Special Event: Hallmark Christmas Movies 2023
November 5, 2023 7:47 PM - Subscribe

Per this discussion last year, I'm starting a thread for Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, assuming there's probably not a lot of people to discuss EACH movie in separate posts, but some folks may want to discuss them in general.

Within this, I'll post discussion of the movies as I get through them, or as anyone else goes through them. I've been saving them off Philo TV for once I have free time again, which I may have a lot of this holiday season.
posted by jenfullmoon (78 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
“Never Been Chris’d” looked cute but the reviews haven’t been great. Recorded it but haven’t watched yet.
posted by Clustercuss at 8:10 PM on November 5

Here we go!

Under The Christmas Sky: Kat is an astrophysicist who specializes in the sun. She recently got into a car accident that's caused a blind spot in her left eye that hasn't healed on its own, which means she's officially blocked from ever going to the space station like she planned. While still out on medical leave for the holidays, she hangs with the family and is offered a wee bit of a job consulting at the planetarium to jazz up their exhibits for Christmas. This partners her with current employee David, who's a wee bit stodgy on presentation, but you know he'll come around. He has a daughter, Lila, who is a total space nerd and just looooooves Kat right off.

Our Fun Beta Couple is Kat's super-charming brother Andy, who still hasn't figured out what to do for a career yet, who totally likes Celeste, a hot and charming redhead who works at the planetarium. He pitches in with her toy drive and ... whatever else ;)

Things I liked:
* Everyone is very cute in this, but especially Andy, who is charm personified. Give this man many more Hallmark movies, please.
* I like the Blind Spot Cam they break out occasionally so you see what she's dealing with.
* Lila is an adorable space nerd with a light-up wheelchair and when Kat confesses she can't go into space, Lila says she can't either (I gather a kid at school is giving her shit over this) and they clasp hands and it's soooooo sweet, I kvelled.
* Space!
* Everyone is very nice and supportive of each other, no jerks here unless you count whatever jackholes bully Lila in school and stomp on her ornament.
* Kat decides that even if she can't ever go to space (and there's no miracle cure in this movie for the blind spot), she's still enough into her work that she can deal with that. Good for her.

Things I'm confused on.
* They have NASA....er, NSP...(note: there's a shot clearly saying NASA at the start of the movie) in Kansas City? Doesn't NASA/space offices in general have their buildings by oceans for launches? Or is she just visiting KC from wherever NSP is, because they seemed to get over there for a visit mighty quickly.

Not so much my thing:
* I'm beyond tired of Magical Christmas Job Offers Elsewhere in every movie and Kat seems to have them handed to her like Christmas cookies by her friends. That said, it's reasonable for her to consider moving onto museum curation or whatever else if she decided she couldn't bear not going into space.

Recommended viewing, in my opinion. Could have a bit of a hotter romance between the leads--they're quite friendly but don't quite have the steam that Andy exudes in like, every scene--but enjoyable and sweet. And SPACE!
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:10 PM on November 5 [3 favorites]

A game my partner and I play every year with hallmark/Netflix Christmas Universe/similar movies is trying to reconstruct the plots from the title and poster alone. I highly recommend this!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:36 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]

Thing I forgot to mention: David is SEPARATED from his wife. For seven years. NOT divorced. (Insert Will/Jada reference here.) It's clearly spelled out with that word. What the heck, Hallmark? That seems so open-ended and messy, not to mention a bit difficult to have a happy ending when your hero still needs to get divorced first. Where is the wife, anyway, did she just abandon her kid and run off?

Oh yeah, and David for once has NOT bought a Christmas gift for a girl he's known for only a month, which is rather refreshing in its honesty that that isn't normally a thing people would do except in Hallmark. (Meanwhile Celeste certainly did for Andy.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:55 AM on November 6 [2 favorites]

What do we think will be the subject of the inevitable cookin/baking competition this season? I'd love it if they'd take one of the fall vineyard movies and do a mulled-wine sequel with everyone getting sloshed.
posted by TwoStride at 6:33 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]

WOOHOO I am into this! I will be watching a number of the new movies.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:02 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]

Where Are You, Christmas? Addy is an overloaded Christmas branding expert who has snuck off to the Maldives for Christmas (a Hallmark sin) for the last six years to decompress, but is guilted into going back to her Christmas town because her brother's going to propose. She accidentally makes a wish on a Santa app (?!?!) that Christmas would be gone, has a car accident, and then wakes up in Pleasantville....i.e. black and white world where Christmas doesn't exist and there's a billion New Year's Eve movies running since June and everyone is vaguely cranky and snappish.

Addy figures out that getting people to remember Christmas puts them back in color again, starting with the traumatized ex-soldier/mechanic/love interest, Hunter. (Who's mildly funny bundling himself up to hide his color.) Addy, weirdly enough, stays in black and white while everyone else is turning colors. Her dad (Jerry/Terry/Larry/Garry from Parks and Rec) is fairly cranky over all of this, and also Addy not being around as much.

It was...okay, I guess? I wasn't madly in love with it, not sure why. It felt like a four hour long movie somehow. I did find a review that points out the major plot holes in this, and it's accurate. That said, I do like how Addy gets progressively pissier and pissier that she's not turning back into color, yells at the app and pitches her phone out the window.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:19 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]

Where to Watch All 114 New Christmas Movies This Year

One. Hundred. Fourteen.

That is a round up of various channels and streamers, not just Hallmark, obviously, but that is a truly mindboggling number of holiday movies.
posted by the primroses were over at 7:09 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]

jenfullmoon, THANK YOU for this thread. I haven't had a chance to delve into this year's offerings, but the past couple of years I've totally leaned into corny Xmas movies as comfort food (and my cynical teenage sons were surprisingly supportive, in the vein of "Hey mom, if it makes you happy...") so I am very much looking forward to getting my craft room cleaned out so I can curl up in my MomChair with a cuppa (whiskey or hot cocoa) and a box of Kleenex while the Schmoop and the sons are playing GameBox or whatever on the big TV.

I'll even try to review something at some point, in order to be a good thread participant. Try, anyway.
posted by cinnamonduff at 7:32 PM on November 6 [3 favorites]

Oh, and while I haven't managed to get even a tenth through the list the primroses were over posted, could I request that if people find a non-Christian holiday movie, maybe give that a little extra shoutout?

From last year, although I came across it a bit after Hannukah: Menorah in the Middle on Hulu, which features the same general concepts (in this case, saving the family bakery), but with more blue and less red/green (and much tastier-looking food). Plus, Sarah Silverman and her real-life sister as secondary characters. Quite enjoyable.
posted by cinnamonduff at 7:45 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


This is brilliant. I always enjoy reading your impressions of media.

Whether I'll wind up seeing any of these is debatable this year. I'm so overworked, I never seem to get away from my desk, even on nights and weekends. My media intake is a mere fraction of what it typically is, and even then, i never really set out to watch any of these movies, but if they're on and there is nothing else on I want to see, I'll let them run.

About the only one I really want to see this year (and likely won't as I doubt it will make it into the broadcast schedule on channels I actually get) is this one and the only reason for that is that apparently part of it was shot around these parts, and I always love a good game of spot-the-local-landmark.
posted by sardonyx at 8:53 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]

At my house, we watch a lot of Hallmark movies, especially at Christmastime.

I get pulled out of the stories because so many of the leads are used so often. They seem like high-throughput romantics because they have a new epiphanic romance like three nights a week on my TV. Not trampy, exactly, because they're so chaste, but just....one after another, you know?

So every time there is a fresh face we get excited. Not the same-old, same-old pretty-eyes-and-stubble/bangs!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:40 AM on November 7

Today's movie: Checkin' It Twice, because hockey. I note that I was watching this while filling out FMLA paperwork, so I may have been distracted on details.

Scott is an older-than-usual hockey player in whatever you call the minor leagues of hockey. He gets transferred around a lot and has now been transferred to Idaho and the "Fighting Trout." He meets Ashley the NYC real estate agent and they accidentally end up with each other's debit cards, and also he's staying with her family apparently.

Both have career angst: Ashley seems kind of meh on her job, then gets Yet Another Magical Job Offer Out Of Nowhere...the usual. Scott feels like he has to prove he's as good at hockey as his dad was (hate to say it, but he's probably...not) and ends up spending a lot of time coaching his younger teammates and then gets forced to coach peewee hockey. Gee, why don't you become a coach?

There are some ridiculous funny moments in this one, and I don't just mean the Fighting Trouts:

What's new in town? "We got a water treatment plant."

The show has to point out for the non-hockey people that Scott has a chance of moving up to the big leagues every time there's an incident in Boise. "Walker plays right wing! YOU play right wing!" "I remember."

"Where's Dave?" "He's not allowed within 50 feet of the referee any more." (Dave waves from far away.)

Grandma apparently makes THE WORST eggnog, which Scott is warned about but obviously feels obligated to try anyway. He literally backwashes it. (Why hasn't anyone told Grandma there's a reason why nobody will drink it?) Also Grandma is not helping her case when she says, "Well, finally someone who doesn't get all paranoid about that salmonella!"

Lil' Ashley used to throw three day temper tantrums about taking the tree down, so her dad planted a tree outside for her that she decorates.
"Isn't a Christmas tree inside the house?"
(deadpan) "No, I've never heard of that."

They play "Merry Fishmas," in which people have to hook fish ornaments out of a bunch of ball ornaments. This cracks me up.

