Tag Archives: Fish Logic

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!

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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 #7 – My Christmas Love

So I know I should be watching films I recorded to get them off the Sky box but instead ended up recording about 10 more today… but in my defence! Ya shoulda read the descriptions. They were glorious. One involved a psychiatric ward!

This film had the honour of being picked simply because it was first in the loooong loooong list. And I can’t stop singing the title to the tune of My Endless Love. Maybe we can get a whole remix recorded… Damn. On with the film!

 

The opening scenes of Christmas films are usually my favourite and always involve people walking around on busy streets and lots of people being festive. This one isn’t any different but first we are treated to some very exclusive tastes in Christmas baubles…

When our main woman is trotting off down a very snowy road I cannot help staring at her in horror because she is not even wearing tights! Her legs are going to drop right off! And why are you wearing heels when there is snow on the ground!?

This absolutely insane woman bursts into a cafe where the hostess appears to know her well enough to hug her, offer her her usual booth and knows this woman is insane enough to not question why she is dressed for pneumonia. Apparently she is actually here for a date but that still does not excuse the clothing choices.

I am unsure if she is a dreaded ‘people person’ or is just nosy as fuck because she starts talking to the guy a table over dressed in a suit and double, triple-checking the ring he has bought. I mean it’s one thing telling the guy he’s left the tag on his suit, which he rips off in a way liable to cause a tear right through the armpit, and another to ask to see the ring.

Which is hideous.


Woman: “Do you mind if I see the ring?”

Mystery Man: “Is is that obvious?”

Woman: “Nooooooo, it’s…. yeah”

Me: “Well he was staring at it two fucking seconds ago…”

Woman: “My gosh that’s so pretty. You have to relax, she’s definitely gonna say yes.”

Mystery Man: “If I can ask her… this is the third time I’ve brought it with me.”

Me: “Does she also wonder why you’re always wearing a suit these days?”


Cynthia is so about this wedding proposal she gives away her regular booth to the hopeless groom-to-be because apparently it’s more romantic. That may be so but that giant circular table is going to make it a little difficult for him to get down on one knee and propose to the woman without the table decorations blocking his face. Our main woman’s date, Alex, shows up to celebrate their 5 month anniversary so…. is it still a date if you’re together already? I don’t know the logistics of relationships, despite being in one for 5 years. I don’t believe we dated.

While the woman who is about to get engaged walks in dressed like an actual Christmas present, Alex has bought one for our main woman. Cynthia said she would rather him bring this early Christmas gift to the farm with them so she can open it there but it turns out… Alex isn’t so sure about this relationship. I am very sure it may be down to the two weeks Cynthia wants him to spend with her family on their farm over Christmas after only 5 months. And what about the man’s own family? Huh? Huh!?

Our main woman goes from about 0 – 100 in 0.2 seconds flat, which I feel is going to be a frequent occurrence in this film, and decides to compliment the soon to be engaged couple before stealing both cupcakes she ordered and is yet to pay for and swiping that early Christmas gift. Alex…. mate…. you dodged a bullet. What woman goes out in that weather without at least wearing tights?

It’s all fine though because there are many eligible bros playing basketball together – one of whom is her employee who she calls over to her apartment to help her get over being dumped. Is that what bosses do? I’ve never received that call before… and let’s be honest, I wouldn’t be answering the phone to my boss anyway. He should have just kept playing basketball and having a good time. Instead the guy is now being subjected to hearing about failed relationships, Christmas travel, our main woman’s family and farm and her little sister’s Christmas wedding.

Prediction #1 – she is taking her employee on this trip instead because her family were expecting this mystical boyfriend

This employee just can’t help mentioning the right guy is out there somewhere for her and I can’t help but feel if he’s not put off by her drinking out of a ‘I love Mom’ mug then he is the right guy for her. This family seems…. well, as dysfunctional and all up in each other’s business as every other family in Christmas films. The people just can’t let each other be.

And score! The very next day we are taking our employee as our plus one to the wedding. Or maybe just because our woman needed someone to carry her… easel. I’m not sure if we’ve actually heard her name yet but her caller ID said Cynthia so I’m taking a stab in the dark here that her name may be Cynthia. At least we can’t mishear spelling… looking at you America.

Preparing for this trip of unknown length Cynthia mentions the deadline on that book they need to meet so I guess this has quickly become a working trip rather than anything anyone will actually enjoy. Cynthia also says the magic words that this will be the first Christmas the family has celebrated since her mother passed away. Despite her involve and probably depressed family she thinks she’s doing her employee a favour because he was going to be alone on Christmas anyway. I would…. I would rather that…

The man also hasn’t dated in the last decade, which I presume is conveniently the same amount of time he’s been in love with his boss. He, on the other hand, is able to count all 6 relationships that Cynthia has had and crashed into the side of a mountain in the past 2 years on his hands.


Cynthia: “At least you haven’t screwed up literally 5 relationships in the last 2 years.”

Employee: “…. Ronaldo….”

Cynthia: “Argh! Stop! He doesn’t count!”

Employee: “….?”

Cynthia: “Because I can’t handle two hands.”

Me: “Wait… everyone has two hands… you dumped him because… ohhhhhhhhh that guy was counting on two hands!”


Just as Cynthia is claiming everything is going to be perfect this Christmas she gets pulled over by the police just as she is entering Quechee….. Queeeecheeeeee. What a place to say you grew up in. I wished I lived somewhere with a name like Quechee.

Scott, the alarmingly young police guy, has pulled Cynthia over because that’s apparently what policemen do when they see someone they recognise driving down their hometown road. We finally learn the employee’s name – Liam – and the fact he ‘draws pictures’ by which he means he is an illustrator. We only discover this because Scott immediately presumes that Cynthia is now married to the guy and she quickly waves her hand in Liam’s face and confirms he is nothing but a work friend.

Prediction #2 – Cynthia and Scott used to date

Apparently Cynthia’s sister… Janice? Jan? Jans? J….. fuck it, I don’t know what he said but she’s been telling everyone Cynthia is coming to screw up her wedding because her big sister gets waaaaaaaaaaaay too excited about weddings. As far as I can see the woman gets way too excited about everything. Some may find this endearing but me and her sister are very much on the other side of the fence. I am enjoying Liam though, he’s played by the sex pest teacher from the Netflix Scream series but I can enjoy his face this time because he’s not trying to have sex with a teenager in every episode.

And score!! In a delightful conversation between boss and employee we find out Scott was Cynthia’s first boyfriend, which also explains why there were so many shots of these two guys face’s when Scott suggested he and Cynthia should hang out sometime while she’s back home.

Cynthia moans that there are no lights or Christmas decorations up at the house so sends Liam on in to face her sister JANET while she goes looking for her Dad in his giant workshop, barn thing. Two seconds in the empty room tells her he has abandoned ship and neither has Liam gone into the house because apparently Janet is quite terrifying. I hope the man sitting at the counter and typing at 60 miles per hour is Janet’s fiance because it would explain the absolute look of terror on his face. Or maybe he’s just typing so quickly he’s about to shift into a different dimension. Either was this is Roger and soon he will be part of this terrible, terrible family dynamic. Or maybe that’s the reason for the terrified look…

Oh, it also turns out that guy from the cafe was named Jason not Alex and yes, it turns out everyone knows that Cynthia is overbearing as shit in a relationship and apparently this spills over into everyone else’s relationships and this whole family has really annoying voices. Cynthia also writes ‘Felicia Flowers‘ books and apparently they are so good because she ‘writes what she knows’. I dread to think what these books are about and how many children she might be convincing to go out in winter with no tights on.

According to Janet their Dad is struggling a little and will be even more so when she moves out with Roger, her fiance. They haven’t even had time to put up the Christmas decorations, like ol’ Cynthia eagle-eyes hadn’t already noticed.


Dad: “That sounds like my girl!”

Me: “Yeah, well, I’m pretty sure all the neighbourhood dogs know she’s home by now, too.”


Cynthia immediately shirks all responsibilities by prattling on about Christmas decorations and dragging every other fucker into this decorating frenzy with her. Only Liam truly suffers as he is elected the main victim that she will be carting off around town to buy supplies. I don’t know why Liam seems so awkward with this family when Cynthia leaves him with them to go and get changed. They all clearly know him and the fact he should be married to their relative by now.


Dad: “But if you do get any designs on my daughter then remember I’m a hunter. A good one.”

Liam: “Good to know.”

Roger: “He gives me that speech every day.”

Me: “I love how completely fucking terrified Roger is all of the time. Maybe if he stopped looking so much like a deer in the headlights the Dad would stop trying to gun him down so much.”


Apparently Roger also has mystical powers and can teleport from one side of a room to the other which doesn’t escape Liam’s notice when he asks how the hell he got behind him so quickly to be terrified in another spot of the kitchen. On our journeys it turns out Cynthia just happens to know every eligible batchelor in Quechee and when picking up a wreath we meet Grant, who she used to date in high school. I feel Liam should be running the fuck away because Grant is overseeing a fundraiser and these men are just EVERYWHERE. Cynthia just keeps telling everyone that she and Liam are simply friends and nothing more, much to the increasing decline of that man’s self-esteem.

Grant offers Cynthia a wreath from his private reserve in a box under the table because apparently, every year, 5 minutes before closing there is just a tidal wave of single moms who end up having to pick through the scraps of what people have left in their wake. Grant keeps the box hidden for them because they deserve good-looking wreaths more than any other member of society so their ungrateful children can not appreciate them for the festive season. Clearly these single mothers have not got to grips with using their children as slave labour to churn out beautiful looking Christmas decorations all day while they’re out at work. Call it a game or an educational experience, whatever, just get those wreaths made, kids.


Cynthia: “How did we ever break up!? Crazy!”

Grant: “….”

Liam: “Ya know they all look the same to me sooooo let’s go back.”

Me: “Before we meet any more of your ex-boyfriends that you are still overly forward with.”


Prediction #3 – Grant is serious competition for Liam. This is a race.

Cynthia continues to be consistently overbearing and is making cookies because the biscuit barrel was empty but she refuses to go store to buy Christmas cookies. Instead she will just use other people’s ingredients they so carelessly left lying around in cupboards. Even Liam is asking if today’s plans involve meeting more ex-boyfriends throughout this entire conversation there are many shots of a partridge in a pear tree in a cage that is being walked up the drive by a woman. When Cynthia opens the door to her this woman starts belting out the first line of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ and looking very pleased with herself before she simply hands the cage over and gets the fuck outta there.


Cynthia: “Can you give me some more information? Is this for me? Do you have a business card?”

Me: “Does it even come with care instructions? The fuck do you do with a partridge in a cage with a fake pear tree? Who runs a business like this!?”


This incredibly thoughtful gift comes with a very considerate note saying ‘Merry Christmas To My One True Love’ with absolutely no name from either the sender or to the recipient. Cynthia immediately jumps to 100mph and claims this is a romantic Christmas mystery. A Christery, if you will. That’s right, she went there. Janet has clearly never seen an actual tree because her main concern is where Cynthia will plant that plastic tree back in her apartment. I would really be more concerned about where you’re going to plant that live friggin’ bird right now.

Prediction #4 – Liam is sending the gifts because he has suffered enough time with her to know she adores both Christmas and needless romance

Janet has to leave this madness because she has a wedding to plan and a house to sell. I hope….. I hope not the house her dad is currently living in and that’s what she really meant when she said he might struggle once she moved in with Roger…. you know… on account of suddenly being homeless and all.


Liam: “How do you know this is for you? Janet is the one getting married.”

Cynthia: “Janet is marrying her accountant.”

Me: “That’s the most logical thing you’ve said so far.”


Liam wants to ask if Roger sent this caged insanity anyway and I presume this is just a cover to mask the fact he is sending the gifts. He’d better be anyway, I want my own points. We are treated to a Christmas decorating montage where, for a woman so obsessed with dating everyone and being in love all of the time, she is really fucking blind to the man allowing her to boss him around and decorate her family home and dance on her porch with her. All of these films would be at least 40 minutes shorter if they weren’t all so romantically blind and lived in reality.

The family, at least, appreciate Liam’s hard work and Janet recalls that one year a tree lost all its needles because 8 year old Cynthia didn’t know that trees don’t drink eggnog. At 8 years old I really feel something of this sort should have been covered in school or…. you know, your general life. Liam can’t help taking the chance to ask Roger if he sent the bird but at the first mention of a Christmas wedding Roger is praising the logistics of it all. Everyone has the day off so everyone can come and your Christmas list becomes your wedding gift list. This man is nothing if not logical and that is exactly why he would never order that fucking bird.

The time has actually come for Cynthia and Liam to do some actual work and it is at the point where Cynthia is just throwing ideas around that I realise she hasn’t even written this book that needs illustrating and is making it up as she goes along. She also expects Liam to draw along like a terrible episode with Bob Ross. That is until she gets distracted by a wedding dress she finds in some sort of crawl space that fits her perfectly but was actually her mom’s.

Prediction #5 – Cynthia is going to ruin the wedding by making it a double wedding and wearing that dress!

Cynthia keeps banging on about the fun surprises her mom and dad would leave for each other and if Liam has been hanging around with her for as long as he definitely has he is the one sending the gifts. It is at the point Cynthia waltzes off, shirking her work responsibilities now, to show her sister this dress and I am alarmed that she’s wearing such weird thin heels indoors. You’re at home and there is snow everywhere! Wear trainers before you trip over that damn dress and break your neck.


Cynthia: “Look what I found! You’ll never guess where it was.”

Janet: “In the closet upstairs in a box labelled ‘Mom’s wedding gown’?”

Me: “Well that all seems to check out. Sorry for wasting your time, madam.”


Cynthia tries to make a case for Janet wearing her dead mother’s dress and how dare could she go and pick her own wedding dress without her big sister anyway? Janet claims she has bought a dress which can actually be worn again! and Cynthia shoots her own argument right in the face by demanding a wedding dress should only be worn once because it’s special. Buh-bye deceased woman’s wedding dress. Buh-bye now.

Luckily the second day of Christmas is here and I’ve just realised how many fucking birds are in this song when those damn turtle doves show up. The place is gonna be overrun, it’s a good job they live on a farm where I have seen zero farm work and in fact zero livestock. Once more the delivery woman sings at Cynthia before running away and there’s a whole deal about why turtle doves are called turtle doves.

