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

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20 minutes ago, Enero said:

I didn’t know where else to put this, but since it’s a Christmas movie I thought it would be fine for this thread. 

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Story (Netflix)- This was sort of a modern day take on Santa Claus but was based in a late 19th/early 20th century fantasy world and different from all past toymaker stories the genius toymaker/innovator was black. I really loved the look of this movie. It did an excellent job capturing that classic look of late 19th/early 20th century town at Christmas. I was surprised that this turned out to be somewhat of a musical, which I usually hate, but I didn’t mind it at all here. The music was overall good, as was the singing. The acting was great and the story was very well written. 

I enjoyed this one immensely  I hope that it will become a classic for future holiday viewing audiences. 

 

Overall, I liked Jingle Jangle too. A few of us commented about it on the previous page of this thread: https://forums.primetimer.com/topic/17461-holiday-tv-movies-non-rankin-bass-holiday-specials/page/59/

 

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On 12/13/2020 at 10:14 PM, shapeshifter said:

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.

No but sometimes movies outlast the time that is needed to tell the story.   I do think Jingle Jangle fell into this trap a little even though it was overall enjoyable.  It was good at just over two hours run time.  It would've been better closer to 90-100 minutes. 

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I watched and loved The Christmas Setup. I thought the the central couple was adorable (the lead Hugo is so my type), the best friend is fun, the brother is hot, and Fran Drescher really got the tone. She can be a lot but when the scene required a different colour she fulfilled it.

The ending was confusing to me. Did Hugo accept the job promotion or not? It seemed weird that Hugo would at the very least go back to NYC. Milwaukee to NYC is okay but Milwaukee to London is a deal breaker? 

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8 minutes ago, memememe76 said:

I watched and loved The Christmas Setup. I thought the the central couple was adorable (the lead Hugo is so my type), the best friend is fun, the brother is hot, and Fran Drescher really got the tone. She can be a lot but when the scene required a different colour she fulfilled it.

The ending was confusing to me. Did Hugo accept the job promotion or not? It seemed weird that Hugo would at the very least go back to NYC. Milwaukee to NYC is okay but Milwaukee to London is a deal breaker? 

I adored this one, too!

The ending was a bit vague, but during Hugo's speech at the train station he says "he's home". And then Patrick asks if he really means it, and Hugo says yes. So I think that Hugo realizing he was 'home' meant that he decided to stay. Yeah, it could have been a lot clearer.

But I loved almost everything about this movie. All of the characters were adorable.  I enjoyed seeing the main couple acknowledge their feelings relatively early and actually date a bit. We got a little taste of what their relationship might be like instead of one kiss as the movie fades to black.

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5 minutes ago, memememe76 said:

The ending was confusing to me. Did Hugo accept the job promotion or not?

I don't think they said but I think the boyfriend who was against long distance might have come around on it.

As for Milwaukee to NY vs Milwaukee to London, there are direct flights from Milwaukee to NY that are about 2 hours long.  But going from Milwaukee to London is at least 9 hours and involves at least one stop  (probably Chicago or Detroit).

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Letters to Satan Claus

Freudian slip? Although that is one holiday movie I would absolutely watch!

I got around to watching Love, Lights, Hanukkah! and really liked it. For a romcom, the focus wasn't really on the romance and the setup was actually plausible. Woman who was adopted takes a genetic test after her mother dies and discovers one side of her birth family is Jewish. The only contrived part is that she's immediately contacted by one of her genetic matches and that woman's mother is of course, her birth mother. The story was more about accepting the changes in her life and mourning her mother. So they had an excuse to show both Hannukah and Christmas without it being belabored or competing, there weren't any love triangles or exes, and they ended with the main character and the love interest deciding to date without jumping to an engagement or wedding. They even got the giant, Chabad menorah right for the outdoor lighting ceremony. I would actually love a followup movie with her first Passover, because that's the big, extended family gathering for Jewish holidays. And they could do the Easter/Passover thing because they're always close.

Latkes with guacamole doesn't sound half bad.

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5 hours ago, memememe76 said:

I watched and loved The Christmas Setup. I thought the the central couple was adorable (the lead Hugo is so my type), the best friend is fun, the brother is hot, and Fran Drescher really got the tone. She can be a lot but when the scene required a different colour she fulfilled it.

Finally found a way to watch this movie here in Australia, and as a gay man I must confess that I had no idea how much I needed a movie like this to be made. Sure I've watched a bajillion Christmas movies like this before but seeing the same cliched plot applied to two men just warmed by Grinchian heart (or maybe it was Patrick). Can't really explain it, but there were lots of little subtle things that I connected with that I'm sure if one of the leads were a female I wouldn't have even noticed. Strange I know. So happy they made this, and I hope more get made. Because surely I deserve eye-rolling, cheesy predictability every Christmas. The movie really has re-ignited the Christmas spirit in me.

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9 hours ago, gutbuster said:

I adored this one, too!

