Tag Archives: Insults

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.

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Christmas Advent #11 – Christmas in Homestead

The days are blurring into one. The only difference about today is that I have an ungodly amount of candles burning in the living room with me. I think 12 candles is probably enough… for now.

Hey, at least I’ll get to make predictions again today!!

 

This time we get an aerial shot of Hollywood and it’s actually really jarring to see festive palm trees lining streets. I know that’s how this shit works but after so many tiny little towns with direct ties to the origin of Christmas itself it’s taking me a minute.

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Is this really all Hollywood does for Christmas or is this just another festive lie?

Prediction #1 – we’re not staying here for Christmas, the title alone tells us that (Kim, please, shut the hell up about your ‘Love In Line for Santa book title already!)

A woman in a hideous hat and over-sized sunglasses – the uniform of a Hollywood star – is sitting in the back of a car and winds down when they pull up next to a bunch of paparazzi. Jessica has just pulled up to the set and will be doing yet another film with her ex-boyfriend Vince. Now that’s awkward. I could barely sit through another friend’s wedding with my ex-boyfriend across the table and when one of the bridesmaids tried to take my bottle of wine, my only lifeline, through to the kitchen to ‘keep it safe’ during the speeches I almost ripped her arm off. She assured me she would put a label on it so no one else took it and I assured her she didn’t know my fucking name so leave my wine alone. I almost ruined that wedding on numerous occasions and legit purely by accident and account of me not wanting to be there but that is definitely a story for another time.

Back to Jessica… this looks less like a film set and more a very nice looking house. If this is her house… why has her ex-boyfriend just shown up? Jessica gets to walk into yes, her own house, while the press at the gates keep shouting thank you, presumably for the shots of her ass as she waltzes away. 


Random woman: “Hey Jess! Whaddya think?”

Jessica: “Rosalie…. what is that?”

Rosalie: “It’s a Christmas tree.”

Jessica: “Yes, it’s beautiful. Why is it in my house?”

Me: “I’m gonna take a real shot in the dark here but based on the really festive looking palm trees out on the roads…. because it’s almost Christmas?”

Rosalie: “Because it’s almost Christmas and everyone needs a tree!”

Me: “BOO-FUCKING-OOM!”


I’m not sure whether Jessica actually does hate Christmas trees but they will be spending the next 10 days in Iowa shooting a Christmas movie and she really thinks she’ll have had enough of them by then. Now… I do not work in the film industry but I can’t help feel that anything that takes 10 days to shoot is not made with the best quality. Hmm… I wonder how long any of these Christmas films take to shoot?

Rosalie informs our miserable star that her co-worker is waiting for her in the other room and Barbara, the director, will be there in a few minutes. Apparently directors should never run late, only the stars, and if Jessica had known this I presume she would have driven around the block a few more times so she could be the fashionably late one.

At Homestead Lodge meanwhile, the most glorious, well-lit, electrical draped fire hazard (my god I’ve missed these things!) some bloke is talking on the phone to maybe his Dad about both his parents going on a river cruise for Christmas because for Christ’s sake their child is grown up now and can spend Christmas on his own! They want to cruise around European rivers!

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I’ve never seen something so beautiful in my entire life…

This guy’s sister, Zoe, overhears this and demands to speak to their father because she has sense and yes he should totally enjoy the damp weather and the havoc it will play on their old, arthritic joints. Thankfully she gives us both her brother’s name, Matt, and some back story on this call so we find out the parents left the business to them (and some other woman called Sophie, maybe) so they could go off and travel the world. Must be damn good money in the Christmas lodge business! Matt does not look impressed so heads off down the hall where his daughter, Sophie, is watching her tablet with only the fixed avidity a child can achieve when staring at a piece of technology and sending herself fucking deaf if she doesn’t turn down the volume on that thing! 

Sophie is more interested in adventure and slaying dragons and oh lord, who is on that screen but Jessica. Jessica will also be staying at the lodge. Cue another obsessive child story line – hopefully all of her hopes and dreams will be crushed when she meets her hero and finds out she can barely drive her own car around, let alone slay a dragon. When Matt breaks the news to her about her grandparents she is more concerned they’re gonna miss out on meeting Jessica. I have the feeling the only one bothered about them not being there on Christmas morning is Matt…. god, some children are just so fucking needy.

Back in Hollywood Vince and Jessica are having a delightfully strenuous talk about the fact Jessica has replaced Vince with Jill for her annual Christmas trip to Fiji and he’d better not mess up this acting gig because it’s her first time producing a movie. If she is producing it… why did she pick Vince when casting….? Vince appears to be an absolute arsehole who also delights in what amounts to sexual abuse and surprises Jessica with a kiss so he can put it on social media as PR for the film. Now… ya see…. she tells him to delete the picture but doesn’t stand there and make sure he does. So he doesn’t.

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Yep, we’ll be seeing this again at some point

Prediction #2 – that picture is going to bite her in the ass just when things are going good with Matt and despite the fact she will have never worn those clothes during her filming and the lighting is very different and she is clearly in her own home he will be very annoyed by it all

Zoe is trying to get to the bottom of Matt’s mood swing and this woman is just a Pez dispenser of the back story world. Matt hates change and that is probably due to the fact his deceased wife, Melanie, is dead and Christmas was her favourite time of year. Wait… wait…. this guy is the Mayor!? And they have a town hall meeting to get to!? How did this guy become MAYOR when he can’t deal with change!?

I’m already really not so sure about this one, guys…

Prediction #3 – Matt’s ability to be Mayor will be questioned at some point but the delightful folk of… Homestead?… will rally together and save him because they know he’s such a great guy really, if a little needy


Barbara: “I don’t care that she’s making fun of your turtle. Your turtle doesn’t care either! No! He doe…. I love you. Bye.”

Me: “I’d like to hear more about this turtle…”


Barbara is leaving her kids with her husband for 10 days and fully expects to come back to a Lord of the Flies situation and I gotta say, this doesn’t seem to overly concern her! I like her. She is also, rightly, more concerned with shooting outdoors for 10 days in an Iowa December, of which Jessica wants to kick off early and will be arriving the next morning ahead of everyone else.


Jessica: “Yeah, my character grew up in the area, I just wanna get a feel for the place.”

Vince: “I don’t need to get a feel for the place. I’m playing an innkeeper, it’s not rocket science. I know because I played a rocket scientist who saved the world. … I did.”

Me: “Yeah, so back to this turtle…”


Prediction #4 – Vince is gonna have to take pointers from Matt about being an innkeeper and he’s not gonna enjoy it

Prediction #5 – Matt is gonna replace Vince in the film as the innkeeper!

As if the man didn’t already have enough to do. The same goes for Barbara who definitely needs to have wrapped up shooting by the 23rd December and Rosalie who is gently trying to force Jessica to go and see her parents rather than Fiji with Jill. Probably because Rosalie was hoping for that spare ticket to Fiji but fucking Jill broke up with her boyfriend instead. Bloody Jill…

Jessica is more confused that the Mayor of Homestead would not want the publicity of them filming in his town and Matt just wants to be able to hold all of their regular Christmas events – which are clearly too well documented and enjoyed and lured in Hollywood film makers in the first place – without being disrupted. The rest of the town could not give a shit about the Christmas tree lighting, the snowman competition or the sleigh ride traditions when Hollywood is coming and everyone votes unanimously against the Mayor and hates him even more for calling them all there that evening.

They then immediately go outside and light the fucking tree! How are ya gonna say Hollywood will mess with your tree lighting tradition when they’re not even there yet to ruin it! This man! Also, what is the deal with carollers being dressed in Victorian era clothing all of the time? Sophie lights the tree, it’s all magnificent and they return home to decorate Christmas cookies in the middle of the night because that is also completely normal.

Sophie is very concerned that Jessica won’t like her because Hayley Shepherd doesn’t like her but the other Hayley is her friend. Ooh! There’s two of me in this film!

Prediction #6 – Jessica will fucking hate Sophie like she hates all children

It must be strange for the kid whose living room is technically the Inn’s foyer but is easy enough to manage as she blasts her hearing back into the Stone Age and completely ignores her dad asking if she wants to help run errands. If that man had mentioned pie in the same room as me I would have probably broken both ankles in the act of dismounting from that sofa.

With only 11 days until Christmas Jessica is rocking up into town, forcing Rosalie to drive her. I wonder if Rosalie slayed that friggin’ dragon for her, too? Also, what about Rosalie’s Christmas? Either way Jessica is shocked to find the town has fire hazarded itself up to an inch of its life without the crew even coming and setting up the props yet. Ya might wanna ring ahead and tell them they won’t be needed anymore…

Wonderfully timed, as always, Matt rocks up at the bakery to pick up his pumpkin pies just as Jessica decides she would really like to pick up some cupcakes for the crew.


Jessica: “Oh, hi, could I get like a hundred cupcakes?”

Matt: “Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t…

Jessica: “Chocolate, vanilla, red velvet… do they have red velvet in Iowa?

Matt: “Oh, you must be with the movie.”

Jessica: “Yes! Do you want an autograph?”

Me: “Only if it’s on a cheque to pay for all these cupcakes…”

Matt: “Erm, no thanks…”

Jessica: “Oh, come on, don’t be shy. There you go. Don’t go selling that on eBay.”

Matt: “Why would I sell this?”

Me: “Red Velvet cupcakes might have made it to Iowa but e-commerce is apparently yet to arrive.”


Completely ignoring this man and waltzing out of the shop, trailing a list of demands behind her and cementing everything Matt feared about these Hollywood folk in his brain, Jessica runs into a single photographer on the way out of the bakery who has somehow gotten the funds to follow her all the way up to Homestead. I’m sure Matt will just adore that. Surely all of the journalists would be forced to stay at the Inn too? We actually know this journalist, Ian, by name and he doesn’t seem so keen on his own job, either.

I’m enjoying Gavin the bodyguard and keep hoping he will jump in front of very innocent and harmless items because this is his first gig and he takes his job very seriously. I’m surprised he hasn’t thrown Jessica straight back out the door of the Inn after seeing the potential fire hazard they’ve just stepped into.

Sophie is so caught up in her show she hasn’t realised who is sitting next to her and asking her if she’s even enjoying the thing. Cue this child losing her actual shit and cue Matt coming back with his hands full of pie. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Jessica appears to be more concerned that her cupcake order might have gone missing seeing as this guy doesn’t even work at the bakery but hey, at least he has a nice lodge! Even Gavin is getting an introduction now, which I’m happy about because he’s doing a great job. Good job back there, buddy!

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Gavin is just stealing this scene. Stealing it.

Jessica continues to ask to be put in touch with the Mayor because apparently he’s an absolute arsehole that doesn’t even want her there. Well, isn’t this just going swimmingly? Rosalie is PA-ing the shit out of Matt’s life too when she ropes him into a tour of the town at 10 am the next morning, whether he likes it or not. I presume he may be a little tired seeing as a small armada of trucks has pulled up outside the inn at the crack of dawn in order to begin shooting. Matt goes outside to look at these like he’s never seen a truck before in his life.

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“Dragons! There are dragons in the road! Everybody up! Jessica! Slay them before they take up all the parking!”

This early alarm call clearly did nothing to affect Sophie who ambushes Gavin on the stairs in the morning and starts preaching to him about how she thinks she will need his services to take her to school and to her piano lessons to make Hayley Shepherd jealous and he’d better just take a seat on the stairs there because hashing out this deal is gonna take a while.


Sophie: “Dad said I can go on the tour. As long as I don’t bug you.”

Jessica: “You could never bug me.”

Me: “Well… that just sounds like a challenge to me.”


In order to make the entire thing even more pointless, Vince shows up! Just in time for the tour! I’m very surprised Ian isn’t following them on this tour too and they have somehow managed to bypass him as he stands outside the Inn freezing his ass off and waiting to get shots of the stars. He really isn’t too great at this…

Prediction #7 – when it matters most Ian will have a conscience because he hates being a reporter anyway

Every time Vince tries to speak people conveniently talk over him because the words escaping his face could not be a bigger waste of oxygen but at least he doesn’t seem too concerned and keeps grinning inanely at all the local people passing him by. It is of no surprise that Matt is horrified to see the middle of town packed with lighting rigs and crew members and people wheeling around clothes stands through the slush. Ya wanna hope that doesn’t freeze over in the morning. On the other hand Sophie is fucking loving it.

