Chaos Attraction

Hallmark Movie Review: Let It Snow

2015-12-16, 8:15 p.m.

Okay, even though I haven’t gotten to do a whole lot of Hallmark watching so far this season*, I have some notes from a movie that I didn’t get around to reviewing before the end of Holidailies last year. So here we go!

*which is to say, I saw parts of movies at the gym, but not enough for a full review, or to even get the titles of things. Still looking forward to seeing the rest of A Christmas Detour!

Let It Snow:

So Candace Cameron Bure's (character name: Stephanie Beck) dad is Alan Thicke, who sends her to do a business deal at Snow Valley Lodge during the Christmas season. He just bought the place for his company and apparently wants her to come in and decided what to fix, or something. Oh yeah, and do you wanna do Christmas brunch later? He says this very halfheartedly.

Stephanie is from Arizona and doesn’t deal with snow well. Upon arriving at the airport, she’s utterly shocked at being soaked by a car and chews out the guy who did it for always driving like that. He’s all, “I did apologize just now.” Of course, he’s the guy sent to pick her up. His name is Brady Lewis. The Lewises have been running Snow Valley for like four generations, but Dad Lewis recently sold to Dad Beck because (supposedly) Dad Beck said he’d leave the place alone *cough*LIES*cough*. Oh yeah, and neither of his sons wanted to take over the business. Brady is kind of annoyed he’s been there forever and his other brother bugged off to Australia.

Incidentally, every time they show an above shot of the resort, it totally looks like a cheap diorama. You can occasionally see people move around, but beats me how they did that. The shot of ice fishing also seems weirdly blue screened.

Stephanie is all, “Do you always put up this many Christmas decorations?” Well, since it’s Christmas, DUH, YES. Brady says life at Snow Valley is six months of deep winter, one month of perfect fall, and five months of mosquitoes.

Sample dialogue with Steph and Brady:
"Where is your exercise room?"
"Out there." (he points at window)
"Okay, I guess we'll have to build one." She also thinks she can see the entire property before lunch, on a snowmobile. The family won't let her do that and make her go on skis. She does not ski. "I don't do winter." Yup, it’s her first white Christmas. She almost skied off a cliff and barely missed a tree.

Another dumb question: “Does everything have to do with Christmas?” “At Christmas it does.” DUH!

Steph and Brady discuss the property. Not a lot of singles going there, primarily families. There’s 100% occupancy during the Christmas season, 10-12 families. "Is that a typo?" Nope, it is not. Also, they have 80% weekend occupancy the rest of the year. I don’t know squat about hotel occupancy rates, but I bet someone is crying hearing the stats in this movie.

While Brady is grumbly about spending his entire life working during Christmas, Steph is grumbly because ever since her mom died at the age of six, her dad abandoned her to nannies and boarding school (at age nine) and her Christmases have always been spent having lunch in some hotel her dad was running, a “rubber chicken lunch” and a store wrapped gift bought by some assistant. “We have something in common, we’re both Grinches,” Brady says. Here’s how Christmas goes for Brady: he’s sick of having to work it. Can’t blame ‘em.

Let It Snow and Christmas Under Wraps both have a Cold Weather Shopping Scene in them in which Candace Cameron Bure is taught how to buy clothes for actual cold weather. "32 degrees? You might as well go outside naked." He picks her out clothes that will "make me look like a beached whale." No, you'll be warm. She makes a memo to provide their own store and line of warm weather clothing for the resort, which is actually a cool idea. She eventually comes to the conclusion that not that many changes need to be made there, and she’s surprised that Brady wanted to give that business up.

Brady thinks Ted Beck is going to ruin the place. Dad thinks Beck will keep it all the same and that's why they sold it to him. Brady is all, "Did you check the contract?" Duh!

Stephanie is given her own ornament to decorate the tree with. She's also given a piece of paper with a write-up about the Feast of St. Thomas on it. On that night in Swiss tradition, a spinster can meet her future husband in her dreams. "Who believes this stuff?" Stephanie scoffs, then immediately decides to try following the steps. They involve using a stool to get into bed, standing on the bed and taking off her shoes. She spins around three times and throws her shoes at the door. Then she has to sleep with her feet on the pillow and the head on the bed. Ooookay then. Guess who she dreams about! "Not Brady! No chance, no how!" she freaks. Uh-HUH.

Steph hangs out with Carla, Brady’s mom, who tells her about the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian dinner at Christmas Eve that they hold for the guests. The guests tend to eat in their own cabins on Christmas Day, so they have a smaller crowd then. Steph is unaware of who “Pere Noel” is (French Santa). “Christmas is like a baton, passed on from one generation to the next,” Mom says awkwardly.... “Now we’re passing it along to you. Promise me you’ll take good care of it.”

