The 2014 Noggy Awards

eggnog trophy

A belated Merry Christmas or Happy Barbara Mandrell’s birthday to you, depending on which one you celebrate. Sorry I didn’t wish it sooner but I have been feverishly analyzing and re-analyzing the data from this year’s slate of made-for-TV Christmas movies to present you with the 2nd Annual Noggy Awards Show. So hey, welcome to the 2nd Annual Noggy Awards! What are the 2nd Annual Noggy Awards? Well they’re a lot like the 1st Annual Noggy Awards, which was kind of like the Oscars but without all the lies. Instead, I hand out virtual awards to the best, worst, and best-worst Christmas movies of the season.

So let’s get right down to business. I’ll even kick things off with Best Picture, just to show you what a serious businessman I am, even if that comes entirely at the expense of love and all other qualities we value in life. And if you still don’t believe my businessyness, I will try to find a way to work “Dow Jones” into my explanation of the winner.


– Merry ExMas – WINNER!

– Northpole

– A Perfect Christmas List

– Christmas Kiss II

There’s really not that much mystery here. Even less than who the boss was on the show of the same name, where the employment was pretty spelled out from the get-go. If you’ve been reading these reviews or my mind or just guessed and got it right, you know how much Merry ExMas floated my boat this year. And why not? This movie had it all – older lady incontinence, invisible bee attacks, someone falling off a dog sled, Dow Jones – and that was all pretty much in one scene although I guess I made up the part about Dow Jones. But maybe I didn’t. Because to be honest, I don’t actually know what Dow Jones is. Or are. Is it singular or plural? I just looked it (them?) up online and now I’m even more confused. Read the entire Wikipedia page and seriously couldn’t understand a thing. I guess I’m not really a businessman. Although according to these movies, that makes me a better person. These other nominees were good people too. Several of them could have won in other years. The logo for Northpole claimed it was established in 1820 and I’m certain it would have taken the Noggy then. I’m not as certain as to why they included that little tidbit of information though. Established in 1820. Was the real North Pole actually discovered then? No. But such an oddity is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s great. Kind of like when we saw Star Wars for the first time and right away, the big, scrolling text says it’s “Episode IV”. How could it be Episode IV? It was the first movie. But see, that’s it exactly. Makes you think. Makes you wonder what it means. So Northpole is in some very good company although I should point out that the Star Wars Holiday Special, which came out the same year (1977, not 1820), was one of the worst things ever created, movie or otherwise. And speaking of worst…



– Debbie MacComber’s Mr. Miracle – “WINNER!”

– A Cookie Cutter Christmas

– Angels and Ornaments

– The Miami Connection

Okay, it’s true that the Miami Connection wasn’t a made-for-TV movie this year nor even a Christmas movie but it didn’t have a connection to Miami either so why should little details like that hold it back from being considered for this category? Although here’s something that should prevent The Miami Connection from consideration – it was awesome. Bad, yes, in so many ways but all of them enjoyable and the kinds of things that would make me want to watch it again and again. For this category however, I am talking about the bad kind of bad that isn’t good or even Bad in a Michael Jackson sense. Like I didn’t enjoy it on any level and I definitely won’t tune in when it’s on next year. So considering this criteria, the award really should go to Mr. Miracle here. Specifically him but probably the whole movie too. It just wasn’t good or more importantly, fun. Back-to-back duds, Angels & Ornaments and A Cookie Cutter Christmas made me at least want to watch them until the end. Barely. With Mr. Miracle though, from the very first moment I met the titular Mr. Miracle, all I wanted to do was get Out of Africa.


Craziest Moment

– Invisible bee attack in Merry ExMas – WINNER!

– Sled dog journey in Merry ExMas

– Weird, homoerotic moment in Merry ExMas where Lochlyn Munro seemingly ad-libs a line saying he felt “movement” after Dean Cain gets tough with him

– Jodi Lyn O’Keefe’s “son” starts rattling off titles for country songs while she uses a rowing machine in Merry ExMas.

