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Holiday TV Movies & (Non-Rankin Bass) Holiday Specials

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33 minutes ago, MissyPoo said:

I don't know why, but I was hoping you'd veer into "and there was some diversity in one or two of her suitors"! But then I remembered this was Hallmark again and your last sentence was very apropos. Sigh. I don't know why I hope this channel would change. No matter how much they keep giving lip service to their whole proclamation of how they take diversity seriously. :-/ 

Once I saw all their leads for their new Christmas movies were white in spite of the constant lip service of taking diversity seriously  when they've scheduled movies for every Sat/Sun for 2 months, I decided not to watch. And from what I keep hearing here and a few other places I'm not missing a thing. 

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4 hours ago, kirinan said:

Holy Guacamole, Batman, I just saw an ad for next Saturday's Hallmark movie, "My Christmas Love" and I am for some reason especially boggled by what I saw, even though I certainly know that diversity is not Hallmark's...well, hallmark.

I happened to have the mute button on, so all I saw were the visuals. I don't recognize any of the leads, btw. It appears that the lead actress--of course, a pretty long-haired blonde--has to choose between four suitors. And the four guys--well, if you asked Central Casting for "the blandest, most generic set of handsome young male actors you can find," these are the guys they'd send. All tall, white, varying shades of blond or light brown hair, and I think they all wore suits but I can't even remember that. It's even possible that it was only two guys who were on so many times that I thought there were four of them. 

Not a hint of ethnic, racial, or age diversity anywhere that I saw. Just 60 seconds of Wonder Bread. I don't think I need to hear what this one is about to skip it, thanks.

Maybe Hallmark should just change their tagline to "Hallmark: Travel back to the 1950s with the whitest movies on TV." 

I guess I'm surprised you were shocked by this. And I say that as a black woman. Hallmark barely casts a male best friend in these movies who is a minority. I mean, they had a movie where the lead guy was on a football team and I barely recall a handful of black people in that one despite the realistic makeup of football teams. I think I remember like the 3rd supporting friend in Nine Lives of Christmas at the firehouse that was black. They do slightly better with the women, having somewhat diverse supporting characters in the 2nd and 3rd roles, with Jessica Szohr and Meghan Markle as leads, though I'm fairly certain many are unaware that they are both half black and the movie casts their parents and siblings with white actors for the most part (Meghan may have had an Asian father in one movie). Jessica Kennedy was a co-lead in one movie as well.

I'm not saying you shouldn't want more diversity at all and certainly not saying you should watch and your point is a good one that many have mentioned more and more lately, just not sure how you're surprised by the commercial when it's basically exactly as it's been for years. From everything we've seen, what passes for diverse male leads on Hallmark are Dean Cain and Jesse Metcalfe.

Edited by JasmineFlower
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I was a little confused as to why you listed Jesse Metcalfe as a "diverse" lead. I know Dean Cain is like a quarter Asian but Jesse is not mixed.

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1 hour ago, In2You said:

I ended up watching Girlfriends of Christmas Past. It reminded me a little of John Tucker Must Die with the three ex girlfriends attempts to sabotage only making him look better. I didn't feel sorry for the ex he was an ass and all they did was highlight some of the stuff his new girlfriend would've eventually realized. And breaking up with a woman on a holiday is  a jerk move. Though her family shouldn't have assumed he'd propose after only a year of them dating.  Now their Taylor Swiftesque Christmas song was a little cringe worthy. 

Yes, I'm with you on that one. I was fearing the worst (a UPTv + Marvista production, California-based, with no name attached, a derivative script, and low production values... rarely bodes well), but I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. The three main girls were kinda overacting the whole way through, but since the movie didn't really take itself too seriously, and didn't shy away from its farcical nature, it kinda worked. Also, gays everywhere (half the male extras pinged my gaydar) ! The ex's new girl was black ! Everybody had somewhat distinct personnalities ! Those three points alone make it about 200% more diverse than most Hallmark movies, these days.

 

(and yes, the song was... a miss. To be kind.)

Edited by Kaoteek
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6 minutes ago, Kaoteek said:

Yes, I'm with you on that one. I was fearing the worst (a UPTv + Marvista production, California-based, with no name attached, a derivative script, and low production values... rarely bodes well), but I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. The three main girls were kinda overacting the whole way through, but since the movie didn't really take itself too seriously, and didn't shy away from its farcical nature, it kinda worked. Also, gays everywhere (half the male extras pinged my gaydar) ! The ex's new girl was black ! Everybody had somewhat distinct personnalities ! Those three points alone make it about 200% more diverse than most Hallmark movies, these days.

 

(and yes, the song was... a miss. To be kind.)

I heard about this movie a few months ago when they were still shopping around for a distributor. I assumed based on the plot it would end up on Lifetime or just VOD so I was surprised when it UPTv  picked it up. But I think the movies on UP this year were less like the ones on Hallmark this year. I've been watching the channel since it was GMC so I remember when they only aired Christian movies and stage plays. Then they were showing alot of black family films many of which I enjoyed. then that lady came over from Hallmark and they seemed to be trying to be Hallmark-lite right down to also using Lacey Chabert and Candace Cameron.  Now it looks like they're going in another direction again.

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Two weeks to go and I think I might've hit critical mass.  There are just so many movies and so many channels, I can't keep up.  I don't even recognize some of the titles you guys are talking about (not even taking in to account that they all sound alike).  I have managed to catch up with some, although my poor dvr is groaning under the weight of so many movies (old favorites and new).  I kind of fear one of these days it's going to pop up with a message flashing, "No. More. Christmas. Movies."  Heh.

