Winter Bizarre

Holiday in Handcuffs

This week, Sam rounds out the Winter Bizarre with the 2007 ABC Family movie Holiday in Handcuffs. Melissa Joan Hart (character name unknown) is always trying to please her very demanding parents, but this year she’s excited because she’s bringing her successful boyfriend to the family Christmas trip to a rural log cabin. However, after tanking a job interview, Melissa is dumped by that same boyfriend mere hours before they were supposed to leave. What’s a girl to do? Easy: Kidnap the nearest available man, in this case Mario Lopez (character name also unknown). This sets Melissa on a wild ride where she has to convince her family that the very-much-not-happy-to-be-there Mario is actually her boyfriend, so they can all just get off her back, okay. This is, obviously, a perfect plan, and through a series of truly convoluted events, and aided by some remarkably oblivious family members and a Mario Lopez who could really be doing more to escape, Melissa mostly manages to keep up the ruse. However, things start to get serious when Melissa sees how much her family all love Mario, and Mario develops Stockholm Syndrome. Crazily enough, the movie doesn’t end when Melissa gets busted for kidnapping, but somehow there’s still a lot more to the story. Other highlights include: A strange family tradition involving a “key master”, a surprise interest in art from both characters, some sporadic narration, and a drunken grandmother threatening to shoot police officers with a flintlock pistol. Seriously, this movie is just all the bananas.

Next Stop, Christmas

Danielle kicks off our Winter Bizarre/Switcheroo season with the 2021 Hallmark movie Next Stop, Christmas. Angie is your average New York doctor whose life is terrible because her parents are divorced and, despite having good friends, is single. The horror. Luckily, the universe is here to fix Angie not living the life planned for her. More specifically, Christopher Lloyd gives Angie a magic ticket so that when she gets on the train to Yonkers, she falls asleep and wakes upon a much older train ten years in the past with her then boyfriend, soon to be rejected fiancée Tyler. Angie is, understandably, upset but goes with it and decides to use the opportunity to enjoy her last good Christmas (in her mind). However, things are not as rosy as she remembers as her parents are having marriage issues and she’s oblivious about how distant she is from her sister. It’s around this time that they run into Angie’s childhood friend Ben, and here’s where Sam smells a love triangle, but it’s really more of a Ben pining over Angie for far too long, verging on creepy. Angie quickly deduces that her rejection of Tyler’s proposal is why she’s back in time, and she also decides to parent trap her mom and dad into fixing their marriage. She accomplishes this in the most ludicrously infuriating way, but for some reason still isn’t returned to her own time. This tees the movie up for an ending that is so full of dread and psychological horror that Sam and Danielle can only conclude that the powerful time-imp Christopher Lloyd is exacting revenge for a stiffed tip.

Book Reshorts: The Great Switcheroo – The Second

The Great Switcheroo is back, now with a Winter Bizarre flavor! Danielle and Sam have each selected three holiday media options and their co-host must choose one for their Winter Bizarre episode. Sam has taken pains to find several time travel holiday movies to keep the Hyperion theme running, while Danielle has found, somehow, another holiday moving featuring a pro-wrestler for Sam. But will either of them pick those options? Find out on now, and then tune in during the Winter Bizarre to hear how they enjoyed their choices.

Fir Crazy

This week, Sam stares into the void as he shares the 2013 Hallmark movie Fir Crazy. Elise is your average high-powered business woman who hates Christmas. Not because Christmas did anything to her, but because she was forced to, gasp, work on her family’s tree lot during the holiday. Of course, Elise promptly loses her job and her loser boyfriend and finds herself with no choice but to return to the lot to shill trees where a hunky man looking to buy a Christmas tree (or four) shows up in pursuit of Elise. This is when Sam begins to unravel as he is clearly not strong enough to handle the insanity of Hallmark. This handsome white man quickly reveals himself to be an absolute serial killer which Elise seems totally fine with. However, she is reluctant to commit to dating the handsome man at first, given that she’s on the rebound dealing with being recently unemployed during the holiday season, which is all totally reasonable. Unless, of course, you’re in a Hallmark movie, in which case that’s you just being a Grinch who needs to lighten up. Sam descends into madness as the insanity well just gets deeper and deeper, and yet somehow the movie also has no plot. To compensate for the lack of plot, Danielle leads Sam down numerous cul de sacs which are all more interesting than the movie itself. The one bright spot is the villain of the movie played by Colin Mochrie, who is trying to shut down the tree lot as the new landlord of the store which the lot fronts. Why does he hate Christmas? We can’t tell you that here, but we can tell you it’s very stupid, as all character motivations are here. Will Elise hook up with the handsome man and learn the true meaning of Christmas? Will the grumpy businessman lean to accept the tree lot and learn the true meaning of Christmas? Does Hallmark absolutely not care about any other cultural or religious perspectives? If you think the answer to any of those questions is “no” you might be surprised by this episode. So join us for this jumbo episode which is Sam’s gift to the world. You’re welcome.

