Recap: The Christmas Parade (2014)


Headline: Small Town Government Officials Abuse Power for Personal Gain at Christmas

Let’s jump in and meet up with Hailee, who’s about to have a really terrible day. You obviously want to know why, and I’ll tell you. She’s got plans with her hunky corporate fiancé (aren’t they all) Jason, played by one of Canada’s own Property Brothers. Which one? It doesn’t matter and I don’t care! Hailee’s trying to convince Jason to spend Christmas with her parents, since it’s important to them. She, however, hates Christmas. Nobody cares why, but she sure makes a point to tell every single character that Christmas is The Worst.

We find out that Hailee’s the Hollywood gossip correspondent for a TV show based in New York City. Whilst on air to pimp her upcoming Christmas special, due to air on Christmas Eve, her co-anchors mention that some socialite-turned-reality-TV-star has been caught in flagrante in town with an unidentified man. Hailee’s super blasé about this news even though it’s her job, and when she sees the photo behind her, she gasps “Jason!” and rushes off the set. YES, IT WAS THE PROPERTY BROTHER CANOODLING WITH THE STARLET.

Hailee is understandably upset while her producer Monica tries to calm her down. Monica urges her to take the day off and escape to her own condo for the night. Hailee ignores her and storms out. She proceeds to drive far enough away to be in the country (more specifically, Connecticut). Jason’s calling her every other minute, and when she looks at her phone, she suddenly forgets how to drive.  She almost collides with another vehicle, and careens into a fence. This sounds like a normal action sequence, but it is filmed SO TERRIBLY that I laughed hysterically, watched it three more times, and then forced my husband to watch it with me. The movie is totally worth it just for that scene.

Anyway, she’s crashed into some wooden fence. The other driver – a dude in his early thirties – comes out to see if she’s okay. She explains that her phone distracted her. Out of the blue, the film’s villain appears from behind the broken fence to exclaim that it took him “three months” to build it, and that she ruined his “custom Christmas lights.” At this point, my husband laughed and said it would never take someone that long to build a fence. The villain is an old dude though, so who knows. We find out that the villain is named Joe. Hailee reasonably asks to cover the cost of incurred damages, and Joe is APPALLED. “Are you bribing me? I hate bribes!” Oh, I guess this is a good time as any to reveal that Joe is the TOWN JUDGE. Joe demands that she come to his judge quarters the next morning, with the other driver as a witness.

Without a working vehicle, Hailee has to find a place to stay overnight. The motel has no vacancies, so she’s stuck staying at the local bed and breakfast, grossly named Ye Olde B&B. Let’s take the time to introduce her love interest: Beck, the other driver/witness. He literally introduces his name as “Like the beer, but without the S.” Riveting stuff there, Becky. The only vacant room is the honeymoon suite, which makes Hailee scoff as she pointedly sets her engagement ring down. Once he leaves awkwardly, she calls Monica to explain the legal predicament she’s in. Monica promises not to tell Jason where Hailee’s staying (Carver Bend, CT). She urges her to come back ASAP for the Christmas Eve special.

The next morning, Hailee and Beck meet at Judge Joe’s quarters. He comes in with a geeky bailiff and MAKES THEM STAND!! The bailiff knows Hailee from her show and tries to dish with her about all the hot goss. Judge Joe fines her $100 for using her cell phone while driving, and sentences her to pay all damages and 25 hours of community service, all of which must be completed prior to Christmas Eve (five days away). Not only that, five of said hours must be spent on fixing his damn fence (!). My blood is boiling. When Hailee protests this total abuse of power, he threatens to take her to trial by jury (!!) or PUT HER IN JAIL (!!!). I hope Judge Joe gets impeached and disbarred.

Cowed, Hailee leaves. The geeky bailiff asks to take a selfie with her, to which she agrees, under the condition that it not go anywhere on social media. Obviously, he posts it everywhere online. Jason, conveniently catching up on his gossip via the super popular “ZMT” tabloid website, sees the picture and caption, and hops to attention.

Beck reassures Hailee that she can do the community service hours at the local youth art centre, working on their float for the Christmas Eve parade. I don’t think Christmas Eve parades even exist, but sure, this is nice and convenient. He tells her that their float has to be the very best, because he plans to win the first place prize money to save the youth art centre.