Thanks for the head's up on the new movie with Bailee Madison that aired on Freeform.  I can't figure out why they buried it when I'm pretty sure it's their only new offering this year.  I've been watching a fair amount of Freeform but hadn't seen a single promo for it.  Turns out it was a miss for me.  I made it about halfway and quit, although my sister stuck it out and filled me in on the end.  I was totally bugged by how nonchalant she was about the whole new family thing.  She seemed utterly unconcerned and not at all curious about her real family.  It was a weird way to write it, imo.  I know it ended up being a dream, but it still struck me as illogical.  And that wig that had on her at the beginning was truly terrible.

I liked A Dream for Christmas ok, but didn't love it.  I really enjoy Nikki Deloach (she was good in a cute Halloween movie on ION (?)) and it's always good to see Andrew Walker (although not enough of him in this).  Wasn't thrilled about the ending, as others have mentioned.  On the one hand, I didn't mind she quit the job because she kept going on at the beginning about how much she hated it.  On the other hand, she was the only one pulling in a paycheck.  I know there's some debate about whether or not she quit or just turned down the promotion, but I think she quit because she mentioned becoming her husband's full-time manager.  I took that to mean she was devoting all her time to that.

I ended up enjoying Heaven Sent on Lifetime (they're not doing very many this year, are they?).  I wasn't too sure at the start, but I adore Christian Kane, so had to keep going, and despite the fact I mostly guessed the twist, I did enjoy it.  I liked that it was something a little different.  Yes, the kid was OTT at times, but when all was said and done, I'm pretty sure she was doing it at times she was trying to bring her parents together because there were times she seemed just like a regular kid.  I will give the little actress total props for that crying scene at the end, she absolutely nailed it.  Overall, I thought CK and Marley Shelton had some nice chemistry and it worked for me.

And finally, I think my favorite movie of the season so far (surprisingly, I'm not gonna lie) has turned out to be A Cinderella Christmas.  I know, I didn't see that one coming.  I wasn't expecting all that much, but I found this really charming, not that over the top (especially for a Cinderella movie) and just engaging.  I liked all the actors, even the bratty cousin, who turned out to be not wholly terrible (although her redemption at the end came waaay too fast, as they do).  I barely recognized the lead guy from Baby Daddy, he just looked so different.  And it was lovely to see Emma Rigby again, I haven't seen her in anything since Once...Wonderland ended.  They had a really nice chemistry and I liked that the story offered up a few twists on the usual.  The business side of things made me a little twitchy, as there were things that just don't make sense in the real world, ie, as event planners, they should have already been at the party overseeing things and wouldn't have needed an invite, especially if Angie was also doing the cooking (? not clear on that).  I think we only ever saw those two other employees, iirc, but there would need to be way more than them, Angie and Candace to pull off parties, especially if Candace wasn't doing any of the work.  I basically tried my best to ignore the business side of things.  One of my favorite things though was seeing Leslie-Anne Down again.  She is still luminous.  I thought she was just fabulous.  There were a couple of wordless looks she tossed off at Candace that actually made me laugh out loud.  Overall, I really enjoyed that one and could see watching it again (which I can't say about most).

Looking forward to Amy Acker tonight on Hallmark.  Bring on the ballet!

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Most of us haven't seen her since Even Stevens and Cadet Kelly (not to mention she was the voice of Kim Possible (Boy, Mickey Mouse really drove her nose to the grindstone)).  I, myself, haven't seen her since The Cutting Edge 3, but Christy Carlson Romano is about to be in not one, but two holiday movies.

Tonight, Christmas with the Andersons is on USA and on Tuesday, Christmas All Over Again is also on USA.

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1 hour ago, JasmineFlower said:

I guess I'm surprised you were shocked by this. And I say that as a black woman. Hallmark barely casts a male best friend in these movies who is a minority. I mean, they had a movie where the lead guy was on a football team and I barely recall a handful of black people in that one despite the realistic makeup of football teams. I think I remember like the 3rd supporting friend in Nine Lives of Christmas at the firehouse that was black. They do slightly better with the women, having somewhat diverse supporting characters in the 2nd and 3rd roles, with Jessica Szohr and Meghan Markle as leads, though I'm fairly certain many are unaware that they are both half black and the movie casts their parents and siblings with white actors for the most part (Meghan may have had an Asian father in one movie). Jessica Kennedy was a co-lead in one movie as well.

I'm not saying you shouldn't want more diversity at all and certainly not saying you should watch and your point is a good one that many have mentioned more and more lately, just not sure how you're surprised by the commercial when it's basically exactly as it's been for years. From everything we've seen, what passes for diverse male leads on Hallmark are Dean Cain and Jesse Metcalfe.

Maybe my use of the word "boggled" was a little much. I wouldn't exactly say I was shocked or surprised--I've seen enough of these movies to know how they go. But for some reason this one stood out to me for the utter blandness of the actors involved, and the sameness of the female lead. I think I may be burned out on Hallmark romance movies, and especially Christmas ones.

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JenMD I think I'm with you that my favorite movie so far has been a Cinderella Christmas. I absolutely loved it, from the acting and insane chemistry with the leads to the storyline. It also made me teary eyed. I think after the holidays are done this is staying on the DVR to watch over and over again. 

Hopefully tonight's movies are a little better, or I may try to watch Heaven Sent. 

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1 hour ago, In2You said:

I was a little confused as to why you listed Jesse Metcalfe as a "diverse" lead. I know Dean Cain is like a quarter Asian but Jesse is not mixed.