The ending was a bit vague, but during Hugo's speech at the train station he says "he's home". And then Patrick asks if he really means it, and Hugo says yes. So I think that Hugo realizing he was 'home' meant that he decided to stay. Yeah, it could have been a lot clearer.

But I loved almost everything about this movie. All of the characters were adorable.  I enjoyed seeing the main couple acknowledge their feelings relatively early and actually date a bit. We got a little taste of what their relationship might be like instead of one kiss as the movie fades to black.

I interpreted the ending as that Hugo was moving home to Milwaukee. He can practice law there, work on Patrick's non-profit, do his woodworking, and continue his quest to solve the mystery of the train station and save it.

4 hours ago, Bill1978 said:

Finally found a way to watch this movie here in Australia, and as a gay man I must confess that I had no idea how much I needed a movie like this to be made. Sure I've watched a bajillion Christmas movies like this before but seeing the same cliched plot applied to two men just warmed by Grinchian heart (or maybe it was Patrick). Can't really explain it, but there were lots of little subtle things that I connected with that I'm sure if one of the leads were a female I wouldn't have even noticed. Strange I know. So happy they made this, and I hope more get made. Because surely I deserve eye-rolling, cheesy predictability every Christmas. The movie really has re-ignited the Christmas spirit in me.

Patrick! So good looking. Way upthread I linked to an interview with the actor who played Hugo. In it, he talked about how much it would have meant to him as a teen to see a movie like this. I'm happy to hear that it can have the same effect on adults! 

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2 hours ago, Ashforth said:

I interpreted the ending as that Hugo was moving home to Milwaukee. He can practice law there, work on Patrick's non-profit, do his woodworking, and continue his quest to solve the mystery of the train station and save it.

 

You may be right, too. There were little bits throughout the movie that really supported it going either way.

After I posted I thought about their last conversation in Edgar's office where they tell each other that they really want to make it work, and I couldn't remember if that scene implied them doing long distance. Patrick seemed like he maybe got a bit more hope about the logistics. Hugo never explicitly says that he's leaving New York. They also never really clarify if Hugo's firm would allow him to keep his position and or partnership if he turned down London. 

Among other things, I assumed that in Christmas-TV-movie-speak Hugo saying "I'm home" meant he was giving up everything to stay, lol. He seemed passionate about Edgar's legacy and Patrick did mention there was a lot, work-wise, that Hugo could do at home. Maybe we'll get a sequel for Aiden and Madeline that will clarify what happened (I can dream hopelessly).

It also occurred to me that the final shot in the movie being a photo of Hugo and Patrick kissing in front of the train station was a nice mirror of Edgar and Ashby's in front of the train station, except they didn't have to hide anything. I really adored this movie.

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17 hours ago, Ashforth said:

I watched a few of the movies this weekend. 

Too Close for Christmas was not bad (except for the ridiculous reason that she was mad at the guy), but echoing what's been said before, what the hell has Jessica Lowndes done to her face? I think last year her lips were gigantic. This year, her lips are more normal-ish, but her whole face looks like plastic. I actually looked her up and saw that she is 32. 32! She looks at least ten years older, like a 45 year old trying to look 35. And why did Chad Michael Murray have a pronounced Southern or Western cowboy accent? No one else in his family did. Plus the mother was a weird control freak who had the whole family cowed. Other than that, it was okay 🤣 At this point, my judging system is whether the movie is so bad that I turn it off.

I liked A Christmas Exchange, I thought both leads were appealing and the storyline that they were strangers getting to know each other through texting and calling while living in each other's houses was fun and different. Laura Vandervoort is 35 and doesn't look like she's doing any Botox or fillers, so she looked natural and so much younger than Lowdnes.

I started Christmas Ever After and it was just okay, but I grew tired of it and turned it off. As others have said, the female lead was pretty over the top. Maybe since she's a Broadway star she's accustomed to having to make it BIG! to reach the audience in the back of the theater.

I already commented on the other new movies that you referenced.

Too Close for Christmas just bored me. I don't have a lot to say about the movie besides that.

It's funny, I also liked A Christmas Exchange, but I had the same issue with it at the start of the movie as I did with Christmas Ever After. The female lead annoyed me at first and was very over the top. Her forgetting to leave her house keys for the guy who came all the way from England to stay there and then chatting his ear off when he called her about it and told her how tired he was. However, the movie improved once she calmed down and I ended up really liking it, which is also what happened with Ever After. It was another movie that I did not expect to like from the preview. 

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3 hours ago, EyewatchTV211 said:

And why did Chad Michael Murray have a pronounced Southern or Western cowboy accent? No one else in his family did.

This drove me crazy! And he travelled a lot with his recent project being in NYC. Where did he pick up this accent? I've usually liked the Christmas movies that CMM has been in, but this one was pretty boring, and I checked out almost immediately. 

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14 hours ago, Vermicious Knid said:

Freudian slip? Although that is one holiday movie I would absolutely watch!

Nope. That's the name of the movie.