In the end, Scott finally gets called up to Boise, having turned the team around...IN A WEEK. SERIOUSLY, HE'S BEEN IN THE LAND OF TROUT FOR A WEEK?!? This entire movie was a week and he's had that level of career turnaround?!?!

It continues to be ridiculous to me that everyone has business deals on Christmas Eve or whatever. NOBODY WANTS TO WORK THEN. Ashley gets two effing days to decide on the Magical Job Offer.

In the end, after waiting his entire career to move up to the big leagues, Scott decides to become an assistant coach instead. This sounds implausible to me.

I found some aspects of this entertaining (Fishmas!) and I like Kevin McGarry quite a lot--he's probably um, older than 32 though. Kind of found Ashley bland and the romance not really doing much of anything, though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:01 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]

could I request that if people find a non-Christian holiday movie, maybe give that a little extra shoutout?

Last year's Hanukkah on Rye was much better than it had any right to be. Silly in the way that they all are, but delightful in the way that most of them aren't.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:01 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]

I loved that one!
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:50 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]

Ms. Christmas Comes To Town: Look, I'm being a completionist and making myself watch the Movies and Mysteries channel movies too. Truth be told, I usually don't like them very much since they put the more depressing ones on it and mostly I watch Hallmark Christmas for the lulz, and these movies have no lulz. Anyway, our title character (Gail) is some TV host on the Holiday Shopping Channel (oy, I hate that shit). Her doctor goes on about the joy she inspires every year and I'm like...on home shopping?! Anyway, I guess cancer's returned and she has about "a year or two." I note this is the shortest version of this conversation like, ever, it goes from "it's been nearly five years clear!" to "um...nope, it's back, you got a year" and they don't even spell out what. Brain tumor? (Yes.)

Meet Amanda, who works for Ms. Christmas and is on a blind date. It's not the blind date she was expecting, which is to say she sat at the wrong table and Travis uh, just didn't say anything about it?

Gail decides to retire and leave on her own terms, after doing a tour first. She says her contract allows her to name Amanda as her successor, which sounds like a surprisingly good contract. Amanda is dubbed "Ms. Holiday." Gail's boss insists that they travel with a nurse, just in case. Hi, Travis! Gail declares that nobody knows why Travis is here or that anything is wrong. Gail's boss says to claim he's her godson trying to learn about the business.

Meet James Andrews, "the man I almost married," who writes to Gail but she doesn't write back. Well, meet his silver fox picture, anyway. They are heading to Gail's hometown of Exeter first, HMM, you think he's gonna show up? Duh. Gail won't go to dinner though.

Travis says he only has scrubs in his wardrobe. This somehow leads Gail to insist that he gets a haircut, when his hair is already pretty short. I can't say I notice much difference--like, shaping? Also, this is a rare Male Makeover Scene, hmm. He's even dubbed "Mr. Winters."

Anyway, they drive around distributing gifts or whatever, wear outfits, Gail and her ex try to figure out why they broke up in the first place (her career, I guess?), her dying is eventually found out by Amanda, there's brief health scares, and Travis asks Amanda if she wants to be a couple for Christmas, which will be used as a title at some point. The movie ends before Gail's death, on a cheerful last "Merry Christmas!"

I don't like downer subject matter or watching someone's last Christmas in a different sort of wham way, but I suppose it's not bad otherwise. But I don't get the downer Christmas movies at all.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:58 PM on November 8

I missed yesterday. Here is Christmas By Design. Disclaimer: one of my degrees is in design, focusing on clothing.

Charlotte is a "high class" clothing designer with a business named Alastair (?) that ends up being flooded, forcing her to go home to Connecticut for "Elf Capades" for a week. (Having had two floods, I LAUGH at only one week to fix.) Apparently Elf Capades was founded by her dead dad the mechanic and her ex is discontinuing them ("it's not my priority right now") after this year. Most movies would be about saving the Elf Capades, or showing what they are, but not so much this movie, which mostly seems to forget about it. They don't even show much of it. Also, apparently no elves? I note that I read it's based off some book called "Jingle Jammies," which is a nauseating title but also makes sense given what is to come.

Charlotte's employee, who is clearly Venezuelan but the movie CLAIMS SHE'S JEWISH, signed up Ms. Luxury Designer for a discount, family friendly, department store design contest with a fashion show on Christmas Eve, which she gets let into as first runner up for reasons that don't make much sense. Nor does entering her into anything budget-friendly. Because there is some pajama event in the Elf Capades, she decides to make pajamas. Honestly, both sets she makes, they ugly. Like I can't even, Wal-Mart does 'em better. Why the ugly muddy maroon fabrics, why the weird cuts? The design aspect of this movie stinks, they don't show much Elf Capades, there's some drama with Mom's new man or something....

What is good about this is the actress is cute and charming, despite being saddled with a relatively unpleasant character at times, and the love interest, Spencer the mechanic (I note they meet by her hitting his car, and then they get into "city slicker vs. country rube" arguments), is nothing but handsome, charming, sweet, et al. Spencer perhaps deserves better than a girl who rags on him for his coveralls, y'know, because he's a mechanic...like her dad.... and he overhears her singing his praises, followed by scorning him because her life is in New York, and he wears coveralls. Girl, I know you're into fashion, but mechanics wear those for a reason. Get over it.

Did I mention that her last minute replacement pajama entry is coveralls? Which are still pretty ugly and in some kind of dark plaid you can barely see? And she literally bails out of the contest at the last minute to drive home for 4 hours to the pajama event? And yet somehow she still gets hired anyway because the guy says he respects her putting family first?

Mostly this is pretty bad, but the actor in it is delightful and deserves a far better movie than this one next year. Spencer is about the only reason to watch this movie.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:45 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]

Jenfullmoon, I wish I could get your reviews in my home Plex server.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:10 PM on November 10 [3 favorites]

I'm so annoyed! I was really enjoying "Mystic Christmas" and then the player has super crashed on me and won't reboot! GRRRRRRRRRR. May not be able to get one in today, darn it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:36 AM on November 11

Just saw this terrible Mario Lopez one from last year. He was basically okay the rest of everything else was simply awful. This is definitely one to be skipped.
posted by sardonyx at 9:27 PM on November 11

Mystic Christmas seems to have stopped recording at the 28 minute mark, I can't fix it or delete it, I'm super annoyed and sent a complaint to Philo, got some weird bounceback email to that. SIGH.

Moving on: Joyeux Noel: copy editor Lea gets fascinated by an anonymous painting turning up in Denver and she finds the journal of the painter, "F," that did it for "Ma Fleur" in France at a "magical" market where people find true love. She suggests it as a story and the suggestion is taken, but an actual reporter is assigned to the job and Lea has to beg her way into the trip. As for the reporter, Mark, he's normally some kind of burned-out war reporter who isn't into this at all--or Lea nitpicking the definitions of words--but well, here they are, re-creating "F" and "Ma Fleur's" dates to track down the missing couple. This actually works pretty well to track down the handcrafted box, the ice cream shop her parents owned, etc. However, there's no happy ending for this couple, as Ava ("Ma Fleur") ditched F and left him sad and alone...until he married someone else, anyway. This is a realistic buzzkill for everyone, but a story is written anyway, and Mark learns to be less of a cynical gloomy gus.

There is also a subplot where a kid reporter harasses Mark about gnomes. I'm not sure what to make of this.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:19 AM on November 12

Flipping for Christmas:
Before we begin, I'm already like, "I am not into this subject matter, I hate remodeling houses, this is not going to be my jam unless there's something secretly spectacular or more interesting than home remodeling." Eh, not really, it turns more into small town real estate war?

Abigail does some kind of real estate...stuff, and has acquired a new asshole client, Antonio, who goes on about gentrification and wanting to find someone who isn't fazed by holiday shutdowns. Abigail is all "workaholic, cool with that..." FOR NOW.

So, the situation: 104-year-old Uncle Frank (brother-in-law's uncle) died and co-left the house to BIL John and sister Claire and Bo the contractor. If this makes sense to you, please explain it to me...and the couple want to flip it and sell it, but Bo wants to turn it into a B&B and won't sell. Awkward! The couple's way of deciding this is to...more or less lock them in the house to work it out? Huh? Anyway, of course they fight and then start paint rolling each other.

Random aside: "I've never had cranberry sauce on a hot dog before."

Oh no! Creepy real estate guy wants to gentrify her small town now! And won't be persuaded out of squishing out the town's lone coffee shop! Also, Antonio likes to swoop on in during the Christmas season when everyone's distracted to get great deals!
The mayor is fine with gentrification. Abigail goes on about the horrors of fast food restaurants moving in and I'm all, like every other town in our lives? Antonio ups his offer, the mayor accepts, Ashley manages to figure out it's protected land because of the animals and thus it can't be sold. Oh, and apparently now she's in on the B&B. Ashley quits Antonio's account.

Eh, I don't know if it's a bad movie or not, mostly kinda eye-rolly though. I'm so not into the subject matter that perhaps I am a bad judge of it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:52 PM on November 12

Thanks for posting that Decider link to the Ms. Christmas movie, jenfullmoon. That one just aired here and I spent the whole time trying to figure out where I recognized the main male love interest and that Decider piece tagged him as being from UnReal. Of course that's where he's from, but in my head he's kind of in the same slot/category/whatever as John Barrowman from Arrow/the Arrowverse (or that Dr. Who spinoff that I've never watched). The older male love interest, in contrast, actually is from the Arrowverse (very minor re-occuring character) so that didn't help me trying to figure out who Mr. Red Suit was.
posted by sardonyx at 9:41 PM on November 12 [1 favorite]

Okay, Mystic Christmas finally started working again for me! So far this is one of my top ones for the season because it and everyone in it is quite quirky.

