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

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15 hours ago, twoods said:

I wanted to like the baking one with the fruitcake company since the lead and her family are South Indian and I liked that she talked about being the only Indian at her school so her grandmother learned about Christmas to make her feel more comfortable because I could totally relate. I just wish there was more chemistry between the leads. There was some humor in there and those fruitcakes looked delicious, but the rest was meh.

I would say about 3/4ths of that movie was decent background for me. I liked the maturity in the performances of the leads.  They felt like adults.  I also liked the side romance of the brother and the assistant (although why they couldn't kiss I do not know when Lifetime did a full on gay romcom last year.)  The brother was especially cute.

But it all sort of fell apart when they brought in the social media stuff. 

 

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I just watched Kristin's Christmas Past (2013) for the first time (because of 3 months of cable with my new internet). 
It stars Shiri Appleby, who I identified with in her role in Roswell——she reminded me of my high school age self while I watched back in the late 90s/early 00s when I was the age Shiri is now. 
In Kristin's Christmas Past, Shiri and her character are 34 years old when she visits her high school age self (played by Hannah Marks) in a time traveling dream. 
This is the first post OG Roswell role in which I identified with Shiri again.
And I have loved time travel stories since I was a tween.

Anyone else enjoy this Lifetime movie?

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Watched a bunch of non-Hallmark Christmas movies, this past couple of weeks.

- Home Sweet Home Alone. Yeesh. Way to totally miss what made the original charming and enduring. Then again, SNL writers...

- Father Christmas is Back. Yeesh (again). It clearly wanted to be a zany british Christmas comedy, but the lack of humor and the panto acting just killed it for me.

- Love Hard. Meh. Not terrible, but I didn't care for the "let's make a checklist of all Christmas topics that were popular online around 2015, and have our characters talk about it, it will be so edgy" writing. Tired of those younger writers thinking that namedropping Die Hard in their Christmas movies is particularly smart or original - it's the third movie this year that had such a reference, and i'm getting bored of it all.

- Food Network's Candy Coated Christmas. Your bog-standard MarVista-produced, über-generic Christmas movie that probably would have aired on Hallmark or Lifetime a few years ago : absolutely nothing special here, you've seen one, you've seen them all... except I didn't hate it. Mostly due the very likeable cast. Tropes aplenty, low(er) budget and nothing to go out of your way for, but the actors made it work for me.

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8 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I just watched Kristin's Christmas Past (2013) for the first time (because of 3 months of cable with my new internet). 
It stars Shiri Appleby, who I identified with in her role in Roswell——she reminded me of my high school age self while I watched back in the late 90s/early 00s when I was the age Shiri is now. 
In Kristin's Christmas Past, Shiri and her character are 34 years old when she visits her high school age self (played by Hannah Marks) in a time traveling dream. 
This is the first post OG Roswell role in which I identified with Shiri again.
And I have loved time travel stories since I was a tween.

Anyone else enjoy this Lifetime movie?

This is on my list of all-time favorite Christmas movies. There's also an Irish Christmas movie called Three Wise Women which you would probably like - I too love time-travel movies.

 

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2 hours ago, Kaoteek said:

Tired of those younger writers thinking that namedropping Die Hard in their Christmas movies is particularly smart or original - it's the third movie this year that had such a reference, and i'm getting bored of it all.

This is becoming so annoying. It also screams of “I’m not like the other girls, I like die hard”.

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NPR's Linda Holmes is back with her snarky holiday movie roundup. She doesn't cover every single one - "Being a completist at this point is just not practical. I skipped a few from ION Television, Roku, Tubi, Crackle, and a couple other places, including two that are only going to be on Hallmark's streaming service. (I think two different Hallmark cable networks is enough.)" There are two on Comedy Central(?!) including what seems to be the first mention of Diwali in a holiday movie on American TV.
 

