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

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I really enjoyed Christmas Ever After.  It was nice to see an actor that uses a wheelchair as the main character, I am pretty sure it was never addressed, ie no character asked why or what happened.   I would have liked another song or two, I mean come on you have a Tony winner as the lead, lets see more of that.  I disliked the typical "misunderstanding" trope.  Can we just stop with that, give that characters a real obstacle not these fake ones.

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Caught A Country Christmas Story on LIfetime just by mistake today. It was from 2013 and what a refreshing change to see something so totally different from the crap that's on now.

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6 hours ago, Aliconehead said:

I really enjoyed Christmas Ever After.  It was nice to see an actor that uses a wheelchair as the main character, I am pretty sure it was never addressed, ie no character asked why or what happened.   I would have liked another song or two, I mean come on you have a Tony winner as the lead, lets see more of that.  I disliked the typical "misunderstanding" trope.  Can we just stop with that, give that characters a real obstacle not these fake ones.

They never addressed how she ended up in a wheelchair but they did naturally incorporate things with the kind of car she drove. 

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I admire all of you who can watch the Hallmark Christmas movies, I used to watch every one.  Granted, I’m a new widow, but seriously these movies stink.  It seems like they just throw them together.  They seem to be repeating titles too.  I’d rather have half the movies to watch and better quality.  Every movie uses the same premise over and over and over.  I miss their regular programming too.  They need to rethink quality over quantity.  I wish they would just rerun some of the older ones instead of running the same new ones over and over.  There were some very good movies 6-10 years ago.

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3 minutes ago, ButterQueen said:

I admire all of you who can watch the Hallmark Christmas movies, I used to watch every one.  Granted, I’m a new widow, but seriously these movies stink.  It seems like they just throw them together.  They seem to be repeating titles too.  I’d rather have half the movies to watch and better quality.  Every movie uses the same premise over and over and over.  I miss their regular programming too.  They need to rethink quality over quantity.  I wish they would just rerun some of the older ones instead of running the same new ones over and over.  There were some very good movies 6-10 years ago.

Hallmark should hire you for customer input!  I totally agree and the few that are quality really, really stand out because there are so many that are lazy-writing and repetitive.

 I’m so sorry that you are a new widow — blessings sent your way, Butterqueen.  

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I thought Christmas Ever After was too much in the beginning with the lead’s obsession with her character, but once that toned down it was okay. I still have half of it left and will watch it tomorrow but I wanted to start Hallmark’s The Christmas House today.

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9 hours ago, ButterQueen said:

I admire all of you who can watch the Hallmark Christmas movies, I used to watch every one.  Granted, I’m a new widow, but seriously these movies stink.  It seems like they just throw them together.  They seem to be repeating titles too.  I’d rather have half the movies to watch and better quality.  Every movie uses the same premise over and over and over.  I miss their regular programming too.  They need to rethink quality over quantity.  I wish they would just rerun some of the older ones instead of running the same new ones over and over.  There were some very good movies 6-10 years ago.

Absolutely agree, they are only good for background noise at best. Sorry for your loss.  It's a shame that what might be something comforting is too awful to watch.

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13 hours ago, ButterQueen said:

I’m sad Matchmaker Santa isn’t playing this year.  My husband loved it, and he passed away in April.

They played it early November (the 4th).. for some reason, they're replaying more recently shown movies but not a lot of the ones that showed in October & November.   I checked the movie app to see if this is one that is slated to replay and it's not currently on the schedule but hallmark is notorious for adding or moving things.  

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This kind of reminds me about complaints about SNL.  People complain about the current show but in five or ten years, the bad stuff kind of floats away and people only remember the skits they liked. I think in five years, it'll be the same with holiday movies. 

I think there are already two or three movies from Hallmark this year that I'd rewatch which is actually up from previous years.  Even in years past when they did fewer movies, there'd only be one, at most, worth rewatching.  Lifetime has been the disappointment for me this year.

