An Incomplete Guide To Terrible Netflix Christmas Romances Pt 3

Look, if Netflix is going to persist with this, I’m going to keep hate-watching. Like, hate-watching while low-key loving. You can find the 2017 editions with gems like the o.g A Christmas Prince and Christmas Inheritance here and here. I’ve watched a few of the newbies over the last few weeks, and there might still be time for another edition before Christmas. Spoilers embraced this time.

Hope you like single Dads because Netflix is betting on them this year.

The Holiday Calendar
I watched this one right when it came out – at the start of November. Early November is too early for Christmas movies y’all. Particularly really bad ones. Let’s lay this one out – Kat Graham can sell you a lot of highly unlikely shit. Although her character Bonnie on The Vampire Diaries wasn’t wildly…joyful, she is super charming and all those years of basically shrugging off vampire/witch/werewolf shenanigans really did a lot for her ability to sell some wild concepts.

And you know what? She sold me on an Advent calendar that can somehow predict two versions of reality with one toy item a day. But she couldn’t sell me on a girl not choosing Ethan Peck. It’s pretty easy to see he’s The Wrong Man, given how late in the game he’s introduced (a full 20 minutes in to the movie) compared to all the time we’ve invested in loving stares from her male bestie who quite clearly wants to join her family to ensure continued access to her Mum’s cookies (not a euphemism).

But. Come on. That voice. I thought maybe it was just me but even my many friends who have not had the pleasure of watched Ethan play sexy broody fuckboy with a heart of gold Patrick Verona in the 10 Things I Hate About You show were convinced she’d made the wrong choice.

Never mind that the reason they break up was that he didn’t put a lot of faith in the rather out-there idea of a sentient Advent calendar, meanwhile the guy she ends up with not only loses her job for her, he also reacted to her Advent calendar theory by accusing her of being an alcoholic. So.

One last point of Sorry, I Can’t Buy This: as if any millennial who had a shot at it with absolutely no fucking training wouldn’t take a creatively unfulfilling office job where she had absolutely no chance of being fired, as opposed to a creatively unfulfilling casual job taking Christmas photos of pukey kids, while wearing an elf costume. SPARE ME KAT GRAHAM, go somewhere that’ll give you insurance.

Rating: 3/10, The ending was kinda cute but I can’t get over the terrible life choices.

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The Princess Switch

Ethan Peck given you a taste for hot single Dads? Well do I have the hot single baker Dad for you:

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Shockingly, Olivia is not played by Vanessa Hudgens.

Welcome, also, if you’re a Nashville viewer, to the uncanny valley of Sam Palladio speaking in his natural accent, which somehow sounds super fake?

What a great mash-up of genres this one is. A Parent Trap-style life swap and a royal romance? What more could you ask for, really? Oh yeah. CHRISTMAS. It’s got it all. Super-organised Chicago baker discovers the only person in the world with a bigger stick up their arse is the Prince of a small, probably European country (important question from Twitter: do you think Princess Switch‘s Belgravia and A Christmas Prince’s Aldovia have a voting bloc in Eurovision? I bet they both hate Montsaurai of Once Upon A Holiday, with its Dirtbag Princess Katie). He must learn the spiritual fulfilment of carriage rides and visiting orphanages which hang up mistletoe, a very normal thing to do in a workplace based on childcare. Meanwhile, a Duchess learns the pleasure of making out with a really hot single Dad who knows how to make cakes, and who only has one annoying family member (his cloying daughter) rather than an entire small country paying attention to him.

Anyway, my main problem with this movie is that it’s G-rated, and therefore when Kevin turns up in Margaret’s bedroom looking like THIS:

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She does not play any form of hide and seek with him.

A big ups to Netflix for refusing to buy any jewellery for these royal movies that doesn’t look like it comes from Lovisa (Americans: think Claire’s). This movie includes a corker:

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How many hot glue guns died in the making of that thing?

All in all, this movie is extremely silly and manages to pack in every cliche you could want, plus a baking competition. I can only imagine the environment in which it was written. I’m picturing a lot of eggnog and six seasons of GBBO on in the background.

Rating 9/10, deducting one point for not getting Kevin’s pyjamas pants off.

Christmas Wedding Planner

I’ve got two words for you: Charisma. Void.

That’s the only way I can describe the romantic hero in this movie, an extremely low-budget version of Michael Weatherly from NCIS. And he just kinda comes off like an arsehat? I read plenty of romance novel heroes with his personality type, but to translate it to the screen you really need to cast for charisma and chemistry with the heroine, because we have a lot of gaps to fill without the written word. And while the heroine does a bit of narration, she mostly uses it to yell “I am a fierce warrior”, a quirk disturbingly reminiscent of Anastasia Steele’s inner goddess. I’m not particularly surprised to find out this one is based on a Harlequin novel.

So, what’s Kelsey’s job? You may think it’s to plan Christmas Weddings, an extremely niche market if I ever saw one. Bloody millennials. In fact, she’s never planned a damn wedding before her cousin’s, and yikes. She needs to….make some interventions.

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Girl if you don’t think that’s gonna date your wedding, think about how it’s already dated this movie.

This is an extremely dumb movie with a heroine who on first appearance seems kinda charming but eventually just becomes so quirky it’s annoying. You know. The Zooey Deschanel effect. I’ve got a theory though. She’s so odd because she’s dealing with the fact that a ribbon is keeping her head on.

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Aesthetically, it’s a fascinating movie. Kelly Rutherford (what are you doing here? There’s actually good soaps out there to pay your bills!) is a sort of generically-rich aunt, and it’s just close enough to Lily Van Der Woodsen that it really shows that this movie….does not know how wealthy people dress. For example, not a lot of grown-ass women sitting around their homes in tiny lid fascinators and diamanté headbands, Lovisa strikes again.

The worst accessorising choice of all happens when Emily rips the ribbon from her cousin Kelsey’s neck for her wedding bouquet. A truly tragic end.

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Jk the biggest tragedy of this movie is (SPOILER ALERT), Kelsey decides to marry a Charisma Void she’s known for about a week on the spot.

Rating: 4/10, added one point for the heroine’s fabulous lipstick game.

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding

I, known A Christmas Prince hater, am back on my bullshit.

Because I hated this one too. It’s the only one of this bunch I abandoned so frequently that I was able to plan a trip to Sri Lanka and become obsessed with Ariana Grande in the three hours it took to watch it (I’m not joking, my screencaps have timestamps). If you can’t even sustain me on sheer bonkers trash, then that’s a sad indictment of your trash movie. There were some highlights, however.

Amber continues to be a truly atrocious note-taker and also journalist:

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Her Undercover Outfit? Literally Sunglasses At Night and the outfit she was heavily photographed entering the country in like, a week ago.

I really didn’t expect this movie to have a prominent plotline about The Power of Unions. I was truly disappointed that it turned out to be some good old-fashioned corruption and the end of the movie didn’t end with Aldovia turning in to a Socialist Republic. Maybe next time?

The plotline about press freedom didn’t hold a lot of water either. Did Amber end up keeping her blog that should have absolutely been killed about twelve months before the events of this movie?

We learned that the royal family attached Go Pros to the end of their toboggans:

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And that Amber, one of the most awkward people on the whole planet, was raised by one of Life’s Huggers:

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Amber cannot be trusted with a Hot Glue Gun:

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Great question, I thought I’d managed to travel in to this fictional universe to burn it.

Wisely, someone ripped off the Gryffindor ribbons before Emily made it to stage. Everyone on this stage is a scab btw, as the concert had been cancelled due to worker’s strikes.

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The workers! United! Will never be defeated!

We learned Richard can’t decorate for shit and Amber is a ginormous liar.

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Richard has also taken to referring to himself in the third person, so it’s kinda hard to be Team Richard in this movie. Read some Karl Marx, dickhead.

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This kid….has a boner. I’m sorry but he does. Blame Netflix.

50 Shades of School Play

Clearly, the greatest job on this production was to create the outlandish initial sketch for Amber’s wedding dress. I was very disappointed not to see the Cone of Shame at her first fitting.