– Song and dance number in A Perfect Christmas List

– The scene in the offices of Ion Television where they reviewed this year’s slate of TV Christmas movies

In thinking back to my initial viewing of Merry ExMas, I was definitely in a greater state of disbelief during the sled dog journey, saying both internally and aloud that this can’t be happening. Much of it was due to just how jarring the whole thing was. The setting, tone, pace, look, energy level, and everything just felt like such a hard left turn but, BUT, I also knew that the characters were trying to get to a place in the mountains, the mountains were not accessible due to blizzard, and they claimed that sled dogs were a way to get there so on some level, this scene technically made sense. The transition was crazy, for sure, but dots were connected. When I think about the previous scene though, the one where invisible bees attacked, I cannot say the same thing. There was just no real or even imaginary reason for those damn invisible bees to start chasing people off and for that, it must win the Noggy for Craziest Moment. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that before. Or since! Although I guess that part is less remarkable.


Best Actress

– Candace Cameron in Christmas Under Wraps – WINNER!

– Kimberly Sustad in Nine Lives of Christmas

– Tiffany I-Forgot-Whether-Its-Amber-Or-Thiessen in Northpole

– Haylie Duff in Naughty & Nice

– Lacey Chabert in The Tree That Saved Christmas

Back to Star Wars again, do you remember that scene at the beginning of Return of the Jedi when we first see Luke Skywalker in the form of a hologram, telling Jaba to release Han and Leia? Or die? But this isn’t the same Luke from Star Wars or Empire Strikes Back. Suddenly, he’s like, a total badass. Not just because he was all in black but because of the newfound swagger. He had become a Jedi. That’s kind of how I felt watching Candace Cameron Bure in Christmas Under Wraps. She had been okay before in that Moonlight and Mistletoe movie and pretty good in last year’s Let It Snow but now, in 2014, she has become a Jedi too. Looks better and her performance had an air of truly polished confidence. The other gals in this category were sweet, likable, believable, and even mastered the art of not annoying me but while they were in Cloud City admirably trying to save their crew, CCB remained in Dagoba, learning how to pull X-Wing Fighters out of the swamp using only Christmas spirit.


Best Actor

– Eric Mabius is Signed, Sealed, and Delivered For Christmas – WINNER!

– Dean Cain in Merry ExMas

– Brandon Routh in Nine Lives of Christmas

– Not Rob Morrow

– Barry Watson in Santa Con

Honestly, I wanted to give this Noggy to “Not Rob Morrow”, just because no male actor’s performance this year was as good as his was bad. That’s not necessarily a knock on some of these other leading men, it’s more of a statement on just how bad Mr. Non-Miracle was. I’m sorry to keep piling on here and I realize he’s not necessarily 100% to blame for the interpretation of that character. Maybe he was just following orders. Maybe it’s exactly how Mr. Miracle was written. Maybe the director told him he had to act that way or he was going to jail. Maybe the police were even involved. And who was going to police the police? Certainly not the Coast Guard, I’ll tell you that, but I will also tell you that if I really have to give the award to somebody, as opposed to NOT somebody, I am going to go with one Eric “Call Me” Mabius from Signed, Sealed and Delivered For Christmas. Yes, I realize how completely messed up that is because I didn’t review the movie in this blog or even casually mention to anyone that I watched it but since I don’t see any Coast Guard boats showing up at my house to arrest me right now, I am just going to go with it. Because even though I just met him and this is crazy, Call Me actually pulls off an extremely rare feat for one of these made-for-TV Christmas movies. He carries the film as the male lead. Usually, and I’ve said this before, the role can be somewhat irrelevant (sure Dean Cain, I realize you pitched Merry ExMas but I’m speaking purely from an acting perspective here). If the guy is good, then great, but if not, the movie can still work, because more often than not, the story centers around the lead actress. I guess you could say that Signed, Sealed, Delivered is more of an ensemble piece but he is our rock and the character was a little more original and interesting than we’re used to seeing. So here’s my Noggy. And call him Mabius.


Best Supporting Actor

– Lochlyn Munro in Merry ExMas – WINNER!

