Too Many Holiday Movies:  A Rant and Reviews from 2019

Come on, Hallmark.  Do you think I get every night off to watch your Christmas movies when Lifetime, OWN, Ion, Disney +, Netflix, Ion and more crank them out too.  Yes I recorded all three new movies that already came out in October, but I have to get through Halloween with my kids first.  We haven’t even carved pumpkins yet.  I recorded at least 60 movies last year and slowly had to delete them to make room on my dvr.  I only made it through about 25.5 last year when I try to watch all the new ones.  And forget about watching old favorites.  Someday I will be able to have a clean house and no homework or activities for my kids and sit around and watch movies all night, but that just won’t be happening right now.  December is only four weeks of cramming in all the Christmas activities with my kids and working around sports and Cub Scouts and school, even in the time of Covid.  But anyway, here are my 25 reviews from last Christmas. I post them on Facebook for my friends each year.

Christmas movie review 2019 #1. Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses. Hallmark. Yes. In October! But if I don’t start now, I’ll never finish. I still have ten non-Hallmark Christmas movies from last year on my dvr to watch. A woman gets a job as an interior designer for an estate of a man moving his business back home. It’s a nice start to the season. However, this lady should not be an interior designer. The guy said clean lines and sturdy. You take all the old furniture to storage. Then you take him to an antique store to shop for furniture that looks the same or worse than the furniture you had. And who would really hire someone who yells at an interview about how she prepared and wasn’t given a chance. She was a terrible candidate. She was nervous, not well-spoken, and didn’t have any of the extra staff they asked about. She said she had plans, but had never saw the place before and never produced such plans. While the building of the potential relationships were fun to watch, it’s too hard to pick between two nice guys. One is usually uptight and demanding or not understanding about the woman’s career. But there is a plan for everything to work out for everyone. And it does have Donna Mills. She looks good. Spoiler alert. Advice for the men. Don’t give up your company for a woman you have known for four weeks.