Cynthia is quite confused because they don’t look like turtles or eat turtles so apparently we’re at a loss and definitely won’t be googling the answer any time soon. (Spoiler: it’s because of the turr noise they make which lead to their Latin name turtur. Hell yeah.)


Dad: “You remind me of your mother.”

Me: “Oh, was she batshit insane, too?”


Cynthia is totally cool with dragging her Dad along to the local pet store to see who bought these birds because I presume the woman always needs to be supervised. She also just cannot let a surprise be a surprise and wants to ruin the entire thing for herself. It turns out the woman who owns the pet shop is madly in love Cynthia’s dad and again for a woman people claim just loves romance she is completely fucking blind. The nice, not crazy, woman informs us she can’t actually sell turtle doves because you need a special permit just to import them in which she certainly doesn’t do because she’s not fucking nuts. Unfortunate we are just in time for Scott to turn up with some fliers for the Quechee carnival. Cynthia begins to suspect it might actually be Scott sending the gifts but I can legit already say no, the man can’t even remember to give out fliers, he ain’t gonna remember the entire ’12 days of Christmas’ song. However we do get free tickets to the carnival!!

At this point Kieran joins me during an ad break so he hasn’t yet experienced the wonders of Cynthia’s voice or general existence.

Cynthia has left these birds in all their original tiny cages, which is unimaginably cruel, and Liam doesn’t even get chance to draw them like he wants to because now three french hens have turned up and Cynthia immediately needs to find out where they came from. She takes them off to the city to visit a pet shop that has the permit to import turtle doves… or at least that is what I thought was happening because the next moment we’re in a giant office building. Liam suggests they just don’t ruin the surprise like normal people whilst Cynthia is busy pretending she and Liam are from animal services.

Liam is meant to be acting tough so introduces himself as the bad cop which apparently works because the office guy hands over a file to them. The person sending the gifts will remain anonymous until the last gift is sent, as per the instructions in a letter they received which no, they are not handing over to Cynthia.

At least the next set of birds are fake before actual animal control drops in on their asses. Janet once more has an excuse to escape this mad house of birds because she has cakes to taste. Cynthia keeps banging on about Grant, much to Liam’s horror, and although Liam clearly didn’t expect to be here to see this outpouring of crazy at least now he can stop her from getting engaged to Grant in the space of two weeks.

At lunch with Grant she signs some of her own books for him to give to nieces and nephews and I gotta say… those books look hefty for children’s books and nothing at all like the picture books I was expecting. The illustrations that we very briefly see on the cover also look nothing like the illustrative skills we have already seen from Liam making me question whether they could have found better props, at least.

Speaking of Liam, all he wants to do is draw these fucking birds. So much so he has even moved himself out to the barn in order to get some peace and quiet except now Scott is interrupting him whilst looking for Cynthia. He even mentions the gifts she has been receiving. How does everyone know about the secret admirer suddenly? Other than the fact Cynthia legitimately cannot keep her mouth shut… Liam just keeps drawing these gifts and says it’s just something hes working on….

Prediction #6 – Liam is working on a giant flip-book to commemorate all this effort he has gone to

Meanwhile, back on the date, Cynthia is getting real fucking weird and incredibly forward with poor Grant before…. I actually paused the film to laugh at this. Cynthia is pawing at the man’s hand like a limpet when the waitress addresses him as ‘father’. Grant takes his scarf off to reveal his dog collar. Grant’s neck has always been covered and he’s just terribly Christian now and is real big about this confession Cynthia was about to make presuming he was the one sending the gifts.

The next day even Dad finds an excuse to leave the house so he doesn’t have to watch his one insane daughter try to fit five tiny golden rings on her fingers like inedible hula-hoops. Janet thinks it might be Scott and Cynthia thinks it’s Jason, despite the fact he broke up with her. According to Cynthia’s misfiring brain cells that was just a big fake-out. Honestly, this woman deserves to be alone forever.

She is so obsessed that she drives all the way back to the city and Jason’s apartment only to find another woman in it. This woman is a terrible burden on the environment, society… the galaxy! I’m more surprised that Scott isn’t there to meet her on her way back into town and pull her over again. Finally Cynthia does the sensible thing and gives. the fuck. up.


Janet: “It’s so obviously who your one true love is, the answer is literally right in front of your face.”

Liam: “It is?”

Janet: “Scott.”

Me: “Someone called the motherfucking ambulance because this guy just got burnt.


The next day all day Janet really wants to do is just plan her fucking wedding but instead Cynthia and Liam are having a pillow fight with 6 giant pillows with geese on to the point she can’t even hear her own phone call. Damn it. I was really hoping for 6 actual geese on this day….

Even Kieran comments how dangerous this pillow fight is when the Dad starts flinging pillows at people and making this site a potential fire hazard. The boy just knows.

The terrible duo have gone Christmas shopping, probably because her family have requested Liam gets her out the fucking house for a few hours, and for some reason Liam is buying presents for Janet and the dad. Liam already has something for Cynthia, which I presume is a wedding proposal, and all Cynthia wants to talk about is Scott. This woman is the most fickle person on earth; Liam needs to hurtle himself to the hills before he marries her only for her to fall in love with the local barista four weeks later. Cynthia has a MOMENT of clarity where she asks if it might be Liam and he fully admits it before holding his hands up and going ‘naaaaaaaaaah’. He probably realised if he admits it she might actually turn her sights on him.

Cynthia has set up an adorably insane little chart on the fridge and every morning she crosses off the next gift. Day seven is seven bottles of  ‘Swan’s Champage’ which I can get behind! Let’s all get rat arsed in the name of Christmas and all that! By the way, their dad is not good at pouring champagne. They’ll be drinking froth for hours before they get any actual liquid.


Dad: “It’s time for a toast your mother always used to make. To family… past, present and future. Let you always be in our hearts, if not in our hands.”

Me: “…… In our hands……”


Cynthia once more blows off work obligations to go and have a date with Scott who she is suddenly having all of the feels for. I can’t tell if Liam desperately tries to set those chickens free of their tiny prison because of animal cruelty or to distract Cynthia and make her late for her date. Even after falling on the man this woman is unphased! If films have taught men anything it’s that when a woman falls on you she will immediately and literally fall for you at the exact same time.


Dad: “Why aren’t you spending Christmas with your girlfriend?”

Liam: “I don’t have one.”

Kieran: “The Dad is like ‘HA! You nerd’.”


While playing chess Dad is giving double advice, telling Liam to just make a damn move and even if it’s the wrong move at least he will have tried. Unfortunately Cynthia interrupts and is wearing her damn date outfit again. You know, the one without the tights!! Liam attempts to remind her that on the drive into town she wasn’t even that keen on Scott and now she’s obsessed with him. Despite the fact the man professes he cares about her, and asks her to slow the fuck down and stop getting herself hurt she experiences immediate amnesia of that scene the moment she opens the door to Scott and some carollers who start belting out a song at her.

I would literally have walked back into that house and slammed the door on him. Nuh thanks. At least the carollers look interested in Liam but he does the sensible thing and slams the door on them.


Scott: “You know, most of all people just call me when they need help.”

Me: “Well………. you’re the police………”


Cynthia is impressed when, on the date, Scott remembers she likes cupcakes and this means he knows her far better than she ever presumed. Woman, within the first 5 minutes of watching this film I knew you loved cupcakes. What is your god damn deal? Liam is casually drawing pictures of Cynthia herself when she rocks back up with Scott and, on her very doorstep, he essentially takes the credit for the mystery gifts. What an absolute prick.

Prediction #7 – All will eventually be revealed about Scott at an unfortunate moment and that will be this relationship’s demise

We now have 8 maids with raw milk in pails dancing around the house, just to make things even more awkward. At least they piss off afterwards and don’t just hang around the house like the birds they’ve shoved out in the barn thing. We find Roger working on something finance-y on his laptop and he does not look like he has fucking relaxed at all. It’s really no surprise when Janet shouts at him after catching him reading a wedding magazine. She is really against a big ol’ wedding and just wants something small, calm and simple. Roger looks real crestfallen about making the effort but Janet reminds him where going around chasing giant romantic gestures gets you. It gets you on the same psych ward as her big sister. Unfortunately, Cynthia was listening to the part where Janet reminds her fiance that chasing romance has gotten Cynthia nowhere but I get the distinct feeling that is not going to even put a dent in her manic disposition.

Liam is out chopping wood at the work barn thing when Scott comes up asking for advice on his big date with Cynthia that evening. It turns out he really doesn’t know her that well and it doesn’t strike him as strange at all to be asking her employee for dating advice… Unfortunately me and Kieran just cannot figure out what the hell the man has planned. Whatever it is, Liam does not think it’s suitable for cold weather which Scott somehow forgot about, despite standing in actual snow at the time. Whilst it is also snowing. I can’t even…


Scott: “I’m thinking (unintelligible words).”

Me: “Pot pie?”

Kieran: “Popeye?”

Me: “What the actual fuck is this man saying?”


Even the dad is legitimately astounded by Liam’s stupidity which lead him to give Scott some sound dating advice. He probably goes back into the house to get his hunting rifle out and just put the man out of his misery.

Scott has taken Cynthia off to the community centre for their annual Christmas cotillion, so it’s a good job she was dressed appropriately despite not knowing where the fuck they were going at all. The woman just will not stop giggling and having the greatest time ever. She’s not right, I swear to God. The highlight of this dance was Kieran playing Super Mario Odyssey next to me and shouting “YOSHI!? OH MY GOD I’M YOSHI!”

The next day all Cynthia can talk about is Scott and how great he is and Liam is quite surprised to hear Scott take credit for sending the mystery gifts. I feel he is about to break the snooker cue he is playing with right over his own face in a bid to end this actual nightmare. Even worse, Cynthia is now ditching Liam and taking Scott to the wedding instead because apparently they will get to dance and… that will just be better, don’t you think? Liam, seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? I assume he just agrees for an easy life and hopes he can escape this hellhole and take the birds with him while everyone else is busy getting married.

Prediction #8 – Scott’s lies will be revealed at the wedding and Cynthia really will ruin her little sister’s big day because it will be so dramatic

The next day even Roger manages to smile and look like he is actually enjoying himself with the 9 ladies dancing around the hallway. Cynthia rocks up with her phone two seconds too late and asks if they can do it again only for Liam to notice someone called Maggie amongst the dancers. She responds by shouting LEMUR especially loudly which I suppose you can get away with when you went to college with someone. Why is it that whenever old acquaintances see each other with someone they immediately ask whether they are a boyfriend or girlfriend. How about asking their fucking name first? Why are you all so obsessed about dating?

Prediction #9 – Maggie serves no real purpose other than to make Cynthia realise she is medically a moron

Liam and Maggie are happy talking in the foreground while Cynthia downs wine in the background. For once, seeing someone down a glass of wine does not make them any more relatable to me. I just think she’s really adding to her problems. She also thinks it’s a big deal they’re going to the carnival together when neither of them are even from around here. Her dad tries to explain there is not a monopoly on the Quechee carnival but she is not even listening when he suggests she might actually be interested in Liam. Instead she is too busy chewing her hair and preparing to cough up one hell of a furball later.

I dread to think how crazy Cynthia will get now she is trying to be in love with Scott and jealous over Maggie at the same time. Her little brain will just explode. They have also just abandoned the 10 lords-a-leaping to go to the carnival instead, the former of which are hammering on the doorway in vain and hurtling themselves around the driveway.

At one of the stalls Roger is having a crisis of faith but luckily it is Grant’s booth he has gone to. Roger wonders if withholding information is the same as lying to someone and he just wanted to surprise someone he loves. Grant is very open about being a father now and doesn’t even have his scarf wrapped around his neck properly so he feels fully qualified to tell the man it will all work out no matter what he does. I have a feeling Janet probably won’t enjoy whatever the plan is. Meanwhile Maggie is being very forward and informs Liam he is very clearly in love with his boss so she may as well just serve as a tool to make the woman jealous. Maggie knows not of which bear she pokes.

Their dad can be found briefly hanging out with pet shop owner who is nice enough to give him some free cookies to him. It almost looks as though everyone is getting sorted on a relationship level… that is, until the woman suggests the dad needs to look after himself and not stay cooped up in the house all the time. She asks if he’s going to stay for the jamboree but the dad quickly makes his escape. She pushed one jamboree too far, it would seem.


Pet Shop Woman: “Are you sticking around for the big jamboree?”

Kieran: “Hayley, are you sticking around for the big jamboree?”

Me: “No, I’m too sober for that.”


This evening when Cynthia and Scott are saying goodbye at the door she is much less bothered about kissing him and more interested about getting in the damn house. Probably not wearing any tights again and realised she has actual frostbite coming. It was at this point I really had to check how long of this nightmare fuel was left and found the fire would still be going strong for another 30 minutes.

Fortunately Liam is waiting just inside the door, at midnight, to serve her Irish coffee without the coffee. I really don’t know why he is still trying with this woman. I can’t tell if it’s endearing or a sign he is the dumbest human on earth right after Cynthia herself. Maybe they are made for each other. Cynthia is very happy to hear how it’s never going to work out between Maggie and Liam but claims she is still ready to settle on Scott, despite the fact she is aware it makes no sense herself.

Liam just wants to make sure Cynthia is happy and unfortunately she says the words ‘you are such a good friend’. Now… me and Kieran watched a programme once where this guy was saying goodbye to a woman at her door and went ‘you are such a good friend’ before very slowly leaning in to kiss her. The whole thing was very awkward and for about two weeks later Kieran would constantly come up to me and say those words before dramatically trying to kiss me while I laughed openly and loudly in his face from both hysteria and gut-wrenching embarrassment for the actors who had to do this in the first place.

Because of this I almost missed the moment Janet comes out in her wedding dress that Cynthia promised not to comment on, and is doing quite a good job, until Janet then asks her what she thinks…….. It’s a fucking hideous wedding dress, I gotta say. Janet really just wants a simple and quiet wedding so now is probably not a good time to tell her there is an alarming band of pipers outside who the dad has casually just bribed with a hot breakfast in order to have them help set up the wedding venue for the rehearsal.

