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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Pop Culture, Television

Best of the Worst Hallmark Holiday Movies, 2017 Edition

Here we are. The third edition of my cheesy holiday movies blog where I sacrifice my time to watch ALL of the made for TV classics. Since last year’s installment was never published due to running out of time/maybe a little bit of holiday laziness, I’ve combined movies past and present. It doesn’t really matter anyway, Hallmark, Lifetime, Ion and UP basically play a 24/7 rotation of original movies dating back to 2007 all December long so you really can’t go wrong. Feel free to scroll through my recommendations and laugh at the terrible acting and unrealistic relationship storylines to prepare for the most joyous holiday of the year. Because if Hallmark has taught me anything, it’s that Christmas is the time to reflect on your life and also to marry someone you’ve been on two dates with.

WATCH:

Christmas Cookies, Hallmark

christmas cookies

“Christmas is what you make it, or bake it!”

Hannah works for a big company, travels to a town called Cookie Jar. No, seriously. Cookie Jar…and has to learn about the cookie factory their town with a dumbass name was built upon because her boss is going to franchise it or something. There’s a kid in it, which is always a hard no for me but besides her screech worthy singing at the tree lighting, she’s not terrible. Also a key side character: a meddling troutsniffer named Betty who immediately tries to marry Hannah off and make her a permanent resident of Cookie Jar, as old people in Hallmark movies tend to do.

Bonus Points: Hannah’s square of a boyfriend introducing himself as her “significant other” and then proposing. Also the lead (and real love interest) is a babe soda.

A December Bride, Hallmark

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It’s pretty much scientific fact that any Hally with Bride or Wedding in the title is going to be an automatic homerun. (Snow Bride & A Bride for Christmas are both HOF’ers.) There’s just something about marrying the guy you just met at Christmas that resonates with America. This one is obviously no different. Layla’s ex-boyfriend marries her cousin on Christmas EVEN THOUGH THEY BOTH KNEW THAT SHE ALWAYS WANTED A CHRISTMAS WEDDING. What a couple of turds. Layla reacts perfectly by wearing a skanktastic dress to their wedding and pretending to be engaged to her ex’s best friend. After debuting their fresh relationship at the wedding, it may strike you as unrealistic that 30 seconds later when they say they’re actually engaged, all their family and friends are like yes ok this makes sense–congrats!!! She decorates his house to get ahead in her career and he’s like I always loved you anyway so let’s get married for real.

Bonus Points: turning Seth’s (Daniel Lissing) attempts at doing an American accent into a drinking game. Watching the moment when Layla gets hired by a big wig and hugs him in a backless dress. As my sister so nicely put it “I could hear the skin to skin contact from my couch.”

Christmas in Homestead, Hallmark

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Full discloszh there’s a kid in this one but also there’s a two for one love story combo deal. Choose your battles. Jessica is a movie star filming a movie in, wait for it, a small town called Homestead. Matt is the mayor and thinks Jessica is a real twat of a celebrity until he gets to know her and they do Christmas things together with his daughter. Matt’s sister falls in love with a paparazzi who then publishes a scandalous pic of Matt and Jessica not even kissing and he basically ruins everything. Except not really because Jessica suddenly becomes a better actress, changes the ending of her movie and decides to stop being such a princess. SMALL TOWN LIFE AT CHRISTMAS CURED HER!!!! IT’S A MIRACLE. Unfortunately, paparazzi love didn’t work out the same way. Boohoo.

A Dream of Christmas, Hallmark

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I didn’t see a whole lot of movies where Santa grants a wish, so this one will have to fill our quota for this year. Penny has a hot husband and a kickass job and for some ridiculous reason wishes that she didn’t? I don’t know. I’m not exactly clear on why she would ever utter the words I don’t want to be married when she is married to this:

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But regardless, she wakes up single as a bird and an executive in her company. Lo and behold she discovers that not having Stu in her life sucks the big one and she wants to do a little reverse, reverse on her Christmas wish.

Bonus Points: Andrew Walker. Seriously, this guy is Hallmark gold. What a piece of eye candy.

