Chaos Attraction

Two Netflix Holiday Movies You Probably Never Heard Of

2019-01-01, 11:11 a.m.

You Can’t Fight Christmas (by “Poke Prod” Studios?):

Hey, look, here’s another Netflix movie (originally aired on TV One, whatever that is) featuring people of color!

This one takes place at a fancy hotel called “The Chesterton” that makes a lot of money during the holiday season for its decorations but is losing money the rest of the year, so the owner’s grandson Edmund, a business school graduate, and his toxic coworker Millicent roll in to of course, convert it to a business center or something. It seems entirely reasonable for them to set this place up for business conferences and get investors, mind you, I guess they just...wouldn’t decorate?

The owner, J.J., wants to retire soon and doesn’t seem to really get the issues going on here. Leslie is a designer that is hired every year to decorate the place and doesn’t want it ruined. She and Edmund clearly have the hots for each other from the moment he catches her falling off a ladder into his arms, but she’s not thrilled at his lack of holiday spirit. He can’t make money when things are closed on the 25th and he doesn’t like “the added pressure of having to be happy!” Edmund seems nice enough, if kinda lacking in vim and verve. Of course he had a traumatic childhood or whatever, as he caught Mommy kissing Santa Claus/the neighbor.

However, Millicent is clearly the Designated Bitch in this movie. Besides being generally unpleasant, she is actively sexually harassing her coworker, who is so utterly uninterested in banging her. She wants them to share a room (and very grudgingly has them get “adjoining” rooms instead and then sets up his room as a business center/mess) and even though Edmund looks like he’d find getting a root canal to be more fun than spending any time at all with Millicent, she breaks out a business proposal on their “power couple potential” to propose to him. Edmund is all “uh, shouldn’t I get to propose, with a ring?” and she responds, “Oh, I didn’t have time to get a ring, but turn to page 8.” She’s got ring schematics. There is also, sadly unseen, an infographic leading up to the consummation of their relationship. Edmund, shockingly, does not instantly say no. I can’t even remember if he said anything at all after that bit, but he does tell Leslie about the proposal later.

After hanging out in a bar and drinking and singing (the title comes in here as a song she sings), Edmund and Leslie have a one night stand, and here I am going, “Hey, someone banged in a Christmas movie!” It’s not like they showed it, but still! Anyway, Edmund is clearly interested but Leslie shuts him down, and Edmund disappears for a few weeks before coming back, and when they return, Millicent brags that she and Edmund are engaged. (I doubt it.) She then single shames Leslie and actually says “Tick tock!” GAG ME, BITCH. But when Millicent claims that they want to hire Leslie full time, she is all “yeah right” and immediately comes up with a plan with her assistants, Rodney and Belinda, to derail Millicent by telling her they switched the room due to a water main break (Millicent swoons at the empty room, saying, “It’s so...clinical!”) and then sending her off to a spa appointment. Edmund is unthrilled by all of this shit and Leslie stomps off to go home. Edmund then straight up threatens Belinda to give him Leslie’s address (see Quote Corner), and admits he threatened her when he shows up on Leslie’s door.

Incidentally, the great decorator Leslie has NO decorations at her house. None. Why is this? She doesn’t need to GET spirit, she just needs to SPREAD spirit! Uh....I don’t know what to say to that, but don’t tell me this girl doesn’t like, throw a holiday party or something at some point. Also, if you like decorating, you will bling up everything in my experience. Anyway, despite insisting on showing up at Leslie’s house, Edmund says that they don’t make sense as a couple because he likes life being predictable. Leslie asks if he’s really going to marry Millicent and he’s all, “I don’t know, but it’s practical.” Oy.

On the way to the airport, Edmund decides he can’t marry Millicent, despite her arguments that they have respect and trust (uh, you don’t respect Edmund worth a damn, girl) and “love will come later.” I doubt it. Edmund decides that he likes not knowing what he’s doing.

There is a woman named Regina that pops up occasionally. I’m not sure what the heck she is doing in the plot other than saying that she likes the Chesterton and attempting to make conversation with Millicent while in line (see Quote Corner), but apparently she’s been off camera getting engaged to a millionaire so as to make the man she really loves jealous. Um, what? Where is that movie? Anyway, this comes up while she and Leslie are drinking at the bar and Leslie says that Edmund could totally get her fired. Regina declares their respective problems a tie.

After celebrating Christmas at the Chesterton, Leslie comes home and finds that her assistants have liberated some of the Chesterton’s decorations to bling up her house (now you know why her house was dull). Edmund also shows up in an ugly Christmas sweater and announces that she will not be fired for Christmas. HUZZAH THWARTED THAT TROPE!!!! Anyway, their halfhearted confessions of love go like this:

“I think I might love you.”
”Okay...I think I might just love you back.”
“That’s good for business.”
“And I just loooove good business!”
”I know you do.”

I swooned, y’all. Oh, wait. I did not.

Anyway: while I did enjoy the sass, the use of swearing, actual sex happening at some point in the plot and audacious business marriage proposals, and Leslie and Belinda seem like fun people, overall the sparks between Leslie and Edmund were pretty minor and he was a rather dull dude. I’m still not sure what was going on with the business stuff, but to be fair I don’t care either. Leslie deserved someone better, with some spirit to him.

