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The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

‘Snow’ Thank You to These New Christmas Movies

Despite+the+2023+SAG-AFTRA+writers%E2%80%99+strike%2C+Hollywood+did+not+fail+to+deliver+a+sleigh+full+of+enchanting+new+holiday+films%2C+ensuring+that+the+magic+of+the+season+lit+up+screens+with+warmth.
Graphic by Claire Chan
Despite the 2023 SAG-AFTRA writers’ strike, Hollywood did not fail to deliver a sleigh full of enchanting new holiday films, ensuring that the magic of the season lit up screens with warmth.

It is the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas time. Studios push out new movies so often that you can find a Christmas movie with any plot imaginable.

Considering these holiday films’ overwhelming use of tropes and recurrent plot structures, we will be rating these three Christmas movies that debuted this month from worst to best on two scales — enjoyability and tropiness.

EXmas

This romcom centers around Graham (Wes Bennet), who comes home for Christmas to find his ex-girlfriend Ali (Leighton Messiter) spending Christmas with his family. These two exes sabotage each other to determine who spends Christmas with his family, which is weirdly problematic because it is his family. The premise is promising, and the film’s heartwarming opening montage showcasing their pre-breakup relationship sets the stage and provides essential context for the unfolding narrative.

However, the tranquility quickly goes off the rails. Graham is whiny and annoying, so you cannot root for him. The other main character, Ali, barely gets any character development or personality. Her only memorable trait was her ability to help people. Their break up could have been solved by some communication, and the finale is rushed. But even with its faults, the movie is surprisingly funny.

Final Score:

Rating: ⅖ 

Tropiness: ⅘ 

 

Merry Little Batman

This animated movie is about Batman’s (Luke Wilson) adoptive son Damian Wayne (Yonas Kibreab). The first half of the movie is basically a Home Alone ripoff; Damian is left alone with his father and his butler, Alfred Pennyworth (James Cromwell), and must protect his home from a group of burglars. He eventually loses a special Christmas present from his dad and sets off on an unsuccessful adventure to get it back.  

This movie picks up the pace when the Joker (David Hornsby) is introduced. Every scene he is in is elevated because of his crazy personality and Hornsby’s line delivery. Batman is different from his usually moody self, but it works well for this movie and seems like a good progression of his character from other iterations. 

The animation style needs some time to get used to with its over exaggerated features such as Batman’s chin, but it adds to the comedy of the movie. Bane’s visual appearance is the funniest — with a muscular body and a very tiny face, he is impossible to take seriously.

Final Score:

Rating : ⅗

Tropiness: ⅗

 

Candy Cane Lane

Out of the three movies we selected to review, Candy Cane Lane is the most worth the watch. Set in a suburban California town, this new film already makes us feel at home. It is about a father-of-three, Chris Carver (Eddie Murphy), who is determined to win his neighborhood’s annual Christmas decorating contest. After making an exclusive pact with a wicked elf (Jillian Bell) to ensure success, the Carvers land themselves at the epicenter of chaos.

Each member of the Carver family bears individual flaws, but their collective dynamic remains surprisingly robust and heartwarming, especially as they navigate what they dub the “worst Christmas ever.” Despite the film’s incorporation of current trends and slang, it strikes the perfect balance of charm without tipping into excess cheesiness.

Candy Cane Lane culminates in a satisfying “happy ending” yet transcends the clichéd endings typically associated with Christmas films, rendering it a compelling choice for viewing during the 2023 holiday season. We encourage your viewership to experience the film’s ending firsthand.

Final Score:

Rating: ⅘

Tropiness: ⅘

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About the Contributors
Maitri Allani, Media Director
Maitri Allani is the Media Director and a Business Manager for her second and final year of Portola Pilot. She loves to write and read, especially horrible romance books. She is extremely bisexual and an avid fan of Women’s soccer. She spends her time watching TV and sleeping. Computer science is her passion and she can code with Python, HTML, and Java. She is usually jamming out to Bollywood songs, BTS and Taylor Swift.
Alice Ahn, Social Media Team
Alice Ahn is the co-social media manager for her first year on the Portola Pilot. As a new staff writer, she feels honored to have her work on newspaper pages and the internet for the very first time. Apart from proofreading her own writing an unhealthy number of times, Alice frequents novels with entrancing titles but mediocre plots. She wants to make the most out of not only this school year, but also her Spotify Premium subscription, and would love to hear any of your music recommendations.
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