Okay guys, we did it. We made it through all of Thanksgiving week. I didn’t think I could do it. But, well, here we are. 1000 movies and 100 posts about those movies.
The movie begins with a shot of some fighter pilots getting into their planes and flying off into the sun. Don’t forget, this is a military movie!!
At a newspaper office, our lead, Maddie gets asked out by Roger. He seems to accept her non-response as a “yes.” So, I guess they’re on for tonight. Her friend is like, ugh, Roger is the worst. Maddie is like, no he’s fine. Her boss is Mr. Bailey. Oh boy. Is there going to be some “It’s a Wonderful Life” vibes here? Spoiler alert: There are NOT.
That night, she goes to a very fancy event with people from the Navy. Maddie goes to get red wine for her and her sister, Amelia and she turns around and spills it all over the woman behind her. Blondie lead guy suggests she have a man carry her drinks her next time. Why is his hair so blonde? I think it distracted me all through “Nostalgic Christmas” last year too. He’s too old to be that blonde, right? Do we all agree on that?
Maddie talks to someone who knew her dad, Captain Chet Jenkins. They haven’t seen him since her dad’s funeral which I assumed was recent but actually it was probably at least 15 year ago. Chet tries to talk Maddie into going on some kind of Tiger cruise, or Title Cruise? Tiger Cruise-a cruise on the aircraft carrier for all the sailors’ families. It’s too last minute for Maddie! Also, she doesn’t want to. Chet thinks it would be a good story for that newspaper Maddie works at though. Amelia is like dude that’s my boss! If you don’t go on the cruise, you’ll impact by employment.
Blondie blonde head returns Maddie’s shawl to her. He is kind of humorless. I do feel awful for his date though. She was wearing a white dress and that wine got ALL over her dress. I’m honestly surprised she just like kept on like nothing had happened. Then Captain Jenkins gives a speech. Everyone toasts to the Navy.
Maddie and Amelia get breakfast at their usual spot. The waitress knows exactly who they are and their ‘usuals.” Maddie is kind of burnt out at being a journalist. She reminds Amelia about a story about a baby left at a fire station ten years ago. She wants to write more stories like that. Then Maddie tells Amelia that she doesn’t want to get involved with someone in the military. Then Amelia tries to talk Maddie into going on the Tiger cruise. But there’s the whole business about her not wanting to. Also, her emails! Anyway, she decides to go.
Maddie rushes into her boss’s office to ask about taking time off. Maddie does a terrible job explaining the Tiger Cruise. Maddie doesn’t talk about her military life that much OKAY? Okay she can go but Roger is getting the bank story! Maddie’s friend is BOY CRAZY.
At home, Maddie packs shoes, pajamas and a sleep mask for her trip. Then she talks to a picture of her dad.
The next day, Maddie and her mom arrive on the ship. It’s all decorated for Christmas. Uh Oh. Maddie meets Billy Jenkins… CHET’S SON. BLONDIE BLONDE HEAD. Of course his name is Billy. Chet invites the ladies for dinner. 1800 HOURS GIRLS!
Maddie and her mom see Amelia’s plane. Her nickname is “Daddy’s Girl” which I would argue is the most insulting nickname ever for a woman pilot, but she doesn’t mind. Billy’s nickname is Grinch because his lack of enthusiasm about Christmas is important enough to remember year round.
That night, OMG Chet’s cabin or dining room is DECKED OUT for Christmas. SO many Christmas trees. How do they stay up? Billy arrives with his girlfriend. He doesn’t have any time for this silly Christmas cruise. HE JUST WANTS TO GO TO WAR. Billy’s girlfriend Charlotte is a romance author. She actually seems nice so that’s lame. Chet spends the evening telling stories about Maddie’s dad. So that’s nice. Billy has SOME ISSUES he needs to work though. Also, actually Charlotte is not Billy’s girlfriend. They are good friends. Chet is a wingman in MORE WAYS THAN ONE APPARENTLY. He asks Billy to walk Maddie back to her cabin.
Billy can’t BELIEVE MADDIE thought Charlotte was his girlfriend. Maddie says that military life is NOT for her so she doesn’t want to marry an officer. Billy corrects how Maddie walks down the ladder to her room. In fairness, she picks the weirdest way to walk down it at first. Billy says goodnight and then rushes back to his room to touch up his roots.
Maddie’s little bunk room is DECKED OUT for Christmas. The next day, Maddie is up at the crack of 10 AM. She stops by to chit chat with the captain. She asks Chet about meeting his wife on the Tiger Cruise. Yeah, he did but they got divorced so it probably isn’t a great love story to write about. Chet offers to have Billy take her to the archives to see if there are any better stories. Billy is too busy dyeing his hair to help Maddie with her story.