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Everyone involved in this movie should have to wear one tbh.

And finally, Lovisa have got their claws in to another one:

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Golly, Aldovia’s budget really is in crisis.

Rating: 3/10, same as the first one.

Alone in the City of Love

In my last post I mentioned my impetus for downloading The Bad App again was that I was off overseas to Europe. I didn’t actually end up swiping a lot – turns out the No Bio Epidemic is international, and weirdly enough most people wrote in their local language… three languages I do not speak, despite my awful, awful attempts (my hot tip? Learn your yes, no, please, thank you, and ‘I do not speak this language’).

I wanted to talk about the rather odd experience of travelling alone in deeply romantic places. I was not by myself for my whole three-week trip. During my time in Germany I was able to stay with friends, and I met up with my bestie in Berlin. But I took myself solo to Florence and…Paris. The City of Love. I was not at all phased about travelling alone – I live alone and I’m highly independent, so I’m used to my own company and making decisions about where I’ll be, when. My only concern was really not being lonely, but not having anyone to talk me down from my anxiety if something went wrong (fortunately, I only had one issue – when I missed my train connection from Italy to Germany. Four hours in Bologna station and a rather difficult conversation through Google Translate later, and I was on my way).

I’ve dreamed of Paris since I was a kid. What a cliche. But I didn’t realise until I was there how seriously they take the whole ‘City of Love’ thing. That city is PDA central. A quiet break from the sun in a park attached to a church delivered me two teenagers making out for a good twenty minutes straight. I never realised what prudes Aussies are until  I witnessed the amount of physical affection people are willing to share when some random broad is sitting right there. Then there was the moment I had to jump out of two separate sets of wedding photos as I took a selfie with the Eiffel Tower, while I had another couple waiting for me to take their picture (I believe in Good Travel Karma so I always take people’s photos….but I feel like I need to add a disclaimer that I do not know their angles). I was shoved away in some pretty odd corners when I turned up in restaurants alone, like they didn’t really want me to be seen committing the repulsive act of eating with only a Kindle for company.

It’s a bit odd to be wandering by yourself in all that. The closest I came to romance is when a strange man called me over to his car when I was crossing the road and yelled at me in French, eventually communicating ‘You are very beautiful’. I’ll never know how close I came to getting robbed that day.

But just because you’re all alone in the most romantic place on earth, doesn’t mean you can’t fall in love. Because I fell in love with Paris. Not the one in my head, the actual Paris. With centuries of history and culture, dizzyingly intricate and ornate architecture, just the best afternoon light, and some of the most delicious cheese around. Also that pain au chocolat the size of my head. And people there know how to fucking live. Drinking a wine at a cafe on the boulevard before midday? No biggie. Picnics as soon as the sun shines? I’ll bring the baguette. Salsa dancing by the Seine? Welcome to Sunday evening. You can even find the occasional Aussie making a half-decent coffee. It’s kinda hard not to have a boner for it all.

Walking ’til your feet yell back, snacking ’til you nearly burst, feeling like your eyes will fall out of your head with SHEER BEAUTY EXHAUSTION, admiring the perpetual tans on almost universally attractive people. You can still do it with your eyes open. The people there smoke too bloody much, everywhere, and the hustle is seriously in your face at attractions. You can queue for eons to see the good shit. People will not fucking move for you on the sidewalk, probably because you’re Skecher-clad tourist scum or maybe just because they don’t feel like it.

But it just can’t kill that high. And I think that’s probably love.

 

 

 

 

Bachelor in Paradise Australia: Episode 7

I want to start this recap with a little statement.

Mostly, that the people I write about in this recap are essentially characters, brought to life by producers and editors. I try to use people’s own words as much as possible, lest it all becomes my own interpretation, but I know that their narratives are created by those making the show. It means my perception is limited by what they choose to screen. I know I can get super-judgey, but it is intended against the ‘characters’ and the story the show is telling about them, and not the people. ‘The Edited Version of X Which We Are Being Shown’ is just a lot longer to type than ‘x’.

I say this, mostly because on Twitter I was judging Laurina’s behaviour at the end of this episode as ‘bratty’. The context that both the people on the show and to some extent production, certainly at the time and possibly right up until after the show last night, that was missing was that Laurina’s brother died a month before production. It casts her behaviour in a different light.

In addition, whilst I’m going to have a rant about Keira in any case, a conversation between Jarrod and Grant, and a subsequent conversation between Keira and Grant, seems to have been so heavily edited in such a way that it again robs people of vital context – including exactly what it was that Grant apparently quoted Keira as saying, e.g that Keira thinks Jarrod is a terrible kisser (a theory that I actually think is quite likely). Apart from ignoring actual relationships in favour of drama, the editing is not bringing any clarity of circumstance to viewers.

With all that said, this is the story of Paradise we were told last night…

Eden is celebrating the current post-ceremony cruisy vibes, and tells us that the good news is, ‘the men have the power’. This has never been good news in the entirety of human civilisation, Eden.

The show starts telling the story of The Magical Disappearing Laurina, aka She’s Having A Nice Holiday And We Are Not Happy About It. I think to some extent the show is trying to draw parallels with Brett, who was very much here to have a chill in Fiji with his girlfriend. Once again, context, she was grieving and needed time out and a gentle reminder that dealing with Blake would be an excellent cause to go off men permanently. Jared would like to get to know but can’t seem to actually find her. She’s probably not interested then, mate.

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There is so much more Jarrod and Keira nonsense in this episode than anyone could ever want or need. And I think I deeply just need to accept the editing shenanigans here, but the long story as short as possible seems to be that she gave him a rose not because she wants him for herself, but that she wants him to find love. She has told him this, and he feels ready to ‘mingle’ on that account. But every time he makes an effort to actually mingle, Keira gets annoyed and jealous. There is some serious wanting her cake and eating it too vibes. It’s annoying and hypocritical and I just want them to sort themselves the fuck out, preferably with at least one of them going home.

The girls are having a chat and Tara asks Leah if she’s been making good choices. No she has not…’Have you pashed and someone’s dashed again?’. Oh dear, Leah really is a little bit unlucky. Not that I think she’s a particularly kind and lovely person, but apparently she tried to pash Michael after a few wines post rose ceremony and he wasn’t having it. And indeed, Michael is here to tell us he feels no romantic connection to anybody and he’s just waiting for his girl to walk in.

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Which brings us to Elora! I wasn’t really a fan of Elora on Matty’s season, but I am kind of excited on Megan’s account. Elora is currently our only option for saving her from the clutches of Jake….according to the promos, at least. Elora comes in with a date card and Tara tells her she has to ‘go on chatty-chats with the boys’, determined that they not tell her off the bat who’s in relationships….mostly to give Sam the chance to decline her. Elora first approaches Luke (who tells her he’s solid with Lisa), and Jake, who lets her know he’s close to Megan and wishes her luck on her future dating endeavours. Elora then approaches Megan and the entire island flips shit at the idea that Elora might be asking her out
Keira: ‘Taking a girl on a date???’
Elora: ‘Maybe….’

Jarrod: ‘I hope that’s what I think it is’.
Settle down, perve.
All the fuss was enough for me to know she wasn’t going to. Megan is a bit further behind, getting her hopes up, but Elora is just getting permission to approach Jake again. Elora made fun of his ‘sexy squint’, so I’m not sure why she’s pursuing this one so hard. Laurina tells Jake: ‘Megan’s face doesn’t look impressed, but that’s just her usual face…’ Well if people would stop being so deeply unimpressive…

So Elora pulls Jake aside, and tells him to really only go for it if he’s open to meeting new people, but yep she would really like to take him on this date. He is flattered and thinks it would be fun, but ultimately lets her down. When he returns, Megan is pleased. She thinking it’s a big turning point in their relationship, and hopefully it’s the turning point where she dumps him because a better option is there. Hey, one can hope.

