Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Family Stone


It’s that time of year, again. The time of year that has inspired many truly wonderful films, and just as many terrible ones. The holidays. I’d like to begin by noting that with just one exception (Only You), I own every movie I have recapped on here on DVD. This, I am aware, makes me either a hypocrite or a masochist, but my tendency to buy terrible movies is at its worst when it comes to Christmas movies. Because I love Christmas, and my thought process doesn’t go beyond “This will help me get in the Christmas spirit.” And so it is that I somehow find myself willingly watching The Family Stone every December, despite the fact that I don’t like it even a little (see also: The Holiday).


Brief disclaimer: Due to a very poorly-timed illness, this was partially written while under the influence of cold medicine. Also, my normal photo editing software has spontaneously stopped working, so the images were made in Paint, and aren't quite up to the STELLAR quality you usually find here on Recapscallion.


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The opening shot is of the back of Sarah Jessica Parker’s head as she answers her cell phone. Her hair is in a complicated bun, because she is a tightly-wound person. Clever movie! She’s at a department store, Christmas shopping while she bosses somebody around on the phone, pausing only to tell her boyfriend, Everett “Shoe Polish” Stone, that he’s buying the wrong color scarf for his sister.

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He forcibly takes the phone away from her and hangs it up, but takes her advice on the scarf.


Cue opening credits! The credit sequence, which involves gaudy, old-timey Christmas cards behind each cast and crew member’s name, is the first indication of the sad but true fact that the people making this movie were clearly under the impression that they were creating a legitimate holiday classic.

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The final card shows an illustration of a beautiful house, which then transitions into its IRL counterpart: the Stone estate. The entire Stone family will be gathering there for Christmas, and SJP will be meeting all of them for the first time. I bet that what's going to happen is the family greets her in a kind and respectful manner befitting a group of grownups.

Shoe Polish’s little bro Thad and his partner Patrick arrive and unload a shitload of Christmas gifts from the trunk. Meanwhile, inside, Diane Keaton is staring morosely at the Christmas tree and fondling a snowflake ornament. She drops the sad face when her guests enter, and they make family-style small talk about holiday recipes and when the other family members will arrive. They also speak in sign language, since Thad is (partially?) deaf. They will also do the sign language thing even when Thad is not around throughout the movie, because they are such a unique and wacky and loveable gang.

The Stone patriarch, played by Craig T. Nelson, comes in with a plate of brownies, just as an unbelievably shitty yellow station wagon pulls into the driveway, driven by Shoe Polish’s little sister, Rachel McAdams (who is wearing frumpy clothes and glasses and carries an NPR totebag). She’s pretty much a GDB, as we’ll soon learn, so I’m going to go ahead and call her Bitchface from here on out.


SJP is very nervous about spending the holidays with the family, as evidenced by her irritating throat-clearing tick as she and Shoe Polish drive to the house.  Meanwhile, Bitchface is regaling the whole family with the story of the time she went to dinner with Shoe Polish and SJP, complete with an impression of the throat-clearing thing. She goes on and on about how uptight SJP is, and her dad tells her to be nice while Diane Keaton just LOLs (because Bitchface is basically just a mini-Diane Keaton, but meaner).

The other Stone sister, played by Esme Cullen, arrives with her daughter Elizabeth. As the whole family hypothesizes about just how awful SJP probably is, Thad sees them pull into the driveway. SJP has a moment that reminds me strongly of The Holiday (red flag!) when she has trouble getting out of the car because her fancy stilettos get stuck in the gravel driveway. Craig T. Nelson rushes out to greet them and SJP awkwardly tries to shake his hand. He goes in for a hug anyway, and it’s way over-the-top awkward.

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Inside, everybody greets SJP except Diane Keaton and Bitchface, who are already soooo amused by what an uptight loser she is that they have to turn their faces away while giggling like a couple of assholes. Shoe Polish introduces SJP to Thad, and of course she decides to yell “HELLO, I’M SJP! I’VE HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT YOU!” in his face. He’s just like “???”

When SJP finally makes her way over to Diane Keaton, DK says some words of welcome in a voice dripping with sarcasm. Esme Cullen is the Stone with the best social graces, so she quickly steps in to introduce herself and her daughter, who compliments SJP’s shoes. For some reason this leads to a really awkward silence while everybody looks at her feet.

They then decide to take a family photo even though not everybody has arrived yet, but SJP awkwardly stays out of it. I’m going to need a thesaurus or else this recap will have the word “awkward” in it a million times.


After this moment of beautiful family togetherness, yet another thorny situation arises because SJP thinks it’s inappropriate for her and Shoe Polish to sleep in the same room. They have a big argument about it, and Diane Keaton reacts in typically delicate fashion, asking her son “So what you’re saying is you just don’t screw?” while laughing maniacally. To make matters worse, it turns out that now SJP will be taking over Bitchface’s room, relegating Bitchface to the couch. She does not take it well, as you may expect.

