Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas in Homestead

Hallmark Holiday Movie Checklist:
  • Workaholic woman (famous actress this time!) who no longer believes in the magic of Christmas
  • Tragic widower with a young daughter and a heart of gold
  • An uber romantic horse drawn carriage ride through the city/town
  • Features a charming little inn or B&B that is one of the centerpieces of the town and/or is named after some Christmas derivative 
  • A small town whose sole purpose is to celebrate Christmas and/or is named after some Christmas derivative 
  • A flirty ice-skating scene
Look! We met our minority quota in our main cast! We are SO with the times. 


Synopsis:

Jessica McEllis, the biggest actress in, like, all of the world has approximately two days to film what is presumably a low budget Hallmark Christmas movie in a small town that no one has ever heard of but is really super at doing Christmas. But, guys, HUGE foil! Matt, disgruntled, yet handsome widower/ local inn proprietor/mayor with a heart of gold and a precocious, adorable daughter, is totally against the giant movie company coming in and pumping his town full of revenue. Even though it's clear they blow their yearly budget on their 234738479 Christmas contests.

Will a crazy paparazzi, a creepy Ken doll actor ex, an overly familiar bodyguard, and a completely inept director come between Jessica and Matt or will Christmas love conquer all in Homestead Christmas


Favorite Line: 

“Home isn’t where you live, it’s where you love.”


Random Thoughts We Had During this Movie: 

Wait, are we watching a Hallmark movie about the making of a Hallmark movie? Minds. Blown. This whole movie is so meta that I just can't even.

You are a celebrity and someone took a photo of you that you didn't want taken. STAY UNTIL THEY DELETE IT. Simply asking for the photo to be deleted is doing NOTHING. You deserve whatever you will get when this photo comes out, Jessica. She is total crap at being a movie star.

Tragic widower with a young daughter and a heart of gold just loves Christmas and his daughter is forever smiling and delightful, of course. If this were real life, these two would have such deep rooted issues that there would be drugs and hookers and angry public shouting matches and tears. Maybe even underground bum fights. We don't know.

Ok. Stop. A GIANT Hollywood movie is going to be filmed in a small town days before Christmas and a meeting with all important parties like the producer (who is also Jessica, her first big break producing), the director, the fucking Mayor, wasn’t the first thing to be scheduled? No one knows who anyone is? Granted I'm not in the movie business but you would think that there would be some semblance of location planning.

Really… the daughter of the mayor is obsessed with the Jessica’s movies, as was his dead wife, and he has no idea THAT’S who is coming to town? I wonder what else is happening in town that he doesn't know about. Underground bum fights? A prostitution ring hidden hidden behind the giant candy cane decorations in the christmas tree lot?

Ian, the only photographer from Hollywood---the only one---, has followed Jessica to town to take every picture of her. It makes perfect sense that the most famous actress in, like, all the world only has one third rate photographer following her. Sure, that makes sense.

 “You won’t even know we’re here,” someone just said. Maybe it was Jessica or the director. Not sure. I’d had a few drinks at this point, but come on, ominous much? Obviously, the whole town is going to get fucked up and disgruntled handsome widower Matt is going to lose his mind because Christmas is all different. And stuff.

Jessica’s male lead, her former boyfriend, Vince, shows up. He is literally every plastic ken doll I ever had as a kid. Even the one whose leg had been ripped off by my brother. Curiously, his acting ability is on par with the aforementioned plastic child's toy.

OMG, nevermind, I just realized that her ex-boyfriend is actually Gaston.

AGAIN… who in the hell set up this movie to be filmed in this small town and no one knows anyone? No pre-production location scouts were dispatched? No phone call? Google Hangout? Skype? Nothing? There is zero awareness of how the sets will be done. This is all supposed to be done in two days, which is normally how long it takes to film a major movie.

Am I the only one who can't stop thinking about underground bum fights and where they would be held in Homestead?

Zoey, disgruntled mayor/widower's sister, sees Ian (the only photographer in Hollywood) in a tree trying to position himself to be able to snap pictures of Jessica in the Inn’s room. I think? That is seriously one step away from skin-hat-wearing territory. Cue the meet cute where he falls to his death and she weeps over his lifeless body in the snow. JK. They meet and flirt instead. Adorably.

I may or may not have had a few drinks so maybe I missed some scenes, but this movie jumped around. Something happened to the town’s Santa, which totally annoyed Matt, and we don't seem to know why. Jessica promises there won’t be any more surprises. Riiiight. Have any of them seen Fixer Upper? Something disastrous always derails Chip and Joanna. And they don't decorate an entire town.

Matt’s suddenly in Jessica’s trailer. She’s crying. It’s awful and awkward. Also, I'm drunk and confused and have no idea why Matt is in Jessica's trailer. The window shade is open so Ian is snapping pictures. SET UP.  Jessica leans in to give Matt a kiss on the cheek for some reason… Ian takes the picture. DRAMA IN A SMALL TOWN, YO. Neither Jessica nor Matt realize this and get all "Your secret is safe with me.” Sure thing, guys.

Ugh. Matt asks Jessica if she wants to build a snowman. Now I can’t get 'Do You Want to Build a Snowman' out of my head. Thanks, Hallmark.

P.S. This is the 3rd movie of the year with a snowman decorating contest.

THANKFULLY, Sophie asks Jessica to help and they totally win the competition because Jessica has an entire wardrobe department at her fingertips.  Because Jessica's movie crew gives zero fucks about their budget.

There’s an obligatory ice skating scene and, of course, Matt can’t skate. He can’t build snowmen, he can’t skate, he can't handle snowball fights but has lived in this town obsessed with Christmas forever. Why hasn't he picked up any important Christmas skills? The whole reason for this town's existence is CHRISTMAS. I am not on board with his lack of holiday abilities.


SLEIGH RIDE SCENE. Feelings will be felt, bitches. 

OK. Jessica tells him to ask Santa for coordination. Enter clichéd Hallmark Christmas movie line, “It isn’t about what you need; it’s about what you wish for.” I have no idea what that means, but it blows their minds.