I’m enjoying the wedding venue because it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a fire hazard all film. Scott and Cynthia can’t help talking through Roger’s speech which is not only rude but surely now he has ruined the surprise for Janet and she has to listen to how great she is again in a few days and pretend she hasn’t already heard all of this before. Either way, Scott mentions he has a big surprise for her at this rehearsal and in a moment of sanity she suggests that maybe Scott shouldn’t spring his surprise at the rehearsal because it might overshadow the entire thing. Scott admits that maybe 12 pipers piping would be a bit too much during someone else’s wedding rehearsal at which point Cynthia gets REAL fucking crazy. We had seen nothing yet.


Cynthia: “It’s 12 drummers drumming. The pipers came today.”

Scott: “Oh…”

Cynthia: “Do you… do you even know the song?”

Scott: “Yeah.”

Cynthia: “Why don’t you sing it?”

Scott: “Right now?”

Cynthia: “Yes, right now.”


Unsurprisingly Scott did not know the correct lyrics to the song but I died at the point where Cynthia had to remind Scott how to count with this brutal fucking line.


Cynthia: “It’s 8 because numbers go like this. 7, 8, 9.”

Kieran: “What a bitch.”

Me: “What a hero.”


Cynthia stalks out of the wedding rehearsal, which I suppose is better than overshadowing the actual wedding, and she is pisssssssssssssssssssed that Scott has been lying to her for a week and taking credit for someone else’s work. Cynthia is horrified to hear that Scott might really think she was shallow enough to value these gifts and showy romantic gestures over an actual connection with another human being. To which both me and Kieran look at the TV and go “Errrrrrrrrrrrr………. yeah?”

Cynthia breaks up with Scott in a spectacular fashion where she tells him just how fucking wonderful he is but just not wonderful enough to be able to count to 10 or date her. Luckily Liam is still up and working so she can run in and start feeling him up and tell him how much she missed him at the rehearsal dinner…. you know…. despite the fact she uninvited him.

Cynthia finally reveals she knows Liam is the one sending her the gifts and he rightly points out that is because there is no other eligible batchelor left in the town. Liam is apparently over this shit which makes no sense because she has done much worse and he was still there at midnight showing up with whiskey. I understand people have limits but the director’s really should have made it clear that Liam even had a limit much sooner than this. Now he looks as crazy as Cynthia as she stands there and demands this man be her leftovers while she cries and whinges and he goes to find a motel so he can get the fuck out of there in the morning. So…. if Liam isn’t sending those gifts… who the fuck is?

Prediction #11 – With no other avenue left to turn down… the dead mom is sending the gifts from beyond the grave to remind her family that life still goes on without her and really she’ll always be there… and so will all those fucking birds

That evening, when everyone is back home, even Janet admits it wouldn’t be a normal day if it wasn’t completely absorbed by Cynthia and her drama and ain’t even bothered she walked out on her rehearsal. She’s probably relieved. It is at this point that Janet finds Roger’s plans to go to the Caribbean for a week on their honeymoon and thinks this is some very rare strain of a romantic infection Cynthia has passed on to Roger with her mere presence alone. How could he possibly think she could leave her father alone for one week when soon she will be moving out entirely!? For God’s sake Roger, it’s clearly just logic! Why would you ever think that?

Romance is apparently pulling the family apart and everything is so terrible Janet actually turns to Cynthia and champagne for advice. Sure, because patient zero is going to be of any help.

Janet doesn’t have a single romantic bone in her body and only said yes to marrying Roger because it made sense at the time. Despite that foreboding cloud of doom rolling in off the horizon she really does just want him to be happy. Janet doesn’t want to be in love properly because, when someone inevitably dies first, it’s awful and heartbreaking. Cynthia points out she has clearly fallen in love with Roger anyway so it’s all too late and she may as well just fate her impending death with a husband. More importantly I adore the giant swigs they are taking from this bottle. Now that I can finally appreciate.

Cynthia admits that Scott was a giant mistake but mentions nothing of Liam, which is strange that no one has asked where the man who was living in their house has gone. Cynthia is gonna stop chasing romance down like a caveman with a fucking spear but seeing as we heard this a mere 40 minutes before I really don’t hold out much hope.

The 12th day of Christmas involves every fucker dancing around the drive with only one tiny van in the background which apparently brought them all here. Not that is Christmas magic. The woman kindly sings the entire song for us once more and at one point I am sure they are about to get another seven bottles of that champagne back! Well, if the troupe are carrying off the champagne they’d better take all the birds with them because Cynthia was adamant on keeping them out in the cold barn.

Unfortunately, despite taking everything else, they hand back the partridge in the pear tree and I imagine the poor bird is screaming for them to just take him back through the little gilded bars. This time the cage has a letter with ‘Thomas’ on it and this whole time they were for the dad, presumably from his dead wife. Fuck you Cynthia. Fuck. You. There is a very long letter from the mother to remind the dad to keep living and keep being happy instead of moping around and Cynthia apologises for stealing all of the limelight yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet again.

Cynthia decides to steal the limelight again 0.2 seconds later by claiming she has her entire life wrong and she doesn’t need someone to do romantic things for her, she needs someone to torture. I mean! Do romantic things for. So obviously she needs to run off to the bus station in order to stop Liam from returning to a city she has clearly already shown she is happy to drive back to on short notice. She executes this plan to stop Liam by jumping in front of a bus and bleating his name at the thing until it drives off and reveals him on a bench.

For a moment Cynthia believes he is still there because he changed his mind but it turns out that wasn’t even his bus. You know… because more than one bus does run through the place and they don’t all have to work on Cynthia’s schedule. At least she was considerate enough to  bring him back his sketchbook but she does not start strong when she starts repeating ‘It’s you’ over and over again. Liam is clearly worried how much of his life he must give up to convince this woman he did not send her all those birds but she clears up the fact she just meant she has always wanted a love story but it’s very important to be good friends first. Thank god she understands that much about relationships, the amount I have seen based on arguments in these films are alarming.

But it’s fine! Everyone loves each other and he can be plus one at the wedding again and he forgives her for being a complete nut job because he is also technically insane. Roger still looks mildly terrified at his wedding but at least Janet is wearing her mother’s dress and not the hideous material box she wanted to wear before. There is a strange cut scene from Grant starting the wedding to Roger talking about their honeymoon which amounts to the complete sentence: ‘we are gathered here today…. for an all exclusive resort!’. So at least they’re going on holiday properly and at least the dad asks the pet shop owner to dance with him because his dead wife would have wanted that for him.


Dad: Would you like to dance?”

Kieran: “No, I can’t think of anything worse right now.”


That’s the real reason I love this man…. sometimes it’s like listening to myself.

Maggie and Scott take an interest in each other and I hope she doesn’t mind that the man is a police officer and carries a gun but can’t count to ten. We end with some very alarming and intricate dances going on on the dance floor and some casual animal cruelty as we pan away to see they’ve hung the turtle doves up there, above the loud dance floor in their tiny, tiny cage.

If you would like to watch the growth of a small menagerie in a tiny box in the corner of the screen, head over here.

 

Prediction board – 5.5/10

  • Prediction #1 – Cynthia takes Liam home with her because her family were expecting a boyfriend – technically it was more a plus one but whatever. I suffered for this. CORRECT!
  • Prediction #2 – Cynthia and Scott used to date – easy CORRECT!
  • Prediction #3 – Grant is serious competition for Liam – I believe the only thing Grant is serious competition for is the devil, these days. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #4 – Liam is the mystery gift giver – sadly INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #5 – Cynthia is going to ruin the wedding by making it a double wedding and wearing that dress! – Looking back on it I am so very glad this didn’t happen, she would have squealed the entire time. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #6 – Liam is working on a giant flip-book to commemorate all this effort he has gone to – Ya know, I don’t even know what he was working on! It certainly wasn’t the deadline, that’s for sure. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #7 – All will be revealed about Scott at an unfortunate moment, ending the relationship – this was an easy shot. CORRECT!
  • Prediction #8 – Scott’s lies will be revealed at the wedding and Cynthia will ruin her little sister’s big day – hey, it happened at the rehearsal so I’m giving myself half a point to make myself feel better.
  • Prediction #9 – Maggie serves no real purpose other than to make Cynthia realise she is medically a moron – we didn’t Maggie for that but CORRECT!
  • Prediction #11 – The mom planned the gifts to remind her family life goes on without her – CORRECT!

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: Horses are a thing of Christmas past
  • Piano: As is gathering around a piano
  • Carolling: Unfortunately there was a dose of daily carolling in this one
  • Christmas Montage: A Christmas decorating montage!
  • Fire Hazards: I was bitterly, bitterly disappointed that everyone could always safely reach an exit in this film
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: CHECK!
  • Snowing on cue: It snowed pretty much as and when it felt like it. As nature should

 

This was definitely not my favourite film. If it wasn’t for Liam’s face I would have turned it off 10 minutes into hearing Cynthia’s voice.

I don’t even remember making most of those predictions so I suppose scoring just over half is good enough for me.

Let’s hope for people who speak in a more comfortable, human range tomorrow!

Christmas Advent #4 -Moonlight & Mistletoe

We’re back in my safe zone now. A million terrible True Christmas films recorded and lined up for me to watch and analyse, stare at in disbelief and laugh at in… well, disbelief.

But anyway… on with the actual film!

 

We open to an horrific, giant sign of a cartoon Santa, welcoming people to ‘Santaville’ by the fact they have to walk under the arch of this giant sign which is actually Santa’s beard. It looks more like he is vomiting people up out of his house.

Oh, my apologies. Out of his ski chalet.

MAM_1
Courtesy of Hideous Signs Ltd.

Everyone is walking around with skis, drinking hot chocolate, there is a tiny train for kids running down the middle of the street, which is a hazard if ever I saw one, and the obligatory giant Christmas tree. This one looks like it’s been through the mill a few times.

Luckily a disembodied voice tells us that they have been an elf at Santaville since they were 5 years old and that the school system is apparently terrible because she knew all the names of the reindeer and various Christmas songs before she even knew how to do maths.

Finally we meet the voice who honest to god looks like she may snap and murder the entire ‘Ville if she has to bid one more customer at the toy shop a Merry Christmas. Sick gift wrapping skills though. The girl may only be a teenager but she has already grasped the fundamentals of retail – the poorer people are, the less weekends she will need to work.

MAM_2
“Why couldn’t we be poor?”

Some young guy walks into the shop and compliments this girl’s ability at being able to put him into the Christmas spirit. Unfortunately he has a lisp in a film which requires him to say the word Christmas. A lot. Despite the fact this guy turned up at the store knowing the girl was working there, and admitting she makes him feel all sorts of festive…. he still has to ask her name. Which is right there on her name tag.

Prediction #1 – Oh poor Holly, you about to get stalked by this fool

This fool, Peter, gets very distracted by loud noises, which doesn’t surprise me, and Holly completely abandons her post to show him outside where Santa is talking to a veritable mob of children. Apparently the guy playing Santa, Nick, is Holly’s Dad.

Prediction #2 – Nick either is Santa or comes from a long line of people who were Santa and keeps Santaville, where it is Christmas 365 days a year, running because it’s easier to sell stuff here than in the North Pole

Walking back into the shop even Peter realises the entire place appears to mostly be stocked with nutcracker dolls and he is 100% correct. They are weird as fuck. He has zero idea what the actual Nutcracker is because he just doesn’t ‘get‘ ballet but he is still spot on about those creepy as fuck dolls. Holly, on the other hand, enlightens him by giving him the entire plot of the ballet.

Prediction #3 – Peter is going to invite Holly to see the Nutcracker even though she has clearly seen it a thousand times before


Holly, checking out Peter’s weird necklace: “What’s this?”

Peter: “I make things.”

Me: “…..”

Holly: “It’s beautiful.”

Peter: “Thank you.”

Me: “Oh…. right… OK, we’re just moving on then…”


Good ol’ Nick bursts in and interrupts whatever terribly vague moment the pair were having and asks Holly to, rightly, get back to work. He also kindly reminds her Santa doesn’t have children, he has elves. Wow. Don’t except anything left to you in his will when he finally kicks the bucket, kid. By the time Nick is done disowning his own child Peter has already ran the hell away.

Not before he could drape his weird necklace over a till for Holly to find, though. It’s either a carving of a dragon or… a poop. I can’t tell.

MAM_3
I’m glad films were too blurry back then to tell what the fuck that is

Either way, many years later in Boston, Holly Crosbie is calling her own office to say she is running late, even though she was at the foot of the stairs to her office when she called….

Either way, business Holly is not impressed by her PA, Brenda, and her own personal fire hazard that she has created by decorating her desk in every piece of Christmas tat she could lay her tiny hands on. When Holly demands they are removed and only receives a ‘sad puppy’ look in return she concedes and asks Brenda to try and tone it down, at least. From the look on her face I don’t think Brenda knows how to tone it down.

Holly’s job appears to involve sitting in a dark office with a turn of the century slideshow projector whilst speaking on a mobile about Christmas products and shipping. Some guy called Mr Jennings bursts into the room and from the way she immediately tells him she just boosted sales for the month, I presume he is her boss. I never have good news for my boss like that.


Jennings: “It wouldn’t hurt to give your festive spirit a little smidgen of spit shine.”

Holly: “What do you mean?”

Jennings: “Christmas is a happy time, Holly. You make it sound like a root canal.”

Me: “Hey! Now listen here, buddy! You don’t know how many relatives this woman may have lost to the festive season! …. And neither do we, so let’s hurry it up.”


This guy seems very concerned by the fact Holly’s work schedule is packed for the entirety of December because when Holly stays late, so does all of her staff. No boss has ever been concerned that an entire team of people may be working overtime to get sales shipped out on time. Ever. This guy gets even creepier when he suggests Holly has been a good little sales manager this year and produces a candy cane out of his pocket.

MAM_4
“The sedatives I applied really give it it’s shine.”

This clearly had some affect on the woman – probably putting the fear of god into her that she may need to pack up and flee back home at a moment’s notice – and she calls home to dear old Nick. We have a wonderful chat about how they’re both too busy to visit each other, Business Holly is his favourite elf and she may miss Santaville just a tiny bit. But not too much. Like a healthy amount.