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While Elizabeth is in the middle of asking SJP why she doesn’t want to share a room with her friend, SJP gets a call from her sister. She makes everybody else leave the room so she can take the call. Bitchface manages to do a mean impression of SJP’s throat-clearing tick on her way out.

SJP tells her sister that the family already hates her, and then “comically” responds to an unheard question: “YES I’m being myself!” LOL?


After she gets off the phone, she goes to Shoe Polish’s room and finds him grumpily unpacking. She asks him not to be mad at her, and after pouting for a little while longer he relents and makes a crack about how she won’t be getting any sweet lovin’. Thank god. I was worried about their love for a minute.

She sees a bunch of award plaques stashed in a drawer and asks Shoe Polish why he doesn’t have them out, which makes you wonder how many obnoxious trophies and ribbons she has in her own childhood bedroom. This is the first sign of Shoe Polish’s very serious psychological dilemma about being the perfect son. It’s a super interesting plot point that is very true to life and I’m really excited to see where they go with it!

SJP expresses the very reasonable and understandable point that meeting the whole family is not easy for her, and they hug and then admire themselves in the mirror for a while. Sorry guys, but Beyoncé and Idris Elba are already the perfect couple. You’ll have to settle for second place.


Downstairs, Bitchface is very excited to find that the last Stone brother, Ben, has arrived. He is played by Luke Wilson, who will do his best to liven up this dud of a movie but will ultimately fail. Anyhow, Bitchface doesn’t even say hello before telling him that she can’t wait until he meets SJP, because obviously he will hate her. He is the laid-back mellow fun guy, a point driven home by the greeting he is given by Diane Keaton: “No smoking pot in the house!” Because, you see, Ben is The Family Stoner. DK also makes a comment about Christmas not being “clothing optional” this year because of SJP, which really makes me wonder what happens when this family gathers without outsiders. Because aside from Christmas at your local nudist colony, there’s no situation in which it’s not super weird for a grown man to swan around naked during the family festivities.

Elizabeth comes running to greet Ben, wearing SJP’s fancy heels, just as SJP and Shoe Polish come downstairs. Ben gazes in wonder at SJP as she descends, because (spoiler alert) he is falling in love with her at first sight. This is Luke Wilson’s “love at first sight face”:

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Apparently this facial expression is easily recognizable as attraction in the Stone family because Bitchface smacks him in the back of the head, leading Shoe Polish to smack Bitchface in the back of HER head. Fun family hijinks!


In the kitchen, Ben says hello to the rest of the family. For some reason he calls Thad “Queen B” which is really kind of weird, but I’m glad that he does because I’m now just going to imagine that he is actually Blair Waldorf for the rest of the movie. I think it’s going to improve things GREATLY.

Elizabeth is sitting at the table and playing with SJP’s shoes, and one of the heels is BROKEN. Uh oh! You know how ladies are about their shoes.

SJP puts on a brave face but is clearly shaken by this tragedy. Ben is oblivious and just compliments the color of the shoes as SJP flees the room to be alone with her feelings. He makes matters worse by joking that she shouldn’t leave for long, because everybody will just be talking about her while she’s gone.

He makes good on that promise by asking Shoe Polish if he remembers their 2nd grade teacher, on whom he had a big crush, implying that SJP reminds him of her. He then describes SJP as “sweet” and “incredible” which, like, ok, maybe you have the hots for her because of some unresolved stern teacher type fetish from your childhood, but literally the only thing she has done since you met her was to not scream at a child for breaking her shoe. But ok. True love!

Shoe Polish is grateful that there is at least one person who doesn’t already hate his girlfriend, so he pretends it's not super weird that Ben is being incredibly obvious about his attraction to SJP. Esme Cullen is skeptical but diplomatic. Thad quietly sits on Ben’s lap with a smirk on his face.

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That night, SJP shares the story of how she and Shoe Polish met while they go out to get pizza with Bitchface, Thad and Ben. It was a classic story of Boy meets Girl in Hong Kong. Boy decides not to go on some spiritual pilgrimage to a monastery he had planned because he has the hots for Girl. I think they may be trying to tell us something about the nature of their relationship here, but I just can’t make out what it is! Subtlety is beautiful.

Of course the way SJP tells it has a LOT more details about which hotels they were staying at and a bunch of stuff about business meetings, and the story “hilariously” lasts throughout the entire car ride AND while they pick up the pizza AND presumably for the whole ride home because she’s still talking when they sit down to eat in the living room. Thad and Bitchface make bitchfaces the whole time, but Ben of course is captivated and asks SJP what she was wearing. I’m sorry, but WTF, man???

Toward the end of the story, Bitchface starts giving Shoe Polish shit about his tie, and Diane Keaton charmingly shouts “Will you take that goddamn tie off already?” Wearing a tie at your parents’ house is super rude, after all. I admire her prior restraint. SJP just ignores this and continues with the story, finishing off by saying that they spent their first night together with her helping Shoe Polish with some IPO-related report thingy. Business stuff. Everybody finds this just as fascinating as I do.

