Remember how I did that Hallmark movie Mad Libs kind of thing yesterday? Well I got it in my head that this is a movie I wouldn’t mind seeing. And I at least have a trailer going in my mind. I sort of know what the movie would be about and how things would go. Y’all ready for this?
The Cult of the Christmas Apocalypse
Synopsis (from yesterday): An overworked atheist finds himself stranded in his hometown during a pandemic lockdown, after he came home to get deprogramed after leaving a cult. Against his better judgment, he falls in love with a doomsday survivalist. Together, they learn the true meaning of Christmas.
Jack Black is Jonathan, the aforementioned overworked atheist who is home for the holidays against his better judgment. He would rather be back home in Chicago working on his next big story. Instead, he’s dealing with the fallout of his most recent in-depth report, which saw him indoctrinated into a cult known as the Children of the Oracles of Divine Fate. He chose to return to his home town in hopes that familiar surroundings would break him of the brainwashing that he had experienced for the past eight months. While at home, COVID numbers began to spike once again and he is forbidden from traveling out of the state once he is ready to do so.
Jennifer Love Hewitt is Christy, a local doomsday prepper who is something of a joke to most of the people in town. She was raised alone on a nearby ranch by her single father. Most of her life has been spent off the grid and she has only recently found herself venturing into town more and more often because of the death of her father and her need to sustain the lifestyle he taught her. Oh, she’s plenty self-sufficient, with ample food stores and fresh water that won’t run out for a generation or two. But she finds herself returning to town for the occasional ammo run. And she’s found that she has a weakness for Starbucks’ Caramel Apple Spice, a drink she never knew existed until her father’s passing.
Blythe Danner is Sally, Jonathan’s mother. She claims to love her two sons equally but shows clear favoritism toward Jonathan whenever he comes back into town. She is blind to her actions and insists that she has no favorites, but a wedge has been driven between Jonathan and his brother since they were teenagers.
Bradley Cooper is Jimothy, Jonathan’s brother. He resents Jonathan for returning home and stealing the spotlight away from him after he has worked so hard to become the editor of the local paper and has a seat on the town council. But none of that matters because Jonathan is writing articles for big time newspapers and magazines about the lives of the Hollywood elite and being pulled into an inescapable cult. Eventually, both brothers know, things are going to come down to thrown punches.
Patton Oswalt is the voice of Wally, Jonathan’s imaginary cartoon best friend. Wally is an unfortunate side effect of the Children of the Oracles of Divine Fate’s indoctrination. Only Jonathan can see and hear Wally, who is continually attempting to convince Jonathan to return to the cult so they can properly survive the coming apocalypse and usher in a new civilization. Jonathan knows there is no truth to this false prophecy and hates to admit that being deprogramed will likely result in Wally’s disappearance from his life and he’s unsure of how to emotionally deal with that.
Santa Claus appears as himself. Because of course Santa Claus has to make an appearance.
Opening Scene – Jonathan and Wally walk side by side through the small town’s quaint downtown area. They’re looking for a local place to shop so Jonathan can pick up a few Christmas gifts for his mother and brother, now that he’s stuck here for the holidays. While searching for the locally owned five and dime, Jonathan talks to his publicist on the phone, trying to ignore Wally’s constant interruptions.
“No, I told you, I can’t get back to Chicago until the CDC gives our county the all clear and I can cross state lines again,” says Jonathan into his phone, frustrated that he’s having to explain his situation to the publicist all over again. On the other end of the line, somewhere in Chicago, the publicist asks where Jonathan is anyway.
“I told you,” he huffs, “it’s the town where I grew up. It’s the kind of place that’s too small for anyone to have heard of and you wouldn’t be able to find it on a map if your life depended on it. But we have seven Starbucks and two Targets. The place is a mysterious conundrum that may only exist inside my mind. Like my good friend Wally, here.”
Wally, proud to hear his name begins dancing a happy jig in circles around Jonathan as he continues to walk.
“Yeah, Wally’s not important,” Jonathan says as Wally begins to argue incoherently about his importance. “He’s just my imaginary friend leftover from all the insanity I had to deal with under the thumb of that cult. That’s why I came home in the first place. I need to clear my head. You know I randomly find myself chanting about fake futures and alternate timelines? I mean, they are pretty catchy chants, but I need to stop before people think I’m legitimately insane.”
The cartoonish Wally finally gets Jonathan’s attention and points out that they’ve reached the store they were looking for, at which point Jonathan wishes his publicist a merry Christmas. Not that he believes in Christmas… When he says the words, they are hollow. And the gifts he gives… sure, they’re out of love for his family. But, to him, they’re no more special than if he were to give them to his mom and brother on a random Tuesday in April.
The Meet Cute – Jonathan insists on Wally waiting outside the store, knowing that no one else can see or hear him. He claims he doesn’t want to be distracted while choosing gifts for his family. So he puts on his mask, does his shopping, and gets in line. With only one cash register and a slow moving old man behind the counter, the line is long. Jonathan settles in behind a woman in her late 30s with long, dark hair. He notices that she’s holding several boxes of shotgun shells and raises an eyebrow. He’s never been much for guns, but he doesn’t want to judge others for celebrating the second amendment.