It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

To kick off the Winter Bizarre, Danielle brings the 2002 movie It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie. Despite the absolute clunker of a title, this Muppet Christmas Movie does, indeed, contain many Muppets and their delightful antics. We open on a distraught Kermit killing the vibe at the Muppet Christmas party by lamenting that he’s lost the theater; it’s been repossessed by the bank. A celestial being of some kind named Daniel, or Danny El, (David Arquette) is watching Kermit’s misery from heaven (or something) and at first tries to convince his coworker (William H. Macy) that they need to intervene with a miracle. Ol’ Willy H. disagrees, and so Daniel goes straight to the person in charge: Whoopie Goldberg. Daniel explains what happened to Kermit in a flashback. Apparently, the previous owner of the bank died, leaving the evil Rachel (Joan Cusack) in charge. Rachel has decided to renege on the handshake agreement Kermit had with the previous bank owner to wait to collect on Kermit’s bank loan for the Muppet Theater until after their first week of performances. Rachel is deciding to stick to the letter of the contract which requires payment by midnight Christmas Eve. At this point, Sam thinks he’s identified the actual villain of the film: Kermit. The irresponsible frog somehow signed a contract on a bank loan with a term due before they could stage any shows at the theater, and which comes due at midnight (what?) on Christmas Eve (WHAT?!), and Sam cannot believe he then asks all his employees to forgo their salaries for a whole freaking year to cover his irresponsibility. Anyway, what follows is a smörgåsbord of guest stars and parodies of other Christmas movies and, for some reason, The Crocodile Hunter. So join us for this hilarious Muppet adventure that is most definitely bizarre and has Sam mumbling “Humbug” at Kermit.

Book Reshorts: Sequel Shenanigans

Our holiday schedule has arrived, which means it’s time for more games! This time Danielle has come up with a game where Sam and Danielle try to guess which of the three possible titles from another work in a franchise they’ve shared is real, and which the other person just made up. Are they good at it? Not really, but it does give them some great ideas for future episodes.

Book Reshorts: Partial Recall 4: More Forgetting

This week Danielle gets her revenge on Sam by asking him to recap the previous Winter Bizarre episode Snowmageddon. Listen as Sam remembers a series of non-snow related disasters, but literally nothing else that happens in this SyFy movie. While his recall fails, Sam does take the opportunity to accidentally make Snowmageddon a better movie by misremembering events as being more exciting than they actually were. Is his half-remembered version better than the original? You decide!

The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star

For part two of this year’s Winter Bizarre Danielle brings the third installment of the Netflix film series with The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star. Margaret is the queen of the small European country of Montenaro who happens to have two identical doppelgängers: Former Chicago baker now princess Stacy and Fiona, her cousin and former kidnapper of Stacy. Montenaro is hosting an international Christmas festival (which is, apparently, a thing) and the Vatican has loaned them the Star of Peace, a relic belonging to St. Nicholas. Due to security that can charitably be described as “utter clown shoes” the star is immediately stolen. Under the threat of excommunication, Margaret commutes her felonious cousin’s sentence so she can tap her criminal network to track down the star. Fiona puts her large network of one person to work and identifies that the star is being held by a nefarious hotelier. Instead of informing Interpol—who are investigating—of this development, Marget, Fiona, and Stacy plan a comically amateur heist that involves flirtation, sexy laser dancing, and, of course, lots of switching. The consequences for failure are almost certainly death at the hands of the villainous hotelier, which Sam thinks is a fair bit worse than excommunication for not heisting the star back. Throughout all of this, Sam has serious questions on the state of the Montenaro monarchy, which seems rife with nepotism, incompetence, and princess switching. Despite that, Danielle and Sam come up with a pretty good pitch for The Princess Switch 4, so Netflix, if you’re listening, call us!

Christmas Bounty

Sam kicks-off this year’s Winter Bizarre with 2013 ABC Family/WWE made for TV movie Christmas Bounty. Tory Bell is an average private elementary school teacher living in Manhattan and dating a handsome, wealthy man named James. All this changes when she gets a mysterious phone call from a gangster threatening her for putting him in jail years ago. So Tory bails on her boyfriend to return to New Jersey to seek the help of her family, all of whom are bounty hunters, to bring this gangster back to justice. This includes working with her ex-bounty hunter partner and former boyfriend Mikey Muscles (a.k.a. Beefcake). Somehow, this family of professional bounty hunters cook up the dumbest plan, which involves finding someone named Big Donna at a mall and putting a brick-sized GPS tracker in her purse. Against all reason, this works and they find the gangster in the only location this movie seems to have paid for: A dingy warehouse. Through a series of circumstance too contrived to relate, James shows up in this warehouse, and Tory scrambles to hide her bounty hunter past from him, for some reason. Eventually, after a shootout at a Christmas tree lot (yes, really) James is kidnapped and Tory must risk crashing a mob wedding to save him. Also, this whole time Mikey Muscles has been pursing Tory, never having gotten over her, even though she’s dating what is possibly the best man in the world. It’s no spoiler to say Tory returns to her small-town roots and boyfriend, though what is a surprise is that she does this in just the worst way imaginable. James, we’re sorry, you’re a prince and you deserve better.

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In the final installment of this year’s Winter Bizarre, Danielle brings out the big guns with the John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale rom-com Serendipity. A chance encounter in a New York department store brings Sara and Jonathan together. Even though they’re both happily seeing other people, Jonathan seems determined to find a way to be with Sara. Sara dodges his advances by setting up elaborate tests of fate that will tell them if they are meant to be together. Sam has exactly zero patience for Sara’s fate-based abdication of personal responsibility, Danielle, meanwhile, is mostly just amused by his frustration. Regardless, see our “heroes” eventually brutally dump their perfectly lovely partners to be with each other because apparently fate told them to. Danielle and Sam are forced by this movie to grapple with some existential questions that are, honestly, pretty stupid. Luckily, the leads have enough charisma and charm to make everyone forget the bad philosophy and enjoy their lovelorn shenanigans.