It’s that time of year when Hallmark Christmas movies (and their imitators on Lifetime, Netflix, et. al.) are streaming 24/7. In these Christmas-cookie-cutter cinematic confections, you are apt to encounter many of the items on the following list. (N.B. you can use the list for a drinking game—at your peril.)
A first kiss between the leads is interrupted just as their lips are about to make contact
A homemade ornament is made/shown/discussed (a homemade wreath can substitute if necessary)
A gingerbread house is constructed, or, at least, prominently featured in several shots
There is a Christmas ball or dance, and the female lead is the only one there in a bright red gown (about which the male lead says, “You look amazing/beautiful/stunning/…)
Firewood is chopped
Someone says, “I can’t move here! My life is in (New York/Seattle/St. Louis/Minneapolis/some big city)”
Eggnog is ostentatiously served
Two characters (usually, but not necessarily, the leads) bond while ice skating
A major expository scene between major characters takes place as they pick out a Christmas tree
A Christmas tree is decorated
There’s a snowball fight
One of the leads is a single parent or is raising a cute niece/nephew who has been orphaned
One or more of the main characters is mourning the recent loss of a parent/parent figure
One of the leads delivers a variation on the line, “Mom always loved Christmas!”
There’s a town tree-lighting ceremony
A conflict between crass commercialism and small town values drives part of the story (in a drinking game, two drinks if the villain is a real estate developer)
Someone says, “You can’t have too much Christmas”
There’s one final misunderstanding/plot crisis that is handily resolved within the final three minutes
I have one of those novelty cat clocks that has moving eyes and a wagging tail. I thought it might be fun to shoot about 20 minutes of time-lapse video of it so it would look like the cat was manic, with rapidly twitching eyes and tail.
Turned out that the frame-rate of my iPhone’s time-lapse feature is an even multiple of the eye-moving, tail-wagging period. As a result, the clock seems to look quite normal in the video if you don’t notice that its hands are moving rather rapidly (expand the video below to full-screen to see the hands more clearly).
On the one hand, this movie is truly a script-by-the-numbers modern fairy tale, which could easily be subtitled, “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being.”
On the other hand, DeNiro and Hathaway are so engaging, and they speak the lines they are given with such élan, that I quite enjoyed the movie despite all of its predictability and happily-ever-afterishness. So, yeah, 👍.
OK, it wasn’t the best film I’ve ever seen, nor even the best film I’ve seen this week, but “Green Lantern” is far from the turkey that I’ve seen described in the press. It’s a good deal better than “Thor,” for example. I saw it today as part of my “take a walk around the neighborhood and blow off work” solstice celebration, and was entertained. If you like the comic book, you’ll probably like it. If you don’t like the comic book, of course, there’s really no reason to see it.
One suggestion: if you do want to see it, skip the 3D version. I found it distracting and not particularly well-executed. Go see the 2D version, and, preferably, at a reduced-price matinée.