Juniper is some kind of marine biologist/veterinarian?/seal rescuer who travels around constantly, and is also socially awkward around people to the nth degree. She's a fun level of quirky, as is about everyone else in this movie to varying degrees, which makes this movie for me. Her best friend Candace, working in the same field, calls her to come to Mystic and help rehab a seal. I note this comes with yet another Magical Job Offer, but at least this one makes sense in context and isn't out of the effing blue about it.

Ten years ago at Candace's wedding, Juniper shared a magical weekend with the best friend's brother, Spencer. Then she wrote him a long email, he never replied but claims he replied (spoiler alert: it's still in drafts), nothing happened. Now they're in the same town again for however long, what shall happen?! Also, there's a cute kid who's also socially awkward, and three Very Eager Beaver interns for Juniper to deal with, which kind of freaks her out socially. They don't really care.

In fun events, there's a boat parade, light show, trivia, tour, fake Northern lights, and people in Dickensian costumes. Juniper's spent Christmas in 11 different locations and finds it odd to repeat the same things every year, but this is fun, right? Also,
Juniper is delightfully dorky/nerdy/awkward and everyone else rolls with it.

It's yet another "heroine needs to learn how to settle down in a small town" movie, albeit a bit less obnoxious about it in some respects (see end quote). Spencer does politely call her out for (a) not wanting to make connections, (b) kind of always being that person who brags about her trips, never repeating a Christmas twice, etc. and it seems like a wee bit of shaming to someone who never quite gets out of town, in that George Bailey sort of way. That's fair. Later Juniper admits she was a bit relieved to not hear from him ten years ago, hm.

Juniper gets some excellent advice from her dad: asks how her gut feels about staying in Mystic, she says she's 50/50, he says when she's feeling 51% on a side, go for it. Juniper doesn't want to change her life just for a guy...but Candace is all, yeah, and your best friend, and the interns...Then Spencer agrees to leave the restaurant...

Cut to next year. she took the job, but Spencer is packed and returning from a trip at the train station. He's been traveling around and they have plans to do more of it.

Quotes from the movie:
Guy at conference: "It can't be the best Christmas song if it's less than 30 years old....Everyone KNOWS the best Christmas song is Good King Wenceslaus."
Juniper: "I...like the donkey song."

Juniper is asked to come to Mystic and help a stranded seal. "The Northern Lights will be there next year, right?"
"Visibility is decreasing every year until 2025 but essentially...yes...."

Candace: "How come everyone had a better time at my wedding than I did?"
Spencer: "Because you had a terrible date."
(Everyone looks awkwardly at the kid in the room.)

Juniper: "Don't think of me as your boss, think of me as Head...Seal...Lady."

Lou the kid asks Juniper what a sand dollar is. "It's a ... dead body."
Candace: "You could have said fossil."
Spencer: "Skeleton would have been less upsetting."
Juniper: "This is what happens when I explain things on the fly..."
Lou's reaction: "Fascinating."

Spencer: "If you had to stay in one place for life, where would you go?"
Juniper: "The moon!"

"I can always stay and do more nothing." (I forget who.)

There's a gay guy with a crush who has the easiest asking out EVER, I'm so jealous: "I don't like desserts ,but I like you. Can we hang out sometime?"
"Is now a good time?"
"Now is my favorite time."
Would that it was always that easy.

Just for fun, here's an article with some commentary on these movies:
"Most Welcome Trend in Endings "Bravo to characters realizing long-distance relationships can work in the short-term, so no one needs to sacrifice a dream for a chance at love. In Hallmark Channel’s Mystic Christmas, George Bailey-esque Sawyer (Chandler Massey) embarked on his long-awaited year-long European adventure, while jet-setting seal rehabilitation expert Juniper (Jessy Schram), who realized she wanted to be part of a team and family, took a full-time job in Mystic, Connecticut, and used vacation days to meet up with him.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:13 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]

My Christmas Guide: hey, it's a Movies and Mysteries movie I don't hate! Actually pretty much like it! And it's like, cheerful and stuff and not depressing and about death!

The plot: College professor Trevor went blind from retinitis pigmentosa a few years ago and has a cane, but keeps literally running into the campus construction. He is a wee bit of a crank about it (i.e. threatening to sue even though the foreman is all, "I put cones out!"), giving me flashbacks to last year's "Noel Next Door" when the hero had similar reactions to street injury. The dean suggests he go out on leave until the construction finishes, to which I laugh and say, "COLLEGES NEVER FINISH CONSTRUCTION, THEY'RE LIKE SARAH WINCHESTER'S HOUSE." Anyway, his kid Annie bugs him to get a guide dog (even though Trevor is essentially all, dude, I'm barely holding single parenting while blind together as is, let's not add another life form to the equation), and he gets on very well with the human trainer, Peyton.

Peyton is a nice girl (it's very sweet that she finds out stuff Trevor did pre-blindness and then takes him to those places again), but she has a dipshit boyfriend named Chad (of course he's named Chad) who is AWOL most of the time, probably cheating, the usual. He has a friend named "Chainsaw" who gives him relationship advice like, you can't afford to buy her a Christmas gift, tell her you'll take her to Mexico in the spring! Punt it to Future Chad! Chad also tries to shake Trevor's hand, tells Trevor that he's going to "get serious" with Peyton (later we see him trying to figure out how to get a "promise" ring, not an engagement ring) and "She's beautiful. You should see her," shit like that, to which Trevor is all, "I may be blind but I can tell she deserves better than you" to. Later we find out this moment was caught on camera, causing Peyton to break up with Chad immediately.

The one thing that doesn't work in this movie is the inevitable third act turn/Big Mis/whatever in which Trevor (a) has that incident with Chad, (b) the dean tells him to go on medical leave again. Out of effing nowhere, because neither of that shit seems bad enough to provoke that reaction, Trevor is all, "take the dog back and I'm going on leave from work, because... reasons." Also weird is showing Trevor having flashbacks to Peyton that obviously he couldn't um, see.

Also, his daughter Annie gets bullied at school and when the kid pretends to be blind at her, Annie shoves cake into his face. Trevor is called in for this and told she should have turned the other cheek/come to the principal about it. To which Trevor is all, "what, and be called a snitch? Screw this, I'll deal with it." Annie, however, simply finds out the bully is a bedwetter and tells him she'll blab it around school if he doesn't stop. Go Annie.

I will note that the actor does have impaired vision/is legally blind.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:47 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]

Never Been Chris'd: This is a legitimately different Hallmark movie, for sure. Two best friends/co-business partners, Liz and Naomi, go home for the holidays and keep running into their mutual high school crush, former BMOC Chris Silver. Chris Silver is played by Tyler Hines, who is as close to a "bad boy" (really, more of a snark boy) that you will get on the Hallmark Channel. He is excellent in pretty much everything because even in playing not-so-Hallmarkish dudes, he gives good Hallmark. These days Chris is a high school English teacher and a vegan, super friendly to all, and seems to be a wee bit down lately, and he's basically holding high school reunions daily in town.

I note the title is an in-joke between the girls that any girl he's dated has been Chris'd. Like "christened," I presume, or kissed.
This sounds like it's going to be love triangle hell, but not really. Both girls like him. Naomi ends up being the one that dates him. Liz is fine with that. Chris suggests an LDR and then Naomi is all "omg I barely know him," there's a brief breakup, and then they get back together at the end. Tyler Hines is a hot Hallmark kisser, no question.

Otherwise, there's a wee bit of parental drama, in that Naomi wishes her mother wasn't so close (as in, I'm moving to your town close) and Liz is annoyed at her mother and thus isn't around much. I also note that Liz is Jewish and Hanukkah is mentioned and a party is thrown, so this may be the token Hanukkah movie this year since I don't think I've seen any obvious ones in the listings.

There is a vague sideplot about how people always think Naomi is Liz's employee (I note Liz is white, Naomi is Asian) rather than business partner. Nobody outright says "racism," but the amount of times that comes up, hm. Another vague sideplot is how Liz got rejected from Stanford and then finds an acceptance letter, but they don't seem to ever get back to that topic.

This isn't much of a romance even though technically there was one. It's really more about the girls' friendship than anything else, with Chris joining the pack. I applaud this movie for doing something different, plus good use of Tyler Hines.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:14 PM on November 14

Chris Silver is played by Tyler Hines, who is as close to a "bad boy" (really, more of a snark boy) that you will get on the Hallmark Channel

Is it a problem that although I didn't know the actor's name, I knew exactly who you meant? He is my favorite Hallmark Guy for sure.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:28 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]

... Tyler Hines, who is as close to a "bad boy" (really, more of a snark boy) that you will get on the Hallmark Channel.

Is he the one with the persistent stubble, and pale blue eyes? Wait, Google tells me that I'm thinking of Ryan Paevey.

Tyler Hines is the one who I think of as "CanCon Matthew Perry" whenever I see him onscreen.

Carry on, brave critic jenfullmoon!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:35 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]

MetaFilter: There is also a subplot where a kid reporter harasses Mark about gnomes.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:38 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]

The Santa Summit: This turns out to be a really well done movie. Added bonus is that the writer, Frank Longo, is on Reddit and posting about it.

