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Monday, December 23, 2013

A Mom For Christmas

Well, we're on the final few days of “THE POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR”, and I think that I have a great way to conclude the event. We have a television movie that is just plain weird, a Christmas Eve themed Tuesday Timeline, and a special surprise for Christmas Day itself.

But first things first, we have a Monday Matinee to talk about. This is the entry that is all about the made-for-TV movie that is a bit peculiar, but magical. It's a good entry to talk about for Day #23 of the calendar, because I get the feeling that not a lot of people know about it. And for those of you who might have seen it, it'll be a refresher to one of the strangest holiday movies ever made.

In case you haven't quite figured out the theme of the movie, it's all about strange magical happenings and how even the most bizarre things can bring forth Christmas miracles.

This movie originally aired on NBC on December 17, 1990, and its star was a woman who knew all about the joy of “magic”.

(Well, okay. The movie that we are discussing is not “Xanadu”. For one, that movie came out in 1980 in movie theatres and was a notorious box office bomb. However, since the theme of the movie was all about magic, I figured that it would fit the theme.)

The movie is called “A Mom For Christmas”, and in addition to Olivia Newton-John, the movie also starred Douglas Sheehan (of “Knots Landing”), Doris Roberts (of “Everybody Loves Raymond”), and Juliet Sorcey.

And, the movie's title reflects a wish that a little eleven-year-old girl made one Christmas season. A wish that by all accounts should never have come true...but did anyway, because of a little something known as Christmas magic.

But, you know...why don't I just begin this entry off by posting this LINK. Clicking here will take you to a link to the full movie.

So, the movie begins inside of a high-end department store, and right off the bat, you can tell that it was filmed in either the late 1980s or early 1990s just based on the décor of the store. With the big Cosby show style sweaters, neon lights on the walls, and bright colours, it almost appears as though the movie has been replaced with a Debbie Gibson music video.

Or, I suppose I should say, an Olivia Newton-John video. That is actually her singing in the opening song that plays in the department store.

And inside said department store is a sad little girl named Jessica (Sorcey) who is wandering the girls' wear department, watching all the other little girls shopping with their mothers, and she is feeling very much left out. Her own mother passed away when Jessica was a toddler, so she essentially grew up without a mother. Sure, her father Jim (Sheehan) has tried to give her the best life possible as a single parent, but because he has been working so hard to give Jessica everything she needs, he doesn't really have a whole lot of time to spend with her. So, as a result, Jessica has become quite a bit of a loner, and quite often the target of bullies and mean girls who go out of their way to make her feel bad. Jessica does have a friend in Stephanie (Erica Mitchell), who tries to make her feel better, but since Stephanie still has her mother in her own life, it's very difficult for Stephanie to really understand what Jessica is going through.

In fact, it seems as though there's only one person in the entire world who can understand what Jessica is feeling. That person is a store employee named Philomena (Roberts), who happens to have a bit of magic inside herself as well. You see, inside the department store is a wishing well, which allows kids to pick out a small present. I guess you could call it a holiday promotion of sorts. And, Jessica and Stephanie decide to take part. Most of the boxes in the well have nothing inside of them, as Stephanie quickly figures out. But Jessica ends up getting a box that allows her to have one holiday wish granted by Philomena herself.

So, when Jessica finally meets up with Philomena to redeem her wish, Philomena tells her that she can wish for anything that she wanted for the holidays. As luck would have it, this conversation takes place right in front of a beautiful looking mannequin (who surprisingly enough looks like Olivia Newton-John), and Philomena listens intently as Jessica wishes for a mother during the holidays.

But, that was nearly impossible. Jessica's mother had passed away, and with Christmas just a few days away, it would take a Christmas miracle for Jessica's wish to come true.

However, what if I told you that the Christmas miracle would come in the form of that very mannequin that Jessica made the wish in front of? And, what if I told you that the mannequin (who apparently has the name of Amy) just dropped by the house after midnight the very night Jessica made that wish, announcing that she was here to spend Christmas vacation with her and Jim? Well, Jim was quite shocked, and didn't exactly know what was going on...but Jessica knew. And, right off the bat, Jessica and Amy became firm friends.

Of course, since Amy had spent most of a store mannequin, she didn't exactly know how to act in the human world. Jessica did her best to try and teach her things, but there's really only so much life experience that an eleven-year-old girl has. Though, I have to admit that it was kind of funny seeing Amy toss litter inside of a mailbox, and I have to agree that it was hysterical to see Amy give fashion advice to what appeared to be a city socialite, who was not all that impressed by Amy's advice at all!

Oh, and there's also the fact that Amy seems to talk to the other mannequins inside of the department store, even calling them by name. She described all of the personality traits of each mannequin to an excited Jessica, explaining to her that when the lights go out at the department store each night, magic happens.

And one night after Jessica and Amy go touring around the neighbourhood to see all of the beautifully lit Christmas displays, they sneak into the department store after hours so that Amy can introduce her to all of her “friends”.

Perhaps the coolest friend that Amy has is the mannequin who is placed inside of a car dressed like a chauffeur. His name is Wilkins (Jim Piddock), and let's just say that he gives both Amy and Jessica the ride of their lives...inside the department store!

Of course, it takes a while for Jim to warm up to Amy. Amy certainly does try her best to make the holiday a happy one for both Jim and Jessica, but her idea of decorating for the holidays almost cost them everything. I suppose it was kind of cute idea to have the tree decorated with household objects like clothespins, small toys, and tea bags. But the idea of lighting the tree with freshly lit candles? Bad idea. In the 1800s, it was all the people had. In the 1990s, the option of electric strings of lights was much safer. Had Amy used those, she wouldn't have started a fire which completely burned down a corner of the living room – destroying all of the photos of Jim with his first wife in the process! It took some time for Jim to deal with that loss, but he eventually began to warm up to Amy by the time Christmas came.

And I'm sure that Jessica didn't really appreciate Amy revealing a crush that she had on a boy TO the boy in question...but Jessica quickly forgave Amy for that little mishap...and hey, it did kind of work out in the end for Jessica and her crush. Somewhat.

Whatever the case, Jessica was pleased as punch that Amy was fitting into the family quite nicely, and Jessica was so caught up in the excitement of having a mother to talk to, share secrets with, and love that she almost forgot that her wish was only available for a limited time offer. You see, Jessica soon realized that her wish was only good until midnight on December 26th. As soon as Christmas ended, Amy would turn back into a mannequin permanently. A really cruel joke, especially given how much Amy had bonded with both Jim and Jessica. Desperate for the magic to last beyond Christmas for years to come, Jessica begged Philomena to help her keep Amy in her and her father's lives. After all, Philomena did help assist Jessica in bringing Amy to life. Unfortunately, there is very little Philomena can do on her own. She is only capable of granting holiday miracles. However, she leaves Jessica with the message that if she and her father hold on to Amy tightly, then there could be a small chance that there would be enough love generated in hopes for her to stay in the world as a human being.

But with time running out and Amy seemingly resigned to her ultimate fate, can Jim and Jessica reach Amy before the Boxing Day sales take place?

Well...don't look at me! I provided you with the link to the movie. Watch it yourselves and tell me how it ends!

And, do stay tuned for the penultimate day of the advent calendar. Because on the twenty-fourth day of the advent calendar, I will be sharing with you a holiday tradition that originated on Christmas Eve. A tradition that many boys and girls look forward to each year...

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