"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Ho Ho Ho Hollywood

Christmas movies have been a thing since there have been movies. Some, like the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim or Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life are must-watch classic every year, along with such TV favourites as The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (Unbeatable narration by Boris Karloff) or A Charlie Brown Christmas with that great music by Vince Guaraldi. Then there is the stuff churned out assembly line style at the Hallmark Channel. 

Hallmark is releasing 40+ Christmas movies this season. I know they are the cinematic equivalent of a Harlequin Romance novel - formulaic, predictable, saccharine, cheesy and about as realistic as your average Fast and Furious movie - but they clearly know their niche market to churn out so much product, confident that it will be consumed.

I made the mistake of looking up "Christmas movies" on Rogers cable the other day in an effort to find out when I could record National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and was amazed to find over 300 listings, the vast majority of which were Hallmark Christmas movies. The interface doesn't just list titles, it shows a graphic for each movie - generally some kind of promotional poster. Even the posters for the Hallmark movies have a strict formula. There must be some kind of Christmas ornament, probably some snow, with the female lead in red and the male lead in a green sweater. This colour scheme is occasionally reversed if the female lead is a redhead. The female lead stands in front of the male lead or they are embracing or mock glaring at each other with arms crossed. Bonus points if they can include a cute dog.

I found this random plot generator and it is absolutely spot on. This one practically writes the pitch for you.

For example:

"Faith Jenkins, a high-powered human resources professional (played by Lacey Chabert) returns to her small town of Wooden Reindeer Junction for one last time as her aging parents are selling the family home.

Faith, fresh from a breakup with her real estate developer fiancĂ©, soon runs into Flint Smith, her old high school flame she lost touch with when she moved to the big city. The unlikely pair are thrown together to organize the town’s famous Christmas race, the Stuffing Trot, and Faith soon realizes she is developing feelings for Flint.

Surrounded by her family and a new love, Faith imagines leaving her big-city life behind for good. But while they plan the Stuffing Trot, she accidentally discovers that the gravestone of the town’s first mayor, Nicholas Claus, is missing. When she confides in Velma, the mailwoman who always knows the town gossip, she learns that Flint was seen in the graveyard late one night.

Faith is worried that her new love interest might be an antique-hunter looking to cash in on the famous gravestone. But thanks to the advice of Velma, Faith learns that Flint sent the gravestone out for a much needed repair to boost local tourism.

Can Faith learn to love again and pull off the Stuffing Trot in time for Christmas?"


Me, I'll stick with Alastair Sim and Jimmy Stewart

Merry Christmas