Chaos Attraction

Hallmark 2021 Brief Movie Reviews

2022-01-01, 5:39 p.m.

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Cast list as of November 2019

Actual entry for New Year's Day: I woke up early to watch the Rose Parade, which was back in full force (with some masks). My TV refused to work. Well, specifically NBC worked but they weren't airing it and ABC won't come in at all, BUT the Internet had it streaming, so YAY, I watched it from my bed! Then attempted to go back to sleep again and couldn't, sigh.

I texted Scott: His dad's operation went well, he hasn't been able to see his dad since he went into the hospital (they were only letting his mom in), so he was going to try to go over there and see if he could swap out, as it were. Then they wouldn't let him swap out, which I suppose doesn't surprise me. Couldn't really think of much to say there. But why bother. He did make a reference to this clip though. I presume more about the "not bothering with visiting hours" thing more than anything else there.

I went to Best Buy and dropped off my iPod for repairs. It's dried up the last few days and is sunny and I tried to motivate myself to go for a walk (without the iPod) and could not do it. The cold just saps my motivation to move. Like I'd rather watch BORING movies than this. I also used up my Mary Maxim gift card today--with end of season discounts and a $50 card, I got it down from $70 to spending $2.98, LOL. I bought a Christmas tree that hangs on the wall, a circular needle holder and the rest was, of course, yarn.

I'm trying to enjoy my last total vegetable day here.

Quickie reviews of Hallmark movies this year:

Never saw it: Christmas In My Heart. Never came up at any point on Frndly TV to see it, no clue.

So boring I literally can't remember the plot:
Christmas in Harmony, A Christmas Treasure (time capsule?), A Holiday in Harlem. I really hate to be dogging on the African-American movies and I want to support Hallmark putting PoC in movies so I watch all of them, but why are all the PoC movies so freaking dull? Like they all seem to involve choirs (stereotype?) and that's all I can ever recall of them. Holly Robinson Peete gets the best of them and even then she gets more serious stuff (see below).

Other dull ones:

Our Christmas Journey: I hate to hate on this one too (see above), but I want more escapism/fun from my Hallmark Christmas movies and this is the most realistic/least escapist because it's about autism. Mom is overprotective, divorced from Dad, sister is neglected because of her brother. It's about the autistic kid going into some kind of program by himself while the rest of the family waits around to see if they'll take him. I have issues with people who are not terribly communicative or say next to nothing or nothing at all (see watching any realistic animal movie, The Book of Boba Fett) because that is straight up boring, and having a kid who can't really speak or do much beyond show gingerbread cookies on his iPad is pretty dull watching. I don't tend to like how autistic people are shown on TV anyway--seems like usually they're either throwing fits or staring into space while someone tells them to look them in the eye (the latter in this case), and this seems stereotypical. I much prefer Hayden on The 4400, who actually has personality.
I guess I'm supposed to root for the parents to get back together but I didn't feel strongly about that (dad seems nice, mom seems preoccupied), the teen romance(s?) are cuter.

Christmas CEO: Hero and heroine are supposed to be around the same age, he looks at least 15 years older than her so I don't buy it. I also get the feeling that the hero is supposed to be a Manic Pixie Dream Boy, except he's rather grumpy/sulky/irritating. Did not root for him. Think it is stupid to scrap your thriving (albeit boring) toy company to found yet another one with him instead of just revamping the one you already got.

Nantucket Noel: It's You've Got Mail, basically. Heroine has no choice but to lose her store, fighting with the developer doesn't work, she finds a new location. (Which is realistic.) While wooing the hot son of the developer. Okay, that last part wasn't bad, but Trevor Donovan deserves better, and has gotten better. I prefer the movies in which he's some kind of celebrity hottie.

Making Spirits Bright: Feuding Christmas light design companies is a great idea for a plot (see "Christmas House" movies), but somehow they didn't make it very interesting? What's with that? Like the only person I can remember now is the "artistic" dad (rather than the "dad who wants more money"). Also, same plot as "Christmas CEO" with a partnership splitting up because one wants money/a viable business and the other wants to be an artiste.

Coyote Creek Christmas: Another "parents decided to sell the family business without even asking their kid about it first" plot. Very mildly interesting in the idea of doing holidays in other cultures. This is all I remember now.