Christmas movie review 2019 #2. A Merry Christmas Match. Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. I watched this a few days ago so my memory of it is fading. A woman running her family antique shop quickly falls for an “attractive” high powered wealthy man who is visiting for the small town skiing with a friend. The friend is dating the antique shop owner’s best friend who had left town to pursue her acting dream, which came true. The lead actress was from the show Privileged that probably no one watched, but me,so I did enjoy watching her. And, although her friend has no singing career in real life, I found her singing lovely. However, I was annoyed that the main actress pretty much fell in love with a picture of this guy and they both seemed ready for marriage after about a week. I actually loved the male lead’s mom. She draws out all her words and truly seemed to care about everyone for a rich woman, which (spoiler alert) is why she offered her son’s date a job at one of her friend’s theaters without asking her friends or knowing if this woman can direct. After all, she has only directed small town children’s pageants. But it was her dream to direct that she gave up years ago before working at the antique business when her father died. And apparently she has no talent in that either as the love interest tells her this stuff in her shop is worth a lot more. Advice to women: Call a guy before you travel hours to see him. So this was still a cute movie. I liked all the characters. Everything just happens too quickly. But it is a Hallmark movie. I predict they break up and she finds out she’s not good at directing.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #3. Sweet Mountain Christmas. Lifetime. This is another one I watched while melting Halloween crayons. The story begins as we hear Dolly Parton singing in the background and we know there will be a musical storyline to this non-Hallmark movie. Laney Blue left her small town years ago to pursue music. Her country career is fading so she’s trying pop music as suggested by her manager. Although she hasn’t practiced or written any of her own songs, she is somehow performing at a big Christmas concert in New York until she gets snowed in and can’t leave her hometown. On her first attempt out of town, she runs into her ex boyfriend who was an architect, but is now mayor and a snow plow driver. People seem to hate her for no reason. I don’t think any of these actors are from the south as the accents are a little off. In fact, the best friend is from Australia in real life. Laney left her and their singing duo for fame after high school. I kept thinking the mayor was David Annabel under the beard, but he’s actually Marcus Rosner. Yes. THE Marcus from a few other shows. The mom was played by the friend in Cedar Cove. She is not listed on IMBD, although the stand in is. At one point Megan Hilty has to babysit and the kids are terrible. I’d wonder how my friend raised such rude kids instead of changing plans to appease them. Did she really fool anyone into thinking she was in the Bahamas? Why didn’t the mayor know roads were open when the manager swooped in? Spoiler. Why did Laney give a song she wrote to her friend only to take it over in the end? I didn’t feel the connection between the two leads, but I did feel her connection to the town and her musical roots. But advice to women: Finish your obligations first.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #4. Always and Forever Christmas. Lifetime. I did watch this almost a week ago so my memory of it isn’t as strong. It’s good to see a Christmas movie with a little magic and hints of the truth that Santa is real. And all of this is brought to us by one of the aunts from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Shhh. It’s implied that she is Mrs. Claus. Luckily she comes to the store to help a young woman who inherited her family Christmas shop. She soon realizes she has the gift or magic to pick out the perfect gift for someone, especially gifts that bring back childhood memories. I feel this gift would have found a better use in a non-Christmas shop and they really should have a store that offers more than Christmas items all year. While I liked the magic because not many Christmas movies include it and i liked the lead actor and the Sabrina the Teenage Witch aunt, it took me three tries to get through this movie without falling asleep. I also didn’t get the point of the lead actor’s brother coming to town. Unless you love Beth Broderick or magical christmas stories or are planning to watch all the Christmas movies, I’d skip this one.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #5: Christmas Scavenger Hunt. Hallmark. Belinda’s corporate job brings her back to her hometown, as it always does, where her company is looking into closing the town mill to build condos. She is reunited with the ex boyfriend who decided not to join her at college years before. While the movie was cute, I just couldn’t get past Belinda’s youthful look and Tom Arnold. I’m not alone as my husband asked if she was ten and asked if Arnold was on drugs. He did sound like he had a cold. I just couldn’t picture Tom Arnold as the loving sensitive dad. And Belinda is actually 35. Lucky woman to look so young. Belinda and her ex are paired up to go non a scavenger hunt finding clues throughout town after getting riddles through text. I might have missed it, but how did the next texts arrive right after they solved a clue? It was a decent story. The actors all just seemed a little awkward. I did enjoy watching the cars go over the covered bridge and that’s enough.