Sunday, December 18, 2022

In which I watch all the Christmas Rom Coms so you don't have to

Okay, I didn't have to, either. And not to throw my husband under the Christmas sleigh, but this was his idea. It goes back to the Covid Christmas of 2020 when our daughter and then-boyfriend/now-husband were quarantining with us and did a non-stop, multi-week, rom-com fest of Hallmark channel holiday movies that my husband and I mocked and then grudgingly half-watched and then sorta settled into and now feel an aching, nostalgic fondness for. 

Cut to: Christmas this year, with no adult kids at home, and maybe we wanted to capture that same magical fondness. [I just read this to my husband and he is adamant that it was not HIS idea, but MY idea.]

Regardless, we started our own version of the Holiday Rom Com Fest tradition, which is half a movie each night from Thanksgiving to now. (The half a movie per night thing is due to the fact that I typically conked out every night roughly partway through the one hour and thirty-minute movie.)

First up was the popular Netflix movie Falling for Christmas, starring Lindsay Lohan and this guy who really looked familiar but we couldn't place him and it turns out he was a minor-ish character on Glee. This movie hit that sweet spot between Really Stupid and Entertaining Because It's So Stupid. It features Lindsay Lohan as a spoiled ski hotel heiress literally falling off a cliff, waking up with amnesia, and being taken home by the Glee Guy, who's the owner of a struggling cozy inn/widower with an adorable daughter who makes a Christmas wish that her dad finds love.

So dumb and yet weirdly sweet, and I'd give it four candy canes on a five candy cane scale, except I was too distracted by the Glee Guy's ridiculously floopy hair, so I give it three. 

Castle for Christmas with Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes. She's a romance author who buys a Scottish castle. He's the owner who doesn't want to sell (to her). The townspeople are quirky and fun. The Princess Bride actor rocks the Scottish accent. Brooke Shields is gorgeous. Both characters are on the far end of middle aged, but hey! Why can't we oldsters find true love? Five candy canes!

Let it Snow. Teens find love on a snow day. That's about all I remember because I kept falling asleep.

Christmas Inheritance. Wealthy heiress stuck in a small, charming town. She's pretending to be poor (long story). He's the manager of the inn. Andie MacDowell is the wise mentor figure/bakery shop owner that elevates the whole thing. But what IS it with these romantic guys and their weird hair? This one's looked like it was pasted onto his head. Three candy canes for Andie McDowell.

Christmas with You. She's a famous singer who's waning in popularity. He's Freddie Prinze Jr. There's a fifteen-year-old daughter and an over-the-top quinceaƱera party. I love Freddie Prinze Jr. Three and a half candy canes. 

Noel Diary. Famous mystery author goes home to clean out his dead mom's hoarder house and falls for a girl searching for her birth mom. Wasn't sure where this one was going at first. Oh my God! Are they brother and sister? 

Spoiler: no. Three candy canes because once I figured that out, I was bored. 

Single All the Way. Gay best friend roommates pretend to be engaged when they visit one guy's hometown. Both guys are adorable and there's a whole fun side plot with the crazy aunt (Jennifer Coolidge), a frustrated actress defiantly trying to put on the town's nativity play she calls "Jesus H. Christ." Four big tasty canes. 

Happiest Season. This is the opposite of Single All the Way because it features two lesbians who pretend to be straight roommates so as not to offend the hometown homophobic family. Not a rom com? Also, this was the only movie where I did not want the two characters to end up with each other. They both (and really everyone in the family) need serious therapy. On the other hand, it was the only movie that I watched in one night without falling asleep. So, two candy canes, I guess, for keeping my attention? 

California Christmas. Super rich playboy pretends to be a farmhand so he can convince a dairy farmer daughter to sign over her land. I don't even know where to start with how dumb this movie is. The dairy farm's in Wine Country but the rich guy wants to put an Amazon style warehouse there? The girl has an entire dormant grape field that she forgets about until the end? WHO IS MILKING THE COWS? Half a candy cane. 

Love Hard. A writer famous for her articles about her bad dates finds love on a dating site, flies to his hometown to surprise him for Christmas, but SHE's the one who's surprised because he lied about his identity and used his more attractive friend's photo. Now she's pretending to be his girlfriend while getting dating tips from him to woo the attractive friend.

I loved everything about this movie. The fun, smart dialogue--playful arguments about Die Hard being a Christmas movie and Thoreau being a whiney jerk and whether or not "Baby It's Cold Outside" is too non-consent-y to be a Christmas song. The slew of quirky side characters--the narcissistic older brother, the boss demanding another bad-date article, the wine-drinking best friend. And lots of cute subplots with uber drivers and climbing walls and a steakhouse date with a vegetarian. 

Five candy canes plus a bonus candy cane because I really am glad the two got together, and I would so live in that charming hometown, and for one hour and thirty minutes I forgot it was just going to be me and husband for Christmas, 

Which, you know what? That is actually not a bad thing at all, especially now, with our new favorite tradition.  

Yes, what DID happen to Ted, Lindsay Lohan? 

PS: Share your favorite Christmas Rom Com and win a free virtual candy cane! 

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