Well, that's the whole point, Hallmark isn't trying on that end, they are okay with the appearance of diversity and even then they are failing often. Dean Cain isn't thought of as Asian or mixed even though he definitely is, but when's the last time his name was anything suggesting of Asian ancestry in a movie or TV show? Where his name would allow someone who doesn't have a clue to wonder. And then there's Jesse, though I do believe he's part Portuguese, is what's known in Hollywood casting as ethnically ambiguous. He can get cast as a character with variety of backgrounds even if he actually doesn't have that ancestry. That's what many casting calls ask for these days - "Caucasian or Ambiguous". So, while to my knowledge Jesse's not Hispanic, the first thing I ever saw him in, he played a character who was. So, that's my point. This is what Hallmark is offering up as "diverse" male leads, not so diverse and certainly not reflecting anything within the movies, similar to the women.

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15 minutes ago, JasmineFlower said:

Well, that's the whole point, Hallmark isn't trying on that end, they are okay with the appearance of diversity and even then they are failing often. Dean Cain isn't thought of as Asian or mixed even though he definitely is, but when's the last time his name was anything suggesting of Asian ancestry in a movie or TV show? Where his name would allow someone who doesn't have a clue to wonder. And then there's Jesse, though I do believe he's part Portuguese, is what's known in Hollywood casting as ethnically ambiguous. He can get cast as a character with variety of backgrounds even if he actually doesn't have that ancestry. That's what many casting calls ask for these days - "Caucasian or Ambiguous". So, while to my knowledge Jesse's not Hispanic, the first thing I ever saw him in, he played a character who was. So, that's my point. This is what Hallmark is offering up as "diverse" male leads, not so diverse and certainly not reflecting anything within the movies, similar to the women.

Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald was only half hispanic and that was pass dark hair people as ethnic casting. I never looked at his Miguel and thought hispanic.  And Portuguese is still white. He's not ethnically ambiguous at all. He's white and he plays white characters.

Edited by In2You

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@In2You I feel like you're purposely misunderstanding what I was saying. You're acknowledging he played a Hispanic character, but yet saying he's someone not capable of being cast as ethnically ambiguous or an ethnicity other than his own. Having a biracial look is what Hollywood is looking for when they put out ethnically ambiguous casting calls, so him playing a half-Hispanic character is not disproving what I was saying and neither is his actual ancestry. But, I was not before and am not now trying to start an argument or a larger discussion about this, was merely sharing my thoughts after someone was shocked by an all-white Hallmark movie commercial. That's it, I don't plan to continue a back and forth, as I think this rather light-hearted thread has taken a turn it doesn't need to.

Edited by JasmineFlower

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Christmas with the Andersons is terrible so far. Like worst movie I've ever seen in the past year or two. I lasted 10 minutes and after that terrible Christmas party I turned it off. Yuck.

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3 minutes ago, twoods said:

Christmas with the Andersons is terrible so far. Like worst movie I've ever seen in the past year or two. I lasted 10 minutes and after that terrible Christmas party I turned it off. Yuck.

I liked it. The party at the beginning wasn't good but I think the movie got much better after it. 

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9 hours ago, In2You said:

I liked it. The party at the beginning wasn't good but I think the movie got much better after it. 

Maybe will catch it later because I deleted it. Who gives cleaning gloves and toothbrushes as presents? They made them so unlikable at the beginning of the movie.

Edited by twoods
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56 minutes ago, twoods said:

Christmas with the Andersons is terrible so far. Like worst movie I've ever seen in the past year or two. I lasted 10 minutes and after that terrible Christmas party I turned it off. Yuck.

I might have to sacrifice that one.  It was already 50/50 on whether or not to DVR it.

I finally got around to It Looks Like Christmas and I enjoyed it.  It had drama but nothing too drastic.  And it wasn't about the lessons of a small town.  Then again, I like Anne Heche and Dylan Neal which definitely helps.  Although once again one of the single parents have one who had a divorce and another widowed. The only things that bothered me were that the daughter moved around Thanksgiving, when I would have to think they'd try to find a way for her to finish the semester where she was somehow, and that she'd be expected to take midterm exams after only being there a few weeks. That, and trying to figure out where I had seen the principal before.  He was the skating coach in Falling for Christmas.

A Nutcracker Christmas was refreshing in that it was different but I still found it kind of boring.  I didn't love the voiceover and it was so hard to believe Amy Acker as a 22-year-old.  I also never thought much of Seth's acting or his ability to create chemistry with his costars (Cooper was a hotter love interest in Center Stage, IMO) so he was just there for me.  The most interesting part for me was the actual ballet at the end and I kind of hate The Nutcracker.

A Cinderella Christmas is definitely up there as far as movies go this year.  I really liked both of the leads.  Although I did roll my eyes at them falling in love after one night even though I know it's part of the story but still....

Quote

I don't even recognize some of the titles you guys are talking about (not even taking in to account that they all sound alike). 

I have to Google the names of movies discussed here.  Even those I've seen. 

Edited by Irlandesa

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40-year old Amy Acker is playing a 22-year old? Hmm. From the commercials I thought she was playing considerably older and trying to recapture her old dream of being a prima ballerina. I was planning to watch to see Sascha and especially watch him dance, not so sure anymore it'll be a ton more than me catching whatever stage scenes they include.

