Chaos Attraction

Christmas at the Plaza:

2019-12-05, 7:15 a.m.

I have a show tonight and an early call time, so I have no time to really write anything today. Until I've got time again.....

It’s...HALLMARK MOVIE REVIEW TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You know you love it. Also, can I mention that the blogger at is really starting to lose her mind reading these this holiday season? She is delighting me with the snark no end, if you look at the silly links blog off and on these days.

This is from my Thanksgiving watching. I’ll first cover the middle movie I saw because it was my favorite and certainly the most..unique?

Christmas at the Plaza:

This one is actually pretty good, for Hallmark. It made me laugh my head off in a lot of ways, mind you, but this still has more plot than like, the other movies I saw with the same plot. I was not bored and actually paid attention even though I was distracted working on other stuff. There’s a bit of crafting, which sells me. And it introduced me to a new...word, I guess?...that I still can’t find on the Internet, and I can usually find every fucking thing on the Internet.

Anyway: Jessica is a Ph.D who has been hired to be a hotel archivist, which I doubt is a position that actually exists in life. Motto is, “Nothing unimportant ever happens at the Plaza.” Jessica doesn’t hate this gig, mind you, but she can’t help but notice that she has a Ph.D that she is using to “study Christmas trees.” LOL.

She walks into a ladder, wonder who the heck just leaves a random ladder hanging around, moves it, and then leaves the decorator stranded in midair. Oops. “You should put up a sign,” he says. To which he answers, “Like that one?” and points to a sign. Yup. That’s Nick the decorator, our designated love interest.

Wow, Julia Duffy (as the hotel manager or owner or whatever) looks exactly the same. Damn, girl.

Jessica’s black best friend Cassidy (I mention because it’s a trope) marital shames Jessica or at least points out that all her relationships end after 2 years because Jessica and her current dude (Dennis, also an intellectual) are commitmentphobes. Nuh uh, says Jessica, we’re going to Florida this year to meet his parents! But who bought the tickets? Him or his parents? A MYSTERY TO SOLVE, Y’ALL.

Should I get totally psyched that a hotel has a Christmas tree very year? BECAUSE LITERALLY EVERY FANCY HOTEL HAS ONE THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY DANG LIFE, INCLUDING EVERY YEAR WHEN I GO TO SF TO LOOK AT THEM. That comes STANDARD, that is not an EXCEPTION.

Now here is the introduction of my very favorite crazeball thing about this movie: Jessica needs some reason to get interested in this job, and she finds one. “Did you know that the Plaza has had a different finial doppler every year?”
Nick looks blankly.
“Tree topper.”
“Nick, this is a MAJOR FIND.” Each of these represents an artist with a different story!”
“They make really nice Christmas ornaments too,” says Nick.

This sums the entire movie experience in a nutshell for me.
Girl loses her mind over a “finial doppler,” or “finial dobbler,” or “finial dobra,” I am not at all clear what that second word was after finial and there seem to be different pronunciations of it every time she brings it up. I am very good at finding shit and I have been googling for finial + whatever spelling and I canNOT find this phrase. As far as I can tell, these objects she speaks of are usually just called finials. Or finial tree toppers. This gets even weirder as the plot goes on.

I have to say, I am not feeling the soulmate love between Ms. Intellectual and Mr. Simplicity here. They’re both pretty brunettes who hang around a hotel they are not staying in, mind you, but otherwise....I mean, they’re nice, but other than decorations, what the hell else they gonna talk about?

“There is nothing going on between Nick and me except...Christmas.” LOL

Actual line from Cassidy the best friend: “Sorry about lunch, I’ll grab a candy cane at work.” If that’s your lunch, that’s just sad. I think she’s an elf or something.

Conversation with her boyfriend Dennis on the object d’amour:

“A finial doppler!”
“A tree topper!”

So every year they had different artists making the tree toppers, but there’s no topper from 1969 (69, dude!) and Jessica is suddenly FASCINATED by The Mystery Of The Missing Finial Dobbler. ONE missing tree topper, y’all. This movie has already made me laugh more than the other one, so we’re already doing better here.

Jessica attends some party with Dennis, who introduces her as, “Thsi is my...Jessica Cooper.” Awkward, Dennis! Awkward!