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I have to say I enjoyed Santa’s Squad. Yes the story line has been done before but there were a few things I liked. 1.) they got rid of the nasty girlfriend obstacle early on. 2.) no one was a Christmas hater nor really that over the top. 3.) this kids acted age appropriately 4.) when people pointed out the dad was being a little neglectful, he acknowledge he was and did not get mad. .5) the final obstacle was actually valid and not “I saw you talking to a random woman who must be your soul mate even though you have been flirting with me the whole movie”. 
 

all in all would watch again, but that may be my Ashmore love (really don’t care if it’s Aaron and Shawn)

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“Happiness Season” had a great cast (Daniel Levy, Kristen Stewart, Mary Steenbergen,Victor Garber,Aubrey Plaza) and a kind of interesting plot, though it seemed a bit dated to me, and yet it still seemed corny and full of goofy holes. I guess I’m not used to watching holiday films other than the oldies.  Anyone else see it and have thoughts?

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As far as i'm concerned, it was fine, albeit unremarkable. For all the praise it got for being a LGBTQ-centric Christmas romantic comedy, it was also a very basic one, and they commited two major mistakes, in my book : a) a tone that didn't always really seem to know whether to go for broad and comedic or earnest and sincere (imo, that's the product of having two writers with different sensibilities working on it), and b) letting the Aubrey Plaza/Kristen Stewart chemistry get so out of hand that their playful scenes outshone the drab Stewart/Davis relationship, to the point a lot of viewers ended up hoping for a different ending to the movie.

Aside from that, eh. Very middle-of-the-road.

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On 12/7/2020 at 5:49 PM, Kohola3 said:

Caught A Country Christmas Story on LIfetime just by mistake today. It was from 2013 and what a refreshing change to see something so totally different from the crap that's on now.

I watched an oldie on Prime today. Holiday Switch (2007!) with Nicole Eggert. It was totally predictable, but more enjoyable than the current crop. I'm glad some of the older ones are showing up on Prime and Hulu. I often enjoy them more. I wish someone would show the old Mimi Rogers Christmas List. I love that one!

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I'm finally starting to get in the mood for Christmas movies. I don't have cable, so I'm stuck with whatever's on ION or available on Amazon Prime, hoopla, or some of the free streaming services (tubi, Roku, Pluto, etc.). I just watched a recording of ION's Best Christmas Ball (from last year). Unfortunately, it was on their secondary channel, and for some reason they had it both letterbox and square, so it was this shrunken thing in the middle of the screen, which made it tough to see the scenery, and that was what the movie had going for it. The dancing was laughable, and I've seen films of Viennese balls, so while this wasn't quite the "society wedding of the century" that's held in a rinky-dink hotel function room like in so many of the Hallmark movies, it didn't quite impress. And it's my most hated trope, the "Oh, that was your brother" misunderstanding without even talking to her about it. If he's so willing to jump to the wrong conclusion about her and won't talk about it, I can't buy the happy ending.

I'm curious about something: Do the British have their own version of the Hallmark/Lifetime/etc. Christmas movies? The other day there was an amusing thread on Twitter in which someone posted about having to go to their hometown for Christmas and wondering about whether their job was too intense, and it turned into a trope-fest with people adding on with whatever their Christmas movie trope character would be. Some of them were clearly British, and their tropes seemed to be unique to Britain. They're things I recognize from British Christmas romantic comedy books but that I haven't seen in American movies. That made me wonder if the Brits have their own holiday movies. There were the "Nativity!" movies that UP ran, but those were more kid-oriented (the second one, "Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger," with David Tennant as the overwhelmed school choir director and his evil twin the famous choral master, was particularly insane), but I haven't run across any of the British versions of the Christmas rom-coms. That might be a fun change of pace to watch.

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Don't know if this goes here, but today is the 35th anniversary of Irwin Allen's Alice in Wonderland.  Since it came out around Christmas, I'm counting it (even though I think Alice in Wonderland is better suited for Easter time, with it's bright colors and themes of exploring).  Someone posted both parts on Youtube (get 'em before they're taken down) but someone else posted the first part as it was first broadcast all the way back in 1985.  Enjoy!

 

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Eh. I'm not the biggest KStew fan, but I'd argue she wasn't the problem there (as evidenced by her fun scenes with Aubrey Plaza) - imo, the real issue was more the fact that the Stewart/Davis relationship was underdeveloped, with the entire first year of their story being summed up through one early roof scene and an opening credits montage.