Quote

Letters to Satan Claus revolves around Holly who, after returning to her hometown of Ornaments as a big-city news reporter, faces off with the demon of her past following a simple typo made in her letter to Santa. It's a harmless mistake that summons Satan to kill her parents.

 

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3 hours ago, absnow54 said:

This drove me crazy! And he travelled a lot with his recent project being in NYC. Where did he pick up this accent? I've usually liked the Christmas movies that CMM has been in, but this one was pretty boring, and I checked out almost immediately. 

Just for clarity, I posted:

Quote

And why did Chad Michael Murray have a pronounced Southern or Western cowboy accent? No one else in his family did.

I don't know why sometimes quoting a quoted post attributes the quote to the first quoter instead of the OP. OMG, that can be the "big misunderstanding" in the last 20 minutes of a future holiday movie! Hallmark, Lifetime, whoever, you're welcome! Send me a check. 

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On 12/20/2020 at 3:56 PM, Terrafamilia said:

Did anyone else see Letters to Satan Claus on SyFy? It was super dumb and cheezy (on purpose), like a cross between Krampus and all the Hallmark Christmas movie tropes you could stuff into a stocking.

Oh, I saw the name and had to watch. It was kind of a hoot. Didn't take itself too seriously, had that so-bad-it's goodish sci fi vibe, and skewered so many of the tropes. I didn't watch closely but it was fun. Glad I happened to see the listing as I scrolled.

I'm terrible at remembering the names of what I watched, but a few years ago, I stopped watching any that had almost no diversity and were all "small towns are better than cities/gotta save the Christmas ornament factory that's been losing money since it opened." And with that, I've been seeing better plots. I saw same-sex couples, Black leads, Asian leads, Latinx leads. Saw a man follow a woman to another country because she got the big promotion. Heard Spanish spoken. I've really been enjoying something other than the same old plots with the same faces. I've even seen some fresher stuff on Hallmark, though I have been watching more on other channels. 

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I watched Dashing Through December. It was fine but nothing great. The actors were attractive but their personalities just didn’t mesh. They must have spent a lot of money on the music licensing. 
 

My favourite person in the movie was the best friend. Both this and The Christmas Setup really nailed the female best friend character. I hope both actresses can get their own Holiday movie. 

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SyFy, you say? Being rerun at noon on Christmas, now set on the DVR. Followed by, oh geez, Toys of Terror: 'Evil toys magically come to life to terrorize a couple and their children inside a secluded mansion'.

"Yep, here's your problem. Someone set this thing to evil."

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On 12/20/2020 at 6:22 PM, Enero said:

I didn’t know where else to put this, but since it’s a Christmas movie I thought it would be fine for this thread. 

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Story (Netflix)- This was sort of a modern day take on Santa Claus but was based in a late 19th/early 20th century fantasy world and different from all past toymaker stories the genius toymaker/innovator was black. I really loved the look of this movie. It did an excellent job capturing that classic look of late 19th/early 20th century town at Christmas. I was surprised that this turned out to be somewhat of a musical, which I usually hate, but I didn’t mind it at all here. The music was overall good, as was the singing. The acting was great and the story was very well written. 

I enjoyed this one immensely  I hope that it will become a classic for future holiday viewing audiences. 

 

I freakin' loved this one as well! I'll probably add it to my celebratory watchlist after settling in this week. Such a great movie. I always smile at the end and wish I could follow the characters beyond the credits. :-)

 

On 12/20/2020 at 7:43 AM, Stacey1014 said:

I’m disappointed that I didn’t catch Christmas Perfection this year. I don’t know if Lifetime didn’t show it or if I missed it when it was in their rotation , but it’s one of my favorites. The scenery is just lovely. 

 

On 12/20/2020 at 7:49 AM, peachmangosteen said:

It's on PlutoTV.

And Hulu, too. They showed it like once this season and that was it. A shame because this is one of my new faves as well.

On 12/19/2020 at 1:08 PM, Ashforth said:

I just watched Let's Meet Again at Christmas on Lifetime. It was good! It started out weak and the lead actress's baby voice bothered me throughout. It got better as it went along. The billionaire couple getting married in two weeks with no preparation was silly, but they were likeable, along with their daughter, and Uncle Bernie tied the story up nicely. I loved the male lead, Brooks Darnell, he is handsome and charismatic and I thought he made up for the weaknesses of the lead actress (don't know her name). Overall this one was a success for me.

Kyla Pratt is like Christina Milian, they never age and could still play teens/college kids in their 30s lol. I forgot this on my Lifetime list over in the Hallmark thread but I rather liked this one as well. I prob would have liked it more if I hadn't seen and loved The Christmas Pact last year which had a similar premise as this one, but took another turn. Brooks Darnell was also good in last year's A Christmas Miracle with Tamera.

On a side note, I'm bummed there's no Hilarie Burton offerings on my tv this year.

