Before he was the Hulk or even Jennifer Garner's adorable childhood best friend in 13 Going On 30, Mark Ruffalo was in the best Christmas movie ever: Specifically, the made-for-TV masterpiece On the 2nd Day of Christmas . It's a classic, really: There's danger (OK, not really), romance, and a cute kid just trying to have the best darn Christmas ever. Because Lifetime loves you and wants you to have nice things, it shows On the 2nd Day of Christmas every holiday season to remind you of just how wonderful Ruffalo has always been.
What is this majestic Christmas movie actually about? I'm glad you asked. Baby-faced Ruffalo stars as the lonely and sad department store security guard Bert whose apartment has almost no furniture and definitely no Christmas tree. When Bert arrests expert pick-pocketer Trish and her six-year-old niece Patsy on Christmas Eve, his super wealthy boss orders him to look after the duo until the day after Christmas when Trish can be arrested and Patsy put into foster care — because police officers and social workers just refuse to work on the holidays, I guess. The more time Bert spends with Trish, the more enamored he becomes with her and it becomes obvious little Patsy's wish for a family will come true.
The cheese is strong with this one, but so is the addictive magic of watching a before he was famous star revel in Christmas movie goodness. I'm going to give you seven reasons why if you watch just one Christmas movie this year, it should be On the 2nd Day of Christmas.
1. It Opens With A Little Girl Conning Everyone
Patsy is the cutest pint-sized con artist ever. Her introduction is a total classic featuring her pawning an entire group of adults as she makes them think the dude whose wallet she stole is a total jerk (which incidentally, he is). Honestly, the entire movie could have been about Patsy and I would have been happy, but On the 2nd Day of Christmas is the TV movie gift that keeps on giving.
2. Baby Ruffalo's Adorableness Is Not Quantifiable
Ruffalo has aged like a delicious, talented block of cheese, but his youthful charms cannot be overstated. I mean look at how suave he is. The head nod alone is enough to turn me into a squeeing pile of fangirl goo.
3. Bert Is Super Serious About His Job & It Is Hilarious
Paul Blart: Mall Cop has nothing on Bert. When it comes to abiding by the rules and keeping the department store safe from shoplifters he will do anything, including breaking out his handcuffs at the first sign of trouble.
4. The Love Story Is Totally Swoonworthy
The whole opposites attract thing looks good on Ruffalo and Mary Stuart Masterson. There is nothing organic about their Christmas love story, but between bonding over keeping Patsy's belief in Santa alive and swapping depressing backstories, their insta-romance totally works.
5. It's So '90s It Hurts
It's not just the glorious outfits which include puffy jackets, overalls, and questionable hat choices, it's the movie's politics — the store owner is the anti-Clinton — and lack of technology. Computers, super savvy kids with cellphones, and cynicism have no place in this rosy 1997 world.
6. Watching Bert Find The Spirit Of Christmas Will Give You Life
Ruffalo's talent is put to good use as Bert finds his Christmas spirit. He goes from being a total grump to doing everything he can to give a little girl and her aunt the best Christmas ever in just two days, and it works because Ruffalo has always been an acting genius.
7. It's The Good Of Kind Cheesy
I watch a lot of TV Christmas movies. They're kind of my jam. However, there are precious few of them I will watch more than once. On the 2nd Day of Christmas is one of the rare ones that I never get tired of. It's not just because of Ruffalo's charms (although, they do play their role), it is because the movie is wonderful, cheesy holiday goodness. It has a fun, but improbable story that you know is going to have a happy ending. The predictability in no way affects just how sweet and emotional the story is though. It is quality cheese you can feel good about indulging in this holiday season.
Now get yourself to a TV or the internet so you too can fall for Ruffalo's classic Christmas romcom. You can blame me if it becomes a holiday tradition.
Images: Sabienna Bowman/Bustle; Lifetime (8)