Billy takes Maddie to the archive room, which I thought was a kitchen at first. There are just boxes of photos in there. Maddie says she never went to military events growing up because she was too busy reading books. Billy actually gives her a GOOD idea for a story but she rejects it. Then Maddie finds an old journal with a drawing of a big ol broad with long sturdy legs. Then Maddie reads the journal out loud. There might be a Christmas story in this old journal! Billy finds a Santa suit. Billy is not interested in dressing up as Santa Claus. HE LIKES THE FOURTH OF JULY! AMERICA! Not Christmas.
Maddie calls her boss. I thought she wouldn’t have service. Oh, she’s at a phone bank. She makes her pitch to her boss. He is UNSURPISINGLY not interested in a romance story for their “Christmas Edition” of their newspaper. He would likely be more interested in Billy’s idea.
Later, they watch the planes take off from the ship. Maddie reads more of Sam’s journal. Sam just writes nonstop about ol Dorothy. Then Billy tracks Maddie down after a fresh highlight. He wants to hear about the Christmas couple…for historical reasons of course. Billy found an ornament that has Dorothy’s name written on it. Did they have sharpies back then?
Later, they talk to the guy that handles “all things Christmas” on the ship. I believe his name is Mick. To emphasize this point, he wears a Santa hat throughout their conversation and makes Christmas puns. He promises to call his brother at the VA as well. Maddie and Billy head to another spot to look at old pictures. They see a photo of a woman dancing…it looks a lot like that drawing of Dorothy…I mean, I guess. They plan to look at some archives when they dock at NYC the following day. The next morning, they carpool in to the city with Maddie’s mom and sister but have to get back to the ship at 8pm. I swear Billy says they need to meet at “0800 Hours” but if he said that, he’s like the dumbest sailor in the entire world.
The woman in the archives office figures out exactly who Dorothy is within a a matter of minutes. We hear more writing from the journal. Then Maddie and Billy barge in on a dance lesson. The current instructor took lessons from Dorothy. This teacher remembers ALOT about Dorothy for just being a child at the time.
Maddie and Billy take a snack break with some roasted chestnuts. You know, I don’t think I’ve had those. Billy says she spent Christmas in New York when he was 6. It was their last Christmas as a family. SAD. Maddie and Billy decide to go see a Christmas Train Show. Billy checks his roots and hopes they hold up long enough for him to get back to the ship and do another quick touch up.
Then Billy zones out while they watch the toy trains. Now all he and his dad talk about are trains, planes and BRO STUFF. Maddie says it’s too hard to talk to about her dad now. He died in a training exercise when she was 17. She regrets not going on the Tiger cruise more often. But like, how did she not go as a child while the rest of her family went?
While Maddie and Billy get hot chocolate, a little boy is very interested in Billy. The little boy wants to be a Navy Pilot too. Billy gives him some wings. NO TAKE BACKS?! asks the little boy? Well, actually yeah I do need them back says Billy. Billy is so proud of himself for saying Merry Christmas, he wonders if he should change his call sign to Santa.
Later they get milkshakes. What a dairy filled afternoon they are having! I hope they make it back to the ship in time and I hope they have private bathrooms. Billy talks about what it’s like to fly the planes he flies. Then Billy remembers he needs to make sure he touches up his eyebrows as well. Billy decides candy canes are just as gross as he remembers. Billy says he had a really fun day. Then they TOTALLY lost track of time and it’s already 730 and they are not back at the ship! Billy, you truly are the worst sailor ever. They get stuck in traffic so they decide to RUN. Billy has to stop and give money Santa though. They make it JUST IN TIME.
The next day, Maddie and Sarah, her boy crazy coworker, chit chat. Sarah found Dorothy but her record stops at 1966 in San Diego. Poor Roger wants to talk to Maddie but she would rather talk to Mr. Bailey. Maddie bores her boss to death telling him the story of Sam and Dorothy. But now he NEEDS her story. His Christmas Cover Story FELL THROUGH.
Nick tells Maddie that if she wants info about Sam the pilot, she needs to submit a FOIA request. “That could take weeks” she says. And I laugh out loud because she really means years.
Later they all have dinner again with Chet and Billy. Maddie’s mom is so grateful for all this time with her girls except she and Maddie have spent exactly zero time together so far.
Later they all make ornaments. And then ol Billy covers up his fading roots with a Santa costume. He’s discovering the magic of Christmas.
They walk outside onto the deck. Maddie says it’s the perfect night. It’s snowing. And THEN THEY KISS. But Maddie says it’s not a good idea! Maddie says this is not going to work out back home!! MADDIE YOU DUMMY.
