Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps (2018 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps

Stars: Holly Robinson Peete & Rick Fox

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Billie Blessings has gone from beloved chef, restaurant owner, and morning show segment host to #1 suspect in a murder case when one of the executives at the network dies from poisoning. When the head chef at Billie’s restaurant is arrested and held as a suspect, Billie takes matters into her own hands by digging deeper into a mystery that could incriminate people close to her while risking her own life in the process

Thoughts

I’m not familiar with this genre of TV movie, I’m not sure how Hallmark will pull of a G-rated murder mystery. I’m basically only watching this because HRP is their first black actor in a leading role… ever? So, here we go!  

As the opening credits role we see a mystery person in a gas mask baking a rat poison cake. Then cut to Billie Blessings (HRP) who is a TV chef who is filling in for Wake Up, West Coast TV morning show anchor. (Laney, who recently died from a hazelnut allergy.)  There is so much exposition it is hard to keep up. Lance is the male co-host, Rudy is a producer who wanted Billie to be the co-anchor and is fighting with his ex/boss (Gretchen), there is a assistant, and a camera guy. Everyone wants to eat the cake (Which is poison, but no one know it.)

Then we also meet, Aunt Kassandra, who wants Billie to start focusing on dating and make her restaurant a priority. Maurice, the head chef of Billie’s restaurant.

Producer Rudy is at his apartment, when he receives a cake from Blessings (Billie’s restaurant) that says “congratulations.” When he goes to his wine cellar to get some afternoon wine, he sees “RIP” scrawled in red on his wine fridge. Rudy arrives at the big TV network dinner disoriented and ill looking. As he makes the big announcement of who the new co-host will be he dies! The restaurant is immediately closed because the paramedics on scene determines it is cyanide poisoning. Cue the police on scene to investigate the murder. Lucky for Billie it is her old high school boyfriend, Ian, AND they are both newly single.

The next morning at the TV show, the new co-host is there. It’s Tiffany Moon, a girl with no experience and crippling stage fright. (Perfect choice, Rudy.) Billie talks to her and gives her advice like:

“If your asked a question you don’t know the answer to, repeat the question to buy yourself more time.”

Even mediocre advice can’t keep Billie on set, Gretchen (who is now the new producer) fires her. Back at the restaurant Maurice is taken into custody because he sent the cake to Rudy. Later, at the precinct Maurice admits to finding cyanide in the restaurant and hiding it in his car. (He didn’t want Billie to get in trouble.)

Billie, Aunt Cassandra, Assistant girl (Kiki), camera guy (Phil), and waiter man (Juan, of course.) all get together over coffee and pie (This is Hallmark, after all.) to figure out who done it. They create a list and star system for people with motives. Billie is on the case and goes to the investigate. She bumps into Ian and they compare notes, I was hoping in a flirty way but it turns out to be pretty tense and confrontational

While retrieving Maurice’s dog from his building, Billie takes cyanide from under his sink and hides it in her purse. When she gets home she finds “Stay out of this” written on a mirror with red lipstick (?) Billie doesn’t heed the warning and meets with Tiffany Mood to see if her and Rudy were dating. They weren’t but Tiffany is convinced that she is next to be murdered.

In between murder investigation and saving her restaurant, Billie and Ian share a romantic dinner. They catch up on what they’ve missed in each others lives and what could have been. Only to be interrupted by Maurice, who is now out of jail! Maurice learns that Billie is now the number one suspect.

Billie turns the tables on the situation and goes on air to confront Tiffany. She gets her to admit that she is being harrassed and then she tells everyone that Laney might not have had an allergic reaction, she was poisoned too. The police double down on Billie as suspect numero uno.

Things get crazy at this point. The Camera Guy (Evan) gets hit over the head and almost exploded in his house, thankfully Billie saves him. (Don’t worry, she is still a suspect.) Tiffany leaves a note that she is leaving town. Because, live TV is too stressful… not all the MURDERING?!?! Billie and assistant Kiki, track Tiffany down and take her to Rudy’s apartment to get the evidence to convict her for murder. Before they can, Billie and Tiffany are locked in the wine cellar and Kiki is “attacked.” Ian (Maybe the worst cop ever?) comes to save them but Billie ask for two more hours to solve the case.

