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Elektra Boogaloo

Episode 255. A Very Nutty Christmas

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HDTGM All-star Jessica St. Clair joins Paul, June, and Jason to discuss the 2018 Lifetime movie A Very Nutty Christmas starring Melissa Joan Hart. They talk about the music montages, hot nutcrackers, the mouse king, and more.

 

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I have a lot to say about this one. As I said in the mini thread, I did not enjoy it. Though obviously glad to have Jessica back. 

I will have to try to organize my thoughts into numbers. But I am bad.

 

1. It was shot in Mystic, Connecticut. According to the articles I found, it was shot in May. May by the ocean is VERY different than Christmas. It was also shot in, and yes I am spelling this correctly, Olde Mystick Village. Now I grew up in CT and I haven’t been to this place since my sister’s bachelorette when we went there to buy fancy cheese. But it is a shopping center. It is supposed to mimic a village. But people don’t live there. And I thought, even though I didn’t recognize it until mentioned on the podcast, that it was palpable that no one lived there. There was such a sense of emptiness. 

1a. There is a Navy submarine base in Groton, CT and also the Coast Guard Academy is near there in New London, CT. I think that Army order was a prank though. Seaports aren’t known for their standing armies. 

2. It is Dec 11 as I write this. Going to save it to drafts for when the episode thread is up. But I am angry. I purchased this film for $.84 on Vudu and I kind of want my money back. When you have a Christmas movie and have two leads, aren’t they supposed to get together at the end? Is that not the tacit agreement we have in Lifetime Christmas movies? I walked away to make some tea (yes, tea, June) and when I came back the Nutcracker was gone and some other guy with weird swoopy hair was there. I did not care for it. 

3. I thought this had a chance to be our “MAN-nequin.” They sort of gave Chip a backstory and he could’ve been cursed. Except then Melissa Joan Hart would have to have done something for him, to help him. He kept saying they needed each other. But they didn’t. She needed him. She brought nothing to the table. He just fought the Mouse King for her. Also, the Mouse King was a let down. The Mouse King always scared me in the ballet as a kid and this was just two guys in fake mustaches. They were basically Mario and Luigi. I could take them. 

4. Like the hosts, I was confused as to why he was German. I went down a rabbit hole on this. I thought he should be Russian because the ballet is Russian. Now it turns out the ballet is based on a story written in 1816 by a Prussian author. So I thought, “ah! He should’ve been Prussian!”  But, Chip is said to be the real Nutcracker who inspired the tale because he has “Made in Germany” tattooed on his neck. This contradicts the earlier statement that he’s the real Nutcracker from the story since it implies that he was manufactured and isn’t a real man at all. 

Now,  things get trickier, the German Republic didn’t exist until 1815. That’s  just a year before the story was published and one would think—if he is the “real” Nutcracker—his real life would have had to have happened BEFORE the story based on it was published. It’s just a really tight timeframe for publishing something even today, and I don’t think things were faster in 1815. I also don’t think they had MADE IN GERMANY stamped on things in 1816, even if we allow for him to somehow have been “made” technically in Germany at that time, wouldn’t he have to be hand-carved? I think I could go buy that Nutcracker in any Target today. And I don’t think it’s one that actually cracks nuts either. It looks like the decorative kind.

BUT the original story has a character named Drosselmeyer, who is a wood carver and it is his nephew who is turned into THE nutcracker. By naming the old man Drosselmeyer it seems the scriptwriters want to say he is actually from the story. In which case, the way to turn him back human is to promise to love him in spite of his looks (a bushy bearded nutcracker who only turns into a man sometimes).  Because the main character swears this and he takes her off to live in his enchanted toy kingdom. 

Does that mean Melissa Joan Hart couldn’t even manage that? And by moving on to the next hot guy in the uniform she has doomed Barry Watson to more years as a fucking nutcracker, sitting on the shelf and waiting for someone to love him?

5. I can’t figure out the motivations of Drosselmeyer in the movie. Does he just go around giving enchanted nutcrackers to random women? Because if it is supposed to be his nephew, he up and leaves town before the conclusion which makes me think he’s more of a trickster figure. Maybe HE is the Mouse King whose ancestor turned the boy into the nutcracker to begin with, and he’s just keeping him trapped. 

6. I found some old German-style nutcrackers on wikipedia, apparently they are supposed to keep bad spirits away—who knew—and they look a lot cooler than this one. 

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nussknackermuseum_002.jpg

 

7. That was definitely a small kitchen. The “big moment” where Chip cracks the nuts was underwhelming for me. I was like, “well that’s not enough for a thousand cookies.” He had ONE bowl. 