Whilst doing routine housekeeping back at the Inn, Zoe spots Ian through a window, tying himself to a tree so he can see directly into Jessica’s room. Well… I thought he was tied… when Zoe goes out there and screams at him he falls promptly out of the damn thing.

Prediction #8 – Side story romance for Zoe and Ian!

Jessica actually shows some sort of genuine emotion when Sophie almost gets her head taken off by a passing ladder but again, Sophie is cool with this. She would probably consider it a death well earned. Vince, however, just wants to reminisce about his and Jessica’s Christmas in Fiji that was definitely about to devolve into a conversation not meant for minors. Apparently the holidays are bringing out all of the sentimental feels in the man.


Jessica: “I’m trying to convince him we’re not stuck up movie stars and your stories about us traipsing around the globe aren’t helping. We need to find some common ground.”

Vince: “OK. Why didn’t you tell me? I gotcha… Hey Matt!”

Me: “Oh jesus….”

Vince: “I’m playing an innkeeper in this movie! Just like you! Yeah! Yeah.”

Everyone: “………….”

Me: “This man needs a script just to get through life.”


Isn’t Vince just delightful? Back at the Inn, Zoe is bringing some ice out for Ian’s knee when really she could have just left him face down in the snowdrift. For free. When questioning the man’s morals and whether he is able to feel guilt it turns out Zoe actually has big plans and wants to own a chain of these Inns by the time she’s 30. Has she told Matt? Does he know? He’s too needy for chains.

Needy Matt is being needy about his town square currently overrun with crew members because that’s where they do the tree lighting… which I’m sure they did last night. Barbara turns up just in time to tell everyone Santa got struck from the town square because he wasn’t working for them which sounds more like festive abuse to Sophie, especially when the model of Santa gets carried past like the festive Hollywood victim he is.

That evening, over what could be doing their finances or just scribbling on post-it notes, Matt can’t help discussing how entitled these Hollywood folk are with his sister and oh, did you hear the rumour that Jessica and Vince are getting back together again? We could say it should be of no concern to Matt, however…. I don’t think anyone would wish Vince upon another human being so this completely irrational question is allowed to fly.


Zoe: “Being famous can’t be easy.”

Matt: “No, you’re right, you’re right… The mansions, the private jets, it’s going to get tiring. It’s going to get really tiring.”

Zoe: “What about the constant spotlight? People are climbing trees just to get pictures of her.”

Matt: “They climb trees?”

Zoe: “Mhm.”

Matt: “OK, so, are you upset about the trees?”

Me: “You’re damn fucking right I am!!”


Matt is having a real hard time finding any sympathy for Jessica other than the fact she has been lumbered with Vince, it would seem. This grown ass man is so petulant that he can’t even hear a bad word about his snowman building skills without becoming immediately offended. The competition is apparently that evening but seeing as these people are working by candlelight and it’s already dark outside maybe the reason the man keeps building snowblobs every year is because he can’t see a fucking thing out there.

Even worse news is the fact there is a camera down on set and in order to film with one camera and/or get the other one fixed they will have to delay the snowman building competition. Heaven forbid… Matt’s already standing on the edge that no one really cares about. At least Jessica has the presence of mind to not spring any more surprises on this town’s simple Mayor but she does have the misfortune of hearing her friend, Jill, will no longer be going to Fiji with her because she got back together with her boyfriend after all. Jessica has real issues with ending phone calls and always seems to put the phone down before even she’s finished speaking.

After hearing about Jessica’s valiant effort to finish filming promptly at 7pm, in order for the competition to start, and seeing her standing across the town square like the killer in a horror film, Matt abandons his family to go and check on the crying woman in her trailer. Thank God Ian is there, creeping around the place and scaling the trees to take photos of this. I have to wonder why her trailer has such giant friggin’ windows if she knows she is constantly hounded by press….

As predicted Matt is equally as awkward with crying women as he is with women in general and suggests karaoke will cheer Jessica up and make her feel better about being utterly alone with only Vince to turn to. Karaoke certainly worked for him after his wife died. You heard it here first, folks, Matt has the ultimate cure-all. It should be of no surprise that Matt chose to sing Celine Dion that night, either.


Matt: “Now you know about it. You’re the only one who knows about it.”

Jessica: “Well your secret’s safe with me.”

Me: “And Ian lurking around outside.”


Matt doesn’t bother to invite the woman to build a snowman because perhaps those famous words would be cause for copyright infringement but one kiss on the cheek is enough to throw caution to the wind and invite her out anyway. Something Ian obviously catches on camera. At least he did something right today.

Now it amazes me that these people who live somewhere with an abundance of snow are so incredibly bad at constructing a snowman. Jessica I can forgive, but these guys? Nah. With only 20 minutes to go Jessica thinks they can probably cover up this hideous abomination with some wardrobe tricks. I hope the crew aren’t gonna miss those items…

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Well, it’s basically the John Lewis advert, isn’t it?

Let me just say that nearly all of these snowmen are dreadful but there is nothing a blue wig can’t apparently fix and for the first time in forever (don’t sue me) the Mayor and his family win the snowman building competition and the most coveted snowman building trophy!!


Matt: “I think she’s gonna sleep with that thing tonight.”

Jessica: “Tonight? When I won my Golden Globe I slept with it for a week.”

Matt: “You won a Golden Globe?”

Jessica: “Wow… You really don’t know who I am, do you?”

Matt: “No, I do! I do, you were in that movie with the…. dragons and then that other movie with the…”

Both: “Dragons.”

Me: “Literally how Mom describes every actor and actress in the world.”


Luckily Vince pops out to interrupt this re-introduction between Jessica and Matt and asks Matt if he could teach him how to build a snowman, too. I can only presume this is for some more method acting of his… Maybe in return Vince could teach Matt how to watch all of Jessica’s films without shouting at her to watch out for that dragon she’s already swinging a sword at. I hope there are dragons in this new film…

With only 9 days until Christmas I have yet to see a single scene being filmed but Ian is still skulking around and is now even taking pictures of Zoe when he encounters her on the street. The man also puts on ‘shows’ which…. I think maybe saying he showcased his work in a gallery would have been better but… he takes pictures of all the random people who inspire him. I’m not sure what Zoe inspires him to do other than fall out of trees and steal ice packs off people.

Prediction #9 – Ian’s real dream is to just be an actual photographer and not the shady bastard he currently is

Oh, looks like I spoke too soon. We actually are being subjected to an awful scene filmed between Jessica and Vince which has all the chemistry of two dead, rotting fish that have been cut out of the stomach of a bear that was found dead out in the wilderness and the wildlife rangers carted back to a partner laboratory for them to do an autopsy on to check there are no diseases running rampant through the nationally protected forest but it turned out the bear just died of a case of complete boredom. …. Yeah, that kind of chemistry.

Forgetting completely that they are broken up, Vince is still reminiscing about past Christmas gifts he bought for Jessica and the one he bought her this year too! This man is dense. He’d even very much like to go for dinner with her that evening but Jessica is pre-booked on a sleigh ride with the Mayor and his family.

There appears to be some sort of queue for a sleigh ride, as if they run every 10 minutes and pick people up from outside the Inn, where Vince is skulking around on his balcony and wondering if Matt can show him how to sit down in a sleigh for more of his method acting. I am very sure Jessica mentioned Zoe in this sleigh ride but they have left the poor woman at home so she can take pity on Ian standing outside and freezing to death and invite him in for hot chocolate, instead. He is alarmingly bad at this journalist gig seeing as his star attraction was patiently waiting 20 feet away from him and just rode off in a sleigh he could definitely have followed on foot.

Meanwhile, Jessica is playing her tiny violin as she explains how she usually ruins her family’s Christmas by bringing drama and paparazzi with her, so just goes to Fiji instead. As children are want to do, Sophie hands her an open invitation to spend Christmas with them at the Inn.

With only 7 days to go before Christmas we are now filming a scene where Vince is teaching Jessica to skate and hogging the entire rink while the rest of the town stands around and waits for them to be done. When Anna is speaking to Matt about what they both respectively asked Santa for this year Vince feels he is missing out on the spotlight so starts doing skating tricks which would really only serve to remind people if these stars weren’t showboating so much they might actually be able to get on the rink themselves before midnight.

Jessica’s first foray into producing a film looks like it might bomb and she’ll just have to stay in Homestead, pretending she never bothered trying in the first place. Invited into the inner sanctum of Sophie’s room, Jessica gets to hear about how Sophie’s dead mom loved her films too and is assured her mom is probably always thinking about her from heaven while Matt stands outside crying. Ya men can be as emotional as ya damn well please but you can’t tell me singing Celine Dion in a karaoke bar helped you get over your dead wife but start crying when a random actress compares your deceased partner to Santa Claus. I have a feeling that karaoke tip really didn’t work out as well as he first made out.

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Any excuse to go and sing more Celine Dion

6 days to go and we’re all about filming scenes these days. But only at night. There where some extras in the street behind Jessica and Vince, stealing the limelight by greeting each other and hugging each other constantly, that really distracted me. Despite Barbara saying the shot was great, probably because she was also distracted by the people in the background and missed all of the terrible acting, she wants to go again, much to Jessica’s dismay. Tonight is the great snowball fight and they can’t make the townspeople delay it any longer! No matter that it looks to be in a completely different part of town sectioned off for this very reason…

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I believe this was the first draft of The Greatest Showman

I suspect this was less about delays and more about Jessica wanting to pelt snowballs at Vince and Barbara. Even Gavin has given up his usual bodyguard duties to hammer people with frozen water. When Zoe interrupts Ian’s photography by throwing a snowball at him he promptly falls over. Again. At least he addresses the fact he is the most unstable man in the entire world and Zoe thinks it might just be karma. She’s the one person talking sense in this place…

Unfortunately, his phone also flew out of his pocket so it could conveniently go off and Zoe could read a message claiming someone is willing to double the price for the picture of Jessica. The journalist with a heart comes clean immediately leading to the standard debate between the pair, weighing up a lot of money or Zoe’s brother being ripped apart by the tabloids. When Ian promises not to sell the picture this can really only lead to one thing…

Prediction #10 – that photo is getting out either way (probably thanks to Vince) and Zoe is going to immediately blame Ian for it

Unfortunately for Gavin he is once more left alone with Sophie and begins to look a little worried when she starts asking him exactly how tall he is. She is probably planning to include him in some nefarious plot to reach a high shelf for her…

Matt has just ran after Jessica to return her phone for her because not one of these Hollywood folks has suitable pockets for the devices, when he overhears only a portion of the conversation between her and Vince where he is adamant he is not acting in his scenes and really does still love her. As much as someone with a strong jaw and low IQ can love anything outside of their own reflection, I suppose. Matt has to walk away before he hears Jessica tell Vince this is all completely ridiculous because otherwise the film would be 30 minutes shorter than the mammoth length it already feels. Vince clearly blames this entire ordeal on Matt but I really wouldn’t be too concerned about what pain the man can dish out. He’d probably need to ask Matt what his weaknesses are as an innkeeper before he could make a move. Late tax returns, I guess.

Feeling sorry for himself, Matt can be found eating an entire fruit pie out of the dish to himself. Cue a heart-to-heart with Zoe who, as any self-respecting sister would, has stolen the pie off her brother to eat during this and listens to his nonsensical rambling before hitting him with a solid metaphor about stars and gravitational pulls. That is until Jessica rocks up looking for her phone and the man literally hurtles himself out of his chair to go and get it for her before taking her out onto the freezing porch for coffee.


Matt: “What about Vince?”

Jessica: “What about him?”

Matt: “He still loves you.”

Jessica: “Yeah, and I love him.”

Me: “Like someone loves having the flu.”

Jessica: “But I’m not in love with him anymore.”

Matt: “Are you sure because he’s pretty stiff competition.”

Me: “By which I mean it’s like talking to a plank of wood most of the time.”


Matt tries to avoid this kiss by reminding Jessica she will leave in a few days and even when she suggests staying for Christmas he can’t help reminding the woman that Christmas does eventually end. Like… all over the world, it eventually ends.