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8 hours ago, JenMD said:

And finally, I think my favorite movie of the season so far (surprisingly, I'm not gonna lie) has turned out to be A Cinderella Christmas.  I know, I didn't see that one coming.  I wasn't expecting all that much, but I found this really charming, not that over the top (especially for a Cinderella movie) and just engaging.  I liked all the actors, even the bratty cousin, who turned out to be not wholly terrible (although her redemption at the end came waaay too fast, as they do).  I barely recognized the lead guy from Baby Daddy, he just looked so different.  And it was lovely to see Emma Rigby again, I haven't seen her in anything since Once...Wonderland ended.  They had a really nice chemistry and I liked that the story offered up a few twists on the usual.  The business side of things made me a little twitchy, as there were things that just don't make sense in the real world, ie, as event planners, they should have already been at the party overseeing things and wouldn't have needed an invite, especially if Angie was also doing the cooking (? not clear on that).  I think we only ever saw those two other employees, iirc, but there would need to be way more than them, Angie and Candace to pull off parties, especially if Candace wasn't doing any of the work.  I basically tried my best to ignore the business side of things.  One of my favorite things though was seeing Leslie-Anne Down again.  She is still luminous.  I thought she was just fabulous.  There were a couple of wordless looks she tossed off at Candace that actually made me laugh out loud.  Overall, I really enjoyed that one and could see watching it again (which I can't say about most).

Looking forward to Amy Acker tonight on Hallmark.  Bring on the ballet!

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I was surprised I enjoyed that one as well. It kept my interest and I was hoping the cousin would get her comeuppance and was glad when she did. Although I agree, it came a bit too soon.  I'm glad the male interest wasn't completely dense and figured things out. Leslie-Anne Down was in this movie? Whoa. Now I have to rewatch it. Nice to see Natalie from Facts of Life back in acting again.

I think A Cinderella Christmas is also on my favorites list so far this year. I really enjoyed Christmas Swap as well.  I wish TV One would put out more family friendly movies around this time. Up isn't as good as it was when they showed the plays and black films. I miss those a lot.

Saw A Nutcracker Christmas and liked the beginning. It was building pretty nicely and actually had some substance to the story. I agree the middle was a bit slow and the end had me scratching my head. I don't like the fact that the only POC with a name and actual character was made out to be the rebellious villainess just to get Amy Acker's character to be back in the Sugar Plum Fairy role. I love the Nutcracker and found it amusing how they practically cut out the whole last act and ended the play while Clara was still dreaming (that's not how the ballet works, Hallmark).

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8 hours ago, JenMD said:

And finally, I think my favorite movie of the season so far (surprisingly, I'm not gonna lie) has turned out to be A Cinderella Christmas.  I know, I didn't see that one coming.  I wasn't expecting all that much, but I found this really charming, not that over the top (especially for a Cinderella movie) and just engaging.  I liked all the actors, even the bratty cousin, who turned out to be not wholly terrible (although her redemption at the end came waaay too fast, as they do).  I barely recognized the lead guy from Baby Daddy, he just looked so different.  And it was lovely to see Emma Rigby again, I haven't seen her in anything since Once...Wonderland ended.  They had a really nice chemistry and I liked that the story offered up a few twists on the usual.  The business side of things made me a little twitchy, as there were things that just don't make sense in the real world, ie, as event planners, they should have already been at the party overseeing things and wouldn't have needed an invite, especially if Angie was also doing the cooking (? not clear on that).  I think we only ever saw those two other employees, iirc, but there would need to be way more than them, Angie and Candace to pull off parties, especially if Candace wasn't doing any of the work.  I basically tried my best to ignore the business side of things.  One of my favorite things though was seeing Leslie-Anne Down again.  She is still luminous.  I thought she was just fabulous.  There were a couple of wordless looks she tossed off at Candace that actually made me laugh out loud.  Overall, I really enjoyed that one and could see watching it again (which I can't say about most).

Looking forward to Amy Acker tonight on Hallmark.  Bring on the ballet!

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I was surprised I enjoyed that one as well. It kept my interest and I was hoping the cousin would get her comeuppance and was glad when she did. Although I agree, it came a bit too soon.  I'm glad the male interest wasn't completely dense and figured things out. Leslie-Anne Down was in this movie? Whoa. Now I have to rewatch it. Nice to see Natalie from Facts of Life back in acting again.

I think A Cinderella Christmas is also on my favorites list so far this year. I really enjoyed Christmas Swap as well.  I wish TV One would put out more family friendly movies around this time. Up isn't as good as it was when they showed the plays and black films. I miss those a lot.

Saw A Nutcracker Christmas and liked the beginning. It was building pretty nicely and actually had some substance to the story. I agree the middle was a bit slow and the end had me scratching my head. I don't like the fact that the only POC with a name and actual character was made out to be the rebellious villainess just to get Amy Acker's character to be back in the Sugar Plum Fairy role. I love the Nutcracker and found it amusing how they practically cut out the whole last act and ended the play while Clara was still dreaming (that's not how the ballet works, Hallmark).

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6 hours ago, twoods said:

Maybe will catch it later because I deleted it. Who gives gloves and toothbrushes as presents? They made them so unlikable at the beginning of the movie.

The whole movie was about them learning their lesson about how selfish and greedy they'd become.

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A Nutcracker Christmas was refreshing in that it was different but I still found it kind of boring.  I didn't love the voiceover and it was so hard to believe Amy Acker as a 22-year-old.  I also never thought much of Seth's acting or his ability to create chemistry with his costars (Cooper was a hotter love interest in Center Stage, IMO) so he was just there for me.  The most interesting part for me was the actual ballet at the end and I kind of hate The Nutcracker.

This. I am usually a sucker for dance movies, though a lot of them are pretty bad for even my incredibly low standards. I too found it pretty dull. I am always pretty indifferent to Amy Acker. Sometimes I like her and sometimes I do not. In this one I did not. Something just did not work for me. I did not believe Amy Acker as a 22 year old either. I was expecting to enjoy this movie, but I did not.