Jessica and Sophie are having a sweet heart-to-heart in her room and Matt’s outside the door, eavesdropping. I can't remember the last time I actually stood outside a room and dropped some eaves. Does this happen in real life?

 “Home isn’t where you live, it’s where you love.” Matt’s bawling at this point. Single parenting is hard, man.

And cue the snowball fight with the perfectly round, already made snowballs. Oh, it’s funny and hilarious and not one single snowball hits anyone in the face or tears a retina or has ice in it, like in real life.

Gaston suddenly realizes he’s not actually acting in the movie within the movie and he is, for reals now, in love with Jessica. Sad, dejected Matt, whose penchant for eavesdropping has smacked him in the face, yet again, hears this. He heads back to the Inn and has some pie. Zoey joins him and they have a heartwarming sibling tête-à-tête. Zoey reminds him Jessica’s a gigantic movie star and then there’s a gravity metaphor. My brother has never imparted words of wisdom in the form of a gravity metaphor. I feel deprived.

Gavin, Jessica’s bodyguard, and Soph have a chat, “Jessica is a person just like you and me.” They have a tea party. I'm seriously more on board with this tea party than anything else in this movie.

It’s now 3 days until Christmas and this movie is being delayed, but has to wrap up NOW. The goddamn Festival of Lights on Christmas Eve is coming and can’t NOT happen. Matt wants the festival to stay as is. Argue. Argue. Argue. The festival will be part of the movie anyway. Obvi. Jessica says, “Then I’ll be gone. It’s what you wanted right?”

But, wait! She doesn't leave because she has learned the true meaning of Christmas. And so has Gaston.

We went through this entire movie without seeing one underground bum fight. I am bereft.

Conclusion: It is extremely easy to film a hit movie in the span of two days. Also, movie stars and their production people really enjoy participating in small town council meetings. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Broadcasting Christmas

Hallmark Holiday Movie Checklist:
  • A workaholic woman who just doesn't have time for a relationship
  • A playful snowball fight that turns strangely deep and flirty
  • A Christmas music montage with characters doing christmas-y things
  • A gingerbread house or cookie decorating scene

Synopsis:

Two extremely boring newscasters and ex lovers compete to become Jackée Harry's co-anchor. And guys, they have competed for the same job BEFORE!  Emily Morgan has a total meltdown on her Connecticut local news channel and somehow the act qualifies her for a shot at co-hosting Rise and Shine. Because being able to publicly meltdown is a quality EVERY good reporter needs. Her much more experienced daddy-issue-laden ex, Charlie Fisher, is disgruntled and handsome and, gosh darn it, will try and foil Emily's job if it's the last thing he does!

In between competing for ornament decorating segments and heartwarming stories about 100 year old fruitcake, will these two crazy kids cast off their morning news dreams to fall back in love?

Favorite Line: 

EVERYTHING MRS. HENDERSON SAYS. (See the bottom of this post. Trust me.)

Random Thoughts We Had During this Movie: 

Rival reporters who are old flames and are forced to work together. Surely, we haven't seen this before.

Why can't Hallmark afford good carolers? These background people are always crap.

Does anyone else love public national television meltdowns? We need more of this in real life. You go, Melissa Joan Hart. Pave the way, baby.

There are two other people besides Emily and Charlie competing for Jackée's co-anchor job. One is a cardboard baseball player who can't speak in complete sentences and the other is a girl with a reality show called "Save the Date with Kate". These are the only options for the biggest morning talk show in New York? That's highly upsetting.

Oh, I see. This building must be the television station because of the GIANT satellite on the roof. This thing is so big, it looks like it was CGIed. "Hey guys, we may blow our entire budget on creating a CGI satellite but our audiences will really GET that this is a TV station. We may be forced to hire unpaid family members for the supporting cast but we think the trade-off is totally worth it."

They are very aggressive with the holiday wear in this movie. Seriously, I feel threatened by this level of green and red in a dress.

Save the Date with Kate is a southern sorority girl with her own line of clothing, multiple best-selling books, and several popular podcasts. But if this bitch is so perfect, why are her roots so bad? A southern sorority girl who owns a wedding/media empire would never let her roots be so visible. Whoa. I just Legally Blonded that shit. Impressed?

Famous crooner Toby Bradford is the Hallmark Michael Bublé. Also he is next level TERRIBLE. This is the worst jingle bell rendition I have ever heard in my entire life. His vibrato is making my ears are bleed. Instead of CGIing the GIANT satellite onto their TV station, couldn't they have hired an actual crooner?

"I can use wikipedia too." According to Hallmark, journalists do all of their research on wikipedia. Gone are the days of exhaustive research, attending hours of meetings and press conferences, and trolling the streets for sources and stories. That's so passé. Let's just wiki.

The epic Parker Bank & Trust Christmas display that they are sent to cover looks like an EDM concert that a 5 year old put together.

Dean Cain's attempt at chugging mulled wine is my favorite.

I SWEAR MY LIPS ARE TOUCHING THE WINE. I SWEAR.
Oh, look they are dancing in the middle of the sidewalk to street musicians. My boyfriend and I are also occasionally overwhelmed and whipped into a dancing frenzy by a Christmas sax player. Isn't everyone?

After the shocking reveal of how his dad is the only reason he has his cushy New York reporter job, Dean Cain gives very good pensive-solemn-looking-out-the-window face.

And now we get to Mrs. Henderson. The owner of the 100 year old fruitcake and the lynch pin in Emily Morgan's plan to become co-anchor. THIS WOMAN IS A NATIONAL TREASURE.

MRS. HENDERSON,  MY SPIRIT ANIMAL
Mrs. Henderson relished her verbal bitch slaps so much that I have to assume Dean Cain cried in between takes. Here they are in all of their fruit-caked covered glory:
  • "I already told the boy with the face."
  • "Hush haircut, the ladies are speaking."
  • "Not you, cheekbones. I was talking to her."
  • "Every trouble I ever had started with a handsome man."
  • "Sentiment kids, sometimes it just isn't pretty."
  • "I see that a handsome man has caused a problem. Let's hear it."

