It’s officially Christmas Season. For me and my family it was the moment Halloween ended with a brief break for Thanksgiving, but for the rest of the civilized world, Black Friday is the beginning of Christmas music, hot chocolate, Christmas trees, lights of gold, red, and green. And, of course, there are the movies with the same basic storyline about a rich workaholic falling in love with someone who reminds them not to be so busy with work but remade about six different ways from Hallmark. This is a yearly ritual. I don’t mean that they repeat the same six movies, I mean they make six or more new made for tv movies.
This year I sat down and watched Netflix’s Original, Lovehard. The synopsis is pretty basic for any modern rom com but there were a few delightful surprises and one nasty slap in the face. The gist of the tale is that a girl falls for a guy she’s dating online and decides to surprise him with a visit over Christmas. She discovers that Josh Lin catfished her with photos of a guy he grew up with. He talks her into sticking around and pretending to be his girlfriend by helping her get the guy in the pictures by pretending to be all the things Tag (yes that’s the other guy’s name) wants in the perfect woman.
Below is the trailer for the film, but after that there will be spoilers so beware.
Spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.
Most of these rom coms are getting pretty cheesy and that’s not entirely the fault of the audience this time. Unlike action flicks meant to entertain us, romantic comedies were gems because they felt like they could almost happen. Unfortunately, with 40-50% of marriages in the USA likely to end in divorce, that’s made genuine love stories a little harder to take seriously, too.
Now, I know what you guys are really looking for. Is this film some woke, anti-Christmas, anti-conservative drag of a movie? From my perspective I’m going to go with “not really”. Now, this could be that my bar for acceptable television and movies was forced to be lowered because it can’t be escaped, or it could be that the movie genuinely tried not to be as insulting as possible.
Believe it or not, the message was actually great. It made it clear that women in movies can in fact be the bad guys or more realistically, their own worst enemy.
In the trailer we get to see Natalie Bauer (played be Nina Dobrev from Vampire Diaries) rip into Josh Lin for lying to her about what he looked like. That’s actually pretty reasonable all things considered. It doesn’t matter if your profile isn’t getting attention, there’s no reason to steal someone else’s photo and claim it’s you.
Unlike most rom coms, however, instead of seeing the guy win his way back into the good graces of the girl, we see that it’s Natalie who has made the most mistakes, as well as the more detrimental. After accusing Josh of catfishing her, Natalie is forced to come to grips with the startling realization that she did the same thing to Tag, the man whose pictures were used in Josh’s dating profile.
All in all, that’s what I liked best about the film. Too often we see guys making the bonehead decisions or doing things that require an apology or forgiveness from the female protagonist. It’s like Hollywood needs the world to think that women are always right, always the victims if something bad happens, or that we’re owed some kind of perpetual apology.
Finally, my last remark on the movie is about the song Baby It’s Cold Outside. There is a moment in the film where the male lead changes all the lyrics to make them easier for Natalie to swallow as she’s asked to sing it while caroling. The scene is stupid, uncalled for, and his lyrics made the female’s lyrics in the song sound irrelevant and dumb. Including that scene was nothing more than an attempt by Netflix and the writers to open up yet another unnecessary conversation about the song and its admission into polite society.
This is a song that media outlets, magazines, and bored B-list celebrities have been trying to cancel since one of them learned to read and found a line “rapey”.
Easily one of my favorite non-religious Christmas songs, especially Dean Martin’s version of it from his album Winter Romance from 1959, it is playful, innocent, and sweet. It has nothing to do with date-rape, drugging drinks, or anything of the kind. To say so is to ignore history and shows a complete lack of understanding to the origins and reasons for using the phrase, “Say, what’s in this drink?”.
That line alone is the number one reason why everyone is in a tizzy over getting this song banned and canceled. But what did the line mean back then? What does it mean in the song? Believe it or not, a 3rd Wave Feminist comes to the song and the line’s defense. (By the way, this article was written in 2010! That’s how long we’ve been arguing about this.)
“…the line “Say, what’s in this drink” needs to be explained in a broader context to refute the idea that he spiked her drink. “Say, what’s in this drink” is a well-used phrase that was common in movies of the time period and isn’t really used in the same manner any longer. The phrase generally referred to someone saying or doing something they thought they wouldn’t in normal circumstances; it’s a nod to the idea that alcohol is “making” them do something unusual. But the joke is almost always that there is nothing in the drink. The drink is the excuse. The drink is the shield someone gets to hold up in front of them to protect from criticism.”
Anyhow, the lead actors in the film are talented, but honestly, they have no chemistry whatsoever. Josh seems in love with Natalie, but Natalie doesn’t seem at all in love with him.