Dec 6, 2018
Welcome back to the podcast. This will be the first of two episodes today as we’re in the final stretch of getting caught up, both on episodes and what was happening while the podcast was offline. I’ll be continuing my story in a minute, but if you haven’t heard the earlier segments, hit pause, then go back to my review for “Outlaw King” (Episode #314) for the first segment, then listen every episode after that for another installment. Let me know you’re listening by sharing this episode with #WelcomeBackOMP.
Last segment, I was talking about another project I started before this podcast and my intention to continue work on that once this podcast is caught up. Today, over the course of both episodes, I wanted to tell you about the last delay in getting back to the podcast. Once I wrapped up the loose ends on that project before the evacuation, I took a break and vowed to get back to the podcast the following day. Which is when I noticed water where it shouldn’t be, slowly seeping from underneath our water heater. I thought the water heater may have overflowed, so I ran the pressure release and put some towels down to catch the small amount of water I saw.
Of course, waking up the next morning, ready to get to work on the podcast, I went out to the garage to check it out and saw water all over the place. Moved the soaked towels to a bucket and threw down more towels, and shutting off the water to the house. So much for getting to work on the podcast. The good news is that the father of our host family from the evacuation was a contract plumber, who we called to come and figure out what was going on. Fleeing from fire, choking on air, and now, dealing with a flood of sorts. All I needed was an earthquake to round out the elements. He cut out chunks of the dry wall, looking for the leak, and eventually isolating and resolving the problem. He took off and I went to wash my hands. No hot water. Guess I’ll have to call him back.
Stay tuned next episode for the second part of the wall leak. More on the upcoming changes to the podcast tomorrow.
Today’s movie is “A Christmas Prince” (2017), the Netflix Original and MPCA holiday film directed by Alex Zamm and written for the screen by Karen Schaler and Nate Atkins. The film follows Amber (Rose McIver), who is flown to the kingdom of Aldovia to cover the story of playboy Prince Richard (Ben Lamb), who is returning home to accept the crown. After being mistaken for an American tutor for Princess Emily (Honor Kneafsey), she works undercover to get the story of a lifetime, and ends up finding much, much more.
The Motion Picture Corporation of America has a real fascination for holiday television movies, especially those involving European royalty for some reason. If you take a look at their recent catalog, you won’t just find this film, but a host of films, mostly made for the Hallmark Channel. It’s quite the shift in direction for a production company that once made “Dumb and Dumber” and “Kingpin”. It’s Netflix acquisitions like this film, and its sequel, that make me realize just how popular these films are, and how much people love to watch them, or love to hate watch them, if you’re my daughter. And let’s face it, like holiday music songs and albums, there’s stacks of cash to be made.
The first thing I noticed about “A Christmas Prince” is just how similar the story is to “The Princess Switch”. Aldovia versus Belgravia. A small child who is in on the subterfuge. A prince who isn’t sure what he wants, and a practical career woman who finds unexpected love while bringing sensibility to the out-of-touch royals. And much like that film, it leverages more of the fairy tale archetype that melds so well with holiday films. However, “A Christmas Prince” has that “made for television” feel, not just in story pacing and content and characters, but down to the well-timed scene fadeouts for commercial breaks, ready for syndication and distribution. It’s not something a causal viewer may notice, but it does take away from the overall enjoyment of the film. And no one is looking for that in a fairy tale holiday film, because once you start picking apart one part, it’s not that hard to keep shredding it to bits.
But bah humbug to anyone who wants to tear this film apart on principle, or because it would be easy to do. We might have a career-minded woman finding unexpected love, but Rose McIver does a great job in that role, and has great chemistry with Honor Kneafsey and Ben Lamb. Sure, Lord Simon and Lady Sophia are power-hungry caricatures, and Mrs. Averill (Sarah Douglas) and Mr. Little (Richard Ashton) are constant reminders of the need for royal protocol, even to a fault, but they don’t phone any performances in. And the film leverages the beautiful architecture of Romania for sets and locations. It’s a beautiful, charming, predictable, romantic holiday shlockfest, but it’s also endearing, and has surprisingly few reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic for a film so well-received by the audience.
“A Christmas Prince” (2017) is a holiday fairy tale involving royalty, a well-trod path that is mostly well-produced, and delivers a heartwarming message for romantics, and a surprisingly fun hate watch for cynics. But take it from me, don’t watch the film with both kinds of folks, because it can make for a contentious viewing. Fans of holiday films have likely already watched this, despite the small number of critics who have reviewed the film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
One Movie Punch: 7.0/10
“A Christmas Prince” (2017) is rated TV-PG and is currently streaming on Netflix.