Thursday, November 20, 2014

Northpole

Hallmark Holiday Checklist:
  • Has the REAL Santa! 
  • The Northpole is losing its christmas magic due to children all over the world not believing in Santa and/or the christmas spirit and thus Christmas might be cancelled FOREVER and EVER
  • Uses picking out a Christmas Tree as a metaphor for finding love
  • Evil developer wanting to tear down cute and charming town park or historical site in order to build condos or other buildings fueled by evil
  • Flirty/romantic ice skating scene
  • A Nutcracker Suite montage with characters doing christmas-y things. 
Hallmark has been flooding their channel with advertisements for this movie every commercial break, proclaiming loudly and with wild and reckless abandon that Northpole is THE MOST ANTICIPATED MOVIE of the Holiday season. Prior to starting this blog, we had no idea this was the case but Beth must have been subconsciously (and diabolically) taken over by Hallmark as she "accidentally" bought Northpole merchandise at CVS, blissfully unaware of the fact that her ornament was tied to THE MOST ANTICIPATED MOVIE of the holiday season. Needless to say, we couldn't wait to watch this movie but it was less about it being THE MOST ANTICIPATED MOVIE of the holiday season and more about it starring Saved By The Bell's Kelly Kapowski.


Synopsis: While Northpole is struggling with power issues due to children all over the world not believing in Santa and/or the Christmas Spirit, a young boy and his journalist Mom (Kelly Kapowski!) move to a small town which has had its holiday spirit crushed into tiny pieces for apparently no reason at all. Sadly, Kevin has difficulty making friends at school due to his unwavering belief in Santa and Christmas magic. In fact, the only person at school that seems to like Kevin at all is his hot single teacher, who may only be trying to get close to him because his mom is Kelly Kapowski. After Kevin's Christmas Club fails miserably and makes him even more of a social outcast, he teams up with one of Santa's elves, Clementine (Bailee Madison) to try to save the Northpole. They decide that their main tasks will be: getting the town to change their mind about cancelling the town's Christmas tree lightning, baking three thousand cookies, and panhandling on the streets. Meanwhile, it's up to Kelly Kapowski to figure out just what the mayor and the evil condo developer have planned for their cute and charming town ice rink/ christmas tree lighting park. Can they save Christmas or will the holiday magic fade slowly from the earth and destroy joy and hope and everything good forever? 

Favorite Lines:

Clementine: Snow. Em. Gee.


Random Thoughts We Had While Watching This Movie

Is the Northpole surrounded by the giant ice wall from Game of Thrones? Because, if so, that's pretty cool and actually really useful. 

I can't imagine a better Real Santa than Robert Wagner. He's next level awesome. And he used to solve crimes on TV with Stefanie Powers. 

Why wouldn't the hot single teacher speak in a fake Irish accent when first meeting a parent?

Every teacher in every school in these movies must be a Montessori teacher. They seem to teach any and all subjects and are able to assign things like "Christmas" or "Holiday" projects. Common Core doesn't exist in Hallmark towns. 

Poor, sad Kevin. But, seriously, who has an entire photo album of just Christmas photos taken in their old town?

Why is he opening a strange box that was left at his house? Hasn't this kid seen the movie, Seven? You never open the box, Kevin. Never. 

Who names a reindeer Randy?  That is the least Reindeer-like name I have ever heard. I'm disappointed in you, Northpole. 

Did Kevin just draw sperm on the white board to help explain his Christmas project? 
HOW WILL A STICK FIGURE GLEEFULLY THROWING SPERM INTO THE AIR SAVE CHRISTMAS? 


If you are planning to secretly build condos in the town ice rink/ christmas tree lighting park, don't display the model of the building in the Town Hall lobby.  #WorstVillansEver

Did hot teacher just let himself in the house?  When did we become that friendly? Oh, right, he's hot and concerned. 

Their brilliant plan to save the town christmas tree lighting ceremony by selling Festive Pine Art will definitely work! Because who doesn't love Festive Pine Art? 

Your kid just ran away, but instead of calling the police you call the hot single teacher?  I guess that makes sense.

How does this small newspaper, which covers only one town, employ 137 people? 

Major Plot Twist - the villain isn't a scrooge! He is a super sweet grieving widower philanthropist, who wants to fix the town ice rink/ christmas tree lighting park in memory of his late wife AND build a condo complex across town, which will bring in much needed jobs and revenue. His condos are not, in fact, fueled by evil! Basically Kelly Kapowski sucks as a journalist.  

You're a single mom and you just quit your job?  That doesn't seem remotely wise or economically sound. 

