The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.
Day 14: “Black Mirror: White Christmas”
For day 14 of our Advent Calendar of holiday movies, I am going to kind of cheat a little bit. Instead of a movie, I'm going to pick an episode of "Black Mirror". Now, before you call me out because it is an episode of a TV show, its run time is 73 minutes. To be considered a movie that you can release in theaters it needs to be 80 minutes or longer. Well, at just shy of 80 minutes, the episode of "White Christmas" from season 2 of "Black Mirror" is far, far superior to some 80 minute long movies that get put into theaters. I would have much rather watched this in a theater as opposed to some movies that got nation wide releases. Give me "White Christmas" over some garbage I've seen, movies like "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter", or "Kickin it Old School" or even a halfway decent movie like "Millions". "White Christmas" is better than all of these. Plus, most of us watched this on Netflix just like any other movie.
For those that may be thinking this is a happy go lucky, typical holiday/Christmas movie or show, it is not. "White Christmas" is very bleak. There is no happy ending or pleasing life lesson learned. And for those that may have not watched this episode yet, and are considering, or even currently watching, RD I'm talking directly to you(ed note: Watched it last night), I am going to spoil quite a bit of things. So proceed with caution.
What I enjoy, and why I now go back to it every holiday season, is how dire this episode is. It all starts with Jon Hamm cooking a Christmas meal in some remote cabin. He is then accompanied by another gentleman, Rafe Spall, joining him for a meal. It seems, at least at first, that they are just a couple buddies on a trip, but that is most certainly not the case. Hamm is a very talkative, almost annoyingly upbeat dude. He just talks and talks Spall's head off, and Spall just kind of grunts and makes odd noises in his direction. But, through all this talking, Hamm gets Spall's character to open up, to tell his story, and it is bleak. Meanwhile there is another story going on, involving Oona Chaplin, you may know her from "Game of Thrones" or "Taboo", and it is depressing too. This one also involves Hamm.
Jon Hamm is a type of salesman, and Chaplin plays a super busy, needs everything done her way business lady. In this "Black Mirror" universe an egg like home has been created, and busy people like Chaplin can spend their days in the egg, with everything planned out perfectly accordingly by a host. Hamm plays this host. At first this is a great thing for Chaplin. She loves the structure. But, it becomes more and more insane as time goes on. The problem with the egg, you are at the whim of your host. They control you. You are shrunk down to fit in the egg, and if the host, who is regular sized decides to leave, you are left all alone. Oh, and time flies by in the egg. A day is an equivalent of a year. There are points when we see Chaplin in total disarray, or just laying on the floor, just waiting for her host to come back and start her day. And Hamm uses this to his advantage. He toys with her. He gives her menial tasks. He basically ruins her life. She becomes depressed, then insane. It is heartbreaking to watch her go through what she goes through.
We then go back to the cabin. As Spall begins to open up to Hamm, we find out that maybe this isn't a couple of buddies on a camping trip. This cabin might not be a cabin after all. It may be a snow globe that is essentially a prison. As the 2 men open up to one another we find out that they both have done some shady stuff.
Jon Hamm tells his story first. He ran this business that helped guys pick up girls. It was a shady online thing. A dude gets killed kind of shady. Hamm’s wife finds out that he was doing this, and she left him and blocked him. In this world, "blocking" means that you cannot hear the person, and there voice is inaudible. It is tragic.
With Spall, what he has done is much, much worse. One night during a dinner party, after it is over, Spall is cleaning and he happens upon a positive pregnancy test. He is thrilled and brings it to his girlfriend. She is not so thrilled. She tells him she doesn't want the baby, leaves him and blocks him as well. He is devastated. He then becomes obsessed with her and begins to follow her around. After some time he sees, through the blocking system that his ex girlfriend had the baby and is raising it with the help of her father. Again, Spall becomes despondent. His stalking becomes much, much worse. He even tries to communicate with the child, although he cannot see or understand it, and neither can the child with him. After 4 years, Spall finds out that his ex has died in a train wreck, and this lifts the block. He can now see is child. He then proceeds to the ex's father's cabin to see her. Here he finds out that the child is not his. She is of Asian decent, and Spall is a white guy. Again, devastation befalls him. He realizes his ex was cheating on him, and the whole abortion idea was just a way to rid him of her and the baby. When he sees the child again, he has a snow globe to give her as a present. But, he runs into the ex's father first, and while pushing and pleading to see the kid, he gets into a fight. He then proceeds to hit the ex's father with the snow globe, and the blow to the head kills him. Spall has committed murder, and he flees the scene, leaving the child alone in the cabin in the woods.
After spilling all this to Hamm, we realize that they are in a prison version of the ex's father's cabin. He is in the very prison where he committed his heinous act, and he is left there to live in this nightmare for the rest of his days. After getting Spall to confess to what he has done, it is revealed that Hamm is talking to him via a type of virtual reality helmet like the one in the first story about the egg. He then removes his face and the 2 other people in the room with him seemed pleased with what he done. He has basically agreed to a plea deal, and if he could get Spall to confess, he would be free from his charges, running that shady online hook up thing, and all the stuff he did to Chaplin working for another shady online company.
When freed, it is revealed that there is a catch. The 2 other gentleman working with him tell him he is free, but everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, in the world is blocked. He walks out of the room, into the city, and it is all amorphous blobs and static sounds. Sure, he can see it is Christmas because of the décor on the buildings, but every single person, he is blocked from. This is almost the most tragic thing. He will spend the rest of his days as a free man, but in a prison of no human interaction. It is a harrowing end to a harrowing episode.
I love this take on "A Christmas Carol" from "Black Mirror". At least that was what I took it as. There are three stories that all seem to have that past, present and future story line. But this one is super bleak. I highly recommend that people who may be a little sick of the saccharin holiday movies or shows, and want something a little different, to watch this episode. It is "Black Mirror", so you know it will be well told and properly acted, but it will also be sad and scary. It is a good change of pace. This episode is now something I revisit every year around the holidays, and it gets better every time. This is a stand out of a show that is filled with nothing but great episodes. It's a masterpiece.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. For another tale that looks happy, but is quite bleak, check out the Pogues sing “Fairytale of New York”.
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