Chaos Attraction

Then I Watched Some Lifetime Movies

2020-12-08, 7:17 p.m.

Yeah, you know what? I'm just gonna talk about nothing but holiday movies. I now have stacks of them to discuss now. My life is nothing but holiday movies from now on.

I found "A Very Merry Toy Store," another Lifetime movie, on YouTube for free. Melissa Joan Hart (the latter's production company and one of her Sabrina aunts is in it) and Mario Lopez running rival toy stores that team up when a third giant chain is sneaking into town. (Apparently a family feud went on.) There's some ordinance that should prevent Roy's opening, but they might not follow it....they have to vote on it on Christmas Eve.... uh-HUH.

The Toy Wars:
(a) Connie has a free pancake breakfast at her store to distract from Roy's opening (or whatever).
(b) Roy steals The New Hot Toy, Will and Connie steal them back.
(c) Then Roy wins because the toy is in, but he's got a famous singer at his store.
(d) OH, THE CHEESY BAD SPECIAL EFFECTS of that bobsled race, which Roy sponsored.
(e) HOW IN GOD'S NAME CAN ROY OFFER EVERYTHING IN THE STORE AT 80% OFF?!? Not that I know shitall about retail and especially not toy retail, but that does not sound like you'd make tons of money even if you sold out of all the shit.
(f) Connie tricks Roy's staffers into getting locked in the elevator by claiming there's a puppy in there.
(g) Roy is a VIP customer at the bank, so she has to pay her entire loan in 2 days. I feel like this movie is going "You've Got Mail."
(h) And Will's store is going out of business...and he's gonna go work for Roy.
(i) And Roy bribes a councilman to win the vote, which "Neil Armstrong," uh, Connie's brother, spotted.

Oh damn, Connie and Will went into full on kiss at the hour mark! That's a whole lot sooner than like, any Christmas movie ever! Anyway, Will takes all the money he saved to buy a house to go to Connie so her store stays in business. We'll just have to deal with this again in a year, Connie notes. Will is all, we'll fight him again anyway.

Random plot development #1: Connie's mom's piano student has apparently been faking the reason for his lessons.
Random plot development #2: some girl has been shoplifting from the store in hopes that Connie's brother would notice her. WHAT THE SMEGGING FUCK?!?! Then she attacks his mouth in one of the most excruciating "kisses" you've ever winced at in your life.

Anyway, after getting video cam evidence, Roy is thwarted. And now....uh, Connie and Will are getting married, though I'm a little confused at a mention of "their union last spring." Also why the hell the brother is with the shoplifting bad kisser?

* Roy bought the old Tower Records that's been empty for nine years. "Serves us all right for not buying more records."
* Will: "I feel like Bugs and Daffy teamed up to fight Elmer Fudd, happened all the time." Connie: "Bugs NEVER teamed up with Daffy." He literally LISTS OFF THE MOVIES in retaliation.
* Connie's brother drove up and yelled "Neil Armstrong!" at Roy. "I was calling him a space cadet." This "sick burn" is literally lost on everyone. But even worse, Connie ends up screaming it at Roy when she's mad later. "What is it with the Neil Armstrong thing?"
* It's time to end the feud between our stores, the owners say. The employees are....fine with this: "We already get along great." "You do?" "Connie, I think you might be projecting here. I mean, all of us really like each other." "We actually hang out after work." "Maureen and I have been going out almost a year now." "And Kenny and I are thinking of eloping next month."
* "We got the dolls, he got the diva."
* Connie goes to the bank and hears some good news. "You're joking. "Connie, have you ever met a banker that had you rolling in the aisles?" "Good point."
* "Are you all strapped in? Because we have NO INSURANCE." -the mayor on a bobsled race for kids.
* There is a side plot on how Connie's mother is a piano teacher teaching an old dude. "How long until I sound like Elton John?" (long pause) "On piano or kazoo?"
* "Speaking of lovely figures," Roy says as Connie enters his boardroom. Ewwwww.
* "You ingrate. I gave you a kidney!" --the vote fails, Roy wins.
* "You don't have a piano!" "I don't have a niece named Tilly, either." -Mom discovers why her piano student hasn't been doing very well, NOT PRACTICING, APPARENTLY.
* "I gave you my kidney. What did he ever give you?" "Eight grand." "I want my kidney back! I want it now! Hand it over! I'M JUST GOING TO TAKE IT FROM YOU!!!!!"