Elora sets off the flames on the side of Leah’s face by eventually approaching Michael, who she will go on the date with. Leah thinks Michael can’t even see what’s standing in front of him! Okay, Leah, he has seen you. He’s not in to it. I thought he wasn’t rugged enough for you, anyway?

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Elora and Michael are off to do some glass blowing! I thought Michael was just being a ridiculous person when he referred to is as kinky and sensual, and then I heard the instructor telling him ‘Blow blow blow, go for it, harder ….and stop’ and I maybe changed my mind. The show plays some very subtle saxophone music over this entire scene.

Leah is ‘exhausted from chasing Michael around….next, moving on’ and Nina points out that she is pretty low on options, at this point. Guess who’s completely unloved by the Aussie girls, though? Thunderbirds are go! Leah wants us to know that she finds him ‘genuine and lovely’, which arguably means he is a terrible match for Leah.

Oh god, it’s back to Jarrod and Keira. Jarrod is creepily noting Keira’s nude-coloured top when in walks Simone. Simone got caught up in the Great Matty-J Slut-Shaming Scandal with Leah, a fucking low point for this entire series. She’s blonde, if you recall, which means she has Jarrod’s immediate attention, describing her as ‘a blonde bombshell in a  little red number’. He mentions to Keira that Simone reminds him of his ex-girlfriend, and yeah…you could probably say the guy has a type, right?

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It’s like a peroxide-heavy game of spot-the-difference.

Keira is happy to rant about how it would be ‘downgrading’, but she clearly feels threatened knowing the guys have the roses this week

Leah has a chat with Simone and starts selling Jarrod: ‘He’s so, so funny’ (is he???). Simone had presumed he was with Keira, which Leah shoots down. This chat has lasted approximately five seconds when Jarrod The Keen Bean screams across the courtyard: ‘Leah, are you going to share Simone around or are you going to keep her all day?’. Settle down petal. Funnily enough, this buys him some time with Simone, which she mostly spends laughing nervously and experiencing genuine confusion about the term ‘vineyard’. Jarrod’s feeling like a prince what with his vast knowledge of that place wot where grapes are grown. He tries to explain the thing with Keira, which Simone describes summarily: an absolute mess.

Just to really rub this in, Keira is off questioning how genuine Jarrod’s feelings were in the first place, because he’s off talking to Simone. This is what you wanted him to do.

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Michael and Elora sit down to have a very dull conversation that mostly serves to remind me how pretentious she is. ‘I do much more things than other people’ she says, and she’s really easygoing. She boasts about her wanderlust some more. I just find it so hard to believe that someone who’s so self-consciously easygoing actually is easygoing. Accurately, Michael isn’t really feeling the chemistry, because there is none, but he would like to hang out some more. When he returns, he greets Ali, Grant, Luke and Lisa with a ‘What’s up, couples retreat’ and lets them know that she’s a ‘top bird’ but not for him.

Leah aggressively does not care because she’s over here talking to Jared, thanks. She tells him that he seems to be there find love and he says ‘he’s here for the experience and to hopefully form a connection’, which I think we can all agree is a very different thing
Leah: ‘I think you and I connect’
Jared: ‘Yeah….yeah’
Leah: ‘You’re cool, this could be fun’
Tell Ali to call off the search, I’ve found her sparks.

There’s a bit more negging of Laurina’s solo time here that I don’t care to recap, although it does feature an amazing dance routine from Tara, Keira and Laurina.

Now it’s time for the ridiculously heavily-edited conversation between Grant, Ali, and Jarrod (with Jared hanging off the side, presumably to escape his overwhelming chemistry with Leah)
Grants asks who Jarrod will give his rose to, and Jarrod feels like Keira is already jumping down his throat for talking to Simone. Grant decides to give it to him ‘straight’: ‘as sweet as she is, she’s wishy-washy. She doesn’t know what she wants…don’t string someone along just because you wanna stay here, you know?’, the most gentle straight-talking I’ve ever seen. Jarrod seems blinded by his honesty, and has maybe finally acknowledged he is being taken advantage of, which he probably is.

Keira is watching this happening and getting antsy. She says she is in Grant’s ‘bad books’ which is why she wants to know what is happening. If you check the link near the start Keira has essentially said that after the last rose ceremony, Grant cornered her and abused her for sending Daniel home, which is a very bad look for Grant, because Grant was a fucking sex pest (and it turns out the girls basically agreed to send him home on account of sex-pestiness). In addition, apparently he passed on a comment that Keira thinks Jarrod is a bad kisser. So while she’s being paranoid, perhaps there’s reason for it. She pulls Jarrod aside, and he won’t tell her what they were discussing. Keira is determined to get to the bottom of it, and wheedles him. He quite reasonably says he’ll discuss it when he’s ready to talk about it, and he wants to sleep on it. She is very drunk, and tells him she doesn’t need to know what was said, just what it was about. Yeah, alright.
In any case, she decides:
‘I need to go talk to someone’
Jarrod: ‘Don’t talk to them about it’
Keira: ‘I will’
Cue the deepest sigh ever.

She very obnoxiously grabs Ali and Grant, and their whole conversation is a mess, much as she is. We’re never actually allowed to know for sure what it is that Grant said he was essentially quoting Keira on (we now have her word for it), but her main point of offense seems to be less about Grant warning Jarrod off Keira, than Grant assuming he can speak for her and her thoughts. Then again, ‘You think he’s a safe bet. And you feel like he’s Mr Right, but I don’t know if you want Mr Right. You might be in between Mr Right and Mr Right Now’ does not seem particularly flattering.

Keira goes on a drunken rampage, screaming at him and threatening to throw her drink at him. That one’s not editing, love. She tells us ‘When I feel slightened or hurt, it just doesn’t sit well with me. I’m very reactive’. She’s very good at mangling the English language, our Keira.

Probably the worst part is Jarrod’s weird, patronising reaction where he accuses her of ‘chucking a tanty’ but finding this cute and adorable rather than a sign of someone whose drinks should probably be watered down. Anyway. He’s still hanging on that thread, it seems.

We’re now on Laurina chilling out with her under-eye mask when Megan runs in with a date card. I should emphasise it is dark and at the very least, Keira is drunk so it’s probably not very early. Megan screams that Laurina has the date card, and has ten minutes to get ready. ‘Nah, I’m not going’. Look, you can see here that without the knowledge of what’s going on with her, forcing her to spend some time with someone is not a bad idea from production because it looks suspiciously like she’s using the show for a holiday, but it is the date equivalent of a ‘u up’ text at 1am when you’re in your jammies. Sam’s reaction that this ‘is a dating show, not a sleeping show’ seemed okay in context, and he really didn’t know, but an apology probably wouldn’t go astray now (nor would it go astray to comparing her to a 300-year-old demon, either). No-one comes off particularly well from the ensuing scenes – production seems insensitive, the others seems a little mean, and Laurina comes off as a bit disingenuous with her excuses – when the context is added in.

In the end, Laurina gets weepy and accuses production of being disrespectful, before deciding to leave. I think everyone can agree it’s for the best. Apparently she’s in love now, and I bet he doesn’t even where stupid braids in his hair.

 

 

 

Bachelor in Paradise Australia: Episode 6

In episode 6, nothing makes any sense, can someone please edit this show properly, oh god I’m exhausted release me from this nonsense.

Mostly I’m exhausted by Jarrod, because he is a dude with a lot of emotions, and they are all insufferable. He thinks that Grant and Daniel are ‘taking all the women’ which is clearly not a situation happening against the ladies’ will so maybe you should just chill out, dude. Keira is off massaging Daniel very much voluntarily, so maybe it’s just time to get a lock down on your emotions. Megan enters get-a-grip friend mode and reminds Jarrod that actually, everybody is talking to everybody. Daniel is of course gross so when Keira asks if he’s attracted to her, he responds with ‘I’d have sex with you right now’ and a great gagging is heard throughout the land.

