Chaos Attraction

This Movie Is Triggering Me

2020-12-14, 8:03 p.m.

Work meeting today:

This was Adventure Girl's weekend: "This morning I woke up to blood everywhere...." which is to say her cat, Bandit, tore open his paw pad and proceeded to walk around her white house, white bathroom, and white comforter. She mentioned at one point that he "went feral for three hours" and got out. He ah, lives up to the name, I think....Then she was all, "I can't deal with this zoo any more. I have no wish to be outnumbered by children or my pets...."

Lioness did not have a good weekend. I gather someone died (beats me who) and someone had an accident and "I've already been crying this morning" and "I had to call my sponsor this morning. I wanted to flip out on people." Oh, 2020. "I wouldn't wish what's happened to my household on anybody."

My boss had to cancel her Hawaiian vacation and has to work during the break--"kick the can for the third time down the street." She made a comment about home days, followed by "Oh, wait, they're ALL home days." Adventure Girl said her parents were going to go to Kauai except it was shut down. I'm sorry for her, but all things considered, I would rather return to Hawaii again when they want tourists.

I had lunch (note: when I say something like that, I mean on Zoom) with my new friend Eva today, who said I make her feel normal and we're at the same level of weird. Hahahahah.

This amused me very much.

There is nothing else in my life but Hallmark. There shall never be anything else in my life but Hallmark.

Love, Lights, Hanukkah!

Christina, an adoptee who just lost her adoptive mom (I'm gonna have to specify for this plot) is getting a DNA test. Also, her restaurant got a leak. She is 50% European Jewish (that's vague) and 50% Italy/Greece. Lemme tell ya, this is a lot simpler than my AncestryDNA profile is. Clearly this is uh...simplified. (Not "Ashkenazi" or "Sephardic" or something more specific?) And Ancestry DNA, who sponsored this movie, said she also has only 9 DNA matches, whereas I have like 600+ fourth cousins. (Also, it thinks my aunt is my first cousin. Huh?)

"Now I have to learn a whole other holiday and traditions."

Christina hauls off to meet her new relative Becky in Shaker Heights. Becky is also a restauranteur. OH, AND SHE HAS A BROTHER NAMED SCOTT. *facepalms* I AM TRYING TO FORGET ABOUT THAT, HALLMARK, AND YET YOU HAUNT ME. I am relieved to deduce that David the food critic/love interest is just a family friend, since he looks so much like the brother. He also said her food was "predictable." Awkward!

Brother Scott drags David over for food advice: "For Hanukkah, we're doing 8 Crazy Latkes." Such as "the whole enchalatke." BWAHAHAHAAH. "If the cannolis are predictable, I'll keep it to myself," he says tactfully when Christina brings some over. The family laughs at David for saying that in the first place. Christina says she was a Thanksgiving baby and Marilu Henner, Becky's mom, quietly freaks out and gets up from the table. Christina is her daughter. She eloped with an Italian, got it annulled, went back home for college and...ta-dah! (Note: I am pretty sure Ancestry DNA would point out "half sister" when she got the results?) Christina awkwardly gets up and leaves to freak out in the car. David goes to check on her. Christina goes to talk to her bestie, who is basically all, "You can have two mommies!"

Becky and Brother Scott have a fun squabble over their third sibling. David drops by Christina's restaurant to check on her/"check out the lasagna and be nice about it." Christina admits that her mom had died a few weeks before he did the review and maybe she wasn't at her best.

Ruth admits that she tried to contact Christina's dad, but they didn't have Internet, her letters were returned, he was in the military, she wasn't ready to be a single parent, etc. Much like my watching of "A Merry Christmas Match" the other day, David is like, showing up every five minutes. He literally yells every "goodbye" in foreign languages he knows as she leaves. Dude, you seem nice enough and lord knows she's cute, but that's a little much?