I finally got around to watching Hearts of Christmas. I enjoyed it. It had a slightly different story. I liked the cast. I also, liked that that there was not a real big misunderstanding or issue between the leads. The main problem about the female lead not loving the male lead's job was a nonissue after she realized he was just doing his job. There was a slight misunderstanding at the end but the was solved fairly quickly.

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Wait - where did we get that Amy Acker's character was supposed to be 22 in real time? That's impossible. The present time is 8 years after her initial shot at Sugar Plum (they had the 8 years later thing written on there). She couldn't have been 14 at the end part there, having dated her costar for years. If someone heard 22, it must have been that she was 22 then and 30 in real time....

Anyway, I generally enjoyed it anyway. Agree that the male's acting has never been great, but I can see why they did it in service of having much of the cast be real dancers. Is there another male in acting who used to be a ballet dancer? Just curious. 

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She wasn't 22 in real time. She was 22 when she first moved to New York. She was a dancer there for a few years before her sister died, then there was the 8 year jump. She is probably more like 35 in the movie. She was just 22 for like the first 15 minutes of the movie.

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5 hours ago, MissyPoo said:

I was surprised I enjoyed that one as well. It kept my interest and I was hoping the cousin would get her comeuppance and was glad when she did. Although I agree, it came a bit too soon.  I'm glad the male interest wasn't completely dense and figured things out. Leslie-Anne Down was in this movie? Whoa. Now I have to rewatch it. Nice to see Natalie from Facts of Life back in acting again.

No need to rewatch unless you want to in order to spot her. The lead guy's mom is Lesley-Anne Down, so you saw her many times throughout the movie. I didn't think she looked bad, but I also didn't think she looked enough like herself that she was immediately recognizable, I thought she looked familiar but took me a bit to realize it was her. But given she's got to be 60 by now, she was looking pretty good. I'm always happy to see Mindy Cohn.

Definitely surprised by the love for A Cinderella Christmas from everyone. I didn't hate it, but I thought there were problems and thought it was helped by the storyline being a familiar and predictable one where we know how things are going to play out beforehand, like expecting the cousin to be terrible at every turn. I think in a movie that isn't following a known fairy tale, it feels a lot closer to the ex-wife in Firehouse Christmas. The lead girl struggled at times for me, was a bit too dreamy, but she was also okay a lot of the time and I definitely bought the chemistry between the leads. So this one was just okay to me and I don't plan to rewatch. But my main takeaway was that I really liked the lead guy and hope to see him in the future.

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I'm barely into A Nutcracker for Christmas and I'm already cringing at how bad the dancing is. They should've gone the Center Stage route and cast a professional dancer in Amy Acker's position. 

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I actually read that Amy Acker danced until she had to have surgery in high school. Not sure what she has done related to dance since, but I guess she's rusty and potentially limited by the old injury. So we either have a professional dancer in the role whose acting isn't great, like Sascha (got confused by someone calling him Seth), or an actress with some dance experience like Amy. Maybe since this story was different from the others, and I generally liked it, I wasn't as nitpicky with it as I am with some of the other movies. The main thing that bugged me was SO many commercials.

Edited by VMepicgrl
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53 minutes ago, NetflixandChill said:

I'm barely into A Nutcracker for Christmas and I'm already cringing at how bad the dancing is. They should've gone the Center Stage route and cast a professional dancer in Amy Acker's position. 

And they missed a big opportunity because Amanda Schull is retired from ballet now and acting, so they could have gotten better dancing and quite the promo opportunity billing it as a Center Stage reunion of sorts with Amanda and Sascha. Way more people love that movie than Hollywood seems to realize.

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7 minutes ago, JasmineFlower said:

And they missed a big opportunity because Amanda Schull is retired from ballet now and acting, so they could have gotten better dancing and quite the promo opportunity billing it as a Center Stage reunion of sorts with Amanda and Sascha. Way more people love that movie than Hollywood seems to realize.

I would have been jumping for joy if she had been in it. In fact, because I found the dancing so lacking, I'm starting Center Stage right now to get a fix. I do admit I'm a bit harsh on dancing movies. I used to dance, so I get really, really frustrated by lines that aren't clean, and movements that don't just really flow. It's one genre of movies I just cannot disconnect enough to let a lack of dancing ability slide. 

I enjoyed the movie, and was getting my cheesy movie fix from it during the moments that did not involve dancing. Well, dancing other than Sascha. I didn't pay too much attention when the niece danced, so I can't really talk about her dancing as I was more focused on parts involving the leads, cause I did like the romance part of it all, and I do think they had good chemistry. My heart would skip watching him dance, though. I'm still as giddy over him as I was when I first watched Center Stage. That movie was everything to me back in the day. 

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1 hour ago, VMepicgrl said:

I actually read that Amy Acker danced until she had to have surgery in high school. Not sure what she has done related to dance since, but I guess she's rusty and potentially limited by the old injury. So we either have a professional dancer in the role whose acting isn't great, like Sascha (got confused by someone calling him Seth), or an actress with some dance experience like Amy. Maybe since this story was different from the others, and I generally liked it, I wasn't as nitpicky with it as I am with some of the other movies. The main thing that bugged me was SO many commercials.