After that, 90% of the movie was spent separating them, with little to no positive interactions between both women until the end, only lies, rushed meetings and misunderstandings. If you don't really do the legwork in establishing the main relationship's positives early on, you can't really expect the viewers to root for the couple to overcome the bad during the rest of the movie.

(but ymmv, as usual)

Edited by Kaoteek
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On 12/9/2020 at 12:06 PM, AuntieDiane6 said:

That's the problem with Kristin Stewart.  She is a one-note actress: sullen.  

I try to avoid everything she's in (if you've seen her in one role, you've seen them all). Sorry, Hollywood, stop trying to make her happen. If you know you have limited acting ability, embrace it and try to make it charming like how Keanu Reeves (who I love) does. It also doesn't help that offscreen she seems like a brat.

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Finally got a chance to see Christmas Chronicles 2

BELIEVE.  

I got all schmooopy over the Village.  I wanna visit.     Damn Mrs. Claus has power in her own right.   

Santa rocking out will never get old.    I kept waiting for it and there it was.   Darlene Love can still bring it.    But damn if it didn't cry when Katie realized who the True Believer was.   

BELIEVE

In yourself and the spirit of Christmas   

 

ETA:

If anyone can make a Gif of the butterfly spelling out Believe, I would be eternally grateful.

Edited by merylinkid
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The chemistry between Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn is off the charts.  Just the little looks, winks, you know they've been there, done that, and would do it all again.

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Just a reminder, this weekend both Lifetime and The Paramount network will be airing Christmas movies centered around two men falling in love. Or four men falling in love. I don't want to give the impression that the Lifetime movie lead falls for the Paramount movie lead.

And now rather platonic holiday love stories with similar plots aren't just for the straight people any more.  Seriously.  I think both movies are about the mothers trying to set their visiting sons with people in town (and maybe get them to stay?  We shall see.)

 

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I only get satellite movies - and I tape everything, so I'm not sure when this movie aired; however, I really enjoyed On The 12th Date of Christmas with Mallory Jansen and Tyler Hines. The characters were believable, easy on the eyes and ears, the plot was fun, there was a dash of suspense and irony... and a good message overall. It's one of the best I've seen this season. I'd watch it again.

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30 minutes ago, Sara2009 said:

Has anyone else watched “ Jingle Jangle” on Netflix? I thought it was delightful, and the performers were great.

Good to know.
It's got to be better than the second 2020 ION Christmas movie I just suffered through, "Christmas Together."
So badly cast! Vivica Fox was the only known actor, and she had a secondary role as the tropey "sassy" matchmaking neighbor and had a husband played by a guy 20 years younger (not that she didn't pull it off --more or less).
The lead was a 27-year-old actor who seemed at most gender-fluid (he had more chemistry with his best guy friend than with the female romantic lead) but the crazy part was him having an 11-year-old daughter. Kudos to the writers for slipping in a line about him having met her mother when he was a junior in high school, LOL, but I'm pretty sure he was supposed to be at least 35. 
The bit that totally destroyed any suspension of disbelief for me was when the female romantic lead, an artist, was in the middle of painting --the camera zoomed in on the oil or acrylic paints being convincingly swirled by the bristle brush-- when Vivica's neighbor/matchmaker character asked her if she'd like tea, at which point the artist said sure, and walked off stage left with the loaded paint brush. Maybe it's because I painted my first oil painting over 55 years ago, but I think many viewers would think, WTH is she going to do with the paint-loaded brush at the tea party? 
IDK. Maybe if she could afford to live in NYC she could afford to toss $50+ dollar brushes.

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I absolutely loved Jingle Jangle. It was so much fun. I also enjoyed Christmas chronicles 2 and think they should make a Santa’s village that mirrors that one. It looks like it would be a blast!