I have seen a fair amount of petty bitching about how Santa-Cons are total drunkfests IRL (true, a friend of mine's husband got in a damn brawl at the one in SF...I don't think he's allowed to come back) and Hallmark doesn't show total drunkfests. But drink is mentioned and people seem to be enjoying themselves. There's sledding, line dancing, Christmas karaoke, gingerbread house decorating, and a silent disco. A+ for activities. Special bonus points to the pedicabbing reindeer and the roaming Christmas tree.

Three teachers, Jordin, Ava, and Stella, go to the Santa Summit. This movie juggles three potential romances in one go without dropping a ball.

Jordin's plotline is (I'm guessing, I never saw it) the movie Serendipity. She loses her distinctive handcrafted wallet, and REALLY hits it off with Liam, the finder of said wallet. Unfortunately the two are separated in the crowds before exchanging names and numbers, and both were in hats and beards, and yes, this IS like a masquerade ball. Both of them roam about trying to find each other, Liam attempts to Google and kind of fails at it (I am unclear as to how implausible it might be to find the lady's picture but not her name once he Googles for "name of town art teacher"), but builds her a gingerbread house she'll spot and leaves her a note for a place to meet. Clever.

Ava, a proud nerd girl, is in love with fellow nerd teacher Ben, who goes to Santa-Con every year. Her quest is to confess her love to him. Because it's Hallmark and not my shit life, this goes great for her.

Stella, a grumpy former music teacher who's now forced to teach English because music is expendable, finds herself annoyed by Freddie, who has decided to become the fourth musketeer to her friend group. Yes, it's a grumpy/sunshine romance, as he ends up growing on her. The movie makes it work.

This is the Christmas sprirt. What would you call it? "Herd mentality?"

"You know how hard it is to drink eggnog in a beard?"

"There is romance in the air."
"Nothing says romance like a lot of randos in a club."

"How can you think about a guy when there are little...random volcanoes in front of your face?"

"I asked around, no needlepoint wallets."

"It's like a romantic Where's Waldo."
"You fell for a girl with a big bushy beard..."
"Hey, everyone has a type."

"What's a Christmas pizza?"
"It's a pizza shaped like a snowman, DUH."
"How was I supposed to know that?"

"I have to spend time teaching teenagers to care about The Great Gatsby. I don't like The Great Gatsby either!"

"We are the three musketeers. There's no 4th musketeer".
"The whole book is about a guy who becomes the 4th musketeer. I thought you were an English teacher?"

"The power of Christmas must determine your fate. Who are we to interfere with that?"

"DJ Ginger Jeff and the Fresh Pine"

The reindeer says it's pretty easy to find attraction with another person but finding friends is harder. I disagree most strongly with that, sir.

"I have to be my own sweatpants!"
"What...is happening right now?"

"You are a very wise reindeer."

"You are my biggest slice" of my mental pie.
"You guys are really weird together!"

"Told you I'd build you that dream house."
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:00 PM on November 15 [1 favorite]

Someone just explained to me the Stanford letter in Never Been Chris'd: Liz knew she got into Stanford and didn't tell Naomi so she could go to school with her.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:03 PM on November 15 [1 favorite]

Mystery on MIstletoe Lane: I'm watching this movie while waiting around for a friend to finally finish up at the ER so I can pick her up. "Hey, I'm on medication that gives me SUPER insomnia and I don't have to go to work tomorrow, let ME pick her up," I said. I note friend has been at the hospital since 3:15 p.m., took several hours to get into the emergency room, took a few more hours to get registered, and now they are giving her four sets of tests. I decided to put on a Hallmark movie when I get home, making the joke that we'd see how long it took to be interrupted while watching it. Foolish me, I've finished it, it's after 11 and she's still not done yet.

Anyway, I didn't take notes on this one and I accidentally hit the post button way sooner than I wanted to, so this will be a two part post.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:18 PM on November 15

I appreciate that they are actually doing a Christmas mystery on the mystery channel, which makes it more interesting than the ones on here usually are. Heidi has been hired as some kind of new historical director in a town, which comes with a house to live in. Her kids are bored, start going through the house and find that someone's left behind a treasure/scavenger hunt throughout the house.

The love interest in this is David, the previous job holder/house-liver, who quit the job to start his own business but still hangs around quite a bit. He seems nice, but every time he comments that Heidi's been in the job a week and done more than he did in two years, I'm thinking, "dude, how much of a slacker WERE you at this job?!" not to mention that he didn't notice all of the stuff in the house and he's like, into remodeling. Nice dude, but...obtuse?

Anyway, David's dad turns out to be the son of the original owner of the house, who ran a Christmas house (hence the title) and left this game behind for his kid, but the family broke up due to tragedy, etc.

There's a very slight subplot about how the deputy mayor is kind of a jerk for no good reason and threatens to fire Heidi when she wants to re-decorate the house again. Then the mayor gets up and is all, "She can decorate the house."

I deem it a quietly pleasant movie to watch.

"Yay, a freezing cold Christmas!" Apparently it doesn't snow in North Carolina and these kids have never heard of a (Hallmark) white Christmas.

"It's about a smelly reindeer. That's clever."

"Ms. Wicks has done more for this manor in a week than I have for two years." Dude, did you suck at your job or what?

"Apparently they saw something called a hashtag."
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:27 PM on November 15

I watched "Never Been Chris'd" last night and I HATED it. OMG, so boring - I appreciate them trying to do a different kind of story but this one fell super flat for me. No chemistry between any of the leads (lead guy creeped me out), no legitimately cute or funny side characters.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:23 AM on November 17

I just listened to a podcast in the car where the ladies also hated it. Hated that everyone basically slipped back to immature high school mode (which is what I expected from a high school reunion movie, personally), didn't like the guy too much.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:20 PM on November 17

Everything Christmas: I don't think I can write a great review of this since I watched it off and on over several days, with Shit Going On, insomnia, etc., but also, I just don't know what to say about it and kind of wonder if I had trouble following it because I had Shit Going On, or because it's a bit awkward and weird? I can't even find a decent review of it anywhere.

The concept is that Lori-Jo (Christmas fanatic) and her (guilty workaholic) friend Tori go on a road trip to "Yuletide Springs, where it's Christmas all year round." LJ quits her job to do this trip and drags Tori along while she feels guilty and answers email. However, because it's a road trip, stuff goes wrong and the girls end up in OTHER Christmas towns on the way. I kind of suspect they just used the same town over and over again and changed the signs. They also keep running into the same hot dudes again and again, and keep running into Kris Kringle over and over again. Is he actual Santa, or just a magician named Kris Broadstadt? Who's to say?

This did not stand out for me as a movie, and mostly just kinda feels like deja vu over and over again.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:00 PM on November 17

I liked how this video review said the only thing that stood out was a random Henry Rollins quote.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:12 PM on November 17

Okay, here's a guessing game for the people on this thread: guess which Hallmark movies I watch today. And when I say "watched" I mean caught some portion of ranging from approximately 15 minutes to about 60 minutes. Now, since I'm not in the US, I'm not watching on the same channel as most of you. I have no idea if the movies are new this year or from past years. (With one exception, and I only know it's new because it has been advertised to death.)

To be totally fair and transparent, I really don't know what the titles of the movies actually are. Two-thirds of them were on when I started watching them (i.e. sat down to take a break between chores, while waiting for something to come out of the oven, etc.). One I happened to catch at the beginning, but the title was so generic, it didn't stick in my head. I'm sure I can look them up (and will do so if people start to guess).

1. A fake-dating scenario.
A Mexican American singer has been threatened or stalked (I think), so her record label has hired a bodyguard for her. The guy seems to have no family and may be ex-military (or maybe not, but somebody was going on about Semper Fi, so draw your own conclusions.) The singer doesn't want to worry her family about her security problem so she makes the bodyguard pretend to be her boyfriend as she visits for the holidays. There's a B or C plot about tensions between the singer and her former best friend. Name that movie.

2. A learn to love and trust again scenario.
A single mother with a young teenage son helps a guy fix up a lighthouse. The guy's dad died, leaving him the lighthouse and a pile of debt. She falls for him while the teenager struggles with feelings of abandonment brought on by his dad starting up a new relationship and a new family. A developer wants to buy the lighthouse and either turn it into and AirB'nB or tear it down and build vacation condos (or something). Name that movie.

3. A family reconciliation scenario.
An estranged sister and brother (and his wife) are summoned by their mother to spend Christmas in Scotland. They arrive to find themselves staying at a Scottish castle because (SURPRISE), their mother is a duchess, or technically, was a duchess before abandoning her family and ancestral home one Christmas Eve to abscond to the US with her singer boyfriend and his band. The mother never told the kids they were nobility and never introduce them to their (now deceased) family members, including their uncle the duke, who recently died. The sister starts cozying up to the property manager and the siblings start to mend their torn relationship. Name that movie.
posted by sardonyx at 7:11 PM on November 18

Ooo oo I know some!

1 is "Undercover Holiday". I gave it a 3/10 last year in my Twitter review.

3 is a premiere from this year, "A Merry Scottish Christmas"
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:40 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]

Just watched A HEIDELBERG HOLIDAY - delightful! Sweet, homey, family forward- just what a Hallmark movie should be. Female lead was in last years A HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR which I also really liked.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:42 PM on November 18

ThePinkSuperhero gets two points for two correct answers.

Anybody else care to guess at number two on the list?

I saw the last 20 minutes (give or take) of the Heidelberg Holiday last weekend. I think I missed out on most of the Germany scenery, to my disappointment. As for the story, I couldn't help but think it odd that the American has to teach the Germans all about Christmas traditions, which, given that the Germans started a whole bunch of what we now consider holiday staples seems a bit backwards, but it is an American movie for American audiences and heaven forbid the foreigners are the main lesson teachers.

