I'll Have A Shoe Christmas Without You
That night, Mrs. Rob Lowe is leading her gang of adolescent carolers down the town's main thoroughfare, and right past the law office where her husband is feverishly working. On Christmas Eve. Because? He's a jerk. He bolts from the office, presumably to give the slip to the three spirits that will be visiting him later that night.
Meanwhile, over at the Andrews place, Maggie = still dying. Looking more beautiful than ever. It won't be long now.
Outside the store that stocks the ugliest shoes in all of Christendom, young Nathan is rushing to make the purchase that will bring this movie to its preordained denouement. Sadly, the store appears to be locked up for the night, reducing Nathan to a crying, door-pounding fit of despair. Ah, but who should be happening to walk by the department store at that moment? No, not Dalton, though that would have been my first guess, too. Actually, it's Rob Lowe, and I'm happy to say, Rob Lowe's heart grew three sizes that day. He strides up to door, rolls up his sleeves, and with all of his might... gently raps on the glass pane until a clerk clad in elf gear opens the door. "Sorry," the clerk says. "Sometimes it locks on its own." Well, it's not the most stirring spiritual apotheosis I've ever seen, but it's a start.
As the soundtrack pulses with tense music that seems more appropriate for Kiefer Sutherland dropping bad guys than for a little kid trying to find an unsightly pair of shoes, Nathan races through the store frantically looking for the titular footwear; Rob Lowe, meanwhile, has discovered that the merchandise he put on hold has been sold in the maddening Christmas Eve rush. Boys, boys -- I have one beautiful hyphenated word for you: e-commerce. Just a few clicks, and your shopping is done, so you can go back to neglecting your family or fretting over your dying mother -- or both, if that floats your boat.
Eventually, they both find what they want -- Nathan, those hideous shoes, and Rob, enough presents so that his wife doesn't divorce and/or murder him right under the Christmas tree -- and they wind up in the same line. It is worth noting that even though Rob Lowe's wife took over Maggie's music class and that Nathan's father repaired Rob Lowe's car and that Nathan is wearing Rob Lowe's hat which he got from Rob Lowe's mother for crying out loud, they do not recognize one another. Apparently, they are the only two people in this town who have never been formally introduced. Anyhow, if you're at all familiar with the Christmas Shoes lyrics, you know how this scene plays out: Nathan tries to pay for the shoes, but winds up $5.50 short. Nathan pleads for mercy, invoking the story of his dying mother. And Rob Lowe, who up until now has been the most self-centered lump of Christmas coal to ever blight the planet, suddenly decides to act un-dickly and springs for the remaining $5.50. For this, he is treated to a loving close-up as the orchestra music goes into a stirring rise. Tell me about it -- the exact same thing happened to me the other week when I gave a guy on a street corner a Sacagawea dollar. Well, except for the orchestra music. And the loving close-up. And the smug feeling of satisfaction.