The National Tree (2009)

  • Year: 2009
  • Released: 28 Nov 2009
  • Country: United States
  • Adwords: 2 nominations
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: TV-G
  • Genre: Drama
  • Runtime: 88 min
  • Writer: David Kranes, Lloyd Fonvielle, J.B. White
  • Director: Graeme Campbell
  • Cast: Andrew McCarthy, Evan Williams, Kari Matchett
  • Keywords: christmas tree, road trip, christmas,

The National Tree Storyline

In its search for a new national Christmas tree, the United States enlists the Box of Toys organization to help run a nationwide contest. The winning tree belongs to 17-year-old video blogger Rock Burdock, whose father, Corey, planted the Sitka Spruce for him the day he was born. One week before Thanksgiving, Corey and Rock, accompanied by marketing rep Faith Russell, embark on a drive across the country to bring the tree to Washington, D.C., where it will be planted across from the White House and lit by the President and the First Family. Rock dreads spending days on end with a dad who doesn’t understand him, but Corey hopes the trip will allow for some father-son bonding, however belated it may be. As the Burdocks make their way across the country, their tree garners more and more fans, as do each of them. However, with the increased media attention, the tree’s significance begins to be more about its marketability than its sentimental value as a national symbol, and it’s up to Rock and Corey to decide – as a family – which is more important.—Happy_Evil_Dude

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The National Tree Movie Reviews

A Celebrity Tree

The National Tree as a story hit home for me because I remember back in 1965 my mother planted a tree for my grandmother the same way that Andrew McCarthy planted a tree for his dead wife and the mother of Evan Williams. When in 1997 my brother and I sold the house the tree was still going strong. I’ve not gone back to Brooklyn to see if the tree is still there though. I hope it is.

Which hangs the tale of The National Tree. That tree is saved because the President of the USA has chosen it to be the national Christmas tree to be lighted at the White House and replanted there. Otherwise it would have been scheduled to be bulldozed because Andrew McCarthy is selling off his property in Oregon.

But since the tree is saved McCarthy and Williams are driving a big rig to Washington, DC to deliver it to the White House in person. Along for the ride are Kati Matchatt from the company who bought the property and are reaping the publicity and Paula Brancati a video chat room pal of Williams whom they meet in the flesh in Wyoming. In fact the scenes with Williams chatting with Brancati and his other pals around the world are the best in the film. In fact they are the hope of the world as young people make connections beyond national boundaries.

The film is a pleasant two hours viewing with an easy to take cast and a story while not Citizen Kane is still entertaining.

Just awful

Bad, even by “Hallmark Movie” standards. Look, I understand that Hallmark have a very specific audience they are trying to reach – but there are many, MANY other movies in this genre that are at least watchable. They do at least TRY to give it a modern edge with some ridiculous chat-room nonsense at the beginning, and our hero the son hams it up to his camcorder for most of the movie. Plus, they do throw in a girlfriend into the mix, and lets not forget the evil corporation trying to kill the tree. Oh no! In end, however, it’s yet another rehashing of a “Father-son relationship rekindled” plot (and not a very well done one at that). The movie starts to drown in clichés by the end. Watch it if only for the amusement value, or to make your Mother happy.

Nice sentiment, but some goofy flaws

Most of the goofy flaws are contrivances designed to move the plot forward, though, so poetic license prevails. Not to mention the fact these minor problems are somewhat silly and therefore entertaining.

OK, follow this plot: a teen guy who has a somewhat inflated assessment of how interesting his life is likes to video blog/chat with some cyber buddies. I got a kick out of the one who looks like a dozen Chia Pets exploded on her head. She’s having a serious bad hair day. Make that a bad hair century.

His dad is a widower (like all movies of this ilk), and they have dad/teen son tensions; who could have seen that coming? He wins a contest to have his tree become the new National Tree in Washington. His dad tells him “no” every time he opens his mouth, and that’s a lot since this kid shoots off his yap constantly. All the while, he tapes his favorite video subject (himself), and posts it on the net. The movie would have you believe somebody is actually watching his videos, lol. All aboard as Dad and Rock (yeah, that’s his name) set out from Oregon over 18 wheels to transport and hand-deliver the tree in DC. But fires, corporate nasties, a hitch hiking gf (not the Chia), a hip grandma, and more stuff awaits on the highway ahead. The final act and its result: only in a TV movie, folks.

Much of this story is as stretch, but those parts are funny because of it; yet these awkward moments do not prevent the sentimentality that is intended. With all the contrivances, it’s still worth a couple of hours if you’re going to be home anyway.