The next day even Ian is learning a harsh lesson: never share your pictures with your… whoever… if you don’t want them to get sold! Now the picture of Jessica and Matt is all over t’internet and all of his hopes and dreams of starting his new life as a decent human being go up in flames. As does Rosalie’s dreams of having a nice, normal, quiet film shoot when someone from The Times calls her to let her know the world just ended.

Unfortunately, no one can get to Matt in time before he heads out the door for better reception to take a call and is hit with a shit load of paparazzi on his doorstep. At least Sophie is trying to work the cameras before she is dragged unceremoniously back into the Inn.


Rosalie: “Look, Jess, I get it. You’re stressed about the movie and Vince and suddenly you have this warm fuzzy Christmas story come to life with the beautiful family and the sleigh rides and…

Jessica: “You’re worried about my career.”

Rosalie: “No, I’m worried about my friend.”

Me: “Who I happen to work and who didn’t invite me to Fiji.”

Rosalie: “Give it all up and go live in a mountain and raise goats! I don’t care as long as you’re happy!”

Me: “PERFECT! KIERAN! I KNOW WHAT I WANNA DO WITH LIFE!”


Rosalie does, at least, draw the line at returning to Hollywood and getting back together with Vince, otherwise she will be joining me up the mountain with my goats instead.

Zoe has suddenly taken a turn on this shit storm due to the amount of calls they have had from people wanting to stay at the Inn and this would be the perfect time to start their franchise. Which, unsurprisingly, Matt is really not a fan of because change is the devil. Zoe is trying to hit him with another metaphor when Gavin turns up to check on the family, especially Sophie, who promptly invites him to her tea-party.

Gavin teaches Sophie a valuable lesson in not posting all of your damn pictures online and people in pictures on the Internet are actually people, not just pixels. There is, however, still time for him to drink some tea and hand his number over to the family in case Sophie should ever need him for anything.

Prediction #11 – Sophie is gonna need him for something like being mobbed by paparazzi

Meanwhile, Jessica is hoping some other celebrity on this big wide world will do something monumentally dumb and take the spotlight off them for a while so everything can go back to normal. As… normal as any of these people’s lives are. As predicted, Zoe doesn’t believe a word Ian is spouting about nothing being his fault and tells him to get off her damn property.

Prediction #12 – Ian will make a grand gesture with all the photos he has of Zoe and other assorted people to make her forgive him

Barbara is hoping the crew will understand they will all need to work until sunrise that evening – because this film is apparently all set at fucking midnight – and work through Christmas Eve, too. Although the crew might be cool with this, Jessica very much doubts that the town will. She certainly does believe she has a large area of impact on her, I gotta say. That’s probably what gives her a new, mystery idea, in the first place.

3 days until Christmas and another town meeting is being called with the film stars and crew involved too. The townsfolk seem to friggin’ love the fact their own Mayor was caught kissing this movie star so I can’t imagine the idea of including their Christmas Eve: Festival of Lights in the movie, as the last scene, is really going to bother them too much. There are about only 20 people in this town by the looks of it but every single one of them wants to be an extra in this final scene.

It’s strange how at all of these town meetings the Mayor appears to have zero sway. Then again, they do have to spend all year with him. They know him far too well. Storming out of the meeting, Matt is more concerned that the festival will be too big and grand and he used to take his damn wife to that thing! Unfortunately the paparazzi storm the place just in time to break up a delightful apology on Jessica’s part and away he storms once more.

The man can’t even get a moment’s peace when decorating his tree as Vince turns up to enlighten us about how this movie is going to end; Jessica is going to go back to Hollywood and that will be that, yet it seems a shame all the same. I can’t tell if this was some sort of very subtle and veiled threat or he might be encouraging the Mayor to follow his heart. I am sure Vince doesn’t really know what he meant either.

I also hope that Matt is aware Barbara has flown her entire family out to spend Christmas there. You know how he doesn’t like change!! She also reminds Jessica she needs to decide whether work or personal life come first and she simply decided work could suck it, this time. Matt was probably chasing Zoe down to inform her they had 4 more unexpected guests but instead finds her getting food ready to feed the crew with because they’re like a weird, extended family. For some reason the paparazzi have cleared off for the day but will be back tomorrow…

Now… if this is Christmas Eve then… they’ll be back Christmas Day? And if this isn’t yet Christmas Eve… why would they come back even closer to the time of the big day? They don’t know that Jessica is planning on staying for Christmas, regardless, so why wouldn’t they have headed home to camp out and wait for her there? Ah, movie plots, what wondrous things you are.

When Matt mentions their only saving grace would be another celebrity doing something dumb Zoe gets an idea and wonders off, leaving Matt to deliver food to the masses instead. This new plan involves roping in not only Ian but Vince, who offers himself up. Now… if he is still in Homestead at the time I really don’t think that’s going to help the paparazzi move on and leave the entire town alone… When he said he understood what Zoe was getting at I hope they double checked with him. Just to make sure.

Matt appears to think what a tiring crew needs in order to cheer them up is a procession of carol singers coming towards them out of the night. Sure, they might be bringing food with them but they are also bringing tunes and I don’t know how I would feel about my pie being served with a helping of ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’.

At least Sophie is still overjoyed to see Jessica every time they meet because everyone’s big plan was to leak that original picture of Jessica and Vince kissing from the beginning of the movie. HOW!? HOW IS THAT GOING TO HELP ANY!? THE PAPARAZZI ARE GONNA STAY UNTIL THE END OF SHOOTING AND ARE GONNA BE TRYING TO GET PICTURES OF MATT TO CHECK HOW HEARTBROKEN HE IS! Christ on a bike, these people.

The next day and it looks as though, somehow, Jessica is not aware of this media storm brewing around her. I am more confused by the scene being filmed in the day where they were supposed to kiss but don’t and presumably will film the kiss at some other time… despite the fact Barbara says they now need to wait until night. Their favourite. So what… is that scene just going to dramatically change from the middle of the day to the middle of the night? Man, I would love to see this film once it was finished. They should release it as some sort of bizarre sequel.

With only 20 minutes of the actual film to go, a lot of people are going to have to have a lot of changes of hearts to wrap this up neatly. Vince finally gives Jessica her Christmas present which is a tabloid article on their most recent picture together and I can’t tell what he thought the reaction would be or whether he planned to leak that picture for Christmas all along. I mean… he does explain himself eloquently enough that his present to Jessica was to save Matt’s reputation but I still really feel they went about this all wrong.

Zoe is enjoying the Inn’s porch, now completely empty of mad photographers, so much so that she is willing to freeze her ass out there on a rocking chair to take in the scenery. It also makes it much easier for Ian to find her and give her the Christmas gift every woman wants. An actual, flattering photo that they didn’t have to take themselves. He has also brought her a photo release form that she needs to sign in order for him to use the photo in a Chicago show. Luckily he even included a pen in the bag so that she could sign it for him and maybe even perhaps visit the show so she can see herself being admired by other people. Zoe is getting the best deal out of this Christmas, I feel.

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“I forgot that’s what I looked like without a Snapchat filter!”

It takes a small child to remind Matt to stop being such an arsehole and get them to the damn festival already, so he can get there just in time to invite Jessica to stay for Christmas and admit that he is, in fact, an arsehole and is also delaying the crew and everybody else filming this scene who just want to get home to their own families in order to admit this.


Matt: “Look, I know it’s tricky with your career and Vince but… we’ll figure it out. We have to try.”

Me: “OK so… when you thought she was totally, wonderfully, free and available this was all too difficult but now that you think she might have got back together with Vince this is all totally doable and you’re just happy for her to cheat on him or throw him under the tour bus. GREAT! You are definitely a completely reliable man to have around for the rest of her life. That’s just great.”


Jessica and Vince play out their last scene where she was meant to be going back to Hollywood, I presume, but instead ad libs and changes the entire direction of the movie which Vince finds very hard to keep up with. When she asks to run the scene again so they can end it with a kiss instead, Vince exits stage right and allows Matt to step up instead. I really hope they try and edit that into the film. I really do.

When we see a world premiere sign for their new film outside a cinema I am actually hopeful for a second we will get to see it but unfortunately all we get is them walking down the tiny red carpet in Homestead and onto a sleigh. I am more amazed that the place has a cinema at all and that it is casually on a residential street and right next to someone’s house.

And thank god that is over! I really would have preferred to watch the shambles of the film within a film, like that time I wanted to watch the Christmas play in Finding Father Christmas rather than the actual film. But I mean come on… that play had discount Death in it. You can’t argue with a discount version of Death.

If you would like to guess what sort of film Jessica and Barbara managed to produce then head over here. I, however, will be checking what scores I managed to rack up today.

 

Prediction board – 7.5/12

  • Prediction #1 – we’re not staying here for Christmas, the title alone tells us that (Kim, please, shut the hell up about your ‘Love In Line for Santa book title already!) – This really was more a dig at Kim who I’m still not over than a prediction but still… CORRECT
  • Prediction #2 – The picture of Jessica and Vince is going to come back and bite her in the ass – CORRECT! Although… seeing as it was intentional…. HALF A POINT!
  • Prediction #3 – Matt’s ability to be Mayor will be questioned but the townsfolk will stick up for him – INCORRECT! They didn’t even bother consulting him on most things anyway
  • Prediction #4 – Vince is gonna have to take pointers from Matt about being an innkeeper – Never actually happened… I guess it wasn’t rocket science after all. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #5 – Matt is gonna replace Vince in the film as the innkeeper! – It happened for two seconds people! That means it happened! CORRECT!
  • Prediction #6 – Jessica will fucking hate Sophie like she hates all children – INCORRECT! The woman seriously let me down
  • Prediction #7 – When it matters most Ian will have a conscience because he hates being a reporter anyway – CORRECT! He never did release that picture but he was dumb enough to send it in the first place…
  • Prediction #8 – Side story romance for Zoe and Ian! – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #9 – Ian’s real dream is to just be an actual photographer – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #10 – The photo of Jessica and Matt is getting out either way and Zoe is going to immediately blame Ian for it – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #11 – Sophie will call Gavin for help – INCORRECT! Not even to take her to a single piano lesson
  • Prediction #12 – Ian will make a grand gesture with the photos he has to make Zoe forgive him – CORRECT!

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: CHECK! They rode the thing all the damn time!
  • Piano: Pianos have once more been demoted for phones and tablets instead
  • Carolling: CHECK
  • Christmas Montage: I presume there is one in Jessica’s movie, but we missed out
  • Fire Hazards: The entire Inn! Finally!
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: CHECK
  • Snowing on cue: I wouldn’t like to say whether that was real snow or move magic so…. nooooo

 

Slowly crawling my way up my own lonely leaderboard! I realise most of my guesses were about Ian and Zoe but they were far more interesting than the actual main characters this time around.

Maybe we’ll try and avoid the Christmas movie inception feel from now on… It doesn’t work out great.

Christmas Advent #9 – 12 Gifts of Christmas

Aaaaalllll byyyyy myyyyyyseeeeeeelf. Prefer to be…. aaaaallll byyyyy MYYYYYYYself oooonce moooooore. 

No really. The house is silent and I can enjoy the brainwashing affects of Christmas films once more; something I discussed yesterday with Mother after she said they were really quite depressing when she was living on her own and the film was trying to convince her she needed a man in her life to make things complete. I informed her that was a crock of shit but she still demands I plant a fir tree in the back garden and hope for the best… Her excuse was ‘but you love trying to save the environment, I thought you’d enjoy saving a tree too.’ Almost caught me out with that too, the friggin cellar goblin.

Anyway, on with the film!

 

Cue the aerial shot of the city and festive city streets, which really should have been part of our checklist this year, and a shot of a shop window display that looks like the statue of liberty brandishing a turkey leg.

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In 2040 the Statue of Liberty will be an interactive attraction which lobs giant turkey legs at passing boats

We see two children running through a shop while two poor women run after them begging them to slow down, their joints can’t take this shit anymore. These kids would rather go see Santa than shop for a gift for their dad with their mom and Aunt Anna. Mom says she is shopping for a gift for their dad but I note she is in the women’s clothing section of the store touching party dresses so hey, who knows, this might be an interesting and open family!!

Anna promises her nieces with hot chocolate for good behaviour and is told by her sister that she really needs to stop spoiling them. No, no, you’re mistaken, that is called bribery. 