Conclusion:  Everything after Mrs. Henderson exits the movie is a sad, desolate wasteland.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

December Bride

Hallmark Holiday Movie Checklist:
  • Tragic dead parent who was the embodiment of the holiday spirit
  • A flirty/romantic cookie or gingerbread decorating scene
  • A flirty/romantic tree decorating scene
  • A classic "you have dirt on your face let me wipe it off" moment
  • A charming little town Christmas tradition/festival/event that is the biggest event of the year (Holiday Tour of Homes Charity Event)
  • A Christmas proposal or wedding

Do you know what this house needs? More giant pinecones! I'M THE BEST DESIGNER.


Synopsis:

Interior decorator and obsessed-with-becoming-a-December bride Layla irrationally blames Seth for the fact that her bitchy cousin stole her fiancee at some weird work function because he was, like, there when they met? Layla's ex-fiancee and cousin apparently speed to the alter and she is scolded by Judgey McJudgerson Aunt Lorraine for not wanting to go to the wedding so Seth magically reappears and offers to be her date so she doesn't feel like a total loser. He escalates things quickly at the ceremony by proposing to her in front of everyone and, uh-oh shenanigans, they decide to continue to lie to her entire family because a guy that the filthy rich Seth knows needs an interior decorator and will only decide to hire her if she does a great job with Seth's house at a charity event for rich people who like to tour atrociously and overly decorated homes on Christmas eve or something. 

Will December Bride show us is that having a fake fiancee is way better than Tinder when it comes to finding true love? 


Favorite Lines: 

Layla: "I just never imagined I would go to my cousin and ex-fiancee's wedding. What little girl dreams about that?"

Seth: "I was born in a suit and tie but you got me to loosen up and have a little fun, albeit, off-key."


Random Thoughts We Had During this Movie: 

Holy Crap, are they implying that Seth is her cousin?  I don't think incest makes for a feel good family Christmas movie.  Oh, ok, he is not the cousin, thank god!  But why was this scene oddly and inexplicably drawn out?  Why did we have to wait so long to reveal who the cousin who stole her fiancee was? This is not the right kind of suspense, Hallmark.

Her fiancee is hardcore flirting with her cousin directly in front of her face. This is really awkward.

Aunt Lorraine sucks. Her cousin STOLE her fiancee.  I'm not sure what Ann Landers or Miss Manners would say - but I have to imagine that they would agree that you do not need to forgive your cousin for stealing your fiancee within the first year of the betrayal. If we can decipher Hallmark's timeline, the cousin and fiancee hooked up at most 6 months ago, possibly as recently as 3-4 months ago (assuming time to meet, feel a connection, feel bad about the connection, hook up, feel bad about the hook up, hook up again and finally break the engagement news to sad, unsuspecting Layla).  So, Aunt Lorraine, shut it.

 "All we have in this life is family." Does that apply to everything, Aunt Lorraine? Like, sure, Uncle Charlie likes to skin cats in the basement while listening to Journey but we'll still go to his kid's christening.

What does Seth do? Will they explain this soon? So far all we know is that he has an office and he's rich.

Holiday Tour of Homes Charity Event. The Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious of charity events.

Why is Layla carring a binder, a telephone, and a three hole punch to do her job? What do those things have to do with her being an interior decorator? Shouldn't there be like measuring tape or something? 

It makes no sense why Layla is mad at Seth. None. He wasn't responsible for her ex-fiancee being a douche rocket or her cousin being slutty. This is highly upsetting. Seth should not be blamed for douche rockets and sluts.

These decorations are literally eating the tree. If Layla can't decorate a tree how can she be good at her job?

DO NOT FORCE HER TO GO TO THE WEDDING, AUNT LORRAINE.  If this was 10 years down the line, maybe I could see your point.  But right now, Layla should be allowed to cry in bed with a pint of Ben and Jerry's, call the SEC and say her fiancee made a profit off insider trading, and burn down her cousin's new shop because she is the injured party.

This is a very low budget wedding. It's totally in the back of an Elks Club.

Layla and Seth are aggressively out dancing the bride and groom. Because, you know, they were dirty filthy cheaters.

"Christmas-y. You really love that word. What does that mean?" Um, Layla if we have to explain that to you, you aren't good at your job or life.

Wow, this deal was a whole lot simpler than the one in "Mistletoe Promise".  Nothing to sign, nothing incriminating in email, and (perhaps most importantly) everyone gets something out of this deal.

Why does no one ever write down the measurements they take?  Clearly all of the curtains or designs for the office will be wrong.  It is impossible for her to remember all of this. Another sign that she is a terrible interior decorator.

OK, so Seth is supposed to be a total workaholic, but you want me to believe that he had time to do a community theater production? And that's how they met? No, I don't buy it. And, there has been no previous mention of either Seth or Layla having a love of theater or performing. I am generally willing to believe whatever you want me to believe, like a magic Mrs. Clause suit and a Venetian canal filled Northpole, but this is pushing it.

We also still have no idea what Seth does.

Layla - do not feel bad about lying to Aunt Lorraine.  She deserves it. Aunt Lorraine is next level terrible.

WTF is that red thing? WHY IS LAYLA TOTAL GARBAGE AT HER JOB? 
"But Layla always wanted to be a December Bride!" That's the ONLY problem Layla's dad has with this rushed, perfunctory engagement? What about the fact that she is getting married to a man you have never met or heard of until, like, three minutes ago? This family is bonkers.

There are not enough giant pinecones in this movie.

"This is much more fun than work." WHICH IS WHAT, SETH???

My boyfriend just had an apoplectic fit over how they tied the Christmas tree to the car. Something about roof or root balls. And Russians. And "You lie, Hallmark! You lie!"

This apology from her cousin is utter crap. That was clearly an unrepentant-I-stole-your-fiancee-and-your-December-wedding-date-and-expect-you-to-be-okay-with-it sorry.

Seth's parents are really snotty about decorating your own tree. "We hire people for that sort of thing." At this point, my boyfriend may or may not have screamed "bourgeois" and "fucks"at the TV.

