Are you tired of being alone during the holidays? Do you wish your life was like a made-for-TV movie? Full of love, laughter, and Christmas magic? Well, you’re in luck! Follow these foolproof options to live your life like a rom-com and you’ll be Decking the Hallmark as the klutzy main character in no time!
“Christmas Inn Love”
Step 1: Inherit an old inn from a long-lost relative and move to a small town with big Christmas traditions.
Step 2: Butt heads with a rugged, flannel-wearing stranger at the local diner.
Step 3: Begrudgingly accept help from said rugged stranger after learning that he is the only handyman in town. As the two of you work to restore your inn together, he’ll also “restore your heart.”
Step 1: Buy a small bakery in an ambiguous urban city.
Step 2: Have your sassy best friend/business partner enter you both into a local baking competition.
Step 3: Get off on the wrong foot with a fellow sexy and single baker in the competition. Reluctantly team up with the aforementioned sexy baker after each of your respective sassy best friends get food poisoning right before the semifinals.
Step 4: You’ll be “baking love” before your cake has a chance to cool!
“Return to Santa”
Step 1: Be a high-powered businesswoman who cares more about her career than Christmas. Your holiday tradition should include eating Chinese takeout while you work late at the office, crunching numbers, and avoiding phone calls from your sister who wants you to spend the holiday at home with her kids.
Step 2: Go into work on Thanksgiving Day even though your office is closed.
Step 3: Realize that the files you need are in the back filing room on the very top shelf. Discover that the step ladder is broken and make the terrible decision to climb the metal filing cabinet by pulling out drawers strategically and scaling the wall. When you reach the top shelf and find the file you need, lose your balance and fall 10 feet into the arms of the building’s sexy mail guy who happened to also come in on his day off and heard the commotion.
Step 4: Shaken up, you let the gallant mailman make you a cup of hot cocoa. You find out his name is Nick and you’re instantly attracted to him. As you sip on your perfectly made beverage, the two of you work together and clean up the messy filing room, laughing all the way.
Step 5: He invites you to get out of there and have a makeshift Thanksgiving dinner with him. Uncharacteristically, you agree. There’s something about his twinkling eyes and button nose that you just can’t resist.
Step 6: As you walk the streets of your nondescript metropolitan city together, you realize that you’ll never find a restaurant that’s open on Thanksgiving. So you grab a bag of chips and a bottle of cheap champagne from the only store that’s open and go back to his place, where he makes a feast out of leftovers and junk food. You laugh, drink eggnog, and share a romantic kiss by the fireplace before excusing yourself to use the bathroom.
Step 7: Get lost on the way to the bathroom and stumble across a room full of mail. Check the envelopes and realize that every single one of them is a letter addressed to Santa. Confront him about it and get him to confess that he’s not just “Nick the Cute Mail Guy” he’s actually Nicholas Clause Jr. aka the Son of Santa AND his official mail carrier.
Step 8: Tell him that he’s delusional and say that you’re leaving. As you try to storm out of his apartment, he throws himself into the crackling fireplace. You scream as you watch him disappear through the chimney. Moments later there’s a knock on the door. You open it and there he is, dashing as ever, completely unscathed by the fire. He asks if the two of you can talk…Numb, you open the door and he takes your hand and sits you down on his knee. He tells you of his life and about his magical childhood in the North Pole. How, when he got older, he needed to go out and explore the world, which is why he became his father’s official letter carrier. He says he’d always dreamt of living in your Unnamed Urban City (which is actually Vancouver) and working in a vague corporate environment which is why he decided to base his operation out of a magical mailroom in your company’s generic office building. He explains how he uses chimneys to transport himself around the world, collecting letters to Santa. He asks if you’d like to come with him. You do. Together you travel via chimney across the globe. Along the way you fall madly in love—not just with his spirit, but with the spirit of Christmas.
Step 9: Go to his parents’ house and be proposed to in a romantic mail-themed way on Christmas after Santa’s back from delivering presents. The elves will sing and you’ll live happily ever after with your sexy mailman husband and the world’s best in-laws.
Warning: If he proposes to you on any other day besides Christmas, you can forget about getting a wedding sequel. Remember, the Hallmark of a good relationship is one that revolves entirely around Christmas.
Step 1: Be born and raised in a small town in Middle America where everybody knows each other. It’s important that you’ve spent your entire life in this town, so if you’ve ever moved, I’m sorry but this advice isn’t for you. Why don’t you go back to “Baking Love” where you still might actually have a shot at love, spinster.
Step 2: After a lifetime of small-town Stars Hollow bliss, you decide to reopen your family’s old bookstore. Ideally, your name is something like Paige Turner, but I’m willing to be flexible if you name the bookstore something equally kitschy.
Step 3: Get roped into helping your best friend since childhood throw the town’s 100th anniversary Christmas Eve Ball.
P.S. If your town doesn’t have a tradition dating back at least 100 years? Good luck finding love.
Step 4: Discover your dead father’s secret manuscript hidden in a stack of old books at the back of your impossibly quaint store. Read it from front to back in one sitting and dramatically wipe away a single tear as you whisper, “It’s a masterpiece, Dad. A masterpiece.”
Step 5: Send it off to the top publishing house in New York or London and then receive a phone call that your dead dad’s book is a hit and that the fancy publishers want to rush to get it out by Christmas. They have a few notes, so they’ll be sending one of their very best agents down to you so you can make the final edits by their Christmas Eve deadline.
Step 6: Butt heads with the impossibly handsome big-city publisher, preferably named Read, with whom you have undeniable sexual chemistry.
Step 7: Deny that sexual chemistry. Fight him on every single edit he tries to make to your father’s book. Tell him that he doesn’t understand the book because he doesn’t understand the meaning of Christmas.
Step 8: Resolve to show that city slicker the true meaning of Christmas. Tell him that if he wants you to approve the changes to your dad’s book he has to help you with your volunteer duties for the town’s Christmas Ball. You’ll develop the feels as you deck the halls and soon you’ll share a steamy kiss followed by a brief commercial break.
P.S. If you don’t get him to understand the true meaning of Christmas by midnight on Christmas Eve, you will be cursed from here until eternity.
Step 9: Receive a troubling call from the publishing house that leads to a simple misunderstanding between you and your bookish beau. You’re left in the lurch when he leaves town with your book and your heart.
Step 10: Star in a melodramatic montage of you looking sad as you sell books to your attractive and happy customers while a jazzy Christmas song plays underneath. Your best friend will bring you hot cocoa and tell you to forget about the book and the boy, but you just can’t.
Step 11: Depressed but dressed, you show up at the Christmas Eve Ball to fulfill your volunteer duties. Stare longingly out the window at the town gazebo.
Step 12: Be swept off your feet when your publishing paramour appears at the coat check with the first edition of your father’s book and it’s everything you wanted it to be and more. The reviews are in and they say it’s the best story ever written about Christmas since the Bible. With the misunderstanding solved and your father’s legacy preserved, yule head straight for the mistletoe and live happily ever after.
Disclaimer: If your dead dad’s book isn’t about Christmas, you will die alone.
If none of these ideas worked for you, well sorry but you just don’t have main character energy. Don’t worry, though. You can always throw yourself down a flight of stairs in front of a men’s class at Equinox! I’m sure you’ll get invited to a Christmas or two!
Images: Jovana Rikalo / Stocksy.com; Giphy (4)
One of the reasons why New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays is because you never know what to expect, *sigh* but this year isn’t like the others… As we are all aware, celebrating New Year’s Eve this year will be a lot different than what we are used to, and we just have to make the best of it. That’s why my winter break has been filled with quality family time watching holiday movies in the comfort of my home, and I have been loving every minute of it!
So I figured this would be the perfect time to give you my favorite NYE movies that will get you in the spirit of the new year. For anyone that is looking for a classic, a romantic comedy, or a crime/thriller/suspense film, look no further!
‘New Year’s Eve’
This is a given. The star-studded cast is giving all of the NYE vibes that we can’t really have this year, so it’s the perfect substitute. If you are a Love, Actually fan and you’re all about the multiple storylines that eventually come together at the end of the movie, this one’s for you. Ever since this movie came out, I don’t think I’ve ever gone through the holidays without watching it!
‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’
I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we can all relate to Bridget Jones to some degree. After her parents’ New Year’s party, she decides to keep a diary to track her New Year’s resolutions, which include losing weight, quitting smoking, and finding the man of her dreams. But shortly after, she ends up being stuck in a love triangle with her childhood acquaintance Mark Darcy and her boss Daniel Cleaver (so basically, all of us trying to stick to our own resolutions).
How could I not include a rom-com with Rachel McAdams? For any of you that may not know this movie, the main character Tim Lake learns from his father that the men of his family have the ability to travel back in time. When Tim first tries it at a family gathering on New Year’s Eve, he decides he’ll only use it to improve his love life (if only we had the ability to do the same).
‘The Godfather Part II’
For anyone that wants to kill time on NYE and forget 2020 ever happened, this movie is over three hours long and it will definitely take your mind off everything. I’m all for classic, intense films, and the fact that this has an iconic cast with an eventful New Year’s party makes this a must-see around this time of the year.
