LGBT Movies: Happy Holi-Gays

The gays stole Christmas. It’s ours now. The last two months have seen a burst of LGBQ holiday movies. I binged them, wrote spoiler filled recaps, and ranked them best to worst.

Happiest Season (2020, Netflix). Mackenzie Davis invites her girlfriend, Kristen Stewart, home for Christmas. Only to reveal that she’s still closeted. The writers balance the comedy and cruelty of this situation. Stewart and the supporting cast get to show their comic chops and make for good company. It’s better than the similar Lez Bomb though, like that film, it throws the characters of color under the bus. B

  • KRISTEN STEWART: I hate Christmas. Will this trip change my mind?
  • MACKENZIE DAVIS: Nope. I’m closeted so I told my parents that you’re my roommate. And I’m going to ignore you all week.
  • KRISTEN: What?
  • RUDE PARENTS: You’re such a disappointment Mackenzie.
  • RUDE SISTER: I hate you Mackenzie.
  • KRISTEN: I can’t imagine why she’s still closeted.
  • DAN LEVY and AUBREY PLAZA: Gurl you’ve got to get out of that house.
  • MACKENZIE: Don’t go Kristen! I love you! (Rude Sister catches them kissing.)
  • RUDE SISTER: Mackenzie’s a lesbian! Who’s the favorite now dad! (The sisters have a scary wrestling match.)
  • MACKENZIE: Kristen, please forgive me for being a self-loathing monster!
  • KRISTEN: Well… it’s a romcom so sure. (They kiss.)

The Christmas House (2020, Hallmark). TV star decorates his parents’ house and reconnects with his ex-girlfriend. His gay brother, Jonathan Bennett, gets about 20 minutes of screen time and most of the jokes. It’s pleasant but there’s minimal plot. Everyone’s just waiting for important phone calls. The conflict comes from the manic-depressive mother. She’s darker than most Hallmark characters. C+

  • TV STAR: I’m home to decorate the annual Christmas House. Why’s everyone so stressed?
  • GAY BROTHER: My husband and I are trying to adopt a baby. (Kisses his husband. Hallmark ratings skyrocket.)
  • ANGRY MOM: I’m selling the Christmas House and leaving your father.
  • AGENT: They’ll cancel your show, Handsome Justice, if you don’t come to the executive meeting on Christmas Eve!
  • TV STAR: But I promised my Ex-Girlfriend’s rude child I’d do a magic show with him on Christmas Eve!
  • (Everyone’s problems are somehow solved in time for the Christmas Eve Party.)
  • TV STAR: I’ve bought the Christmas House. I’m staying here with my Ex-Girlfriend.
  • EX-GIRLFRIEND: Really? We haven’t shared much screen time… but sure.

The Christmas Setup (2020, Lifetime). A good Christmas romcom is still a boring movie. Even if it’s gay. But the leads have chemistry and Fran Drescher gets laughs as an (unconvincing) goyish mother.  C

  • FRAN DRESCHER: Welcome home daaaaaahling son! I want you to meet Local Hunk.
  • ADORKABLE LAWYER: Gosh. Wow. I remember him from high school. (Trips over things.)
  • LOCAL HUNK: I sell Christmas Trees for charity. Want to date?
  • ADORKABLE LAWYER: Gosh. Wow. Maybe! (They do.)
  • FRAN DRESCHER: I’m sad they’re shutting down the old train station.
  • ADORKABLE LAWYER: According to these photos the station owners were gay.
  • FRAN DRESCHER: You seeee? Gays can be happy in small towns.
  • BOSS: We want you to run our London office.
  • ADORKABLE LAWYER: Gosh. Wow. Should I take the job?
  • LOCAL HUNK: I’m angry that you’d even consider it.
  • ADORKABLE LAWYER: Then I’ll turn down the offer and stay here with you! (They kiss.)

