Movies, Pop Culture, Television

Best of the Worst Hallmark Holiday Movies, 2021 Edition

We’ve reached the point of no return. I am no longer even giving a “Watch” or “Skip” rating to these made-for-TV (or streaming) holiday flicks. This is my 7th annual blog recapping the art that is an awesomely bad cliche holiday movie and if you’re reading this I’m assuming you know that it’s a real love/hate relationship that I have with these hot garbage flicks. And by that I mean, every time I finish one, I hate myself a little bit more for having sat through it at all. So rather than slap a “must-watch” stamp of approval on anything this year, I’m going to get my jokes in, tell it like it is and let you decide for yourself if you’re willing to put yourself through it mentally and emotionally. If you enjoy torture and one lame dry as hell kiss at the end of a movie, stick to Hallmark…if you want to get a little saucy and see more sexual tension and tongue action? May I suggest a peruse of Lifetime or Netflix, even Peacock snuck in this year! Here we go…

a-castle-for-christmas

I got straight duped with this one. Netflix hit me with the “this is a 98% match for you, WATCH IT NOW!” And I was like aggressive, but ok let’s see what this is all about. I gave it 25 minutes before I turned it off. Between the HEAVY Irish accents and the fact that the target age demographic was my mom (seriously, how old does Netflix think I am?!) and the lead actor who probably wasn’t even sexy 20 years ago aka the last time he was an age appropriate male lead for me…I’m sorry but for all of those reasons and so many more, I’m out.

acaliforniachristmas2

The most unwarranted sequel I’ve ever heard of but isn’t that the name of the game for Netflix? People watched something so they crank out 5 more. If you missed my review last year of the OG, peep that here before getting the lowdown on *city lights.* I said it last year and I’ll say it again for the people in the back, Manny is the only star of this movie. I don’t even care about the lead couple, I’m only sticking around to see Manny’s goofy one-liners and funny faces. The good news is Netflix realized what a gem he was in the first and upped the ante for his role in the second. The third installment of this franchise better be all about Manny’s life or we riot. Right out the gate I’d like to let everyone know that there’s a PG-13 rating on this flick and boy do they earn it with a sensual sex scene in the first fifteen minutes. My sister and I had to cover her baby’s eyes as this was far too mature for a six month old to take in. If you’ve ever seen a sequel one time in your life, you’ll know that once the couple has gotten together, part 2 is all about how maybe they rushed into things and they’re not right for each other. Nothing screamed that harder than the rich boy doucher outfit Joseph dons to show off his life back in the city to his farm girl fiance Callie. The dude was wearing a white overcoat, white flare dress pants and loafers. We get it buddy, you grew up going to the country club for golf with the boys. For the rest of the movie we watch Callie’s younger sister who has no living parents left and is in the custody of Callie get straight up neglected and basically raise herself, sustaining a serious injury that no one gives a flying F about because big sis is preoccupied planning a fancy San Fran wedding. All the while, our villain (Joseph’s ex and co-worker) Victoria is out to ruin the wedding. Seriously, there’s not one scene where this hooch isn’t just peeping Tom’ing all over their lives while in bright red evening-wear. Hey guys, before you get caught up in making out, maybe notice the devil 4 ft away from you glaring at you…But all’s well that ends well when Manny tries to ask out Callie’s BFF while she has her arm directly inserted into a cow’s vagina. Thank God for Manny, his cow-spotted nightgown wearin’ ass deserved to find love.

Bonus Points: One of Joseph’s “city friends” (skankwads) greets him for the first time in a year by doing a two-handed slide and scoop on his butt while he’s bent over cleaning something up in a public hotel lobby. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! Is this the new era credit card swipe? IS THIS HOW FRIENDS GREET EACH OTHER IN SAN FRANCISCO?! Doing the ole 10 finger wiggle near someone else’s butthole…in white pants no less..seems like pretty dangerous territory, especially while the receiving end is bent over at a 90 degree angle letting it all hang out. We gotta get on the same page about how we catch up with old friends in different states because I really feel like I’m missing something here.

love-hard-poster

I’m a little bit cheating with this one because I feel like it came out FOREVER ago but it IS a Christmas movie and it WAS terrible so I feel like it’s important to include it. I had high hopes because Christmas movies can have raunchier humor over in the no rules land of Netflix. Also, Darren Barnet has proven to be quite a babe in Never Have I Ever (great show.) Natalie writes a dating column about her online dating mishaps. She meets Tag on an app and even though he lives across the country, they have such a good long distance connection that she thinks he’s the one. She flies out to surprise him for Christmas and realizes she’s been catfished by Josh–who as you can see looks drastically different from Tag. It’s one of those movies that is supposed to point out that we’re all shallow assholes and it’s more about falling in love with the person & all of their inner beauty than their 6 pack abs. Yeah, yeah, yeah we get it. Leave that shit for the real world. None of us are marrying someone with washboard abs so in all of my movies I WANT TO SEE THE QUIRKY GIRL END UP WITH THE SEXY BEAST. Is that really too much to ask? Regardless, this movie was painfully unfunny and it seemed as though Natalie’s only joke (and an overplayed one at that) was that her favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard. #CoolGirlNat

Bonus Points: Ever the feminist (who loves Die Hard, don’t forget) Natalie CANNOT STAND “Baby It’s Cold Outside”–how original I know–and so when they’re asked to sing a carol on the spot in front of the family, Josh and Natalie break into an impromptu 2021 version of the classic. Not only do they completely butcher a wonderful song, but I almost had to call the uncomfortable police from watching this scene. No words will do it justice but please PLEASE for the love of God, CAN WE BAN DRAWN OUT SINGING SCENES FROM HOLIDAY MOVIES?! It downright ruins my Christmas and NO I’M NOT BEING DRAMATIC, OK?!

averymerrybridesmaid

My first Hally of this year and what a joyous occasion it was. I forced my ex boyf to watch it with me just like I forced him to carry my Christmas tree up my apt stairs and therefore the cutting commentary was UNLEASHED upon these poor unfortunate souls. It also happened to be chock full of ridiculousness & worth every snarky observation we made. Leah is about to turn 30 on Christmas Eve and also her brother decided to plan his wedding for that same night (TOTAL asshole move, if one of my siblings did this I’d get trashed at their wedding and make a scene while wearing a 30 crown.) Her childhood crush, Drew is back from his world travels to fix up his dead grandma’s house where he lived (next door to Leah) and wants to make sure the big 3-0 isn’t forgotten amongst the wedding kerfuffle. (Spoiler alert: it most definitely is.) The best part about this movie is the lead who plays Drew is fresh meat. He’s not a tired old recycled Hallmark actor who has been in 1900 holiday flicks, looking more weathered than Santa. He’s young and rocking that rugged burly man hotness. Total eye candy. And everything else pretty much goes downhill from there. Leah’s family is WEIRD. Her brother looks like he’s on coke 24/7 with the most expressive eyes I’ve ever seen and the parents are also vying for our attention with over-acting anonymous. They all interact as if they’ve never met each other. The brother’s fiance is named Julia and oh boy does that suck because she plays the bratty bride cliche the entire movie. Bitch flew to London 3 times in one year for a wedding dress from a specific designer. Obviously the dress got lost in a flight. We have a big build-up to the wedding dress she finally wears and it’s a short sleeve paper bag. Outside. On Christmas Eve. With snow on the ground. Hot tip: if you want to get lit up like a Christmas tree, may I suggest taking a drink every time any character references that they are in fact in Rose Lake. Nothing hits harder than a fictional town being forced into every single scripted sentence. Oh Christmas in Rose Lake? Nothings beats Rose Lake. I remember when we were growing up here in Rose Lake…

Bonus Points: Creepy brother has his bach party at their parent’s house and it’s ugly sweater themed. When Drew offers the groom-to-be a beer he replies, “Uh is there a mineral water, gotta fit into my tux.” God I want to punch this guy right in the face. Also, the girl who couldn’t possibly leave *Rose Lake* to travel the world because her local store needs her (yet she’s never once seen working at this store during the busy Christmas season) is gifted everyone else’s frequent flier miles for her 30th birthday. Wanna know how you’re the black sheep of the family? Your brother plans his wedding on your 30th birthday then gifts you with his leftover frequent flier miles and probably a used set of United ear buds. GOD WHAT AN AWFUL GIFT. Buy this girl a trip somewhere or just hand over cash. She probably can’t even use your miles to get a free magazine subscription, you cheap animals.

holidayinsantafe

I had this on in the background while I was wrapping presents one night and even as background noise it was offensive to my soul. I’ll tell you the exact moment I had to turn it off because it still haunts me to this day. These two clowns pictured above are spending some quality time with a niece doing Christmas shopping (played by Mario’s actual daughter) and she pulls them over in a little town square and sets up her phone on a tripod and goes we’re gonna do this TikTok dance. They do one run through of a solid 30 second dance with intricate choreography. The little shit goes, “got it? ok let’s go” and then they just do the TikTok. One take. Full choreography. I’m not often overcome by a deep jealousy and outrage of something so unrealistic but as someone who has tried the simplest of TikTok dances meant for geriatric F*cks and can’t get through 3 seconds without screwing up royally, I CALL BULLSHIT. Get out of my face.

