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DAY 5: A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS (2013)
When I do my nightly cruising through Netflix (like Al Pacino looking for a serial killer), I try to find a perfect combination of a few key elements, and I avoid a few red flags. A young, urban lady with a lot to prove is always a good start. Actors who previously had long runs on mediocre sitcoms is another good sign. Romance elements that involve magic, or trickery. On the flip side, I never ever watch anything with an orphaned child who has a "Christmas Wish". Nothing with Jesus stuff. And child actors, in general, are just not happening. Nothing ruins a movie faster than mediocre children, and to make it worse, you can't make fun of them later. They're just kids- they can't help being shitty.
I picked A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS because I am a Southern Person, and I thought it might involve porches and banjos and old dudes that wear overalls and don't say anything or ever have emotions. Sadly, this movie is set in New Mexico. It's set on a ranch, not a farm, and people wear cowboy hats as opposed to these:
This is not a "country christmas".
I was predisposed to hate this movie because it not only has two precocious kids as leads, it also is substituting some weird political "war on Santa" for the bullshit "war on Christmas" that 8% of the population pretend is a news story. This movie is set in a utopian future where some heroic politician passes a law where believing in, talking about, or otherwise mentioning Santa Claus is illegal. Said politician is played by KEVIN POLLAK, you guys. And his advisor is Illeana Douglas. For three minutes of this movie, actual actors show upo and light things up. The remiaing hour and fifty-seven minutes is two kids having the world's worst adventure. A lot of it revolves around a "viral video". Barf.
The plot involves a real Santa Claus, a sick mom, devious politicos, and a lot of adobe style homes. That's as much as I want to type about that.
Santa is cast against type here, and I'm all for it. He's played by the big doofus orderly from ER, and as opposed to being a spritely old fart, MIRACLE ON 34th STREET style, his Santa is played as a benevolent magic creature, like Tom Bombadil or Doctor Who. He's weirdly inhuman, but funny and super likable. I really enjoyed the direction he took it. He has an elf helper who is played by a little person, which always squicks me out. Little People don't look like magical beings, they look like functioning adults with a medical condition. I thought WILLOW taught everyone a lesson. That shows what I know.
Joey Lauren Adams is in this, playing a Mom, alongside an actor who looks like a roadie for FOGHAT. I am old enough to remember when Joey Lauren Adams was a Fox, although to be fair, she's still a total fox, just not in the way where doofuses in Los Angeles would cast her as a young single lady. She's moved onto "mom" territory now, I suppose. Let me reiterate; she's still a fox, though, and good grief, she's a perfectly great actress! Comedy or otherwise. This is a super-depressing "sick parent" turm, but she can be funny as hell. PARTY DOWN was a nice bit of JLA cameo appearancing. PARTY DOWN is probably a better way to spend time than A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS. I'm gonna go out on a limb with that one.
As I mentioned a few paragraphs back, Kevin Pollak is in this movie, playing a Christmas-ruining politician named "Schmucker". Is this okay? I mean, that's yiddish. He's clearly playing a malevolent Jew. He ruins Christmas in New Mexico and he looks like a cartoon drawing of an ashkenazi baby-boomer. It's creepy that he's so evidently the villain in this. It makes me feel weird and guilty.
At the 1 Hour 31 minute mark, Child Actress starts sobbing and says to perfectly-still-foxy Joey Lauren Adams, "No you can't have cancer! Please don't die!", and everyone, including Foghat Dad starts crying. Child Actress begs Santa to keep her Mom from dying, but his special powers are gone because a Jew Politican made people not believe in him. Then there is a public debate where the dirty Jew makes a little girl cry by bringing up Cancer Mom. That's as far as I got. Shit like this makes me not like America. Life is too fucked up as it is without adding this dark-ass misguided political nonsense to it.
Tomorrow night, I'm back to sexy ingenues trying to decide between rich hunk or hunk-who-loves-Christmas. I am too fragile for anything else.