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El Camino Christmas is a Netflix original film starring Luke Grimes, Vincent D'Onofrio,  Dax Shepard, Kurtwood Smith, Michelle Mylett, Emilio Rivera, Kimberly Quinn, with Jessica Alba, and Tim Allen, that premiered on December 8, 2017.

Synopsis

Gunfire erupts at Vicente's Liquor Mart in El Camino, Nevada, as the film opens up. After a brief flurry of shots the sheriff calls for a ceasefire. As he & his deputy Billy gather behind his car to take stock of the situation it begins to snow. Then a graphic appears introducing a flashback to 39 hours earlier. We see scenes of several characters as they begin their day; a mother & her son getting breakfast, a woman watching morning news (where the mention that is hasn't snowed on Christmas for 40 years), Vicente the store owner opening his store & a young man driving an older model convertible muscle car down the highway. The sheriff arrives at his office & begins to berate another deputy Carl, whom we have just witnessed drinking on the job, for failure to do his job properly. Carl argues back that he's served the county well for almost 30 years. The scene shifts to the young man arriving at a roadside motel, checking in just deputy Carl arrives to sit in the lobby. As the young man, Eric Norris, checks in he attempts to use a credit card which is denied. The clerk, Billy the off-duty deputy in civilian clothes, starts to call the card company but Eric talks him out of it & pays cash for his room. Carl & Billy attempt to make conversation with Eric but Eric is short-tempered & says he just wants to get to his room & rest. Then we see Eric in his room looking at an old photograph of a young man with the name Mike Roth & the date 1969 on the back. Eric hears an odd noise & notices that his toilet is overflowing. Scene shifts to a doctors office where the mother Kate & has brought her son Seth. The doctor is telling Kate her son is autistic because he's not talking & Kate rejects this idea telling the doctor Seth will talk when he's ready. Then it shifts to a newswoman eating lunch with her cameraman at a highway rest area, complaining that she is always sent to cover local, feel-good stories & expressing her desire to go national with her career. Next we see Kate & Seth at a diner counter while Eric eats a booth nearby where he hears Kate tell Seth she can't afford to buy him dessert. When Eric leaves he buys a piece of cake & has it sent to Seth, walking out just as the waitress tells Kate who paid for it. Next we see Carl & Billy watching Eric as he comes out of a store with a bottle of Drano. Carl tells Billy that Eric is cooking meth (bad credit card, buying chemicals) & he bears watching. Eric arrives at Vicente's store to buy a drink but the clerk, Kate, has headphones on & doesn't hear him come in. Billy startles Kate when he finally gets her attention & she chews him out "for sneaking up & hovering over" her. She is witchy to him as he attempts to make small talk while buying his tequila but finally thaws a little & is slightly friendlier just as he is leaving. We see Eric sitting outside an apartment building, looking as if he's trying to decide whether to go knock or not. He does & a very grumpy man answers the door & cusses him out for disturbing him. Eric tells the man that he is looking for someone named Michael Roth & that this apartment was his last known address. The man denies knowing the name & tells Eric to get lost. Just as Eric is getting into his car the man shouts from the window that he can tell him about the guy that lived there before him if Eric will buy him a beer. Eric reluctantly agrees. On the way to the bar the man tells Eric his name is Charles then pulls out a baggie & rolls a joint. At the bar Charles is demanding, loud & obnoxious & almost gets into a fight with 2 young men before Eric intervenes & pulls him away from them. He then tells Eric he doesn't remember anything about the man. Eric gets angry & leaves. Later as Charles leaves the bar the 2 young men from earlier beat him up & leave him lying on the ground. At this point we see Charles has a handgun but even though he points it at the men as they run away, he doesn't shoot. When Eric arrives at the motel the deputies surprise him. As Carl confronts Eric, Billy finds the bag of weed in the front seat. They take him to the jail where they question him about cooking meth, which Eric denies. Carl loses his temper & hits Eric with his baton, knocking him out. The next morning we see Vicente opening his store & realizing his cooler is not working. After trying to fix it himself he calls Kate & asks her to come fix it like she has done before. She agrees & since her mother can't watch Seth she takes him to the store also. Meanwhile Billy feels bad about how Carl beat up Eric so he leaves the jail door open, hands Eric his car keys & essentially tells him to leave while Billy goes to the bathroom. Eric leaves & runs to the hotel where his car was left but as he pulls out of the parking lot Carl spots him. A chase ensues with Eric eventually running Carl off the road but not before Carl shoots his engine. We see Charles has made his way to Vicente's also & is buying beer as Eric, who's car has stalled, rushes in to get some antifreeze for his car. As Eric steps up to the register Carl shows up & fires into the store. When he enters the store Charles shoots him in the leg & kicks away his gun which Eric picks up. Charles explains to Carl that he only shot him because Carl fired at him first, whereupon Carl states that he was after Eric, the fugitive. Eric yells that Billy released him but Carl yells that he can explain that to a judge & that Charles will be arrested for attempted murder of a police officer. Carl pulls out pepper spray & aims it at Eric while Eric yells at him to put it away. As they argue sirens announce the arrival of additional police & now Eric seems conflicted but he is also obviously scared and doesn't let anyone leave like Vicente & others are urging him to do. Eric handcuffs Carl and asks Vicente if there is a backdoor to get away. Eric goes to the backdoor which is padlocked but tries to open the window above to see if he can get through it. He opens it just as the sheriff was sneaking up to look through, hitting the sheriffs hand with the window & causing his gun to fire wildly into the air. Billy, in front of the store, thinks he is taking fire so he & the sheriff, in the rear, begin exchanging shots with one another, each not knowing they are the only ones shooting, not anyone from within the store. Eventually the sheriff figures this out so calls for a ceasefire & goes back to the front with Billy after having shot much of Vicente's merchandise all to smithereens. While others in the store encourage Eric to turn himself in Carl tells Eric he can will be in trouble for additional charges like kidnapping, hit-and-run & attempted murder. This causes Eric to panic & instead of letting everyone go he just keeps things as they are. The sheriff calls into