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When everybody is finished with their pizza, Diane Keaton starts bringing the dishes into the kitchen, and Shoe Polish follows her, saying he has something he needs to talk to her about. She deflects him, though, probably sensing that he might try to have a reasonable conversation with her about something reasonable, which is not the Stone way.


After the dishes are done, it's time for charades! As you can imagine, SJP is super into it. After Thad cutely gets Patrick to guess his clue using some sort of super-couple-telepathy, Bitchface declares that it’s SJP’s turn, and that she’ll find a good one for her. Ominous bells chime in the distance.

SJP’s first hint is to mime pulling something over her head, and Ben shouts out “Beekeeper!” I can’t decide if I do or don’t want that to have been a Rushmore shoutout. Eventually Patrick determines that the second word is “bride.” Bitchface chimes in with “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” despite knowing what the actual answer is because that’s just how she rolls. I’m really sorry to spoil the surprise for you, but the movie is “The Bride Wore Black.” After failing at getting anybody to guess the word “wore,” she starts setting up the fourth word, and ends up absentmindedly pointing in Patrick’s general direction, which Bitchface calls her out on in mock outrage.

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What’s great about this movie is how naturally all of these situations unfold.

Anyhow, everybody gets really confused and SJP storms out. Ben reads out the answer and they all at least have the decency to give Bitchface a stern look. Except Ben who is just too mellow to be mad at anybody. He gives her a noogie and calls her a “meanie.”


Upstairs, Shoe Polish tries to calm SJP down while she rants about how she doesn’t understand why Bitchface hates her so much. Even though SJP is an irritating caricature of a tightly-wound control freak with few discernible redeeming qualities, Diane Keaton and Bitchface are so way over-the-top mean to her that I begrudgingly have to accept her as a protagonist at this point. She tells Shoe Polish that she sees him starting to look at her the way they do, and he’s like “No way man, what are you talking about?” She gives him an out, saying that she wouldn’t want him to stay with her just because he’s a good guy. He tells her he’s not a good guy, and tries to prove it by putting his hand under her jacket… onto her shoulder?

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It’s great that these two actors have so much chemistry. It really sells the stakes of the movie.


Meanwhile, Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson are discussing how wrong SJP is for Shoe Polish. DK says that she knows Shoe Polish wants to ask her for her mother’s engagement ring and how she finds that completely vom-inducing. Craig T. Nelson says that he doesn’t understand what Shoe Polish sees in her, which DK finds delightful, but he elaborates that SJP is perfectly fine, but wrong for Shoe Polish. He does some cool logic here: “She’s a fine woman, but she doesn’t seem to know or trust herself very well. Which means, I’m afraid, that our Shoe Polish may not know himself at all.” They both make a frowny face.


The next morning, Diane Keaton is in the kitchen staring wistfully out the window again. I kind of think it would be amazing if there was a twist and it turned out that DK was actually a robot the whole time and whenever anybody leaves the room her default setting is sad window-gazing. But alas. SJP and Bitchface come in and disrupt her reverie.

She retaliates by telling Bitchface that they got a Christmas card from the family of someone named Brad Stevenson, “casually” mentioning that Brad is in town and single. Bitchface refuses to take the bait, so Diane Keaton turns to SJP and says “Brad popped Bitchface’s cherry.”

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She continues being gross, saying that Brad still has a thing for her, meaning (in her words) he “must have gotten a taste of something he liked.”

DK leaves and SJP takes the opportunity to awkwardly stand next to Bitchface for an uncomfortably long time before clearing her throat and apologizing for making her sleep on the couch. Bitchface is like “Bitch, please.” SJP has had enough, and gives her the same rant she gave to Shoe Polish the night before about “Whytf don’t you like me? What did I do?” She ends on “I don’t care whether you like me or not,” to which Bitchface bitchily replies, “Aw, of course you do!” Mean, but accurate.

This drives SJP over the edge, and she packs up her stuff and goes to a hotel. Or, because this is a quaint small town, “The Inn.” Everybody watches her pack up the car and makes bitchy comments, except for Ben who sits in the corner by himself, morosely tying his shoes.

Shoe Polish comes back inside to give everybody a stern talking to. He tells them that not only is SJP going to the inn, but she’s also forcing her sister to crash this cozy holiday party. Bitchface is like “What a loser!” causing Shoe Polish to literally slam his fist on the table. He means business! He says he knew that they would all hate on her for a while, but they’ve gone too far and it’s time to play nice.

SJP has apparently been waiting in the car this whole time, and Ben goes out to bring her a cup of coffee. There’s something really bizarre about this character, like he’s a very amiable guy but he clearly has some trouble with social cues and personal space so every conversation he has with SJP is super weird and uncomfortable. Maybe it’s just the weed. Anyway, he asks if she's coming back, and she says yes, she's just going to check in. This part I don't really understand. I could understand if she just left and hung out at the inn for the rest of the day, but apparently she just doesn't want to sleep at the house anymore, but is ok with coming right back and being tormented until bedtime? Whatever.

Ben tells her that he had a dream about her last night. Before he can give her the details, Shoe Polish comes out to take her to the Inn.


