Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Adam & Alison Watch Christmas Movies: BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER.

 by Adam Thas and Alison Thas

Your favorite Christmas movie-watching couple hits bottom.

Alison: Netflix has had its fair share of success in the holiday movie field with gems like The Princess Switch, Holidate, and Love Hard. Something that I appreciate about Netflix’s holiday movies are their ability to attract recognizable talent for the leading roles. It can be difficult at times selecting a movie to watch and seeing someone that I know in the trailer definitely gets my attention. This was the case with Best. Christmas. Ever. Heather Graham, Jason Biggs, Brandy?! It was an immediate, and enthusiastic yes!

Within a few minutes into the movie, Adam was already voicing concerns. I nodded my head in agreement but was confident that this quirky beginning would pay off in the end. Heather Graham plays the part of Charlotte Sanders, an uptight, working mother who is jealous of a college acquaintance’s (played by Brandy) seemingly perfect life. When Charlotte’s son inexplicably enters in the college acquaintance’s address instead of his aunt’s in the GPS, the Sanders family sets off on their holiday adventure.
Based on how Brandy’s character, Jackie Jennings, was set up, you would think the film would be all about the truth behind Jackie’s life. Did her daughter really get accepted into Harvard even though she is still in grade school? Was Jackie’s husband truly a hunky karate instructor turned ninja? Yet, that is not where the plot spends most of its time. Instead there are about fifteen different subplots that each takes its turn as the engine behind the action. I was left confused as to why the screenwriters decided to include almost every holiday trope, along with some new ones, in the film. As I watched an oddly dramatic scene between Heather Graham and Brandy on a solar-powered hot air balloon (you read that right), I started to wonder if this is what AI thinks a holiday movie should be. On that line of thinking, I headed to the Internet to find out just who wrote this mess of a screenplay. What I found was as surprising as the plot twists of this movie. Charles Shyer is a director, producer, and writer with multiple screenplays on his resume, such as Father of the Bride and Smokey and the Bandit. With such experience, I was shocked that someone like that could create something like this. In fact, he wrote the screenplay for one of the holiday movies we reviewed last year, The Noel Diary. While we found that movie to be problematic, Best. Christmas. Ever. makes it look like a holiday masterpiece. This movie lacks serious holiday charm and narrative structure. Save yourself the disappointment and avoid Best. Christmas. Ever.

Adam: Did you know there is a Christmas Con? It’s a Christmas themed convention and focuses primarily on Christmas movies. It’s going to be in New Jersey this year with guests from all the Hallmark and Lifetime favorites including Lacey Chabert, Melissa Joan Hart, and Danica McKellar. I say this because as much as we like to laugh at the sheer existence of these made for TV rom-coms, they’re big business and have a rabid fan base. What does this have to do with Best. Christmas. Ever.? Best. Christmas. Ever. got a 29% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Just think about that for a second. The same people who will pay money to stand in line and get a holiday autograph from the star of Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe hated Best. Christmas. Ever.
Best. Christmas. Ever. is not just the worst holiday movie I’ve seen, it may be one of the worst movies I’ve seen. Anyone who has even a moderate understanding of how movies are made knows the absolute herculean effort it takes just to get a script read by a studio, let alone green lit. The fact that this movie was made is bonkers. Best. Christmas. Ever. is so bad that is makes me re-evaluate every other movie we have reviewed. Holiday in the Wild was terrible but at least Alison and I had fun poking fun at it. With Best. Christmas. Ever. we just wanted to turn it off several times. I know that saying a movie is awful will of course get some interested to see the train wreck, but I cannot express enough that this is 80 minutes of your life you cannot get back.

The movie opens with Heather Graham breaking the 4th wall and describing what is basically the theme of the movie Keeping up with the Joneses. As an avid movie watcher, something like breaking the 4th wall is a significant aesthetic choice that can drastically change the movie; it happens the first two minutes of the movie and then never again. Graham stars opposite Jason Biggs and Brandy who are obviously there for name recognition only because they aren’t doing anything besides delivering lines. Then there is Heather Graham, who is doing her best to salvage any life from the movie. Besides a joke about a No Doubt cover band she is the only thing to even remotely like, but unfortunately even she can’t do enough to put out this dumpster fire. Back about a week ago, our very own Patrick Bromley tweeted (or is it Xed now?) “Actors have to work, I get it, but Rollergirl deserves better.” To which I responded with “I’ll let you know how it is, it’s on the list.” Well, you were right Patrick, she did deserve better, this movie is terrible. I’m sorry we don’t have any good ones for you to watch yet this year folks, but at least you know what to avoid.

Adam’s List:
1) Holidate (2020, Netflix)
2) Love Hard (2021, Netflix)
3) Your Christmas or Mine (2022, Amazon)
4) Holiday Calendar (2018, Netflix)
5) Snowed Inn (2017, Hallmark)
6) The Princess Switch (2018, Netflix)
7) Falling for Christmas (2022, Netflix)
8) The Knight Before Christmas (2019, Netflix)
9) Midnight at the Magnolia (2020, Netflix)
10) Christmas Under Wraps (2014, Hallmark)
11) Reporting for Christmas (2023, Hulu)
12) The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again (2020, Netflix)
13) The Noel Diary (2022, Netflix)
14) The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star (2021, Netflix)
15) One Royal Holiday (2020, Hallmark)
16) Christmas on the Farm (2022, Hulu)
17) Holiday in the Wild (2019, Netflix)
18) Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe (2018, Hallmark)
19) Three Wise Men and a Baby (2022, Hallmark)
20) Best. Christmas. Ever. (2023, Netflix)

Alison’s List:

1) The Princess Switch (2018, Netflix)
2) Your Christmas or Mine (2022, Amazon)
3) Love Hard (2021, Netflix)
4) Holiday Calendar (2018, Netflix)
5) Falling for Christmas (2022, Netflix)
6) Holidate (2020, Netflix)
7) The Knight Before Christmas (2019, Netflix)
8) Midnight at the Magnolia (2020, Netflix)
9) Christmas Under Wraps (2014, Hallmark)
10) Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe (2018, Hallmark)
11) The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again (2020, Netflix)
12) Snowed Inn (2017, Hallmark)
13) Reporting for Christmas (2023, Hulu)
14) The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star (2021, Netflix)
15) One Royal Holiday (2020, Hallmark)
16) The Noel Diary (2022, Netflix)
17) Three Wise Men and a Baby (2022, Hallmark)
18) Christmas on the Farm (2022, Hulu)
19) Holiday in the Wild (2019, Netflix)
20) Best. Christmas. Ever. (2023, Netflix)

1 comment:

  1. Well, that was a unanimous decision. You know a movie is bad when finishing it becomes a chore.