin with and god damn if I didn’t get distracted for at least 20 minutes before I realised what I was meant to be doing.

I’m alone! I have candles! I’m ready to predict that the people in this film will be enjoying good views! Or at least preparing to be bitterly disappointed. Let’s face it, it’s usually the latter with these things…. So let’s get started, shall we!

 

My…. God…. The irony that a film purporting great views should not start with a city skyline but a woman rolling out dough, instead! Although if you’re as hungry as I am you would definitely call this the better view. This one is apparently based on the book ‘The Maverick’s Christmas Homecoming’ so let’s see how good of a job they’ve done. As much as I adore reading, no book is going to show me this woman sifting icing sugar over a monumental gingerbread house in real time.

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All that passive-aggressiveness is finally worth it come Christmas time…

She does, however, get her standard mom face on when her daughter, Clara, turns up late because the roads were a mess which is why she told her to come early and avoid that. Clara also gets her standard daughter face on by complimenting her mother’s gingerbread carpentry and hoping her parent will really just love her for once in her life.

Our mother is being featured in ‘Seasons’ magazine for their Christmas edition, which explains the fuck off gingerbread house. When someone called Bonnie from work calls Clara, our dearest mother is once more disapproving as shit when her child has to go and miss out on baking Christmas cookies. There is some mention of a husband in the past tense, which is always promising for Christmas, and away her daughter flies.

I was actually a little terrified when some cooking programme came on with a terrible green-screen in kitchen and flames everywhere. I mean… the green screen wasn’t on fire or anything but the show is called ‘Can You Stand the Heat‘ so… take a wild guess what their logo looks like. The hostess introduces this final episode with the first contestant Mike Mahoney who comes on and just screams at everyone loudly in an effort to get them all pumped up but instead probably just has his agent calling the asylum they have on speed dial again.

Next is Charles Shaunassy (maybe) the tortured artist of cakes and pastry who drifts around the studio in silence before taking down his man bun in a glorious show of hair that is completely unhygienic for the kitchen. Finally we have the crowd’s favourite celebrity chef and batchelor Shane Rourke who even an adoring crowd of random kitchen staff watching from a restaurant love and cheer.

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One of us. One of us.

For some reason we kick Charles off first so he can get really pissed off about life before announcing Shane the winner and everyone cheers. Who should turn up but Clara, informing her staff to get back to work, as their manager. Apparently she used to have a restaurant in Chicago that was great and might as well just own this one too instead of letting people like Shane take all the glory on national TV.

Prediction #1 – Clara and Shane are going to end up as the power couple of the world

OK, no, this restaurant actually does have views through a fuck-off glass window. That’s not enough for one guy though who keeps clapping until Clara comes over so he can tell her that after eating half of his steak it wasn’t rare enough for him and he just isn’t in love with it. The guy sounds vaguely like Buffalo Bill from ‘The Silence of the Lambs‘ so that should tell you everything you need to know about the guy. His date seems to think the same as she promptly gets up and walks off, preferring to just stand outside and freeze her ass off while waiting for a cab than sit with this neanderthal for a second longer.

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Just look at that view! The table settings are glorious…

A car is pulling up to the restaurant/maybe resort late that evening whilst Clara and Bonnie are having a very important conversation in the lobby on their way out.


Bonnie: “Yeah, just a sec, I need to use the bathroom.”

Clara: “You just went to the bathroom.”

Bonnie: “Yeah, I gotta go again.”

Clara: “Have you been stealing cheese from the kitchen again?”

Bonnie: “So?”

Clara: “So you’re lactose intolerant!”

Me: “That is not the way I thought that conversation was about to go…”


Clara is waiting for her errant friend when the one and only Shane Rourke walks into the place and signs in at the desk. Clara is alarmed enough to drop her friends bag and the entire block of cheese she was hiding in there which she has to inform the man she is actually just holding for a friend. Like seriously. This woman also needs to stop wearing a necklace with her name on if she wants people to stop guessing her damn name. Start wearing one with random names on to throw them off.

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That cheese wedge is gonna go far. The acting here is sublime.

Bonnie returns from the bathroom just in time to lose her shit over their new guest and is delighted to hear that the man handled her cheese already. Clara carts her friend out of the building before she can cause any more damage and to let Shane wonder around the lobby, smile at Christmas trees and look at an old Polaroid of two people decorating their own tree in peace. Probably a good idea because Bonnie is still losing her shit about Shane staying at the resort outside in the car park and looks to remain the same for the entire journey home.

I don’t like the fact it takes Clara three attempts to start the car…

Prediction #2 – at some point that car is breaking down and she will get stranded and maybe even have to stay at the resort herself

The next day some guy who looks alarmingly like the receptionist from the front desk is giving the entire kitchen staff a pep talk on how busy Christmas is likely to be this year. Thankfully this man has decided to hire Shane as the new head chef in order to help with the busy season and something about marketing opportunities…


Clara: “Hi, I’m Clara. We met last night.”

Shane: “Of course. Cheese Girl.”

Bonnie: “Actually, no! I’m Cheese Girl! No, that was my purse cheese… but who cares!? I’m Bonnie and you’re Shane!”

Me: “Well… at least he knows you’re liable to steal cheese from the kitchens now.”


This woman cannot stop telling people about her lactose intolerance and lets Shane wander away to meet the rest of his staff just long enough to get her crazy eyes on and tell Clara how much she can tell that she likes him. Bonnie already has some wonderfully insane plan to find out if the man likes her friend too which can only end in more cheese theft. Or a festive kitchen montage where everyone else seems to be doing work around Bonnie while she simply fights with a coffee machine.

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I haven’t seen this much crazy since Mark’s mom came to visit the office

At least she seems to get on well with the clients, by which I mean standing over them while they eat and talking about… jeans and skiing… Clara is pulled away just in time to deal with two middle-aged white women, both called Janice, both drunk and both really in love with wearing fur. Oh and both weirdly in love with Shane. Ignoring the fact the man is pretty busy they still demand on him coming out and saying hi to them.

Shane is happy to take the time to go and see the women which he informs Clara of by shouting at her over the counter from 2 feet away. I think this was meant to portray how noisy a working kitchen is but as the background noise wasn’t that loud it just suggested Shane may be very hard of hearing from all the times he’s had to listen to pots and pans being smashed together. Bonnie seems to think the man is incredibly smooth even though he is literally just standing there and talking to two women. She is very easily impressed it would seem.

Hugh Peters the maybe boss and possible receptionist of this resort asks to whisk Clara away again which leads to a strange conversation where Bonnie thought her bosses actual name was Peters and he went by Mr First Name. It’s probably best the woman just stays up in the mountain serving drinks…

Taking the opportunity while Clara is busy, Bonnie tells Shane all about her life when he brings her a drink.


Bonnie: “Well I bet you have a lot of lady fans, huh?”

Shane: “Yeah… I guess.”

Bonnie: “OK, I see where this is headed. I should probably tell you I have a boyfriend, just to be clear.”

Shane: “Oh…. OK, yeah…. thank you…”

Bonnie: “He’s a city planner. His name’s Clive. You know…. Bonnie and Clive like Bonnie and Clyde instead of Clyde it’s Clive?”

Me: “Cheese thief and a great conversationalist. Isn’t she just a catch.”


Thankfully Shane turns the conversation to Clara so he can hear how she had her own restaurant in Chicago for a few years but it didn’t quite work out and now she’s back and dreadfully alone and would definitely say yes to a boyfriend. Shane is very invested in this woman already and wants to know exactly why Clara is sitting across the other side of the restaurant and really enjoying a conversation with her boss which never happens.

Prediction #3 – Peters Peters probably is interested in his restaurant manager too

At the end of a long and perilous looking drive Shane pops out into some sort of house when there is a mental frame where everything zooms in suddenly and almost gave me vertigo. I’m still unsure where the hell he is but some woman comes to tell him all of the ornaments he is admiring on their tree are all unique and donated by the local artists for charity auction. This mystery woman is Jackie and her mystery husband is Frank and mystery Jackie knows people’s coffee order just by saying their name and looking at them.

