#104 – A Ring For Christmas

Thanks to the one Twitter follower who answered the poll, I’ve decided to dive into A Ring for Christmas. This one is not from Hallmark – it’s from UPTV, the channel that doesn’t seem to know what it is, but which is apparently short for Uplifting Entertainment. Sure, whatever. Let’s dive in!

Starting with stock footage of NYC, so that’s nice! There’s a girl with brown hair doing rich girl things in Manhattan. She’s so rich, she just dumped a huge amount of $20 bills in a street Santa’s bucket while she goes around taking selfies at Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park. Who is she, and why is her mom Lorraine Bracco?

Full Disclosure, I do not like Lorraine Bracco. I don’t like anything she does, she always seems to be eating her face as she talks, and why is she renovating a house in Italy on TV? But whatever, I will get over this to watch this movie.

Lorraine Bracco as mom is cutting off daughter who is spending way too much on spin cycles and charity dresses. Daughter is named Angie, and has until December 24 – to do what, ultimatum mom? Get her act together? Find a job? Why, if this family is so wealthy that she can afford $3500 at Saks, does Lorraine Bracco have to take a train somewhere – wouldn’t she have a car? There are so many questions, and I don’t really feel like this movie is going to give me any answers, and I’m only 3 minutes in.

Angie is pensively looking at some kind of blue glass snowflake in her apartment, and then we flashback to 3 years earlier, and it seems the dead dad in this movie used to be the dad from Family Ties. Dad gave her the snowflake, telling her that the good life is not defined by what you own, but by what you have inside. But before she can find what’s inside her, she gets a call from a harried looking lawyer, saying that he’s missing a signature on her “Marriage Trust” that her parents set up for her, and she needs to sign it in order to get the money. He also mentions a wedding in June – but I don’t know that that happened, so wait and see. The size of the trust is enough for the producers to splurge for a snippet of the Hallelujah Chorus. Oh – the lawyer thought he was calling her sister – but now Angie has a great idea to get married by Christmas in order to inherit a lot of money. But do we know that this trust is set up for BOTH sisters? And why did the lawyer call Angie, and not Sophia, when it’s not like they live in the same house and they’re both on cell phones – how did the lawyer get Angie’s number and not Sophie’s? The mind boggles.

She then spends a montage calling men she knows and asking them to marry her for money and keeps getting rejected. She must be an awful person, right? Her friend helping her is some girl with red hair, and she is trolling Angie’s Facebook page and finds Angie’s high school crush (quarterback, prom king from high school). Crush is named Tyler. Tyler has a best friend named Gabe, who was a nerdy friend to her in high school. WHICH WILL SHE CHOOSE? But first, she has to get her butt back home to Greenwood, which seems to be in Vermont, or the Himalayas, judging by the stock mountain footage. FYI, found out that this was filmed somewhere in New England – Newburyport, MA, to be exact.

She drives her Mini Cooper into smalltown USA where the snow has been thoughtfully plowed against the sidewalk, and where her car just conveniently breaks down right where her nerdy friend Gabe was working in his dad’s diner. He’s not that nerdy now! And then Tyler shows up in his flannel shirt glory, but Angie immediately spills coffee on her cashmere sweater. While her car gets towed, she maneuvers her many bags to her mom’s house, breaking a heel in the process.

Oh, it turns out Lorraine Bracco is the town’s mayor. Mayor mom is happy that Angie is back home, but her sister is not, and wears her disapproval better than the grotesque green sweater dress and bland bob that the costumer has put that actress in. Angie doesn’t want to talk about dead dad, and again, WHY DO THEY ALL HAVE TO HAVE DEAD PARENTS? People can have growth without death, you know.

Angie shows up at her old elementary school to see her favorite teacher, but is put on the spot to be a roll model to the teacher’s class, since she was such a good student back in the day. She makes things up, says she’s a Consultant. Old Teacher says she always thought Angie and Gabe would have ended up together. Seems Tyler is also a nice person, giving back to the school coaching football. Weirdly, also the teacher asks Angie to come back and teach math. How is that a thing? Can we say Background Check?

Angie gets a call from her NYC friends, and apparently Angie made a great donation to a Thanksgiving charity, and we know that the NY person who ran that charity who just said “any time you need help let me know” will come into play later. But not yet. Now we have to go shopping in downtown Greenwood, where another of Angie’s high school friends runs the show. Ok, bone to pick. I live in the same area (roughly) from where I grew up and I NEVER see people from my high school unless it is a) Christmas Eve Mass b) Facebook or c) a funeral. How are all these people still home?