My Christmas Love, Hallmark

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This movie was almost unbearable due to the lead actresses’ high pitched and overly excited voice. I say almost because she had a SLEW of hot ex boyfriends that all pop up multiple times and it kept me hooked. Cynthia’s cross to bear is that she thinks every guy she dates should want to marry her and do big romantic gestures always. So when someone orders the 12 days of Christmas in gift form to be delivered to her house, she assumes it’s for her which is selfish AF and starts chasing down exes to find out who she needs to marry. Turns out her hot coworker who came home with her for the holidays doesn’t love Cin being such a thirsty bitch because he’s in love with her of course. She embarrasses herself a lot, but no more than when she wears a plaid mini skirt and knee high boots to a date with her high school sweetheart. Clean it up, Cynthia.

Bonus Points: a final choreographed dance number and Cynthia feeling like a REAL self-centered B when it’s revealed who ordered the gifts.

The Christmas Cottage, Hallmark

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This is your VERY basic, cookie-cutter Hally. The old flame, the douchey work-focused boyfriend, hokey Christmas magic, and two attractive leads. I mean, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, amirite? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m putting this on the watch list mostly because of the female lead, who I’ve had a hardcore girl boner for ever since she was on season 1 of The Royals. I mean, seriously. Babe alert.

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Either way, here’s the deal…Ean (dumbest spelling of that name ever) and Lacey were childhood sweethearts who broke up because Ean wanted to travel the world and be a kewl chef and Lacey just wanted to design shit 24/7. They’re reunited for his sister’s wedding at the MAGICAL family Christmas cottage and wouldn’t you know, one snowflake falls to the ground so obviously it’s a state of emergency and the roads are closed, leaving them to talk it out and relive old Xmas memz during a forced sleepover at the cottage. Lacey’s boyfriend is wearing a suit every time she facetimes him so obviously we don’t feel bad when she inevitably dumps him for her old BF. Because whoever steps foot inside the Christmas Cottage, leaves with their forever love and that seems PRETTY OBVIOUS.

Bonus Points: Lacey’s BFF and Ean’s sister being the most overbearing, pushy chick on this earth and also sipping hot chocolate inside by the fire with a full winter coat on and a blanket.

Snowed Inn, Lifetime

snowed inn

“Have you ever been in love? Does Kelly Kapowski count?”

Much like the previous Christmas Cottage, this is a no frills holiday movie. Jenna and Kevin are both assigned to a writing job in Aspen but have a detour by way of a town called Santa Clause. Of course. Because who doesn’t get approached at the airport by a couple that looks like Santa and Mrs. Clause, asking if they want to stay at their Inn. They’re both competitive and terrified of love but they discover the magic of Christmas AND co write an article together. NOTHING LIKE SANTA’S MAGIC, YA FILTY ANIMALS. Of course it wouldn’t be a movie without a douchy boyfriend that can’t take a hint and Jenna’s ex trolloping into town and proposing to her after admitting he’s never read one of her articles was claaaaassic.

Bonus Points: Santa and Mrs. Clause rigging the whole thing. Those rascals. Also one year later we get a callback to the inn, proposal by way of article and BAM, wedding. All in the span of 5 minutes. Gotta love it. My only bone to pick is that Bethany Joy Lenz promoted this movie tirelessly on her instagram as a funny movie and I didn’t crack a smile once.

Switched for Christmas, Hallmark

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WHAT a fresh premise for Hallmark…TWINZ at Christmas!!! Not since The Parent Trap have I seen an actress play double so flawlessly, and obviously the honor could go to none other than Hallmark Queen CCB. Chris and Kate are identical twins and they decide to pull the ole switcharoo at Christmas. Obviously they each fall in love with someone while pretending to be the other, which makes for some ZANY hijinx…in particular a scene at the Christmas carnival where they just confusingly say each other’s names for 10 minutes trying to guess who each person was. Chris? Kate. Greg?

Bonus Points: When Chris (or maybe Kate?) is legitimately shocked that her dad knows who she is. She’s like DAD HOW DID YOU KNOW IT WAS ME?! Hey dummy, this guy created you, I think he can tell his own daughters apart with one glance.