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #6. Holiday in the Wild. Netflix. This is the best Christmas movie ever. Who couldn’t love a Christmas movie with Rob Lowe. He should just be the lead in every Christmas movie. But it has very little to do with Christmas. Apparently it took four years to make as Netflix was very concerned for the elephants’ well being and for portraying the situation accurately. They even used puppets for the elephant who was found after having his tusks removed which related to a true story of an African elephant. And the movie was actually filmed in Africa on a real elephant sanctuary and had real music from Rusted Root. It was still a love story between Lowe and Kristin Davis, but the relationship was spread out over a longer period of time so it seemed more natural. And even Rob Lowe’s real life son played the son of Davis. I didn’t think he wanted to go into acting, but it’s the older brother who was more serious about college. In their show about chasing after unexplained mysteries, the older son would skip out for exams. Davis finds herself divorced after her son goes to college, but decides to take the second honeymoon to Africa anyway. When there, she soon meets Lowe and slowly falls for him and am elephant they save after his tusks were removed by poachers. She had only intended to stay a few weeks, but it turned into months. Davis was a vet before committing to her family and that love is renewed in Africa. I love movies and shows set in Africa and have dreamt of moving there. It is finally a movie set in a different location with s slightly different theme. It’s probably better to watch this one 50 times instead of all the new woman’s business failing or woman goes back to town for no good and a man swoops in to change their lives stories. Watch this one and fall in love with Lowe (if you weren’t already). Africa, and wanting to save the elephants. I’m going to go donate to the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation now.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #7. Write Before Christmas. Hallmark. I know it’s not even December, but I’m already falling behind. Haven’t watched one in a week. I never saw One Tree Hill, but I believe this is another one with some of the characters reuniting. It has been compared to Love Actually, which I don’t remember. But the chemistry between the characters may be why I liked it. It was four stories in one as a woman’s breakup leads her to write Christmas cards to people who influenced her, such as a music teacher, brother in the military, aunt who raised her, and a musician whose songs got her through hard times. The stories connect, but also play out on their own. I most enjoyed the story of Grant Show from Melrose Place and Lolita Davidovich. As I get older, it’s nice to see relationships between older people, although I still think Grant Show hasn’t aged. It started a bit awkward and typical as the character playing an actress was annoying and the breakup was obvious, but I liked it in the end.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #9: Two Turtle Doves. Hallmark. A woman goes back to her hometown to search for a family heirloom and has been left a list of Christmas activities to accomplish from her grandmother who passed away. She also falls for the neighbor who is also her grandmother’s estate lawyer. This is vague because I did not pay close attention to it while shopping online. It was a little depressing focusing on the loss of a wife and grandmother and the sadness a holiday can also bring. While not my favorite, it was still cute, especially because the neighbor’s daughter was involved, but she was sad too. It had a lot of holiday activities and scenery and not just decorations in the background so it is good for a more traditional Christmas movie. And while in the end ( spoiler alert), she stays in town and can now kiss the neighbor, she is only doing so in a trial basis for a year. But you know they will end up together I’m movie land, but wouldn’t in real life.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #10: Christmas Reservations. Lifetime. As far behind as I am, I still can’t believe I’ve watched ten so far and it’s not even December. First let me explain the sweater. Right before I started watching this movie, I was searching for ugly Christmas sweaters for my son. He thought everything I found was too nice and not ugly enough. He wanted his to say Ho Ho Ho, but you can imagine the sweaters that say Ho. This was one I added to possibilities and less than an hour later it appeared on the screen in this movie. Then I told my son to go get the gummy bears and moments later they asked for gummy bears for the gingerbread house. My life is turning into a Hallmark Christmas movie or I’m psychic. This film had an all star cast with Melissa Joan Hart from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Michael Gross from Family Ties, Markie Post from Night Court, and as my husband pointed out, Ted McGinley from Revenge of the Nerds, although I remember him from Happy Days. And I’m starting to think my husband just pretends to hate these movies. So back to the story. A woman (Hart) has helped run a ski inn with her dad for the last eight years since her mother died. They get many new guests for the Christmas season such as an Indian woman and her daughter who bring life to the Christmas party with their Bollywood dance when the band cancels, two older sisters that make perfect partners for Gross and McGinley, and an ex-boyfriend of Hart. (Spoiler) The ex and Hart reunite and find love in a Gift of the Magi way, but surprise, the woman is still willing to move for the man. I like Melissa Joan Hart. It always felt like her mom pushed her into acting and she doesn’t always seem to fit the roles. She is funny in No Good Nick, though. While she didn’t seem like the believable one that got away, it is more believable when people who were once in love fall in live again instead of the quick relationships that happen in many of these films. For example, (spoiler alert) the dad played by Gross hired the sister he met at the inn over Christmas to work at the inn for a job and more. They cozied up a little too quickly for her to move and him to give her a job. The reindeer dog was cute. I’d recommend this one. One again, Lifetime has the better movies.

