Chaos Attraction

It's Hallmark Christmas Keepsake Week!

2014-07-07, 9:50 p.m.

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So apparently the notifylist stopped working and nobody said anything about it to me and I can't find anything about it. Grrr. Have now replaced with TinyLetter.

So the Hallmark Channel is having, just in time for the Fourth of July, is having "Christmas Keepsake Week." Which means... ALL CHRISTMAS EPISODES, ALL THE TIME! IN JULY! SO THIS IS HAPPENING AGAIN! And during the downtime over the weekend, I did a few more cheesy Hallmark movie reviews for you!


"Window Wonderland:"

This was a movie I never quite got around to watching in the last go-round, and I was excited-ish about seeing it because it was about rival window dressers (oh, excuse me, "visual merchandisers") and I was hoping for some crazy awesome Mannequin-esque designs. I was brutally disappointed. The two window designers are the peons left over after McGuire's premier window designer decamped elsewhere, and the boss man is having a competition: each one gets a window and they see who brings in more customers. Even in our stalker technological era, I haven't the faintest idea how they would determine this WORTH A DAMN.

Sloan (the girl) is driven and a planner and changed her last name from "Doren" to "Van Doren" to be more snooty sounding. Jake (of course he's named Jake) is a guy who draws a design on a napkin at the last minute and secretly lives inside the store a la the kids in From The Mixed Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. They have the sexual chemistry of two blocks of ice. She is dating some rich city businessman who goes by "Kenneth" (yeah, how many guys named Kenneth do you know who actually go by that? None in my case) who keeps whining about when are they gonna go to Aspen because she gasp! has to work over the holidays. She has just as much chemistry with her supposed boyfriend as she does with the other guy. I'll quote Mom about this guy: "He's got that much money and he's using her employee discount?" But I gotta say: when you're choosing between two schmucky dudes, and one of them has his own home and the other lives in the store? Pick the one who can afford to house himself and isn't likely to get canned when he gets caught. Though I still want to know how he can't afford rent, but can afford to take a painting class. Priorities? Somewhere to stash his work?

Oh yeah, and the windows are BORING AS FUCK. I'm sure they had no budget to make this movie, but if you want to make a movie about window designers, "Yoga Santa" and "Mancave" are not ideas that light the shopper soul on fire. They looked cheap, bare, and sad. I am disappointed. I swear you'd get more interesting work if you sent in six teenagers with nothing but a bunch of crepe paper and their imaginations.

Oh yeah, and the girl's mom (Naomi Judd, who really must not have been able to get any other work?) works as a bathroom attendant in McGuire's. She spends her time critiquing the fashion choices of the poor women who have to pee and bitching about her and her daughter's singledom. "Well, you don't meet a lot of eligible men in the ladies' room." Naomi Judd has such fabulous hair that she looks soooooo wrong just hanging around in a bathroom and maid uniform.

Sample conversation between mother and daughter about who's going to cook tonight:

"I was in a window all day."

"I was in a bathroom all day!"

So the girl and the guy get locked in the store all night (there's a window before the security system goes off) and she finds out he's sleeping over. When she finally gets out, she blabs to Kenneth about the whole thing. Did I mention Kenneth has some kind of connection to the store bigwigs or other and right after she blabs and says not to tell, he's all "I am so calling to get him fired?" She stops him, but Mom is all, "just because she said he couldn't call, he could text." I was all, "Have you seen this movie before?" "No, but that's how these things work." And in the end, turns out that homeless dude had the door codes ANYWAY and uh, didn't mention it.

I don't root for any of these people, really.

Oh yeah, and then there's the scene where Kenneth thinks Rita the mom/bathroom attendant is a homeless person and drops some change in her drink. This forces Sloan to introduce her mother not only as her mother, but the "domestic concierge." And her Uncle Jimmy is a "drain surgeon." This causes Kenneth to flee in his fancy car immediately, leaving Sloan to yell, "Can't we just at least argue about this?"

Okay, so it was sweet when the homeless dude said he'd throw the competition so that she could win because it means more to her. He literally does a "minimalist" display of nothing but cookies and milk on a pillar. As for Sloan's window on Christmas Eve, it's the only interesting one in the whole show: a family food fight with live people. Okay, I would totally watch that window, but the audience outside is cringing. Everyone's fired for Christmas! Everyone! Again, because every damn character with a job in a Hallmark movie gets fired for Christmas!

And then there's Christmas Eve Eve, when the homeless dude is invited to her family party. He finds her baby picture and is all, "I saw you naked." Then her mom is all, "He brought you flowers." Sloan is all, "Second floor garden display." and he's all, "Good eye!"

An hour and 38 minutes into the movie, it's revealed that the window washer and Rita "have had their eye on each other the whole time." Again, not actually seeing chemistry or evidence of this.

Mom on Kenneth: "Why is he always driving by at odd hours?" So he rolls up because Aspen is snowed in and says he's willing to "overlook those people." O RLY? How generous of you. He also shows up reeking of cologne because he had a boinkfest with the perfume girl or something.

Inexplicable quote of the show: "I don't want to be somebody's plus one. I want to be somebody's battleaxe." (At the start, homeless guy refers to her as a battleaxe."

Oh yeah, and they end the episode by breaking into the store to redesign the windows, but "they changed the security codes!" Ya think? But they get let off the hook for arrest because the window washer guy is..."just rich." Because he's the McGuire. And wants to be treated like a normal person. Group hug!