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This movie's biggest problem is that it doesn't lean into what it is. It has magical realism, but doesn't seem to care once it's introduced. The should have leaned into Melissa Joan Hart's being alone or a Christmas hater. She didn't hate Christmas; she was busy at work making stuff for Christmas parties. She wasn't some lonely spinster; she was just in a relationship days earlier. The entire movie is maybe two weeks. So, she's dumped, falls in love with Chip, then meets the new guy on Christmas. If anything, she falls in love too quickly.

Melissa Joan Hart should have either disliked Christmas or been unable to get over a relationship from years ago. Maybe her last boyfriend dumped her on Christmas Eve or something. That's the entire reason why she dislikes Christmas and is so focused on work. She should actually say, over the nutcracker, "I wish I could find someone to love" as a tear falls onto the doll which is what makes her wish come alive. Chip should also come to life looking more like a nutcracker doll. Big bushy moustache and beard. They should clean him up and reveal he's attractive under all facial hair and uniform. Chip should also be way more intense about his mythical quest (ie - The Fisher King). His zest for life is what sparks Melissa Joan Hart to fall in love. He teaches her to embrace Christmas and ready to love again. I'd argue it's more enjoyable for the audience to see Melissa Joan Hart and Chip get together at the end as well.

It's not wildly different from what we have but it acknowledges what this movie actually is instead of downplaying it.

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Can Real Men™ drink tea? Press Haha for Yes, Sad for No, Huh? for Huh?, and Hedgehog for Juuuuuune.

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“Life can be tough, and your mental health is so very important. With this service, you can speak with a licensed and trained therapist at any time. Just use the offer code: BONKERS...”

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In the beginning of the movie did MJH's boyfriend just straight up admit to cheating on her and blaming it on her being a busy, successful baker? And no one seemed really upset about that? It bothered me through out the whole movie that she was more upset about being single for the ball instead of just pissed he was apparently cheating on her the whole time. 

My main take away from this movie are these two images I immediately sent to my friends while I was watching this movie. Barry Watson is great at being a terrible actor. He has another made-for-tv movie where he's a robot and its god awful and --- he's the best part of it. 

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j37Mvu.jpg

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i cannot believe the gang didnt comment on the "movers with a union moving van", remember they are wearing fake handlebar mustaches and one guy is eating string cheese non stop.. 

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2 minutes ago, SaraK said:

In the beginning of the movie did MJH's boyfriend just straight up admit to cheating on her and blaming it on her being a busy, successful baker? And no one seemed really upset about that? It bothered me through out the whole movie that she was more upset about being single for the ball instead of just pissed he was apparently cheating on her the whole time. 

My main take away from this movie are these two images I immediately sent to my friends while I was watching this movie. Barry Watson is great at being a terrible actor. He has another made-for-tv movie where he's a robot and its god awful and --- he's the best part of it. 

45F589D3-862D-47EE-B08C-082282419966.thumb.jpeg.ae88b3ce789c75b444e00ba232fc5a9c.jpeg
j37Mvu.jpg

Hi Sara!

tenor.gif

 

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2 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Hi Sara!

tenor.gif

 

Hi!

Its been a while! But I can't resist a bad Christmas movie :)

 

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3 hours ago, grudlian. said:

This movie's biggest problem is that it doesn't lean into what it is. It has magical realism, but doesn't seem to care once it's introduced. The should have leaned into Melissa Joan Hart's being alone or a Christmas hater. She didn't hate Christmas; she was busy at work making stuff for Christmas parties. She wasn't some lonely spinster; she was just in a relationship days earlier. The entire movie is maybe two weeks. So, she's dumped, falls in love with Chip, then meets the new guy on Christmas. If anything, she falls in love too quickly.

Melissa Joan Hart should have either disliked Christmas or been unable to get over a relationship from years ago. Maybe her last boyfriend dumped her on Christmas Eve or something. That's the entire reason why she dislikes Christmas and is so focused on work. She should actually say, over the nutcracker, "I wish I could find someone to love" as a tear falls onto the doll which is what makes her wish come alive. Chip should also come to life looking more like a nutcracker doll. Big bushy moustache and beard. They should clean him up and reveal he's attractive under all facial hair and uniform. Chip should also be way more intense about his mythical quest (ie - The Fisher King). His zest for life is what sparks Melissa Joan Hart to fall in love. He teaches her to embrace Christmas and ready to love again. I'd argue it's more enjoyable for the audience to see Melissa Joan Hart and Chip get together at the end as well.

It's not wildly different from what we have but it acknowledges what this movie actually is instead of downplaying it.

It was also kind of weird that Melissa Joan Hart never seemed to realize there was some magic going on with this guy, even though she's literally seen him CRACK WALNUTS WITH HIS BARE HANDS. Like it was a big surprise for her near the end of the movie to learn that he wasn't the AirBNB guest she expected, even though (1) he never rang the doorbell and was just lying on her floor on the first day, (2) all of his stories seem to suggest he comes from a much earlier time period, and (3) HE CAN CRACK WALNUTS WITH HIS BARE HANDS. None of that was a clue?