I really don’t know what’s going on here other than these people at Mountain View… Inn?…. telling Shane that Clara is their favourite staff member over at the resort, she’s practically like a daughter to them and she used to work for them before disappearing to Chicago. Please tell me this man isn’t tracking down all of Clara’s acquaintances so he can better stalk her… He says he’s interested in more of the older, family run resorts in the area and their history but I’m hearing stalker.

Prediction #4 – Shane is going to save Mountain View resort because that other big one is taking up all the business and as basically this couple’s daughter they will happily pass it over to Shane and Clara to look after

I dread to think how much food might actually have got wasted for all of these kitchen scenes and everything looks very salad-y and slightly under cooked. Shane seems to be immediately infatuated with poor Clara and is still around once everyone else has gone home so he can cook dinner for the woman to say thanks for helping out. The man is meant to be good at this but Clara believes she can do better and elects herself to cook their dinner instead which will no doubt impress Shane into a marriage proposal there and then.

I am more horrified at the transitional scene of people skiing outside in the fucking dark. It’s dangerous enough in the day. Are there no policies for this!? Does the resort just hope they lose a few every night so they can cram more people in through the doors? While people are outside breaking their spines Shane and Clara have time to briefly discuss how her restaurant failed because it got too big, eat pudding and smile at each other.

Lo and behold Clara’s car is already in the garage after just one scene and now she needs a ride home because that chocolate cake made her approximately one hour too late for the last bus home. It was probably worth it… when isn’t cake worth it? At the end of this lift home we find out Shane is impressed with any person who doesn’t like in a hotel building, so much so that he just has to kiss the woman to make sure she is even real.


Clara: “Wow, I can’t believe I’m kissing a celebrity.”

Me: “Bit of a…. weird thing to say…”

Clara: “What’s wrong?”

Shane: “I…. I just don’t know if this is the best idea. I just get a lot of attention from the show, I didn’t even know you watched it.”

Clara: “I don’t. I don’t watch your show.”

Me: “Kick him while he’s down.”

Clara: “I was just saying I’m surprised… like in a good way.”

Shane: “Wait, I don’t think I’m explaining this right…”

Clara: “You’re definitely not.”

Me: “And I’m not going to stick around to hear you explain it, either!”


Clara bolts from that car as if her life depended on it and into her apartment building which Shane was so impressed with five seconds ago. What he will not be impressed with is the two Janice’s creeping around the resort after him the next morning in the absolute loudest fucking way on account of them both wearing fuck off heels and a lot of fur.

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These are the opening scenes to War of the Planet of the Janice

Meanwhile, everyone’s favourite boss Hugh is waiting for Clara outside of her apartment with coffee and checking that she really is OK because she can’t keep the crippling embarrassment off her face. As long as Hugh doesn’t turn out to be a massive bellend, which let’s face it, is highly likely, he’s really not so bad himself. While Clara is going off to attend some sort of business meeting, Shane is hiding out at the Mountain View resort and complimenting Jackie’s eggs florentine. He’s probably going to offer to work there just to get the secret recipe from the kitchen staff because he seems to be in love with these eggs.

The man asks for two coffees to go, presumably as some sort of apology gift to Clara, so I hope that woman has a strong bladder. As it turns out this big meeting is taking place at the Mountain View resort where Clara and Hugh spot Shane’s car. Isn’t this going to be just wonderful.

Prediction #5 – on hearing Hugh’s idea to take over Mountain View resort, Shane is going to side with Jackie and Frank and battle it out with the bigger resort and Clara

Shane is busy smiling at Christmas trees again and so never sees the two Janice’s thundering down upon him and cornering him at his table. Cue Clara and Hugh walking in so everything can look as awkward as is humanly possible. Jackie and Frank may consider Clara as their daughter right now but I get the distinct feeling that may change slightly in the next 10 minutes or so.


Clara: “Jackie, Frank, this is Hugh Peters. He owns the restaurant I work at.”

Frank: “Ohhhhh that’s right, the… the…. something or other.”

Hugh: “Summit.”

Frank: “Yeah, sounds about right, yeah.”

Me: “I am immediately opening a restaurant and calling it ‘The Something Or Other’ which has an adjoining lounge called ‘Sounds About Right, Yeah’.”


Despite telling Hugh there is absolutely nothing wrong, Clara cannot help breaking her neck to frequently look over at Shane and the Janice’s table before the women stomp out after the man like a two-woman herd of elephants. Unfortunately we don’t even get to hear the business proposal they are there to discuss but Jackie and Frank seem cool with it because when has Clara ever steered them wrong before?

Prediction #6 – Hugh has betrayed us all and probably put something in the contract like kicking Frank and Jackie out is part of the takeover or some other bollocks

Before they are able to leave Jackie mentions they also met someone else who works at Hugh’s resort and that he was actually by the day before, too. Clara greets this message as if the entire mountain and it’s inhabitants are hers to own and how dare he move around a public space without her permission. I really do feel some unhealthy competition coming on.

The restaurant is closed that evening for their annual Charity Dinner which, although in the spirit of Christmas, can only be an even better gift if it drums up some good publicity for them. Shane is unable to stop staring at Clara through Hugh’s little pep talk and is probably still just star struck by the fact she owns an apartment so now would obviously be a wonderful time for a call from Clara’s mother on speakerphone in the bathroom with Bonnie.


Clara’s Mom: “I called to remind you about our family Christmas dinner.”

Clara: “Yes, it is on my radar and scheduled in.”

Clara’s Mom: “Will you be bringing someone other than Bonnie this year?”

Me: “Oh my god, the woman is standing right there!”


Luckily Bonnie gives no shits because she’s doing Christmas with her own boyfriend which makes Clara’s mother infinitely more proud of Bonnie than her own daughter who manages a 5 star restaurant on top of a cliff. Seeing as her daughter is such a failure she has to remind her not to be damn late for this Christmas dinner. Again.

Prediction #7 – Clara will probably be late for dinner and they might be down one Bonnie but will be up one Shane

In a sort of montage of all the food the charity dinner has to offer I am mesmerised by the way people are cutting wedges of cheese and popping them out of the wheel with one single motion. Honestly. Watch this film for this scene alone, I had to watch it like three times.

There is some woman at the charity dinner who really just loves seeing Clara and Bonnie every year and so can’t help asking about their love lives. Clara is saved by the Hugh when he calls her over to meet some no doubt high profile people and the entire time Shane is lurking around in the doorway smiling to himself and watching her. Now… this would have you believe he was actually seeing her face when he was doing this but to make it even worse he was just smiling at the back of her head that entire time. Knowing Shane, however, he might have been smiling at the tower of candied clementines shaped into a Christmas tree. You know how he loves those things.

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“Oh my God, did the tower of clementines even notice me? What if I walk past them and make a fool out of myself?”

Done with the high profile guests Clara storms past Shane without a word and I can’t really blame her because he’s been staring at the back of her head like a creepy stalker. Cue the awkward conversation where Clara brings up Shane’s breakfast with the Janice’s and Shane tries to approach the subject of their kiss but instead ends up asking how her car is doing instead. This is all in the guise of trying to offer her a lift home but when she refuses he puts on his perfect Matt the Mayor impersonation and starts mumbling about Hugh instead.

Shane thinks that the restaurant reception area is a perfect time to start explaining to Clara that he would like to explain how he rudely misjudged her back at his place. Now… this started off sounded mildly creepy and clearly Clara’s face thought so too but it gets weirder when he offers to cook her dinner. The man clearly said he was staying in a hotel so unless his hotel suite is bigger than Clara’s entire apartment and has it’s own kitchen… then I presume he’s gonna go right ahead and use the hotel’s kitchen despite the fact they are currently standing in a restaurant with a fully stocked and serviced kitchen.

Wait… this man lives at the resort…. and yes his room is as big as Clara’s entire apartment. So dropping her off at home is really going out of his way. Shane is too bothered with staring at Clara some more to pay attention to his hands and knocks the pepper shaker out of the overhead cupboard. I have many questions about why the fuck a chef keeps that there but either way he splashes hot milk on himself and has to take his top off. Ya know… of all the films so far this is the first one where our man has had to get undressed. Normally they’re wrapped up to the fucking hilt in thermals while the women wear the highest heels they can find.