Why all the pressure for her to be a December bride THIS December?  Guys, it will be December again in a year, unless time mysteriously doesn't work the same way in the Hallmarkverse. Just back off and let her be, dammit.

Or don't.

Conclusion: You can be total crap at your job and still land a big account as long as you are fake engaged to a man who does vague financial type things for people. Also, hire Hallmark to be your wedding planner because you can get married in less than two days. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Christmas Cookies

Hallmark Holiday Movie Checklist:
  • Workaholic woman who no longer believes in the magic of Christmas who has a workaholic, stuffy boyfriend
  • Big looming corporate company that is a threat to small town life and/or will be closing down a local business and/or factory
  • An uber romantic horse drawn carriage ride through the city
  • Features a charming little inn or B&B that is one of the centerpieces of the town and/or is named after some Christmas derivative (Gingerbread Inn)
  • A small town whose sole purpose is to celebrate Christmas and/or is named after some Christmas derivative (Cookie Jar)
  • A gingerbread house or cookie decorating scene
  • A small town contest, Christmas based, that's the biggest event of the year

The handsome factory owner sure knows how to defend the towns honor. And point at stuff. 


Synopsis:

An evil corporation without a soul, National Foods, is desperate to buy Aunt Sally's Cookie company so they send a bahumbug workaholic single woman to close the deal with the charming, handsome small town factory owner by Christmas Eve. In between negotiating the contract to wipe out thousands of jobs and decimate the small town of Cookie Jar and eating a massive amount of christmas cookies, Hannah rides a sleigh and builds a snowman with the precocious little girl next door, gets life advice from the gentle, matronly proprietor of the Gingerbread Inn, judges a Gingerbread building competition, attends a giant Christmas Tree Lightening Ceremony Dance thing and avoids her whiney, stuffy workaholic Christmas-Eve-party-obsessed boyfriend.

Will Hannah realize that there was no reason for her to hate Christmas due to the giant gaping plot hole of never having explained the reasoning behind her Christmas disdain in the first place? Will Christmas Cookies finally teach the residents of a small town that they can't spend a massive amount of their funding on giant Christmas competitions while refusing to pump the money into the only business that is keeping their town alive? 

Favorite Line: 

Jake: It isn't always about the money.
Hannah: Well, Aunt Sally's isn't exactly rolling in the dough.


Betty: "Well, what does anything mean if you just know it?" Ummm, what? Is Betty high?


Random Thoughts We Had During this Movie: 

Let's zoom in as close as we possibly can to the horse drawn carriage ride so we can desperately hide the fact that we are obviously not really outside in a horse drawn carriage.

I am thirty seconds in and I already hate Gavin, Hannah's stuffy-don't-worry-they-aren't-meant-to-be boyfriend. Whiney Gavin (WG) is obsessed with Christmas parties because that's where all of his co-workers show off their wives. Sounds like an excellent quality in a man.

This is Gavin. Gavin is a whiney bitch. Don't be like Gavin. 
Hannah has an unnecessarily flighty sister who reminds her that her company, National Foods, might just put a bid on the Aunt Sally Cookie Factory in Cookie Jar, a town they used to visit as children.

There's nothing like buying out a company whose entire town is financially dependent on that company right on the holiday that keeps them in business. Why not send the workaholic woman with a disdain for Christmas? Annnnd, of course, Hannah goes to Cookie Jar on behalf of her evil corporate overlord boss. She plans on closing the deal in a day. Done and done. Except she completely forgets she’s in a Hallmark Movie: a Christmas Hallmark Movie. DEALS NEVER GET DONE IN ONE DAY IN HALLMARK WORLD, HANNAH.

The train drops her off and a pickup truck taxi, "Ed's Taxi Service", with an entirely-too-handsome-to-be-a-down-on-his-luck cabbie is there to take her to the hotel. Annnnd cue the slow, agonizing pause to acknowledge their mutual attraction. Also, they never introduce themselves. That's awkward. And highly foreshadow-y.

Why can't Hannah seem to get her ass into the truck? Oh, right she’s been a city girl for too long. She just can't handle getting into a pick up truck and needs the entirely-too-handsome-to-be-a-down-on-his-luck cabbie's help.

Look! She’s clicking away at her phone. See! She really IS a workaholic. Corporate America is always a text away.

Obviously Hannah is staying at the adorable quaint Gingerbread Inn which, along with its gentle maternal proprietor, Betty, will invariably tug at her childhood heart strings. AND yes! The cookies are right in the SAME place they were when Hannah and her family used to visit all those years ago. Obvi.

She’s staying in the Peppermint Room which is on the top floor and there is no elevator. Bitch, you want the top floor, there is no elevator in life. #metaphor

Ugh. Hannah’s on the phone with WG. She states she’s going to close the deal tomorrow and be back in time for his everyone-pimps-out-their-wives office Christmas party but she totally doesn’t want to go to this party. I don't want to go to this party. This party and Gavin suck.

Wait. Huh? Betty has just revealed that everyone in Cookie Jar works at Aunt Sally's and no recipes are ever written down. Huh. This is probably information that will not become essential later.

Next day is Hannah's big meeting with the factory owner. Hannah is taken on a small tour of the factory on the way to Jake’s office. OH, HOLD THE FUCKING PHONE! EPIC TWIST 30 MINUTES IN! Down-on-his-luck cabbie Ed is really Jake, the down-on-his-luck Aunt Sally's Cookies factory owner.

Uh-oh. Ed/Jake has to "mull" the deal over for three days. But Hannah only brought one suitcase! Like, she did not plan for three days of outfits (even though every subsequent scene has her wearing two new outfits per day) AND this means she'll miss WG's super important 1960s-wife-key-swapping office Christmas party.

Also, her business proposal fit into one red, three pronged folder my kid uses at school. Huh.

UGH. Another WG phone call. He is totally pissed she’s not going to be at his let's-sell-our-wives-into-slavery office christmas party. “If you want to be there, you’ll find a way.” Control issues much? She apologizes for wanting a career. WHAT? I nearly set my TV on fire.

