...if that carousel were powered by a 747 and adderall.
"Nostalgic Christmas" is a lot. Like, A LOT. Every Hallmark movie trope you love? It's here: woman leaves her fast-paced job in the city to move back home to the country? Check. Town gathering for a Christmas tree lighting? Check. Christmas pageant? Check. Dead spouse or parent? Check, check, and check. This movie comes on like a freight train from the first minute and just. does. not. let. up. Just an assault on the senses. Simultaneously a drinking game and a Christmas fever dream to end all fever dreams.
Two minutes in and we learn that Anne Garrison has a career in the city, her dad lives in a tiny town, her mom is dead, dad wants to close his toy store, sell the house... I can't even with this - did I say two minutes? The first minute of this movie is just the credits. ALL ABOARD!
Anne works as a toy purchaser for one of those corporate, stuffy, toy store chains which are apparently still things in this Amazon-less universe, and she's pitching her newest product suggestion to the board - a bluetooth and wifi-enabled stuffed horse. Christmas is in like two weeks! How are you going to get these on the shelves? Please make this end. NEXT STOP, SMALLTOWN!
Anne arrives home, and she needs to help her dad sell his toy store - he's getting on in years, he'd like to move closer to his kids in the city. Dad has already gone through the stages of grief over this store and is at "acceptance", but luckily Anne is here to both force him to go through everything all over again ("But the memories!"),and to meet an old high-school boyfriend that'll list the store for sale. While Anne is sending those mixed signals, GET ON BOARD! CHOO-CHOO!
Discount Channing Tatum ("Keith") is standing at the kitchen counter speaking with his daughter Jessie, and because we don't meet mom right away, and because there's nothing Hallmark loves more than kids being a heartbeat away from the orphanage, it's a safe bet that mom won't be joining us for Christmas. Drink! Jessie needs to pick a song to sing at the town Christmas pageant. WOO WOO! PAGEANT TRYOUTS, ALL ABOARD!
Dad and Jessie start the walk to school when Jessie realizes she forgot to buy a toy for the Christmas pageant, when as kismet would have it, they're standing in front of Garrison's Toys. Keith takes no time at all to let us know that they don't make toys like this anymore, and that Anne has wasted her life with toys he has no time for. Wi-fi?! I don't need toys to send me emails! Where's my axe? CHRISTMAS SPIRIT! DRINK!
By-the-by: between the four of Anne, her dad, Jessie, and Keith, Keith is the only one we don't see doing any woodworking in this movie) BACK ON THE TRAIN!
I don't even think there's been a commercial break yet, and we still have to get to the mystery of the missing 40' Christmas tree (spoilers: it goes unsolved),a Christmas tree decorating montage, another dead spouse, the town Christmas tree lighting, Anne re-discovering her passion for woodworking, Mrs. Wentzell closing the old mill and threatening the town economy, and the lines "I need nature. I was born to be a lumberjack."
I don't even know how to finish here - this movie just left me in such a state of bewilderment. Six stars. Would have been higher, but we were robbed of the phone call to the police where the stolen Christmas tree was reported. "Yes officer... yes, forty feet. Shaped like a Christmas tree. That's right... well, let me know if you develop any leads."
And I didn't even mention the hundreds of miniature Santa carvings...
- big city girl moving back home to the country - 1x
- tree lighting - 30x (not a typo)
- singing while decorating the tree - 1x
- Christmas pageant - 1x
- Christmas cookies - 1x
- "Christmas miracle" said out loud - 1x
- dead spouse/parent - 3x(!),a Hallmark first