Quote

 

Hot Mess Holiday

Again, I know everyone wants to get into this business, but Comedy Central, guys? COMEDY CENTRAL? Anyway, a woman gets dumped during Diwali (okay, I do appreciate an expansion of what "holiday movie" means!), and she and her best friend go on a wild partying tear through Chicago, and they end up with a diamond. (Comedy Central, 12/11)

 

 

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15 hours ago, Vermicious Knid said:

NPR's Linda Holmes is back with her snarky holiday movie roundup.

Wait. Wha-a-at?!? This???!:

Quote

One December Night   
I hardly know where to begin! Peter Gallagher (!) and Bruce Campbell (!!) play rock star dads (!!!) who have to be brought together at Christmas. (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 11/13)

According to Google, One December Night will air on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries:    
Fri, 11/26, 6 PM   
Sat, 12/4, 8 PM   
Tue, 12/7, 6 PM

And I agree with NPR's Linda Holmes‘s exclamation point/bang rankings for the description. 

Edited by shapeshifter

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I agree. I like The Thanksgiving House and was bummed not to see it playing today. It’s Christmas movies all freaking day!

Now I have to catch those Diwali movies on the Comedy Central.

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15 hours ago, Avabelle said:

This is becoming so annoying. It also screams of “I’m not like the other girls, I like die hard”.

Doesn't everyone like Die Hard?  And yes, it is a Christmas movie.  But you're right, it has suddenly become trendy to act like this is a quirky opinion.

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6 hours ago, Cetacean said:

Hallmark used to have a couple of Thanksgiving movies.  Couldn't be bothered to pull them out of the vault?

 

Interesting.  It's not even Thanksgiving here (Canada) but the channel that carries Hallmark is currently showing Love At The Thanksgiving Parade (which is awful!!  Seriously??  'I wear vintage because my dead mother might have worn this outfit once??) then A Family Thanksgiving (which I have never seen.)

Happy Thanksgiving to you, though.

Edited by bankerchick
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32 minutes ago, bankerchick said:

It's not even Thanksgiving here (Canada) but the channel that carries Hallmark is currently showing Love At The Thanksgiving Parade (which is awful!! 

Sacrilege.  That's my absolute favorite and I'm sad I didn't see it on Hallmark's schedule this year.

11 hours ago, Vermicious Knid said:

NPR's Linda Holmes is back with her snarky holiday movie roundup.

It wasn't until I read this that I realized that Hallmark is doubling up on movies this weekend.  So 2 movies on Fri, 3 on Sat. and 2 on Sunday. 

Too much in addition to ION getting into the game this weekend.  And Lifetime. I think I have 11 set to record.  That's 22 hours.  Can't do it.  And yet I know there are more.

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OK, I did just laugh out loud when Henry said, 'oh, please' and rolled his eyes when Brian (the ex-boyfriend) said Emily is as rare as a pearl in an Italian oyster.  The clothes are also beautiful and I really like Antonio Cupo.  

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3 minutes ago, bankerchick said:

OK, I did just laugh out loud when Henry said, 'oh, please' and rolled his eyes when Brian (the ex-boyfriend) said Emily is as rare as a pearl in an Italian oyster.  The clothes are also beautiful and I really like Antonio Cupo.  

I’m curious to see if you end up liking it more as you keep watching. I could not stand Emily and have never made it through the movie but it’s so popular I wonder if I would like it if I kept watching. 

7 hours ago, Cetacean said:

Hallmark used to have a couple of Thanksgiving movies.  Couldn't be bothered to pull them out of the vault?

 

The have them on Hallmark Movies Now and are airing Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade on December 1 for some stupid reason. 

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1 hour ago, Irlandesa said:

Sacrilege.  That's my absolute favorite and I'm sad I didn't see it on Hallmark's schedule this year.

Same! I'm not sure what I like best, the story itself or the lead's vintage wardrobe! This one with the Mrs Miracle movies are ones that I will sit down and watch anywhere, anytime.  Oh and one called Oh Christmas Tree (an older one from around 2012-13 time frame) that never seems to get shown anymore.  Luckily I have that one on DVD and it's probably my favourite.