Bonus Points: Mario never ages and if anyone is going to nail a TikTok, it’s the guy who invented sitting backward in a chair and doing a smooth split to Barbara Ann

slater

realhousewives

I appreciate Peacock making a name for itself right out the gate. Between Paris Hilton’s show featuring the QUEEN Kathy Hilton and a Real World-esque show taking the OG Housewives and sticking them on an island together for a week, this app is already worth the $0 I pay for it because I stole it from my ex-boyf, alimony style. Really all it comes down to is that the world needs more Housewives and Andy Cohen giveth freely (behind a paywall.) At first I was worried we were in for a holiday flick centered completely on two women in their forties bickering but the good news is this movie has LAYERS. And the layers are their children falling in love in a town where reindeer freely walk down the street. That’s something I can get down with. The boy (he’s 29, so it’s legal) is one of those classic pretty boy babes that Netflix keeps trucking out as high school movie leads as if anyone in your high school ever looked like that.

Anyway, there’s some great backstabbing hijinks, a gossipy town, a badd bitch troop of girl scouts and young love at Christmas. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah that’s right, a cameo from the fabulous Sonja Morgan and Santa drilling Kyle Richards with a snowball. (Basically only watch this if you’re a Bravo-holic.)

Bonus Points: The two kids smash face for the first time and mid-tonguing the girl goes our mom’s won’t like this very much and the guy goes can you not bring up our mom’s right now? #BONERKILL

royalqueenschristmas

I sure do LOVE Canadians, Brits and Californian’s putting on a New Yorker accent that is over the top and makes me want to rip my ears clean off my head. NAHT. “Capisce” complete with 🤌 was used unironically in the first five minutes of this movie. But anyway, we can’t have Christmas without a royal pretending to be a commoner and falling in love with a street rat only for it to be revealed at an incredibly inconvenient time that he could buy the entire country if he so pleased. DD is part of a zany working class fam in Queens who has a number of incredibly weird Christmas traditions that they try to pass off as normal American. No one is having a snowman building competition in their neighborhood or a Christmas Wishing Tree festival, let’s not give Colin the wrong impression on what America’s all about during the holidays (shopping, drinking and eating cookies.) Colin’s trying to dodge an arranged marriage and stepping up to be King of his fictional country and pursue his passion of “music.” I put music in quotes here because when he gets recruited as the pianist for DD’s charity children’s concert, he plays jazzy cool upbeat piano jams while kids scream sing at the top of their lungs. Hot combo. Obviously the wishing tree brings them together in the end with lingering eye contact and a piano ornament.

Bonus Points: Coming in at number one for MOST cringeworthy moment of the 2021 movie season, the children are singing “Joy to the World” at a normal slow speed and Colin is playing the piano at twice the speed…and everyone is smiling and loving it. It sounds like absolute trash and that’s saying a lot considering every children’s concert sounds like forks in a garbage disposal. This fast/slow tornado in my ears took it to a whole new level and people in the audience were genuinely like wow this is amazing, real raw talent here, this guy should go on tour and not listen to anyone else on stage and just play whatever tempo and song he wants!

Single-All-the-Way

Last year we broke down the first lesbian Christmas flick and this year we’ve got some man on man action. Heavy hitters Jennifer Coolidge and Kathy Najimy essentially carried this movie for me. As the overbearing mom who just wants to be accepting and understanding of her son (she’s read books about loving your gay son) Carol demands to be called Christmas Carol for all of December and greets Peter and his roomie Nick with a “Sleigh Queen” sign in the driveway. I immediately love her. Then we’ve got Jennifer Coolidge as zany Aunt Sandy who jacked ornaments off her sister’s tree and was wearing them as earrings. Even though Nick and Peter have been roommates for life, Peter’s whole family wants them to end up together and boy oh boy is this family FULL of pushers as it pertains to his dating life. If they were my family I would jump off a cliff. Except Aunt Sandy. She can hang.

Bonus Points: A family dance party to Britney’s original Christmas classic My Only Wish (This Year) – suck on that Mariah. Honestly, a cheesy Guncle dance montage for #FreeBritney is way better than a try-hard tiktok hoochie dance…Lifetime and Mario Lopez, I’m lookin’ at you.

theholidayfixup

Sam’s a famous HGTV wannabe who is back home for Christmas for the first time since her and her high school sweetie broke up.  And ope would you look at that, Coop and Sam have to work together to restore the inn and make Harborfest happen in honor of dead Rita (RIP Rita.) Here’s a new fun thing that Hallmark was hammering down our throats this year: the female lead is an “influencer” and super into social media and the small town aw shucks guy HAMMERS her for it until he sees by the end that social media isn’t the DEVIL. Coop openly mocking Sam for her IG story updates on their renovation progress and then loving the camera and being on her show with her by the end was LAUGH OUT LOUD hypocrisy. Here’s a tip, why don’t all you turds who are off the grid not come so hard at Instagram cause whatever homemade shit you’re peddling needs some sort of digital platform (in this case, it was wood-burned signs that looked like a kindergartner made them.) Also important to note that Jana Kramer got a very public boob job after her husband cheated on her for the zillionth time (and she spilled the tea on their joint podcast before finally kicking his sorry ass to the curb) and RIGHT off the bat in this movie that rack is prominently displayed in a lacy lingerie set. My exact note when my eyes popped out of my head seeing it was: “BOOB JOB IN RED LINGERIE.” It was so obvious that my sister also texted me about it too. Well played, Jana.

Bonus Points: The most unrealistic snowball fight scene I’ve ever laid eyes on. Even Twilight’s CGI vampire and werewolf battle scene was more believable than this. Is it Lifetime or are they trying to film the latest Marvel movie loaded with ex-lover sexual tension? Woof. The slow motion and intense music was cringe. Add all the gladiator music you’d like but it doesn’t cover up bad acting.

tistheseasontobemerry

Bold of Hallmark to still be trotting out Rachel Leigh Cook as if she’s not at the age where she plays a mom to a teenager in most movies. I also laughed out loud at the fact that her name is Merry. Simple tropes for simple folks. Merry wrote a dating expert book about a fictional relationship that she “snagged” by following her strict rules of love. Obviously her boss finds out she’s not engaged and she’s actually single AF, so she takes a trip home with her bestie to figure shit out/fall in love with her bestie’s hot brother. And oOoh baby is this guy quite the Christmas ham. They meet (again) via a tasty naked run-in when he lays his chiseled bod on top of her as she’s taking a nap on his bed 🤤 Not only does Adam clearly work out, but he also drives a red pickup truck, adding all of the bonus points to his sex appeal. As someone who has fully embraced the red pickup truck with a Christmas tree in the back decoration style, covering my home in it, DAS MY TYPE. He can’t be PERFECT though, ladies, amirite?! He’s another one who clowns Merry for her social media usage. She takes a photo of her pie for the gram and he snarks, “Does that taste better digitally?” Sick burn, bruh. I liked her comeback better when she told him that picture would be seen by 3.2 million people with just one click. SO HA, BIRD BRAIN IN A SMALL TOWN DRIVING A DUSTY OLD TRUCK. TAKE THAT.

Bonus Points: (Seems to be a trend where my bonus points is actually the most cringeworthy scene of the movie) The most dramatic DON’T GO airport scene where Merry screamed at the top of her lungs and honestly I had the most secondhand embarrassment for someone who screams that loud without letting the other person speak. Yikes on bikes. Turns out, he wasn’t even going anywhere, so her blood curdling whiny “don’t leave me” was even MORE mortifying. Move to a different country and change your name immediately, Merry. Honestly, change your name anyway because 11 months of the year it just doesn’t work.

unexpectedchristmas

Normally a big fan of any holiday movie Joy stars in, this one was kinda lukewarm for me. I think it’s because the guy was such a wiener. They usually match Joy up with a hottie with a sense of humor and this guy was a little too whiny for me. Jamie and Emily dated for a few years and then he dumped her but decided to not tell his family because they all loved her so much. They’ve been broken up for 2 1/2 months, but they COINCIDENTALLY arrive in the same town at the same time for Christmas and the family assumes they’re still together. Rooooigghhtttt. Totally. Jamie continues to be a coward and not tell anyone the truth but obviously a couple that fakes it USUALLY MAKES IT! Except that I can’t get on board with Emily downgrading this hard. She’s cool and funny and well-traveled and while they’re playing family charades, Jamie guesses “you after you’ve had a few drinks” 15 times. He also broke up with her over the phone while she was in a meeting. Yikes, dude. When she roasts him for that I wanted to whoop it up from my couch. #TeamEmily

Bonus Points: A Christmas play where the wiener has to play a unicorn and a sassy grandma who tells it like it is when her grandson is being stupid.

