Today’s Christmas masterpiece is “Broadcasting Christmas”, an 84 minute romp (my Christmas movie rule is they should always be 90 minutes or less so this is perfect) starring seasoned TV and TV movie stars Dean Cain and Melissa Joan Hart. The pair play ex-lovers and current local news hosts who find themselves thrust into a competition to become the new co-host on a national morning TV show.
Synopsis: Hart and Cain split ways six years ago when Cain got the posh NYC news anchor job the two were competing for, leaving Hart stuck in local news purgatory in Stamford (City motto: Say it fast and it sounds like Stanford). The two are thrust back together when the co-host of the august morning show “Rise and Shine” retires as the competition to replace her starts up. Cain is in the running to replace her because of his NYC anchor job and connections, infuriating Hart. Hart, for her part, lands the audition by losing her shit on the 1100 Stamford local news and making an impassioned plea for the job. As these meltdowns tend to do, it goes viral and infects the nation with Hart fever. Or something. Anyway, she finds herself in the running.
There’s some heated competition as the two guest host, along with two other competitors, on the venerable Rise and Shine. A five year old piano player is trotted out. Dean Cain dances along with a jazzy rendition of Deck the Halls. Cain and Hart rekindle their old flame, at least for a while. A camel is promised but doesn’t make it on screen in one of the film’s most disappointing moments. A magical 100 year old fruitcake proves to be pivotal in the final stretch. Or maybe it’s not magical. But it should be. The ending is, as ever, predictable and sweet.
Review: Treacly. Predictable. The stars have decent chemistry but Dean Cain, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, can out act MJH any day of the week. She plays broad, with excessive hand gestures and copious full-body eye rolls. It’s almost like she honed her acting skills on a cheesy teen drama opposite a cat puppet. The rekindling of the romance is hurried, has minimal conflict, and doesn’t feel earned, but that’s to be expected. My favorite moment came when Cain made a throwback to his Superman days, explaining to his harried producer that MJH has been in the metaphorical local news wilderness honing her skills like a superhero who has retreated from society (“It’s very much a thing!”, he insists.). All in all it’s decently watchable as far as the Christmas movie genre goes. 3.786 out of 5 Candy Canes.
Is it Christmassy?: Quite. It takes place in the three weeks before Christmas and all of the Rise and Shine segments are about Christmas. Mrs Claus, Christmas music, lighting ceremonies, and the mystical fruitcake all add to the Christmasness. It lacks scenes on actual Christmas or more personal Christmas moments so it gets a ding for that. 4 out of 5 Stockings for Christmasness.
Drinking Game Suggestions: Drink when MJH rolls her eyes, Rise and Shine is mentioned, either of the two stars cohost, the fruitcake is mentioned, or a story is stolen.
And now for our very special “We Couldn’t Finish It” mini post…
Sometimes we just can’t finish a Christmas movie. Maybe it’s because it’s bad, or boring, or we’re tired, but they aren’t all winners. In this special segment we’ll be exploring those films that just didn’t make the grade. Today we’ll be talking about Angels and Ornaments.
Angels and Ornaments is about Corrine, a music store clerk, music teacher, and Christmas aficionado who has recently broken up with her boyfriend. This leads her to ask a family heirloom ornament of a group of carolers the question: “Why can’t I find my true love?”. This, in turn, prompts an angel to show up in the guise of a caroler, an angel who can’t get his wings until Corinne finds her true love. Obviously this means her long time friend and boss, I want to say Dave?, a sensitive soul with a taste for the classics. The caroling angel, Harold (don’t worry, the film addresses this on-the-nose naming in a moment of self awareness) gets a job at Dave’s music shop in an effort to complete his mission. The angels have kind of a Good Place thing going on, but imagine if the Good Place wasn’t that great of a show. Harold also has a pretty spiffy watch that tells him how long until Christmas happens, and thus how long he has to complete his mission. And that’s about where we left off. I imagine that it ends with the angel condemning everyone to eternal damnation, or maybe Corinne and Dave get together and Harold gets his wings. Either seems likely. It wasn’t terrible, we did make it halfway through, but it just didn’t grab us in either the “Hey, this is okay” way or the “Oh my good this is wonderfully awful” kind of way either. Two out of five half eaten gingerbread men for quality, and I’ll give it a solid 5 out of 5 mistletoes for Christmasiness. I mean, it’s centered around an ornament, after all.
Favorite Quote: “Stop and sip the eggnog.”
Drinking Game Suggestions: Drink any time the caroler ornament is shown, Corrine sings, a seasonal drink is drunk, “true love”’ is said, whenever you see Harold’s star scarf, Harold’s watch is shown or mentioned, and any time the story of her grandfather and grandmother is mentioned. This will fill you with holiday cheer in no time at all, I reckon.