The Family Stone: The Most Cringe Film Ever Made

0.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The very worst form of the meeting family for the first time plot.

This film was just awful, I know I complain a lot about films being cringe, but this film was so horribly, uncomfortably cringe in its character interactions that honestly I had to look away at times such was the awkwardness. I will stress to you that it was not good cringe, no, it was the very worst kind.

Moreover, this film has some deeply warped values as it portrays it to be perfectly normal for someone to be considering marrying someone  else after knowing them for just one day, as well as saying it is fine to get bored of your current partner and then go out with their siblings whilst the two of you are still together. Not only does the film push this message it also acts like its normal, which last I checked isn’t the case.

In addition, most of the cast struggle to act and almost every single one of the interactions feels painful and stilted.

Overall, the only saving grace of this film was Luke Wilson and even he was wasted here.

Pros.

Wilson

Cons.

The cringe

Parker

The cast either can’t be bothered or are wasted

It has terrible morals

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The Last Train To Christmas: Ruining An Interview By Urinating On The Tape Recorder

4.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Tony Towers, played by Michael Sheen, is a club owner on the verge of bankruptcy, however when he enters a train that allows him to travel to other decades of his life he tries to change things in order to be a success, however, as he does this he realises what really matters to him.

This was a powerful film; I know the above summary might make the plot sound a bit generic but trust me it really isn’t. As Tony begins to learn that his success comes at the cost of his brother’s, played by Cary Elwes, physical and mental health and then tries to save him it hits you like a ton of bricks. The bond between these two characters is incredibly strong and Sheen and Elwes play off each other really well over the course of the film.

I found the morality of the film and the impact of Tony’s choices to be fascinating and not go in a way that I was expecting. I thought the ending of the film felt incredibly well done and earned, the one thing that bothered me about it though was that the two didn’t talk,  I felt like this was needed for us to know that Sheen’s Tony had been truly successful.

Overall, potentially a new Christmas classic.

Pros.

Elwes

Sheen

The emotion

The morality

Cons.

The ending

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Christmas Eve: Never Get In A Lift Again

0.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A series of people get stuck in lifts, elevators for The American audience, and have reflective life experiences.

When one begins to dive into Christmas films they are met with one absolute truth, most of the genre is awful. For every Elf and Home Alone there are one million made for TV Christmas films which serve as nothing more than a resequencing of cliches and stale jokes. Though I can’t speak for whether this film was made for TV, as honestly I don’t know, I can say there is a clear reason why this film has a zero on Rotten Tomatoes.

All of the sentimentality in this film feels like it was constructed by a robot that is devoid of human emotion and that does not know how people interact, a lot of the character interactions in this film range from either comically evil and cold to downright predatory and creepy, it is not a likeable bunch yet the film still tries to force in sentiments to the contrary. Even in a Christmas film some people are still going to be trash.

This film trots out Patrick Stewart to try and prop it up, and try though he might, it just feels like he is playing a bargain bin version of his Scrooge character. Even he can’t save this film.

Overall, yet another bad Christmas film.

Pros.

It is short

Cons.

The characters are creepy, cold and mostly awful

It has pacing issues

It can’t get the sentiment even remotely right

The ending

It wastes Stewart

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The Holiday: A Christmas Classic?

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Two women, played by Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, swap houses and in the process find love.

It goes without saying that this film is incredibly predictable in nearly everyway and is so chocked full of cliches that it is rare to see something other than them in the film, however that is not to say the film is bad. Certainly not. There is more than enough charm here to make up for the film’s misgiving.

I would say Diaz, Winslet and Jude Law, who plays Diaz’s characters love interest, are all well cast and fill out the rom-com architypes fairly well. Each is charming and Diaz and Law have good chemistry together, however Winslet and her pairing with Jack Black fairs worse. I really like Black and have since a young age I think the man can do no wrong a lot of the time, although here proves an exception to that. Firstly, the man has no business being a romantic male lead, he doesn’t fit the sensibility for it and as such his performance is far too big, and secondly though Winslet is really trying there is no chemistry between the two and that seems to be mainly Black’s fault as his performance is fairly wooden and could be played by anyone.