the store but Eric tells him that because of Carl he doesn't trust the local police. At this time a verbal exchange between the sheriff & Billy informs us that Billy is his nephew & the sheriff thinks Billy is mostly inept. The sheriff gives other deputies instructions on surrounding the building & tells Billy to get as much information as he can about who's in the store. After some time has passed Billy comes back with a very thorough & well-reasoned assessment of the situation which makes the sheriff reevaluate his potential as an officer & recant out loud to Billy his earlier insults. Vicente & Kate try to talk Eric into releasing everyone & turning himself in but Charles discourages this, saying the police are trigger-happy. When Eric voices his thoughts out loud that he can explain the weed & the Drano & his running from Carl, Carl says it will be his word against Carl's & Charles agrees out loud that officials will believe Carl because he wears the uniform. Once again Eric is ultimately indecisive & let's things continue in a standoff. The newswoman & her cameraman are filming the local feel-good story when she notices 2 deputies in the audience leave quickly. They follow the deputies to Vicente's & are the first news crew on scene. They intrude on the sheriff as he's trying to coordinate his efforts & get a quick video interview that gets the attention of the network & goes out on the local channel. The sheriff calls into the store again but this time Charles answers & gives the sheriff a demand for ransom money. Charles tells Eric that he doesn't think the cops outside are very smart therefore he doesn't think the odds of a good ending are favorable. The sheriff is confused because he realizes he's talked to 2 different people inside that both seemed to act like they were in charge. The newswoman manages to also get an interview with Billy during which he announces that the suspect in the holdup is Eric. As everyone sits around inside the store, Carl continues to antagonize & threaten Eric while Eric tries to get Carl to tell everyone how he beat him up & shot at him. Charles is berating Carl for his obviously locally well-known bad behavior but Carl then proceeds to go around the room reminding everyone (Kate, Vicente, even Charles) how he's helped them out in the past, as if this excuses his misdeeds. As Carl rants he asks Eric why he was in El Camino anyway & Eric explains that he was looking for his father whom he's never met. Seth needs to go to the bathroom so Eric follows as he & Kate go to the restroom in the back. During this time we see the sheriff planning an assault on the store with his deputies to get it resolved before the state police arrive. After Seth has finished Eric continues to sit in the back & visit with Kate, eventually telling her he's decided to let everyone leave & turn himself in. As they talk Eric fixes a remote control car Seth has been playing with & Kate recognizes that Eric is actually a nice guy in a bad situation. They return to the front just as the sheriff calls Carl's cell phone. Eric releases Carl's handcuffs so he can answer the phone & tells Carl to tell the sheriff he's releasing everyone but instead Carl just listens as the sheriff tells him of his plan to attack the building. Carl hangs up without telling the sheriff about Eric's plan to turn himself in so when Eric takes the phone from Carl & calls the sheriff back he hears the phone right outside the door. At this point Carl pulls out a gun he had hidden & shoots Eric in the stomach. As Carl turns & aims his gun at Charles, Eric shoots & kills Carl & Charles takes Carl's gun & fires it into the air in an apparent attempt to scare away the police who are sneaking through the front door. This causes the police to open fire on the building. Vicente stupidly stands up & moves toward the window, yelling at the police to stop shooting. He is quickly shot multiple times & falls out the broken window onto the ground. The cops eventually stop shooting & this brings us back to the opening scene with the sheriff & Billy huddling behind his car. Inside the store Charles looks at Eric's wound, tells him he's gonna survive then uses a first-aid kit to bandage him up. As they sit & contemplate the mess they are in, Charles reflects back on a Christmas day in Vietnam when he was in the war. With Kate also listening nearby, he tells Eric the story of how he had cancelled an artillery strike on a defenseless village then proceeded to take his men into the village. But his superiors had decided to continue with the artillery strike, resulting in the death of all his men. Charles explained that this destroyed him because he loved these men & he felt responsible. His superiors blamed him for the deaths & he was dishonorably discharged. Because he felt so guilty he didn't want to face anyone who knew him so he left his wife & infant son. As he tells the story Eric fills in a small detail at the end & tells Charles/Mike he knew the story because he had read the letters his father had written to Eric's mother years ago. Charles/Mike convinces Eric that they need to end the standoff. In the meantime the state police arrive & inform the sheriff he's no longer in charge. Charles/Mike convinces Eric that they need to end the standoff. Charles/Mike yells out to the police that he is sending Kate & Seth out so don't shoot. As they leave Seth speaks his first words, telling Eric "Thank you" when he hands him the remote control car. Kate is obviously moved by this & looks gratefully toward Eric, apparently for taking the time to be kind to her son thereby bringing about this change. After they leave, Charles/Mike tells Eric that the police really don't know who's been responsible for this whole mess so now that Carl is dead he intends to take responsibility since his life has been messed up for a long time & Eric is still young enough to have a good life. Eric resists the idea but Charles insists & yells out to the police that he will be coming out. Before he leaves he hands Eric a set of keys with dog tags (military ID) for Micheal Roth, verifying that he is indeed Eric's father. Once outside he tells the police he left a wounded hostage inside then he pulls both pistols & aims them at the police, causing the police to open fire & kill him. Another graphic tells us we have fast-forwarded to 6 months later. In a series of very short scenes we see the sheriff undergoing hypnosis to help him stop smoking, Billy handling a citizen complaint then asking her to put his election sign in her yard, the newswoman getting to report on a national story, Vicente on a beach discussing how lucky he was to have survived 4 gunshot wounds then getting paid $8 million per wound & finishing with Kate and Seth enjoying breakfast at the diner. Again we see the waitress bring over a piece of cake that Kate says she didn't order. Just at that moment Eric sits down on the stool next to Seth. The scene shifts to the outside of the diner & backs away as inside they apparently strike up a friendly conversation.