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Movies, Television

Best of the Worst Hallmark Holiday Movies, 2020 Edition

Hallmark and Lifetime (mostly Hallmark) have been in the crosshairs in recent years as society has become more “woke” that they’re not really all about equal Christmas love representation. It’s funny that everyone has an issue with representation yet no one feels the need to question how two individuals can get interrupted right as their lips are about to touch MULTIPLE times in a two hour timeframe. Seriously WHERE DO THESE PEOPLE COME FROM?! At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if small town folk started popping out of the bushes to interrupt these dry ass kisses. Putting my almost-kiss outrage aside (for now), you’ll notice that the networks are really trying to branch out so they don’t get cancelled. This year we had our first gay Christmas love stories AND our first wheelchair badass rollin on up to the party. Really keeping things spicy here and despite the fact that I am the MOST unemployed, I can only stomach so many of these movies without alcohol and people to roast them with so I did not up my quota of movies consumed this year. I’m trying to live by the theory that you’re not an alcoholic if you wait until after dinner to start drinking by yourself, so that was the only time I could get down with these flicks. (If you’d like my Hallmark drinking game, inquire within.)

Also important to note: though they’re concerned with representation now, that does not include youths. This was the first time I’ve ever felt too young for these movies with the leads they’ve been trotting out from the grave. Or in my sister’s words “Hallmark really dipped into the olds this year.” There comes a point in time where it’s no longer believable that 44 year old Candace Cameron Bure is single, childless, never been married and looking for love at Christmas. And that was every movie this year. These movies should not exclusively be a reunion tour of 90’s child actors. If they don’t sprinkle in some younger leads next year I’ll be forced to permanently move my attention to Disney +. DON’T MAKE ME DO THAT. Anyway, let’s GET READY TO RUMBLE, AWFUL CHRISTMAS MOVIE STYLE.

SKIP

A Very Charming Christmas Town – Lifetime (Natalie Hall, Jon Prescott)

A Very Charming Christmas Town

This is your classic modern tale of Influencer or ASSHOLE?! Aubrey is an LA blogger and content creator who visits a charming town known for their Christmas tourism so she can review it for her blog. Obviously the second she gets there she’s out to shit on their “tourist trap schtick” and act like the kind of turd who stops in the middle of the street to take a picture for the gram and then gets mad when someone tells her to get out of the way. I hate Aubrey right from the start of this movie but what I hate even more is how creepy the male lead, Sawyer is. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen this gent in rotation before but he IMMEDIATELY gave me the cringies and there was no going back. In fact, if not for him, this movie would’ve been fine. Apparently in addition to Aubrey being a blogger, she also used to write country music hits. The fact that she’s recognized as a songwriter is laugh out loud funny because songwriters are like the least recognized people on this earth. Anyway, there’s an incorporation of her “original” Christmas song that makes me want to saw my ears off. Obviously the movie ends with a musical because that’s the trend of TV holiday movies now. SO MUCH GROUP SINGING.

Bonus Points: Sawyer holds Aubrey close to a candle, which is a weird enough thing to do on its own–are you going to light her on fire, sir? BUT THEN he makes it 6 trillion times worse by quoting her own lyrics back to her. RAPE ALERT. I crawled out of my G-D skin during this scene.

Operation Christmas Drop – Netflix (Kat Graham, Alexander Ludwig)

Operation Christmas Drop

Erica is a tightwad workaholic who has been avoiding going home for Christmas since her mom died. She’s sent to this air force base to basically defund the military doing nice things at the holidays. Obviously it takes about 20 minutes for Erica to get on island time, swept up in Andrew’s beach bod and love for helping those in need. She’s got a raging charity lady boner for him. This was one of the first Christmas movies I watched this season and yet I declared in my notes that I’ve had enough of the impromptu Christmas music performances…followed by simply “STOP SINGING.” If only I had known that EVERY movie would feature all characters joining in song. Blow my brains out. There’s also a particularly outrageous CGI lizard that makes an appearance (really upping the production budget on these flicks) and the climax of the film is just people literally dropping shit in the ocean on Christmas Day. That’s it. 

Bonus Points: A holiday party on the beach where “Clause” AKA Andrew tries to loosen up that tight ass Erica and tells her to just let go and dance. She lets go a little too far and turns into Elaine from Seinfeld. Everyone is embarrassed on her behalf. Maybe go back to being lame, Erica. 

elaine

Happiest Season – Hulu (Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Dan Levy)

Happiest Season

This movie was a HUGE deal and was getting a lot of press leading up to its release for being the first gay relationship holiday movie with legit actors. Once I knew Dan Levy was in it, I was jazzed as hell to see what kind of snarky sarcasm we would be treated to. I had high hopes and they were obviously all dashed because we as humans should never have high hopes. Whoops did that get too dark for Christmastime? I’ll save it for New Years. Another night of ridiculous expectations that are never met. ANYWAY, if you’re wondering why I took a sharp left turn into the candy cane forest of heavy emotional trauma, it’s because that’s exactly what this movie did. What started out with a little casj reindeer cosplay with whips suddenly morphed into Harper bringing her live-in girlfriend Abby (who just bought an engagement ring) home for Christmas but telling her in the car ride there that she’s not out to her family yet and told them she was bringing her roomie home for the holidays. OUCH city. The remainder of the movie is basically just Harper being a total closeted doucheroni and treating Abby like she has gay cooties except for when she wanted to sneak into her room at night for a little scissoring of course. I hated Harper in this movie and it was obviously much more emotional and deep about secrets and coming out to your family than I was really expecting. Shouts to Dan Levy and Mary Holland for much-needed comic relief, and Mary Steenburgen for being an asshole mom who shoves her iPad in everyone’s face for Instagram photos. Who takes Insta photos with an iPad?

Bonus Points: Everyone blatantly asking Abby what it’s like to be an orphan. Also John killing a bunch of pets.

Candy Cane Christmas – Lifetime (Beverly Mitchell, Mark Ghanimé)

Candy Cane Christmas

Beverly lazy eye Mitchell is Phoebe and guy who can’t figure out if he has an accent or not is Eric (I’m guessing by that very foreign name he has an accent IRL and sucks at an American one.) These two drive me f*cking bonkers the entire movie. In fact, I had it on in the background more than once and still found myself getting fired up the few times I paid attention. After right off the bat declaring they were both single, they kept running into each other as only characters of a rom-com can do and still jumping to conclusions that the other one wasn’t interested or was with someone else. Just cut the shit, you MF’ers and go on a date. After they FINALLY start dating and are happy as clams, Phoebe overhears a conversation and still assumes Eric’s getting back together with his ex and overreacts her face off, crying and avoiding talking to him. Are you five?

Bonus Points: Phoebe’s friend thinks her and Eric aren’t happening so she forces her to date a bald lamewad who hates Christmas. Instead of just being like no thanks, Phoebe keeps giving this guy a chance FURTHER CONFUSING ERIC WHO ALREADY ASKED HER ON A DATE AND ALSO THIS FRIEND SUCKS FOR SETTING HER BFF UP ON A TERRIBLE DATE TO BEGIN WITh. Ok. I’m done being triggered by this movie.

Christmas By Starlight – Hallmark (Kimberley Sustad, Paul Campbell)

Christmas By Starlight

Annie is kind of a loser but Hallmark makes her into a cute & lovable loser because that’s what they do best. She wears pajamas a LOT, is suuuuper obsessed with her Terrier and lives in like a basement apartment at her parent’s house. Obviously greedy lawyers are trying to shut down her family’s diner and she takes it into her own hands to demand that the law office knocks it off. This turns into Annie and cute but maybe gay lawyer William working together so they each get something that they want out of the deal. My family watched this flick together which meant that we sat there pointing and laughing for the full two hours. The very first thing I noticed and couldn’t unsee was that Annie’s mom’s face doesn’t move ONE SINGLE time. It turned into a fun drinking game. Drink every time ole plastic ass face is on the screen! My dad also was NOT a fan of this female lead and was basically openly boo’ing her. Tough crowd. There were a lot of similarities that I saw between this flick and Two Week’s Notice..obviously a poor man’s version because that movie is top notch. But the comparison got me thinking, it would REALLY spice things up if they had a poop your pants scene in a Hally. Try to work that in next year, guys. Totally more relatable than these two eye banging the shit out of each other to Silent Night. Just saying. In the end, SPOILER ALERT, both of these jabronis were fat in high school so they’re meant to be. 