And yes, watching parts of these movies is pretty typical for me. They're nice and easy to pop in and out of when I'm needing a quick break. And even at their worst they're better than football.

I know I shouldn't give reviews or form opinions given that I only see portions of the movies, but the Scottish one today was really bad. Even though I had time to watch the whole thing, I gave up about halfway through as it all just seemed so forced and forced for no good reason. The brother and his wife were having problems in their marriage, but I never got a clear sense of exactly what problems and why (although I can speculate). The siblings are estranged because they got too busy for each other. Again, okay, but the level of disdain seems too much for simply drifting apart. It didn't help that I couldn't find a reason to care for any of the characters.
posted by sardonyx at 10:39 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]

Just so I don't forget: #2 is from 2023 and titled Navigating Christmas.
posted by sardonyx at 8:44 AM on November 19

Okay, so I haven't caught up on the ones other people have mentioned recently (I did guess the Undercover movie, but obviously I'm late to answering) and I'm trying to watch "in order" of release anyway, but I just found out about the existence of "Love in Plane Sight" (WaPo gift link article on it), a 5-minute romantic comedy made by United.

"Mom, Dad, my life partner is the sky!"
United Airlines made a Hallmark-like Christmas movie. We reviewed it.
The short film will either warm your holiday heart, or make you reach for the airsick bag. Our team did both.
As soon as we learned about the film, our Hallmark-loving-slash-loathing team had to stop what we were doing and watch all 345 seconds immediately.
He’s Sam K. Young, “but my friends call me by my initials,” he adds. “S.K.Y.”
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:37 PM on November 20

Okay, so I'm still home sick for a few days and not up to doing much, so here we are with "Christmas Island." I was excited for this one because I like the main actors in it, plus the word "island," which I am a sucker for. But I dunno, I was only feeling so-so on it? Andrew Walker and Rachel Skarsten are both performers who need a little extra something in their parts, a zing to them (see last year's movies, "The Royal Nanny" and "Three Wise Men and a Baby", which both fit them great), and these are more...normal people they are playing, which just doesn't give them enough zing to work with? Just my opinion there. (I feel similarly about Tyler Hines and Ryan Paevey as well.)

Anyway, Kate is a private/charter pilot who's gotten hired to fly the Sharp family (have some kind of clothing business) to Europe, but bad weather (in Europe? Not totally clear as to where the "bad weather" is since every day is sunshiny once they land) forces them all to land on "Christmas Island" somewhere in Nova Scotia. Her co-pilot is basically all "Don't even get friendly with me, I'm gonna sleep on the plane." (Note: Canadian movie! I heard one "oot!") Oliver is the prickly air traffic controller on the ground who doesn't like jokes about cocoa or like to fly, and yes, he does get the irony of his line of work.

Since Kate has nothing else to do and the nanny is already in Europe, Kate ends up having to do nanny Christmas stuff, which made me snicker every time the word "nanny" was used, per her last movie. Oliver's family does put up the Sharps and entertains them for a few days, in which the family gets into lobster trapping, fashion design, and letters to Santa in the mail. (As a person who sews/designs, I'm fairly impressed the mom got 4 dresses done in 3 days, but she does seem to be an expert.) Why yes, it does remind me of "Come From Away: Christmas, Non-Terrorism Edition." Kate and Oliver hang out and get less prickly at each other. By the time the weather clears up, nobody wants to leave. Happily, the movie just gets the couple together without making the girl give up her job (she actually gets to keep the job), I guess we just presume the Sharps will want to visit there fairly often.

It was okay, but not the standout movie I expected. (This reviewer, this one, and this one were more into it. It may just be me?) Probably the most distinctive thing about this movie for me was the lobster trap tree. This is...why yes, a bunch of lobster traps in a circle after circle after circle. It looks quite nice lit up, actually.

Btw, I finally found a review of Everything Christmas. The reviewer wasn't that into it either.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:41 PM on November 20

A Heidelberg Holiday: I thought from the title this would be a Hanukkah movie (seriously, are we even getting any this year?!), but it's not, it's A Very German Christmas. Just so you know. I will say this: I'm not normally into German well, anything, but I actually really liked this? I'm not that into the European movies most of the time, but I was enjoying this one.

"I work out of my parents' garage and my best friend is a blowtorch."

Heidi Heidelberg, a glass blower and maker of ornaments, has gotten into the Heidelberg craft fair in Germany. (I note that Heidi finds her own name kind of standout/amusing in America, but the Germans, not so much.) She stays with a family her oma knows and hits it off with them very sweetly, but particularly Lukas, a woodworker who has his own angst about how he's "not really an artist." ("You create the magic of Christmas, I create a place to put your socks and underwear.") They hang out together pleasantly and he's very supportive of her, both in dialing back her aggressive American chattiness in sales and supporting her when she has to deal with post office drama.

"Can I give you an little unsolicited advice on your solicitation?"

"Ever heard of UPS?" "Yes...." "I mean, Universal Private Shipping. The lesser-known UPS."

She packs a display case with her and pre-sells pieces at the market and even sells out, but she had to ship 20 boxes to Germany separately and can't afford it. The postal worker guy suggests she use UPS...not UPS the evil shipping company that I despise like poison, but another version of UPS that's a lot cheaper. Turns out UPS2 is just as awful, as her ornaments go to Iceland and Ireland and then by the time they show up, almost all of them are a mess of glass shards. I'd cry too. I note that I'm a crafter--I've done lamp/flameworking in the past, it's not my major craft but I've certainly tried it out--and I really, really felt for this lady and her beautiful work being utterly trashed. Seriously, folks, don't use anyone called UPS, as UPS1 has also smashed my glass before.

I like how Heidi gets the idea to use Lukas's boxes and her own smashed glass to do mosaics (disclaimer: I used to teach glass mosaic making). I'm not sure how it would work to literally have to bait and switch what someone's already paid for (I note the family volunteers to deal with the angry customers for her, interesting...also I guess Germans are a lot nicer about this than Americans would be), but well, you gotta make lemonade out of lemons and all that, I suppose.

This is the second movie in a row to mention Belsnickel, which I forgot to bring up earlier in the last review, because I haven't heard of it. But now it's mentioned twice. There's also the concept of "stocking secrets" (Christmas wishes) and if you give someone some kind of chocolate dessert called a "shrudenkus" (I am totally guessing on the spelling of this, I have no clue) proves you have a crush on them. Someone slips Heidi one, much to Lukas's surprise--presumably it was his matchmaking parents' stocking secret there. "Perhaps the suitor didn't even know about this."

Anyway, I give this one a recommend. I tend to prefer wackadoo Hallmark and I wouldn't say this is wackadoo, but crafting movies get big points from me and everyone is lovely in this.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:14 PM on November 20

The chocolate thing was a studentenkuss, aka a "student's kiss" because it's a university town. Here's an explanation. (and TIL that it's a trademarked thing from one random chocolatier who I hope enjoyed their Hallmark feature).
posted by TwoStride at 8:42 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]

Thank you for answering that! It is adorable.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:57 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]

And one more before I sleep tonight!

A World Record Christmas: This one mentally had two strikes against it for me before I started: (a) Movies and Mysteries movie, (b) I did not like last year's autism Christmas movie. This movie is way better than that, though. Charlie is an actual kid, with actual kid personality and goals and quirks and reality, and while the autism stuff crops up here and there, mostly he's just a regular kid. He just wants to top a world record (a thing people in his town do every year at Christmas for kicks), and also get his biodad to actually pay attention to him. Well, that last one probably isn't going to work out because Peter is a fucking flakypants who moved nearby to Charlie years ago and is all "oh, yeah, the kid probably is emailing my old email" when his child is brought up. Obviously he ain't paying child support.

However, Charlie's mom and stepdad are legitimately great, and Rick is obviously Charlie's real dad in all senses of the word, and for a married couple in Hallmark, they have GREAT loving, friendly, supportive chemistry. I usually don't like married couple Hallmark movies, but these two work. And I liked Amy, Charlie's best friend that he has a crush on, even if she's not going there romantically (I feel for ya, kid). I also liked the nice Guinness lady, who makes sure to introduce Charlie to her own kid.

In the end, Charlie is distracted by his biodad's flakiness and loses the record, but later sets it on his own without a judge later. He also gets a baby sibling, which is what he wanted for Christmas. Awww. Also, this is based off a real life kid, which is also awesome.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:25 PM on November 20

Lovely review of A World Record Christmas.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:30 PM on November 21

I have not watched this, and am not sure if I will or want to, but this review for Best. Christmas. Ever! (not Hallmark) is...certainly something.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:51 PM on November 21

That's quite the review. Thanks for sharing it.
posted by sardonyx at 2:21 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]

Navigating Christmas: the other Christmas Island movie, except this is St. Nicholas Island.

Melanie got dumped by her husband for another woman, and he's in turn ditched their son Jason for the holidays for his pregnant girlfriend (which he so far refuses to tell his kid about). Kid is sulky, pouty, and about to cheat on a paper, Melanie's pretty cranky herself. But she books a stay in a lighthouse for the holidays and then throws a fit when she finds out that the contract involves decorating the lighthouse. (I note that this actually seems to take only a few minutes and the place did not look all that decked?) The lighthouse owner, Peter, rents it out so he doesn't have to deal with the decorating, which he doesn't have the heart for since his dad died, you know the drill. Basically, everyone is cranky and kind of annoying, but they do mellow out.

