Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Santor Watch: The Key To Christmas (2020)

Approx. 100x more effort was put into this poster than the movie

Watched:  11/27/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Director, Writer, Camera, Editor, Catering, Accountant, Set Decoration:  Jason Mills

Some pals seem to take exception to my practice of watching bad movies, riffing them, commenting upon them, etc...  The argument goes "someone tried, and it's not cool to make fun of them for trying".  To that I say:  if trying is your criteria, I welcome you to watch The Key to Christmas (2020).  Because that @#$% ain't happening here.

Look, I don't understand the market for ultra-cheap holiday movies.  There can't be that many Me and Doug's out there constantly looking for ways to torture each other with the worst in absolute garbage media.  Someone is out there buying the rights to these movies to distribute them with the idea that enough people will watch them that these movies will make money somehow.  I don't get the model.  I have to assume it's money laundering, tax fraud or something.  

The wildest part is that you get "movie" after "movie" like this, where it's clear there's no consideration of the basic building blocks of technique, artistry or craftsmanship.  It's someone with time, enough money to get a squad of people together for enough days to film something that runs 80 minutes, and - sometimes - a script.  But barely that.  And there's so, so much of it.

The Key to Christmas (2020) almost isn't worth discussing because it's just a list of complaints.  "Filmed" in Vancouver, the basic idea is that Santa (a) leaves a "key" at some teen girls' house that is absolutely essential to his operation and in no way needs to be on the sleigh with him (b) time has no meaning at the North Pole except when it does - so Santa has time to return to the North Pole and really yell at an elf before demoting her to stable-cleaning duties because of a few sloppy mistakes ON CHRISTMAS EVE.*  (c) the incompetent elf rises up and overthrows Santa with barely any effort and no one stops her.  

Santa - who has fucked off during the middle of present delivery on Christmas Eve to go take a vacation at an AirBnB in suburban Vancouver also somehow powerless to stop her. The elf who gives no @#$%'s uses a spare copy of the magic key (sure, why not?) to keep Santa stuck in his Air BnB somehow, and start de-aging him.  

Mrs. Claus is thrown in Candy Cane Jail where she languishes for a calendar year while Santa apparently lives in a house with no job, only his Santa Suit to wear, and his only goal to be get his key back from the 13 year old he left his key with.  And he tries a single time to get the key in that year, even as he may be dying and his wife is unjustly imprisoned and the elves do jack and shit to stop the equivalent of a 16 year old girl (who is maybe 5'1") and her dullard pal.  Santa famously breaks and enters millions of times every year, so that seems like it's not an issue.  And he could walk to the North Pole from Vancouver in a matter of weeks one assumes.  So maybe he just doesn't care.  The filmmakers don't.

The entire film looks and feels like something you'd expect of someone goofing making a home movie.  Aesthetically, the only worse movies I can point to immediately are Santa's Summer House which featured whole scenes shot from a chair up at actors with a handicam and Rollergator, which is its own thing.  Doug pointed out pretty early on that the depiction of the North Pole is entirely close-ups because they have no real North Pole set.  There's a few flourishes, but they're literally working against bare white walls - so the decision was made to shoot everything in extreme close-up.  Using glaring lighting that I assume is just the florescent overheads.  And, look, Mrs. Claus is perfectly lovely, but they don't even powder her make-up, so she constantly looks shiny.  In constant, unrelenting close-up.  It's all just lazy and cheap and weird.  

Like, look, nothing in this movie makes any sense.  Because no one is trying.  Well, I won't blame the actors.  They're doing something here, and they were chosen by the director, and in a lot of ways that count, who knows if they can act or not?  Extreme close-ups shot in the break room of Office Depot with lingering, languid pacing is no way to know if this is good screen acting.  And so it's entirely on whoever watches these movies - who you assume will be children abandoned by their parents with a TV and a Hot Pocket - for the movie existing.  It's weird anti-art.  A guy with some consumer grade production hardware and an Adobe Creative Cloud license did a thing, and now it exists.  I feel bad for the audience, but I also feel bad for talent who anyone actually trying to act who thought this was a real opportunity.  

This also seems to have been shot during quarantine, so there are a lot of questions about the wisdom of the filmmakers that kind of answer themselves.  I get that I didn't have to watch this - we did this to ourselves.  What I don't get is how one just decides *trying* is asking simply too much.

Again, seriously, if anyone out there understands how this economy works, I'd love to know.  And if this is a reel for the writer/ director/ producer, what is the endgame here?  And can I make a suggestion?Here's a good read.  And if that's too fancy.  


RHPT said...

I hope you didn't pay to watch this. It's free on YouTube. I found that out when searching for the trailer and you aren't kidding. Even the trailer looks awful

The League said...

I wish I could say that I didn't, but.