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Watching Hallmark's My Christmas Love (Pt 1)
I watched a Hallmark Christmas movie, curious to see what got all these white ladies excited about Christmas. It’s much scarier and more hilarious than I thought.
It’s really hard to not hate the main character before we even meet her, judging by her white Christmas tree. It’s filled all sorts of pink and silver gaudy ornaments, such as:
- fairytale romance ornaments, like a giant diamond ring, a blinged-out heart, and a pumpkin carriage, just so it’s clear that she has delusions of being a Disney princess;
- a framed photo of a lady (probably her dead mother because it’s a Hallmark movie);
- a lipstick tube that looks like it has a body of a perfume bottle (Maybe it’s both? I don’t know. I just know I can’t stand her already.);
- a typewriter (because she’s obviously a writer);
- a pink mixing bowl and a pink cupcake with a cherry on top in a glass case (because she just loves sweets but only one because she has restraint) to let us know that she loves to bake cupcakes;
- an old-timey camera and a Polaroid camera to inform us that she is at least enjoys photography (or pretends to);
- and, to let us know that she’s not too uppity, she has a red station wagon with antlers on the windows.
Then she wraps a solitary present, signing her name in a cutesy-curly artsy way of that annoying mix of upper and lower case letters, spelling out Cynthia.
Then we see her, and she is walking out in the snowy winter in a black fur coat and miniskirt. DON’T YOU KNOW THERE IS SNOW OUT THERE?! I am all about a woman being able to wear whatever she wants without judgment, but shiiiit it’s 22 degrees out. Cover your legs, Cynthia. It’s just sensible.
The movie also could only afford five extras. OR the guy in a gray hoodie and gray pants (and probably gray underwear) rubbernecks Cynthia on the street and decides to follow and harass her BUT OH GOD SHE KNOWS SOMEBODY ON THE STREET. ABORT CATCALL. ABORT ABORT ABORT. Close call, Shades of Gray, close call.
She enters the Boston Nine Exchange to greet a friend, probably the only black person that will ever be in this movie. And there are cupcakes everywhere. Oh, it’s a usual booth. She has a usual, and she is not eating for two for one today. She has a date! Her nameless black friend (I mean the baker Tony even got named as he’s not on screen yet), the owner or manager of the shop, is a little worried that this date might actually be imaginary and that she will be eating for two still.
As the nameless manager goes to get the TWO Chocolate Delights, Cynthia spots a nervous guy, pointing out that he still has the tag on his new suit. She asks to see the ring, and he wonders if it’s that obvious. Uh, yeah, dude. And now it looks like you’re proposing to another woman. And she switches tables because hers is more romantic. OH HERE COMES CYNTHIA’S DATE. And he’s tall, blond, and traditionally attractive. So he’s probably super boring. Let’s put it to the test! Oh, the Chocolate Delights come right on time! “People typically have dinner first and THEN dessert,” her vanilla date explains as if she was from a different planet. Or that anyone else watching doesn’t know. She laughs as if it was actually funny and wishes him a happy anniversary. He’s like, “UH WHAT?” And she shyly tells him it’s their five month anniversary. LADY, YOU HAVE BEEN DATING HIM FOR FIVE MONTHS AND BROUGHT HIM TO YOUR REGULAR COFFEE-CUPCAKE SHOP JUST NOW? This is not at all going to work out. You’ve always known that.
In walks nervous guy’s date in a dress that make her look like the early Christmas present no-name white guy if giving Cynthia. She says save it for the farm, guy! But he’s not going. Farms are gross. Quaffed hair like this doesn’t go to farms. Oh no wait, he doesn’t want to spend two weeks with her family because he’s not sure about that kind of commitment, but is he breaking up with her? You make fun of her love of deserts before dinner and then don’t know your five-month anniversary, and THEN you MAYBE BREAK UP with her just in time for CHRISTMAS? Excuse me?! Oh, and then she gets up to leave HER favorite place, tells the other couple how lovely they are and leaves without her fur coat but with the present and the two cupcakes, reasoning that she needs the candles because of all that snow that’s coming. Gee, a coat might be a useful thing to have there.
The ornament fortune telling has so far gotten her right on her love of cupcakes and being hopelessly romantic. And also that this movie is going to be SUPER white.
Cut to: a bunch of guys are playing basketball, not sweaty at all and pretending like they can talk in Boston accents, and it’s essentially a sword shuffle, where they measure each other’s masculinity: one and his dainty artist hands and one with his macho fork-lift-driving hands. BUT TWIST: the fork lift driver is jealous of his dainty artist hands! Because that super-sweet life of a high-paid artist! (Am I right?) And Dainty Artist Hands makes a three pointer, but his circle jerk celebration is cut short when his boss calls: Cynthia.