Kid meets a girl. There are "reindeer games," which is fun. Melanie and Peter hang out and have a genteel good time. But there's a secret, Peter's dad was in debt and Peter is about to sell the lighthouse to a guy who will mow it down...or not, as Melanie offers to partner with him on it. There's also a brief scene in which Jason runs off on a boat and uses Morse code to say "happy holidays."

I agree with the review that it is not a particularly standout movie. Pleasant enough, I guess, and I generally like Stephen Huszar, but you won't remember much about this afterwards.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:49 PM on November 21

A Merry Scottish Christmas: Before I begin, I didn't watch Party of Five and I don't have any commentary on the nostalgia casting of Po5 actors, sorry. That said, even I picked up that they had a bar named Salinger's, run by a Charlie. Will Kemp, who has costarred with Lacey Chabert in other Hallmark movies, cameos in this one and is the best. I definitely saw some commentary online on how duke titles don't work like that (fair) and how much older is Scott Wolf than his mother in this movie (also apparently fair). I don't know how much older Scott was supposed to be than Lacey on the show and whatever, but mostly I'm all, what's with his orange skin tone? Reminds me a bit too much of Matthew Perry (RIP).

Anyway: Brad and Lindsay are estranged siblings who have drifted apart over the years and are invited (along with Brad's wife Sarah) to go stay in Scotland for the holidays. Unbeknownst to them, their mother Josephine ran off at age 20 to California to follow a rock band, abandoning her noble Scottish heritage. Her brother, Duke Daniel, has recently died and left her/the siblings(?) Glencrave Castle, and it's up to them to figure out who's going to take over. Obviously both siblings start to get along better, Scottish people are fun, Lindsay has a brief romance with Mac the property manager, and everyone elects to move from California to become a duke and duchess.

"We have 30 Christmas trees."
"Are you a duchess who loves Christmas?" "I was supposed to be."
"And you never come to our ugly Christmas sweater parties!"
Why does anyone need 30 bathrooms? Well at least you don't fight over them...
"Mom, this isn't Downton Abbey." "We just become a duke and a duchess?" "You can hold titles" if you want to. Huh?
"Welcome to Salinger's, I'm Charlie." O RLY? Even I got that one.
Please don't explain the haggis.
"Reh-zoo-mehs" is how they say resumes in this movie.
There's Scotch whiskey tasting. And they say there's no booze in Hallmark.
"Are we just getting caught up in the fantasy?" is a legit thought.
There is a drink called "Dirty Reindeer," which I guess is hot cocoa?
Hello, isn't that Will Kemp? And she only knows how to waltz and tango...from Will Kemp? "Here we do the Highland Fling!" Adding to Lacey's resume.

I don't have much else to say? It was pleasant enough, but I do feel bad for any dude playing a love interest to Lacey Chabert once Will Kemp shows up onscreen.

Answering this one: The brother and his wife were having problems in their marriage, but I never got a clear sense of exactly what problems and why (although I can speculate). They were doing IVF. Of course there's a baby by the end.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:55 PM on November 21

I suspected it was baby related, although I'm kind of disappointed that it wasn't some big secret twist.

It's funny that we've had at least three movies here (Heidelberg, Navigating and Scottish) that premiered before they did in the States. Oh well, it makes my guess-the-movie game more challenging. Actually, now that I think about it, that world record one also aired earlier here than it seemed to there. That one is so not my thing that I avoided it completely.

Like you, I've never seen an episode of Party of Five, so the casting did absolutely nothing for me. In fact, when I was complaining to somebody how bad it was, I had to qualify my comments saying I think they were Party of Five alumni. That show and Dawson's Creek are pretty much equivalent in my head: shows of a similar era that I've never seen that graduated actors and actresses that are famous enough I have some idea who they are but I'm never entirely sure which one came from which show.
posted by sardonyx at 7:54 PM on November 21

And we're on my final "already recorded" Hallmark movie to write about! (I note one movie seems to have aired but not recorded, so I dunno on that one, it'll just have to wait.) The backlog is now over, so I guess I'll just have to catch up on "Deck the Hallmark" reviews or something for a few days.

I can definitely recommend Holiday Hotline, which takes the ol' "Shop Around The Corner" penpal idea (see last year's "Hanukkah on Rye") and turns it into a phone friendship with a guy perennially calling for turkey cooking advice. Great move, adore it, love the actors in it. Niall Matter is always a pleasure to watch, as is Emily Tennant.

Abby is a British sous-chef whose ex/boss betrays her, she quits both her job and cooking for the time being, and her parents get her a trip to Chicago for November/December or so. While there, her neighbor Margaret asks her to work the "Holiday Hotline" (you know, the one where people call for turkey cooking advice) as a substitute, and since her British accent makes people think she can't cook a turkey and her mom is American, she puts on an American accent and an in-character name, "Peggy," to answer calls.

IRL, Abby moves into a building with nice neighbors and one cranky one, Jack, an architect who's been tasked to fix up the building and gets a wee bit overly cranky when Abby accidentally breaks something. Jack is a widowed dad whose kid is guilting him into doing a homemade Thanksgiving even though he doesn't cook, and he ends up calling the hotline (a lot) under his given name of "John" begging for assistance. "John" and "Peggy" hit it off over the phone, as do Jack and Abby IRL, but once Abby figures out who she's been talking to, how the heck do you break that news? Of course, it's Hallmark, so it all works out. Her hotline boss, Roger, considers this to be his favorite show. Also, if you're not so into kids in Hallmark movies, this one doesn't show the kid as much.

This movie makes a lot of hay over the various ridiculous things people do with turkey, which is delightful. If you don't like dad jokes or corny turkey jokes (as the Decider reviewer apparently does not), this won't be for you, but eh, it was fun for the holidays.

I love all these traumatic weird things people did to turkeys: dressed them up, stuck them on a hockey stick, forgot to take the bag off. "Sure, they could Google it, but there's nothing like talking to real life people."

"It's a turkey. How hard could it be?"
"This from the brother who couldn't even toast a Pop-Tart."

"Should I thaw my turkey on the rack of my car" while I'm driving? Can I heat it with an electric blanket? Leave it outside in Florida? I give this movie props for all these funny visuals, right here.

"Why is the turkey in the bathtub?"
"Because he's cold."
I note "John's" family had a backup turkey ready to go. "I don't know if I should be grateful or insulted."

"The Lovebirds," with Peggy and John, is Roger's favorite show now.

"You're really committed to this no-cooking thing, aren't you?"
"I am, and it's liberating."

"I wanted to get the roast turkey ornament, but I didn't want anyone getting suspicious."

"I'm looking at a turkey from '99, sitting in my grandma's freezer."
"Margaret, is that you?!"

"I thought this hotline was about turkeys, not chickens."

This whole Imagine Spot dance is really cute, actually. "Let's not let this moment go to baste."

"You're asking if the guy who just asked you to his house is ghosting you?"
"You're jealous of...yourself?"
"He let Peggy go."
"It's time for Abby to come clean."

"A turkey is not a garage, Henry!"

"I don't have any butcher's twine, would it be ok if I used Christmas ribbon instead?"

"I need to see a woman about a turkey."
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:14 PM on November 22

Yeah, the parts I caught of this one (some at the beginning and some at the end) I actually enjoyed. I was going to put this one in guess the movie post, but now I don't have to. I'm starting to suspect the real game should be "guess if sardonyx will make it through a whole movie (in one sitting) this season, and if so, how many?"
posted by sardonyx at 11:47 PM on November 22

Does everyone use the Hallmark movie app? I very much enjoy using it to track the movies I want to watch and have watched - it even lets you mark your favorites!

jenfullmoon, you have sold me on Holiday Hotline.

Last watch for me was an oldie, "Christmas Sail" - woman comes home to help stubborn Dad who hates Christmas. Why? Because his dead wife loved it so much! But now he's in foreclosure and has an old messy boat (literally, it just has a bunch of junk on top). So woman and her way-too-cute daughter enter it into the hometown boat parade to win $25,000 to help Dad save his house. And woman even gets her high school sweetheart, who has apparently just been waiting around for her! It was a 5/10 for me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:33 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]

Let me just throw out a plug for my favorite Hallmark Christmas movie I've watched to date ever - "Ghosts of Christmas Always". The Hallmark Movie app tells me it is airing on 12/5 at 2am so set your DVR now!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:02 PM on November 23

I won't even put this up for a guessing game, but today's partially watched (well, technically listened to as I was in the other room making lunch) was The 12 Pups of Christmas. It's kind of a shame, as this one actually sounded worthwhile. Apparently, the cheating ex-finance and the new-boss-developing feelings ended up in fight and were arrested and hauled off by a cop.

As for the plot: it's one of jenfullmooon's miraculous Christmas-time job offers, but but apparently the canine-focused company is struggling and is heading for bankruptcy. Hopes are pinned on the doggy psychologist/psychiatrist/therapist/whatever to save it.
posted by sardonyx at 2:17 PM on November 24

Oh, man, I saw PART of that pups movie (but only part) in a hotel room last year! Sadly I don't feel like I can review it.