Edited by SusannahM
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42 minutes ago, Dani said:

I’m curious to see if you end up liking it more as you keep watching. I could not stand Emily and have never made it through the movie but it’s so popular I wonder if I would like it if I kept watching. 

This was close to the end of the movie, and I did watch to the end.  Like you, I found the Emily character to be way too over-the-top for me.  I can have this movie on in the background, but I don't really 'watch' it.  I know that's not the general consensus around here, but I guess that's why they make 500 movies a year.

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17 hours ago, Cetacean said:

Hallmark used to have a couple of Thanksgiving movies.  Couldn't be bothered to pull them out of the vault?

Call me suspicious but this was the 400th anniversary of Thanksgiving and you wouldn't know that based on what was shown on TV anywhere.

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19 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

Sacrilege.  That's my absolute favorite and I'm sad I didn't see it on Hallmark's schedule this year.

 

Totally agree - I finally just bought it so I could watch it whenever I wanted.

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On 11/25/2021 at 5:34 AM, Cetacean said:

Hallmark used to have a couple of Thanksgiving movies.  Couldn't be bothered to pull them out of the vault?

 

Yeah I'm surprised they aren't showing more of them. A Family Thanksgiving still shows up yearly via Hallmark's On Demand listings (I love that one). The Thanksgiving House is showing at Pixl under Legal Tender but hasn't been on the network for ages. I wonder if it has to do with licensing issues. Would be nice if they filmed and showed more of them. They can still still air Xmas movies around it but have the featured movies sprinkled in for Thanksgiving movie week.

17 hours ago, SusannahM said:

Same! I'm not sure what I like best, the story itself or the lead's vintage wardrobe! This one with the Mrs Miracle movies are ones that I will sit down and watch anywhere, anytime.  Oh and one called Oh Christmas Tree (an older one from around 2012-13 time frame) that never seems to get shown anymore.  Luckily I have that one on DVD and it's probably my favourite.

That one is a classic! It's aired on Hallmark Channel a few times under the title Fir Crazy, I believe. I feel like that movie set the tone for "heroine gets fired and goes back home to save the farm" movies but OCT/FR did it best and with charm! Plus, we need more Eric Johnson co-leads. Loved him in that movie and Call Me Mrs. Miracle, but since moving into theatrical films, he probably doesn't want to go backwards to his tv movie roots.

 

I finally found another recent new one I liked. Uptv's Christmas on 5th Avenue was really enjoyable. The lead was a bit over the top at times, especially in the beginning, and it was kind of funny when the love interest called it out. It seemed self-aware which was refreshing, and as it went on, it held a bit of tone that felt more genuine than most movies like this. Hard to explain, but I really liked how the leads played their respective roles and grew closer to one another. It wasn't just "the script says we have to get together" and they acted accordingly. It felt like there was more there. I'll probably re-watch it again with the hubs later on. 

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42 minutes ago, MissyPoo said:

That one is a classic! It's aired on Hallmark Channel a few times under the title Fir Crazy, I believe. I feel like that movie set the tone for "heroine gets fired and goes back home to save the farm" movies but OCT/FR did it best and with charm! Plus, we need more Eric Johnson co-leads. Loved him in that movie and Call Me Mrs. Miracle, but since moving into theatrical films, he probably doesn't want to go backwards to his tv movie roots.

He really was awesome in both movies!  Come to think of it probably at least one reason I love both these movies is the cast was perfect,  Everyone clicked.  What I loved about him in Call Me Mrs Miracle is he was the only one who seemed to realize that something wasn't quite right with Mrs Miracle!  They had him say a few things throughout that made you realize he was thinking "what the hell?!"  which really worked for me 😄.

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Just watched Christmas at the Castle on Netflix.  Time has not been kind to Brooke Shields but I enjoyed her in this movie.  I love Cary Elwes and they had some chemistry.  The scenery was amazing.  I believe it was shot in Scotland.  I noticed a couple of fake Scottish accents...like they went out of their way to say certain phrases.

The castle looked beautiful for Christmas

I loved the knitting club!

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2 hours ago, NYGirl said:

I believe it was shot in Scotland.