And he comes running to her. Is he gay or super in love with her? Since it’s Hallmark and we’re clearly going against gender role in this movie, he’s most definitely in love with her. After expressing her grief to him in her overwhelmingly white room, he picks up a white bird to clip onto a tree or a shoulder and says, “Well at least you got a gift out of it.” That was the fucking gift. For her stupid white tree. Two turtle doves. And pointedly she’s drinking out of her “I <3 Mom” coffee mug. Mom is definitely dead. He reassures her that the right guy is out there somewhere. She just wants it to work out. So are they broken up? I don’t know what’s happening… and I’m analyzing the hell out of this movie. After admitting that her expectations are super high, we get dead mom slip-up number 1: “My parents they do—they did so many sweet, little romantic things for one another.” Dainty Hands parallels the suddenly playful score and smoothly segues into saying her little sister Janet is expecting a plus-one to her wedding. He’s curious that it may not be him, BUT IT IS. IT TOTALLY IS. And Cynthia is going to drag this drama to her little sister’s wedding.
“You’re soooo lucky that I did not have plans,” he says loading his easel and space suitcase into trunk of the SUV spray painted white to look...winter-filthy? No plans. For two weeks. No plans for Christmas. Literally the next thing said is, “Besides, we do have a deadline on the book.” Oh, so no plans? He’s worried he’ll be in the way in Cynthia’s first Christmas since her mom died. What the fuck kind of thing is that to say to somebody? Cynthia isn’t going to leave this guy alone for Christmas. This apparently was code for a girlfriend because he gets defensive that he does date. She doesn’t believe it and insists that at least he hasn’t screwed up five relationships in two years (because apparently she’s at fault of all them going wrong). He holds up six of his dainty artist fingers from his now-magically-gloveless hands with a delicious dish of side eye, wiggling the sixth around like he’s dangling his dong for her. “Renaldo” he says with a Spanish roll of the tongue, but she doesn’t count him because that would make her seem less dignified.
Normally I would have turned off a movie like this way before his six-minute mark, but something about this movie is begging me to watch.
These two enter Quechee, which I’m pretty sure is either a bodily gas function or a coffee at Starbucks. Immediately upon entering the town, they get pulled over by the cop, who just wants to say hi to a stranger in town. This is what horror movies are made of. WHAT IS DAINTY HANDS’ NAME?! He can’t actually be named Pollock, right?
Cynthia, of course, knows hunky cop, named Scott. We learn Cop Scott’s name before Dainty Hands. Clearly the police force is both competent and well-funded. His radar has been broken since July! Dainty Hands is amused. Scott asks who the hell this cat is in her car: her husband?! As if two people traveling together of different genders are not a couple. She insists that he’s a friend...no! CO-WORKER! And she still doesn’t say Dainty Hands’ name. He has to introduce himself as Liam. He’s been in this movie for four minutes and just got to his name when non-important people like the baker are given names.
Smug Cop Hunk Scott is Cynthia’s first boyfriend, and he is making plays on her already. OH, SHIT. HE KNEW SHE WAS COMING TO TOWN. DID HE ACTUALLY WAIT FOR HER JUST TO PULL HER OVER AND THEN ASK HER OUT FIRST THING? IS THIS GUY GOING TO MURDER HER? MAYBE THIS IS A HORROR MOVIE! To note, Cop Hunk Scott also called her Cindy, and she laughs about it, but we all know he never learned her name because he was too self-centered, spending their time together watching videos of himself playing football.
They get to her dad’s house, and it’s a refined log cabin retreat. There are no outside Christmas lights, though! Because their glow would definitely be highly visible in the daylight. Already, I’m calling it: Dad just doesn’t have the Christmas spirit like his daughter, after his wife passed away. She tells Dainty Hands—I mean Liam to go inside. Janet should be in there, and she’ll go out to see her dad in the barn. Because I guess that’s where he always is? But he’s isn’t, and she returns to find Liam still not in the house and loading because he’s scared of Janet. This guy. Janet is already the only character I like, and I haven’t met her yet.
The first word Cynthia says to Roger is his name. Why hasn’t this happened with other characters? And there are NO Christmas decorations. Papa Smurf is sad. Janet wonders where the date is while Liam is standing right there and wonders if Cynthia drove Jake away. Cynthia corrects her that it’s Jason, and that she doesn’t drive men away. She almost said that exact same thing two minutes ago with the six-finger dick wag. Already the dynamic between Janet and Liam is hate with a little bit of respect for their cuts against Cynthia. She is such an easy target, after all. Cynthia explains to Roger that Liam is her illustrator for her children’s books. Roger robotically responds, “Oh. Your illustrations are amusing.” I fear that Roger is reading script SNL-style, written by Janet; is possibly being held hostage and is, quite, frankly, scared all the time; or is a robot designed and programmed by Janet.
Decorations aren’t up because of no time with the wedding planning. (Book deadlines may be pushed back for the decoration traditions.) Finally Dad comes into the picture, and immediately Cynthia annoys him by saying that he’s behind schedule on I guess whatever he’s supposed to do for the wedding. Dad mistakes Liam and Cynthia as dating, and Cynthia makes sure to say they aren’t, despite knowing looks from Dad and Janet the Robotics Engineer. Robot Roger asks if he can take their stuff. Cynthia says no. He goes back to typing extensive wedding plans, emailing cries for help, or organizing a robot rebellion against these idiot humans. Dad reminds Liam that if he does have intentions with Cynthia, he good hunter. Roger sneaks up behind Liam and reveals that he gets the same speech every day. THIS IS THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME. How did Mom die exactly? Liam is astounded by Roger’s speed, and Janet smirks, knowing she designed him for such stealth capabilities.
