Christmas with a Capital C: Part 2
Escorting his son to school the next day, Mayor Dan runs into said son’s skiing coach, a bizarre man who apparently thinks he has to kiss the mayor’s ass:
Coach: Mornin’, Mayor. Your son’s getting faster every day.
Dan: That’s what I like to hear. How you doin’, Coach?
Coach: Good, good. It’s been a good year thanks to you. I hope this town keeps re-electing you as long as you’ll have us.
Oh, and when Coach says the above, Dan elbows his son, as in, “See? See??? They like me!”
Coach bounces from one foot to the other as he delivers his line, grinning like a schmuck, so I’m thinking he either has a huge crush on Dan, or is afraid Dan will have him disappeared if he doesn’t get sufficiently brown-nosed.
Later, the Big Bad Event occurs—somebody—and I’m not saying who, but his name rhymes with Rich Right—has filed a formal complaint, and the town is not allowed to put up the nativity characters on city property.
Dan: Who filed this complaint? The Grinch?
Yep, because the Grinch is the only person who could ever possibly be concerned about government endorsement of religion.
Willa, who appears to be the town’s attorney, seems oddly casual about the whole thing, and immediately suggests that Dan find a compromise, so the decorations can go up before Christmas (the judge won’t get to town for another few weeks). This is interesting to me, and even more interesting is the fact that according to IMDB, Willa’s last name is Rainwater. I wonder if that makes her one of those believers in “hocus pocus” “Native religion“ that Dan worries about.
Dan: No, I don’t want to compromise.
Well, fine, Mr. Second-Grader.
What Dan does want to do is discuss this with his brother. Because we all know what a level-headed guy Jesus-Greg is, right?
HA, just kidding! Jesus delivers a rant of a full minute about the evils of tolerance and those horrible atheists who don’t want to hear “bless you” when they sneeze and oh boy, nobody better mess with the Reed brothers, because boy they will BRING IT because this is a Christian nation and–
JESUS, SHUT UP, JESUS! NOBODY LOVES YOU! NOBODY CARES!
Dan calls a city council meeting, and the city council consists of himself, Willa, Josie (wooooo!!!), Some Guy in a Flannel Shirt, and Some Old Guy. In a shocking and refreshing twist, basically they are not on Dan’s side:
Dan: Willa’s got the legal under control; it’s not gonna cost us a thing.
Old Guy: It’s a waste of her time!
Hot damn, Old Guy, good for you!
Josie continues to be the most interesting character around—when Dan says…
“I assume you have enjoyed all these years [of the nativity scene on government property] as an indication of Christmas, right?”
…we cut to Josie, avoiding eye contact with a “Wellll…not really” look on her face.
I’m sure we are meant to see that as Mitch’s evil atheist influence working on her, but to me, it is more an indication that maybe Mitch was right, when he said at the party that some people might find Dan’s piety—and his use of government property to promote it—a bit annoying.
And they also have no patience with Dan’s little spat with Mitch:
Dan: Look, Mitch Bright has a personal vendetta against me–he has since we were teenagers. I mean, you all know that.
Yes, Dan, I’m sure the entire town keeps track of your 20-year-old feud. I’m sure everybody is so invested in you that they remember every tiff you ever had over a parking space. NOTHING COULD POSSIBLY BE MORE INTERESTING.
Flannel Shirt: If this is personal between you and him, work it out. Don’t drag the whole town into it.
Damn straight, Flannel Shirt!
Then Josie points out that Mitch has good business ideas for the town and that they shouldn’t be so quick to “push him out.”
So we can see that Josie and Flannel Shirt are the true heroes of this story.
More teenage flirting. Still don’t care.
The next day, back in Josie’s coffee chop, Mitch is chatting up Old Guy and Flannel Shirt about getting more cruise ships to stop at the town and thus increase business. Mayor Dan shows up to interrupt them…
Dan: Do you really care about city hall decorations? Or is this about me?
…and Mitch asks the question we have all been asking ourselves since the movie began:
Mitch: You really think that highly of yourself?