Boring back-story: the centre was founded by a visiting socialite, but only on a leasing basis. The lease has come up for renewal and the city council wants to buy it up for nefarious purposes. The art centre doesn’t have money for the down payment of $30 grand, even though the deceased socialite’s family is willing to throw $15K into the mix. This means the first prize of $15K  (FOR A PARADE FLOAT?) will allow them to try to secure the building for the centre, once and for all.

It should be noted that, right after this scene, I cried at a Christmas commercial for Canadian Tire. That’s all.

Beck introduces Hailee to the precocious youths of the art centre. We know they’re young because they say “OMG” and “dude” and “sick” a lot. Escaping these terrible teens, Hailee goes upstairs to make a business call and discovers Beck’s stash of porn. No, I’m kidding. It’s just his stash of creepy art, one of which is of his ex, whom he calls his former muse. I wish she had found his porn instead.

Jason shows up! He tells her that the socialite/starlet picture was NBD, but that he just got friendly to close some investment deal. She tells him to get the hell out. Beck decides this is a good time to show her their shitty float. Nothing’s been done, they have no budget, and they plan to just use recyclables and trash. Great. Their design idea is Santa’s Workshop. THE INGENUITY.

Beck finds out the disgusting truth about Hailee: she hates Christmas. He introduces her to some old couple that loves Christmas, but they literally never appear again so I’m not going to bother.

Later, Hailee reveals that she always wanted to be a serious journalist, but the world is more obsessed with “infotainment”. Beck takes this time to tell her she’s like a winter cardinal; a flash of colour that brightens a dull world. Because he can’t just be a B&B owner/creepy painter/art centre dude, we find out that he also did a year at the Sorbonne, but had to return when his dad got sick and he needed to take care of his mom. Ooh, fun fact! Beck’s muse was actually the art centre founding socialite’s daughter. She left him behind, and he hasn’t found his passion for painting since. Get over yourself, Becky.

Ugh. The mayor shows up, and I’m not even sure what day it’s supposed to be anymore. He tells Beck he’s fooling himself if he thinks he can save the art centre from being sold to the city council. He tries to convince Hailee that he can reduce her community service hours if she plugs Carver Bend businesses on a segment. I don’t remember how she reacted, but probably with disgust.

At this point, Hailee is getting playful with Beck and challenges him to see who can find the dud bulb in a crazy tangled mess of Christmas lights. How fun. He officially shows her his studio upstairs (where she discovered his ex-girlfriend art). He explains that the beautiful land behind the building is owned by the bank, as well as the neighbouring property – NOBODY CARES ABOUT BANK STUFF IN A ROMANTIC MOVIE, BECK!

Okay, so Hailee’s ACTUAL reason for hating Christmas: when she was little, she begged her parents for a pink bike. They got her one, even though her dad just lost his job. Apparently, her mom had found a pink bike in their church’s charity drive. The bike belonged to the rich popular girl, who then teased Hailee mercilessly for getting a hand-me-down Christmas gift. They called her “Hand-Out Hailee!” He reassures her about the spirit of Christmas. Beck then ruins everything for me when he tells her (re: the Christmas Eve special STILL COMING UP, and her viewers), “They can let you into their homes, but you have to let them into your heart.”

Beck’s mom shows up to meet Hailee, and it’s mostly unimportant, but she’ll be interviewing Hailee for the local paper.

UGH, Beck and Hailee go to Judge Joe’s place to fix his stupid fence. They have no idea how to do anything, but somehow make a shitty Christmas tree out of scrap materials and latticework. I’m sure he’ll love it. Wendy (Beck’s mom) then interviews Hailee while they bake Christmas cookies. Hailee reveals that she actually feels fine about Jason, which obviously means she never loved him at all. Wendy gets her to reflect on her happiest Christmas memories, because this town will not accept a scrooge living amongst them. It should be noted that Wendy is desperately hoping that Hailee and Beck will bang.

Beck and Hailee go see their stupid Christmas tree fence all lit up. He has the audacity to call her an artist for it, and then tells her she’s his new muse! GROSS! Stop doing that, dude! They take a selfie in front of the tree, which probably enrages Judge Joe in his house because he hates technology and happiness.

