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Cast list as of November 2019
After I finished the entry, here’s the last of 2020.
I got a Zoom call from Monica, saying she was “lonely as fuck” and she invited me and another friend of hers to look over her teacher credential presentation for an hour. This sounds pretty boring, mind you, but she’s doing a storytelling theme, which I approved of. She also told a "Christmas skunks" story, in which she thought the neighbors were just getting high, until she saw actual cute skunks. Her other friend said that someone she knew had a deskunked skunk, and if they do a handstand, watch out....
I was also entertained by her other friend, who had a new “UPS Sucks” story I hadn’t heard before: she sent some people a package of stuff for their bird--cardboard to rip up and some bird toy--and the package was stolen, but UPS said it was signed for by “Sydney Bird.”....that is, the actual bird’s name. Well, the thief was probably pretty disappointed by what was in it....
She also reported that someone she knows, “whenever someone on Bumble gives her an address to hook up at, she sends them a potato.”
I also got my Hasbro Robot Baby Yoda in the mail today! He is tiny and cute and makes adorable noises and blinks and wiggles his ears and “does the magic hand thing.” Such a tiny, sweet, animated baby. I filmed it and sent it to Mom, who didn't talk to me much because she was spending hours on the phone with Comcast about her email, sigh.
I continued to watch more Hallmark (see below). I texted everyone the “John Oliver blows up 2020” gif at midnight. Some responded, some didn’t, sigh.
I SURVIVED 2020, Y'ALL! IT DID NOT KILL ME!
Vacation Day 14:
Hours of sleep: 8 hours.
Exercise: My watch decided to nag me on this activity around 9ish, at which point I was still in bed, and also "hahahah, you think this is gonna happen in my normal life of work, nope." I did walk around for 90 minutes, which the phone thought was less than an hour...it seems to take 20 minutes to figure out that is what I am doing. It thinks I did 6000 steps again in 90 minutes but was really an hour, sigh.
Patchwork sweater: Still sewing it and adding ribbing.
Today's viewing: There will be a lot of short reviews of Hallmark (and Lifetime). However, I've got a few theater reviews for you to check out up at the top.
I Hate It Here: Stories From The End Of The Old World: radio play online for free. NYT review here. I absolutely love their music of "This has been the worst year."
However, I was expecting it to be more pandemic-ish and it didn't sound like most of it was? There's a couple who started out "glamping" in the woods but at this point are homeless and fucked and can't get back to civilization. After that, I kind of lost track--a teenage girl griping and swearing, an annoying guy at a chicken restaurant trying to hype people up over chicken---but it didn't sound very 2020.
What got my attention again was a handicapped guy at a wedding(!!!) running into a nurse that said nothing while he was getting his ass beat on the subway. What could I have done, she says. "Say stop, please?" (Though I admit I doubt a woman could have gotten anyone to stop by saying stop, please, and she probably would have been just as likely to have been beaten herself....sigh.)
I'm normally a fan of swearing, but sometimes I'll be all "so and so just keeps swearing ALL THE TIME" and it gets old, and several vignettes in this went there. (Plus the n-bomb, sigh.) By the time one guy is all "you are EXHAUSTING" to a particularly cranky/foulmouthed lady, I was all, "I hear ya." Like, you are right to be mad, but I am so tired of listening to you.
Finally it got to the "Stories From The End of the Old World" section and I was all okay, relating to this. "I'm all that's left of the old me," she says after her mother/brother/dog died and she lost her job and all she has left is walking 10 miles a day. "I HATE IT HERE!!!!!" she yells, and so say us all.
And finally, I watched Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, just because I could. "I am indeed a rat. I may not look like it, but I am," says Remy/Tituss Burgess, in no costume. Gusteau is in a chef's outfit, though, singing "Anyone Can Cook." The background singers have on mouse ears, though. His dad (Wayne Brady) totally has a hat/face makeup. Adam Lambert is dressed as ... himself. Special effects have been used to triplicate the dancing mice.
"Trash Is Our Treasure" is a good song to get across Dad's philosophy (also, we don't steal! We take what they don't want!) Interesting props there, Wayne Brady. "2020: Bad year!" joke.