‘When Harry Met Sally’
Whenever you last watched When Harry Met Sally, it’s always time for a rewatch. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan (aka Harry and Sally) share a car ride to New York City, and they basically have nothing in common. Throughout the movie, over a span of 12 years, Harry and Sally run into each other at the most random times, and we see their relationship grow and evolve, all leading up to a New Year’s Eve party. This one gives me all the feels.
‘Sleepless In Seattle’
You can never have too many Meg Ryan movies, right? Anyone that loves When Harry Met Sally will also love this timeless classic rom-com. This love story is a total must-see and will definitely get you in the mood for the new year.
‘High School Musical’
Before you start asking questions, just remember that the beginning of this movie takes place on NYE, where Troy and Gabriella have their fateful first meeting while on vacation. I honestly look for any excuse to watch this Disney Channel classic. Whether you’re celebrating solo or in a small gathering this year, this movie is great for anyone that is looking for a singalong film to end 2020 on a positive note!
Images: Disney Channel; Giphy (7)
I wanted to like Happiest Season. I really did. Even after it came out and I saw all the memes that were being posted, like these:
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I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt that it wasn’t as bad as everyone was saying. And it wasn’t. It was worse.
Ok, that’s dramatic. All in all, it was actually a good movie. The characters were entertaining and the jokes were actually funny. Dan Levy, Kristen Stewart, and Aubrey Plaza all played themselves, which was fine with me. Did you see Aubrey Plaza in those power suits? Drool. I tried to overlook the vaguely tone-deaf response from the family after Harper (Mackenzie Davis) came out, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. The most infuriating part of the whole movie is how terrible Harper is to Abby (K. Stew) and they STAY TOGETHER. I was fired up about it. I still am. So much so that I will now list out chronologically all of the times that Abby should have broken up with Harper.
1. When Harper Told Abby On The Way To Her Parents’ House That She Lied About Being Out
They are mere minutes away from the front door before Harper says, “Remember how I said I told them in June and they took it really well? Well, I didn’t actually tell them.” FULL stop. Not only has she been lying for six months, she has been lying about the fact that her family is loving and accepting of their relationship. Abby thinks she’s on her way to join a new family’s tradition after not having one for years, and she is jammed back in the closet. Mayyyybe if Harper said something beforehand about them having to be a secret at home it might have been better, but not much.
2. When Harper’s Ex-Boyfriend Connor Showed Up Unannounced To Dinner And She Didn’t Do Anything About It
Ok, sure, Harper’s mom was the one who invited him, but that doesn’t change much. Abby gets up from the table upset and goes to the bathroom, and Harper follows her and promises it won’t happen again and distracts her with kissing her. And then he shows up at every event following that dinner. He is EVERYWHERE. Even out with her friends. Which brings me to my next point.
3. When Harper Ditches Abby Two Times In One Night To Stay Out With Her Ex-Boyfriend Until 2am
Abby is uninvited from a dinner because she is framed by those bratty kids at the mall, which Harper BARELY defends her for. Abby then goes for a solo walk around a town she doesn’t know and runs into Riley (Aubrey Plaza). They go to a gay bar, and Abby smiles for the first and last time in the whole movie. Then, when Abby meets Harper at a different bar, she is with her friends and Connor. Abby wants to leave, but Harper stays. So Abby goes home alone and doesn’t get a text back from Harper for hours. Cut to Harper sitting at the bar laughing and sharing a basket of fries with only Connor and no sign of her friends. It’s just so mean.
4. When Riley Tells Abby What Harper Did To Her
At the gay bar, Riley, Harper’s first girlfriend, tells Abby about why they broke up. Riley says they used to leave love notes in each other’s lockers, and one day Harper’s friend found one. Instead of fessing up or covering it up, Harper tells everyone that Riley is gay and is obsessed with her and won’t leave her alone. I know this happened in high school, but clearly Harper has a past of hiding her girlfriends and doing anything possible to maintain her image.
5. When Harper Is A Total C*nt To Abby The Morning After The Bar
Harper has the unmitigated gall to tell Abby that she is being “suffocating” after Harper spent 24 hours actively ditching her. Later, Harper questions Abby about hanging out with Riley. I had horrible flashbacks to being gaslit that I am suffocating when I was just trying to get a goddamn text back and the other person was the one who was out doing f*ck sh*t. That might just be a me thing, but I don’t think it is.
6. When Harper Is Only Hanging Out With Connor At The Family Christmas Party
At Harper’s family Christmas party, Abby is left alone YET AGAIN while Harper talks with Connor. Technically, Abby says “I’m done” and packs her bags, but Harper just cries and makes her feel bad and Abby stays. That’s when I really started to feel my blood heat up.
7. When Harper’s Sister Outs Her And Abby To The Whole Party And Harper Denies It
COME ON!!!! Abby *just* un-broke up with Harper, and then she goes and proves herself unworthy once again!! This was Harper’s chance to show Abby how serious she is about making it up to her, and she does the same shit that she has always done. Absolutely infuriating.
8. When Harper Chases After Abby And Cries To Her At The Gas Station
John (Dan Levy) gives Abby an inspiring speech about how coming out is different for everyone (didn’t love the ending when he insinuated Abby should wait around indefinitely for Harper to be ready to come out, but whatever), and ironically, Harper decides to tell her family the truth when Abby returns from her walk with John to get her things. Abby tells Harper it’s too late, and for a moment, I rejoiced. Then, Abby and John make a pit stop at a gas station where Harper finds them and begs for Abby’s forgiveness. Abby gives it, say, three seconds of thought and takes her back. Credits roll and you see they are engaged a year later. It is ABHORRENT.
I’m not saying Abby shouldn’t have dated her because she was in the closet; coming out to your family is serious and scary no matter how loving your parents are. It’s the fact that Harper dragged Abby through the mud and blamed it on “being scared of coming out.” Her actions are perpetually hurtful to Abby, and when Abby tries to stand up for herself, Harper cries her way out of it.
Anyway, that’s my beef. K. Stew, just know I would never hurt you like that.
Images: Jojo Whilden/Hulu; godimsuchadyke, xenaworrierprincess / Instagram
With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching (seriously, where did this year go), we can now finally say that holiday season is here. Some of you may have been blasting Mariah Carey for a few weeks now, but for those of you who abide by some made-up guidelines about when you’re allowed to watch Christmas movies, I hereby give you permission to begin. Every year, there are dozens of new Lifetime, Hallmark, and Netflix holiday movies, so if that’s your thing, go off—but I understand that mindless Christmas cheer isn’t for everyone. So I decided to go through all the major streaming services and choose the best holiday movies that are available this year, whether you’re trying to find something for family movie night or just getting drunk in bed by yourself.
Now, before you yell at me in the comments, let me clarify that “best” is relative, and I don’t mean these are all the highest-quality movies available. They’re all great options in different ways, just like we all have our favorite side dish at Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re about to DM me about how The Princess Switch is an objectively bad movie, I suggest you take an edible and let the spirit of Christmas take hold.
‘Knives Out’ – Prime Video
Many of the films on this list are Christmas-centric, but Knives Out feels more like a Thanksgiving movie. Okay, it’s not technically a holiday movie, but with wintry vibes and a large family all together for the first time in a while, it feels appropriate. Set at a New England mansion that will make you wish your fireplace worked, Knives Out is a thrilling murder mystery, with enough twists and turns that even your most annoying cousin at Thanksgiving won’t be able to complain that he’s bored.
‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ – Prime Video
You probably haven’t seen It’s A Wonderful Life unless your dad made you watch it every year growing up, but it’s actually pretty good. Thankfully, it’s streaming on Prime, so you won’t have to dig out the VHS tape this year—a Christmas miracle! In the movie, a guy who’s about to commit suicide on Christmas Eve is rescued by an angel who shows him how much of a difference he’s made in the world. Sounds bleak, but there’s a reason it’s been a Christmas classic for over 70 years.
‘Carol’ – Netflix
Does Carol meet the traditional definition of a holiday movie? Perhaps not, but it’s an excellent movie, and there are more than enough holiday moments for me to include it here. Cate Blanchett stars in this 1960s-set drama as a depressed housewife who has an affair with a younger woman who works at a department store, played by Rooney Mara. If you want to drink a whole bottle of wine and watch something holiday-adjacent but not like, jolly, this is a perfect choice.
‘Klaus’ – Netflix
A lot of Netflix’s holiday offerings are kind of cringe, but this animated Christmas movie from last year is adorable, creative, and was nominated for an Oscar. The voice cast includes favorites like Jason Schwartzman and Rashida Jones, and the main character is a postal worker, so we obviously stan. This is an ideal choice if you have younger kids around during the holidays, but also, you’re never too old for a good animated movie.
‘The Princess Switch’ – Netflix
Obviously, I didn’t want this list to be full of sh*tty direct-to-Netflix holiday movies, but I had to make one exception, and it’s The Princess Switch. This delightfully bad piece of cinema stars Vanessa Hudgens and Vanessa Hudgens as a regular woman and a princess who happen to look exactly alike. It’s ridiculous, and it’s perfect. And this week, Netflix is giving us a sequel! The Princess Switch: Switched Again stars Vanessa Hudgens, Vanessa Hudgens, AND Vanessa Hudgens, and as you can imagine, it looks absolutely bonkers. Sign me the f*ck up!!!