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21 hours ago, Darian said:

And with that, I've been seeing better plots. I saw same-sex couples, Black leads, Asian leads, Latinx leads. Saw a man follow a woman to another country because she got the big promotion. Heard Spanish spoken. I've really been enjoying something other than the same old plots with the same faces. I've even seen some fresher stuff on Hallmark, though I have been watching more on other channels.

I've noticed that too, and I've moved away from Hallmark unless I like the leads.  The more interesting stuff seems to be on other channels. Still waiting for my Pagan Holiday Movie, though.

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18 hours ago, Vermicious Knid said:

SyFy, you say? Being rerun at noon on Christmas, now set on the DVR. Followed by, oh geez, Toys of Terror: 'Evil toys magically come to life to terrorize a couple and their children inside a secluded mansion'.

"Yep, here's your problem. Someone set this thing to evil."

Funnily enough, I didn't hate Toys of Terror back when I watched it, before it got to Syfy. It did have that Syfy vibe of a lower budget and so-so actors, but they (it was written and produced by the showrunner of the Stan against Evil show) had a vision for the movie (stop-motions evil toys that kill and even have a song), they stuck to it, the productions values were pretty decent (the house looked good) and the blended mixed family was interesting. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't good per se, but since I expect any Syfy movie to be awful, it was still better than expected.

Speaking of Syfy, I didn't care much for Letters to Satan Claus. I couldn't escape the feeling that they were aiming for a Sharknado-type of take on the genre of Hallmark Christmas movies, but didn't have the budget nor someone to reign them in, and better balance the pure spoof moments (that took 80% of the movie and, tbh, weren't necessarily much better than Cup of Cheer, the other bad spoof of the season) and the Satan Claus subplot.

That said, the deliberate campiness and "Leprechauniness" of that Satan amused me.

As for Dashing in December, it didn't convince me. I felt the writing and acting were a bit too bipolar, with Peter Porte switching from hostile and unlikeable to horny and seductive on a dime, and "Fernando" not being much better in the end. Also, not a huge fan of Andy MacDowell's acting in some scenes. Still, despite the fact that I liked it much less than the Fran Drescher one, at least they both exist, which is a good thing, and was unthinkable a couple of years back.

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4 hours ago, Lugal said:

I've noticed that too, and I've moved away from Hallmark unless I like the leads.  The more interesting stuff seems to be on other channels. Still waiting for my Pagan Holiday Movie, though.

To be fair, this year Hallmark has had all the things @Darian listed except for having "a man follow a woman to another country because she got the big promotion." I've liked more Hallmark movies this year than I have in awhile, and I haven't been thrilled with many of the Lifetime ones although there have finally been a few. 

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Why does your leaving town to go back to your big-city life after Christmas preclude you from having an incredible night tonight?  Not every kiss needs to lead to marriage.

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It just occurred to me when I quoted DiDi Snively to a co-worker yesterday ("GOD... Dammit, RR") that my fellow posters would probably love A Tuna Christmas, and I was hoping to find it for streaming, but alas, it seems to only be available on DVD (at a whopping $49) on Amazon. I wish it was more readily available, because it is a hoot. Here's an interview with the stars:

I found a poor quality copy of the HBO production of Greater Tuna (the origin play) on YouTube, but found it pretty much unwatchable. Greater Tuna is darker than A Tuna Christmas, imo, and I didn't like it as much. 

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Another reason to not feel like you have to do everything exactly the same as the way your mother did it before she died years ago.  Maybe you're wrong.  Case in point - watching a movie now where they have to have a pyjama party every Christmas Eve because that's what her mother did.  Turns out, Mom only did the pyjama party because the kid was a brat and Mom always dreamed of having another fancy ball.  Dad even saved Mom's old ball gowns (how did the daughter not know about this?) just in case.

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Take this season's A Christmas Break on Lifetime, genderswap the leads, add a dose of meta subtext about how the main character, an actress (the always likeable Tori Anderson), isn't fulfilled by her commercial acting career and finds a new sense of purpose in directing other actors (the movie is written by a regular Hallmark actress, and directed by Ali Liebert), and there you go, Lifetime's Spotlight on Christmas. Mostly bland, very generic, not a lot of chemistry. Meh.

Edited by Kaoteek

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Watched my A Garfield Christmas DVD, and that’s another great one that’s never on TV anymore. Jon’s grandma is so cool; I used to wish she was my grandma.

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9 hours ago, Ashforth said:

It just occurred to me when I quoted DiDi Snively to a co-worker yesterday ("GOD... Dammit, RR") that my fellow posters would probably love A Tuna Christmas, and I was hoping to find it for streaming, but alas, it seems to only be available on DVD (at a whopping $49) on Amazon. I wish it was more readily available, because it is a hoot. Here's an interview with the stars:

I found a poor quality copy of the HBO production of Greater Tuna (the origin play) on YouTube, but found it pretty much unwatchable. Greater Tuna is darker than A Tuna Christmas, imo, and I didn't like it as much. 