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Christmas movie review 2019 #11. Noelle. Disney +. My kids and I watched this last weekend so I don’t remember that much about it. They all start to blend in. But this was a good family movie and it’s hard to find new Christmas shows everyone will watch. A clueless son takes over for Santa when it is really the sister who has the smarts and magic to pull off the job. It was a little like Elf, especially when both get lost in Arizona discovering the real world. It includes Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader, and Shirley MacLaine. Its a little silly, but one I’d watch again with my family.

Christmas movie review 2019 # 12: Christmas at the Plaza. Hallmark. I watched this one a week ago and had to look it up again to remind myself what it was about. A historian is asked to plan an exhibit related to the history of a hotel for a holiday event. She stumbles upon the story of their different tree toppers every year for many years, but alas, one is missing. The creator of it and the fact it is eventually be found is not surprising. It was kind of a slow one and the actress seemed a little stiff in her acting, which could be because of the character she played. But I just didn’t see her as a good match for the hotel designer. And it seemed a little off that the head of the hotel didn’t have any ideas and threw her into a room of artifacts a week before Christmas. But guess what? The best part was that The sweater was back. At least I think it was in this movie. Hallmark costume designers must shop amazon or Blizzard Bay sweaters or get them in bulk. So much so that the large size I bought for my son turned out to be a toddler large, but it still fit okay. And then I saw a photo of another student in our school district with the same sweater.

 

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Christmas movie review 2019 #13. Christmas at Graceland. Home for the Holidays. Hallmark. Last year’s Graceland film was fun. You got a glimpse into the Graceland estate. But this time there were just a few scenes at Graceland. Many scenes occurred with the family of Adrian Grenier. Yes. The star of Entourage has resorted to TV movies in the last few years. And you do get to see Priscilla Presley a couple times along with a few facts about Elvis. A woman returns home for a short time while waiting to hear about her dream job in London. Meanwhile she takes a job as nanny for Grenier. He’s too scheduled for her so she pulls the family into Christmas fun despite his rules. My husband thought he must be purposely acting badly. He did leave halfway through after Graceland was pretty much absent. I thought he was fine, but still a little too stiff for his female lead. They end up falling for each other and merging parties. The end is likely obvious. Once again a woman gives up her dream for a man she has known for a week. The lead actress sang a couple times. I wondered if she was a real singer and found she was in 25 episodes of Nashville. She also has appeared in about the same amount of movies and tv shows as Adrian Grenier. Her voice was good, but not star quality. And how did she and the kids sing in harmony and with different parts with no practice? The first one was better even though I’m remembering I didn’t care for the ending of that one.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 # 14. Sense and Sensibility and Snowmen. Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. I haven’t watched or read Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in years, but I don’t think this had anything to do with it or snowmen, except for some snowmen scarves. Two party planning sisters meet two related gentlemen. One falls for the man she is planning a party for and trying to bring out the Christmas spirit in him. He is played by Luke Macfarlane who was on Brothers and Sisters so for me he is typecast and I don’t see him as a love interest for Erin Krakow who is in multiple Christmas movies, although I don’t watch When Calls the Heart. It’s not one of my favorite time periods. The movie and love story were kind of cute. My only problems were the fake French accented clients and that the sister was s little tough on Krakow. Pretty party dress. Misunderstandings come to play in the end, but it always works out.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #15. Christmas Town. Hallmark. I love Candace Cameron Bure, but this one was a little boring. However, I did watch the second half a week later so I might have missed something. It also features Beth Broderick from Sabrina the Teenage Witch who seems to be in every holiday movie. A woman is stranded in a small town on her way to a new job where everything starts to happen too fast. Spoiler. In only a few days she gets a new beau, a new job, and a new kid. Why would you want to work in a bakery when stranded in a town? Why back out on your obligations? Why is the new person in town suddenly a celebrity? Why make so many life changing decisions in a few days? Why retire to give a stranger a job? There was a connection to her past in this town, which missed the opportunity for some magic. I didn’t really feel any of the relationships as authentic, but I can forgive it all for Candace.