– Alan Thicke in Cookie Cutter Christmas

– Dad in Back to Christmas (his name isn’t really important)

Of course we all know just how frequently these movies feature a jerk boyfriend or girlfriend character. This is the person our hero or heroine is somehow dating at the beginning of the film but since they are such a jerk, we are totally cool with our hero/heroine breaking it off with them eventually to get with the other protagonist. And they usually provide other obstacles to keep our main lovers from hooking up. These are forgettable, one-dimensional, heartless a-holes consumed only by money and business success and if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. Not so fast, says Lochlyn Munro this year in Merry ExMas, with a trailblazing performance that really broke the mold! He was wealthy, yes, and cared a lot about his money and just generally winning but what set him apart was this accent/persona that was some kind of insane combination of a Liam Neesen, Richard Nixon, and some Canadian stereotype from a Kids in the Hall skit. There was also a weird level of sincerity to him that I, at the same time, actually believed despite what a cartoonish figure he was. At some point too, I think the actor started ad-libbing and the production people were awesome enough to just roll with it. I’ve already mentioned the scene where he talked about feeling “movement” after a dust-up with Dean Cain and there was another good one where he asked the young daughter character if she liked horror movies, mentioning that Freddie vs. Jason was an excellent film. A film Lochlyn Munro was actually in and I just can’t imagine any of that was in the script but it definitely qualifies as going above and beyond the call of duty and for that, he was a Loch to win this award. Wait a minute, I spelled “lock” wrong there. And I capitalized it. No wait, that actually functions as wordplay because his first name is Lochlyn. Phew, lucky coincidence.


Best Supporting Actress

– Bailee Madison in Northpole – WINNER!

– Jane Seymour in A Royal Christmas

– Jodi Lyn O’Keefe in Merry ExMas

Oddly enough, while the Best Supporting Actress category is somewhat of a joke to the real Oscars, I’ve got no snark for you here. I thought Bailee Madison did a straight up good job. The heart of her movie. She was sweet and innocent and whimsically eccentric enough to make me believe she was a real, live elf from the North Pole or perhaps even Northpole. So much so that I didn’t mind that Tiffany I-Just-Remembered-That-It’s-Only-Thiessen didn’t mind that she was a seemingly teenage girl spending a lot of time alone with her under teenage son. I do want to point out though, that Jane Seymour was her sparkling, classy self and Jodi Lyn O’Keefe choose to leave her weird family in Merry ExMas, on Xmas, to go driving around in a limo and take dog sled rides up a mountain for absolutely no reason at all. Just because she played a lawyer doesn’t mean she had to be present for her client’s signing of a contract. Plus she pretended to be the guy’s sister and from his home country, wherever the hell that was. But while that might have made the contract more legal and the movie more awesome, both she and Janey ran into a buzz saw this year and I’m not talking about invisible bees but the buzz saw named Bailee Madison.


Best Supporting Black Friend

– Lady in Christmas at Cartwright’s who just listened to all of Alicia Witt’s many problems and babysat her daughter – WINNER!

– Guy in Merry ExMas who often had his shirt off and was shown working out for no reason.

– Urkel from The Santa Con.

Not only is it always nice to have a friend, any friend, but a black friend instantly proves the main, white character isn’t a racist, which is something I like to need established right away. It’s a common feature in plenty of movies but I think these made-for-TV Christmas ones take it to a higher level. Maybe potential racism is just a bigger fear since many of the actors aren’t necessarily household names. Like if Julia Roberts is the main character, I already know she’s probably not a racist but if it’s someone lesser known, like Alicia Witt for instance, I may not be so sure. Speaking of which, her black friend was this year’s winner. As much as I want to talk more about Urkel or shirtless dudes working out for now reason, I absolutely have to give it to her in Christmas at Cartwright’s. Just like I say above, all she did was listen kindly to Alicia Witt’s many problems with gentle understanding and was always taking care of the daughter. I think she might have even let them both live at her house or something. And not once did I ever hear her burden AW with any of her own issues. She was just there for pure support. Hey Urkel – did you do that?


Best Crazy Decoration

– Wreath hanging from nothing in Back to Christmas – WINNER!

– Snow blankets in Best Christmas Party Ever

– Garland framing multiple entryways in a single shot in the Christmas Parade, and some of them not even real entryways.

I realize it’s pretty hard to tell what exactly you’re looking at in this picture but that’s kind of the point.


