The Friday High Five
On funny knock-offs, Florida vibes, and small-minded fraud
Every Friday I share 5 things I enjoyed this week. Also, high fives are inherently cool, and I think we can all agree Friday is the bestest day. Hence the Friday High Five. 🙏🏻
My Favorite Thing This Week Was…
A Hallmark Christmas movie.
I know. I can’t believe it myself.
My wife picked up the Hallmark Movie streaming service last week because they offered her a month for $2 and tis the season.1 Our initial foray into the Hallmark Cinematic Universe went not-well.2 The first movie we tried was lousy. Lacey Chabert is not Meryl Streep; there’s only so much she can do with a crappy script.
I then turned to the Ever-Knowing Oracle (e.g. Google) and unearthed a list of the 25 best Hallmark Christmas movies. By ‘best,’ I assumed Variety meant the 25 least-bad movies. I couldn’t find their top two films on Hallmark’s service, which kinda sums up Hallmark’s service. Variety’s third-favorite was called 3 Wise Men and a Baby, an obvious riff on the 80s classic.
I threw it on not expecting much. So maybe I was primed to enjoy it, simply because my expectations were so low. But dang it, I really liked this movie.
It’s a heartwarming movie (ofc) and a bit predictable (naturally) but I loved it. The highlight is probably this hilarious dance number, which the actors reprised at Christmas Con 2022.
Yes, Christmas has its own convention, apparently. It seems a little frivolous, given Christmas is a globally-recognized holiday and the only day in which American capitalism comes to a complete halt. But people would probably say the same thing about Star Wars conventions, so who am I to judge?
3 Wise Men and a Baby isn’t in the same league as Elf or even Fred Claus. But I quite liked it and I think you will too.
Other Things I Enjoyed This Week
John Wick 4
I know, I know—I’m super late to this movie. But also, I’ve already seen this movie. Three other times.
I’d heard good things about John Wick 4 though, so I went it with modest hopes. And I discovered it’s basically like every other film in the franchise.
Easily my favorite part was a top-down view of a prolonged fight that reminded me of a video game, to the point that I actually forgot it was live action and started marveling at the intricate detail of background elements like tables and chairs. I don’t think that’s what was supposed to wow me about the scene.
The most impressive thing about these films is how they’ve squeezed a franchise out of a one-note concept the first film resolved in 101 minutes.
My John Wick rankings:
John Wick 2
John Wick 4
John Wick 3
We finished parts two (Actor) and three (American) of the Netflix Arnold series. I’m a fan of his work and an admirer of his work ethic. But it’s hard to see him sitting alone in his giant mansion and not mostly feel pity and disgust.
On one hand, people make mistakes and deserve second chances.
On the other, Arnold’s illegitimate son was born within 5 days of his son by his wife. And he didn’t cop to it for 15 years.
Close Call Fraud
Someone got ahold of my debit card information this week and tried to make a $35 purchase at something called Princess House. Fortunately, my bank flagged it as suspicious and stopped the transaction before it could begin. It only cost me the aggravation of having to cancel my card and order a new one.
Maybe it’s a sign my mind is twisted, but the whole thing strikes me as funny. I have so many unanswered questions. Why just $35? What is Princess House? Is it a mail-order bride situation? A doll house company? Do they sell tiaras, or maybe individual shoes?
Can you imagine braving the dark web to secure illicit means of payment only to use it in such a small and anticlimactic fashion?
GTA VI Trailer
It’s weird to get all excited about a teaser for a game that probably won’t be out for 2 more years. But the GTA games are cut from a different cloth.
There’s not much to go on in the trailer other than general vibes. Strong Florida energy. Music front-and-center, setting the tone, like always. TikTok-ification elements imply some kind of in-game social feed. Plus the usual crime and wanton violence.
It’s hard to believe this will be the first time we’ve had a female protagonist, but also not really that hard to fathom at all. Video games are one of the last bastions of misogyny; there isn’t so much a glass ceiling as a concrete block cell. I can guarantee there are YouTubers losing their effing minds over the fact that the main character has boobs.
I’m 99% sure that the Hallmark Channel having their own streaming service is one of the Biblical signs of the apocalypse.