I hate that it has taken me so long to get around to writing about this movie. In fact, when I re-watched it about a week ago, I was full of ideas about just what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it. But as I was with my girlfriend and unable to write at the time, I found my brain beginning to empty out rapidly over the next 24 hours. It’s the curse of my poor, broken brain.
But the show must go on, and so must I say something good about this movie, because I really love it more and more every time I watch it.
I didn’t really like anything about this one. It felt completely joyless. The acting was fine, but I didn’t like or relate to any of the characters. I’m glad that Idris Elba’s character didn’t have some literal Come To Jesus moment, which I thought they were setting up.
This movie could have taken place at any time of the year. It’s a “but I’m a singer, mama!” movie. It’s a “you owe those bad men how much?” movie. It’s a “you’re AWOL!?” movie. It’s a “you brought who home for dinner? And she’s pregnant!? movie. It’s another one of those films that is draped in Christmas scenery, but doesn’t have that Christmas cheer I’m always looking for. I don’t know. It just didn’t do a thing for me.
I was thinking about the way in which we are funneled by The Algorithm into our own isolated realities when I went to look up the Rotten Tomatoes reviews for Happiest Season on Hulu. You see, I was under the impression that the proverbial ‘everybody’ had a problem with this movie because it failed to stick the landing when commenting on lesbian relationships.
The thing is, when I think back now, I only saw that in two or three places. And they were mostly just snarky memes, not detailed arguments. And even if they had been detailed arguments, that’s still all they are: arguments. Opinions. The Algorithm has this way of making us thing the tiny personalized micro-zeitgeists in which it keeps us encapsulated are, in fact, the zeitgeist we are all living in. And it’s a great big lie.
I’ve finally seen the original Miracle on 34th Street (with only three more versions to go!) and I’m pleased to say I liked it very much. The third re-make with Mara Wilson was out when I was a little kid, but somehow I missed it and all its older siblings for all these years.
When it came to my attention that there was an 85 minute Christmas film starring Michael Shannon, Judy Greer, Thomas Lennon, Ron Perlman, Ian McShane and Christina Hendricks, and that it had a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, I knew that I had to see it, and quick. In fact, it is how I opened my 2020 Exploratory Christmas Endeavor. It was not, however, the first movie I wrote about for my Exploratory Christmas Endeavor, because despite its being only 85 minutes long, it was so bad that I managed to watch an entire other, better movie before finishing this one.