Alex: Much like Shannon Elizabeth, Candace Cameron (now Candace Cameron Bure) has some history with Christmas productions of a certain quality. And no, I am just talking about her work in other Hallmark originals, Moonlight & Mistletoe or even The Heart of Christmas. What I am talking about here was her appearance on a Marie Osmond Christmas special (Donny who?) in 1989, getting this sage advice from the little bit country star:
Not only is this rude and not very Christian behavior, but if you go back and watch that video clip from the very beginning (and you really should), you will see that there are much more important things Marie should be warning her about, in terms of dealing with her brother. Like what is that weird book that Kirk reads from? I feel like it’s just something he wrote and is kind of coming up with his own bible. At least that is my hope.
But armed with this experience and advice, Candace should be ready to tackle any challenge that life or Christmas has to offer. Plus, I just found out that she’s now an author too. When she was announced on Hallmark’s Home & Family morning show, they even called her a “writer and actress, starring in the upcoming movie, ‘Let It Snow’.” I got really excited when I heard this, because I thought it meant that she possibly wrote the script. But unfortunately no, she did not. She wrote a book though and the good news is, it’s about faith-based weight loss. Maybe I can review that one day. But for now, I am just going to stick with Let It Snow.
I don’t know if I lost any weight while watching it. My guess is no, especially because I ate a piece of derby pie during that time but to be fair, I also didn’t have faith that I would not eat that derby pie so maybe the book will help me there. I’ll tell you what also helped. Right off the bat, we learn that Alan Thicke plays Candace’s dad. You can tell he’s not a great father because he is also the head of a company, Falcon Enterprises, and because his old TV son re-writes the bible and his real life son sings about date rape being kind of acceptable in certain cases. We also learn that Falcon Enterprises has recently purchased a mountain resort in Maine and Candace, who also works for her dad, is being sent there to check the place out over Christmas break. Odd that he wouldn’t have done this research BEFORE purchasing the lodge but then again, this is a guy who once asked Wayne Gretzky to babysit his aforementioned, real-life son while he was on vacation in Norway, only to find out that Wayne had to leave because he got traded to LA Kings and Robin was home alone for about a day or so. Someone should make a movie out of that story, by the way. But my point is that Alan is not necessarily a guy who thinks things through. Maybe that’s what we love about him though. He shoots from the hip. It’s that same wild, creative spirit that gave us the theme song to Diff’rent Strokes and hell, on the surface, Wayne Gretzky as a babysitter was a great idea too, just maybe not the most responsible choice. It’s like they say in another classic theme song, one which Thicke also penned – “You take the good, you take the bad, you take ’em both, and there you have…the Facts of Life.”
So Candace heads out to Maine so she can find out for dad if this purchase was a Diff’rent Strokes theme song triumph or a Wayne Gretzky babysitter disaster. She’s never been in snow and hates Christmas. Why? For the same reason that anybody isn’t feeling Christmas in these movies. Because someone she loved died. In this case, it was her mother and that’s why her dad became such a business jerk, burying himself in Falcon Enterprises and leaving behind all traces of human emotion. Candace went to work for Falcon just to maintain any kind of relationship with the man. Very sad but like everything else in life, nothing a little romance can’t fix.
She starts putting together her report and of course, hates everything at first. She doesn’t do Winter! And the couple who own the lodge, the ones who are selling it to Alan Thicke, have a son about Candace’s age who provides the necessary fulcrum for her turnaround. I know it’s a small thing but I have to keep pointing out the complete lack of effort that goes into concealing Canadian accents in these movies. I don’t mind so much that they film them north of the border, it’s just the flagrant disregard for pretending to do otherwise. And since they are so easy to conceal (“Can you say, ‘car?’ Great, now say ‘sar’ just like you said ‘car.’ Great, now just add an ‘ee’ to the end of it – ‘Sar-ee.’ Boom!”), I have to assume that they are flaunting them in the face of our great nation. You’d think they would all take a note from accomplished Canadian actor and I have to believe, their hero, Alan Thicke here. He keeps the accent under wraps so why can’t they? Although I suppose they also know about the Wayne Gretzky babysitter thing and might not want to emulate every move he makes.
But back to our story – after staying at this lodge for a while, Candace quickly realizes that snow and Christmas aren’t so bad. There’s a reason people kind of like them. I give her credit here because the lodge and its denizens almost managed to have the opposite affect on me. Their Christmas spirit was bordering on smug and obnoxious. Plus, the dad is the classic stalwart who doesn’t want anything to ever change. Like at one point, he says that the son can’t use a snowmobile and doesn’t want to put in a ski lift because nothing mechanical can be on the mountain. I mean, how many times have you been walking in a total winter wonderland to suddenly have the entire thing ruined forever by something mechanical like a ski lift? At a lodge with skiing no less! They might as well just sucker punch Mother Nature right in the bread basket. Never mind that there are things like electricity and the Leap Frog Leap Pad Explorer and plenty of other stuff that would qualify as mechanical there, it’s all okay when it doesn’t factor into a plot point.
So why would the old man be selling this joint he never wants to change in the first place? Because his son, who is falling in love with Candace Cameron, doesn’t want to take over when he retires and if that is the situation you find yourself in, the only other option is to sell your place to Alan Thicke. And Alan Thicke gave him his word that he wouldn’t change anything after buying it. That would be good enough for any of us. But why doesn’t the son want to take over? I don’t know, exactly. I think he’s kind of sick of it and wants to get out and see the world at some point. They make allusions to a brother character in Australia but never go anywhere with it, nor does the brother ever factor into anything. Fingers crossed for a spin off! Or maybe they’ll do a trilogy of movies like those French films, “Blue”, “Red” and “White” where things kind of relate to each other but it’s not obvious at first and then suddenly, there is Juliet Binoche and you see the tail end of a scene that played out in the last movie.
At least Alan Thicke does show up again at the end. Candace tries to convince him not to tear the lodge down because it’s really great and if you can just add a few mechanical devices, people who vacation at Falcon Enterprises resorts will dig it too. Thicke doesn’t go for any of this crap and fires her on the spot. His own daughter! Then credits. Maybe Juliet Binoche and the unseen Australian brother can achieve some closure in the companion piece. Okay, you got me. That doesn’t really happen. Thicke does fire his daughter but then gets totally turned around himself, making for a happier ending. To the point of ridiculousness. Like you know how people say someone did a 360-degree turnaround, when they really mean a 180-degree turnaround but want to say 360 because it’s the bigger number and thus, seems like a more significant turnaround despite the opposite being true? Well that’s exactly what I want to do here. Just telling you that Thicke does a 180-degree turnaround doesn’t feel even close to significant enough. Can we call it a 360-degree turnaround and you just know what I mean? Or what if we go more degrees? Like he did a 1 million-degree turnaround, even though the more times you revolve doesn’t necessarily change the meaning either. Or it does but not in the way I want it to. Look, just trust me, okay. This turnaround that Alan Thicke does is huge and is not at all believable. You can’t go from firing your daughter on Christmas to dressing up as Santa and giving kids Leap Pads. If you could, we all would but you just can’t, okay?
Then again, like I keep coming back to, Thicke can do whatever he wants and who am I to criticize? He said it best himself – the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for me, creating a plausible reason for his character to change his mind, may not be right for some, who just want to lose weight through faith. So let it snow, indeed, and if you’re worried about getting home in time to see the kids, I’m sure Alan Thicke can recommend a good babysitter. In closing, I would like to say, as the French Canadians themselves might say, I hereby give this movie…