SKIP:

The Mistletoe Promise, Hallmark

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This movie right here almost ended a very healthy and loving relationship with my sister. We have a system every year where she buzzes through her DVR’ed Hally’s much faster than I do and therefore gives me a thumbs up or thumbs down for what ones to watch. When I questioned her about this one she gave me the thumbs up and I’ve never been angrier. It was SO bad that I fell asleep during the middle of it, still committed to finishing it and when my dad caught a few minutes he had to physically leave the room. This is the same dad that tolerates Teen Mom OG with me, so now you have a barometer of how terrible this movie was. Obviously Elise and Nicholas decide to fake date for the holidays BUT they’ve both had traumatic Christmases past and are scarred for life, which leads to an uncomfortable amount of emotional moments for two people who barely know each other. The cheesy moments far outweigh anything salvageable about this movie. Elise has a teary breakdown at one point where she suddenly develops a British accent. They awkwardly sing carols at each other in lieu of flirting. The list of worsts goes on and on.

Peak Cringeworthy Moment: When Nick is at his corporate holiday party and decides to confess the relationship is a sham so he then begins his life story with “It was autumn…” This was the exact moment I almost took a dull knife to my skull and my father stormed out of the room.

Snowmance, Ion

snowmance

A girl wishes for love by Christmas (giving herself less than 15 days) and uses her dead mom’s scarf to magically bring a snowman to life and start dating him. No, but actually, this guy knocks on her door one day and his name is Cole…and he is a snowman come to life.

snowman boy

At one point he does something dumb AF and says “Gee, I must have a head full of snow.” GTFO of here, Ion. I mean I try to give Ion a chance because it gave me one of my holiday favorites, “A Christmas Kiss II” but like cut the shit with this premise. I finally had to change the channel because I couldn’t possibly watch a woman travel to Paris with a snowman and think they were going to get married. But as you might have predicted, she ends up with her ginger BFF whose been building snowmen with her every year and lusting the hardest. Also, because he is a real human.

Peak Cringeworthy Moment: The fact that a guy is willing to get friend zoned for a solid 15 years and watch the love of his life date a snowman. AKA THE WHOLE MOVIE.

Christmas Next Door, Hallmark

christmas next door

“You don’t write romance novels…I’d rather LIVE ONE.”

Eric is an author of single guy books and his family tricks him into taking his niece and nephew for Christmas so he stops being such a grumpy, slicked hair dick. His neighbor April obviously loves Christmas and is all OMGEE let me show you the holiday spirit. It’s touch and go for a minute because Eric hates Christmas due to being robbed and having his proposal rejected on the merry day in the past. He gets over that real quick when he hears April practicing her violin and creams his jeans. Literally. This movie would be fine except that there were WAY too many things that drove me bananas and I will obviously point them all out now. I know production budgets are usually low but whatever substance they used as snow was constantly all over everyone’s boots and up to their eyeballs. As a Northeaster whose lived through many blizzards I CALL BULLSHIT. You don’t get snow stuck to your kneecaps just from caroling. Also the kids in this are annoying AF and can’t stay in character for shit. See if you two little rascals get hired for another Hally. DUBZ ALSO, they legitimately allowed this outfit to occur.

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I swear to God I thought he was naked for a solid ten minutes. WHO CHOSE THIS SWEATER COLOR?!

Peak Cringeworthy Moment: After all of that garbage, Eric gets a book deal and shouts BOOM SHAKALAKA with his agent as they high five. Goodnight.

Christmas in Mississippi, Lifetime

mississippi

I’m gonna be honest, I kept calling this a Tennessee Christmas and only wanted to watch it for a little OTH nostalgia with Jana Kramer. I also tried twice and never made it through to the end. Not a whole lot of spark in this movie. But anyway, Holly comes home and helps out with the annual Christmas light show, which OBVIOUSLY her ex boyfriend Mike is running. She’s butthurt because he dumped her when he was supposed to follow her to college. They rekindle, as all old flames do in the spirit of Christmas and you know the rest.

Peak Cringeworthy Moment: When she sees Mike hug a girl who is engaged and then tries to homewreck her wedding by telling said girl that her fiancee has been unfaithful without knowing who this bitch’s fiancee actually is. OOPSIE. LOL. As if there would ever be an interracial marriage in a deep south town called Gulfport anyway. Get your head out of your ass, Holly.