‘The Family Stone’ – HBO Max
There’s nothing like a holiday movie about a dysfunctional family to take your mind off your own dysfunctional family for a couple hours. Sarah Jessica Parker and Diane Keaton lead an all-star cast in this dramedy about spending Christmas with the in-laws. If your top holiday concern is making sure you don’t run out of alcohol at your parents’ house, you’ll definitely enjoy this one.
‘Home Alone’ – Disney+
I don’t think I need to explain what Home Alone is about, but I wanted to make everyone aware that all three movies in the series are available to stream on Disney+. Considering Macaulay Culkin turned 40 this year (still not over it), this is the perfect holiday season to revisit this classic and think about how f*cking old you are. Too real? Sorry. If you’re going to watch all three movies, just make sure to fast-forward through Donald Trump’s cameo in the second one; no one needs to see that.
‘The Santa Clause’ – Disney+
The Santa Clause happens to be my family’s yearly Christmas movie rewatch of choice, so I have seen this more times than I can count. Tim Allen stars in this family comedy about a not-very-jolly guy who, through some wild circumstances, inherits the position of Santa Claus. If you haven’t seen it, I totally recommend—it’s one of those family movies that actually has a lot of adult humor, so you won’t feel like you’re watching something for people half your age. Also, the kid is super cute.
‘Last Christmas’ – Hulu
This 2019 rom-com stars Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, so if for no other reason, you can watch it for the hotness factor. Emilia plays Kate, a 26-year-old hot mess who works as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop (bleak). She meets Tom (Henry Golding), who is (obviously, just look at him) a handsome charmer, and as the two fall in love, things start turning around for her. UNTIL the ~dramatic twist~ happens, which I won’t go into so I don’t spoil it. I’ll say that it’s very on-the-nose given the title, and you might hate it. That’s all I’ll say!
Images: Courtesy of Netflix; Giphy (4)
It’s after Halloween, and according to some people, it’s practically Christmas. Which is how I found myself on Friday night, pressing play on Netflix’s new holiday movie, Holidate. For those who don’t know me, sh*tting on holiday movies is kind of my thing. I’ve done it with The Princess Switch (and don’t worry, barring a civil war I’ll be back for Princess Switch 2), and The Holiday. There’s just something about the premise that one can find love over the holidays that really gets me going in a bad way. Probably because the holidays are usually the time when (for casual daters) you are actually most likely to get ghosted or dumped. It’s just unrealistic, and yes I am bitter. So I thought I would give an honest recap of Holidate. Let’s go.
We open with Emma Roberts smoking a cigarette, muttering “f*cking holidays” (relatable), and putting out said cigarette on a plastic Santa statue. She’s shown up to Christmas dinner in a red hoodie and pigtails, to which her mom remarks “can’t you put on a dress?”. My family doesn’t even change out of sweatpants for holidays hosted in our own home, so no.
We learn Emma broke up with a suitor six months ago, and her mom and aunt are already hounding her about how it’s time to “get back out there.” Yeah, my last relationship ended five years ago, so. Yeah. I would not do well with these people.
More realistically, Emma’s mom thinks her working remotely means she sits around the house all day in sweatpants. That’s also what my mom thinks I do for a living. She is not wrong.
Equally overbearing are Emma’s brother and his girlfriend: the former remarks “it’s not a holiday unless my sister shows up alone.” And I’ve got to wonder what weird pressure this family places on having significant others, and what kind of trauma led them all to derive their self-worth from their relationship status…
It’s two minutes in and I’m already wayyy overthinking this movie.
And then we see Kristin Chenoweth as the drunk aunt roll up with some random Mall Santa, and it all makes sense. She explains to Emma that she’s not really into this guy, it’s just a “holidate”: “you know, someone you bring home for the holidays.” And thus, the premise of the movie is born.
Over on the other side of Chicago, we have Jackson, some hot guy who kind of looks like a lost Hemsworth brother, getting introduced to a couple that’s basically the Flanderses in the flesh. These people live and breathe Christmas and put their decorations up before Halloween, you can just tell. Jackson is clearly just f*cking the poor girl who brought him home for Christmas to meet her parents. And they say I’m sabotaging by having guys meet my friends on the second date.
And back at Emma Roberts’ house, even her 6-year-old cousin has a boyfriend in kindergarten who brings her juice boxes. Everyone is taken but me, it seems! At least I’m in good company with Emma Roberts. This first grader asks Emma why she didn’t bring anyone, either. What is wrong with this family?? This is not the type of attachment style you should be modeling to your children!
And it appears Jackson has fallen into the classic male trap of believing a girl when she says we’re not doing presents that year. This girl is basically just Isla Fisher’s character in the Wedding Crashers because she says, in front of her parents, “oh, so you know me well enough to come in my mouth but not get me a Christmas present?” I cringed into myself.
And back at Emma’s, the brother proposes to his girlfriend of three months. (Honestly, I’ve seen crazier sh*t in quarantine.) Instead of saying “congratulations!” this family’s first response is “two down, one to go!”
So that’s the universe we’re working with: two cynics who are equal yet opposite products of their insane environments.
Emma and our bootleg Hemsworth meet at a store, where Jackson is returning a pair of pants, taking forever, and Emma is returning plaid pajamas—both Christmas presents gone wrong. The store is only offering store credit, so the two of them end up bargaining with the girl in line behind them, who pays in cash for a bunch of off-season items with no retail value. I have never once spoken to a person in line in front of or behind me, let alone played “let’s make a deal”.
This is all happening at the mall (tbt to malls), and who do we see at the mall? The Santa holidate. A lightbulb goes off in Jackson’s head: he needs a holidate for New Year’s Eve because he’s “sick of casually dating” because he’s “always the asshole.” Meanwhile, Emma needs one because her family is really f*cking annoying.
Okay, as a single woman living in NYC, only one of these problems is actually real, and it’s obviously not “woe is me, I don’t want to casually date, not because I want a relationship, but because I’m sick of dumping women left and right when they get too attached!” F*ck all the way off with your Gretchen Weiners bullsh*t.
So they make a pact to be each other’s Holidate for New Year’s Eve. Already this movie has lost me, because NYE is not a family-oriented affair. In fact, it’s kind of a single’s holiday. I feel like most of the NYE marketing is geared towards people cramming in an overpriced club with the hopes of drunkenly making out with a stranger on midnight. This movie should have started at Thanksgiving, then it would kind of make sense.
It’s at this point, 13 minutes in, that we learn Emma Roberts’ character’s name is Sloane. Eh, I’m gonna call her Emma.
The NYE party actually looks fun. Hemsworth makes a point to tell Emma that her tits look phenomenal in her dress, and she loves the way the dress hugs her ass. He’s like, “this is perfect because I can be a total chauvinistic douchebag without worrying you’ll get mad” and Emma is like “and I can wear this dress without worrying I’m gonna get slut-shamed.” Again, only one of these problems is real. Instead of being worried that women won’t respond well to you being a sexist asshole, you could try just… not being a sexist asshole.
Oh, and now we’ve made it to the “let’s sh*t talk rom-coms as we star in a rom-com, how edgy and meta are we” portion of the movie. They bond over how hot Ryan Gosling is and how no woman would ever pass up the chance to be with him—which they think makes them contrarian and cool but I’m pretty sure is the entire plot of The Notebook?
In the bathroom, Emma runs into a group of crying girls (also relatable). The one in white is sobbing because something (red wine?) got spilled on her white dress and it looks like a full-on crime scene. This woman is sobbing because she knows her fiancé is about to propose, but he won’t do that now that her dress is ruined (what?) and “my dream was to be proposed to on New Year’s Eve.” Like, why? You have to share your anniversary date with the Earth? Get a better dream.
After Emma switches dresses with Carrie over there, she goes on the dance floor with Jackson, where “I Had The Time Of My Life” suddenly plays. Miraculously, this packed dance floor parts like the red sea so they can do the Dirty Dancing lift. Like, ok. Club crowds don’t even move out of the way for medics, but sure, they’ll make way for two random people to do a choreographed dance.
We end the night with Jackson giving Emma a chaste kiss on the cheek, and she could not look more repulsed. Ugh, hot people problems. The whole premise thus far is that these two are not attracted to each other—and in fact, that they are sort of disgusted by each other—which is patently ridiculous. They are two objectively attractive people. Like, even if Ryan Gosling isn’t your cup of tea, you can’t call the man ugly.
I refuse to believe that the guy in the Holidate is not attracted to Emma Roberts sorry can’t fool me
— sami fishbein sage (@samifish1) October 30, 2020
Cut to: Valentine’s Day, where Emma doesn’t have a date and everyone else in her family is in disbelief. Again.
At the mall (why does this whole movie take place at the mall), Emma runs into her ex, who is obnoxiously hipster and also French. Ew. He’s basically dating a slightly different-looking variation of Emma Roberts, who they try to pass off as a much younger version but you can tell is basically the same age.