Jake thinks another ‘sausage’ is due to arrive, and here is Jared Haiborn, another US Bachie veteran who has apparently been very hot property in the American iterations. Not sure I get it, as I can’t unsee this:

I’m sure he’s very nice but he doesn’t seem to be a hit with the ladies when he goes around for a chat. Megan describes their talk as ‘average’ and Ali thinks he is ‘seems gentle and caring and beautiful’ (which seems like a lot from a brief chat) but did not feel her elusive ‘spark’ (I gotta say, as someone with the surname Sparkes, Ali’s mission to find me is slightly odd to watch).

Sam quizzes Ali on whether Jared ‘made her mountains crumble’ which is an interesting turn of phrase, and she very subtly indicates that no, she is in to someone else. Who in the world can it be? Turns out it is Grant – who last episode went on a date with Leah that definitely made her mountains crumble – and there is some very aggressive setting up of this from the group they are sitting with. I think everyone wants both Ali and Grant otherwise occupied. They go off for a chat and it turns out Grant had assumed she meant him. HOW? They have literally never spoken before. Their entire relationship, which seems to move at the speed of light after this, is a complete failure of editing on behalf of Channel Ten, because they were so hyper-focused on a non-existent love triangle that Ali was in BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T EVEN FANCY ANY OF THEM.

This show hates romance.

Apparently he and Leah are looking for different things relationship-wise, with the implication that Leah is less serious than him. I’ll remind you that it was Leah who asked the one practical question of ‘hey how the fuck would this work with you in America’, and he who brushed it off. Leah is also grossly unaware that Grant feels this way, and will make her feelings extremely known about him just picking up with Ali without even trying to chat with her first. Leah doesn’t seem to have the greatest relationship with other women, so of course it is first Ali that cops her ire, telling us  ‘everything about her is big’. I disagree. Sure, she’s got big tits, big eyes and big lips, but her personality seems absolutely minimal.

Back to poor old Jared, and for some completely unfathomable reason, he decides to use his date card on Megan. She’s taken aback, and tries desperately to squirm out of it, pulling him aside for a chat while telling us the awkwardness is somewhere around a ‘9.9999 out of ten’. Approximately. Apparently Jared does not understand the old polite rebuff, where she says she was surprised that he asked her on account of the fact that she didn’t really feel like they had instant chemistry, and she would hate to get in the way if he was attracted to anyone else….Anyone? Bueller?

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Somehow he wears her down with the power of aggressive blandness. All she wants to do is stay on the island with her mojito and be a get-a-grip friend to the literal dozens of people who need one right now, and here’s this powerfully-jawed American come to take her away. Jared does get the point though, and whinges to Grant that he wants to go home. How about talking to…any other girl?

Blake states that Megan is out of Jared’s league. Megan is indeed a sensible hottie with no interest in Jared, but it is intriguing that this statement is coming from Blake, who currently has no romantic connections on the island after getting the name wrong of the only woman who would give him the time of day, oh, and assaulted a guy.

Poor old Jared and Megan are now stuck on a boat for the most awkward date ever, which she is using as an ill-advised test of her relationship with Jake, to see if she can connect with someone else. Honey. We have already established that this is not going to happen with this particular Thunderbird. He makes movie references and it almost seems like an elaborate lie to get him to stop talking when she tells him that grew up in a super religious household and wasn’t allowed to watch movies or TV shows, so has seen very few movies (it’s actually true). Just keep referring to the Chrissy gif for the general vibes of the whole encounter. When they return from their date Megan indicates that it was ‘probably…as expected’ and that ‘He’s up for grabs, ladies’.

Jarrod does an astounding number in hypocrisy this week, ranting and raving over and over again about how he doesn’t like being second-best in Keira’s heart. Despite, of course, throwing over Keira to pursue Ali and making sure she knew she was his second choice at the first rose ceremony. I cannot emphasis how much he has earned every little bit of this insecurity, but I must hasten to add – Keira does not help this at all. She doesn’t get a get-out-of-jail free card. However, she is not a total manbaby about it.

Nina talks to Ali about how she is feeling torn between Eden and Daniel, something I have never been more confused about in my life. I had Nina pegged as so sensible, and Daniel literally could not be more of a fuckboy, growling about how he wants to take her dress off while in the middle of doing the rounds of flirting with every girl on the island. Ali is as surprised as the rest of us to find out that Nina and Eden have not even kissed, so at this stage they are really formally Just Friends. Jarrod has a whinge to Nina about wanting to throw in the towel over Keira and Daniel’s flirting, which Nina relays to Daniel. Daniel – in probably the only time I can empathise with him on any level – doesn’t give a fuck. Nina is utterly torn about the whole thing, and is worried about getting hurt. I can think of one guaranteed way to get hurt and its name starts with Daniel. She’s there crying while he tells us: ‘They call me Gepetto because I make women my puppets’.

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Keira takes Jarrod for a chat, and when he describes himself as struggling she tells him ‘I know how you feel, I’ve been there’. His amnesia about the Ali situation is genuinely so frustrating. When she tells him that she is genuinely interested in Daniel, he goes off, insisting that he should have been told this earlier. A reminder is issued that this time she’s been spending with Daniel has actually been her deciding that. Keira is not a fan of the idea that this is solely Jarrod’s decision to make. Turns out he has no time for all this: ‘I don’t have time to stuff around – I have a vineyard to run… I have a busy life’. Spoiler alert: he has SO much more time for stuffing around this episode.

Grant takes Ali off for a mini-date, and Eden accurately assesses that they are ‘they’re zero-to-one-hundred’, so maybe it’s not all just bad editing. They appear to have a requisite five minute conversation about the spark, before Ali is reading to get her pash on. Well, that’s your one frog. Hope you’re happy together. Leah’s head meanwhile is exploding, as Mack is thoroughly enjoying it all. Leah thinks they’re both ‘a bit mentally twisted’, and that the Americans are ruining her experience, with a special shout-out to Daniel’s manipulations. It is clear that every single person that is not being manipulated by him can blatantly see what is going on.

Keira has momentarily flipped back to Jarrod and indicates to him that she thinks she was running away from something genuine. He inexplicable compares her to Madonna, I’d be more tempted to compare her to heroin but okay. Daniel sees them go off together so decides to try his luck with Laurina, who doesn’t mind because she enjoys a good flirt. Keira and Jarrod are off in a A Second Location where she is opining how much she knows that he has her back, and that she trusts his intentions – which at the very least he could not make any more clear. Eventually she tells his ‘You can have a kiss now. On your lips’ and I can only think that this weird pash negotiation happening is because of the consent issues with production.

Leah and Michael have a bit of a chat – Michael fears that she is more interested in him than he is her, but she’s not exactly out here making heart eyes at him. I’m not too concerned about another love triangle there.

Keira has returned to the group and realised her kiss should have been with Daniel, a pretty damning indictment of Jarrod’s kissing ability. Tara gently tries to indicate that while Keira is enjoying the power now, she may not want to give Daniel her rose and give him that power next time. Meanwhile Jarrod is off talking to the guys and staring at her moonily at Keira, while they try in vain to get him to chill the fuck out, as Daniel will reveal his shittiness. Michael delivers some of the greatest words of wisdom ever heard on television: ‘You can build a body in the gym, but you can’t build a heart’

deep

For some inexplicable reason, Keira thinks it’s a great idea to sneak in to Daniel’s hut and have a pash with him. Honestly, she cannot justify it. ‘It’s hard to resist! What’s a girl to do? I don’t want to disrespect Jarrod, but you just gotta go for it’. It should be really easy to resist, because Daniel is so clearly a goddamn sex pest.

So….she goes and dumps Jarrod. He is confused AND SO AM I. When all your choices are bad just go and make new choices, Keira. Stop flim-flamming between these two garbage men. She mentions that he is gentlemanly when he like, picks something up for her, and he spits out ‘I’m gonna use that gentleman-like-ness on another girl’. Okay. We all know you’re not, because no-one wants a giant manbaby. He also tells the others that he doesn’t want to approach another girl because they’ll think he’s just trying to get a rose, which would be clearly true but is at least semi-reasonable.