Oh, they’re on their last stop of Christmas decoration hunting: the perfect wreath! Lo! and behold good tidings of a less dominating but equally creepy ex-boyfriend Grant from Cynthia’s senior year of high school. Oh, and he heard she was coming and waited for her! He’s kidding… maybe. Oh, she introduces Liam by name, and she explains that they’re just friends. Liam reaffirms that with an increasing hesitance that Grant definitely does not believe in his lingering glance and laugh on Liam. Grant keeps the stash of the best wreaths in a box below the table for the single moms getting off work later in the day, when usually they get the scraps. BUT Cynthia deserves on of those! She thinks that’s sweet, but I certainly feel weird about her taking from those poor single moms. “How did we ever break up?” Cynthia asks, rifling through the single mom wreaths, leading Grant to reconsider Cynthia as a viable breeding partner whom he could leave a devastated overworked single mom. And Liam wants to get out of there even more now that there’s another guy in play whom he might have to tolerate and suppress his love for Cynthia even longer.
My new fictional best friend Janet wakes up looking flawless to find Cynthia has been baking Christmas cookies for a few hours. Cynthia checked the cookie jar AND the spare cookie jar (what?) to find no cookies, so she just had to bake some! Janet wonders why she just didn’t buy cookies at the store. NOT AS FESTIVE, JANET. Cynthia is all about the Christmas spirit, but Janet doesn’t understand spirituality as the queen of robots. It is, however, something she hopes to program into her creations. I’m curious as to why she didn’t make breakfast for everyone instead. Enter Liam, who wonders what today’s plans are: meeting ex-boyfriends? Cynthia is not amused. You two have a deadline. I’m pretty sure you should be doing that.
Cynthia is saved by the doorbell, but she opens the door to find a delivery from a woman in a Victorian(ish) dress. What does she bring Cynthia? A partridge in a pear tree. And she sings that line of the song. Oh fuck. Someone knows how much Cynthia loves Christmas. The woman ignores Cynthia’s pleas for more information and silently returns to the windowless van from which she was abducted and forced into doing this or her entire family would be killed.
Cynthia reaches to the cage, which holds a supposedly live pear tree, but it’s clearly fake pears with a tiny two-inch pot with mulch in it. No fruiting pear tree would be that tiny and minutely rooted. Anyway, Cynthia reads the accompanying card, “Merry Christmas to one true Love.” It’s could be any of the creeps obsessed with her that we’ve met so far. Or Jason playing with her mind. He’s going to show up and be like, “JUST KIDDING. I’ve been hiding out in the barn this entire time. Let’s go eat some dessert before breakfast, you quirky girl, you.” Cynthia is excited for this romantic Christmas mystery—nay! a “Christery”!—to solve! Pragmatic Janet wonders wear the hell she’s going to plant this pear tree in her apartment. Silly, Janet. It’s fake. But apparently I’m the only one who knows that. Liam asks how she knows it’s for her, and Cynthia says it’s not Roger’s style. He’s an accountant. Well, that’s a rude stereotype. And she’s already bringing her drama with her and making Janet’s wedding time about her. She says they have to get to work—but not on the book! On decorating! And then Liam questions Roger to see if he sent the Christmasgram. And he definitely didn’t. A Christmas wedding isn’t romantic; it’s just sensible.
- This is not an uplifting Christmas movie. Hallmark went dark this year to have a Christmas-themed comedy-thriller version of “The Most Dangerous Game”.
- Janet and Roger are poised to take over the world with a robot army, starting with their wedding. And I fully support them.
- There is one nameless black character, who she serves the white lady and has possibly stolen said white lady’s coat. This is not okay.
- I think Cynthia might be a white supremacists. It’s hard to tell because they really downplay that aspect of her character that is less than kinda tolerable. It’s just her love of white and purity.
- Liam has always been obsessed with Cynthia, and I just can’t understand why.
- Cynthia has dated every guy she runs across in Quechee.
- This movie is less about Cynthia and more about Liam’s enduring and endearing manpain, using Cynthia as a gamepiece. Oh, look, it’s written and directed by men. Yep. Makes sense.
- Janet might be a second generation Cylon, and I cannot wait for her to lead the Cylon uprising.
- There is potentially another ex-boyfriend in town who is sending her the Twelve Days of Christmas gifts.
- Cynthia lured Liam to the Quechee trap, and he is never leaving alive. I’m certain that’s where this is going.
Ornament Personality Checklist completed:
- Loves cupcakes
- Loves to bake
- Dead mom
- Cameras, I now see are for obsessively treasuring memories, except for Renaldo. GOT IT.
- Hopes of attaining a fairtytale romance.
- She isn’t hillbilly, like that station wagon ornament might lead us to believe, but from a small town where everyone is white, upper-middle class. Cool.
© 2016 SE Andres