Bonus Points: Annie showing that she’s just SO down to earth because she eats a power bar at a fancy French restaurant after a Passport to Paris level spit take. She also wears ugly Christmas sweaters *unironically.*

Christmas Carousel – Hallmark (Rachel Boston, Neal Bledsoe)

Christmas Carousel

A royal storyline because princes celebrate Christmas too, I have to be honest my sister recommended this one because she had her DVR set up for it and the minute I saw the male lead I texted her “this guy is beat, you cannot watch this movie.” And I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but sometimes a guy turns you off so aggressively that you cannot possibly get into the storyline. I “watched” this whole movie as in it was on my TV as I wrote this blog but all I retained from it was that he was royal and there was a weird singing scene with a creepy song and child. Age was apparent in both leads and as much as I’ve had enough with the singing I had even more of enough with the cryptkeepers’ Christmas tales. If my journey includes me looking for love at Christmas when I’m middle-aged, end that journey right now. I’m sorry. I support anyone dating at any age if that’s what they want. Love that for you. What I don’t love is watching it. It’s not hopeful. I’d MUCH rather watch people in their young twenties fall in love in 5 minutes and get engaged so I can cackle and say WAIT UNTIL YOU TWO MOVE IN TOGETHER THEN WE’LL SEE HOW IN LOVE YOU ARE. That’s my happy place. My sweet spot. Not being the last standing single amongst friends and family and having to settle for the first guy who wishes you a Merry Christmas. And that’s my unwelcome rant on Hallmark only gearing toward the middle aged market this year. 

WATCH

Midnight at the Magnolia – Netflix (Natalie Hall, Evan Williams)

Midnight-at-the-Magnolia-

 

 

We’ve got a double feature from Natalie Hall this szn. And she really upgraded her mancandy for Netflix. At least this guy didn’t give me the heebie jeebies. Maggie and Jack are the kind of besties that everyone knows are going to end up together because they’re WAY TOO close to ever have other significant relationships and yet they’re the only two that can’t seem to figure it the F out. They host a radio show together and decide to fake date and plan a big reveal at New Years Eve because both of their sig oth’s dump them before meeting their families. As a former promotions coordinator in radio, this seems like an HR nightmare to manipulate a personal relationship for promo and marketing. But it really seemed to work out for these two personally and professionally because this is a movie and not real life. It’s totally one of those movies where there’s WAY too much family involvement (and an unwelcome fam group hug.) And of course, per this year’s trend, ends with an original song. Barf all over me.

Bonus Points: Maggie looks cute and normal the whole movie with long locks and then all the sudden shows up to the big party at the end with helmet head. Whoever did that updo/whatever we call this hack job should be sued for character defamation. In fact it was so bad that my sister texted me when she finally viewed it (with no prompting from me first) “wtf is up with this chick’s hair at the nye party?” It’s almost as if we’re related or something.

Five Star Christmas – Hallmark (Bethany Joy Lenz, Victor Webster)

Five Star Christmas

I’m a diehard stan for Bethany Joy Lenz. I think she’s a total babe and typically her holiday movies are far more tolerable than others. This one features her family acting like they’re running a B&B with the home she grew up in because someone is coming to review it. So they all pretend they’re staff or guests which just turns into SO many hijinks. If by hijinks we mean them calling each other the wrong names a lot. SO SILLY. Anyway, there’s a grandma with a German accent that is ALMOST intolerable and lots of side stories happening with each member of the family. Even the dad is getting some lovin. Why? Cause it’s Christmas of course. Turns out the guy that Lucy is hot and heavy for is the reviewer that they were expecting. Classic mix-up. He wins her back after the family snafu by doing a weird Elvis impression in front of strangers. If someone breaks into song at the end of any movie I see for the rest of my life it will still be TOO SOON. 

Bonus Points: In the first five minutes when Lucy says she stopped dating someone because he chewed with his mouth open. YAS GURL. SAME. Also when the “B&B guests” aka Lucy’s entire family decorates the tree together and her sister-in-law overreacts when the tree is brought in with “IT’s BEEEEAAAAUUUUTIFFUUULLLL” and a dramatic hand flourish. I wonder if the people in Hally’s go to a specific over-acting class before they book the role.

Once Upon A Main Street – Lifetime (Vanessa Lachey, Ryan McPartlin)

Once Upon A Main Street

Amelia and Vic have both put an offer in on a storefront in the “perfect” spot on Main St so obviously they will battle to the death and try to bribe the owner of the shop to sell it to each of them. But the owner of the shop is Patrick Duffy and you can’t play him, he’s been around the block a time or two in the TV movie landscape. So instead these two will just fall in love and split the shop in the end, naturally. What lands this movie on the watch list is 1000% the side character of Rowena, aka “sassy pottery bitch” in my notes, who Amelia and Vic have to work with to win some Christmas award or something. In Rowena’s first scene, she refers to the local contest sourly and goes, “it’s not Jimmy Fallon or anything” and Vic says “what is?” and she replies dry as hell, “True, True.” It’s the first time I’ve genuinely laughed out loud at joke delivery in one of these movies and not at the person for their poor acting skills and cheesy dialogue. Sassy Pottery Bitch deserves an Emmy AND an Oscar for this role. The rest of the cast is just eh. If I had to venture a guess, Vanessa Lachey is pretty much playing herself.

Bonus Points: Amelia was a real annoying and over the top twat-asaurus in the first few minutes of this movie because she was overconfident about getting the building and pulled a sharpie out of her purse and WROTE SOLD ON THE BUILDING SIGN as IF THAT’S HOW THAT WORKS. To make matters worse she drew the O as a heart. Can you imagine if I put an offer in on a house and then just walked by and WROTE SOLD ON THE WINDOW? Then took a selfie?! 

A California Christmas – Netflix (Lauren & Josh Swickard)

A California Christmas

I started this movie and immediately texted my sister saying I feel like I’m in deja vu. Although this movie was brand new on Netflix, I felt like I had seen it before. Was I going crazy? Have I started to dream in shitty Christmas love stories? Have I just seen an ALMOST identical movie with these two “stars” somewhere else? As it turns out, yes. These two starred in “Roped” together which was another garbo movie on Amazon Prime about a rodeo coming to town and this bitch’s family trying to get it banned but plot twist she fell in love with the cowboy so that really threw a wrench in the horse shit. It was bad. Like embarrassingly bad. So bad I blocked it from my memory and leave it to my sister to make the connection and prove that we’re not going crazy, we’re just addicted to trash movies. ANYWAY, another fun fact is that these two probably met on that set, fell in love and got married because they weren’t married when that movie was made but they are now. Cue *we found love in a hopeless place*. Good for them.

Back to this movie, Joseph is Zac Efron Lite (give it a few minutes, but you’ll see it) who needs to prove his worth as a corporate hot shot in the family biz and goes to buy out a small family farm but pretends to be a ranch hand named Manny instead. This creates a whole side story of the real Manny who goes into hiding to teach Joseph how to do farm shit but also starts a bromance with Joseph’s driver. The real Manny is hilarious and I guess what I’m trying to say is the way to win my heart over with one of these movies is to put a silly side character in for comedic relief from all the sob stories. There are a lot of sob stories in this movie. It’ll go from the real Manny saying ““If you take a squat on a stump and take a dump does that make it a toilet-tree?” (Poop humor kills every time) to sad music and a graveyard. Real rollercoaster. But the most important factors are that both of the leads are babe sodas, plus it’s Netflix so there’s LOTS of kissing and none are interrupted. In fact we even get a S-E-X scene GASP. In a field! Netflix, we need more of your PG-13 activities each holiday season. 

Bonus Points: Within five mins we’ve got a whole ass calf being pulled out of a cow. I saw April the giraffe give birth and honestly that was enough firsthand nature to last a whole lifetime. No more fluids for me. 

The Christmas Listing – Lifetime (Lexi Giovagnoli, Travis Burns)

The Christmas Listing

I gotta be real up front with you here, one Sunday I planted myself on the couch and watched FIVE (5) Lifetime movies back to back to back to back to back. In fact, I got a work call during one of them and I was legitimately T’O’ed that I had to mute it and do something productive. It was truly what Sunday’s are for. Especially at Christmas time. I started out with a cheerful vigor that I was about to just watch one and move onto something with more substance. And then they just kept rolling on and I became one with the almost kiss. Jk it still enrages me to no end.

Spoiler alert: I definitely got dumber. This one was lucky number 5 and it was 11pm by the time it was in rotation. I watched about 10 minutes of it. Here’s what I wrote in my notes: Babe soda Aussie, the girl is named Julia, is this a sign?! It WAS a sign. A sign that it was time for me to go to bed because there was nothing good about this movie other than the fact that the guy was of an appropriate age for me and handsome as hell. Take your W’s where you can.

Bonus Points: There was probably some sort of zany explanation for this but they were clearly at a house they didn’t plan on being at for a long period of time so they had to borrow clothes from guests left behind. All of their clothes were matching couples outfits. Nothing brings two people closer together than wearing his and hers Christmas sets.