When Mr. Moneybags (or whoever Dennis is trying to schmooze) asks about her career, Jessica answers honestly:
Finial dobbers?
“Isn’t that Christmas ornaments?” the wife says, actually knowing what the fuck Jessica is talking about. I am shocked, shocked!
“How interesting,” the one lady who can ID this object says politely.
After she announces this, the guy laughs and his wife is all .“Of course it is, dear.” Someone find this girl a shit ton of booze and an Uber, stat.

Afterwards Dennis is all, “Did you have to bring up that whole Christmas decorations...thing? I’m trying to impress Collilns and that doesn’t sound very academic.” What a social climber. Also, he says, “Good party, right? You hving fun?” No, no she’s not. Duh. He’ll call her a car. Well, one of two ain’t bad. Of course he’s happy to have her leave on her own so he can “seal the deal.” Thanks for understanding!

Approximate conversation with the Uber driver:

“I’m going to meet my boyfriend’s parents.”
“Sounds serious.”
“Not really.”
“Where is he?”
“Still at the party.” She can’t even figure out if she should be annoyed about this (uh, yes), then decides to go to the Plaza and do some work instead of going home.

“I need to find a missing tree topper. The one from 1969.”
“You’re awfully fancy for the records room.”

“Here I am cataloging Christmas ornaments. I always thought I’d be doing something more important with my life.”


Sweetie, we all thought we’d be doing something more important with our lives. I understand, you go into whopping debt for a Ph.D in the social studies arenas, you think you’re gonna get a bigger payoff, or get a college job at least as a shitty adjunct or postdoc or whatever, and here you are, this is what you get paid for. Yes, that’s....a comedown. But at least ornaments are fun. Trust me when I say there’s a lot worse shit you could be doing instead.

Oh, at some point Jessica talks to Julia Duffy about the Mystery of the Lost Finial Dobra(?) and Julia Duffy wants that thing, stat! But Jessica can’t find it! When best friend Cassidy suggests that she just...y’know, fake one, Jessica squawks, “I’m a historian, I search for the truth! I’m not going to lie about something as important as Christmas!” Oh lord. Cassidy is also reasonably annoyed that Jessica “has” two guys, while Jessica is all, I don’t have two guys, I have a boyfriend and a coworker.

Cassidy says she can deduct Christmas beverages as research for her work? What?

Jessica and Nick hang out and eat roasted chestnuts, to which Jessica is all, OMG, roasted chestnuts are real? I thought they were just in a song? To be fair, I felt the same way until I went to Nevada City/Grass Valley and they had them there.

I still can’t find finial whatever it’s called or spelled. WTF.

Jessica and Nick visit some guy who owns a Christmas store that used to sell replicas of the Plaza tree toppers, which his uncle used to make, until he quit the business. Btw, his uncle Reggie is working at the Plaza as the head bellman and is the guy who slacked off and quit making his finials in 1969. Jessica hits him up to finish it and he’s all, that was a long time ago and I quit. Her response: “But I reaaaaaally need it to complete the archive.” No.

Dennis has a big proposal for Jessica! It’s, “Would you work on my research project for this year?” Then you could quit this Christmas gig! She is unimpressed, he is shocked to think she meant anything else but what he said. What did she think he meant? “Something I thought I didn’t want.” What a maroon, this guy.

Jessica angsts to Nick, “How are you supposed to know if you want to spend the rest of your life with each other after 2 years?”
He says, “I hear for some people, it takes two weeks.”
LOL. Did he watch Picture a Perfect Christmas?

Okay, realism break here:

(a) After two years, you should pretty much know everything you need to know as to whether or not you want to stay with this person (regardless of whether or not you want to formally get married). Hell, I’d say at bare minimum give it a year before you start considering marriage and learn from my mistake, but by two years, I would really hope that you know enough about how this person operates as to whether or not they will make a good long term relationship. In this show, you should know that’s a “no” here.

(b) While yes, some folks may know within two weeks (or a weekend...) that they want to spend the rest of their life with someone, don’t actually get married until say, a year. Again, learn from my NOT going through with eloping!

This movie gets points from me for sheer use of ugly Christmas sweaters at Nick’s family party, combined with Christmas karaoke. Sadly, my alcohol buzz from earlier has long since worn off by now. Nick complains that his mother set them up for karaoke and she’s all, how could you accuse your mother, shame on you! Nice delivery, Mom, really selling it! Also I was expecting mistletoe and the show did not go there, so points for not using that cliche.