Hannah desperately needs advice. Shall she turn to the soft, supportive inn owner?“You gotta feel it. Christmas is what you make it. Or bake it.” Betty and her maternal smile, has Hannah contemplating life, probably.

How do we make Jake more appealing? Oh! Oh! Oh! I know! Let's make him have a special bond with the precocious little girl named Bonnie, who lives next door to the inn! This will lead to a flirtatious snowman building scene, a flirtatious sleigh-riding scene, and a flirtatious ice scraping scene. Yes, I said ice scraping.

Hi. I'm Jake. I own a failing cookie factory and in my spare time, I build snowmen with underage townies.  
They go sledding and, of course, it's charming and flirtatious until the camera angle is Bonnie's perspective at the front and OH MY GOD it looks like they are going over the side of the fucking mountain but, no, jk, they safely tumble at the end and laugh and laugh and laugh.

How long does it take to scrape the ice off a windshield? It's been seventeen minutes. Maybe you guys should just turn the car and the heat on and let it melt. Also why is no one concerned by the little girl sleeping in the back in the freezing cold? She might have hypothermia.

Of course there's a gingerbread competition the next day. Someone just yelled, “We get to eat the houses after!” Yeah, OK, so, no, you shouldn’t. Gingerbread for construction is horrifying. I just watched a real baking competition on The Food Network and in order to build a solid house, the gingerbread has to be dried for days otherwise it collapses. Also, this is how we get ants.

Wait. The winner of the GB competition gets a life-time supply of Aunt Sally's cookies? Worst. Prize. Ever. 97% of the people who live in this town work in the cookie factory and eat those fucking cookies all the time. Am I the only asshole who would rather have cash?

The wholesome waitress who wants to go to medical school in order to become the town’s doctor sadly informs Hannah that she won’t be able to go if the factory leaves town. Which will basically lead to all of her dreams dying and the burning resentment of her family. Thanks, evil food corp.

Sled race the next day! Jesus, this town has a lot of competitions. My town sucks.

Jake has somehow (wha-at?) hurt his ankle and Bonnie asks if Hannah can sled with them. PEOPLE! This is a competition. There are rules! Thankfully in this world of icing covered perfection, their competitors are fine with the extra weight because one of the competitors takes great pride in fat shaming her husband in front of god and everyone. Apparently, the husband eats enough to make up for the weight difference; she laughs they’ll win anyway. And of course they do. Yay! More cookies and eventual life-threatening diabetes for the husband!

Fucking WG shows up at the after party. WHY? “You weren’t answering my calls.” He puts his arm possessively around Hannah and takes her out of smooching range from Jake. “Hannah is my significant other.” Hold on. Who actually calls anyone their “significant other?” Like honestly. Sure, as adults calling someone our boyfriend or girlfriend, especially when you're in your 40s, sounds kind of weird, but actually calling someone your SO is way weirder. And dry.

WG proposes??? WTF. Hannah is speechless. I am speechless.

SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UUUUUUUP ABOUT YOUR SEX RING OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, GAVIN.

Gavin leaves to get on the train that just arrived, which SURPRISE her evil corporate overlord boss is on. “I came to close the deal.” She gives him the signed paperwork, but, alas, the train has left the station and now bossman is stuck in Cookie Jar, which is a relief because now he doesn’t have to attend three Christmas parties; one of which is at his house. Apparently he left his family to deal with the party. What a dick.

Standing in the Gingerbread Inn’s lobby, Hannah is also surprised by her flighty sister. Like, fuck, everyone is now in Cookie Jar. OMG. We are heading to a big ending, guys.

They eat cookies together.

Hannah explains she ended it with WG, FINALLY. “Oh. Is that a hug or a high five situation?” Her sister won me over with that line. Hannah's sister is the secret heroine of this movie.

They eat more cookies together.

OK, so we’re now at the big dance / dinner thing and Jake grabs a mic and tells the town, with Hannah and her big asshole boss standing there, that he’s sold the factory. No one’s shocked; everyone is very complacent that their town is about to go under and all of their lives are going to be destroyed. But, well, that's life, I guess.

Hannah and her sister are STILL eating cookies while Jake explains that maternal Betty will probably have to go on welfare. It suddenly dawns on Hannah that the factory is useless without the employees since, as Betty so thoughtfully explained in the beginning of the movie, only one person knows one part of the recipe; they aren’t written down anywhere.

Hannah takes the stage and goes into a long pitch to her boss about how he’ll have to hire all of the employees in order to get the recipe. It’s all very touching and wow and Christmas is what you make it / bake it and hope and love and faith and yay and snow and weeeeee and small towns conquer all.

Bossman, overwhelmed with Hannah’s passion (because that’s how it works in corporate America) gives her the Aunt Sally account and rips up the contract in a frenzied cookie high. The factory and town are saved! Cookies for everyone! And Jake and Hannah finally kiss.

In just three days she changed from wanting a big corporate career to wanting to be with a man who pretended to be a cabbie. Ah, love.


Conclusion: 

With its extravagant town festivities, fat shaming townies, and sled races, this movie is icing covered perfection! 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Every Christmas Has A Story

Hallmark Holiday Movie Checklist:
  • Cold-never-been-married woman who has a fear of abandonment and no longer believes in the magic of Christmas
  • Someone who is repeatedly referred to as a Scrooge
  • Overly enthusiastic (and frequent) mentions of the Christmas Spirit
  • Features a charming little inn or B&B that is one of the centerpieces of the movie and/or is named after some Christmas derivative
  • A small town whose sole purpose is to celebrate Christmas and/or is named after some Christmas derivative (Hollyvale)
  • A gingerbread house or cookie decorating scene
Always choose a guy dressed as an elf, ladies. ALWAYS
Synopsis:

Kate Harper, famous tv host, works awkwardly with her ex-boyfriend Jack on their delightful hit morning show. Things go awry when she pushes an Asian man into a Christmas tree, declares she is meh on Christmas, and garners the anger of a thousand green-and-red-poster carrying protestors. In order to win back the love of the public and find her darn Christmas Spirit, she is sent to the small failing town of Hollyvale with her blue-eyed-still-desperately-in-love-with-her ex. Why is the "biggest little Christmas town in the country" in a drastic economic downturn? Are child labor laws being violated because there is an underage girl managing the only inn in Hollyvale? And will Kate and Jack finally be able to put aside their differences to find out why no one in North Dakota wears a real winter coat even though it is minus 10 degrees?

