Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – The Holiday Calendar

Summary: Abby Sutton (Kat Graham) works tirelessly and long hours at a dead-end job at a holiday photo company in hopes of launching a photography career, shirking any potential for fun or romance. Her dedication to toiling doesn’t even stop when her lifelong friend Josh (Quincy Brown) comes back into town from Europe, so her grandfather (Ron Cephas Jones) gives her an old wooden advent calendar that his late wife owned. Funnily enough, the calendar’s contents seemingly predict events that are going to happen that day, leading her into the arms of a well-to-do gentleman named Ty (Ethan Peck). Of course, Josh has eyes for Abby and she doesn’t notice, so of course, she’ll have a lot to figure out before the calendar’s last door opens on Christmas day.

Review: The Holiday Calendar was… I honestly don’t know what it was. It wasn’t good, I can tell you that. But other than that, I can’t tell if its problematic, cliched, or just plain dull… well, okay, it’s all of those things. But if you asked me to name one that best describes the whole film, I would struggle for quite a bit. All I know is that I came away from it feeling frustrated and not feeling in the Holiday Spirit.

I’m just going to come out and spoil the ending because that really sums up a lot of my problems (or at least what really bugs me). In the end, Abby gets together with Josh, despite her never showing or even having feelings for him, and realizes that the calendar was trying to lead her to him this whole time. Not only does this feel like a massive cheat, but it reinforces this dumb idea that if someone’s in the “friend zone,” they can get out of it by being super nice. There’s been a huge blowback over this in recent years, so the fact that a movie is being made in 2018 with this sentiment is mind-boggling.

Not only that, but I feel like some of the film’s values are a bit screwy. One sequence has Abby being guilt tripped for missing a screening of A Christmas Story to go on a date to volunteer at the soup kitchen. True, she did break a promise and Ty’s motivations for volunteering weren’t altruistic, but she shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for doing a deed that ultimately made more of a difference than seeing a movie she’s probably seen dozens of times. Another is when she chews out her best friend for accidentally deleting all of her photos of an event (actually not possible, as photos from an SD card can be recovered quite easily) and costing her her job, yet she’s made to feel in the wrong for being angry. I’m sorry, but she had every right to be mad. What he did was massively irresponsible and damaging. If it hadn’t been for luck and circumstances, she might not have bounced back.

I came into this hoping for just some holiday fluff and it looked like it at first. There was plenty of Christmas imagery, there’s plenty of that cheesy orchestra music, and the grandpa’s performance is dripping with warm whimsy. But the moment the love triangle aspect barged in, the movie started losing me fast. Even my significant other, who loves all things Christmas, was having a hard time stomaching this movie. The wooden acting and the flimsy script leave me wondering who would enjoy this movie, though I will admit to laughing at quite a few of the jokes. At the very least, I didn’t have to pay money for it.

Fun Tidbit: After Abby breaks up with Ty, the best friend asks if he should beat him up, but Abby figures that he probably has a black belt in karate. Ty’s actor, Ethan Peck, actually does have a black belt in karate.

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