Week In Review – 12/11/15

Did you know there is seriously an eggnog shortage going on this year? I mean it. At least where I live, we have substantially less nog available in stores than ever. Plus I can’t find that eggnog-flavored Coffeemate at all anywhere. Don’t know what that’s all about but it seems to have affected movies the movies I watched over the week, I’m afraid. This last Saturday was Ion’s time to shine and kicked things off a little too cautiously, for my liking, with yet another film about Royals not wanting to be Royals and preferring to marry some regular, ol’ American Joe(anne).

Prince For Christmas

This time though, instead of whisking her away to his magnificent-but-cold castle in some made up country you have never heard of, he comes to her small town you have also never heard of. Just a mysterious stranger whose car breaks down and gets stranded. What I never understood was exactly where he was going when his car broke. He fled his kingdom and went to America, looking for adventure, but the plan never seemed to go any further than that. Did he just feel like taking a roadie throughout our hinterlands was going to clear his head or something? Of course he does meet a lady who was just about to marry that guy who looks like Sam Bradford and even more like the guy who was in the 12 Gifts of Christmas because he was. But he’s a jerk this time. Except he’s not really a jerk. At least, not at first. He starts to get jerkier after the prince shows up but come on, who wouldn’t? And hasn’t? Especially when his girlfriend/ex-girlfriend follows the common pattern of falling absolutely in love with this other dude in 3 days’ time. It’s the new 3-Day Rule. Instead of waiting 3 days to call someone back after a date or rise from the dead after a crucifixion, we now only require 3 days from meeting a person before falling head-over-heels in love. Personally though, I was pretty much in love with my wife after 1 day but just like Jesus could have probably risen after 1 day too, it seems less believable to do it quite that quickly so He and these movies have established the acceptable buffer of time as being 3 days. Anyway, A Prince For Christmas also seemed to have the suddenly very familiar problem of not enough real problems and the unfamiliar problem, where Ion films are concerned, of not being nearly crazy enough. It was even directed by veteran whackadoo Fred Olen Ray and yet there was not one scene where I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Furthermore, the girl wasn’t likeable enough, the Prince wasn’t un-fugly enough, and I think it’s time for women in general to ditch this fantasy of hooking up with a prince. At least in its current form. If you’re interested in a particular region’s history and local government and deeply value the traditions of old as well as preservation of a royal bloodline, then absolutely, marry a prince from said region. Provided of course, you have observed the appropriate 3-day waiting period for loving him. But if this is just about feeling validated by an oversimplified, outdated fairy tale, then I maintain it conflicts with the narrative of modern women, just like this movie conflicted with my desire to give it more than 1 Eggnog.




Wasn’t I just talking about time travel last week? As either coincidence or time-travelling movie-making robots created by the Hallmark Corporation would have it, HM’s latest joint was also about time travel AND they clearly listened to me here because instead of someone going back in time, a journey which I had proven to be impossible in my review of A Gift Wrapped Christmas, this lady goes forward in time, which I believe is indeed quite possible.


In fact, we just did it right now. All of us did. It is presently some period of time later than it was when you first started reading this very sentence.  So there you have it, proof positive. But Just in Time For Christmas involves the main character travelling forward into the future at a much more accelerated rate of speed, instantly appearing a full 3 years later. That seems a little less trickier to pull off but the movie co-stars both Doc Brown and Captain Kirk (!) so if anyone could make that happen, it would be them. Plus the lady herself is now older and her character has been doing stuff during these 3 years (although she has no memory of what she did) so we don’t get into that weirdness where there are multiple timelines or versions of her in the same universe or Marvin Berry playing music for his cousin, Chuck, and seemingly inspiring him even though you didn’t do this in the previous iteration of Time. What we do get is a lady who decided to pick career success over love and then find out how that goes for her by suddenly skipping ahead 3 years. Of course we all could have totally saved her the trip, right? Picking career over love NEVER works out! So surprise surprise, she’s very successful in the future but misses her old boyfriend who is now about to marry a nice gal he works with. Luckily for her, she gets to eventually go back to the present and this time choose love over career, apparently screwing over the nice girl who was going to marry her ex. Later at their wedding, this girl catches the eye of some other dude so we’re to assume that she is gonna be just fine but who knows, maybe she and the boyfriend were supposed to be the ones who got together. And now our main character has to spend the rest of her life wondering if the boyfriend ever thinks about his co-worker who he ended up marrying in an alternate reality. Then the boyfriend has to spend the rest of his life remembering that when he proposed to the love of his life, her first reaction was to turn him down and be kind of a bitch and only because William Shatner intervened with magic did she see the light and decide to marry him. Those would be pretty hard things for me to swallow in either case. I’ll tell you what isn’t hard to swallow though – the new “Crazy Hot” flavor of Popchips. My wife and I watched this movie while lying on the couch eating those things and it was pretty damn perfect. I am so glad I chose love and snacks over my career as a quantum physicist. But at least I get to express my time-related theories while writing these reviews so perhaps the movies have steered us wrong and we really can have it all. I just know I want some more of those Popchips right now. As many as the Schrodinger Wave Equation will allow for me to consume.

