Maybe baby.

I'm staying at my parents' condo this week, where the DVD player is buggy but the VCR always works, which is perfect because I just got rid of almost all of my VHS. In my box of tapes were some things I didn't know I had: self-taped footage of my friends and I sitting around eating ice cream; some MadTV sketches that are actually funny; and an Amy Grant holiday special.

It's called Headin' Home for the Holidays (1986) and it's awesome. They probably wanted to make Home for the Holidays, then realized that she wasn't at home at all. She's in Montana, but she's from Tennessee. I can imagine the CBS execs now.

CBS Exec #1: I've got it. We'll call it Heading Home for the Holidays! It'll be her in a different state than her home state and basically have nothing to do with being home for the holidays at all.
CBS Exec #2: Brilliant! But we can't use the letter "G." Pronouncing that letter makes middle America feel stupid. Let's make it an apostrophe so it's friendly to people that don't pronounce the end of words.
CBS Exec #1: Brilliant! Let's have a sandwich.

The idea of a Christmas special starring Amy Grant isn't actually a bad idea. She's young, she's talented, she's attractive and she's comfortable in front of a camera. The bad idea was making her hang around with her bandmate/husband Gary Chapman, who looks about as comfortable as a hospital patient with a rectal thermometer up his backside and has a name like a convicted rapist. There's a part near the beginning where she mentions him in concert, and they cut to him, and he glances sideways with this weird grimace on his face. I'm guessing they wrote all this crap starring Amy and her husband and then realized how awkward he was. At that point it was too late. Amy probably had to convince him to do the special using the Christian equivalent of a blowjob, a gift certificate to Wal-Mart.

It starts with some concert footage of the goofiest concert I have ever seen in my life. It's at a venue with stadium seating, so everybody stands up and dances in front of their seats, which makes them look like a bunch of morons. Something about people dancing in such a clearly delineated fashion just looks wrong. It's like some alternate dimension where you can dance but you can't touch. Also, it's the 1980s, so they're all dressed like total geeks.

Amy is dressed the worst of all. She's got on an awful blouse and these big, flappy, shiny gold pants; they're like proto-Hammerpants. She can sing, but she can not dance. She does this one move where, partly because the pants are so big, she looks like she's alternately breaking one leg then the other. And she does it for a good thirty seconds! Try something else, like breaking your arms. I suppose the fact that she can sing with two broken legs is pretty impressive.

The "plot" has them tooling around Montana, which is actually just some B-roll footage of a car driving through snow, and studio-recorded dialogue of the two of them talking. In what's supposed to be a humorous "I told you so" moment, they run out of gas right outside a farmhouse. Here they meet Jenny, a horserider and amateur singer. "Oh, but not like you Amy. You're the best." Jenny is played by Kaleena Kiff. I kid you not. Who names their daughter Kaleena? Especially when your last name is already Kiff. Name her something basic, like Helen, for God's sakes!

Jenny's dad is played by (no joke) Dennis Weaver, who the credits list as playing himself. So the real Dennis Weaver has a fictional daughter named Jenny? That guy needs some serious help. Before his psych appointment, he takes Amy and Gary on a sleigh ride through the snow, where Amy sings and Dennis Rex Harrisons his way through the song, talk-singing.

This is where I turned it off. This is also where I discovered the soundtrack listing online, and every single song from then on was Christmas-related. I couldn't abide that. I didn't even get to Ed Begley, Jr. or Art Garfunkel, both mentioned as "special guests" in the opening credits. The word special sure had a different connotation in 1986. If I try watching any more of it, I'll fill you in on any inanity.


UPDATE: Click through to Part II.
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3 comment(s).:

June 12, 2008 at 2:48 PM MPU said...

I hope you can stomach some more soon. Funny stuff.

June 12, 2008 at 8:15 PM Peaches said...

Oh God, my stomach hurts from laughing so much. This was too funny. It sounds so surreal. I especially liked the fictional meeting of the executives. I like your comment on the real Dennis Weaver having a fictional daughter. It is a good sequel to his movie, "Cocaine: One Man's Seduction" that I have on VHS, also from the 1980's, where he degenerates into a crazy person. I also hope you can watch more. Maybe you can listen to the Christmas-related songs in some ironic way. This was very, very good. Make another sandwich with that kind of Kettle chips you just discovered you like, add a root beer, and watch and write some more. 'k?

June 18, 2008 at 10:09 PM Daniel said...

"Christian equivalent of a blowjob, a gift certificate to Wal-Mart"
I love it!