Quote Corner:

“This is the mother flippin Chesterton!” -Regina
“I don’t do bitches.” -Regina
“Those with the dough don’t say no.” -Millicent
“Rodney, turn on your FaceTime, I want you to see my rage.” -Belinda
“I think I just got assaulted by Santa.” -Edmund.
“Not on my watch, beyotch!” -Millicent going after Leslie
“Oh, we just ran out of the peach cobbler. And it was so delicious!” -Sassy Gay Waiter happily gets to deny Millicent her chosen dessert.
“You frosted his cookies!” --Belinda deduces that Leslie and Edmund had sex. Mahahahaha.
When Edmund tells Leslie he dreamed about her, she responds, “Visions of sugar plums and hostile takeovers in your head?”
“We just can’t shake you, can we, Leslie?” -Millicent
“You can’t mix your Santa and your black baby Jesus.” -Belinda
“Where’d I put my black to bougie dictionary?” -Belinda about Millicent.
“Jazzy black Santa too much?” -Leslie.
“I think you need a drink. ‘Santa Claus is rummin’ to town?” (I forget who, probably Leslie.)
“Where’s Leslie?” “She went home. She swiped left on your ass.” -Edmund and Belinda.

Holiday Breakup:

This one is another Netflix one and manages to cover from the 4th of July to Valentine’s Day. That certainly does cover almost everything!

I don’t know how I feel about this one. It starts out with the heroine, Chloe, crying while saying she’s the luckiest girl in the world. Wait, rewind back....back...waaaaay back...

So Chloe meets Jeff on the 4th of July when she hits him with her car, lecturing him that “Hello, this is LA? We don’t stop! We just pause!” So after they have a car accident, she asks him out for the her parents’ house.

There is some couple (I’m guessing her sibling or some shit) named Randy and Mandy. “Randy and Mandy. Did you get that? Names rhyme,” says Randy.

Anyway, Chloe and Jeff are pretty much an insta-couple. She says they have to wait 24 hours before they have sex so as to not be in “the ho zone.” “How long has it been?” “Three minutes.”

Anyway: overall it seems like most of their families like them as a couple, except for Jeff’s mean hardass dad, who thinks Chloe is an idiot and Jeff needs to be around winners. “She is talking to a straw rabbit.” This is true. Chloe is a childlike immature Fun Girl with toys (she works in a toy store), whereas Jeff, thanks to his mean dad, is kind of a prematurely aged Very Serious guy. Chloe goes to an open mike and can’t sing when Jeff’s dad is there glaring. They discuss moving in together even though she fears that would make them dull. He wants a home office, she thinks having one is sad and depressing. She loves shag carpet and wants to make carpet angels, and she literally drops a lamp when going, “OH, SQUIRREL!”

On Halloween, she wants to dress up and he doesn’t. She dresses up as a seal (clubbing herself?), which Jeff, showing up late due to work and in no costume, dubs “distasteful.” You know your night is bad when you start flirting with a mime, which Chloe does. They realize they’re not compatible and break up. They go to switch the stuff.

“Here’s your Jesus action figure, baby bow, baby toothbrush...”
“But I gave those to you.”
“I don’t want your baby toys.”

This is where I wanted to kick Jeff in the nuts and he lost me for most of this movie. Also he kept suggesting breakup sex multiple times for months on end because despite the rather brutal breakup and Jeff insulting Chloe, they still text. (“Captain Winky’s going to have to find a new outlet. Have you tried a light socket?”) Which is how they start having a conversation that it’s going to suck being single during the three major winter holidays, and their relatives harp on their relationship as is. Oh, Katie LeClerq (Daphne on Switched at Birth) is in this as some mean girl or other named Kelly, I’m not sure how she was involved in this--someone’s friend or relative or something? She keeps cropping up and being overly nosy/invested in J&C’s relationship, while bragging about her own engagement and life progressions.

Anyway, the premise of this movie is that despite their holiday breakup, they fake being together for the holidays. Kelly suspects something wrong when they give their supposed mutual address as “uh, somewhere on Pico” and Chloe says Jeff is a bedwetter. Anyway, the rest of their families are very self-absorbed with their own dramas. Randy overshares that the only time he and Mandy have sex in the same room is when she walks in on him masturbating, she won’t wear the sexy undies any more, and he dreams of bashing her over the head for the silence. Chloe’s parents fight over how he’s sick of practicing law and makes YouTube videos instead. Chloe gets in trouble with Jeff’s jerk dad for forging pies that really came from the dollar store because she lost her job. Jeff’s response to this is “What are you going to do now that they took away all your toys?” What a shit.

We find out that Jeff’s dad was not a fan of childhood, which is why Jeff is how he is, and also he still wants sex. Shut it, Jeff. Chloe is all, “How could we be together if I had to change who I was? Because it didn’t seem like he wanted to change.”

At Christmas, Jeff’s mom (I think?) goes on about how they opened up their marriage and she’s now nailing Fernando the tennis pro. Kelly has been dumped by her fiance (“I want to enjoy this,” says Chloe) and has brought THE MIME as her date. “You talk!” Yes, he does, but not well, at one time saying that he used to suck on shit. Chloe’s dad has chest pains but survives.

On New Year’s, Kelly plants a kiss on Jeff at midnight, he looks unthrilled, and Chloe cries in her car, looping back to where we came in again. Breakup officially on!

By Valentine’s Day, Jeff is dating Kelly and looking bored and Chloe is out with the mime...who went full mime on Valentine’s Day. They are all out at the same restaurant, it turns out, and Jeff and Chloe immediately get back together. Jeff decides that “growing up is stupid” and quits his job, Chloe becomes a kindergarten teacher, and both of them attend clown school and the last shots we see are of them jumping up and down with red noses on, looking very happy.

So...this was kind of a long slog? A lot of side family drama in this one, a long time to get to the plot, a long time through the holidays, a long time to get them apart and back together. Chloe is (obviously) fun and Jeff is not, but Jeff was so jerky to her at times that I had little sympathy for him and probably wouldn’t have minded her dating the mime instead. Other than sex, I’m not sure why they were together , at least until he decided to embrace the fun at the end. So...kinda middlin’.

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