Monday, November 23, 2015

Charming Christmas

Hallmark Holiday Movie Checklist:
  • Family run department store during the holidays 
  • Character named Nick whose mysterious background leads viewers to wonder if he is, in fact, a part of the "Real Claus" family
  • Character whose parents showed them the meaning of true love and they could never settle for anything less
  • Features unexplainable magical item (in this case, a Mrs. Claus suit!) that imbues people with the "Holiday Spirit" and changes their lives
  • Uses picking out a Christmas Tree as a metaphor for finding love
  • Under-the-mistletoe make-out scene

Are you a believer in independent stores with big hearts, zero business sense, and quirky owners who are still in love after all these years? Then you need to drop your hot cocoa, put on your comfy P.J.'s, and watch Charming Christmas!

Synopsis: A frosty work-obsessed gal, Meredith, puts on a magic Mrs. Claus dress and fights her need to franchise her small, family business to the big, evil corporation. Will the mysterious Nick, who her parents hire as their department store Santa because he might very well be the progeny of the Real Santa, change Meredith's mind and warm her cold heart? Hint: YES. YES, HE CAN. Because he's Christopher from Gilmore Girls. Christopher. From. Gilmore. Girls.

Favorite Line:

Nick: (in reference to a Christmas Tree AND Love) "I'm looking for something strong, something that will last, won't bed too easily, but is soft to the touch."

Random Thoughts We Had While Watching The Movie: 

There are already way too many characters in this movie. I am not going to be able to keep the women straight. Because I'm Hallmark Movie Sexist.

Her mom kept her Mrs. Claus suit for 40 years? That seems hygienic.

Frosty Meredith can smell unnatural chemicals at dry cleaners. Is that, like, the lamest super power ever?

Okay, I get it, this movie is going to propel forward on the sheer force of Nick aka David Sutcliff's charm alone. I'm sold. Because he's Christopher from Gilmore Girls. Christopher. From. Gilmore. Girls.

This is my concerned-yet-exceedingly-handsome-you're-not-showing-enough-christmas-spirit face. 
Will all of the women who are secretly unsatisfied in their lives and in need of a Christmas morality lesson please raise your hands? There are three of you? Great! You all get to wear the same Mrs. Claus suit! P.S. There's magic involved. 

Jessie, one of the Mrs. Clauseses, has a husband named Woody. As a rule no romantic character should be named Woody. This excludes Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks is the exception to every rule. 

Olivia, the last Mrs. Claus, is a single mother with a ne'er-do-well ex, an estranged mother, and a precocious son named Tyler. Obvi. 

At this point in time, this shared Mrs. Claus suit has to be rank. Naturally they have a friendly neighborhood independent dry cleaner who is also good at sewing priceless antique buttons on 40 year old suits and not destroying Christmas Magic. My dry cleaner can't even handle cleaning my coat from Express.

The corporate guy, who represents the nameless conglomerate trying to franchise Rossman's, is sleazy. And a close talker. Clearly, we should not trust him.

"I forgot my lucky piece of coal. Some kids get a kick out of knowing I have it on hand just in case." Do they, Nick? Do they? If a department store Santa gave me a lump of coal, I probably would have stabbed him. 

Has Meredith seriously never seen a candy cane before? How is she this surprised over the fact that dipping a candy cane in hot chocolate will give it a minty taste? She must be a communist. 

Nano the Hamster Bot? That's THE toy that every little boy wants this Christmas? Can't they just pick something that resembles an actual Christmas present? Like a video game or something. Why does it have to be a weird, little rodent in a ball? 

Jessie's ankle has healed and she can now audition for Broadway again which means, inevitably, she will choose Woody over her dreams. 

Wait. He wants her to hide a Christmas Pickle with him? A Pickle? This is actually a thing? A real Christmas tradition of olde? Because otherwise our two main characters are legit playing "hide the pickle" in the shadow of a Christmas Tree. I'm disgusted, Hallmark. Intrigued, slightly aroused, but disgusted. 

This is the 27th time someone has remarked that Nick takes his job as a department store Santa very seriously. In my experience, no department store Santa has ever looked like him. And they generally smell like whiskey and regret. 

Christmas is a big deal for Nick's folks. Who live up North. BECAUSE THEY ARE THE CLAUSES, MEREDITH. HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT? 

Of course Meredith is giving Nano the Hamster Bot to the friendly dry cleaner and not Tyler's mom, who actually works in her department store. If I can't get in touch with a friend because I want to give their child a present, my go to is always their dry cleaner.