Santa is very confused when he talks to a child who doesn’t know what the game chequers is, so instead distracts him by going off on a tangent about the real spirit of Christmas which really just makes the kid look scared. As he should be, when Santa leads him off to his workshop in a bid to impress him because literally no kids visit them anymore. His Mom has followed along but doesn’t seem concerned when her kid brands Santa as a fake. Right on cue some guy pops out the workshop to save Santa’s ass with some story about this being a pretend workshop because Santa couldn’t possibly give away his real secrets. Santa is looking pretty flustered by what’s going down until….


Kid: “Who are you?”

Santa: “Why, this is one of my elves. His name is Peter.”

Me: “Oh! Peter! Almost didn’t recognise him without that hideous dragon poop necklace.”


Prediction #4 – Peter is obviously still in love with Holly and is still hanging around Santaville for her now inevitable return home

Just as the kid is hanging on to the last shred of belief in Santa, another Santa pops out the workshop! Santa #1 pushes him back in but the damage is done. Peter tries to explain that kids have changed these days and the workshop is still appealing to kids of the 40’s and Santa #1 explains to Earl, Santa #2, that it goes against the laws of the universe for children to see two Santa’s in the same place at the same time. Apparently Earl is a mall Santa who is going to pass out from heatstroke on the job. Not any time soon, mind you, because he’s currently standing out in the snow and is nowhere near a mall.

Around the dinner table Nick and Earl discuss Holly’s busy schedule and how she never makes it home for Christmas. This leads Nick to stamp off to the window so he can utter the words ‘Moonlight & Mistletoe’ just as Holly is doing the same back in Boston. There is some weird magical moment and they both look a bit nostalgic. I swear, this family deserves each other.

To avoid having to answer Earl about why he was speaking to himself, Nick decides he’ll give some woman call Jenny a ride back home in his sleigh. Apparently this woman has been coming on to Nick for years whilst he has been as unresponsive as a dead, rotting fish. Still, she seems happy enough to see this rotting fish pull up outside a building and offer a ride home with some cider.

I always have to remind myself that American cider is very, very different to English cider. If they were drinking our cider out of that giant flask then both of them and their horse would be in a ditch. Apparently his horse, Dasher, may look like a horse now but at Christmas his inner reindeer really comes out. In a strange demonstration Nick hits the reigns and the horse runs off, without Jenny, before crashing the sleigh into a tree. At least the horse appreciates good cider.

MAM_5
“Shit, did he just break both his legs!? I need to see this!”

In the next scene, Holly is hopping off a train in Santaville, telling Brenda over the phone she is not going to miss choir practice as long as she gets her work done on time and shushing poor Peter who has come to pick her up. Still unclear how the fuck her Dad got injured and why the hell she is here, Peter confirms it was the worst and only sleighing accident their Dr has ever seen.

Sucking the humour right out of a few broken limbs and possible death, Holly informs this man that sleighing accidents are actually not funny at all. Holly can barely keep her attention on Peter, who volunteers at Santaville from the goodness of his heart, but fuck that guy because mobile phones exist. Due to the fact her eyes are glued to her phone it’s really no wonder she doesn’t remember the guy or spoke to him about the ballet once, even when prompted by the man himself. She doesn’t have time for memories! She’s a business woman!

Prediction #5 – Holly will work her business magic and reinvent Santaville for the better, spit shining her festive spirit in the process

I swear… if I pick one more god damn Christmas film about marketing and failing local business… Santaville is deserted and it’s all very sad yadda-yadda.


Holly: “You didn’t tell me he was in a wheelchair!”

Nick: “Well I’m not in a wheelchair. I mean… I’m in a wheelchair but I can get around just great on crutches.”

Peter: “No you can’t.”

Me: “No, no, let’s see the man try… Outside. Where it’s icy.”


Holly gives her Dad some sorta dressing down, especially when he expresses his desire to enter Dasher, the 20 year old horse who almost killed him, into the derby. The woman has just walked in and her Dad is already offering her up to make a pot roast by babbling unintelligibly to Peter about his bland turkey meatloaf until she gives in just so she can maintain a single shred of her sanity and not have to eat Peter’s bland turkey meatloaf.

At this point there was an ad break for a bunch of films and there was a clip of Con Air and I remembered how much I loved that film and how I’d rather be watching that than Holly make a pot roast with zero ingredients…. but hey! Here we are!

Peter tries to jog Holly’s memory some more by repeating some shit she said to him as a teenager before getting all up in her life story, which she doesn’t appreciate, and lending her his truck to drive to the grocery store. Turns out Holly wasn’t planning to stay for Christmas, which is dumb seeing as she is there now, but hasn’t told her Dad either. There is an obvious change of heart happening within the next hour and 20. So obvious I won’t even predict it.

As she is leaving the grocery store some woman called Della from high school accosts her and I cannot believe that Holly remembers this woman and not the guy she discussed ballet with and received a poop dragon necklace from. Della is apparently still a bitch and taking the piss out of a Santa costume Molly isn’t even wearing anymore. Della is now married to Roger, has 3 kids, she leads the life of a soccer Mom and has already forced Holly to go for coffee with her and her husband so she can brag some more about her life. Oh, and to remind Holly how special Santaville used to be.

Over pot roast and sensing an impending big reveal from Holly about how she isn’t staying for Christmas, Peter quickly removes himself from the room by clearing plates. The way he lurks around in the doorway he may as well have just stayed at the fucking table and joined in the debate about how family should stick together.


Nick: “That reminds me! Earl is not going to make the turkey this year. Holly is here.”

Holly: “Dad!”

Nick: “His turkey is very dry, honey.”

Holly: “Have you been listening to me!?”

Nick: “Yes honey, but you’re just tired from the train ride up here. Which reminds me! We’ll talk about it in the morning when you make your holiday breakfast! You’re gonna love her scones! Welcome home honey and Merry Christmas!”

Me: “And away he wheels….”


MAM_6
I’d roll away too if all my pillows looked like a mutant phallus

Despite a call from Mr Jennings about how no one will be in the office because everyone is now in vacation mode, including the clients, and Holly doesn’t even need to come back because something is being waxed (I shrug) she is still angered to be there. She even throws her phone across the room… which leads to the inevitable discovery that Santaville is in financial trouble.

I hope Nick really is Santa because otherwise he has completely derailed, carving out a chunk of the surrounding wildlife with him. The man has no money, no savings, is sure no one would seize Santa’s assets and that a miracle is coming regardless. Business Holly gets right on the case and is at the bank the next day to plead Santaville’s case but even the banker’s grandchildren have zero interest in Santa when they get 500 channels on TV. I really don’t think the lonely crow was a necessary noise to add to the panning shot of deserted Santaville but it sure did add a real sense of bleakness to the ordeal.

Pete appears to have listened to Holly last time she told him to stay out of her business because he doesn’t interrupt her as she punches a supporting beam of the porch and stares wistfully into the distance. Meanwhile, Nick is getting by just fine on a single crutch and demanding Earl get back out on the sleigh to freeze to death.

As they are both old men, conversation inevitably turns to how the Internet is warping all of the children’s minds, despite the fact it could be their greatest advertising tool and they could take a share in warping some young minds too. As in all small towns, everyone knows everyone’s business and Earl heard Holly was up at the bank to see John that afternoon. Earl reminds Nick that as his oldest friend and lawyer he will be there for the guy, whatever he needs. When Nick asks if he is hiding £50,000 in his Santa boot, for just a moment, from the look on his face, I can’t tell if he really does have that money stashed away, sitting under his soles like a bizarre platform boot.

MAM_7
Shit, he’s finally realised I’m a whole foot taller this season

Turns out it was just shock.

That evening, visiting Jenny at the inn and waiting for Della and her husband to show up, Holly looks about ready to throw herself into the lit fireplace. If she had known this conversation was going to turn to the topic of Jenny and her Dad flirting, I’m assuming she would have taken action earlier. Right on cue an eligible bachelor, staying at the inn, comes downstairs to let us know he was meant to be meeting his college friend and his wife for coffee but they’re running late….

Christ on a bike I hate Della so much. But props to her for formulating a blind date scenario in under 10 seconds flat after seeing Holly on the high street. Ben is all for this blind date they have been set up on and after a tour of Santaville, Holly is telling him all about their financial difficulty when she can’t even remember the guy who currently volunteers for her father! Peter’s days are looking even gloomier when it turns out Ben is a financial adviser. That man’s teeth are too numerous and too white. I don’t trust him.

MAM_8
‘… and with teeth as white as snow…’

Prediction #6 – Ben will inevitably fuck up like… telling his financial advisers to tell Holly to just sell the land so he can do some real estate bollocks which people just love doing over the Christmas period

Holly comes across Peter in the workshop and is impressed by a veritable shit load of carved figures he has dotted around the place. Apparently he leaves one under Nick’s tree every year but they’ve never actually discussed the gifts so Nick may just believe he is actual motherfucking Santa and the elves are leaving him gifts. Dear lord. Immediately Holly suggests marketing these terrible figures and when she comments on the craftsmanship I almost drop my entire glass of wine.


Holly: “You must really like nutcrackers.”

Me: “They are the furthest fucking thing from a nutcracker!”


When Peter repeats the plot of The Nutcracker back to this woman she suddenly has an epiphany and realises this is Peter. Ya know… Who makes things. Now this is the part I’m slightly confused about… Apparently after he left that day he either didn’t return for some time or Holly was immediately shipped off that very same evening. So this single meeting was enough to make this man come back to Santaville and just keep volunteering for a failing business and sit in the workshop making terrible nutcrackers whilst carving half-decent bears. People do the weirdest things.

MAM_9
The only way you’re going to crack nuts with these are if you hurl them directly at someone’s crotch

After a very heated family argument where it turns out Santa knows nothing about how debt works and loves Santaville more than his daughter, Ben comes to find Holly and tells her very cryptically that some people are interested in Santaville. By which he clearly means…. to buy the place and knock it down. The man also opens his presents on Christmas Eve so definitely cannot be trusted. Just as Holly is hugging the man, poor ol Peter drives past and is quite put out by the entire thing.

His answer to this is to leave Holly a note to meet him at the covered bridge, which looks as good a place as any to freeze to death. This was a favourite place for Holly and her Mom when times got tough and we discuss the fact Nick never talks about his late wife and apparently had some sort of breakdown and became Santa after she died. In opposition we find out Peter’s parents are also terrible and left him alone over Christmas most of the time so we can bond over a mutual dislike of our parents.

Ben calls to interrupt this touching moment of rising rebellion and drags Holly back to the town so he can tell her the good news. Some people who have bought a nearby ski resort would like to pay off all the debt and do the place up to attract people to the area and so allow their children to ski and break their necks up on the slopes. Wonderful, except for the fact that Nick is an independent crazy old white man who don’t need no financial partner to stop him losing his home. Or something like that.

I adore the fact he says no right to Ben’s face, however. Thankfully Earl is around to check over these papers and tell Nick he’s a fool because Nick just continues to prattle on about how Holly is giving up on the place again and is nothing more than an elf to him. After yet another argument Holly is waiting at the train station to get the hell out of dodge when Peter drives up with Nick in tow so he can apologise for being absolutely batshit insane.

MAM_10
“Look, I can’t stay and apologise for long. I’m easier to trace outside of the house and they’re after me, you know.”

Cue yet another argument. I thought my family was bad but this just never ends! This time, however, the argument turns to Nick’s dead wife and how he sees her a lot in Holly which she takes as a compliment but I would take as a sign that I really need to get on that last train to Boston. Unfortunately Holly decides to stay and now, rather than never speaking of her deceased Mother, Nick hauls out some old keepsake box of hers so we can relive every tiny memory. Together and dramatically. Honest to god this man could not be any more insane right now and I tuned out at the sign of a family crying session.

Prediction #7 – Holly is going to need her Mom’s engagement ring when Peter asks her to marry him and Nick will gladly hand it over

Nick finally considers signing that contract and I just suddenly get so many bad feelings about it.

Prediction #8 – Earl is gonna find a multitude of things wrong with that contract but is gonna have to face a moral dilemma about whether he wants to save his friend or not


Holly: “I wanted to thank you for being there last night.”

Peter: “I didn’t do anything.”

Holly: “No, you have a way of simplifying the truth.”

Me: “It’s called ‘not being related to you or your fucking insane family’.


Despite the fact her father got into a terrible accident whilst riding a sleigh at night, Peter invites her to come with him on a midnight sleigh ride. Fortunately for both Holly’s legs she needs to meet with Ben to finalise this devil’s contract. Hinting at some terribly dark past with his business oriented father, Peter confirms he prefers midnight sleigh rides to business of any kind. I have a feeling a midnight sleigh ride might be the last thing his father ever experienced.

I expected Earl to be discussing the contract rather than up a ladder, decorating a tree while Nick wears a necklace of tinsel and flirts some more with Jenny over a pie. When Holly asks Earl for the contract there are just enough stammers and stalling to suggest either this contract is a pile of shit or Earl is suffering from the early stages of dementia.

MAM_11
Maybe if I stay up this ladder they won’t notice me and ask me to recall my most valuable memories

Earl: “Somebody’s got a hot date.”

Molly: “No, it’s not a date, I’m just meeting Ben for dinner. To look over the paperwork.”

Me: “I’m just dressed like this so he’ll pay for the food while he no doubt fleeces our entire family of our livelihood. But at least I got a free dinner!”


Ben keeps mentioning these ‘silent partners who definitely won’t try to interfere with the running of Santaville’ in ominous tones. Holly does some strange 180 turns, first inviting Ben to Christmas with her and her family, then thinking it’s weird how he refers to these silent partners, then just being pleased he agrees to spend Christmas with her.

Prediction #9 – George and Della are the silent partners but let’s watch Della try and be silent

Ben goes outside to take a call with these partners and when Holly goes out to find him she overhears the fact her father will need to repay everything by Christmas Day or…. well some bad shit. Before this he mentions he has the contract just as his ‘bro’ wrote it out in black and white. I feel Earl may have tampered with this a little or at least has a very good fucking plan up his sleeve. What amazes me more is that Holly storms away in anger when I would have played dumb until I could get that contract back off the man and deny anything ever happened. If he questioned my crazy actions I would just remind him who I was related to.