For the record, it is a wreath just hanging from a tree in some park in the movie Back To Christmas. How often does that happen? I love parks, Christmas, and full disclosure, have no less than 8 Christmas wreaths of my very own but it would never occur to me that one could hang a wreath from a tree. I could even almost see nailing it to one in my front yard or something but just tying a string to it and letting it drape down in some public space seems crazy. But it’s the really good kind of crazy and thus, worthy of winning the 2014 (really good kind of) Craziest Decoration Noggy Award. While snow blankets and overly excessive garlands are great, the tree wreath took real creativity and earns bonus points because the camera even panned up to show it, right before cutting to commercial. Just wanted to make sure we noticed. Message received!


Couple With the Least Chance of Survival

– Scott Grimes and Melissa Sagemiller in The Santa Con – “WINNER!”

– Kimberly Sustad and Brandon Routh in the Nine Lives of Christmas

– AnnaLynne MaCord and old dude in The Christmas Parade

What I often do is lay mental odds on just how long I expect the characters who hook up in these movies to actually remain together. Sometimes the foundation of their relationship is specious at best and by the time Martin Luther King Jr. Day rolls around and the happy couple actually get to know each other, I am guessing many of them will be well on their way to Splitsville. Somewhat ironically though, the Noggy for this category goes to a couple who didn’t just hook up this Christmas but had actually been together for a long time. College sweethearts who got married and had a kid before separating around the holidays. So why am I giving them the Noggy for Least Chance of Survival? Well let’s just say that if you didn’t read my review of the Santa Con and can’t see me making the “glug-glug-glug” motion as type this, the Scott Grimes character has a little problem with the sauce. An alcoholic exhibiting classic, extreme alcoholic behavior and still miles from recovery, brought back together with his wife by way of trickery. I mean this thing is being held together by duck tape here and that’s being generous. It’s only a matter of time before dude starts drinking again and things fall apart because while Christmas magic will run out over the course of a year, booze pretty much never does.


Lifetime Achievement Award (The Hot Chocolate Eggnog)

– The Clarinet – WINNER!

First of all, have you ever had a hot chocolate eggnog? You just make hot chocolate with eggnog instead of milk. Believe it or not, it’s pretty good. Don’t know why it’s not a thing. So I am going to name my Noggy Lifetime Achievement Award after it and the very first such metaphorical trophy is going to one of the unsung heroes of Christmas movies – the clarinet. By far the most important musical instrument when it comes to these films’ scores. Almost like another character really. Anytime the movie wants to get a little cheeky, a little mischievous, pretty much give us the musical incarnation of an “Uh oh!”, they just drop a little clarinet in there. Plucking pizzicato strings definitely contribute their part as well but the clarinet is the real hero. Without it, I may not know that the nosy next door neighbor is annoying or the boss doesn’t like Christmas and will undoubtedly force everyone to work over the holidays or that the kids are really just lovable rapscallions. Good luck trying to tell me that with a saxophone. Pretty much the fastest way to make your family-friendly made-for-TV Christmas movie seem like an 80s/90s softcore porno flick. Well maybe not THE fastest way but still pretty fast. So thank you, clarinet, for all your whimsical tootling and keeping our movies clean.


Movies Played Too Much This Season

– Both Guttenberg joints – Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus and Meet the Santas – WINNERS!

– Christmas With Holly

– Farewell, Mr. Kringle

– Both Mrs. Miracle movies

– A Holiday Engagement

My God, Hallmark! How many times did you play the duo of Steve Guttenberg/Crystal Bernard joints – Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus and Meet the Santas? I get it, the Stonecutters are a tall and powerful order but I felt like you played one or both of these suckers just about every day. And they’re now over 10 years old! You weren’t much better, Lifetime. Where was 12 Trees of Christmas? Or last year’s Noggy winner for Best Picture, Kristen’s Christmas Past? I only saw it playing one time, I think. In fact, Lifetime seemed to generally play less Christmas films than they used to.And on top of that, I feel like all of these channels kind of let us down a little after Christmas. I realize that “after Christmas” is after Christmas so they might no longer feel obligated to pump out wall-to-wall yuletide entertainment but Lifetime and Ion pretty much shut down completely, Up tailed off shortly thereafter and Hallmark’s lineup has been fairly uninspired to me thus far. In my perfect world, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is still considered holiday time and since most of these networks don’t have anything better to do, might as well keep the motor running for a little longer, right? Once again, I feel like they all did a little more last year but maybe that was just multiple fever dreams. At the very least, Hallmark, who was still committed to playing these movies for the week, needed to try a little harder.