Jackson (who also happens to be at the mall, because nobody else has anywhere better to be in all of Chicago) spots this scene and comes to the rescue, and pretends to be Emma’s bf.
As a thank you for this heroic feat, she gives him a hand job in the mall parking lot. So, that’s Valentine’s Day. Actually looked a lot like mine, minus the mall.
So the next holidate is St. Patrick’s Day—ah, yes, the extremely couples-focused holiday of St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, I know firsthand how difficult it is to be single on this day, whose main focus (in the U.S., don’t come for me) is to get wasted off beer. Yes, this of all days is the one I feel most alone.
Emma’s whole family shows up to the bar to once again berate her for being single in between chugs of beer. Reason #24235 this family is f*cked up. We learn that Emma’s brother knows Jackson because he’s been taking golf lessons from him for a year (Jackson is allegedly a “golf pro” for a living, whatever that means, though we never see him golf).
Cut to: Easter, which Emma’s mom has used as another occasion to try to set her daughter up. This time, with their new neighbor (who is also a doctor). But mom, I already told you I’m here with my platonic hot fake date!!! Eh, I’ve had my mom try to set me up with worse people. Kristin Chenoweth shows up dressed like a playboy bunny. And suddenly, I have an answer to the question “where do you see yourself in 10 years?”
So now we get to the trauma portion: apparently Jackson got his heart broken once and that’s why he is the way he is (eye roll). He dated a girl who pretended to like a lot of his hobbies and then one day she completely ghosted and moved out. I honestly don’t feel like we’re getting the whole story here. Like sure, he thinks she up and left out of the blue one day, but if you asked her I bet she’d be like “yeah he was more into his reflection than me and never hung out with me on the weekends because he was always playing golf and every time I brought it up he shrugged it off and my name wasn’t on the lease of the apartment so I just bounced.”
The next holidate is Cinco de Mayo. Again, you don’t have dates for this holiday. You have drinking buddies.
After many tequila shots, Emma wakes up on Jackson’s floor in just her bra and underwear. Finally, realistic representation in Hollywood. She’s wearing his underwear, which in no way makes sense because she’s two pounds and he’s a whole man with hips. In any case, neither of them can remember if they hooked up.
Next up is Mother’s Day, and this family has a whole f*cking Parisian inspired brunch like we’re in that one scene from Bridesmaids. This family does way too much. What do these people do for a living?
Fourth of July time! I understand that if these holidates only happened on the actual holidays that required dates, then Emma and Jackson would be fake-dating for like, six years, but come on. Also, why don’t these people have any actual friends? Jackson has literally one friend, and Emma has zero, evidenced by the fact that she spends all drinking-focused holidays with her family.
Meanwhile, Kristin Chenoweth’s dates keep getting more and more gross because she has some insane rule about only using her holidates one time. At that rate, pyramid schemes have taken a longer time to collapse.
Jackson blows his finger off while setting off fireworks, and everyone else is too wasted to drive to the hospital, so Emma is charged with driving him. I’ve seen characters in Simpsons Road Rage drive better than this bitch, who treats other cars, trees, etc. as if they are parts in a pinball machine. When they somehow make it to the hospital room in one piece, she smokes a joint in the hospital room and they miraculously doesn’t get kicked out.
And guess who’s the doctor charged with reattaching the finger? The neighbor, who is a doctor! Sloane is high so Hot Doctor thinks she’s hitting on him. Guess he has no sense of smell. He also looks like he’s 18. No way this guy went through med school.
Back at home with his finger intact again, Jackson’s like “thanks for taking care of me” and Emma is like “holidate rule #3: leave no date behind.” As far as we know there has been no rule 1 or 2.
I guess it was something about the thrill of almost losing a digit and getting really high and making finger puns that made these two realize they love each other.
Jackson is going to be a Holidate for the brother’s wedding, which conveniently falls on Labor Day. So apparently Jackson scored his own independent invite, and this big idiot is like, “so we’ll both bring our own dates, right?”
Cut to the wedding, where the groom is giving a speech? Don’t feel like that’s a thing. Emma brought Hot Doctor and Jackson brought Kristin Chenoweth, and I’m not sure why she wasn’t already invited given she’s like, their aunt, right? Even weirder, Sloane appears to be jealous of her cracked-out aunt, because when she looks over mid-reception, Kristin is fellating Jackson’s finger (yea that finger). In any normal universe, that scene would provoke revulsion and not jealousy. But ok.
At the bar, they get into a fight because Sloane brought a date and Jackson might f*ck Sloane’s crazy aunt. One of these things is not like the other. In a huff, they call off the holidate arrangement. Then, the bride dances with her dad to “I’ll Make Love To You.” Yikes. I thought this was set in Chicago, not Alabama.
Cut to, crazy aunt grinding on the Hot Doctor. In a spinning accident gone wrong (yea I know), Kristen falls and sprains her ankle, so Hot Doctor rushes to her rescue and whisks her away. Meaning the Holidate arrangement is back on! And this time, it’s Halloween. This is a stretch but given that couples costumes are very much a thing, it’s a lot more believable than shoehorning in St. Patrick’s Day.
Turns out Sloane’s ex is invited to this party with his girlfriend in tow, and she’s 9 months pregnant. She’s at a party because she’s like, “I told you, this baby isn’t going to change our lives!” This is honestly just one of many plot points that did not need to make it into the final cut.
This realization for some reason has broken Emma, who realizes that her ex and his gf conceived on Valentine’s Day but she herself didn’t even have sex on Valentine’s Day. Very weird comparison, considering two of these people are in a relationship, where sex is mostly guaranteed, and one is single. She’s beside herself crying over how embarrassing it is for her—but like, I fail to see how this reflects poorly on her. If anything she dodged a bullet by not getting knocked up by this French douchebag? Feels like we’re at a point in the script writing process where the writers just got drunk and thought all their ideas were genius.
Also somehow somebody spiked Emma’s drinks with laxatives, which causes her to race to the bathroom. Again, I do feel like this is another plotline that could have been removed in editing because it makes no f*cking sense, but at least we get a sweet moment where, after Emma has shat her brains out, Jackson helps her shower. Right, because if a guy didn’t think you were hot on NYE when you were in your best “f*ck me” dress, he’s really going to think you’re hot after he’s washed your own sh*t off you. Now I know what I’ve been doing wrong! From now on, all my dates are going to take place at Taco Bell.
DOUBLY SO because the next morning is when Emma and Jackson finally bang. Cool, the Chipotle workers are going to LOVE me.
These psychopaths wake up the next morning feet to head, not sleeping side-by-side. Anyone else notice that??
The next morning, Sloane’s sister is knocking furiously because she kissed Jackson’s friend (who I have failed to really mention until this point because he honestly served no purpose other than the occasional sassy one-liner). Anyway, the sister is distraught because she is married with kids.
So then it becomes this weird scene where the sister and Jackson are both like, “I should go… no I should go…”
And it ends with Emma being like “no Jackson, you should go.” Now, this has Jackson f*cked up because he has never in his life not been pressured by a girl to have brunch the morning after they have sex. Omg your life must be sooooo hard with women getting attached to you left and right!
Just as out of his f*cking mind is the friend, who’s insisting he and the sister (whose name I am just now learning is Abby) “had a connection”. All this movie is teaching me is that the secret to getting hot guys to like me is to openly reject them a few times and make them question their self-worth.
We’re back to Thanksgiving, and Kristin Chenoweth did not bring Hot Doctor because she’s a “one and done” type bitch. Honestly, I respect it.
Emma has to run out to get some sh*t because her mom burned Thanksgiving dinner. She and Jackson are in the grocery store (why do these two do everything in a f*cking store) when Jackson full-on confesses his love for Emma. And she DGAF! What the actual f*ck is this movie.
Jackson: You’re trying so hard not to feel anything that you’re an asshole.
And now we’ve come obnoxiously full-circle, with Jackson doing a full recall about their whole little quip about Ryan Gosling that they had on New Year’s Eve that isn’t even that good of a metaphor to begin with.
Back at the house, the table is suddenly split in two? I feel like Tim Gunn because I’m yelling at my TV for these people to EDIT.
Well, this is a sh*t show. Emma’s sister sh*ts on her for her personal life always being a mess (wouldn’t be a mess if y’all weren’t so weirdly up in her business about it, but ok). Emma blurts out that at least she didn’t kiss the Black Panther (Jackson’s friend). The husband overhears because he’s walked in right at that moment, and Kristin Chenoweth’s holidate has a heart attack.
And GUESS WHO is the attending physician for this heart attack? That’s right, hot doctor! Apparently, there is only one doctor in all of Chicago!
In any case, Kristin Chenoweth apologizes to Hot Doctor and says she just got scared, and confesses her love for him. He says I love you back, and they make out in the waiting room. Of the ER. Excuse me, this man is the only ER physician in all of Chicago, his time is precious! This is not the time for this!
Christmas time again, and we’re—you guessed it—back at the mall! Where all the girls of the family are shopping, and who’s there? Obviously, Jackson! Because there are no other stores in the entire city. Yeah. They should have set this movie in like, Milwaukee. Then it would have been understandable.
