Every year the Hallmark Channel cranks out a bunch of yuletide cheer for Christmas; unfortunately, these movies tend to be overwrought with jubilee, a festive feast of festering holiday romance. Since Hallmark has started early this year with their two months of Christmas movies, The Moon is a Dead World will be featuring a bunch of posts about how horrifyingly holly-jolly Hallmark movies are.
Hallmark Offering: Pete's Christmas
The Holiday Conceit
In case you haven't seen Groundhog Day or Christmas Every Day or the Fairly Odd Parents Christmas Special or Christmas Do-Over or Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas or 12 Dates of Christmas or A Christmas Wedding Date (yes I did use IMdB to help me thank you very much), Pete's Christmas is here to douse you in gasoline and set you on fire for their yule log. Just like every other movie about Christmas miracles, Pete's holiday is marred by a family that doesn't realize that they're not celebrating Christmas right. As the middle child, Pete has suffered innumerable tragedies - his brother is an awesome football jock with hunky biceps, his other kid brother is a brainiac except he can't keep himself from wetting the bed, his mother is a (admittedly MILF-y) control freak and workaholic, and his dad can't stop fighting with his grumpy grandpa. This happens every day, BUT THIS TIME IS CHRISTMASTIME!
What's So Horrifying?
Tyrannical Mom: The beginning of the movie sets Mom up to be an overbearing grinch, probably not the best introduction to a character that's supposed to be liked by the audience later in the film. In the opening sequence, Dad tells Mom that, because of his time off from work after being laid off, he had a chance to reorganize all of the family DVDs by color. How so? "The Color Purple, Purple Rain..." You get the picture. Mom remarks with a snide comment that she'll add re-re-organizing the DVDs to her list of things to do. What a bitchy humbug!
That's a mom that can turn anyone into a Norman Bates-style psycho. Pete and his mom share a romantic taffy-baking moment where both of their hands get stuck in gook - at this point, I can see Pete's obsession with his mother wrapped up like a Christmas bow. Mom does run around with some tight, tight jeans - maybe there's something going on with their relationship Pete's Christmas doesn't show us...
Christmas caroling, matching sweaters: What's more terrifying than ugly Christmas sweaters, knitted by Mom? Having to wear them out in public to carol to new neighbors! Not only that, but the awesomely cute girl that lives there gets to watch you as you try to solo your way through the song with your pubertal voice.
Yet Pete has to relive this every single day. I can't imagine caroling one day, let alone every day for the rest of the foreseeable future. How terrifying! Pretty soon, Pete would start to contemplate ways to kill all of his neighbors - gun, rope, broken Christmas ornaments - and then perpetrate different ways until he got sick of hearing the sound of their voices crying out that it's Christmas and the lord should be with them.
Hanging out with Grandpa: Grandpas do have cool stories to tell, but having to hear them every single day would prove to be a little too much for me. That's why Pete heads out to a local ice cream shop and orders 12 goddam sundaes for the both of them: he's trying to poison grandpa with too much lactose. I'm telling you, Pete could be a certified serial killer by the end of his holiday season - I bet the magic box didn't think about that, did it!
Stocking stalker: Pete starts to become a little obsessed with the girl who moved in next door; though she doesn't remember him each time Christmas starts, he sure remembers her. He sets out to find out her favorite things, then brings them up the next time he sees her. That's pretty stalkerish, the kind of thing people do before they kidnap and murder someone on the street that they've been following for weeks.
But For Real
Pete's Christmas does condone a lot of this borderline creepy behavior from Pete. This kid's been shit on over and over again for years - his older brother's a douche, his younger brother is almost a savant who doesn't care about anyone's feelings, and his parents sometimes forget about him because of all the other crap they do for the two other children.
Yet this holiday miracle allows - no, forces - Pete to make their Christmas even better than it was on the real day. Pete doesn't stop and think about this through the movie, but there's something sinister about the trick fate plays on Pete. Sure, the things he does make everyone a lot nicer, so they treat him better, but why is that Pete's job in the first place? Fate makes Pete sacrifice everything he really cares about so that he can make others happy; in his own way, he's a martyr from the beginning of his life throughout the movie, and that doesn't seem fair at all.
The heartwarming holiday cheer of the film is pretty much built on lies: lPete only knows how to make everyone happy because of the chance he gets to keep reliving Christmas, and he gets the girl only because he knows how to manipulate her into liking him.
The Horror of Hallmark for Pete's Christmas: Is this a joyful Christmas after one hundred repeats, or just a really creepy way to get everyone to like Pete?