I have become too cynical for Hallmark movies.
I used to love it when Hallmark started Christmas movie season. I could sit cuddled up for a whole weekend watching one fluffy Christmas movie after another. It didn't matter that the writing was not great, the story lines were too unbelievably perfect, and the acting was not exactly Oscar-worthy. I overlooked all of that, and lost myself in the Christmas glitter.
Today I snuggled under a warm blanket, and turned on the tv to find that a new Hallmark Christmas movie was just about to start. The timing seemed perfect, even if it is a bit early to watch Christmas movies.
The movie was The Christmas Ornament. It stars Kellie Martin, who I have loved for my whole life, and has been a Hallmark favorite of mine since the weekend I marathon watched every Mystery Woman movie. It also stars Cameron Mathison, who I loved in All My Children during my teen years.
(Are you feeling embarrassed on behalf of me and my blog for my television choices? Trust me. It can get worse than this.)
Here is an overview of The Christmas Ornament: Kellie is a recently widowed bicycle store owner who does not want to celebrate Christmas because she misses her husband. But she is still going to make her much lauded Christmas cookies, because she loves them. Cameron is a Christmas Tree lot owner who is overly sweet and perfect, and loves to ice skate early in the mornings.
Kellie and Cameron, named Kathy and Tim in the movie, meet, and seem perfect for each other. Her best friend tries to push them together, because she is certain Kathy needs to start dating again (even though Kathy's husband has been dead for less than a year, which seems a little bizarre to me). And of course, Tim is still trying to get over the heartbreak of his long-time girlfriend leaving him for another man.
Things happen. Coincidences abound. Tim is falling in love with Kathy. Kathy is falling in love Tim. Neither is willing to admit it. Kathy's bicycle store, which was her husband's baby, is failing, and everyone tells her to find and follow her passion. Tim discovers her passion is baking, and gives her a place to sell her Christmas cookies. He then gives her a place to have her baking be a year-long pursuit by buying a Christmas tree farm. He plans to build a Christmas town with her bakery in the center....and the rest follows the predictable Hallmark movie plan. Cue happy ending.
I should have loved every sappy minute of it, but I didn't.
Here is the problem: This is not real life. In real life, Kathy's business would have gone bankrupt, because there would be no bike enthusiast in the background to swoop in and buy it from her, leaving her with enough profit to start a baking business. She would have had to sell her big house and move into an apartment barely payed for with the salary from her new retail job. She would have stopped talking to her crazy best friend who was pushing her to date - possibly after punching the friend in the face for her insensitivity.
And let's talk about that baking business. Does everyone have a passion? Really? A thing you love more than anything, and could make a living doing it? A super-talent lying dormant in your heart, just waiting for someone to open and reveal it to you like a Christmas present? I don't think we do. Not all of us. I'm sorry, but if every person who opened a bakery in a cheesy movie was real, they would never be able to make a living, because there would be a bakery on every corner. Even I couldn't eat enough cookies to keep all of those people in business.
By the end of the movie I didn't have that normal Hallmark sigh of, "That was lovely." I felt let down, and maybe even a little depressed. It was all to perfect. Too sweet. A package wrapped beautifully with foil wrapping paper and a big cloth bow with a candy cane jauntily hanging off of it. Normally something I would love, but today it left me feeling hollow.
I think these fluffy movies are more insidious than a princess movie could ever be. They give us perfect endings that seem to fit into our world, but could never actually happen, all with a glittery Christmas backdrop that serves to distract us from the absurdity.
Something has snapped inside of me. In years past I was happy watching these perfect stories playing out. Now I just want to shake my fist at the tv, and yell at the characters until their perfect little bubble worlds burst in the flames of reality.
*NaBloPoMo loves Christmas movies, possibly even the fluffy ones.