"I thought Nick was a bit crazy when he talked about Santa's magic." Nick's charm is so powerful, so potent that it destroys any lingering thoughts of "this guy is clearly disturbed because he thinks his parents are the Santas and that Christmas Magic in the form of a suit cures everything."

A guy just bought one ugly wooden Zebra in the toy department. Just one. Either he has the whole animal zoo set at home and the Zebra will complete it or he just bought a toy for a kid he hates.

Oh, look! It's the estranged mother of one of the Mrs. Clauseseses, back to heal their estranged relationship. We may not find out why their estranged relationship went sour but that doesn't matter because we'll just repeat the word estranged over and over until you forget this giant plot hole.

Nick is outside your store in a sleigh with reindeer and mistletoe, Meredith. Go get him, girl.

Conclusion: Every Santa in the world should be played by David Sutcliff. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ice Sculpture Christmas

Hallmark Holiday Movie Checklist:
  • Down on her luck girl becomes a dishwasher in her hometown and bumps into a childhood crush/love
  • Tragic, dead parent who was the embodiment of the Holiday Spirit
  • Character whose parents showed them the meaning of true love and they could never settle for anything less
  • Girl is from a humble background and makes hugely profound statements about finding angels
  • Boy's family is from the upper echelon of society and therefore in need of a "holiday" lesson in classism 
  • Flirty/romantic christmas cookie baking scene 
  • A charming little small town contest, Christmas based, that's the biggest event of the year
  • Incredibly humble, annoyingly positive father/daughter team who are always smiling and always taking the high road 

Seriously, these are their expressions. The whole time. 

If you’re always humble (always-always!) you will totally rise to your dream job two weeks after starting from the very bottom as a dishwasher based solely on your constant “I’m OK” face and random ice carving skills, which come in super handy the very first day, and allow you to win the prince (of where, we still don't understand) who just wants to do something meaningful for once in his silver spooned life.

Synopsis: Total Cinderella story, except the class slipper is ice, freezing cold ice. Girl from a modest, middle-class family, who has to work for everything she has, reconnects with a good-hearted-wants-to-help-humanity prince she met as a child who just so happens to still belong to the same country club where her dad has always worked and now she works. This romance is going to be totes hot enough to melt the blocks of ice in Ice Sculpture Christmas

Favorite Line: 
Callie’s dad, Frank: “Christmas is food for the heart and soul.” 
Hand to Santa, those faces, the whole time. 

Random Thoughts We Had During This Movie:

Where do they live? Because the ice sculpture she carved in her front yard isn’t melting. Also, it's not very good. 

How did the head chef not remember Callie was starting work her first day and why was she late to / not a part of the monthly meeting being held that she just happened to stumble upon, thus drawing attention to herself.

And... cue Über competitive icy bitch who will cause problems for our plucky heroine. Her name is Jen. They are always named Jen. 

Oh, look, a 25 year old ice sculpting contest that the heroine can totally use to prove her worth to the restaurant. Huh. I didn't see that coming. At all. 

There’s no way David was merely “oh no, my phone” when Callie bumped it into the fountain. Who doesn’t lose their shit over a phone falling into the sink? I would have cut a bitch. 

Weez’s comment about the phone in the bag of rice, “It’s supposed to be completely submerged in the rice! Hello!” It was half out of the rice AND wasn’t even in it overnight. She’s 11, she knows. The Hallmark researchers are trash. 

Wait. That guy made a house WITH furniture in four hours and all they could muster was a gingerbread man? 

Also, Callie isn't that talented at ice sculpting. Her gingerbread man is terrible. 

We published an ice carving book. I wonder if it did well? (File that under: Thought one has when you work for a textbook publisher)

The god damned Bradford deal, David! Is that the Hallmark version of the Catalina Wine Mixer? 

He’s a prince and his dad is the king? Of what / where? Of their company? Of their town? I don't understand. 

This country club looks like a run-down Courtyard Marriott. How exclusive could it possibly be? 

That flirty christmas cookie baking scene was a perfect opportunity for counter sex Epic fail, Hallmark. Epic fail. 

Gloria and Frank are so gonna hook up.

Jen, the manipulative shady bitch, sabotaged Callie's piece of ice. Noooooooooo. What is going to happen? The movie is over. OVER. 

How in the hell did Callie create an angel out of her broken ass block of ice that was reduced to half its size?

Does no one else think that Callie's ice sculptures are pure garbage? That angel has no face. It's terrifying. It's going to kill us all. 

Why didn't Callie just ask David when that bitch Jen tell her that Brooke and David are a thing because, of course, David, being a prince, would never ever love a “dishwasher”? Why does she ask Brooke? Such a passive female role… (eyeroll)

WHO’S THE WINNER?! No need for a winner when the girl gets the guy, I guess.