Yeah, I enjoyed it, too.  I really like Amy, so I could overlook her not being a professional dancer.  Hallmark may have just wanted to have her in another movie and this one fit the best.  I have to give them credit for all the other dancers, though.  They certainly didn't skimp on budget.  Lots of dancers, lots of extras, it seemed a very fully realized movie, if that makes sense.  Sometimes you can just see the lack of money on the screen.  I got a kick out of seeing Catherine Mary Stewart as Amy's mom,  I haven't seen her in anything in ages.  I enjoyed the story a lot, and my nitpicks were few (they could have thrown in one line about the niece missing a month of school and why was there seemingly just one performance and it was on Christmas?).  But this was one of those occasions where I enjoyed it enough to not let the nitpicks get me down.  I did enjoy all the dancing from the professionals, although the director did have to work overtime at the end working around Amy, which was distracting.  The young dancer playing Sophie was fantastic to this untrained eye (everything I know about dance I learned on tv or the movies).  So, another in the win column for me, there haven't been a whole lot this season, so I'll take it.

Looking forward to Lindy Booth and Robin Dunne on Lifetime (I think?) tonight.

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Christmas in Homestead was... okay, I guess. I didn't really buy Taylor Cole as a Jennifer Lawrence-type superstar known worldwide, I didn't really buy bearded Rady as the male lead/love interest, and I didn't really buy the whole premise/the movie-within-the-movie stuff, but the town was pretty, the characters were likeable, they had an easy chemistry, and the kid was just adorable.

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I was just looking up the actress who played Angie in A Cinderella Christmas due to a discussion my friend and I were having. Interestingly, she was a trained ballerina at one time. Not sure how long she did it, but if she wasn't so young, she could have been in A Nutcracker Christmas. Or she could have anyway if they shortened the timeframe between the past and present, since she'd still be out of practice with dancing even if not a lot older. 

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I feel about the same about A Nutcracker Christmas as I did about Christmas in Homestead : it was okay, but unexceptional. I'm not much of a ballet person, but I like The Nutcracker (you can't go wrong with Tchaikovsky), and i've had a soft spot for Amy Acker since Winifred (and I knew about her dancing background), so I was kinda curious about the end result.

It was fine, they clearly seemed to have a bigger budget than your basic Hallmark rom-com, and it was nice having leads that looked believable & competent (to my untrained eye, and some more than others, of course) without having to resort to akward body doubles & editing tricks (even though there were a few, if lowed pretty well), but overall, it wasn't particularly memorable, aside from the dance numbers.

Christmas with the Andersons, on the other hand, was memorable. Mostly because I strongly disliked it, to the point I couldn't wait for it to be over. Unlikeable & caricatural supporting characters, unlikely, forced situations, mediocre pacing & writing, pointless intro/outro... not too surprising, since ION tends to buy the cheapest MarVista products available (the ones Hallmark, Lifetime & UpTv passed on), but still, annoying.

Edited by Kaoteek
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On 12/11/2016 at 8:44 AM, JasmineFlower said:

No need to rewatch unless you want to in order to spot her. The lead guy's mom is Lesley-Anne Down, so you saw her many times throughout the movie. I didn't think she looked bad, but I also didn't think she looked enough like herself that she was immediately recognizable, I thought she looked familiar but took me a bit to realize it was her. But given she's got to be 60 by now, she was looking pretty good. I'm always happy to see Mindy Cohn.

Definitely surprised by the love for A Cinderella Christmas from everyone. I didn't hate it, but I thought there were problems and thought it was helped by the storyline being a familiar and predictable one where we know how things are going to play out beforehand, like expecting the cousin to be terrible at every turn. I think in a movie that isn't following a known fairy tale, it feels a lot closer to the ex-wife in Firehouse Christmas. The lead girl struggled at times for me, was a bit too dreamy, but she was also okay a lot of the time and I definitely bought the chemistry between the leads. So this one was just okay to me and I don't plan to rewatch. But my main takeaway was that I really liked the lead guy and hope to see him in the future.

 

Ahh that's probably why I didn't notice her at first. I'll probably watch it a few more times since I did enjoy. So I'll probably keep an eye out just for some extra watching funtimes. I guess I liked that it was easy going and I'm a sucker for different versions of fairytales in modern formats. I also managed to like Christmas Belle as well even though it had some cheesetastic parts to it. I'm hoping they do more fairytales.

 

Watching Love You Like Christmas at the moment. They're probably using the same tracking shot with her walking to work each day but I can't help but wonder how the movie would turn out if the really handsome black fellow behind her approached her and asked her out after they've been eyeing each other a few mornings and the story was about them before she took her friend/co-worker off on vacation with her and Bonnie Summerville ends up with him while her friend ends up with Brennan Elliot. Ha. A girl can dream. The fam friendly Hallmark crew's heads would explode, though. I just may write it myself...

 

Anywho...back to the movie...

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I caught Christmas in Connecticut on TCM yesterday, and I found myself wondering how the usual holiday movie purveyors (Hallmark, Lifetime, UP, ION, etc.) have managed not to do a ripoff of this one -- or have they? They've done The Sound of Music, Sliding Doors, Groundhog Day, Working Girl, The Holiday, and Pride and Prejudice, to name a few. I believe there was a made-for-TV actual official remake (as opposed to borrowing heavily, almost plot point and character by plot point and character, while changing a few key details) in the 80s, but the basic structure seems like it's primed for a Hallmark update: One of the Internet's hottest Mommy Bloggers has to scramble when her biggest sponsor decides to invite a military hero to join her family for a Pinterest-perfect Christmas as a publicity stunt -- a task that will be really difficult for her because she's actually a single, childless woman who can't cook and who doesn't have a crafty bone in her body and who gets all her tips from her supermom best friend (or maybe sister) who has no writing ambitions. Will putting on the charade make her realize that she's really wanted marriage and family all along?

