Frankie D loves his Hallmark Christmas movies. I DVR all the new stuff and those we haven’t seen so we can watch one pretty much every night from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It has become a tradition for us. Like most holiday traditions, there’s a fair bit of schmaltz involved. The movies aren’t great, but some are cute. Some are awful, but we can laugh at that. And then there are the ones that piss me off, because they could have been really good, and failed miserably.
Journey Back to Christmas. Even I was looking forward to this one. That darling of Hallmark Holiday movies, Candace Cameron Bure starring as a post WW2 nurse whose husband didn’t make it home. A “Christmas comet” sends her forward 71 years to 2016 and into the lives of a small town cop, his family, and various others.
Time travel. Christmas. World War 2. All the elements were there, and yet, egads, it was awful. Plot holes and tropes and ridiculous dialog that sounded like it had been written by a high school student who really wanted to be funny or dramatic or touching, but wasn’t. The worst was a cardboard busybody character whose only role was to forward the ludicrous notion that Bure’s character was somehow a threat to the town, a character who then vanished in the middle of her “coming around” scene, only to arrive at the end with a changed tune. Few of the little details matched up–like the Christmas star that so importantly tied the gazebo lights to the story being colored in the past, yet white in the future. And the ending was just so…what’s the word? Trite? Ill-conceived? Flat? Completely predictable? How about…stupid? Yeah, really, really stupid. I won’t put up a spoiler. Suffice it to say it was the most ridiculous ending I think I’ve ever seen in my life.
I growled at the television through most of this movie. Frankie D couldn’t even do his fall asleep after the first ten minutes and wake up for the last ten thing, because I kept waking him up. “You think too much about this stuff,” said he. “What does it matter? It’s mindless.”
What does it matter? What does it matter?! It does matter! Shouldn’t we expect a cohesive story that doesn’t require a whole lot of, “It’s okay, it’s just a Christmas movie,” to get through? Why is mediocrity aspired to? Why is a poorly executed product okay? Because it can be? Because people don’t notice? The ones who don’t, won’t, whether it’s done well or not. So why are those who don’t care catered to, instead of those who do?
I don’t like this “mindless” business. Mindless doesn’t mean poor quality. It means being able to just go with it without having to parse things out, without finding the message within. A Christmas Carol isn’t mindless. A Christmas Story is.
As you can guess, it’s not just my rant against Hallmark Christmas movies. This phenomenon is rife in the publishing industry, and very much so in the romance genre. Now it’s spreading to Women’s Fiction. I simply don’t understand why, when it can be done well, and also appeal to all kinds of readers, the industry isn’t insisting upon it?
This is nothing new. I’m aware. Drek has made millions for eons. I just don’t get it. I mean, I do, but I don’t want to believe the implications I’m forced to acknowledge. And now, before I get political, I’ll say–it matters. Quality matters. At least, it should.
4 responses to “Well, yeah, it does matter”
“What does it matter? What does it matter?! It does matter! ”
Lol, I’m laughing while I imagine this conversation. I can hear Frankie D. asking why it matters 🙂
In general, I’m not a fan of mindless and Hallmark can be ridiculous at times. But I will have to disagree a bit with A Christmas Story. On the surface, it’s a story about a kid wanting a B.B. gun. But for me it’s a wonderful look at christmas and grownups through a child’s eyes, with little glimpses into family life during simlier times. It’s done with humor and tosses the viewer back into another era for a while. From a story standpoint, it is threaded together well and told with the humor intended.
Sure, maybe not as deep as a Christmas Carol, but I’d give this one a notch above mindless. At least for me 🙂
I think we’re saying the same thing, here. You’re just reading my “mindless” in a way I didn’t intend. Mindless isn’t a bad word, just like selfish isn’t bad word. You can watch A Christmas Story and simply enjoy a tale well-told. No need to see into symbolism and themes because, really, there are none. It’s just a feel-good, holiday movie about times since past, a touch of nostalgia even for those who didn’t grow up in 1940 America.
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Ah, I see. I mean, we both know Frankie D. and I are a little alike. So it’s fitting we might like the same mindless entertainment at times 🙂
Well, I have to say, you enjoy “smarter” entertainment than Frankie D does.