The kid playing Linguini is perfectly cast. Colette as well. She always deserved better.
They have a bunch of "Rat Queens" dancing in little boxes while Adam Lambert sings about being a rat.
"We know how to sell a musical number with just the right amount of cheese," says Remy.
There's a lot of summarization of the plot in this one, such as "blah blah blah humans fell in love blah blah blah."
"I'm not your puppet, and you're not my controlling puppet guy!" -Linguini
There is, of course, a song called "I Knew I Smelled A Rat!"
And finally, Anton Ego!
The end dancing is fun. Anyway, worth paying to watch later, should you be so inclined.
And here's the rest of the (mostly shorter) movie reviews I wrote up but didn't end up posting since they were watched after Holidailies midnight.
Write Before Christmas:
“Your card kind of set off a chain of events for me.”
The tagline for this one is “Jessica sends Christmas cards to those special to her.” I thought that seemed abbreviated, but no, that’s the plot. Jessica is a cellist who, after getting ditched by the guy she’s dating, sends out various fancy cards to people showing her appreciation. Then it’s kind of Love, Actually style, showing the folks she sent them to: a guy who was in a boy band (really), her brother in the military hitting it off with another girl, Lolita Davidovich who’s hanging out with Grant Show and a cute dog, and of course, a hot guy for Jessica who’s the son of a card recipient. That’s....about the plot, or I might have been out to lunch during a lot of this.
“And this is Tom. He also came to the mailbox.”
The Christmas Doctor:
Dr. Zoey is a traveling doctor who doesn’t like to stay in one place after her traumatic military days. She ends up covering for a small town doctor who’s having surgery, and when she meets the local handyman/kind of landlord Luke, it’s spark at first sight...and second, third, fourth, etc. because he is always everywhere. They’re both space nerds, which is adorable.
In other news, I have a nickel allergy (which generally translates into I have issues with earrings), but this one lady who seemed to have chronic fatigue or something like that turned out to have a nickel allergy gone freakishly bad that was causing her issues (she cooks and used “stainless steel” pans that I guess...weren’t) and I was all “oh fuck and damn, I hope that doesn’t happen to me....”
The doctor on the town: “I was going to say the best, but also slightly annoying.” LOL.
Anyway, this is very sweet and cute and every time Zoey and Luke discuss space, stars, Star Wars, meteors, whatever, it’s adorable. I also like her sister’s addiction to holiday sweaters and being all “We’re going to come to YOU every Christmas from now on!”
Holiday for Heroes:
In which it’s another military movie, in which Marc Blucas plays another military guy (albeit a bit more cheerful one) who, in his last month of deployment, gets coincidentally sent to the military town where his pen pal lives. He debates whether or not to re-enlist or to get a history teaching job, both of whom desperately want him. Mostly she spends a lot of time trying to set up the title event when the town discontinued it. Honestly, I was kinda glazing over, though at least Marc Blucas seems to be enjoying himself more. I have sympathy for Marc Blucas after all the shit he got for Buffy, what can I say.
Deliver by Christmas:
I’ll note that this movie plugs “Holiday for Heroes.” For once we have a female military person...or did posthumously since the lead’s wife got blown up at war.
Anyway, single dad Josh has moved to town with his kid, who has a Christmas bucket list. Dad hits it off with single Molly the baker, who hangs around with her niece a lot. By “hit it off,” I mean they meet in IRL a few times and then become phone-a-friends after he places an order with her. An hour and 12 minutes in, Molly deduces that OH, THOSE ARE THE SAME GUY. Alas, she doesn’t like, do anyithing about it, and then freaks out when she sees him out ont a date. “A few days ago, you thought his sister-in-law was his wife.” Meanwhile, he tells her sister “Would you mind texting her” and asking her to show up to the festival because “I sure would like to pair a face with a voice.”
A Christmas Duet:
Once upon a time, Averie and Jesse had a hit holiday single. He’s still performing, but she quit to run an inn. Now she’s got some lady evaluating her inn for an award, she’s trying to put on a festival with literally NO money, and Jesse’s in town. That’s about it. It was pleasant enough, and somehow despite the reviewer lady being cheerfulliy nitpicky AF, she gets an award anyway.