Mom: “What about this?”

Anna: “A shirt….”

Mom: “Yeah! It’s the perfect size and I think it will look good on him.”

Anna: “Mhm.”

Mom: “Uh-oh, what is it?”

Anna: “Nothing, I’m just wondering, as a present… what does this say?”

Me: “I want a divorce.”


Anna thinks her sister or maybe sister-in-law can do much better and commandeers this shop heading to destination ‘Frankie’s perfect Christmas present’. Apparently a gift wrapped basket of imported Italian spices will do the trick… They went to Italy on their honeymoon where Frankie took his wife to a million different bistros which made her fat so this year she is bringing the fat to him.

Despite the fact Anna is really good at picking gifts, ie. just pays attention to people, she is having some sort of financial difficulty and still owes her sister rent. Man, if only picking out gifts paid money…

Prediction #1 – At least someone is gonna find their dream career this Christmas

As it turns out Anna’s actual job as an artist isn’t paying any actual money either and nor will it if she is late for her appointment to see Julia at an art gallery inquiring about her first opening. Julia, or at least a woman who never confirmed she wasn’t Julia, doesn’t seem all that struck on hosting someone who is ‘between agents’ at the moment. You know, like respected and established artists.

Prediction #2 – Julia is going to regret this when Anna is much more famous and doesn’t host her work there

Anna feels the only cure for this terrible day would be coffee and almost runs into a man speaking to someone via Bluetooth, which always makes people look insane. As per usual Anna appears to know the staff at the coffee house well enough to have a ‘usual’ order and get freebies for her nieces handed over while meanwhile the business guy behind her is trying to avoid answering a call on the other line from his mother.

This guy is not having the best day and has popped in to find a cake for his assistant’s birthday that he completely forgot and has no idea what she likes. Cue Anna to the rescue which requires her to get very close to the man in order to whisper about ‘off-the-menu samplers’ that Eva never advertises but also somehow sells out of everyday… To entice this man into purchasing from the secret menu Anna shows him her own special cupcakes which is not a euphemism for anything and I kind of wish it was because the actual cupcakes she shows him are standard at best. Maybe he doesn’t get to see many cupcakes in his line of work but he seems impressed enough.

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These look like the kind of cupcakes my sister-in-law’s mother tries to make. … They taste like rubber.

Back home Anna is still moaning about the art gallery and her sister suggests she shows some more of her work. You know, like those convenient Christmas pictures she illustrates just for fun and aren’t really art. Love, your actual art clearly isn’t getting you very far right now so maybe try a different definition. This all comes back to your heart being in something again to make it extra special but Anna just wants to be taken seriously in her work, damn it! Even when her sister claims she would love to put up her Christmas artwork in the restaurant if only she would let her.

Oh good christ, if the painting Anna is holding is one of her own then Julia really didn’t miss out on anything by not bothering to look at her portfolio. Her sister isn’t too bothered that Anna is always late on rent because she gets payback in the form of free and constant babysitting. Like that evening.

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I love how she’s captured to real angular qualities of the water

At least the restaurant is doing well – it will be catering the Mayor’s annual Christmas party. I presume this is a big deal where nothing can go wrong.

Prediction #3 – by the Christmas party Anna’s work will be up in the restaurant in order to make the party extra special and the Mayor will fall in love with her work, boosting her popularity and qualifications

Back in an office the business guy is again ignoring calls from his mother in order to concentrate on this more thrilling, corporate conference calls. At least his staff are hanging around the office enjoying the cupcakes he brought back for them. A woman does answer the phone and announces the name of this office but I am not even going to attempt to decipher what she just said into that handset. It will only make me mad 40 minutes into the film where it turns out I’ve been writing the entire name.

Luckily some guy called Edward Maxwell rocks up and is able to pronounce the name Mark properly. However he does fuck up the enunciation of some woman who has called them with second thoughts about a digital campaign pitched for next Christmas. NEXT CHRISTMAS! She will be in in 6 days to see what Christmas miracle they have come up with because the fact they have an entire 6 months to dream this up just isn’t enough. NEXT CHRISTMAS!

The silver lining to this entire mess is that Mark doesn’t have to phone his mother back now because he’s far too busy and will be in meetings all day tomorrow. This apparently clashes with an appointment in his calendar labelled ‘Christmas Shopping’ but I am much more intrigued by yesterday’s appointment where he reviewed a Vacuum photo shoot. I bet they were impressed with their campaign…

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I think we all know the most important day of the year here

Prediction #4 – Anna will be doing all of his Christmas shopping for him because he is saving a campaign for NEXT CHRISTMAS

I hope he wasn’t meant to be shopping with his mother…

Back with Anna I can confirm she should definitely stick to painting Santa but she has definitely just removed that painting off the easel and put it up on the mantelpiece before some parts of it were completely dry. Unless, of course, she was just sitting in front of that easel for hours, waiting for the exact right moment to sign her initials.

It has come to my attention that people in Christmas films just adore have Christmas trees in the middle of rooms, hallways and landings where you have to fight with them just to get to the other side of the damn house. This ominous as shit tree is behind Anna as she tries to make job hunting even mildly interesting and instead turns to their trusty search engine ‘Thurbble’. I adore that name.

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That tree wasn’t there at the beginning of the scene….

Despite thinking a job where you paid to shop didn’t exist she sure does search the term ‘personal shopper’ quickly enough and even gets herself some business cards printed out to put up in Eva’s cafe. She leaves the place just in time to bump into Mark and find out he doesn’t eat sugar. Remarkable.

Prediction #5 – he is picking up her business card so he can be pleasantly surprised and shocked to see her yet again

Although he may not eat sugar he is nice enough to be pick up a dozen assorted muffins for his employees, seeing as they adored being off their faces on buttercream yesterday. And so the business card disappears into his pocket.

None of the people around the table in this meeting seem to even notice the sudden presence of muffins in the room. I don’t care how much the client hated the pitch for NEXT YEAR’s festive campaign because it was too similar to this year’s. You never ignore a free muffin. Again, not a euphemism. Mark is much better at enunciating and the woman who is not happy with NEXT YEAR’S digital campaign is Nina Collins.

Edward pops up later in the day to a) check how the brainstorming is going and b) whether Mark has made a decision on the ‘company Christmas present’ because it’s his turn this year. I am really not sure what a company Christmas present is…. Is it given to the building? The complete hierarchy? Do we all share? Is it just a strange phrase for Christmas party? Oh god, it’s not team building in disguise, is it!?

I can’t tell if Mark really thinks he is capable of pulling this off as well as creating a new pitch in 6 days or whether he just really doesn’t want Edward to hand over his turn to some guy called Terry. Maybe Terry’s idea of a company present is hunting endangered animals or something.

Prediction #6 – is Mark REALLY going to ask Anna to deal with his company present, too!?

With some help from is assistant she informs him the 11th December is too late to order gumball machines and some… kind of balls with the company logo on was done last year. What kind of friggin company presents are these!? Whose turn was it last year!? Was that you, Terry!?

Seeing as the man has been completely ignoring her Mark’s mother turns up at his office in true parent style. Apparently the man has been dodging her for an entire month. That takes some dedication, I gotta give it to him.


Mark’s Mom: “I’m not going to hold you up here. I was just in the neighbourhood and thought I would drop in and say hello.”

Me: “And the real meddling reason she is there in 3….2….1…”

Mark’s Mom: “And I was wondering what you’re doing for Christmas this year.”

Me: “Aaaaaand there it is. Look at those crazy fucking eyes.”


 

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“What do you mean I won’t have grandchildren by Christmas Day in 2 weeks!?”

Mark’s Mom’s crazy eyes may be due to the strange make-up the production team have given her but it really does bring the insanity out in them. Really she just wants her son to spend Christmas with his family and doesn’t he know that his sister and her husband are flying in this year? And on Christmas morning they were all going to go downstairs and open presents together! My God, this woman’s ideas are revolutionary! Get her to work on NEXT YEAR’s Christmas campaign!

All his mother’s visit really does is remind the man he actually needs to buy gifts for all of these persistent people and he quickly phones up Anna to help him the fuck out. Anna almost screws it up herself by cutting the man off when she thinks it might be the Hope Art Gallery instead but saves it just in time to arrange to meet at her sister’s restaurant.

Cue the alarmed reveal and her sister who keeps popping around the side of the Christmas tree to point at the back of Mark’s head and inform Anna of how cute he is during their very. important. business. conversation. Ahem. Anna does at least reveal that Mark is her first client and she is actually a painter but is still trying to make a living from that so this secret can’t come back and bite her in the ass at a later date like they usually do. The woman is getting an amazing 30 quid an hour and Mark has already put in the hard work by setting up a spreadsheet to cover the 13 shopping days left and the 12 people and 12 gifts he still needs.

Now my family is right obsessed with Christmas (if you couldn’t tell) and this isn’t a one gift and done kind of deal. They had really better be extraordinary gifts if you’re only getting one. Like the puppy I really hope to receive next year.


Anna: “A smart watch! Didn’t they just come out?”

Me: “Aren’t they… always just coming out?”


This film came out in 2015, there is really no excuse for her shock. Apparently this gift is for his oldest friend Graham Ainsley and the pair are always trying to top each other each year which is a competition that has been going on since they were roommates in prep school. Back then they were so broke they would just watch sports game and eat instant ramen.

Prediction #7 – Anna is going to get very sentimental with Mark’s gifts this year – looks like it’s instant ramen for you, Graham

Mark sets her the very easy task of buying a smart watch and…. I think this guy is just going to give her an assignment every day. Does he know she has two hands and is capable of carrying more than one bag at a time? He also happily hands over his business and, more importantly, his credit card before taking a call and leaving the restaurant. RUN, ANNA! RUN! You can buy so much before he even realises!!!!

In the tech shop Anna has found herself there are masses of fake Poinsettia’s everywhere. Yesterday Mom bought me a real one because I have about a million houseplants already and can ever say no and god damn it the cellar goblin got me again! Anyway, I took a brief 5 minutes to check out correct Poinsettia care and after deciding I totally got this in the bag I went back to watching Anna try and get a sold out smart watch. The internet, my dear. The internet. That existed back in 2015.

Anna doesn’t seem too concerned by the news that the smart watch is sold out and settles back into the massage chair the tech shop has…. weirdly…. to mull this problem over. It just so happen this chair is facing a TV with a basketball game on and the nostalgic idea I knew she was going to have suddenly springs to mind. This leads her to Mark’s office where she is met with a receptionist who only knows a few lines of speech that she simply recycles to everyone she meets.


Receptionist: “And… who may I ask is calling?”

Me: “She’s… she’s standing right in front of you… Are you going to call up to Mark to tell him you have Anna on line 1 and then try to patch an entire human being through to the 10th floor?”


I don’t know why Anna seems so incredibly nervous to be in the office building – maybe she has an aversion to a polished chrome finish or something. Either way when she gets to Mark she confirms she has Graham’s gift and hands him an envelope that is definitely not a smart watch. I somehow doubt that Anna went into five stores and checked online like she claims and probably just went with the idea she came up with in the first store but that envelope contains two courtside Knicks tickets and a gift certificate for the highest rated ramen restaurant in the city.

I would also like to hire Anna but I fear Mark has given her real high expectations for an hourly wage.

Mark is not as impressed as Anna is with her own gift ideas and is going to take some serious convincing to actually spend time with people this Christmas. He is more bemused that Anna didn’t just do what he asked her to do and used her own initiative and kind of, sort of, maybe fires her while he has a think about all of this. In the meantime his assistant, Sandy, will at least write Anna a cheque for the work she did so really nobody lost anything today and at least she remembers to give him his credit card back. Oh, his name is Marc Rehnquist. EVEN WHEN YOU THINK YOU GET A NAME AS SIMPLE AS MARK RIGHT IT JUST HAS TO BE SPELT DIFFERENT. TELL ME, HOW THE FUCK HAVE THEY DECIDED TO SPELL ANNA? IS IT JUST A SERIES OF FUCKING NUMBERS?!

Anna is quite dejected when she leaves the building but there is nothing much to fear as, on his way to a meeting, Mark asks Sandy to mail out a bunch of papers on his desk. One of which is the envelope to Graham. There is no address on this so I hope she knows what his address is and Graham is aware he can’t open this present until Christmas but… out the door it goes anyway!