I cannot tell you how much I love Greater Tuna!  I still quote it in my office (it came through the Houston stages quite often so my co-workers don’t look at me like I’m crazy) — “Let’s talk about Ducks”.  These two stars are so terrific.  Thank you for reminding me!

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33 minutes ago, MerBearHou said:

I cannot tell you how much I love Greater Tuna!  I still quote it in my office (it came through the Houston stages quite often so my co-workers don’t look at me like I’m crazy) — “Let’s talk about Ducks”.  These two stars are so terrific.  Thank you for reminding me!

"That boy ain't right" and "Take the bitter pill" have long been staples for me. 

Joe Sears, Jaston Williams and Ed Howard created magic with the Tuna plays. A Tuna Christmas is my favorite.

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I'm currently watching The Night They Saved Christmas, starring Jaclyn Smith with Art Carney as Santa, which originally aired on ABC in 1984.  I first saw it on cable in 2000 when I started watching Charlie's Angels on TV Land.  It's about Santa and his "chief elf" enlisting the help of Jaclyn's character and her children to stop her husband and the oil company that employs him from inadvertently destroying North Pole City.  It hasn't been on TV for several years, so I'm watching a DVD I copied off a shaky VHS copy that I made from ION in the late 2000s.  I'm watching by myself this year because I can't have my friend come over to keep our decade-long tradition of watching it after I introduced it to her.  We probably don't watch the movie in the spirit with which it was intended, as we're constantly chiming in with sarcastic commentary, singing along with the songs, laughing at things that are supposed to be serious, etc.  We practically have the dialogue memorized, and at all times of the year one of us will randomly break out lines from the movie such as "Would you PLEASE shut up?" "Dad, I really hate Mr. Murdock," "They're dynamitin' again, they're dynamitin' again!" "I wasn't drugged!" or my favorite, "You're gonna ruin Christmas forever."  (The last one, said sadly by the troubled youngest son, fit perfectly a few years ago when a Christmas parade was to be shelved, although it was later saved and continues in some form even this year.)  When we were watching a few years ago, my friend was commenting on the storyline involving a hint at marital problems for the main couple, and she declared that Jaclyn's character, Claudia, was set to file for divorce and write as reason for petition for divorce, "He blew up Santa Claus!"  I almost fell off the couch laughing over that one.  I'm sure the movie means well, but it is very cheesy and I can't tell if the production values were considered good for this time period or not.  However, I have to watch it every year.  The youngest son is currently yelling very enthusiastically and seems to be frightening my cat.  I can't really blame him on that one.

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Can someone direct me please to the right page to talk about Christmas at the Castle?  It premiered on Lifetime tonight,  There is a Lifetime page, but nobody's posted on it for a couple of weeks!   So many thoughts .. but I want to put them at the right place.  Thanks ! 

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6 minutes ago, Chippings said:

Can someone direct me please to the right page to talk about Christmas at the Castle?  It premiered on Lifetime tonight,  There is a Lifetime page, but nobody's posted on it for a couple of weeks!   So many thoughts .. but I want to put them at the right place.  Thanks ! 

Here's fine because it's a holiday movie.

I watched it too.  Ummm...nice Scottish scenery?

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Yeah, from what I can remember of it (it aired last year, here), it felt like they spent all their budget on the filming in Scotland, and didn't have much left for good writing, casting, editing, and so on. It was rough, in short, and very generic.

Also very cheap, but much less by-the-book, this year's, A Christmas Exchange. I knew what to expect when I saw the Brain Power Studio logo pop-up on screen : a cheap, Ontario shot Christmas movie, that mostly ends up relying on its leads & supporting cast to make it work.

And it did, even though it felt somewhat derivative of The Holiday, the interiors all felt like no-budget sets, and the close-up filming struggled to hide the Ontario-for-London & green screen shooting.

Still, the gay BFFs couple was fun (more Yanic Truesdale is always a plus), the accents were... okayish, and aside from some annoying bits of writing (mostly re: Vandervoort's character), it was more likeable and light-hearted than most other Lifetime movies, this season.

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57 minutes ago, Kaoteek said:

Also very cheap, but much less by-the-book, this year's, A Christmas Exchange. I knew what to expect when I saw the Brain Power Studio logo pop-up on screen : a cheap, Ontario shot Christmas movie, that mostly ends up relying on its leads & supporting cast to make it work.

And it did, even though it felt somewhat derivative of The Holiday, the interiors all felt like no-budget sets, and the close-up filming struggled to hide the Ontario-for-London & green screen shooting.

Still, the gay BFFs couple was fun (more Yanic Truesdale is always a plus), the accents were... okayish, and aside from some annoying bits of writing (mostly re: Vandervoort's character), it was more likeable and light-hearted than most other Lifetime movies, this season.

I appreciated that the storyline was kind of a fish out of water tale on both sides. It was different than the typical "successful but single (so not really successful) woman gets stuck in a small incredibly Christmas-oriented town". This movie felt more grown-up to me than most. 

