Christmas Movie Review 2016 – Day 6: Get Santa

There’s nothing better than reading a book or watching a movie that takes you into a new world. So how have I missed Get Santa, 2014, written and directed by Christopher Smith? I discovered it on Netflix.

get-santa

This movie is fun, endearing, and brimming with British humor and slapstick.

It’s reminiscent of The Santa Clause (my Day 7 review in 2015 which earned 5 of 5 Hot Chocolates) as it sorts out the relationship between a young boy, Tom, and his father, Steve, who has a hard time believing in Santa, although eventually – as does Tim Allen in The Santa Claus – he comes around.

Right off the bat, you know this story doesn’t follow any predictable sort of  “Christmas formula”.

After serving two years in prison for driving the getaway car in a robbery, the movie opens two days before Christmas with Steve’s release as he picks up his paltry possessions, including his most treasured item, a Rubik’s cube, though he has to endure the guard’s mocking comment about having not solved it. In the background, the mainstream news is abuzz over the mysterious appearance of what appear to be Santa’s reindeer roaming the busy streets of London.

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After begging and finally arranging with his ex-wife to see Tom the day before Christmas, Steve meets with his probation officer, Joanna Scanlan as Ruth (at first I thought she was Pam Ferris as Trunchbull in Matilda), and is advised he must check in every day at 5 PM, except for Christmas, the day she takes her pet toad home, or he will go right back to prison. (Big red flag, Steve…) Later that night, nine-year-old Tom finds Santa (who wrecked his new sleigh) in the garage (pronounced like carriage), and calls his dad for help.

Suffice to say, on Christmas Eve Day, there is so much magic happening in this mad-cap fantasy, I don’t want to accidentally give away any spoilers. You’ll have to see it for yourself.

Think:

  • Letters wending their way to Santa as soon as they hit the air stream.
  • Northern Lights that are actually Santa’s skyway for the reindeer to gallop along instead of flying: “It’s complicated”as Santa tries to explain.
  • A toolbag with very cool tools – one in particular that explains how to Santa gets down and up narrow chimneys.
  • Secret Santa Squirrels do exist.

Other burning questions are answered as well.

  • How would Santa look in dreadlocks if he tried to fit into prison?
  • The one thing that makes Santa lose his temper?
  • How smart is Dasher?
  • Santa really does know your secrets.
  • How Santa came to be, from the Laughing Valley “Ho Ha Ho” in Lapland.

Though it’s not Monty Python, this movie has plenty of low laughs including:

  • Reindeer bursts of gas (I’m trying to be delicate.) to communicate.
  • Reindeer poo pellets as ammunition.
  • Elves that cannot travel with Santa due to health issues, i.e., they explode if they rise over 1,000 feet.
  • A nasty probation officer who accidentally eats her toad’s fly.

The British always shine doing this sort of humor – and no, there was no profanity, but we did have to raise the volume so my husband could pick up nuances due to the accent – apparently my rendition is not convincing. Eh? And we had to hit rewind a few times because we were laughing so hard we couldn’t hear the follow-up one-liners.

In the end… this is the kind of movie you don’t want to stop. The attention to detail was spot-on and all the actors nailed their roles. Oscar-winning Jim Broadbent was the perfect Santa.

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Things get dicey.

We discover why Santa chose Steve, who has a reputation for never following through, but held onto the Rubik’s cube Santa gave him all those years ago.

rubiks-cube

I never solved one either…

Real life meets hope. Dare I say, it’s good to believe.

I will watch this movie again. There was so much action, so many layers, and so much happening on the side-lines, I know I’ll see new things every time I watch. (I hope I can read the script one day.)

I have to break the mold, and step out of the box on this one.

Get Santa earns extra credit – I’m giving it 6 (of 5) HO HO HO’s!  ♥♥♥♥♥ + ♥

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Christmas Movie Review 2016 – Day 5: Charming Christmas

Last season, I watched Hallmark’s 2015 Charming Christmas, based on the book The Secret Life of Mrs. Claus by Rosalind Noonan as Carly Alexander, with the screenplay by Karen McClellan, but I ran out of days to review it.

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As I watched it again this year, I’m happy to report it was worth seeing a second time.

Julie Benz plays Meredith Rossman, manager of her parents’ department store. All business, she promotes a deal to franchise Rossman’s, allowing her parents to pass the reins to her as they embrace retirement.

However, her parents are concerned their daughter isn’t slowing down and smelling enough roses, so they make a new deal that if she makes the time to play Mrs. Claus to their new store Santa, they will consider her proposal.

As she drops off Mrs. Claus’ dress for a minor repair, her patience is tried, first by a torpedo of a young boy, Tyler, and then by an attractive man with twinkling eyes who mocks her inability to understand children at Christmas.

