I am a man who is outnumbered, 3 to 1, in my own home. What this means is that from the first week in December until Christmas we have the onslaught of Christmas movies.
I am not talking about real Christmas movies like A Christmas Story, Elf, or It’s A Wonderful Life. No, I like those movies. What I mean is the onslaught(er) of never ending Hallmark movies. Thanks to the DVR, we never have to miss any of them. Lucky me.
Here is my Hallmark Christmas Movie lament.
1. There is never any real conflict. The closest I’ve seen to real conflict was a film about an aunt on the run from child protective services because she swiped her niece and nephew when mama went to jail. It wasn’t real conflict though because it was so contrived and …
2. This leads me to number two, the measly conflict that is presented is always resolved with too much ‘wave of the wand’ and ‘Christmas magic.’ I don’t really like that type of overactive deus ex machina.
3. Lame acting. In one of the shows I was forced to watch, one of the actors was literally reading his lines off a notepad in front of him. Ugh.
4. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the Debbie Macomber demographic: Middle aged women filled with relationship regret. Every single one of these has a ‘dead husband’ and occasionally a ‘dead wife’ leaving an unbelievably attractive man or woman alone at Christmas until he or she finds that perfect someone who was there all along.
5. I freely admit that believable dialogue is the hardest thing to write, but you’d think the Hallmark Channel could afford a stable of writers whose sole purpose is to clean up the sloppy dialogue. I think a lot of it was cut-n-pasted from Wattpad. Yeah, it’s that bad.
6. Pacing is a major league problem for these movies. It reminds me of some writers who spend their valuable ink telling me what is important in the story rather than showing it. It is often an hour into these films before something happens.
7. Masculine cliches are killing me. Oh dear me, every male character in these movies is a cliche that my 14 year old could write. Let’s see, there is the older male father figure who is usually grumpy, then there is the young sensitive man who is misunderstood and only wants to do the honorable/right thing, and finally and most popularly we have the ambitious money hungry business man who learns his lesson by finding true love just in time to save Christmas.
8. The female characters are only slightly better. Usually the lead role is a sincere ingenue who may or may not be young as often she is middle-aged and widowed. These characters are usually more developed than their male counterparts, but alas, they are still mostly cliched damsels needing rescued even if they do not know it.
9. Last one–these movies are not really Christmas movies. They are simply contrived love stories that happen to be set at Christmastime. These movies could easily be summer films except, they’ve put snow in the frame with a scene where they decorate a Christmas tree. Lame. It would be like calling a film a Sci-Fi movie because one of the scenes was filmed at Cape Canaveral.
There is much good though, in these movies. I get to spend time with my wife and daughters and we howl and ridicule these things to no end. It’s great fun and has become a team sport. However, Hallmark Channel, I think you need new writers so, give me a call. I have some ideas we could develop with only a minimal number of car chases. In fact, that gives me a great idea for another blog post . . . (click here to read it)