Moonlight and Mistletoe (movie review)

Hey! That’s not what Candace Cameron looked like at that age! Boo! Boo, I say! Booooooo!

Rarely will one come upon a movie as flawed as Moonlight and Mistletoe. My mom, who is a generous audience, would even be yelling, “Oh, come on!” at the TV. I know that’s not an especially helpful analogy for you since you don’t know my mom, so let me put it this way: this movie sucks.

Some movies just don’t get it done; they lack heart or timing – for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work out. Moonlight and Mistletoe, on the other hand, is a complete structural mess. The movie doesn’t make much sense and even when it’s not beating logic to death with an oversized outdoor candiecane decoration, it’s awkward as hell. Take the scene above; like many in the flick, it feels like the setup to a cheap porno. (The level of acting is certainly on that bar.) I know a made for TV Christmas movie doesn’t have to be Shakespeare, but scenes shouldn’t alternate between extremely uncomfortable and contradictory/moronic. You’ve got minor stuff like sometimes Tom Arnold really needs the cane, other times he’ll go entire scenes without it, but then there’s major stuff – like the entire plot of the movie. We’ll come back to that one in a minute.

“Kids don’t like Santa anymore with their modern games and doo-dads and what-nots and whose-its…”
This is central to the plot of the movie as Tom Arnold’s Santaville business if failing because people stopped showing up. Times change and what not. They could have left it at that, but they go on to blame video games, cable television and anything else that doesn’t predate… I dunno, the 1970s. This is a completely and totally ridiculous idea because if little kids only care about toys, they’d want to see Santa, because SANTA IS THE ONE WHO BRINGS THEM TOYS!

Oh, look everybody: it’s Captain I’m the Bad Guy! You thought this was a love triangle! Ha, ha!
Look, I know the bad guy is always a weak character in these made for TV Christmas movies, but holy hell, this one is SUPER WEAK. The overheard phone call is one of the lamest plot devices ever, but for Moonlight and Mistletoe, it’s par for the course.

Mo Money, mo problems.
Every time the movie mentions money, they just dig themselves into a deeper logic hole. If Candace Cameron‑Bure is a super successful objective and they only need $50,000, she should be able to pull that kid of money out of her butthole. She should be able to get half the amount from a cash advance on a credit card alone, but in this movie’s universe, the only source of credit is via one guy at one bank. They even go to the trouble of mentioning her condo… it’s just – argh!

“Here’s $500; I just happen to have a spare $500. What’s that, you say? The movie tells us the town’s economy is down due to severely decreased tourism?”
Yeah, see, I don’t understand:
A. How people in this town can afford to buy $500 Nutcrackers.
B. Why selling all of them doesn’t get them to their goal. The low estimate on Nutcracker inventory is 40; that’s $20,000 right there. Even if that’s all the money the Nutcracker generates, the renewed interest in Santaville must be pulling in something and again, Candace Cameron‑Bure should be able to pull the remaining balance OUT OF HER WHO-HA! “I have vivid recollection of one specific day from over 10 years ago. VIVID.”
I only bring up Candace Cameron‑Bure and the other guys’ recollection of that first scene (youtube video above) only because :
1. It’s too vivid for such a short and ultimately meaningless encounter that happened 13 years ago (pretty sure 13 is the number the movie gives us)
2. It’s fun to list things.

“We’re going to make it – just kidding.”
As we’re getting to the end of the flick, Candace Cameron tells us they’re going to reach their goal. Then, one scene later, they come up just short. PITCH IN SOME MONEY, CANDACE! It’s just a weak excuse for last minute drama.

“I stopped doing the Christmas tree lighting because… funk it.”
One of the most popular attractions at Santaville was the annual tree lightings, which Tom Arnold stop doing despite his never ending love for Christmas. It doesn’t make sense for the character as a human being with feelings OR as a business strategy. JUST. DUMB.
Oh, you wanted a wide shot so you could see the entire Christmas Tree in a scene about a Christmas Tree Lighting? Well funk you, you’re not getting one!

Ah, there’s the terrible child acting you expect from a TV movie.
There are three notable (and by “notable,” I mean you remember how bad they are) kids in this movie; the two in the first scene from the past and the kid at Santaville in the present at the beginning and ending of the film. Look, when you hire kids, make sure they know how to take direction and line readings. Don’t just let them do whatever they want, especially when it only adds up to about 5 minutes of the movie. Try to protect your young actors – don’t leave them out there all exposed. Jeez. The people making this movie couldn’t do anything right.

This movie crosses the line from merely bad to so bad it’s good. I’m so baffled by Moonlight and Mistletoe that I actually want to watch it again. I usually tell people to stay away from bad movies, but you really need to see this flick to believe it. We got it on a DVD pack, but it’s a Hallmark Channel movie, so they’re probably running it into the ground as we speak.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on December 19, 2014, in christmas blog posts, movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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