As you well know, we have seen some pretty amazing, bizarre, fantastic, baffling, and insane made-for-TV Christmas movies in our time. Some that made me question the very fabric of reality at times. Christmas With a Capital “C”, All She Wants For Christmas, Karroll’s Christmas, and several others all had moments where I seriously could not believe what was happening on screen. And I’ve seen The Room. With Tommy Wiseau! But I am here to tell you that without a doubt, nothing quite compares to Merry ExMas. Except maybe The Room.
Let me say this again, because I want to make sure I am perfectly clear: Merry ExMas is by far the most unbelievably crazy made-for-TV Christmas movie I have ever seen. And it’s not even close. Other films have their moments, for sure, but Merry ExMas is pretty much one big moment. Last year, I posted links to some of what I thought were the craziest scenes in each thing I reviewed. If I were to do something like that with Merry ExMas, it would just be a link to the entire film. There was even a point towards the end where important things needed to get resolved and the movie might have been starting to run out of crazy juice but like a true champion, just kept throwing haymakers. Refusing to relent to sanity.
Simply reading the description though, none of this would be apparent. Here is what the Ion Television Network’s website has to say:
When misleading photos are published of security company chief Jessie Rogers purportedly caught in a love nest with his rock star client, his humiliated wife, Noëlle, swiftly files for divorce. Unable to convince her of his innocence, Jessie fights in vain to win Noëlle back when a Christmastime blizzard snowbounds the family.
Pretty straightforward, right? You can watch the trailer up there and come away with a similar impression. Christmas movie veteran and another former Superman, Dean Cain, is Jessie Rogers here and Kristy Swanson is Noelle. There are other people you know too – Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Ernie Hudson, Lochlyn Munro whose name may not familiar but you’ll recognize his face, someone related to Chris Farley, etc. By Christmas movie standards, this all sounds fairly innocuous. I guess Dean Cain himself pitched the idea to the production company but he seems like a relatively sensible guy so it’s hard to see how this could all go haywire. Especially when you compare it to something like The Room, which had much more curious origins. A mysterious man from Eastern Europe (won’t say where) suddenly appears with 6 million dollars (won’t say where he got it from) and takes years to self-publish a movie he wrote, directed, starred in, produced, and fired the entire crew several times over the course of production.
So how on Earth could Merry ExMas come anywhere near the level of madness displayed in The Room? I honestly can’t tell you. I have contacted the two production companies whose names appear in the opening credits, looking for answers. Maybe I should write Dean Cain? Before I go any further though, make no mistake – I loved this movie. Like I might seriously give it 5 Eggnogs. And there’s no way in hell I am going to be able to document all the wonderfully insane things or even do their insanity justice by attempting to explain it but the key for me is that it’s not the kind of insane where you don’t know what’s going on. You just won’t know why it’s going on. Like for instance, one scene I guess I can attempt to explain involves a group of people stopping at a bathroom. A couple of them are talking about something related to the plot when suddenly, bees attack. We have no idea where the bees came from or why they are attacking or what led someone to believe that bee attack was a good way to get out of this scene but we understand that the bees have arrived and that everybody needs to get back in the car quickly. In fact, you know what? I am going to come out of video posting retirement and put up a clip of this scene so you can see that I am not the one who’s crazy here.
I also included the preceding shot of Dean Cain wrapping what looks to be a child’s fishing pole, even though there are no characters in this film that you would likely buy this for. Then I left some of the scene that followed the bees so you can get a sense at the blistering pace Merry ExMas can sometimes move at. One second you are down at the beach, using their rest stop bathroom and being attacked by mysterious bees, the next second you are in a weird, almost sepia-toned, blizzard environment, falling off a sled pulled by dogs.
Speaking of slippery slopes, it’s really hard to not post more clips. There are just so many great scenes and great moments. Narrowing them down is almost like an insult to the magnificent totality but how about this. How about I post one more? Just because it was something a little less obvious maybe:
I love how the newscaster stops talking so that Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson can have their convo, then jumps in at the end to back up the Deanster. That is some good reporting right there. Although it probably would have seemed strange to anybody else watching the news who was not in that room. Maybe they just assumed though that someone, somewhere was having a conversation and this guy on TV was just being polite, letting them finish up. I’ll have to keep that in mind myself the next time I see something like this happen. Just another thing I have to thank Merry ExMas for.
Some credit really needs to go to Ion Television too. They delivered several of the biggest hits last season with Holiday Road Trip, All I Want For Christmas, and Christmas Belle. This is the first movie of theirs we’ve watched in 2014 and while they may not match the output of Hallmark or the production value, maybe, of Lifetime, they could very well be the pound-for-pound champs this year. The Up network has been coming strong too but I just can’t imagine anyone’s holding an ace card quite like Merry ExMas. I’ve got another one of Ion’s, A Christmas Mystery, sitting on my DVR and I don’t know why I’m not watching it right now because with their track record, it could be another game-changer. Plus who doesn’t like the idea of a Christmas Mystery? My wife pointed out that while there are so many people dead in these films, there are very few murders (none?). Perhaps Christmas Mystery will finally blaze this trail? In any case, I am excited. Excited for more Ion films and for you to hopefully watch Merry ExMas and be touched by its magic, never thinking of third alternates on the women’s olympic gymnastic team and silly accents the same way again.
I already called my shot with the rating here and in discussing the film further, I only feel stronger in that conviction. I just wish I could paint a funnier picture of it for you but like I keep telling you, there just are no words that could really do the movie justice. Only Eggnogs.