While waiting, Jonathan can’t help but eavesdrop on the conversations that the old man strikes up with each passing customer. Most of his discussions veer toward how cold it’s been, how much snow they should expect before Christmas, or asking why the government can expect to force people to not travel from state to state just because they claim there’s some kind of virus out there making people sick. When that last topic comes up, both Jonathan and the woman ahead of him mutter behind their masks and under their breaths, “Bunch of mouth breathers probably aren’t vaccinated…”
Hearing her own words spoken by a male voice behind her, Christy turns to see Jonathan. At the same time, they both begin to ask, “Did you just…?” Then they laugh. Introductions are made and they become lost in conversation as they move up the line toward the register.
Wally is excited when he sees Jonathan exiting the store after what felt like an eternity, but his excitement is squashed when he sees him talking and laughing with a strange woman. “Can I buy you some coffee?” Jonathan asks Christy, gesturing toward the Starbucks across the street.
“I really don’t drink coffee,” says Christy, “but I wouldn’t turn down a Caramel Apple Spice.”
The Montage – We see Jonathan and Christy’s love blossoming. She doesn’t show him her fallout shelter just yet, because she’s not sure if she can trust him not to think she’s crazy. But she does let him believe she is simply a gun enthusiast who teaches him how to handle a weapon on her own private firing range. He invites her over to have dinner with his mother and brother, though Jimothy and Wally are rude the entire time. Wally even complains about Christy to Jimothy, wishing his best friend’s brother could actually hear him. Sally apologizes for Jimothy, claiming he’s under a lot of stress at the newspaper.
The Falling Out – A week into the relationship, Jonathan is convinced that Christy is the woman that he’s going to marry. Sally even gives him the engagement ring that his father had given her when he proposed so many years ago. Imagine how Jimothy reacts to this! Nervous, Jonathan and Wally drive over to Christy’s ranch where Jonathan is ready to pop the question. Wally is still trying to talk Jonathan out of this, asking what he even really knows about this woman. But the cartoon goes on ignored and Jonathan surprises Christy with a marriage proposal. Through tears, she says yes, then excuses herself to get a bottle of champagne.
While Christy is away, Jonathan looks for her restroom, but takes a wrong turn, finding himself in her father’s old office. This is where he discovers the truth about Christy. That she is prepared for a predicted apocalypse and will likely have a plan to live underground.
“What is all this?” he asks as Christy finds him in the office.
“What are you doing in here?!” she yells, trying to turn the blame around. “This is my father’s office!”
“And I suppose he’s the only one who was ready for the world to end? None of that rubbed off on you?”
Christy can only stand in the doorway in silence.
“That’s why so few people in town know who you are… That’s why the ones that do think you’re crazy!”
Christy’s eyes well up with tears once again, but not from happiness this time. In anger and frustration, she screams for Jonathan to leave.
In anger and frustration, he leaves her behind.
When he gets back home, Jimothy confronts him. Years of anger and frustration have built up and he throws a punch that lands just under Jonathan’s left eye.
“I have a good life here!” Jimothy screams as he throws another punch. “I’ve given our family name meaning! But no one cares about that whenever you come back into town!”
Jimothy continues to hit his brother in the face until Jonathan has finally had enough, catching Jimothy’s fist and throwing one of his own. Jonathan knocks Jimothy to the ground and, inexplicably, air raid sirens start to wail in the distance. Jonathan stops himself from continuing the fight. He just grabs his brother by the shirt and yells, “Don’t you see?! This isn’t about us! It’s never been about us!”
Sally looks on from the front porch, smiling as she realizes her sons are finally communicating. Jonathan looks up at their mother, then back down at Jimothy. “It’s about Christmas!”
Jimothy sits up and smiles, shaking his brother’s hand as the distant sirens continue. “You’re right. And you’re a fool if you don’t go to her right now!”
The Make Up – The brothers embrace before Jonathan gets back in his Jeep and drives as quickly as his wheels will carry him back to Christy’s ranch. When he arrives, he finds her in front of the house, staring at the eastern horizon.
“It’s happening,” she says, not even turning to see Jonathan standing behind her.
“I know. And I’m sorry.”
Christy turns to him. “So am I.”
“Turns out the Children of the Oracles of Divine Fate were right this time. I guess your old man was, too,” Jonathan said, taking Christy’s hand. “I don’t care if this is the end of the world. My world didn’t begin until I met you.”
She reached down and pulled open the metal hatch that served as an entrance to the vast fallout shelter that lay beneath her property. Jonathan then pulled her in for a kiss, just as the sky lit up in a blinding flash.
Christy descended the ladder as Jonathan stared at the mushroom cloud that was forming in the far distance. He followed the love of his life into the dark underground, closing the hatch tightly behind him.
Wally beat his cartoonish fists on the hatch, begging to be let in. But his cries went unheard. Jonathan had finally been deprogramed and Wally was no more than a figment of his imagination. “Aw, crap!” he cried as the shockwave destroyed Jonathan’s small hometown.
So that’s my Hallmark movie in some excruciating detail. I hope it was as entertaining for you to read as it was for me to imagine and write out. I worry I may be a little crazy myself, sometimes.
Is this a movie you’d tune in for? I know I would. Heck, I’d probably pop some popcorn just for the occasion.
3 thoughts on “On the 4th Day of Blogmas…”
Good, but he left his family to die!
You should be pitching this to a writer or screenwriter! Aaron you are so good, you need to write a novel. You could it!!
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