Billie is convinced a recording has the evidence to prove who murdered Rudy and Laney. At the TV station, Billie is trying to log into Rudy’s computer when (Spoiler) the assistant pulls a gun on her. She had access to all of Billies passwords and keys, and she has the motive of wanting to be a co-house of West Coast TV. Kiki is apprehended by Ian and all is good. Billie and Ian summarize all this in a romantic chat on the terrace. Setting up successful (but predictable) new franchise for Hallmark.

Side Note

I didn’t hate this movie! HRP and Rick Fox has great chemistry. I also LOVED LOVED Aunt Cassandra. (Karen Robinson)

This is the first starring role for HRP in a Hallmark movie. She was previously the token black friend in “Angel of Christmas” in 2015 and “Christmas in Evergreen” in 2017.

Rick Fox is a fox.

Al Roker made a cameo. He apparently co-wrote the novel this movie is based on.

Random Note: I’m not too familiar with any of the mystery series on Hallmark, but apparently Lacey Chabert is set to star in “The Crossword Mystery,” about a brilliant crossword puzzle editor who helps a police detective (Brennan Elliott) solve crimes? By using crossword puzzles? Please explain this to me.

 

Overall rating

🔎 🔎 🔎  (3 Magnifying Glasses)

🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Crown Media United States, LLC

 

Rocky Mountain Christmas (2017 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Rocky Mountain Christmas 

Stars: Lindy Booth & Kristoffer Polaha 

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Sarah Davis heads to her uncle’s struggling ranch to escape New York and the spotlight from a recent breakup. Returning home for the first time since her aunt passed, complications arise when Graham, an entitled Hollywood star, arrives at the ranch to prepare for his next film. As Sarah and Graham start to bond, Sarah may get more for Christmas than she bargained for.

Thoughts

Sarah is throwing herself into work to get over a break up. (She is an interior designer at a hotel, and up for a promotion for the whole chain of hotels!) Unfortunately, for Sarah the city of New York won’t let her get over it. Paparazzi and trash celebrity news channels are following the break up. (Her ex is a tech guy who created a Goggleish website and is is now dating a famous actress.)

To get away from it all, Sarah heads to Colorado for a Christmas just like she always remembered growing up. She stays with her little brother (who is hot AF) and uncle who inform her that the town Christmas parade and tree lighting are canceled because her Aunt Beth died. Her friend (Not Lesbian lover, they “joke”.) quickly talks her into planning the parade.

Then a handsome Hollywood actor rolls into town, to study a role. Graham is on a mission to learn everything about ranch life, and asks Sarah to help him. She refuses because Christmas is about family. Unable to accept no for an answer, ARROGANT Graham follows Sarah to a bar and drinks eggnog while attempting to talk her into it. She agrees on one condition, he has to help her decorate for the Christmas parade.

While unpacking Christmas decorations in the barn, we get an interesting back story for Sarah. She doesn’t like actors because her Mom IS (not was, as in not dead.) an actor. While Sarah was growing up she and her little brother were carted around all over the country while their mother chased her dream. After a while Sarah’s Mom just left them with their Uncle Roy and Aunt Beth. SHE ABANDONED THEM!!!! (The Dad was never in the picture.) I cannot remember a backstory so complicated and dramatic as this one. (Plus no one is dead! Well, Aunt Beth died… but who cares, right?)

While cutting down a tree, we get an interesting back story for Graham. He isn’t filming a film as quickly as he said. He lied to spend Christmas with a real family. His parents died when he was in High School and he has been alone ever since. “The more he works, the less it hurts.” Another complicated and dramatic storyline.

While laying on the ground (for some reason) Nicole (a famous actress) shows up and is also staying on the ranch, putting a wrench between Sarah and Graham’s budding romance. While making peppermint bark, Graham confesses his relationship with Nicole is a publicity stunt and he has true feelings for Sarah. For some reason she doesn’t believe him.

