Christmas Movies Galore: Netflix 2019 Edition

Jolly good, Christmas has passed! Now that all of us have gained loads of weight after overeating during the holidays, it is time to eat a little more while binge watching the only thing more disgustingly sweet than peppermint candy canes: Christmas movies. Ever since the beginning of November, Netflix has been releasing new movies from this genre.

Titles such as The Knight Before Christmas, Holiday Rush, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby, and Home for Christmas have been popping up on our Netflix feeds, begging us to click on them. The thumbnails make us want to cozy up on our couches or in our beds, tucked in while holding onto a warm cup of hot cocoa (or mulled wine for the daredevils out there) and munching on some freshly baked cookies, crispy chips, and teeth-aching sweets. They are presented to us as feel-good, light-hearted movies that are supposed to keep us entertained for about an hour and a half.

My favorite Christmas movie has always been the very classic Home Alone. The movie does not have a romance arc and is a pure comedy, which I really appreciate. My issue with many romance movies is that they are very trite and cliché, repeating similar and predictable storylines that are very cringe-inducing. It physically hurts me to watch them, which is exactly why I am going to do it this Christmas. However, I am going to add a twist. In order to test how predictable some newly released Christmas movies are, I am going to watch their trailers, predict the storylines, and then check if I was right or not[1]. The two movies I picked are The Knight Before Christmas and Holiday Rush. Should be fun, right? Let’s jump in.

The Knight Before Christmas: Prediction

This movie is the 2019 Christmas movie starring Vanessa Hudgens, following the 2018 ‘classic’ The Princess Switched. It would not surprise me if she were to star in another Christmas movie next year (that is my first prediction)[2]. Moving on to the movie itself: Vanessa’s costar, Josh Whitehouse, plays a knight who is magically teleported through time and ends up almost getting run over by Brooke (Vanessa). They will spend some time decorating Christmas trees, baking cookies, and ice skating, which adds some fire to their flickering romance. We learn at the end of the trailer that our knight realizes he has to go back to his own time period and with that, he leaves. A pretty basic storyline.

Shockingly, I predict that the two of them are going to fall in love! Even though everything about the trailer already implies this, I feel like I need to state the obvious here. Alexandra predicts that somewhere a witchy-type character will be involved. The knight is fairly awkward to be around, as he is not accustomed to modern times. This is already shown in the trailer, but I specifically predict that he will accidentally steal something at the grocery store, because he does not know how cash registers work. Stealing will cause him to end up in custody and Brooke will come pay his bail and save him, making her a knight, too. As a result of this, the actual knight will be very thankful and shower her in compliments and good deeds, because he will feel like she saved his life. He will also tell her that he will serve her forever.

In the trailer we see how I assume Brooke’s younger sister gets stuck on ice and almost ‘dies’ Titanic-style. We also see the knight saving the child, but what we do not see is that Brooke is so thankful to the knight that she will kiss him. After that kiss, things will get a little uncomfortable. To add some fuel, an old lover of Brooke enters the stage and our knight requests a duel, because that is what people in the 14th century do. The two have a sword fight with balloon swords, the knight obviously wins, and the old lover leaves the movie again. To counter my sword prediction, Alexandra secretly hopes the knight pulls out his real sword and in order to avoid bloodshed, Brooke gives him the balloon sword.

As for the ending, the trailer shows that the knight feels like it is his duty to return to his own time: Brooke hates that idea, but she cannot stop him. I predict that the knight manages to travel through time again, Brooke turns sad and heartbroken because her dream man is gone forever and the knight almost dies while he is back where he belongs. While on his almost deathbed, the knight realizes how much he loves Brooke, travels back in time to be with her and they live happily ever after.