Best Commercial That We Saw A Lot Of

– Prescription drug called, of all things, Latuda – WINNER!

– Folgers coffee subtly product-placed in several of these movies

– Walmart-related jibber-jabber between Melissa Joan Hart and Anthony Anderson

– Those ladies dancing and singing about Big Lots

Let’s not forget the people who pay our bills – the corporate sponsors. And if you watch a lot of these movies, you see a lot of the same commercials over and over again. Last year, the runaway winner was Stuffies. There were plenty of Stuffy spots this season too but I also noticed more and more prescription drug ads. I love those things. I even like to play a game where I try to guess what the drug is actually for. It’s harder than you might think. Because mostly, we just see footage of people going to the beach, attending fun parties, sharing a tender moment with a loved one and the medication could treat just about any problem. Obesity, depression, Pac Man fever, elbow stink, you name it. But there was one this year called “Latuda.” I believe it’s for bipolar disorder but I really don’t care. It wins on name alone. Latuda. Who the hell thought that was a good name for anything, other than maybe some character from In Living Color? I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciate the way the Folgers’ label gets crowbarred right into peoples’ kitchens and of course I don’t know how I’m going to live without witty banter between Melissa Joan Hart and Anthony Anderson schilling for Walmart but every time I thought about giving the award to one of them, I just envisioned Latuda waving her finger in my face defiantly. And I don’t want to mess with Latuda.


Question/Reference I Most Ran Into the Ground

– Who was the boss on Who’s the Boss? – WINNER!

– Who let the dogs out?

– Why don’t angels seem to help people out with more important problems?

– Why was there never a sequel to the extremely successful Top Gun movie?

– How did TVs go from ridiculously thick and heavy to ridiculously thin and light in about 2 seconds? – SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE WINNER!

Obviously, Who’s the Boss was the boss here but it really should have been that last question. Remember how big and heavy TVs used to be? And as big as they were, they still felt way too heavy for their own mass. Every time I’d move and pick up my living room box, I’d wonder what the hell was in that thing. Not only was it crazy heavy but even felt weighted awkwardly, somehow making it seemingly harder to carry with a friend than by myself. Then bam! Suddenly, TVs became razor thin and light as a feather. It’s not even like there was an in-between point or we saw them start to get thinner and lighter or anything. It was like somebody just flipped a magic switch one day. I should have brought this issue up in reviews more. And the Top Gun thing too but whenever I ask people that in real life (which I do a fair amount and this question has been vexing me for a long time now), all I usually get are jokes. But I’m dead serious here! There really should have been a sequel. Even if they couldn’t get any of the original people back. Maybe I’ll bring both of these questions up next year, as it might actually lead me to getting the answers I so desperately need. It certainly worked with the Who’s the Boss (Angela).

And speaking of next year, this leads us to the end of the 2014 Christmas movie season and subsequent Noggy Awards. Hope you enjoyed watching these things as much, or even as little, as I did. Can’t wait to find out what 2015 has in store for us. I noticed that Hallmark and Lifetime are planning to play plenty of non-Christmas original movies all year round but I’m not sure if I have the non-Christmas spirit to watch. Plus I’ve got the whole Dow Jones thing to figure out and that might keep me pretty busy until November. In the meantime though, thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

Fir Crazy – 11/26/13


Alex:  Okay, I take back what I said yesterday about movies which start as snappy titles first, then someone writes a a whole film around them. As much as I want to see what the writer scientists at Hallmark could do with something like “Let it Bro!” or “Seasons Cheatings!”, it’s probably not such a good idea to approach things from that angle. The problem we keep running into (twice now, I mean) is that these things don’t seem to have enough meat on the bone. They have a concept and a conflict but the rest of movie just feels like we’re killing time.

