Archives December 2021

Hallmark Holiday Advent Day 7: Salsa Centerstage (Sugar Plum Twist)


Warning: rtrim() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /homepages/1/d189793615/htdocs/clickandbuilds/Testing/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 2772
FACEBOOK
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube
Tumblr
Snapchat
Twitch
Patreon

A plucky young ballerina befriends a hometown hero home from New York and they both get boyfriends and prove themselves to the ballet elite of Richmond. The ugly sweater party features a “All the Jingle Ladies” sweater and I saw god.

Dramatis Personae (that matter)

  • Big Dancer – fancy ballet dancer moves back to Richmond from New York to choreograph the local ballet’s Nutcracker
  • Mr. Rogers – runs lights for the theatre and runs every arts program for kids in Richmond
  • Tiny Dancer – teaches Latin dance and doesn’t get the part in the ballet, but Big Dancer works on a special project for her
  • DJ Cool Bro – Tiny Dancer’s plot boyfriend so someone can do a salsa remix of Tchaikovsky
  • “Sounds like the devil traded her Prada for ballet shoes” – the ballet director with a heart ready to melt for Latin fusion beats

Rating: 7 Sugar Plums out of 10

Sugar Plum Twist was fun with sparkly sets and bland acting that occasionally borders on playfully goofy (think My Big Fat Greek Wedding but less overtly self-aware). Many of the characters were Puerto Rican, and they slipped between Spanish and English (full exchanges, not the functional equivalent of italicized words). I also learned what a parranda is (a Puerto Rican musical tradition around Christmas) and the score and soundtrack for this one was pretty great EXCEPT for the final solo performance remix which was trash. Overall, though, Sugar Plum Twist is trying very hard but in a way that feels cheery.

Original song I wrote about all this after reading “Rage Becomes Her”

Follow me on Twitter or rss

 

Hallmark Holiday Advent Day 6: Horse Girl’s Revenge (Rodeo & Juliet)


Warning: rtrim() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /homepages/1/d189793615/htdocs/clickandbuilds/Testing/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 2772
FACEBOOK
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube
Tumblr
Snapchat
Twitch
Patreon

The girl wins money by riding the horse.

Dramatis Personae (that matter)

  • Juliet – the city girl
  • Rodeo – the horse
  • Mom – didn’t want to ride horses (is also a romance novelist)
  • Cowboy – Mom’s ex who rides horses
  • Cowboy Jr. – Cowboy’s nephew (so it’s not weird when everyone hooks up) who rides horses and teaches Juliet to ride horses
  • Lawyer? – doesn’t reveal the mom’s dad’s will in violation of the law because he wants people to ride horses

Rating: 8 whispered “Let’s go, Rodeos” out of 10

Juliet saves the ranch by riding the horse, that’s about it. A+, exactly what I expect from a Hallmark movie. The horse is played by Cosmo.

Original song I wrote about all this after reading “Rage Becomes Her”

Follow me on Twitter or rss

 

Hallmark Holiday Advent Day 5: Dogs Make Their People Do Sex (A Christmas Wedding Tail)


Warning: rtrim() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /homepages/1/d189793615/htdocs/clickandbuilds/Testing/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 2772
FACEBOOK
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube
Tumblr
Snapchat
Twitch
Patreon

The Brady Bunch parents are fine but get stressed out about the wedding. The Cool Mom gives up her dreams to marry Wine Dad and Tom Arnold yells at people.

Dramatis Personae (that matter)

Frankly no one matters.

  • Cool Mom – moved back home when she lost a fancy job
  • Wine Dad – owns a winery
  • Tom Arnold – not important to the plot other than communicating a job offer but at the end he tries to headhunt the preacher

There are kids and dogs but honestly they mostly just fill time with insert shots.

Rating: 4 Leg Humps out of 10

Nothing in this movie matters. They get married, whatever. The dogs run around. Possibly sponsored by Purdue Chicken.

Stunning Chicken
Original song I wrote about all this after reading “Rage Becomes Her”

Follow me on Twitter or rss

 

Hallmark Holiday Advent Day 4: Death Note Santa (Naughty or Nice)


Warning: rtrim() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /homepages/1/d189793615/htdocs/clickandbuilds/Testing/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 2772
FACEBOOK
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube
Tumblr
Snapchat
Twitch
Patreon

Plucky Lead finds Santa’s magic Naughty or Nice book (is it bound in skin?) and uses it to expose petty naughty deeds, but then she feels guilty and apologizes. Santa disappears using the transporter effect from Star Trek.