Was Randy the Reindeer just chilling in the woods through this whole movie? We hope someone was feeding him. 

How did the whole town know to bring ornaments to the tree?  That seems awfully random. Oh, right. Christmas Magic. The answer to everything. 

Wait, did Hallmark just show us a trailer for Northpole 2, coming in 2015, with Full House's Lori Loughlin? Their insidious merchandising tactics prior to releasing this movie must have paid off. Clearly, Beth wasn't Hallmark's only victim. 

Conclusion: This is the single greatest imagining of the Northpole we have ever seen in our meager lives.  There is an entire city with Venetian canals, colorful trampolines for elves to get around, shops dedicated to hot chocolate and dreams, AND giant, whimsical complexes for each elf guild. This is a far cry from the usual single ramshackle house and dilapidated barn that most films have a penchant for using as Santa's workshop. How can Santa create enough toys in one workshop for the 526 million kids (yes, a study in 2011 came up with an actual count of the number of houses Santa would have to visit) each year? I mean, really, Christmas magic can only go so far. However, we have no trouble believing that this Northpole could manage the task. Also, this movie has the giant ice wall from GoT. And Kelly Kapowski. 


Friday, November 14, 2014

A Cookie Cutter Christmas

Hallmark Holiday Movie Checklist
  • A Character whose parents taught her the meaning of true love and she won't settle for anything less (seriously, that's three movies in a row now)
  • Tragic widower with a young daughter and a heart of gold 
  • A charming little small town Christmas Festival that's the biggest event of the year
  • A Nutcracker Suite montage with characters doing christmas-y things. 
  • A main character says "All I want for Christmas is you." with a straight face
Are you horrible at baking and friendship but still long for that single dad with the tragic back story? Then you need to stop what you are doing right now and watch A Cookie Cutter Christmas

MY LIFE IS SADLY LACKING A COOKIE BAKING NEMESIS!

Synopsis: Two rival teachers who have been mortal enemies since their epic Christmas Concert dueling duet debacle at age eight try to destroy each other while competing to win a holiday baking contest AND the affections of a handsome single dad with a heart of gold who supports him and his precocious, cute-as-a-button daughter by spending all of his time at his rickety donations center that is clearly making no money at all. Will he choose Christie, the girl with the disastrous baking skills and widowed mother, or Penny, the manic crazy-eyed redhead who harbors a not-so-secret obsession with the song "Silent Night"?

Favorite Lines:

Penny: "I've been known to whip up a mean batter."

Christie: "We used to be best friends until she stole my thunder at the christmas concert."

Random Thoughts We Had During This Movie

Oh, it's set in Greenville. My cousins are from Greenville! This has no bearing on this blog post and holds pretty much no value to our readers. I should take it out. But, I won't.

Clearly we are not in a public school. They have mentioned christmas at least 37 times and instead of learning math or history, the kids are being taught how to make christmas decorations. Private school educations are my favorite!

Teacher frenemies make the best frenemies.

Why did Christie go on a tirade of how amazing her house looks during Christmas? Her decorations are like one wreath, some haphazard tinsel, and garland. Reach for the stars, Christie.

The Center of Hope is neither a center or even remotely hopeful. Even the sign looks like it's been hung by some drunk homeless guy.

My school never had a Teacher Christmas Cookie Bake-Off! I would have liked to have seen my teachers' thinly veiled aggression towards each other take the form of batter and sprinkles.

Did he just say Arrendale? He's a single dad with a heart of gold AND he's from the land of FROZEN too? You win, Hallmark.

The only remainder of handsome single dad's shadowy past are the remnants of his rock-and-roll ear piercings. No, seriously, he has two giant holes in his ears. We took a picture. See below.

Could he have opened the Center for Hope to atone for his past sins as a rock star? 
She just killed Frosty in an attempt to impress single dad and his daughter. We hope that no innocent christmas decorations were harmed during the filming of this movie.

These extras could not look more bored. Even their clapping is lackluster. I think the curly haired kid just fell asleep.

Oh, they inserted a random teacher no one cares about and who doesn't have one line in this movie into their epic "Teacher Christmas Cookie Bake-Off" in order to draw out the semi-finals. His orange plaid shirt and horn-rimmed glasses scream science teacher.

These cookies all look like they came from some generic brand X mixed holiday cookie box. None of them even look appetizing. What kind of contest is this? I cry foul, Hallmark! Foul. I want decadent, mouth-watering, frosting smothered cookies during a movie called A COOKIE CUTTER CHRISTMAS.  No wonder TV's Alan Thicke is taking infinitesimal bites of each cookie. He is LITERALLY eating cardboard.