Christmas Scavenger Hunt:
Belinda does Business Deals and goes to her hometown to sell the textile mill museum that everyone there is so attached to. Her high school boyfriend, Dustin, works there and turns up everywhere. The town does a scavenger hunt every year and of course she’s paired with him. They spend the day following elaborately written clues that are extremely easy to guess (make a snowman, build a gingerbread house, check off your Hallmark bingos), in between talking about their high school memories and he finally tells her that he didn’t go to college with her because his dad lost his job and he found out on prom night, and he didn’t tell her because he wanted her to still go.
I dunno about her--she’s very cute but I’m not sure there--but I liked the dude, he was always having fun. Tom Arnold is in this, but obviously really sick and looking like chicken fried shit in this movie. He sounds and looks terrible. Like “were you working with pneumonia?” level of terrible, I’m surprised nobody else caught whatever he had.
I also like that they did NOT win the scavenger hunt, so that was cool. But some rich guy did save the textile mill museum!
Holiday Spin (Lifetime):
Ralph Macchio is a dance instructor in Miami who abandoned his kid, Blake, as a baby. Now that Blake’s mom died in a car accident about a month before Blake’s 18th birthday, Blake has to move in. Blake claims to be a fighter, not a lover (har) but yes, he does know how to dance since his mom also ran a dance studio. Reuben (Ralph)’s studio is not doing so good right now and he needs his studio to win the “Holiday Spin” dance competition in which people do sexy Latin dances to Christmas carols. VERY VERY SEXY VERSIONS OF CHRISTMAS CAROLS. Like, I would want an album of these, they are SO GOOD.
Reuben’s star pupils, Pia and Rob, are recently paired together both on the dance floor and in dating. However, Pia isn’t ready to have sex with Rob, so he of course fucks her rival, Tezza. Turns out Blake can dance, so he becomes Pia’s new partner and it’s very hot. Of course they win, blah de blah.
A Christmas for the Books:
Joanna the lifestyle guru may get her own show! However, she basically has to audition and come up with a boyfriend. Unfortunately, she and her boyfriend broke up months ago. She meets a producer (Ted) whose most recent ex appears to be obsessed with the "points system" and "checklists" she made up in her dating book. He tried to keep up, but it was too much. Whatever happened to just asking someone to be your boyfriend....by which I mean, she literally JUST ASKED HIM THAT. "You realize how wild this sounds." She will help him figure out how to get his ex back. "I have been reading The Rules" he says.... Her book says to do things like use pet names and leave love notes. "My little cabbage" is not nearly as cute in English, I think.
I'm a little boggled about this girl who came up to Joanna wanting an autograph and she talks about turning her boyfriend into a totally different person.
Joanna lectures on "The Love Triangle," which is about figuring out what you want in a relationship and not an actual one. This is actually pretty sensible. Ted finds it a bit cold and selfish.
Ted, maybe don't call her by food endearments? "Dinner roll" is just not cute. (And frankly, inaccurate since this woman is the most painfully thin I've ever seen in Hallmark. Like I'm actually kinda concerned.)
Ted is used to being a "holiday orphan" and getting adopted for holidays.
Joanna does "finger book fortune" in which she closes her eyes and points at some thing in a book. "Get your own!" she says to Ted, who does it with her car manual. Bwahahahahah.
Ted reacts politely yet poorly to the oozy producer guy smarming on Joanna. Also, "he's named after a computer!"
Ted's ex Valerie is now here and pissed off that he's dating Joanna. "Bet she never saw THIS coming in her love gestures!" The boss guy and his annoying exec son the computer hear the ruckus, and J&T claim that Valerie is her assistant. I'm sure there will be no issues with this. This is the conversation Ted and Valerie have after Joanna tells her what's going on and hugs her.
"I can't believe you went out with another woman, just for me. It's so--"
I'm amused at Joanna and Dell talking about "the staff," which we totally don't see. Dell is flabbergasted that a crafter likes to, y'know, do stuff. Everyone is all "Tree cutting?!" and she's all "well, that's how you get one from here to there...." Dell SWOONS over her making lists, while Ted and Valerie continue to have difficulties about her following Joanna like a sheep. Just because it was advice from someone else doesn't mean it wasn't still me, Valerie says, and mushes up when Ted shows her a love napkin.