However, I am here to tell you about A Season For Family, which is another Movies and Mysteries weeper! Single dad Paul is widowered and has a son named Cody, who hasn't been told he's adopted yet because he and the dead wife wouldn't tell Cody until Cody is ten. (I'm guessing he's nine?) While at ski school, Cody makes a new soulmate bestie in Wesley, who's visiting from SF. His mom, either named Rose or Maddie or both, is a hotel general manager in SF instead of Utah because her dad owns a hotel and they didn't do the nepotism thing. Anyway, Rose/Maddie finds out that Cody and Wesley are siblings, tells Paul, and then Paul continues to kill time for an hour and 45 minutes hedging over whether or not to tell Cody he's adopted early. Literally everybody is all DUDE JUST TELL HIM ALREADY!!!! This is entirely why this movie is two hours long, because by the time Paul is guilted enough by both boys wanting to be together in their letters to Santa ("Dear Santa: Pleez forget about the Playstashun"), Cody has already figured out he's adopted and both boys are delighted to find out the truth.

In other news, why doesn't Rose/Maddie just work for her dad, who owns a hotel? Nepotism. Then he offers her a job and well, 'nuff said. Paul's ski store is going under due to lack of clientele--will he take a job in Colorado or just freak out that this is all too fast? Paul is a nice dude, but freaks out too easily.

I note that the kids' big conversation on screen is how their parents keep losing stuff and take forever to get out of the house. Isn't that a kid...thing?

The characters are cute. I like Brendan Penny (gives good Hallmark) and the redhead playing Rose/Maddie is also delightful. But you are seriously just like, "dude, spit it out already" for most of two hours. Would have preferred a more upbeat take on this, perhaps on the usual channel and have this spit out faster?
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:10 PM on November 24

Here's round two of guess the movies. (Same rules as last time, although I should probably clarify that not all of the movies that are televised here are technically Hallmark movies, but they're still of the general genre.):

#4. Workplace colleagues to lovers scenario
A publisher/editor/media-outlet owner of some sort goes back to writing, penning a series of website posts that detail multi-step plan/scheme to fall in love before Christmas, even though she doesn't believe in the process and thinks it's a stunt. A photographer with dreams of getting a gallery show is assigned to work with her to document her love journey. Along the way she strengthens her relationship with her sister and ensures her family's/mother's charity foundation has a successful Christmas fundraiser.
(Viewing time: approximately 20 minutes)

#5. Found family scenario
Strangers on a bus. When bad weather grounds a flight to Denver a bunch of strangers with nothing in common rent a van to dive to their Christmas destination. Among the group are a daredevil, a robotic-seeming tech bro, a social media influencer, and a couple from overseas. Over the course of the journey, they get to know and like each other--and encounter absolutely zero stormy weather conditions, and certainly nothing that would ground a flight.
(Viewing time: approximately 85% to 90% of the movie--huge improvement, I know! But this one was actually worth watching and I put in an effort to make enough free time to watch it.)
posted by sardonyx at 9:16 PM on November 24

I haven't seen or heard of #4 but would watch it. I'm going to guess (AND I HAVEN'T SEEN THIS YET) that #5 is 'Holiday Road," which is supposed to come out this weekend.

I'll write up "Catch Me If You Claus" tomorrow, but honestly, it was quite good? Like actually a good part for Luke McFarlane, a man I've always kind of thought of as a bland himbo, but they actually made him work well in this one. Go figure!
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:09 PM on November 24

One point to jenfullmoon for guessing number five. It was Holiday Road, and it's definitely a movie I'd recommend. It's different enough that it was entertaining, but easy enough to figure out if you have to pop in and out (as I typically do). There are a number of "big twists" that happen, but every one of them is absolutely predictable if you've ever watched more than a handful of these movies. There is one other plot point that makes absolutely no sense (and honestly wouldn't be feasible in real life) but I'll wait to comment on that until after people get a chance to watch the movie. (Seriously, dude what the hell were you thinking? Were you trying to get yourself locked up by the authorities?)

I'll leave the guessing on number four opened for a while. To be honest, I was hoping for more out of this one, given the female lead (hint, it's somebody who made her name and career outside of Hallmark movies) and maybe I shouldn't judge, given that I only saw the wrap up to the movie, not the build up, which is always the best part, but I think it was a wasted opportunity.
posted by sardonyx at 8:48 AM on November 25

Catch Me If You Claus: A surprisingly good movie. I will say that I've never felt strongly about Luke MacFarlane one way or the other before this. He's always gave off stoic boring guy vibes in everything he's been cast in--I note that in Hallmark, some dudes are pretty bland and some are not (see previous rants about how I don't like it when the quirkier Hallmark actors are cast as regular boring dudes and how it's a waste of their talents) and Luke's always been cast on the bland side. But in this movie, he's an earnest, well-meaning, well-intentioned, kinda innocent-seeming himbo-ish dude (think Channing Tatum in The Lost City) AND DARNED IF IT DOESN'T WORK AND I ACTUALLY FOUND HIM INTERESTING. Delightful, even. This is what I call Ludicrous Hallmark, and it WORKS.

The plot: Avery is the daughter of a famous newscaster, works as a TV researcher, and wants to be an anchor, but so far nobody wants to let her do that job. When the lead anchorwoman gets laryngitis, Avery successfully argues to let her do the 5 a.m. news slot on Christmas Day, and who's going to see her if she screws it up anyway? Avery goes home, determined to get a good night's sleep before 4 a.m. wakeup time, only to find a hot himbo in her house. Since there's a "Santa Crook" going around robbing houses this time of year, she reasonably assumes she's nabbed the guy, ties him up with Christmas lights, and plans to bring him to the cops/give herself an awesome scoop for the 5 a.m. newscast. However, the guy claims he's (the new) Santa Claus and all of his Santa abilities haven't kicked in yet (must be the storm/power outage, perhaps it took out his personal wi-fi? Sure did take out phones), insists on delivering the mis-delivered present to her kid neighbor, they get caught by security, and end up going on the run throughout the night, hanging out with the local theater troupe, and realizing that the "Santa Crook" thing is tied in with a corrupt mayor being outed as a bad guy and that everyone's looking for a flash drive. So hey, it's even a mystery!

For those wondering, our new Santa (Santa Chris Vanderschmidt, the Kringles are long gone) was already having kind of a rough night before this, and his dad will get on his case for not getting everything done in time, also the reindeer have taken off... and yeah, people don't look like the old St. Nicholas stereotype these days. There is also a concept of "pivotal gifts" that reveal who a person is supposed to be.

Avery makes it to air and tells the story of corruption and the lookalike "Santa Crooks" (Santa Crook has a partner in crime), but leaves Actual Santa out of it. After the show's over, they kiss.

One TV anchor is named "Bink Binkerson."
"A penguin has fallen in love with a chihuahua?"
"I am not the Santa crook."
"It wouldn't be a Christmas party without spam reindeer."

Avery: "I have a crucial day tomorrow!"

Santa Chris: "I am very strong, I will break out of this...." but he can't break out of being tied up with lights.
Santa Chris on cookies: "The cravings are real."

Avery: "You look like a model."
Santa Chris: "Thank you....but....The Santa Claus has not looked like the proverbial Father Christmas for quite some time."

"Why are all the hot ones crazy?"
"You could be at home in bed, dreaming of sugarplums...and teleprompters!"

A member of the theater troupe, after seeing sketches of Santa Chris and Avery on the news at 1 a.m.: "We don't judge here."

"We may not be our parents, but we may be great in our own way."
"I'm supposed to be on the air in 14 minutes?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:45 AM on November 25

Since the guessing seems to have stopped, number four is How to Fall in Love by Christmas with Terri Hatcher.
posted by sardonyx at 6:14 PM on November 25

A few recent watches:

MY CHRISTMAS GUIDE - I like the idea of this movie more than the actual movie. The leads did not have good chemistry and I think it's probably professionally unethical to romantically pursue a client at your guide dog rescue. Plus it creeps me out when the lead has a child who is RIGHT THERE every step of the romance. Also, "Annie, however, simply finds out the bully is a bedwetter and tells him she'll blab it around school if he doesn't stop. Go Annie." - it was even better because she found out her bully's BULLY was a bedwetter and got her bully free. Overall 5/10 for me.

A DICKENS OF A HOLIDAY - A movie star comes home to do a community theater show on Christmas Eve while he waits on a big movie role. His HS crush is directing! Then on Christmas Eve (of course), he's told he has to go make an appearance at a party to get the big role and everyone tells him he should just skip the show and go? Stupid. So he pretends to go but then he actually doesn't. Meh. 4/10.

OUR CHRISTMAS JOURNEY - Holly Robinson Peete stars as the mother of two, including an 18yo non-verbal child on the autism spectrum (played by an actor with autism). Her ex-husband sets up a weekend test at an independent living facility for the child in a cute Christmasy town and they all stay in a local B&B while he goes for his test. Mom & Dad reunite, Grandma makes friends, Daughter gets some overdue attention plus a cute new boy friend. HRP is wonderful; the rest of the performances were uneven but overall the whole thing is very sweet and you love to see the representation. 6/10.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:25 AM on November 27

I enjoyed "A Dickens Of A Holiday" last year, which is in the Ludicrous Hallmark category because Scrooge is being played by a young, hot action hero actor (also by Kristoffer Polaha, who gives really good Hallmark), and at one point the director chick is all, "Screw it, I'll play Scrooge!" during the "he's supposedly going to bail on the show to go to Hollywood" bit. With her hot long blonde hair hanging out of her cap and not even trying to play a dude, because presumably she knows Hot Actor Guy will return, lol.

