This past weekend my husband and I decided to do something completely different. You tread into uncharted territory. Take a chance on mistletoe-filled, shimmering, bright, and heart-warming.
We, dear reader, decided to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie.
Of course, I know about Hallmark movies, in the same way I know about slasher or LSD movies. The thing is there, but it’s not mine. big city-career-gal-meets-small-town-trunk? Give me Sam Shepherd in “Baby Boom” any day.
But I’m tired of the dark. Bored with antiheroes. And after binging into Season 5 of The Crown, I got tired of doomed relationships.
I thought people loved Hallmark Christmas movies. And as disgustingly cute and predictable as they seem, I never really gave them a chance. This is the season, after all.
But which one do you choose? The decision was not easy.
“Christmas comes twice?” “Mystery of Christmas?” Perhaps the “It’s Christmas, Eve” interspersed with curiosity?
We settled on “The Most Colorful Time of the Year,” which is the story of a widowed ophthalmologist who falls in love with her daughter’s fourth-grade science teacher — who also happens to be colorblind! And a colorblind science teacher who hates Christmas! Why? Because he can’t see all the lights, the pretty decorations, and the mistletoe (oh yeah, there’s mistletoe) in full-color glory.
The “most colorful time of the year” was 1 hour and 24 minutes of… well, let’s just say there was a wicked ex-boyfriend. Women’s basketball coach. A very long discussion about a clinical trial of special eyeglasses for color blindness.
Did I mention mistletoe?
“Let’s try Netflix,” said my husband, who seemed oddly familiar with the genre. “You can stand more.”
Netflix sure has a variety of great Christmas movies. We settled on “Christmas Legacy”. the plot? An irresponsible, party-loving New York City heiress travels to a small snowy town (literally called Snow Falls) to deliver a letter to her father’s former business partner. (As for the plot mechanics, they have to be hand-delivered.)
Lo and behold, she soon meets the only cab driver in town, who is also the manager of the town’s beautiful Victorian inn. In incognito and without her credit card balance (again, plot mechanics) the heiress must soon start cleaning rooms and baking cookies to keep her safe.
There is a strange sight of a vacuum cleaner. Starlit walk in the woods. My home fundraiser is at a beautiful church, which strangely doesn’t seem to have an actual worship service happening on Christmas Eve.
“Christmas Inheritance” was elevated by elevated production values and the presence of the trademark (and still beautiful) actress Andie MacDowell. Compared to “the most colorful time of the year,” it was high art. It was Fellini’s go-to for cliché Christmas movies.
Irony aside, I see the appeal of these movies. I also love a giant, soothing plate of sticky macaroni and cheese every now and then. But after sampling this oddly specific one, would I go back?
Not a snowball chance at Christmas in July.
Unless season 6 of “The Crown” left me really sad.
Charlotte is a columnist for The Times. You can reach her at [email protected]
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