Inside, Craig T. Nelson gives the family a less angry version of the speech Shoe Polish just gave, saying that they’re going to be nice to SJP from now on, and to her sister, whenever she arrives. He calls Bitchface out specifically, and she’s like “Why are you picking on me?” Now it’s my turn to say “Bitch, please.” Esme Cullen says that she gives SJP credit for staying. Ben says that he’s ashamed of all of them. But he does it jovially so you know he’s joking. Diane Keaton starts babbling about how Shoe Polish is going to ask her for the ring, and Ben says that Shoe Polish can’t marry SJP, because they don’t love each other.


Cut to Shoe Polish finally asking Diane Keaton for the ring. She is, predictably, a huge asshole about it. He tells her that SJP is the woman that he’s going to marry, and DK is all like:

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Anyway, she straight up says no, despite having previously promised him that he could have the ring (back when he was dating somebody she approved of). She then out-assholes herself by saying “I know you’re disappointed, but think how I feel!” Shoe Polish and I are both like “Give me a break, lady.”

Diane Keaton storms into the kitchen and immediately starts yelling about how somebody finished the coffee and didn’t make more. And of course SJP has returned by this point and is in the process of washing out the pot, but DK doesn’t apologize. She just moves on to asking why there’s “crap” all over her desk. And of course it’s the ingredients SJP is using to make breakfast for Christmas morning! She just can’t catch a break. Patrick gives DK a “be nice” look while SJP explains that she wanted to contribute and also make her sister feel at home, and so she’s making a dish that her family always has on Christmas. DK manages a couple of polite responses. Baby steps.


Since he’s been denied his grandma’s ring (which you might also call The Family Stone… clever movie!), Shoe Polish drags Thad with him to the jewelry store to pick out a new one. While they look at different rings, Thad earnestly asks Shoe Polish not to marry SJP. What is the deal with this family? Geez louise. Shoe Polish is just like “Suck it, bro. I’m marrying her.”

Back at home, Esme Cullen goes to check on Diane Keaton, who is napping. She gets in bed with her and starts cuddling, causing Diane Keaton to say “Who else knows?” KNOWS WHAT??? We won't find out until the next scene.


Ben and Craig T. Nelson are randomly sitting on some bleachers in the snow for some unexplained reason, eating brownies. I don’t know if they’re special brownies or not, but probably. Ben says “It’s worse this time, isn’t it?” Craig T. Nelson plays dumb, but Ben says he’s talking about Diane Keaton. Apparently everybody in the Stone family has some kind of secret illness telepathy because they all seem to be simultaneously figuring out that DK is sick based on no evidence. Craig T. Nelson confirms that it’s not looking good, and they just found out a couple of weeks ago. Apparently Diane Keaton didn’t want to tell them until after Christmas. Ben starts crying. It’s actually sad, but if you think about how much of a jerk Diane Keaton is, you’ll feel better.


At home, SJP and Patrick are finishing up the breakfast dish. Diane Keaton comes in and asks if there are mushrooms in it, and Patrick says “Isn’t Shoe Polish allergic to mushrooms?” Couldn’t you have told her that at some point while you were helping her make it, dummy? SJP didn’t know about his allergy. THIS RELATIONSHIP IS DOOMED!

Ben and Craig T. Nelson come home, and Ben immediately gives Diane Keaton a huge hug and says he loves her. She makes an “Oh shit” face. Bitchface senses that something is amiss, and Diane Keaton covers by accusing Ben of getting stoned with his dad.

After this uncomfortable moment passes, Ben asks SJP how he can help with the cooking. But he does it weirdly because he is weird, saying “What can I do to make you happy?” while putting his arm around her.

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In town, Shoe Polish and Thad go to pick up SJP’s sister at the bus station. Surprise! It’s Claire Danes. Double surprise! Shoe Polish falls in love with her at first sight. Triple surprise! She falls on her face while getting off the bus. This is just a great scene all around, full of twists and turns, laughter and love.


When they get to the house, everybody fawns all over Claire Danes because she is soooo charming. Bitchface comes in with some bandages for her knee, and Claire Danes says “Ahhh, Bitchface. The mean sister.” Everybody cheerfully LOLs at this, including Bitchface. It all makes sense, really. They like Claire Danes because she, like them, has no tact.

SJP is obviously very cranky about the warm reception she’s getting, and takes her to the bathroom to bandage her up. As soon as they leave, Diane Keaton suggests to Craig T. Nelson that Claire Danes would be perfect for Ben.

In the bathroom, Claire Danes is like “Whytf did you make me come here? Everybody is nice and you’re cooking and everything seems fine.” SJP is like "Don't even get me started."


At dinner, they ask Claire Danes about her job. It’s something to do with artists’ grants. Diane Keaton tries to play matchmaker by saying that Ben edits documentary films. Ben is just like “Yeah… and Bitchface is a teacher (OMG FOR REAL? Her poor students) and Thad’s an architect.” Could you possibly come up with more cliché movie character jobs if you tried? I mean seriously. If Esme Cullen owns a bakery then it’s all over.