 

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9 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Good to know.
It's got to be better than the second 2020 ION Christmas movie I just suffered through, "Christmas Together."
So badly cast! Vivica Fox was the only known actor, and she had a secondary role as the tropey "sassy" matchmaking neighbor and had a husband played by a guy 20 years younger (not that she didn't pull it off --more or less).
The lead was a 27-year-old actor who seemed at most gender-fluid (he had more chemistry with his best guy friend than with the female romantic lead) but the crazy part was him having an 11-year-old daughter. Kudos to the writers for slipping in a line about him having met her mother when he was a junior in high school, LOL, but I'm pretty sure he was supposed to be at least 35. 
The bit that totally destroyed any suspension of disbelief for me was when the female romantic lead, an artist, was in the middle of painting --the camera zoomed in on the oil or acrylic paints being convincingly swirled by the bristle brush-- when Vivica's neighbor/matchmaker character asked her if she'd like tea, at which point the artist said sure, and walked off stage left with the loaded paint brush. Maybe it's because I painted my first oil painting over 55 years ago, but I think many viewers would think, WTH is she going to do with the paint-loaded brush at the tea party? 
IDK. Maybe if she could afford to live in NYC she could afford to toss $50+ dollar brushes.

Did you notice that when the female lead, Ava, was packing for her trip they showed her packing her clothes into a black suitcase and zipping it closed?  Yet when she got to CA she was shown wheeling a rather large silvery pink hard shell suitcase?  No black suitcase in sight, not even as a carryon. Even her shoulder bag wasn’t black.  Failure on the part of the continuity staff! 

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2 hours ago, Koalagirl said:

Did you notice that when the female lead, Ava, was packing for her trip they showed her packing her clothes into a black suitcase and zipping it closed?  Yet when she got to CA she was shown wheeling a rather large silvery pink hard shell suitcase?  No black suitcase in sight, not even as a carryon. Even her shoulder bag wasn’t black.  Failure on the part of the continuity staff! 

I missed that one, but there were so many!
And, only in part because my mother raised me to be a grammar snob, when one of the male leads said "you and I" as the object of an action, I yelled "me!" at the TV. 
If there hadn't been so much other stupidity with this production, I might have let it slide.
The young daughter actor was surprisingly good though. But the hair stylist apparently did not know how to style her kind of hair——or maybe she just didn't work well with kids.

Right now a 4-star rated movie is scheduled on ION, "Country Christmas Album," but the station just went off-line in my area. I tried rescanning, to no avail. Likely it will air again between now and Christmas.

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3 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

And, only in part because my mother raised me to be a grammar snob, when one of the male leads said "you and I" as the object of an action, I yelled "me!" at the TV

I do that too! All the damn time.

I'm watching The Christmas Listing and I like it. I like that the lead doesn't have the cookie-cutter/Barbie doll look that is common for the women in these movies. She and the actress playing her sister actually look like sisters and are funny and sweet together. They are both lovely and neither of them is painfully thin. Maybe that's me being shallow. The movie, of course, is silly like most of them are, but to me it seems more well written. I'm not constantly rolling my eyes and haven't changed the channel, so that's a win for me.

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I watched The Christmas Setup. I liked it a good amount, and it was definitely one of the better Lifetime movies this holiday season. I guess I shouldn't be surprised with Fran Drescher involved. Some people don't like her or can't get over her voice, but I was a huge fan of The Nanny growing up as a Jewish kid in New Jersey. The movie seemed to go further with the humor than a lot of the other movies. Fran definitely plays a mother differently from all of these other constantly rotating actors who play the parents in these movies. The actors all worked for me. The storyline was mostly the typical Christmas tropes (outside of the LGBTQ storyline being front and center), but it worked for me overall. Though I wished Fran and her sons played Jewish and the love interest was Christian. But maybe that would have been a step too much in a movie with the LGBTQ storyline and the interracial storyline with the brother and best friend. Or maybe it just would not have allowed Fran's character to be in charge of some of those Christmas festivities. 

Edited by EyewatchTV211
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On 11/15/2020 at 10:04 PM, Mountainair said:

It took me about three tries to get into it but I actually ended up liking Christmas on Wheels. I liked the leads and thought the uncle with the broken foot was giving me Marlon Brando vibes (appearance wise) for some reason. I’m a sucker for classic cars so that helped as well!

I was hesitant to watch it based on the title alone, but I’m really enjoying it. 

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Lifetime's Dear Christmas starring Melissa Joan Hart is pretty good. Considering that the past two years MJH's Christmas movies have been unwatchable. I don't think I spent a half hour on either one.

Somewhat cheesy story.  Decent cast. Good chemistry between MJH and Jason Priestly. 

