You would think that after 1996's "Jingle All the Way" flopped at the box office, Hollywood would have stopped imagining Minnesota as the ideal place to spend Christmas. But the industry keeps depicting our state as the ultimate home for the holidays.
The latest example is "EXmas," a fluffy rom-com that starts streaming Thursday on Freevee.
The film opens with Ali Moyer and Graham Stroop (Leighton Meester and Robbie Amell) licking their wounds after a bad breakup in the hustle-bustle land of Los Angeles. Naturally, the only place that can provide cheer — and a possible reconciliation — is the Minnesota-based home of Graham's parents.
The movie never pinpoints the exact setting — it was shot in British Columbia — but it's fair to assume it's not close to Minneapolis. The airport they fly into looks to be the size of a bus depot.
Locals will guffaw at the lightweight wardrobes the characters choose for an ice-fishing expedition: They dress like they're modeling for a ski resort fashion show. At one point, the family gathers around the TV set to watch their favorite pro-hockey team, the Minnesota ... Foresters?
Still, you don't tune into a film like "EXmas" for authenticity. Freevee, which also gave us the "Puppy Love," seems to be focused on adding spice to the Hallmark-movie formula. The action here gets a lot steamier than just kisses under the mistletoe.
Meester and Amell are inventive comic actors who have you rooting for them from the opening moments. Just don't expect to see them at the next Vikings pep rally.
Oscar voters have a spotty record when it comes to recognizing actors in civil rights films. Yet it's hard to imagine them ignoring Colman Domingo's performance as Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King Jr.'s mentor, who led efforts for the March on Washington. Director George C. Wolfe has assembled an impressive cast, which includes Chris Rock as former Minnesotan Roy Wilkins. But this is primarily a showcase for Domingo, who eloquently captures the pain and pride that drove an activist persecuted for both his sexual orientation and the color of his skin. Currently in theaters; Friday, Netflix
Even those well acquainted with John F. Kennedy's legacy are bound to discover some new nuggets in this eight-hour docuseries, including the fact that he spent time at the Mayo Clinic when he was 16. The series glosses over shortcomings, focusing on his triumphs as a diplomat and charmer. 7 p.m. Sat.-Mon., History Channel
'David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived'
Daniel Radcliffe helps celebrate the life of stuntman David Holmes, who became disabled during production on "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." Despite numerous brushes with death, Holmes remains relatively upbeat. His spirit and the support of his pals are inspirational. Max
'The Improv: 60 and Still Standing'
Jo Koy and Whitney Cummings are among the big names contributing short sets for the comedy club's anniversary party. In between new routines are snippets from the archives, including early bits from Sarah Silverman and the late Norm Macdonald. If you want a more thorough history lesson, check out "The Improv: 50 Years Behind the Brick Wall," available on Pluto and Tubi. Netflix