Sunday, December 11, 2022

Friday Holiday Watch Party: A Christmas Melody (2015)

Watched:  12/09/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Director:  Mariah Carey (...I KNOW!)

I thought it was very strange that A Christmas Melody (2015) does not play more on Hallmark's two 24/7 Christmas movies channels.  It stars Hallmark favorite Lacey Chabert and America's Accidental Christmas Mascot, Mariah Carey, with a supporting role from the omnitalented Kathy Najimy.  I mean - seems like a winner, as far as Hallmark goes.  I was wondering if Carey had some deal that made it financially onerous for Hallmark to run the movie, or there was some extenuating circumstance.  But, no.

Friends, this movie isn't very good.  

I mean, sure, you could blame the fact they gave a whole movie to Mariah Carey to direct (no, she did direct it), but something is wrong at the script stage and it feels like 2015 was a year Hallmark's writers were still figuring out the formula and forgot to do things like give the male romantic lead any inner life so he doesn't seem creepy.  

The movie is also deeply insistent that we're all who we were in high school, and that's all we should ever be, which, I mean...  oh no.  Please, no.  Like so many Hallmark movies, our hero (Chabert) has a job which everyone kinda thinks they can do if they tried, and stems less from formal training than it does from "gee, I must be innately special" - at least how Hallmark sees creative skills. She's supposedly in LA but I guess her husband is dead and now her business has failed, so she returns to the small town from whence she came to live in her also recently deceased father's house.  She's having a time, man.  Merry Christmas.  

Everyone keeps telling her how much she hated living there and kinda rubbing it in that she's back, and there's this weird dynamic that she doesn't remember hating it - and that bit is both oft repeated and seems to exist just so people can be like "you're back?  Really?" and is never resolved.

The film also feels like a particularly weird selection for Mariah Carey herself.  Like, okay, the movie is, in part, about a kid who can supposedly sing her butt off, but they hold that til literally the last scene.  Why?  Why not have a few numbers scattered throughout.  I'm just not sure this was the right material for her, but we are treated to Mariah Carey getting very special set-ups when she's in scenes as the mean-girl lady who everybody kind of rolls their eyes at.  

Carey, Chabert and the guy with weird hair Chabert winds up with are all supposed to be the same age.  They clearly, clearly are not, no matter what movie says.  Chabert is too young, Carey is chronologically 15 years older or so than Chabert even if she's been celeb-polished into agelessness, and the guy looks the 12 years or so older than Chabert.  Like - it's just not that hard to do this, and yet.  (Also, Carey is constantly filmed in close-up with a layer of vaseline over the lens and lighting so soft it's cotton).

There's a pretty good Santa who we all know is Santa but here he's posing as a super-involved custodian.  Like, it's not creepy, but you're like... this Santa Janitor is REALLY focused on these people to the detriment of doing his basic job.

I didn't hate what music there was the way my fellow watchers did, but it's an odd, odd fit for the movie.  

The movie is just sort of weird in that it feels, as Jamie mentioned, kind of empty.  Like, the basics are there, but it's underwritten or something (we'll cover "over written" in a future post) and folks are just going through the motions.  

Anyway.  I guess it's not very good.  And so it's been buried.

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