Fifty-three people are roasting on the open fire this holiday season, the scorched subjects of a tweet from Netflix that went viral last week reading, To the 53 people whove watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?
We groan-laughed at the tweet when it was sent. Now were annoyed, because it caused the streaming services atrocious holiday film to escalate in popularity to the point where we had to watch it to see what all the fuss is about. Its terrible. Its not even fun-terrible, in the way that all those Candace Cameron Bure movies that Hallmark created its own cottage industry out of.
Its 90 minutes of Prince Harry holiday fan fiction that feels 75 minutes too long.
Even the Christmas decorations are ugly.
Why is everyone watching this movie? Stop watching this movie!
Bad Christmas movies have become part of the litany of holiday season traditions that we convince ourselves we want and performatively enjoy for attention and Instagrams, like Christmas cookie-swaps and braving the crowd at the Rockefeller tree, but are actually torture. The only reward is a headache and latent nausea. By that measure, the saccharine, illogical romance of A Christmas Prince should be served with a chaser of Pepto-Bismol.
Why do we convince ourselves that this schmaltz is worth watching, even ironically? There are so many legitimately good Christmas movies for people to watch. Good movies that are actually on Netflix include: White Christmas, The Santa Clause, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and even Bad Santa. What are we doing watching this shady journalist pratfall into a snow-kissed romance with a smarmy prince?
A Christmas Prince is proof of the #PeakTV theory that people will watch anything, as long as its on Netflix. See also: the fact that Fuller House is one of the most-watched TV series right now, and the people still trying to convince themselves that Stranger Things 2 was good.
The film basically lifts the plot from How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and accepts the dare from the Princess Diaries producers to come up with a fake country name more ridiculous than Genovia. And thus aspiring journalist Amber is sent to Aldoviaughto get the scoop on the playboy prince who is waffling about taking over the throne. Would you believe they fall in love?
Its not even aspirationally cute, in the they were perfect for each other all along kind of way. When he finally proposes to her in the endis it technically a spoiler when its this obvious?she doesnt respond by swooning into an ecstatic yes; she immediately starts listing all the reasons why an engagement would make no sense and literally ruin her life.
The film opens with a jaunty Christmas song that sounds like Jingle Bell Rock but isnt, and a montage of B-roll from holiday moments in New York City. We meet Amber, a copy editor at a trashy magazine who is fed up with salvaging star writers copy instead of reporting out her own stories. But when no one else is available to travel to Aldovia to cover the drama surrounding the future kings coronation cold feet, she gets her big break.
When the prince doesnt show up for the press conference and all the other journalists go homeyes, apparently a New York-based magazine flew a junior reporter to a foreign country to cover a press conferenceshe sneaks into the palace, lies and says shes the young princesss tutor, and starts reporting from the inside.
Of all the offensive things in this movie, and this is a movie that uses a characters disability as a manipulative plot device, its portrayal of journalism is the most egregious. Yes, it truly is the season of the journalism movie, with The Post and now A Christmas Prince. One is about the necessity of the First Amendment to protect citizens from the tyranny of government. The other is about how its OK for a reporter to lie about her identity, so long as a salacious story is produced from it.
Her big scoop once shes on the inside is that the press has it all wrong about this royal family. Princess Emily, who is in a wheelchair because she has spina bifida, may act like a terror, but Amber sees her for who she really is: a self-conscious little girl who just wants to be normal. And the prince isnt a cad. Hes a good person. He plays with orphans! He doesnt like that being king would steal his attention away from his goodness and orphan-playing.
While pretend-tutoring Princess Emily, Amber falls in love with the prince, whose name I forgot but hes so bland its probably something like John or Mike. (Ah, its Richard.) He falls in love right back. He likes that shes a real girl. She wears Converse sneakers.
We learn along the way that Richard has been in love once before, to a snooty bitch named Lady Sophia who was only with him for attention and sold a story about him to the papers. She does not approve of Richards infatuation with Amber. Lady Sophia is the character with which I most identify.
But Amber and Richards love is impenetrable. They have snowball fights. They ride horses. They bond over dead parents. Things get complicated when Amber accidentally discovers that Richard was adopted, and thus cant be king. She doesnt know what to do. Should she break the story? The next 30 minutes are a tense battle between journalism and love.
There is an onslaught of annoying things that happen next, mostly revolving a handmade acorn Christmas ornament. The films only gay character and only black person are given some lines of dialogue. Everyone lives happily ever after.
All of this should be inoffensive. No scene lasts longer than 22 seconds. There is more jingle music than there is dialogue. None of the acting is discernibly bad. Yet there is something irritatingly shallow about the movie, even when considered as part of the shallow Christmas movie canon.
Theres no grand moral or life lesson either character has to learn. Theres not a lick of warmth or, really, romance. We said it before, but it bears repeating: even the Christmas decorations in the palace are ugly. If youre going to make a Netflix holiday movie, at least give us some decoration porn.
What that new ‘Jessica Jones’ character means for the season and the series
Friend or foe?