Dashing in December (2020, Paramount Network). Big city jerk clashes with a small-town ranch hand. The men smolder but their dialogue is awful. Two dances liven up an otherwise dull film. C-

  • ANDIE MACDOWELL: Son, is that you? You never call. You never visit.
  • BUSINESSMAN: Quiet mother. I’m visiting now. We should sell this money pit ranch.
  • RANCH HAND: You’re stupid.
  • BUSINESSMAN: You’re stupid! (Sees him in his underwear.) And hot.
  • RANCH HAND: (Line dances at a bar.) Dance with me?
  • BUSINESSMAN: I’m scared to dance with a man in front of straight people.
  • RANCH HAND: Then let’s slow dance in an empty barn. (They do.)
  • BUSINESSMAN: This ranch reminds me of my dead father. Let’s sell it and move to New York.
  • RANCH HAND: No! I’m angry that you’d even consider it.
  • BUSINESSMAN: Then I’ll rent the farmland to an Organics Company. We can keep the ranch.
  • RANCH HAND: All is forgiven. (They kiss.)

Friendsgiving (2020, VOD). Malin Akerman’s divorcée hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for her terrible friends. Everyone negs and belittles her. The cast is full of comedians but the sour script lets them down. The few laughs come from Kat Dennings as her cynical lesbian friend. D

  • LESBIAN FRIEND: We’ve both been dumped. Let’s spend Thanksgiving alone and eat our feelings.
  • STRAIGHT FRIEND: Boring. I’ll invite a bunch of guests over!
  • RUDE GUESTS: Let’s do drugs and insult each other!
  • RUDE MOTHER: I want to bang every man at this party!
  • LESBIAN FRIEND: I fed your baby a pecan and now he’s crying.
  • STRAIGHT FRIEND: He’s allergic to nuts! We have to rush to the hospital. (They do. The baby’s okay.)
  • LESBIAN FRIEND: I’m glad we talked.

A New York Christmas Wedding (2020, Netflix). Bisexual twist on It’s A Wonderful Life captures that film’s darkness but little of the joy. The bitter lead is as angsty in one timeline as she is in the other. And we don’t learn enough about her love interests to invest. D
(Content Warning: This film is surprisingly triggering for a Christmas film.)

  • BOYFRIEND: My mother made plans for our New York Christmas Wedding!
  • LEADING LADY: I hate your mother. And I’m not sure I want to get married.
  • ANGEL: (Gets hit by a car.) I’m fine gurl. I’m here to grant your wish for one week.
  • (Leading lady wakes up in bed with her lesbian college friend.)
  • LESBIAN COLLEGE FRIEND: Get dressed! We’re going to ask the Pastor to marry us!
  • PASTOR: No. Yes. Maybe. I’ll decide after an inspirational speech where I out every LGBQ person in my congregation.
  • (The women are married.)
  • ANGEL: Time’s up gurl. Which timeline do you want to stay in?
  • LEADING LADY: The one with my wife.
  • ANGEL: Sure. BTW, I’m your wife’s dead baby from when she killed herself in another timeline. You’ll have to go back and stop her from sleeping with my dad.
  • ANGEL: Byeeee.
  • (Leading lady wakes up on the day she’d rejected her lesbian college friend.)

If The Fates Allow

There have been LGBQ holiday films in the past. But most of them are terrible. The films above are far beyond the ones I reviewed in 2018. Some trends:

  • The Hallmark and Lifetime films dress a character up as Santa Claus.
  • The Lifetime and Hulu films feature a song in a drag bar.
  • The Netflix film is the only one to discuss religion.
  • The women have sex while the men share chaste kisses.
  • Multiple films discuss Dead Parents. Hallmark, surprisingly, keeps the parents alive.  

Which of these did you see? Which were your favorites? Would you watch these again next year? And most importantly, should Kristen Stewart have ended up with Aubrey Plaza?

Read Afropig’s series on Hallmark Christmas movies here. Read my reviews of LGBT media here. Listen to my podcast, Rainbow Colored Glasses, here.