Nick’s ex Alicia broke up with him because “there was no real future with a guy who decorates Christmas trees.” Since that is an actual industry in many, many, many of these movies, I dunno on this. It also reminds me of The Wedding Singer. Mostly what I’d be concerned with is what Nick does for money the rest of the year. If he does something that brings in money to live off of, then fine, I don’t care if he does 2 months of decorations. Also, “she dumped me AT Christmas.” What a tacky bitch, that Alicia.

Nick to Jessica: “I know you don’t like to think about the future, but what are you doing Christmas Eve?” What a line. It doesn’t work. She runs away.

Cut to Uncle Reggie dropping in on his nephew the shop owner. “I’m opening a doorway to the past,” he says as he wants to look for his dang ornament. I feel like this has turned into Anastasia somehow, and a song should break out. There’s the damn thing. Uncle Reggie decides to finish it...however you do that. Isn’t it blown glass? I know enough about glass to be nervous at the idea of trying to “fix” or “finish” glass 50 years later. Like wouldn’t it break? Or would he just make a new one now? I dunno. This isn’t “A Glass Blowing Christmas,” but someday I’m sure they’ll make that one and I will watch it and then nitpick the process.

Jessica and Nick again:
“I still have your Christmas sweater.”
“Keep it, I hear it gets cold in Florida at night.” Huh? And also, does it? Or has global warming caused that? Okay, THAT I found on Google and temps range from 72 to 51. So....maybe on the sweater then.

Dennis continues to be a clueless git who doesn’t comprehend anything. Also, who bought the tickets to Florida? His parents, because it was their idea. Ooooooooooooh.

“We’ve been together two years,” Jessica says.
“ALMOST two years,” says Dennis.

“...Are you talking about marriage?” God, Dennis.

“Are you breaking up with me?”
”I’m not sure there was anything to break up.” WOW.
“I guess I always knew this was going to happen, I just didn’t want to admit it.”
“Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas.”

Good lord.

Reggie finished his finial. He wanted to propose to his girlfriend in 1969, but “her family didn’t approve of a guy who made decorations for a living.” So he quit. As a crafter, this makes me sad.

“How can we be in love? Nick and I barely know each other.”

The response to this is the movie’s motto again, “Nothing unimportant ever happens at the Plaza.”

Out of fucking nowhere, Linda from the Wedding, Alicia shows up and wants Nick back, claiming, “I have always been very proud of you.” This is just to make Jessica think they are getting back together. Insert eye roll here.

They have some kind of fancy ceremony over all of this stuff and OH MY GOD REGGIE’S EX JUST SHOWED UP HERE HOLY SHIT GIRLFRIEND SHE SAW IT IN THE PAPER I GUESS PAPERS ARE STILL GOOD FOR SOMETHING. “Was that going to be mine?” Awwwwwwwwwwwww.

The Big Mis over Evil Alicia is over quickly.

“I prefer my ice in a martini glass,” says Julia Duffy, who says a hotel needs a permanent historian. WHAT?! Jessica is all, “nah, I just got a teaching job” (or will get one, I forget which it was) “instead.” Wait, what? It’s that easy to get a teaching job in December? Since WHEN? Much as the idea of “permanent hotel historian” does not sound like any kind of job beyond volunteer or part time, that still suddenly sounds more likely than a teaching job in December. Also, I’m guessing Jessica was having issues finding a “real” job in the first place to end up with this one. Just saying: jobs be hard to find, yo.

“It’s Christmas, Kenny. You may call me Amanda,” says Julia Duffy, who looks like she immediately regrets it. Kenny the bellhop immediately goes back to calling her Ms. Clark.

Now that Florida’s off, Jessica’s new plan is to go ski with Cassidy. Nice girl. Then they discover that Nick snuck off and decorated her house. How’d he do that without her noticing? Duh, I decorated the Plaza, this was easy, he says.

“And they Christmas’d happily ever after,” the show says in text on the screen, actually writing the word like that.

This was actually a pretty good Hallmark movie. I laughed a lot. The actress in this one is pretty good and the guy is at least all right. The Search For The Missing Finial amused the crap out of me and I actually paid attention for 2 hours, unlike the shows I saw before and after it. So, recommended!

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