I tried to find some screenshots of how dull the windows were, but this is as good as I could get.


Matchmaker Santa: because Santa's not like, BUSY DOING ANYTHING ELSE IN DECEMBER OR ANYTHING....

Do they rotate or use the same guys who play Santa in all of these movies? I asked Mom if this was the same guy from the last movie and she said yes, it was. Then I thought, "damn, I don't even know what movie I was referring to when I said that." I think it was one with Summer Glau in it, but I only saw about fifteen minutes of that. So no review of that one until next Christmas :P

Anyhoo, Melanie's boyfriend, who's a CEO of something, is having her over to the lake house to meet his mother, and having some kind of business party at the same time? Melanie is flying in alone and sitting next to "Kris" who's "fixed it" so that nobody will sit in the middle between them. He's "playing Santa" in the same area as she's going to. "Kris" points out that the right guy will wait for her to show up at the airport even if her plane is late. FORESHADOWING!

This movie brings up the concept of "long term wishes" that take years to pull off, which explains why Santa never got around to giving someone what she asked for yonks ago. You know, like a boyfriend.

Somehow "Kris' manages to hop off the plane magically--you know, had to make a pit stop--and shows up in the woods where Melanie's going and talks the CEO's important guest into looking for his lost glasses. Then he poofs away. Apparently this leads to that guy being uh, unavailable and sending his hot daughter Blair--who used to date the CEO in high school--in his place.

CEO (Justin) wants to pick up Melanie, but he's got some meeting. The Guy Melanie Will Obviously End Up With (Dean), who also works for the CEO, is all, "You should," but does it himself anyway. As they head away from the airport, Melanie Just Happens to spot "Kris" hitchhiking and wants to pick him up. Other dude is all, "But what if he's a criminal?" Kris is all, "So your boyfriend was too busy to pick you up, then?" Dean is all, "Kris as in Kringle?" and Kris is all "*cough* Something like that." Melanie snarks that Dean doesn't want Kris sitting behind him without a background check. Kris is all, "I"m a pretty good judge of character."

Kris makes the car break down on a public street in "Buford Falls." They find Cliff Clavin at the repair shop and he proceeds to say it's the alternator without even looking at the car. All the guys nod and go "It's the alternator" again, without any diagnostics. Cliff also refuses to start working on the car because it'll be dark in 20 minutes, nor will he get them any kind of car because he wants to go home and eat his fancy dinner. And gee, you just can't rent a car now. Kris offers to put them up at his hotel. Because THAT of course has free rooms open. Oh yeah, and Florence Henderson is the innkeeper who makes a Jesus joke.

What it all boils down to is that Justin and Blair are so in love with their careers that Justin can't be parted from business talk to go see his current girlfriend. Alllll weekend.

Oh, remember what I said about free rooms? ONLY THE HONEYMOON SUITE IS AVAILABLE. Oh, come on. "I'll go get the cot!" The innkeeper does give him leopard pajamas though.

Okay, so the next morning some lady in a leather jacket (Debbie) rolls in and the innkeeper just FREEZES UP AND FREAKS OUT. She makes a comment about Debbie going through a freedom phase, which I"m guessing is supposed to mean that Debbie is going to come on to Dean? She says Melanie is "skinny as a skeeter." Melanie is all, "Skeeter?"

Justin's mom shows up early, because she can arrive when no one else can. She screams in delight when she sees Blair.

Meanwhile, who the hell knows when the alternator parts will come in? "Justin, you've gotta come pick us up." Oh, sure, my mom's here, we can use her car. Dean is all, can we get the part faster, and Cliff Clavin is all, "if you can go over there and pick it up," and Dean is all like, "That would require us to have a working car." "Fair enough, fair enough," sez Cliff. So to kill some time, why don't Dean and Melanie play elves?

Justin and Blair are going to go pick up Melanie. Mom is all, "Wait, you're not with Blair? But you're so perfect together!" And of course, THEN THERE'S A BEAR HANGING AROUND THE CAR, SO LET'S DECORATE THE TREE INSTEAD.

Justin tries to call Melanie but her phone is off. He calls Dean and Dean is all, "Oh yeah, she's elfing it right now." Huh? Dean claims bad reception and hangs up. Justin tries calling about the bear and is told that bears hibernate at this time of year. The lady who answers says they'll send someone right over, then hangs up, makes fun of him, and goes back to her magazine. Why are so many people in Hallmark movies assholes? You're either an angel or a devil...or an elf or a grinch, I guess. Though to be fair, Justin and Blair are less demonized than most "wrong guy/girl first" folks are in these movies.

Anyway, of course the car is going nowhere, everyone gives up on Justin ever arriving, and Melanie finds out that Justin doesn't even pick out his own presents. Melanie goes off to bake with the innkeeper and her friend. "Everything makes Debbie tingle."

Actual lines from the show:
"Still waiting for the sheriff to come by and get the bear."

"It's that bear-seeing fruitcake again. I'm gonna let the machine get it."

Finally Justin is all, "I'm going to go get Melanie, bear or no bear." POINTS FOR MANNING UP, JUSTIN! Mom is all, "No." Justin leaves anyway, well, FINALLY. With a baseball bat. "Do you really think that bat is going to protect you from the bear?" Kris of course sets up a roadblock on the only road. And this was the point where I stopped taking notes because there really was no longer any need. Suffice it to say by the end, everyone has hooked up with someone else and no longer gives a shit.


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