What To Watch: 12/25/2020

Christmas can mean different things to different people; heck, we’ve got mixed feelings here and we’re putting the finishing touches on a two-week feature about how much we love Christmas shows. Few places is this divide more apparent than this godforsaken year for movie fans and the cathedrals in which we usually watch them. While today–with both the first Pixar film and first Superhero extravaganza to make their main debuts on the small screen–it can feel like a dagger through the heart of movie theaters everywhere, the bonus for watchers stuck on their couches (where we damn well should be during a pandemic!!!) is we get an extra holiday gift of being able to see huge Hollywood releases with one or two clicks. The two films we’ve been hinting at lead our recommendations today.

BRAD’S PICK:
Wonder Woman 1984 [HBO Max]
This finally hits today. After almost a year of delays{!}, HBO Max subscribers can spend this weird socially-distanced Christmas with the Amazon warrior. Was it worth the wait? Well that would be a spoiler… chances are if you are reading this than you already have plans to experience the next WW chapter

JASON’S PICK:
Soul [Disney+]
While I’m far from a fanboy, Pixar’s track record for visually arresting animation with well-developed, heartwarming, yet also clever stories precedes it. This buzzy, well-reviewed story of a band teacher and aspiring musician who dies suddenly and through a series of cosmic mix-ups, winds up in the “Great Before” (where souls discover who they are before their life). It’s a perfect way to while a day off and gotta say would pair perfectly with the other major comfort-food movie release of the day if you were feeling a double-header.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • For more masked avengers, we have the quirkily fun-sounding (and David Bowie-quoting) We Can Be Heroes. It’s about what happens when the world’s superheroes are kidnapped and their children have to save the day. If this sounds suspiciously like Spy Kids, well, it IS directed by the same versatile Robert Rodriguez. Might we be so bold as to suggest full-on triple feature? If so, it’s on Netflix.
  • This Christmas, TV is really giving its heart to nerd culture–and while we know it will give it away the very next day, we’re still going to enjoy it. Over on Disney+, its marquee original show gets special treatment with the ultra-behind-the-scenes take that is Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian. If nothing else, it’s more pictures of “Baby Yoda.”
  • HGTV’s holiday-themed makeover special, Surprising Santa Claus is slightly misleading as it’s not Santa Claus (neither the fictional being nor the town in Indiana named after him in which this is filmed) that is being surprised, but two families whose letters to Santa are compelling enough for the professional elves in Santa Claus, Indiana, to send a team of renovators to spruce up their homes.
  • Shondaland expands her borders beyond her home country (and resident network of ABC) and into the UK with a period piece starring Julie Andrews, because Shonda Rhimes can get anyone she wants. In Bridgerton, Andrews is the narrator telling the story (and likely reading the residents) of a well-heeled family from the 18th Century. It’s based on a popular series of books by Julia Quinn and while the trailer seems almost a parody of itself, the reviews are off the charts.
  • If you want to completely overdose on UK, there’s also our likely last unlikely “Holiday Special” of the season as the folks at Call The Midwife get in on the action to kick off its 10th season.
  • However, we might not be able to say the same about the production of Lifetime movies, as tonight’s My Sweet Holiday is doubtful the last Christmas tidings we get from the channel where true love and sinister stalkers walk hand-in-hand. Unless the press is misleading, this gentle tale of two wannabe confectioners who may or may not (but, unnecessary spoiler alert: definitely will) fall in love surely comes from the “stick with true love” barrel.

One Last Christmas Note

If you want to see a wonderful expression of the whirlwind of emotions that the holidays, and Christmas in particular, can summon up, check out The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special on Hulu. It’s just a unique revuel it’s funny, charming, often subversive, and, most importantly, supremely well-written–and often surreal–program, that captures how even though Christmas can be a psychological minefield (especially if you were in the target market for those “it gets better” PSAs), it is not impossible to still harbor an affection for the holiday, to the level of putting together an elaborate stage show to celebrate. It’s why we love Christmas episodes ourselves in spite of our complicated relationships to the day. Even if you’re not a huge fan of drag, there’s enough moving moments within that you just might be surprised

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