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Jessica Jones Season 2.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones has been a revelation for women ever since it premiered in 2015. Not only did it present us with a deeply flawed and traumatized protagonist, it dealt with her history and insecurities head-on.
In Season 2, we still have a host of varied, complicated women; from Carrie Ann Moss’s struggling Jeri Hogarth to Rachael Taylor’s unraveling Trish to our newest character, played by Janet McTeer. It’s a pivotal role with DEEP complexity and physicality, the likes of which is rare for women in action shows – especially women of a certain age.
McTeer is first introduced as Dr. Leslie Hansen, a scientist linked to the ominous IGH, but we quickly learn that there’s far more to her. She has abilities like Jessica’s, but dialed up to 11; with her super strength comes a rampant rage – a dissociative disorder that’s a side effect of the experiments IGH actually conducted on her.
When that switch flips, she becomes incredibly volatile, but with an almost childlike fixation on the source of her distress. McTeer communicates all this with a clenched jaw and unwavering gaze – and that’s before all the stunt work.
“That was fun, you know, the idea of being someone who works really hard to control her emotions, control herself,” McTeer told Mashable at the Season 2 premiere in New York. “She doesn’t know how to do that particularly but she tries very hard in all kinds of different ways and doesn’t always succeed.”
And then there’s that Episode 6 reveal, the shaky word a disbelieving Jessica says after tracking her quarry back to the house where she lives: “Mom?”
At first, turning this new character into Alisa Jones feels like a bit of a MacGuffin for Jessica’s quest to figure out exactly who or what she is. The tragic loss of her family is one of Jessica’s most formative experiences, like so many other superheroes. It’s infuriating to think her mother was alive this long and that their paths never crossed. Alisa didn’t even seek her out.
Episode 7 addresses all of that in flashbacks, but it’s still maddening. Especially with an ostensibly retconned dead boyfriend plot for Jessica that ends up being her mother’s fault (that jacket reveal though…:crying emoji:).
As the season builds to a climax, it’s hard to reconcile those revelations with a forced mother-daughter vigilante bonding subplot. Sure, there’s a tenderness to Alisa tending her daughter’s bullet wound that we haven’t seen Jessica experience before, but Mama Jones is a ticking time bomb and combustion is all but inevitable.
By now, we know how this ends: Alisa goes rogue (Jessica with her, for a time) and there’s no reeling her back in. By the final episode, she’s lost the only person who could help her scientifically and joined Jessica in the dead boyfriends’ club – she also murders a detective in a surge of violent energy reminiscent of Kilgrave himself.
“I’ve never seen a woman play a part like this,” McTeer said. “I’ve seen men do it very often but you know, I’m a middle-aged woman, so that was fun. Hard, harder than playing it when you’re 25 because it’s very physical, but still great.”
“You do something like this and you hope someone will go ‘Oh, that’s a good idea, let’s do another one!'” she added. “‘Does an FBI agent have to be a man? Let’s make it a woman. Does that person really have to be a man? Let’s make it a woman.’ I’d like that to happen more.”
If any show was going to do it, it’s this one.
Jessica Jones Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.
Offred is 1000% over it in new ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ teaser
The Handmaid’s Tale just served up an International Women’s Day teaser of Offred and her sisters fighting back. After a first season that explored women losing all their agency, Season 2 shows shows the women of Gilead refusing to be oppressed any longer.
The teaser is mostly a few flashes of footage and imagery – including Offred in front of a noose and a weeping Moira (Samira Wiley) – narrated with the emotionless cadence Elisabeth Moss perfected as Offred. She lists the requirements of the handmaid like commandments: “Wear the red dress, wear the wings,” and eventually, “Shut your mouth, be a good girl, roll over and spread your legs, yes ma’am, may the lord open.”
And then the teaser ends with a burst of frustration: “Seriously, what the actual f–”
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 premieres April 25 on Hulu.
Obamas in talks with Netflix about original shows, report says
Netflix Originals from the Obamas may be coming.
You could soon be watching Netflix Originals commissioned by Barack and Michelle Obama.
According to a report by The New York Times, the former president and first lady are in “advanced negotiations” with the streaming giant to produce a series of shows.
The proposed deal, the Times reports, would see Netflix paying the Obamas to commission exclusive content, which would “highlight inspirational stories.” Exactly how many shows and episodes we can expect, whether these will be documentaries, mini-series or otherwise, has not yet been confirmed.
How much the Obamas will be paid is also still unclear.
Netflix currently boasts 117 million members in over 190 countries — quite the robust platform for the already social media-dominant Obamas to potentially leverage.
But the Times surmised that Obama wouldn’t be using the platform as “a direct answer to Fox News or Breitbart.com,” writing:
Mr. Obama does not intend to use his Netflix shows to directly respond to President Trump or conservative critics, according to people familiar with discussions about the programming.
Netflix isn’t the only streaming service interested in content commissioned by the Obamas it seems, with the Times reporting that executives from Amazon and Apple had also “expressed interest in talking with Mr. Obama about content deals.”
Mashable has reached out to Netflix for comment.