Returning home to tell everyone she left this contract in a con man’s pocket and there is nothing she could do about it we all try and take some share of the blame.


Earl: “Holly… it was not your fault.”

Nick: “Earl, please.”

Earl: “No. If I had read the contract like I was supposed to; like you asked…”

Nick: “Earl, stop.”

Earl: “I don’t know what it is, I just… I can’t seem to focus.”

Nick: “You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone.”

Earl: “I’d read a paragraph and couldn’t remember where I was or what I’d just read. I guess, when you get old, you’re the last person to know that you’ve lost your touch.”

Me: “Erm…..”

Nick: “Earl… it’s not your fault. Got it? This is not your fault. It’s my fault. It’s my name on that contract, I signed it. I should have read the fine print.”

Jenny: “It seems to me we should stop worrying about who’s to blame here and start talking about…”

Me: “Earl’s very serious underlying medical condition! The man can’t even get through a paragraph without forgetting he just read it!”


Glossing over Earl’s very real dementia we instead rally together to what may as well turn into a conspiracy to just murder Ben. Predictably, Peter was waiting outside this whole time with the sleigh all hooked up because he thought Holly might need it after all. I’m presuming she readily agrees to hop in in the hopes they might suffer an horrific crash and she might get out of this dreadful situation after all.

Peter doesn’t offer much in the way of help except the obvious fact they need to try and generate 50 grand by Christmas Day. The more Holly babbles on and on about tradition the more her marketing cogs start turning and she devises a plan to get all the old regulars back to Santaville. Unfortunately, to get the word out, Holly lets her Dad loose with a blog about being Santa. Ain’t no one but the men in white coats turning up to Santaville this year.

Holly has the ‘Remember’ campaign up and running and we get to see a nice montage of her leaving these leaflets and signs up around town as well as Peter’s strange carved figures, like tokens of a deranged serial killer deciding on his future victims. Nick is going to call every past customer to the inn to let them know the tree lighting ceremony is back on and he can’t even get a high five with Jenny right, which is always painful to watch.

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“Honey… I received one of those nutcrackers this morning. I don’t think I’ll be coming home tonight. Tell the kids I love them.”

I take it back. It was 100% more painful to watch Nick dictating his own blog post aloud as he typed at an average of 5 words per minute and had to check his spelling for the word ‘ceremony’ in the world’s largest dictionary. He was channelling every ounce of crazy into those words, folks. One day it will probably result in it’s own Creepy Pasta where anyone who reads it is visited by Nick’s version of Santa that very same night…. because Santaville is 365 days a year. Ya poor bastards.

Jenny. Jeanie. Ginny. I have no idea what that woman’s name is anymore.

There’s quite a turn out to this tree lighting ceremony and Santa lets the kid who doesn’t know what the fuck chequers is to pop the switch and light up the tree. Nick messes up another high five, this time as Santa, and I just don’t think he should be allowed to raise his arms above chest height. For the good of the nation. Meanwhile Ben is standing up on a balcony shouting very loudly down a phone that there is no way these people can worm their way out of this contract.

Nevertheless he still turns up at Santaville the next day to assure Holly it was all just business. Told you I didn’t trust those damn teeth of his! Instead, Ben turns to bribery, which also doesn’t sit well with her, and Holly storms off to make another appointment at the bank because… there are only so many people who can hear about and drive up to Santaville before Christmas.

Turns out they have already made almost £28,000 which the bank guy says is impressive but I say is fucking amazing! In one montage they have already made that much money! Unfortunately the bank will not take that money as a good faith gesture and give them a loan instead and it’s probably this desperation which leads Holly to agree to take over the blog for a while because it’s apparently taking Nick 12 hours a day just to write one post.

Holly cannot help venting all her frustration at Peter and the poor guy just sits there and takes it, even when she questions why the fuck he keeps making those damn figures. In return Peter gives her a very vague step by step guide on how to make her very own figurine and there is something to do with painting a face on there you wanna see for the rest of your life and they kiss and yeah but wait. WAIT. WAAAAAAIT.

The next second Jenny comes running in because a customer saw one of these damn figures and wanted to buy it. Some guy named a crazy price he thought would be too expensive to put the guy off because apparently these figurines are Peter’s damn kids or something and the next moment we have a cheque for…


Nick: “$500!”

Earl: “Let me get this straight… this guy actually paid all that money for one of these little… toys.”

Me: “I know, Earl. It’s fucking ludicrous.”


Just like that Jenny is setting up a booth to sell these damn things, Holly is going to sell them on the site because Nick has somehow managed to start a good blog and I presume Nick will be in the workshop carving his little heart out like an actual elf.


Peter: “So, how are we doing?”

Holly: “I haven’t finished adding up all of the sales…”

Peter: “So we’re still not out of the woods.”

Holly: “Not yet… but we’re close.”

Me: “You might be even closer if you didn’t leave every single light on all fucking day.”


Holly has started to wear the dragon poop necklace again after she found it in an old jewellery box upstairs because she was hoping it might bring them some luck. Or insight into a dragon’s digestive health. Either one would probably earn them a fortune.

Holly makes the romantic declaration that Peter has a face she would be happy to look at for the rest of her life and he returns the gesture by asking what the hell they’re supposed to do if they lose to the business tycoon amongst them. This prompts a call to Holly’s boss who is mildly annoyed to be called on his skiing trip but very curious about unique nutcrackers. I really wish they would stop calling them that.

Jennie is selling mad stock from a pavilion where I presume they are not going for £500 a piece when Holly comes up to tell her the good news that they’re gonna make the cut just in time! I am more mesmerised by the fact I found the real life Cartmann playing an extra in the background.

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People are really turning out for this Cartmann meet and greet

I thought I may have escaped some impromptu carolling but here we are anyway, singing around a giant Christmas tree with only red lights on it. Everything looks a whole lot more sinister, that way… I am more alarmed by the fact they have people in the crowd holding candles in little glass jars. Those things get fucking hot!

This alarm is replaced by confusion when Holly announces to the entire crowd, after a truly riveting speech about something or other, that they didn’t make their goal and this will be the last Christmas at Santaville…. then why the fuck was she going around telling people they had made it 4 hours ago!?

I mean, it’s all inconsequential because Mr Jennings and Brenda turn up to make the big announcement that their company will become the sole distributor, worldwide, of Peter’s carvings. I mean… he could have just phoned her again and not ditched his family holiday and dragged Brenda out of her house in the dead of night…

I’m not sure what the need of commissioning a figure to Mr Jennings was but the bank guy informs them they can legally do this within the next four minutes for a price of let’s just say… 8 grand. I don’t know where he got that figure from. I don’t know if that’s how much they were short meaning it was a complete lie when Nick said they had only missed the goal by a small amount. I don’t know how the bank guy would know! Either way it’s all grand and no one questions who the guy at the back of the crowd is who just ripped up a bunch of paper and then threw it over them before storming off.

Despite the fact Holly had such a shit time of life and completely lost her love for Christmas, her disembodied voice tells her that soon Nick will have a new little elf to train and so is ready to subject her child to a life of slavery and lack of magic.

And there we have it folks! In reality that film was kinda short but my God it felt like so much longer when I was watching it. Not in the good ‘I was so absorbed time just flew by!’ way, either. Experience the same shift in time for yourself here.

And please. No more marketing.

 

Prediction board – 5/9

  • Prediction #1 – Holly will be stalked by Peter – You’re telling me! It was a weird kind of stalking but he hung around with her dad for god knows how many years waiting for her to come back
  • Prediction #2 – Nick either is Santa or comes from Santa heritage – INCORRECT! The man was just insane
  • Prediction #3 – Peter is going to invite Holly to see the Nutcracker – perhaps after hearing the entire plot from Holly he didn’t feel the need. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #4 – Peter is still in love with Holly – CHECK
  • Prediction #5 – Holly will work her business magic and reinvent Santaville for the better, spit shining her festive spirit in the process – CHECK
  • Prediction #6 – Ben will inevitably fuck up – I’m going to class trying to swindle a family out of their home and business as fucking up
  • Prediction #7 – Holly is going to need her Mom’s engagement ring when Peter asks her to marry him – This is more of a presumption as we didn’t get to see it but sure, CORRECT
  • Prediction #8 – Earl is gonna find a multitude of things wrong with that contract – Earl found nothing because he doesn’t remember even seeing a contract at this point
  • Prediction #9 – George and Della are the silent partners – completely INCORRECT

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: Crazed drunken horse and sleigh
  • Piano: I hate to say pianos appear to be a thing of the past…
  • Carolling: Surprise carolling caught me off guard
  • Christmas Montage: A festive marketing montage! Again…
  • Fire Hazards: Bitterly disappointed by the lack of fire hazards other than Brenda’s desk
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: CHECK!
  • Snowing on cue: It snowed all the time in this film and yet they never got snowed in

 

So… my scores are looking a little better but in all honesty I was looking forward to the end of the film more than any surprise turn of events.

Let’s hope we luck out better tomorrow.

Christmas Advent #1 – The Christmas Gift

Now, I’m hoping unlike last year I will actually be able to make it through the entire advent without losing my tiny mind and suffering from an overload of Christmas cheese. Unfortunately, I don’t mean legit Christmas cheese; I would throw myself into a genuine cheese coma in a heartbeat.

Let’s also not forget our daily Christmas predictions either! If I manage to get through the entire 25 days we can do a grand total of just how many families the spirit of Christmas tore apart this year!

Nevertheless! Let’s begin our shit-show Christmas journey with a gift. Ya know… the true meaning of Christmas.

 

So I watched the short opening credits for this film in absolute amazement and horror. This is the first time we’ve gone so old with a festive film – there will be no texting dead parents on an unlimited tariff here.

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Not even the Youtube controls can take away from this hideousness

We open up on a very snowy Georgetown where people have no regard for spooking horses because an olde school taxi backfires loudly as it passes a horse drawn carriage. In all honesty if I was that horse I would have spooked at the mere site of this travelling circus.

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Christine should have been a festive film and she should have looked like this

The taxi driver pulls up outside a building and starts bleating ‘Susan’ as if he has never actually said the word before and is still trying to get to grips with the pronunciation. For some reason this actually works and out pops the Mom from Malcolm in the Middle. For some reason Bud, the taxi guy, tells her she is his first stop today despite the fact she doesn’t get in the cab and no one gets out… He then asks her not to forget him and she confirms he is the first in line and not to worry before he drives off…. They might not be worried but I certainly fucking am.

As is required with all small town films everyone waves to Bud as he drives past, honking his horn freely and basically just making noise, both audibly and visually. Bud briefly stops to scream at a bunch of kids to write letters (hopefully to Santa and not to inmates at the local penitentiary) before continuing on to the service station again for no other reason than to be told he needs to look after his car otherwise it’s gonna break the fuck down. Bud is already irritating the hell out of me and is using god knows how much fuel just doing laps of this godforsaken town.

On his tour of the town Bud drives past a guy called Jake, who has just left the bank of Georgetown looking mightily pissed off while someone chases after him trying to explain something or other. Unable to read a room or the local high street, Bud hangs out of his window to remind Jake his kids still need to write their letters. From the look Jake gives him his kids might actually be writing to the local penitentiary before Christmas is through.

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You’re gonna wish your car wasn’t so noticeable now, Bud

I hope to good christ someone kills Bud soon as he finishes bleating at everyone and rocks up at a hotel. I can’t tell if he lives here or what but they appear to have a desk in the lobby which handily has a copy of motor repairs. Realising his car really is fucked, like everyone has been telling him, Bud immediately starts writing a letter to Santa and to be honest I’m just surprised he can write at all.

Having had enough of Bud’s shit we end up in New York where architect Mr George Billings turns up at his office and not one god damn person will leave him alone. The man just keeps charging through the office, ignoring everything his staff are telling him about an important meeting, and instead is more excited to put a tiny piano in a giant doll’s house that is taking up most of his desk. I presume Alex is his daughter and he assumes she is just gonna love this eyesore.

There is a terribly boring meeting where people discuss where to build shit and the CEO of the company apparently really loves… trees.


Thomas Renfield: “People… we’re putting our money into year-round living. We’re selling clean air. 24 hour security. Trees. Lots of trees. Shade.

Me: “Huh… apparently trees are sentient and in the security business now.”


I forgot this was an old school meeting, a time before everyone was forced to endure lengthy powerpoint presentations. I much preferred the grand unveiling of this bad boy and plans to build a new estate somewhere up north.

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Not sure if brown land mass or coffee stains

Cue a strange self-help session between Renfield and George where we lightly skim across the fact George has recently lost his wife, been throwing himself into his work and Christmas is a terrible time to try and get over a loved one. Thanks for reminding us, Tom. Either way we’re off to Georgetown, Colorado!

Prediction #1: George is gonna fall in love with Susan up there in the mountains.


George: “You want me to go there and survey the area.”

Renfield: “Two days, tops.”

George: “Just like Vermont last year?”

Renfield: “Exactly the same, you go in as a tourist.”

George: “So as not to make anybody suspicious and drive the real estate prices up.”

Me: “Thank you for that wonderfully scripted business plan, gentlemen.”


Prediction #2: George is totally gonna give the game up at some point and betray his company in the name of Christmas spirit and not making a profit off these people or their tiny town. Fuck trees.

George goes back to his office and packs a bunch of loose pencils and assorted protractors into a briefcase because apparently architects like to travel light.

Back at home there are a bunch of kids running around an old woman in the kitchen whilst shouting about butter. This is why I hate children. George waits until his daughter’s friends have gone home and she is getting ready for bed bed to break the news they’re leaving in two days for Colorado. Merry Christmas, kid.


Alex: “Daddy, but my friends are here.”

George: “You can make new friends in Colorado.”

Me: “… But you’re only going for two days…”


Prediction #3: They get snowed in at Colorado and have to stay at that terrible hotel with Bud in the lobby writing letters to Santa.

