Chaos Attraction

Nothing To Do But Internet Telly

2020-12-13, 7:25 p.m.

Another day where I have nothing to do but yarncrafts, pacing around the house, cooking more damn meals, and watching the Internet telly for eternity. Not that that's bad, mind you (beats working), and it's raining out anyway. But I'm so bored of waiting and being in limbo and there's probably at least four to eight months of if left to go while wasting life, waiting for a vaccine, waiting to move on, wondering if I ever can. Mom keeps telling me I don't know what's going on, and I don't, but that's infuriating too.

So, today's Hallmark, followed by two plays I watched:

Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas:

Before we begin, from what I've seen of the trailer I get kind of a.... Agatha Christie "And Then There Were None" sorta vibe from the premise? Except, y'know, WITHOUT MURDER.

Sarah is out from her firm on family leave, taking care of her mother's affairs. She gets an invite to stay at an inn, which she assumes is from her boss. Other invitees: Karen, The desk clerk thinks Sarah seems familiar. Sarah sees a kid who wants to see the Swedish(?) clock go off, and moves the clock ahead so the kid can see it before she leaves. Ben is the very hot, lantern-jawed owner who says he does the same thing. He hands her a copy of "A Christmas Carol" and is all, have you actually read it or just seen the movies? Good point. Ben's sister Bess rolls in. They used to stay here as kids. Jasper is another guest, says it's a gift from his wife (if so, where's the wife?).
Ben: "I needed a change." Bess: "Most people get a haircut."

Ben passes Sarah the inn's holiday schedule: sleigh ride, tree lighting, etc. Walter the boss leaves Sarah a message saying he didn't send the invite. She asks Ben who made it and he can't tell and the lady who does the reservations has taken off till New Year's.
Karen and Sarah sit down to decorate ornaments. Karen got a divorce. She mentions having stayed here 30 years ago and thinks she got the same room. We then meet a father and daughter (Cassie), here from SoCal. She is NOT into snow creatures. He said he grew up around here. The inn's old owner comes by to drop off a tree angel. He asks her if you can track down a phantom reservation and she says no, but it happened periodically, NBD. Jasper also had a phantom reservation but is convinced it's his wife. (I repeat: where is she? Dead?)

Cassie is not into taking pics for the 'gram. Ben was not into working in finance. Sarah is not that into her current corporate law job. ... Yeah, I think Jasper's wife is dead. He says the universe sends us signs and it's up to us as to whether or not we ignore it. Karen walks up and thinks it's a sweepstakes, which is how she's here. HMMMMMMMM. Yes, she also has a blank invite, and the receptionist doesn't know anything about it either. Then Ted walks in, and apparently he and Karen know each other. He's her college ex and they had a relationship along the lines of ....what was that one, the one where that girl gives the DJ all the gifts....I'm mixing up my Hallmark titles, but they stayed here. Anyway, they were together for 2 years and broke up because of his traveling job. Karen is sure it's all in the past. Uh-HUH, where's that godwink again.... Ben has deduced that the dad is anonymous donor #5, he thinks his brother did it.

Ben used to be engaged, he thought the inn being for sale was a sign. It's A Sign movie! I love those! They check old inn photos and Sarah spots a photo of her mom, pregnant. Owen is the dad's name and he digs up his invite (same kind, of course). Sarah tries the PO. Yes, it was mailed here.

Cassie is teaching herself piano off the Internet. Jasper the musician hears this and helps out. Owen sees this and introduces himself and asks if Jasper would be willing to teach. Jasper was in the Blue Note Trio band, who played in a rare holiday album that Sarah's parents and Ben have.

Karen and Ted talk: he thought he won this in a sweepstakes too. You know what, I am going to guess that it's the former owner (Frenchy. Also, "FRENCHY?!" Was she in Grease?) who's sent these things, since presumably she knew everyone involved. Bess encourages Ben to ask for help and to ask Sarah out. Sarah feels guilty for missing her mom's last Christmas....something I'm sure literally triggers us all in 2020. Sarah finds a photo of her parents at the inn in 1984, and Jasper's wife, and Karen and Ted.... Little Owen's four in this shot. Jasper remembers meeting her parents because they drove his wife to him. Hah, they even named Sarah after his wife.