Christmas movie review 2019 #16: A Christmas Love Story. Hallmark. I was resisting this one because I couldn’t see Scott Wolf and Kristin Chenoweth together. She seems much older, although they are apparently the same age. Party of Five was one of my favorite shows. However, I really liked this one. I had to stop watching in the morning and was looking forward to finishing it. The love story slowly progressed naturally and the actors made it seem as if they were truly falling for each other. A boy takes an assignment to help a choir for service credit. The choir director urges him to sing in the choir despite his father’s objections and then the director and father begin a romance. There is a surprise twist that I didn’t see coming, although I guess I should have. There were some minor problems. Without giving anything away, I’m not sure how the ages of the two match up. I’m assuming Wolf is supposed to be older than Chenoweth. Do you really let a stranger stay in your guest room? They both seemed a little fake tanned or heavily made up. It seems someone should have questioned why this new kid got the solo in the show when he just joined the week of the show. Can you really write a song and teach it to a choir three days before the performance? And no matter who the kid is, it was slightly creepy for the music teacher to have a solo with a teenage boy. But the song was nice. I did really enjoy this one. Maybe it was because I like the actors of because Chenoweth’s clothes were so pretty or because the two gave that teenagers falling in love smile to each other or that the handsome teenage son was so polite. I cried a little. It made me smile. This was one of my favorites so far.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #17: A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby. Netflix. I only watched this because I was doing laundry and could only watch something on my phone, although I did watch the original. The royal family stories seem to have the most problems and this one was pretty silly. The actress is pretty cute and likable and it did have a mystery to be solved. Two countries must renew a treaty by midnight on Christmas Eve, but it goes missing. Meanwhile, the new Queen is about to have a baby. Where to begin with the problems. There are probably a lot of spoilers here. The friend suspected her boyfriend as the thief, yet easily accepted his proposal. The queen complimented the other queen’s program for mothers yet had to throw in that she wanted to do the same with updates. They threw the elaborate baby shower with guests who shouldn’t have brought gifts and left out those invited instead of rescheduling. The educated journalist queen who should seek the truth really believed in the curse. The friend didn’t really come to support her queen friend, but to date the King’s brother and didn’t seem like much of a friend. I’m sure there are more that I forgot. It was pretty boring in the middle and I almost skipped to the end, but I stuck with it. Watch this one as one of your last.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #18. Grounded for Christmas. Lifetime. I started watching this on my phone with the xfinity login, but it made me watch too many commercials. At first I thought it was going to be more like an ion movie, but I soon got to like the main characters and hoped for them to unite. Two pilots get stranded together in a small town the days leading to Christmas and end up at the female lead’s parents’ home. They pretend to be dating to help one pilot get through Christmas with her family. The actress is cute and it’s believable that they start to fall for each other. There were a few annoying thing, but They may have been explained and I just missed it. If the cab driver couldn’t take her to her own home, why could he drive in the storm further away to her parents’ home? They said it was on the way, but her apartment was likely closer to the airport. When the friends arrived to the dance, they were able to get in to town, yet planes weren’t flying. Do all the flight attendants and pilots live in the same town? There was a storm. The surprise guest also arrived quickly right after they got word they could travel. And even though people call in sick all the time, do you really want to know your pilot could be faking it and then get a new one on Christmas? The male pilot wanted help with his reputation, but then you find out he has only been there a few months. But in the end, this one was a cute love story. I kept thinking how cute the mom was and then I realized it was Cheryl Ladd.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 # 19: Christmas on My Mind. Hallmark. Bizarre. A woman lost her memory and thinks she’s going to marry her ex boyfriend, but she has a new boyfriend and life. I don’t understand how she has a huge home and expensive clothes when she runs a nonprofit that she just started two years before. I don’t understand why her ex boyfriend would let her hang around to get her memory back when she’s about to be married to someone else. I was hoping for more of a shocking twist or secret.