Okay, that was a much better Lifetime movie, it gave me much lulz and snark.

I guess Lifetime is gonna put up more movies, because here's A Country Christmas Story, in which a biracial teenage girl named Grace whose guitarist dad got thrown out by her mom. Mom is clearly pissed enough at deadbeat dad that she doesn't want Grace to keep/play his guitar, so she has to hide it at Grandma's and sneak around to get lessons at school. "Country music doesn't come in my color," she says when her teacher shows her Dolly Parton's invite for a teenage singing concert. He pulls out some history books to prove her wrong ("The banjo, knucklehead."). "No one makes it," her mom yells at her, saying that the way to make something of yourself is through her math skills instead. Mom takes away her guitar, tries to sell it, there's a big ol' fight at the flea market when her teacher wants it and the mom is forced to give in, and then Mom kicks her 14-year-old out of the house. WTF. "Do you still have to pick up your room if you got kicked out?" Grace asks, after moving in with her grandma.

Then Daddy-o shows up, wanting to know where his stuff is (gone, baby, gone) and where Grace is ("she's staying at her grandmother's." "Is she okay?!") Dad assumes she's going to sing R&B and thinks singing country is ridiculous--and then Jenny the mom starts quoting Grace on black women singing at the Opry for 40 years. Dad feels too guilty to go visit Grace. Mom finally admits that they couldn't agree on a life (i.e. his career) and that's why she dumped him. Mom and Grace hug and make up.

The day of the finalist announcement, Grace goes out for sandwiches for some distraction, and then finds out her dad came through town and never saw her. When she comes home, her mom sings "Amazing Grace" to her (ALL the lyrics of it, I did not know there were so many) as a way of announcing that she got in, but Grace is too distracted by her father's rejection, which her mother blames on herself. Dad later finds out at the bar and drops by the competition. Grace is all "why do you let her bully you?" (kinda good point) and then the rest of the fam shows up. "I'm whatever she wants and whatever you allow," he says to mom. He admits to Grace he chickened out all on his own. After her parents start fighting again, Dolly comes to visit her. "I didn't want anything to cause a precious little gem like you to lose her shine," she says, saying she's not supposed to see the finalists but she saw the fight on the cameras and wanted to check on her. Awwww.

The winner gets a recording contract and US tour in their teen years, wow. OMG, Grace's song about missing her dad is so sad and sweet and WOW. Then it turns into wanting her parents to "forgive, forget, and try to get along." GOOD JOB on the writing of this, whoever actually did it. I don't know how her parents aren't just like, sobbing in hysterics after hearing that. It made Dolly cry. Oh, now Mom is crying (can't tell on Dad, he's very shadowed in that shot). I will note that Grace DOES NOT WIN. I repeat, she does not win--the guy in the competition does. Welp, wasn't expecting that. Grace takes it well. Mom insists she won. Group hug! Actually, this was a pretty quality movie, and it would be kind of concerning to send a 15-year-old on tour, so it's all good.

If I Only Had Christmas, this year's Candace Cameron Bure entry.

The plot of this looks Not Up My Alley (a vice president and charity...ugh....seriously, the most boring part of any royal biography is them going on and on about their charities, fundraising bores the shit out of me). However, this does start out with her doing tricks with her dog, so that's promising! Anyway, Darcy is a publicist who loses out on some big ol' award and decides to fish for another job for a CEO in need--or at least, he's got a bad reputation after his dad died, or something. Instead she talks to a "gruff" "no guy" VP, flies out to NY for a job interview or something, then runs into Mr. Gruff at the bar...he figures out who she is before vice versa and they hang out in the bar.... "You don't say," she says when she is finally clued in via phone. "Local curmudgeon," he holds his hand out. She just gets up to walk away and chews him out for not saying anything. He's all, how often do you get to find out someone's unfiltered opinion of you? I'll say this: I have zero interest in publicist jobs, but this movie does try to make it as interesting as possible, or at least she sounds like more of a livewire. Glenn the VP continues to "no" her. He literally spins around in a black chair dramatically when she walks in. She literally says, "You're a bad laugh and a hairless cat away from being an action movie villain." BWAHAHAHAHAHAH.