Dash & Lily – Netflix (Austin Abrams, Midori Francis)

Dash & Lily

CURVEBALL! I figured since I tossed in a YA flick last year to keep things interesting, I’d add another newbie to this year’s list. It’s actually a series so it was 8 episodes, 30 mins. If you’re as much of a loser as I am, you banged this series out in an afternoon. Dash has a super messy family life which has turned him into a Grinch and he’s not even out of high school yet. Lily loves Christmas and also is JUST weird enough that she only hangs out with her family and has 0.0 friends. The two of them “meet” through a notebook and a scavenger hunt in a book store then basically become pen pals through said notebook because they’re in high school and they’re too insecure to meet in person. As someone who is still just as insecure now as she was in high school, I vibed with this. It was SUPER unrealistic of course, but after my obnoxious rant about Lifetime and Hallmark barking up the olds trees, I was happy to have some youthful spirit injected into my viewing szn. These two will probably break up by college but at least they’ll always have FALLING IN LOVE THROUGH A BOOK AT CHRISTMAS. Heartwarming.

Bonus Points: The Jonas Brothers. Not only did they make a cameo in concert form performing a Christmas banger, but Nick Jonas plays himself trying to give love advice to a bunch of high schoolers. It is perfection.

Cross Country Christmas – Hallmark (Rachel Leigh Cook, Greyston Holt)

crosscountrychristmas

Lena and Max are both heading home for Christmas and wouldn’t you know they’re from the same town and went to high school together and just bump into each other on the plane! But WHOOPS there’s a storm coming in and the plan has to land in Ohio and all of the buses are booked and the rental cars are gone and no planes are flying out so I GUESS THEY’LL JUST HAVE TO MAKE THEIR OWN WAY! What I liked about this movie immediately is that they didn’t give these characters the tried and true hate each other but are stuck traveling together energy. Of course, as soon as I made this note they started fighting after their truck broke down. But that was like halfway through. Lena has one of those made up jobs you see on the bachelor “creative solutions consultant” or something and she just wants to help everyone wherever they go. So they adventure across the country and stop and make new friends in each town. It’s not overly cheesy and I’ve digged Rachel Leigh Cook all the way since She’s All That HOWEVER…out of all the songbird scenes I consumed this year…this movie’s version was the most horrific trainwreck to watch. They’re asked to sing a carol together and unfortunately for all of us they don’t say “no thanks, we’re not really singers.” Instead, they tackle We Three Kings. They’re asked to sing a carol and instead of Jingle Bells or something equally as singalong worthy–these MF’ers pick WE THREE KINGS. And they butcher it loud and strong right up until the last line which they whisper. WHY NOT JUST WHISPER THE WHOLE THING YOU TONEDEAF BUTTHOLES? DO YOU WANT TO PUNISH US AS VIEWERS?! The answer is an obvious yes. UGH. Other than that scene, everything else was good. (You know, good for Hallmark.)

Bonus Points: They run into each other on the plane for the first time in what I would assume is 15 years and Lena goes the extra mile to bribe a flight attendant to get an eye mask for the flight. When Max asks if he can get one too Lena goes, oh I got these for you, I remember you being a big napper back in high school. CREEP CITY, POPULATION: LENA! Also when she plays Mary in the nativity play and comes onstage flailing her arms all over the joint was pretty cringe-licious.

Christmas Ever After – Lifetime (Ali Stroker, Daniel di Tomasso)

Christmas-Ever-After

I mean this in the most sincere way possible, this was my favorite movie this season. This was the one that was interrupted for a work call that I was FURIOUS about and I circled back to finish it so you KNOW I was committed. It’s no secret that one of my favorite episodes of the Saved by the Bell is the one where Zack dates a girl in a wheelchair and spends the entire episode drawing attention to the fact that she’s handicapped. Since this was the first time a movie had a wheelchair-bound lead, I assumed it would be the same sort of mildly offensive travesty. Lucky for girls on wheelz everywhere, it wasn’t. However, that didn’t stop them from making Izzie the most awkward bird of a human on this earth. And that’s where I thrive. Not only that, she is a trashy romance novelist and the lead man in her books is called Desmond. She goes to her favorite lodge that she spends the holidays at each year and lo and behold, she sees a guy who looks JUST LIKE the lead character in her erotica. Obviously she takes this as a sign to live out her books IRL and get inspiration for her re-write. About 30 seconds after laying eyes on Matt for the first time, she pants over him to each member of his family separately, including Matt’s daughter. Put it on ice, girl, his kid doesn’t want to hear that she has a DILF. She even gets caught trying to snap sneaky pics of him to send to her editor. What an embarrassing human and also relatable as hell. We’ve all been there. Izzy continues to be thirsty AF for Matt and at one point we see her waking up with a start and honest to God my first thought was oh she just had a wet dream. If this wasn’t a PG network, I would’ve really appreciated some red hot read scenes in this movie. It would’ve been a perfect match. Instead, when I googled the movie I was met with this image:

plexiglass

And boy do I love the internet. I NEVER would’ve known watching this movie that their kisses were plexiglass style due to COVID. Now that I can’t unsee this, I remember that they obstructed both of their smooches in the movie so we couldn’t see that there was a WHOLE ASS PIECE OF GLASS in between those lips. Jeeze these networks really take prude to the next level. Netflix would’ve been tongues out AWL day. 

Bonus Points: Izzy has quite the bond with Matt’s dad and I didn’t know how weird it was until he turns to her in a crowded room and goes “Izzy, what do you think?” And she replies, “Yeah, let’s do it, let’s sing” and slowly spins her wheelchair around and breaks into solo song as people are sitting and eating their dinner. Also anytime she calls going for a walk “a push” and when Matt kneels down in front of her so they’re eye to eye and she goes what are you proposing? And he says no, the view’s just better down here. SMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTH. 

 

 

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Pop Culture, Television

Best of the Worst Hallmark Holiday Movies, 2018 Edition

Listen, Hallmark really doubled down this year and it was actually difficult for me to keep up. Starting BEFORE Thanksgiving, they were on a roll debuting 2-3 per week, getting an AGGRESSIVE jump on the holiday movie watching szn. Obviously that was far too overwhelming for me. So with the help of my equally as TV holiday movie obsessed sister, we printed out each channels schedules and highlighted our favorites based on plot and if the guy was hot. We created quite a robust list and got to watching. So here we are, your annual installment of the best of the worst in holiday trash movies. PS Due to the large number of movies to view between the two Hallmarks and Lifetime (and I guess Netflix), Ion and ABC Family had to be cut from the list. You understand why. Please respect our decision at this very difficult time.

SKIP

graceland

Christmas at Graceland, Hallmark (Kellie Pickler, Wes Brown)

Right off the bat you would think this is going to be a golden Hally because of ya boy Wes. He’s higher up on the list of Hallmark hotties and I thought that would be enough to pull us through this flick. Sadly, I am here to report that it was not. Centered around a music theme ala Graceland, this movie was nearly unwatchable. Laurel goes back home to buy a bank or something corporate and Clay is like remember when we used to sing together and god I wish she hadn’t remembered. Could have saved us all from a whole lot of Silent Night. No seriously, this one song was performed no less than 6 million times throughout the course of this 2 hour movie. I feel it is also important to point out that although Kellie Pickler is actually a singer, she chose to lip sync in this movie and I’ve never seen a more horrible hack job. Even pop stars still sing during their music videos so it looks real. COME ON, KELLIE! Also, there is a child in this movie and she sings as well.

Bonus Points: Kellie not even attempting to hide her southern twang and everyone else in the movie having no trace of an accent. At the end (spoiler alert) when Laurel gets everything she ever could’ve wanted, she could not look less enthused. What an actress.

evergreen

Christmas in Evergreen:Letters to Santa, Hallmark

It took me the entirety of this movie to figure out that this was a sequel to an already present story line on Hallmark. I would’ve really hated to have to sit through more than one of these. Lisa doesn’t want to put down roots but she really wants to go back to her hometown for Christmas. YA, Ok. On her way home she has side of the road flirtations with the guy that she’ll most obviously end up with when she seems like the ultimate cool girl who fixes his truck. There’s a whole slew of characters all coinciding at once in this Evergreen place and naturally that means Hallmark needed to toss in a dubbs coups because they can’t just focus on one cookie cutter romance at once–it’s their new favorite thing to do and I for one, hate it. This particular version had a white couple and a black couple because black people fall in love at Christmas too. #Diversity on Hallmark. There’s a little wrench in the mix when Lisa’s PLATONIC BFF comes into town and Kevin thinks she’s taken but have no fear because they kiss when the bells ring and the little kid with the lisp FINALLY finds a lock that his key works in. THANK GAWD.

