7 Ridiculous Hypothetical Holiday Movies
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Seven holidays ripe for the Garry Marshall treatment...
On April 29th, Garry Marshall will end his five-year hiatus from hijacking American holidays and serving audiences visions of wealthy, white suburbanites farting around and whining about not being able to find love. Having already appropriated Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve as vehicles in his seemingly never-ending bid to out-cute and out-sap Love, Actually, Marshall now turns his attention to Mother’s Day in his latest offering, creatively titled Mother’s Day (watch the occasionally cringe-inducing trailer at the bottom of this post).
But fear not! There is an antidote to this cinematic sickly sweetness: Instead of partaking in the slow death by saccharin that Mother’s Day seems destined to be, let’s fantasize about the rest of Garry Marshall’s career. Once he runs out of mainstream holidays, he'll have no choice to but to move onto the more obscure ones. Below, we’ve concocted seven potential ideas for holiday-oriented ensemble romantic comedies that will be unique in their horribleness. Be sure to give me story credit, Garry!
George Clooney, initially believing that Arbor Day is a complete waste of a holiday, is dragged by his adorable moppet daughter to a tree-planting event, where it is implied that he’ll fall in love with Emily Blunt. Instead he goes gaga for a glorious old maple tree that he doesn’t realize is dying of rot. Emily Blunt is fiercely passionate about Arbor Day because when she was young she fell in love with a man who carved their names into a tree, but they broke up afterwards. Blunt has been trying to re-build her karma ever since by growing as many trees as she can, and she’s rewarded in the form of single dad Ryan Gosling, who grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Canada (this is the subject of many jokes), and looks adorably “frumpy” through means of ill-fitting clothes, a man-bun and Coke-bottle glasses. Gosling’s best friends Jason Alexander and Cher (a married couple) are environmental activists protesting a local factory’s unethical logging, leading to a surprisingly long and convoluted storyline where they take down a mustache-twirling, inexplicably Southern Benedict Cumberbatch. Their love is reinforced by this shared experience.
Key Moment: Emily Blunt cuts Ryan Gosling’s man-bun off with pruning shears accidentally, leading him to drop his glasses in surprise. She finally realizes how beautiful he is.
St. Patrick’s Day
The entire story centers around a massive St. Patrick’s Day celebration in downtown Cincinnati. Andie MacDowell has an unspoken phobia of the color green, so she trades out her prescription glasses for rose-colored ones (literally), so that she can go to the parade with her mother, Betty White, a functioning alcoholic. Andie MacDowell finds love with Stanley Tucci, who wears nothing but green all the time due to his owning an Irish bar, and she only learns to accept him once she downs a pint of Guinness and smashes the glass down on the glasses. William H. Macy is a sadsack whose wife left him five years ago on St. Patrick’s Day, so his former frat bro sons James Franco and Eddie Redmayne attempt to cheer him up by entering him in a drinking contest. Actual Irish person Brendan Gleeson wonders why all these stupid Americans are getting blackout drunk on a religious holiday, but after getting puked on by Betty White, he learns to appreciate the finer things in life.
Key Moment: Stanley Tucci makes an offhand remark about being a leprechaun, which Andie MacDowell laughs it off. In a post-credits scene, we see Tucci fondling gold coins and singing in a horrible Irish accent before winking to the camera.
National Book Lover's Day
Jessica Chastain is a librarian who lost her husband a year ago in a tragic shelving accident. She buries her grief in frumpy sweaters and Sylvia Plath, until National Book Lover’s Day brings an equally frumpy Tom Hardy into the library, looking for a book to lose himself in to forget about his crippling debt. Chastain offhandedly recommends The Big Short, which Hardy mistakes for a joke, and is taken with her “sense of humor.” Meg Ryan, an independent bookstore owner and Chastain’s best friend, routinely shows up to trade in both terrible relationship advice and terrible business advice before becoming entranced by a visit from Lenny Kravitz, a published author known for his violent, sexual, quasi-religious and werewolf-filled revisionist short stories about the Jazz Age. Tom Hiddleston is organizing a book burning of Kravitz’s work with Amy Sedaris until he is visited by the ghosts of Emily Brontë (Lorde), William Faulkner (James Franco) and V.C. Andrews (Meryl Streep), who convince him that books truly do have value. He kisses Andrews’ ghost, pushes Sedaris into the fire meant for the books and dances gleefully down the street into a police car.
Key Moment: Chastain and Hardy discuss their favorite and least favorite books. Hardy finds Danielle Steel’s work to be a secret not-so-guilty pleasure, while Chastain admits to hate-reading Nicholas Sparks. They both agree that Jonathan Franzen is a “f—king idiot.”