The Knight Before Christmas: Reality

ACTUAL SPOILERS AHEAD FROM THIS POINT

To start things off, I forgot about the biggest cliché out there: Brooke is a high school teacher. One of her students is heartbroken and she tells the student that true love does not exist. Brooke says that, because she is kind of bitter about her ex-boyfriend (see, there he is) cheated on her. As Alexandra pointed out, it is indeed a witch, or Old Crone, who sends the knight, from now on Cole, to the future. Cole keeps pulling his sword every once in a while, however, at no point in time does Brooke offer him a balloon sword to use instead. She just reminds Cole of the fact that you cannot pull your sword out whenever you want.

Uncomfortable moments are sprinkled throughout the movie. As predicted, Cole is not used to modern times, resulting in him calling a service worker a wench, him referring to hot chocolate as ‘mead’, the aforementioned sword thing, posh language use, and being unaware and fascinated by modern-day technology. He calls Alexa, the Amazon speaker gadget, a lady, because he thinks she is a real person. He also says ‘lit af’ at some point, which I thought was kind of funny.

Cole does not end up fighting Brooke’s ex-boyfriend with a sword, which is a disappointment. I was actually looking forward to something that ridiculous to happen. What we do get is a grocery store scene. Instead of accidentally stealing something, Cole ends up eating some bread rolls without paying for them. This little illegal tasting test makes him realize how bad the bread is, which eventually results in Brooke and Cole doing some bread-baking together! Hah, I knew we would get some kitchen bonding scene. They also decorate an already decorated house together, but do not end up ice skating.

The little girl who almost freezes to death after almost slipping into a frozen lake turned out to be Brooke’s cousin. Cole saves her after doing some questionable slug movements (you have to actually see this in order to understand, I am truly sorry), and even though Brooke is very thankful for this knight who left his shining armor, they do not kiss. They end up kissing underneath a mistletoe seconds before Cole time-travels back to the 14th century. Yes, it happens that suddenly in the movie too. As a general remark: everything in this movie happens in such a fast pace. I did not know something could be that superficial. While Cole is back home, Brooke is completely heartbroken, because she realized that true love DOES exist[3]. After about a day (and not having to fight for his life), Cole returns because he realizes he loves Brooke too and they live happily ever after.

Holiday Rush: Prediction

On initial viewing, the trailer of Holiday Rush does not seem too romance-y. We have a prospering single father of four and his business partner (?) working at a big radio station. Rush, our protagonist, gets fired and decides to buy a small radio station and move back to his old house. When he tells this to his kids, they do not seem to be happy about it, as they are used to the rich life. The romance comes in when Rush and his partner start going out on dates. That is approximately where the trailer ends.

Right off the bat, this family is going to struggle when they move into their old house. It is a smaller place, less ‘bougie’, and the kids seem very energetic. Did I also mention that Rush is a single father? He is going to have a jolly good time managing a new radio station while taking care of these kids. I predict, for one, that his eldest son is going to fall in love with a girl and ask his father for some advice at some point. Rush’s youngest kids, two girls (twins), are probably almost going to burn the old house down while baking cookies, simply because they want to move back to their mansion.

Other things that will happen in this movie but were not shown in the trailer include: a trip to the hospital, Santa Claus being mean to kids, Rush getting recognized on the streets only to be cussed out, Christmas ornaments breaking, corny dad jokes (at least I really hope those will be in there, would be a missed opportunity if not)[4], and someone spilling some hot cocoa on someone else while having a furious dance-off.

As for the romance: Rush and the unnamed female character who I assume is his business partner are obviously going to have a love-line. The kids love her, so that will not be a problem. Rush’s aunt, however, will be a little against the idea of having another woman in the lives of her spoiled grandchildren. At the end of the movie, I predict that the partner will be pregnant for sure, because raising four kids is not enough. To add some spice to the mix, I also predict that Rush and the woman will go through a brief break up, because Rush will feel guilty about moving on. They will find each other again, though, because true love conquers all (and she goes in labor, which makes Rush realize he loves her).