Hanukkah kicks off. David gives her way too many menu suggestions. Dude, you may need to chillax on your approach. Then when she says she needs to go get a tree, he wants to follow along. Dude. This is a bit stalker-y. "Only you would have reindeer lighting the way to the Hanukkah dinner." David and Ruth brainstorm trying to track down her dad, Giorgio. Christina notes that David is hard to shop for because "he's so opinionated!" That is why I hate gift shopping, right there, in a nutshell. Multiply that by multiple people and that's my life.

"I just made noodle kugel while wearing a Christmas apron." YUP. David is choking on how he can't seem to write long form books. Instead of a tree-lighting ceremony, everyone hangs out looking at the giant street menorah. David and Christina have dinner in the dark, Ruth and Christina cook together, David tracked down Giorgio's phone number, Scott suggests a "chocolatke." "I think you've gone a latke too far." Ruth gets up the nerve to call Giorgio. "I'm older and wiser and hard to surprise," he says. I dunno there....

I would like to note that everyone gives each other the perfect gift despite knowing some parties only for like, a month. Meanwhile I can't figure out how to gift people I've known for decades.

Christina is feeling overwhelmed at the idea of loving someone again. She visibly looks upset. He comes in, asks her out, and she freaks that he doesn't live here and is going to Europe or whatever, but what happens after? "That was a very charming rejection." "It's not a rejection. I'm just not ready. My heart just can't keep up with these changes right now." He agrees to leave well enough alone. Ruth is all, "She's just as guarded as you are" and you keep traveling everywhere. "Just be her friend. The rest will follow when she's ready." THIS MOVIE IS TRIGGERING ME, Y'ALL.

David decides he'll write his book in Cleveland, where she is. GOOD GOD, IF ONLY MINE COULD BE SETTLED SO EASILY. Instead of waiting around for probably years and a fucking pandemic to end and god only knows what else. Seriously, five years from now I will probably be doing the same thing I'm doing now, only minus pandemic. Sigh.

Back to the movie: Christina calls Giorgio, he's very happy to meet her and wants her to come to Italy. GEE, IF ONLY SOMEONE WE KNEW WAS HEADING TO EUROPE OR ANYTHING. Let's celebrate all the holidays together! She tackles him with her mouth in front of everyone. The end.

My verdict: AncestryDNA definitely vague, Hanukkah stuff probably pretty inaccurate, I dunno if I care because I love a good adopted family story and this one is very cute, even if I think David's a wee bit pushy. Clearly instalove on his part there.

I have some other Hallmark reviews backed up, so here we go:

Never Kiss A Man In A Christmas Sweater:

"Look at that sweater." "That is something." The sweater in question is kind of Elf-ish (as in movie), elf body and then his head sticks out of the sweater.

"I did not just kill Christmas Sweater Dad!" "You know, they rebuilt your wrist. You might be a bit bionic now." So really, this is "Never Kill A Man In A Christmas Sweater."

Maggie, a single mom, offers to cover the medical bills, like that's even a thing or an option for non-millionaires. Oh, btw, this guy (Luke or Lucas, I’m not sure which it is and I think it changes?) is visiting his relatives and he's about to go on a skiing trip....not with that broken arm, he ain't.

"So I Googled your Christmas tree victim...."

Luke points out that he was wearing a matching sweater to his nephew, and his relatives throw an ugly Christmas sweater party. "They're shameless." "The twins are almost sleeping through the night! Look, I'm only half a zombie today!" ...Yeah, sign me up to stay at your house.
Basically, this is an excuse for Maggie to offer her spare space to Luke out of sheer guilt.

"Isn't there an old saying about how you shouldn't kiss a man in a Christmas sweater?" "I'm pretty sure that's not a thing." "I'm pretty sure it's a thing." It is not a thing.

"Wait. You're tall." "....Thank you?" Let's ask the guy with the broken arm to put something on the top of the tree! "My nemesis?" "I promise this is a different tree."

How to get a man re-interested in his architecture career: drag him down to volunteer at a children's center and teach gingerbread house making.