Of course, being an evil atheist, Mitch has a problem with “so-called Christians” who go crazy for Black Friday deals and are…
“…the most unforgiving, unloving, even bigoted people I’ve ever seen.”
And seeing as how he’s talking to the Christian who has spent 20 years nursing a high school grudge, it’s kinda hard to argue the point.
So Dan doesn’t even try. Instead, he jumps up and snaps at Mitch in a coffee shop full of people that he will not let him “ruin Christmas for everyone” and “hold this town hostage.”
Boy, who says that RTCs blow things out of proportion and see persecution in every action, eh?
Oh, but he keeps going, accusing Mitch of trying to “tell people how to live and how to worship,” which…pot, kettle, Dan. Mitch isn’t the one putting a nativity scene at city hall.
Oh, and it’s probably worth pointing out here that Mitch is calm and cool as a cucumber, while Dan grabs a chair and shoves it out of the way so he can get more in Mitch’s face.
Again, who says RTCs overreact?
Then Dan accuses Mitch of “already campaigning” for mayor by trying to appeal to the “common people.”
Mitch: I think it’s quite apparent why I’m here every morning. *beat* Free wireless.
OH SNAP. MITCH, YOU ARE DA MAN.
I’m serious: I laughed out loud at that line. All the more so because I just love a hero who can stay cool and keep his humor while the other party is trying to escalate.
And the hits just keep on coming, and Dan just cannot keep his cool. When Flannel Shirt puts up a “Seasons Greetings” sign at city hall, to replace the “Merry Christmas” sign, it is “NOT OKAY” with Dan.
The battle for the holiday season is now ON LIKE RED DAWN, as a montage of the “War on Christmas” shows us that the town is just as divided as Mitch thought.
Hilariously, the first shot is of someone slapping a “Festivus for the Rest of Us” sticker on his truck.
Dude, is that supposed to be ominous? Did the filmmakers actually think Festivus was a threat to Christmas? Have they never watched Seinfeld? Festivus is a parody holiday.
Actually, I take that back. After Dan’s little meltdown and Mitch’s good humor in the coffee shop, it is apparent that there is to be NO JOKING about the baby Jesus’s birthday.
Dan and Kristin take a walk, and Dan, naturally enough, takes the opportunity to kvetch about Mitch, and to wonder if he, too, would have lost his faith if he had ever left the sleepy little town of
Bedford Falls Trapper Falls.
But later, in the coffee shop, things are anything but boring. You see, when Heroine Josie serves Dan and Jesus their coffee, she says two words that prove she has turned to the Dark Side, become an evil atheist herself:
Well. Can’t have any of that.
Thus begins a nearly two-minute rant on how great Christmas is, and how nobody should even be thinking about any other day in December.
I won’t reproduce any of the ridiculousness that Jesus delivers to a coffee shop full of people that didn’t ask for this, except to point out that Jesus thinks that 98% of America celebrates Christmas. Really, dude?
And there are two great things about this little rant: first, that it was occasioned by Josie, the woman on whom Jesus allegedly has a crush. Well, one great way to treat your crush is to lecture her and all her customers while standing on a chair.
The second great thing is that when Jesus gets on the chair, Mitch calmly pulls out his phone and starts filming.
Why, Christian entertainment? Why do you always make me root for your supposed villains?
Teenage flirting plus cross-country ski racing. Even more boring.
Mitch is officially running for mayor, now, guys! I’m going to pretend that I can hope that he wins, because that would be just so cool. Also, Mitch tells Dan to thank Jesus for his stupid rant, because it helped him get all the signatures he needed to go forward.
Dan, of course, has zero plan in place for dealing with any challenge to his authority, and can only tell his family that he will “stand by what I believe in,” and that everyone should do the same.
Of course, this inspires our young DVD cover girl to don her angel costume and get on the empty nativity scene platform and sing her dear little heart out.
As she does this, Jesus sits slumped on the edge of the platform, acting as her (really bad) bodyguard.
Of course, atheist Mitch shows up to SPOIL EVERYTHING and tells her (very gently and kindly, mind you) that she needs to get down. He reaches to take her hand to help her, and Jesus shoves him. Because he’s just that mature. Mitch, long-suffering martyr that he is, gives up the battle so he can win the war (on Christmas).