Conclusion: The passive, positive girl gets her prince, and her dream job, and her mom’s legacy full-filled, and Jen totally gets fired for being a bitch. If that’s your thing, this one is for you, on ice. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

'Tis The Season For Love

Hallmark Movie Checklist:
  • Down on her luck girl returns to her hometown and bumps into an old flame
  • Someone uses the words "unmarried" and "spinster" in the same sentence. 
  • Scene in a sprawling, beautiful and quaint Christmas Tree Lot that resembles no Christmas Tree Lot we have ever encountered in real life. 
  • Flirty/romantic ice skating scene that turns into a kiss
  • Overly enthusiastic (and frequent mentions) of "The Real Santa" and subsequent visits by a man who may or may not be "The Real Santa"
  • A charming little small town Christmas Festival and/or Pageant that's the biggest event of the year
  • Features unexplainable circumstances that are explained away by the term "Christmas Magic"
We are back, ladies (and the possibly one or two gentlemen who are actually reading this blog) with a charming Christmas morality tale of giving up your dreams for a man. We had high hopes for Hallmark's Holiday Season opener because Sarah Lancaster is pure joy but, alas, they were dashed by the GINORMOUS Folgers product placement in the first three minutes of the movie. Get ready for some serious Holiday Magic in 'Tis The Season For Love!  


Synopsis: An out of work actress (Beth) living on her friend's couch in a manhattan apartment that no Broadway actress would ever be able to afford in her life, returns to her hometown where she bumps into an old flame (Barry) who in a crazy twist is NOT her love interest and falls in love with his best friend (Dean) who has a penchant for quotes like "Greatness comes in all shapes and sizes, Beth" and is a firefighter who doesn't seem to do anything but play cards in the firehouse and help with the town Christmas Pageant. Will the man who works at the Christmas Tree lot turn out to be THE REAL SANTA and help Beth realize- through the magic of the Holidays- that her dream all along is to remain in the hometown she left behind so many years ago?

Favorite Line Exchange: 
The Real Santa:  "Well, I don't have all the answers, Beth."
Beth: (accusatorially) "Well, you kinda act like you do, Santa."

Random Thoughts We Had While Watching The Movie: 

How in gods name does her friend, who is an actress who has only been in two broadway shows, afford the biggest Manhattan apartment I have ever seen in my life? Oh, wait. She comes from family money. Thank god, you explained that, Hallmark. Thank god.

"You took out all of my pageant trophies?"- This might be number 1 on the list of things that have never been uttered in my house.

Who has a picture of their ex-boyfriend in a leather jacket, wearing a bad-boy pouty face in their childhood bedroom?

Wow- these people remember a LOT of superlatives from their high school. I don't even remember who I went to high-school with.

Her bad-ass-leather-jacket-wearing-ex is now a pharmacist. Okay, that makes sense.

YEEES. A super cryptic Santa.

How perfect that the town needs someone with a theater background to direct the holiday show and take a part time job as a drama teacher! I didn't see that coming. At all.

The principal offering her the job is aggressively creepy.

What 30 something woman body checks kids out of the way so that she can see Santa about a magical key that may show her the future?

Either this is the worst "let's cover up the name of the business" job or it's the lamest attempt at holiday decorating ever. 
Is it just me or are they now saying "Kern" in every other sentence after not mentioning the name of the town in the first half of the movie?

How does the Kern Town Council justify paying the wages of a full time fire department? These guys just sit around and play cards or read the Kern Journal (The Kernal!!!!!) out loud to each other.

I didn't think it was possible but this principal gets creepier every time he is on screen. "I'm just going to let that one simmer, Beth." His lines definitely have an undercurrent of WHILE I PEEL OFF YOUR SKIN AND WEAR IT AS A HAT.

Beth is a really shitty choreographer. Or these kids are just pure garbage.

Do Barry and Eileen not have cell phones? Every time they need to make a phone call they actually leave the room. Is Kern the only town in the county that still has a pay phone? Or are they telepaths?

"What I did with these kids defined me." Well, the kids were horrifying, Beth, so maybe the agent who dumped you in the beginning of the movie made the right call.

Look! Look! We are going to end the movie with a romantic walk in the Christmas Tree Lot while snow is falling. Wait. It doesn't look like a single tree was sold in this lot. Cryptic Santa is a shitty tree salesman.

Conclusion: You should always give up your dreams for a man. During Christmas. Because a guy dressed up like Santa gives you a magical key.