Giving this a 👍

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I'll have to disagree on Jingle Jangle. We barely made it through. I don't know if it's the fact that it was overly long, that we really didn't care for the songs, that some characters were just superfluous (the pseudo-Urkel kid, the Ricky Martin-voiced matador), or that it reminded us a lot of the awful A Wrinkle in time (on multiple levels), but... pass. It just felt like a movie that got a carte blanche from Netflix but desperately needed someone to rein the project in and make some hard cuts here and there.

We liked the production design, though. And the postal worker/Forest Whitaker bits were fun.

(we plan on watching Christmas Chronicles 2 soon, but i'm a bit apprehensive, since most reviews seem to think it's not as good as the first one)

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5 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

The young daughter actor was surprisingly good though. But the hair stylist apparently did not know how to style her kind of hair——or maybe she just didn't work well with kids.

I don't know if it was the hair or how she looked but she looked like Hallee Hirsch to the point that I wondered if this was an older movie. Lol.

Agree with your earlier comment: the father/male lead looked mid-twenties at best and looked mismatched in having a tweenage daughter. Maybe that's why this one was on ION and not Hallmark because people would have thought he fathered a child at sixteen!

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43 minutes ago, bankerchick said:

Kaoteek, I really enjoyed Christmas Chronicles 2.  I will forgive Kurt Russell a multitude of sins and he and Goldie really are wonderful together.

Love Kurt and Goldie always do well together.  It's definitely worth the watch.

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Ehh. I didn’t like Christmas Chronicles 2 as much as I loved the first one but I hate the trope of creating an “evil villain” when it’s not necessary. I also liked Santa’s musical number better in the first one. You can just tell me the story of people losing their Christmas Spirit over and over again without creating an “evil villain”. I’m easy like that. I think The Santa Claus handled part two of their franchise pretty well but after that when they had to bring in the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost, Father Time, etc. it was too much.

We family watched Disney’s Noelle for the first time last night and I liked it. The younger kids had trouble paying attention and my oldest (11) just asked questions the whole time but I thought it was cute. 

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I just finished Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey on Netflix.
There was much to love about it, although I think the song and dance numbers needed a bigger screen than I have, and would be even better in a theater. 
Having recently watched The Queens Gambit, I saw parallels with the families who had genius skills, and especially both using CGI to show the geniuses visualizing complexity.
It seemed to borrow quite a bit from Peter Pan and Mary Poppins with regards to adventure and special effects.
The little girl actors were wonderful; the second boy apprentice actor looked bad in comparison.
But then next to Forest Whitaker the wonderful Keegan-Michael Key didn't seem nearly so good.
I really appreciated all the independent females. I wish I could have seen this when I was young.

Someone upthread commented on its length. The last 10+ minutes of its 2 hours is credits, so it's not longer than a regular movie.

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Also enjoyed A Little Christmas Charm (or The Charm Bracelet). I taped it because I like Brendan Penny - he was in a Canadian show, "Motive" and I was disappointed when it was cancelled a few years ago. Sigh. Another good one bites the dust.

The movie was charming in its simplicity, had a few surprises, and although the ending was typical, I found it warm and satisfying.

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15 hours ago, EyewatchTV211 said:

I watched The Christmas Setup. I liked it a good amount, and it was definitely one of the better Lifetime movies this holiday season. I guess I shouldn't be surprised with Fran Drescher involved. Some people don't like her or can't get over her voice, but I was a huge fan of The Nanny growing up as a Jewish kid in New Jersey. The movie seemed to go further with the humor than a lot of the other movies. Fran definitely plays a mother differently from all of these other constantly rotating actors who play the parents in these movies. The actors all worked for me. The storyline was mostly the typical Christmas tropes (outside of the LGBTQ storyline being front and center), but it worked for me overall. Though I wished Fran and her sons played Jewish and the love interest was Christian. But maybe that would have been a step too much in a movie with the LGBTQ storyline and the interracial storyline with the brother and best friend. Or maybe it just would not have allowed Fran's character to be in charge of some of those Christmas festivities. 

For me, I just fanwanked that the departed husband was gentile and Fran converted for him. I enjoyed it as well, as someone who used to drool over lacrosse boys. Lol I did think it was funny the movie tried to pretend that Milwaukee is a small town.