Back at home at least Anna’s nieces are complimenting her artist skills and boast that their decorations are always fancier than the other neighbourhood kids. Anna tries to tell them it’s the thought that counts but can’t help being bitter about Mark rejecting her sentimental gift. The next stop on Anna’s journey to world domination is to make a website for herself and so she doesn’t notice the child who is subtly circling her and trying to strangle her with a paper chain.

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Anna really should have listened to that psychic that told her Christmas would kill her one day

At his own apartment Mark is working hard and eating… probably ramen from the local Chinese takeaway when who should turn up but Graham to thank him in person! Told you they should have put a note on that letter to say it was a Christmas present… Thankfully he can’t stay long because his wife is in the cab outside so we don’t have to listen to how much he loved the upgraded version of hoops and noodles this year.


Graham: “I mean the TV was cool but I gotta admit… I haven’t even opened it! I already had one!”

Me: “I don’t see a smart watch on that wrist of yours though. You don’t have one of those already.”


Graham is on the way to take his family away over Christmas which really just reminds Mark that he has been avidly avoiding his own for the season but at least he has come around to the idea of sentimental gifts. I would like to see Anna buy meaningful gifts for some nephews the man has probably never even seen before. Her opportunity to do so is fast coming when Mark rings her in the morning and wakes her up to meet him at the cafe/bakery.

I am happy to report that Anna at least wears tights in cold weather even when there is no snow on the ground. I’m looking at you, (). Mark admits that Graham loved his gift and he will no longer question the woman’s instincts but he does need her to help with the company gift that year. When he says he has to buy hundreds of people a gift I’m still unsure whether this is one big gift or a gift each… and how the hell is she going to make these so personal? I guess she could give Sandy a better pen for writing cheques when people get fired.


Anna: “Well, usually I ask people questions but I think I’d look pretty suspicious trawling the halls of your agency asking strangers what they want for Christmas.”

Me: “Why? The company Christmas gift isn’t a secret. They know it’s coming.”


Instead Mark decides to invite Anna to the company Christmas party tomorrow night where she can mingle with his department and get a feel for gift ideas. This of course involves her going as his date to avoid that weird stranger trawling the dance floor feel she was about to start exuding.

Prediction #8 – Mark’s mom is definitely going to hear about this and get very excited

Anna’s sister is nice enough to ditch all of her restaurant responsibilities, by which I mean literally dropping a bunch of napkins she was setting out on tables on the spot, to take Anna on a dress shopping montage where we don’t get to see the winning garment for maximum shock affect that we can experience right alongside Mark when he finally sees her.

There is much mingling going on with cocktails in what appears to be the friggin’ foyer of the building when Anna bursts in and commandeers Mark’s attention. Being very forward she goes right ahead and loosens the man tie so he doesn’t look quite so much like he’s going to pitch a new campaign to the office. Adamant that he can relax he actually does away with the tie completely and trails around after Anna while she canvases his staff who Mark is surprised to find actually have their own lives and interests.

Struggling to find one gift to rule them all, Anna suggests just giving them the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve off. I’m not sure how the major heads of the company will feel about that exactly but we’re about to find out because the very next day Edward brings it up in a meeting which leads to an even bigger meeting to announce the paid week off. Unfortunately, Mark is not so sure he’ll be taking the week off.

Over lunch with Anna and a huge bowl of pasta I am proud of he hands her another cheque with a bonus in it, despite the fact I haven’t seen her buy any other gifts for people… The man even ignores a call from work to keep eating with the woman! He loves his pizza so much he orders five from Anna’s sister to take back to the office with him. This man is heading for employee of the entire season.

Anna is feeling good, she’s paying off all her late rent, she’s being wished Merry Christmas by random people dressed as Santa in the street, she is buying a shirt I distinctly remember her telling her sister not to buy for her own husband and she is even checking out apartment’s for rent. I hate to remind her she currently only has one client and Christmas ends fairly soon… The landlord cares not what she does, only that the rent is on time, something Anna really doesn’t have a long and wonderful history with.

Prediction #9 – at some point in her future, maybe outside of this film, the rent will not be on time

Back in the real world Nina Collins is not so impressed with the pitch for NEXT YEAR that has been delivered to her because they are just not personal enough but she appreciates the hard work. One employee is freaking out that Nina has another meeting with their biggest competitor and they’re all gonna be out of a client but Mark seems pretty calm about it all.

Prediction #10 – Anna will be helping with the damn pitch, as well

Despite not eating sugar Mark turns up at the bakery to get a cupcake and runs into Anna so he can offload all his woes to her.


Anna: “What are you doing here?! Wanna join me?”

Mark: “Well, I think my company’s about to lose a huge client.”

Anna: “Uh-oh.”

Me: “Yeah, that ‘what are you doing here’ question was purely rhetorical.”

Mark: “Yeah, I’ve done hundreds of campaigns over the years but I just don’t know how to give them what they want…. You?”

Me: “Christ, well how is she gonna top that?”


Anna quickly glosses over Mark’s troubles and reveals that she is celebrating finally levelling up as an adult and moving on with her life! That means her art will have to fall at the wayside a little, however, just like Mark’s creative writing degree he decides to tell us all about! A creative writing degree and he still can’t get this pitch right… The man did go from a copywriter in a small agency to where he is now though so I can’t help feeling he is doing something right.

After a chat about each other’s family and how Mark probably won’t spend Christmas with them he decides maybe he really will call his sister that he probably hasn’t spoken to for years. Instead of going back to the office Anna decides to drag the man along with her to get the rest of the gifts from his list. I have mixed feelings about this because she either hasn’t been buying any this whole time or has just brought whatever was on the list which really defeats the whole point of her making him look amazing to all of his family and friends.


Mark: “Wasn’t the whole point of me hiring someone was so I didn’t have to go shopping?”

Anna: “Oh, come on, no ones going to miss you for one hour, are they?”

Me: “Harsh.”


Cue a shopping montage where Mark remembers what it is to not be in the office and also take many samples off some poor woman in the shop. I’m not sure what the samples are of, considering she is standing in the candle section but Mark and Anna seem to be enjoying them.

Even though Anna clearly points out the fact that they have now brought presents for everyone on Mark’s list when she asks what is next and Mark responds with the very clear fact they appear to be finished…. she looks stunned. At least the man is willing to leave a review on her website whenever the hell she gets that set up. If I was her I’d be more worried how I’m going to pay my first month’s rent. Maybe she can offer to babysit the landlord’s kids for free, too.

Seeing as the pair are awkwardly parting ways and we are only halfway through the film I really don’t know where we can go from here. We could very easily wrap this film up in the next 20 minutes with Mark’s change of Christmas spirit but I guess…. we’re here for the entire ride now.

I am happy to see that Anna appears to still be living at home with only 8 days until Christmas and rather than answer her sister’s questions about whether she’s so sad because she doesn’t get to talk to Mark anymore she goes and colours with her nieces instead. Well, she colours with one of them. The older one is dealing with green beans or something.

The Mayor’s annual Christmas meal is still taking up all of Anna’s sister’s time so she asks if she can babysit both that evening and on Sunday 21st. This date is so specific I can’t help but feel…

Prediction #11 – Mark is going to need her on 21st December and the kids are just going to have to come along with her

Back at his apartment Mark is setting up the hideous, fake white tree they brought for him whilst shopping and declares Anna wins before calling his sister. Yvonne, I think, happens to be standing next to their mother when she takes the call and that woman is looking at that phone like ‘Why the fuck is he calling you and not me?’. If he doesn’t ask for her to put Mom on the phone he is going to pay dearly for this…

Instead he arranges to meet his sister for lunch the next day and she is more worried that there is something in the water around here. The mention of his nephews just wanting to see Uncle Mark over Christmas would have me running for the hills and in all fairness he’s still not completely set on the idea either. When invited to go skating that Saturday he immediately asks if he can bring a friend along…

This leads to a strange scene where Mark rocks up at her house where she conveniently forgot to tell him she lived in her sister’s basement and before he got down the stairs she was hiding coffee mugs behind cushions. His voice really carries when he shouts though, she heard him calling her from up the stairs and across the room perfectly. He is also very impressed by all of Anna’s paintings that she has hung up around the place. I would be likely to warn him not to touch them because they’re probably all still wet when she hung them up there.

Anna is delighted that Mark will actually be spending time with his family this Christmas and will be adding a few extra gifts to the list for his family. I guess it’s harder to only give them a single gift you didn’t really put much thought into when you’re face to face with them.. He also invites Anna to skating despite the fact I don’t think she can. This should be interesting.

Eric, Yvonne, Jackson and Cooper all meet Anna, his FRIEND before she basically adopts the youngest child and leads him off into the rink to find her some skates. It shocks me that these people are always so comfortable around children… especially children on very sharp blades. I went skating once and it was the worst experience ever. I can’t even walk in a straight line, I don’t know why I thought skating was going to be a good idea.

Anna takes the chance to canvas Yvonne on what she wants for Christmas but it’s the pretty simple desire to have the entire family together for the season. At this point, unless Mark suffers a crisis of faith, it’s a done deal. Yvonne is even nice enough to suggest a hot chocolate break 2 seconds after getting on the ice so she can remove her kids from pestering their uncle and Mark can safely lead Anna around the rink without falling on her ass.

Prediction #12 – Mark will be tempted to stick with work this Christmas rather than his family but will turn up at the last minute

When his mom calls again the next day he’s going to wish he was still ignoring her calls.


Mark’s Mom: “I know how busy you are so I’ll cut right to the chase.”

Mark: “I appreciate that.”

Mark’s Mom: “I was chatting with your sister this morning and she said me you brought a… friend to the ice rink.”

Me: “She said she would cut right to the chase, not that it would be a short conversation.”


Mark’s Mom is inviting Anna to Sunday dinner at 6 that evening and has already made her mind up that that is happening before the man can answer or find out what the fuck Anna had planned. I hope she cooked enough for two extra kids she wasn’t expecting…

Anna is more excited she will have chance to find out what everyone wants for Christmas on the 21st! of December! and completely forgets it was the Mayor’s party tonight and she was supposed to be babysitting. I can’t tell if she tries to guilt her sister into letting this one slide but her sister is out that door and not having a second of it.


Anna: “Mark, hi. It’s Anna. I’m sorry to have to cancel at the very last second but I messed up. I forgot I had to babysit my nieces tonight.”

Mark: “Well that’s OK, why don’t we just bring them?”

Anna: “Really?”

Mark: “Yes. My mom loves kids plus they can hang out with the boys.”

Me: “Would have been awkward if you were using that as an excuse to get out of dinner…”


I also hope Anna remembered to take the lasagne her sister had left for them in the oven because Mark has come to pick them up and it’s time to go. Mark has even brought her a hideous necklace Anna saw whilst shopping that she just really loved which at least is sweet of him and I have decided he is one of the least annoying men out of the tragic 9 we have met already.

They get to drive down a street with some manic Christmas decorations up which reminds me of a small village just down the road from us where they all decorate their houses and allow people to come and walk around and check them out and even give donations if they feel like it. It’s the closest we’ll ever get to a living Christmas film. However, unlike Mark, I did not grow up in what looks like the honest to god biggest house on earth but at least the kid’s look impressed by it.

Before entering the house Anna reminds them to be polite and on their best behaviour so I can only hope one of them tells Mark’s mom to pass the fucking potatoes at the dinner table. When asking how Mark and Anna met Mark decides to tell his mother they definitely met when he hired her to help around the office and distracts them by mentioning how great she is at painting. Mark’s Dad is trying to get his camera to work so he can take pictures of the entire family and it looks like he might be getting a new camera for Christmas.

All his mom wants, like his sister, is for the whole family to be together at Christmas and points out a portrait painted of them the last time they were all together before Mark went off to prep school. Now. If I can get screenshots of nothing else from this film I promise I will get you a screenshot of this. I had to pause the film and laugh for 2 minutes straight because this portrait is the gift that just keeps giving. I can’t… they have to see that every day. Who the fuck are these people. I need that thing as my screensaver on every single device I own.

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Behold!


Mark: “Oh, don’t look at that.”