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But the recipe said add pepper to taste. How is he supposed to taste it, otherwise?

With Shane and Clara making out on his room’s balcony and prattling on about the view and only half of this film left I a) don’t really see where this is going other than the predictions made already and b) fear they are going to try and cram a lot into the second half of this film. We still need the betrayal, the big misunderstanding and the heartbreak before it can all work out and this man turns up at Clara’s Christmas dinner, probably uninvited and as a surprise to everyone.

Shane assures Clara that he is not the guy the show made him out to be and why are people skiing around in the night again!? Honestly the film could end right here and I don’t think anyone would be missing out on much. Shane is just all about the assurances these days and wants Clara to know she is a strong, independent female who don’t need no man… not one who isn’t a chef, anyway. This film might actually be taking a new direction when Clara mulls with the idea of opening up her own place again and I am just not used to seeing people kissing so much in these films. It’s normally a one and done kind of deal, ya know.

If we’re being treated to a Christmas montage of Clara and Shane having a great time together then you know tragedy cannot be far behind them. We also find out the man can’t ski for shit which amuses me no end. The glasses of wine that are served to Bonnie and Clara so they can have a good gossip one evening are literally as big as their faces!! I need them!

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One day I’ll look at Kieran with that same expression I save for wine…

When Hugh calls Clara into his office the next day it is of no surprise that he has some concerns that she may have been spending all of her down time with Shane and hasn’t actually worked on their proposal at all. The woman best be getting paid overtime to work on that proposal in her own, personal time… I presume not as Hugh pulls out an early Christmas gift that turns out to be the classic piece of expensive jewellery all fictional men fall back on in these situations. It’s also some sort of bribery piece as he would really love all of this deal to be hashed out before the New Year.

Why are people always on the same friggin’ deadline in Christmas films!? Plan your projects accordingly, people!

When Clara shows some doubts that Jackie and Frank are willing to ruin their own holiday to work on a business deal, Hugh pulls out even more bribery… the man is good. Whether this other surprise project is real or not he had lined up Clara to run a new restaurant in New York, where she apparently really wants to go, and she cannae do that if she is hashing out the deal with the Mountain View Resort.

When Clara agrees to help speed up this Mountain View deal you can practically see her soul withering away into the distance.

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Clara watched her soul drift through the open window as she wondered how good her new necklace would look on her.

Prediction #8 – Shane will convince Clara she can open up her own restaurant without the help of Hugh bloody Peters


Clara: “So, I’ve been meaning to ask, what are you doing for Christmas?”

Shane: “I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it. … I might go back to the city.”

Clara: “Well, that makes sense, I’m sure you probably want to see your family. Have you… told me about your family yet?”

Me: “How would you… not remember?”

Shane: “Ya know… I don’t think I have…”

Me: “How would you not remember!? It’s been like 2 days!”


At the mention of parents Shane’s face gets that specific ‘yeah, my parents died at Christmas a few years back/it was their favourite season’ look that only occurs in these films. Completely ignoring that expression Clara steamrolls into revealing the big secret deal she and Hugh have been working on to renovate the Mountain View Resort into a boutique hotel that she would be running for 6 months. Now… if she was going to be sticking around and running the place for 6 months anyway I don’t see what the rush is to seal the deal so she can also go and work in New York…

Shane offers some truth bombs about the fact Clara is only involved because of her connection to Jackie and Frank and they were more likely to trust her than Peters. Cue the slightly bullheaded and illogical overreaction. I’m not saying I wouldn’t also be a little irritated with the guy for pissing on my parade but I am nothing if not logical and his answers at least make sense… unlike that time in the car.


Clara: “Why are you being so negative? I thought you’d be happy for me!”

Me: “… It’s been 2 days!!”


Apparently when Shane took the job at The Summit he made a few calls and Hugh does not have the best reputation. I’m not sure what that says about either guy that they ended up working together anyway. Clara briefly tries to bring sexism into this but fails miserably. You really need to pick your feminism battles.

The final straw that sends Clara packing out of Shane’s apartment is the mention of her failed business attempt in Chicago. It’s pretty much tantamount to telling Kim she needs to work on her character detail. At least I can confirm that Clara was not late to the family Christmas dinner and was right on time for all that parental passive aggression.


Clara’s Mom: “Maybe next year we’ll have a full house, right Clara?! HAHAHA I’m kidding!”

Me: “She isn’t. She’s bitterly disappointed in you.”


Clara is blissfully ignored for the remainder of the meal while her Mom bangs on to her little sister about all the wonderful things going on in her life instead. So much more successful than that awful first child of hers, anyway. Unable to hear any more of the oxygen being sucked out of the room while her mother talks about how she thinks her photo shoot went and how she deserves the front cover, Clara pretends to clear plates so she can call Bonnie. You know it’s bad when you have to phone the woman who keeps cheese in her purse for some normalcy on your Christmas Eve.

I am very surprised when Clara’s Mom allows her to go and meet Bonnie for a drink instead of forcing her to sit around and listen to how her little sister and husband are her favourite couple of all time. Also I’m very sure both Bonnie and Clara are drinking and driving… Probably a good job because Bonnie has just revealed that she’s engaged to city planner Clive.

I adore the fact that answering a call from their boss basically means having to answer with ‘Hey, Hugh!’ and makes everyone sound overbearingly posh. Apparently his ex-wife just dropped his kids off unannounced which means Clara should put that phone down immediately and run the fuck away. It’s also very unfortunate that he needs her to go to the restaurant to pick up some papers which Bonnie is just overjoyed about and ropes Clive in to drive them up there.

Prediction #9 – Clara is gonna see something she doesn’t like in those papers

I don’t think it was the best idea to unleash a drunk Bonnie on the empty restaurant as she immediately starts breaking into Hugh’s filing cabinets and pulling out brown envelopes to compare contracts with Clara and check they have the right files. Bonnie pulls out an entire envelope that is just full of parking lot plans and we can only all presume Hugh was planning on turning the entire mountain into a parking lot for his mini empire. Fuck trees, eh, Hugh?

While the Scooby Gang are off to break into Clive’s office now, Shane is dropping in on Jackie and Frank who have the words ‘parking attendants’ stamped firmly into their futures. The man gets offered food and drink as soon as he walks in the door. I want to live with these people. As it turns out, Shane has been trying to track down where his parents had the picture taken of them decorating a tree, which he’s been carrying around with him. He knew it was somewhere on an American mountainside and… that’s about it. The photo was taken in the 80’s but it just happens Frank and Jackie had a fire in ’92 that destroyed all their old records. Gosh darn it!

It was at this point I was so shocked to see Jackie using her husband’s motherfucking glasses as a magnifying glass that I accidentally turned the entire Sky box off instead of just rewinding it. She then commences to open up the trunk they have been using as a coffee table and pulls out some sort of tin box that had an ornament in it. This ornament never got sold because it was made by Jackie’s mother the year they built the resort and every year they ask the guests to put it up on the tree to make them feel at home. I can only presume the ornament they are hanging up in the picture is the same one and we’ll just have to depend on Jackie’s glasses for that.

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Jackie didn’t let the lack of a magnifying glass prevent her from solving murders

Instead of doing the honours of putting the ornament up on the tree he decides he would rather share it with someone else. They’re apparently cool with the man completely breaking Christmas tradition but… whatever. Back with the Scooby Gang it turns out Hugh has been making ‘exploratory proposals’ for condos and parking lots rather than the boutique hotel he first proposed. The man has betrayed us all!!

Christmas morning rolls around and Clara’s mom is already dressed in a power suit to serve up breakfast to the masses. I don’t remember Clara being that drunk but her mother found all of her documents scattered around the foyer instead of… ya know… anywhere safe.

