How to Ruin the Holidays

How to Ruin the Holidays
How to Ruin the Holidays
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What a family guy, How to Ruin the Holidays is a delightful and poignant movie. With a cast of some of the leading actors in comedy, How to Ruin the Holidays includes plenty of effective humor and heart. This holiday film will almost surely hit home with many people as it addresses issues such as dysfunctional families, disability, and loss. However, its poor editing decisions and clichéd soundtracks considerably reduce the impact that this film might have made since How to Ruin the Holiday occasionally looks like one Hallmark Christmas movie featuring celebrity cast.

Stage 32’s Drama Screenwriting Contest semi-finalist script was used for How to Ruin the Holidays which opens by introducing Michelle (Amber Nash), an aspiring actress who auditions daily for commercials; drives around Los Angeles and performs improv shows at clubs with audiences who couldn’t care less about her. After failed auditions all day long, Michele returns to Suzy’s apartment in LA where also lives another stand-up comedian.

This turns into a brief discourse on their profession and what they want in life before talking about going back home for Christmas. She said that she would never go near them again when asked if she is going home or not this year. Little does she know that her sister Andrea (Kate Lambert) would leave her an answering machine message joyously discussing her just finished scripts with few words on how her dad (Colin Mochrie) tripped over some object somewhere? In spite of not liking them much, Michelle immediately packs up her stuffs catches a plane ride then drives out to where his father dwells hoping to spend Christmas holidays together with other family members.

Outside she meets Andrea who tells Michelle that they need to get their father to sell his house since he and Mark their disabled brother require full time care. When she opens the door refusing to believe until now this fact becomes evident because all over there is nothing but mess filling the room only confirming that her father is not able to take care of himself, let alone a brother who is mentally retarded. Add this to the fact that their dad comes flying into the house with sirens saying it’s the end of the world. Afraid for their father, Michelle, Andrea and Mark have to convince him to sell his home but not until after one last family Christmas.

Christmas is a very happy time of year. As an example Christmas movies; have you ever experienced a more cheerful, infectious or heartwarming genre of film? The warm glow from Christmas lights twinkling on the tree, the pleasant vision of presents beneath it and your favorite Christmas songs being heard again evoke comfort and happiness that no other genre can offer. Even films such as Die Hard or Gremlins still burst with magic, joy and sentimental feelings surrounding Christmas. However, there are not many relatable ones though. Only some tackle life’s tragedies, banality and reality which most festive films sweep under the carpet pretending that at this time of year subjects like loneliness, identity crisis, death or loss do not exist at all.

The examples of traditional Hallmark Christmas films are full of impossible love stories that lack negativity or real world problems. Action filled film is one kind of a Christmas movie while some others are horror movies. There are even those with Muppets in it. But we cannot help but respect and love a Christmas movie that deals with relatable issues that pertain to real life, and this is where How to Ruin the Holidays truly shines.

People who despise spending the holidays with their parents because of emotional detachment or an unfinished interaction will find the story-line attractive to them. In the same breath, How to Ruin the Holidays will also appeal to people whose parents are growing old like Michelle, Andrea, and Mark show deep concern for their father.

However, How to Ruin the Holidays especially excels at illuminating how this sibling bond affects everyone around them as well as themselves within families with disabled brothers or sisters which is mostly due to it being written by producer/writer Kevin Gillese about his own relationship with his brother; hence its genuine tone gives rise various heartwarming and frank moments between Mark and Michelle plus Andrea, and their father. One of the most beautiful scenes in this film occurs in a garage where Michelle is talking to her dad about children having disabilities and how relatives go through great lengths just to keep them safe,

How To Ruin The Holidays features a killer lineup of comedians that never dissappoint. Amber Nash, renowned for voicing characters on FX’s adult animated comedy Archer stars alongside Colin Mochrie, Aisha Tyler, Ronny Chieng and Henry Zebrowski among others who give hilarious performances which have many layers each. Nash comes out swinging in her first live-action feature film role.It is all done seamlessly by nash who mixes hard punchy comments with character flaws.

Colin Mochrie however has always delivered some awesome lines on Whose Line Is it Anyway?, but surprisingly, he delves into his emotional side, giving us a performance that we were not expecting with many layers. Still it’s Luke Davis as Michelle’s brother Mark who gives the most compelling and entertaining performance. Davis’ line delivery will endear him to audiences instantly and cause people to cry if they watch some of the more emotional scenes in this movie.

This could have been one of the most impactful and unforgettable Christmas movies in years. However, ‘Hallmarkification’ has diminished its impact. No matter how much someone might like these films or dislike them, there is no denying that Hallmark Christmas movies are far from perfect. Each time, they feature terrible acting plus the baffling editing choices as well as cheesy soundtracks that drown out direction or simply do not match tone at all. Thus How to Ruin the Holidays loses its way by following a bit of a stock Hallmark formula when it comes to its music and editing decisions here.

The film’s editing was mainly sound, but there are a couple of instances that disrupt the flow of the movie making the viewers shift in their seats. The music isn’t as agonizing as say Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses but it’s still full of gleeful and optimistic musical scores and sound effects that are usually too loud or played when characters do something “stupid.” The doubtful editing and unpardonable music detracts from this otherwise sweet, touching and funny film. Nevertheless, it is better than most other movies of its kind; moreover, it features an amazing cast including a truly unforgettable performance by Luke Davis.

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