Me: “No, really, please, don’t fucking look at that.”

Anna: “But you look so cute.”

Me: “I can’t breathe.”


We are thankfully saved by the bell to signify the roast is done and we can all hopefully sit in a different room. I can’t decide whether Anna is looking at the portrait so much because she has a fantastic idea or she’s just keeping one eye on the painting in case they jump out of the fucking thing and come for her throat.

Prediction #13 – Anna is going to paint them a much better fucking portrait

At the end of the night Anna is pleased to hear the entire family love her but kissing her at this point would be a logistically difficult as at any point one of them is carrying the youngest niece. Isn’t that convenient. You know they can’t kiss until after some amount of strain has been put on their relationship.

After a delightful conversation with her sister where Anna admits Mark really ain’t so bad Mark turns up at his office to find Nina waiting for him with Edward. She is there to give Mark and his company a last chance to run their campaign for NEXT YEAR and just produce something special that gives them the feels.

Prediction #14 – not wanting to take away this holiday from all his staff Mark takes the blow and may have to work through his Christmas

He seems to have had a brainwave already, which is nice, and rocks up at Anna’s sisters restaurant asking for a favour. Back in yet another meeting Mark announces his revolutionary idea… it’s basically just a painting of Anna’s in a power point presentation where I have just realised Santa’s Christmas list is basically defying gravity and that’s probably why his staff don’t have the most convinced looks on their faces either.

Anna is just signing her name away on a picture we haven’t seen but is definitely a family portrait for Mark and despite the fact she has only seen their faces for one evening they will probably look a lot better than the portrait they currently have WHEN Mark shows up. Quickly throwing something over this portrait she accepts his gift of roses and prepares for this whole conversation to go downhill when he asks for her Christmas paintings and she reminds him they are just for fun and she wants to be a serious artist.


Mark: “I think you and I make a great team.”

Me: “Oh no. You have started this all wrong for what I know you are about to suggest.”

Anna: “So do I.”

Mark: “Which gave me a great idea. I think it’s time that you and I work on something a lot bigger than my Christmas gifts.”

Me: “You do not bring roses to a business pitch and change the woman’s portrait so Santa is holding a laptop.”


I could not face palm hard enough at the image of Santa holding a laptop and even if it wasn’t for the fact that Anna clearly specified she painted these things for herself I would have been outraged that he had altered my portrait so hideously. And here comes the turning moment where Anna realises Mark really is just bothered about profit margins and Mark is really bemused why Anna can’t be a serious artist while painting Santa. I mean… logistically it would be fantastic. You could relax and spend all year just painting for the one season….

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This picture is completely unrealistic. Santa is way too old to know how to work an Excel spreadsheet

Anyway. Anna is very sad and decides this would be a great time to call up about that apartment and check if it’s still available because your sister’s basement is just not enough room to be sad inside. In the office Sandy wonders if she still needs to post Anna’s new contract that Mark had drafted up without checking with anyone and serves to remind him he actually doesn’t have all of his family’s extra gifts.


Anna’s Sister: “It’s Christmas Eve. Are you really leaving? Do you have somewhere to go?”

Me: “Nah, thought I’d just pack all my shit up and go camp out on the lawn for the night.”


Anna’s feeling of betrayal has spilled over to her sister for handing her paintings over to Mark and is packing up all of her shit ready to move out after Christmas. I would have gotten over that betrayal pretty quick when considering the ability to pay rent late with no fuss.

Anna finds the incomplete check list of Mark’s extra gifts and weighs up whether to ring the man or not and tell him what he should be buying with his last few free shopping days. Mark still turns up bright and early with gifts and is met by his nephews at his mother’s house so she has much time to question him about his life choices.


Mark’s Mom: “I was hoping we might see Anna today. She’s such a lovely girl, so talented too.”

Mark: “Yeah.”

Mark’s Mom: “What’s she doing for the holiday?”

Me: “Planning my death, probably.”


Prediction #15 – Mark’s Mom is hunting Anna down and dragging her out that basement with her portrait

Anna is looking incredibly bitter while Christmas mayhem goes on around her and keeps looking at all the gifts with this weird, simpering expression that would be best slapped off her face.

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“Yes but suffered heartbreak and betrayal this Christmas.”

Anna’s Sister: “Come on, you don’t think I know when you’re pretending to have a good time?”

Me: “That was her trying!?”


Anna’s sister gives her the pep-talk of a lifetime about her art, her heart and her damn love life. This inspirational speech has Anna running off to see Mark and skipping out on Christmas dinner so this had better be good and I hope this means she will continue to live in the basement and not pay extortionate rent rates with the money she does not have.

Even at gift giving time in Mark’s house his mother is commenting about how they’re not all quite together as a family, like Anna was already part of this strange clan with a really nice house. I guess nothing is quite good enough, is it Mother?

Both Mark and Anna agree they were both wrong and both right and both overreacted which brings us to an even playing field that you could at least hope to build the stable foundations of a relationship on. Even from a completely different room his mother is meddling and interrupting their first kiss when she calls out to them.


Mark’s Mom: “Mark! Anna! Come see!”

Me: “Anna has been looking at that portrait for days. You’re calling her in like this will be a big surprise for her.”


I am going to presume they used a filter on a photograph of the family to make this portrait so I don’t know why they couldn’t have grabbed four random people and done the same for the original portrait. Or they just wanted it to look extra terrible so Anna’s would look extra amazing.

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“I guess we could… paint Anna in inside the tree or something?”

In full Mom mode now Mark’s mom states the portrait isn’t quite perfect because Anna isn’t in it. Like the woman would presumptuously paint herself into the scene of her bosses family like some crazed stalker who lives in her sister’s basement and paints pictures of Santa Claus all year round. I mean.. despite all those flaws she is still being invited to stay for dinner and to stick around for a few more Christmas’ yet.

Mark quickly takes the chance while his mother is in the other room busy with dinner to kiss the woman because isn’t she just the greatest Christmas gift he ever received. Going to be a bit difficult buying him something next year at this rate.

But that’s a wrap people! I didn’t even mind this film. Other than the very expected paddy that Anna threw when Mark butchered her painting of Santa there wasn’t any outlandish character flaws or whinging or completely illogical choices. I liked it!

Seriously, maybe actually take the time to give this one a go here. Unfortunately, I can only find that link to a tiny ass screen and some real weird voice overs on everyone. Mark doesn’t usually sound like Andre the Giant, I swear….

 

Prediction board – 8/15

  • Prediction #1 – At least someone is gonna find their dream career this Christmas – CORRECT
  • Prediction #2 – Julia is going to regret not hosting Anna’s work when she is famous and doesn’t want to know – Unless there is a sequel we will never know… INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #3 – by the Christmas party Anna’s work will be up in the restaurant and the Mayor will fall in love with her work, boosting her popularity and qualifications – I mean… her work was actually up in the restaurant anyway but it was not the Christmas paintings, as predicted. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #4 – Anna will be doing all of Mark’s Christmas shopping for him because he is saving a campaign for NEXT CHRISTMAS – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #5 – Mark will pick up Anna’s business card so he can be pleasantly surprised and shocked to see her yet again – Easy one. CORRECT!
  • Prediction #6 – is Mark REALLY going to ask Anna to deal with his company present, too!? – Yes… Yes he is. CORRECT!
  • Prediction #7 – Anna is going to get very sentimental with Mark’s gifts this year – CORRECT!
  • Prediction #8 – Mark’s mom will hear he had a date for the office Christmas party and get very excited – Apparently no one gossips anymore. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #9 – at some point in Anna’s future, maybe outside of this film, the rent will not be on time – I’m giving myself this one. Ya know why? Because she’s still in that basement! CORRECT!
  • Prediction #10 – Anna will be helping with the damn pitch, as well – In a round-about way…. yes, she did, but it wasn’t intentional so INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #11 – Mark is going to need Anna on 21st December and the kids are just going to have to come along with her – So very, very CORRECT!
  • Prediction #12 – Mark will be tempted to stick with work this Christmas rather than his family but will turn up at the last minute – The temptation really wasn’t that strong after he smashed that pitch with Santa on a laptop. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #13 – Anna is going to paint them a much better fucking portrait – Thank fucking god this was CORRECT!
  • Prediction #14 – Not wanting to take away this holiday from all his staff Mark takes the blow and may have to work through his Christmas – I think he would of, ya know… but he didn’t. INCORRECT!
  • Prediction #15 – Mark’s Mom is hunting Anna down and dragging her out that basement with her portrait – Anna pulled herself out of that basement. INCORRECT!

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: Not in the city, puh-lease
  • Piano: I am very sure they have all been burnt for kindling at this point
  • Carolling: Nada
  • Christmas Montage: We were even treated to a good ol’ 90’s fashion montage today!
  • Fire Hazards: Other than the fact the woman painted in a basement… not that bad
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: Everyone was alive god damn it! EVERYONE!
  • Snowing on cue: The weather was not playing ball this time

 

I am… mildly happy with that score! This wasn’t even toooooo bad of a film – not compared to some of the train wrecks we have already witnessed, anyway. I’d be happy to see more well-portioned food knocking around the place though and we never did find out what happened to that lasagne in the oven…

Before I shed a tear of possibly wasted lasagne let’s get out of here! Until tomorrow!

Christmas Advent #8 – The Mistletoe Inn

Today we have a special guest! MMMMMMOM! Unfortunately she watched a Christmas film before she rocked up to my house yesterday and all through this film she kept telling me how great the film she watched yesterday was instead, even if there were Christians in it. She spent this film sitting in the corner, knitting and, for the most part, just shouting about how much she hated Garth.

 

Our film starts with the comfortable standard: festive streets, festive people doing shopping, everyone happy, jingling bells and one very determined looking woman. I am going to make it a goal of mine to find a film where the guy is the main character. That went so well for () on Day 1. He ended up joining a cult.

Our very determined looking woman is on the phone to her father asking if they can change that dinner arrangement to a dessert arrangement instead because she is late for book reading with Garth. Garth certainly wasn’t expecting her to show up to this author’s reading at the local bookshop. Not after he’d left her that letter in an envelope, anyway… Luckily our woman, Kim, has brought it with her so she can read it in public! Kim is quite excited to read the new chapter pages Garth had left her in an envelope so pulls them out and gets right to it. She’s even impressed with his use of adjectives… the one’s he has used to break up with her via note.

I can’t tell, when Kim proclaims she cannot believe what he has done, whether the other people at the reading turn around because she is interrupting the reading and being too loud or because they definitely want to hear more about this breakup. I would have fallen firmly into the latter group, especially when the woman looks as naturally neurotic as she does.

Garth, apparently, is getting very serious with his writing these days and is starting to contact publishers and agents to get his work out there. I hope he’s prepared to suffer months if not years of rejection letters and all of that hard work definitely not paying off…. He seems very optimistic about himself. He mentions something about his blog ‘A Dash of Romance’ which sounds incredibly boring and like that doesn’t exactly mean he is qualified to write an entire novel. What bothers Garth the most is that, in the two years they have been together, Kim has never once shown him any of her writing where as he is about to take the next step in his career.

This is not how he pictured a relationship with a fellow romance writer to be and he really needs to find someone much more serious in their writing if he going to continue in this life.


Garth: “I just… need to be with a serious writer, right now.”

Mom: “Oh, that was pathetic! What a weird man!”


Mom just loves Garth.

I miss much of what is said in the next scene when Kim rocks up to her Dad’s house due to the high-pitched squealing falling out of my face. The dad had a Leonberger! It is literally my dream dog but Kieran likes clean carpets too much and Leonbergers love mud and water too much and I would love the dog too much to stop it diving straight in! Oh, and they’re like the size and weight of a grown ass man. That too.

I dial it down just in time to hear Kim moaning how she is single again just in time for Christmas and me and Mom listing all the things about Christmas which are even better when you’re single. It mostly amounted to never having to share your food or wine but also saving money on presents. Kim is even icing gingerbread men with miserable little faces now. I can’t help but feel getting rid of Garth should have led to some sort of dinner party.


Dad: “I never liked Garth, anyway. What was his lame excuse?”

Mom: “He gets it.”