"We've got an ugly Christmas sweater party to go to and I only have pretty Christmas sweaters in my closet." (He puts it on again) "The old standby." "You gotta admit, I make this look good." "It certainly leaves an impression, that's for sure." "That is terrible." "I know. Isn't it perfect?" She has a Christmas lights sweater. With lights around her neck. That plays music. I think it's...well, quite nice actually, I'd wear it.

Luke wanted a pet rock. His brother passes it over. One person's on video for the gift exchange. How very 2020. This leads to a whole thing about getting military parents on video. Luke gets back into the idea of his career but quits it anyway
At the end, she's wearing his sweater. "I love this sweater."

Hm, it was pleasant enough, I guess? Mildly amusing?

Christmas She Wrote:

Oooh, Danica McKellar and Dylan Neal! I like those people.

Kayleigh King (who just wrote a column about celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah at the same time...notice that there's a bit of stealth holiday-combining again here?!) writes a column. She is a former therapist, I guess? I will note GAY BEST FRIEND CHARACTER ALERT here as well.

The meet-cute: he steps on her dress at the office holiday party. Her beloved editor tells her he's being forcibly retired. Oh man :( Sure 'nuff, everyone's getting fired for the holidays. Since I lost my newspaper job circa the end of November, yonks ago, this is triggering. I loved newspaper work. I'm glad I got out of it when I did and was still able to find another career, mind you, but I hate that writing jobs are worthless and expendable. "Columns and features" go first, donchaknow. Though yes, Christmas firing at newspapers happens all the time, including to some of my former coworkers.

Oh lord, his name is Tripp? I hate the name Tripp. Anyway, hottie is the new editor, says he doesn't want to lay off people at Christmas but has been told by corporate to "trim the fat." Her included. "My hands are tied here," he says. With no job to do, Kayleigh says she'll go home for the holidays. Oh man, I just got sad watching hugs on television. Her sister mentions that she could just reopen her therapy business again, but Kayleigh doesn't wanna. Honey, in a pandemic you want to be a therapist--everyone needs you. Nobody needs a writer.

Anyway, "did you do any research before you let her go?" The high muckety-muck is getting a lot of complaints and tells Tripp to get Kayleigh back. NOW THIS IS WHERE WE GO INTO FANTASYLAND, because ain't no way this would happen IRL, sadly. He calls her up, she hangs up. Repeat, repeat, repeat. She blocks his ass. On the one hand, this is everyone's dumping fantasy. On the other hand, if I were her I'd at least wonder why he's calling so many effing times.

Rob, the lone single man/guy running the "Pineberry Press," is totally interested in running her column, though. Also, Kayleigh has suggested that her sister Amy date him. Wanna write a Christmas column for two weeks, Rob says?

I'm LOL'ing at the giant "IS SHE BACK?!" popup on his computer. Tripp gets the bright idea to go fly out to Pineberry to find her (well, that's reasonable at this point). He walks into her sister's bakery. Oddly enough, she says no to having her column back. "Do you work here now?" he asks. "The nerve!" she says, while wearing an apron and cleaning the counter. Look, I like Danica McKellar and all and lord knows if someone else was playing the role this might come off bitchier, but.... why turn it down? She instead claims she's got another job at the paper, he says he won't leave until she caves in. Hmmmm. Basically she is all, "I'll show him!"

Wait, he just said they are in Northern California and snow is falling. WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY, TAHOE?? BigBoss tells Tripp he'll be fired if he doesn't get her back.
Anyway, Kayleigh starts her daily Christmas column while Tripp hangs around like a dog begging for scraps. Oh, I called it, they are presumably somewhere around Tahoe because Tahoe was mentioned! Kayleigh's niece gets injured and they run to the rescue. And Kayleigh's ex Dan (who dumped her for their Xmas wedding to go be a doctor in Haiti) is back for the holidays and hey, wanna go out for coffee?