Knowing how unreliable her car is I, personally, wouldn’t be driving anywhere through the snow in it but Clara rushes off to confront her boss anyway. She needn’t have bothered revealing herself as a tea leaf because Frank and Jackie called him that morning, as an early Christmas gift, and told him the deal was off with not much convincing from Shane. Hugh is having a wonderful Christmas! Unexpected kids, no deal, his restaurant manager just quit… and is now stranded on his drive in her broken down car.

Luckily all love interests in Christmas films are adept at stalking and Shane turns up to give her a lift home. He had already done the rounds of both her mother’s house, then Bonnie’s house, where they told him all about their festive crime spree, and finally ended up on Hugh’s driveway right alongside her. There is a well-timed train passing by, so the pair have plenty of time to stop and discuss Shane’s real motive for taking a job up a mountainside so he can search for where his parents spent their honeymoon.

After struggling through their own lives – their honeymoon was the only holiday out of New York they ever took in their entire existences – Shane had promised them when he started to get famous he would eventually slow down and start up a little ol’ place like the one they visited for their honeymoon. Of course he did not do this and then his parents promptly died before he could keep his promise.

Back at Mountain View Resort Jackie and Frank are standing around just waiting for the pair to rock up and to serve them dinner. Not before Shane and Clara have hung this ornament up on the tree, though. It’s funny how Clara recognises that ornament immediately from a picture she looked at for nigh on two seconds in the car but it took Jackie to Sherlock Holmes the place up before she noticed it. So we can go full circle, Frank is there with his turn of the century Polaroid camera so maybe in 30 years Shane and Clara’s kids can hunt down the location of their first Christmas on very little information too.

As it turns out they won’t have to hunt far because Clara’s Christmas present that year is Frank and Jackie’s hotel which they are selling to her and she is being financed by Shane himself.


Shane: “You can fix this place up any way you want. Jackie and Frank have agreed to stick around and work for you. I mean I’d like to hand in my resume for head chef and do all the cooking… minus the eggs florentine.”

Me: “I fucking knew this was all about those eggs!”


Clara is feeling festive enough to share this venture with Shane but he really should know she only bought him a scarf in return for this business opportunity… At least her mom may finally be proud and why is Clive so buff!? Where he hell is he a city planner of!? Ahem…

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When I said I plan the city I mean I build it manually, myself, brick by brick

Shane is never going to get a moments piece with Clara’s mother around the place… her Christmas gift to him is an autographed copy of her two page spread article in the Seasons magazine… and hey, does he have any contacts in the gourmet gingerbread world that she’s thinking of setting up in?

 

If you want to see how you should handle insane in-laws at Christmas while French subtitles fly around your head then I believe you want to go over here. Unless you have the actual patience of Shane Rourke I find the only sure-fire way of dealing with in-laws is to stay as far away as you can possibly get…

Now, let’s see what abysmal scores I got today.

 

Prediction board – 6.5/9

  • Prediction #1 – Clara and Shane are going to end up as the power couple of the world – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #2 – At some point Carla’s car will break down and leave her stranded somewhere – Like her ex-bosses driveway… CORRECT!
  • Prediction #3 – Peters Peters probably is interested in his restaurant manager, too – I…. still don’t know, ya know! Was it genuine interest or just bribery? Half a point!
  • Prediction #4 – Shane is going to save Mountain View resort and as basically this couple’s daughter they will happily pass it over to Shane and Clara to look after – HELLA CORRECT!
  • Prediction #5 – On hearing Hugh’s idea to take over Mountain View resort, Shane is going to side with Jackie and Frank and battle it out with the bigger resort and Clara – Unfortunately everyone found out far too late and took action far too swiftly for a battle. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #6 – Hugh has betrayed us all and probably put something in the contract like kicking Frank and Jackie out is part of the takeover – Hugh did us proud. CORRECT!
  • Prediction #7 – Clara will probably be late for dinner and they might be down one Bonnie but will be up one Shane – Unfortunately this didn’t happen in time. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #8 – Shane will convince Clara she can open up her own restaurant without the help of Hugh bloody Peters – Technically…. yes, but he had to fund the shit out of it. Still… CORRECT!
  • Prediction #9 – Clara is gonna see something she doesn’t like in those papers – Easy! CORRECT!

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: That would have been interesting to see working it’s way up the mountain…
  • Piano: I would say I’m missing impromptu piano choruses but that would be tempting fate
  • Carolling: NADA!
  • Christmas Montage: They were amazing… festive food montages… the cheese
  • Fire Hazards: Unfortunately Hugh was nothing if not a sharp businessman who would not be sued for anything, including death by Christmas decorations
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: We tripled down on this one!
  • Snowing on cue: We were up a mountain, how was it not going to snow on cue?

 

I feel that 12 days in is good going before my brain feels like it’s turning to a festive mush, dotted with tinsel and glitter and smelling faintly of pine needles. That’s where we’re at right now… but just like Holly’s deranged father hurtling towards a tree in a horse and sleigh in the middle of the night… I guess we’re here until the end of the ride.

See ya tomorrow, folks!

 

Christmas Advent #11 – Christmas in Homestead

The days are blurring into one. The only difference about today is that I have an ungodly amount of candles burning in the living room with me. I think 12 candles is probably enough… for now.

Hey, at least I’ll get to make predictions again today!!

 

This time we get an aerial shot of Hollywood and it’s actually really jarring to see festive palm trees lining streets. I know that’s how this shit works but after so many tiny little towns with direct ties to the origin of Christmas itself it’s taking me a minute.

CIH_1
Is this really all Hollywood does for Christmas or is this just another festive lie?

Prediction #1 – we’re not staying here for Christmas, the title alone tells us that (Kim, please, shut the hell up about your ‘Love In Line for Santa book title already!)

A woman in a hideous hat and over-sized sunglasses – the uniform of a Hollywood star – is sitting in the back of a car and winds down when they pull up next to a bunch of paparazzi. Jessica has just pulled up to the set and will be doing yet another film with her ex-boyfriend Vince. Now that’s awkward. I could barely sit through another friend’s wedding with my ex-boyfriend across the table and when one of the bridesmaids tried to take my bottle of wine, my only lifeline, through to the kitchen to ‘keep it safe’ during the speeches I almost ripped her arm off. She assured me she would put a label on it so no one else took it and I assured her she didn’t know my fucking name so leave my wine alone. I almost ruined that wedding on numerous occasions and legit purely by accident and account of me not wanting to be there but that is definitely a story for another time.

Back to Jessica… this looks less like a film set and more a very nice looking house. If this is her house… why has her ex-boyfriend just shown up? Jessica gets to walk into yes, her own house, while the press at the gates keep shouting thank you, presumably for the shots of her ass as she waltzes away. 


Random woman: “Hey Jess! Whaddya think?”

Jessica: “Rosalie…. what is that?”

Rosalie: “It’s a Christmas tree.”

Jessica: “Yes, it’s beautiful. Why is it in my house?”

Me: “I’m gonna take a real shot in the dark here but based on the really festive looking palm trees out on the roads…. because it’s almost Christmas?”

Rosalie: “Because it’s almost Christmas and everyone needs a tree!”

Me: “BOO-FUCKING-OOM!”


I’m not sure whether Jessica actually does hate Christmas trees but they will be spending the next 10 days in Iowa shooting a Christmas movie and she really thinks she’ll have had enough of them by then. Now… I do not work in the film industry but I can’t help feel that anything that takes 10 days to shoot is not made with the best quality. Hmm… I wonder how long any of these Christmas films take to shoot?

Rosalie informs our miserable star that her co-worker is waiting for her in the other room and Barbara, the director, will be there in a few minutes. Apparently directors should never run late, only the stars, and if Jessica had known this I presume she would have driven around the block a few more times so she could be the fashionably late one.

At Homestead Lodge meanwhile, the most glorious, well-lit, electrical draped fire hazard (my god I’ve missed these things!) some bloke is talking on the phone to maybe his Dad about both his parents going on a river cruise for Christmas because for Christ’s sake their child is grown up now and can spend Christmas on his own! They want to cruise around European rivers!

