Rescuing Christmas (2023)

December 26, 2023

Written by ChappyPants
On the 0-Christmas scale I give it a "Rescuing Navidad."

The movie Rescuing Christmas has what I call a FedEx problem.

Watching this new Hallmark release from director Emily Moss Wilson, I couldn’t help but take a trip down memory lane and remember my Latin American film class in college when we had to watch the movie A Day Without a Mexican. In that movie, everyone wakes up one day and there are no more Mexicans. Things spiral into a tailspin. As you can imagine, directors Sergio Arau and Sergio Guerrero, playing upon the age-old discussion of immigration, illegal immigration, etc., use the premise that you cannot disconnect Mexicans from the United States without dire consequences. In a college course, this led to much discussion, even debate. I don’t remember all the details of the movie, except things turned into total bedlam. Yes, of course this makes fun of the cultural majority. For example, a housewife who can’t do anything in the kitchen without her housekeeper. The men can’t engage in their normal lawn enforcement activities without their normal lawncare and garden workers. Of course, there are also instances of Mexicans who are cops, doctors and nurses, bankers, etc. And when none of them show up to work, all you-know-what breaks loose. When nobody is harvesting, food rots in the fields. Prices scream. People riot. The movie is over the top. It’s meant to. It’s essentially a mockumentary designed as fodder to discussion and dialogue, exactly as happened in my college courses.

Ah, yes. A Hallmark Christmas movie. And why wouldn’t someone naturally think about A Day Without a Mexican when watching a Hallmark Christmas movie? Well, in Rescuing Christmas, [SPOILER ALERT] Christmas essentially disappears for everyone except Erin Smithson (Rachael Leigh Cook).

Erin Smithson as played by Rachael Leigh Cook.

It’s a comedy of omission. A what happens once a year? Some fat guy in a red suit delivers stuff? We do what to our homes? We cut down what?

The grumpy-about-Christmas Erin has only been grumpy for one year and it has to do with a less-than-stellar breakup the last Christmas. So, due to a dude, she has lost her Christmas spirit. Hey, due to a dude, a lot of people have lost their joy, so I suppose Hallmark is aiming for accuracy.

[Tangent: My least favorite Christmas song of all-time is Wham!’s Last Christmas. “Last Christmas I gave you my heart, But the very next day you gave it away. This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special.” So, as it turns out, this Hallmark movie is not the first time love-gone-wrong at Christmas time has happened.]

So, what about FedEx?

Year over year, the shipping giant has increased its revenues, largely on an economy that has spent more and more on Christmas gifts and then shipped them (or online orders with direct shipping).

Just last week, it was announced that FedEx lost 7.68 BILLION with a B due to an absolute plunge in holiday shipping demand. Investors are reaplidly offloading shares of FedEx when the full-year sales forecast came out, setting shares at nearly 11 percent lower.

I don’t have the numbers for UPS, and I was too lazy to look them up, but I imagine they’re experiencing the same sorts of problems.

Bottom line: to make up for some of this, the logistics department is going to takes a few hits to get them on track. Like a Costco rotisserie chicken as a loss-leader, Christmas revenue helps FedEx offset some other things.

The Christmas elves in charge of the magic in this movie are not supposed to do anything that would throw the universe for a loop. But guess what? If there’s no Christmas, then FedEx isn’t do well. How is it still operating? This isn’t the heavily-subsidized United States Postal Service. So my guess is FedEx isn’t operating. If FedEx just isn’t there, that’s 500,000+ employees who no longer work there. I can keep going down the rabbit hole, but you get the gist. Because, in reality, it’s not just FedEx, it’s a whole slew of industries that support and rely on Christmas. And without them… wouldn’t this create a universe exploding?

Now, aside from FedEx, there is one more thing that drives me bonkers: This apparently takes place in Duluth, population 86,000+. But, of course, the movie has the feel of a town of about 6,000 souls. So that’s weird. I’m sorry, Hallmark, but you can’t just say, “hey, I’ve always wanted to have a magical Christmas in Duluth, but instead of a ton of people, make it a little village. And instead of Lake Superior doing its usual air-conditioner-on-full-blast winter, make it totally doable. And instead of snow dumping under gray skies with zero visibility, just make it snow at night so that daytime is sunny and the snow it just there.” Ugh.

My wife said the movie was stupid. That was her phrase. She obviously is a coal-in-stocking kind of gal. While I can’t get over the FedEx plot hole and the city-turned-into-village issue, there are a few delightful moments in this movie:

  • Santa is played by T. Mychael Rambo. I had never heard of Rambo but he is apparently a stage-play actor and I thought he played the role fairly well as a jolly individual.
  • When the mayor of Duluth meets Santa, I thought it was a funny verbal exchange.
  • I don’t know why, but I thought the ebullience displayed by elf Debbie (Bailey Stender) was funny.
  • The scene where Erin goes all Karen at the radio station employee and ends up in jail.

An overall delightful Christmas movie, no matter what my wife says. Worth watching with the whole family.




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