/Why most Netflix holiday specials fall flat
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Why most Netflix holiday specials fall flat

It is that time of year again, the Christmas season and with that comes streaming websites promoting all the holiday movies they have.  

I was struck by the amount of rom-coms Netflix promoted this year. It seems like every year more and more rom-coms come out during the holiday season. The holiday season is also cuffing season, which is when single people find short term relationships to get through the holiday season. It is a marketing strategy to get couples and single people to watch the films! Films that fall into this category include “Holidate,” “A New York Christmas Wedding” and “Midnight at the Magnolias.” 

What all these films have in common is that there was nothing special about any of them.  

The first of the romcoms I watched was “Holidate,” which was about two single people, Sloane (Emma Roberts) and Jackson (Luke Bracey), who become each other’s “holidates” after Christmas and slowly fall in love throughout the year. The film was aware that it was using clichés. However, what failed the movie was it rely on sexist, dirty, and dumb jokes that did not make laugh me whatsoever. The leads had good chemistry but outside of that it was still a run of the mill romcom that has a slit variation on a very well-known trope. 

I was excited for the lesbian representation in “A New York Christmas Wedding,” but it was boring. It was about angel who helped a woman find her truth by inserting her in an altered universe, where she was marrying her childhood best friend. The film was weird with establishing the relationships within the story as well as trying to insert a story line about equal marriage. It just felt to all over the place as well as just a bland story. 

I fell asleep while watching “Midnight at the Magnolias.” The film was also about childhood best friends, Maggie and Jack, who are on a mission to save Maggie’s dad’s business by hosting a radio show.  What I gathered from all three of these films is that the stories for holiday themed rom-coms are not well thought out. They rely on the cliches and stereotypes of all rom-coms and I am tired of it. As someone who is not much of a fan of romcoms, these types of films are the reason why. There are too many that rely on stereotypes, and I hope in the future there will be more creativity, as well more inclusive story lines. 

The best movie I watched was “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey.” This was the most refreshing movie I have seen all year, not only was the story fantastic and the production value was good, but the casting was phenomenal. A Christmas movie musical that was led by black director and writers was very rewarding to hear.  

The movie revolves around a toy maker whose plans for a new toy get stolen by his apprentice. He then loses his business and falls. Years later, his granddaughter comes to visit and helps redeem him.  

This is the only movie out of this list that I would re-watch each holiday season and I think it is because it does not revolve around stereotypes – especially when it came to the main black cast! It was special to watch and I hope it will be a model for more original works led by black creators and performers.   

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Sarah Clayton is a writer for The Alabamian. She is a third-year senior theatre major who enjoys all things theatre related. When she is not writing for The Alabamian or busy with classes she enjoys listening to music, reading, making TikToks, watching movies or TV shows she has already seen and hanging out with friends.