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Agree about Christmas at the Castle. I probably shouldn't have bothered to watch the whole thing. I appreciate Lifetime for continuing to air "new" movies this week since I'm a secular Jew, not working this week, live alone, am not visiting family like I normally do thanks to the pandemic, and have little better to do. This is exactly when I have more time to watch, but there's understandably less on. Even Hallmark doesn't bother. Unfortunately, they seem to have chosen some of their lower quality movies to show now, I guess because they aren't expecting a large viewing/buying audience. So they are smartly trying to be the network with new content but with little risk or effort. Oh well. We'll see what tonight's  tomorrow night's movie brings. 

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12 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

Here's fine because it's a holiday movie.

I watched it too.  Ummm...nice Scottish scenery?

So, about Christmas at the Castle ..   I will probably go back and see it from the very beginning, but I have the idea.  As said above, they evidently used most of the budget going to Scotland and renting the castle,  The castle and the rooms inside were great, as were the shots of the countryside and the Edinburgh Christmas Faire.

I read a review which picked a lot of holes in the plot.  One was the wee problem that when the heroine met her soon-to-be-true-love, the first thing she did was tell him a huge lie, and go with that for most of the film.  I read, too, compliments on the acting, but I found the heroine very unconvincing all the way through.

For a very small problem but it bugged me the whole way, was My Gawd, her hair !!  It was the same from beginning to end - not really as clean-looking as it could be, and always needing combing.  Even for the big Ball (where other heroines have acquired a lovely new up-do in evidently twenty minutes), she appeared with the same unkempt look.  One piece I saw on this movie said that they had a crew of just 10 people,  Clearly hair-and-make-up were not among them.  But an actress with any experience has some skill with her own hair.  Same hair problem with the unnecessarily-very-unpleasant local girl, Kirsten.   Again, if there was no hair person she should have been able to manage it herself a little better.  

On the positive side, the hero was appealing enough, I thought.  And here's kudos to the really delightful gray-haired maid lady, who was a wonderful little grace note in the story and did a good job at it.  

Finally, that "ball gown" !  Really ugly (or the top half anyway) and it did not fit!  Have to say that I've worked on costumes for a community theatre with 99 seats - a small one - but I would never have put that dress on my lead at all, and especially not for the big dance scene.    

That's a lot of thoughts for somebody who didn't even see the whole movie.  Will, indeed, watch it again to be fair.  But the hair and that dress won't get any better!  

 

 

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I caught A Christmas Movie Christmas from last year, and I have to agree with the reviews from back in the thread last year. It started off well as a fun spoof of all the holiday movie tropes, then turned into just another holiday movie. There was so much potential with that premise, and the cast seemed to be having fun with it. I particularly liked the snarky sister and her guy (and noticed on IMDB that the actors ended up married after the movie was filmed).

One thing that bugged me was that they got a lot of the tropes -- the hometown guy vs. the snooty city guy, save the Christmas festival, the baker guy, the bitchy romantic rival -- but one thing they missed was that in all the "I wish I could have a perfect Christmas like in a snowglobe/Christmas village/department store window" movies, the heroine learns that this actually isn't what she wants, and she ends up having an imperfect, but more enjoyable Christmas in the real world. But I don't think the heroine in this one really learned anything. I wasn't sure what was supposed to be up with her. She was escaping reality and having to actually deal with things by losing herself in Christmas movies, made a wish to actually live in a Christmas movie, got her wish, and then her big dilemma was just like any Christmas movie -- save the festival and pick between the two guys. And I guess she learned to stand up for herself when she saved the festival, so she was able to go on Christmas morning and demand a different job from her boss? And she somehow got to keep the Christmas movie boyfriend in real life? She was also remarkably lacking in genre savvy when having to choose between the hometown guy and the star from the city, and it wasn't even a misunderstanding issue there because she was actually stringing both of them along. It was weird that the sister who was forced to watch the movies without really liking them seemed more aware of the tropes she was facing than the sister who was obsessed with the movies was.

I've caught myself trying to mentally rewrite the story to make it work. But I'm not sure you could get away with anyone saying that they found life in a Christmas movie to be boring and shallow and to want to talk about something other than Christmas. They were probably pushing it to have the snarky sister leaving the house so she wouldn't have to decorate Christmas cookies again.

Another older one I watched this year was Back to Christmas -- the heroine regrets having broken up with her boyfriend last Christmas when she thought he was going to propose and he didn't, and she gets her wish to go back to that Christmas and do it over again. This one was rather well done for (I believe) an ION movie. The acting was a lot better than you usually get. There were still the usual tropes -- the boy next door in the hometown vs. the successful businessman from the city -- but the cast sold it pretty well. It was interesting that the mother was actually for the city guy because she didn't want her daughter stuck in the small nowhere town. I'm not sure how "nowhere" that town could have been considering the parents lived in a mini mansion in California, with a water park sized pool in the backyard, and the town's big tradition was the big Christmas party at the country club. If you're living in multimillion dollar homes and have a country club, there has to be some kind of job opportunity nearby. It also kind of bugged me that the heroine woke up back in the present, with the previous year having been totally different because of the choices she made, but she didn't seem to remember that year. She went straight from the previous year's Christmas to that year's Christmas, so does she not remember the first year of the relationship she got into then? That would be weird.