Dramatis Personae (that matter)

  • Girl Santa – snitch
  • Catty Elf Friend – he actually doesn’t belong here since he doesn’t particularly effect the plot, but best character in the movie. He and Girl Santa have amazing chemistry and he has this part where he runs and jumps over a velvet rope, adorable. He has glasses though so he can’t be the male lead

Rating: 7 Catty Best Friends out of 7

Okay so I want to say that this functionally doesn’t have a Male (Romantic) Lead. The actual Male Lead is a Catty Best Friend she meets working at the Santa’s Workshop at the mall. This movie had a premise more cringey than usual, but it actually was really refreshing to see a different main screen dynamic—especially mixed-gender platonic friends. I also appreciate that the Plucky Girl Santa is genuinely a mess; she’s not the usual, “Oh, I’m such a mess! I’m unmarried and my check engine light is on!” Here, she’s legit having kind of a breakdown.

The resolution is literally that she tries to make people who did fucked up things feel better at her own expense. Also it’s really unclear how the book decides what counts? Like, the book tells her that her that the boyfriend cheated on her, but actually they were broken up–actually broken up. What’s the deal? Also a neighbor steals lawn decorations to win the neighborhood competition.

Original song I wrote about all this after reading “Rage Becomes Her”

Follow me on Twitter or rss

 

Hallmark Holiday Advent 3: Christmas Murder House (Christmas Camp)


Warning: rtrim() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /homepages/1/d189793615/htdocs/clickandbuilds/Testing/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 2772
FACEBOOK
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube
Tumblr
Snapchat
Twitch
Patreon

This one straight up starts like a horror movie. Career Girl is sent to Christmas Bootcamp to get her Holiday Cheer certificate and the reason why isn’t important. The Male Lead is a human cable knit sweater. The dog is named Max and he’s great. The phrase “Christmas Mojo” is used more than once.

Dramatis Personae (that matter)

  • Career Girl – I don’t even know. She loves her work and they try to make that a conflict as if she’s a “workaholic” but she’s, like, a totally normal, sweet person. It’s really kinda creepy and gaslighty how they treat her
  • Handsome Sweater – son of Christmas Daddy, he eats French Toast with his hands like it’s regular toast
  • Christmas Daddy – runs the Christmas Camp but makes it feel like a murder house (see clip below) and seems super into having Career Girl marry in
  • Dog – Max, A+ dog. The one Christmas Mojo this film earns is for Max

Rating: 1 Christmas Mojo out of 10

The whole thing is just weird and uncomfortable. Career Girl doesn’t change or learn anything and people treat her like an insane person because she’s trying to finish a project for work and get a promotion. But like, she’s not weird or cut-throat or anything and is incredibly sweet and helpful. The main conflict is that the Christmas Murder House is losing money and Handsome Sweater wants Christmas Daddy to to move to the city with him. The main conflict is that Career Girl saves the Murder House by getting Christmas Daddy to franchise Christmas Camp, and Human Sweater is mad and goes all aggressive about how she only thinks about work. The bone after the paid military promotion character shows up and everything is fine. They put pies into a box sideways at one point. Like, standing up on their sides. Everything about this one (produced by MarVista) is awful and creepy. Almost every single pop arrangement of the Christmas carols are grating. They have snowball target practice. Richard (my husband) and I were just yelling at the screen, deeply uncomfortable.

Listen, I love cheesy movies like this, love romance novels. I’m perfectly fine with some of the goofy genre conventions or plot convenient storytelling, because it’s not really about the plot. It’s about people and conveying a certain feel-good vibe and affect, or at least being entertaining for how they rearrange the cheeseball lines and conventions around a setting. Lots of these movies feature literal magic and time travel, all kinds of stuff. Christmas Camp had no camp, as Richard quipped. The Camp was so chilled out and low key, and it made it sort of uncomfortable that the script seemed to be treating the setting as though it was from a completely different movie; a movie where the Christmas Camp was over the top and full of enthusiastic, wacky characters and the Career Girl learns to balance work with letting go and having a little fun and not being so serious all the time. You know–the true meaning of Christmas or something.