In Fir Crazy, the concept revolves around Elise, who gets fired from her job as a marketing exec at an athletic shoe company, right before the holidays. Then her boyfriend dumps her later that night. I’m not sure exactly why he does this. I guess he’s says he’s busy. Spoiler Alert (not for the movie but for him and his parents): he might very well be gay. Then to make matters worse, her mom calls and says that dad dropped a 40-pound turkey on his foot and is out of commission indefinitely. Out of commission when it comes to running the family business, which is selling Christmas trees in Manhattan, so they need Elise’s help. Now personally, I feel like her parents could handle a Christmas tree lot, even with dad’s broken foot but why the hell not step in here, Elise? What else do you have to do over the next month or so? But she doesn’t see it that way. Working at her family’s Christmas tree lot is apparently awful. She was forced into doing it while she was a kid and it’s why she now hates the holiday season.

It turns out that the space they always occupy is right in front of a store which sells fancy Christmas ornaments, lights, and other holiday accoutrements. Seems like a pretty good match. Yet somehow, their Scrooge-like owner doesn’t see things that way either. He feels like people selling Christmas trees in front of his store is bad for business and seems to hate Christmas himself. Then why does he have a store that sells Christmas items? And why would a tree lot in front be bad for business? Already I’m having a very hard time understanding anyone’s motivations for anything. Fir crazy!

Hey, did you happen to catch Monday Night Football last night? As a huge 49ers fan myself, I am of course very happy to get a win but there is no way I am going to get excited about this team making any kind of a playoff run until they beat someone decent. Like take down Seattle next week and maybe we’ll talk. You know what I am really fired up about though? Thanksgiving. What a great holiday Thanksgiving is. Food, family, football – the 4 F’s, I call it (even though that’s only 3 F’s). I also can’t wait to get my hands on one of those Stuffies. Have you seen those things? I see the commercials for them at least 50 times during one of these Hallmark movies and countless more in my dreams each night. They are these plush animal toys you can store things in by stuffing them down the animal’s throat. Seems like a winner to me. One day I bet we’ll store all our stuff in Stuffies. It will be hard to imagine a world where there was any other type of storage option.

You see what I did there? And no, I am not using that phrase the way people do these to days to sound clever and funny. I mean did you notice how I just talked about a bunch of topics seemingly unrelated to my review of the film? Well that’s kind of what Fir Crazy does too. To kill time, like I said. There just isn’t a full movie there so they’ve got to find some way to fill up space. Sometimes they do it with scenes that go on too long, sometimes it’s by scenes that don’t need to be there at all, sometimes even both. Maybe the writers believe that they are creating some atmosphere or building a world but it’s really just yip yap. Take these ancillary characters (please!), who go on and on about their ornaments and how they fell in love, even though (and I’m sorry to go here again, I don’t mean it as any kind of negative judgment, it’s just the truth) the dude is totally gay:

Full Metal Skullcrushers Rock!!

Of course Elise does meet a guy of her own, a straight one probably, and they fall in love, thank God, as nothing is worse than being alone on Christmas. But there is nothing to their relationship. No conflict that really prevents them from getting together, other than Elise’s passive “I am staying away from relationships for a while” BS, nor is there any reason they should get together. Like, why do they even like each other? Does she just remind him a little bit of Julia Sweeney from the good ol’ days of SNL in the early 90s? Or does she like the way he has kind of a strange, thin nose and ears combo, leading me to believe there is just generally something wrong with his cartilage? You may think I’m joking but either of those two scenarios are as plausible as anything because the movie doesn’t tell us otherwise.

But at least there is the Scrooge guy who wants to shut down the Christmas tree lot because he thinks its inexplicably bad for his Christmas business. That’s got to generate some plot, right? It does but not nearly enough. And this guy’s turnaround is so abrupt and immediate and unrealistic that it also fails to mean anything. Apparently, you don’t need 3 ghosts to show you glimpses of your past, present, and future to turn over a new leaf during the holidays. You can simply be reminded of your wife’s death and you’ll instantly become Kris F-ing Kringle.