Unsurprisingly Leah mentions that Jarrod’s ‘red-ometer goes right off’ when she casually drops in conversation that Daniel and Keira kissed, and it’s true, he is a human tomato. Vastly awkwardly, this happens right when Keira is standing behind him. Sam asks her directly ‘Have you kissed Daniel yet?’ and she responds with a grin, a sip of a drink and ‘No’. Which is quite clearly a yes. A stunning display of maturity, she then chooses to go off at Sam for asking it in front of Jarrod rather than maybe blaming herself for her terrible decisions. She doesn’t want to hurt Jarrod, you see. I know Jarrod is a terrible manchild but a way to avoid this would be to not make really bad decisions that will definitely hurt him.

Thank god, Osher is here. We just need to get through a cocktail party and then we can have our precious rose ceremony.

Keira is discussing her rose decision with Laurina and Nina. Laurina says she would like to give her rose to Daniel, but he’s a free agent and they all acknowledge that they’re interested. Keira would like to give him a clear indication she’s interested in rose form, which Laurina shoots down with a ‘You’ve gone up and kissed him on the lips, I think he knows you’re interested’ .

In the only snippet of Luke and Lisa we see all episode/season basically, she pays him out for wearing a rose print shirt to the cocktail party: ‘You think you’re gonna get a rose?’. IT’S CUTE AND I WANT MORE OF THEM.

Daniel creepily asks Keira if he makes her moist, and a ten-year vaginal drought is initiated Australia-wide.

Sam thought that Nina and Eden were super loved-up, which seems misguided because they have not yet kissed, but urges Eden to show Nina his big heart. His gesture is not so much to….talk to Nina…but to talk to Daniel. He urges him to treat Nina with respect. It’s an admirable attempt, but I don’t think Daniel actually understands the basic concept of respecting women, so maybe the time could have been better spent.

Jarrod makes some creeper talk about the Australian women being ‘innocent and genuine’. Just wait til the rose ceremony, mate.

First up, Leah tells us that she wants to get rid of the arseholes and keep the nice guys here. So she chooses Michael. I’m not a fan of Mack but honestly all Leah’s choice does is make sure he goes home. It does nothing for the many other pricks here.

Tara chooses Sam. They smooch and I can’t even begrudge this anymore given the constant parade of deeply garbage me.

Lisa chooses Luke.

Ali chooses Grant.

While Daniel opines on voiceover that ‘ If I haven’t kissed her, he sure as hell ain’t gonna kiss her’, while Nina chooses…..Eden THANK CHRIST. However, if she’s not seeing him as more than a friend, I hope she gives someone else the opportunity to hang out with him.

Laurina has been built up to be the one to choose Daniel, as ostensibly agreed earlier. So she drops a bombshell when she chooses, in her words ‘American Jared’. I think even Jawbreaker over there floored by that one. Turns out Daniel said something ‘slimy and derogatory’ to her at the end of the cocktail party, and when you think about all the disgusting things that Daniel has been shown saying, you’ve got to think it’s pretty bad for them not to show us, right?

Megan chooses Jake (DON’T WORRY MEGAN ELORA IS ALMOST HERE)

Keira steps up to the plate for the last rose, muttering ‘I don’t know…’ under her breath in a great show of confidence. Eventually she settles (in every sense of the word), for Jarrod.

This means a big old DING DONG, THE WITCH IS DEAD to Keen Bean Mack and Cheese, Convicted Assaulter Blake, and Probable Assaulter Come On Daniel.

See you in a couple of days for the end of this godforsaken week.

 

 

 

 

 

Bachelor in Paradise Australia: Episode 5

Channel Ten’s Week of Torture – i.e four episodes in one week – got off to quite the start on Sunday, with tears, triangles, and more than one accusation of dogging (not that kind).

The episodes begins with a tiny recap of what’s happened recently. Nina actually gets some screentime for once and tells us while things have been cruising along with Eden, she’s not really feeling like he’s putting a lot of effort in to woo her. Mack has somehow acquired the nickname of Mack and Cheese since he threw everyone for a loop and gave Ali his rose when Jarrod (and to a lesser extent Michael) had already done a wee on her and marked their territory. Jarrod is ‘disappointed and peed off’ that someone went right ahead and exercised their free will, and has now decided to focus his attention on Keira. Funny that. Now that the girls have the Power of Roses.

Osher is greeted by an incredibly handsome American by the name of Grant. He was on Jojo’s season in Bachie US, which means nothing to me, and actually got engaged to someone he met in Paradise US. For some reason he has come back because he ‘trusts the process’, which I suspect is code for ‘I trust the amount of money they were willing to pay for me to appear and make all these Aussie blokes feel insecure about their abs’. I quite liked Grant upon first appearance because he was very polite to everyone including Osher, but as the episode went on I started getting a bit suspect of how damn smooth he is.

Anyway. He starts a small frenzy when he walks in, date card in hand. Just imagine this, but en masse.

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The only one of the ladies who’s not feeling it is Ali, who finds him very ‘American’ and showy. Yeah the hot firefighter (yes, really) is a real problem, Ali. Anyway. Her love life is more than complicated enough, I think she can afford to leave Grant to the others.

Grant chats to the fellas first and it is a veritable parade of male insecurity. Michael does charming things like vowing to “fight for their Australian women”, which isn’t a creepy and loaded sort of thing to say at all. Grant then spends a bit of time chatting to a bunch of the ladies, trying to work out who to take on a date. Leah’s getting impatient. She is HOT FOR THE BOD and she doesn’t give a fuck. As he goes to talk to Keira she straight up intervenes (Keira is only a bit bothered: ‘As long as he takes his shirt off later to make up for it’). It’s not a bad move – Grant is the kind of guy who appreciates her confidence. He ends up asking her on the date after about 30 seconds of her making the fuck eyes at him.