If you are dying for the answers to these questions and more, you must watch Every Christmas Has a Story right now!


Favorite Line: 

Mayor: "I don't know. We might just put a little Ho-Ho-Ho back in your day."

Jack: "Sorry, Katie."
Kate: "I asked you not to call me that."
Jack: "Why not?"
Kate: "Because that's what you used to call me when I loved you and you loved me. And that was a long time ago."


Random Thoughts We Had During this Movie: 

Do morning show hosts really practice their tagline in the mirror every morning? If so, that's upsetting.

This secretary is a nosy bitch.

This make-up artist's sole reason for being in this movie is so that we can find out what really happened between Jack and Kate all of those long holidays ago. She should also be fired. Because she has applied zero make-up to Kate's face and Kate is about to go on national TV. Less exposition and more doing your actual job, Wendy!

Colin Ferguson is just the right amount of excitable. Although he doesn't seem to be a very good producer. Considering the fact that he just let his talent punch an Asian man into a Christmas tree and declare that she hates Christmas. Is this really how TV works? I thought every minute was scheduled and once the time slot of one show ended, it was automatically programmed to switch to the next show. How does the left over footage just go live? How does this big of a mistake happen? Also the technology in this booth looks suspiciously like my high-school AV club.

There is a guy in this meeting whose entire purpose is to recite the viral hashtags Kate's tussle with the Asian guy generated. #bahhumbugkatescrooge #harperhatestheholidays #sendkatecoalforchristmas

Everyone at this TV station is total crap at their jobs.

Every town should have a mayor who entices famous TV personalities to visit by filming a heart-warming commercial and imploring them to find their Christmas Spirit. Although he probably blew all of the town's budget on it. Sorry folks, we no longer have the money to fix pot hole riddled Main Street or collect the garbage or recycling in town but the good news is that we can now keep Mayor Drysdale's unhealthy obsession with an LA talk show host alive!

Does anyone else keep getting lost in Colin Ferguson's blue, blue eyes?

Did no one at the TV station do any research into this town? They simply believed the video the mayor made and immediately sent their morning team off to stay in the middle of North Dakota for a week? That's next level bonkers. Don't they have research assistants?

In case we didn't know they were sent somewhere cold, Jack makes frighteningly loud "brrrr" and "ugh" noises while shivering violently through the airport. The heated airport.

I think Mia Walker, the underage manager of the Hollyvale inn, killed the people who owned the inn and buried them in the basement. Why else would she be so defensive about working behind the front desk? Also, look at her DEAD EYES...

My name is Mia. I like ice-skating, christmas cookies, and MURDER.

Ahhhhh. We now come to the real reason the town is dying. Their giant Christmas Tree has been missing for years. Warning: If your entire town's economic growth is tied to a Douglas fir, you might want to move.

That creepy doll in the store window is giving Kate straight up Vietnam flashback face. She must have a tragic family backstory.

Colin Ferguson elevates this movie with the sheer brilliant wattage of his smile alone.

I wouldn't eat Mia's food. She seems perfectly capable of poisoning her guests.

Christmas has projectile vomited all over this warehouse.

"You used to drive me nuts with this stuff. Back in school. You'd get a hold of, like, a story or a lead and you wouldn't let go. No matter what. Until you had taken it as far as you possibly could." Um. Jack. You went to journalism school and you're a producer. Shouldn't you know what a reporter does?

Mia is terrifying. Like "children of the corn" terrifying. She is going to single white female Kate's life.

Wait. They dated for 3 plus years and he didn't know that her dad had walked out on her? Did they NEVER talk during those 3 years? They clearly spent Christmases together. Surely, in between sipping hot cocoa, making out and chasing stories a "btw my dad left me at Christmas and now sends me one letter per year" would have eventually slipped out.

I want someone to look at me the way Colin Ferguson looks into that glass of vodka soda with lime.

Is it just me or is there a romance brewing between Mayor Drysdale and Hollis, the missing rich townie who withheld Hollyvale's giant Christmas tree due to his tragic past?

I don't know much about producing a live television segment, but I am 97% sure it involves more than simply holding up an iPad. Wouldn't they need some sort of van nearby with video equipment? Right now they have a camera, which appears to be connected to nothing, and an iPad. How is this going live to LA?

Colin Ferguson can stand on a Christmas float and pelt me with candy while dressed like an elf anytime he wants.

SANTA JUST TOOK OFF HIS BEARD ON LIVE TV! Assuming we are wrong and LA is actually witnessing this train wreck of a live feed, Santa can't just de-beard on TV. That would destroy the dreams and hearts of millions of young children. WTF. How is no one fired for this?

Conclusion:

You too can find your Christmas Spirit if the mayor of a small town has an uninhibited passionate fixation on you, your ex is a crappy producer with eyes as blue as Christmas dreams, and you single-handedly revive a small town's economy by solving the mystery of their missing Christmas tree. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Mistletoe Promise

Hallmark Holiday Movie Checklist:

  • Character named Nick or Holly and/or some other christmas derivative
  • A workaholic (this movie has two!) who just doesn't have time for a normal relationship
  • Flirty ice skating scene
  • Bosses making their employees travel to their extravagant Christmas Eve parties instead of being at home with their families 
  • Picking out a Christmas tree scene
  • Two main characters compete in a Christmas themed contest
  • An über romantic horse drawn carriage ride through the city



OMG Christmas Selfies, guys!
The Synopsis:

Two workaholic, self-proclaimed "Christmasphobes" are harassed by aggressive mall Christmas carolers, a douchey ex-husband with a car show model girlfriend who likes posing on snowmobiles, and a law-firm that sounds suspiciously like a cult obsessed with marriage and fertility. Plagued by the aforementioned pressures, Nick and Elise decide to to sign a contract (aka the Mistletoe Promise) to be each other's boyfriend/girlfriend for the Holiday season. With the end goal of getting Nick promoted to partner and a less defined objective of "helping" Elise with her ex, these two negotiate an agreement that will take them through some of Christmas' greatest challenges such as a viewing of "It's a Wonderful Life", a whimsical office snowman building competition, a festive office tree-trimming party, an office ice-skating outing, yet another office Christmas party, and the infamous "Partner's Meeting" on Christmas Eve. 