Songs

TitlePerformed by
"Dónde Está Santa Claus"Cruz Martin
Holly Seddillos, Baraka May,
Fletcher Sheridan (background)
"Ballerina"Bhi Bhiman
"Suicide King"The Revenants
"Friends, Lovers, Ex-Lovers… Whatever"SUSTO
"How the Story Goes"Jon and Roy
"Christmas Blues"Bryan Lee
"All for You"Billy Harvey
"The Twelve Days of Christmas"

Cast

Actor(s)/actressCharacter(s)
Dax ShepardDeputy Billy Calhoun
Kurtwood SmithSheriff Bob Fuller
Luke GrimesEric Norris
Emilio RiveraVicente Santos
Kimberly QuinnJewels
Cooper ThorntonStan the Weatherman
Sharon MaddenEdna
Michelle MylettKate Daniels
Vincent D'OnofrioCarl Hooker
John PoseyOld Farmer
Ashton BrightSeth
Margarita FrancoDr. Kamjen
Jessica AlbaBeth Flowers
Jimmy O. YangMike (Cameraman)
Pam CookWaitress Annie
Bob StephensonDennis (Dental Hygenist)
Tim AllenLarry Roth
Nancy KephartRattlesnake Tavern Bartender
Caine SinclairDalton
Graham BrownPhilip
Addison MelfiNarrator from the Play
Elias David TalbertJoseph from the Play
Kurt KrauseTravis
Soledad O'BrienHerself
Shashawnee HallLieutenant Patterson
Yimmy YimHypnotist
Hope DiazCabo San Lucas Rosa
Tara BatesoleADR & Loop Group
LynNita Ellis (uncredited)El Camino Resident
Emmet Flores (uncredited)
Christian Rapp (uncredited)
Rattlesnake Tavern Goers
Darrell Harris (uncredited)Black Cowboy at gates
Diondre Jones (uncredited)Deputy Garrett
Daniel R. Lawson (uncredited)Diner Patron
TJ Myers (uncredited)State Trooper Baker

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