Hallmark Movie Watch: The Christmas Contest

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

... And I don't care about the presents underneath the Christmas Tree. I don't need to hang my stocking...

OH! Well hello, dear reader! I didn't see you there. (Again.) Happy Holidays to you! I know I'm a little late getting started this season but it's been quite the year. As if discovering that Hallmark is manipulating us all and then getting dumped at Christmas wasn't enough my brother got Covid right before Christmas last year forcing my whole family into quarantine for 10 days and I live alone. Yes, I, Joe Christmas, spent my entire Christmas and the ensuing break alone in my apartment. I was so depressed that I took all of my decorations down on the 26th and couldn't even summon the will to write my follow-up on Superman Loves Cats. So that sucked and so did the whole rest of the winter. And the spring. And I could really take or leave this summer for that matter.

So, when I tell you, my lovelies, that I am down for some motherfucking holiday cheer this year I GODDAMN MEAN IT.

And good news: not only is all that in the past but I am feeling EXTRA schmaltzy this year.

You said it, YouTube. I'm devouring Hallmark movies at an alarming rate and magic is in the air! Will this affect the tone of this years' reviews? Only time will tell!

Let's begin!

Is it me or does DJ Tanner look like she's smiling with malevolence in this image? I’m worried she has Gwenth’s head in that box

Hallmark Description:

Exes Lara and Ben compete in a Christmas contest to win money for the charity of their choosing. The city watches them battle and choose what is more important, victory or love.

The answer is love, you beautiful fools!

Wow. Guess we didn't need much time to tell if the tone was going to be different this year.

Anyways: a glaring omission in last years' reviews was a Candance Cameron Bure piece. She's Hallmark's leading lady! How could we not?!

The answer to that question is quite simple: I'm fairly certain she was created in a lab to NOT be your author's type. Yes, I understand that she is classically good-looking and makes some of those Ann Taylor Loft sweaters look pretty damn good but something about her whole vibe is not for me. I feel like she'd make me go to church or something. *shudder*

The point is I'm a Winnie Cooper man but in the name of JOURNALISM, I decided to make my first review this year a CCB piece. (And yes, I'm sorry I did.)

So yes, The Christmas Contest stars DJ Tanner herself and a guy cosplaying Captain America in Infinity War and I'll give him credit, his beard is nearly as luxurious.


Funfact: apparently Cap also starred in Fuller House and according to a pre-commercial sting this movie is full of 'House' Easter eggs. I had to IMDB the actor as I did not remember him being in House.


He was not. Apparently, Fuller House fans refer to the show as House. I hate that I now possess this information. Now you do too. Merry Christmas. Also: if you think I'll be watching five seasons of Fuller House so that I can add color to this piece you can go straight to hell.

Alright, so before DJ and Cap begin their inevitable descent into a pit of smooches we lead with some narration from DJ about the meaning of life. Yes, you read that right. This Hallmark movie is going to try and explain the meaning of life and DJ says that life is about change and sometimes we lose ourselves in the change and FUCK I'M ALREADY GETTING MISTY.

She adds: "Maybe we should be asking 'How do we give life more meaning?' and then Christmas comes with all the answers."

Okay, this movie is no good (spoiler) but that line got me. Back to the show:

DJ Tanner is a Chief Operating Officer at a company of some kind that does some things. Ungh, sounds like a business person who needs to learn something about Christmas.

(Random thought: business people always need to change in Hallmark movies so does the C-suite at Hallmark all hate themselves? I'm supportive of that if they do.)

Cap (whose actual name is Ben Winters and too ridiculous to use) is a washed-up MLB MVP which is kind of an oxymoron. You're kind of a king for life if you're MVP caliber but I might be the only person watching this movie who's voluntarily watched a baseball game so we'll let it slide.

These two used to date for four years but now they don't for... reasons?

DJ mulls her singledom and laments that her dating profile is so out of date that her picture still has chunky highlights.


Wait. I don't get it.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm not the intended audience for these movies.

High-pressure mom thinks that DJ works too hard and needs some Christmas spirit (something she is VERY inconsistent about.) DJ retorts:

"So, I should burn my MBA and start a Christmas tree farm?"

This would be a great self-aware line if she didn't petty much do exactly that in the third act. SPOILER! Oh, get over it. The ending of this movie got spoiled for me by a commercial for itself during the first break. (They kiss!)

It's time for the plot to start and in this case, it's a Christmas reality show contest put on by the local news and the winner gets money for the charity of their choice! Well, of the five contestants guess who two of them are? You nailed it! There are three others who get like two speaking lines to share among them but who cares? Developing the supporting cast is just slowing down the train to Smooch Station.

Each contestant also gets a team. Cap's Grandma (possibly old Peggy Carter from Winter Soldier?) joins DJ's team! What a traitor! Good thing Cap has good old Bucky Barnes to help. You can tell he's the sidekick because he's shorter than Cap and his beard isn't as good. Anyways, Bucky recruits some kids to be on Cap's team because this is a Hallmark movie and we need some precocious children and one of them needs to be a bummer.

For those of you placing bets, it took DJ Tanner 42 minutes to bring up God in this one. That's pretty late. Hope none of you bet too heavy. It took an hour and three minutes to bring up Ted Nugent. Also longer than I might have expected.

You know the drill from here. Contests ensure and sweet nothings are uttered and before you know it DJ and Cap are laying together on a blanket in front of the fire. Yes, you read that right. That's the Hallmark equivalent of an explicit sex scene. DJ TANNER HOW COULD YOU? They haven't even been to the Christmas tree lot yet and you're giving up the afghan? What would Uncle Jesse think if he saw you now! Have mercy!

Well of course now Cap is all post-snuggle "start a nonprofit with me." Of course, DJ immediately quits her high-powered job because that's the Hallmark sign of true love: someone who sacrifices their dreams and identity for you on a whim! Bummer for DJ though - as soon as the afterglow wears off Cap is like: "that was a dumb idea never mind."

DJ is so mad she tears up a Christmas tree. How did this movie not get rated Hallmark X? Smut AND Tanner on Tree violence!

Cap realizes he messed up and in a shocking turn hangs his Christmas tree upside down. He claims it's because DJ turns his world upside down which is the shittiest grand gesture ever but we know the truth, dear readers: CAP HAS MADE A PACT WITH SATAN. Part of the deal is that they both win the contest too! Nice! Everyone wins, the happy couple kiss, and all it cost Cap WAS HIS SOUL.

And we end with the exact same meaning of life narration from the beginning which instead of feeling poignant lands with a dull thud either because we've heard it before or because I was drinking though his one. Either way.

Actual review:

Pass. This is Fuller House fan service that no one needs. Plus Lara and Ben seem to have a kind of toxic relationship and I actively didn't want them to get back together.

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