Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The National Tree

MOVIE REVIEW

The National Tree:

Network: Hallmark Channel

Original Air Date: November 28, 2009

CAST:

Andrew McCarthy ... Corey Burdock
Evan Williams ... Rock Burdock
Kari Matchett ... Faith Russell
Paula Brancati ... Katie Coyle
Jayne Eastwood ... Lana
Vasanth Saranga ... Ash
Emily Andrews ... Stephanie
Amanda Joy Lim ... Ming





PLOT:

from the Hallmark Channel:

Willful Oregon teenager Rock Burdock (Evan Williams, “Save the Last Dance 2”) wins a national Christmas tree contest and convinces Corey (Andrew McCarthy, “Lipstick Jungle”), his overprotective father, to move the fifteen-year-old tree that commemorates Rock’s birth to Washington, D.C. Corey, in turn, persuades Rock to transport the tree on a road trip across the country so he and his son can enjoy some quality time together. Although not excited about the idea, Rock agrees, and the journey turns out to be an adventure that strengthens the bonds between father and son.



Movie Review:

I generally love all Hallmark Christmas Movies, whether they are a bit cheesy or emotionally deep - this however, is the exception.

From the start, the teenage boy, Rock was obnoxious and disrespectful to his father, Corey. Rock was constantly texting and using his video camera - uploading stuff to his blog and acting like his dad was so uncool about technology.

There were all kinds of political messages in this, as well. I know many didn't enjoy that, at all. We watched for the enjoyment of a Christmas Movie - what we received were political protests and green proproganda. I was all for saving the large beautiful tree and replanting it - but did it have to be so political? Did the teenager have to be so disrespectful?

The story was completely about taking this large tree to Washington to plant it there and make it their National Tree. Notice I said National Tree and not Christmas Tree... already there was a political message there, I believe, in the title of the Movie... with not labeling it Washington's Christmas Tree.

In the beginning, the father didn't want to dig up the boy's tree- he didn't want to risk it's dying... but the boy got his way - and was arrogant and possessive about the tree - calling it his tree since the father had planted it there for him when he was born.

Along the Father and Son's travel to Washington- the teenager, Rock, met up with a girl, Katie, who he had been writing back and forth with on-line. Katie drove up to where they stopped along the route with the tree. They met and then Rock hopped in her car and they took off together. I coudn't believe it. I thought this was a totally bad message for kids to meet up with a complete stranger from on the web and then be alone in a car. It gets worse.

Rock and the girl, Katie decide that it would be fun for her to join them for the rest of the trip to Washington. Whoa... she just met this boy - from on-line - and now she wants to travel miles with him and his father alone in a semi all the way to Washington. Sounds crazy to me. Rock asks his father and he says no.

This, however, doesn't stop Rock... he decides to sneak Katie into the back of the semi trailor with the tree and she rides there with them. At first, Rock secretly texts her back and forth while sitting next to his father, but eventually, this plan is not working - it is winter - so she is Freezing!!! They have to come clean. She ends up in the cab riding with them. Rock's Father is, at first, upset and determined that she should go home, but he gives in, says he'll contact her parents and she can go the rest of the way, after all. There are no consequences or disciplinary actions taken for their deception.

SPOILER ALERT:

In the end...
The tree is saved. Rock & Katie are happy. And the father, Corey, finds love, too.

This movie just didn't move me or make me feel the Christmas Spirit. It was long, slow, and disappointing.


See or Skip:

I suggest skipping this one.


4 comments:

  1. The movie itself was fine; however, I found that even Hallmark now is expressing a political agenda. The comment the boy's grandmother makes about Rock leaving Freedom (his town) behind to become a citizen of the world (quote from Obama - in Germany) was unnecessary and added nothing to the movie.

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  2. I did not necessarily find this movie to be political. Instead it displayed a common theme whereby one person, or a small group of people, stood up to a greater force in order to do the right thing. In this case it was the boy and his father protesting against the toy company that sponsored the contest, as they were led to believe the tree would be permanently planted and not discarded after Christmas. But the company, seeing the publicity this kid was drawing, thought it would be good for their profits if they made this contest a yearly event, which they could only do if they killed the tree and kept replacing it every year.

    Also, it was called the "national" tree because it was supposed to be planted in Washington, D.C. and considered a symbol of the nation as well as Christmas. A Christmas tree could be any place, but the national tree belongs in Washington. I hate forced and ridiculous alterations of Christmas for the sake of political correctness, but I didn't find any of that in this movie. Also, becoming a "citizen of the world," is another way of saying the kid will soon be coming of age or "leaving the nest." It may be Obama's quote, but it wasn't his message or an enforcement of his ideas.

    However, I agree 100% with the original poster's comment that this kid was disrespectful. He was also careless, reckless and pushed the limit farther than any teen should. Any kid stupid enough to tie his stowaway girlfriend to a flatbed that she had to share with a large Christmas tree that was lying on top of her, without considering the risks to her safety or the consequences that could occur, was too stupid to be the hero of a movie - even a lame one, like this one. And tell me this girl's parents wouldn't have at least insisted upon meeting this kid's father, who would be ultimately responsible for their daughter's welfare to and from Washington? What's worse is that when the father wanted to send the girl home, our hero wanted to go back too, like a spoiled brat who didn’t get his way. So much for the national tree and his mission. And the contest coordinator, while agreeing that these kids did something stupid, said she admired the son for "sticking by his girl," the same girl he could have killed in his stowaway scheme.

    So it was the father, not the kid, who had to “come to his senses,” although the father was just as reckless when he let his inexperienced son drive through a fire so Dad could protect a tree. And I would be very surprised if anyone didn’t know from the start that Dad and the contest lady weren’t going to end in a romance.

    It was a nice road trip, but an all too typical movie.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My only comment is a question. What happened at the very end when the father and toy lady showed shocked looks on their faces right before the camera went back to the tree? Does anybody know what happened behind the scenes?

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