There's one other unidentified guest in the photo, who they track down the name of via the 1984 ledger, and Google for him...he's probably related to the baker in town. They don't find him, but he goes to the party every year. Peter apparently GOT an invite but declined because he was out of town until just now, I guess. "If he didn't send the invitations, then who did?" I repeat: the old owner, because who else? Meanwhile, Ben is having the best Christmas ever because of Sarah. Awwww. Literally five minutes later Frenchy is brought up, DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH. Frenchy tells the story of how they all met one stormy night in 1984 and threw a party. This caused her to hang in there and meet her husband when he came to the inn six months later. "Fate has a way of putting certain people in your path right when you need them." She wanted to re-create that magic for Ben.

The musicians all perform together, with Jasper singing the title song. Ben and Sarah have A Moment outside, and inside.

You know what, it's all right. Not blowing my mind, and the mystery gets kinda obvious after awhile, but it's a pleasant alternative to "And Then There Were None," anyway.

A Merry Christmas Match:

"At least they chose a great photo." "What?"

FROZEN HOT COCOAS. What on EARTH is this and this makes NO SENSE. This is the second movie that's mentioned this as A Thing.

Corey's best friend moved to LA or whatever, Corey doesn't want to move. What if your true love is in LA right now? "Well, if he doesn't want to come to our perfect little winter wonderland, that's on him." Hah hah hah.

Meanwhile, her dude apparently IS LA's hottest bachelor. He seems to ...have a hot redhead over that seems to be more into him than he is into her? His name is Ryder Donnelly and he's a tycoon heir. People talk like that outside of certain board games? A pushy redhead who clearly is more into him than he is into her keeps pushing for a relationship. This isn't going well.

Holiday Hunk literally walks into her antique store and accidentally breaks a chair. You look familiar, have we met? Nope! "Pretty decent place you have out here for the middle of nowhere." "It's not decent, it's perfect." His best friend is dating an actress...presumably her bestie. "Small world," I think and he says. She checks her computer. He wants to buy a clock that she doesn't want to sell. He calls this...rinky dink clock..."perfect and unique." I was expecting a lot better from a fancy Hallmark clock (see "A Timeless Christmas"). She caves and lets him get it.

Jillian's new boyfriend Dave is "kind of a dork," but she really likes him, and invited him and "his friend" to lunch. Awkward! It's mentioned that Corey directs all the kids' plays in town.

"You have a crush on the Hunky Holiday Bachelor?" "From The Beatdown?" "I'm very happy under my rock, thank you."

Ryder returns to the store "for my chair" and it's super awkward. Corey is...kinda obnoxious, actually.

Corey thinks reindeer are the most magical creatures ever. What about unicorns? She also points out that all of Santa's reindeer are girls, which I like. "Women have a much better sense of direction." "I'd love to hear more about your impressive knowledge of reindeer." Also he is just really into antiques. Later all the LA people show up at her rehearsal. She also gets all prickly when Ryder asks her to his family party, offers to find her investors for a play....Corey is in a snit trying to keep her dad's business, basically. She continues to be reluctant to long-distance date.

You know what this movie reminds me of? "Born in Fire" by Nora Roberts. Rich dude rolls into girl's life and she is all "I don't need you OR your money OR your business." Dude kind of forces his way in, and this movie...similar.

Anyway, Corey somehow changes her mind about everything she has to do at home and flees to LA after getting a reindeer necklace from Ryder (is cute though) "You just be as honest with him as he is with you." "But I don't even have a gift for him." Mom digs up another one of Dad's watches. However, since Corey didn't show, Ryder decided to haul off to Temecula this weekend instead of going to his family party. And his parents didn't object to that? (Having been there last year...what the heck was he doing?) Davey offers to call Ryder, but she declines. Ryder is such a good guy he doesn't want gifts, he just wants everyone to donate to charity!

