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Jesse Tells Frank What Happened In All Cable Christmas Movies

Dear Frank,

Normally, I guard the honor of telling of you stuff as sacred. But after John Ross recommended a most bloodthirsty selection of “Christmas” movies yesterday, I figured we could all use an antidote. So here’s our good friend Jesse Vigil — with a different approach!


Dear Frank,

ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas 2013I grew up Catholic and was educated by Catholics for 13 years, so naturally I am really good at swearing and having not the best relationship with faith. I am also a little Grinchy about Christmas, especially when it comes to starting the “season” prior to December 1st.

You might know me as a person who does not always have great taste in film. I do, for example, believe Michael Bay is an important artist whose dadaist celebration of the meaninglessness of “plot” has yet to be properly recognized. But I have a dark secret, Frank. Because I have seen over two dozen cable Christmas movies.

And no, we’re not talking about the classics. No White Christmas. No It’s a Wonderful Life. Not even Die Hard or Batman Returns. I’m talking about the factory-churned slew of contemporary Christmas movies that rose to prominence on Lifetime and then spread like cancer to ABC Family and even a thing I didn’t know existed: The Hallmark Channel.

I have relatives, Frank, and they watch a lot of these movies. I also stay up late, Frank, so I’ve seen more of them than my wife, whom the Sandman loves more than me. Last holiday I started live-tweeting the most outrageous discoveries I made about this whole genre of films and was asked by our mutual friend Liz to share my discoveries with you. So here are the Five Things You Need To Know About Cable Christmas Movies: Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Pretty Woman” (Originally)

Ever wanted to find out what it’s actually like when Liz Tells Frank something? Liz Tells Frank LIVE begins! First victim: The Jessica Alba-starring James┬áCameron sci-fi series “Dark Angel.”

Dear Frank,

pretty-woman-coverAs you and I are both vague-to-huge nerds about screenplays and story development, I wonder if you’ve ever checked out the original script for Pretty Woman? There’s a real reason for me asking this: $3,000, as the project was called then, lays claim to a bit of interesting history for the film industry.

Here’s the story: It was heralded as one of the better-written scripts of the year, intended as a dark take on prostitution, drugs and whatever else sucked about the time period. But writer Jonathan Lawton’s rather dark take on a Hollywood Blvd. prostitute getting picked up by a wealthy businessman was then rewritten by script doctors Robert Garland, Stephen Metcalfe and Barbara Benedek for director Garry Marshall.

Marshall and his team then transformed the gritty tale into a light-R Cinderella-esque fairy tale, and made like, ALL THE MONEY. Like, ALL OF IT.

But everyone who I heard discuss this made the rewrite sound like a bad thing. The triumph of commerce over art, you know? So I wanted to find out for myself, and thus, this week I not only rewatched Pretty Woman in its final incarnation, but managed to Google up a copy of the original $3,000 script.

And HOLY SHIT, FRANK. WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST READ? Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank Stuff She Forgot About “Love Actually”

Dear Frank,

Love_Actually_movieHappy holidays! A time of shopping, togetherness, and debating whether Love Actually, Richard Curtis’s 2003 Christmas romantic comedy to end all Christmas romantic comedies, is the absolute worst or the absolute best.

Every time I watch it, I’m not really sure of the answer. I mean, I adore some percentage of it, and I loathe some other percentage, and because the movie is fundamentally schizophrenic, that percentage is never the same twice.

But there is a lot to love, especially if you’re like me, and looking up cast lists on the IMDB is like breathing. EVERYONE is in this movie, Frank. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “She’s All That”

Dear Frank,

I don’t think my prom had a prom queen. Or, if it did, no one gave a shit. Personally, I went stag — well, technically, I went with another girl, because they didn’t sell tickets to prom, they sold two-person “bids” or something, and both me and my friend Evelyn didn’t have dates, but did want to go, so we split a bid and shared a San Antonio limousine service with a big group of friends and it was a pretty fun time.

[And by the way, points to my NorCal high school for never even raising an eyebrow over the fact that me and Evelyn split a bid, several years before that sort of thing mighta been a major news story. Though, to be fair, we never pressed the point by slow-dancing (and/or being in a committed relationship).]

So I enjoyed my prom, to a certain extent, but the lead-up to it didn’t consume my existence or that of my peers. (By “peers,” I mean the honors students, school paper editors and drama nerds who made up my core group of friends in high school — perhaps there were girls/boys who were deeply committed on that score, but for reasons that should be very obvious, they were not a part of my social circle.)

What this means is that the film She’s All That, the plot of which is entirely focused on which lucky 18+-to-play-younger lady will win the oh-so-important crown, is as alien to me as, well, aliens. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “What’s Your Number?”

Dear Frank,

Of all the elements of my genetic makeup I most hate, my addiction to romantic comedies might be number one. The lizard part of my brain that responds automatically to pop music montages, snarky best friends and dramatic climaxes where the girl runs down the street to tell the guy she loves that she loves him is not only annoying but time-consuming — I mean, Frank, do you KNOW how long it takes to rewatch all six seasons of Sex and the City mutiple times? (I do. But I’m not telling.)

I could be reading books, Frank! Real books with big words in them! Instead, I watch shit like What’s Your Number.

But in this case, I had real reasons for checking this movie out, aside from appeasing the girly moron within. First off: The film’s premise, which it could be argued is a refreshing twist on the standard romantic comedy plot lines, because it puts front and center the eternal question of how many dudes a lady can sleep with before society deems her a complete ho.

Except the movie basically answers that question…

Read the rest of this entry

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