Kim vows to finish off her romance novel and show it off to anyone with eyes just to spite Garth, which I don’t think is the best motivation to complete a book but enough to get the job done. Fuck Garth. Who even is Garth, anyway? Dad does some standard Dadding and promises things will be better in the morning, however I beg to differ if Kim is going to stay up all night reading Christmas-themed romance novels to remind her of the relationship she no longer has and looking at a picture of her presumably deceased mother to remind her of the parent she no longer has. Why do people keep these family photos next to the bed where you have to be reminded constantly at your most vulnerable?!

The author of her festive read is H. G or J. Cowell (I’m sure the book said J but she said G so….) and Kim wonders what he is doing at that very moment. Probably enjoying life as a successful novelist who will never have the misfortune of dating Garth.

Kim appears to work at some sort of car dealership as the woman you have to go and see if you have sold a car so she can put another little X next to your name and see how you’re doing in this competition to… win a trip to Aruba?! What friggin’ car dealership is sending employees to Aruba if they sell the most cars? What if only one car is sold? They still technically sold the most. I have many questions about this set up but Kim has decided she will treat herself this Christmas with a ticket to a romance writing workshop in Vermont. Held only 5 days before Christmas it’s the perfect time to remove yourself from your family and responsibilities and concentrate on your pipe dream instead.

Either way the Dad seems cool with the idea of the workshop and is overjoyed Kim might actually be considering showing her damn work to someone. They are out picking a Christmas tree which just sparks Mom off again about how great that other film was that she watched and how they didn’t believe in killing the trees so decorated the ones outside…


Dad – “No, this one is too short.”

Mom: “He’s fussy like me.”

Dad – “That one is more like a Christmas shrub.”

Mom – “Yep! He ain’t wrong…. but those ones for 20 quid at Asda…”

Me – “Mother! I am not going to go and buy a tree and then dig a hole in the garden and plant it at 2pm in the afternoon in late November so you can start a festive tradition in my garden! No!”


Predictions are not a thing when you have Mom hanging around, shouting about how much she hates Garth and how easy it would be to dig a small hole in the garden… she does occasionally gift us with wisdom though. Especially when Kim’s Dad asks if she will really be home in time for Christmas, what with these Christmas blizzards which often whip up and leave people stranded with potential future spouses.

Mom Prediction #1 – “Of course she will. With a new man in tow!”

Gotta give it to her, she’s good with her predictions!

Kim has just rocked up at the writer’s retreat when some guy barrels past, running through her luggage and popping open a case. He doesn’t seem phased in the slightest that this woman has bought Christmas decorations with her. I mean… legit Christmas decorations. Including an entire string of lights. This guy, helping to pick up what looks like the Grinch’s loot after he stole Christmas, is Zeke and is also here to attend the workshop. He is taking part despite apparently already having a publisher and getting a book signed…. probably just a leaflet or something. He also works on a typewriter which gets all of the thumbs up from me. Man, I would love a typewriter.

My Nan used to have one that even had a predictably creepy key that would sometimes print and sometimes not. God only knows where she has squirrelled that away.


Zeke: “Do people still use these as alarm clocks?”

Kim: “It’s a white noise machine! It keeps me calm while I’m writing.”

Zeke: “I’ve only just met you but I’m already having a hard time picturing you calm.”

Me: “Call the burns unit.”

Mom: “Why?”

Me: “It’s a sick bur…. nevermind.”


Some woman called Samantha rocks up and starts telling Kim about the schedule and that the author H. G. Cowell will be speaking at some point to everyone there. Unfortunately Mom distracted me real bad by looking around my living room and deciding how we will decorate it this year. I watched a lot of my metaphorical money being shot out of a money gun being controlled by Mom.


Me: “Wait! What is she wearing!?”

Mom: “Oh God…”

Kim: “What happened? I thought we were meant to come dressed as our favourite literary character?”

Samantha: “Oh, no, they sent an email around cancelling that.”

Me: “Who the absolute fuck is her favourite character?”


At a cocktail party that evening Kim has graced us with her presence, kitted out in some weird white, Victorian looking hideous lace dress and a necklace with… Christmas presents on it. She is…. something. It’s fine though because Samantha is more than happy to go and get them some festive, literary themed cocktails. Me and Mom decide we would both like to attend a writing workshop and luckily the promise of a cocktail gets Kim through a short conversation with Zeke where he is quite bemused by her outfit.

Mom is so distracting I am actually shocked to see Garth at this little retreat and Mom happily reminds us that he is a massive prick. He keeps banging on about the famous author reading his work because there is actually a competition and the best people will have manuscripts read by the author before he picks one. Kim is kinda pissed off about how far Garth has managed to crawl up into this author’s colon because she was the first one who had invited him into the rectal passage in the first place. Zeke comes back to announce he fully understands Kim outfit (I’m glad someone does) and she has come dressed as The Ghost of Christmas Present! Mother now adores Zeke not only for this revelation but also the fact Garth hasn’t written his little name tag out very well and Zeke thinks his name is Garn. Look….  if that’s all it takes to win my mother’s love she should stick around and watch me struggle with American’s pronunciations during the week.

Some woman called Luann rocks up who looks to be an old hand at the writer’s workshop scene but is here purely to see the elusive H. G. Cowell who apparently no one has ever seen! Everybody is obsessed with this author because he just truly understands women and I’m starting to feel many of these women don’t actually care about writing… Either way Zeke thinks he can do better. When questioned by Luann it appears that Zeke is published but not published and his editor may be ripping his work to pieces but it will be out soon regardless. I’m unsure…. I adore writing but so far all these people are just fucking awful. Except for whichever person is standing behind that bar and making those cocktails.

Garth manages to chase Kim down and takes his glasses off to show us all his weird little shrew eyes. He’s also apparently sexist but Kim has announced this mother fucking competition is ON and she is taking Garth down. I presume that is why Kim is up so early in the morning to go jogging, helping people who have dropped presents and looking severely jolly before she slips majestically on some ice right in front of Zeke, inside a coffee shop, who comes out to help.

It turns out Kim would rather go back to the hotel and die of embarrassment alone rather than over coffee with the man so just concentrates on getting ready for their first day at the workshop instead, led diligently by Samantha who knows all and lead her off to a giant Christmas tree in the middle of the dining room. Bit inconvenient.


Samantha: “See this partridge in a pear tree thing?”

Kim: “I thought that was a quail.”

Samantha: “Well a partridge is just a quail with a better publicist.”

Me: “Let that be a lesson to us all….”


People have to pick a random, well publicised quail ornament off the tree and open the little piece of paper it’s holding. This tells them which group they will belong in for the rest of the workshop where they are paired up with a writing partner and have to complete daily assignments and attend various seminars. Me and Mom both quickly decide we do not want to attend a writing workshop anymore. It was of no surprise to anybody, except Mom, that Garth is also in Kim’s group. He teams up with the monster Luann without fuss but unfortunately Group C has odd numbers and Kim is left partnerless. Well, that sure wasn’t going to sit right with a Christmas film and Zeke pops up because his own group was too full and he was moved over here, just in time to be paired up with Kim.

Fortunately the woman in charge of their group already knows that Garth is a criticising prick as soon as look at him and let’s the entire group know that harsh and unproductive criticism will not be tolerated. While everyone else is getting to work Zeke and Kim take part in a strange game of pass the notebooks until they finally just fall on the floor.

As it turned out, earlier in the film Kim actually said whale noise, not white noise. I was mighty confused to hear the warbling whale song coming out of that tiny speaker… until it was cut off by the literal hammering of Zeke on his typewriter across the corridor.


Kim: “I’m trying to write.”

Zeke: “Yeeeeah, me too.”

Kim: “Oh, really? Because it sounds like you’re trying to send morse code down the hallway.”

Me: “He is. He is desperately asking for help to get away from you.”


Zeke is merely distracted by Kim’s fully decorated hotel room over her shoulder and that explains all the Christmas decorations she had stowed away in her luggage. He also notes the fact they are arguing below a sprig of mistletoe so I am not surprised to see him immediately run off to Kim’s room to remove himself from that potential hideous situation. He has also ran off to check out what she’s been writing: two people meet in a line to meet Santa. Kim’s imaginative title is…. Love In Line To Meet Santa. Christ on a bike. Kim thinks this is a fucking wonderful title and is pissed that Zeke should even suggest it was too obvious and not catchy enough.

At dinner with Samantha her friend thinks she has spotted the elusive author because the man is wearing tweed just like many of the men from his stories! Thank God this retreat wasn’t based out in the English countryside… I can’t help thinking if he was really that elusive he wouldn’t be casually sitting at dinner and talking to people. Kim pulls out some of Zeke’s pages for an assignment they have had to share with each other and is alarmed to find he has written that time she tripped on ice into his assignment. For some reason she is mighty pissed about this, despite the fact no one else knows, and thinks she has the rights to that scene which is technically public domain. When she chases Zeke down to scream all of this at him he is more delighted to have her assignment and discover she took his advice and changed the title. All this scene does is cement the fact this woman is a fucking annoyance into our brains and that someone really needs to save Zeke before he gets into this too far.

Their group mentor pops out to let Kim know that she actually won this first round of assignments, despite the fact she used the ol’ ‘oh no, he has children but later they just turn out to be nieces and nephews and we could have been together this entire time’ and everyone thinks this is the greatest plot twist they have ever read. Clearly none of them have ever sat around and watched Christmas24 all winter.

Garth turns up to painfully congratulate his ex-girlfriend but even when asking when she came up with this completely original story he quickly tires to hear some childhood memory she had of standing in line with her parents to meet Santa. Wanting to gossip some more with her friend Samantha comes and shoos shrew-eyed Garth away before he can waste any more of the oxygen in the foyer.

Mom’s Prediction #2 – Samantha is actually H. G. Cowell

I love this woman. I think she just loves anyone who hates Garth. She also believes that the author’s new book will be about Zeke and Kim’s romance that they discover at a romance writers convention

We are subjected to more scenes where Kim is completely resistant to feedback so I can’t help feel writing is really not the path for her… Zeke, however, has no qualms with opening up about anything and that includes the dry patch he is currently experiencing ahead of his latest book contract. Oh lord, now Mom thinks the author might be him, too. The author might be everyone, now. Except Garth.

The next morning Zeke rocks up at breakfast to suggest Kim does not go to their planned seminar ‘How Not To Get An Agent’. According to Zeke, the woman who presents that seminar is a dream crusher. It’s certainly not the plain honesty that it’s as difficult as fuck to get published or get an agent. No. It’s crushing dreams. In all fairness, knowing Kim’s disposition, it’s probably best she does avoid the seminar before she goes out and tries to break her neck on another patch of ice.

Zeke says he can cover all this shit better than that woman in the seminar and instead they go out and look at some snowmen Zeke built for this very occasion. He has even put  accessories on them from the lost and found and at this point alarm bells would be ringing in my mind because this man had been planning out the part where he gets me alone in the woods with only two snowmen has a witness to my murder. Sorry, snow-ma’ams. One snow-ma’am is the dream crusher from the seminar and the other is just the type of person Kim needs around her constantly to tell her everything will be OK.

So as it did turn out Zeke is a fucking maniac who drinks far too much coffee but he should definitely be writing children’s books because his ad lib is adorable. By the time they get back to the workshop, completely unmurdered, Samantha is just walking across the lobby after escaping the seminar which should be renamed ‘How To Never Feel Inspired Again’. Garth is the only person who is taking notes on how to crush his own dreams. Or at least Kim’s.

For their next assignment – something to do with a romantic dinner scene – Samantha thinks it would be a great idea to actually go for a romantic dinner and proposes they all go and do just that. For research, purely. Well… until she sees the guy in tweed wander past and thinks she would have a better time stalking him around the resort instead but demands that Kim and Zeke still go for a dinner that they never planned.


Zeke: “You look great.”

Me: “She looks exactly how she has looked this entire time but just wearing a dress.”


So off the pair go to dinner with Garth watching them with his tiny shrew eyes. I feel they should have been talking about their writing the entire dinner and not just after the food had gone. They think it’s perfectly acceptable to work over the dessert course which is just sacrilege. Desserts are meant for shovelling, not discussing business over. Kim zig-zags around the questions about herself like someone avoiding sniper fire because she still has issues with sharing anything so it’s completely out of character when she opens up to Zeke about her book : a woman finds herself single before Christmas after a string of failed relationships when she meets a guy who agrees to pretend to be together so they can get through the holidays. Wow.