So the plot of this is that Darcy is an enthusiastic, charming, cheerful person....who's now working with people who are generally not like that. (Except for Jackie, who seems to be of a similar ilk).) But everyone else is also a "no" person." This doctor lady's rant about computers and no Internet is very 2020, I have to say.... for a movie in which 2020 doesn't exist, anyway. I do love how that one guy turns out to be a closet ham, though. It's adorable. Meanwhile, seriously, this VP has nothing to do but follow them around all the time? Doesn't he have a job?

"It's a shame you're not CEO," Darcy says, foreshadowingly. (I will note that the current CEO somehow...has never been photographed or something? In 2020? This is about as believable as a stealth prince. CALL IT A HUNCH THAT THIS DUDE IS CEO.) Then someone gets the bright idea to force "William Austin" to speak in public. Where's the real Remington Steele when you need him? Okay, this is more Wizard of Oz, really.

OH FUCK THIS PLACE IS CALLED EMERALD, THE WIZARD THING IS DELIBERATE BWAHAHAHAHAH. And now I know why Candace Cameron Bure was attracted to this movie--kinda similar dynamic to "Christmas Under Wraps." OHHHH THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED IF I ONLY HAD CHRISTMAS, I AM SOOOO STUPID TO NOT GET THIS EARLIER!!!! She's from Kansas City, FFS! The doctor must be the Tin Woman, the Cowardly Lion is the dancing guy, and I guess the cheerful girl is Scarecrow. Once again, Hallmark's "Let's just do this plot, but with Christmas added!" strikes again! Oh, and he just gave her fancy red shoes.

And we have a dance scene! Not exactly The Christmas Waltz, but pretty good for what I suspect they didn't have much time to rehearse in plot time? There's twirling around and things. And yes, he just came out of the CEO closet! Darcy is totally weirded out. HEY, REMEMBER HOW SHE DIDN'T LIKE FAKEOUTS? She is all "I should have figured this out sooner." I feel ya, Darcy. Anyway, because god forbid anyone move out of a small town, she's going to be the new VP ("the old guy was a flake") and somehow they are both gonna live in Kansas City. Happy ending! Anyway, once I got the joke I was finding it all very funny.... and also, I'm an idiot.

Christmas in Vienna:

Jess is a violinist in Vienna for work for the holidays, hanging out with a diplomat's ...wife, I guess? It's her friend?, and trying to ask a guy to dance and then he declines because he's not a dancer. Even though Jess y'know has a job, her friend hits her up to be the nanny for her cousin's kids....Yeah, same guy, of course. This guy is much more awkward than you usually see in Hallmark. "This isn't awkward at all," Jess lies. Also, the advice for watching the kids is to treat them like gremlins (snicker). As a former violinist who still remembers how terribly her violin went out of tune just playing at Pier 39, I am concerned about this poor cellist playing outside where there is actual snow. Anyway: she's feeling blah about her life's work of the violin and is about to quit after the holidays.

He is a "minister," about two levels away from becoming an ambassador--"it's a military thing." As a former violinist, listening to any new violinist is...excruciating. "The kids are getting attached to her. But she's leaving." "But we KNEW that." -Mark and Jess's friend Tori. Like...duh? Jess complains that Mark is hot and cold. I HEAR YA, GIRL. "Mark is a handsome and charming man and from now I'm going to do everything I can to avoid him." So that worked for about ten seconds. Job offers! Jess could get into the Vienna Philharmonic, while Mark might move to Zurich. "Ayla got a violin and you just got a hook and a hat?" These two are so awkward that they call out every time they should be kissing, but don't, until the end. was okay....clearly I didn't think much about it while watching it.

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