Penny must own stock in a tinsel company. Or buy it at some crazy discount at Walmart. Seriously, she just used it as wallpaper. Is the fact that the entire house decorated in blue and silver supposed to be a nod to Hanukkah? Maybe the kids could have been playing with a dreidel instead of working at a sweatshop, making holiday ornaments.

How do they have a christmas festival every weekend? My town has never even had one. I feel deprived.

"I'll be sure to stuff it in your inbox." Whoa, that's way harsh, Penny.

This is the most awkward version of silent night I have ever heard. Penny just mimed holding the baby jesus as her denouement.

Christie just left her mom at the party?! Her mom didn't even want to go to the party in the first place. Does her mom even have a ride home? Why would you just leave her there? #worstdaughterever

"I heard Greenville has quite the reputation for its sniper rifle." Oh, wait he said nightlife. I like the misheard quote better. People come from miles around just to take a gander at Greenville's sniper rifle.

Penny, the ginger without a soul, is totally trying to foil Christie and single dad's budding romance by stealing one of single dad's recipes and blaming it on Christie. Oh, the humanity!

We were robbed of a grand bake-off. Robbed. I also expected more Simon Cowlesque judging from Alan Thicke or at least some of his fatherly and sage advice.

Conclusion: If you want to nab a widower with a heart of gold, make sure you do it through his kid. Also mistakes made when you were eight can totally haunt you for about 20 plus years AND come back to bite you in the ass, while almost destroying your relationship.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Nine Lives of Christmas

Hallmark Holiday Movie Checklist:
  • Character who is emotionally crippled by their parents bitter divorce and vows vehemently never to love again
  • Character whose parents showed them the meaning of true love and now they can never settle for anything less
  • Overly enthusiastic (and frequent mentions) of the Christmas Spirit
  • Under-the-mistletoe make-out scene
  • Uses picking out a Christmas Tree as a metaphor for finding love
  • Best friends who tell it like it is (this movie has TWO!) 
Are you a sucker for a story about a super handsome guy, whose parents' divorce caused him to write off love forever (FOREVER!), and a beautiful, true-love believing woman who wears incredibly frumpy, man-sweaters and although she is smart, beautiful, able to hook up a stove, and re-grout a sink has NO IDEA she is everyone's ideal woman? If you answered yes to the above question, then The Nine Lives of Christmas is the Hallmark movie for you! 


MEETING CUTE! WITH CATS!
Synopsis: Firefighter and lifelong bachelor Zachary plans to live a quiet life fighting fires, dating vapid models with psychotic tendencies, and (pretty randomly) restoring and flipping old homes all on a fireman's salary. Marilee, the adorably oblivious-to-her-own-charm beauty, who put her life on hold to raise her sister after their parents death, is in veterinary school and is just too busy to date! However will these two meet?  Will it be the incredibly catchy "Just Dessert" cake-obsessed on-line dating site that we desperately wish existed? Or will fate, a couple of cats, and concerned surrogate father Gregory Harrison do the trick?


Favorite Scene: Any scene in which Brandon Routh creepily strokes his cat. 

WHAT? I DON'T HAVE CRAZY EYES! JUST LET ME STROKE MY CAT!

Favorite Lines: 

Best Friend: "Do you want to die old and alone in a housecoat, surrounded by a bunch of cats, and dogs, and broken dreams?! (long pause) I'm sorry, it's just what my mother always says to me." 

And this: 

Marilee: "He's, like, really busy with fighting fires and stuff." 

Random Thoughts We Had While Watching This Movie:

Gregory Harrison has only been on screen for 3 seconds, laughing in the background, and already he is our favorite character. We're not even sure his character has a name and we don't care. From here on, he shall only be referred to as Gregory Harrison. 

"Your pussycat patient may exhibit..." is not a phrase any character should utter during a Hallmark movie. 

It didn't take Zach very long to explain his fear of commitment to the orange tabby he just kidnapped.

Obviously, she is single. You can tell by the GIANT TUB of unappetizing pink and green ice cream she just placed in her cart. 

An inordinate amount of characters in Hallmark movies have lengthy conversations with themselves or their animals. Is this normal? I have a dog and I don't monologue at her. 

The amount of people calling him a hero is out of control and- oh my god. Slow motion running. SLOW MOTION RUNNING! 

We all know that every good Hallmark movie doesn't really begin until someone pretends to have a boyfriend because their sister is judgmental over their single life.  

Why does this waiter have an overly aggressive fake Italian accent? I don't understand. 

