44 thoughts on “Our Gift of Snark to You: The Knight Before Christmas (2019)

  1. We showed the first 10 minutes in “Ye Olden Times,” also known as 1334, to my kids. They were all wondering why they were going hunting in full plate, where was his coif, how insanely cold those knights would be in metal armor and snow.
    It was fun to listen to.

  2. I voluntarily watched this the other day and said or thought many of the things you all said! I wondered why he wasn’t bald from the chain mail ripping out all his hair.

    1. Yes! Did the sheer difficulty of putting on and taking off his mail coif without pulling lumps of his hair out not give anyone involved in the production a clue? Or did they just say ‘no, coifs aren’t cool, the h*ll with realism and practicality?

  3. Oh yes! Before watching even a minute of this, I was thinking about making up a drinking game where you take a shot on all the “M’ladys” and “Fair Maidens”, but decided against it. Which was wise, as I was watching the movie on a Saturday afternoon and had other stuff to do later.

  4. In fairness re the sword, other than his being uncomfortable in many jurisdictions he’s fine as long as he’s not attempting to conceal it (in my state any blade over 4″ must be worn visibly and not carried concealed.) The issue would be whether or not he’s considered “brandishing” it (basically the same difference as open-carrying a gun in a holster or slung over your back versus waving it around as if you intend to use it.) My friend uses swords in her bellydance routine–she’s lead singer/composer for a metal band and she bellydances and sword dances during performances–and she carries her swords around. As long as you’re not actively threatening people or trying to hide that you’re carrying it, you usually are okay. You’ll get weird looks, but it’s legal. So up until he draws on someone, he should be okay.

    At THAT point he should end up arrested for brandishing and assault.

  5. Ugh.
    About the language issue: my course in Chaucer, in the original, makes me think a certain degree of communication would be possible if both parties speak slowly, and repeat themselves a lot.

  6. Just to be picky, “chain mail” is a redundancy. The word “maille” is French for “links” (hence the postal service use of the word mail) Any arms and armour historian will bridle at the phrase “chain mail,” although there are other forms of mail, such a scale mail.As for the movie, is that a sword in his pocket, or is he just glad to see her? I think WC Fields and Mae West would have done it better.

    1. I would imagine adding chain to mail occurred about the same time as the postal service was formalized as a way to differentiate the protective garments from correspondence.

    2. To clarify further: the use of ‘chain maille’ and all other ‘mailles’ (i.e. ‘plate maille’, ‘scale maille’, ‘ring maille’, etc.) is a Victorianism and is based on the mistaken assumption that ‘maille’ refers to ‘armour’.

      All of those terms are bunk. You can have ‘maille’ (as you said, this is the French term), which can be referred to as ‘chain’ (the English term for the same thing). There is no such thing as any of the others.

  7. You skipped over the fact that he is a world class baker. She takes him shopping and he insists that all store bought bread is bad and he spends the night making 200 something loaves of perfect bread with a bean hidden in one special bread.

  8. Hope female love interest is caught up on all her vaccines and has a shipping container full of medicine and menstrual products.

    1. And that she’s prepared to knit her own exciting underwear as the fair damsels of Castle Anthrax do. (You have to admit that, given sufficient quantities of gin and weed, this might be pretty funny.)

  9. I love me a good cheesy holiday movie, and I could get past the language barrier thing if the rest of it was accurate (I assume with stuff like that it’s hand-wavey magic, a la Pocahontas) but there seems to have been very little effort and that annoys me. If you want to have a character from long ago, you should do some research! (Also I wonder why they chose that year, specifically? Was it just that they figured if it was pre-Renaissance no one would know enough about the time to nitpick?

    1. If nothing else, Chaucer wasn’t born yet, so his influence on the language to follow had not yet occurred.

  10. I haven’t decided if you are all Saints for watching this piece of s**t and are in need of major prezzies or..No, you are all Saints and what are your most wanted prezzies? You have to be selfish – so no solution to climate change, medical cures and Trump no longer at 1600 Penn Avenue.
    I tried watching it and couldn’t make it past the first couple of minutes.

    May the booze gods be ever in your favour. (Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Tulley, Macallen, etc)

  11. Can we just talk about how Vanessa Hudgens being a science teacher doesn’t factor into literally anything!

  12. Considering the film begins in 1334, you can take comfort knowing that in 14 years the couple will die in the Black Death.

  13. I thought it was cute. shrug I also thought how freaking weird it was, that the actress playing her sister is Nina Dobrev’s doppelgänger. I swear ,she had me doing double-takes, since I KNEW it wasn’t Nina. But still.

  14. I just mixed up a big batch of sangria and had a hilarious time! It was the goofiest thing I’ve seen on a long time (not least because Vanessa Hudgens was meant to be a science teacher, but she used no science to advance the plot at all?? And how will his future plans work with no Social Security card? I’m glad to see chest waxing was a thing in the 14th century, lol). How did I not realize this was the same guy Demelza got busy with in the sand dunes??