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #20: A Cheerful Christmas. Hallmark. Annoying. Two Christmas coaches not only decorate your home and plan your parties for the season, but they try to bring back or give you holiday traditions. However, the main coach was so annoying, I could not see how anyone would hire her or want to date her. She was too fake cheerful all the time with a whiny childlike voice. And her clients too easily accepted her ways and ideas. The giving tree was a good idea. I didn’t care for this one.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #21 Merry and Bright. Hallmark. It took me four attempts to watch this movie without falling asleep. So it was either really boring or I’m really tired. While I like Jodie Sweetin from Fuller House, I just don’t see her as the lead love interest. A woman inherits (shocking) her grandmother’s candy cane factory. For some reason, because as CEO she didn’t invite them, a man from a company to revamp businesses comes to help her make changes to save money and keep the candy canes alive. She is annoyed with him and for some reason as CEO she can’t tell him to leave. The addition of chocolates to their collection never made any sense. They baked them for the first time before a sales pitch. Sharon Lawrence’s love for and antics hiding a dog she bought for a gift, but is growing attached to, was the best part. I also liked the vintage looking boxes for the candy canes and the flavors. But in all, I found this one boring until the end and there was no connection between Sweetin and her costar. Advice: Don’t push people to get engaged at Christmas.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #22. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I’m way behind. Last year at this time I was up to 38. Two mayors are involved in a competition. It wasn’t bad, but must not have been great as I kept falling asleep. Of course, you need to work together and fall in love to win.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #23: Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday. Hallmark. I didn’t remember the first Angel Falls movie so I had to go back to the review. Glad all of the town of Angel Falls kept their Christmas spirit and they all seemed to forget they had lost it. These are my favorite Christmas movies where a past love or friendship turns into something more. The fast romance is easier to believe. A publisher/ editor is reunited with an old high school friend in the industry as he returns to town to settle his parents’ estate. The angels are also in town to give little nudges to help make a romance between them happen. Even though it is called Angel Falls and is supposed to focus on angels, they were rarely present. It was still nice to see a little magic in a Christmas movie. The couple is adorable so they were pleasant to watch. The male lead had rented his family house to a famous romance novelist that the female lead wants to acquire for her publishing company. The author comments that her relationship started similar to theirs with the back and forth teasing. That helped give their relationship more credibility. So besides the romance and wanting to get this author, the couple also helps the author get back into the Christmas spirit and writing after the loss of her husband. The town was adorable and the perfect Hallmark movie setting. The town where I live keeps building up our commons with more lights and a market and characters to visit and horse drawn carriages, but I like to see movies with a main town all done up for the holidays. But In these movies you ever have to wait 30-45 minutes in line with crying or bored kids to ride the carriage or participate in an activity or get hot chocolate so you never lose your temper or the Christmas spirit. This was a lovely movie with all characters in multiple story lines enjoyable to watch.

 

Christmas movie review 2019 #24: Let it Snow. Netflix. This was a pretty depressing teen angst filled movie based on a teen novel. There were several stories about love and friendship amongst teenagers in a small town who all come together at Waffle Town. It has Joan Cusack Making an out of place appearance and the girl who played Sally Draper from Mad Men and one who played the daughter in Santa Clarita Diet. Some teenagers I work with said it was good. I suppose it is and I used to like these kinds of movies, now I don’t really want my holiday films to be depressing. However, in the end, everything did work out in some way for everyone. You are just dragged through their emotional messes for awhile. The best part was when they sang Whole of the Moon by the Waterboys. It was a song I listened to often on a Greenpeace CD I had in high school. I am pretty sure this movie was what made me give up on holiday movies this year.

 

Christmas movie review 2019. #25: The Knight Before Christmas. Netflix. A knight is sent in a quest through time and ends up in Vanessa Hudgen’s (from High School Musical) Town. She is cute, but the story is ridiculous. The knight is confused by some modern things yet knows others. It’s kind of like Enchanted in that way. Would anyone really fall for a crazy man dressed as a knight who doesn’t remember anything? But since it is a Christmas movie, she does. I watched this before Christmas so my memory is a little fuzzy.

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