"You give great advice in a really fun way." Tripp has now read her column and now likes it. Oh, awkward, Tripp just realized he laid off her best friend! Okay, more like his column got cut to once a week and now he is a freelancer. This was BigBoss's decision, Tripp says, but nobody is interested. After hashing out the layoff situation, Kayleigh and Stephen decide to throw a cocktail party tomorrow, featuring a "Santaclausemopolitian." This girl throws events in like...a few hours? Meanwhile, Dan's here! Her life is an 8-ball and Dan got offered a practice. Now what? Dan might be ready to come on home....and he realized that asking her to move to Haiti was kind of a lot. It was for the best, she said. He's changed his mind....

OH WAIT, ARE WE FIXING UP STEPHEN AND THE BAR OWNER?!? They also think up a "Santagrita."
I will note that Tripp makes enough at a newspaper to do "drinks are on me!" for a half hour. Dan makes enough as a doctor to cover the next hour after that.
YES, BEN THE BAR OWNER AND STEPHEN ARE VIBING. Also, Ben didn't know he was gay in high school.

Tripp feels guilty at the look in Stephen's eyes when he said he couldn't make the rent. Tripp is questioning his job. Tripp is about to buy her a drink when Dan gets there first. Amy is impressed that Tripp has stuck it out this long, but he's liking it.

Kayleigh throws a dinner party! Kayleigh is not a chef. All her dudes show up for dinner. Awkwardness ensues. Everyone wants the bread. Fire ensues. Instead, everyone gets drunk and hands out ugly sweaters. The guys get "Santa Claws" and "Santa Paws," which is a delight. Both guys make a subtle play. Dan is staying and as for Tripp, "The mountain air has gotten to me, and so have you." She finished her novel, he read it, he took it to a publisher.... and if she goes back to the paper, she can also get a book deal. She's rather freaked.
Tripp is leaving town...BUT ALSO HE JUST QUIT HIS JOB. Damn.

I really want to know how Kayleigh throws an entire ball in like 24 hours of planning. This is literally the fastest planning I've ever seen even on Hallmark. This is faster than that parade in Rocky Mountain Christmas. In other news, Rob asks Amy out. This combined with Kayleigh's teacher and the lady she mentioned he should meet and that's FOUR ROMANTIC COUPLES IN THIS MOVIE. Good job, movie! Kayleigh is going to stay here, Stephen will come visit, winkwink. "I'm not going to cite a study or tell you about the part of your brain that makes you magically fall in love during the holidays," she says in a nice speech about falling in love with someone who brings out the best in you and wants the best for you. Poor Dan thinks it's him, but Kayleigh has realized that well, he's gonna be more into being a doctor/it's his calling, and he just got a grant for building more hospitals or whatever. Well, that was the easiest wrapup I've seen. No hard feelings!

Tripp shows up and apologizes. And adds Stephen to the deal if Kayleigh comes back. He did quit thought, as "I don't want to make people feel bad any more" and "I didn't realize how miserable I was until I met you." He may also get a job in SF, "a few hours from here." She may reconsider things herself. "I want to be the man you can trust, who brings out the best in you," he says. AWWWWWWWWWWWW.
I really liked that one. Also, I will note that this is another gay couple, romancing, in a Hallmark movie, which so far the media hasn't picked up on while going on about "Happiest Season" and "The Christmas House" again.

Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen: Yup, they did that.

Ella (Erin Krakow) and Marianne (Kimberly Sustad) Dashwood are party planners. Ella has just broken up with "Willoughby" and has some awkward snark with a CEO (Edward Ferris, of "Ferris Wheel Toys.") They meet with Brandon the business guy about their father's estate.

I like these actresses, but both of them come off as Elinors and not flighty Mariannes, to be honest? Oh look, here's Lucy Steele, vice president of production or what the hell ever, businessi s boring. Where are these uh...French people from? I guess Edward has to impress tourists or something? "You have time to throw a party?" "How hard can it be?" Edward says after spontaneously making up a party on the 23rd. UH-HUH. Ella overhears Edward having a conversation in which he needs a planner ASAP and...."Never mind." Oh, Brendan (Brendan?) and Edward are cousins. The event is 9 days away, do you have the time? Um..... Erin Krakow's reaction to his "How hard can it be?" attitude is a delight. But okay, fine, she'll do it. And then spring it on her sister.
I feel like I missed something as to why Ella's obsessed with "Ferris bears?" They got discontinued, not a moneymaker apparently. Brandon/Brendan/whatever just dropped by in person to see Marianne and pass her some documents.