Her deceased mother inspired her because she used to write offbeat short stories for some local newsletter but she died at Christmas a few years ago. Just tragic. Her mom read every word Kim ever wrote but since she died… nah thanks. Zeke on the other hand thinks all literature is romance because the human heart is a canvas. Just tragic. He used to have a wife and when things were good so was his writing and pay cheques but when the divorce came all he got in the settlement was writer’s block. Now he just spends his time going to conferences in the hope something will inspire him.

Honestly this entire film is just Mom switching between either Samantha or Zeke being the actual author based on every tiny thing they say.

Kim thinks a little literary exercise will help and wants to know what the most romantic detail of the entire restaurant is. I would say whatever pudding the person on the next table is eating but he goes with how shiny a spoon is because apparently it reflects just a hint of candlelight in her eyes. Those alarm bells are ringing again… Having failed to run for her life back at the restaurant the two are strolling past some carollers in a bandstand when Zeke asks what the fuck the deal with Garth is, anyway. Other than the fact he is a peacock at parties and likes to put everyone else down that’s just his usual temperament, unfortunately.

Zeke is correct in the fact if Kim wants to grow it means taking criticism sometimes but I can’t help feel he is wrong when he claims this also means standing still while people pelt snowballs at her. Which he does. The woman is wearing a very bad choice of heels and her feet are gonna straight up drop off if she spends any more time outside but instead she stands there while Zeke throws a snowball at her for every mistake she made in her last assignment, like using too many adjectives, until they fall over together in the snowbank and catch pneumonia.


Zeke strokes hair back behind Kim’s ear

Mom: “Aaaaawwww.”

Me: “I’d be like ‘get your glove out of my ear’.”


It’s a good job one of them remembers the way back to the hotel because Zeke will be reading her manuscript tonight whether she likes it or not. For a moment I thought she was going to pull the entire thing out her bag but it was just on a USB after all.

The next morning he hasn’t turned up at the group exercise and I fear that he may have been outside constructing the largest snowball on world record to catapult at Kim for all of the hideous mistakes she made in her manuscript. Unfortunately Zeke rocks up late but just in time to hear Garth being awarded this round. To top things off Garth has also written a blog post about Kim on his blog, which is nice of him, and Kim is told she needs to wait for feedback from Zeke because waiting is also part of the entire torturous journey of being published.

Kim doesn’t actually believe in herself but just really wants people to love her and tell her work is amazing which keeps getting increasingly more annoying throughout the film. Despite the fact everyone keeps saying how great her assignments are she claims she just cant take any more rejection. This woman is needy.

For once Kim actually bothers to go to a seminar where a woman is talking about H. G. Cowell’s way of writing. We are forced to believe that this woman never goes anywhere without a tree before she lights it up and puts decorations on it too. The ornaments are the characters and the concepts and the lights are points in our lives. The angel on top is our clear point of view from above that lets us look at the lives of others and the gifts underneath the tree are what people take away from what we have given. Mom just keeps really agreeing with this like she wants to go to a workshop and is shit hot at writing.

In order to give Kim her feedback, Zeke is taking her out to the Christmas market to eat crepes. I have a bad feeling about this feedback… He loves everything but he just doesn’t think its quite there yet; the characters and details don’t feel personal enough just yet and she is basically just missing descriptions. The quite literal bread and butter to that plot filling. It should not have been surprising to find out Kim doesn’t know any of these details about her own locations or characters or that she really isn’t good at taking criticism and just walks off rather than face facts.

Thankfully, Kim knows Samantha and Samantha knows wine so she is more than equipped to talk some sense into this woman who really just needs throwing under the first bus Samantha can find. Kim is more concerned that the manuscript is a piece of her soul and Zeke didn’t like that piece of her soul despite the fact he clearly said he did. Samantha has a lot of patience and a very full glass of wine, the tools required to deal with Kim, and is sure Zeke is a good guy because she has spoken to him for more then 5 minutes.

The next day all of the contestants meet with a professional panel of agents to review their work and let them know whether they should just give up and go work in retail. Zeke is hanging around the coffee machine just to wish Kim good look before her meeting and I already dread what is about to happen. She is just getting all doe-eyed over the compliments she is receiving when she is told her characters aren’t quite detailed enough and need to stop being so perfect – give them a drug or drink habit or something. The tears are basically already there by the time she is told she has a long way to go and despite the man telling her not to be discouraged (and she’s the only person he has said this to all day) she just really can’t function without constant reassurance and immediately starts crying at Zeke because they didn’t tell her they they loved her unconditionally.

To shut her cry hole Zeke takes her out for a midnight horse and carriage ride. Brave. We know how midnight carriage rides go. Looking at you here, Nick! This time we are taking a ride to celebrate a rejection (that she didn’t even get) which Zeke thinks should be savoured like a fine wine. As long as it’s wine I’ll savour anything! Offering up their rejection stories Zeke’s was actually literary but Kim’s was just some kid called Timmy saying he didn’t want to date her crazy ass in the schoolyard.

It is casually mentioned that the next day all of the writers have the day off, so Zeke is gonna take Kim off somewhere for a change of scenery and to give everyone else a break. This happens to be New York City, somewhere Kim decided to set her story without ever going and knowing no details of. We are able to get to New York on such short notice because Zeke has more frequent flier miles than he knows what to do with AND AIN’T THAT SUSPICIOUS!? According to Mother… yes. Very. They don’t even get there until that night and stay at the hotel Kim has included in her book courtesy of this guy’s massive fortune.

At least one of their rooms has a fantastic view which sparks Mom off on trying to plan a Christmas in New York despite me trying to tell her it will be expensive but someone at her work is going Thursday for a week and flying first class. Maybe she’s a bloody author too…

Samantha calls just then to inform Kim she is having dinner with Mr Tweed himself and oh, where the hell is Kim anyway? I don’t presume she actually cares where her friend is but she did miss Samantha winning this next leg of the competition! Zeke and Kim go off to explore New York and work on both her book and not getting mugged. Kim realises her book really was lacking detail but now she’s got way too much and won’t stop prattling on about the smells and sights of New York – I can only imagine.

They stop to get some roasted chestnuts, which are just weird little grim under-cooked potatoes, in my opinion, and by this time Kim has gotten used to the thundering of Zeke’s typewriter through the walls. I can’t help feel, seeing as this hotel is so expensive, they shouldn’t be able to shout through the walls to each other and ask how their books are going…

The next morning, already kitted out in the dressing gowns they will probably attempt to steal, Samantha texts Kim to let her know a huge storm is coming in, flights are getting cancelled and the author’s talk has been moved from that evening to 2pm that afternoon. Kim completely steamrolls whatever Zeke had just been about to tell her, presumably the big reveal that Kim will no doubt feel some way about.

Thankfully Samantha didn’t decide to leave the workshop to run away to New York and is on hand to submit Kim’s work on her behalf… right in front of Garth. Dumb move. Garth swoops in when the admin woman is distracted and drops Kim’s manuscript into the bin. Mom says he is a prick but by now I think that’s exactly where Kim deserves and needs to be. When she finally rocks up to the seminar she realises her name is not on board of people who won competitions but is distracted by Mr Tweed who is H. G. Cowell’s editor or…. something. And, when introducing this wonder writer, who should stroll in buuuuuuuuuuuuut ZEKE!


Kim: “……..”

Mom: “I did try to tell you.”

Me: “Yes. All movie. She tried to tell you.”


Zeke makes a lovely speech about how he used to think up stories during his work commute every day until he just happened to have all these books going, was a bestseller, wanted to remain completely anonymous and didn’t notice his second love was taking him away from his first love until the divorce punched him right in the throat. Kim is just sitting there, continuing to be an ugly crier, as she hears about how love left him with nothing but writer’s block but love has returned and he’s writing again!

Over this relationship already, Samantha just wants to know if the rumours about a new book are true but it’s actually just an 800 page anthology from his agent. I mean, against all odds when you think about who Kim actually is, I feel a book will materialise very soon. Kim may be alarmed to find she could be an inspiration to the man but I hate to remind her that he’s still not going to read her manuscript via this workshop as outlined by his agent, is he?

Kim is packing up her shit and trying to get the fuck outta dodge before Zeke rocks up and tries to explain he wanted to be liked for himself rather than a famous author, which is only fair, but this woman is dumb as shit and is actually annoyed by this revelation. And even more, she is annoyed at being an inspiration to one of her favourite authors.


Kim: “That was the worst rejection of all.”

Me: “She’s on crack.”

Mom: “Yeah. She’s like…..”

Me: “GARTH!”

Mom: “What a prick.”


Back in whatever circle of hell she presides over, Kim is trotting down the street with her Dad and really bigging herself up, claiming next year she’s gonna be speaking at a conference, not just attending and she was so made to be a writer…. Of all the things that woman may be made for it is not being a writer. Samantha calls in order to let her know she won the entire competition which really just amounts to beating Garth. In any case she will be meeting with Zeke tomorrow in case…. you know… Kim wants to tell him anything that she might not have been able to say when she was busy overreacting? Kim, still being dumb as shit, thinks nothing of it when Samantha asks her for the amended last pages of her friend’s manuscript to read through so she can conveniently, probably, hand these over to Zeke and have him arrive back in time to save the day. Jus’ sayin’.

When Kim gets home Garth is creeping around the porch so he can tell her he was totally wrong and her writing was wonderful after all. At least she is not dumb enough to take Garth back, there are apparently even limits to her stupidity. As it turns out, Garth just wants her to put a good word in for him with Cowell and you would not believe how happy Mom is that Garth will be lonely this Christmas.

Her Dad is just serving Christmas dinner when the bell rings and he doesn’t seem so surprised by a mystery visitor so sends his daughter off to open the door. It is only Zeke and a whole bunch of flowers but I imagine the dad always sends Kim to the door in the hopes someone will kidnap her and take her off his hands. To be fair, I just wanna see some more of the Leonberger who is a beautiful bambino!

This woman needs to get over whatever it is she’s not over already and just settle for a good life getting writing tips from a legit writer, some good criticism AND being able to read all of his drafts first. That would be my damn dream. Thankfully she is also not dumb enough to turn him down again, especially on Christmas day when the man just really needs a turkey dinner. They reintroduce themselves, because this is always an important part of starting over with someone that I couldn’t comment on because I have never started over with someone once I have decided they’re a prick, and he even has a present for her from a publisher! Apparently the new ending was so great that they looked over the absence of detail, warmth or realism and are thinking about publishing her work and Zeke has to keep reassuring her that they loved it.


Me: “They really loved it.”

Mom: “Your Dad’s turkey is getting cold! Do you know how long and hard it is to make a Christmas dinner and you’re out there!?!?!?! GO ON IN!”


Mother is truly outraged they are still standing out in this blizzard and leaving turkey to go cold but please note my mom thinks food is already freezing as she transfers it from the pan to the plate and actually calls you down for dinner before she even plates up…. just so ya know.

I actually couldn’t find a link for this one! I am not surprised to find that I couldn’t care less. The more people who give Kim attention is probably for the better.

 

Mom’s prediction board – 1/2

  • Mom Prediction #1 – Kim will be home in time for Christmas with a new man – I mean… he didn’t actually come back with her but I’m gonna give it to her
  • Mom’s Prediction #2 – Samantha is actually H. G. Cowell – I can’t give her this one unfortunately

 

 

  • Horse and Sleigh: CHECK!
  • Piano: These are totally out of Vogue
  • Carolling: Only in the background, as it should be
  • Christmas Montage: I…. The whole thing passed by in a sort of montage for me
  • Fire Hazards: Unfortunately safe pathways had mostly been cleared for all of the writer’s attending the workshops
  • Relative(s) died a tragic death during a past Christmas: CHECK!
  • Snowing on cue: Just when it felt like, really…

 

This was definitely not my favourite film. At all. Kim…. just Kim.

But Mom scored 50% on her predictions which ain’t that bad! Especially when she kept changing her damn mind about who was H. G. Cowell out of the million people attending this workshop.

Let’s hope for prettier criers 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.

TCG_9
‘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.

TCG_10
“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.

TCG_11
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.

TCG_12
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!

 

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!