Chaos Attraction

Christmas Eve Hallmark

2016-12-25, 7:50 a.m.

Christmas Eve Day was spent following my mom around while she bought random items. I managed to talk her into buying like $99 worth of mostly booze at BevMo, I still don’t know how I did that. Three bottles of actual wine and a bunch of samplers and some food. Then she went to Big Lots and found similarly odd things, most of which were presents. I was texting with a friend who’s in Maryland sending me pictures of her grandma’s craft stuff, and I in turn texted her pictures of a Space Cats calendar and this penguin that’s upside down and dancing to “Ain’t no party like an igloo party.” Mom bought THAT for the White Elephant instead.

That was the start of the day, and the end of the day was hauling a lot of crap to Pat’s house, where we are housesitting (if sadly not dogsitting, RIP Lili, but there’s fish to feed). Thank gawd, so happy to be here even if I’m missing the dog. I knit through an entire ball of yarn on the sweater I’m working on while watching, you guessed it, MOAR HALLMARK.

So here we go, more Hallmark movie reviews!

My Christmas Love: So this girl named Cynthia brings her book illustrator/business partner friend Liam with her home for the holidays, as well as for her sister Janet’s Christmas wedding.* Cynthia is a romantic, and is SUPER EXCITED when someone starts delivering a partridge in a pear tree, turtle doves, etc. to her house with a note saying “for my true love.” Since Cynthia has run into a bunch of her high school exes on the way into town, she reasonably assumes that one of them suddenly spent a shit ton of money renting dancing, singing, and playing humans, not to mention birds** when they haven’t talked to her in quite some time.

* Janet is mostly kind of a No Fun sort of girl, marrying an accountant because it seemed like a good idea. Sample quote: “I have to go now, I live with children” as Cynthia and Liam pillow fight behind her. I am surprised this Janet plot wasn’t used in another Hallmark movie because in other movies, Janet would be the heroine being encouraged to marry someone she was crazy about.

** though we’re spared the geese and swans since the geese are on a pillow, there’s some kind of Seven Swans wine, and the four calling birds are fake.

Cynthia starts investigating her exes, and it turns out one’s now a priest and another is taken, so that leaves her with third choice Scott, a nice but dim cop, who (much like in the movie The Twelve Gifts of Christmas) is cool with going along with pretending he sent things until it turns out that not only does he not know the song (and seriously, how do you miss this in life?), he doesn’t really know how to count either. That leaves “just a friend” Liam as the last suspect, and they certainly do film him to make him look guilty of it. But when she finally gets around to him, he’s all, “what am I, the consolation prize? I’m out of here.”

Here’s the twist: all of these birds and rented people? They weren’t intended for Cynthia or even Janet--they were for their dad, whose wife died within the last year and she apparently spent a lot of time and money setting this shit up before she died. (She puts the dead husband of “The Christmas Ornament” to shame on pre-buying.) Anyway, Cynthia realizes Liam is her true love even without grand romantic gestures...well, okay.

I think this one wasn’t so great on the romance, for obvious reasons, but the 12 gifts IRL were certainly amusing.

Every Christmas Has A Story: So Kate is an LA morning show host, working with her college ex Jack as her producer. (They were together for years, got jobs in different states after graduation, the LDR petered out and he married someone else, which is now over but she’s keeping them professional now.) On the last day of filming the show for the year, Jack accidentally hits the “on air” button and films Kate awkwardly telling an ornament collector guy who was on the show and is trying to give her an ornament that she doesn’t really do (or like) Christmas, which leads to him tripping and falling over and Kate is accused of pushing him and of course 5 million people view it on social media and people protest the studio.

The enterprising mayor of Hollyvale, North Dakota (“the biggest little Christmas town”) decides to film a video inviting Kate to come to town and rediscover her Christmas spirit*, and Kate’s boss is all, PERFECT, YOU’RE DOING IT, SCREW YOUR HAWAII PLANS, go there for a week and film stuff. Kate is all, okay, fine, I’ll fake getting my Christmas spirit back if I have to. Also, girl goes to North Dakota and doesn’t even wear a jacket for like half of the movie? What’s with these Hallmark girls who don’t know how to dress for weather? I admit I’m a California doofus who knows jack shit about snow, but I’d BRING A DAMN JACKET. Hell, I’ve been wearing three layers per day plus giant jacket and we don’t even have snow here.

* which Kate lost after her dad left when she was seven. Every year he writes her a letter of apology for Christmas and suffice it to say she’s not in the mood, and while she doesn’t hate Christmas, the bloom came off the rose a long time ago for her.

It might be somewhat reasonable to assume that the mayor did this for publicity because when Kate and Jack arrive in town, town seems.... slow. And when they interview people in town about what’s the most awesome thing in town at Christmas, they’re all, “the giant Christmas tree we used to have.” But...where’s the tree now? Nobody seems to know, but Kate of course gets interested in investigating that, and it seems a bit like certain townspeople might be facilitating a mystery. Apparently two years ago the guy in charge of providing the tree stopped bringing them and ...I guess people were too polite to ask why and nobody would say, but it boils down to the guy’s wife died in an accident right after the tree erection three years ago and he hasn’t been in the mood since. The mayor’s scheme was something along the lines of “maybe if Kate asked him, he’d get out of his funk.”