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I’ve never seen something so beautiful in my entire life…

This guy’s sister, Zoe, overhears this and demands to speak to their father because she has sense and yes he should totally enjoy the damp weather and the havoc it will play on their old, arthritic joints. Thankfully she gives us both her brother’s name, Matt, and some back story on this call so we find out the parents left the business to them (and some other woman called Sophie, maybe) so they could go off and travel the world. Must be damn good money in the Christmas lodge business! Matt does not look impressed so heads off down the hall where his daughter, Sophie, is watching her tablet with only the fixed avidity a child can achieve when staring at a piece of technology and sending herself fucking deaf if she doesn’t turn down the volume on that thing! 

Sophie is more interested in adventure and slaying dragons and oh lord, who is on that screen but Jessica. Jessica will also be staying at the lodge. Cue another obsessive child story line – hopefully all of her hopes and dreams will be crushed when she meets her hero and finds out she can barely drive her own car around, let alone slay a dragon. When Matt breaks the news to her about her grandparents she is more concerned they’re gonna miss out on meeting Jessica. I have the feeling the only one bothered about them not being there on Christmas morning is Matt…. god, some children are just so fucking needy.

Back in Hollywood Vince and Jessica are having a delightfully strenuous talk about the fact Jessica has replaced Vince with Jill for her annual Christmas trip to Fiji and he’d better not mess up this acting gig because it’s her first time producing a movie. If she is producing it… why did she pick Vince when casting….? Vince appears to be an absolute arsehole who also delights in what amounts to sexual abuse and surprises Jessica with a kiss so he can put it on social media as PR for the film. Now… ya see…. she tells him to delete the picture but doesn’t stand there and make sure he does. So he doesn’t.

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Yep, we’ll be seeing this again at some point

Prediction #2 – that picture is going to bite her in the ass just when things are going good with Matt and despite the fact she will have never worn those clothes during her filming and the lighting is very different and she is clearly in her own home he will be very annoyed by it all

Zoe is trying to get to the bottom of Matt’s mood swing and this woman is just a Pez dispenser of the back story world. Matt hates change and that is probably due to the fact his deceased wife, Melanie, is dead and Christmas was her favourite time of year. Wait… wait…. this guy is the Mayor!? And they have a town hall meeting to get to!? How did this guy become MAYOR when he can’t deal with change!?

I’m already really not so sure about this one, guys…

Prediction #3 – Matt’s ability to be Mayor will be questioned at some point but the delightful folk of… Homestead?… will rally together and save him because they know he’s such a great guy really, if a little needy


Barbara: “I don’t care that she’s making fun of your turtle. Your turtle doesn’t care either! No! He doe…. I love you. Bye.”

Me: “I’d like to hear more about this turtle…”


Barbara is leaving her kids with her husband for 10 days and fully expects to come back to a Lord of the Flies situation and I gotta say, this doesn’t seem to overly concern her! I like her. She is also, rightly, more concerned with shooting outdoors for 10 days in an Iowa December, of which Jessica wants to kick off early and will be arriving the next morning ahead of everyone else.


Jessica: “Yeah, my character grew up in the area, I just wanna get a feel for the place.”

Vince: “I don’t need to get a feel for the place. I’m playing an innkeeper, it’s not rocket science. I know because I played a rocket scientist who saved the world. … I did.”

Me: “Yeah, so back to this turtle…”


Prediction #4 – Vince is gonna have to take pointers from Matt about being an innkeeper and he’s not gonna enjoy it

Prediction #5 – Matt is gonna replace Vince in the film as the innkeeper!

As if the man didn’t already have enough to do. The same goes for Barbara who definitely needs to have wrapped up shooting by the 23rd December and Rosalie who is gently trying to force Jessica to go and see her parents rather than Fiji with Jill. Probably because Rosalie was hoping for that spare ticket to Fiji but fucking Jill broke up with her boyfriend instead. Bloody Jill…

Jessica is more confused that the Mayor of Homestead would not want the publicity of them filming in his town and Matt just wants to be able to hold all of their regular Christmas events – which are clearly too well documented and enjoyed and lured in Hollywood film makers in the first place – without being disrupted. The rest of the town could not give a shit about the Christmas tree lighting, the snowman competition or the sleigh ride traditions when Hollywood is coming and everyone votes unanimously against the Mayor and hates him even more for calling them all there that evening.

They then immediately go outside and light the fucking tree! How are ya gonna say Hollywood will mess with your tree lighting tradition when they’re not even there yet to ruin it! This man! Also, what is the deal with carollers being dressed in Victorian era clothing all of the time? Sophie lights the tree, it’s all magnificent and they return home to decorate Christmas cookies in the middle of the night because that is also completely normal.

Sophie is very concerned that Jessica won’t like her because Hayley Shepherd doesn’t like her but the other Hayley is her friend. Ooh! There’s two of me in this film!

Prediction #6 – Jessica will fucking hate Sophie like she hates all children

It must be strange for the kid whose living room is technically the Inn’s foyer but is easy enough to manage as she blasts her hearing back into the Stone Age and completely ignores her dad asking if she wants to help run errands. If that man had mentioned pie in the same room as me I would have probably broken both ankles in the act of dismounting from that sofa.

With only 11 days until Christmas Jessica is rocking up into town, forcing Rosalie to drive her. I wonder if Rosalie slayed that friggin’ dragon for her, too? Also, what about Rosalie’s Christmas? Either way Jessica is shocked to find the town has fire hazarded itself up to an inch of its life without the crew even coming and setting up the props yet. Ya might wanna ring ahead and tell them they won’t be needed anymore…

Wonderfully timed, as always, Matt rocks up at the bakery to pick up his pumpkin pies just as Jessica decides she would really like to pick up some cupcakes for the crew.


Jessica: “Oh, hi, could I get like a hundred cupcakes?”

Matt: “Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t…

Jessica: “Chocolate, vanilla, red velvet… do they have red velvet in Iowa?

Matt: “Oh, you must be with the movie.”

Jessica: “Yes! Do you want an autograph?”

Me: “Only if it’s on a cheque to pay for all these cupcakes…”

Matt: “Erm, no thanks…”

Jessica: “Oh, come on, don’t be shy. There you go. Don’t go selling that on eBay.”

Matt: “Why would I sell this?”

Me: “Red Velvet cupcakes might have made it to Iowa but e-commerce is apparently yet to arrive.”


Completely ignoring this man and waltzing out of the shop, trailing a list of demands behind her and cementing everything Matt feared about these Hollywood folk in his brain, Jessica runs into a single photographer on the way out of the bakery who has somehow gotten the funds to follow her all the way up to Homestead. I’m sure Matt will just adore that. Surely all of the journalists would be forced to stay at the Inn too? We actually know this journalist, Ian, by name and he doesn’t seem so keen on his own job, either.

I’m enjoying Gavin the bodyguard and keep hoping he will jump in front of very innocent and harmless items because this is his first gig and he takes his job very seriously. I’m surprised he hasn’t thrown Jessica straight back out the door of the Inn after seeing the potential fire hazard they’ve just stepped into.

Sophie is so caught up in her show she hasn’t realised who is sitting next to her and asking her if she’s even enjoying the thing. Cue this child losing her actual shit and cue Matt coming back with his hands full of pie. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Jessica appears to be more concerned that her cupcake order might have gone missing seeing as this guy doesn’t even work at the bakery but hey, at least he has a nice lodge! Even Gavin is getting an introduction now, which I’m happy about because he’s doing a great job. Good job back there, buddy!

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Gavin is just stealing this scene. Stealing it.

Jessica continues to ask to be put in touch with the Mayor because apparently he’s an absolute arsehole that doesn’t even want her there. Well, isn’t this just going swimmingly? Rosalie is PA-ing the shit out of Matt’s life too when she ropes him into a tour of the town at 10 am the next morning, whether he likes it or not. I presume he may be a little tired seeing as a small armada of trucks has pulled up outside the inn at the crack of dawn in order to begin shooting. Matt goes outside to look at these like he’s never seen a truck before in his life.

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“Dragons! There are dragons in the road! Everybody up! Jessica! Slay them before they take up all the parking!”

