A Majestic Christmas
Where to start with this one, A Majestic Christma is possibly one of the most Hallmarky Hallmark Holiday movies I've ever seen. If there's a template for these Holiday movies, and I'm pretty sure there is some kind of central governing body for this things, then this one right here is Grade A Government approved.
Say Hello to Nell (Jerika Hinton), who's about as cute as a crate full of puppies and kittens. She's a hard working NYC architect, working for some soulless firm that never wants to preserve the history of structures, just tear them down and build new ones. One morning while Nell was putting some cash in Begging Santa's beggars bowl, note that Nell puts a LOT of money in that bowl, her bracelet fell in it which leads her to fishing it out, which subsequently leads to some really nasty man accusing Nell of stealing out of Santa's bowl. Santa immediately put that clown in check, Nell had a few choice words for him and now this nasty man feels dumb.
What are the chances that Nell is gonna meet that nasty man again? Like right now! Because Nell's boss is about to give Nell her very own project, one that will send her back home to the quaint Christmas town of Briar Falls to help a new client raze and renovate the classic Majestic Theater. This new client is of course Mr. Nasty man, or Connor as he will go by in this film (Christian Vincent) and he is quite apologetic. Nell is still not to happy with Connor's plans for the Majestic, which he inherited from his late aunt, as The Majestic has been the centerpiece of the town's Christmas and creative endeavors for a century, but it's the job. But because Nell is so cute and lovable, she's pretty much the only person on the planet who will be able to smooth this over with her people back home.
So Nell and Connor get to Briar falls, we meet a lot of characters who we will not worry about, nobody in town likes Connor, but everybody in town loves their homegirl Nell, Nell attempts to use her skill and charm to at least get Connor to preserve some of the theater, he agrees on some ideas, disagrees on others. Nell drags Connor to the Briar Falls 12 days of Christmas celebration which includes all kinds of stock Holiday movie events, they get closer, Briar Falls is growing on Connor even though his next gig taking him to California. A Near Miss Kiss occurs, but not to worry, because one thing this movie does a little different is that they don't wait until the end for the next kiss because these two kids end up making out a lot.
As we all know, something has to happen which breaks up the love and my goodness is it lame. If this is what qualifies for a break up, then maybe these two shouldn't be together, but we know that's not going to last as our adorable couple come back together on the 12th day of the festival, always held at the Majestic, and guess who's not tearing it down anymore? Guess who quit her job NYC to work to fix buildings in Briar Falls? Guess who's cancelling that California gig to live in his aunt's house in Briar Falls? Holiday Movie Land... the best place ever.
About that breakup, Connor sees Nell isn't happy tearing down old buildings and suggests she should do her own thing. Nell does just that, tells her boss she's leaving as soon as the Majestic gig is complete. Connor hears this and gets super pissy, thinking Nell has abandoned him. Nell amps up the pissiness by letting Connor know that A) she's seeing the project through and B) it was your freaking idea anyway! Then she stomps out and goes into her bedroom and cries while her mom brings her cookies and cocoa. We call that right there 'terrible communication', but this is what happens when you're generally given around two weeks to fall in love with someone.
Is 'A Majestic Christmas' any good? Of course it's not! It's formulaic and predictable, some of the dialog is stilted and forced and often hard to listen to, and there was a huge chunk of Connor's story which felt woefully under developed, but then those things are almost a given to the genre and as you know we don't judge these movies on those things, we judge them on things that important to said genre. For instance, Jerika Hinton and Christian Vincent look great together. That's what's important. Is the narrative Chrismassy? You better believe it, pure Christmas, and not some rando story that happened to be taking place around Christmas. There is snow all over the place. I think it even snowed in peoples houses. There was a Snowman building contest followed by a snowball fight, as well as a house decorating contest, as well as a Christmas Tree decorating scene and Nell's mom existed only to bake. That's what's important. The Christmas songs and the Christmas score was oppressive, there were Christmas Carols to sing on numerous occasions, there was a big play that was in danger but had to go on, and ended with mistletoe. Though trust me when I tell you, Nell and Connor didn't need the presence of a poison weed hanging over their heads to make out. Connor and Nell even danced in the middle main street, Fred and Ginger style. And after watching Christian Vincent do this, somebody over here is obviously a trained dancer. I'm a firm believer in exploiting the talents of your talent. If the man can dance, let him dance! Like in that Princess Switch movie with Vanessa Hudgins... Uh... she can sing. Let the girl sing! Also, this movie has Kevin Hanchard in it. A man who has been in two of the most groundbreaking TV series in recent history in Orphan Black and The Expanse. But who has spent the majority of 2018 playing fathers to Holiday Movie heroines. Brother gotta eat, I get it.
This is a Hallmark movie that did not leave much to chance. It has all the required elements, and even a few extra Christmassy elements to push it over that rarefied five vomit summit. It was missing orphan kids... kind of a stickler for orphan kids... but at least we got a toy donation scene for orphan kids. A Majestic Christmas might not be a good movie, but it's almost a picture perfect Hallmark movie.