Bonus Points: When these two discover that they REMEMBER EACH OTHER FROM CHILDHOOD and there’s a flashback to them literally just being in the same general store writing letters to Santa like every kid in that town did.

tennessee

A Christmas in Tennessee, Lifetime (Rachel Boston, Andrew Walker, Patricia Richardson)

Andrew Walker, once of Hallmark royalty, now switching over to the Lifetime side, is typically a must-see for holiday staples. He’s cute and charming and usually has a little bad boy edge to him. Unfortunately, I’m gonna need him to take a beat after this one and reassess. The story revolves around Allison, whose a baker and single mom to Olivia. Patricia Richardson makes a star-studded appearance as her mom and naturally Matthew (Andrew Walker) is the corporate big wig trying to buy out the family business and take over the town UNTIL he spends time there and realized the importance of Christmas and family and that is obvious. To be completely honest this movie is all over the place and there’s so many stories happening at once that it’s exhausting. Santa and Mrs. Clause like Allison’s cookies so it becomes a marketing ploy/reason for Allison’s daughter Olivia to get bullied for still believing in Santa. There’s a conniving assistant to Matthew who forges a signature to sell the property. Allison’s dad died recently, Matthew lost a fiance 4 years ago, the mom is still sad about the dad dying and an old guy is pursuing her HARD. As my notes read, “Pull the story together homies or we take Andrew Walker back.” You’re on notice, Lifetime.

Bonus Points: At the children’s play when little Olivia (a partridge in a pear tree) gets bullied about being poor, dad-less, and believing in Santa by a kid with a drawn on Hitler ‘stache. REALLY?! This mf’er is bullying someone while he looks like that?! I would’ve knocked his stupid nutcracker hat clean off his head if I were Olivia. Kids are the worst. Also, the mom from Home Improvement sings at the end to close up the randomness that was this movie.

princessswitch

The Princess Switch, Netflix (Vanessa Hudgens)

This now marks the second Netflix Christmas movie that has been so awful that I’ve turned it off before finishing it. That alone should be evidence enough that Netflix needs to read the room and slowly moonwalk out of the holiday movie game. You came late to the party and nobody likes you, cut your losses and leave before Hallmark and Lifetime have to physically boo you out of here. Anyway, from what I did watch here’s what I can tell you…Stacy is a baker who got dumped and her ex already moved on with what seems to be a real biddy. So she goes to a baking competition in a country probably located next to Genovia in made-up fairytale land. A weird magical guy who pops up all over the joint is VERY fixated on fulfilling a Christmas wish for Stacy. There’s an annoying over-acting child and a straight rip from The Parent Trap handshake. And true to the switching places classic trope, Stacy finds that the Duchess of Belgravia(?), Margaret, looks identical to her and is yearning for a normal bakers’ life of chaos. Of course since we’re dealing with a fictional country, an accent that sounds somewhat British and somewhat bullshit is tossed into the mix so watching Vanessa Hudgens navigate that is lolworthy.

Bonus Points: A VERY predictable love interest switcharoo and a Chicago baseball cap that never goes away in case you’re ever wondering where Stacy hails from. Also the two “twins”/ “distant relatives” physically running into each other the first time they meet.

 

christmasatthepalace

Christmas at the Palace, Hallmark

It pains me to do this because we all know I have a raging girl crush on Merritt Patterson, but this movie blows big time. It’s no coincidence that the two royal movies were B2B on my skip list. Katie and her bud Jessica, are just two average girls from Trenton, NJ who have an ice skating show in made up San Senova. Katie PHYSICALLY runs into King Alex in the plaza even though neither of them are blind. It’s alarming how often they have people bulldozing each other over as meet-cutes in these garbage royal movies. They’re hired at the palace to throw an ice dancer Christmas pageant because the King’s daughter Christina, is a real fan girl. She takes up FAR too much of the storyline and obviously drama ensues leaving them both to bail on the pageant. Well, one of them bails and then comes back and skates right onto the ice as if she never left. Nice try, girl.

Bonus Points: When Katie breaks the news to Christina that she’s ditching her lame ass pageant, even though the whole thing started because her and Jessica–professional skaters–were hired to put it on, she gives her a cheap ice skating figurine at the same time AS IF THAT WILL MAKE HER ANNOUNCEMENT LESS DOUCHEY.

HometownXmas

Hometown Christmas, Lifetime (Beverley Mitchell, Stephen Colletti)

Noelle’s dead mom used to run the live nativity in her southern hometown every year, so Noelle (who is supposedly a doctor in Chicago, though it’s mysteriously never brought up again after the first ten minutes) comes back to revive it. Her high school sweetheart who broke up with her to go pro in baseball lives back at home now because he blew out his arm or something equally as cliche. The whole movie throws a lot of incesty vibes with Noelle’s family, especially her relationship with her brother, which is far too flirty for comfort. In fact, when the whole fam troops on over to the county fair, they go to do a “southern snowman” contest and Noelle is like obviously we’re partners to her brother and he has to be like um, maybe this year my partner should be my fiance. YIKES NOELLE, READ THE ROOM. In another completely unbelievable storyline, their dad announces he’s dating someone new, then invites Noelle’s ex boyfriend Nick and his mother over to go to the county fair where they immediately eye bang each other. It is VERY apparent that he’s dating Nick’s mom, and yet when the two are found playing tonsil hockey underneath the mistletoe 20 mins later, Noelle is like DAD WTF YOU’RE DATING HER?! How was that not obvious? No seriously, what idiot didn’t pick up on those clues. The two of them were basically drooling when they greeted each other and both kids were like oh this is normal, they’re just friends?! ANYWAY, after 100 million things go wrong (and Noelle and Nick make amends even though their parents are dating as well), the nativity DOES happen and of course, per 2018 holiday movie tradition, ends in TERRIBLE song.

Bonus Points: When the church floods and they have to find a new venue for their live nativity, they go to the local theater and the owner is like oh damn, we’re all set up for this week’s production of a barnyard play. And Noelle and Nick are like the world is ending. Then Noelle has a light bulb and goes to an abandoned barn, where they decide to hold the nativity. IF THE THEATER WAS USING A BARN SET, HOW IS GOING TO AN ACTUAL BARN ANY F*CKING DIFFERENT?! Ok. I’m done. If you’d like to be entertained by this movie instead of triggered by their stupid script writing, check out Bev’s very apparent lazy eye and drink every time it’s looking in a very different direction from the other.

WATCH

THE-CHRISTMAS-CONTRACT

The Christmas Contract, Lifetime (OTH Reunion)

You knew that no matter what, I was gonna love this movie as a diehard One Tree Hill fan. Was it confusing that they cast this movie then did a reunion immediately following it without Chad Michael Murray and Bethany Joy Lenz who were also in tv holiday movies this year? Sure was. But either way, I’m gonna ship any sort of cast hang for a show that was basically my obsession from ages 13-22. The movie itself has Jolie (what a southern name) bringing her bestie’s brother Jack  home for Christmas as a fake boyfriend  because her ex has already moved on. Other than the fact that Skillz and Rachel Gattina are married in this movie, we get a song and performance from Tyler Hilton (with gratuitous slow dancing in jean shirts) as well as a little Clean Teen drop in from the leather pants wearin hussy who stole Mouth’s virginity. They really pulled out all of the stops for this one. Something that is extremely important to note, Jolie’s ex boyfriend is hideous. He has FOREVER greasy hair with quite the five head. In fact, my sister pointed out he’s basically a younger version of Marv. So he’s got that going for him.

marv

Obviously the two fall in love while fake dating and learning about each other and the fam loves Jack. There’s even a campfire singalong to Deck the Halls that makes me want to rip my ears off. Good, clean, holiday fun for all.

Bonus Points: For all of you 7th Heaven stans, Jeremy London is a supporting role and wears a variety of fedoras. One is corduoroy. There’s also a fun scene where Jolie has to teach her greaser of an ex boyfriend that breaking up means not talking anymore. Also, Robert Buckley in dark framed glasses…sup?

Full Disclozsh: If you’re watching and feel so inclined to watch the HOUR OTH reunion they tacked on afterward to grab more viewers, SKIP IT and thank me later. It’s a bunch of not at all related to OTH Christmas games and it’s embarrassing for everyone involved.

 

poinsettiasforchristmas

Poinsettias for Christmas, Lifetime (Bethany Joy Lenz)

It seems as though it would be approps to get all my fellow OTH’ers out of the way at once. Bethany has been lookin like a dime lately and really killin it in the holiday movie game. Last year she had a winner with Andrew Walker and this year she got me to care about Poinsettias. Control freak Ellie comes home to her family’s farm to help save it and there’s a babe soda working there, encroaching on her fam’s territory so obviously they are going to butt heads and fall in love. There’s the classic ole spray each other with a hose and have a snowball fight with virtually no snow as flirting. There’s a chance the Poinsettias won’t be ready for delivery by Christmas and it’s a real nail biter until obviously Ellie pulls some bullshit theory out of her ass and saves them. There’s some random side story about Sean possibly dating this TV personality who was trying to buy the family farm? but in the end they “break up” and at the Christmas parade, Sean tosses aside a hot dog before smooching Ellie, which almost makes me put this movie on the shit list. DO NOT WASTE A PERFECTLY GOOD WIENER FOR ANYTHING, let alone a mediocre closed mouth kiss.

