It’s December. You know what that means? Christmas is here. You know what else that means? Christmas movies are here. Sam Brooks has watched all the Christmas movies on Neon, here’s what he learned from them.
‘Tis the jolly season! There’s no better time of year than to turn up the aircon, chuck a beer in the ice bucket, and watch some Christmas films made in countries where it actually snows during Christmas. (Note to people making Christmas films: shoot a few down here! You’ll make a killing!)
There’s a tried and true formula to a good Christmas movie. Obviously, it has to be set during Christmas. But! A successful Christmas movie also has to make you feel good, it has to have a love story where the obstacles to happiness are never so threatening, and it absolutely must fill you up with joy, not drain you of it.
The key, secret ingredient, to a good Christmas movie is that it should teach you something about the silly season. For the past month, I’ve been making my way through all the Christmas movies on Neon – and between Christmas Bounty, A Christmas Cruise, Christmas in Montana, Christmas on the River, A Christmas Reunion, A Kiss for Christmas, The Magical Christmas Shoes, A Christmas Princess, Last Christmas, Black Christmas, Four Christmas, Homemade Christmas, The Best Christmas Ball Ever, Candy Cane Christmas, The Christmas Cabin, Homemade Christmas, Christmas Harmony, A Christmas Break, Spotlight on Christmas, Twinkle All The Way, Fred Claus, The Polar Express and Hustlers, which is absolutely a Christmas movie if you think about it, there’s a lot of them – to glean what I can learn about the silly season from these films that are so warm and fuzzy that there should be a section for them on the RSPCA website.
In the spirit of giving, I will share these learnings with you. They range from the obvious to the bewildering to the heartwarming. But one thing unites them all: The spirit of (filmed) Christmas.
If there’s any time to have a major life upheaval, it’s the week before Christmas.
Christmas isn’t just the merriest time of year, it’s also the busiest! And it seems like everybody at Christmas decides that it’s the right time to change everything about their life. Have a job with a sustainable, clear career path? Start a business you have no experience in. Have a comfortable, secure place to live? Throw it away, you belong to the jolly season now! Got a significant other? Make them your insignificant past.
All of these things happen in A Christmas Reunion, where Denise Richards upheaves her Big City Life to run her recently deceased aunt’s bakery just a few days before Christmas even though she has to close The Big Account. Even reading that sentence stresses me out, but Denise will do as Denise does.
Your boss will be a dick around Christmas time, to give you more drama.
If you happen to be a boss in a Christmas film then I’m sorry, but statistics show you’re probably a dick. A dickboss, if you will. You will be wanting your employee to do a ridiculous amount of work over Christmas, even though they have their own dramas, romantic or family, sometimes both, to deal with. Take Sam (no relation), an efficiency expert and the main character in the movie Christmas in Montana. Her boss sends her to Montana (of course), expecting her to fix up a man’s ranch within about a week. The week before Christmas. Because he’s a dickboss.
If you happen to be an employee at Christmas time, first off: well done. It’s 2020. Things could be worse! Second off: Be prepared for your boss to ask unrealistic things of you and not understand that it’s the Christmas season, despite the fact that it happens every year and they might be reasonable otherwise.
‘But it’s Christmas!’ is a reasonable response to any of life’s inconveniences.
Hot tip: If you want to get out of any situation, just say, ideally in a quivering voice, “But it’s Christmas!” Bonus points if your eyes are watering with sad juice. It’s perhaps the most uttered line in any Christmas film, and it works every goddamned time. It happens in all of the aforementioned films – bar one Jennifer Lopez-related exception – and I recommend saying it the next time you order a drink in a bar. See how far it gets you.
If you want to meet a kind-faced man who you will fall in love with nearly immediately, Christmas is the season.
Ladies and otherly identified, if you’re single around Christmas then never fear, because chances are you’ll meet the love of your life and be inextricably entangled with him forever! He will have a kind face, be witty enough to make you laugh but not upstage you, and accept all of your weirdness.
Anything, absolutely anything, can be Christmas themed if you try hard enough.
A Christmas Cruise, which stars Vivica A. Fox as a writer whose millennial-obsessed boss (see above for: dickbosses) wants her to write about a sexy Christmas cruise, features a Santa themed stripper. I have not stopped thinking about who would want this and why, but I’ve never been more grateful that my mother refused to let me believe in Santa, because no white dude who works one night a year was going to take credit for gifts she paid for.
If you come from a small town, you will go back there for Christmas and never return.
Let these films serve as a warning to you – especially Christmas on the River, about a town which comes together to celebrate Christmas… and apparently nothing else? You do you, the River.
If you come from a town which has no more than one set of traffic lights and you go home for Christmas, you might as well put down a lease and tie yourself to the ground. You’re never getting out. [Insert quaint town name here] has you now. You better get used to the word folks, because you’ll be hearing it a lot, and sometimes it will come out of your own mouth.
Bounty hunters are a real thing.
This isn’t specifically Christmas related, but A Christmas Bounty – which follows the travails of a bounty hunter who gets reined back into the business for one more job – taught me that bounty hunters are a very real thing, beyond Boba Fett and Dog The. The bounty that they hunt is generally some sort of unpaid debt, usually to a bondsman, and has nothing to do with Bounty Bars. Which is a shame.
‘Christmas is light. Light defined by darkness.’
While this sounds like an observation you might read on a teenager’s tumblr, it’s actually a line from A Christmas Temp, where an artist winds up falling for a hotel manager who hires her to create a Christmas-themed display. I can’t figure out what it means, but I want it to be my new ‘live, laugh, love.’
Henry Golding will fall in love with you because of your plucky, messy charm.
Okay, this one is maybe more specific to Last Christmas and the fact that Emilia Clark looks like Emilia Clark, but a man can dream!
Christmas is for everyone.
No matter your job, no matter where you come from, no matter what your drama is, Christmas is for you. There is also already probably a film about it. No time like the present to dig in.
All of the films listed above are available to stream on Neon (look out for the Christmas rail). Click here to learn more, and get ready to get jolly.