This early alarm call clearly did nothing to affect Sophie who ambushes Gavin on the stairs in the morning and starts preaching to him about how she thinks she will need his services to take her to school and to her piano lessons to make Hayley Shepherd jealous and he’d better just take a seat on the stairs there because hashing out this deal is gonna take a while.


Sophie: “Dad said I can go on the tour. As long as I don’t bug you.”

Jessica: “You could never bug me.”

Me: “Well… that just sounds like a challenge to me.”


In order to make the entire thing even more pointless, Vince shows up! Just in time for the tour! I’m very surprised Ian isn’t following them on this tour too and they have somehow managed to bypass him as he stands outside the Inn freezing his ass off and waiting to get shots of the stars. He really isn’t too great at this…

Prediction #7 – when it matters most Ian will have a conscience because he hates being a reporter anyway

Every time Vince tries to speak people conveniently talk over him because the words escaping his face could not be a bigger waste of oxygen but at least he doesn’t seem too concerned and keeps grinning inanely at all the local people passing him by. It is of no surprise that Matt is horrified to see the middle of town packed with lighting rigs and crew members and people wheeling around clothes stands through the slush. Ya wanna hope that doesn’t freeze over in the morning. On the other hand Sophie is fucking loving it.

Whilst doing routine housekeeping back at the Inn, Zoe spots Ian through a window, tying himself to a tree so he can see directly into Jessica’s room. Well… I thought he was tied… when Zoe goes out there and screams at him he falls promptly out of the damn thing.

Prediction #8 – Side story romance for Zoe and Ian!

Jessica actually shows some sort of genuine emotion when Sophie almost gets her head taken off by a passing ladder but again, Sophie is cool with this. She would probably consider it a death well earned. Vince, however, just wants to reminisce about his and Jessica’s Christmas in Fiji that was definitely about to devolve into a conversation not meant for minors. Apparently the holidays are bringing out all of the sentimental feels in the man.


Jessica: “I’m trying to convince him we’re not stuck up movie stars and your stories about us traipsing around the globe aren’t helping. We need to find some common ground.”

Vince: “OK. Why didn’t you tell me? I gotcha… Hey Matt!”

Me: “Oh jesus….”

Vince: “I’m playing an innkeeper in this movie! Just like you! Yeah! Yeah.”

Everyone: “………….”

Me: “This man needs a script just to get through life.”


Isn’t Vince just delightful? Back at the Inn, Zoe is bringing some ice out for Ian’s knee when really she could have just left him face down in the snowdrift. For free. When questioning the man’s morals and whether he is able to feel guilt it turns out Zoe actually has big plans and wants to own a chain of these Inns by the time she’s 30. Has she told Matt? Does he know? He’s too needy for chains.

Needy Matt is being needy about his town square currently overrun with crew members because that’s where they do the tree lighting… which I’m sure they did last night. Barbara turns up just in time to tell everyone Santa got struck from the town square because he wasn’t working for them which sounds more like festive abuse to Sophie, especially when the model of Santa gets carried past like the festive Hollywood victim he is.

That evening, over what could be doing their finances or just scribbling on post-it notes, Matt can’t help discussing how entitled these Hollywood folk are with his sister and oh, did you hear the rumour that Jessica and Vince are getting back together again? We could say it should be of no concern to Matt, however…. I don’t think anyone would wish Vince upon another human being so this completely irrational question is allowed to fly.


Zoe: “Being famous can’t be easy.”

Matt: “No, you’re right, you’re right… The mansions, the private jets, it’s going to get tiring. It’s going to get really tiring.”

Zoe: “What about the constant spotlight? People are climbing trees just to get pictures of her.”

Matt: “They climb trees?”

Zoe: “Mhm.”

Matt: “OK, so, are you upset about the trees?”

Me: “You’re damn fucking right I am!!”


Matt is having a real hard time finding any sympathy for Jessica other than the fact she has been lumbered with Vince, it would seem. This grown ass man is so petulant that he can’t even hear a bad word about his snowman building skills without becoming immediately offended. The competition is apparently that evening but seeing as these people are working by candlelight and it’s already dark outside maybe the reason the man keeps building snowblobs every year is because he can’t see a fucking thing out there.

Even worse news is the fact there is a camera down on set and in order to film with one camera and/or get the other one fixed they will have to delay the snowman building competition. Heaven forbid… Matt’s already standing on the edge that no one really cares about. At least Jessica has the presence of mind to not spring any more surprises on this town’s simple Mayor but she does have the misfortune of hearing her friend, Jill, will no longer be going to Fiji with her because she got back together with her boyfriend after all. Jessica has real issues with ending phone calls and always seems to put the phone down before even she’s finished speaking.

After hearing about Jessica’s valiant effort to finish filming promptly at 7pm, in order for the competition to start, and seeing her standing across the town square like the killer in a horror film, Matt abandons his family to go and check on the crying woman in her trailer. Thank God Ian is there, creeping around the place and scaling the trees to take photos of this. I have to wonder why her trailer has such giant friggin’ windows if she knows she is constantly hounded by press….

As predicted Matt is equally as awkward with crying women as he is with women in general and suggests karaoke will cheer Jessica up and make her feel better about being utterly alone with only Vince to turn to. Karaoke certainly worked for him after his wife died. You heard it here first, folks, Matt has the ultimate cure-all. It should be of no surprise that Matt chose to sing Celine Dion that night, either.


Matt: “Now you know about it. You’re the only one who knows about it.”

Jessica: “Well your secret’s safe with me.”

Me: “And Ian lurking around outside.”


Matt doesn’t bother to invite the woman to build a snowman because perhaps those famous words would be cause for copyright infringement but one kiss on the cheek is enough to throw caution to the wind and invite her out anyway. Something Ian obviously catches on camera. At least he did something right today.

Now it amazes me that these people who live somewhere with an abundance of snow are so incredibly bad at constructing a snowman. Jessica I can forgive, but these guys? Nah. With only 20 minutes to go Jessica thinks they can probably cover up this hideous abomination with some wardrobe tricks. I hope the crew aren’t gonna miss those items…

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Well, it’s basically the John Lewis advert, isn’t it?

Let me just say that nearly all of these snowmen are dreadful but there is nothing a blue wig can’t apparently fix and for the first time in forever (don’t sue me) the Mayor and his family win the snowman building competition and the most coveted snowman building trophy!!


Matt: “I think she’s gonna sleep with that thing tonight.”

Jessica: “Tonight? When I won my Golden Globe I slept with it for a week.”

Matt: “You won a Golden Globe?”

Jessica: “Wow… You really don’t know who I am, do you?”

Matt: “No, I do! I do, you were in that movie with the…. dragons and then that other movie with the…”

Both: “Dragons.”

Me: “Literally how Mom describes every actor and actress in the world.”


Luckily Vince pops out to interrupt this re-introduction between Jessica and Matt and asks Matt if he could teach him how to build a snowman, too. I can only presume this is for some more method acting of his… Maybe in return Vince could teach Matt how to watch all of Jessica’s films without shouting at her to watch out for that dragon she’s already swinging a sword at. I hope there are dragons in this new film…

With only 9 days until Christmas I have yet to see a single scene being filmed but Ian is still skulking around and is now even taking pictures of Zoe when he encounters her on the street. The man also puts on ‘shows’ which…. I think maybe saying he showcased his work in a gallery would have been better but… he takes pictures of all the random people who inspire him. I’m not sure what Zoe inspires him to do other than fall out of trees and steal ice packs off people.

Prediction #9 – Ian’s real dream is to just be an actual photographer and not the shady bastard he currently is

Oh, looks like I spoke too soon. We actually are being subjected to an awful scene filmed between Jessica and Vince which has all the chemistry of two dead, rotting fish that have been cut out of the stomach of a bear that was found dead out in the wilderness and the wildlife rangers carted back to a partner laboratory for them to do an autopsy on to check there are no diseases running rampant through the nationally protected forest but it turned out the bear just died of a case of complete boredom. …. Yeah, that kind of chemistry.

Forgetting completely that they are broken up, Vince is still reminiscing about past Christmas gifts he bought for Jessica and the one he bought her this year too! This man is dense. He’d even very much like to go for dinner with her that evening but Jessica is pre-booked on a sleigh ride with the Mayor and his family.

