Chaos Attraction

The Twelve Dates Of Christmas

2015-08-16, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday's plans were thrown off by Mom's car drama. We ended up sitting around watching Netflix streaming while she worried about what to do (eventually she just drove home with pillows so I didn't have to drive the van home), and her selection was...yup, more Christmas movies in August! Though it turns out that her selection was an ABC Family thing rather than Hallmark.

Her selection was The Twelve Dates of Christmas. This is a strange movie. Basically Christmas Groundhog Day. (And it got sued for supposedly ripping off another idea...not Groundhog Day, either.) And oddly enough, this movie has far better sets and windows than Window Wonderland EVER had. ABC Family must have gotten a much better budget.

"My life is a parking garage!" --actual quote from Kate on the situation.

Kate (Amy Smart) desperately wants to get back together with her ex Jack, and she's distracted by that (she bought him a present,asks him to bring over the dog because she misses him). While wandering through a store, she gets perfume-maced in the face and slips and hits her head. She has a blind date set up for her by her father's wife Sally with Sally's godson Miles. They're supposed to meet for a drink at a bar and then go to the parents' for Christmas. She meets another dude (eventually introduced as Toby) who's waiting for a Phyllis in the bar instead, then actually meets Miles (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), who is cute but she is way too distracted by running off to see Jack the second he calls to care. Jack has not only brought the dog, but his new girlfriend who he plans on proposing to at Christmas. Dad and Sally are very disappointed in Kate for doing that.

At midnight, Kate's asleep with Max the dog on the bed, and he turns on the remote accidentally, where QVC is selling a partridge pin. At midnight, the day rolls back to when Kate got perfume maced. Repeat many more times, with the relevant "what day is it" number being shown on screen so you know which day is it. (Especially memorable: six kids with geese hats on their heads walking by.)
This is very weird and Kate is kind of a jerk. On the first rewind day, she spends the day essentially trying to get Jack back anyway even though she should know for a fact by now that that's a no-go. She should also be nicer to Miles, but doesn't really do that either. She also freaks that he mentions being married, and calls Sally to complain and Sally is all "his wife's dead." Oops.

On night 3 she goes to the doctor, stalks Jack as he picks out a ring and is nice about it, meets Miles in the bar early, hangs out with him for awhile, then goes off to bake with her neighbor.

On night 4 she asks a random girl on the street out for a drink. The girl, Lee, has a boyfriend who puts up a giant lit snowflake for her every year, which is getting old to her. The girls end up dancing around in her apartment and then Dad, Sally and Miles come by the apartment. She and Miles go out to that bar, where she realizes that Toby (other blind date guy) seems to be aware of the situation. She confronts him about it, but he doesn't know what's going on either. Miles overhears her saying she doesn't know how to make this night end, which makes him leave. Kate asks Toby for a drink instead, but we don't see it.

On night 5: Kate has a good date with Miles and they end up going to midnight mass and meeting her neighbor there. What happens at midnight mass? Rewind anyway.

On day six she goes to hang out with Jim, one of the guys helping her up in the store, in a botanical garden. She tells him the situation and he basically says if it was him, he'd go do anything.This leads her to getting inspired to just go live life like it's her last day or something. So she gets a new orange outfit and does a lot of shopping and has a new car and got a tattoo and a black haired dye job and a giant donut. She gets a parking ticket and doesn't care and rips it up. Then she has a baking party with the neighbor, snowflake girl and best friend.

On day seven, she helps snowflake guy out and borrows some of his lights for later. She asks miles out and they go for hockey and skating and she finds out he coaches a team of kids in foster homes. What a hero. Why does this guy need fixing up? (Oh: note there's a kid named Michael who's gone missing.) She takes him out to where she lit up a tree and realizes that she knew six months into dating Jack it wouldn't work out.. Midnight strikes before they can kiss.

Day eight: dammit! She finds Jack again to offer her congratulations (why?) and he asks her for coffee. She says she knew it wasn't going to work after six months and he was all, "I was going to propose to you then and then your mother proposed and you were obsessed with not being alone." Ohhhhh. Cut to dinner with Miles and the parents, where she shows off that she knows how to make a gingerbread house now. "Since when did you learn to bake?" "Since today!....Inside joke." Then she realizes that oops, Jack never did buy that ring in the store. Miles reasonably assumes that since Kate keeps yakking about Jack...repeat. Kate is terrible at explaining the situation and gives Miles the wiggins. He's had enough drama, thanks, and calls her out for not knowing him. "He's not going to call me!" No shit. So Kate hauls off to Jack's cabin, where she found out he proposed an hour ago, without the ring. Oh brother. Don't worry, Kate won't be here long.

