Every year Richard and I like to watch the cheesy holiday themed rom-coms. It’s the same reason we enjoy watching cheesy horror – we get a kick out of the cheap special effects, or the formulaic plot (and how else would we have ever been able to enjoy the delights that are ‘Llamageddon’, and ‘Zombeaver’?). Holiday cheese doesn’t have so much of the cheap special effects, but they do usually take place on the same movie lot setting, with a lot of the same tropes.
However, this year we’ve inadvertently stumbled across a couple movies that, while marketed as the usual Holiday cheese, turned out to be anything but. So if you’re in the mood for some holiday warmth, try one of these movies.
This movie was marketed as the usual trope of girl meets guy, who helps her learn the true meaning of Christmas. Except that’s not actually the plot at all; it’s more that she has been through an extremely traumatic event that impacted both her individually, and her friends and family (who are all dealing with their own unrelated traumas), and that she has to learn to let go of the expectations that they had for her, and more importantly, that she had for herself. Yes, there’s a romantic subplot….except there’s a twist, which I won’t spoil (although I figured it out about halfway through the movie and was totally fine with). Don’t watch if you’re playing Whamageddon, but otherwise, don’t pass this up. If you’re looking for the usual romantic happily ever after, you might be disappointed, but I thought the ending was significantly better for not requiring that.
The tagline is that a woman wishes Christmas would disappear and then the meet-cute guy helps her find it. But again, this is not the usual cookie-cutter romance – in fact, the romance is only a minor subplot to the rest of the story. There are elves (but not the cutesy kind), a rather delightful North Pole Board President, a Santa, and yes, the meet-cute guy, but the main point of the story is more about the main character getting out of her own way. I admit the room got a tiny bit dusty at the very end, but sometimes the best movies are the ones where there are some (happy) tears.
Round and Round
This is a extremely enjoyable take on the time-loop idea, but the main holiday is Hanukkah, not Christmas. It’s a Hallmark movie, yes, so of course there is a romance, but it’s more nuanced, with lots of moments of humor, and a big loose-knit collection of family (both related and not) who all are there to support the main character with whatever she’s going through. The movie has a different sort of twist than the usual time-loop, and while the romance is definitely a central subplot, the primary focus is, once again, for the main character to get out of her own way. Track this one down if you can – it’s delightful.
‘Tis the season for Holidailes.