Anyway, Emma’s family turns to her and is basically like, “go get him” so she chases him through the crowded mall. She ends up on stage with a gospel choir (can’t even get into that), and after the choir sings JACKSONNNN to get his attention, the whole mall falls silent. Sure, just like the whole dance floor would part on NYE for two randos to have a dance routine. I’ll take “things that would never happen” for $1,000, Alex.
Emma grabs the mic and confesses her feelings and says she—say it with me now—messed it up because she was scared.
This speech feels less of a love confession and more of a custody agreement: I want you on all holidays, and weekends! And weekdays too! And nights!
After a fake-out (you slick bastard), Jackson obviously rushes to her and they make out in the mall. And all is well! And everything is great! The end.
So what I’ve learned from this movie is:
-I am truly blessed that my dad only asks why I’m single every few months
-Men will fall in love with you if you ignore them (tbh this tracks with what I’ve experienced so far)
-The best way to get a date is to lose your sh*t (literally)
-It’s a good idea to get marry someone you’ve only known for three months (seriously, I couldn’t believe that this subplot with the brother didn’t end in divorce considering the writers spent half the movie underscoring how little these two knew each other… but again, ok)
Overall, I actually didn’t hate this movie. It was stupid, but it was obviously supposed to be stupid. Could it have been about a half hour shorter? Yes. Did any of it make sense? Like, some of it, but not all. But it was entertaining and didn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s all I can really ask for in a rom-com anyway. I’m not here to learn groundbreaking truths about the power of love—I’d much prefer a hand job in a mall parking lot. With that said, I am now accepting applications for my 2020 holiday date. Happy holidays!
Images: Steve Dietl/NETFLIX; Giphy (2); samifish1 / Twitter
Seasons greetings! It is I, Betches’ resident holiday romance movie enthusiast, back to regale you with the films that you should absolutely be wasting your time with during this hallowed time of year. Hint: it’s all of them. Even the bad ones. In fact, especially the bad ones.
As previously established, I am a slut for Christmas and all that comes with it—including, but not limited to, those absolutely cringeworthy movies that Hallmark, and now Netflix, peddle like it’s the end of the month and rent is due tomorrow. Painstakingly reviewing each one is a tough job, and if we’re being honest, no one really had to do it, but I decided to anyway because this is my passion. Follow me on this evergreen scented journey or perish, (Christmas) sweater monkeys.
Me, the second plates are cleared at Thanksgiving:
I’ve kicked off this holiday season—and yes, I consider the 11th of November the holiday season—with as legitimate a Christmas movie as we’ll ever cover in this series, Last Christmas. Starring Emilia Clarke (Daenerys from Game of Thrones) and Henry Golding (Nick from Crazy Rich Asians), Last Christmas is the story of one wildly self-centered woman and her journey to self-actualization during the Christmas season, accompanied by a heavily George Michael-influenced soundtrack, alluded to by the title itself. I can’t think of a better time to work on myself than during the six weeks a year I’m stuffing my face with every edible peppermint or spiced item in sight, but maybe that’s why I don’t get to be the quirky lead of a holiday rom-com.
Kate (Clarke) is, for lack of a better term, a 26-year-old hot f*cking mess who works full-time in a seasonal Christmas store, dressed daily as an elf. It would appear that just about every person in her life resents her for being a selfish, careless, generally destructive human, except her Yugoslavian mother, played to near perfection by a very not-Yugoslavian Emma Thompson.
Just as she’s about to truly hit rock bottom, Kate meets Tom (Golding), who is immediately infatuated with her cracked out smokey eyes and over all chaotic lifestyle. No man has ever looked at my residual hair and makeup after a particularly violent holiday party and been like “wow, I am beguiled by this adult woman in an elf costume” but, alas, I am not the mother of dragons. The most unrealistic part in a movie that will at one point become outrageously unrealistic is that Kate pretends for even one second to not be into Henry Golding, who I could have watched prance throughout London during Christmas time for another 4-6 hours.
What follows are two reviews: one that is spoiler free for those of you that have yet to see the movie, and one that is absolutely riddled with spoilers because I have no one else to talk to about the emotional havoc that this supposedly holiday-friendly film wreaked on me at 9:30pm on a Sunday night in an empty movie theatre in a foreign country. It’s fine. I’m fine.
A Spoiler-Free Review
In terms of holiday tropes, this movie has it all: family strife, an inordinate amount of decorations, an astoundingly selfish person who—through the guidance of another—learns to care about something outside themselves, some sort of tragedy that begets new beginnings, vague political undertones, a romantic subplot that exists purely for comedic purposes, and then a main romantic plot that ultimately teaches you an important less about both yourself and the spirit of the season.
As any true rom-com fan knows, the one thing needed to land chemistry between two people is The Look, and this movie has it. Specifically, Henry Golding has it. I could watch that man Look at a piece of plywood. Cast him in more romantic leads, you cowards.
Having only ever watched Emilia Clarke play an incredibly stoic, and towards the end tyrannical and unhinged, role on Game of Thrones, it was refreshing to watch her foray into comedy. She so believably plays a narcissistic pseudo-adult that I found myself both genuinely identifying with and disliking her at different points throughout the movie. I’ll unpack that later, I guess.
Emma Thompson as the domineering, overbearing mother (but honestly never as overbearing or domineering as her entire family makes her out to be) steals the show, and manages to inject some anti-Brexit sentiment without derailing the actual plot. Her performance is just followed by Santa, Kate’s hard-ass boss with a heart of gold, delightfully played by Michelle Yeoh, also of Crazy Rich Asians.
Last Christmas manages to be both cheesy and charming, with truly enjoyable character dynamics across multiple plot points. From Kate and her boss, to Kate and her mother, and even Kate and her sister, there’s a begrudging but ultimately loving female relationship that everyone can relate to in one way or another.
Is it worth adding Last Christmas to your holiday movie rotation? Absolutely. At the very least, it gives you an excuse to listen to an abundance of George Michael, which is something we should all be doing more often.
Thus ends the spoiler-free portion of this review. Please leave if you don’t want to be upset from here on out.
A Review Absolutely Riddled With Spoilers
We learn throughout the course of the movie that the reason Kate is failing at every aspect of adult life is because just a year ago, she nearly died, only to be saved by a Hail Mary heart transplant. Now that Kate is well again, her mother is floundering, her sister is drowning in resentment at having been cast aside for what appears to be her entire life, her dad is distant and detached from all family matters, and Kate herself is lost. Her prior dreams of becoming a singer are thwarted left and right by what seems like bad luck, but is actually the result of Kate being unable to commit to any one event in her life. And to be fair, I get it; a mid-twenties existential crisis is rough enough without having to come face to face with your own mortality.
In short, Kate is doing not well, bitch. But the more time she spends with Tom, the more she appears to heal. He teaches her novel things like caring about the people around you and putting a single ounce of effort into the things that you want to achieve. Groundbreaking concept. This culminates in an alcohol-fueled confession to him of all her secret fears and inadequacies, spurred by a family dinner in which she outs her sister in a fit of rage. You know, like siblings do. It’s at this point that Tom, an ardent supporter of all things Kate up until now, appears to exhibit the first seeds of doubt, all communicated in one troubled glance at the drunk, bedraggled, eyeliner-smudged, cheetah coat-cloaked mess in his arms. Forget Disney princesses, this is the most unrealistic expectation media has ever set for me women.
Tom disappears for a while, but shockingly, Kate’s personal development continues to progress. She’s begun frequenting the homeless shelter that Tom volunteers at, has re-dedicated herself to a job and relationship with her boss that she nearly lost early on in the movie, and begins to mend the damage between her mother and herself. TL;DR: Kate is growing up and the people around her are starting to take notice. This is artfully demonstrated to the audience by the gradual lessening of her black eyeshadow and increase of apparent hair brushing—subtle cues that you only pick up on when you’ve been someone who at one point in their life needed to brush their hair or reduce their eyeshadow.
And then. AND THEN. Tragedy strikes.
After an extended period of absence, Kate heads to Tom’s place where she finds a realtor who is in the process of showing his apartment. Over the course of one anxiety-filled conversation, we learn that Tom has not skipped town as one might have initially thought. Oh no, Tom can’t skip town. Why? because Tom is a ghost.
And do you want to know why Tom is a ghost? Do you? BECAUSE LAST CHRISTMAS HE GAVE HER HIS F*CKING HEART.
The moment that I, far too late, realized that the lyrics “Last Christmas I gave you my heart” were, in fact, LITERAL, was the second most traumatic event I’ve ever experienced in a movie theatre, the first being the time a man convinced me to go see Sausage Party with him. I’m still not ready to discuss the latter, but you bet your ass we’re going to dive into the former.
Me, to the perplexed Dutch man sat next to me in the movie theatre:
Should I have noticed that Henry Golding was wearing the same outfit the entire time? Maybe. Should I have picked up on the fact that literally no one else ever saw him? Sure. Should I have been prepared for a Sixth Sense style twist in what I was falsely assured was a feel good Christmas rom-com? Absolutely not.