The next day, it’s time to pack up and head home. Chet can’t wait to read Maddie’s article. That’s very polite of you, Chet. Billy does not show up to say goodbye. Nick shows up to catch Maddie. He found a Sam who won some awards so they can share his info. Sam went MIA in 1967 and then some records burned so the trail went cold. Billy shows up at that point to say goodbye I guess. He’s running late because he had to do a full highlight. They exchange pleasantries. Actually, they hug.
Later, Billy and Chet hang out at home. Billy tells Chet about their day in NYC. He says it brought up ALOT of memories. They have a nice moment talking about those hard times.
Back at work, Maddie isn’t sure her article will be done in time. Maddie and her friend go take a hot chocolate break and talk about her article and BILLY. Her friend FREAKS out about her and Billy. And for the first time, Maddie wonders about a record of a wedding announcement. Then Billy shows up at Maddie’s WORK. Poor little blonde Billy asks Maddie on a date. Maddie is like, this is NOT going to end well so I don’t want to take any risks. And then they almost kiss again. So Maddie tries to run away. Billy promises not to hurt her. Maddie screams, you lie about your hair color so what else are you lying about!! And runs away.
SURE ENOUGH, Maddie finds Sam and Dorothy’s wedding announcement. She finds out they are living in a retirement home. Then she notices the call sign on his plane in one of the pictures. It’s “Picasso.” WHICH IS THE NAME OF THE DINER she always goes to. Her favorite little waitress gives Maddie info about Sam’s daughter. Later, she tracks down the daughter. Sam and Dorothy live with her now.
The next day, Maddie heads to Sam and Dorothy’s. Their daughter Lily’s house is DECKED OUT for Christmas. They wonder what all the FUSS is about. They are very confused about their story being interesting. ME TOO kind of. Sam’s plane got shot down and he was a POW for seven years! Dorothy prayed every night that Sam would come home. Dorothy tells Maddie it was easy to be part of the military because she was with Sam. Then Maddie gives Dorothy the ornament they made on the ship. WHAT ABOUT SAM’S DANG JOURNAL MADDIE? Also, just wondering why he didn’t take that journal with him when he left the ship…
So anyway, now Maddie can write her story. Peppy Christmas music plays while we watch a boring montage of her typing and switching sweaters. Now I know why they have the actors read their stories out loud instead. It must be Christmas Eve dinner now. Maddie tells her family that her article turned out “beautifully” not to brag or anything. Maddie and her mom talk about Billy. Her mom talks about meeting Maddie’s dad. She says she was scared of the military life too initially so she tried to break off her engagement. She and her mom have a heart to heart.
Chet and Billy sit silently at their house. Maddie calls their house on their land line? What year is it supposed to be? Chet says Billy is not available. Maddie tells Chet she’ll be at the Picasso’s diner tomorrow at 10 if he wants to talk. Maddie asks to hear more stories about her dad.
It’s Christmas morning. Maddie arrives at her mom’s house and gets the paper. Her Christmas article is front page news I think. You know how it is. Maddie is up and in high heels and her mom is in a bath robe so that’s that. Chet reads the article in his bathrobe as well. Blondie blonde head is wearing a brilliantly cerulean sweater that perfectly compliments his “naturally” blonde hair. Now, finally, Maddie reads her article out loud for all of us. Her mom is just BLOWN away. Mr. Bailey calls Maddie to personally thank her for the story. Maddie asks if she can start covering the “military beat” because of all that hot military goss.
Chet asks Billy about his own love story. Billy asks, will anyone love me when they realize my hair isn’t actually this blonde? Chet shrugs and continues pounding three muffins at once.
Later, the girls all eat breakfast at Picassos. Billy shows up right as they get done eating. Outside, Billy’s hair shines as bright as the sun. Maddie tells Billy how handsome he is in his uniform and his naturally blonde hair. Then Maddie hands him an unwrapped Thomas the Train toy. I think it’s “James” which is perfect because “James is vain but loads of fun!” Anyway, he gives her a handmade ornament his young nephew must have painted. Then they dance in the freezing cold and suddenly it’s almost dark even though they were just eating breakfast. And then THEY KISS.
So that’s USS Christmas. This movie was a little silly. It was a different story for sure. I thought all the actors did a fine job. I don’t think I loved this movie…but it will probably end up in my top half. I don’t know. It’s the last one of that marathon week, you guys! What do you want from me? Let’s see how many items it checks off on our checklist. So, only 5/20! Not many Christmas activities taking place on that ship!
- Clumsy meet-cute
- Christmas puns
- Nonsense drama
- Sassy best friend
- Christmas montage