A Christmas Prince, Netflix

christmasprince

Everyone’s salivating over this movie because Netflix is now dipping their toe in the holiday move pool. And you know what? I don’t support it. Mostly because they’re throwing shade at their viewers. You can’t create a cheezebomb holiday movie to play into the stereotype and get ratings, then call women sad for watching it. SHAME ON YOU, NETFLIX. Props to Lifetime for clapping back. This is the true reason for the season.

Anyway, I’m not only bitter, I also just plain thought this movie sucked. I couldn’t get through it to be honest. As all royal holiday movies go, an American reporter is assigned a story on a prince in a made up country. She ends up getting in with the fam posing as the little sister’s tutor and then SEES THE REAL PRINCE and FALLS IN LOVE and can’t possibly write a bad story about him. They really tug at the heartstrings by tossing a disabled child in the storyline but like it’s still not enough to save this flick. Mostly because I don’t think the prince is attractive AT AWL.

Peak Cringeworthy Moment: Amber goes for a solo horse ride in a countryside that she doesn’t know at all and obviously the horse freaks out and leaves her alone in the snow with a casual pack of wolves before Prince Richard saves her. Yeah, ok.

Four Christmases and a Wedding, Lifetime

fourchristmases

This movie had all the potential in the world with some Grade A holiday movie actors but the storyline was fiery hot garbage. Chloe meets Evan before Christmas one year and is like omg he’s the one but then he goes to work overseas and for the next THREE CHRISTMASES, they are dating other people or just keep missing each other before they figure their shit out. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Fall in love in the duration of one Christmas or get the hell off of my screen.

Peak Cringeworthy Moment: The “meet cute” of Chloe being a spazzeroni and falling on ice skates into Evan. That’s probably what doomed their relationship to 3 very stressful Christmases. Jus Sayin.

 

Editor’s Note: It goes without saying (but my dad questioned why this was missing) any holiday movie past, present, or future starring Alicia Witt will forever and always belong on the skip list because her acting is straight dumpster fire quality. If you choose to watch a movie with her as the lead, I do not trust you as a human. The End.

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Television

Best of the Worst Hallmark Holiday Movies

When I think of the Christmas season, one of the first things that comes to mind is sitting on the couch for a full Saturday or Sunday (whichever day my hangover is worse) and watching back to back original holiday movies. Whether it be on the Hallmark channel, Lifetime, ABC Family, or UP (the God Network), it is through the magic of Christmas and underpaid actors that I’m able to crush cheesy rom-coms back to back. It was not to my surprise that when I brought up this guilty pleasure with friends, most* of them admitted they love* these movies too. (*Most meaning my sister and my mom, *love meaning love to hate.) Since I’ve consumed far too many to reveal to the masses, I’ll give you a list of the ones to watch and the ones to skip this holiday season.

Disclaimer: There are two general things that I immediately look for before I get invested in watching a holiday movie and sitting through endless commercials. 1. The movie needs to have two attractive people that will eventually fall in love. If one or more of the soon to be couple is uggo, ditch the movie because there is no reason to root for them. 2. This has been proven wrong in one case, which I will detail below, but if there is any sort of child story line it will blow and you will be forced to watch the kid cockblock all romance in the movie for a full 2 hours until there is one kiss at the end, and the person that doesn’t have a kid (usually the guy) has to impress the kid and then probably adopt it. It’s not worth the fuss…if there are kids in the descrip, move on to the next.

 

WATCH:

Snow Bride (2013)

Snow Bride SnowBrideHallmark2

 

Although this movie has no one famous in it, it was good enough for me to DVR and then force my parents to leave it on the DVR until I moved and they deleted it without a care in the world.

Plot- Greta, a reporter for a gossip magazine (do you see why I was hooked from the start?) has to get the juice on classy, famous family the Tannenhills that are always in the tabs, when she finds a way to pose as one of the son’s girlfriends, she spends Christmas with the fam and has to choose between exposing all their secrets to stomp her way to the top of her career or can you guess it…follow her heart.

Bonus Points-A good ole fashioned thirsty gold digger dates both Tannenhill brothers and tries to weasel her way into the family and it makes for some quality side story.