Overall, this rom-com is predictable but charming and could have scored higher if it was not for an incredibly miscast Jack Black.

Pros

Law, Diaz and Winslet

The charm

The ending

Cons.

It is predictable and cliched

Black

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Click And Collect: Would You Steal From A Sick Kid?

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Steven Merchant and Asim Chaudhry must go on a cross country road trip in order to get Merchant characters’ daughter a toy for Christmas.

I thought this film was honestly just pretty average, it had a few laughs but at the end of the day it wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before. It was an odd couple pairing that initially grate on one another and then eventually become friends, like I say nothing new.

Merchant plays it a little too straight and almost becomes unlikeable for big parts of the film, I understand being neurotic but that doesn’t make you a dick. Chaudhry on the other hand has a much better showing and is the heart and soul of the film, you really do end up caring for him by the end.

The comedy is fairly missing. I would say I chuckled maybe once or twice during the runtime of the film and that was probably about it. It’s not funny really, however it is watchable.

Overall, fairly average.

Pros.

Chaudhry

It is watchable

The ending

Cons.

Merchant

The odd couple pairing feels played out

It wastes Sophia Di Martino

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Office Christmas Party: A Room Full Of Regret

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The wacky goings on at an office Christmas Party.

My, my. How could they get a cast together with this many comedic actors and produce such a dud?

This film reeks to me of a corporate comedy. One made by a focus group at the behest of a room full of executives trying to guess at what people find funny, as such it is both overly tame and weak whilst also trying to force in edginess that doesn’t naturally lend itself to the film at all.

As you might assume this doesn’t lead to the film being funny at all. Most of the cast are wasted, or are used in ways that don’t produce any laughs, a good example of this would be Kate McKinnon who is just doing her usual shtick but this time has turned it up even higher. I would say Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston are serviceable but nothing more than that and that rather surprisingly Olivia Munn actually ends up being the comedic standout of the film and the only one who had any funny lines.

The film also features T.J Miller before the sexual abuse allegations came out, and he is just awful here. His jokes range from creepy to irritating and I think we can all agree that it is a good thing his face won’t be darkening our collective door anymore.

Overall, a weak, tame and factory produced comedy.

Pros.

Munn

Bateman and Aniston are trying to keep it together

Cons.

It is overstuffed

It isn’t funny

T.J Miller     

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Boxing Day: Maybe Skip A Family Christmas

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Melvin, played by Aml Ameen, brings his girlfriend, played by Aja Naomi King, home to face the family. A whirlwind ensues.

This film really wasn’t for me. It was unfunny to the point of annoyance and seemed to stretch on and on without any sign of it ending. I don’t think this film had me laugh once throughout.

Moreover, the wider cast were also poorly served, as the film reaches to give them depth but fails and instead just leaves us with a group of characters who are shallow, forgettable and ultimately unlikeable. Worse than all of that a lot of these characters are just written as cliches and tropes that we have all seen hundreds of times before.

Therein lies the big problem with this film for me, it is incredibly been there and done that. From the  off you can see where everything is going and rather than try and surprise you the film instead just plays out in an incredibly predictable way with all the generic holiday rom-com plot beats being hit as if the screen writers are trying to tick boxes on a list.

Overall, this film did little for me besides waste my time

Pros.

The ending dance number

I liked the mother stepfather romance

Cons.

It isn’t funny

It has pacing issues

A lot of the side characters are annoying

It relies heavily on cliches and stereotypes

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Santa Inc: Father Christmas Is A Patriarchal White Supremacist

0/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A young elf, voiced by Sarah Silverman, dreams of becoming the new Santa Clause and whilst doing it preaches on every hot button political topic and takes a big dump all over Christmas itself.