Bonus Points: Boo thang Sean built his own log house. What a Noah Calhoun swoon.

prideprejudice

Pride, Prejudice & Mistletoe, Hallmark (Lacey Chabert, Brendan Penny)

Darcy (Lacey) comes home to take time away from her job. She immediately dumps her boring finance boyfriend who also happens to work for her dad and reconnects with her high school debate teammate Luke while they plan her mom’s Christmas event. My first thought is could her family BE more involved in her love life? My boyfriend’s first thought is all of the men in this movie are clearly gay. He’s just bitter I’ve already forced him to watch double the amount of holiday movies as last year and we weren’t even into December yet. Although in relation to the men in this movie, the only requirement I saw for a male role was having a ridiculously deep side part. There’s a song and dance (not literally, this can be confusing as many Hally’s this year have leaned heavy on the musical numbers…rest assured this is a welcome non-singing installment) about kissing under the mistletoe where Darcy continuously hard passes Sean every time he tries to sneak a smooch “per Christmas tradition”. Obviously she finally gives in at the end.

Bonus Points: When Darcy’s bro and sis in law announce their pregnancy on top of her breakup announcement. They’re like can’t wait to celebrate Christmas the four of us and Darcy’s like uh no we broke up and those assholes are like NO THERE’S FOUR OF US, pointing to her belly. Way to breeze right over her heartbreak and still manage to make it about your not even showing baby bump. Thank u, next.

mingle

Mingle All the Way, Hallmark

In the spirit of full disclosure, I saw like the last 40 mins of this movie but it was enough to tell me that it was much better than some of the trash they were tossing out this year. A lot of this review has to do with the fact that the guy is cute and there was NO singing. Molly creates an app that pairs people up (much like a dating app) so that you can have a companion for all of your holiday biz parties/events. Her and Jeff get matched up and since she wants to prove to her judgmental AF parents that her app is a success, they stick it out for all of the holiday season, natch falling in love in the process. I don’t know who the hell has this many events around the holidays but I’d like your job, plz. I haven’t been able to score one open bar holiday party since about 3 years ago and these people are like we have multiple engagements. MUST BE NICE. Although not to brag, but totes to brag, I won a $50 gift card to Target at my holiday party for my part time job this year so I’M BASICALLY RICH. I’m still excited off of the high of that. Didn’t need a date from an app to WIN BIG AT THE RAFFLE. Anyway, there’s a little ex reappearance at the end to confuse this maybe professional maybe romantic relationship (go away, ASHLEY) but in the end, dating apps take the W in this very 2018 Hally.

Bonus Points: Molly somehow manages to fall OVER the Christmas tree and right into Jeff’s arms for a catch FULL of panting, staring and sexual tension. Spoiler alert: this doesn’t result in a kiss because it’s not the last scene of the movie and any kiss before the final 5 minutes is ALWAYS interrupted. Also at one point Molly says “My compliments to the Jeff” while eating Jeff’s cooking and my eyeballs roll at rapid speed out of my skull.

itstimetocomehomeforchristmas

Time For Me To Come Home For Christmas, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries (Megan Park, Josh Henderson)

Famous country singer Heath (we quickly learn he only sings country Christmas songs), who also confusingly sometimes goes by Lee meets Kara at the airport in one of those classic we’re both going home for Christmas but our travel plans keep getting f’ed so we’re just going to end up making our own way together, road trip with an attractive stranger style. It takes Kara an unnatural amount of time to figure out that Heath is a Grammy-winning singer, which she irrationally gets pissed about. Sorry he’s not a douche who announces that he’s famous when someone doesn’t recognize him, Kara, THAT’S ACTUALLY AN ADMIRABLE QUALITY. True to this year’s traditions with Hallmark, there’s a LOT of singing (specifically terrible lip syncing, which I guess is just their MO) as well as annoying children trying to steal the spotlight. I’m willing to ignore all of these things because somehow I still found this movie more tolerable than most. There’s a lot of sob stories as we learn that Heath/Lee lost his dad recently and Kara lost her mom. They also stay with an old friend of Heath’s en route and the wife is sick. At one point in the movie my boyfriend had an outburst where he yelled, “is this guy gonna choose whether or not he wants to have an accent?!” And that was probably the most exciting moment of the movie. Clearly we’re both triggered by actors being terrible at accents. I perfected my British accent just from being obsessed with Harry Potter movies when I was 12, actual actors who get paid for it should probably know how to do a southern drawl or an American accent. In the most cringeworthy of grand finales, Heath/Lee is struck by inspiration and writes/sings a new song on Christmas day around the fire. Kara joins in, making it a duet of a brand new song that she’s never heard. His mom awkwardly stands far too close to him and bops in his face while he plays the guitar, then she too takes a solo verse right there on the spot and then Kara jumps in for one as well because why not? Suddenly out of nowhere there’s a violinist and Heath’s sister is playing guitar. I literally had to ask myself if I was on drugs or if this scene was real life. Everyone breaks into applause when Kara and Heath hug. Goodnight.

Bonus Points: Lee/Heath’s mom gives him a photo album that they’ve been talking up for the entire movie that she spent all year making. He flips through it at rapid speed, looking completely disinterested and then abruptly gets up to leave and find Kara who he just saw five minutes earlier. Instead of his mom being like wtf you ungrateful twat, she’s like follow your heart, son! Also, at the beginning of the movie there’s a flight attendant that is vying for worst movie character of all time. She denies Heath a spot in first class on the plane and tells him there’s no exceptions then asks him for an autograph. The same condescending MF’er then escorts annoying kid #1 off the flight and when Heath gifts the kid wings from his dad who was a pilot, she whine-sings “LOOK WHO GOT HIS WINGSSSSS.” Bye, bish. Get lawst.

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Christmas Wedding Planner, Netflix

I DIRECTLY contradict myself with this one. My artfully worded diss to Netflix on my Princess Switch review will be eaten in full after watching this number. Technically it’s a last year edition that was overlooked, but nevertheless it IS a Netflix original and I DID like it. Turns out it was based on a Harlequin novel and judging by my rabid taste for red hot reads, I’m not surprised I loved this one. I’m giving the novel credit here instead of Netflix because I’m still annoyed at the fact that they’re trying so hard to be a holiday TV movie competitor. Regardless, Kelsey is a disaster, clumsy wannabe wedding planner and her first job is planning her cousin’s wedding. So basically me minus the planning my cousin’s wedding part, which can easily be remedied if my cousin who is getting married in the fall is reading this. But I digress, Kelsey’s cousin Emily and her aunt Olivia are classy AF so the pressure’s on to throw the perfect event. She has a little meet-cute moment with her cousin’s ex boyfriend who also happens to be the PI investigating her cousin’s fiance, Todd. Ya follow? They do everything they can to make Todd look like a supreme slimeball. I literally cringed out of my body the first scene he’s in where he drops off jewelry to the bridesmaids and says “he just wants to keep his ladies happy.” BARF BARF BARF. He also has a very apparent tick where he winks on every other word that escapes his perv-tastic mouth. These are red flags! How did this beautiful girl fall in love with this dirtbag? As you might presume, Kelsey and Connor investigate Todd while she continues to plan the wedding. They naturally fall in love, probably because Connor’s business partner and BFF is Joey Fatone. No seriously, JOEY FATONE. And his acting is NEXT LEVEL bad. We get it Joe, you’re Italian. In the end, there’s a soap opera wedding moment where it turns out *SPOILER ALERT* Todd knocked up the maid and his parents tried to pay her off. GROSS, TODD. Since the wedding is canceled it obviously makes the most sense for Kelsey and Connor to get married because who needs Connor’s family at the wedding and most marriages that’re built to last start from knowing each other a couple weeks before getting engaged and married right on the spot…everybody knows THAT.

Bonus Points: A very rom-com stakeout montage. They laugh, they snack, they sing and dance in goofy sunglasses, they take selfies, they snuggle into a nap. The makings of every great relationship depends on how good they montage. Plus these two are both babes. 5 stars.