I have no less than one hundred questions about the feasibility of this plot, which I understand is the kind of thing I should just be accepting at face value, given the genre I’ve chosen to dedicate myself to here, but I refuse.
How long was Tom haunting Kate before they met? The man died a year ago—was he just lurking in the distance until she was truly on the brink of destroying her entire life? How did she get into his apartment? Was he carrying a ghost key? Was his bike also a ghost, or was there just an empty courier bike peddling alongside this woman day after day, who was actually just speaking to thin air? On that note, considering Kate’s typical physical state and tendency to hang out outside a homeless shelter and speak to someone no one else could see, how was she not approached by the authorities or committed? Why was no one concerned when she was kissing a ghost on a bench in a garden full of regulars who definitely recognized her? Have you ever tried to mime kissing someone? It’s not something that you can do discreetly!
All that being said, I loved this movie. After I sopped up my tears with my sweater and discreetly skulked out of the movie theatre with a blotchy face, I thought about it the rest of the night. I would watch it again, tomorrow, with a cup of peppermint hot chocolate and a box of tissues. If you’re a fan of love, Christmas, and utter despair, I highly recommend you do the same.
Last Christmas manages to be both cheesy and charming, with truly enjoyable character dynamics across multiple plot points. From Kate and her boss, to Kate and her mother, and even Kate and her sister, there’s a begrudging but ultimately loving female relationship that everyone can relate to in one way or another.
You, dancing away to see this movie:
Images: Giphy (4)
You made it through Thanksgiving, but there’s like, so much more holiday season to endure. That means more family, more spending money, more office parties, and more blizzards. What a joyous season. The only good part about December is that it means 2018 is slowly coming to an end. That’s a good thing at least. So to close out the year, here are some of our top movies and TV shows for you to watch on Netflix this December.
Dec 1: ‘The Big Lebowski’
My ex-boyfriend’s Instagram bio was “I don’t roll on Shabbos” and I thought that was a reference to rolling joints. Turns out it’s from this movie, which is about bowling. Basically, these two guys share the same name, Jeffrey Lebowski. But like, one’s an avid bowler and one’s a millionaire whose wife gets kidnapped. Millionaire Jeff doesn’t want to get his hands dirty, so he hires bowling star Jeff to go pay his wife’s ransom. Obviously, sh*t goes wrong because you trusted a guy who spends his time in rented shoes with your money and wife’s life. This movie is apparently a “cult favorite” and my ex-boyfriend’s, so go watch it.
Dec 1: ‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs’
This movie is pure nostalgia. Remember the book we all read and loved in like, elementary school or whatever? This is that, but with a twist. Flint Lockwood sucks at inventing things, but one day makes a food machine that flies up into the atmosphere and actually works. His town is f*cking thrilled (as one would be) but end up getting too greedy and fat making the machine go haywire. IDK about you, but this movie f*cking scared me when it originally came out in 2009. People were legit getting squashed by cheeseburgers and spaghetti tornados coming from the sky. Now thinking about it, that sounds like a pretty good way to go.
Dec 1: ‘8 Mile’
Once you’ve binged Lady Gaga and Demi Lovato’s documentaries, you can move on to this. It’s not really a documentary, but more ~based on a true story~. Eminem plays Jimmy, a guy from Detroit who hates his life working at a car factory and want to be a rapper. Brittany Murphy (RIP) plays Jimmy’s love interest and has sex with him in the car factory cause she finds it hot that he stands up for his gay co-worker, Paul, who was getting insulted via rap battle. If that’s not reason enough to watch this, here’s another: Mom’s spaghetti.
Dec 7: ‘Free Rein: The 12 Neighs of Christmas’
If you’ve already watched The Princess Switch and are still in need of your terribly wonderful cheesy Christmas movie, look no further. This movie is based on the show Free Rein, a British TV series with major horse-girl energy. Zoe drops a Christmas ornament and somehow discovers a ~family secret~. Who TF hides family secrets inside Christmas ornaments? How did you even get it in there anyways? This movie includes a Mistletoe Ball, evil b*tch boss, hot elf man, and some sort of Santa in a shack—I like it already.
Dec 7: ‘Dumplin’
This movie is what would happen if Toddlers & Tiaras suddenly became woke. The movie stars plus-size teen Willowdean Dickson (find a more southern name, I actually dare you), who signs up for her mom’s pageant because she wants to start a “revolution in heels”. This is the feminist, body-loving movie I’ve been waiting for. I feel like this is a role Rachel Green would’ve died for had she taken up an acting career. I’m just praying it doesn’t turn out like Sierra Burgees Is A Loser because that was an abomination. Besides, how could something with Jen Aniston AND Dolly Parton SINGING be bad? The answer is simple, it cannot.
Dec 7: ‘The American Meme’
Be #cultured and spend your time watching a documentary starring the likes of Paris Hilton, The Fat Jewish, Emily Ratajkowski, Hailey Baldwin, and more. Watch how these influencers with literally no talent other than posting photos make a sh*t ton more money than you. After showing at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, Netflix jumped to purchase this work of art. Any movie where Paris Hilton and The Fat Jewish are quoted as experts is one I want to see. This documentary may or may not be educational, but either way, it’s going to be entertaining.
Dec 16: ‘Baby Mama’
This movie is one of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s best works. Kate, played by Tina Fey, is a single businesswoman who put her career before her personal life and forgets to have a baby. The struggle is f*cking real. She can’t get pregnant or adopt, so she hires Angie, played by Amy Poehler, as the surrogate. Angie fakes her pregnancy for a little while thinking she could just steal Kate’s money and peace. But then she ends up actually being pregnant with her own baby.
Dec 14: ‘Fuller House’ Season 4
This show is absolute garbage yet I find myself binge watching it with a half-empty bottle of wine more often than not. Nothing will ever live up to the original Full House, but this show has made it four seasons, so I guess it has to be kind of good? Mary-Kate and/or Ashley have still not returned as Michelle and that’s thoroughly disappointing. But there’s a Christmas episode included in this season, so it’s totally festive. Joey dresses up as Santa so like, that might be charming or scary depending on who you are. And we get to find out the fate of Danny Tanner’s love life after Vicky made a return at the end of season three. Thrilling.
Dec 14: ‘Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale’
Even though it only came out a month ago, you’ve probably already binged the entire season of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. If you aren’t scared sh*tless of this show by now, get ready for their holiday special. Christmas time means that the Church of Night (a totally not suspicious name) celebrates the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. They all sit around a fire and tell ghost stories. Sounds cute and harmless until you remember that they all literally worship the devil. This is def not your traditional Hallmark holiday special, but if you’re a spooky b*tch, you’ll enjoy it.
Dec 14: ‘The Fix’
Does reading about the state of our crumbling world make you want to hide in a cave for the rest of existence? Yes? Then this is the show for you. Netflix’s latest panel show hosts top comedians and poses them with questions about how to solve some of the world’s greatest conundrums. Will they solve anything? Probably not. Will they be a hell of a lot closer than our current government is to solving anything? Definitely.
Dec 21: ‘Back With The Ex’
The title of this show is also known as the worst possible text message you could ever send to or receive from your best friend. This Australian reality show takes four singles and reconnects them with their exes. I think I would rather tweeze every hair on my body than partake in this, but I’m totally down to watch other people try. The only thing that would make this show better is if there was a Bachelor(ette) spin-off where they put former couples back in the mansion together. I want a full Jake and Vienna breakup meltdown all over again.
Dec 25: ‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ Season 11
The second last season of Anthony Bourdain’s show is coming to Netflix to on Christmas, how pleasant. *Wipes tears*. As a world-famous chef and travel documentarian, Bourdain explores unusual foods and fascinating places around the world. This season takes us through West Virginia, Uruguay, Newfoundland, Armenia, Hong Kong, Berlin, Louisiana, and Bhutan.
Dec 26: ‘YOU’
Just in case you needed to hate Dan Humphrey a little more, here it is. Penn Badgley plays Joe Goldberg, a bookstore owner (classic Dan) who develops a crush on an aspiring writer, Beck. Aw, cute. Until it’s not. Turns out, Beck has sh*t privacy settings and Joe knows a thing or two about stalking people (perhaps from his days as Gossip Girl?). In true Dan Humphrey fashion, what starts out as an innocent crush on Serena Beck eventually turns like, criminal. Explore the blurred lines between love-struck or dangerously obsessed with this feel-good show that reminds us all that men are trash.
Images: JESHOOTS.com/Pexels Giphy (6)
Listen. I am a SLUT for Christmas. The lights. The music. The decor. The ever-present scent of evergreen. The built-in excuse to drink liquified chocolate without having to explain yourself. It all fills me with a pure, unadulterated joy that I can only describe as childlike. It’s also important to note that I am a lover of romantic comedies—the cheesier, the better. There’s nothing I love more than looking Cinema Dudes in the eye, and telling them that I sincerely think Clueless is a better movie than Fight Club. Give me your sappy, your cliche, your stringent skeptics yearning to love free, and I will binge watch each and every one of them, alone, a glass of wine in hand and a potential tear in my eye.