Ella wants a theme. Edward is all "Christmas" and she's all "That's the occasion, not the theme." Uh....Winter Wonderland? You can tell Ella is rolling her eyes and thinking "Cliche" so hard. How do you celebrate Christmas? Edward does a "statistical review of the year." "I give my father a financial ledger" for Christmas. "Good god, I was joking!" He allows her ONE COLOR OF GLITTER.
Ella tries to force Edward to try escargot. WHY. "Oh, I've already had it in France!" she says.

"You are too seriously dressed to frolic in the snow anyway," she says to him when he makes a weird snowman (seriously never seen a parallelogram head before!!!) and she insists on taking his tie for it. Of course they snowball fight.
"Believe it or not, I am a nationally ranked Ping-Pong player." For those of you wondering about Edward's personality, there it is.

Wait, Ella said "whatever you think is best." SOMETHING WRONG HAS HAPPENED!!!!...okay, so you had a wee chat with your sister about the business. "Do you secretly have a crush on Santa Claus or is Jack Frost more your type?" he guesses. She asks for help with a business plan to impress her sister. Look, he already made pie charts!

Edward wants to meet by the .... holiday squirrel? "Sorry I'm late. There was a mixup with the action figures." "That is the 'dog ate my homework' of the toy world, isn't it?" Oh, he just fixed everyone up for a double date again, which is to say that the sisters should work things out while the dudes go make gingerbread houses.

"You said there was a festive crisis?" They just lost the venue! We'll throw it at Edward's house! "He has his moments."

Ella believes you'd know/feel it with the right guy. Marianne is all, why don't you see it with Edward and his great big puppy dog eyes over you? No, he's into Lucy, Ella says. (Oh.)

"You can be...kinda.... fun," Ella says, in a ringing endorsement of Edward. He also bought her a gift and she didn't get him anything. I FEEL YOUR PAIN, GIRL. And he even got her a bear....a prototype bear, actually. And a necklace. Damn, girl. Also, he's figured out her type: "Frosty the Snowman." I guess we gotta get another title drop in.
Uh....does Edward happen to have some giant empty room in his house for all these people and white lit trees? A spare ballroom? That doesn't look like a human lives in the house. But anyway, the Laurents will happily carry Ferris Wheel Toys because they had a nice holiday season, so that's all good. Also, Lucy Steele is dating someone else.

We have the inevitable fakeout in which Ella Gets The Wrong Idea, and I feel like Erin Krakow deserves an award (a "Hallmarkie," I'm sure) for her devastated face watching that hug. It's kinda out of proportion. Also she overhears someone asking for his planner and he says they are "unsuitable." Huh? Ella tries to tell him off (he does not get to finish an explanation) and leaves the party, and dramatically chucks her phone when he calls.
At Christmas, Edward explains that the guy he said no to is a terrible client. Okay, fine then. "No one has frustrated me more. You honestly drive me crazy. But in the best possible way," she says. He's wild about her!

Okay, I'm gonna have some commentary on the Austen-ripoffery in this one. Hallmark kinda plays it fast and loose with their ripoffs of Austen. Notable in this one:
(a) I would definitely have cast Kimberley Sustad as Elinor rather than Marianne.
(b) In this one, Marianne is the super-sensible one. From the writing, we're supposed to find Ella to be the flighty one, but she isn't all that flighty.
(c) Sadly, this isn't quite a double romance movie, as Marianne/Brandon (Brendan? What was his name?) are very much on the side here.
(d) Edward ain't nothing like Hugh Grant. Honestly, he's kinda more Darcy-ish...not that that's a shocker, I guess, everyone wants a Darcy.

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