She is watching a special on the mating rituals of Mountain Lions. It's surprisingly in-depth. Clearly this will be important later.  

Ways to tell if a girl is into you:   She tells her cat about you immediately after her depressing birthday dinner. 

He works 24 hour shifts seven days a week. How does he have time to restore and flip old houses? Where is he getting the money to do this? 

The cat just tried to full on assassinate Zach's generic model girlfriend. Nice. 

Every fire department should spend at least 50% of their down time talking about relationships and cats while lifting weights. 

Marilee's profile on "Just Desserts" gets THREE Happy Cupcakes immediately. In case we can't tell just by looking past her bulky man-sweaters, it is now officially confirmed to the audience that she is attractive to the opposite sex.

"You can't snuggle up with us at the end of a long day at work."   Why not Gregory Harrison? Why not?!

Wow, this model is kind of a sociopath. For no reason. It's not even like she's Gisele B√ľndchen or anything. At most she's a model for a JC Penny catalog. 

Who buys a fancy dress for a party that's not happening for a few weeks and then wears it out of the store, leaving their actual clothes behind? 

More information about mountain lions climbing the highest peak for their mate.  

Do firefighters actually have badges that they can flash to mean and heartless landlords? Those codes he just spouted sound like complete nonsense. A 777? That's a jet, not a fire code. I should look that up, but I won't. 

He just asked her to move in with him after one visit to a food truck and a coffee date. This makes no sense.  

Cue the musical montage of all of the cute activities they participate in now that they live together and ARE MEANT TO BE. This includes- but is not limited to- jogging, reading the morning paper and pointing at the articles, and using their cats as a metaphor for their relationship. 

After their big fight, why did he just leave all of the bread on the table when he wasn't finished slicing it? That's unnecessary. It's going to get stale, Zachary. Like your life. 

Gregory Harrison has a family he adores and he wears distinguished grey hair like it's his job and he is going to convince Zach that he made a terrible, terrible mistake by letting the girl with the bulky man-sweaters go.  Gregory Harrison is the unsung hero in this movie. 

Why wouldn't Marilee be at a Pet Adoption on Christmas Day? 

Zach is using the only firetruck in his firehouse for his own personal gain despite the fact that there could be fires raging somewhere in the city but, by god, he is going to show Marilee that he IS her mountain lion mate by climbing the highest peak (ladder) right in front of her. Even though every building in the area is way higher and way more intimidating. 

Conclusion:  If you love Gregory Harrison and mountain lions, then you should watch this movie every Christmas. But also Gregory Harrison is AMAZING. 


Thursday, November 6, 2014

One Starry Christmas

Hallmark Holiday Movie Checklist:
  • Character named Holly and/or some other christmas derivative
  • Character breaks down/gets lost/ gets trapped with a stranger who could be their soulmate
  • Workaholic boyfriend
  • Character whose parents who showed them the meaning of true love and they could never settle for anything less
  • Flirty/romantic ice skating scene
  • Bosses making their employees go to their extravagant Christmas Eve parties instead of being at home with their families 
  • Christmas proposal 
 One Starry Christmas has all of the above and COWBOYS!

OMG SPONTANEOUS LINE DANCING AT A CHRISTMAS EVE PARTY! 

The Synopsis: An aspiring astronomer (no seriously, an astronomer), who has just written her dissertation on the Cultural Significance of Orion and has a one-dimensional workaholic boyfriend (who chooses jeopardy and a work trip over spending Christmas with her), decides to travel on a rickety bus from Chicago to NewYork and- surprise, surprise- breaks down with a handsome stranger cowboy! Who will Holly choose to spend the rest of her stargazing life with? And will her parents forego all reality and good sense to invite a total stranger and his brother over for Christmas because they have a rodeo in New Jersey and no home cooked holiday meals to fill their bellies?

Favorite Scene in the Movie: Luke, our handsome cowboy protagonist, and Holly, our aspiring astronomer, are outside stargazing on a porch swing that is supposed to be in a New York neighborhood that is clearly not in any New York neighborhood I have ever seen. Luke tells her that all Texans believe that the Orion constellation (remember our heroine loves stars!) is really the most famous cowboy in all of history, Wild Bill. His tale includes Wild Bill's inseparable true love Josephine, a christmas proposal, a snowstorm and escaped cattle. It is also revealed that Wild Bill may have died tragically in a tornado of his own creation before he could propose to his soulmate. The story is highly upsetting but our heroine is charmed.

Favorite Line Exchange:

Cowboy: "She's the kind of girl who can teach you to ice skate by day and show you the stars by night."
Holly: "She sounds amazing."