Again, not one to take no for an answer. Graham invites himself to go with Sarah to a radio station to promote the Christmas Parade, despite her protest. Good thing he goes with, because Sarah chokes on air and he saves the day and the Christmas Parade is properly promoted. (and Graham is the self appointed grand Marshall.)

Graham and Nicole get called back to Hollywood by the studio head to do some promotion on their movie, that has yet to even be filmed. Of course, Nicole tells Sarah before Graham can even talk to her. They fight. (in the snow.)

Uncle Roy (who owns the ranch, but is selling it) brings them back together!

Then we finally get the anti-climatic Christmas parade, set to a really dumb Christmas song by Alan Jackson.

Somehow, they both end up deciding to quit their jobs and stay at the ranch. SHE QUITS A HIGH PAYING NYC JOB AND HE QUITS ACTING IN A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE TO LIVE ON A RANCH. (A ranch by the way, that I’m not sure isn’t being sold.)

Merry Christmas, WHATEVER!

 

Side Note

Hmmmm, we get a gay joke in this one….. Yippie?

It took THREE WRITERS to come up with this…

Leads were ok, I’m never not into Kristoffer Polaha 

The B-Storylines were very random. Little brother and Nicole end up together & something with Roy and the neighbor-lady.

 

Overall rating

🎄  (1 Christmas Tree)

🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Crown Media United States, LLC

Romance at Reindeer Lodge

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Romance at Reindeer Lodge

Listen to the Podcast Episode about this movie! 

Stars: Nicky Whelan and Josh Kelly

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

A group of adults from different parts of the country have sworn off partaking in holiday events. Two of those people are Molly and Jared. Upon arriving at their destination, they discover it’s a Christmas themed ranch. With no flight out until after Christmas, the group ends up staying. The Christmas activities eventually melt everyone’s cynical hearts and Molly and Jared’s love blossoms.

Thoughts

Molly is all about work, but what is she to do when her POC boss closes the office for two weeks to celebrate their new app reaching half a million downloads! Jared on the other hand has to get a place off the books at his job despite being heartbroken over a recent break up. They are both on a flight to Jamaica (she won a contest.) What she doesn’t know is it is Jamaica, Vermont. Dun Dun Dun!

After landing in Jamaica, Vermont with a dead phone and no flights out (the airport is closing) Molly meets the Reindeer Lodge owner who has a suite for her booked. She goes to the car and who is there? Jared, the jerk from her flight. They will both be guests at the lodge.

The Reindeer Lodge owner (Beth Broderick) LOVES Christmas and she told the radio DJ to say Jamaica, Vermont. Oh, Well! She also tells them that the lodge has no wifi, but they DO have flannel PJs and a Christmas question of the day. This lodge is sooooooo annoying.

Out on the town, Molly goes shopping and runs into Jared. They go grab rum punch and take a horse drawn carriage back to Reindeer Lodge. On the way we find out that they are both from single family homes (Her dad died and her mom now lives in Florida with her new husband and he just sent Christmas with his Dad, Mom is dead????) They both aren’t the biggest fans of Christmas, which is funny they are staying in a lodge where Christmas exploded.  

Turns out the Reindeer Lodge, has no reindeer. They just wandered off and never came back. The lodge is in foreclosure. Molly reads the owners mail and tells Jared that they have to do something. Not before she does to comfort another guest (who is having a difficult time with her husband who was working on a reindeer picture book, which is now ruined).

Next, we have a decorating scene….

Molly and Jared decided to cook a fancy dinner and find some Reindeer from Canada. (Delivered from Northern Quebec, to be exact.) They decided to hold an auction to raise money to ship the reindeer to Reindeer Lodge.

When Jared’s dad arrives it turns out that he owns the deed to the Reindeer Lodge!!!! Molly is angry that Jared lied to her and she tells him off. Just in time, she gets a flight back to Chicago. Before she leaves, she stays to make sure the auction goes off without a hitch, too bad literally no one shows up, well Jared’s Dad does. Whoops, spoke too soon! There was a cow blocking the road and the whole town had to walk up instead. The auction is a HIT!