Ben takes offense to Diane Keaton saying that he lives in San Francisco, because he actually lives in Berkeley. Don’t ask me, I’m just the recapper. They then have a secret sign language conversation. I don’t speak ASL, but I’m assuming it goes something like this:

Ben: Back the fuck off.
Diane Keaton: Sorry! But you should definitely nail SJP’s sister.

Elizabeth chimes in to say “Grandma just signed something really bad.”

At some point the conversation turns to Thad and Patrick’s plans to adopt a baby. Claire Danes asks if they have a preference for the baby’s race, and SJP is like “Shut up! You can’t ask them that!” But nobody else is offended. In fact for some reason everybody gets a “Claire Danes is the best” look on their face.

SJP decides that maybe they’ll like her too if she asks a bold question. My Christmas present to myself this year is that I’m not going to recap this next part in detail because it’s really excruciating. Suffice it to say that SJP decides to start talking about nature vs. nurture as regards gayness. It comes around to Shoe Polish joking that Diane Keaton wanted all her kids to be gay, and SJP ends up incredulously saying something along the lines of “But nobody would actually WANT their kid to be gay, because their life would be harder.” This doesn’t go over well and everybody double hates SJP again.

SJP storms out yet again. Claire Danes half-heartedly tries to defend her.

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SJP tries to drive away, but accidentally crashes into a tree. And then another tree. Claire Danes starts to go out to help her, but Ben stops her and goes out himself. Shoe Polish says that he’s lost his appetite, belatedly sort of taking SJP’s side even though he was hating on her with the rest of them just a moment ago.


Outside, Ben rushes out to find SJP weeping in her car. He tells her that he knows where they should go. They drive off together.


Some time later, Shoe Polish decides to go looking for SJP and Claire Danes says she’ll go with him. They check at the Inn, but she’s not there. Claire Danes asks where Ben might have taken her.


He has taken her to a bar. Where she is now drunk enough to shout things like “I AM NOT A BAD PERSON!” and “I LOVE THE GAYS!” Ben just LOLs and tells her she’s a mess, but that he means that in the best sense. She comes back around to the whole “Why does Bitchface hate me” thing, going on about how she took her to the nicest restaurant she knows and she tries so hard and blah blah blah. Ben tells her that she should just stop trying so hard and learn to relax. He puts his hand over hers for just a little too long, but she’s crunk and doesn’t care all that much. She attempts to relax by imitating Ben's laidback hands-behind-head pose, but ends up just looking like she's being garroted by a ghost.

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He tells her that she needs to learn how to fly her “freak flag.”


Elsewhere, Shoe Polish and Claire Danes have apparently given up looking for SJP and are now taking a romantic stroll through town. Claire Danes is telling some really boring story about some guy on some island who built a totem pole and it was the most emotional experience of her life to go see it raised or something. Shoe Polish is like “There is currently a totem pole being raised… in my pants.”


At the bar, SJP is even crunker and has removed her vest, so she’s wearing a pretty see-through white top over a black bra. Ben is greatly enjoying the view of her dancing at the jukebox when a couple of EMTs come in. One of them calls out to him, and SURPRISE! It’s Brad Stevenson, Bitchface’s erstwhile paramour. He’s played by Mark Brendanawicz from Parks and Rec. He dorkily asks Ben if Bitchface is there, and then SJP comes back to the table. Ben introduces them, and SJP excitedly says “Brad Stevenson? Aren’t you the guy that popped Bitchface’s cherry?” She is so excited to meet him that she buys a round for the house.


Back in Boringtown, Shoe Polish and Claire Danes are still having a boring conversation about life choices and shit. Shoe Polish is all like “Do you ever feel like you didn’t choose your own life?” It’s very Nate from Gossip Girl. He brings up the monastery he didn’t go to see because he was distracted by meeting SJP in Hong Kong and Claire Danes is like “Well you should go! Eat Pray Love, man!”


SJP gets REALLY excited when her song comes on the jukebox and she makes Brad dance with her. He is somewhat less than comfortable. She tries to get him to help her figure out why Bitchface hates her, and he’s like “Sorry lady, I haven’t seen her in a year.” She’s shocked to hear this, and tells him he’ll never get her to fall in love with him if she never sees him.

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She invites him to come over for Christmas, reasoning that since she made breakfast, she can invite whoever she wants. Brad’s EMT buddy asks if she wants another beer, and she says what she really wants is some weed. If Ben hadn’t already fallen in love with her at first sight, it would definitely happen now.


After their grueling search, Shoe Polish drops Claire Danes off at the Inn, but then asks if she wants to go get coffee in a very flirtatious manner. Her face says “Hell yes,” but since she’s not a completely awful human being, she says no. He leaves, but then 30 seconds later there’s a knock on her door. She goes running over excitedly, but it’s just Craig T. Nelson, asking if she found SJP. Bummersville, Population: Claire Danes.


Shoe Polish goes home and Diane Keaton apologizes. He’s like “You’re not really sorry” and storms away like a petulant child.