Featuring Quentin Tarantino as “creative consultant,” the film takes place over the course of one morning at a Best Buy on Black Friday. Kevin Spacey plays a snarky manager who helps prepare his fellow co-workers Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Oscar Isaac and Aubrey Plaza for the incoming chaos, and he falls in love with Wiig (who never speaks in the film because Spacey motor-mouths over her whenever she tries to talk) in the process. Byrne is a frazzled single mom bemoaning the greed that the holiday season begets, but she’s set straight by Samuel L. Jackson, who seems to appear randomly around the store at will to make off-topic vaguely inspirational speeches. Plaza plays an energized optimist who smiles throughout the entire film, even when angry customers are yelling in her face. She and Isaac date at the end for no discernible reason other than that they are both played by famous actors that people really want to see kiss. Mid-scene, characters will frequently break into bloody, elaborately choreographed fights with other characters regardless of context.
Key Moment: Samuel L. Jackson makes a grand speech about generosity complete with syrupy emotional music, while two people beat each other to death in the background trying to grab an LCD TV.
Talk Like A Pirate Day
Zooey Deschanel is a quirky, incredibly perky teacher who desperately wants to make Talk Like A Pirate Day actually happen amongst her colleagues and students. Helen Mirren plays her disapproving boss who brings up that there’s no such thing as a “pirate accent” because pirates come from a diverse array of cultures. Deschanel rallies her students and school librarian Peter Dinklage with a speech about how pirates are actually good because they’re “entrepreneurs.” Dinklage is so moved by Deschanel’s speech that they fall in love. Scarlett Johansson plays a chemistry teacher who wears an eye patch, which people inexplicably treat as loathsome instead of being really cool. Deschanel inevitably drags Johansson into her campaign, to which Johansson only agrees because it will get her closer to Human Resources manager Steve Buscemi, who she’s been attracted to for a long time. Christopher Walken plays the secretly intellectual school janitor who defrosts Mirren’s heart and opens her up to having fun. She tells him she wants to be his “lusty wench.” William H. Macy cameos as a concerned PTA member whose wife left him for a man who played a pirate at a Renaissance Fair.
Key Moment: Not really a moment, but Johnny Depp features in a storyline that does not connect to anything else happening in the film, as a teacher who keeps suffering head injuries through increasingly ridiculous means, causing him to switch in and out of various voices from his career whenever that happens.
National Lumpy Rug Day
Harvey Keitel is a notorious curmudgeon in regards to all holidays, and believes that there is no point in celebrating them. In retaliation, he creates a holiday so ridiculous that there’s no possible way it could mean anything to anyone: Lumpy Rug Day (ignoring the fact that this holiday really does exist). His whimsical and nosy neighbor Holly Hunter, however, is taken with the idea and spreads it to her friends. Hugh Jackman and Tilda Swinton re-kindle their fading relationship by re-enacting the “A Whole New World” sequence from Aladdin on their old favorite rug that they bought at a flea market (which may or may not have magical powers). Meanwhile, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski have both been planning to propose to each other for some time, but keep trying to hide the rings in their gigantic bearskin rug and keep losing them. When Hunter shows Keitel just how much his cynical campaign meant to the two couples, he immediately decides to make a living selling rugs, and he and Hunter are married at a rug-themed ceremony.
Key Moment: Jennifer Jason Leigh, doing her accent from The Hateful Eight, features as a mysterious rug seller who inadvertently inspires Keitel to create his not-so-fake holiday. She appears seemingly at random throughout the film, including inside locked houses, to make vaguely inspirational speeches. At Keitel and Hunter’s wedding, she flies overhead on a rug, lighting off fireworks.
Free Comic Book Day
Adam Levine is a singer who decides to give up his music career, take his childhood collection of rare comic books and opens a store to sell them in honor of his brother’s passing. Sean Penn, a retired comic writer, frequents Levine’s shop and falls in love with Sharon Stone, who through her connections with Levine, sets up a flower cart outside the store that deals a little weed on the side. Jennifer Lawrence plays Levine’s love interest, a narcotics cop who’s trying to bust Stone’s drug ring but ends up more concerned with Levine being on his phone, telling him he has to “live in the now.” Levine throws his phone into traffic as a result, causing a pile-up in the background as he and Lawrence kiss. Channing Tatum plays himself as Levine’s best friend, and spends the entire movie bragging about how he’s in a nonspecific superhero movie. Completely unprompted, Tatum strips and dances at the climax to promote Levine’s store. William H. Macy returns once again as a man whose wife left him the previous Free Comic Book Day, but any time someone tries to interact with him, all he can say is “Life is short, cruel and meaningless.” The film ends as he arrives at the store after all the free comics have been given away, placing his hand on the door to the familiar strains of Adele’s “Hello.”
Key Moment: Kevin Smith makes a cameo as the dead body of Adam Levine’s brother, and for some reason is dressed in his Silent Bob outfit for the funeral.