Did Captain Dave date Matilda’s mom before he proposed?

Christmastime! Break out the hot chocolate and candy canes and snuggle under a blanket with the pet of your choice. Don’t forget to grab the remote before your pet settles in. Take it from me, they don’t like being disturbed.

You could say I’m a bit obsessed with this time of year. I shoot Christmas spirit directly into my veins and run around on a holiday high as soon as November 2nd rolls around. As such, I’ve seen more than my fair share of Christmas movies, and have a few must-watches that make the rounds every year.

Sidenote: A few weeks ago, we were unexpectedly hit with a couple feet of snow and had a surprise snow day. In a shocking moment of uncharacteristic generosity, I let Dom choose our snow day movie (with only a few suggestions). He selected Rise of the Guardians, which I had never seen before. In case you’re wondering if it’s any good, we now own it on 3D, but that’s a blog post for another day.

Today, I’m here to talk about one of the greatest movies ever filmed. Don’t worry, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer (in case isn’t clear from the title). There a few Christmas movies that I really, really love and feel the need to watch every year. The Muppet Christmas Carol, Krampus (you know, classics), and Miracle on 34th Street!

Possibly I own four copies of this movie and keep them in different places in case a fire ever breaks out and destroys half the house.

We’re going to discuss the 1994 version since that’s the one Dom and I watched today.

First, let’s start with a few burning questions:

  1. Did Captain Dave (Dylan McDermott) ever actually date Matilda’s mom (Elizabeth Perkins) before he proposed?
  2. Would Santa’s pants falling down really make little girls scream?
  3. Why did Macy’s refuse to participate in this movie? Do they hate free publicity and the Christmas spirit?
  4. Does anyone believe that New Yorkers would flock to an altercation on the sidewalk in which an old man hit someone with a cane?
  5. Why didn’t the prosecuting attorney know his wife was testifying? Does he not speak to her?
  6. Who let him borrow a reindeer to bring to court?

So many questions that will never be answered.

The only question I actually want to discuss is the first one. Dom and I paused the movie to discuss this. He assumed that Captain Dave wouldn’t propose unless they had, you know, dated first. He also pointed to the scene in the beginning when Matilda leaves her mom a video message (a whole decade ahead of her time, really) stating she’s gone to Captain Dave’s house. Presumably, Matilda’s mom is okay with this because Captain Dave is her boyfriend.

I have always thought Matilda was allowed to go over there because Captain Dave is a close neighbor. I mean, he’s invited to their Thanksgiving dinner, so clearly he’s not a rando.

Matilda’s mom’s secretary knows to patch Captain Dave through when he calls, even when she’s on the phone with other people. He’s also allowed to choose a babysitter for Matilda without telling Matilda’s mom who it is (as long as it’s a really good babysitter).

But Matilda’s mom responded to Captain Dave’s terrible proposal by saying something like “if I’ve misled you about the nature of our relationship I’m sorry” or something. And his defense is basically that he loves Matilda and hasn’t let Matilda’s mom’s tough demeanor run him off. I feel like if they had dated then he would have said something like ” but we’ve gone on lots of dates so I thought you liked me.”

Maybe it could go either way.

Honestly, this movie doesn’t need me to rave about how good it is. So I’m just going to mention one more thing.

In pondering why this movie had such an effect on me as a kid, I realized that it’s the only movie from the 90s that I can remember that has a working mom with a successful career and a positive, not-strained relationship with her child. I’m sure there are others. But as we continue to deal with Hallmark movies that tend to convey that successful career women need to back off their careers (I bet that link didn’t take you to the article you were expecting) (I basically just wanted an excuse to put that link in this blog post), I really enjoy watching a healthy mother-daughter relationship with a career-driven, successful mom who is pretty good at the parenting thing and isn’t the movie’s Big Evil for having a job.

Also, Santa Claus wins!

Happy Holidays, y’all.



“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year” — Scrooge (fine, Charles Dickens)


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