Christmas with a Capital C: Part 1
I am so sorry, you guys! Black Friday got away from me!
But it’s okay. I mean, holy crap, just look at this.
All I know going in is that this is a movie about Christmas versus the evil forces of inclusion and political correctness. So I can only assume that Frowny-Faced Guy on the left is our Good Christian Hero (TM). Next to him is Jesus, so I figure he comes in at the end to wrest Christmas out of the Grinch-like hands of Not Alec Baldwin on the right there (we can tell he’s the villain since he’s wearing a suit and holding his chin and has a smirk on his face, not dissimilar to the one I have most days).
Also, there is some blonde lady, probably the mother of the little angel girl there. Probably the family is poverty-stricken and Not Alec Baldwin will buy them a turkey after his heart grows three sizes.
Our story takes place in a (very) small town in Alaska. The kind of town that is so small, and where people are so up in other people’s business, that the appearance of a U-Haul truck makes the residents stop dead in their tracks.
The U-Haul has been hired by Mitch Bright (Not Alec Baldwin), who left town to become a lawyer and has come back after a mere twenty years. The first people he runs into are the mayor, Dan Reed (Frowny-Faced Guy) and his brother, Greg (Jesus) (oops, my bad). The brothers are building a little stage for the nativity set…and it’s attached to the city hall.
(Oh, before I say anything else, I would like to applaud the writers for their wit if their choice of a last name for Mitch was a deliberate play on the Bright movement. Seriously. It’s not a label I embrace at all, but if they are attuned enough to the atheist movement to even be aware of the term, then good for them.)
Anyway, Mitch just wants to shoot the breeze for a few minutes, and asks after “Kristin.”
“Here it comes!” says Jesus/Greg, so we know he’s the kind of obnoxious twerp who does commentary on other people’s conversations as they’re having them.
“She’s good. Our kids are good, too,” responds Dan, giving Mitch the steely-eyed treatment.
“Hey, I-I-I didn’t mean anything by it, yanno, I was just being polite,” Mitch says, no doubt disturbed by the fact that merely asking after somebody is about to get him beat up…and he’s only been in town for five minutes.
Mitch beats a hasty retreat, and as he and the U-Haul pull away, Greg offers, in a half-kidding tone, “Hey, want me to follow him?”
What??? NO! I just…NO! Why would you even think…dude, do you not have anything else to do with your time, freak-show?
We cut to two teenagers sharing semi-flirtatious banter about the upcoming Christmas Cup, which is apparently a cross-country skiing race. I don’t care.
That night, we find that Blonde Lady and Little Angel Girl are not our Cratchit stand-ins, but rather the wife and daughter of Mayor Dan—the infamous Kristen and Makayla. The smallness and in-your-business-ess of the town is reinforced—Makayla knows that a “rich guy” has moved to town, because apparently all the teachers at school could talk of nothing else.
Dan can’t let this issue drop either, as he considers Mitch’s appearance to be “highly suspect.”
One might wonder, at this point, what is so lacking in Dan’s own life that most of his day is spent ruminating on the motives of a former townie.
In fact, is it too early to tell this entire town that they need to get a life?
They sit down to dinner, and we find that Dan and Kristin also have a son, Cody, one of the semi-flirtatious skiing teens. He is studying up on vampire novels, since “all the girls are reading them.” Smart move, my man.
Dan confusingly states that he knows just how his son must feel, since “your mom read all those books.” Really? These characters are around age fifty—were vampire books really a big thing in the 1970s? I dunno, I figure girls back then were reading Go Ask Alice and Forever… and old-school bodice-rippers.
The next morning, the family’s obsession with Mitch continues. Dan and Cody go snowmobiling without helmets, and Cody asks about “that guy.”
Dan is only too happy to talk about Mitch, and the fact that they used to compete over “football, basketball, skiing, running, class offices, parking spaces, Mom.”
Hmm, I can’t help but notice that you left “grades” out of that list of high school achievements, Dan. A bit self-conscious when in competition with the guy who went to law school, perhaps?
Dan also makes sure that Cody knows that Mom was “The Girl” in high school, and “I won that one.”
Ah, guys who peak in high school. Nothin’ like ’em in the world.