Will these two get swept up in the joy of building a solid fake relationship and lying to everyone they care about or will they let love and the Christmas Spirit pass them by? 

Favorite Scene in the Movie:

Obviously it was the Reindeer Report. Because, you know, it makes perfect sense for a small travel agency to sponsor and run the "most watched local news program of the year." 

I'm still confused on this segment. Is it a weather report? A Geography lesson? 


Favorite Line:

"Darts are great for arm flab." 

Random Thoughts We Had While Watching this Movie:

These Christmas carolers are horribly aggressive. 

There is literally nothing redeeming about Elise's ex-husband. Can't we have a flashback of him stroking a puppy lovingly or something? Because as it stands now, I cannot see why she would ever have given him the time of day, let alone married him and given him half of the company she started. 

Wow. Nick's boss is totally Hallmark's cheaper version of Antonio Sabato Jr.: 

Behold! Antonio Sabato Jr, light 
Nick is up for partner and all they can afford to give him is a candy cane as a symbol of their faith in him? I don't think this firm is doing too well, Nick. You may want to update your resume.

This firm is really obsessed with being married and having children. His boss has mentioned it 2397 times in the first twenty minutes. 

No, but seriously, can we go back to the carolers? They are now undulating around her in a frenzy of festive hostility and I think one of them just spit in her face. The lady in the Santa hat has crazy eyes. I have never felt more seething hatred in the words "figgy pudding." 

Villainous Bradford, Nick's competition for partner, tells the BEST endings to stories. I'm going to relay them all for your reading pleasure:
  1. "I say, what do you call the other 364 days a year? He says, 'I call em' come here, boy." Um, what? That's just gibberish. 
  2. "So the apartment doesn't have a stick of furniture, we're there with the pieces all over the floor, and the instructions are in SWEDISH!" This one incited near hysterical laughter. No, seriously, hysterical laughter. 
  3. "See we didn't realize they speed the gondolas up when they are closing the ski park. We thought we had plenty of time to finish!" Oh, Bradford, I just can't even.  
"We don't date retail after thirty. Retail people are predatory at Christmas." Holly, the sassy, ethnically ambiguous best friend, just imparted some solid words of advice for single women everywhere. Holly is the secret heroine of this movie. 

Ok, NO.  The MOST famous line from one of the MOST famous Christmas movies of all time cannot be an inside joke between them. The whole point of an inside joke is that no one else gets it. EVERYONE gets "every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings." Everyone. 

The charity component to her travel agency is called "History Kids Charity Outreach Program". They need to rebrand, like, now. History Kids? What does that even mean? Are these kids just severely undereducated in history and need expensive tutors?

This is the third time we have seen these carolers. I don't think they have jobs. Maybe they are homeless. Maybe they have killed all of the people who wouldn't listen to their carols. Maybe they have stolen the clothes of all their victims. This is a mystery we will never solve. 

"I am a divorced woman who does good works in the world." This reeks vaguely of judgement. Why does her divorce need to be pointed out again? We are very well aware of the ex husband who owns half of her company. Hallmark, are you suggesting that we're not supposed to like divorced women? Do divorced woman normally avoid doing "good works"? Is that a thing? 

Ok, Nick's boss is totally on to something with this Christmas Tree Trimming party. Why pay to decorate your giant tree when you can just make your employees bring over all the decorations and do it for you?  This is how the rich stay rich, people. 

Was Elise really just asked to re-plate the candies by Nick's boss' wife?  She is literally touching all of them and moving them from one plate to another.  How does this help the party in any way?

Another speech about the importance of marriage and children in their law firm. If you aren't married you are clearly nothing. 

Who the hell "wees" and "woos" while ice skating? And why are there an inordinate amount of semi professional skaters at this firm? I'm pretty sure if I was forced to go ice-skating with my colleagues there would be more alcohol and less skating. Also, I would probably break something. 

Oh, god. Nick and Elyse are now singing "figgy pudding" in the same cold, dead-eyed way that the carolers did in the beginning. Maybe the murder is spreading. Maybe this is really a horror movie in the guise of a heart-warming Christmas tale.  

"She is a divorced woman but she still has more empathy and grace than anyone I've ever known." STILL? Wow, Hallmark really hates divorced women. 

Here comes the awkward and public reveal of their fake relationship and subsequent lying to everyone. Will Bradford tell another hilarious joke? Will Nick's boss be unusually forgiving? Will the senior partner they just introduced to us in the last five minutes of the movie be charmed by Nick's complex web of lies and promote him to partner anyway? 

"Your reindeer report has been getting a lot of philanthropy calls. A lot of do gooders want to fund our History Kids Charity Outreach Program!" This line is wrong on so many levels. WHO TALKS LIKE THIS? Oh. Siri does. Maybe Siri wrote this movie. 

Cue Nick's grand romantic gesture. Of rebuilding the creepy snowmen they made together in her snowman building contest? Huh. Not the way I would have gone but okay. 

Ok, so, I now know that love should be the greatest gift of all. But Nick got the partnership at the firm and she walked away with literally nothing but Nick's creepy snowmen. Her ex still owns half her company and the only way she can get out from under him is to sell it and start over? This Mistletoe Promise was suspiciously one-sided. 