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Love You Like a Christmas was decent enough. I hated that by usual Hallmark standards the female lead was wretched for having a career that she actually cared about. Oh no she had to answer a call from her boss instead of hang out with the bored preteen! Ruined the good chemistry that the leads had.

I really enjoyed Season's Greetings on UP. I liked that the theme was realistic (greeting card company trying to find ways to deal with the digital era) and the chemistry was nice. I also liked the humor but the ending felt flat- I thought that the girl should have apologized first and sought him out.

It doesn't feel like Christmas until I watch the Mistletones and A Recipe For A Perfect Christmas. Both movies never get old to me.

Edited by twoods

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Congrats, Shanna Marie, you've just given a dozen Hallmark/ION/Up writers a paycheck for 2017 ! ^^

On another note, A Cinderella Christmas left me quite cold. It wasn't a disaster like the other ION movies I've watched these past few weeks, and the male lead was fine (even though I didn't care at all for the character, and his mommy issues), but i've struggled with Emma Rigby since OUATIW (can't help it : both the lips & the occasional overacting/overreacting bother me), and even though the fairy tale aspect of it should have made suspension of incredulity easier, I had a hard time believing that Rigby and Stouffer could be mistaken for one another, even with a masquerade mask on (the lips, the voice, the eyes, the cheekbones, the smile...). Also, Christmas barely mattered to that (doubly) derivative plot (it could have been called A Cinderella Valentine/Easter/Spring/Summer/Romance, and the script would have been just the same), so... meh.

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2 hours ago, twoods said:

Love You Like a Christmas was decent enough. I hated that by usual Hallmark standards the female lead was wretched for having a career that she actually cared about. Oh no she had to answer a call from her boss instead of hang out with the bored preteen! Ruined the good chemistry that the leads had.

 

I also hate the suggestion that she had to leave her job and move to Ohio. Sure, someone eventually would have to move, but she couldn't have her realization and finish her big meeting?

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I liked Sound of Christmas. It had a somewhat similar story to Hearts of Christmas, but I still enjoyed it. I must be getting easy. One thing that I liked was that they were city people not longing for a quaint small town Christmas. As someone who lives in Chicago, cities have Christmas too! Oh and the teenaged daughter was not obnoxious, which was a bonus.

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I'm still catching up from my DVR stockpile and got to Girlfriends of Christmas Past last night. It was kind of cute and had potential, but they really didn't execute the concept very well. I loved the female leads. The actresses had good chemistry with each other, great comic timing, and a ton of personality. The men were incredibly bland. They even managed to make the "gay best friend" guy be bland. In fact, the three men were similar enough in general appearance, with just slightly different shades of hair and scruff, that it always took me a second when one of them entered a scene for me to figure out which one it was -- the gay best friend/assistant, the ex, or the new guy.

I think it would have worked better without the new romance angle. It was a little weird for her to go from devastated about a breakup on December 10 to in love and kissing on New Year's Eve, and some of her sabotage of the ex also risked the new guy. I loved the relationship that developed among the women, and particularly the way the actress and the uptight one ended up bonding, and it would have been cool to have the movie just about the women becoming friends and realizing their friendship was more important than revenge. The ex needed to have been more of a jerk to warrant that level of revenge, especially since one of them had been broken up with him for two years. Like, they should have all been dumped recently, and they discovered that he'd been dating all three of them at the same time and that he was now dating multiple new women. And their revenge schemes were pretty lame and doomed to failure. I've come up with better stuff (that I've never actually done). The one that was probably the best was the charity Santa, showing the guy to be a cheap jerk, but the Santa and the girlfriend both pushed it too hard. It was a bit weird for the girlfriend to suddenly be grabbing his wallet and giving away his money. That's when you just raise an eyebrow and take mental notes. If the ex had been more of a jerk, then the revenge schemes wouldn't have had to be so outrageous. They could have just created situations designed to reveal what a jerk he was.

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Just got through watching "A Family For Christmas" on Hallmark and thoroughly enjoyed it!  I think it's the best movie of its type:  a likable well made TV movie with a likable cast, good pacing and writing  - even though the plot is ripped off from  "The Family Man" but with the genders reversed.

Essentially, a hot shot reporter, Hannah Dunbar is living what most would say is the American Dream:  she's a competent and well known TV reporter who lives alone in her cool (if sterile) SF apartment,  with an offer to make the move to a major Network job in NYC.   How did she get here?  She chose not to marry her college sweetheart, Ben since her career was more important to her.  Of course 10 years later, it's Christmas time and she's all work and rather lonely.  She can't help but wonder, "What if?".  A mysterious Santa grants her wish, and we see her life if she had chosen to marry Ben.

One thing I do like about Hannah's alternate life is that it isn't the nightmare like some "what if" movies tend to make them.  Her husband made a good living while she could be a stay at home mom with heir two daughters.  Her kids aren't bratty (almost normal in fact), her husband isn't cheating on her or mean to her or the kids.  They're both very connected to their suburban community.   They have what appears to be a great marriage and life together.  

The comes the ending, which I also found a bit refreshing - essentially reminding us that we can't change our past, only the future.  

Spoiler

In which case, Hannah looks up Ben and they end up meeting together and chat about "old times", with the likely future of them getting together.

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Much to my surprise, I enjoyed Looks like Christmas more than I thought I would. There was no big moral lesson, there was no contrived setup or angle, nobody had to totally change who they were (even though Anne Heche could have done with a serious relooking), no big dramatic depressing stuff, it was just fine, pleasant opposites attract-type comedy, with likeable enough characters & actors, and solid production values (they kinda were heavy-handed on the fake snow during the tree lighting scene, but other than that, and the awkward product placement, no major complaint from me.