So you can only imagine the peppermint flavored excitement that coursed through my body when I opened up Netflix a full week before Thanksgiving, only to be greeted by a deluge of sappy, romantic, Christmas themed, made-for-TV movies. It’s like Hallmark and Lifetime got together, drank a bunch of peppermint schnapps, and then puked into my queue. I was in heaven.
I decided, in that moment, that it was my responsibility—nay, my destiny—to watch every single one. And we’re not just talking the Netflix original movies here, with actual production budgets, recognizable names and semi-digestible plotlines. We’re talking all the Netflix Christmas romances, even the ones that look like they were shot on an iPhone 4 and derived from screenplays that are one smut scene short of verifiable fan fiction.
Why did I do this? Why did I put myself through 826 minutes of wholesome yet ultimately mind-numbing Christmas cinema? It’s a simple answer, dear reader: ’tis the season of giving.
I ranked all the Netflix Christmas movies, so you didn’t have to.
*Minimal spoilers ahead but also it takes merely a simple synopsis and two brain cells to figure out how most of these would end*
8. ‘Christmas Wedding Planner’
The premise: If your idea of a Christmas classic includes Lily van der Woodsen playing a watered-down Lily van der Woodsen and Joey Fatone playing what I would imagine is just Joey Fatone, then this is the movie for you. Super quirky, yet inexplicably sad orphan Kelsey Wilson is trying to prove herself as a wedding planner by pulling off the perfect Christmas wedding for her cousin, who is not only beautiful but also kind and also outrageously forgiving (you’ll see).
The problem? A mysterious private investigator, who just happens to be the bride’s ex-boyfriend, arrives in town the day of the engagement party, dead set on uncovering some salacious skeleton in the groom’s closet that will ruin not only the wedding of her beloved cousin, but also Kelsey’s only shot at becoming a successful wedding planner. Why is her entire career riding on the wedding of a relative, something that she probably isn’t getting paid for and would likely be discounted in any legitimate portfolio? No one knows, and it doesn’t matter, because this is Christmas.
The dialogue in this movie is, for lack of a better word, bad. The romantic progression is non-existent, until the moment that it very much exists. The ending made me want to shove some especially fragrant Douglas Fir pine needles into my eye. I will absolutely be watching it again next year.
Christmas Rating: 7/10
What this movie lacks in any discernible screenwriting, it makes up for in decor. I think there might actually be a Christmas tree in every single shot. Kelsey is clad in vibrant red and forest green at any given moment. Watching it evoked the same vaguely festive warmth as drinking peppermint hot chocolate.
Chemistry Rating: 2/10
Kelsey and the P.I. inevitably team up to unearth whatever secrets lie in the groom’s past, and their half-assed investigative work has me wishing Veronica Mars would show up and beat the sh*t out of both of them. What’s worse, their stunted attempts at flirting would have you thinking that they were both being held at gunpoint just off-camera. It’s the kind of chemistry that you have with the only other person your age at a party hosted by your parents: forced and potentially incestuous.
7. ‘Christmas in the Smokies’
The premise: Disaster strikes the Haygood family when they find out their historic berry farm is in danger of being seized by the bank due to a line of credit that they were under the impression would never have to be repaid. Living in the country must be nice.
Hardworking, independent career gal Shelby Haygood is hell-bent on saving her family’s farm, despite the fact that both of her parents spend the first half of the movie being entirely unconcerned about the very real possibility that their home will be repossessed by the bank in mere days. This would probably have made for a stressful enough holiday season, but fate has decided to throw another twist Shelby’s way in the form of Mason Wyatt, her high school sweetheart-turned-bad-boy-country-star who has just returned to town.
Mason walked out on Shelby when they were 17 years old, an event which has had a formative impact on her entire adult life. This woman is clearly in her thirties and yet still harboring a grudge bordering on obsessive towards her teenage boyfriend who (and I’m only guessing here because this movie wouldn’t dare provide a semblance of context) left her on Christmas Eve to…pursue his music career?
This movie’s saving grace is Mr. Haygood, played by Whitey from One Tree Hill. He is, in fact, the exact same character, except now with a handlebar mustache. Much like Whitey, Mr. Haygood’s wisdom knows no bounds and he has zero time, patience, or regard for the temper tantrums thrown by his students daughter.
Christmas Rating: 5/10
The first 15 minutes of this movie had me positively charmed. The classical, nostalgic Christmas music that I haven’t heard since the last time my parents forced me to go to church on Christmas Eve was a welcome reprieve from the contemporary covers that we’ve come to expect from these kind of productions.
But that initial charm was immediately overridden by the overt religious undertones that kicked in after about 20 minutes. Yes, I know. Christmas is a religious holiday. Sure. But also, no it’s not. There is Christmas the religious holiday and there is Christmas the cultural event and we all know that we came to this very specific Netflix category for the latter. Let’s not try to make this something it’s not.
Chemistry Rating: -4/10
Mason Wyatt had more natural chemistry with Whitey than his actual love interest. In fact, Whitey was the most likable character in this entire movie. I would watch another hour and a half of him and his friends eating breakfast and making vague sexual innuendos via grits and bacon.
Not only could you not convince me that these two people were ever in love, but I barely believe that one wouldn’t sell the other into indentured servitude for 50 cents and the knowledge that they would suffer for the rest of their lives.
Like, I get it. It’s a little hard to focus on a romantic sub-plot when there are serious things like bankruptcy and foreclosure on the line. But guess what? I didn’t pick Christmas in the Smokies for the far-too-realistic storyline of financial hardship during the holiday season. I chose it because I wanted to watch some vaguely country themed Christmas love play out between two people who are even the slightest bit attracted to each other, and I didn’t even get that.
Because you know what’s required in any kind of romantic movie? The one thing that’s pretty much make or break for the success of your film? A KISS. THESE TWO IDIOTS DIDN’T EVEN KISS. I haven’t been deprived this level of closure since every relationship I’ve ever been in.
6. ‘The Spirit of Christmas’
The premise: Our protagonist Kate is your typical Lifetime movie lead: a strong, yet perpetually frazzled, working woman who takes her job, and by extension herself, far too seriously. Kate doesn’t have time for love! There are frantic phone calls to answer! And very important deals to close! And overbearing father figures masquerading as bosses whose approval she has to win! If only there were a man who could teach her that there’s more to life than being rich, successful, and shattering the glass ceiling.
Kate is offered a last minute job before Christmas (not that she celebrates anyways, she’s too busy proving her worth at the office!!), one that will catapult her career to the next level and finally win her the begrudging respect of the men at work. She’s been tasked with heading out to a quaint, historical bed and breakfast in a nondescript New England town and ensuring that it’s appraised and sold before Christmas. Easy right? From here, you probably know where the story is going.
Kate heads to picture-perfect bed and breakfast. Kate meets man. Man shows Kate the ways of the world, complete with Christmas decorating montage. Kate falls in love and forgets that she spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on law school, only to throw it all away for the owner of a bed and breakfast.
Oh yeah, and he’s a ghost.
Woman who had sex with 20 ghosts is now engaged to a spirit https://t.co/TSpVqbh30c pic.twitter.com/ruiVs9lEmE
— New York Post (@nypost) October 30, 2018
Christmas Rating: 7/10
This movie not only has modern Christmas, but also colonial-era Christmas. There are not one, but TWO Christmas balls. There is snow everywhere. Kate and the ghost decorate a tree together because a very specific curse allows him to become human for one week a year and therefore do things like pick up Christmas ornaments. We have sufficiently checked the Christmas box here.
Chemistry Rating: 4/10
Kate and the ghost spend the first good half of the movie hating each other—Kate because the ghost stands in the way of her appraisal and therefore advancement in her career, the ghost because Kate is intruding on his one week a year to be corporeal, eat pancakes, and sulk about being dead.
Usually, I’m a sucker for the hate-turned-friendship-turned-love trope, but in this case we went straight from all-out hate to inexplicable love, without any real indication as to why. I get that that’s par for the course with these things, but this case was especially jarring. I don’t know, maybe because the love interest was dead and pining for his dead fiancé up until about 10 seconds before they were suddenly in love.
However, once the ghost decided he no longer hated Kate, he truly committed to being unnecessarily in love with a human that he had spent all of four days with and that, I can respect.
5. ‘Holiday Engagement’
The premise: Part-time writer Hillary finally has it all: a minimum-wage paying gig at her local small town paper, which exists despite the fact that she appears to live in LA or New York or some other Metropolitan city, and a fiancé named Jason who was gushingly described as “fiscally responsible” by Hillary’s best friend. You may have thought that list was going to go on, but no, those two sad things are all she has.
But it’s enough for Hillary, because now she finally has a man to bring home for Thanksgiving to appease her overbearing mother, who might actually just be the mom from Pride and Prejudice who somehow managed to find a time machine that allows her to harass a whole new family of daughters into loveless, wealth-accumulating marriages.
However, tragedy strikes when Hillary implies that she doesn’t want to uproot her entire life and burgeoning part-time journalism career for Jason’s promotion, and he dumps her mere days before they’re set to spend the weekend at her parents’.
Naturally, the only thing Hillary can do now is to hire a struggling actor to play the part of Jason and convince her entire family that their wedding, set to take place at the end of December, is still happening. This may sound like an inane plan to you, but having had to watch an hour and a half of this woman interact with her children, I would say it was the best possible course of action.