Ben and SJP get in the car and she asks him what happened in the dream he had about her. He says that he dreamed that she was a little girl in a nightgown, shoveling snow. SOMEBODY CALL CHRIS HANSEN! Or at least punch in his number just in case. He says that in the dream, he was the snow and she was scooping him up. I think this is supposed to be sweet or heartwarming or something, but it’s just weird and mildly creepy.


Craig T. Nelson goes home and finds Esme Cullen sitting on the couch, talking to her husband on the phone while Bitchface sleeps next to her. Craig T. Nelson is like “Wow, Bitchface sure is nice when she’s sleeping.” DAD BURN! He asks Esme Cullen if she’s going to bed, but she’s watching Meet Me In St. Louis, and doesn’t want to miss her favorite part.

Craig T. Nelson goes upstairs and gets into bed with Diane Keaton and she starts babbling about how she doesn't hate SJP, but she feels sorry for her, and she's sad because Shoe Polish is making such a huge mistake and she won't be around to say "I told you so." Craig T. Nelson promises her that everybody will be fine when she's dead. She says she's scared, and they start to Get It On as Judy Garland bums us all out by singing the most depressing Christmas song of all time ("Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"). It's a shame that the original lyrics were changed for Meet Me In St. Louis because I would LOL forever if the line "Have yourself a merry little Christmas / It may be your last" was sung over this scene.

While Mr. and Mrs. Stone are making love, old-people-style, Thad and Patrick are walking (?) to the Inn holding hands and Claire Danes is staring wistfully out the window, thinking about her inappropriate crush. Shoe Polish, meanwhile, is sitting pantsless in his childhood bedroom, holding the engagement ring he bought in one hand and his cell phone in the other.

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He symbolically closes the ring box while he calls SJP, who is asleep in the car with Ben, her head SCANDALOUSLY resting on his shoulder. You just know all four of these assholes are going to change their relationship status to "It's Complicated" tonight.


Christmas morning dawns, and SJP is surprised to find herself in an unfamiliar room with very few clothes on. She is even more surprised when Craig T. Nelson knocks on the door and bursts in on her as she scrambles to get dressed. Craig T. Nelson is like "..."

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Downstairs, Diane Keaton surprises Shoe Polish by giving him grandma's engagement ring. He is totally ungrateful though because of his incipient cold feet, and when she tells him not to act like a jerk he just says "Dad put you up to this." She said NOT to act like a jerk, what are you, deaf? ACCIDENTAL THAD BURN!

It's time for a serious chat. Diane Keaton tells Shoe Polish that he's had a charmed life, and he's like "Nuh uh, I have soooo many problems and also you suck." So DK plays her ultimate card, saying that he can't fix the fact that she's sick, not even by getting married. Shoe Polish makes a sad/guilty face.

HOLD THE PHONE.

We are HONESTLY supposed to believe that this GROWN-ASS MAN has decided to get engaged to SJP of all people because he's sad that his mommy is sick???? This is like the great revelation and the root of all his problems???? GIVE ME SO MANY BREAKS.

ANYWAY. They start weeping and hugging because they've made such a huge breakthrough in regards to Shoe Polish's psyche. Vom! DK tells him to try not to be so perfect and he weeps even more. Then she finally has a SOMEWHAT decent mom moment, telling him that she doesn't want him to miss out on life because he thinks he has to fit in to some imaginary whatever life, but that the ring is his if that's what he wants to do. But she's still an asshole, I don't even care.

Claire Danes unexpectedly comes in and catches them weeping together.

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Shoe Polish gets stars in his eyes immediately, and when she tries to make a hasty exit he stops her.


Meanwhile, SJP is upstairs in Ben's room and is freaking out. She's about to sneak out when Ben comes out of the bathroom wearing only a towel. He asks how she slept, and she responds by slapping him in the face so hard that everybody can hear it from downstairs. PLEASE. I have slapped a lot of faces in my day, and I like to think I'm pretty good at it, but that's just not possible.

In the kitchen, Shoe Polish is showing grandma's ring to Claire Danes. Because he is a grown man with a keen sense of respectful and appropriate behavior, he asks her to try it on. She's like "Um... no?" He keeps insisting, and Diane Keaton is like "?????" and Claire Danes is like "My hands are bigger than hers" and Shoe Polish is like "I JUST WANT TO SEE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE ON A HUMAN HAND! THIS IS NOT AT ALL WEIRD!" He finally jams it on her finger and then they have a Moment. Craig T. Nelson walks in and is like "Weird vibe."

This totally natural situation which arose from very understandable actions by characters who behave just like people you and I know in real life becomes even MORE hilarious when it transpires that the ring is stuck on Claire Danes's finger, as result of her having bigger hands than SJP.

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Everybody flocks to the kitchen to see what the kerfuffle is and Claire Danes is soooo embarrassed that she starts crying. Somebody says they should try using butter, and of course Diane Keaton is like "DON'T BREAK IT!" Craig T. Nelson gives Shoe Polish a knowing look.


Apparently it has taken this whole time for SJP to recover from slapping Ben in the face and leave his room. Ben tries to stop her, but she just hisses "How dare you!" and storms off.