Day nine: "Every step forward is two steps back, this hurts too much," Kate starts babbling in the store. She heads back to the bar where Toby is still waiting around. She gloats that she'll never get a hangover tomorrow. This time, Toby doesn't seem to know who she is--but she's apparently either Googled him or talked to him a lot onscreen to call him out and bitch that they're destined to be lonely and Phyllis is never going to show up. They drink some more. Kate goes home and is snappish at the neighbor about her bad day, which doesn't offend the neighbor. Kate watches "Extreme Hoarders, Holiday Edition" at home and giggles at rat feces. "Nothing says Merry Christmas like rat feces." Even the dog is ashamed. Kate apologizes to the neighbor, then goes home to rewind.


Day ten: Kate approaches snowflake guy, who is out of ideas as to what else to do for the girlfriend. She's about to help him when she spots one of Miles's missing kids and runs after him. It doesn't work. Michael has a number 10 Lords on his sweatshirt, btw.

Day eleven (wow, ten was short): Kate goes after Michael again. Oh, look, there's a Pied Piper's Pizza sign to indicate. We find out that Michael's got a secret puppy in the alley. Cut to the hockey team, where Kate's brought Michael and the puppy. Oh yeah, and she's got an idea that the kid can get the dog registered as a service dog (uh, probably not). Because teenagers should have puppies, dammit. Miles has a date to go to, but Kate horns in and asks him out anyway. I"m waiting for the part where she explains who she is (if not for rewind factor, he'd find out anyway), but nope.

Day twelve: Kate wakes up, we see nutcrackers as she picks out a new wardrobe for Toby. Take the glasses off! Never mind if you can't see! She fixes up Jim and the neighbor. She wishes Jack and Nancy well again and runs off. He wishes her happiness and she says, "I'm just trying to find it today. As many todays as I'm going to have today." She helped Snowflake Guy use his lights for a marriage proposal instead. Even though Phyllis never shows, she fixes Toby up with Miyoko, her best friend (wow, it took me that long to find out the girl's name) and then meets Miles, intending to spend the entire night with him. Cut to the parents' house where somehow Toby and Miyoko have arrived there before they have--along with everyone else she could fish up from the rest of the days, including the entire football team, some random sister we never saw and the kids, snowflake couple, Jim and the neighbor, the dog (when is she picking up the dog?!), etc.

Seeing that the clock's about to strike, Kate prepares to leave. Everyone breaks into singing That Song. Kate and Miles go outside. It might be weird, but it feels like he's known her his whole life. "In my life, the bar for weird is pretty high." Actually, it's more like twelve days. Oh yeah, and they both hate The Song, It's the Christmas version of 99 Bottles of Beer. They hit twelve and kiss and she's made it pass midnight! Score! Still here!

After that, I have now come up with something:

How To Write A Groundhog Day Movie, By Someone Who Has Never Written One.

I noticed after watching the 12 Dates Of Christmas, a Groundhog-Day-only-it's-Christmas-Eve-and-goes-12-days-obviously movie, that when you only watch this sort of plot for an hour and a half, as opposed to say, watching Groundhog Day (which is pretty dang complicated) or the one-off TV show Daybreak (many more hours, much more complicated), it's pretty easy to figure out how these things go.

The point of a Groundhog Day plot is this: there are a number of problems in the city/town that can be solved by one person in one day, but they cannot all be solved by one person in one day, if that person only has the information of one day in their brain. The reason that the day repeats is that the repeater person can learn more and more information about what's going on that day and what works or doesn't work with various people. Eventually by the time they get the day to stop repeating, they've earned that by figuring out all of the problems and solving them, with the information they've gathered over days/weeks/months/eons. Ta-daaaah!

If you're ever in a Groundhog Day scenario, be sure to shop around from day to day and try new things, make new friends (even if they don't remember you tomorrow), hang out baking with the neighbor and invite that random girl over, and make sure you figure out all of the problems you can solve in one day. Plus figure out how to woo the right dude without freaking him out over your Groundhog Day explanations.

I sort of have a story idea for this now, we'll see if I ever finish it.

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