Chaos Attraction

Even More Hallmark Reviews

2018-12-29, 12:14 p.m.

Mom relapsed somewhat again today (Friday the 28th), spending most of the day in bed zonked on painkillers for her back, and when she woke up the back was fine, but her throat was going out and she was tired. She flaked on seeing Mauricio, for a change. Ironic. She did actually leave the house for several hours to do errands like go to the post office and pick up some shopping. I went along to pick up more supplies to make Star Wars characters since it looks like I won’t be doing anything else the rest of this week.


The Christmas Parade:

Haley is some entertainment/gossip reporter with scary high/tight mulletish hair and too much eyeliner who intimidates the hell out of me. She goes on TV to report on the love life of some actress named Margo and is very unpleasantly surprised to see Margo snuggling with her own SO, Jason. No, she had no warning about this before going on camera. Haley walks off the stage, goes driving, and crashes her car into some judge’s Christmas display. The judge refuses to just let her pay money and leave, but also insists that she do 25 hours of community service within the next five days, preventing her from running back to The Big City to rehearse for her Christmas Eve TV special. How to get those hours? Why not work on a parade float!

Sadly, there’s about three minutes of parade and about three minutes of parade float in this, which disappointed me since I like crafting. Mostly Haley is told to do her community service by working on a parade float with kids from the art center, which is about to be sold out from under them. Her new ex is trying to get her back with lines like “She only wanted to diversify her portfolio!” Haley flirts around with the B&B owner and angsts about her sad Christmas angst. Her hair and eye makeup get softer as the movie goes on to the point where she looks nearly angelic at the end. She talks to her ex about backing off on the sale, which he does, causing some kid to say, “you’re like a superhero, Haley, you GAVE us Christmas.” Except then some other company wants to buy it, and it turns out her ex is in cahoots with the sleazy mayor to get that art center sold ON PURPOSE. Note that her ex is doing this while still trying to get her to go on some sheikh’s yacht for Christmas. What a dude.

Haley has to go back to NYC to do her special, but then arranges to have it done at the parade, with herself as Mrs. Claus. The kids are trying to win the float competition to save the center and the mayor specifically awards it to someone else to spite them...but he told Haley he was going to do that while her mike was still on, muahahahahahah. A Kickstarter fund starts to save the art center, and Santa and Mrs. Claus kiss.

So yeah...that was so-so on all levels, really.

Marry Me At Christmas:

I’ve wanted to see this one for a while now--preferably all the way through--and finally caught it. I found it to be better than expected.

Maddie and her friend run a struggling bridal shop in Fool’s Gold, California (which apparently isn’t real but this movie is based on a book and reminded me of Nevada City/Grass Valley. A new bride named Ginger walks in and says that her fiance just got into medical school in England so they have to get married first and are going to do it on Christmas Eve even though they can’t really get too many of their friends to come to that. Ginger has been working in FG doing their website, so why not get married here? But she’s in need of wedding planning help and asks Maddie to do it. This isn’t technically what Maddie does for a living, but what the heck.

Maddie is surprised to find out that Ginger Blake is the little sister of Johnny Blake, star of the “Fate’s Edge” series (which he appears to hate, btw, as he can’t force himself to actually read the next script). Johnny raised Ginger after their parents died when he was 18 and now that he’s got money and various “guys,” he is down to pay for this entire wedding and help plan it. Seriously, you do not normally see dudes this excited to plan weddings, albeit most of the time Ginger doesn’t seem to really like his suggestions.*

* “Wedding in Scotland!” He also suggests more expensive invitations and just orders the most popular $10k dress that everyone likes in LA for her, except it is absolutely sad and pathetic to look at and clearly not worth that much money. Which he apologizes for after seeing it. Let the local professionals do it, bud.

Now, I remember reading reviews saying that the guy was dull. I kinda don’t think he is that sparky of a dude, but I do think he has those Hollywood kinda looks for this sort of part, and frankly, the script is actually pretty good at writing him. He gets some fun and funny bits here and there and actually comes off as a nice, friendly dude, albeit one who’s a bit wary when someone whips out a camera. Maddie establishes early that no, she didn’t know about this before taking the job and promises not to pimp him on social media--something her business partner heavily disagrees with, mind you. And the locals may want to selfie with him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will post those pics anywhere but their fridge. One lady says, “What am I, a hipster?”

Anyway, he and Maddie hit it off, but she’s reluctant to date a guy who’s going to leave town and he is taken aback when photos of him do hit social media--like I said, her partner wasn’t cool with that. There’s a bit of dramaz when he’s seen canoodling with some girl at a restaurant, but they make up at Ginger’s wedding and it’s all very cute. So I liked it.