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2 hours ago, Chippings said:

So, about Christmas at the Castle ..   I will probably go back and see it from the very beginning, but I have the idea.  As said above, they evidently used most of the budget going to Scotland and renting the castle,  The castle and the rooms inside were great, as were the shots of the countryside and the Edinburgh Christmas Faire.

I read a review which picked a lot of holes in the plot.  One was the wee problem that when the heroine met her soon-to-be-true-love, the first thing she did was tell him a huge lie, and go with that for most of the film.  I read, too, compliments on the acting, but I found the heroine very unconvincing all the way through.

For a very small problem but it bugged me the whole way, was My Gawd, her hair !!  It was the same from beginning to end - not really as clean-looking as it could be, and always needing combing.  Even for the big Ball (where other heroines have acquired a lovely new up-do in evidently twenty minutes), she appeared with the same unkempt look.  One piece I saw on this movie said that they had a crew of just 10 people,  Clearly hair-and-make-up were not among them.  But an actress with any experience has some skill with her own hair.  Same hair problem with the unnecessarily-very-unpleasant local girl, Kirsten.   Again, if there was no hair person she should have been able to manage it herself a little better.  

On the positive side, the hero was appealing enough, I thought.  And here's kudos to the really delightful gray-haired maid lady, who was a wonderful little grace note in the story and did a good job at it.  

Finally, that "ball gown" !  Really ugly (or the top half anyway) and it did not fit!  Have to say that I've worked on costumes for a community theatre with 99 seats - a small one - but I would never have put that dress on my lead at all, and especially not for the big dance scene.    

That's a lot of thoughts for somebody who didn't even see the whole movie.  Will, indeed, watch it again to be fair.  But the hair and that dress won't get any better!  

 

 

Clippings, you’ve pretty much said everything I was thinking while I watched this movie. The terrible hair was very distracting and I’ve seen better ballgowns from Halloween costume store! 

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On 12/23/2020 at 1:16 PM, Kaoteek said:

As for Dashing in December, it didn't convince me. I felt the writing and acting were a bit too bipolar, with Peter Porte switching from hostile and unlikeable to horny and seductive on a dime, and "Fernando" not being much better in the end. Also, not a huge fan of Andy MacDowell's acting in some scenes. Still, despite the fact that I liked it much less than the Fran Drescher one, at least they both exist, which is a good thing, and was unthinkable a couple of years back.

Just caught up on this film and I have to say if death isn't an option I would choose The Christmas Setup as my annual viewing of a gay themed movie out of the two. Wyatt was very, very hard to like especially at the start and honestly I'm not sure I even liked him at the end. Heath was easier to sympathise with and hope that he got his happy ending. And speaking of the ending, I am still totally confused with just exactly how Wyatt saved the ranch from being closed. I get it has something to do with his company but I don't fully understand what his brilliant idea was except for the fact they now sell coffee with oat milk as an option.

I did like the talk about growing up gay in a country town, something I connected with. And even now, how it can be difficult to be your true self in certain situations in the town, even if everyone is accepting.

The Christmas Setup was definitely more rom-com while Dashing in December was more romantic drama.

The one thing Dashing in December has over The Christmas Setup is the accidental bathroom run-in scene. Totally gratuitous to the overall plot but I'm not complaining at it's existence at all.

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1 hour ago, Koalagirl said:

Clippings, you’ve pretty much said everything I was thinking while I watched this movie. The terrible hair was very distracting and I’ve seen better ballgowns from Halloween costume store! 

Same. And Chippings, I'm not surprised you found the male hero to be the one decent aspect of the movie. He has actually been in a regular Hallmark movie and I think some other shows and seems to be a decent actor. Not sure how he ended up with all these other smaller-time actors in this cheap movie. I wasn't surprised to find out that the female lead is actually English, as her American accent was definitely off at times. They should have just had her be from London and keep the rest of the story the same. There wasn't really a need for her to be American specifically.

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1 hour ago, Bill1978 said:

The Christmas Setup was definitely more rom-com while Dashing in December was more romantic drama.

The one thing Dashing in December has over The Christmas Setup is the accidental bathroom run-in scene. Totally gratuitous to the overall plot but I'm not complaining at it's existence at all.

The only reason I finished watching Dashing in December was because it wasn't two straight, cis-het people (like me ) falling in love.  I wanted it to get good ratings. I liked The Christmas Setup much more, and was charmed when I found out that the leads are married in real life. Sometimes real-life chemistry doesn't translate to the screen, but theirs sure did. individually and together, they were adorable. 