  15. Scene in Creative Department of Studio:
    Boss;”OK team, what shows are we going to make?”
    Wardrobe; “There’s a curtain fabric Sale at Jo-Ann”
    Boss: “Let’s do Ye Olde!!!”

  16. Sir Cole would be a fan of Tule logs and probably Holly and mistletoe but in his day it was still Christ’s Mass. He’d want to attend Midnight Mass and he wouldn’t understand the emphasis on gifts. New Year’s was the big gift giving holiday in his time.

        1. These are both very good points. Although I’m assuming Christmastown, Ohio, is apparently Just Perfect For Everyone® no matter what… But actually now that I think about it, since Christmas was a feast (and a multi-day one), at the time it was most likely preceded by at least some fasting (Advent is penitential, too) on the old church calendar, so that would pretty much ruin most of the activities in the movie. “There is a feast tonight? But ’tis not yet Christmastide, my lady. In fact ’tis the Ember Days, and I shall be refraining from all but bread and water this Wednesday, Friday and Saturday…”

  17. You know, I’d have a lot less trouble with movies like this if the modern-day woman happened to be a historian who studies medieval languages. Or a SCAdian/reenactor. How hard a plot point is that? What’s more “meet cute” than being the only person able to talk to the weird guy in armor? And then they bond over having her teach him modern language. Adorable, right?

    I think I’ve now spent more time thinking about this movie than the people who made it did.

    1. Alys, that’s an excellent plotline. And they could both get off on the whole courtly-love thing, only it would help if she were married, estranged from her husband, etc., and then guilt, duty-versus-desire, etc., would come into play.

      I, too, hate knowing more about this stuff than the people profiting from it.

  18. Generally, I’m with you 100% in your assessments. I usually get into arguments on various boards (about British Period films) because I am constantly being told by them, if I want accuracy, watch a documentary. No, I think if someone is going to make a period movie that a certain amount of accuracy should be expected. Don’t get me started on Reign. There is a whole generation who watched that load of perverted history and believe it to be true, costumes and all. However, I categorize this as a Hallmark movie where all disbelief must be suspended! My 19 year old daughter and I watched it (and my husband too), and we loved it. And we did snark it too! But still loved it. The knight was such a sweet guy, but I really didn’t know how they were going to end it. So when he left we were like “WTF?” So glad he went back to her. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it. Totally. But the costumes didn’t bother me, there weren’t enough of them, really. Apart from no coif, I didn’t find them distracting. (unlike Reign) We laughed and called her an idiot for letting him drive her car. So unrealistic, but then again this is the Netflix equivalent of a Hallmark movie, all was forgiven. And I didn’t mind looking at Sir Cole for an hour and a half! That face! Ahhh.

    1. Here in the UK ‘Hallmark’ is a high street chain of greetings card shops, so when I first came across the term ‘Hallmark movie’ I immediately imagined a class of film that was as cheesy, sentimental, bad-taste and crudely stereotyped as a shelf of greetings cards ‘To a wonderful Mum’, ‘Best Brother’, etc. And lo, I was not deceived!

      1. Hallmark actually owns both the greeting card company and the tv channel(s) who make the cheesy aforementioned movies so you weren’t far off!

  19. Most of the flick was in the modern era—and for the commenters lamenting her life in the 14th century… they stayed in the modern age. But Netflix set it up for a sequel with Sir Cole (haha’s) brother meeting the “old crone.” So maybe some other modern maiden can go back in time and we can speculate on her fate once the plague sweeps through Europe a dozen years later, if she makes it that far? :-)

    I watch these for a laugh—Netflix pretty much is tongue in cheek about all this in the ones I’ve seen (whereas Hallmark takes themselves more seriously and, consequently puts more effort into trying to make sense). So I had fun and didn’t think too hard about it. Even so, on the costumes, I just went to renfaire garb in my mind… I’m not sure it’s worse than something like The King where you’re watching actively bad costumes on most characters for the full two hours or what have you.

      1. My daughter had been wanting us to watch it together, and then my husband said he would watch too. It was a nice evening together. We had fun watching it, feeling free to make comments along the way.

  20. I think there was no research at all. None. Zero. But I went into it expecting cheesy holiday romantic trash, and that’s what I got. So it was cute.

  21. Someone wrote a hilarious mini piece (I think it was on tumblr, I wish I’d saved it) pretending to be the Knight, who is just absolutely flabbergasted about where she falls socially, so he can figure out how to court her. Muttering to himself that she has no servants and cleans her own home, BUT also has an entire shelf of spices for her personal use, etc.
    I have not watched the actual movie, I will not watch the actual movie, I appreciate your sacrifice.

  22. Why is Norwich in England in 1334 so big with Georgian buildings? But i nearly snorted my coffee out my nose at the Fortunate Biggons. all I could think is that his hair would get caught in the chain mail. PRACTICAL things, people!!!

  23. Did anyone else notice that she is a teacher with a giant house and a giant full-size guest house in her backyard.

  24. I actually loved it because he was so sweet and adorable. Cheezy, bad costumes, ignorance of history, weak plot, absolutely….but it’s worth it just to gaze at Sir Cole.

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