Joanna starts couples therapy with Valerie and Ted. Tell ME, not HIM, she says, be honest. You know what, I'd probably hate Valerie more (she really mood swings/vacillates), but her hugs are just so cute! Also I miss hugs! I like that Ted is a deep thinker. "I want you to know that my shoulders are strong enough to carry your tears" doesn't sound like something an actual human says, mind you, but he's trying to be "perfectly imperfect." "You'll get there. You just really have to work the system," Valerie says to his heartfelt words, which made Joanna near-sniffle.
Joanna just realized that she's not in control of everything "for the first time in my life." GOOD LORD HAVE YOU HAD A PRIVILEGED LIFE. Ted wants to fake-break-up because he can't pretend to be the perfect boyfriend for 2 people. "It's a match made, if not in heaven, at least on paper," he says of Joanna and Dell. "You want the perfect boyfriend" who thinks like you, he says.
Joanna indicates to Dell that "things aren't going well" with her and Ted, and he says that Ted doesn't seem like the sort who follows the points system.
Valerie, if your relationship is THAT MUCH WORK and y'all aren't ever happy...."I'm never going to be good enough for you, am I?" says Ted. "You can't even put your socks on in the dark, how are you going to hypnotize yourself?" she says back. JEEBUS GIRL. PLEASE JUST BREAK UP WITH HER ALREADY. Alas, Ted doesn't, he just wants them to break up with Joanna's book.
Joanna angsts to the BigBoss guy about how she's serious and Ted's a free spirit, which Ted partially overhears.
Valerie thinks she and Ted are about over and she's fine with it. Maybe she's overthinking and well, more enjoyment should be happening here? "I kinda like suits," she says. Valerie is actually pretty chill here. And huggy! Oh, I forgot to mention that Ted took off at some point.
Joanna confesses to Dell the whole fake relationship thing and that she thinks she's never been in love. Dell thinks it is a brilliant marketing strategy: "When Love Comes Clean." Oh, Dell, I thought you were improving on your humanity skills. Though he does immediately ask her out. Gut feeling is more important than a match made on paper, Joanna says. Dell takes it well.
Valerie, GET OUT OF JOANNA'S CLOSET AND STOP STEALING HER CLOTHES. Or at least BLOODY WELL ASK FIRST, YOU'RE BEING A BIT CREEPY. That said, Joanna graciously lets her wear the dress she picked out. "But what will you wear? I'll handle this," Valerie says. I'm a little confused that Valerie showed up here without formal wear enough to go need to steal Joanna's and yet.... huh? Also, are those two the same size? Because Joanna is a fragile looking little girl wearing not a lot of clothing and what she has on is tight, and not that Valerie is dressing the same way, but I'm guessing she would still not quite fit into Joanna's teensy dress.
....okay, I guess she did. Not sure how they got all these dresses, but Dell seems interested.
She gets the show and the party goes well and Ted got a tux. "I wish Ted was here to see this." "He is." AWWWWWWWWWWW. What did her finger fortune say? "Follow your heart." "Will you be my boyfriend?" "For real this time?”
Four Christmases and a Wedding> (Lifetime.) Another Chloe meets a hottie named Evan, right before he gets a job in Oslo. Presumably he returns every Christmas as she's running a Christmas festival.
In year two, of course Evan has a Swedish girlfriend. There is also Ted, the office guy who has the hots for Chloe and she just isn't feeling it even though he is perfectly cute and nice (albeit a coworker, which is a good reason not to date) and you just feel bad all around with that whole thing. There is a VERY fierce competitive delivery of 12 Days of Christmas, and a spoon race in which a tall Swedish model wearing heels still beats literally everyone.
Evan tried to look her up online. “Do you know how many people come up when you Google Chloe Taylor?”
Wow, Chloe just stuck some a cheese puff into Ted’s face. “I’m lactose intolerant,” he says. That just made me quietly wig out in horror.
Evan and the Swedish girlfriend get called back to work immediately on Christmas, wtf. Chloe watches her mother and her new boyfriend make out. I feel ya, Chloe.
