From December 1 – 25, I will endeavor to watch a different Christmas movie each day and write about it on this blog. Here are the parameters:
- The movies I choose from cannot have been distributed in theaters for wide release (so no Elf, The Santa Clause, etc.). Movies made for TV, direct to video, streaming, or otherwise independent are up for grabs.
- I will only cover live-action full-length feature films. No reality shows or television shows (but again, made for TV movies are fine). I also won’t cover any holiday specials (ex. the Bob Ross special, Mariah Carey holiday special, Charlie Brown Christmas, etc.).
- All the available movies to stream (along with a Hallmark wildcard) are in a Google sheet, from which I’ll randomly choose one each day. If the movie turns out to be truly unwatchable within the first 10 minutes, I will redraw.
- Each movie will be rated based on a very strict set of Christmas criteria.
Got it? Let’s go!
Married by Christmas (2016)
Directed by: Letia Clouston
Written by: Alison Spuck McNeeley and Casie Tabanou
Starring: Jes Macallan and Coby Ryan McLaughlin
Synopsis: “A high level executive must find herself a husband before Christmas in order to inherit a fortune.”
Watch on: Hulu
I have to say, maybe the Christmas madness is getting to me, but I actually thought this movie was pretty cute!
A reverse The Bachelor (the Chris O’Donnell movie, not the reality show), Married By Christmas, alternate title The Engagement Clause, finds Carrie desperately hunting to get married by her sister in order to inherit her family’s company.
I have to admit, her sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law are pretty annoying. Despite the fact that Carrie has worked at the family company for the last seven years and her sister has never had anything to do with it, as soon as they learn they stand to inherit, they get their greedy little hackles riled up.
So, I was definitely rooting for Carrie’s crazy scheme, which included a rote but fun online dating montage and eventual reunion with her (not as yet revealed) gay best friend from high school.
Of course, the real love interest in the movie is the brother-in-law’s best man, and Carrie’s work rival, Dylan. He’s an interesting romantic lead. Cute, but not overly–very realistic. And the movie reveals absolutely nothing about him. No backstory whatsoever.
I kept waiting for some reveal like that he was a widower or worked part time at a homeless shelter or something, but nothing. His entire purpose in the movie was to be a romantic foil to Carrie, which I found to be rather enjoyable, if not odd.
The ending actually surprised me and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I won’t spoil it for you here, because I think this movie is actually worth a watch if cheesy Christmas movies are up your alley. But I do think it maintains Carrie’s goal to have a strong career, which I appreciate.
All in all, it is a pretty decent romantic comedy and Christmas movie, with an assistant that gives me broke-ass Paula from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend vibes (and I mean that in the best way possible).
A real Christmas movie should be so full of snow that the characters are at risk of suffocating on it. The more snowflakes, the snowier (and more Christmasy) the movie.
Snowmeter: 0 out of 10 snowflakes. They make no motions of hiding that this was shot in California with zero snow.
What emotional cord is the movie trying to strike? Is it all about believing in the season? Or is it about the disillusioned bakery owner finding love once again? The higher the mistletoe, the feels this movie has.
The Feels: 6 out of 10 mistletoes. This was cute, but the romance is just a bit too weird for me to rate it as high as 12 Dates.
Related to the previous metric, but different, how much of the grieving process is portrayed in the movie? Was Christmas Mary Sue’s dead dad’s favorite holiday? Is this Lori Loughlin’s first Christmas without her husband? The more tombstones, the more our characters are grounded in the true meaning of the season–mortality.
Deathmeter: 0 out of 10 tombstones. Aside from the dead grandma who’s will kicks off the plot, there is no mention of death in this movie at all. But considering no one is grieving the woman, I’m leaving this at a 0.
How good of a job does the movie do at getting you in the mood for Christmas? The more snowy white Santa beards, the more Christmas cheer.
Overall Christmas Spirit: 4 out of 10 Santa beards. It’s a Christmas wedding but feels more like a straight-up rom-com than a Christmas movie.
Would I Recommend? Definitely worth a watch for fans of romantic comedies and/or corporate takeovers.