This show highlights everything wrong with modern day Hollywood to the letter. It is not funny, it makes constant political statements in an attempt to be funny or topical but fails at both, none of the characters are likeable and each is more annoying than the last, and finally it preaches and in that I take my biggest issue.

Don’t be like me, don’t sit through eight hours of being preached to and told how bad you are and how bad humanity in general is. Within the first few minutes of the show they make a joke about vaccination and the holocaust, because why have fun at all right? This show feels like the worst parts of adult animated comedy the parts that want to be edgy for the sake of being edgy and ultimately just feel needless and irritating.

Another major issue with this show is that it clearly hates Christmas, it takes every attempt it is given to tear down Christmas and those associated with it, do you like Santa Clause? Not anymore because he is part of the patriarchy. That is the essence of this show.

Finally in a move that shows just how out of touch actors are Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen, both key voices in the show, have allegedly said that anyone who doesn’t like the show is a white supremacist, which makes zero sense. However, what it does do is make me less likely to check out Rogen’s work in the future.

Overall, making something to attack Christmas and that is edgy for edgy sake is never going to be good.

Pros.

None

Cons.

It is too long

It isn’t funny

None of the characters are likeable

The constant political points/preaching

Being edgy for the sake of being edgy

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Silent Night: Perhaps The Worst Christmas Film Ever Made

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of people spend one final Christmas together before they are killed supposedly killed by a poisonous gas in the morning.

Where to start with why I didn’t like this film? I suppose the most glaring issue with it was the fact that it preaches absolute faith in what the Government preaches and punishes the characters that dare to think contrary to that. I have read some reviews of the film that say that the message is the exact opposite to how I have taken it and that the point is a critique on mass panics/ mass obedience but I think if that were the case the film needed to do more to show that people were silly to take the pills,

Another wide issue with this film is its preaching. In many ways this can be viewed as an eco-horror as the gas that is coming to kill everyone is of course a result of man’s treatment of the planet. Frankly this rather obvious explanation felt irritating from the beginning, as we get it the planet is hurting but that doesn’t mean it needs to be stuffed into every piece of media as an easy plot point. I would have preferred it if the gas had been sent by some other foreign power.

Moreover, there is an argument to be made that this film is in bad taste. It tries to be a dark comedy horror film, but abandons any semblance of comedy early on and instead tries to become a horror drama film. The bad taste elements come in with regard to the pandemic that we are all living through, there are a number of things here that parallel where we are right now and these elements come across in bad taste at least to me.

Finally, this might be one of the most depressing films you will ever see, there is nothing fun or even really watchable about it and it is so unpleasant that simply finishing it feels like a herculean effort.

Overall, the only reason this film didn’t get lower is because Keira Knightly, Sope Dirisu and Lily-Rose Depp are all trying enough to give the film a few redeemable moments.

Pros.

Knightly, Dirisu and Depp are all trying their best

Cons.

The rest of the cast are not very good, especially Roman Griffin Davis who embodies everything wrong with child actors

It is deeply depressing

It has troubled and flawed morals

The preaching   

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A Castle For Christmas: Escaping To Scotland

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Famous author Sophie Brown, played by Brooke Shields, heads to Scotland to avoid an angry fan backlash. Whilst there she buys a castle and falls in love with its Duke.

I found this film to actually be quite enjoyable in a goofy Netflix Christmas movie sort of way. Yes, if I were Scottish I would be offended by this film, it really does not understand Scottish culture at all and sometimes feels like it is making it up as it goes along, however there is enough charm to get you to enjoy it anyway.

I found the characters of Sophie and The Duke, played by Cary Elwes, to both be fun and likeable. Yes, they both had the usual cliché misunderstandings and stereotypical moments but I still found myself caring about both of the characters and their relationship as a whole. I thought the ending was sweet and it made me smile, there are enough sweet moments here to make this film a fun Christmas watch.

Overall, a lot of sweet moments and a fun Netflix Christmas film.

Pros.

It is sweet

It is funny

Shields and Elwes are both good.

Cons.

The way it portrays Scottish culture

It uses a lot of cliches

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