By Ned Cantwell: State Columnist
Here’s the good thing about no more Christmas: No more sappy Christmas movies.
Neal Patrick Harris was in one. Let me quickly acknowledge New Mexico basks in Neal’s fame. He was one of us. His parents, attorneys both, still live in Albuquerque where they no longer practice law but instead run a restaurant.
Neal is better known as Doogie Howser, the television role that made him rich and famous. Neal was a high school kid when he got his first big break in show biz. He was working at Schlotzsky’s in Ruidoso.
You can imagine, then, just how close I feel to Neal Patrick Harris since I eat at Schlotzsky’s VERY LIKELY AT A TABLE HE CLEANED. Even though we share a birthday, Neal and I are not yet exchanging birthday cards. But we bond with each pastrami on rye.
So when I tell you the Christmas movie on CBS stunk up the joint, you know I mean no ill will toward my friend, Neal. In this movie, Neal plays a good-looking young doctor with the world at his feet.
But this is a Christmas movie, so anything goes. Instead of flitting around the countryside in his Porsche with comely young things as most single, young doctors are apt to do, Dr. Neal decides to give up doctoring, return to his tiny New England hometown, and make his living changing tires in his dad’s auto shop.
He is seeking peace. Yeah, right. And I really could be a Broadway stage star but I spend my time writing this weekly drivel because, you know, it gives me peace.
So, OK. This is a Christmas movie. Hang onto your handkerchief. Once he gets his hands properly greasy, Neal’s first flat tire customer becomes his love interest. She is a strong, sassy Texas beauty who, having had her little heart broken by a roaming cowboy, does what all Texas girls do in such circumstances. She moves to this obscure New England town where she knows nary a soul.
Oh, by the way, she is dying. This is a Christmas movie.
Neal and his new girl pal soon befriend a delightful, cherubic-faced young boy. You love this kid at first sight and want to adopt him.
Oh, by the way, he is dying. This is a Christmas movie.
Neal’s movie dad is a mess. Just when Neal wants to toss the career and spend his life with dad changing spark plugs, dad sells the shop. He is a frustrated widower who wants to travel the country in his RV and cannot figure out how any woman could possibly be interested in him even though his attractive business associate, a saucy widow, follows him around the shop in T-shirts that say, “I’m Lonely,” and “On The Road Again.” OK, she really does not do that but, believe me, she is obvious.
This movie undoubtedly has a plot, and should I figure it out, you will be the first to know. I can tell you this: Rob Lowe is in this movie. I am guessing even Rob has no idea what he is doing there. Best I can figure out, he had some contract time left over after they dropped him from West Wing.
Rob Lowe is not dying, unless, of course, you are talking about careers.
Ned Cantwell wishes his readers all the best for next year. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org