Surprise – the man, Nick, played by David Sutcliffe, turns out to be the new Santa hired by Meredith’s mother. Meredith is not happy, as she’s a micro-managing nose-to-the-grindstone over-achiever, and Santa’s “charm” quickly gets under her skin through his flirtatious challenging of her status quo.

Their dialogue is snappy and smart as their attraction to one another is immediately apparent.

There are several sub-plots/B stories going on that strengthen the main story.  We get to peek into the lives and struggles of two of Rossman’s employees, one being the mother of the rambunctious Tyler. To help Meredith’s time constraints, Jesse and Olivia also agree to play Mrs. Claus and wear the dress.

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It is a pretty dress.

(One thing I didn’t quite get was how that magic dress fit three different women and never needed to be cleaned.)

Nick teases Meredith’s long-ignored playful side into fun Christmas activities, and slowly she starts to relax and realize what she’s given up all these years.

Just when we think perhaps she’ll soften and change, her old business-school classmate, who obviously has a crush on her, makes an offer on the store she can’t seem to refuse…

Nick lets go of his faith in Meredith as Christmas Eve approaches, and suddenly the store has to function without a Santa to the point the kids protest via a sit-in.

Note: The kid scenes with Tyler are especially “charming”.

It took me two times to see the three-way meaning in the title Charming Christmas.

  • Charming can be used as a verb…
  • Charming is the way Santa acts, and with eyes glinting, so describes himself to Meredith.
  • Santa gives a silver charm to each of the staff at the store that holds a special meaning and hope.

The only thing I didn’t quite grasp was the pickle ornament. Nick explained the legend, but the payoff didn’t seem to happen. After such a build up, I wanted to see who found the pickle ornament?

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If I have to watch the movie again to find out, I’ll be happy to do so.

The ending was satisfying and left me wanting to know even more about the ever upbeat Santa. A sequel would be a delightful follow-up, and I can only hope.

I give this movie 5 of 5 silver Christmas charms.

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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

To Finish: Focus, Have Fun, Be Fearless.

Every year, I look forward to Christmas.  Once it’s over, I’m excited by the “clean slate” of the New Year.  What will I accomplish with my resolutions this year?

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Mother Nature knows how to wipe her slate clean.

During almost 27 years together, my husband and I have developed our tradition of spending New Year’s Day preparing the customary foods to ensure Health, Wealth, and Happiness, which include:

Collard greens for dollar bills.  

Hoppin’ John, black-eyed peas, rice, and bacon for luck, health, and good fortune.

Cornbread symbolizing gold.  We like the spicy version.

You get the picture.  We also continue with the last of the soft Christmas music as we take down the tree, pack away the ornaments, and drink a bit of champagne to toast the New Year as we write our resolutions and open a new calendar. Continue reading

Christmas Movie Review – Day 24

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and the Day 24 selection for my Christmas Movie Review is… yes, A Christmas Story – 1983, MGM. Those who know me well will wonder what took me so long to review this movie.

Day 24 - A christmas story

The answer is simple. I want to end my 25 day Countdown to Christmas with positive reviews – no big surprises – but movies you can count on to bring a smile and a little “believing to see” the miracles around. Continue reading

Christmas Movie Review – Day 22

Though I thought twice about reviewing a movie that no doubt has been reviewed too many times to count, I couldn’t help myself.  Elf – 2003, New Line Cinema, is my selection for Day 22 of my Christmas Movie Review.

Day 22 - Elf

In fact, I resisted watching Elf until last summer (I know, crazy.) when a friend loaned me her DVD.  It is one those movies that make you wonder why you held out so long.  You may think my review is a foregone conclusion, but I do have a caveat. 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 18

Santa Baby, 2006 – ABC Family, is the Day 18 selection for my Christmas Movie Review. You might find yourself smiling like an elf if you listen to the links below.

Day 18 - santababy

The Beach Boys’ The Man With All The Toys accompanies the opening scene when Mary (Okay, I would’ve named her Merry.) opens the door to her taxi, knocking over a street Santa and steps over him in her rush to a corporate meeting where she wows the board with a hi-tech proposal. Continue reading

Where’s That Spirit of Christmas?

We’re almost to the halfway point in my Christmas Movie Review as we countdown to Christmas.

Life is like a box of chocolates

Of course, I’m hoping for coconut and dark chocolate.

One of the most famous lines in “Forrest Gump” is “Life is like a box of chocolates….”  Well, watching Christmas movies is like picking a present from under the tree.  (Unless you peeked), you never know exactly what you’ll open until you finish unwrapping it – maybe there will be a gem stashed somewhere inside?…  Or you’re like Ralphie in “The Christmas Story and the real present isn’t under the tree – but hidden elsewhere.  Continue reading