The dumb mayor cockblocks their flirting to tell Beck to drop his attempts to buy the centre. A big company, Hyperion, put in an offer on the centre, and the neighbouring property, so they don’t stand a chance. Jason works for Hyperion! Hailee takes Beck’s truck and heads into the city to confront him. Jason apologizes and agrees to withdraw the bid. LET’S SEE ABOUT THAT.

Hailee takes the time to go see Monica, who reminds her that Beck is just a vacation fling. I mean, she’s not really on vacation though? Thanks for your input, Mon. Hailee promises her she’ll be back in time for the brainstorm meeting about her Christmas Eve special, which…should have literally happened months ago, if I’m even slightly intuitive about how television production works.

In this time, the parade float has gone from 5% completed to 70%, even though we’ve only seen child labour at work, and two goobers flirting. When Hailee returns, they all celebrate about Hyperion withdrawing their bid. The youths love her!  Requisite montage of working on the float. Part of the float is a throne for Santa and Mrs. Claus (who really deserves a first name, BTW). We find out that Beck’s parents used to dress up as the Clauses for the parade every year. BUT I’M SURE THAT WILL NEVER COME UP AGAIN.

The mayor calls Beck. Some investment capitalist group, Apex, has put in an offer. The gang is all upset, but Beck cries out, “We may lose the centre, but we’re not losers!” Well

I don’t even want to talk about this scene. Beck presents Hailee the most heinous gift of all: a crazy painting of her. She literally looks like a ghostly porn star. Apparently, she’s got him inspired to paint pictures of girls he likes again! She’s touched, but then tells the kids that she’s leaving to go back to the city. They are DEVASTATED she won’t be there for the parade, even though they’ve known her for about four days.

Brainstorm meeting in NYC: she suggests the segment be called “Manhattan to Main Street,” which will feature a live broadcast of the Carver Bend parade, local businesses, a feature of the art centre (biased!), the heart of Christmas, who cares. Some hilarious dude in the meeting cries out “Brilliant!”

Okay, so she drives back to Carver Bend to get Judge Joe impeached. No, actually, she’s just getting ready for the big live broadcast. The major segment is about how the art centre will be bought out and used for nefarious purposes, like…a condo. Jason, who’s inexplicably there again, finds and rightfully mocks Beck’s painting of her. He invites her to spend Christmas partying on a yacht in Dubai. She discovers that Apex and Hyperion are in cahoots to merge, THEREFORE the new bid from Apex is really from Jason again! Way to spend your company’s money to get some vengeance, I guess. She dumps his ass and he says what dumped people always say: “You have no idea what you’re missing!” Well, I mean, she was engaged to you, so I’m guessing she has SOME idea.

Wendy can’t be Mrs. Claus this year, because of her back. Ew! One of the youths, Kelsey, is filling in with Beck as Santa. Gross, you guys. Hailee reunites with the old gang, just in time for the parade to begin. Kelsey’s costume has broken her out in hives, so Hailee has to take over as Mrs. Claus. Oooh!

Okay, so let me just say this: Beck and Hailee kiss after the parade finishes. It’s actually a super cute, quiet, understated moment. Truly shocking. The mayor ruins it by showing up again to reveal that he’s the REAL owner of both properties adjacent to the centre, and he’s personally rigged the float contest so that they won’t win first prize, and he can make big money for all three properties. You’re a shitty mayor, guy.

In revealing all of this, the mayor’s ego foiled his own plan: his naughty confession was caught on tape by production. Monica, who’s there being mostly useless, had set up a Kickstarter campaign for the art centre during the whole thing, and donations are pouring in from all over the country! NOBODY WOULD BE WATCHING THIS ON CHRISTMAS EVE!!  They have already raised $264K (NO) and also, people want to buy Beck’s gross paintings. Who wants creepy ex-girlfriend paintings!!!

Beck and Hailee wish each other a merry Christmas, and make out while everyone just watches them in vague, uncomfortable silence.

Wait, you shouldn’t win first prize if your float features the major players: Santa and Mrs. Claus. That’s already rigged! EVERYONE IN THIS TOWN IS CORRUPT!


3 Rating
Obviously, small town politics are the least compelling plotline for me. Combine that with corrupt businessmen and horrifying artworks of current and ex-girlfriends, I can only give this a 2. I blame Judge Joe for everything.

Top IMDb Comment:

The movie is predictable to a fault but for some reason people like that in a Christmas movie. Myself included.


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