Title: Unlikely Angel
Fix: Dolly Parton, Christmas, singing!, life after death
Platforms: Amazon Prime
Ruby Diamond is a brassy & sassy lounge singer. When she meets an untimely demise, she is denied entrance into heaven by Saint Peter. To earn her wings, she must find a mother for a widowed father and his family in this endearing movie of hope and love.
After a delightful holiday performance in a seedy honky tonk full of garbage men who don't deserve her, Ruby Diamond - RUBY DIAMOND - is driving home when she swerves to miss a deer in the road and promptly dies. She arrives at the pearly gates - in the same outfit she died in, only head-to-toe white (which makes me think long and hard about the outfits I wear everyday). But Saint Peter ain't impressed. She might've been too good a person to deserve eternal damnation, but she hasn't proven she's worthy of a set of swanky angel wings just yet.
Peter sends her back to earth with a mission: help a handsome widowed father find love and a mom for his two obnoxious kids. Seems easy enough - there ain't nothing Dolly can't do. But turns out, Dad's kind of a dick - and he hates Christmas. Suddenly, Ruby's challenge is two-fold: teach this guy to love someone other than himself, and get his ass in the Christmas spirit pronto.
Her Royal Highness Dolly Parton as Ruby Diamond
If you weren't sold at "Dolly Parton plays a brassy and sassy lounge singer named Ruby Diamond," I literally don't know what else to tell you. Does Dolly deliver a life-changing performance in which she transforms herself into an unrecognizably solumn and tortured spirit? NO Y'ALL. Of course not! She plays herself. She's Dolly. She sings, and wears outrageous outfits, and says things like, "Mama always said don't hide your light under a bushel!" You aren't watching this movie for Oscar-worthy acting performances. You're watching it because Dolly Parton plays a Christmas angel. It's all you need.
You probably recognize her from Smallville, though she's up to something much more weird and nefarious these days. In Unlikely Angel, she's your average American Rebellious Teen With An Attitude™.
Roddy McDowall as Saint Peter
He's one of those actors that you know you know, but you can't quite place, because he's been playing character and voice parts since, like, the 40s. Literally, he was Lassie's young owner, Joe, in Lassie Comes Home (1943). Most notably, Roddy starred in the original Planet of the Apes movies. Saint Peter appears to Ruby as different characters throughout the film, so you get a taste of his character actor style.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Cuddle Up with Your Cat
Or your dog. Maybe your gay best friend or a significant other of the female variety. Because there's almost no chance your boyfriend or husband will be willing to sit through this one, no matter how much he loves you. (His loss.)
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Christmas Spirits
While no amount of wine can make you forget this movie is filmed in full screen instead of winescreen (lol), a lil something to take the edge off will help you get past the cheesiness of a 90s made-for-TV movie. But keep your liquors festive: Ruby Diamond is a literal Christmas spirit, after all. Try an eggnog with an extra dash of cinnamon in honor of Ruby's sugar-and-spice persona.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Seasonal
Listen, the way I see it, there are approximately 30 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and if you're doing December right, you're going to need a Christmas movie to watch every one of those nights. You can't always count on cable to deliver anything other than Elf, so let Dolly have a space in your holiday romance line-up. The outfits alone are worth it, trust.