Day 23 – Prancer – Christmas Movie Review 2016

Oh my. I can’t believe I missed seeing Prancer until this year. Written by Greg Taylor, and originally debuting in 1989 through Orion Pictures, it’s not as mainstream as other Christmas movies. I’ve been waiting two weeks for the library to call, and finally watched it here. I can’t wait to watch it again on a bigger screen.

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For anyone who’s ever been that awkward kid, not quite dressed right, with the loudest off-key voice in the choir, and who continued to have faith in the unseen, magical world of childhood beliefs, you will immediately be sucked into the earnestness of almost-nine year old Jessica.

A full moon is predicted for Christmas Eve, when even more magical things happen. Jessica misses her deceased mother, fights with her older brother, and routinely challenges her working-to-get-by father as he slogs through his own grief.

She and BFF (most of the time), Carol, watch in horror as one of the decorative reindeer being hoisted over the main street, falls to the ground and breaks in two. It’s Prancer, and he can’t be put back together again.

prancer-after-the-fall

Subsequently, Jessica happens upon an injured reindeer, who looks exactly like Prancer, and takes it upon herself to hide the creature from her father, call the vet behind his back, work for the most frightening recluse in town to earn enough to buy oats (when all her Christmas cookies run out) for Prancer, and sends a letter to Santa with her plan for Christmas Eve.

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Prancer has a sweet tooth.

I won’t go any further than that, except to say that nothing goes smoothly – nor should it – when there’s an hour left in a movie.

But that’s okay, as the stakes increase, the tension rises, and the most tender scenes between Jessica and the rest of her world occur during this time.  Her favorite part of that famous New York Sun 1897 editorial to (also eight year old) Virginia goes like this:

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, or even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. (Full text of that editorial here.)

Rebecca Harrell Tickell plays the indomitable Jessica and I want to see more of her work; she was that good. She was supported by a stellar cast, including Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, Abe Vigoda, Michael Constatine, and Ariana Richards.

Prancer earns 5 of 5 “Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus.” ♥♥♥♥♥

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! It’s good to believe!

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CHRISTMAS MOVIE REVIEW 2016 – DAY 8: The Mistletoe Promise

As promised in Day 7’s review of A December Bride, Day 8 features Hallmark’s 2016 The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans (also author of the best-selling book by the same name) because both these movies involve couples with secret pacts.

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In this movie, Elise and Nick notice each other and exchange eye rolls in the mall food court after each is serenaded by a troupe of Christmas carolers.  When they return to their respective offices, situations arise requiring drastic measures.

Nick learns he’s a contender for the only new partner slot in his law firm – whose senior partners value family and commitment above all else.  His problem?  He doesn’t have a serious girlfriend and compared to his biggest rival, whose wife is pregnant, the scales of justice aren’t tipped his way. So, what does he do? He invents a girlfriend to bolster his chances when his boss invites him to the big Christmas Eve party the next week.

Meanwhile, Elise has had it with her ex-husband, Dan. When they fell in love and married, she shared half her travel agency, and now that they’re divorced, he refuses to sell his half back. Even worse, he stole Elise’s idea to track Santa’s reindeer on the local news, and convinced the station to hire his new girlfriend, Drew.  In addition, he plans to reduce costs by cutting the charity travel the agency offers. Elise’s best friend suggests Elise needs a boyfriend to keep Dan off guard and to find joy outside work.

Elise and Nick bump into each other again in the mall and joke about being in the Christmas phobia club. Nick has an idea and proposes a contract.

The terms are seemingly simple:

  • They meet for lunch everyday.
  • They hold hands, but that’s all.
  • They watch It’s A Wonderful Life together.
  • The contract, which is softened to “promise” expires on Christmas Eve.

Nick is the perfect boyfriend. The gals in Elise’s office drool over his bouquets.

His co-workers love her.

As Elise and Nick spend more time together, and make social appearances, they discover they enjoy Christmas activities such as ice skating, ornament shopping, and a snowman contest. They begin to care for each other.

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One area I believe could be improved would be to reduce the amount of exposition given to explain their background and motivations.

One thing I loved was watching Elise’s hairstyle transform as she warmed up to Nick, her severely pulled-back hair much looser and softer around her face.

When the details of the agreement surface in front of Elise’s friends (courtesy Dan), she’s humiliated and wants to call it all off, but then decides to keep her end of the deal. Nick is overwhelmed by guilt, so he confesses what he’s done to his boss.

I won’t spoil the ending, but it involves mistletoe.

I give this movie 3 of 5 Sprigs of Mistletoe. ♥♥♥

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Include, Exclude, or Omit?

It’s the middle of January, and what’s happening with me?  I’m already thinking of next Christmas.

January Christmas

The temperature is 5 degrees today with a windchill of -14.  The sun is the brightest it’s been this month and the reflection from the new snow is almost daring me to come outside. Sorry, Mr. Sol; I’m content to look. Continue reading

Christmas Movie Review – Day 21

I finally watched Snow – 2004, ABC Family, my selection for Day 21 of My Christmas Movie Review.

Day 21, Snow

I’d been looking forward to seeing Snow, excited that one of my favorite actors, Tom Cavanagh (please see my Day 13 review for Trading Christmas), plays Santa.  And the story pivots around a reindeer – I love reindeer. Continue reading

Christmas Movie Review – Day 19

I love reindeer and finally caught Last Chance For Christmas – 2015, Lifetime, as the Day 19 selection for my Christmas Movie Review.Day 19 -Last Chance For Christmas
When poor Prancer goes lame a few days before Christmas, the head of Santa’s Reindeer Department, John Stockton, is tasked with finding a replacement, or Santa won’t be able to deliver presents and Christmas will be ruined.  Continue reading

Christmas Movie Review – Day 17

Journey to the Christmas Star – 2012, a Norwegian film (distributed by Walt Disney Company Nordic) over which my husband and I still debate whether or not it was dubbed, is the selection for Day 17 of my Christmas Movie Review.

Day 17 - Journey to the Christmas Star

I have to watch this movie again.

After the introduction explaining how both the Christmas Star, and the King’s daughter, Goldenhair, were lost, the story begins as Sonja, a 14 year old girl who slaves away like Cinderella, escapes and sets off on a quest to find the Christmas Star. Continue reading

Christmas Movie Review – Day 7

The Day 7 selection for my Christmas Movie Review embraces all that makes me fall in love again with the magic of Christmas – The Santa Clause, 1994, because it’s timeless.  Thank you, Walt Disney.

Day 7 - The Santa Clause

The basic premise is that the main character, Tim Allen, finds himself in a position where he cannot refuse becoming Santa when he inadvertently agrees to a magical contract. Continue reading