There appears to be some sort of queue for a sleigh ride, as if they run every 10 minutes and pick people up from outside the Inn, where Vince is skulking around on his balcony and wondering if Matt can show him how to sit down in a sleigh for more of his method acting. I am very sure Jessica mentioned Zoe in this sleigh ride but they have left the poor woman at home so she can take pity on Ian standing outside and freezing to death and invite him in for hot chocolate, instead. He is alarmingly bad at this journalist gig seeing as his star attraction was patiently waiting 20 feet away from him and just rode off in a sleigh he could definitely have followed on foot.

Meanwhile, Jessica is playing her tiny violin as she explains how she usually ruins her family’s Christmas by bringing drama and paparazzi with her, so just goes to Fiji instead. As children are want to do, Sophie hands her an open invitation to spend Christmas with them at the Inn.

With only 7 days to go before Christmas we are now filming a scene where Vince is teaching Jessica to skate and hogging the entire rink while the rest of the town stands around and waits for them to be done. When Anna is speaking to Matt about what they both respectively asked Santa for this year Vince feels he is missing out on the spotlight so starts doing skating tricks which would really only serve to remind people if these stars weren’t showboating so much they might actually be able to get on the rink themselves before midnight.

Jessica’s first foray into producing a film looks like it might bomb and she’ll just have to stay in Homestead, pretending she never bothered trying in the first place. Invited into the inner sanctum of Sophie’s room, Jessica gets to hear about how Sophie’s dead mom loved her films too and is assured her mom is probably always thinking about her from heaven while Matt stands outside crying. Ya men can be as emotional as ya damn well please but you can’t tell me singing Celine Dion in a karaoke bar helped you get over your dead wife but start crying when a random actress compares your deceased partner to Santa Claus. I have a feeling that karaoke tip really didn’t work out as well as he first made out.

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Any excuse to go and sing more Celine Dion

6 days to go and we’re all about filming scenes these days. But only at night. There where some extras in the street behind Jessica and Vince, stealing the limelight by greeting each other and hugging each other constantly, that really distracted me. Despite Barbara saying the shot was great, probably because she was also distracted by the people in the background and missed all of the terrible acting, she wants to go again, much to Jessica’s dismay. Tonight is the great snowball fight and they can’t make the townspeople delay it any longer! No matter that it looks to be in a completely different part of town sectioned off for this very reason…

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I believe this was the first draft of The Greatest Showman

I suspect this was less about delays and more about Jessica wanting to pelt snowballs at Vince and Barbara. Even Gavin has given up his usual bodyguard duties to hammer people with frozen water. When Zoe interrupts Ian’s photography by throwing a snowball at him he promptly falls over. Again. At least he addresses the fact he is the most unstable man in the entire world and Zoe thinks it might just be karma. She’s the one person talking sense in this place…

Unfortunately, his phone also flew out of his pocket so it could conveniently go off and Zoe could read a message claiming someone is willing to double the price for the picture of Jessica. The journalist with a heart comes clean immediately leading to the standard debate between the pair, weighing up a lot of money or Zoe’s brother being ripped apart by the tabloids. When Ian promises not to sell the picture this can really only lead to one thing…

Prediction #10 – that photo is getting out either way (probably thanks to Vince) and Zoe is going to immediately blame Ian for it

Unfortunately for Gavin he is once more left alone with Sophie and begins to look a little worried when she starts asking him exactly how tall he is. She is probably planning to include him in some nefarious plot to reach a high shelf for her…

Matt has just ran after Jessica to return her phone for her because not one of these Hollywood folks has suitable pockets for the devices, when he overhears only a portion of the conversation between her and Vince where he is adamant he is not acting in his scenes and really does still love her. As much as someone with a strong jaw and low IQ can love anything outside of their own reflection, I suppose. Matt has to walk away before he hears Jessica tell Vince this is all completely ridiculous because otherwise the film would be 30 minutes shorter than the mammoth length it already feels. Vince clearly blames this entire ordeal on Matt but I really wouldn’t be too concerned about what pain the man can dish out. He’d probably need to ask Matt what his weaknesses are as an innkeeper before he could make a move. Late tax returns, I guess.

Feeling sorry for himself, Matt can be found eating an entire fruit pie out of the dish to himself. Cue a heart-to-heart with Zoe who, as any self-respecting sister would, has stolen the pie off her brother to eat during this and listens to his nonsensical rambling before hitting him with a solid metaphor about stars and gravitational pulls. That is until Jessica rocks up looking for her phone and the man literally hurtles himself out of his chair to go and get it for her before taking her out onto the freezing porch for coffee.


Matt: “What about Vince?”

Jessica: “What about him?”

Matt: “He still loves you.”

Jessica: “Yeah, and I love him.”

Me: “Like someone loves having the flu.”

Jessica: “But I’m not in love with him anymore.”

Matt: “Are you sure because he’s pretty stiff competition.”

Me: “By which I mean it’s like talking to a plank of wood most of the time.”


Matt tries to avoid this kiss by reminding Jessica she will leave in a few days and even when she suggests staying for Christmas he can’t help reminding the woman that Christmas does eventually end. Like… all over the world, it eventually ends.

The next day even Ian is learning a harsh lesson: never share your pictures with your… whoever… if you don’t want them to get sold! Now the picture of Jessica and Matt is all over t’internet and all of his hopes and dreams of starting his new life as a decent human being go up in flames. As does Rosalie’s dreams of having a nice, normal, quiet film shoot when someone from The Times calls her to let her know the world just ended.

Unfortunately, no one can get to Matt in time before he heads out the door for better reception to take a call and is hit with a shit load of paparazzi on his doorstep. At least Sophie is trying to work the cameras before she is dragged unceremoniously back into the Inn.


Rosalie: “Look, Jess, I get it. You’re stressed about the movie and Vince and suddenly you have this warm fuzzy Christmas story come to life with the beautiful family and the sleigh rides and…

Jessica: “You’re worried about my career.”

Rosalie: “No, I’m worried about my friend.”

Me: “Who I happen to work and who didn’t invite me to Fiji.”

Rosalie: “Give it all up and go live in a mountain and raise goats! I don’t care as long as you’re happy!”

Me: “PERFECT! KIERAN! I KNOW WHAT I WANNA DO WITH LIFE!”


Rosalie does, at least, draw the line at returning to Hollywood and getting back together with Vince, otherwise she will be joining me up the mountain with my goats instead.

Zoe has suddenly taken a turn on this shit storm due to the amount of calls they have had from people wanting to stay at the Inn and this would be the perfect time to start their franchise. Which, unsurprisingly, Matt is really not a fan of because change is the devil. Zoe is trying to hit him with another metaphor when Gavin turns up to check on the family, especially Sophie, who promptly invites him to her tea-party.

Gavin teaches Sophie a valuable lesson in not posting all of your damn pictures online and people in pictures on the Internet are actually people, not just pixels. There is, however, still time for him to drink some tea and hand his number over to the family in case Sophie should ever need him for anything.

Prediction #11 – Sophie is gonna need him for something like being mobbed by paparazzi

Meanwhile, Jessica is hoping some other celebrity on this big wide world will do something monumentally dumb and take the spotlight off them for a while so everything can go back to normal. As… normal as any of these people’s lives are. As predicted, Zoe doesn’t believe a word Ian is spouting about nothing being his fault and tells him to get off her damn property.

Prediction #12 – Ian will make a grand gesture with all the photos he has of Zoe and other assorted people to make her forgive him

Barbara is hoping the crew will understand they will all need to work until sunrise that evening – because this film is apparently all set at fucking midnight – and work through Christmas Eve, too. Although the crew might be cool with this, Jessica very much doubts that the town will. She certainly does believe she has a large area of impact on her, I gotta say. That’s probably what gives her a new, mystery idea, in the first place.

3 days until Christmas and another town meeting is being called with the film stars and crew involved too. The townsfolk seem to friggin’ love the fact their own Mayor was caught kissing this movie star so I can’t imagine the idea of including their Christmas Eve: Festival of Lights in the movie, as the last scene, is really going to bother them too much. There are about only 20 people in this town by the looks of it but every single one of them wants to be an extra in this final scene.