Bud would live for this next part where George suggests Alex writes a letter to Santa so he knows where they’ve gone. George does a 4 minute, poignant sketch whilst describing Christmas in his small, childhood town which we don’t even get to see! Which leads me to believe what he handed to his daughter was just a mess of doodles. He probably just drew some dicks or something.


Alex: “This Christmas… I’ll have you all to myself.”

Me: “… SHE KILLED YOUR WIFE!”


Prediction #4: Alex killed her Mom so there was more Christmas cheer to go around.

Bud is back, stalking Susan down the street so he can hand her his god damn letter. Unfortunately for George and the rest of humanity it looks like Bud is the one picking them up from the airport.


Bud: “Did you write yours yet?”

Susan: “Ahhhh no, not yet.”

Bud: “Susan, you spend so much time helping others with their letters, it’s time you paid attention to writing your own.”

Me: “Why, are they all illiterate? If Bud can fucking write, anyone can.”


Prediction #5: Susan hasn’t written her letter because she probably suffered some tragic past and doesn’t believe her wish for a family will come true but it will and she will gain both a husband and a murderous little daughter in the very near future.

There’s an awkward moment when Bud’s car backfires even though he’s not even in the damn thing and the engine isn’t running, which doesn’t fill me with confidence for this trip to the airport.

Prediction 3 edit: Bud’s car breaks down when he is supposed to take them back to the airport and they miss their flight.

In the street Susan thinks this is the perfect time to tell two children how sorry she is their Father lost the ranch, just before Christmas, and to see them have to go. Both kids ride off on a horse without saying a word because the high street is not a place to bring up the family’s financial struggles.

Meanwhile, getting off the plane, some crazed woman named Joanne seems to have grown very attached to George and Alex and wishes them a very Merry Christmas before disappearing.

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That’s the face of a Christmas homewrecker if ever I saw one

Prediction #6: Joanne pops back up at some point and puts strain on George and Susan’s relationship


Oh… the faces on these people when Bud and that car turn up…. Apparently Bud has been doing this for 40 years in the same friggin’ car and don’t I believe it. All the way back to the town Bud is holding up traffic because his cab goes about 2 miles per hour and I pray he doesn’t charge them via the meter.

OK so…. I don’t know why she did but thank god Alex brought along the sketch George did earlier in the movie which we never got to see because it is glorious. 

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Please note he originally sketched this with a single pencil…

Apparently Georgetown looks so much like the place George was born but I am personally thankful it looks nothing like it. That is the stuff of nightmares. Thank Christ he bought those protractors with him.

Bud hints at some 100 year old legend but doesn’t actually explain anything, even when the kid asks him outright what the hell he’s whittling on about.


George: “Get back inside, Alex.”

Me: “Yeah, Alex. Get back inside that rusty death trap with the Christmas decorations on it.”


Instead of dropping them at the hotel, Bud drops them at the Post Office where Susan works because George already has photos he needs to send off to New York right away! Luckily Alex lags behind so she is outside to witness Bud’s car finally break down in all it’s glory. The whole town gathers around the car, like monkey’s at a safari park, and Alex gives them all a look which suggests she sees their primitive behaviour and is not a fan. They didn’t behave like this in New York.

George isn’t too surprised when she delivers the bad news to him and is probably, and rightly, more concerned that the post office is a complete fire hazard! Yes! We are officially back! (Note to self: Announce fire hazard of the year once this fever dream is all over.)

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You’re right to look worried, kid. They weren’t fussy about smoking indoors back then. One spark and you’re all done for.

A whole queue of people are waiting to hand in their Christmas letters to Susan on Letter Day (which is a national holiday) and one kid basically hands over a package, which in this day and age would cost him a fortune to post. Finally George gets up to the counter and is alarmed to find out it’s only open to receiving Santa’s letters and certainly not some real world letter like sending film negatives over to New York for a job.

George is fucking baffled and tries to pull his New York businessman shit with Susan who is not having it and I love her. Nothing like a bit of hatred to really build a long-lasting relationship on!

At the hotel we walk in on some woman getting kids ready to play angels in what I presume is a nativity play and not their regular daytime attire. Even worse it turns out this woman is Hennie, Bud’s sister, and they run the hotel together. I can’t even at this point. The man owns two businesses and still needs a loan off Santa to fix his car.

Alex wants to help them light up some tree but Hennie tells her she needs to write her letter to Santa first. Alex immediately rushes off to do just that whilst George looks on and wonders why the fuck she never listens to him when he asks her to do something first time. Just before Alex is led off to her room by Bud, and probably to a Business 101 lecture, Hennie suddenly, and without warning, recruits Alex as a shepherd in her play.


George: “We won’t be here for Christmas.”

Hennie: “We’re short on shepherds this year.”

Me: “Oh well, better scrap all those plans you had, then. Georgetown needs underqualified shepherds.”


It’s only now that George starts questioning the fact everyone believes in Santa and that they’re all quite mad up here. It’s taken him long enough; I called the madness the moment I saw Bud’s taxi. Hennie ominously confirms tonight all will be made clear… maybe it’s the night they get a care package of all their medication dropped off or something.

I have to say I am impressed by the hotel’s capacity to catch on fire too.

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Serving at this hotel automatically qualifies you for Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge

Bud explains he can’t take George and Alex back to the airport and some guy called Hank will be doing it instead, totally blowing my prediction out of the water. George basically reveals that even he knows Bud has asked for a new motor for Christmas but explains this again to his daughter, just in case her tiny, infantile brain couldn’t grasp the simple grown up conversation. In all fairness the kid probably wasn’t listening because there was an icecream sundae in front of her. I know I wouldn’t have been.

The moment Susan steps into the hotel Hennie is trying to set her up with George because apparently the entire town knows she is desperate for a man. She calls her Aunt Hennie but I can’t tell if it’s actually familial or just a really small town.

Susan had actually turned up to see if they could get a boy called…. Scruff? … back into the pageant even though he turned Hennie down point blank. Can’t say I blame him at this point.


Hennie: “He’s here!”

Susan: “Who’s here?”

Hennie: “A man!”

Me: “It’s really refreshing to see a woman with such high standards on screen.”


Cue the terribly awkward interruption of George and Alex’s dinner when Susan is basically thrown down into a seat by Hennie. This prompts an apology from both adults about their recent behaviour and I’m sad we’re not seeing more sass from Susan. Another argument is brewing though, I’d bet my Christmas on it.

George is called away to answer a phone call and just happily hands the care of his daughter over to this postal service employee, regardless of whether either of them were happy about it. Don’t forget, you can offer anyone up for anything at Christmas and they can’t say no! The man even requests Susan finds them a tour guide for tomorrow to take a look around Georgetown, as if she doesn’t have enough to do with all these Santa letters rushing in. She has to agree though because Christmas.

Back in New York Renfield looks drunk as fuck but he’s been waiting for George to get to the damn phone for so long he probably had time to plough through a mini bar. George tries to blame Letter Day for his own late post and promises he’ll call tomorrow. In a perfect power play Renfield pulls the ‘No, I’ll call you‘ card and demands a full report by then too.


George: “The whole town was mailing letters to erm… Santa Claus.”

Renfield: “Santa Claus?”

George: “Everyone I’ve met believes in Santa Claus. It has to do with some legend.” 

Renfield: “Legend?”

George: “Well I’ll find out more tonight when we light the tree.”

Renfield: “Tree?

Me: “Fuck, he really is drunk if he’s forgotten what trees are…”


There are some seriously sinister overtones to that call and I don’t know how long Renfield just kept repeating words back to George because a lot of time has passed and now it’s dark outside.

I hope the entire town didn’t turn out to this tree lighting ceremony because it amounts to about 50 people, but we’re all out there greeting each other and giving a special round of applause to ‘our friends from New York’ which is currently just Alex. Luckily Susan can be trusted and did not just kidnap the child, which would have made for an awkward applause to… no one.

George turns up just in time to hear about the legend of Georgetown and how a 100 years ago their forefathers were caught in a blizzard and almost starved to death. Santa turned up, apparently also lost in this blizzard on Christmas Eve because the satnav was yet to be invented, asking for some food but was denied because the forefathers were probably already drawing straws to see who they would eat next. Fortunately for Santa some kid took pity on him, stole a bunch of food and went out to feed him. Santa, in a turn of events, said he would reward the kid 100 times over before disappearing on his no doubt usual mince pie and brandy trail across the world. Fuck starving travellers. However on Christmas Day they woke up to a shit load of food, blankets, toys and a convenient trail into a valley that is presumably now Georgetown. Santa had the touch of Jesus about him in those times.

At some point during the story some kid turns up on a horse. Alex spots him and is either plotting to be charitable to the kid, the need for which is signified by the dirt all over his face, OR she’s planning on murdering him too and taking his horse.

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‘And then all I need to do is murder Dad… dress the horse up in his clothes, give him Dad’s boarding pass back to New York and then me and the stranger’s horse can live happily ever after!’

For some reason the town welcomes their Christmas tree into the world by singing ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ loudly at it every year. Susan and George start singing at each other like a weird sing-off and I don’t know about you, I don’t even like making eye contact with my friends when I speak to them, let alone sing at a stranger I just met and argued with that morning.

The next morning Alex rocks up at the post office, already confident to roam the town on her own, to drop off both her letter to Santa and her Dad’s boring business correspondence. I am horrified to learn that Bud is also the fucking assistant post master as well. Next it will turn out he’s the 100 year old boy from the legend.

Susan pops out from behind the counter to announce she will be their tour guide today and without consulting Alex or her father agrees to have Alex back for pageant practice at 3pm sharp. Susan finally hands over her letter to Santa but it’s probably just a wish that both George and his child go back to New York and she never has to give another damn tour again.

Three seconds later Susan is speeding them around the town in a horse and carriage in a possible attempt to kill them all off and make doubly sure she never has to see them again. In honour of the horse and carriage I have added an extra generic Christmas counter this year at the end of the post.

On this tour it turns out that no one actually knows what miracle is going to befall the town, so instead they just build the worst snowman I have ever seen. Now is the perfect time to reveal that George is an architect so that Susan can look at the terribly constructed snowman like…. ‘Wait, what?’ Alex continues to drop him in the shit by mentioning he recently built a ski resort over in Vermont and Susan begins to fear he may have the same ideas about Georgetown. In the child’s defence she does try and immediately flick her father back out of the shit by revealing they’re actually there on vacation because her Mom died last Christmas.

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“George… have you ever even seen a man before?”

Susan has an awful lot of information to digest here and think she may as well continue taking them down this depressing road. We pass through a valley which used to belong to Jake Richards and stop outside his house with a sign advertising his 160 acres are being foreclosed by the bank and are for sale.

We come across the guy from the bank putting the sign up and I feel a little conflicted as it turns out he is Bob Truesdale and also the Mayor of Georgetown. Susan wants to know more about when Jake and his children will be made homeless but Bob is more concerned whether George is having a good vacation or not. Rather than face this crushing defeat we go back to Susan’s to drink hot chocolate and admire her photos.

It turns out Susan was mostly raised here but spent 10 years in Denver. When her Dad died she came back to sell the house but instead decided Denver life wasn’t for her anymore, took over her Dad’s job as post master and forged a new life which she doesn’t. Want. Ruined. By. George’s. Ski. Resort.

We have some bizarre arguments about whose hometown was better and whose hometown isn’t even on the map anymore because shopping centres and… Look, I don’t know, but Susan has George all figured out whilst Alex just wants to ride around in the sleigh some more. To avoid any more awkward conversation George decides pageant practice would actually be a great way to kill the afternoon.

After all that George still has the confidence to basically invite Susan to the dance in town tonight. This man is either as clueless as Bud or has the unassailable confidence typical of his species.

Pageant practice is an absolute train wreck and looks like it might top () for worst play ever. During all this George has been sketching out his visions for the future and proving protractors can do your art the world of good. Not good enough to stop him tearing up his future vision and having a change of heart about the entire thing, though.

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When you want to make a diverse Sims neighbourhood but don’t have 18 hours to waste on each individual household

George calls his doubts over to Renfield, but not before checking whether Alex’s fuck off doll’s house will get there in time for Christmas with express shipping. Those forefathers could have lived in that box during that blizzard, it’s ridiculous!

Back to business, George just wants Renfield to leave the damn town alone and go butcher someone else’s hometown instead of this one. Not listening for one second Renfield simply demands that George holds a town meeting tomorrow night and it was only at this point I realised George was in Georgetown and no one could have come up with any better name for the main character. ‘Make it as easy to remember as possible, guys! Bud ain’t so bright.’

Never one to let something dent his unassailable confidence George can be found that evening, dancing with Susan in a bar that is far too small for this live band and Christmas hoedown that is being thrown. Everything about that place is a fire hazard from the giant hanging candy canes, the live band on a tiny balcony, the fake snow on the floor and the overcrowding. Oh. And the highly flammable booze.

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This is what hell looks like

That mysterious, grubby child shows up on his horse again and hangs around by the door watching the other kids play some macabre game that looks like assault as they drag another child around by the arms and force him to kiss an unsuspecting and now very unhappy girl. The grubby child is the one and only Scruff and… I have questions.

Is his actual name Scruff? Did his parents somehow know or dream of a child that was perpetually covered in dirt 24/7? Or did he just decide he was going to live up to their expectations? If that’s just his nickname what the hell is his real name!? And why do the adults also call him Scruff? WHO CALLS THEIR KID SCRUFF!? AND IS IT SHORT FOR SCRUFFINGTON?!

Either way these other kids give Scruff some shit because… he’s moving. The kid has literal dirt wiped across his face but these kids decide to taunt the boy with a situation that is completely out of his control. Go and wash your damn face! If you don’t have running water there is god damn snow outside! Go melt it in a bucket!

I’m still clearly and completely bemused by this character but Alex is either still willing to be charitable or murder the kid for his horse because she stays behind to stare at him some more.


Scruff: “Who are you?”

Alex: “They call me Alex.”

Me: “Because that is my name. Now, I have some questions….”


Either way that kid is out of there with the first barrage of Alex’s questions about the ranch. He didn’t come here tonight to be asked questions, he came to be mocked some more by the village kids! Scruff rides off into the distance without even a backward glance at Alex while she stands in the street and watches her future horse/father leave her out in the cold.