Angie’s friend Chrissy runs the shop, and has consignment shelves for people to sell things, and Angie has helped with the window display, and she gets more people to come into the shop, and then she heads off to this bar party where Tyler does not remember who she is, but is happy enough to talk about himself and his dreams.

The dreams are nice, though – he wants to give back to the community through sports. Angie sees a need she can fill with money and tries her hardest to reel him in – and here we strain credulity once again, because she just said “Oh, I love this song, we should dance” and the song is freaking JINGLE BELLS. Tyler is rightly affronted at having to dance to that song, but before they can cut a rug, she falls off her bar stool into Gabe’s handsome waiting arms.

Weirdly, Angie’s NYC friend calls her phone, and Tyler answers, and friend is like, oooh, Tyler, aren’t you excited to marry Angie and get money? And Tyler runs out of the bar, and Angie makes Gabe drive her home, despite the fact that Gabe just got to the bar and didn’t get anything to drink yet. But Gabe is fine with it, and it’s obvious that he has liked her since high school.

Angie is at her mom’s house talking to NYC friend who spilled the beans to Tyler the night before, but friend does not tell her what she did, and then we cut to after school where she is helping children with math and the teacher has mentioned word problems for like the fifth time this movie. WORD PROBLEMS ARE FROM THE DEVIL. There, I said it. But these children don’t seem to think so. Tyler is at the school and freaks out at the sight of her. They have another awkward conversation, and Angie puts on a big hat and leaves.

Gabe has drama with his dad and worries about the diner. Seems no one wants to go to a storefront diner, and so Angie gets to help by looking at their books. Stop giving him smiling looks Angie, and do math to save the diner. It’s not time for you to figure out that you like Gabe yet – we still have 90 minutes left of this piece of crap. She has some nice ideas to fix up the diner’s finances, and even suggests a charity dinner on Christmas Eve, and then we get into a roast chicken montage. I love roast chicken. My grandma used to make it. And we hear about how she feels her father would be disappointed in her because she hasn’t really doesn’t anything with her life. And Gabe mentions that they should go to the town tree lighting. TREE LIGHTING!

Famous NY charity girl comes through to assist Gabe and the diner, and then Angie gets a text from Tyler. They are off for coffee, and Tyler confesses about the call he intercepted, and he says yes, he’ll marry her in order to get the money, and everyone is happy. But, as Keith Morrison would say “Or are they?”

Another montage, this time of kids with construction paper, so Angie can go talk to the teacher about how she’s just gotten everything she’s ever wanted but it feels wrong. Why can’t she talk to her mother about this? Maybe because Lorraine Bracco only has to learn lines for like 4 scenes? Who knows. She shows up at the Tree Lighting, though, to count it down, and Angie leaves Gabe in the dust in order to clap along with Tyler by the underwhelming tree, alongside the fake Pentatonix they booked to sing another version of Jingle Bells. But Tyler gets in front of the whole group of assembled townspeople with the microphone and proposes to Angie in public!!! And she doesn’t want to say yes because she sees Gabe’s face but then she does, and the ring looks like rock candy. Gabe storms away.

At the party at Mayor Mom’s house, sister is looking very disapproving and Gabe is still very unhappy and he baked cookies at the house for the party? That seems weird for a caterer. He also is doing that passive aggressive thing – saying he’s not upset but in the most upset way possible. But then Gabe gets to know that Angie called in a favor to help him, and maybe all is not lost?

Next day, Angie is looking at her rock candy ring and mom shows up in her purple velvet pajamas and ropes of pearls. Mom seems to think it’s too sudden, but Angie says no it’s not, and then is saved by the doorbell, and it’s Gabe, who’s there to say Thank You and invite her to decorate a tree for his charity dinner. Montage! Lots of hands touching hands like we’re in Sweet Caroline as they pass each other ornaments and don’t break a single one.

It’s the most ugly tree ever, except she pulls out dad’s glass snowflake from her purse to put on the one blank spot – does she just carry this antique glass ornament in her purse every day? Weird. And then Tyler shows up and breaks the glass ornament, and she runs away crying.

Angie’s NYC redhead friend is a huge money hungry person. We hate her. Angie is having second and third thoughts, and she really doesn’t want to go through with this and is tired of lying to Gabe. Cut to Gabe talking to his dad about how he has a chance to open his own restaurant and dad totally guilt trips him into staying at this broken diner. It doesn’t even have any chrome in it! If there’s no chrome, can we call it a diner?