I however, could have used a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future telling me to stay away from this movie as well as advising me to put all my money into Stuffies. I don’t mean buy their stock or anything, just literally shove it all down one of those plush animal’s throats. Because that’s way more fun that putting it in a boring, old wallet. Speaking of boring, it is also such a shame that Fir Crazy came right on the heels of the equally lackluster, Window Wonderland. Tough weekend for the Hallmark Channel. They were definitely the Denver Broncos to Lifetime’s New England Patriots from Sunday’s game. Yep, I just killed some more time again. Which brings me to my rating. Given all the poor seconds so needlessly slain in battle, I honestly don’t think it’s fair to give Fir Crazy an Eggnog or even an Egg in this case, so instead I am going to go with…

…1 Dead Clock!deadclock

Snow Bride – 11/12/13


Alex:  Another of Hallmark’s world premieres this weekend, I give you Snow Bride. And if you’re like me, they had you at the title. And if you’re really like me or in fact, just me, you find yourself saying the title over and over in this grizzly mountain man voice, imagining that this is what a grizzly mountain man might even say if he happened to find you lost in the forest. “I’m gonna make you my snow bride.” He says this to you, be you man or be you woman. And in some cases, even a bear. I have to assume that it gets lonely for certain grizzled mountain men.

But alas, the Hallmark movie, Snow Bride, has nothing to do with this digression. It’s about a girl named Greta who works for a high-profile tabloid magazine. She’s good a her job so that means either she has no boyfriend or the boyfriend she has is not a person. In this case, it’s actually no boyfriend. Her editor sends her chasing after a big story, which they don’t set up too well. There is this political family, the Tannehills, and one of the sons apparently bought an engagement ring but they don’t know which one. Greta’s mission is to get the scoop on this. It’s the story of the year and will mean a huge promotion if she can dig up some good dirt. What’s kind of weird is that I can’t figure out why a gossip magazine would particularly care about these guys. The dad was a US Senator but now he has passed away. So it’s not like any kind of scandal would make a difference. He’s not in office any more. Plus, no offense, but a Senator? Who cares? What even is a Senator? Exactly, nobody knows. Why am I even capitalizing the word? I am going to stop doing it right now. Senator. Well, I only capitalized it there because it was the first word of the sentence but now that I am in the middle of the sentence, I will simply say “senator” and note how I did not capitalize it.

So you figure maybe the rest of the family has some kind of celebrity. Not really. Not as far as I can tell. The movie doesn’t really say much about them. Maybe they’re hoping we will just imagine something Kardashian-esque but that’s never really established. The two sons are in the news a lot, apparently, but not for any exploits I am aware of. The mom seems to have some money, so there’s that but nothing more. The only thing they really do is say their last name a million times.  Tannehills this, Tannehills that, as if that has some meaning to us. Everett Mather from the Thanksgiving House thinks people say their name a lot. Anyway, fine Snow Bride, you want me to believe these people are really important and Greta has to get the scoop. I will accept this and move on.

Greta is even competing against one of her fellow paparazzos to get this scoop and after a day of wedding dress shopping with her best friend and maybe a workout at the gym, she learns that these Tannehills have been spotted in  Big Bear, California.  Just a few hours from where she is in Los Angeles! Because Greta is so dedicated and because this story is somehow so huge, she just immediately drives there. Doesn’t even go into her apartment to change clothes or pack anything, so she is still wearing gym shorts and a tank top. Big Bear is up in the mountains and when Greta gets there, it is snowing. A snow storm even. She is driving up near where the Tannehills’ cabin supposedly is and talking to her assistant and the cell phone signal cuts out due to the storm. Then her car dies. She’s out of gas. Again, she’s just so intent on doing her job, she didn’t even notice that she was running low on gas while driving into the mountains. And remember, she has no clothes other than her gym shorts and tank top. She will freeze to death out here. Roll credits, thank you for watching Snow Bride. But of course no, the movie is not over and our Snow Bride doesn’t freeze to death. She is very cold though and it turns out that there is one article of clothing in her car. It’s her friend’s wedding dress. So she puts it on and starts running through the snow, looking to get help at the nearest cabin. But I believe she trips on something and tumbles down a hill and this causes her to get knocked out and find herself lying out in the snow somewhere, unconscious. Now she’s gonna die, right? No, that’s when a handsome stranger just happens to come upon her, picks up her up, and takes her to his cabin. See, that’s why she’s the Snow Bride. Because she was wearing a wedding dress while passed out in the snow. Did you guess that?