Stephanie is making snow angels when her dad calls, being all, “Aren’t we supposed to be having a meeting right now?” Oops. She tries to invite him to come visit, but he won’t and claims she’s being “sucked in.” She claims the place has great marketing, and he threatens to send “Bart Johnson” up there, whoever that is.

Steph and Brady go on an actual date. She dresses up in a dress clearly more suited for non-snowy conditions, which makes me think he should have warned her before she did that. She thinks they’re going for lobster. Nope, they’re taking a walk out to a cutely decorated ice fishing lodge, where they will catch their own dinner. She’s not thrilled at this, but likes catching a fish, so it’s a happy meal for her. He claims he likes at least two days of Christmas, she says it’s starting to grow on her. She now wishes it would snow, and he’s all what happened? I guess her winter blood came in.

We eventually find out that Steph chose her line of work because that way she could see her dad. Awww. She writes a letter to Santa wishing she could have an old fashioned Christmas with her dad again and leaves it on the mantel with everyone else’s letters.
Steph and Carla attempt to discuss why Brady didn’t want to take over Snow Valley--Mom says it’s a big can of worms there and what did Brady tell her? Nothing really. I guess Brady’s original plan was to also move to Australia and then he stuck around while his parents were having issues. Dad thought Brady would change his mind, but he didn’t, and nothing has worked out. Who’s right? Neither of them, says Carla.

Carol singing, tree lighting, and riding in a one horse open sleigh happen. I feel like I should be playing Christmas Cliche Bingo right now. Okay, here’s a funny: I just made that joke and then thought, “I should check to see if it exists.” It does!
However, more relevant to this is the Christmas Movie Bingo.
There’s a lot of Hallmark-esque bingo on Tumblr, apparently.
Okay, now that you’ve got your cards, back to the plot.

Dad Beck calls to nag his kid and demand a 9 a.m. meeting on Christmas Eve. Turns out his plan is to bulldoze the entire resort and start from scratch, which really makes no sense whatsoever. Steph claims she can’t go against her dad, and Brady is pissed and it’s too late. He wouldn’t take the place because he had no one to share it with, and now he does! This seems a wee bit presumptuous for how long you’ve been dating, but whatever. Evil Dad Beck says he has other business and won’t stay for dinner. He and Steph go into a room and lock the door, while she gives a Power Point presentation on the charms of this place and the near full house business and how they should build on what they’ve got and how she loves having a Christmas family. She wants to do this every year for the rest of her life, she loves Christmas now, and loves the idea of giving people the Christmas they never knew they wanted but always dreamed of.

He’s all no, I want to get rid of Christmas. Because he is an EVIL BLOCKHEAD WHO JUST WANTS TO DESTROY AND NOT MAKE MONEY. The Falcon brand is 21-45-year-old DINKS, and our market doesn’t care about Christmas any more! (Oh, bullcrapadoo. Look at everyone else in Hallmark.) Steph says that the DINKS are going to have children and I think, hey, don’t stereotype! What do you know about Christmas and family and love, you dumped all of that when Mom died. He’s all, I’m glad you like it so much, but that’s not what I sent you to do, so you’re fired.

FIRED AT CHRISTMAS AGAIN. BY YOUR OWN FATHER. THAT IS OFFICIALLY THE COLDEST FIRING IN HALLMARK. Now our only option is to have the best last Christmas ever! *sniffle*
Dad has dinner by himself, the only person in a restaurant. Oh, somehow (according to my mom because I missed it) Mom slipped the Santa letter into Dad Beck’s briefcase, so he reads about how she wants a Christmas like they had before her mom died.

It’s Christmas Day and Steph has her own stocking and she wakes up screaming and found candy in her slippers. It’s very Scrooge at the end of A Christmas Carol. Brady gets a personalized black stocking cap with a GIANT pom pom. So does Stephanie. The giant black pom pom of no dignity.

At dinner, Alan Thicke suddenly walks in, dressed as Santa and being all jolly. He apologies to Steph and they hug. He decides he should retire too, and he asks Steph to be the head of the winter resorts division and eventually take over the company, and he offers Brady a manager job. Best Christmas Ever! “Let It Snow” plays, and it does snow.

This movie wasn’t too bad. Sure, it’s kinda dippy to assume Dad Beck is going to keep everything the same and he’s just way too dramatically evil on “let’s raze it to the ground,” but it’s goofily charming in its own way.

Oh, hey, while we're on the topic, here's a few links... AV Club article on Hallmark and Lifetime movies.
It's A Wonderful Movie reviews.
TV Movie Christmas reviews
Comparing Lifetime and Hallmark's Delayed Flight Movies. Ranking the 2015 Hallmark movies.

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