👓 Christmas Films | Colin Walker

Read a post by Colin WalkerColin Walker (colinwalker.blog)
It's the start of November and we've got enough Christmas films recorded such that my wife worked out we'd have to watch seven a day, that's right seven a day, to fit them all in before the 25th December. What is it about them? They're obviously "feel good" fodder but they're formulaic according to ...
I resemble this remark… er, um, I mean I resent….

Oh heck, I wholeheartedly identify. It’s so bad that I’ve even got a tag on my website for Hallmark Christmas movies.

Replied to Deviance and Hallmark Christmas Movies by Tressie McMillan CottomTressie McMillan Cottom (tressiemc)
The title is click-bait. If you follow me on That Social Media site you know two things about me: I love Dolly Parton and I am mad for Hallmark Christmas movies. As the former goes without saying, …
I’ve got the same Hallmark  Channel Christmas movie affliction. I’ve created a list of common Hallmark Movie “things” that I often use as a drinking game, but as you highlight, I really ought to have it as a larger Bingo card. I’ll have to start working on it soon though as I expect this year’s “Countdown to Christmas” will start sometime just after Labor Day.

I do wish you had the time to write the Hallmark Christmas movie book–it would make a fascinating read. I’ll bite at the question about why the “dead parent” is your favorite, but I’d be more interested in your take on the premier of this past years’ Memories of Christmas which breaks some of the traditional molds. Like all the rest of their originals, I’m sure(?) they’ll rerun it in subsequent years.

It turns out I know two of the writers of the Memories of Christmas production. At least one of them mentioned a Hallmark Movie “playbook” though she didn’t indicate if it was one internally created by the network or if it was her own as I suspect that she’s got the same affliction some of us other “fans” do.

📺 Looks Like Christmas | Hallmark Channel

Watched Looks Like Christmas from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Terry Ingram. With Anne Heche, Dylan Neal, Sean Michael Kyer, Farryn VanHumbeck. Two single parents battle for control of the Christmas holiday at the middle school their children attend and learn a lesson about the meaning of Christmas.

📺 Just in Time for Christmas | Hallmark Channel

Watched Just in Time for Christmas from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Sean McNamara. With Eloise Mumford, Michael Stahl-David, Christopher Lloyd, William Shatner. A young psychology professor must choose between moving across the country for her dream job or staying in her hometown to marry the man of her dreams. On a foggy December night, she gets little help from a Coachman, who brings her three years into the future and shows her what her life will become.
I started this a few nights back and dozed off late at night. Finished the last 30 minutes tonight.

I don’t think it’s possible for Eloise Mumford or Michael Stahl-David to be more charming. I’m obviously stuck on these holiday movies, but this one seemed even more tempting as I watched the credits for Christopher Lloyd and William Shatner. Sadly Shatner only had a 5 minute role and as a hipster Santa-esque carriage driver with an insane gray surfer-chin-fuzz goatee and a straw pork-pie sort of hat.

The sad part was that most of the plot was a very loose rip-off of Mr. Destiny which is still one of my favorite films.

In all though, it may be one of my favorite Christmas movies in this particular genre now.

📺 Christmas at Pemberley Manor | Hallmark Channel

Watched Christmas at Pemberley Manor from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Colin Theys. With Jessica Lowndes, Michael Rady, Cole Gleason, Maddie McCormick. As Christmas approaches, Elizabeth Bennett, a New York event planner, is sent to a quaint, small town to organize their holiday festival. When she arrives, she finds William Darcy, a high-profile billionaire lacking in holiday spirit, in the process of selling the charming estate she hoped to use as a venue. Determined to make her event a success, Elizabeth persuades the reluctant Darcy to let ...
What can I say? It was on tv again, so I’m obligated to watch it again, right?

Is it possible that it’s even better the second time around?

📺 Royal New Year’s Eve | Hallmark Channel

Watched Royal New Year's Eve from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Monika Mitchell. With Jessy Schram, Sam Page, Crystal Balint, Hayley Sales. An aspiring fashion designer falls in love with her socialite client's prospective fiance, Prince Jeffrey.
Apparently this is one of the very few Hallmark movies that isn’t completely Christmas-based. There’s a bit of the holiday peppered in, but most of it revolves around a forthcoming New Year’s Day.

Unlike some of the genre, this is utterly charming and is surprisingly well plotted and written. It’s sort of a Pauper and the Prince meets a bit of The Devil Wears Prada.

Watched the majority of it late in the evening on 12/8 and finished the last 30 minutes on 12/9.

📺 Christmas Under Wraps | Hallmark

Watched Christmas Under Wraps from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Peter Sullivan. With Candace Cameron Bure, David O'Donnell, Robert Pine, Kendra Mylnechuk. When a doctor doesn't get the position she wanted, she ends up moving to a remote Alaskan town. She unexpectedly ends up finding love, happiness and discovers that the small town is hiding a big holiday secret.
Given how terribly dreadful this movie is, should I be more embarrassed to say that I’ve now seen it twice?!

It’s definitely a cheeseball Hallmark Christmas flick, but there really isn’t much character development and it’s grip on reality slips into near silliness with serious and unwhimsical implications that the town is the home of Santa Claus.

📺 My Christmas Love | Hallmark

Watched My Christmas Love from Netflix
Directed by Jeff Fisher. With Meredith Hagner, Bobby Campo, Megan Park, Aaron O'Connell. A hopeless romantic who can't ever seem to give a guy a real chance begins receiving each of the "12 Days of Christmas" as gifts anonymously at her door and begins to believe that the mystery suitor may finally live up to her expectations.
It was obvious to me from the start that none of the gifts were for her. Sadly, neither the delivery person, nor the lead bothered to ask for whom the deliveries/performances were meant. Classic rom-com sort of set up.

