Almost a couple weeks ago now, Hallmark kicked off their first original movie of the season, which was coincidentally called, “‘Tis the Season For Love.”
Was it any good? Who knows, who cares, I was just happy to be watching. And this movie definitely followed the standard blueprint for a Hallmark Christmas movie about as much as my spreadsheet could handle, save for a couple of slight twists. For one, the main character goes back to her old hometown around Christmas and we learn that there was an ex-boyfriend there so you figure they are naturually going to get back together when she learns that leaving her hometown was bad but it turns out this ex-boyfriend has married someone else, had a kid, and looks a lot like Shooter McGavin. BUT he also has a friend that she grew up with but never really noticed back in high school (good sign) who just happens to be a single fire chief and loves kids and helps Shooter pick out and carry a Christmas tree from the lot because Shooter is too busy because he has a wife and kid but is also standing right there and could easily hold the damn tree. The other thing that was kind of different was just something I didn’t understand and involved Santa, playing the now common role of magical wishmaster, giving our main lady character this key on a necklace. But key to what? We never find out! I mean of course, I’m sure it’s metaphorical, as so many keys are, but it seemed totally unnecessary, given that she didn’t really need a key to figure out what she was supposed to figure out nor did that key turn out to open or do anything in the movie. Or did it? No, I’m still saying no but I’ll give it….3 Eggnogs for kicking the whole thing off and confusing me.
Oh yeah, and THANK YOU, Hallmark Channel, for putting the Golden Girls, The Middle, Frasier, Little House on the Prarie, The Waltons, and God-knows-what-else on a much-needed hiatus for a while, so you can show wall-to-wall Christmas movies. You have given us all the metaphorical key to happiness and there aren’t enough eggnogs in the world I can award you for that.
The Up Network has now entered the mix too and I had to watch Christmas Trade, which involved a kid and his dad switching places. I love when that happens, in movies or otherwise.
And yes, that is THE William Baldwin, formerly of the movie Sliver. We should all probably watch that again soon, by the way. A few months ago, my wife and I re-experienced Disclosure together and it was kind of fun, now that we’ve had 20+ years to put that whole ordeal behind us. I’m not sure if I could say the same thing about Christmas Trade. As in, that we should all watch it. It was definitely crazy and ridiculous, which provides a nice foil to the traditional Hallmark machine, but much like erotic thrillers of the 1990s and the musical stylings of Enigma, you might need 20+ years before you can truly appreciate it. And maybe figure out how switching places actually benefitted Baldwin and his kid. It wasn’t real clear to me. Kind of their version of the mysterious key that never opens anything. Also, did Tom Arnold literally play Santa or God in this movie? It didn’t seem like he was very Santa-ish so that only leaves God, right? All I know for sure is that if Tom Arnold really is God, we have all made a huge, huge mistake.
Hallmark was back this last weekend with 2 new movies, one of which was called Charming Christmas.
Why was it called “Charming Christmas?” I really have no idea. Just another key that doesn’t open anything. In the end, I know the main guy gave people charms so I guess that kind of works but it’s pretty thin. At the beginning though, the characters were anything but charming. Julie Benz plays a bitch and does such a good of a job of it, I already don’t believe her eventual transformation. Then the main guy comes off as being over-the-top obnoxiously nosy and judgmental. I get that sometimes the romantic leads have to hate each other first before they love each other but WE’RE not supposed to totally hate them, are we? Then I realize that this main guy is David Sutcliffe, which means that he also played The Zunes’ husband from the classic and all-time personal favorite of mine, On Strike For Christmas. The one who famously (for me) asked how much time was left in the quarter. This time, he plays someone who may or may not be Santa or God and really does not want Julie Benz to turn her family’s department store into a franchise. He never asks how much time is left in the quarter but he does have what I am now going to officially call another “Sutcliffe Delivery Moment” when he sounds the alarm about a relatively small missing kid. There is also a slightly magical Mrs. Claus dress and none of Sutcliffe’s scarves ever get buckled/tied. What does all this mean? Exactly.
Look, I’m going to level with you and say that I didn’t actually watch Ice Sculpture Christmas yet. I’ve been a little behind and I’ve got a feeling that it’s just not going to deliver. Am I crazy here? Maybe it’s my crippling fear of ice sculptures, maybe it’s the fact that the couple just didn’t seem cute enough for me, or maybe I’m lying and did actually watch it but don’t know quite what to say about the whole thing yet.
I can tell you this though. There is an alarming new trend in these movies that doesn’t just involve the drinking of Folgers coffee but drinking it in a very special manner, with two hands on the coffee cup and the sense that you are sipping a beverage perhaps more than just coffee but instead, a magical elixir which gives all of your insides the biggest, warmest hug ever hugged.
Have you ever known anybody to drink coffee (or even magical elixirs) in this fashion? I never have but it looks like pretty much the best way to drink or do anything so it’s probably worth a shot. Maybe even with…….
….but it’s also worth pointing out that while the plot and characters aren’t going to blow anyone away, I at least appreciate the fact that the main girl seems like a legitimately sweet, decent person and they do actually teach us something about ice sculptures, which beats teaching us things like how inherently evil any and all forms of capitalism are or how having a completely awful, heartless boyfriend or girlfriend at the beginning of the movie does not reflect upon you or the choices you make in any way shape or form; lessons we’ve been taught to death by these films (yet still hopefully don’t believe). Then at some point down the road, I think I’d like to have a more in depth conversation as to just how meaningful it is to consistently create characters with pre-dead parents and/or loved ones. We went 4-for-4 with that trope in the movies I have discussed so far and it’s obviously one of the biggest backstory components in this micro genre of ours.
But now is probably not the time for a such a conversation as again, we are just getting started here. Got a whole new slate of movies coming up this weekend too, one where I believe Alicia Witt’s character is magically unable to lie for some reason. Then there’s another one called “Christmas Incorporated”, which already gives it a base rating of 3 Eggnogs from me, sight-unseen. Can’t wait to watch and fingers crossed that somehow we give Christmas’ little cousin, Thanksgiving, some quality air-time in at least one or two of these things, especially as we are still very much in Thanksgiving territory right now. I sort of watched The Thanksgiving House again last week and sort of liked it more than before so they might be able to sell me on just about anything. And of course it goes without saying that my offer to write AND drink coffee in a Thanksgiving/Christmas movie still stands.