Oh, while I was attempting to find other reviews of this show, I found one that said that she thinks the town is in “eastern California, opposite side of the state from San Francisco, in the mountains.” Uh....?????

Operation Christmas:

I’ll be honest with you, I zoned the hell out a lot during this movie. As far as I can tell: girl meets guy (along with their respective moppets) on vacation, girl and guy want to meet up again, somehow there is a fail on that score, then she moves to another town and is using a different last name and COINCIDENTALLY he turns up again, except he’s in the military and that bums her out because of deployments. And then I think she puts on a show for the military.

I don’t want to hate on Marc Blucas, but dude is just boring to watch in things. Square Military Dudes bore me in general and that seems to be what he usually plays, so I am probably biased there. I like Tricia Helfer but I felt like every time I blinked or looked back at the screen she was looking sad sad sad. It seemed like this was a bigger weeper than Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane. I also kept comparing this to my coworker with a husband in the military (he’ll be in Afghanistan next Christmas...or not... who knows....) so maybe that didn’t help either.

A Christmas To Remember:

This one is pretty much a nicer version of “Overboard,” except at Christmas. Jennifer Wade (Mira Sorvino, just happy to get any kind of gig after goddamned Harvey Weinstein) is some Martha Stewart-y TV hostess person who is all easily stressed out. She decides to go from NYC to Colorado for vacation, gets in a car accident, I guess she loses her car and stuff and whatever, and is fished up by Dr. John Blake, a handsome widower veterinarian* with a bunch of moppets in the house. Jennifer, however, comes down with freaking amnesia and is renamed “Maggie” for the time being while snowed in. I wish this movie was named “Amnesia for Christmas,” but the title it was given also gives me lulz.

* in true Hallmark fashion, a la Christmas Under Wraps but in reverse, it’s kinda like “eh, veterinarian...actual doctor....let’s just go for it, eh?” Though to be fair, they do get an human doctor’s house call later.

I give Cameron Mathison props: dude makes an awesome Hallmark dude. He can really fucking sell it. He is a top Hallmark dude. And Mira Sorvino is also knocking it out of the park. But I gotta say: if this lady is on TV, even if she’s on TV in NYC vs. Colorado, I find it implausible that she wouldn’t be recognized faster. She probably needed to have a less high profile job for this to be plausible. And yes, the Internet does clue someone in eventually.

Actual quotes from the movie:

“You haven’t heard of baloney omelet before?”
“You haven’t heard of ANYTHING before!”

“She tried to force feed me tofu.”

Also amusing: after she’s found, Jennifer finds out she has a boyfriend named Brad. To her credit, she seems to dump him about five minutes after returning to New York, by telling him he’s a wonderful guy. How would SHE know? Brad also has zero reaction to this whatsoever.

Happily, Jennifer/Maggie shows up on the family’s door just as they were about to drive to NYC to come get her, because otherwise we could have had some kind of Gift of the Magi-esque irony going on.

Time For Me To Come Home For Christmas:

This one is essentially Christmas romantic couple version of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.” It’s based off a book and a Blake Shelton song, so it features a country music star named Heath (or Lee) Sawyer, who’s had writer’s block since his dad died and he needs a Christmas song, which of course he won’t come up with until Christmas Day, which is a bit late.*

Sadly, I am not super thrilled at Heath’s voice--it’s a bit high and nasal--once he finally sings his song. I did not expect that sound to come out of him.

Heath is played by Josh Henderson, previously seen as John Ross on Dallas, where he was rather a cocky schmuck. I am pleased to say that this character is not a cocky schmuck and actually works well and has charm and fun on Hallmark. They can bring him back any time. Anyway, he’s schlepping back to his hometown from NYC to see his mom for Christmas, but obviously all kinds of bad weather hampers that. The girl is named Cara and she’s in New York trying to get a bank loan for the family business, but somehow this means that she’ll have to lay off employees. I’m not sure how that works. Anyway, turns outs that these two are from the same area, so they end up on the same plane, bus, and car together trying to get home.

There’s cute moments with her in a reindeer sweater, with Heath hanging out with a kid flying by himself, and the two of them trying to entertain Heath’s friend’s kids when they stay overnight.

Actual quotes:

“You fly out to our hometown and you meet the hottest guy on the planet?”
“I shared a gingerbread plate with a two-time Grammy Award winner and I had no idea.”
“Yeah, we go way back.” “Two whole days.”

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