Mack and Ali decide go for a swim in the rain, and by swim I mean walk in the water to their knees. Mack talks about how the conversation just ‘flows’ with Ali, and I must call this out as delusional bullshit. They clearly have no chemistry, only able to muster up conversation about how the nice the water is at first. Apparently the conversation ‘flowing’ amounts to him doing 90% of the talking (reeks of the old study done by Dale Spencer about perception of female dominance in conversation…) and her paying him one compliment. As the group scream ‘kiss!’ at them from shore (once again…Schoolies), Ali finds this an appropriate moment to mention that she is not planning to kiss a lot of frogs on her Paradise journey. In fact, she’d like to only kiss one frog. The implication that this will not be Mack is mostly lost on him, although there is a small glimmer of self awareness: ‘I’m not sure if she’s falling for me the same way I’m falling for her’. She’s not bro.
Keira and Jarrod are chatting and it is clear she is seeing entirely through his utter bullshit – ‘I’m so intrigued that you and Ali aren’t even interested in each other anymore’. Well, we never had any confirmation at all that Ali was interested in Jarrod, but he sure was a keen bean for her. Apparently, he just woke up thinking of Keira, and this was some sort of epiphany for him. She very pointedly mentions that she feels like men only talk to her when they want a rose, and that he should not feel safe – if someone comes in that grabs her eye, she won’t hesitate to pursue it. I think I like Keira now?
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Maybe I just hate fuckboys, and Jarrod truly is the worst kind. He deeply seems to believe his own bullshit.
Leah and Grant go on their date and they are a couple of thirsty birds for each other. They ‘decide’ to go for a snorkel in the rain (were they in Fiji in the off-season?) and Leah straight up rips off his shirt, with all the female viewers secretly sneaking her a high five. He compliments how she looks in her bikini and yes, thirsty thirsty thirsty. Leah is basically feeling on top of the world as they go for a chat after their swim – she feels very relaxed around him (seems obvious from the shirt-removal). And I start to think maybe he’s a bit of a slippery bugger as he effortlessly dodges her first question about what happens if he genuinely meets a girl he wants to be with on the show – it’s a long way from the US to Australia. Spoken like someone who’s truly never considered the fucking soul-crushing difficulty of a long-distance relationship – particularly between people who don’t know each other particularly well – he thinks if two people want it to work, it’ll work. However, he says he’s not just here for fun and that is enough for her to have an almighty couch pash with him. She has a schoolgirl crush (and a thirst for days).
Michael’s big romantic gesture to Ali (after a decade of angst about being roommates with Mack) is to force her to walk through the rain to have some winey cheesey time. Last week these two didn’t get much time together, but did confirm their mutual interest. Ali mentions that she is holding back a bit because it is ‘not finished’ with Mack. As they leave to go back to the party, Michael gives her a lingering hug, and Ali seems to be struggling with her ‘rule’ about pashing,  because she’s worried that she might go back to the party and get talking to Mack, and want to kiss him! It is clear to literally everyone that she has no chemistry with Mack and will never want to kiss him, so I don’t know if this is some convenient get-out-of-awkward-situations free card, or what.
Mack ruins any chance of any woman ever wanting to kiss him by being deeply passive-aggressive on their return. Michael pushes Ali and Mack to chat because he thinks she might finally let him down, and Mack launches in to some creepy nonsense (after essentially shaming her for talking to Michael) about how he could introduce her to his family. Everyone at home is screaming SHE’S NOT INTERESTED but before she’s forced to be direct with someone for once in her life, there’s a new arrival.
Canadian Daniel is here. I saw Canadian Daniel on the last season of Bachelor in Paradise, where he basically pretended to have feelings for Lacey to get her to sleep with him towards the end of the season, and then ditched her after the show. He’s done other garbage, misogynistic things that I have not witnessed in other seasons (he has been in both Bachie franchise shows and at least one other dating show). He is not a legitimate contender for anyone’s heart and he makes it clear in his first to-camera, where he essentially says he’s here because the Canadian women are in hibernation for winter. Personally I would go in to hibernation in 40 degree heat if Daniel decided to approach me. No doubt the man has formed himself in to some sort of Greek god in the gym (Jarrod refers to him as a ‘unit’), but honestly it’s grotesque and lumpy, like a statue made by someone who’s never actually seen a man with their clothes off. The arrival of Daniel kind of ends their conversation, or is it Mack bitterly muttering ‘He’s probably going to like you as well’?
Golly we’re not even halfway done with this episode. And I’m reluctant to spend a lot of time on Daniel, because on top of being a huge arsehole who refers to the women like objects (referring to Lisa, he says to Luke ‘Is this yours?’), he also refers to himself as a wolf and I’m also pretty sure he doesn’t understand consent and I just don’t like wasting a lot of typing energy on that. Anyway. He makes an impression on Keira, and slimes all over all the other girls while winding up the boys about ‘stealing their women’, and ends up approaching Nina for a date. She accepts, presumably to put the wind up Eden’s arse because such a sensible-seeming girl cannot actually be interested in such a skeeze. I honestly thought she was trying to purposefully bore him when she told him she plays competitive netball 3-5 times a week, but the man has seen an opportunity here.
Megan and Jake have a pash but she’s pretty convinced it’s lust, not love. Just hanging out for Elora, I’m sure. Jake may get a stay of execution at the rose ceremony depending on who comes in next – Megan doesn’t seem to have bonded with anyone else.
It’s bucketing down for Eden and Nina’s date and after making a gross comment about taking a hike to claim her ‘hot spring virginity’, he then attempts to murder them both by crossing a flooded river. Rather than actually just having any sort of OH&S in place (and Osher is so clear about their duty of care on Twitter!), some local bloke has to intervene and tell them they’re being huge fucking idiots. They end up at some slightly more civilised hotel hot tub and Daniel leers down Nina’s sensible swimming costume. However, given she hasn’t even kissed Eden yet (how?), it’s safe to say she is not going to pash old Rapeface over here. He’s disappointed because he ‘likes to go from zero to one hundred real quick’, like a sensible romantic prospect we should definitely put on our dating show, over and over again.
It’s slaughterhouse time. First, Ali has to dump Mack. She fucking flim-flams around it for an eon, talking about wanting to feel a spark. Mack has definitely felt a spark, in his pants region at least, but the most Ali can muster for him is a ‘sparkle’. Because he cannot get the fucking point he asks what it would take for that spark to happen. Mack….
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She has a gigantic teary on his shoulder because she doesn’t like hurting people, while he just stares off like he’s dead inside. Maybe if you’d just put any effort in to reading signals you could have been spared this pain. Again.
She then goes off to chat with Michael and hurrah, it is on! Michael is looking forward to getting a rose from her! No. No it is not on. She mentions again that she’s looking for that spark, and when he leadingly asks if he has that with her, she must respond that no, she’s not feeling it. Bit unexpected. Time to break out the capris and woo a new girl, I suppose.
Laurina explains that she would not feel a tiny bit bad about dumping Blake because he called her by the wrong name in the last rose ceremony. I would also consider an extremely valid reason to be that Blake has started doing his hair like this, while implying that Daniel is a dickhead:
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She pulls him aside for a chat. While she feels that they have affection, they haven’t got much of a connection, and that if there was one it would have emerged by now. And in this environment of honesty, she wouldn’t feel right giving him a rose.
His response: ‘So….okay’.
He thinks that he’s a very loving person, but shows this more physically than with words. You know. When he’s not criminally assaulting people.
He’s taken by surprise and takes Tara and Sam off for a chat. And now it’s my turn for a surprise, because Sam is actually way better at this than Tara. Sam tells him ‘Acknowledge it for a second, and then move actively forward’, while Tara just wants to know who Laurina will give her rose too. Maybe not the time, love.
Oh, and now Sam is taking Tara on a date. Tara says ‘Sam and I have been getting along really well as friends’ and they have only hugged so far, but speculates that maybe they will kiss. I am horrified at this but also kind of horrified that somehow, Sam is one of the better options on the island. Tara, like myself, thought he came off like a bit of a dickhead on the telly, and I will go so far and say he seemed a lot like a dickhead, loudly announcing that he was staring down Sophie’s dress and then trying to educate her on the music industry. And I am not going to start forgiving him for that, however, when the other options include Daniel and Jake, I can see how this might come about. I just hope Apollo arrives before it goes to far.
And he is appropriately swoon-y over Tara, telling us he thinks she looks like a supermodel at 9am in the morning. So I must give the man credit for admiring my queen, who is severely under-appreciated on this island. Their date is to make drinks for each other based on their personalities – he thinks she is fun, fresh and fruity, while she thinks he is an acquired taste (understatement). Turns out they’re both pretty crap at it, him plying her with booze while she’s a little bit deluded on this one: ‘I think I’ll be great at making cocktails. I make drinks for myself ALL THE TIME’. There’s some people playing romantic music and I think we work out why Tara would possibly not make a great Bachelorette: she’s bloody allergic to romance. Sam tries to cajole her in to a slow dance but is refused, much preferring to make awkward, self-conscious banter and over-planning their kiss. They make about 30 minutes of fuck-eyes at each other before they smooch, and I think this feeling inside me is not so much joy but sheer relief that these two people got out of their heads for five seconds.
I don’t want them to fall in love.
Because this show doesn’t actually care about romance, we do not end the episode on this. We go back to the boys, sitting around the campfire. Everything’s changing in the camp, and Mack doesn’t think it’s because of the two Americans making everyone feel narky and insecure, but because of the ‘dynamics changing’. But really, the issue here is Mack and Jarrod. Keeping in mind Jarrod is apparently not even thinking about Ali anymore and focusing on Keira (although presumably this conversation happens after he’s heard Ali has ditched both Mack and Michael), he would really like to have it out with Mack over ‘dogging’ everyone by choosing Ali first last week. He doesn’t have a leg to stand on, including his argument that Mack has somehow made a bad impression on the girls by using the rose ceremony exactly as it was intended – to choose the person you think you are most likely to have a romantic future with, as delusional as it may be – and after about 30 seconds of arguing, everyone just leaves. Send’em both home, tbh.
BRING. ON. APOLLO.