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1 hour ago, SaraK said:

In the beginning of the movie did MJH's boyfriend just straight up admit to cheating on her and blaming it on her being a busy, successful baker? And no one seemed really upset about that? It bothered me through out the whole movie that she was more upset about being single for the ball instead of just pissed he was apparently cheating on her the whole time. 

My main take away from this movie are these two images I immediately sent to my friends while I was watching this movie. Barry Watson is great at being a terrible actor. He has another made-for-tv movie where he's a robot and its god awful and --- he's the best part of it. 

 

The ex-boyfriend INFURIATED ME! He was so nonchalant in how he broke up with her.  I'm not saying he wasn't correct - she had no time for him, I can see why he broke up with her - but what a real d-bag.

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Did anyone else notice how many times she changed her pants? She would leave her house in jeans and a sweater, then get to the bakery and change into weird yoga pants.  Then she would change into different pants to sit on her couch and work on spreadsheets.  3 pants a day? She might be able to save some money in laundry soap and her water bill if she just wore the yoga pants from the get go.  

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When the nutcracker left on Christmas Eve, didn't the card say "See you next year"? I swear it did, and at the end of the movie all I kept thinking was how awkward things were going to be....or how amazing for MJH.  I need that sequel where he comes back to life and soldier boy is there frosting her cookies and suddenly Barry Watson pulls out his sword.  That's an instant holiday classic.

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Here’s what bugged me about army guy at the end: he’s not an adequate substitute for her just continuing her relationship with Chip. He’s not filling any discernible void. 

Based on what we know about MJH and her workaholic tendencies, the kind of casual, once-a-year relationship that she would have had with Chip seems almost ideal. Yet, by pairing her off with the army dude, the movie seems to be positing that that kind of limited relationship would be inadequate, and that she requires a more present partner. Which is fine, of course. However, the movie then decides to pair her off with a person who is not only less magical than Chip, but equally (if not more) unavailable! The movie goes to great lengths to tell us how rare it is for army dude visit his aunt. From the sound of it, it seems like it’s been years. If anything, a guaranteed once-year-visit from Chip sounds far more stable and reliable than whatever she can build with some random army guy who never has time to visit.

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2 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

It was also kind of weird that Melissa Joan Hart never seemed to realize there was some magic going on with this guy, even though she's literally seen him CRACK WALNUTS WITH HIS BARE HANDS. Like it was a big surprise for her near the end of the movie to learn that he wasn't the AirBNB guest she expected, even though (1) he never rang the doorbell and was just lying on her floor on the first day, (2) all of his stories seem to suggest he comes from a much earlier time period, and (3) HE CAN CRACK WALNUTS WITH HIS BARE HANDS. None of that was a clue?

Also, obsessed with the mouse king and dressed like a nutcracker.

This should have just been Mannequin but takes place at Christmas. I'd even settle for Mannequin On The Move at Christmas. 

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I think we have all been looking at this movie backwards.  It’s not about a magical sole materializing as a nutcracker in a normal little town.  It’s about a normal person whose spirit enters the afterlife and is being pulled between life and death.

It is evident that this a not an actual town because:
- There is no currency/commerce - The cookies are free, the nutcracker is free, Kate gets a free scarf from the clothing store, Chip wins the silent auction.  Money never changes hands.  It’s like in Westworld when the robots see something that does not fit in their world, the just say, “That don’t look like nothing to me.”   Here Kate just says to the Christmas merchant, “I don’t think giving away merchandise is a very sound business practice”, yet every merchant in town does it, most evidently, Kate.

- It seems to exist in isolation.  Although other places are mentioned, we never actually see anything other than this town.  I think all the residents are happily “trapped” here in immortality.  This is evidenced when Kate takes a stack of packages to the post office with each having only a single name written on a tag.  No addresses are given, but I’m sure these packages will be magically delivered the same way goods are magically “purchased”.

- The afterlife scenario also explains why Kate is so non-plussed about a man appearing on her floor.  I suppose the residents have all magically materialized in similar ways and just become part of the fabric of the hereafter.

So the movie is about Chip, a man experiencing a near death experience as his soul enters the afterlife.   Apparently Chip is not ready for death and wants to come back to his corporeal state.  This is why he keeps saying, “I can’t stay here, I need to leave before Christmas”, etc.  In the end I suppose he is resuscitated.  We don’t see any of that since the story is told from the perspective of the afterlife.  Because of this and because the protagonist survives and goes back to real life, this is a
Reverse-Jacob’s-Ladder-Scenario!

As for the soldier/nephew who comes to town at the end…Well, sadly, it seems he is there to stay, so I am sorry to say, he does not survive.