As for Journey Back to Christmas, I think I would have loved it with another lead actress, and a few writing changes. I'm not a huge CCB fan, and her acting here wasn't particularly great (nothing horrible, but she was really... well, "acting", you know), so she really was the least interesting character of the whole bunch to me, and not really likeable to boot. On the other hand, I liked the rest of the cast (the cops, the sister, and so on), I liked the fact that the romance wasn't a huge part of the plot, and didn't involve CCB, and the time travel shenanigans were fine... but this could have been better with a couple of rewrites of the script, in order to drop the antagonists, and tighten everything up (spend less time before the time travel - or at the very least make that part of the story more interesting - , accentuate the contrast between the past and the present from the nurse's perspective and not glance over it, give Skeritt something else to do than just "exposition machine"). As is, the movie wasn't bad, but it could have been so much more with a few tweaks here and there.

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I was visiting a family member who had Hallmark on in the background while doing housework. I saw about 20 minutes of Alicia Witt's movie and her acting was in worse in this one than it usually is. why was she making those faces and doing those horrible voices?

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Anyone ever watch Kristin's Christmas Past? It was on LMN but I think aired in 2013 and has Shiri Appleby in it. I actually really enjoyed it and thought it was one of the better movies I've seen this year. It was more about her family than romance which was nice.

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1 hour ago, twoods said:

 

Anyone ever watch Kristin's Christmas Past?

 

I did!  I also liked the movie overall - although I was annoyed at not knowing if Aunt Debbie survived her cancer or not.  

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I keep watching and watching for the Richard Thomas movie Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. It was a biopic about the little girl that wrote the letter. Aired years and years ago as a made for TV movie but, of course, hasn't aired since. I loved it. 

I just about can't handle the UP movies. I cringed through Christmas for A Dollar. I actually found myself fastforwarding through parts of it because I was getting second-hand embarrassment. 

Am I the only person that prefers the Lifetime ripoff Comfort and Joy to The Family Man? The Family Man is, by far, one of my most hated films. I don't like any of the characters but actually thought Nicholas Cage was better off in his "real" life without the family. Maybe it is because I couldn't stand Tea Leoni's character. I also get this kind of "success shaming" message and it rubs me the wrong way. With Comfort and Joy, however, she legitimately seems happier. 

Another old, OLD one. It was a made for TV film that I watched back in 1990. The Little Match Girl with Rue McClanahan. Oh man, that was an awesome movie. I'd give anything to be able to find it. I search for it a lot. 

Of the more recent ones I like A Royal Christmas. (Is that it? The one that's basically The Prince and Me and stars the youngest girl from "Party of 5"?)

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On 12/6/2016 at 4:20 PM, Valentine said:

If You Believe (another oldie, but goodie) is on Oxygen tomorrow morning. It's one of my favorites, and I think it hasn't been shown in the past few years. It has the charm many of Hallmark's recent offerings lack.

As an author, I LOVE this one. I set my DVR to record it but I apparently no longer get Oxygen. Who knew? I bought this DVD for $2 a few years ago but can't find it. 

My daughter and I watched one the other day. Can't remember the name of it but it was truly terrible. I am sure it was on UP. Something about 12 dogs at the pound needing homes. The 12 Dogs of Christmas? I don't know; that sounds like it. SHE loved it. Of course, she's 5 so...

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4 hours ago, mamadrama said:

Of the more recent ones I like A Royal Christmas. (Is that it? The one that's basically The Prince and Me and stars the youngest girl from "Party of 5"?)

Otherwise known as how much of a beyotch Jane Seymour can be!  I also found this one a likeable movie but it really played up the schmaltz regarding the classes (orphan girl to be adopted by another aristocratic family, the Queen doing her darndest to humiliate her future daughter in law, etc.). 

 

4 hours ago, mamadrama said:

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

I remember this one too!  I remember seeing it twice but not in a long time!  I thought it was a hoot that Charles Bronson played the editor, Francis Church.

One thing that always bugged me was that the family was depicted as among the poor immigrant Irish with barely a penny to spare.  From what I've read up on the real family, they were closer to middle class, as the father was a doctor.  In this film, it ends with him getting a job as a cop.

 

In the early 70s there was an animated version of the tale - I remember seeing that one several times in the 70s and 80s but not since.

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I'm kind of a sucker for the Family Man themed movies. I like seeing the different ways movies mold the same theme. Family Man is on my faves list and I got a kick out of the Lacey one mentioned earlier (even down to similar lines, too!). I also like Comfort and Joy with Nancy McKeon (I wish Lifetime showed that this year like they do every year), A Family Thanksgiving with Daphne Zuniga (which Hallmark pushed to the bum late hours of the night like twice before thanksgiving) and the Hallmark Hall of Fame's Just in Time for Christmas. I think the latter two are the only Hallmark movies where the main character gets to keep her successful career and get the guy. If there are any more, I'd like to check those out. I know Up showed a Lea Thompson version from years ago that A Dream of Christmas kind of ripped off but I couldn't last through that one.

ETA: Almost forgot Eve's Christmas was another one I liked which I guess Hallmark dropped this year.

Edited by MissyPoo
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12 hours ago, magicdog said:

I did!  I also liked the movie overall - although I was annoyed at not knowing if Aunt Debbie survived her cancer or not.  

I'm assuming she died which is why Kristen hugged her for a long time when she saw her. I'm wondering if going to her funeral was the last time she saw her parents.

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