It was.  The scenery was great.  The story got a little lost so it fell apart towards the end.  But I didn't hate it even though it seemed to want to do every Scot cliche.

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I think Brooke Shields looks great for her age. I am excited to see the movie because of Cary Elwes so nice to see that people enjoyed it.

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I'm uncertain where to write about A Christmas Witness,  which premiered last night on ION TV. It had Arielle Kebbel and Colin Egglesfield, who we've seen before in Hallmark movies, but it was a 'way different thing.  If somebody knows, I'm curious to go there and see what people thought.  Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Chippings said:

I'm uncertain where to write about A Christmas Witness,  which premiered last night on ION TV. It had Arielle Kebbel and Colin Egglesfield, who we've seen before in Hallmark movies, but it was a 'way different thing.  If somebody knows, I'm curious to go there and see what people thought.  Thanks!

I believe you're in the right place! I thought there used to be an ION thread, but couldn't find one. I watched this last night, and thought Arielle and Colin were way too good for it. I was intrigued by the premise, but the production value was non-existent, and the humor very dated. 

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On 11/25/2021 at 5:34 AM, Cetacean said:

Hallmark used to have a couple of Thanksgiving movies.  Couldn't be bothered to pull them out of the vault?

 

Sadly, I suspect Hallmark (not sure about the other channels) is getting out of the Thanksgiving movie business.

On 11/25/2021 at 11:42 AM, bankerchick said:

Interesting.  It's not even Thanksgiving here (Canada) but the channel that carries Hallmark is currently showing Love At The Thanksgiving Parade (which is awful!!  Seriously??  'I wear vintage because my dead mother might have worn this outfit once??) then A Family Thanksgiving (which I have never seen.)

Happy Thanksgiving to you, though.

As others have posted in response to @bankerchick:  Gasp - sacrilege indeed!  Love at the Thanksgiving Parade is my all time fave Thanksgiving tv movie, mostly because of the chemistry between Autumn and Antonio.

As for why the main character wears vintage, it's not so much that her mother used to wear the clothes, but she (Emily) said her dad just threw away all of the mom's clothes when the mom died. By wearing vintage, it's Emily's way of feeling close to/connecting with her mom.

On 11/28/2021 at 11:55 AM, NYGirl said:

Just watched Christmas at the Castle on Netflix.  Time has not been kind to Brooke Shields but I enjoyed her in this movie.  I love Cary Elwes and they had some chemistry.  The scenery was amazing.  I believe it was shot in Scotland.  I noticed a couple of fake Scottish accents...like they went out of their way to say certain phrases.

The castle looked beautiful for Christmas

I loved the knitting club!

I liked it. Nothing unique (HOW MANY movies have the trope of a "royal" or in this case, a noble falling in love with a commoner AND the added trope of need $$$ for the castle upkeep)  but I liked that the leads were an older couple. 

But the best part of the movie was the knitting group. As an ensemble, they were great.

Too bad they couldn't have worked in an "As you wish" for Cary to utter!   😄🤣

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Well, then, and Thank You, absnow, about A Christmas Witness, it was certainly pretty dark to be included in this genre with "holiday" movies.  The 'hero' seemed beyond being redeemed, given his past, and along the way he was just unpleasant, and the kind of guy you would lose as fast as possible.  (His "Well, if you're not into me, you're probably 'playing for the other team'" -- was about as unlikeable as it gets.)  There were a couple of sitting under the stars having a cozy chat scenes, but they didn't erase his behavior generally.

It was a little jarring too, in this endless series of inspiring Christmas movies (sarcastic font there) to have a character snarl "Kill them both!" - 

The end was just odd, when you consider what they would be looking at as a couple, which the final smooch of course implies.  

I didn't see every frame of it, but I think that blessedly they didn't bake any Christmas cookies, so that's a plus.  Still, not likeable principals and unlikely conclusion, all too dark along the way. 

(Did I miss some redeeming moments?  If so, will try and give it another look when it's on again. )

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So today's watching consisted of the Princess Switch on Netflix (insert eye roll here).  I had seen the first 2 so I had to watch this one.  It was good to keep on in the background.