Susan decides she has had one spinning-on-the-spot-dance too many and George casually leaves his child with all these complete strangers while he walks the postmaster home (the current one, not the old deceased one).


Susan: “You know, when I see Bud’s cab or hear it sputter and clatter down the street… I can’t help thinking of this place. Our town.”

Me: “Maybe because… you’re standing in it at the time?”


In a very vague and poetic way Susan is basically telling George to not dare build a new fucking estate in Georgetown and how about he helps build them a new summer theatre instead. There is some strange talk about everybody who walks everybody home being special and after reminding the woman she has no partner George thinks that’s the perfect time to kiss her. You know, because she’s free and single.

What is even stranger is he appears to go home and report all of this to Alex as an alternative bed time story. If I had to listen to George recount his days to me I’d never sleep again. On being asked if he thinks he could ever be in love again, George decides to break into song and honest to god, me and Alex both have the same expression the entire time because how much fucking eggnog did the man drink tonight? And it just doesn’t. Stop.

TCG_13
‘I can’t wait to replace him with that horse.’

Alex is once more left unsupervised which, at this point, I’m thrilled for her to be away from that singing psycho and is sledding down a hill with a bunch of her new friends because fuck old New York friends. At the bottom of the hill Scruff is waiting, not at all ominously like a horror movie villain, on his horse and casually tells Alex to get on and ride off with him. Neither Alex or the kid who runs back up the hill with the sled find this behaviour strange in the slightest but maybe she just finally sees her chance to capture that horse.

Back in town George is awkwardly hanging around listening to the guys’ conversation down at the service station. This is where he finds out the guys have pooled together to buy a new motor for Bud’s cab and they pray it gets there on time, otherwise it will shatter everyone’s illusion that Santa is real and why are the adults sending letters to Santa and believing in him if they’re the ones buying the presents anyway!? Either way, George needs a car for mystery business – probably gonna find a hilltop to yodel from or something.


Bob: “Anything I can help you with?”

George: “Yeah, I was wondering if I could borrow or rent a car.”

Bob: “What for?”

Me: “For hurtling towards a cliff but bailing at the last second so I can watch the car fly into the ravine and explode at the bottom. Why, what do you use your car for?”


I wish it was the latter but in fact George just wanted to go to the ranch and at this point everyone becomes ve-ery cagey and Bob offers to take him over there because he was already heading that way. How George is getting back and in how many black bags… well that remains to be seen.

Somehow even Bob knows that George works for Renfield and has spoken to him on the phone this morning. Bob, however, seems totally for this idea and I knew I didn’t trust him and his banker ways.

Meanwhile Scruff has taken Alex off to his ‘hideout’ which he doubly confirms no one knows about. Be creepier, kid, be creepier. He has, however, gone to the effort of cheering it up with Christmas decorations so at least you have something to look at while you’re being murdered. Scruff is quite disillusioned by these letters to Santa and the question of believing in Santa comes up. When we hit subject of ‘giving’ we are ‘gifted’ with… Look, I’m just glad I wasn’t drinking red wine because it would have been spit clear across the room.

TCG_14
All drawn with one pencil, would you believe?

Scruff: “This is a hawk. He’s my favourite. You take it.”

Alex: “But it’s your favourite.”

Scruff: “I got plenty more.”

Me: “Oh no, you mistake me. I can’t take this because it is pure nightmare fuel. Please cease drawing immediately.”


Moving swiftly on from that, Bob gently breaks the news to Jake that he needs to move out on Boxing Day by marching up to the man and telling him he needs to move out on Boxing Day (affectionately referred to here as… the day after Christmas. Come on people, you have Letter Day but not Boxing Day?!) Jake mistakes George for the buyer, which he categorically is not, and Bob throws him under the bus by saying ‘We-ell he basically is.’

As expected George is no longer on the Renfield boat and invites Jake to the town meeting tonight to try and help him fight the entire thing. All this without even asking why the ranch and land was being seized by the bank in the first place. Turns out no one is good at ranching in this country and a load of people are having to give up their homes because of it.

This is the perfect time for Renfield and his board of directors to show up with the longest cigarette I have seen in the history of people smoking cigarettes on film.

TCG_15
It was a different time in the 80’s, kid! The summers were long and the cigarettes were longer!

The primates are back again and at the sight of a limo they’re crowding around ready to pull the aerial off and chew on the wing mirrors. Alex, meanwhile, is pondering over this picture of a hawk and bemoaning the harshness of the world. Right there with ya, kid. When asked what the hell she even wants for Christmas Alex confirms a doll house, much to her Dad’s relief, two seconds before she says she has changed her mind and would rather see Scruff get his ranch back. Weeeeelllll fuck. I’d like to see you sing your way out of this one, George.

(Note: I would not like to see that. That was merely there for comic effect and a reference to your strange past behaviour. Please do not sing your way out of this one.)

All the way to the town meeting George is still telling Renfield he can’t buy the town without offering more advice than the fact they all believe in Santa. As far as arguments go it’s not the best I’ve ever heard. None of the town looks very trusting of Renfield when he claims he is the Christmas miracle the legend foretold and he is bringing cash registers to their every day lives. Renfield continues to throw George under the bus and for some reason the man just gives up trying to argue, leading to everyone hating his face.

Susan is vocally opposed to the idea and Bud stands up just so he can ask Renfield if he believes in Santa Claus. The townsfolk are very disturbed by the tiny model of Renfield’s proposed plans but I am more disturbed by this woman who has very prematurely grey hair. Maybe she accidentally heard George singing.

TCG_16
There is some sass going on in this crowd tonight

George is still trying to convince people he never wanted this, even whilst Susan and Alex are storming angrily out of the meeting. Bud and Hennie are still on George’s side but Renfield might be on the fence because he tells the man he’s fired. It is of no surprise when Alex runs off at the sight of her father but I’m more alarmed that no one goes after the girl who has just run off, crying, into the night. That was apparently a bad idea because now she has gone missing.

Not only is the girl clearly running off to Scruff’s hideout but a blizzard is blowing up. I’m hoping for a Santa hallucination here, guys! Everyone is dragged into the search for Alex and we finally realise Scruff may be able to help us out here. I still can’t believe everyone is calling this kid Scruff like it’s a legitimate name that needs no questioning and is even better when used in a dramatic scene.

Apparently we need to take two trucks up to the hideout because one Jeep wasn’t enough to carry all 5 people up the hill… Just a note, Scruff’s younger brother is either called Judas or Judith. Neither would surprise me. But it’s fine! The girl’s fine. Probably just a concussion from that beam that fell on her. No biggie.

The next day a new disaster strikes because no one can find a motor as old as the one Bud needs whilst the man himself is restless as shit, just waiting around for Christmas morning. Upstairs Hennie develops a strange twitch when she starts talking about Santa and fortunately Scruff turns up to say goodbye to Alex before it develops into a full-blown medical condition.

In only the way young children can be, their goodbye is blunt and to the point. As an adult you don’t get people looking you dead in the eye as you confess your Dad got fired over this shit before abruptly announcing they think they’ll be going now.

Meanwhile I immensely enjoyed Susan’s greeting to George when he turns up at her door again.


Susan: “Coffee’s hot.”

Me: “Yes it is. I think I’ll be going now.”


George’s apology is predictably ham-fisted and quickly becomes a rant about how everyone just needs to give in to Renfield and stop believing in legends and miracles before it does a complete U-turn and he then declares he needs to stop the man. Tonight. I’m not sure how he wants people to react here so it’s probably just best to hunker down and wait for Hurricane George to pass on through.

We get to witness the wonderful spectacle of the nativity play which is basically every child’s memory of Christmas throughout all of primary school… except I remember all of mine going much better and we at least knew how to pronounce the word Bethlehem correctly. Seriously, these kids were allowed to sing an entire song about the little town of Bethelhem. Not only did this song go on forever but everyone was encouraged to join in halfway through and this is the moment I remembered I needed to take my anti-depressants. Fact.

Also I am very sure Alex was supposed to be a shepherd due to the national shortage so I guess Hennie is just a pathological liar and merely lives to lure children into her plays of delusion and mispronunciation.

TCG_17
Making friends outside of New York was a big mistake

All that being said… the pastor believes so much in what George has requested to say that evening that he actually gives up his entire slot in their usual scheduling to allow the man to make his speech. Right on time Renfield and his cronies turn up at the church to hear the man out. By which I mean… right on time because they missed these kids butchering the name of a town that is well over 2000 years old.

As per his apology to Susan this quickly becomes a rant about how Renfield is going to trash Georgetown and their legend while a kid dressed as a wizard stands behind him. Wizards are wise too, ya know.


George: “For those of you whom I haven’t met…”

Me: “And fucked up your livelihoods already.”

George: “… my name is George Billings. My daughter and I have been part of your town for only a few days.”

Me: “But have already fucked this place up so much.”

George: “I wanted to speak to you tonight as someone who has lost something.”

Me: “My sanity.”

George: “More than once.”

Me: “Ooh…. no, still applicable.”


George really plays up the whole Jake Richard’s ranch ordeal and likens everyone to the boy in the legend who fed Santa 100 years ago to see if that will provoke any kind of response. They’re a tough crowd, so the man thinks now would be a great time to ask them all to sacrifice their own homes instead of the out-of-date date tinned goods from the back of the cupboard.


George: “Now there’s a way to help Jake and his family. If each of you were to go to Bob Truesdale at his bank and tell him that you’ll put up your home and your business as collateral to pay off what Jake owes… you can give the Richards’ family not just a second mortgage… but a second life.”

Me: “WOAH! GEORGE, NO!”

George: “Now I’m not asking you anything more than I’m asking myself.”

Me: “You don’t even have a job anymore! You have to give up your home!”

George: “I’ve got some savings…”

Me: “I’ve got fucking savings George but they ain’t gonna cover a whole frickin’ ranch!”


On the one hand… a businessman who will offer me money for my home and livelihood, on the other a singing architect who wants me to give my house up to the bank to protect a business which failed once already as did others like it across the country. Tough choice.

Please note the wizard looks displeased by the end of George’s speech and that guy is wise. Maybe he should have rallied the troops instead.

Much to my little surprise, because this is Christmas and people are lunatics, Bob even puts up his own house and the bank. I don’t know if putting up the very same bank that is dealing with the transaction as collateral is legally sound but… whatever.


Pastor guy: “Traditionally we all go outside, light a candle and gather at the tree for a final hymn.”

Me: “To bring about the end of days.”

Pastor guy: “Tonight, I propose we go to the Richards’ home, light a candle…”

Me: “And burn the place down!!”

Pastor guy: “… and wish our neighbours a Merry Christmas and the happiest New Years.”

Me: “Burning the place down would solve a lot of… never mind. They probably have premium ‘festive fire hazard’ insurance out on these places anyway.”


Cue Bob ripping up his contract with Renfield which amounted to a very aged looking single piece of paper, George resigning from a job he was fired from and the entire town driving to the valley like a creepy funeral procession.

The Richards’ family are moving out at that precise moment, because isn’t the evening of Christmas Eve a most wonderful time to move house?, and probably think the townsfolk are coming up here to lynch them or something. Turns out Scruff little brother is a sister and called Judith. I preferred my version.

On hearing the news Jake looks more pissed off that they couldn’t have come around and told him this before he started packing up his belongings. Also, how terribly timed would it have been if he had already moved out, 2 days ahead of schedule, and now the entire town is basically being used as collateral for an empty ranch. When Jake has no response the townsfolk start belting Silent Night at him in unison and honestly I don’t blame the man for pulling his kids in close because this mob just turned creepy as fuck. It looks and sounds like the indoctrination to a cult.

Before this point I never found the lyric ‘sleep in heavenly peace’ too sinister but now I’ll never think of it in the same way again.

TCG_18
Welcome to the cult. On Sundays we sing.

Finally, forgetting about the cult murders of the previous night, it is Christmas Day: Alex gets her doll house, Hank got a new coat and new shoes, Bob got a new tie, some random guy got a year’s supply of bay rum but was only holding one bottle and I fear for him, Bud magically got a new motor which we all gather around and just take turns laughing in order to admire the car, George gets a girlfriend and Susan gets herself one hell of a burden because George has no job, house or prospects and gave away all his savings, so he will be sponging off her for a while.

And that folks! Is the end! I can’t believe I sat through an hour and a half of this…

Please feel free to watch George’s riveting and powerful speech here. Prepare to be moved… out of whatever room this is occurring in.

 

Prediction board – 2.5/6

  • Prediction #1 – George is gonna fall in love with Susan up there in the mountains – saw that one coming a mile off.
  • Prediction #2 – George will change his mind about profiting off the town – it was rambling and long and there were many U-turns and songs but we got there!
  • Prediction #3 – Bud’s car breaks down and they have to stay in Georgetown – Bud’s car did break down but unfortunately the man arranged alternative, if not as festive, transport. Half a point!
  • Prediction #4 – Alex killed her Mom so there was more Christmas to go around – I mean this was the wild card but I still think that kid has the potential to murder.
  • Prediction #5 – Susan will wish for a family in her letter because running the Post Office is lonely work – We never found out and after watching the film I find it hard to believe she wished for George specifically after meeting the man.
  • Prediction #6 – Joanne pops back up at some point and puts strain on George and Susan’s relationship – She never even showed back up, she was pointless! What’s more is I presumed everyone had multiple day jobs to save on casting costs, so they probably spent all their money to get Joanne The Homewrecker two minutes of air time and Bud just had to deal with working three jobs.

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: CHECK
  • Piano: It’s tiny and a toy but CHECK
  • Carolling: CHECK
  • Christmas Montage: Damn… not a single ‘tage.
  • Fire Hazards: Not one but three! CHECK
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: CHECK
  • Snowing on cue: We blizzard-ed on cue, man!

 

It’s been a long time and I’m clearly rusty. Hopefully we’ll do better tomorrow.

See you then!

 

To Be Honest…. #1

We’ve all watched a film or TV programme where a character has the chance to come completely clean about what’s been happening to them. A chance to get help, reach out, stop being tortured or clear their name!