Holiday Rush: Reality

SPOILERS AHEAD FROM THIS POINT

I was very wrong with my predictions on Holiday Rush, and I really hate that, because my story was much better than the real movie[5]. To be fair though, the movie was never classified as a comedy, so I should have known the movie was going to be more on the dramatic side. The story focuses on the rich, spoiled family that all of a sudden comes to struggle with the idea of being ‘poor’. Now I’m saying ‘poor’, because all they do is sell their big ass mansion of a house in order to move in with their aunt Jo. The only way I was able to watch this movie is by pretending it to be an anti-consumerist satire in the shape of an easy-to-digest family drama.

Now I say that, because these spoiled kids want live mini-horses, a Prada bag, and a car to drive to Harvard with. They get unreasonably angry when their father tells them he cannot afford all of that. All of a sudden the simple life is not enough and the children demand more and more and more. Simultaneously, the people who fired Rush from his old radio station intervene in all ways possible to make it impossible for Rush to start a new radio show. The reason behind this interference is simple greed. What can I say, nobody in this movie can get enough.

Roxy (the business partner) and aunt Jo are on good terms. The kids love Roxy too and are in general eventually very happy with the fact that their dad loves her and thinks about getting married to her. I had hoped for something more dramatic, but alas. The highlight of the whole movie, in my humble opinion, is the twins setting up a GoFundMe page in an attempt to raise $25,000 for their mini horses. I feel like that is very in character for the two little mischievous girls.

The most important message of the movie revolves around family and being together for Christmas. The romance is a side story and the ‘struggle’ of not being rich anymore seems to be at the heart of everything. No ornaments break, nobody gets pregnant, no house is almost burnt to a crisp, no teenage romance drama, no hot cocoa spillage, no furious dance off, and no hospital visits. Someone does recognize Rush on the streets, but he is not really cussed out or anything. Holiday Rush ends on a happy note with a gift unwrapping scene involving simplified versions of the initial gift list presented by the kids, which is cute I guess.

Final Thoughts

If there is one thing I wish for now is a speed-up button, because it took me over three weeks (I am not kidding) to watch that first movie alone. The Knight Before Christmas is so painfully cliché and so atrociously cringy. My predictions do not do my expectations justice. It would have been so much more fun if they had played a little bit more with the medieval aspect just to give me some more leeway to crack some awful jokes, but they did not. The movie has an odd pace and took place over the course of about a week, which makes the whole story so much harder to believe. I do have to say, Josh Whitehouse has a nice accent, but that is it. Prediction-wise, I would say I was close enough. This movie will make you stress eat a lot. Or ‘please I want this to be over ASAP’-eat. I still wish they had included a sword fight. As for Holiday Rush, I just wish it was a comedy. The set-up of the story begs for ridiculous events and bickering, and I feel really let-down by the fact that it was not there. It was not as sickly romantic as the other movie, which made it easier for me to watch (this one took me less than 24 hours), but I do not think this movie is my new favorite Christmas movie either. It is just not as predictable as I thought it would be. I wish there had been more focus on the family dynamics rather than the whole issue of money. That would have elevated this movie and made it recommendable. Also, Rush is not embarrassing enough. He is a great father, though.

Are Christmas movies really that predictable? Yes, and no. I projected my expectations and wishes onto these movies and ended up being either kind of spot-on or way off. It does not take away the fact that I did not really enjoy these movies. There is most definitely an audience out there for them, it’s just not me I guess, and there is nothing wrong with that. My general tip to Netflix, if I may be that bold and cocky and assume that anyone working there will ever read my article, is this: add more comedy to your movies. Not the awkward kind, but the ridiculous kind. Make. Me. Holler. That’s all.



[1] Credits for the predicting aspect go to previous editor-in-chief Elise.

[2] A quick check of her IMDB page shows that part two of The Princess Switched is in pre-production, so I am kind of right on this one.

[3] Mind you, she and Cole spent about a week together, so I highly doubt what she feels is love.

[4] Rush SHOULD be an embarrassing father I will not take anything else.

[5] Not a humble brag I am serious.


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