Well my friends, we did it. Somehow, someway, we made it to Halloween and on the day at least Mexico celebrates as Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, the Hallmark Channel has ironically given life to the new season of made-for-TV-and-me-Christmas movies. They didn’t waste any time saddling up with One Starry Christmas, which premiered tonight and threw down the gauntlet for what I believe will be an amazing couple months for us here.
Sure, it might be a little early for Christmas but it’s never too early for love, right? And if you believe that, you’re going to like this film. Because it’s all about believing. In love, in stars, in dreams, in cowboys and pretty much every trope I have ever identified as being associated with these movies and a few I could kick myself for missing. But as rote as that may make One Starry Christmas sound, it still featured some baffling/bizarre/amazing moments that managed to make my brain explode even before my trope detector did.
We start off with a girl named Holly who is in a serious, 3-year, co-habitating, about-to-become-engaged kind of relationship with a guy named Adam, who is the worst human being ever. How do I know he’s the worst human being ever? Because he’s in a serious relationship with Holly, which means they will not be in a relationship by the end of the movie, which mean he must be completely wrong for her, which makes him a massive dick. She’s a plucky, little astronomer who likes stars because they’re magical and he’s a stuck-up lawyer who likes money because it can be exchanged for goods and services. He uses some of this Devil’s currency to buy Holly a Christmas tree that comes already decorated. Then he tells her that he unfortunately will not be home for the holidays because he has to go to New York for business. But this is okay because he’s going to make more money and hints at a possible marriage proposal coming shortly thereafter.
At this point, Holly seems petty on board with Adam. Yes, she kind of blanched at the pre-decorated tree and him working over the break but for the most part, she loves the guy and calls her mother excitedly to celebrate the news of a potential proposal and does that looking-at-her-ring gesture ladies sometimes do although I think she uses the right hand, which is actually the wrong hand when it comes to finding one’s ring finger. Turns out her parents live in New York as well and seem like sweet people who love Christmas and have garland up all over the place. Then it turns out Holly is going to come up to New York to see her parents and surprise her boyfriend, Adam, with a visit.
You might be thinking that like most surprise visits, this will end with her catching Adam cheating on her, making it okay for her to leave him for whoever the New Guy is but I’m going to spoiler non-alert you to the fact that this is not the case. If anything, it’s the opposite. Holly gets on a bus headed to the Big Apple and this is where she meets Luke Shetland, a cowboy who might be more stereotypical than even his name would have you believe. He’s going to New York as well for a rodeo and spouts a bunch of adorable drawl. The bus ends up breaking down, leaving them stranded somewhere in Pennsylvania and already entering into what I consider to be an inappropriate relationship. Holly is immediately waaaay too flirty and her exchange with Luke is like a combination of every romcom convo you have heard and my suicide letter. Luke is clearly the greatest human being ever and seems completely smitten as well. After rustling up a Dodge Durango, he offers to drive her the rest of the way to New York. Sounds safe enough. Drive through the middle of nowhere with a dude you met 15 minutes ago on a bus.
But before surprising her boyfriend, Holly decides to stop by her parents’ place for dinner. With Luke, the guy she just met on the bus who is not her boyfriend. And oh yeah, he’s going to stay the night at her parents, with her staying there as well, even though he must have had somewhere else he was planning to stay. Plus he’s never see New York so Holly’s gonna show him around and take him shopping the next day. For all parties concerned here – Holly, Luke, her parents – none of this seems weird or like a problem of anything out of the ordinary really. Just day-in-the-life kind of stuff. Of course Holly and Luke’s little NYC date is just more of the same inappropriate flirtation and vomit induction.
Then finally, the boyfriend shows up and is understandably peeved to notice that the woman he loves has taken such a shine to this cow gentleman. He kind of acts like a dick but really not all that bad, considering these crappy circumstances. The parents have taken quite a shine to Luke as well (perhaps even the Dad equally, inappropriately so) and have gone so far as to now invite Luke’s cowboy older brother over for Christmas Eve dinner.
When the older brother drops in, that’s when the rails really fall off. You see there’s some story that One Starry Christmas has been peddling around about how the group of stars that scientists and just normal humans refer to as “Orion’s Belt” is known as “Wild Bill” to lovably simple Texas cowboys like Luke and his brother. Something about Wild Bill (Hickok, I would assume?) was in love with someone named Josephine and there were camellias at Christmas time. I’d look it up so I could explain it to you better but I already looked it up and couldn’t find a damn thing corroborating any of this nonsense, other than how the actor, “Wild Bill” Elliot, was married to a woman whose middle name was Josephine but then they got divorced in 1961. Coming out of Luke’s mouth, however, it all sounds like poetry. But that’s nothing compared to what his older bro has got in store for us. Because his older bro is a country singer in real life (if country singing is real life) and they manage to crow bar a scene into this movie where Older Bro sings a song about Wild Bill and Josephine and camellias at Christmas time and the rest of the characters just sit there and listen, spellbound. All except for Adam of course, who realizes he’s got to step his game up if he wants to have any hope of hanging onto Holly.
But he doesn’t have any hope. Things go from bad to worse when he tries to take Holly to a business-related Christmas party but Holly’s mom comes too for some reason and brings Luke as her date. Luke steals the show once again by teaching everybody at the party how to kick up their heels and learn a Texas-style line dancing routine and probably earn their souls in the process. Adam’s marriage proposal to Holly right afterwards seems trite by comparison. She says Yes, by the way. But after the party, she breaks it off without the slightest bit of remorse and doesn’t waste any time jumping right into Luke’s arms. For the record, Adam never officially did anything terrible to Holly. He actually loved her and wanted to get married. Granted, he’s certainly not the sweetest, most warm and fuzzy guy in the world, and yes, he is materialistic but none of this makes him inherently terrible or deserving of any of the shit Holly pulls. The heart wants what it wants, I get that too, but this is a movie and Holly is supposed to be our protagonist, someone we can root for. Instead I just rooted for a mass murder but maybe my head is still in Horror Movie Mode. Or One Starry Christmas just made me into a much worse person. Either way, I had a damn, good time watching all this heartfelt hogwash unfold and I sure am excited to kick off this magical season of Christmas and more importantly, the season of Christmas movies.