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Movies

Top Christmas Movies

After doing a play by play of the worst quality Christmas movies ever made, I thought it was only right to make a list of the good movies that people at one point paid to see. Here are the classic Christmas flicks that are can’t-misses this (every) holiday season:

1. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1998) Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jessica Biel

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Classic 90’s Christmas movie full of N*SYNC and Tiger Beat cover boy, JTT. When I first saw this movie my sister and I watched it roughly 7 times within a 3 day Video King rental span and I don’t even regret one second of it. JTT & Jessica Biel are supposedly in college except that they have lockers. Jake (JTT) is a classic prankster always looking to make money so he rents out beepers to help the cool kids in college cheat on their finals. BEEPERS. Resident bad boy, Eddie (Adam Lavorgna for all you 7th Heaven fans) messes up his plan and then sticks him in a Santa suit and puts him in the desert with no way to get home for Christmas with his hot piece girlfriend Allie (Jessica Biel). Eddie goes in for the steal yo girl moves on Allie and the whole movie is Jake trying to get Allie and also get home for Christmas.

Best Quotes: “Hey jingle balls! Move your candycanes!”-Eddie, “Santa just yammied in my handbag.”, Anything that Nolan the Elf says

Bonus Points: Jessica Biel singing along to Aqua but is also supposed to be the cool hot girl (conflict of interest), JTT being the perfect boyfriend who quotes poetry and has devilish good looks. All the 90’s style and college cliches.

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2. Home Alone/Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1990, 1992) McCaulay Culkin, Catherine O’Hara, Joe Pesci

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Okay so I got in a legit fight with someone the other night about how Home Alone 2 is better than the original. Yes they’re both A+ movies and it’s not Christmas until you watch Kevin McCallister get into some good ole’ mischief, however, my argument is that Home Alone 2 is better simply because of the hotel employees. Those three idiots MAKE the movie and obviously that’s also what makes 2 different from 1. The opposing argument is that the second is the same exact movie as the first, meaning that the second was a knockoff and unnecessary. I respect the point of view, but I stand by The Sticky Bandits of NY, the idiots who work at the Plaza and the turtle dove ornaments from Mr. Duncan.

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I LOOOOVEEE you

Best Quotes: Home Alone: “Buzz! Your girlfriend! Woof!”-Kevin, “Look what you did, you little jerk!”-Uncle Frank (the meanest uncle alive.)

Home Alone 2:“Get outta here you nosy little pervert, or I’m gonna slap you silly!”-Uncle Frank, “Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal, and a Happy New Year!”-Gangster Johnny plus everything else he ever says.

Bonus Points: Buzz calling Kevin a troutsniffer created a nickname that my sisters and I have played out for far too long.

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3. Elf (2003) Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan

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I don’t think I’ve seen a Will Ferrell movie I don’t like but can you really go wrong with him in an elf costume frolicking around NYC like it’s the gum drop forest? No, no you can’t. If you’ve never shouted out in a creepy low voice, “Byeeee Buddy, hope you find your dad!” when saying goodbye to someone then I don’t think we can be friends.

Best Quotes: “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”, “You smell like beef and cheese, you don’t smell like Santa.”, “This place reminds me of Santa’s Workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me.”

Bonus Points: Seeing a side of Zooey Deschanel that isn’t the typical quirky, weird character we always see her playing.

4. The Santa Clause/ The Santa Clause 2 (1994/2002) Tim Allen

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Again we have another toss up of which one is better. On the one hand, we have the original when Tim Allen was at the top of his game and on the other we have Chet, the new reindeer that will never fail to make me laugh when he bops around the sky and shouts gibberish. Charlie is obviously little and cute in the first one (with a flawless bowl cut) and Tim Allen’s sarcasm, specifically toward Neil’s sweater collection is so on point. The second one features a teenaged surly Charlie, which my pre-teen self had a crush on when this came out, but I can’t be as sympathetic toward him. Your dad is Santa, bro. Stop whining about it and spray painting everything in rebellion.

Best Quotes: The Santa Clause-“The only thing you need to worry about is where you’re going to buy your sweaters after the circus pulls out of town.”, “We shared a bowl of sugar, did some shots of brown liqour, played with my shot guns, field-dressed a cat, looked for women…”

The Santa Clause 2- “I have 33,000 offspring, all in private school.”-Easter Bunny

Bonus Points: The second installment has a super cringe worthy performance from Molly Shannon. Also as noted before, the reindeer babble is A+ comedy. Yes, we’ve already established I have the maturity of a small child.

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5. Miracle on 34th Street (1994) Mara Wilson, Dylan McDermott, Elizabeth Perkins

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BERET.

Mara Wilson was absolutely the adorable child actor with the lisp who grew up to be the adult who had the same exact face and haircut as her childhood days and suddenly it was no longer cute. Google a picture of her now. You’ll instantly regret it. Anyway, with her cute little I’m 8 years old but I talk like I’m 45 act and the eye candy that was Dylan McDermott, this movie was a win-win. It’s touch and go for a minute when Santa gets locked in a padded room, but NYC believes and everything turns out AOK. (Sorry if I just spoiled this movie from 1994 for everyone.)

Best Quotes: “I’m not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and affects a jolly demeanor. You know, I’m a symbol. I’m a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives. If you can’t believe, if you can’t accept anything on faith, then you’re doomed for a life dominated by doubt.” That’s some deep shit from Kris Kringle. “Would it please the court if I gave you your Christmas card? I don’t think I’ll see you again. Unless I get arrested which is highly unlikely because it’s Christmas Eve and I’m going to bed uncharacteristically early.”-Susan (Imagine this said with a lisp)

Bonus Points: Dermott’s name in the movie is Brian Bedford, if that’s not the hottest name you’ve ever heard I don’t know what is. He also defends Santa Claus at trial. He’s a real stand-up gent.

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6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen

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Some may still love the cartoon of the Grinch, but I stand by the fact that Jim Carey as the Grinch is literally one of his best roles. Plus we get to see an innocent Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who before she went all bad girl punk rock after Gossip Girl and gave us all the scaries. It still tugs at my little heartstrings when baby grinch gets made fun of by the mayor and wears a paper bag on his head.

Best Quotes: “Am I just eating because I’m bored?”, “Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn’t allow it. 4:00, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one; 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me – I can’t cancel that again; 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing… I’m booked.”

Bonus Points: Seeing Martha May throwing herself at The Grinch who has the green hairy body of a stout pregnant woman.

7. Love Actually (2003) Every British Actor Ever

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Ahh an ensemble cast of Brits falling in love during the holidays—sign every guy up to watch this. Just kidding. This movie is obviously a chick favorite, mostly because of Hugh Grant and his dazzling accent/smile. For all men forced to watch it, there is comic relief in Billy Mack the foul-mouthed washed up rockstar making a comeback. This is one of those flicks that should’ve been a Hallmark movie but they ended up getting a little star power behind it. Regardless it instills in our minds that airports are for tearful reunions and never crowded like nightmares at the holidays, Christmas is for telling the truth (and falling in love), and Wisconsin is a vacation spot for Brits.

Best Quotes: “Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!”-Billy Mack, “American girls would seriously dig me with my cute British accent.”-Colin, “Let’s go get the shit kicked out of us by love.”-Sam “I had an uncle called Terence once. Hated him. I think he was a pervert. But I very much like the look of you.”-Prime Minister

Bonus Points: In unconventional love stories we root for the “chubby”, potty-mouthed girl to end up with England’s prime minister. Also we get to see Hugh Grant dance around to 80’s music. Story lines that almost ruin the movie=the porn couple (try watching that with your parents) and the little kid declaring his love for an 8 year old who can belt out All I Want For Christmas Is You. No. Seriously the creepy looking kid almost ruins the movie.

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8. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) Chevy Chase

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Full disclozj, I saw this movie for the very first time last year, which is why it fell at the bottom of the list. But it’s obvious as to why this movie is a Christmas classic. It brings out the nightmare that is family Christmas in the most entertaining way possible.

Best Quotes: “Merry Christmas. Shitter was full.”-Eddie, “Hey Griswold. Where do you think you’re gonna put a tree that big? Clark-“Bend over and I’ll show you.”

Bonus Points: Trashy Eddie, my fave ❤

The last two movies are mostly added in to make it an even 10 but need to be defined as separate because these are the two holiday movies that you watch when you want to be overwhelmed with the feels and have a big, ugly cry.

9. The Family Stone (2005) Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Dermot Mulroney, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes

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The fear of bringing a serious boyfriend/girlfriend home for the holidays and having your family think they’re a real asshole. Sarah Jessica Parker plays the most hated person ever and then some serious shit happens. Get your tissues ready.

10. Jack Frost (1998) Michael Keaton, Kelly Preston

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The dad dies within the first 10 minutes of the movie and you already know you’re in for a real depressing couple of hours. He comes back reincarnated as a snowman and tries to mend his relationship with the son he never was there for when he was alive. I stumbled upon this movie this past weekend, not really ready for a good cry but nothing else was on and it was actually embarrassing how hard I cried at the end. So there’s that. The weather has to get warmer at some point and I think we all know what higher temps do for dad ghost snowmen.

Before I get sass as to why A Christmas Story isn’t on this list it’s because I’ve never once seen it. Whoops. Sorry. Baiiiiiiii.

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