Conclusion: Signing a fake relationship contract with a stranger, after bonding over Wonton Soup and murderous Christmas carolers, to fool your friends, your ex, or your boss ALWAYS works out in the end. Except if you're a divorced woman. Because you deserve nothing. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Crown For Christmas

  • Down on her luck girl loses job right before Christmas
  • Tragic dead parents who were the embodiment of the Holiday Spirit
  • Tragic Widower with a precocious daughter with a heart of gold
  • A member of the royal family-of some country that we have never heard of but whose natives all speak in a British accent- falls in love with a commoner (Seriously guys, there were two this season. On the same channel) 

We wish we could say that this review of one of the features of Hallmark’s FIVE NIGHT MOVIE EVENT over Thanksgiving was so late because Colleen was putting a lot of effort into crafting a well-planned, thoughtful review. But truthfully, it’s so late because she had to watch the damn thing four times since she kept zoning out and didn’t know if she'd missed anything important. It turns out that no, no, she did not.
I want the crown! NO, I want the crown! LET GO OF THAT CROWN YOU FILTHY GINGER!
Synopsis: Winnie Cooper - I mean Allie Nolastnamebecauseitdoesn’tmatter- the oldest of a plucky trio of orphans, who are totes supportive of each other, is a maid at a fancy hotel until she gets fired for something stupid right at Christmastime. Luckily, the king's manservant witnesses her getting fired and decides that her getting fired is the perfect prerequisite to leaving her sickeningly supportive siblings behind and being the governess of the prince's precocious, bratty daughter in an unnamed country where everyone has British accents but it is clearly not Britain. Will Allie win the affections of the bratty princess when so many have tried and failed? Will the hot widowed king finally feel ready to love again after his wife died tragically of an unnamed illness? Will Allie end up with a happily ever after fairy tale romance? Well, it’s called A Crown For Christmas so if you said "no" to any of these questions you're a giant idiot and we don't want to know you.

Favorite Line(s):  

"Are you familiar with court protocol?" 
"Uh, I watch Downton Abbey."


Random Thoughts We Had During This Movie:

Apartment is small so they’re probably going to tell me she’s poor, yup, cue the bills with the GIANT UNPAID stamp on them. 
And she’s an artist. Naturally. Why are they ALL artists, Hallmark? Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?
Ooh, they’ve been assigned to the VIP floor by their mean boss lady. Don't speak unless spoken to. Don't make eye contact. Gee, I wonder if either of those two rules will be broken.
I really don’t think you have the authority to tell your sister to just leave during her shift to do to an audition, Allie.
Oh no, she hit king guy with her maid cart! And now she’s having verbal diarrhea! Something about soap, sewing kits, chocolate, hand towels and oh, my god, shut up shut up shut uuuuuuupp, Allie! But Max the king apparently finds it charming and/or finds her bangable. I hope she’s not seen by the mean boss lady who told her not to speak to the guests. OH, NO, WAIT THERE SHE IS.
I'm too sexy for my sewing kit. Too sexy for my sewing kit.  Too sexy it hu-urts.
Why is everyone acting like the king’s room is, like, rock star party level trashed? There are like five dirty dishes and two knocked over champagne glasses. 
Allie didn’t clean the room fast enough so she’s FIRED. And her job-abandoning sister is FIRED. A week before CHRISTMAS. And the butler saw her return the king’s forgotten fancy watch because she’s so upstanding and moral and shit.
Wait, the butler offered her a job just because she makes good Mulligan stew? WTF.
I wonder if the housekeeper (Miss Wick) is so grumpy because her hair is pulled back so severely that it’s causing her pain.
Really, Allie, have you ever been in public before? You’re walking through a castle, say out loud that it’s like a museum, and then the next thing out of your mouth is literally “Ooh!” as you lunge to touch something that doesn’t belong to you. Do you do that in actual museums?
Seriously, though, why is the brat a ginger? You’re stereotyping, Hallmark. Uncool.
Now Allie is taking a Christmas ornament off of a tree and kicking it through a door because the mischievous ginger dared her to. Allie is kind of the worst. Serves her right if it hits someone in the head...
...like the king. She just hit the king in the head with the ornament she kicked. Worst. Governess. Ever. 
And she’s won evil ginger princess Theodora/Teddie over within, like, five Hallmark minutes. Bonding over dead mothers for the win!
Oh, I get it. King Max is bad at kinging, but his dead dad was bad at dadding. 
It looks like the king might be getting a little too cozy with the help. What’s his Mean Chancellor Guy (MCG) to do? Why, call in the previously alluded to Ice Bitch soon-to-be Fiancé, of course! Ice Bitch looks a little ginger-y too, come to think of it. I think that’s how we’re supposed to know she’s mean before she opens her mouth and freely condescends to everyone.
Oh, no, Ginger Ice Bitch Celia (GIBC) and MCG drop the bomb that Teddie is being sent to boarding school and Allie’s getting kicked to the curb early. And, also, they don’t want to try Allie’s Christmas cookies (made with her dead mother’s recipe!) just in case their eeeeeeevilness wasn’t apparent enough.
Hallmark really, really hates gingers. 
There’s a Christmas ball! And Allie is invited! And, of course, the old cook has a red ballgown that she’s kept for forever and ever and it just happens to fit Allie perfectly. Don't we all have a spare ball gown collecting dust in our closet in the hopes that one day, we too will be able to pass it down to a servant when our own dreams have long since withered and died? #obvi 
Uh-oh, the engagement ring is missing from the case! Time for GIBC to drop any hints of being a fully fleshed out character and just march over and accuse Allie of stealing it because she’s poor and shit. Or something. But we all know the kid took it because she wants Daddy Dearest to marry Allie, right?
Allie just left for “the inn”. This country consists of one castle and an inn. Sure. 
Oh, look, she's left Christmas presents for everyone! In the zero free time she had, she drew (horrific) portraits of every single person in the castle. They’re all touched even though they’re seriously bad (and borderline creepy) drawings. If I got one of these drawings, I would assume the artist wanted me killed. 

Boom! GIBC is dumped. Boom! Max tells the MCG to eff off and that he'll be whatever kind of king he wants, dammit! Boom! Max jumps on his horse to LITERALLY RIDE UP AND SWEEP ALLIE OFF HER FEET and he seriously just said, “You had me at sewing kit." And I’m done.
Conclusion: It’s always a good idea to abandon your family at Christmas to take a job in a country you’ve never heard of, for a family you know nothing about, because you’ll end up as royalty. The end.