We are now squarely in mid-November and I have a lengthy list of new holiday movie synopses and reviews to share with you. If you want to check out last week’s edition, you can here. Lest you think all I do is watch holiday movies, I assure you they are super short (most are actually only 80 minutes of movie) and require minimal thought or attention). Enough justification! Onward we go!
Before diving into the movies we actually did watch, I have a movie graveyard, which doesn’t sound festive, but it’s where all the really, really bad made-for-television holiday movies go to die…as they should…because they are awful…and we couldn’t get more than 15 minutes into them. This week’s graveyard additions were: A Snow-Capped Christmas (so bad I can’t even remember what it was about); Enchanted Christmas (anything but enchanting); Cookie Cutter Christmas (colossally bad acting); A Dream of Christmas (worst fake fall off a stool ever).
The Premise: A writer is double-booked in a small-town cabin with a man and his daughter. Though she tries to leave them be, so many plot devices (roads shut, bridges out, alternators shot) keep her from leaving them to their Christmas. But don’t worry, because love blooms between them in a span of four days.
The Verdict: One thing that is abundantly clear in these movies is that love takes but days to develop between two people who start off as adversaries. The challenges with Christmas Getaway were three-fold: 1) bad acting 2) really, really fake looking snow man props and 3) I think they got engaged at the end of the movie…after a few days…with a strange Norwegian almond in the oatmeal tradition.
Switched for Christmas
The Premise: Candace Cameron Bure switches places with…Candace Cameron Bure to slough off each other’s Christmas responsibilities. In the process, they create some awkwardness by falling in love with men who think they’re the other sister.
The Verdict: I don’t believe there’s many people out there who would find Candace Cameron Bure unlikeable. In fact, she’s quite quintessentially likeable, which is the real problem here, because I feel guilty for saying the movie is pretty bad (which it is). If you do choose to watch it, pay particular attention to one of the love interests, whose eyes bore the soullessness of, well, a murderer. Yikes! Look out Candace Cameron Bure!
Snowed Inn Christmas
The Premise: Two journalists are dispatched to Aspen, Colorado to write Christmas stories for an online magazine, but become stranded in Santa Claus, Indiana. The old adage of ‘opposites attract’ is proven true when they are set up by none other than Mister and Missus Claus themselves!
The Verdict: This movie features several things that I loved: 1) A Clapper 2) a Kelly Kapowski reference 3) a town called Santa Claus Indiana that actually exists (!!!) 4) a small handful of legitimate LOLs and 5) a realistic looking Santa Claus. These things helped me get past the fact that flights into Aspen were grounded for days because of snow, which seems implausible in a town that’s accustomed to high volumes of snow. Who needs to get all critical when Mr. and Mrs. Claus are playing match-maker in small-town Indiana? No one.
Christmas in Evergreen
The Premise: A man and his daughter get stranded on their way to Florida, and seek refuge in a small, Christmas-themed town called Evergreen. There, they find a magic snowglobe that grants them their wishes…and they find the magic of love (well, the dad does, at least) and Christmas.
The Verdict: This movie features the smallest amount of snow that has ever cancelled flights out of Vermont, and two travellers who apparently had, like, five extra days of cushion time to get to Florida before they’d miss their cruise. But the snowglobe wishes were endearing, as was the actress who played the daughter. And maybe it was just that we’d shut off three movies in a row before watching this, but it was…okay.
A Christmas Melody
The Premise: A mom and her daughter move back to the mom’s home town after her business in LA fails. She vies to get her daughter into the school’s christmas concert, combatting mean PTA moms and simultaneously falling in love with the music teacher.
The Verdict: Hold the phone. This was directed AND produced by Mariah Carey?!?! Well count me on board! Mariah Carey plays a perfectly passive-aggressive mean PTA mom (shocker), who is also an overbearing stage mom, but she is no match for Lacey Chabert of Party of Five fame. Her kindness doesn’t just win over the music teacher, but even wins over Mariah Carey. That’s impressive. Let’s be honest, this movie was totally terrible, but I cannot give it any less than two stars because MARIAH CAREY.
Christmas Under Wraps
The Premise: Candace Cameron Bure plays a doctor who put all her eggs in one fellowship basket. When she doesn’t get her prize fellowship she’s forced to take a job in a tiny town in Alaska, where she not only find the Christmas spirit but also, you guessed it, love.
The Verdict: Oh Candace Cameron Bure, you’ve done it again. You’ve made me give more trees than I should to what is essentially a horrible movie. I mean, who even tries to wear heels in Alaska? No one. There is also an elf who runs by with such creepy speed and mystery that it’s reminiscent of a holiday Chucky, and a Santa who bears no resemblance to Santa and also sounds way too similar to that really mean head elf in the claymation classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. This is a full-on mess of a movie, but I still have to give it two trees.
The Sweetest Christmas
The Premise: An unemployed pastry chef sees no other way to seek pastry chef redemption than by winning the American Gingerbread Contest being held on Christmas Eve and in small town America, both of which just seem so unlikely. But it’s okay, because it reunites her with an old flame, and she learns that love is just as important as gingerbread…or something to that effect.
The Verdict: All you need to know about this movie is that it features one of the best lines I have ever heard in a made for television holiday film: “I have to tell him how I feel in the best way I know how: with gingerbread.” For that alone, this movie gets two trees.
The Christmas List
The Premise: A woman finds an old list of Christmas traditions she wanted to experience as a child and is determined to make it happen. She signs herself and her boyfriend up for small town Christmas magic, only he doesn’t show up until Christmas Eve, by which time she’s already fallen in love with someone else who doesn’t treat her like garbage.
The Verdict: Words cannot describe how much I hated this character’s original boyfriend. Imagine my excitement when I quickly realized that she was going to fall in love with someone else! This was also the movie in which we noticed that at least three of the movies we’ve watched recently were filmed on the same tiny set made to look like an iconic Christmas village. This means both that a) Hallmark is really milking some serious set efficiencies and b) we are watching too many Hallmark Christmas movies.