Downstairs, Thad insensitively asks why Claire Danes is crying, and she's like "I'm not crying I'm just allergic to diamonds!" and runs away to the bathroom. Shoe Polish follows, and runs into SJP coming down the stairs. She pretends that she just got there and Craig T. Nelson is just like:

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SJP goes into the bathroom to see what's up with her histrionic sister, and the commotion FINALLY wakes up Bitchface, who I had actually forgotten was in this movie for one blissful minute. Shoe Polish doesn't even try to explain the situation to her because it's too early in the morning to be laughed at derisively.

Ben comes bopping downstairs jovially, and Craig T. Nelson drags him away for a little chat.


In the bathroom, Claire Danes shows SJP the ring and tells her that Shoe Polish is going to propose. SJP OMGs very loudly, and Shoe Polish, eavesdropping, looks like he's going to vom.

After her initial excitement, it finally strikes SJP as odd that Claire Danes is wearing her engagement ring. She weakly explains that Shoe Polish just wanted to see the ring on, and SJP asks why he wanted to see it on HER. Claire Danes is just like "Uh... Where were you last night?" SJP says she can't tell her, then coyly smells a bar of soap (not joking) so that Claire Danes will know that she was with someone last night. Claire Danes is incredulous but secretly thrilled on account of how she wants to Do It with Shoe Polish, and SJP is clearly so thrilled at how baaaad she is that she can't even keep herself from smiling when she says "I'm so ashamed."


Meanwhile, the family continues trying to find a suitable answer to why Claire Danes was wearing the ring in the first place (spoiler alert: there isn't one), and the doorbell rings. Bitchface bitchily yells "Who the hell is THAT?"

SURPRISE! It's Mark Brendanawicz, who took SJP at her drunken word last night, apparently. He  drove the ambulance there this morning, and is still in his EMT uniform. He stands on the porch with a poinsetta in one hand and an unwrapped gift in the other, saying Bitchface's name over and over.

Bitchface answers the door and is like "WTF?" He tells her that SJP invited him.


Meanwhile, Claire Danes and SJP are STILL in the bathroom. Claire Danes starts scolding her and SJP starts to actually look a bit ashamed, and then asks to see the ring again. CD obliges, and she says "...that's it?" Who's the bitchface now?

In the living room, the family has decided to just get on with it and start opening presents, because who knows how long the Great Bathroom Summit is going to last. Bitchface comes back in with Mark Brendanawicz, and everybody is THRILLED to see him. The Stone family is soooo quirky and cool that they don't even question why some rando has wandered into their house on Christmas morning. I wish they would adopt me!

SJP and Claire Danes finally emerge from the bathroom, and Bitchface says "So! How do you know Mark Brendanawicz?" in an accusatory tone of voice. SJP starts looking ashamed again and Shoe Polish raises his eyebrow. Mark Brendanawicz, unable to read a room, says "LOLOL we were all CRUNK at the bar last night, duh-doy!"

Ben and Esme Cullen wisely decide to completely ignore the awkward situation. He opens his gift from her, a suit jacket which he is thrilled with.

SJP takes their lead and swiftly exits her own awkward conversation to announce that she has something for everyone. She hands out identical gifts to everyone, and they're all like "I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT THIS GUEST IN OUR HOME BROUGHT US CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. IS THIS A NORMAL CUSTOM OF EARTHLINGS??"

They all unwrap them together, and find that SJP has framed a picture of a super pregnant Diane Keaton for all of them.


Everybody gets SUPER emotional about it, like it's the greatest thing they've ever seen. Bitchface actually starts crying, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure she's the only one in the family who doesn't know about DK Death Watch yet. Anyhow, everybody tearfully thanks SJP, and she's TOTALLY forgiven for being such a square, all because she went to Kinko's and reminded everybody that this mother of five was once pregnant. Diane Keaton actually says "You did good."

Bitchface starts to thank SJP, but either she can't bring herself to do something so un-Bitchfacey or is too overcome with emotion to get the words out.

Shoe Polish chooses this moment to tell SJP that they need to talk. She thinks he's going to propose to her, so she tries to escape, saying that she's going to start heating up the weird breakfast dish she was cooking yesterday. He pulls her back, and she shouts "NO I WILL NOT MARRY YOU!"

Mark Brendanawicz has the perfect reaction to this.

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Shoe Polish is like "Bitch, please. I didn't even ask you." Meanwhile, Claire Danes is looking like the cat that ate the canary. SJP notices this, and the wheels start turning in her mind. So, as you can imagine, she launches into a big speech about how this is the moment they've all been waiting for, and how they all hate her so much that they must be thrilled to see her humiliated like this. Craig T. Nelson is like "Nope!" but Bitchface's bitchface says "Kinda."

So SJP is finally the one in control of the Awkward Moment, but unfortunately she goes off the rails and starts talking about how she slept with Ben. Everybody is like "..." And Ben is like "WTF are you even talking about? We didn't Do It."