Rating- 5 candy canes cccccccccc

 

A Bride For Christmas (2012) Arielle Kebbel, Andrew W. Walker

BrideForChristmas2

 

Plot-Within 10 minutes we already know this one is a keeper because it starts with men making a bet over a girl like EVERY 90’s movie and buckle up because this obviously will not blow up in their face at any point during the next 2 hours. Aiden (such a typical hot guy name) is our cocky frat bro character, who happens to look like an Abercrombie model and makes a bet with his equally as dimwitted coworkers/poker buddies that he can get engaged by Christmas. If he fails, he has to work in a cubicle (THE HORROR), also his dum dum buddies get to pick the girl. His bro, Matt hits on Jessie at an art show, she turns him down and clearly has baggage, so Matt presents her as the prize to propose to and obviously Aiden says yes please. Aiden approaches Jessie and dribbles out “You would be the envy of every girl in this room if you wore kicks with that dress.” Aaand it was love at first pickup line. Jessie happens to love burgers, horror flicks and dogs…cause she’s the cool chick, duh. What happens next? Guess you’ll have to watch and find out (if you have a brain you absolutely know what happens next)

Best Quote- “There’s a lot of people you can live with, there’s only one you can’t live without.”-Dad…what a guy, a modern poet if you will.

Bonus Points- Abercrombie interacting with puppies, literally the only two things women love most.

Rating: 4 candy canes cccccccc

 

Christmas with Holly (2012) Sean Faris

xmaswithholly seanfaris

Before getting too invested in this one I referred to my sister who has seen more made for TV movies than me and her advice for me was very distinct:”Neg. Sean Faris has long hair.” This was very sound advice, because Sean Faris was real woof looking in this movie…but it was slim pickins’, so I got sucked in. The good news is that it ended up making the watch list.

Plot- The reason why this movie is the exception to the kids rule is that the little girl in this movie, Holly  doesn’t talk. She had just lost her mom and her Uncle Mark was given custody of her but she was so distressed from losing her mom that she didn’t speak for most of the movie. And boy was it peaceful. She didn’t butt in or try to steal the attention, she was a quiet part of the storyline and it was really the best case scenario here. Mark moves Holly back to his hometown and they move in with her two other uncles for some family bonding and obviously love interest times with the newbie, Maggie, who opened a toy store in town. All kids should play the quiet game during the holidays…

Bonus Points- Maggie Irish step dances as a way of flirting and step dances right off the curb. This is absolutely something I would do except it would be 1000x less graceful.

Rating: 2 candy canes cccc

 

A Royal Christmas (2014) Lacey Chabert, Jane Seymour

royalxmas

Literally didn’t even see this whole movie and already knew by half of it that it was a keeper. First of all it has Hallmark/Lifetime vet Lacey Chabert, and they never put an ugly guy with her. Sure it was the poor man’s version of the Prince and Me but did it stop me from eating that shit up? No, no it didn’t.

Plot- Emily is dating Leo in Philly and then suddenly she finds out he is a prince, because naturally when you’re dating someone this information just doesn’t come up in conversation. They go back to his castle and obv the Queen hates Emily because she’s a trashy seamstress from Philly and not a royal. So the Queen sets out to get her the F out of her country and Emily just wants to teach the maids how to make a good ole fashioned hoagie. Power struggle.

Bonus Points- There’s obviously a scene where the Queen makes Emily wear a hideous dress to the fancy ball and she turns it into a slutty tight dress that she looks like a knockout in, modern day Cinderella.

Rating: 3 candy canes cccccc

 

Let It Snow (2013) Candace Cameron Bure, Alan Thicke

let it snow

By this cast of characters you see that they’ve got some real Hallmark gems leading the movie here. DJ from Full House debuts a new Christmas movie every year and this one was a banger. The guy is super hot and it allows me to look past how queer Candace is throughout this whole movie.

Plot- Stephanie works for her dad as chief of marketing for all the resorts that he manages. He sends her to a property they’re planning on updating/destroying and it happens to be a family-owned lodge in the woods that has a lot of character and goes all out for Christmas each year. Stephanie hates the cold and hates Christmas because she’s a bitter bitch whose dad worked instead of kicking it with her during holidays and then suddenly the family who owns the lodge warms her icy heart and makes her see the magic of Christmas and their hot son Brady gets all up in that and they decide they love snow and Christmas after all. Will Steph-dawg be able to save this magical lodge from her money grubber asshole dad?