Our Christmas Journey was...not my thing. In the "boring and weepy-ish Hallmark" territory for me. Probably my least favorite movie in the 2022 batch after "Christmas Bedtime Stories," the most notoriously bad Hallmark movie I've ever seen in my life. Usually Hallmark movies are either fun or dull, but this was just plain WTF. If anyone wants me to rant about this movie, I can, but that would involve me spoiling the whopping swerve it does in the last 15 minutes. I will say (non-spoilering) that it is not the sort of movie you think it is going to be and that is entirely the problem with it.

Okay, now that I answered this, I'm gonna go write up "Holiday Road," which somehow took me three days to watch, but I really enjoyed it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:21 PM on November 27

Holiday Road: we're told this movie is inspired by true events. Many snippy people at the airport just trying to get to Denver. That Song is stuck in my head like mad every time I think of the name of this movie (also there was the usual Lampoon movie marathon on the day before). One guy rents the lone remaining van in the airport they're at and is persuaded to let a bunch of others into the van. There's breakdowns, getting lost, decking the car, Elf Games, and a wee bit of extortion going on. Our cast:

* Clay, a dating app inventor/data guy who's a bit cranky, the car renter.
* Dana, an adventure chaser who's rebelling against being kept indoors due to a heart condition as a child.
* Maya, an influencer/vlogger who insists on filming everything. "Hashtag VanClan!"
* Tricia and Ben, a mother/son duo who are going to meet Ben's biological mom. Tricia's a bit nervous about this.
* Amber, a bartender/singer just trying to get home to her 8-year-old son...okay, daughter, but I can't resist that line.
* Dusty, a cranky old dude who mostly doesn't talk a lot but has sympathy towards Amber's situation.
* A couple from Hong Kong named Lei and Kai who are going to visit her sister. Wife has brought her own karaoke machine and is looking to resolve some family issues, husband is cranky and likes to pretend he doesn't understand or speak English (it's pretty obvious from the subtitles he does), but will happily bust into karaoke moves.

There's very nice resolutions for people in this one, along with making unlikely friendships. Heck, I was even endeared by Maya, who is Quite Much for a lot of the movie. The Hong Kong couple amused me, especially the guy's subtitled commentary and how his wife is trying to nice up his remarks. The romance between Clay and Dana is pretty low-key, but the ending of it is very enthusiastic. I enjoyed this one. Heck, I'd watch "Holiday Road 2," it would make perhaps a better franchise than "Time For Whoever To Come Home For Christmas."

"There are storms...somewhere, and it's messing things up...everywhere....The people on TikTok are saying it's epic...in a bad way." (note that much like Navigating Christmas, these storms are happening off camera.)
"I apologize for that photobomb of negative energy."
"My advice: if you don't need to travel, don't." Kinda too late to tell people from Hong Kong that.
"I said your order was typical of a Chad, I didn't call YOU a Chad."
"She thinks other people will want to watch us travel."
"I think making a van feel like Christmas is very important."
Maya got busted for distracted driving. "I tried to fight it, but the evidence was on TikTok." "Hashtag vanclan is blowing up. Tricia, your claustrophobia moment is getting likes."
"You cannot teach someone to dream and then not let them dream."
On a kid hitting Maya up for two grand: "What would your mother think?" "She came up with the idea."
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:46 PM on November 27

Okay, now that Holiday Road has been reviewed: Why the hell was Dusty carrying around bundles of cash wrapped up in cellophane as he was going through an airport? I'll admit I was wrong, I thought the rule was $10,000, but I see that's only if you have to cross US Customs. Flying domestically in the US, it appears there is no limit, but even then travellers are cautioned that the TSA can question you if they are suspicious about money. Yes, he said he made his money in oil (I think) but I seriously doubt he was receiving wads of money as his compensation. And why is he carrying cash now. I get he's the grumpy, everything-was-better-in-the-past dude, but come on!
posted by sardonyx at 7:07 PM on November 27

Oh, Dusty's entire financial situation was sus. Like he can just pull two grand out of his butt right now? Why? He didn't get much explanation in this movie other than in his last major scene and they never did explain the money.
Um, see, things like this are why I wanted this thread :P
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:17 PM on November 27

Again, I know I shouldn't let reality intrude on my feelings about these movies, but it bugged me during the portion of My Christmas Guide that I saw when the prof just waltzed into the guide dog centre and was immediately given a dog. Somehow, I don't think that's how it works. There are waiting lists and shortages of dogs. And yes, I think there's an ethical boundary that was crossed in the movie as well.
posted by sardonyx at 8:35 PM on November 27

Hahahah yeah, that ain't how guide dogs work at all. I don't even have extensive knowledge of the guide dog program (my relatives attempted to raise some) and I know that one :P
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:42 PM on November 27

Letters to Santa: This one features actors I like from other shows: Rafael de la Fuente from Dynasty and Katie Leclerc from Switched At Birth. So I'm somewhat partial to it for that reason alone even if I didn't like what was done with their characters on those shows. I think I'd call this one a Mixed Bag Movie because it's about a separated couple who have been awkwardly separated for four months, apparently because Enrique is concentrating on running the family restaurant instead of being Cool Musician Guy, and also because he donated Rebecca's book advance money to his mom (and doesn't seem to have explained the situation?). Unfortunately, poor Rebecca has to play Ticked Off Mom in a lot of scenes, which isn't fun, combined with Enrique being kinda baffled as to what's going on and their marriage counselor being all, "Y'all should just TELL EACH OTHER STUFF ALREADY." Throw in a hot Zumba instructor employee for him and a British illustrator guy for her for some small jealousy, and here we are.

The premise of the movie is that their kids get what they think is a "magic pen," because they write their Santa letters, and then Grandma and Auntie are fishing them out and giving the kids what they want (except that PlayStation). So, we're not into Ludicrous Hallmark Magic territory on this one, as an FYI. You want a dog? Here's a puppy on your doorstep, etc. It's pointed out early on that uh, what happens if the kids ask for something you can't provide? Uh....well, the kids do think Liam the illustrator is an actual elf to help their mom with the book, as it turns out, so....

This sounds like it's some kind of Parent Trap setup, but it's not really. The parents more or less work out their stuff and become happy and amicable again, and it's sweet once they do that. There's a lot of Mexican/Hispanic culture stuff going on and the characters are pleasant and friendly when not in cranky modes. So I'd deem it All Right To Watch, I Guess. It's not the best, it's not the worst, it had enough enjoyable moments for me to stick with it to the end.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:36 PM on November 27

Lifetime heats up the Christmas movie genre.

I don't know if this will get televised here on a channel I get or if I'll stumble across it in my usual manner, but I'd certainly be curious to read people's thoughts on it.
posted by sardonyx at 5:57 PM on November 28

"We barely mention the word ‘Christmas.’ There’s no gingerbread bake-off, there’s no festival, that town that’s going to hell and you gotta save it,”


lol, hardly ever get around to Lifetime movies except a few a year randomly, but this amused me.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:38 PM on November 28

I'm just dropping in to note that the first part of A Biltmore Christmas was filmed in my office, like, literally in the specific room in the office I work in when I'm back in Asheville and not WFH in the Triangle. In the movie, it evidently stands in for a Hollywood studio.
posted by thivaia at 9:08 AM on November 29 [1 favorite]

Well I was going to add A Biltmore Christmas to today's special edition of Guess the Movie: What is THAT person doing in a Hallmark/Christmas movie, but since it's been mentioned already, I won't bother, except to say: "Jonathan Frakes is doing Hallmark movies now? When did that happen?" Also, for the record I saw less than 10 minutes of this one: just the final three scenes.

So with Biltmore off the table that just leaves one for tonight's guessing game. I highly doubt if anybody south of the border will have the same "What is SHE doing in a Christmas movie?" reaction as I experienced, but I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised if I'm wrong.

#6. Discovering yourself (with a little help) scenario
A movie star who got his start in comedy returns to the club that gave him his big break in an effort to show studio executives he's perfect for the role of a funny super hero. A comedy writer/assistant commits the club owner to sponsor the town's Christmas festivities, including a defunct talent show that nearly ruined the club owner's reputation. The shy writer is happier out of the spotlight, but circumstances force her to take to the stage, with a little help from a certain someone. Name the movie. (Watched about 20 minutes of it.)
posted by sardonyx at 6:35 PM on November 29

Our Christmas Mural. Hi, I'm up too early, I need something to do to kill the early morning hours in which I am brain dead, but I don't want to watch one of the big movies I might be more into. (I also note I'm pretty well overscheduled until oh, Monday, so it may be a while for me to make my catty comments on "Lit Up," watch the time travel movie, etc. I want to save those for good brain space time!) Why not try A Christmas Mural?

I give it props for having a very dramatic, attitudinal artist opening. "No, this is good ol' fashioned rage." Olivia's a widowed curator/single mom in NYC and she's been immediately fired for Christmas, or at least they are out of money in the new year. So she goes home to her hometown, her mother enters her at the last minute in the mural contest, and she hangs out with the hottie/annoying runner up/art therapist, who treats her son who's still sad over Dad's death.

I really can't come up with much of anything to say about the plot--it's art, it's another weepy-ish "learning to love again after husband's death" movie--but I did like the actors in it, who were quite compelling when the plot was just okay.

A few quotes:
"I didn't stand you up. I left in the middle of the date." "I HOSTED BINGO."
"Me doing art therapy with her son? That was a date?"
"What wrong idea? It's a pot roast."

I have not seen the movie star movie to be able to guess it, alas.

43 Funny Hallmark Christmas Movie Memes Celebrating The Seasonal Magic Of Predictably Cliché Plots
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:57 AM on November 30

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