And by that, I mean that he calls the police. Nothing comes of it except that they make Makayla stop singing, but they also don’t arrest Jesus for assault, so there’s that. But Kristin decides it’s time to officially Do Something, and that something is call a meeting with Willa the Lawyer, the local Reverend, and Some Woman.
Ready for some Christian charity in action???
Dan: What are we supposed to do? Uh, are we supposed to put up—y’know, we put up a menorah and then we put up the Kwanza—I don’t even know what that symbol is. I mean, where does it end?
Our hero, everyone.
Reverend: The point is, the person bringing the complaint hates all religion. He hates God. He doesn’t want equal representation of religion, he wants none.
Some Woman: So, we’re supposed to bow down to these God-haters?
Oh, and she calls the matter “an injustice.” And she doesn’t mean it’s an injustice that only Christianity gets government endorsement in this town, but that someone would complain about that.
As this meeting is going on, Jesus is back at the house with Makayla and Flirting Teenage Son. Makayla is just about to start rehearsing for the pageant, when there’s a knock at the door: it’s Flirting Teenage Girl!
Flirting Teenage Son (or FTS for short) is understandably nervous and stuff, what with having FTG around, just hanging, and calls the Christmas pageant “the same boring old program.”
RIGHT IN FRONT OF JESUS
Time for Christmas Rant 2.0, in which Jesus and Makayla do their own version of the story, swapping parts every few seconds.
Trust me, that is way less interesting than it sounds.
I guess it’s one of those things where you just had to be there to find it funny.
Meanwhile, back at the
ranch meeting, Kristin gets the privilege of giving the show its title!
“Christmas starts with a capital “C.” The “C” comes from the name, Christ. Christ, the lord, is the center of Christmas, not our rights, not our tradition. None of that matters if it starts to detract us from the one whose birth we celebrate, right?”
Huh. She’s actually making sense. I mean, she’s still buying into the idea that their rights are in danger, but at least she’s not being a jerk. She suggests that they all spend more time worrying about “the needs of others,” which is also sensible and not jerkish.
Though I think it’s kinda funny that she’s the only one to even suggest charity to the reverend and the Good Christian Mayor, and it’s like two weeks until Christmas.
So, the “Christmas with a Capital ‘C'” campaign starts, which involves some charity:
Just think, if Atheist Mitch hadn’t come to town, this never would have happened!
And they hand out “hot chocolate with a capital ‘C’” to sledders. Har.
And Jesus even gets in on the act, sing-songing “Sorry” to Josie and wiping down the chairs in her coffee shop. She still doesn’t seem warm to him, though, so go Josie!
Teen. Flirting. Bored.
Back at the mayoral casa, little Makayla has an idea that makes Kristin, in the words of the immortal Jerry Jenkins, shoot her a double take. Makayla wants to bake cookies for Mitch, because “nobody’s done anything for him as far as I can tell.” And that is very true, notwithstanding the Christmas campaign—even though he is new to town and grew up here, nobody has so much as swung by the house to say “welcome back.”
Kristin drives Makayla and the cookies over, but won’t even get out of the car. Coward. Or maybe she’s just a bit shame-faced that after guilt-tripping the reverend and her husband and brother-in-law into doing nice things, she has now been successfully guilt-tripped by an eight-year-old.
She needn’t have worried, because Mitch is not home. Makayla double-checks at the window, then leaves the cookies on the frigid doorstep.
They get back to the house to the news that the judge is coming to town the next day (dun dun DUN), and Dan tucks Makayla into bed. They have the following odd conversation:
Makayla: …[Mitch] makes people grumpy.
Dan: I think he makes people grumpy because he’s grumpy.
He is? He does? Far as I’ve seen, he’s been nothing but pleasant to everyone. Dan’s been the one escalating and Jesus has been the one ranting, though I suppose it’s natural for Makayla not to see it that way.
Anyway, she prays for Mitch: for God to be with him and “make him nice.”
And on that note, waiting for the judge and for God to make Mitch nice, we’ll await Part 3.