Year 3: Mom has abandoned her kid to run off with her boyfriend to Florida. Chloe has a little barky dog named Dasher. Ted still sends musical items....and Chloe is dating him and has new hair. JUST in time for Evan to move back to NYC and be single. THE PAIN.
Chloe is still being a jerk to Ted! She just force fed him something spicy when he didn’t want it! Clearly Ted should be dating this new Tricia girl. Also, you really shouldn’t be hedging THAT much about kissing him. POOR TED. This reminds me of why I can’t stand “give him a chance” dating. Oh, wait, she JUST started dating him. Sigh.
Ted gives Chloe a snowflake (apparently Evan thinks it’s a ring) and then IMMEDIATELY BREAKS UP WITH HER. POINTS TO YOU, TED. You deserve so much better. Ted IMMEDIATELY moves on to Tricia, but Evan has run away.
Year 4 (finally!): Mom is officially moving soon and this is Chloe’s last fair (“I need to be on my own,” whatever THAT means in this context?!) Evan is probably moving to freaking Canada next, says his niece. REALLY, CHLOE SHOULD BE DOWNRIGHT SICK OF THIS SHIT. Oh, she’s also moving....ten minutes away, to run her own business. At this point in her life she thought she’d have a partner (sigh).
GOOD GOD (best friend) STEPHANIE BANGS LIKE A RABBIT SHE IS ALWAYS PREGNANT.
Chloe’s Christmas wish is that Evan would come back. “That is a tall order, even for me,” says Santa. He says to check the sky.
Evan goes by Chloei’s and sees the “For Rent” sign. GOOD GOD, PEOPLE, HAVE YOU EVER EXCHANGED PHONE NUMBERS OR TEXTED OR CONTACTED EACH OTHER OUTSIDE CHRISTMAS EVER?
Helpfully, Evan finds her runaway dog. She about spits the L-word out at him, almost. Are you going anywhere else? Nope, he says, he’s not letting another Christmas go by without her. AWWWWWWWWW. They say the L-word for real this time.
THE WEDDING! FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Christmas Lost and Found (Lifetime):
“I lost the ornaments!” Whitney accidentally threw out her grandmother’s ornament collection while unpacking, and SOMEONE found them and leaves her a note saying that she’s going to have to look for them as a scavenger hunt. Clearly this is some kind of fixup between Whitney and the neighbor/ex-boyfriend(?) Brian that is constantly hanging around. (Like....does he have a job or anywhere else to go?)
I’m amused at her grandma’s horror at a video phone call and not wanting to put her face on it. TELL US ABOUT IT, WE SAY IN 2020.
Whitney does not appear to be enjoying this. She is complaining, “How do I send Santa a letter?” GOOGLE IT, YA MORON. “North Pole,” same as you addressed it when you were six, probably. She tries to stall on going out to get the tree.
“Dear Santa: I haven’t written to you in 20 years. Like anyone cares. Dear Santa, do you know who took my ornaments?”
“Just think of the exposure,” Whitney says, trying to get some company to put their logo on the invitations to whatever. WHO THE HELL BLOODY CARES?
One hour into the show, Brian busts Grandma with one of the notes. Just keep doing what you’re doing and DON’T TELL, she says.
Frankly, of all the Christmas scavenger hunt movies I’ve seen lately, this is the most eh of them.
Grandma’s insistence on “let’s decorate the tree RIGHT NOW” and “oh, we can use that “broken” tree stand for another year” gets even funnier by now. “You are diabolical,” Brian says.
Finally Whitney snoops through Brian’s trash, finds a note, accuses Brian of doing it, and he says it’s not him, so obviously it’s Grandma. THEN SHE GETS MAD AT BRIAN for ONLY helping her because Grandma told him to. *facepalm* Then she confronts Grandma, which goes fairly well. But can we EVER deck the tree already? No, because Whitney has to haul off to work and throw out her entire white-on-white decorating scheme.
“I need a seamstress who can replicate vintage clothing. QUICKLY.” *winces*
“I never thought that a scavenger hunt could cause so much trouble,” says Grandma.
Anyway, I forget wherever the hell Whitney lives, but apparently she’s moving back home, starting her own business, and gonna bang Brian. And her grandma figured out video chat, so it’s all good.
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