I then watched a very annoying lead actress in 12 Christmas Wishes.  What I could do with 12 wishes!  However she wasted most of them wishing her friend wouldn't have frizz hair at a party (another eye roll).  They had a mean boss Fred Willard who fired people at whim. The lead actress was so OTT that she made me hate her.

I ended with one I can't remember the name..maybe A Charmed Christmas? A jewelry maker and report try and find the owner of a charm bracelet.  Pretty good movie.

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I didn't mind that A Christmas Witness was "dark." I was hoping for something less sanitized than the other movies and I appreciated that sex existed in this movie.  What I didn't love was that it was rather crude.  I enjoy the actors but they were not served by the script.

Why would the fed want to get with the crude criminal? There are two new movies tonight. One on Lifetime.  Another on VH1. 

Edited by Irlandesa
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55 minutes ago, NYGirl said:

I ended with one I can't remember the name..maybe A Charmed Christmas? A jewelry maker and report try and find the owner of a charm bracelet.  Pretty good movie.

I saw that one last year. A Little Christmas Charm.   It was good enough that I actually paid attention to it rather than it just being background noise - which is what many of these movies end up being for me!

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I absolutely loved Christmas at the Castle. I liked that besides the romance between the leads, Sophie also got close to all the villagers and dog. I do admit to shedding a tear or two when she was saying bye to everyone. It was also nice to see that the timeline was realistic since she lived in that castle for 3 months, instead of the usual week long castle trip and instant fall in love nonsense that Hallmark does. 
 

Colin Egglesfield in a movie on ION? I am so there.

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Lifetime has been airing new movies all this week.  None have really wowed me enough to watch all the way through.  They scream kind of cheap but I guess they'll attract eyeballs on nights where most people aren't expecting new movies.

RuPaul has a holiday movie today too on VH1.  With a bunch of drag queens.  I'm recording it even though the promo looked awful.  I like camp but this probably has too much camp going for it.  But for those looking for something different or are big fans of RuPaul's Drag Race, I thought I should mention it.

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For the Holiday in Handcuffs fans, the movie just popped up over at Hulu. 

The Mistletones, Christmas Cupid, Christmas Perfection & The Truth about Christmas are also available. 12 Dates of Christmas is over at Prime.   

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I just watched Single All the Way on Netflix.  There really is a difference when there are real actors in the movie... I mean really.  Kathy Najimy, Brian Bostwick, Michael Urie. 

I had read that my holiday movie boyfriend was in it , Luke Macfarlane , and he was.  Even though I watched Mingle All the Way first...thinking I'd see him.  I'm getting old and addled.

So the storyline was the usual stuff we see on Hallmark and Lifetime but they were gay. 

I liked it... give it a try.

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Netflix scored another winner with Single All the Way. This and Love Hard were both well done in their own ways (Single had a truly excellent cast, where Love Hard had a superior screenplay). 

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1 hour ago, memememe76 said:

Netflix scored another winner with Single All the Way. This and Love Hard were both well done in their own ways (Single had a truly excellent cast, where Love Hard had a superior screenplay). 

The thing about Love Hard that made me sit up was that the lead male was of East Asian ancestry!  So often, in popular media, Asian men are negatively portrayed as unattractive, undesirable and bland. Josh "won" the girl in the end even though he wasn't the traditional hunky/tall/successful Big Man on Campus.

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16 hours ago, MissyPoo said:

For the Holiday in Handcuffs fans, the movie just popped up over at Hulu. 

Thanks for the tip. That's one of my sister's all time favorite movies (not even just holiday lol) so I'll have to let her know.

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On the CW Network, Beebo Saves Christmas is streaming.  It's animated, and very light, and looks like if the Arrowverse (specifically, Legends of Tomorrow) was sending us a Christmas special.  It had all original songs, which is rare these days.