Cody couldn’t really give much of a crap (and is understandably reticent to hear about how his mother was the hottest prize around)…he was really just trying to segue into his own high school woes. You see, being a clueless teenage boy, Cody thinks the skiing girl wasn’t being flirtatious, but that she is his Mitch, his high school rival.
I suppose, in a Christian film, it’s a good thing that the teenager is more interested in beating a girl’s ski time than in getting into her ski pants.
Meanwhile, Mitch is patronizing a local coffee shop, and unlike some coffee shop employees, owner/barista Josie is friendly and chats with Mitch about his ideas to increase her customer base. I’m sure this will all turn out to be ominous, because Mitch is the bad guy and takes his coffee with soy milk, like some librul commie socialist , but it is really hard for me to see this as anything other than him being kind.
We take time out with Mayor Dan and Jesus to talk about how much Christmas rocks.
Jesus: I mean think about, this is the only time of year the entire world has this like shared experience of peace and hope for the future and strangers are lovin’ each other. And there’s that somethin’ in the air, man, it’s something.
Oh, yeah, you sold me, man. Also, what the hell? The entire world? Damn, but these people are insular.
Sadly, Mayor Dan has no time to revel in Christmas joy—he’s too concerned about the new guy in town. Especially since Kristin has invited him over for some Christmas party they’re throwing at their house.
Dan: I know he’s got an angle. … What’s he after?
Good lord, how did Dan ever get along in his daily life without Mitch to plot and scheme against? He just cannot stop thinking about him!
We have no idea how many people were at the Christmas party, but at the end of the evening, only Jesus and Mitch remain at Casa Mayor Dan. Apparently, the discussion has turned to politics over the course of the evening–we hit the middle of a discussion in which Mitch says that Dan’s politics are “wildly conservative compared to the rest of the country.”
Jesus, of course, can’t let such a horrific slur lie, especially as Mitch used to live in that wretched hive of scum and villainy…dun dun DUN…San Francisco.
Mitch is not one to be dissuaded by Jesus’s silliness.
Mitch: Look, there is a surprising amount of hocus-pocus here.
Dan: Oh, you mean—what, Native religion?
HA! Love that his mind immediately goes there.
Mitch: No, I mean Christianity.
Shockingly, the family kinda lets this comment go—Dan is more interested in “what you’re implying.” That is, how this affects him. And it does:
Mitch: I would wager that a majority of the people in this town find your religious piety annoying.
To his credit, Dan reacts to this pretty mildly (milder than Jesus, who pulls a face (a recurring theme of his) and snaps out, “Annoying?”)
Interestingly, Dan turns the focus back to the nation at large:
Dan: Just because God’s out of vogue in the big city doesn’t mean we throw him away like last summer’s fashion magazine.
Weird analogy, Dan. Read a lot of fashion magazines, do you?
Mitch casually agrees to disagree, and casually mentions that perhaps he would make a good mayor (turns out Dan was unopposed in the last two elections!). And on that casual note, the party concludes.
But the evening’s not over yet! Jesus makes a late-night visit to Josie’s coffee shop…to ask her out!
There are not words to describe how creepy and weird Jesus acts as he (kinda sorta) asks Josie out. It really doesn’t help that he does it in that infuriating, backhanded “well if you wanted to go to the movies and I wanted to go to the movies, and we both just so happened to be at the movies at the same time…” way.
Jesus: I was thinking about Christmas.
Josie: Yeah, they have it every year.
Oh, and did I mention that part of Jesus’s date-asking technique involves pulling faces?
So attractive! (And I swear I am not just screencapping his face at an inopportune moment—he makes faces like this throughout the conversation!)
Jesus asks Josie to the Christmas pageant (since his niece, the angel, could “magically make a chair appear next to me”) and Josie seems less than enthused about this prospect. She has a smile pasted on her face the entire time, but gives Jesus no signals whatsoever, only saying:
Josie: Yeah, I’ll probably come.
This doesn’t exactly strike me as a “He asked me! He asked me!!!” moment. Also, this is Josie’s church, so yeah, presumably she would go in any event. So after Jesus wishes her a Merry Christmas and leaves, I can only assume that Josie immediately called at least five of her closest friends, so she could nail down a group to go to the pageant, and thus make it very clear that even though he is there, and even though she is there, it is not a date.
Things are starting slowly here in Wintermas Village, Alaska, so I can only hope they will pick up tomorrow, in Part 2!