She comes too inside the cabin and discovers that her rescuer is none other than Ben Tannehill, the eldest son she hopes to get dirt on. Greta recognizes this golden opportunity. Through an unlikely series of events, she can now get the inside scoop on the Tannehills from right inside their very own compound.  Except this place is less of a compound than it is a fairly modest cabin. It’s the caretakers cabin actually, but Ben is just staying there instead of his family’s big house because A) he’s cool, down to Earth, and money is not important to him and B) to hide out from the paparazzi who might be lurking about. Little does he know he just brought one of them in! And Greta certainly isn’t going to tell him who she is. She makes up some nonsensical story that Ben seems to believe. He calls her “Snow Bride” and she calls him “Just Ben”. I think that is supposed to be bonding.

Since there’s such a big storm going on, Greta is stuck there and can’t call anybody, which buys her some time. Ben ends up having to take her to the big house, where his mother is staying. But before he can even explain who Greta is (or who he thinks she is), in walks his younger brother. And it turns out his younger brother brought a guest – Claire Sinclair. Who is Claire Sinclair, you ask?  Well she just happens to be Ben’s ex-fiance who broke his heart at some point and is obviously a bitch. Now the younger brother is dating her? And this big news just got sprung on Ben just now? Ooh, that smarts! Ben’s understandably a little rocked by all this and does what any of us would do in his shoes. He announces that Greta is in fact, his girlfriend who he has brought to the family cabin for Christmas. Greta plays along too. And why wouldn’t she? This is yet another extremely unlikely coincidence that has presented an opportunity for her to get close to this family so she can write some juicy story for her gossip rag.

Plus, it is always awesome in life when you can pull a double-deception. A lie on top of a lie. That’s something we all should do at some point. And although Greta may not realize this herself, I can tell you from watching far too many of these Christmas films and bad films in general that pretend relationships have an 100% success rate of turning into a real relationship. It is actually the best, most fool-proof way to find love. I can’t believe people haven’t picked up on this in the real world. If you’re having trouble locating Mr. or Mrs. Right, simply enter into a pretend relationship with someone for some reason, to keep up some front, and I guarantee you that this pretend relationship will eventually blossom into a real one.

As far as I can tell, there are only two obstacles you will have to hurdle with this approach. First is that when your fake relationship is discovered as being fake, there will be a period of time where you and your partner are separated and either both mad at the other one or if the other one wasn’t in on the ruse, they will be REALLY mad at you. And they won’t even want to talk to you. During this time, one or both of you will also not want to admit you have feelings for each other. But eventually, someone or something will find a way to bring you back together and everything will work out. The other major obstacle happens early on, when the fake relationship has just been set up. It’s the awkward, silly dance you both play when you realize you have to spend the night together and have to figure out who sleeps where. ‘Cuz there’s only one bed! But get through that and you can get through anything.

So I’ve kind of gone off on a tangent here but I think you can see how this might relate to our movie. And I’m guessing you probably could see where things were going anyway, without my little diatribe. The big question is will you say “I do” to Snow Bride?  I’m kind of on the fence there. It was watchable, to be sure but it lacked a lot of those things I talked about in the Very Merry Mix-Up review. Those bizarre, left field moments that make absolutely no sense and could only have come out of a Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movie. There weren’t too many of those in Snow Bride. You know what else there wasn’t much of either? Christmas. I mean, sure, they were in Big Bear and it was snowy and there were decorations everywhere and the idea of Christmas was kind of mentioned and they played Christmas songs (remind me to tell you about this make-out scene between Ben and Greta made totally uncomfortable by an overly heartfelt and moan-y rendition of Silent Night) but to my knowledge, the day of Christmas never actually occurred in this film. That’s a pretty major faux pas, in my opinion, but since none of the characters bugged the hell out of me, I am going to give it my normal…

2 Eggnogs! eggnogeggnog