Ryder's parents roll up and are all "RYDER'S COREY?!?!" when they figure it out. They also offer her a job. (Suffice it to say that Ryder shows up and is pleasantly surprised.) RYDER SHOWS UP AS A REINDEER for the costume even the next day. Her mom encourages her to take it already. I love how it took an hour and 30 minutes for him to get her digits.

Ryder (at bestie's encouraging) is trying to tell Corey that he's not that into the redhead, and then she shows up IN A HUGE HUFF. Corey flees. While she was gone "someone from LA" bought a lot of their stuff. HMMMMM. Meanwhile, Ryder fixes the clock while at work. At the pageant, Corey announces that this is her last pageant. Oh yeah, and Ryder sent the clock along.

So this is a rare Hallmark in which the heroine is actually being encouraged to leave her idyllic small town and move to the big city and have theater dreams. GO FIGURE. So that's actually cool. But other than that, it's kinda weird, for reasons stated here. The whole relationship feels a bit forced and weird.

I also watched two plays today;

Meet Me In St. Louis: I read about Melissa Errico's green screen experience here (I related, though hers is obviously much more sophisticated than mine) and decided to watch the show to see how they did it. Here's a review of it.

Opening credits mention where all the actors were filmed. We see musicians playing together but in masks. Wow, their visuals look GREAT--closeups of faces, beautiful yet period tones in the camera, good backgrounds. They don't always paste the actors into the same shot, but cut back and forth between each one in different scenes--fine by me!

Uh.... I'm unclear how this girl is pen-palling with someone and yet he doesn't know she exists? And he LIVES NEXT DOOR? Anyway, this family lives in St. Louis and is obsessed with the upcoming fair. Except for little Tootie, who is obsessed with death and is clearly going to grow up to marry a funeral director or something. Her dolls die like, 4 times a day? Strange child. The oldest daughter seems to be expecting a proposal and has secretly arranged with the cook to eat dinner an hour early (THE SCANDAL! DAD CAN'T STAND IT!) for this reason. I haven't seen a dad so bitchy about his meal since watching Shirley Valentine. Suffice it to say, Dad was NOT gotten out of the way and he hung up on the anticipated phone call.

'It's difficult to fall in love sensibly." True! "The broken pieces of yourself will start to fit." Awww. Well, that's romantic.

Tootie: "What if I choke and die?" Mom: "Well, we'll all be very sorry." Me: HAHAHAHAHAH. Some other guy is all "oh goodie, another funeral." Dad is all, "Tootie, remind me to spank you after dinner." Hey Dad, MAYBE DON'T PISS OFF YOUR COOK.

Rose was going to get proposed to by a millionaire and you hung up on him! "When was I voted out of this family?!" Dad squawks when he finds out everyone but him knew. When the phone rings again, he does let Rose get it, though. However, this doesn't go well, Warren doesn't propose, he seems to have gotten snitty about the long distance phone call, she claims to have another guy around.... hoo boy.

Okay, Esther's got her dude over for Lon's going away party. Lots of dudes! Lon introduces Esther to her boy-next-door crush, which is just ridiculous. Tootie wants to sing a song about getting drunk last night, AND THEY LET HER. Bwahahahahahah. Then the kids dramatically pass out at the end. "Oh, Rose, you're so...difficult." Clearly Warren finds this to be a turn-on, which suddenly explains a lot about their relationship. Esther woos the neighbor boy, very successfully, or vice versa, I'm not sure which, but it's working.

Wow, they just did an awesome job of putting everyone on a trolley. GOOD JOB, TECH!!!!!

Tootie claims that John Truitt knocked her down and kicked her in the face and tried to kill her. WHAAAAAAAAAT? Oooh, she slapped him! And pushed him! The framing of this cracks me up no end. No actual trying to force them to look like they touched, but it works. OH NO, THE KIDS FAKED A DEAD BODY AND PUT IT ON THE STREETCAR TRACK, WHAT THE FUCK. What is wrong with these children? John Truitt dragged them out of the mess and Tootie basically beat the shit out of him 5-year-old style. Esther tells her off but good.

