Personally, I’m a sucker for holiday romantic comedies, and it’s a family tradition to watch as many of them as we can each year. Ever heard the phrase “so bad it’s good?” Well, that’s the best way to describe these types of movies.
In the poll this month, we asked some fellow Lakesiders about their thoughts, and not surprisingly, there was some disagreement. Are these holiday rom-coms that Netflix puts out really so bad they’re good? Or are they just really bad? We asked the poll respondents if they liked rom-coms, and there were some mixed responses. One student voices that “No, I have standards,” and another agrees, saying, “They’re too cringy.” However, some students do agree with me, one saying, “Yes! They make me feel v [sic] happy and cozy (even if I do get secondhand embarrassment sometimes).”
“Holidate” (2020) is Tiffany Paulson’s holiday-themed romantic comedy recently added to Netflix. Every year, as the holiday season swings around, Netflix cranks out the cheesy, sappy rom-coms in an attempt to distract us from our own miserable love lives. For the most part, it works. Even if you hate rom-coms (like one poll respondent who said “I can only watch one and then I feel burned out for the rest of the season. The cheesiness, the music, it’s too much for me”) it’s difficult to say they’re not entertaining. Whether it’s in screaming at the TV about the absurdity of Netflix’s newest holiday hit, laughing at the terrible plots and even worse acting, or if you’re like me and you actually enjoy the low-quality acting and heartfelt declarations of love, Netflix has sufficiently distracted you from the windstorm of emotions that is the holiday season. “Holidate” does just that.
The movie has received mixed reviews, but I would argue that it is a refreshing take on Netflix’s holiday film tradition. The plot follows the ever-relatable Sloane as she is constantly berated by her mother during the holiday season for the fact that she’s the only one in the family who is still utterly alone and single during the holidays. Now, I know what all you rom-com haters might be thinking; this is the part where she astonishingly meets the perfect boy, they have a fairy tale adventure filled with romantic snow scenes and a half-baked conflict, and then all is well and they make up and kiss under the snow surrounded by twinkling lights to some chintzy elevator music, and live happily ever after. “Holidate,” however, takes a little turn off the typical rom-com road. In this film, Paulsen gives us a chaotic, but in a good way, spiraling story filled with ups and downs, and some very funny (though slightly inappropriate) jokes.
Many Lakesiders have taken the opinion that “Holidate” is one of the types of rom-coms that really are so bad they’re good. “It’s so bad but so good,” “terrible but in a good way,” and “it was not a good movie and the acting was terrible, but it was comforting and a little funny,” are some of the ways that poll-respondents described it, although some still share the opinion that “it was really cringey and I regret wasting my time watching a pointless movie.” Again, even though the consensus seems to be that “Holidate” was a terrible movie overall, it was distracting and humorous in a way that sets us up nicely for the ridiculousness that often comes with the holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the typical Rom Com of cliched romance and gooey speeches of love, but I would argue that “Holidate” could be one that pleases or at least entertains even the “Grinches” of the world.