An Incomplete Guide To Terrible Netflix Christmas Romances Pt 2

I’ve only watched three additional Terrible Netflix Christmas Romances, in part because did some extracurricular viewing of A Princess For Christmas (awful, awful, but Jamie Fraser is a strong drawcard) and A Royal Winter (actually…not too bad, as far as these things go?). I strongly recommend checking out Part 1 if you want to know how this will go.

Christmas Inheritance
Eliza Taylor and I go way back. No, not just to Neighbours (although Janae Timmins, princess of Colac, was a gift to Australian television). No, not even her struggle to say the word pineapple with a British accent in The Sleepover Club.We go right back to Pirate Islands. Which I watched predominantly because of a severe crush on Oliver Ackland who played Mars. So yeah, Eliza Taylor and I are going strong for 14 years at this point, I knew her way before her turn as the, in turn, blazingly kick-arse and heartbreaking Clarke in The 100, and I feel confident in saying this:
Christmas Inheritance may be Eliza Taylor’s breakthrough role.
You probably didn’t think you’d be reading that about the latest Netflix original Christmas movie, did you? Since I wrote my last post, A Christmas Prince has been subject to waves and waves of internet mockery. Even Netflix itself got in on the act:Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 11.32.24 pm

So here’s my surprise for you all: Christmas Inheritance is actually good (….on the terrible Christmas romance scale), and Eliza Taylor is even better. And we get to see her in a way we never really have before.
We’re not even meant to like her character, Ellen, that much at the start. She’s pulling dumb stunts….for charity. She also pretty much feels bad about it immediately when it gets bad press, and sets about making amends.
These amends involve her going off to Small Town Somewhere to deliver an annual Christmas letter to the co-founder of her father’s company, before her father will decide on appointing her as the next CEO.
….Oh, and she can’t tell people who she is, and she has to do it on $100.
So we’re meant to judge her for not understanding the bus, and not knowing she’s sitting next to Canadian royalty Mag Ruffman, but when she tells her seatmate she’s never been on a bus, you don’t really feel like you’re watching The Simple Life. Because Eliza Taylor is so fucking charming that it’s really, really hard not to like Ellen from the start.

So that’s the thing about this movie. It’s inherently silly. The important tradition is that swapping the letters forces Ellen’s father Jim, and his co-founder Zeke (current position in the business…hazy), to see each other each year, as they physically exchange the letters going back decades, as well as the new one catching up on the goings-on. And yeah, it’s a responsibility, but sending Ellen essentially negates the whole point of the task, which is for Jim and Zeke to see each other. Ellie ends up working at Zeke’s B&B to earn her keep, and attempts to vacuum in skyscraper heels. Her fiance is a cartoon fucko.

But no matter how unlikely all the things around her are, there’s Eliza Taylor, being warm and delightful and learning that maybe giving money to the homeless is actually a good thing and also how to separate eggs. And it lifts the whole damn thing.

Also helpful is some genuine damn chemistry with Jake Lacey. He plays Jake (big stretch), who once had his heart broken by a city girl and now hangs out in Snow Falls and seemingly just keeps the entire tourism industry afloat, particularly when it comes to taxi-driving and B&B managing. Most of the men in these movies, except for the Christian Grey wannabe hot ghost in The Spirt of Christmas, are just sort of blandly nice dudes who mostly exist to fall in love with our heroine, and preferably propose to her at the end. The writers here aren’t afraid to let it run a little awkward and real, for our hero and heroine to have dumb in-jokes and to have misunderstandings about real things, like hold on, why are we about to pash when I have a fiance.
Y’know, that sort of thing.
But chemistry is really important for a romance, funnily enough. You don’t necessarily realise how nice it is to see, until you try to watch two extremely attractive people like Sam Heughan and Katie McGrath barely be able to muster a tiny spark to pass between them. So I like the chemistry, and I really enjoy watching Ellen. She’s sassy and successful but also stares at the newborn baby she’s holding like she’s Rosalie in Twilight, that creep. Jake may or may not get an instant boner at this. Shades of Matty J there.

Look, even the presence of movie-ruining Andie McDowell couldn’t ruin this dumb movie for me. Go watch it with my blessing. Netflix might subtweet you for watching it, but I won’t.

8/10
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Easter egg: there’s a shot of Eliza in her Erinsborough High uniform from Neighbours in the movie, see if you can spot it!

A Wish For Christmas

So it turns out that Hallmark is almost entirely responsible for making sure fetch continues to happen for Lacey Chabert’s career, and the girl is in no less than seven holiday romances. This has led to my new headcanon revolving around her character from A Wish For Christmas trying to find a new family for Christmas each year, because she didn’t try very hard to spend time with her own in this movie. Despite one of parents being deceased.

Unfortunately, this is not, as it should be, about Lacey’s character Sara walking out on her job because the place is full of unmitigated arseholes – even her ‘friend’ at work is a complete and utter cockknuckle to her. And her boss has declared Christmas cancelled in his own life, and is having people work over Christmas.

Did I mention they work at some sort of design agency? Even if office shutdowns aren’t as common in the US as they are in Australia, their work could not be more non-essential. Having fucking Christmas Day off can be factored in to deadlines when they make their pitches! Oh goddddd there’s no just no reason for it, apart from him to see the error of his ways and for one particularly dim-witted colleague to shout ‘WOW BOSS’ when he turns up with food and graciously allows them to go home. If they have families. Fuck the single people, they can keep working until they die.

Uhhh so anyway there’s a mystical wish-granting Santa in this one, not my favourite trope, and he grants her wish to finally have some fucking balls for once in her life. There’s some satisfying chats but still. She should take this opportunity to quit her job. Toxic environments don’t stop being toxic because one person starts asserting themselves. Someone else just becomes the victim instead.

Her boss gets a competence boner for her but I just can’t get invested in this love story about how awful corporate America is and that a boss might need to be taught how to be reasonable human being by a woman who is obsessed with Christmas to the point of deep, deep, delusion. He’s gonna be heartbroken when she goes off to find a new family next year.

2/10

Merry Kissmas

A Nutcracker toy is a key plot point and the elevator is sentient.

Please just watch the trailer to cop low-rent Robert Downey Jr.’s terrible, terrible fake British accent. Eliza Taylor did better than that when she was 14 years old. Anyway, that’s Carlton, famous choreographer and Kayla’s terrible boss and fiance. We know Carlton is terrible because he doesn’t eat carbs. (I should mention that Ellen’s terrible fiance Gray in Christmas Inheritance doesn’t do sugar. What an arsehole).

Meanwhile, Kayla is an idiot with no self-esteem who emotionally unloads, several times, to an unsuspecting Santa on the street, and goes around pashing strangers in elevators. Dustin is quite used to this, as he’s regularly sexually assaulted in said elevator by Ray Barone’s mother. I don’t want to victim blame but maybe Dustin should consider taking the stairs every now and then.

Dustin runs some sort of catering business with his cousin Kim, which we know because he refers to her, when only she is present, as ‘my trusty assistant and favourite cousin’ (the exposition in this film is just so smooth it hurts) and Kayla ingratiates herself with them by baking cookies with them. Actual dialogue when they’re done:
Kayla: ‘Look at these cookies, they look so happy!’
Dustin: ‘They were made with happy!’
Kim:  ‘The real happy’s coming up…’
Apparently Kim is not talking about these simpletons getting their bone on, but about Kim and her friend from the animal shelter bullying Dustin in to adopting a dog, even though he says his lifestyle does not suit pet ownership (given all their food preparation seems to happen in the middle of his apartment, I’m tempted to agree). But anyway. Who am I to complain about a cute guy and a cute dog?

Kayla eventually half-heartedly breaks up with her fiance, so she and Dustin can have their relationship develop in a montage that seems to represent two months but is in fact two days, then she goes back to her godforsaken fiance because she has no spine, and cannot bring herself to break up with him until he is completely flagrant about the fact that he has been cheating on her the whole damn time. I’m not here for this. Everyone except Eliza, quit your job.