Every time her dad came on screen I thought to myself “He’s the ‘Just for Men’ before picture.”

Overall, entertaining in only the way these movies could be.

📺 Christmas at Graceland | Hallmark Channel

Watched Christmas at Graceland from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Eric Close. With Wes Brown, Kellie Pickler, Tamara Austin, Ned Vaughn. A Chicago-based business executive travels to Memphis to secure one of the city's oldest family-owned banks. While in Memphis, Laurel reunites with an old flame Clay, a local music promoter with loftier aspirations.

Yes, Mister Hatcher…

Ugh. This is not how corporate America works. And there’s probably no way she’s working out of a cubicle and about to be promoted to VP of an organization that looks like this.

It’s not frequently that one sees an actress with an accent this deep appearing in television or film.

(0:14) As I watch this I’m wondering when we get a Pickler song, but Elvis Christmas songs seem to be dominating the soundtrack.

(0:39) We had a small singing tease about 20 minutes in, but it’s taken this long to hear an actual song? And dear God! Why did they opt to overproduce the music and have her lip sync? Blech…

(0:42) I’m really very distracted by the excessiveness of Pickler’s surely phony eyelashes.

Christmas at Graceland movie poster

📺 Reunited at Christmas | Hallmark Channel

Watched Reunited at Christmas from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Steven R. Monroe. With Tim Bissett, Beverley Breuer, Candus Churchill, Glynis Davies. Frazzled and struggling with writer's block, novelist Samantha (Deloach), along with her boyfriend, heads home to her late grandmother's home to spend Christmas. While at home with family, her grandmother's wise words reveal the true meaning of Christmas with Samantha at a time when she most needs encouragement.
Only watched the last third of this movie. Apparently when there isn’t a clear star, these movies are even more treacly.

Movie poster for Reunited at Christmas

📺 Coming Home for Christmas | Hallmark Channel

Watched Coming Home for Christmas from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Mel Damski. With Danica McKellar, Neal Bledsoe, Andrew Francis, Lindsay Maxwell. "Lizzie Richfield is at a crossroads when she lands a job as house manager for the exquisite Ashford Estate in the Virginia countryside. While preparing the place for sale, Lizzie plans one final Christmas Eve gala for the Marley family, though they seem to be a family in name only. There's Kip Marley, who never met a party he didn't like; Robert, the handsome but all-business executor of the ...
This one certainly follows all the rules from start to finish. Danica McKellar holds the whole thing together single-handedly. This wasn’t quite as good as Crown For Christmas, but at least the title didn’t quite kill the ending the way the other did.

📺 Crown for Christmas | Hallmark Channel

Watched Crown for Christmas from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Alex Zamm. With Danica McKellar, Rupert Penry-Jones, Ellie Botterill, Pavel Douglas. After getting fired from her job as a maid at a ritzy New York City hotel, Allie reluctantly accepts a temporary gig as the governess to a young girl who is part of a powerful family in Europe that lives in a castle.
Continuing on with our formulaic list:
If possible, the title should completely give away at least the entire plot if not the ending.

📺 Christmas at Pemberley Manor | Hallmark Channel

Watched Christmas at Pemberley Manor from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Colin Theys. With Jessica Lowndes, Michael Rady, Cole Gleason, Maddie McCormick. Loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, event planner Elizabeth Bennet is initially at odds with Mr. Darcy, the owner of Pemberley Manor, which she intends to be the venue of her next event, but soon finds herself irresistibly attracted to him.
This new Christmas movie premiered today. Just as treacle-y as you’d imagine.

I ought to map out a plotline of dos and don’ts for these movies as they’re quite formulaic.

Here’s a start:
A first kiss should be interrupted at least twice.
Women should have lost their first loves or spouses in natural accidents (car crashes or the like) so that they’re “pure”.
Someone in the film should be named Darcy.
Casting should feature one or more pseudo-stars from more than a decade prior. Everyone else should be complete unknowns.
Bonus points if casting can be done in Canada.
Solid working character actors should be eschewed at all costs.
Unlike standard romantic comedies, the “best friend” should never be the funny, comic relief.
Even when the plot is clearly open for it, the lead female should never be forward to get what she wants. She should always be able to retreat to have the man “win” her.
The big ending should feature fake snow falling.
Blatant rip-offs of plots of popular books and movies should be encouraged, but this should be heavily downplayed with the plot significantly weakened and overly-Americanized for the 1950’s. Example: “Die Hard meets Father Knows Best with a healthier helping of Christmas–and no guns.”

📺 A Gift to Remember | Hallmark Channel

Watched A Gift to Remember from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Kevin Fair. With Ali Liebert, Peter Porte, Tina Lifford, Kristin York. Based on the book by Melissa Hill, Darcy finds romance with a handsome stranger with amnesia.
It’s exactly what you’d expect. There aren’t enough people named Darcy in these movies…

📺 Switched for Christmas | Hallmark Channel

Watched Switched for Christmas from Hallmark Channel
Directed by Lee Friedlander. With Candace Cameron Bure, Eion Bailey, Mark Deklin, Natasha Bure. "Just because they are identical does not mean these twins even like each other. Estranged twin sisters get together for an obligatory pre-Christmas lunch, a year after their mother's death. Both women are unhappy and frustrated with their own lives. Though not close, each is envious of the other's life. What's a twin to do but take advantage of this? And who would be the wiser? They do what any ...
The best in cheeseball entertainment. How could you not watch this? Though I am a bit surprised they’re starting a week before Halloween!!