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And Seen…Guide to (TV) Holiday Movies pt.1

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Fun Fact: We’re huge fans of Christmas movies, and not just the classics like Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, or Die Hard but even all the made for TV holiday movies. From now until Christmas we’ll be reviewing made for television holiday movies, so you know which ones to tune in for.  Note, in order to watch these kinds of movies you need to be a fan of: Santa, holiday romance, Christmas proposals,  heartwarming moments (often involving children/orphans) and people learning valuable lessons.  Now, let’s hear those sleigh bells jingling!

Matchmaker Santa

Trailer: here
Channel: Hallmark

Santa: Yes
Holiday Romance: Yes
Christmas Proposal: No
Heartwarming Moments: Limited
Valuable Lessons Learned: No

Good to watch: While baking holiday cookies

Lacey Chabert is the new go-to girl for holiday movies, which makes sense there is something elf-ish about her.  In this story we see a little girl, Melanie, watching her parents be so in love with each other (not in the “get a room” kind of way just in the sappy “you’re my prince charming” kind of way) and decides to write Santa a letter asking for her own prince charming one day.

Cut to years later and Melanie is now the owner of a bakery and dating the CEO of a company (how fancy!). But he’s so busy CEO-ing he never has time for her and always sends his assistant, Dean, to do the things he should be doing.  Who is that outside her bakery ringing a bell for donations? Why that would be Santa, but not the pretend kind the for real kind. He’s finally ready to grant Melanie her Christmas wish. At this point I wondered for way too long whether it was odd that neither Melanie nor Dean gave any money to Santa. Isn’t this the point in the movie where we learn how good these characters are and therefore deserve not only each other but happiness? And then her boyfriend could pass by and not donate his change and we’d all be like , “Oh yeah he’s that guy, she can do better”…

Melanie’s boyfriend invites her to his lake-house to meet his mom over the holidays!  Guess who she meets on the plane? Santa.  But he goes by Chris and says he’s been hired to play Santa for the weekend (what a trickster).  Her boyfriend sends Dean to pick her up at the airport and they see Chris/Santa stranded (he totally planned it) and offer him a ride (all part of the plan).  When they get him to the enchanting small town their car breaks down (still part of the plan).  What will they do?  Good thing there are fun people about (like Florence Henderson), cookies to bake, replacement elves to dress up as, and love to fall in to. Meanwhile, her boyfriend runs into his old girlfriend and they keep trying to get to Melanie and Dean, but every time they’re thwarted (more of Santa’s tomfoolery).  Oddly, in a movie that features Santa and all kinds of magic the most unbelievable part of the movie is the super amicable ending between exes.

It’s Christmas, Carol!

Trailer: here
Channel: Hallmark

Santa: No
Holiday Romance: Yes
Christmas Proposal: No
Heartwarming Moments: Yes
Valuable Lessons Learned: YES

Good to watch: While shopping online for gifts – Christmas spirit y’all

This whole movie probably unfolded when someone came up with the name. Pitch meeting: It’s basically a Christmas Carol, but instead we’ll make it about a girl named Carol and call it It’s Christmas, Carol. Emphasis on the comma. Get it?

Standard Christmas Carol story, they didn’t change too much.  They added the unique twist of making it a girl instead of a guy which is fun because as she learns her valuable life lessons she gets a subtle makeover where she stops wearing such severe makeup and incorporates pinks and flitty scarves into her wardrobe (they were always there she just couldn’t see them past her power suits and anger). There is no Tiny Tim, which is for the best since that is the one character guaranteed to make me cry. Instead of three ghosts there is only the one played by Carrie Fisher, and she does make a Star Wars reference.  They try to add in some sassy fun co-workers with Carson Kressley but it’s kind of meh. At the end, when celebrations are ensuing, we finally see what she typed on a typewriter earlier and I wanted so badly for it to be “God bless us everyone” even though I knew that wouldn’t make any sense. Instead it’s something boring and anti-climatic (snooze).  What I’m saying is, this is no Scrooged, but really what is?

Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade

Trailer: here
Channel: Hallmark

Santa: No
Holiday Romance: Yes
Christmas Proposal: Almost – Thanksgiving proposal
Heartwarming Moments: More than expected
Valuable Lessons Learned: No

Good to watch: If you’re not ready for Christmas yet since it’s more about Thanksgiving

The best part about holiday movies and rom-coms (holi-rom-com?) is how predictable they are. Even though you know exactly where this movie is headed (it’s in the poster for goodness sake) it’s still a fun ride and I got swept up in the romance.

Emily is in charge of running the Thanksgiving Day parade (I’m still unclear if this is a year-round job or if it’s part of a bigger job and we’re just focusing in on the parade time in her life? Because, if parade runner is a full-time job, I’m making a career change).  A wealthy businessman, Henry, strolls into town. He’s tasked with deciding whether the parade is profitable.  Um, you can’t put a price on joy, Henry. I’m sure you’ve seen the MasterCard commercials stating as such. So we have a by the numbers businessman versus a loving, quirky parade enthusiast.  What will happen? I’ll tell you. They’re going to fight, warm up to each other, sing karaoke together (which was impressively done by Autumn Reeser with a rendition of Heart of Glass – not an easy one to pull off), share intimate details about themselves they haven’t told anyone else, and then fight more.

Climactic ending where Emily and Henry realize they were wrong and they’re in love with the other. But is it too late? This all goes down during the parade which you would think would be Emily’s busiest time since she’s in charge of it. But somehow she has a lot of free time to walk around and discover facts about Henry, talk to people about him and break up with her boyfriend. My point being, if being in charge of a parade really is a job it might be the easiest one in the world and I want it.

The March Sisters at Christmas
Channel: Lifetime

Santa: No
Holiday Romance: Yes
Christmas Proposal: Yes
Heartwarming Moments: Of Course
Valuable Lessons Learned: Always
Good to watch: While drinking spiked eggnog

This is what Lifetime should have done with it’s remake of Steel Magnolias. If you are going to update something just go for it, don’t worry about Louisa May Alcott’s precious Little Women.  Make the girls drink, be slutty and have modern jobs. Why not? This isn’t the BBC, it’s Lifetime.

In this version instead of being a writer Jo is a ghost tweeter for celebrities.  Meg is a law student, way to step it up rather than just being a gal that hopes to wed.  Instead of being an artist (a.k.a teacup painter) Amy works at the theater. I assumed as an actress but it seems she does more of the tech side of things. Beth remains an accomplished piano player and homebody. But she might apply to college especially after Meg creates her a color-in vision board where you get to color in any goal you achieve (Do they make these? Can they make these? I need one).  And Teddy is still a rich boy who lives next door, because that works in any time period.

Plot: Mrs. March is going to sell Orchard House because it needs too much work and the girls are grown. But these feisty March sisters will not give up their childhood home so easily.  While their mom is conveniently away for three months, to bring their injured father home, the sisters decide to fix up the house. If this plan didn’t work I assumed they would fake haunt the house a la The Brady Bunch to scare away any potential home buyers.  This movie hits the big plot points of Little Women: Teddy being in love with Jo, Meg and John Brooks getting together, Amy and Jo fighting, Mr. Lawrence giving Beth the piano (oh how I missed Claire Danes and her chin tremble in this scene).  But I think the best part of this is it’s only a short period of time in the March sisters life, which means we don’t have to see Beth die (another brilliant Claire Danes scene – I may still have her death speech memorized).  Just don’t compare this to the book or movies (I’m clearly partial to the 1994 version) take it for what it is, silly holiday fun.


One response »

  1. Die Hard is still my classic Christmas film. Nothing pumps me full of holiday lead like John McClane and his machine gun of Christmas.


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