Random Thoughts We Had While Watching this Movie:

She rides a scooter. See, everyone, she's quirky!

Her boyfriend chose Jeopardy over romantic stargazing. This relationship is doomed.

Wow, she really enjoys talking to herself. And spinning. And squealing. And pretending to be engaged.

Wake up, Holly! Your unexpected holiday romance in the form of an honest to goodness cowboy is sitting next to you.

Wait, is the saddle named Gail or Dale? And why can't he put it in the overhead compartment again? I'm confused.

There's a rodeo in New Jersey? How have I not known about this?

I should count how many times they use the word cowboy.

Luke plays the harmonica. He really is a cowboy.

You sound like a rescued castaway? Adam, her current boyfriend, sucks at analogies.

I guess the phrase "stranger danger" doesn't apply to cowboys.

Her parents are always eating or cleaning wine glasses or putting together puzzles. I love them.

Holly says to Luke," You clean up well, cowboy." when he is LITERALLY wearing the exact same blue flannel shirt that he was in when he met her last night. I don't even think he showered.

In less than 12 hours, Luke the cowboy has gone from a complete stranger to the son they never had. That makes perfect sense.

Aaaaand cue the laughing, falling on top of each other flirty skating mishap. Yup, there it is.

Wait! There are two cowboys in this movie? And they're brothers. Y.E.S.

Our house has never had a Christmas sing-along with strangers we randomly invite to spend the holidays with us. I feel deprived.

Holly's current boyfriend REALLY hates this sing along.  Like, really. He is looking at them like they are all next level bonkers.

I really should have counted how many times they use the word cowboy.

Spontaneous line dancing at a Christmas Eve party. My dreams are fulfilled.

I know we are supposed to hate her one dimensional corporate lawyer boyfriend but she is hardcore making eyes and dancing suggestively with the cowboy she brought home while at her current boyfriend's work party, in front of his new boss. Not cool, Holly. Not cool.

I love when cowboys argue over soul mates while tossing around expressions like "Grab the bull by the horns!" and "Cowboy up and go after her! She's your Josephine."

Her parents are spying on their romantic ending. Like way longer than is socially acceptable. Her parents are kind of pervy.

Yes, Holly, it turns out your mother was right. It only takes a New York minute to fall in love with your soulmate.

SERIOUSLY WHY DIDN'T WE COUNT HOW MANY TIMES THEY USED THE WORD COWBOY?


Conclusion: If you like cowboys and christmas, and cowboys, and cowboys then THIS is the movie for you.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Introduction to the Dynamic Movie Reviewing Duo

Dear Readers,

We assure you that this blog comes from a place of love and a place of undying respect for the Hallmark Christmas movie script writers. Okay, it may also have something to do with our deep-seeded feelings of inadequacy over our family never having played one game of touch football during the holidays. The Hallmark Families ALWAYS play a rousing, charmingly competitive game filled with laughter, shenanigans, and robust men. If our family played such a whimsical game, it would probably look more like a scene from The Walking Dead (just look at the flowers, Lizzie) than a Hallmark movie.

But we digress.

Having cast aside our shattered dreams of one day writing a Hallmark Christmas movie of our very own, we have settled (over many, many text messages and several gallons of wine) for writing reviews about these heart-warming, cozying-up-next-to-a-fire-on-a-sunday-with-hot-cocoa movies. What do these reviews entail? Hallmark premiered its first Holiday movie on November 1st and is currently gearing up its marketing machine for its twelve new and original holiday movies. This means we have twelve- yes twelve- movies to watch and review. Each week, we will regale you with a short synopsis of the movie, some of our favorite lines and favorite scenes as well as some very revealing stream-of-conscious thoughts. Will it be funny? As funny as asking Santa for a boyfriend for Christmas AND GETTING ONE.

We may revisit an old favorite movie or two and are currently open to a few requests.  Who knows? Maybe we'll even get crazy with a guest poster.

WHY DOESN'T OUR FAMILY HAVE ORGANIZED TREE TRIMMING FUN LIKE THIS FAMILY? 

We invite you to sit down, relax, and be entertained as we try and answer age old questions like "Why can't I forge a connection with a stranger over a mutual love of constellations and christmas?" and   "Why aren't my bosses throwing amazing million dollar Christmas Eve parties with choreographed dancing?".

We sincerely hope you love these so-bad-they-are-good movies as much as we do. Or at least love our reviews. Not that we are desperate for your approval or anything. Love us. Please love us. 

Seasons Greetings,

Beth & Laura