Harm for the Holidays
A few weeks before Christmas, twenty-two-year-old, Christopher Haskins takes a dry dive off a freeway overpass but lives. His older brother, Jim, an unrepentant asshole with a heart of gold, has just lost his job in Jacksonville and decides to move back to Buffalo to get a new job and get Chris out of their childhood home that he considers to be cursed. Three years earlier, their older sister, Dana, killed herself in that house, and Jim is worried that his younger brother is next.
Jim, however, quickly loses that new job in the same spectacular fashion he’s lost his several previous, and he’s left with no other option than to work for his family’s business, Haskins Bakery, and move back into the cursed house with his comically dysfunctional family.
Jim’s great-grandparents opened Haskins Bakery in 1925, and the family has thrown a now-famous Christmas party there for the last 49 years. And this year is the big five-oh. Jim’s parents, Todd and Sandy, have been so delusional since Dana’s suicide that they refuse to acknowledge that Chris’s recent attempt at it was anything more than a mere accident, and they instead focus on planning their precious holiday party.
At first, Jim simply wants to get Chris out of the cursed house, but when Chris attempts suicide again, and his parents again refuse to see it, Jim gets so pissed that he decides the best way to help his brother is to destroy his parents’ precious party, thus forcing them to see the truths they’ve been ignoring for all these years and finally help their son.
After his latest suicide attempt, Chris begins to listen to his brother’s advice, in spite of his vitriol, and he joins Alcoholics Anonymous and sees a therapist. Soon, Chris comes to terms with his sister’s death and with the homosexuality he’s been repressing, and his recovery is swift. Due to his new life perspective, Chris is able to see how delusional his family is, Jim included, and he begins urging Jim to also seek help. But being an asshole is all Jim knows (and what he’s damned good at), and he rejects any attempt his brother makes at helping him see how far up his own ass he really is.
When Jim catches his father with another woman, he snaps a picture and finally discovers how to destroy the party and his family’s good name. He turns the image into a Christmas card that he intends to pass out at the party in spite of Chris’s and his father’s pleas not to do so.
As the party draws nearer, and Jim begins to see the positive affect he’s had on the lives of those around him in spite of the pain he’s caused them, he’s faced with a decision: continue on his own delusional path of self-destruction and ruin the party/his family or face his fears and overcome the anger that’s destroying his life.
- MAC Underground Film Festival, 2016, 1st Place
- Indie Gathering Film Festival, 2016, 4th Place: Comedy category
- WriteMovies Monthly Contest (December), 2016, Honorable Mention
- California Film Awards, 2016, Honorable Mention
- Oaxaca Film Festival, 2016, Finalist: Comedy category
- Twister Alley Film Festival, 2017, Finalist
- Beverly Hills Film Festival, 2017, Finalist
- Los Angeles CineFest, 2016, Finalist
- Sacramento International Film Festival, 2017, Semifinalist
- Extreme Screenplay Contest, 2016, Semifinalist
- Austin Film Festival, 2016, Second Round
- Page International Screenwriting Awards, 2016, Quarterfinalist
- Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition, 2016, Quarterfinalist
- WriteMovies Winter Contest, 2016, Quarterfinalist
- “Our readers felt your script was effectively funny with nuanced and witty dialogue. Jim is a very well-rounded character with an interesting arc.” –Austin Film Festival, 2016, Feedback