And of course this causes SJP to start weeping and asking why nobody loves her. She runs into the kitchen and takes the breakfast dishes out of the refrigerator. Diane Keaton and Bitchface start to come after her and of course they HILARIOUSLY open the door right in her face so she spills the food all over herself. They LOL in her face and she starts crying even harder.


In the living room, Shoe Polish is like "Hey Ben, whytf does my soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend think that she slept with you?" Ben starts to explain, but Shoe Polish is just like "Fuck this" and starts chasing him around the house.


While Craig T. Nelson tries to break up the boyfight, SJP is so hysterical that Bitchface does the decent thing and starts cleaning up the mess while Diane Keaton tries to comfort her. She weeps "I'm just as good as any of you!" and DK says "Of course you are. Better, probably!" SJP then asks "What's so great about you guys?" and DK says "Nothing! It's just, we're all we've got!" which Bitchface agrees with wholeheartedly. SJP is not placated by this and tells Bitchface that she is the worst. Bitchface is like "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??" and somehow manages to slip and fall into the giant puddle of uncooked breakfast. SJP and Diane Keaton enjoy a hearty and well-deserved LOL at her expense.


Ben and Shoe Polish continue running around and yelling, and Shoe Polish asks again why SJP thinks she slept with him. Ben is like "Because we were wasted" which for some reason does not please Shoe Polish. He escapes to the kitchen and takes a moment to leer at SJP, whose shirt is even more see-through now that she's soaked in raw egg or whatevertf was in that casserole dish, before Shoe Polish tackles him. They have a slap fight under the kitchen table, as grown men often do, before getting all tuckered out. Ben finally explains that nothing happened, SJP just passed out drunk in his bed and he slept on the floor. But then he's like "You don't even love her, whytf do you care?" And then the kitchen table collapses on top of them because this is a movie.

Mark Brendanawicz gets a first aid kit out of his amublance to treat the wounds from this epic battle. Claire Danes secretly books a bus ticket home, and as soon as she hangs up the phone the ring magically falls off her finger.


Upstairs, SJP and Shoe Polish have a grownup chat about how they're wrong for each other and they're both sorry and blah blah blah. Point is, they are splitsies.

The newly-single Shoe Polish doesn't waste any time trying to move in on Claire Danes, but unfortunately she has flown the coop. She left the ring with Esme Cullen's daughter, along with the message that she is gone, in case they didn't notice.


Bitchface goes out to the ambulance to see Mark Brendanawicz, and he gives her a present: a snowglobe. She is so impressed by this present that she makes out with him. She has really weird, over-the-top reactions to gifts.

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Shoe Polish decides to chase after Claire Danes on foot, and Craig T. Nelson pulls up in his car and is like "Get in, dummy." They drive off to the bus station, where Claire Danes is waiting all alone. The bus pulls up, and Shoe Polish is like "Please don't go! Our time together has been so amazing!" Claire Danes is like "Dude you were boning my sister as of 24 hours ago, take a pill." She gets on the bus, and Shoe Polish is soooooo sad (as are we all). But then the bus stops and Claire Danes comes running back. She's still leaving, but she wants to know if he has plans for New Years. TRUE LOVE!!!!


Meanwhile, back at the house, SJP goes to Ben's room. They stroke each others' faces for a minute and then he tells her she smells like puke. So much true love. She changes into one of his t-shirts, and they lie in bed together. She starts singing "Joy to the World" and Ben is like "Whoa, 'repeat the sounding joy,' that's like, so deep, man!"

Downstairs, Diane Keaton is gazing wistfully out the window AGAIN. Geez louise, lady. Esme Cullen's husband FINALLY arrives and is like "Whotf is Bitchface making out with in that ambulance."


Shoe Polish walks home in the snow in his hoodie, for reasons that I, your humble recapper, cannot explain to you. Wheretf is Craig T. Nelson? Whatever. Life is too short.



ONE YEAR LATER

Thad and Patrick arrive at the Stone estate. And they have an adorable baby! Esme Cullen greets them, and SHE has an adorable baby too! Thad asks if Shoe Polish and Claire Danes are there yet, and Esme says they'll be there for dinner. OMG, those two crazy kids really made it! I'm so glad!

Craig T. Nelson and Bitchface come in to greet them. Bitchface looks less disheveled, so we know she's totally gotten her life together. Ben calls from the other room that the tree is ready. And who is there with him but SJP! LOVE IS ALL AROUND YOU GUYS! Mark Brendanawicz is also there, so apparently many loves were born of that one super awkward and horrible Christmas. But guess who isn't there? Diane Keaton! RIP! So it looks like we're down one DK, and up two cute babies. I say it's a win.

The whole family stares at the tree and feels both happy and sad. It's so heartwarming. Shoe Polish and Claire Danes arrive, and everybody goes to greet them except Bitchface, who stares at the picture of pregnant Diane Keaton which is now hanging on the wall. Apparently she inherited the "gazing wistfully" gene. Mark Brendanawicz hugs her, and we fade to black.


THE END

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know i'm like 2 years late, but that was an amazing recap!