It’s strange how at all of these town meetings the Mayor appears to have zero sway. Then again, they do have to spend all year with him. They know him far too well. Storming out of the meeting, Matt is more concerned that the festival will be too big and grand and he used to take his damn wife to that thing! Unfortunately the paparazzi storm the place just in time to break up a delightful apology on Jessica’s part and away he storms once more.

The man can’t even get a moment’s peace when decorating his tree as Vince turns up to enlighten us about how this movie is going to end; Jessica is going to go back to Hollywood and that will be that, yet it seems a shame all the same. I can’t tell if this was some sort of very subtle and veiled threat or he might be encouraging the Mayor to follow his heart. I am sure Vince doesn’t really know what he meant either.

I also hope that Matt is aware Barbara has flown her entire family out to spend Christmas there. You know how he doesn’t like change!! She also reminds Jessica she needs to decide whether work or personal life come first and she simply decided work could suck it, this time. Matt was probably chasing Zoe down to inform her they had 4 more unexpected guests but instead finds her getting food ready to feed the crew with because they’re like a weird, extended family. For some reason the paparazzi have cleared off for the day but will be back tomorrow…

Now… if this is Christmas Eve then… they’ll be back Christmas Day? And if this isn’t yet Christmas Eve… why would they come back even closer to the time of the big day? They don’t know that Jessica is planning on staying for Christmas, regardless, so why wouldn’t they have headed home to camp out and wait for her there? Ah, movie plots, what wondrous things you are.

When Matt mentions their only saving grace would be another celebrity doing something dumb Zoe gets an idea and wonders off, leaving Matt to deliver food to the masses instead. This new plan involves roping in not only Ian but Vince, who offers himself up. Now… if he is still in Homestead at the time I really don’t think that’s going to help the paparazzi move on and leave the entire town alone… When he said he understood what Zoe was getting at I hope they double checked with him. Just to make sure.

Matt appears to think what a tiring crew needs in order to cheer them up is a procession of carol singers coming towards them out of the night. Sure, they might be bringing food with them but they are also bringing tunes and I don’t know how I would feel about my pie being served with a helping of ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’.

At least Sophie is still overjoyed to see Jessica every time they meet because everyone’s big plan was to leak that original picture of Jessica and Vince kissing from the beginning of the movie. HOW!? HOW IS THAT GOING TO HELP ANY!? THE PAPARAZZI ARE GONNA STAY UNTIL THE END OF SHOOTING AND ARE GONNA BE TRYING TO GET PICTURES OF MATT TO CHECK HOW HEARTBROKEN HE IS! Christ on a bike, these people.

The next day and it looks as though, somehow, Jessica is not aware of this media storm brewing around her. I am more confused by the scene being filmed in the day where they were supposed to kiss but don’t and presumably will film the kiss at some other time… despite the fact Barbara says they now need to wait until night. Their favourite. So what… is that scene just going to dramatically change from the middle of the day to the middle of the night? Man, I would love to see this film once it was finished. They should release it as some sort of bizarre sequel.

With only 20 minutes of the actual film to go, a lot of people are going to have to have a lot of changes of hearts to wrap this up neatly. Vince finally gives Jessica her Christmas present which is a tabloid article on their most recent picture together and I can’t tell what he thought the reaction would be or whether he planned to leak that picture for Christmas all along. I mean… he does explain himself eloquently enough that his present to Jessica was to save Matt’s reputation but I still really feel they went about this all wrong.

Zoe is enjoying the Inn’s porch, now completely empty of mad photographers, so much so that she is willing to freeze her ass out there on a rocking chair to take in the scenery. It also makes it much easier for Ian to find her and give her the Christmas gift every woman wants. An actual, flattering photo that they didn’t have to take themselves. He has also brought her a photo release form that she needs to sign in order for him to use the photo in a Chicago show. Luckily he even included a pen in the bag so that she could sign it for him and maybe even perhaps visit the show so she can see herself being admired by other people. Zoe is getting the best deal out of this Christmas, I feel.

CIH_9
“I forgot that’s what I looked like without a Snapchat filter!”

It takes a small child to remind Matt to stop being such an arsehole and get them to the damn festival already, so he can get there just in time to invite Jessica to stay for Christmas and admit that he is, in fact, an arsehole and is also delaying the crew and everybody else filming this scene who just want to get home to their own families in order to admit this.


Matt: “Look, I know it’s tricky with your career and Vince but… we’ll figure it out. We have to try.”

Me: “OK so… when you thought she was totally, wonderfully, free and available this was all too difficult but now that you think she might have got back together with Vince this is all totally doable and you’re just happy for her to cheat on him or throw him under the tour bus. GREAT! You are definitely a completely reliable man to have around for the rest of her life. That’s just great.”


Jessica and Vince play out their last scene where she was meant to be going back to Hollywood, I presume, but instead ad libs and changes the entire direction of the movie which Vince finds very hard to keep up with. When she asks to run the scene again so they can end it with a kiss instead, Vince exits stage right and allows Matt to step up instead. I really hope they try and edit that into the film. I really do.

When we see a world premiere sign for their new film outside a cinema I am actually hopeful for a second we will get to see it but unfortunately all we get is them walking down the tiny red carpet in Homestead and onto a sleigh. I am more amazed that the place has a cinema at all and that it is casually on a residential street and right next to someone’s house.

And thank god that is over! I really would have preferred to watch the shambles of the film within a film, like that time I wanted to watch the Christmas play in Finding Father Christmas rather than the actual film. But I mean come on… that play had discount Death in it. You can’t argue with a discount version of Death.

If you would like to guess what sort of film Jessica and Barbara managed to produce then head over here. I, however, will be checking what scores I managed to rack up today.

 

Prediction board – 7.5/12

  • Prediction #1 – we’re not staying here for Christmas, the title alone tells us that (Kim, please, shut the hell up about your ‘Love In Line for Santa book title already!) – This really was more a dig at Kim who I’m still not over than a prediction but still… CORRECT
  • Prediction #2 – The picture of Jessica and Vince is going to come back and bite her in the ass – CORRECT! Although… seeing as it was intentional…. HALF A POINT!
  • Prediction #3 – Matt’s ability to be Mayor will be questioned but the townsfolk will stick up for him – INCORRECT! They didn’t even bother consulting him on most things anyway
  • Prediction #4 – Vince is gonna have to take pointers from Matt about being an innkeeper – Never actually happened… I guess it wasn’t rocket science after all. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #5 – Matt is gonna replace Vince in the film as the innkeeper! – It happened for two seconds people! That means it happened! CORRECT!
  • Prediction #6 – Jessica will fucking hate Sophie like she hates all children – INCORRECT! The woman seriously let me down
  • Prediction #7 – When it matters most Ian will have a conscience because he hates being a reporter anyway – CORRECT! He never did release that picture but he was dumb enough to send it in the first place…
  • Prediction #8 – Side story romance for Zoe and Ian! – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #9 – Ian’s real dream is to just be an actual photographer – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #10 – The photo of Jessica and Matt is getting out either way and Zoe is going to immediately blame Ian for it – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #11 – Sophie will call Gavin for help – INCORRECT! Not even to take her to a single piano lesson
  • Prediction #12 – Ian will make a grand gesture with the photos he has to make Zoe forgive him – CORRECT!

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: CHECK! They rode the thing all the damn time!
  • Piano: Pianos have once more been demoted for phones and tablets instead
  • Carolling: CHECK
  • Christmas Montage: I presume there is one in Jessica’s movie, but we missed out
  • Fire Hazards: The entire Inn! Finally!
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: CHECK
  • Snowing on cue: I wouldn’t like to say whether that was real snow or move magic so…. nooooo

 

Slowly crawling my way up my own lonely leaderboard! I realise most of my guesses were about Ian and Zoe but they were far more interesting than the actual main characters this time around.

Maybe we’ll try and avoid the Christmas movie inception feel from now on… It doesn’t work out great.