schrodinger wave equationPop chips



Here’s a question – how come nobody else has used the title, “The Flight Before Christmas” before? You might say that the answer is that someone actually has and there was an animated film in 2009 that called itself that but after closer inspection, I discovered that said movie was made and primarily released in Finland, a country that is both real yet at the same time, completely not real, much like Schrodinger’s Cat.

Flight Before Christmas

It stars Mayim Bialik, who of course played the titular Blossom and holds a PhD in real life. Her doctorate is in neuroscience but I kind of wish it was instead in not being a total bitch in this movie. Although I guess this is probably more due to the script than with her, as they continue to delve deeper into the dynamic of having the main characters not like each other at first before falling completely in love (in 3 days’ time). Maybe I  am the one who is a robot from the future because I have never understood this. Sure, I get that when you’re telling a story of romance, there needs to be something keeping the lovers apart and sometimes it can be issues between the two of them but this has been taken to extreme, ridiculous non-sensical levels and perhaps none more so than The Flight Before Christmas. Part of the problem is that movies just aren’t long enough to properly sell the concept. I’ve already used the example of Jamie Lannister before, where you think he’s a total sociopathic dick at first but later, he becomes your favorite character. The difference is that Game of Thrones has full seasons (and books) to take you on this journey. Your standard movie’s only got 2 hours but when you subtract commercials, establishing shots, exposition, terrible songs, decorating montages, Folgers coffee, and Stuffies, we’re looking at about 10 minutes, tops, to provide a sufficient arc that spans from juvenile bickering to full-blown love. And besides just bickering with this dude, Blossom is completely self-deprecating too so given the fact that he is like a handsome version of Tom Brady with a seemingly decent girlfriend already, by the also aforementioned Reginald Veljohnson transitive property, there is just no good reason that these two should ever be together.

But wait a minute, Reginald Veljohnson IS ACTUALLY IN THE MOVIE!! What the hell is happening here?!? Can I just type stuff and like magic, it suddenly shows up in one of these films? If someone eats Crazy Hot Popchips in Karen Kingsbury’s, The Bridge, I am going to freak the hell out. I feel like Blossom and the other guy should have freaked out when they saw Reginald Veljohnson but they don’t really. It’s him and the lady who played his wife on Family Matters but her name is nowhere near as cool as “Reginald Veljohnson” so by the Reginald Veljohnson transitive property again, I don’t remember it or care. I guess by that logic though, I wouldn’t rememeber anyone’s name because it’s hard to get cooler than “Veljohnson.” Anyway, this plot is familiar too. Pretty much the same as A Christmas Detour except the relationship is less inappropriate. And there are more bows. Not just more bows in this movie than that one but more bows than all other movies and life combined. Bows on things that don’t even make sense. Like ineligantly placed on the side of cash registers:


And what about this chair? What if somebody wants to sit there?


Bows even get their own close-ups, covering signs. Why not just put the bow on a wall without a sign? Or not give a bow its own close-up at all?


Totally unrelated to bows but Blossom’s mom pulls cookies right out of the oven with frosting on them. I don’t recommend trying this in real life.


So if I were rating this movie based on bow usage and unreal baking practices, I would give it 5-out-of-5 Eggnogs but since that’s crazy talk and it had probably the worst couple I’ve seen in some time, I can only give it 2 Nogs  and that’s purely based on the fact that I got to see and say Reginald Veljohnson a couple more times, which is crazy talk too but less so.




Next up is in fact, Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge.


First off, no one actually does eat Crazy Hot Popchips in this movie so there goes that theory. But I still did kind of freak out anyway. Because there is something else I have to warn you about – this is only Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge Part 1. There will apparently be a Part 2 next year. They pull a Mocking Jay on all of us and it’s better you know that going in than to have it dropped on you like a cartoon anvil out of nowhere.