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Did anyone watch Dashing in December on Paramount last night? I missed the first 5-10 minutes or so, but overall I thought it was really cute, and the two leads had nice chemistry. Here's hoping for much more queer representation going forward. The only weird note to me in the thankfully homophobia-free movie was that no one told Heath that Wyatt was gay before he arrived. Sure, him being gay isn't his entire personality, but it's also very normal to talk about who your kid is dating/how he identifies. 

 

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50 minutes ago, pigs-in-space said:

Did anyone watch Dashing in December on Paramount last night?

Yes.  I wrote a whole post and I was wondering where it was.  I click in the empty reply box and there's my post.  I guess I did not hit submit.  Oops.

I had some issues with Dashing In December.  Issues that we've talked about with other holiday movies and that's when characters are absolute jerks with no apparent reason and no real good redemption.

Dashing in December was kind of sexy with the nekkid torsos and cowboy swarthiness but man was Peter Porte's character an absolute ass.  They started out with them being at each other's throats.  Then suddenly that stopped so they could build the romance.  And then he was a total jerk again.  Then that was all forgiven so they could reunite. And none of these changes were internally driven other than maybe "oh, the other guy is gay so maybe....." 

That's why I preferred The Christmas Setup.  There was a lot more genuine respect between the characters.

 

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After being disappointed with most of the offerings this year, I caught The Spruces and The Pines from 2017 on ION the other night. It's a Hatfields/McCoys/Romeo/Juliet premise about two rival Christmas tree lots. It's always refreshing when the lead couple gets together well before the final act. I'll definitely add that one to my rotation for future seasons. 

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2 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

I had some issues with Dashing In December.  Issues that we've talked about with other holiday movies and that's when characters are absolute jerks with no apparent reason and no real good redemption.

Dashing in December was kind of sexy with the nekkid torsos and cowboy swarthiness but man was Peter Porte's character an absolute ass.  They started out with them being at each other's throats.  Then suddenly that stopped so they could build the romance.  And then he was a total jerk again.  Then that was all forgiven so they could reunite. And none of these changes were internally driven other than maybe "oh, the other guy is gay so maybe....." 

I noticed that as well, but my tolerance for that kind of manufactured drama is pretty high. While his character was an ass, Heath was pretty naïve, especially once he found out that Wyatt was paying for everything. For all their talk of big ideas no one except Wyatt seemed to actually try to have one.

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18 minutes ago, pigs-in-space said:

For all their talk of big ideas no one except Wyatt seemed to actually try to have one.

I have a higher tolerance too which is why I didn't hate it.  But I did hate the dinner conversation when Heath turned down wanting to go to NYC, especially since they had just started dating.  The way Wyatt denigrated him was pretty appalling.

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On 12/13/2020 at 9:05 AM, EyewatchTV211 said:

I watched The Christmas Setup. I liked it a good amount, and it was definitely one of the better Lifetime movies this holiday season. I guess I shouldn't be surprised with Fran Drescher involved. Some people don't like her or can't get over her voice, but I was a huge fan of The Nanny growing up as a Jewish kid in New Jersey. The movie seemed to go further with the humor than a lot of the other movies. Fran definitely plays a mother differently from all of these other constantly rotating actors who play the parents in these movies. The actors all worked for me. The storyline was mostly the typical Christmas tropes (outside of the LGBTQ storyline being front and center), but it worked for me overall. Though I wished Fran and her sons played Jewish and the love interest was Christian. But maybe that would have been a step too much in a movie with the LGBTQ storyline and the interracial storyline with the brother and best friend. Or maybe it just would not have allowed Fran's character to be in charge of some of those Christmas festivities. 

ITA!  I liked The Christmas Setup more than I thought I would, and you are so on point that having Fran's character (or the whole family) be Jewish would have been one plot point too many.  

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1 hour ago, norcalgal said:

ITA!  I liked The Christmas Setup more than I thought I would, and you are so on point that having Fran's character (or the whole family) be Jewish would have been one plot point too many.  

After seeing a Zoom interview with Fran Drescher re The Christmas Setup I wanted to check it out, but I don't get Lifetime. I might have temporary access starting in January, but...

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