We’re used to the “is it a Christmas movie?” debate surrounding Die Hard and it seems that every year someone takes the opportunity to write another article about it. But it’s not as if Die Hard is the only film that may or may not be a Christmas movie. There’s every Shane Black film, Trading Places, Batman Returns, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’ve argued plenty of times with a friend of mine about Meet Me in St. Louis. She claims it’s a Christmas movie and I am adamant that it’s not. There are plenty of films that are set at Christmas that don’t focus on the holiday itself. Films that barely even recognise that the festive season is upon us. Many of these films are just old favourites that people enjoy watching. Like Gremlins. People like the film so why not watch it at Christmas? After all, it’s a time when we’re meant to embrace the people we love so why not the films too?
I’ll tell you what, the 25th really can’t come quickly enough for my liking. I am so tired and really craving a break. Which is another reason why my heart really isn’t in this post. It’s probably going to be a fairly quick one because it’s quite late as I’m writing this. I’m also currently listening to a Spotify playlist called Christmas Lullabies so I can feel festive and get ready for sleep. I’ll be honest, I’m not feeling particularly festive right now. No matter how hard I try, it’s just not there right now. Watching a Christmas film every day hasn’t done much to help but that’s possibly due to the films I’ve been watching. They weren’t necessarily the best of the bunch. I’d better get round to my favourites soon or I’ll run out of time.
I’m writing this on the 16th day of December, which means we’re on the 16th day of advent. This means I’ve just watched my 16th Christmas film this month. I’ll be honest, I’m starting to get a bit tired of festive movies. It doesn’t exactly help that the majority of them have been terrible. This is mostly because I just went with whatever was available on Netflix or free on Prime. Also, time was a factor. I’ve had to go for shorter films this week in order to fit everything in. Regardless of the reason, I’ve been subjected to a fair few dreadful films. Admittedly, there have been some high points but, I’ll be honest, Fred Claus wasn’t one of them.
Disney+ didn’t start streaming in the UK until March this year but it debut in the certain countries last November. One of the first original films to be released on the service was this Anna Kendrick Christmas film. For the subscribers like myself who didn’t have access to Disney+ last year, the film was released last month. I can’t say that I was exactly relishing the idea of watching Disney’s answer to Fred Claus and it was only partly because I find Kendrick’s quirky schtick a bit tiring. However, I need to start making the most of my subscription at some point. The only things that I’ve watched on it so far are The Simpsons, The Lizzie McGuire Show, and Recess. I have plans to watch a load of Star Wars and Marvel stuff over Christmas but, until then, I’m always looking for opportunities to watch.
I’ve been so confused by what day of the week we’re on recently. I’ve been a day ahead for ages now. It’s all because I got ahead with my posts and that really ruins my routine. I’d written both Monday and Wednesday’s posts on Sunday night. This meant, for some reason, that I was thought it was Tuesday on Monday. It’s okay though, I just need to get trough 2 more days and I’ve got a few days off. I’m going to do as little as possible. Probably reading, watching Christmas films, and eating. Speaking of Christmas films, I’m meant to be documenting my Christmas film advent calendar on my Instagram stories but I’m already behind. This is what happened last year so I eventually abandoned it. I’m determined to keep going this year. On Tuesday, I reviewed a film in which Dolly Parton played a Christmas Angel, so the only real companion for this TBT post was going to be this; a 1996 made-for-TV movie starring Dolly and Roddy McDowall.
It’s going to be a tough Christmas all round this year thanks to Covid and the various restrictions in place. For the lucky ones, it will mean a pared down Christmas with fewer guest and more Zoom calls. For many families though, it will mean facing their first Christmas without beloved family members who died during the pandemic. It doesn’t exactly feel like a time for revelling but I guess we have to try to make the best of it. At least there’s a steady supply of fairly mindless Netflix original films to numb everyone for a few hours. Most of these films don’t tend to fill me with much hope or inspiration but there’s one that stood out this year. Dolly Parton has already done a great deal to help fight Coronavirus with her donation to help find a vaccine. Now, she’s here to entertain us all as we wait for it to be rolled out around the world. Even if this did turn out to be pretty standard fare, I was sure that Dolly’s mere presence would lift it. Surely there’s very little that woman can’t do?
What have you been reading this week?
We’re less than 20 days away from the big day. I trust that everyone is busy getting prepared. I have a couple of present left to buy but I’m doing alright. I spent most of yesterday making gifts for my friend. It’s the first time I’ve made a homemade gift since I was a child. It’s not that I’m against them but I have a distinct lack of finesse in everything that I do. I’m not being self-deprecating when I say that. It’s just that things never turn out as I want them to. I think it’ll be okay this year. Yes, things could have gone better but I think it’ll be alright. Unfortunately, this hasn’t left much time for reading. I’m currently 2 books ahead but I’ve only finished one this month. It doesn’t feel like a good start.
For advent last year, I tried to watch a Christmas every day leading up to Christmas. I’m pretty sure that I managed it but I can’t actually remember. I was supposed to be posting each film on my Instagram story but I kept losing track of which day I was on. In the end, it was just better for everyone that I gave up. This year, I’ve vowed to do the same thing and, hopefully, keep up with my Instagram story record. I was already getting into the festive spirit thanks to The Princess Switch: Switched Again. So, I decided to keep the joy going with the most ridiculous looking film that I could find on Netflix. To be fair, I have already watched a lot of the shitty Christmas films on there for the TBT posts in past years. It left with one of the horrifying Nativity series or this monstrosity.
The year 2020 has been the year of the Netflix controversy hasn’t it. First, you had Cuties causing all sorts of problems in America. The Crown has the British government confused about the difference between drama and real-life. More recently, Hillbilly Elegy has been creating some strife thanks to its source material. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, there’s another social media storm. Now, it’s about their latest Christmas release The Princess Switch: Switched Again. Fans have taken to Twitter to share their confusion and, in some cases, outrage that two characters from The Christmas Prince franchise appeared in a scene towards the end. Personally, I didn’t even register, so well done to these people for actually watching the film properly. As we all remember, in the original film, Vanessa Hudgens settles down to watch The Christmas Prince at one point in the film. So, how do these clearly fictional characters turn up in the actual film? It’s a big question but not quite as important as “who cares?” Or even as “why did they even make a second film?”
Non-religious Christmas films tend to follow the same basic stories depending on what genre they are. Those based on A Christmas Carol are pretty self-explanatory. Then you have the romance: a young workaholic realises that love and happiness should come before their career thanks to the interference from an elderly relative/something magical. Or the family film: a workaholic parent realises that they should be putting their family first so runs out of the big presentation just in time to see their child perform in the Christmas show. Both of these will inevitably end with the whole cast standing near a piano with their arms around each other and singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’. Finally, you have the Santa Claus origin story: in which a kindly but childless man is chosen/decides to spread joy to other people by leaving presents under their tree at Christmas. We get it. We’ve seen it. So, I wasn’t sure what Netflix’s new animation Klaus was going to bring to the table besides a dreamy cast of voice actors. Still, I needed a break from all of the A Christmas Prince and Vanessa Hudgens nonsense.