Christmas Sail: I expected better from Katee Sackhoff, who I normally love, but I was bored. I think boats are involved. Like there might have been a boat parade or something?

Sister Swap movies: One sister tries to save an old movie theater, the other is running her sister's business for inexplicable reasons. I like the Williams sisters and god knows Ashley's doing her Sparkling Thing, but she had zero chemistry with the restaurant dude, he seemed quite uninterested, and the gay couple in the background had more sparks in 5 seconds than those two did in 2 hours. Kimberley's dude at least had some interest to him. Both could have used more interesting plots.

Open By Christmas: I forget how long it took her to find that Christmas card from high school, but it was a long ass time? And of course it's the rando dude from her high school who's hanging around as a realtor or whoever that she doesn't even remember. Dull.

An Unexpected Christmas: I get the feeling other people were far more interested in "we're faking our relationship for the holidays" than I was. I think I'm just not into the fake relationship trope in general.

The Christmas Promise: It's like You've Got Mail again, except minus business stealing. More "Shop Around The Corner" except the couple don't hate each other, and the guy ends up with the girl's dead ex's cell number so they text each other anonymously. I barely remembered what this plot was when I looked up the name of it.

This year's Mrs. Miracle movie, whatever it was called; It was okay. I don't remember much about it either. Something about cheering up Grandma and getting a child.

Five More Minutes: Heroine wishes she could have five more minutes with her dead grandpa. Spoiler alert, dead grandpa somehow comes back as a young man to hang around the store for a month, revealed at the end. Kinda odd, there. Don't remember much else about it.

Time For Them To Come Home For Christmas: Amnesia movies are dull, this was no exception.

A Godwink Christmas, this year's version: I usually kinda like Godwinks because they're based on real life couples, but this was pretty damn boring (they're working a "fellowship" in which they give stuff to a family who lost their home in a fire) and then at the end he gets mowed over by his own car and the doctor Just Happens to have taken a seminar on how to save his life, which is the godwink? Previous movies were better.

Christmas for Keeps: Former students get together in the hometown to carry on their teacher's legacy. I lost track of who was who and what their plots were for the most part.

In the muddled middle:

Christmas at Castle Hart: Mostly notable for the awkward plot device of two girls getting fired from a catering company, claiming to be event planners in Ireland, and then they get offered a job, but where is their website? and Lacey Chabert's sister claims that she's their former boss. (With no pictures of the lady on her own website to out this?) Fishy. Otherwise mildly cute, and at least had a plot that I remember since most of them I do not.

Christmas in Tahoe: CALIFORNIA CHRISTMASTIME, and NOT another fucking East Coast movie! So tired of the East Coast! Hero is in a boy band and fired his girlfriend as the manager. Guy from Train is in it. They break into a comedian's hotel room. I remembered this one! Kinda LOL'y with all of this, eh? At least the plot is different from the usual (heroine plans a holiday show as a job interview-ish thing).

A Royal Queens Christmas: Your designated royal movie of the year, with a prince who just wants to play piano for the schoolchildren and a heroine's grandma who can actually use The Google. It's okay. I've seen better, I've seen worse.

A Very Merry Bridesmaid: NOT a sequel to A Very Merry Mix-Up, which disappoints me. Heroine's future sister-in-law wants a Christmas wedding on her birthday, heroine tries to be polite and quiet about it. Which is vaguely kinda sad. Also has a dash of "It's A Wonderful Life" in it because the heroine's dad gets sick every time she tries to leave the country. Not the most fun ever there, really.

You, Me and the Christmas Trees: I'm still curious as to why the trees all kinda spontaneously died fast once cut, and they didn't solve that, right? She just came up with some kind of extending solution? The end scene in which she takes a selfie with henchmen to prove that the rival tree seller was poisoning the town tree was pure gold, though. Danica McKellar, you will be missed next year and as long as your GAC Family deal lasts, I'm boycotting watching those movies since I get an anti-gay vibe from that network.

A Christmas Together With You: Actually I don't have major objections to this one, it's rather sweet, features an older re-romance in which the couple was broken up because of her dad, but she didn't know it. I don't remember much about the blonde lady's plot, but the older couple was sweet.