This is not a bit. There is something genuinely existentially off-putting about Christmas Camp that I’m having trouble articulating. I don’t know if it’s that the artifice of this being a movie was too obvious–with barely dressed sets, weird prop use, etc–or that without the obvious artifice the events in the movie are so unsettling and muted, subverting expectations of these types of films but not in a good way. It’s like the shock of someone break their arm and being able to see the actual bone poking out, jagged and existing in a place it should never be.

“This is the Angel Room. Isn’t it special?”
Original song I wrote about all this after reading “Rage Becomes Her”

Follow me on Twitter or rss

 

Hallmark Holiday Advent 2: Ice Clowns of Canada (Winter Castle)


Warning: rtrim() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /homepages/1/d189793615/htdocs/clickandbuilds/Testing/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 2772
FACEBOOK
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube
Tumblr
Snapchat
Twitch
Patreon

Maid of Honor meets Best Man in an Ice Castle in Canada. There’s a ten minute sequence sponsored by the proprietors of the Ice Hotel. It’s about 20 minutes north of Quebec City and it takes two months to construct fresh every year. Each year’s Ice Hotel features a new theme to become a unique work of temporary art. And if you get thirsty, even the drinks are served in ice! The hotel is kept at a constant 23F except for the lounge (which is heated). They have 45 rooms, each decorated with a different theme. Maid of Honor is staying in the Polar Room. They also have some of the biggest tobogganing hills around! It’s the only ice hotel in North America.

They get together, the wedding is fine, there are no dogs but they go dogsledding off screen. Nothing matters next to Ice Hotel. They CGI the Northern Lights over the hotel, which in this movie is Circus Themed. Ice Clowns, perfect, no notes.

Dramatis Personae (that matter)

  • Maid of Honor – children’s author, big Elsa aesthetic, look at that braid GIRL get it
  • Single Dad – very eligible, but feels guilty about how his neighbor wants to marry him
  • Red Head – the neighbor, also Dead Wife’s best friend, wants to be Single Dad’s daughter’s New Mommy and faked a sprained ankle until it was time for karaoke
  • Concierge – I’m honestly not sure if he is actor or a representative of the Ice Hotel. Like, he was fine and everything but Y’ALL that ad copy. It’s implied he bangs the Red Head after she lets the Single Dad go

Rating: 7 Ice Clown Sculptures out of 10

“I should hope not!”
Original song I wrote about all this after reading “Rage Becomes Her”

Follow me on Twitter or rss

 

Hallmark Holiday Advent Day 1: A Christmas BANGER (A Christmas Duet)


Warning: rtrim() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /homepages/1/d189793615/htdocs/clickandbuilds/Testing/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 2772
FACEBOOK
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube
Tumblr
Snapchat
Twitch
Patreon

Okay, so in this one the two leads used to be a famous music duo, and she got tired of the road and runs an inn where it snows a lot. He’s struggling to regain success on a small town tour. Surprise! He gets stuck and stays at the inn and they sing the duet at the town festival that the Female Lead hosted. The B plot is a hotel critic that starts off frosty but then warms up to the inn and falls in love with the Male Lead’s tour manager and they go fuck off to Europe. There’s a dog and a baby and cookies.

A Christmas Duet is actually pretty charming, and one of the few Hallmark entries featuring Black leads. There are occasionally some weird optics that are just glossed over (the white event planner won’t shake the male lead’s hand because the planner had a cold, but it was weird and seemed weird). The two leads are utterly charming though and their signature song is a BANGER.

Dramatis Personae (that matter)

  • Female Lead – Owns an Inn, juggles impressing the Critic and running the town festival
  • Male Lead – guitarboi but she heals him with her love and stability
  • Critic – starts off as a bitch but then she warms up to the Tour Manager, loves travel because of her dead husband?
  • Tour Manager – longtime friend of the lead duo, the Critic knew him for 2 days and then goes to bang across Europe with her
  • Checkov’s Pregnant Friend – gives surprise birth on Christmas Eve, is a guitarboi fangirl
  • Dog – awesome

Rating: 9 Guitarbois out of 10

Original song I wrote about all this after reading “Rage Becomes Her”

Follow me on Twitter or rss