Second off, who is Karen Kingsbury, you ask? She is a New York Times bestselling author (why is the NY Times the only publication that gets to define bestsellers?) and is “America’s favorite inspirational storyteller” according to her own website. I don’t know how she ranks with someone like the oft-mentioned Debbie Macomber but I will say The Bridge had a different feel from a lot of the other Christmas movies on these channels. Almost like it was on performance-enhancing drugs but not quite. And I guess I mean that as a compliment. At the same time though, it made watching the first 15 minutes of set-up pretty exhausting. Just like when that dude in, Amadeus, tells Mozart that his music had simply too many notes, this movie does as well contain simply too many notes. Even after the story settles down, everything is just too note-y. Like here’s an example – Faith Ford and Ted McGinley own this charming book store, the titular Bridge, and I know they want us to love the store and love these characters and just believe that it is a beautiful place of wonder and joy but that doesn’t mean that McGinley need to put his hands on every person who walks through the door while thrusting cupcakes in their face, knowing everything about them and caring beyond caricature. Then besides notes, there are also just too many lines. And I don’t just mean sets of words spoken by characters but lines that sound too much like lines and not things actual people say. Then I was starting to wonder if this was going to even be a Christmas movie until Thanksgiving hit and BAM! Christmas exploded in decoration form. I know some people like to start a little early but this was ridiculous. And done by multiple groups of people in various locations. What I found the strangest though, was what the hell was keeping the main guy and girl from hooking up for so long. They were clearly having a bigtime romance and I guess just needed black friends to set them straight with comments like, “C’mon, y’all know you’re made for each other, right?” Come to think of it, I believe the main girl did actually have a black friend who told her something kind of like that, yet still, no hookups until Christmas Eve. But then once they do, DOUBLE BAM! Conflict explodes in one of the more ridiculous forms imaginable. Crazier still is how the main guy reacts to this little bump in the road. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone eject out of a relationship quite that amazingly. And now I have a whole year to ponder how he is ever going to recover and get back in the girl’s good graces when Part 2 airs. Maybe this is where the Crazy Hot Popchips actually come in? The dude brings over a bag and segways with, “Wow, these really are crazy hot. And speaking of crazy, please ignore everything that I did at the end of Part 1.” I wish I could ignore the gut punch that was learning this was only Part 1 because even amidst a sea of notes, we did enjoy watching it on some level. I feel like as such, it only deserves 3 Eggs and if Part 2 ends up being good, I will add the Nog later.





Ion had a chance to redeem itself a little on Sunday night with How Sarah Got Her Wings, a movie about a girl who dies, goes up to heaven, learns she has not earned a spot on the list to actually get into heaven yet, and gets sent back to Earth help her ex-boyfriend realize his dream or be happy or fall in love.

How Sarah Got Her Wings

Kind of a pretty big slap in the face to Sarah. She seemed like a decent enough person and died rescuing a dog but she’s immediately told she isn’t good enough to pass through the pearly gates but maybe there’s a chance if she can help out an ex. Oh, she has to accomplish this somewhat unclear goal by Christmas Eve or she gets stuck in pergatory forever. This didn’t seem very fair to me but I guess no one ever said death was fair either. Maybe even less fair though is something I’ve probably mentioned plenty of times already, which is that angels and Santa only seem to want to help people in relatively okay situations already find love around the holidays. And like I’ve also said, if these people require such divine and magical intervention to make their relationship happen, maybe they shouldn’t be together in the first place. Because what happens when angels get their wings and Santa returns to the North Pole and the couples start having problems again in January? Maybe these channels address that very issue during their winter and spring programming, I don’t know, but I will give the movie credit for kind of suprising me a little bit with a slight twist somewhere around the middle. I also learned that Heaven has a lot of rules but you can totally make an exception without getting God’s permission and that angels can possess people if they want. What I still don’t know is what an angel actually does when they finish whatever they were supposed to accomplish on Earth and finally get into Heaven. They didn’t address it in the film and I haven’t figured it out using quantum physics either. I’m starting to think it could involve these Popchips I keep talking about though. And certainly doesn’t involve eggnog shortages. Which reminds me, A) I hearby give How Sarah Got Wings 2.5 Eggnogs and B) I really am going to eat those chips again right now.