I Watched A Full Day Of ABC Family Christmas Movies & Here’s What Happened

As an Australian person, I am not familiar with ABC Family Christmas Movies. But today I am popping my ABC Family Christmas Movie cherry (which I assume is not a very ABC Family thing to say) by watching ABC Family Christmas Movies for eight hours straight and documenting what happens to my brain. I'll be honest: I'm a little scared. I'm expecting a lot of wholesomeness and a lot of very average acting performances. Like 7th Heaven without Jessica Biel's nude photo scandal.

Given that it's a couch-bound day, I didn't even bother getting dressed when I got out of bed. Just went straight to the couch in my pajamas after making some coffee and eggs. Yes, this is my job today. I know how that makes work seem but I promise you, there are stressful days too. And who's to say that by the end of this day I won't be tearing my hair out over these ABC Family Christmas Movies anyway? Sometimes movie watching is a serious business. So with a tummy full of eggs and toast and instant coffee (yeah I get it, gross. Sue me.), I embark on my day of family friendly Christmas movie watching. Here's what happened.

9 a.m.: The Mistle-Tones

So right off the top, my day started with pure insanity. From the first second, The Mistle-Tones is absolutely nuts. Luckily for my mental state, I was still kind of bleary when the hectic opening montage started, so it wasn't really the slap in the face it could have been if I were more lucid. But it did set up the idea for the rest of the movie, which can be broken down thus:

  • The Mistle-Tones is basically just an ABC Family Christmas version of Pitch Perfect.
  • Tori Spelling.
  • Karaoke is used to extort someone.
  • People stare meaningfully into each other's eyes in a parked car and sing awkwardly instead of just making out like regular people.
  • It's actually surprisingly woman-friendly and diverse in terms of casting, excepting, of course, Tori Spelling. Who is nothing friendly as the movie's "villain."
  • The singing sequences are weirdly lullaby-esque, a sentence I never thought my all-singing, all-dancing loving self would ever say.
  • The moral of the story is that you should prioritize fun, friendship, and family over winning and being awesome.
  • Also Al from Die Hard is in this movie.

I think I made it through the movie pretty unscathed. I mean, I wasn't on the edge of my seat, but being able to type this for some portion of the film eased some of the boredom. Which boredom, obviously, made me terrified of the six hours still to come...

11 a.m.: 12 Dates Of Christmas

I chose the 12 Dates Of Christmas second because I needed to cleanse my palette of all that competitive singing in malls. And how can you go wrong with a Christmas themed dating movie starring Mark Paul Gosselaar? That has a pun title, of all things! Right? RIGHT?

  • The first thing you need to know about this movie is that people still call each other on landlines and leave voicemail in 2011. So that's where ABC Family is at on the tech front.
  • This is also the second movie of the day so far featuring a female protagonist with a dead mother.
  • This is also the second movie of the day that's a rip on a popular classic. This time it's Groundhog Day, but with Mark Paul Gosselaar dates.
  • Amy Smart's character in this movie is basically Carrie Bradshaw i.e. a jerk. For a family Christmas movie, the main character is kind of mean.
  • This is, essentially, a whole movie based on "old maid" fear.

I thought this was going to be easy. This is not going to be easy. The morals in the first film was bearable, but in the 12 Dates of Christmas I got very quickly fed up with "lonely woman must change her lonely woman ways in order to figure love out in order to figure life out!" storyline. It was a bit too much for me so I warmed up some leftovers from the night before (Shepherd's pie) which consoled me through the end of the film.

1 p.m.: Holidaze

At this point, I was not feeling good. The next film (that Netflix started automatically, anticipating my pain) on the agenda was Holidaze. Again, I do like a good pun, but Netflix's description of this film is "Melody Gerard, a high-powered corporate executive, is in for an unpleasant surprise when she takes a spill and wakes up in an alternate universe." I realized this was going to be similar to the 12 Dates of Christmas...

  • At this point, nothing can shock me.
  • Not even Jennie Garth.
  • OK, this movie was made in 2013. That shocks me.
  • This movie appears to be more about Thanksgiving than Christmas, but I'm in it now, and there's no going back.
  • In Holidaze a man (the main guy) tells a woman (Jennie Garth, the main woman) she looks "starved, both physically and emotionally" and her response is "are you telling me I look skinny?" while smiling coyly. Somehow she comes out of this looking like a heartless jerk and falling down a flight of stairs. Woman stupid. Woman bad. I can't even begin to tell you how out I am on this right now.
  • That fall down the stairs, by the way, makes the horrible career woman go into an alternate reality in which she's not a horrible career woman. You find out that she had to choose between her man and her dreams/career in her actual reality, and she chose her career. So there's a strong Sliding Doors vibe here, except that Jennie Garth is made to feel super guilty about everything she did in her real reality at every possible moment.
  • There's a Punk'd reference in there somewhere. Reiterating here that this movie was made in 2013.
  • Jennie Garth's character's father is dead in this movie. So far ABC Family has had a lot of dead parents.
  • To be honest, I kind of lost track of what was happening in this movie a few times (daydreaming, looking at my phone), but the outcome was that Jennie Garth learned the error of her ways and stopped being such a heinous career woman, which I kind of saw coming even just from reading Netflix's description of the movie.

3 p.m: Christmas Bounty

At this point, I really needed something to keep me going, so I cracked open a Diet Coke. Guys. ABC Family Christmas movies are not doing it for me. At the end of Holidaze I literally sat staring at the Netflix menu for about five minutes in silence, not moving at all. I needed to not be hearing things. Then it was onto the next one: Christmas Bounty. A movie about "a former bounty hunter turned elementary school teacher is determined to keep her past and her wild family business a secret from her fiancé." At 3 p.m., I was starting to get really sad about my life...

  • I thought I didn't know anyone in this movie but then I realized the leading lady, Francia Raisa, was in an episode of The Mindy Project, which made me feel a lot more comfortable going into it.
  • Incidentally, Francia Raisa gives good banter.
  • OK, I'm back in on these movies. Christmas Bounty is full on madness and it makes no sense but there's tacky action sequences and a tacky bounty hunter mum with a thick New Jersey accent and great "getting dressed tacky NJ-style" reveals and it's all pretty tackily fabulous.
  • I mean, there's a full-on bounty hunter vs. criminals gun/karate fight at a wedding.
  • So this is the first movie where the woman isn't reliant on giving up her dreams for a comfortable family life in order to be happy, and indeed, being a bounty hunter, she winds up being the one who saves the day. She even ditches her fiancé to follow her passions--her lady boner for her hot bounty hunting partner, her home in NJ, and her high-risk job. It's by far the least gender offensive movie I've watched today.

I don't know what I would have done without Christmas Bounty. Sacrificed myself at the altar of ABC Family, I think. At this point I'm just glad my editor didn't ask me to do a 24-hour stint. My advice to all of your out there who are going to be subjected to ABC Family Christmas movies over the holidays: bring your best sarcastic comments, and a fully charged smart phone.

Images: ABC Family (6)