Christmas Comes Just Once a Year

And I tend to overdo it by watching as much Christmas-themed stuff as possible. It’s partly a reaction to living in Florida so many years (no snow, warm weather) and to having a lot of Christmases by myself (out to dinner with friends, but nobody to open presents with on the morning). So even now that I’m further north and have TYG to celebrate with, here we go.
HOLIDAY ENGAGEMENT (2011) is actually a Thanksgiving film, the protagonist of which hires an out-of-work actor to replace the guy who just broke off her engagement, thereby hoping she can prove to mother Shelly Long that she really has grown up. The premise of I Need a Fake Fiancee goes back at least to It Started With Eve (1941) but this film does it absolutely no credit—it makes Holiday in Handcuffs look like His Girl Friday. “Did you ever even read anything she wrote?”
Even less impressive is DEAR SANTA (2011) with Amy Acker in the lead role of a spoiled socialite who winds up working in a soup kitchen to help out a widowed father and his motherless little girl. Very dull. “All she has on her side is history.”
ALL SHE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS (2004) stars squeaky-voiced Monica Keener as a blonde wanna-be financier in a small Christmassy town who discovers the new guy at the factory where she works is both Very Cute and the exec in charge of shutting the factory down. The kind of small-town romance that would work any time of year—or more accurately not work.
ONE MAGIC CHRISTMAS (1985) is an example of the darker Christmas film, where the season serves to highlight the pain. Mary Steenburgen is a working mother fed up with her job and her life to the point she can’t get into the Christmas spirit until angel Gideon (Harry Dean Stanton) gives her some shock therapy (very close to It’s a Wonderful Life in spirit). This gives us a Christmas with job stress, family strife, money issues and grief (not to mention Stanton’s weary angel) but even allowing for Christmas miracles things all get sorted out a bit easily (but no surprise there. It’s Christmas). “Even Santa Claus can’t make it so Daddy isn’t dead for Christmas.”
THE RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (2012) is actually set at Easter, even though it aired at Christmas last year (after all, how many hit Easter movies are there?). The Guardians are the super-hero style team of Santa (Alec Baldwin), Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the Sandman trying to save the world’s children from the bogeyman Pitch (Jude Law) with the reluctant help of amnesiac Jack Frost (Chris Pine). This is watchable, but lacks either the visual or the story imagination to put it over the top (though in fairness, that’s partly because animation standards have risen so much in this century). “The lights! Why aren’t they going out?”
A MAGICAL CARTOON CHRISTMAS is a collection of 1930s Christmas themed cartoons, two or three of which I’ve seen before. Pretty, but nothing that really stands out enough to mention.

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2 responses to “Christmas Comes Just Once a Year

  1. Pingback: A Little Bit of Christmas | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Movies and TV | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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