And they don’t take it because as a human race we just love saying ‘Oh no, I’m fine!’ even when our wife and children have been kidnapped and are being held hostage at a nearby abandoned warehouse by the local madman who lives solely on a diet of spaghetti hoops on dry, plain sponge cake…. or something like that.

Occasionally I’ll be popping back in with the most amazing examples of what would happen if people were honest in films and TV, with no context and no clues about what I’ve been watching other than what the character has been through.

Enjoy!

 

“That’s not really my Grandad, he’s just an old guy in the neighbourhood I found out was a Nazi at the concentration camps and I started blackmailing him so he would tell me stories about torture and the war and now I’m all kindsa fucked up and that’s why my grades have been slipping. Oh, and I killed a pigeon in the gym. I think I need help.”

Yu-Gi-Oh! – S1 E4

If you have found yourself here and are wondering why everyone keeps talking about dicks, take a travel back to Yu-Gi-Oh! – S1 E1. You will find the rules there (there are none) so with that being said…

It’s time to d-d-d-d-d-duel!

Episode 4
“I’m so pumped to use Dark Magician again!”

Synopsis

Into the Hornet’s Nest
Yugi has to learn fast when he and his friends arrive on Pegasus’ island, where the rules of the deadly duels are unlike any Yugi has seen before.

Best Bits

“I implore you all to assemble your duelling dicks with care, with creativity and with cunning.”

“Let’s see how you like my Killer Needle.”

Yugi: “I have something else I think you want. My whole Duel Monster’s Dick.”
Weevil: “So you’d risk your Grandpa’s dick? Fine with me.”

 

Monster’s Sighted:

  • Killer Needle (1/4)
  • Mammoth Graveyard (1/4)
  • Hercules Beetle (1/4)
  • Feral Imp (1/4)
  • Basic Insect (1/4)
  • Dark Magician (3/4)
  • Celtic Guardian (1/2)
  • Summoned Skull (1/2)

Recap

Straight off the bat, on seeing the island they are heading for and about to disembark on, Joey can’t help but mention how big the place is and how hard it will be to find Grandpa. A) the man isn’t just wondering around in the wilderness so I imagine there will only be a few logical places for him to be kept and B) you’re looking for the man’s soul. I don’t… I don’t know… I mean I’m not sure… I’ve never possessed one, not even my own, so I don’t think that’s something you just leave lying around waiting for people to trip over. God knows we are all aware imagination isn’t Joey’s strong suit. In fact, it doesn’t appear any suit is Joey’s strong suit.

After a strange scene where Tristan finds it very hard to walk off a boat without acting suspicious we find out Joey has a cold because he almost drowned himself in the sea last episode. On seeing Weevil Joey is adamant he is looking to start trouble, despite the fact he is just standing out on the dock grinning inanely at everything.

S1.4.7
Yeah… that’s snot

The guards invite contestants to ‘follow the stairs’ in order to meet their host which is an interesting way of saying ‘he’s up there’ and everyone is forced to walk along what looks like part of the Great Wall of China.

S1.4.8
Nah, fuck that, I’ll just go home

Again Tea uses her stalking extraordinaire skills to spot ‘Bakura from school’ at a cool distance of 50 feet, hanging out alone in the woods. She ain’t the only one with skills as Bakura appears to have spotted them, too.

Back at the gates to the Great Wall there are a bunch of rumours flying around about how everyone needs to beat Yugi because he beat Kaiba in a terrible dog-eat-dog duelling food chain. We are all kindly interrupted by Pegasus, who has arrived to give a rousing speech to the masses and explain the rules of the game. Wager your star chips in duels in order to win 10 and make your way to the castle where you can duel Pegasus himself and a chance to win £3 mil. He also warns about some state of the art duelling grounds but let’s just gloss over that for now because I’m sure everything will be fine.

I hate to point out Joey does not have a glove at this point so I’m not sure where he’s gonna store his star chips without just getting distracted by the pretty shiny object and trying to shove it up his nose. It might not seem like it but I do actually have a soft spot for this gullible moron.

Heading out on the island Yugi and the gang soon come across Weevil and try to challenge him to a duel before he runs off, cackling, into the woods. Being bombarded with an unnatural amount of moths isn’t enough to put them off and they just run after the little guy until they find him standing, waiting for them, in the middle of the woods.

S1.4.9
Oh, no, this is a totally normal amount of moths for this time of year

Cue Yami Yugi, who I have dearly missed. I’m not sure if Weevil is due another eye test anytime soon but he seems completely unfazed by the fact Yugi has just grown 3 feet and gone through puberty in the last two seconds. He’s probably just too smug about the fact he has lead them all into this trap and opened up a duelling arena in the middle of the ground. I’d be impressed by this technology but… this ain’t the 90’s anymore.

S1.4.10
Yeah, sure, impressive, but can I download apps on it?

Yami Yugi demands this is an all or nothing match and if he wins then Weevil gets the fuck outta dodge because he is taking both his star chips. He is so confident he’s gonna bet his whole deck on it – you know… seeing as he already gave one star chip to Captain Oblivious.

Already drawing a crowd, the pair get to it and materialise their monsters out on the ‘state-of-the-art’ arena. I’m disappointed to say no one else seems too impressed by this, despite the fact only Yugi and Joey saw this kind of technology when they battled Kaiba in the first episode. Weevil also takes the time to kindly (and loudly) explain how he stole the tournament rules beforehand which means he was fully aware the arenas offer field bonuses to monsters depending on the terrain they’re located on. Turns out woods and bugs… well, if you’ve ever had a bug fly straight into your face while taking a hike then, ya know, they love that shit.

Yami Yugi interrupts Weevil’s tirade by mocking the boy because it took him about 0.3 seconds to work all of this out on his own, no stealing required, and he happens to have a patch of wasteland terrain on his side of the arena that’s gonna make it all work out OK.

Things get a bit hairy when it turns out monsters with a field bonus are apparently resistant to magic but everything balances out when Yami Yugi draws, surprise surprise, Dark Magician. Even Weevil can’t help making a dig about this card being Yugi’s favourite and we’re only four episodes in.

S1.4.11
BFF’s

I should point out that Yugi’s friends show some sort of awareness that Yugi ‘seems like a totally different person when he’s duelling’, but it’s not enough awareness to… I don’t know… raise any further questions about it.

The episode ends with Yami Yugi destroying every one of Weevil’s cards on the field, saving Dark Magician and cutting Weevil’s life points down dramatically. Unfortunately we can’t escape before Weevil shows us some weird, pulsating egg sack he carelessly left out on the field, making a hideous mess everywhere.

I’m sad this is the first ‘To Be Continued’ episode because it only means we have to listen to Weevil talk some more. See you next episode, folks!

Yu-Gi-Oh! – S1 E3

If you have found yourself here and are wondering why everyone keeps talking about dicks, take a travel back to Yu-Gi-Oh! – S1 E1. You will find the rules there (there are none) so with that being said…

It’s time to d-d-d-d-d-duel!

Yu-Gi-Oh S1E3-1
Fuck Yugi, this is the Jo-Ey-Oh! show

Synopsis

Journey to the Duelist Kingdom
Yugi must travel to the Duelist Kingdom to rescue Solomon, and he is joined by his friends Téa, Tristan and Joey, who wants to save his ill sister.

Best Bits

“You’re either a champ or a chump. Cut this guy loose, he’s clearly fashion-challenged and deserves to be crushed in the games.”

“With these new magic cards, combined with your monsters, you’ll have a real strong dick.”

“Here, add this to your dick. It can be helpful in a tight spot.”

Mai: “OK, time to cut the cards.”
Rex: “Playing with your dick, huh?”

 

Monster’s Sighted:

  • Exodia, briefly, as he sails over the ship’s railings (2/3)

Recap

We find out in this episode that Joey has a younger sister, Serenity, who sends him a videotape of her conveniently explaining how they haven’t seen each other for 6 years and she was dragged off somewhere to live with their Mom. Serenity felt compelled to send this video tape over to her brother because her death is apparently impending and she just wanted something fun for Joey to remember her by.

S1.4.1
Yeah, I know. I hate it when my family contacts me, too

Meanwhile Yugi has received an invite to Pegasus’ Duelling Kingdom on some island and Joey just happens to comment that’s where Yugi’s Grandpa is being held. Now… I distinctly remember the lifeless husk of Grandpa’s soulless body toppling over on the floor last episode, so I’m kind of concerned at this point what these teenage children have done with the husk. Do they know he still needs feeding and watering? Even without a soul?

Tristan is the only one having a hard time believing any of this… until he sees part of the invite specifying the winner could walk away with £3 mil. Despite not having his own invite to this competition Joey can’t help thinking about his sister’s medical bills and just keeps repeating the phrase ‘three million’ over and over again.

S1.4.12
Tristan wonders how quickly he can jump from the 4th floor

During a flashback we get to see how Yugi and Joey even met, which started when Grandpa dared Yugi to solve this random, Egyptian puzzle because ‘yolo, let’s sacrifice the grandkids’. Yugi made a wish for some real friends because, quite frankly, he was probably fed up of Grandpa trying to sacrifice him to the god’s and up turned Joey and Tristan. Although… their version of friendship appears to be somewhat warped and Joe insists they were only bullying Yugi in order to toughen him up for when the real bullies showed up. Apparently they did too good of a job because Yugi almost gets his face smashed in defending them from a bully who is about 10 foot tall and should definitely be serving time in prison rather than finishing high school. Yugi tries to balance all the shit Joey and Tristan dealt to him by reminding Joey if he hadn’t found the last, missing piece of the millennium puzzle Yugi would never have been able to solve it! Despite the fact Joey is the one who threw this puzzle piece out of a 3rd floor window in the first place…  Just thought I’d give you the opportunity to contemplate this friendship thing too, it took up like half of the episode.

S1.4.3
Security is very excited to see you

At some bizarre night hour all of the contestants, who from the panning shot all look overweight and lacking in vitamin D, are welcomed on board a giant ship and warned they better not be shit or they’ll be going home. Yugi is surprised to see Joey trying to sneak onto the ship for some reason – I mean… the boy literally told Yugi they would be doing this together during their bonding time on the roof – and gives up one of his own starting star chips in order to get his friend on board. Meanwhile Tristan and Tea are sneaking on as cargo. These kids must not have parents; at least Yugi’s Grandpa has no soul and doesn’t give a shit, what’s everyone else’s excuse?

Joey loudly announces on board the ship that now they only have one star chip each they are pretty much sitting ducks for the rest of the competitors. After over hearing their conversation a woman turns up and both Yugi and Joey lose their tiny minds like they have never seen a pair of boobs before. Rightly, in my opinion, she calls Joey out on his bullshit and introduces herself as Mai before walking off. Weirder still is the fact Tea and Tristan are sneaking around on board and following Yugi and Joey like some weird stalkers.

Never mind his friends are technically cargo right now, Joey is complaining about the shoddy accommodation and the fact everyone is sleeping on the floors. Except the finalists from the regional championships who get private rooms… ya know, like Weevil, who has just shown up with Rex so Yugi can be starstruck and Joey can brag about how great he is despite the fact I have never seen him play or win a single duel.

It’s at this point I realise how incredibly annoying and screechy Weevil’s voice is as I, unfortunately, have to listen to him join the long line of people who are impressed by how Yugi beat Kaiba. Poor Kaiba. The last we saw of him his brain was still melting out of his ears.

S1.4.4
Evil Motherfucker-ing 101: Tip your glasses any chance you get

Paying no attention to Weevil’s sinister undertones and weird tip of his glasses, Yugi continues to be super friendly and polite and worries he may be taking part in cheating when Weevil tries to give him the vaguest tip about duels on the island. Pro tip: you might need more strategy.

Wow, buddy. Thanks. Maybe go and tell that to Joey.

Weevil continues to cast a very discerning eye over the other competitors and is amused to see the commoners still trading cards at this late in the game. Fuck their happy faces and relaxed boat journey, he’s gonna retire to his rooms and probably screech at his own reflection in the mirror some more.

Meanwhile Mai is complaining about the lack of showers in the commoner quarters but never fear! Rex walks by just in time to offer her the shower in his luxury room. I’m sure that has no connotations attached to it whatsoever… And up on deck it’s a good job we still have Tea and Tristan sneaking around and spying on people, otherwise how would we have ever known that ‘Bakura from school’ is on the ship too, unbeknownst to anyone who isn’t a stalker.

S1.4.5
“Look, I’ve been stalking him for years, I know Bakura from 30 feet away when I see him.”

Joey has been trading hard but still needs some extra help from Yugi who happily hands over Time Wizard. Better believe we’ll be seeing that guy again soon…

Still completely naive to life Yugi hands his rare cards over to Weevil to examine, when the little bug-eyed psycho turns up on deck and starts harping on about how great his win against Kaiba was. I mean… I don’t remember Yugi and Kaiba’s duel being televised or anything but everyone sure as shit seems to know exactly what went down there.

S1.4.6
Don’t listen to them, Yugi! Blissful ignorance looks so good on you!

Yugi happily hands over the entire Exodia set to which Weevil confesses he has been trying to come up with some way to combat the most powerful cards in existence since hearing about them. Inspiration strikes, however, and Weevil’s strategy is to just throw the damn things overboard. Joey shortly follows them on some misguided idea that if he drowns in the sea trying to save cards then he will be able to save Serenity too. He only manages to retrieve two cards before Yugi is forced to jump in after him to save his ass. I don’t know, I’d say not drowning would be a better approach to helping your sister…

Luckily Tristan and Tea were stalking out on deck and were at hand to haul them both back onto the ship. The guards sure are conveniently missing at this point. Joey coughs up half the sea and the truth about his sister on deck.

She’s not dying. She’s just going blind. She wasn’t even wearing glasses in that videotape she sent over, she might find that improves things a little… Anyway, there is an operation to save her eyesight but I presume it’s probably around £3 mil or so. Seeing as Yugi only cares about his Grandpa’s soul and Joey only cares about cold hard cash I can only guess that money is coming to Joey either way.

Yugi sure is a good friend to have around, these days…

No duels in this episode and only some terrible back story about Serenity’s need for a pair of glasses. I’m sure Weevil could show her a few more tips.

Hopefully see you and Grandad’s soul next episode, folks!