Anyway this movie is bad. Not just because at the end of the movie, they use the same costumes and setting from the montage in a scene that’s meant to be one year later. It’s also because of the atrocious music that seems to have been written just for the movie. The opening music talks about being ‘elevated by this Christmas kind of love’. When they pash it’s a song about being ‘under the mistletoe with you’ having ‘our first Christmas kiss’. This music, and this movie, made me consider never celebrating Christmas again.

2/10

I’ll call the series to a close there, as the only terrible Christmas romance I plan to watch from here on out is an off-Netflix movie starring the Hot Ghost. I think you know why.
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Merry Christmas. Fall in love with a stranger. Dump your fiance.

Quit your job.

 

 

An Incomplete Guide To Terrible Netflix Christmas Romances Pt 1

I start this blog post knowing it will probably necessitate a Part 2. But I’m just one girl, and there are just so many shit Christmas romances on Netflix (Australia). On a recent rainy weekend, I managed to knock out four of the suckers. By the rules of these movies, if I’d been hanging out with a stranger for that amount of time, I should be ready to get engaged to that bland white dude by the time the sun set. Anyway this is kinda like my movie reviews, but in this case I only want you to watch them so we can talk about how bad they are. Know my ratings scale bears no relationship to movies that aren’t crappy made-for-TV romances. Titles link to trailers.

A Christmas Prince
The only actual Netflix production from what I can tell (the rest are from the Hallmark/Lifetime school of schmaltz). And if you think this might be reflected in say….production values, a decent script, believable accents? You’re in for a surprise. I guess all the budget went in to procuring the charming Rose McIver from iZombie (although she’s not allergic to made-for-TV-trash…I bring to you, Petals on the Wind). Amber (McIver) is a copy editor at an implausible magazine, somehow sent on the even more implausible mission to attend a press conference in the tiny European nation of Aldovia. Something something the prince has a deadline to accept the crown and he is on permanent walkabout. He turns up just in time to meet our plucky heroine, luckily.
What do you think the accent of every single person in this snowy, mountainous European country is? If you answered ‘vaguely British, I guess’ (romantic lead Ben Lamb is actually English, but still managed to make it sound fake) then you’ve probably seen one of these movies before.
There’s a lot of mysteries in this movie. Why is this royal family’s security so lax that they just merrily accept that any old American who turns up two weeks early is clearly Princess Emily’s tutor? Why are the royalty in these movies so unwilling to do their fucking jobs, which is really just turn up places, smile and shake hands? (this is gonna come up again, sorry). Does Emily actually end up doing any school work over the course of this entire movie? I don’t think they give out degrees in mischievous matchmaking. Also she’s smarter than Amber at maths, and yet Amber’s going to get to be the fuckin’ queen because of some dumb female succession rules (spoilers, I guess? Come on now).  And why does Prince Richard look so much like this guy?

The Christmas Prince actually received my lowest rating, but it was also the first one I watched. I guess I had some warming up to do before I surrendered all attachment to logic (I watched The Room before The Spirit of Christmas, so I was fully off the deep end by that time).

3/10 for so much additional implausibility (wait til you get to the result of Richard’s evil cousin’s schemes, y’all) that I can’t share without spoilers.

Once Upon a Holiday
More dirtbag royalty, oh my god. They didn’t look far for the fucking names in this one, either. Princess Katherine of Montsaurai (Mont Sore Eye) has an aunt named Margaret, an old family friend named George, and meets an old bloke named Harry who may or may not be Santa, or a wizard, I’m not really sure but he can make people disappear and there’s not really any comment on it.  Anyway, Princess Katie is also not a big fan of her minimal responsibilities, or her aunt. Said aunt probably should be a Princess too, given she seems to have been the sister of the king, but it’s all extremely unclear, and in the end Margaret seems to act as a personal assistant and excuse-for-Katie-maker.
Dirtbag Katie sees her opportunity to piss off on a trip to ‘New York’ (I don’t remember any establishing shots that suggested this couldn’t be literally any city in America), so she steals some clothes that were being donated to charity. She runs in to Jack while being completely unable to function in a big city, because apparently sending her to the best universities in the world did not involve her handling money, or  learning how not to casually leave your possessions where they can be stolen. What it DID get her is an inexplicable American accent.
Jack is another classic bland white man, who had some hot shot career and then wanted to work with his hands as a carpenter or some shit. His ex-wife dumped him because ‘she didn’t sign on for a guy who works with power tools’, but I wonder if it was maybe because he’s a gullible idiot. Well, he’s found his perfect match in this terrible liar, who pauses while searching for a fake surname at a holiday party (she settles on ‘Holiday’), and instead of implying she’s ever travelled internationally, tells him she saw an art piece (exhibited in Milan) in a book. It’s a good thing they’re such a perfect match, because at the end he suggests they ‘spend all of their Christmases together’ after legitimately three days of acting like fugitives from justice.

4/10 I was going to leave it at A Christmas Prince but I had to find out what the ‘joys of a normal life’ were that Katie would discover, because to me normal life is taking out the bins and paying the bills, and I’d much prefer to be a princess. Nothing that happened in this movie resembled normal life, anywhere, especially not in ‘New York’. Apart from maybe getting robbed.

A Holiday Engagement
Okay I can’t believe I have to do this but warning: that trailer is basically the whole movie.
Have I mentioned that I read quite a lot of romance novels? It has occurred to me that part of my warm feeling towards this movie is just because it uses one of my favourite tropes – the fake relationship. Made slightly more complicated in this scenario because David is pretending to be a real person – Hillary’s now-ex fiance Jason. So much room for shenanigans!
This is a slightly older one, a special little slice of 2011 which you can date pretty exactly due to the presence of Haylie Duff as the social-climbing sister of Hillary (ha). Golly. Haylie Duff. They really did spend an unreasonable amount of time trying to make fetch happen with that one (she got her very own Terrible Christmas Romance two years later!).
I will say that this one is exactly what you expect, whether you watched the spoileriffic trailer or not, with Hillary’s overbearing Mom (Shelley Long) eventually learning maybe she can quit being terrifying enough for her daughter to think it’s an okay idea to invite a stranger in to their home, and everyone realising Real Jason is garbage, but it really gets by on its leads. I have a bizarre affection for Bonnie Somerville, despite my main association with her being Rachel, Sandy’s co-worker on The OC who tries to seduce him. She can actually fucking act, which is bloody rare for these things, and has some nice chemistry with Jordan Bridges who plays David.

7/10 But I need to deduct a point because this movie is mostly set at Thanksgiving. Luckily Shelley Long starts setting up for Christmas straight-up the day after Thanksgiving, doesn’t she know it’s bad luck not to wait til December? Are you a shopping mall, Shelley Long?
(The internet tells me this is an Australian thing? I will say none of the Americans on my Instagram feed seemed to put them up before we hit December).

The Spirit of Christmas
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You
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Kidding
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Me?
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10/10 for this guy’s fucking face, let’s all go home.

On the narrative side, my new crush up there is a corporeal not-ghost (for 12 days of the year, we don’t really know what he does the rest of the time but presumably it’s mostly ghost-y) who can also disappear and re-appear at will. This movie really doesn’t give a fuck about the rules of ghosts, any more than the others cared about the rules of royalty, getting to know a person for an adequate amount of time, or basic common sense. He took a blow to the head that killed him in 1920 and comes back every year acting like Christian Grey. Except with no BDSM, just with really proper speech and a cranky attitude. The movie only finds one excuse for him to take his shirt off, which is a bit half-arsed. The fact that he likes to be alone in his old house (rather than having to deal with our ‘heroine’, who’s mostly insufferable) is the movie’s reason for him not knowing anything about mobile phones and referring to them as ‘communications devices’.
The spooky mystery element – basically, who dun killed him, and is it stopping him from passing on – is a nice little bonus on top of what would be a pretty ordinary ‘oh you want to bone a ghost? Well that’s fine because he has a body’ story.
I think the best part of this movie is even though it wants us to think all lawyers and the general profession of lawyering is a bit evil and shit (so much time pressure!), she doesn’t stop being a lawyer at the end. I’ll let you guess about the boning.

My rating as above stands.