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Thank you guys, because if it wasn’t for you all I would have skipped Sugar and Spice Holiday, but it’s one of my favorites this season. I loved that the leads were Asian, and it was cute and funny! I also loved her family, and shockingly she didn’t give up her career for the guy and small town life. How refreshing.

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On 12/24/2020 at 3:12 PM, Chippings said:

So, about Christmas at the Castle ..   I will probably go back and see it from the very beginning, but I have the idea.  As said above, they evidently used most of the budget going to Scotland and renting the castle,  The castle and the rooms inside were great, as were the shots of the countryside and the Edinburgh Christmas Faire.

I read a review which picked a lot of holes in the plot.  One was the wee problem that when the heroine met her soon-to-be-true-love, the first thing she did was tell him a huge lie, and go with that for most of the film.  I read, too, compliments on the acting, but I found the heroine very unconvincing all the way through.

For a very small problem but it bugged me the whole way, was My Gawd, her hair !!  It was the same from beginning to end - not really as clean-looking as it could be, and always needing combing.  Even for the big Ball (where other heroines have acquired a lovely new up-do in evidently twenty minutes), she appeared with the same unkempt look.  One piece I saw on this movie said that they had a crew of just 10 people,  Clearly hair-and-make-up were not among them.  But an actress with any experience has some skill with her own hair.  Same hair problem with the unnecessarily-very-unpleasant local girl, Kirsten.   Again, if there was no hair person she should have been able to manage it herself a little better.  

On the positive side, the hero was appealing enough, I thought.  And here's kudos to the really delightful gray-haired maid lady, who was a wonderful little grace note in the story and did a good job at it.  

Finally, that "ball gown" !  Really ugly (or the top half anyway) and it did not fit!  Have to say that I've worked on costumes for a community theatre with 99 seats - a small one - but I would never have put that dress on my lead at all, and especially not for the big dance scene.    

That's a lot of thoughts for somebody who didn't even see the whole movie.  Will, indeed, watch it again to be fair.  But the hair and that dress won't get any better!  

 

 

Oh no, you really did not miss much, the whole movie was atrocious. The best parts were the male lead and the beautiful Scottish scenery. 
(and the cute little gray haired housekeeper) 

I kept meaning to change the channel but it was like a bad accident, I couldn’t look away!

The lie she came up with and played through most of the movie was so off putting. 
The acting, writing, hair, makeup, that god awful powder blue “Cinderella” dress, made every Hallmark Christmas movie seem Oscar worthy! 
I”m glad you posted!  I came here hoping to read some snarky comments. 😉 

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Let's face it, anything with the stink of "royalty" on it is going to be a major fail.  What makes writers think that all American women secretly yearn to become princesses?

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31 minutes ago, Kohola3 said:

Let's face it, anything with the stink of "royalty" on it is going to be a major fail.  What makes writers think that all American women secretly yearn to become princesses?

I avoid all of the "royalty" romance movies, whether Christmas themed or not. They are just awful to me.

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3 hours ago, Ashforth said:

I avoid all of the "royalty" romance movies, whether Christmas themed or not. They are just awful to me.

Ditto here.  If it's royal related, I'm out.  My one exception -- and it's kind of an old one -- is Paul Campbell's "Once Upon a Holiday".  He's just so wonderful in everything he does so for Paul, I'll make this royal exception.

Ok, I remembered another and it's because of wonderful Laura Osnes and Aaron Tveit and their delightful, fun supporting cast in "One Royal Holiday" this year.  

Edited by MerBearHou
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2 hours ago, Ashforth said:

I avoid all of the "royalty" romance movies, whether Christmas themed or not. They are just awful to me.

I feel the same way but I did watch One Royal Holiday and was pleasantly surprised.  Maybe it's because the royal family was "stranded" in small town USA so there really wasn't much emphasis on the fake country they were from but anyway it worked for me.  Probably not in the endlessly watch this one way, but I did like it.

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1 hour ago, MerBearHou said:

Ditto here.  If it's royal related, I'm out.  My one exception -- and it's kind of an old one -- is Paul Campbell's "Once Upon a Holiday".  He's just so wonderful in everything he does so for Paul, I'll make this royal exception.

That was delightful.  Paul's movies tend to be funnier so that helps.  But the fact that the woman was the royal instead of the man was at least a twist on the standard.

Royal Matchmaker was also better than most of these. Lenz and Kemp were good together.

But the only movie that escapes my royal movie disdain--in that I'll watch it every year--is Crown For Christmas.  I'll give the royal movies a shot but I'm much faster to hit delete than I am most of the time.

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Irlandesa said:

Royal Matchmaker was also better than most of these. Lenz and Kemp were good together.

But the only movie that escapes my royal movie disdain--in that I'll watch it every year--is Crown For Christmas.  I'll give the royal movies a shot but I'm much faster to hit delete than I am most of the time.

I *might* give those two a try based on my always-like for Will Kemp and usually-like Bethany Lenz.  So many people say good things about Crown for Christmas so I may have to take a peek at it and see if I can stand the royal-ness of it.

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