Bonus Points- Once Steph realizes she loves Christmas she writes a letter to Santa and wakes up Christmas morning with candy in her sensible flats and does an extremely embarrassing dance around her room and shouts like a 12 year old, it’s pretty cringeworthy and also awesome. Also she puts her flats on with her pjs and socks. No, girl.

Rating: 3 candy canes cccccc

 

Holiday High School Reunion (2012) Lifetime-Jonathan Bennett, Harry Hamlin

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Plot- This movie has Aaron Samuels in it, what more do you need to know? Ok, fine, Georgia and Ben were besties in high school and it’s clear that Georgia has friend zoned Ben for an excruciating amount of years because she was always trying to be in the cool crowd and bang the football players. Their high school reunion around Christmas time is when it all goes down. Georgia finds out that half of her besties from high school are actually huge betches and they hate her, and her football boyf has penetrated everyone in the school and she’s quirky and doesn’t fit in with them/her career is a hot mess (whose isn’t amirite?) and at this point Ben has had blue balls for 10 years.

Bonus Points- Georgia takes over the dance team’s holiday performance at the reunion and makes a mockery of it like a real goober. I love a good quality dance scene.

Rating: 3 candy canes cccccc

 

Matchmaker Santa (2012) Lacey Chabert, Florence Henderson, John Ratzenberger

matchmakersanta

What did I tell you about Lacey? Gold. Every time.

Plot- Melanie wished for prince charming when she was a kid (the outcome of this movie gives me hope, guys) and as an adult she owns a bakery and is dating a hottie biz man who invites her home for the holidays to meet his mom. Plans go awry and Melanie gets stranded in a random town with her boyfriend’s assistant/friend Dean and it seems that the mechanic fixing their car is an elf or somehow connected to Santa. Elf and Santa obviously start pulling some strings, as they’re known to do, and try to get Dean and Melanie to bone because they’re perfect for each other…and everyone knows don’t F with Santa’s wishes.

Bonus Points- Always the feel good network, they never want one person in a movie to be dumped without cause, so they find a match for whoever’s left out in the cold. So kosher and lame sauce, but leads to a nice awkward end scene where the new couples hang and ignore the fact that they’ve traded partners without a care in the world.

Rating: 3 candy canes cccccc

 

12 Men of Christmas (2009) Lifetime-Kristin Chenoweth, Josh Hopkins

12men

This movie is so great that my sister has it on DVD. True story, really committed to this one.

Plot- A NYC publicist, EJ catches her fiance banging her boss at the Christmas party and therefore quits and is single during the holidays…sob…then she takes a job in Montana just for shits promoting a charity and decides to take a risque turn and publicize the charity via a nearly nude calendar of the male volunteers in town. She’s photographing a bunch of men modeling shirtless, so which one does she snag? The hot one…duh.

Bonus Points- I’m gonna go with all the shirtless attractive men.

Rating: 5 candy canes cccccccccc

 

 

 

 

SKIP:

Christmas on the Bayou (2013) Lifetime-Hilarie Burton, Tyler Hilton

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All my OTH superfans will understand exactly why I subjected myself to this movie even though the plot looked real stupid…also there was a kid, which I realized AFTER I had already committed to watching. I think we all know where this is going…

Plot- Katherine is a single mom who works way too much in NYC and her son, Zack is a weirdo who gets bullied and usually has his face in a gameboy (or whatever today’s equivalent is). They take a trip back to Katherine’s hometown to stay with her mom and celebrate Christmas and in very “Sweet Home Alabama” style but without good writing or actors, Katherine remembers what she loved about the south and reconnects with childhood crush Caleb. Zack makes a little girl friend next door and then also casually becomes bros with Santa Claus (Papa Noel) himself. Everything is swell on the bayou…except for the gators.

Weird Deets-  They make up their completely own Christmas traditions in the south apparently, Santa is called Papa Noel and gets pulled along the bayou by gators instead of reindeer, cause there’s no snow, or like everyone there is a hick or something.