This also opens all sorts of questions like, what happened to that single mom and her children in real life?  Tragic accident or foul play.  The panel wanted to see a movie about that character, let’s see that prequel.

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1 hour ago, ErinZaborac said:

When the nutcracker left on Christmas Eve, didn't the card say "See you next year"? I swear it did, and at the end of the movie all I kept thinking was how awkward things were going to be....or how amazing for MJH.  I need that sequel where he comes back to life and soldier boy is there frosting her cookies and suddenly Barry Watson pulls out his sword.  That's an instant holiday classic.

Yes! I thought there was going to be a cut to her waiting for him next year. So when the other military guy showed up I was like, “wait this is still the same year, right?” And if she does start fucking that guy, will Chip still come back next year? Is it some kind of threesome that the woodcarver was setting up?? Is that why the Nutcracker winked at us creepily??

Because once he hooks MJH up with Chip, he immediately leaves to go find a soldier in Germany (also, yes the US had soldiers stationed in Germany stemming from US monitoring after WW2 and then the Cold War era. I knew someone whose husband was stationed there, it was often a midway point to going to Afghanistan or Iraq. Though I remember reading this year that Trump thought they were a waste or something.) And then he sends that soldier to MJH. 

What is his deal???

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54 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Also, obsessed with the mouse king and dressed like a nutcracker.

This should have just been Mannequin but takes place at Christmas. I'd even settle for Mannequin On The Move at Christmas. 

No one seemed to be bothered by the magic/his nutcracker-ness in this movie. When MJH tells someone about the nutcracker coming to life, they basically shrug and say ‘who cares, he’s hot’. If my best friend and/or boss said something like that, I’d take them to a doctor. 
 

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1 hour ago, ErinZaborac said:

When the nutcracker left on Christmas Eve, didn't the card say "See you next year"? I swear it did, and at the end of the movie all I kept thinking was how awkward things were going to be....or how amazing for MJH.  I need that sequel where he comes back to life and soldier boy is there frosting her cookies and suddenly Barry Watson pulls out his sword.  That's an instant holiday classic.

Not to mention the fact that she also received *another* magical nutcracker from the mysterious Christmas merchant by way of the nephew/soldier at the end.  So, I had the same thought as you...It's going top be a crowded Christmas next year.  Sounds like the sequel may suffer in the same way as Spiderman 3 by introducing too many adversaries.

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Look - am I the only one who saw the Nutcracker guy for the first time and thought, "Huh, he kinda looks like Paul Scheer."

I demand Paul dress up in a nutcracker outfit and post a photo to prove me right!

Also - I only listened to the start of the episode today - was all the June poisoning saga cut out? Because if so that's the editing of a guilty man right there. #ReleaseThePoisonCut

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19 minutes ago, SideofMcG said:

Look - am I the only one who saw the Nutcracker guy for the first time and thought, "Huh, he kinda looks like Paul Scheer."

I demand Paul dress up in a nutcracker outfit and post a photo to prove me right!

Also - I only listened to the start of the episode today - was all the June poisoning saga cut out? Because if so that's the editing of a guilty man right there. #ReleaseThePoisonCut

 

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19 minutes ago, SideofMcG said:

Look - am I the only one who saw the Nutcracker guy for the first time and thought, "Huh, he kinda looks like Paul Scheer."

I demand Paul dress up in a nutcracker outfit and post a photo to prove me right!

Also - I only listened to the start of the episode today - was all the June poisoning saga cut out? Because if so that's the editing of a guilty man right there. #ReleaseThePoisonCut

In the live show, they had an extended conversation about June accidentally drinking some plant growth stuff for their Christmas tree. Paul says poison control said it isn't bad for you. I'm assuming this must have been discussed in twitter beforehand, because everyone brought it up like the audience should know about it. 

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4 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

 

I mean if I was a poisoner that's exactly what I would do.

 

*suspicious eyes*

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3 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

In the live show, they had an extended conversation about June accidentally drinking some plant growth stuff for their Christmas tree. Paul says poison control said it isn't bad for you. I'm assuming this must have been discussed in twitter beforehand, because everyone brought it up like the audience should know about it. 

It was great. Not sure where I saw it but I was aware of it prior to the live show alright.

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1 hour ago, SaraK said:

No one seemed to be bothered by the magic/his nutcracker-ness in this movie. When MJH tells someone about the nutcracker coming to life, they basically shrug and say ‘who cares, he’s hot’. If my best friend and/or boss said something like that, I’d take them to a doctor. 
 

Also, is Barry Watson hot? I think he's alright looking but not hot.

You're right. No one responds like a normal person to her saying a doll came to life. This should have been tied in to her working too much and people forcing her to take time off work. This is an obvious story point to get them together and learn to love Christmas that they skipped.

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Quick poll - does anyone else keep a photo of themselves as a child next to their bed? No one? Nope? K thanks.

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