Christmas Rating: 6/10
Being set during Thanksgiving weekend, I was initially concerned about the amount of Christmas they could actually pack into this movie. Clearly someone else felt the same way, and managed to shoe-horn an entire scene in which the mother singlehandedly decorates the whole house at midnight after Thanksgiving dinner. Her ungrateful children never recognize this selfless task, and it was at this point that I found myself aligning with the suffocating and needlessly dramatic mother. Couldn’t possibly tell you why that is.
Chemistry Rating: 2/10
Everything about this couple made me uncomfortable. Their kissing, their body language, their half-assed attempts at pretending they’ve known each longer than two days. Honestly, if you’re going to commit to such an over-the-top plan, you would think you’d actually, I don’t know, rehearse? Do some research? Act as if you liked each other? I haven’t seen such a disheartened attempt at acting since I was forced to take improv classes in middle school. I found myself screaming “YES, AND” at the TV every time they tried to pull together a cohesive story from their supposed shared past.
4. ‘Merry Kissmas’
The premise: The story opens on Kate, a woman whose only discernible character trait is that she’s stuck in a loveless engagement with an egocentric choreographer named Carlton, who possesses zero redeeming qualities and one Lindsay Lohan-esque, nationality agnostic accent. If nothing else, we must give the screenwriters credit for their unique take on a Christmas romance.
Carlton is choreographing and producing his own twist on The Nutcracker, which is to take place in San Francisco. The unhappy couple decides to kill two birds with one stone and hold their engagement party the same week, in Kate’s native Palo Alto.
It is clear to Kate—and to everyone but Carlton, really—that this relationship is doomed to fail. While contemplating whether or not she actually wants to get married, Kate finds herself in a sticky situation that can only be solved by diving into an elevator and kissing the attractive guy inside. We’ve all been there.
This kiss ignites a passion in Kate that she hasn’t felt in years, driving a further wedge between Carlton and herself. As she grows closer to the kind, caring, not emotionally abusive elevator man who also happens to be the caterer for her engagement party, Kate must decide whether or not to marry the small dancing troll who treats her like an unwanted stepchild. What’s a girl to do??
Christmas Rating: 2/10
The writers seem to have been under the very mistaken impression that an abundance of nutcrackers and cookies can make up for the total lack of any actual cozy Christmas atmosphere. I mean, you’re really setting yourself up for failure when your Christmas love story takes place in sunny Palo Alto, California. No snow to inspire a spontaneous snowball fight? No roaring fire place to curl up in front of? No scarves to playfully tug on? How dare you come at me with this absolute pretense.
Chemistry Rating: 5/10
Other than presenting me with the first truly believable kiss of this entire movie marathon, I couldn’t quite figure out why I was so invested in Kayla and the Catering Man. They were a pair of two-dimensional saltine crackers who made for a generically attractive couple, but nothing worth getting worked up over. But then, the words of the ingenious and immortal Natalie Walker rang through my head, and it hit me.
“The screenwriters are assuming if they give the audience enough reason to root against and , they’ll forget they’ve been given no compelling reason to root for and .”
This sad, blonde whisper of a woman may have been devoid of any real personality other than a weird obsession with collectible nutcrackers, but that doesn’t mean she deserved to be sentenced to a lifetime of misery at the hand of the tap-dancing goat she was currently shackled to. Hell, I’ll root for her with anyone, as long as it means she’s free of Carlton’s (undoubtedly tiny) grasp.
3. ‘Christmas With a View’
The premise:n Disgraced restaurant owner Clara is back in her hometown, managing a local high-end ski resort and trying to get back on her feet after a vague but apparently life-altering failure in the Chicago culinary scene. Like any good romance heroine, she’s too focused on her career to have time for men…until New York’s most eligible bachelor/chef snags the Head Chef position in the resort’s restaurant. That’s right. Bachelor AND Chef. What a multi-faceted creature.
Will they fall in love? Yes. Will there be hurdles? Yes. Will there be an extensive winter-activity-falling-in-love-montage? You better believe it.
Christmas Rating: 7/10
Not only was this movie chock-full of Christmas cheer, but it had layers to the festivity. Different locations offered up different vibes, juxtaposing the cozy, homey decor of Clara’s childhood hotel against the glamorous yet sterile aesthetic of her current job. Of course, this was a thinly veiled metaphor for family run businesses, the unsung heroes in these small ski towns, diametrically opposed to corporate holiday resort conglomerates. You know, a classic Christmas movie message.
Chemistry Rating: 6/10
Clara and the hot chef receive the highest rating thus far for the simple reason that I actually believed these two people wanted to have sex with each other. That’s it. It’s that easy. Just look into each other’s eyes and try to offer up a modicum of affection. I’m not asking for that much.
2. ‘The Princess Switch’
The premise: Stacy is an uptight pastry chef from Chicago who’s been unlucky in love despite having the hottest best friend/sous chef of all time. It sounds like she acquired her accent by watching one season of Shameless and that one Chicago Bears SNL skit from the 90’s.
Margaret is the equally uptight but apparently inwardly rebellious Duchess of Montenaro, who also happens to be begrudgingly engaged to the Prince of Belgravia. It sounds like she acquired her accent by watching one season of The Crown and the trailer for the new Mary Poppins movie.
The two are distant cousins who meet by chance at an international baking competition in Belgravia. They are, of course identical twins, played by Vanessa Hudgens.
Margaret hatches a diabolical and never-before-seen plan to (gasp) switch places so that she may experience a normal life before being swept up in the high profile lifestyle of the royal family of this miniscule fictional eastern European country.
While Stacy has never even considered the possibility that her best friend Kevin is an absolute snack, and Margaret has never thought to try and pursue a romantic relationship with her attractive royal fiancé, the same can’t be said once the two take up each other’s lives.
Christmas Rating: 10/10
This movie is Christmas porn. Lest you drop me smack dab in the middle of a Christmas market in Vienna, I could not be happier. Margaret’s holiday color palette of exclusively blush and cardinal is not only iconic but also revolutionary. Take note ladies, this year we throw caution to the wind and mix our pinks and reds.
Chemistry Rating: 8/10
Once I was able to work past Vanessa Hudgens playing a British Vanessa Hudgens trying to sound like a Chicago Vanessa Hudgens, I settled right into everything The Princess Switch was selling. These beautiful people are throwing longing, romantic glances left and right in this absolutely perfect Christmas village and my feeble little heart can’t take it.
Am I projecting because I would be happy with either of the love interests (but mostly Kevin)? Maybe. Are my standards outrageously low, having been so recently burned by Christmas in the Smokies? Perhaps. Do I just have soft spot for Vanessa Hudgens, having come of age in the High School Musical era? Yeah. Sue me.
1. ‘The Holiday Calendar’
The premise: Abby Sutton is a struggling photographer, stuck in a sh*tty hometown holiday job and living vicariously through her crazy-hot best friend Josh, who actually managed to turn his traveling photography blog into a successful venture. In a movie literally centered around a magic advent calendar, that is the single least believable plot point.
Two important things happen this holiday season: Josh comes home for good, bringing his overtly obvious unrequited love for Abby with him, and Abby receives a magical antique advent calendar from her grandfather. With each passing day, the toy behind every door of the calendar dictates the course of Abby’s life. She is lead to love, loss, and an excessive amount of elementary school events.
Christmas Rating: 9/10
This movie reeks of Christmas. Abby works as the photographer at a Santa pop-up in town square. Everything is covered in snow, garland, and joy. The entire story relies on an advent calendar, the most Christmas themed subplot imaginable. I went to sleep filling fulfilled and wishing that any one of my childhood friends even slightly resembled Quincy Brown.
Chemistry Rating: 10/10
These two are head over heels in love with each other from the second they appear on screen and I. AM. HERE. FOR. IT.
Pull out your romantic trope checklist folks, because we’ve got it all:
- Longing looks while the other glances away
- Quincy Brown serving us The Look™️ in general! Here is an entire Twitter thread dedicated to The Look in case you don’t know what that means.
The number one thing a man in a romcom needs, TV or movie, is the ability to look at their love interest REALLY WELL. The man barely even needs to speak if he just knows how LOOK at a person.
— alanna kelsey claire bennett (@AlannaBennett) March 28, 2018
- Family members practically begging them to get together
- Falling asleep on the couch and ending up cuddling when they wake up
- Ultimate despair at having to watch the love of your life date other people
- Jealousy! So much jealousy!
- A grand romantic gesture followed by an admission of love! ARE YOU KIDDING ME.
I’m going to make my own advent calendar, and each door is going to reveal a Post-it note that says “Watch The Holiday Calendar again, you lonely idiot.” It is the Christmas Netflix movie we all wanted, but never one I thought we would deserve.
Stay tuned for part two of this series, where I review the rest of the Netflix Christmas movies this streaming service throws at me in addition to the ones that haven’t even premiered yet.
Yeah, I’m talking about the sequel to The Christmas Prince.
Images: Giphy (5), @AlannaBennet, @nypost / Twitter; Netflix