I forgot to mention that Kate and Jack go missing for...I’m not sure how long, 12 hours or something? But when their boss can’t get them on their cell phones, she freaks and everyone goes all MISSING PERSONS ALERT STORM COMING and aspiring college journalist Mia gets to be on the air, so good for her. Imagine the fun when Kate and Jack walk in on their budding search party. Oh, and then Kate’s dad shows up. Kate’s not in the mood still. Jack would also like to rekindle things, but Kate’s just...I can’t take it. So naturally it takes Jack and Kate’s dad showing up on a parade float as an elf and Santa to resolve all of that.

Overall I liked this, probably because I really like Colin Ferguson and he’s in this and Lori Loughlin did a good job. Mia the budding journalist was adorable as well.

A December Bride: Once upon a time, Layla was engaged, and then some guy named Seth introduced Layla’s fiance Jack to Layla’s cousin Jessica. It was hormones at first sight and cut to a year later and now Jack and Jessica are getting married--in December, the way Layla wanted to be.

Layla is reasonably unhappy about this, especially about being invited to the wedding and being nagged by her well-meaning aunt to go because family is family. She needs to dig up a date and asks her neighbor, but the neighbor gets the flu. She runs into Seth in a work context (he’s some kind of money dude, she’s an interior decorator) and he asks if he could be her date--well, obviously she needs a warm body so there you go.

Layla is currently annoyed at her boss Darcy for being pretentious. Darcy is decorating a house for some holiday house tour and she insists on only using gold and silver to stand out instead of being all “traditional” with red and green. Layla would like to strike out on her own at some point, preferably by hitting up some rich real estate guy named Stanley for a gig “staging” his houses for sale. When she hits up Stanley at the wedding, he is categorically uninterested.

At the wedding, people assume Layla and Seth are together, and Seth (who clearly thinks Layla is hot, because the woman is unearthly beautiful and the one flaw in this plot is that her fiance would throw her over at all) feels sorry for the reactions he sees Layla getting, so at one point he blurts out that they’re engaged. Layla is naturally shocked. But once Stanley finds out Seth is with Layla, suddenly he’s interested.

Seth’s boss’s wife insists that Seth have his house on the holiday tour, so he has Layla decorate it for him. This gets the requisite Christmas Firing out of the way once Darcy finds this out. Stanley says he’ll see how Seth’s house comes out before he decides.

Meanwhile, Layla’s aunt keeps forcing the cousins together by making them show up at the same time and work together on a toy drive. At one point the aunt goes on about how the girls used to share toys and I’m all, DON’T GO THERE.

Anyway, suffice it to say that Seth and Layla are pretty adorable and everyone totally embraces the engagement (except Layla’s brother, who is all, “Your dentist knows more about you than this guy does”) and is all, “So are you going to be a December bride?” and I’m all, you guys, she could be one NEXT December, right now she’s unemployed (though she never mentions that to anyone but Seth) and busy. Though admittedly, when the two hedge and say “June?” it comes off strange. Anyway, they eventually agree they should have a fake breakup, but when the dinner they agree to stage a breakup at turns out to be a surprise engagement party, they get engaged for real instead. It’s actually really cute.

Oh, and of course Stanley leaves Darcy’s silver and gold extravaganza after like 5 minutes, because he likes traditionalism when it comes to oh, selling houses.

I liked this one--I think the actress playing Layla is too beautiful for humanity, but she seems nice enough and I really liked the actor dude playing Seth (who apparently plays a Mountie in “When Comes The Heart” according to the constant commercials going on).

A Dream Of Christmas: Apparently this one is Peggy Sue Got Married, At Christmas? I missed the start of this because of unpacking shit, but some girl named Penny apparently made a wish to have her husband go away, and some random adult Christmas wish lady named Jayne (clarifying the spelling) decides to grant it so that the girl and her sister are now single again. Penny immediately spends a lot of her time talking about the missing Stu and going to look him up online to give him a job so she can get him back again, which annoys the Christmas wish lady. Even weirder, Penny actually starts telling Stu about the whole wish thing and how she’s not really a high powered CEO. He’s basically all, “Yeah, I know that ‘this is not my beautiful life, we’re all frauds” about it.

However, in this world Stuart’s got a fiance, so...never mind. When Penny begs Jayne to take it back, Jayne gives her some shitty lines about how hard it is to take gifts back to the store and she’s not going to undo this, (“maybe another time,” whaaaat?) and Penny is all, “I’M GONNA FIND YOUR BOSS AND TELL HIM.” While that doesn’t happen, Stu gives her an angel and she puts it on a tree and falls over and.... SECOND WISH UNDO GRANTED. Screw the promotion, I’ll follow you to Alaska, hubby!

This was probably not my favorite of the bunch, but maybe I missed some crucial details about how annoying Stu was at the start. Mostly it's just kind of weird how she's desperate to get back with him when she literally wished him away.

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