Angie is back at the school and again with the word problems! Teacher is really surprised Angie’s going to marry Tyler. Angie is also not happy about it, but is masking it. Cut to the house, where redhead friend has arrived to make sure Angie doesn’t chicken out, and where sister Sophia gets a call from the lawyer from earlier in the movie, who provides sister with the motive behind Angie’s sudden nuptials. Gabe also arrives to tell her he has to cancel the charity dinner he was going to put on (and for which they decorated and she sacrificed her blue snowflake). But Gabe can’t afford it, and he needs to buckle down and save the diner.

And now we have a wedding dress montage at the mayor’s house? And one looks like it was in the movie Midsommar. How did they figure out how to do all these dress fittings at her house? Maybe being the mayor has its perks? Angie is freaking out, and mom makes sister go help her out, and tells her that she knows all about the marriage trust, and how Angie needs her mom’s approval in order to get the money, and upshot, bitch sister makes Angie invite Tyler over for dinner. Got all that?

OH MY GOD at this dinner Lorraine Bracco has arranged a gingerbread house competition. here’s no food, just prefab gingerbread houses. Seriously. This is to showcase teamwork, and to show that Angie and Tyler can’t get along, but they do really well with the house and with the grilling from Mayor Mom. BUT never fear, we can still have drama because at the bar, Gabe toasts Tyler and Angie and bartender spills the beans about the marriage trust and Gabe is like what? Gabe is very disgusted.

How many cigarettes has Lorraine Bracco smoked to get her voice like that? She and Angie have a heart to heart, and Angie realizes that Gabe is the one, not Tyler, not Tyler after all and she runs off to find Gabe, but he’s already at her house calling himself an idiot for believing that Angie was still the same person from high school and he calls her shallow, basically, and leaves. And she says “Gabe, wait” and then doesn’t follow him out the door.

Next scene is a dream sequence because Family Ties dad is back to tell her it’s not too late to back out. Angie is like, I’ve let everyone one down, but ghost dad is like, nah, everyone will be fine, and Angie awakes with a start and a new lease on life. Off she goes to sell her clothes on consignment to help Gabe and his charity dinner. Angie also manages to get the local health food bigwig to donate more food for this dinner. And Angie runs down the street to tell Gabe the good news and sees Gabe talking to another brunette in his diner and so runs away. MY GOOD LORD how many people are going to run away from confrontation in this movie.

NY charity girl calls Angie with a possible job opportunity, which does sound good for her – helping struggling businesses. Good for her, she’s going to get a job. Cut to yet another montage to Jingle Bells, where kids are playing at a Christmas party, and then they help her with a mock interview. that part is cute. She then heads out to the interview, where they are dressed in their finest holiday garb. They ask if she’s ok moving away from NYC and she says yes, and then rambles into a long thing about how she’s more in love with Gabe than she ever thought possible. She gets the job.

It’s Christmas Eve! Wedding Day! Gabe’s charity dinner night! Gabe finds out that Angie helped him out yet again and has to run to her to explain his feelings (and he has a small wrapped package) but before he can give it to her, he’s intercepted by bitchy redhead and she lies to Angie and says the gift is from Tyler and it’s a necklace made out of the shards of glass from the shattered snowflake (it’s nicer than it sounds) and Angie is still going to go through with this wedding because she believes her bitchy friend and her wedding bouquet is atrocious.

Mayor Lorraine Bracco officiating, but before they can say I do, she finds out that friend lied, and she breaks up with Tyler right at the altar, and Tyler is like, it’s because you’re in love with Gabe. Angie is like, but I saw him with a girl, and Tyler is like, that’s Gabe’s cousin. And all of this is in front of all the guests. And then Angie runs away in her wedding dress and heads to find Gabe in her dress and pours her heart out to him and again, she has an audience. She found her self again after her dad died and she’s in love with Gabe and will this movie ever be over? Gabe then says let’s get married, but she says no, let’s just date and have fun until the day we actually do get married. Angie hands Tyler an envelope of cash like she’s paying off a hitman, and there’s some kind of musical montage and we’re DONE.

Oh my GOD this was a wild ride. On the one hand, it had almost every Christmas movie cliche known to man – dead parent, small town, gingerbread houses, tree lighting, tree decorating, annoying children. On the other hand, the acting was truly horrendous. And there were so many unanswered questions. How did the lawyer suddenly get the right sister’s phone number? Why is she still friends with the redhead when that girl is such a bitch? How did she get from her house to the town hall without messing up her wedding gown? How is Tyler ok with it all? (Oh, big envelope of money, right). Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this. I certainly didn’t, but I watched A Ring for Christmas, just so you don’t have to.

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