On the other end of the spectrum, The Solar Opposites Holiday Special is NOT for kids (unless you're OK with your kids seeing lots of strong language and violence.)  It had lots of callbacks to other Christmas tropes, and was occasionally meta, and I thought it was extremely funny, but it's TV-MA for a reason.

 

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I wanted to talk about some non-Hallmark movies I've been watching.

I just finished The Chestnut Family Christmas on OWN and I found myself really enjoying it.  I remember the lead actress from Pitch and she was good here.  There was some romance but it was mostly about the secrets and lies with in a family (in a somewhat serious but ultimatley light hearted) way. 

I also caved and watched The Bitch Who Stole Christmas with RuPaul.  That was--I don't know how to explain it.  It had some good skewering of the tropes.  But was also a bit of a mess?  I can't decide if it was terribly terrible or terribly awesome.  It kind of feels like it'd be a great SNL skit but there's maybe not enough there for 90 minutes.

Most of the movies Lifetime has been airing during the week have been kind of boring and I tend to give up on them.  Last night's movie with Corbin Bleu had some fun dance sequences until the big ending dance sequence which felt very amateurish.

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I also watched the Dance movie last night and liked seeing the two leads together again since I was a HSM fan, and the dancing was good. There wasn’t much else going on. It was weird that she was crying because she didn’t know if Corbin’s character liked her when he was staring and flirting with her from the beginning. Give me a freaking break. 

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I love the Family/ABC Family/Freeform holiday movies.  Modern, a touch cynical, and warm.

12 dates of Christmas: I liked the twist on the groundhog day theme with it being Xmas Eve...though the step mom in the movie was the definition of passive  aggressive behavior.

The Christmas List (1997): timeless in my view.

Holidate: another fun movie with jennie Garth and Cameron Mathieson 

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Spent the afternoon on HULU with my daughter.

Santa's Helper:  Cute movie with Mike the Mix being a hard assed executive who loses his job and Santa wants to hire him to be the Ho-Ho-Ho (VP of Christmas).  Actually funny and enjoyable.

12 Pups of Christmas: Strange movie about a dog therapist who's fiancé leaves her at City Hall right before getting married stating that he was having an affair with her best friend.  She moves to California for this job for a company that makes GPS for animals.  The movie was ok but it held my attention so it can't be that bad.  The pups were cute.

Christmas Crush:  The Christmas wish comes into play once again when a woman wishes her next door neighbor was in love with her.  The only problem is that the guy lives across the hall and she never said his name.  Therefore her goofy next door neighbor falls in love with her and hijinx ensue.  Pretty funny movie.

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I think The Christmas List staring Mimi Rogers is fantastic.  There’s something really special about it.  There’s romance in it but it’s not the point of the story.  Being more assertive about what she wants is the lesson and the romance was a bonus.

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I tried to watch Saying Yes to Christmas but can’t understand why anyone thought a movie where a woman loses the ability to say no was a good idea. I feels like Lifetime isn’t even trying to make semi-decent movies this year. 

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WaPost roundup of things to watch this week includes a couple of holiday movies I don't think have been mentioned.

Quote

Available on Tello, a streaming platform dedicated to telling stories featuring and about lesbian and queer women, “Christmas at the Ranch” is a holiday rom-com starring Lindsay Wagner (“The Bionic Woman”) and Amanda Righetti. Unrated. Available on tellofilms.com. 94 minutes.

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A feature-length spinoff of the TV series “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” “Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas” stars Jane Levy as the title character, who is celebrating her first Christmas after the death of her father. Paste magazine calls the film a “gift for the fans.” TV-14. Available on the Roku channel. 99 minutes.

Watched Hallmark's Eight Gifts of Hanukkah. It was okay. Figured out the secret admirer pretty much instantly. It was nice to see some traditions just shown without tortured explanations. For a Hanukkah movie they managed to cram in a crapload of Christmas decorations though. And people do not decorate their houses with blue and white string lights and Hanukkah wreaths. Absolutely not.

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I finally got a quiet house to myself to see Single All The Way and I loved it.  Michael Urie needs to be in more things. It was probably the most well made romcom this season. 

 

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