My Family Christmas Tree: Same plot as one of the Hanukkah movies last year (I forget the name, the one with Ben Savage and Mia Kirschner), i.e. long lost relatives. Which is fine. Though it went from "oops, they mixed me up with someone of the same name who IS your kid, I guess we're not related" to "um, nevermind, I guess we are related after all?" and I was totally confused at that.

Next Stop, Christmas: The Back To The Past time traveling Christmas train with Christopher Lloyd certainly gave me the lulz. That's at least somewhat new. Though apparently the plot of this was to NOT get her together with her famous ex (who turns out to be a workaholic) and instead set her up with the dull, dependable best friend guy. Who at least gets the occasional spark of interest, so there's that.

Boyfriends of Christmas Past: Heroine sorts through her commitment issues and how she always breaks up with dudes at Christmas once they want more commitment, as method of setting her up with her best guy friend. Who at least is quite hot, so there's that. Blame it all on her abandoning bio-mom.

The Santa Stakeout: Two cops stake out a house in "Mr. Christmas's" neighborhood, he happens to be an ex-con so they find him suspicious. She's Christmassy, he's grinchy, and "Mr. Christmas" is innocent, of course. Hey, the plot's different, at least. I did appreciate that it's the lady who supposedly helps ex-cons that's behind the robberies, that made sense.

Tis the Season to be Merry: "Relationship expert" writes book in which she makes up that she has a relationship, gets reasonably busted on this by her publisher and somehow does not have her book canned. Heroine actually rewrites her book and at no point does the hero pretend to be her imaginary fiance to save her book deal, which I appreciated. Mostly this just involves hero and heroine bumming around a lot. Travis van Winkle works the charming scruffy thing.

Eight Gifts of Hanukkah: A secret admirer movie, once again the neglected guy best friend is the secret admirer. He is also pretty dull and the other two guys she's dating in the movie were FAR more interesting than he was. I did like the girl in this (better than I did her role in Lucifer, anyway).

One December Night: I love the idea of Peter Gallagher and Bruce Campbell as feuding ex-singing-partners. I less love that one of them is getting Alzheimer's. Don't remind me of shitty real life, Hallmark. That ruins it.

Movies I actually liked:

Gingerbread Miracle: cute chemistry between the leads, was more invested in a high school love letter confession, MAGICAL MEXICAN WISH COOKIES, I WANT ONE.

Sugar Plum Twist: I don't care about the romances (one's too perfect, the other's barely there and who cares), but the friendship between the Latina ballerinas and literally making the Sugar Plum dance more interesting to dance and listen to was darned cool. I think I would have named it "Sugar Plum Spice" though, it was more spicy than twisty.

The Nine Kittens of Christmas: Tons of cute kittens AND while I'm sad that Merrilee and Zach broke up, they got back together! Seriously one of the best couples in Hallmark, right there.

A Kiss Before Christmas: A movie from a guy's POV, in which he wishes for more business success over love? Hey, that's new for Hallmark. I really enjoyed him pairing up with his (former) wife in the alt-life, as she doesn't know what he does but has to believe him anyway because he knows too much. They made this work and it felt fresh. Huzzah.

The Christmas Contest: I always like Candace Cameron Bure and John Brotherton as her funny jock ex worked for me. The contest itself is a bit hinky/weird (especially the end--they both broke the rules but both won? Huh?), but he's fun to watch, especially when doing his commercial.

The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls: TV star Mike and his brother get onto a Christmas reality show. The first movie had some snark to it and so does this one, and I really appreciate that they're more fun than the typical Hallmark. Also, a light contest that you actually enjoy watching!

A Dickens of a Holiday: I found this one was a hoot, albeit I balked at the idea of having your lead actor bail on the job for a one-night party so he could try to get a movie gig, even I didn't think he'd do that. Did find it odd that the director lady was going to do the part--with her own hot blonde hair and not even trying to look like an old dude. Also amusing in that the guy playing Scrooge is young and hot, but clearly he's being cast on hometown celebrity power. But Kristoffer Polaha always gives good Hallmark and throws himself into it with abandon, and Brooke d'Orsay is also lovely, so it works.

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