Hey, y'all, I know it's supposed to be Irish tempers and whatnot, but REALLY, ASK THE GUY FIRST before you beat him up. Did you ACTUALLY think he beat her up, Rose points out. Good lord, you beat him worse than Tootie. "I just feel awful." "ME TOO." "I've been outrageously forward and it's clear you're not interested," Esther says. Ah...he is, as it turns out. "You're wonderful," he says, after she beat him up. These people are strange.

OH WOW, THEY ACTUALLY DID A KISS IN THIS. Positioned right next to each other pecking, but hey, it worked! GOOD JOB, TECH!

Dad has "good" news: we're moving to New York! "I'll start digging up my dolls," says Tootie. But what about the World's Fair? And the chickens? Nobody likes the dad in this family except the mom, I presume.

Oh lord, Rose, STOP FIGHTING WITH YOUR BOYFRIEND ALREADY. Don't turn down a guy several times and then be in a shit that you don't have a date. THAT'S ON YOU. Brother Lon sucks it up and asks her. They hug briefly on screen! GOOD JOB, TECH!
Oh noes, John Truitt can't take Esther to the ball because his tuxedo is locked up at the tailor's! Uh.... can't we finagle him some clothes somehow? Esther agrees to go with her grandpa.

I'm amused that Warren's date, Lucille, basically finagles a date-swap so he can be with Rose and she can be with Lon. Good job, girl. She's in this for like five minutes and is the most sensible character. Though this kind of thwarts the uh...prank? the older girls were going to play on her?

This show does a good job of faking the dancing--briefly looking like they have contact before switching back to single perspectives.

John Truitt got his suit. Good job. He proposes.

"Until then, we'll all have to muddle through somehow..." Yeah, this song definitely hurts this year, doesn't it.

"I'm going out to kill my snowman," screams Tootie. OH LORD, TOOTIE, STOP BEING A DRAMA QUEEN. This kid is MUCH. After overhearing this fit, Dad changes his mind on the move. Warren stomps in and proposes, very authoritatively, and then stomps out. Does she even get to say yes? "Who was that young man?" Dad asks. "He's likely to leave on his honeymoon without Rose," Grandpa snarks.

There's one group shot outside the house while everyone sings about the fair...and it's over! GOOD JOB, TECH! Very smooth, very pretty, very handled well with a minimum of group shots and doing well at the few they attempted. Theater teams, take a note!

Later I watched Arlington, a production by the local Shakespeare company, which seems to be throwing out the Shakespeare these days.

"Arlington by Enda Walsh, is a dystopian love story about a young girl named Isla who is imprisoned in a tower. She spends her days isolated and waiting to be released. Walsh, the Tony Award winning author of the musical Once, invites the audience to examine Isla’s intense isolation. After a mysterious changing of guards, Isla finds companionship emerge from out of the darkness."

So at age 4 she lost her family and got brought into this tower (I admit I have a thing about Rapunzel/girls in towers), and all she has to talk to is the guard. "The usual man" is mysteriously gone for good somehow, and she hits it off with his nameless younger replacement. Eventually the replacement says he came to the room and found "the usual man" dead. "It's your time to leave," he says.

Then there's this part, which I will not recap since the link does it. That bit was interminable and with discordant music I did not enjoy listening to on top of it.

Finally, we come back to the guy, sitting catatonically in a room watching a soap opera or something.... and he's in a locked room with a female guard interrogating him politely. What is going on? I have no idea on any of this. Then finally the guard is all "where did you take Isla to?" and "you will be broken, you know that?" and I'm all, well, at least he got her out, so there's that.... He gives some commentary on the dance scene and I'm still not sure what's going on.

Then we bring back Isla and the guy, in their own boxes, having a conversation about food. "Why are we having a conversation about dogs and biscuits?" When will this end? "Soon."

Sigh. Am I just not a good/intellectual person for not enjoying stuff like this? I picked this one out of the three they are doing because I thought it sounded possibly less depressing, but hahahah. Instead it's all psychological torture, whee. I don't get what's going on, and I'm not sure if anyone is supposed to? I was just lost. Sigh.

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