Rating: 1 candy cane cc

 

Holidaze (2013) ABC Family-Jennie Garth, Cameron Mathison

JENNIE GARTH, CAMERON MATHISON

I love my girl Jennie Garth but this movie was an abomination. Even Cameron, champion of Christmas love interests couldn’t save this train wreck.

Plot- Melody is a bitchy workaholic and goes home for the holidays, falls down a flight of stairs and wakes up in an alternate reality, as most of us do, where she married childhood sweetheart, Carter. Melody is a real twat and should probably be thankful that she’s tricked Carter into marrying her, alternate universe or not, but it’s pretty insufferable. Obviously in the spirit of the holidays she stops being the worst but there’s really no turning back with this mash-up of bad acting and turning down a perfectly good six pack for a job.

Rating: 1/2 candy cane cc (can’t do half…I made it smaller. So there.)

 

In My Dreams (2014) Katharine McPhee, Mike Vogel

inmydreams

This might not count because it technically premiered after the holidays last year but they made a huge deal about it and it was featured on a major network. My mom and I were supes excited to watch it. I’m gonna go ahead and guess that they will never play this movie again because it was embarrassingly bad. In the event that they do, here is your warning to never watch it unless you’re inclined to turn it into a drinking game (drink every time they sleep.)

Plot- Natalie and Nick have shitty love lives so they throw a coin in a fountain to wish for someone and they don’t know it but OBVIOUSLY the fountain is magical and matches people up. However, the catch is that they only meet and see each other in their dreams and they have a certain amount of time to meet in real life or else they’re cursed forever. Suuuuper realistic obviously…will they meet in time or only have a sleep relationship? Spoiler alert they’ll obviously end up together, IRL.

Weird Deets- What made this movie absolutely wooftastic is that these two goons would put off real life plans to sleep, because they were dating each other in THEIR DREAMS. Like they would go to bed at 7pm and Natalie would put on her nicest nightgown and do her hair and makeup for her dream sequence of a date. I can get down with a LOT of stupid story lines as you can see from this list, but this was preposterous. I won’t stand for it, ABC.

Rating: 0 candy canes, no redeeming qualities.

 

Finding Christmas (2013) J.T. Hodges (country singer)

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Plot- The ole’ I’m bored with my city so I’m going to go online and find someone who is willing to do a city/home swap with me for a change of scenery that always ends in a relationship. Sean is a big-wig advertising guy in NYC trades places with Owen, a small town handyman/musician and obviously it goes exactly how you would expect it to. My problem with this movie is that they forcefully incorporated singing and also one of the guys we’re supposed to believe is falling in love with a girl has me completely convinced that he’s actually gay. Tough sell on this one.

Weird Deets- There’s a kid. Yuck. And terrible christmas songs coming from a professional country singer.

Rating: 1/2 candy cane cc

 

Holly’s Holiday (2012) Lifetime-Literally No One Famous

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Plot- A NYC ad exec, Holly, passes by an elaborate window display every day with the “perfect man” in it and essentially has a crush on an inanimate object and wishes it were real. Well don’t ya know she slips on ice in front of the store window and he comes to life and they start dating, because that’s how we find true love, ladies. Once she’s dating her perfect man she realizes that he’s creepy and too much at once so catch 22 maybe Holly should date real humans.

Weird Deets- Everything about this movie is weird, she’s dating a G-D mannequin.

Rating: ½ candy cane cc

 

The Real St. Nick (2012) Lifetime Torey DeVitto (Nanny Carrie from OTH)

stnick

Nanny Carrie and a hot guy? Sign me up. Just kidding this movie blows.

Plot- Hot guy Nick saves Kate, a psychiatrist from an accident but Nick hits his head and thinks he’s Santa Claus. YOU’RE TOO HOT AND YOUNG TO BE SANTA CLAUS. Also there’s kids…lots of them, because Santa/Nick is committed to a hospital where they can evaluate his brain.

Weird Deets- This was a real review on IMDB: “This is not a movie you would like to see or admit you watched. The story was lame and the acting was worse.” BRAVO.

Rating: 1 candy cane (hey the guy was real cute) cc

 

 

I can only hope that this guide will be like the north star, guiding your sleigh through all cheesy holiday movie endeavors. Feel free to comment below if I’ve missed any major flicks.

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