Jared and his Dad have a conversation about why they aren’t that close. They agree to work on their relationship and vow to not let another year go by without making time for family.

Molly heads to the airport and makes a work call, where her client asks if she has a life. When reaching into her bag for her ID, she pulls out a reindeer ornament that Jared carved out of wood, just like she always wanted. She heads back to The Reindeer Lodge to find Jared outside by a big tree.

“Sounds like the whole world is taking a rest,” she sasses.

They apologize and admit they were both afraid to take a chance on love. They embrace and the reindeer come back to Reindeer Lodge! There are eight of them in the forest and are the symbol of true love. Must have been some Christmas magic.

They run out to see them and then Kiss, while looking at the Reindeer at Reindeer Lodge.

Side Note

They said “reindeer” in this movie, at least 100 times.

POC Alert: The boss in the beginning and also an actual young couple who are in love and guests at the lodge.

Jamaica, Vermont is a real place. Population 1035…

Overall rating

🎄 (1 Christmas Trees)

🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷(5 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Crown Media United States, LLC

Karen Kingsbury’s Maggie’s Christmas Miracle (2017 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Karen Kingsbury’s Maggie’s Christmas Miracle

Listen to the Podcast Episode about this movie! 

Stars: Jill Wagner & Luke Macfarlane

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Shortly after Maggie experiences her first love, her father leaves her mother at Christmas as a child. After her ex-husband leaves her family at Christmas twenty years later, Maggie forms a protective shield over her heart and her son, Jordan. Jordan, however, sees that Maggie is lonely, and writes letters to God praying for her happiness.

Jordan’s prayers are answered when Maggie meets his tutor, widower Casey, and forms an instant connection that is stronger than the one she has with Tanner, the fellow divorce attorney she had been dating. When Maggie and Casey begin to fall in love, though, Maggie pulls back. After discovering a coincidental childhood connection with Casey, and reading Jordan’s letters to God, though, Maggie must decide if Christmas is the right time to open her heart to love.

Thoughts

We start off with two kids (Cade and Maggie) making snow angels, taking photobooth pictures, and talking about if they believe in Christmas miracles. They have a blossoming romance and everything is looking up, until the little girl goes to her room at the snow lodge  to find her mother alone with a letter. Her father left his family on Christmas Eve!!! Now she will never believe in Christmas again.

Flash forward to Maggie, a single mother (her husband left her three years ago a week before Christmas) with a J.O.B. She is overprotective of her son (Jordan) and is concerned when the teacher at school suggests he needs a tutor. (Instead of answering any questions on his math test, he draws pictures. Sounds like little me.) Maggie realizes that maybe her son needs a tutor and calls Casey to schedule an appointment, but she is apprehensive and sends her mom (who slut-shames her for having a fake tree) to investigate.

One their day of fun (and investigating), Grandma and Jordan get hot chocolate where he talks about his dreams of becoming an inventor and that he forgets how his Dad looks. They also go and get a real Christmas tree before ending up at a diner. Casey is the owner of said diner and is dead sexy! Woo gurl! (With a five o’clock shadow and a really tight sweater.) They quickly put the kid to work and he helps them unload Christmas trees, and (of course) get injured. Maggie freaks out and takes Jordan to dinner with his potential new Dad, Tanner (a co-worker from her law firm).

Maggie decides to give Casey a chance as a tutor, instead of meeting at a coffee shop or the diner that Casey owns, he offers to make her dinner… at his house?!?! Skimming right over things like Jordan and maybe the subject he needs help in, we learn that Casey’s wife died of cancer three years ago. Not sure if it is pity, or the wine, but Maggie agrees to drop Jordan off at the diner to learn in a non-classroom environment.

At the law firm, Maggie’s friend Lauren is getting a divorce and her new boyfriend, Tanner Ryan, has taken on Lauren’s future ex-husband as a client.

“What does it mean?” Lauren asks distressed.

Maggie’s response? “Scorched Earth.”

WHY IS SHE SO DRAMATIC?!?!?!?!

Later, on a Christmas stroll with Casey. They talk about Galileo and lot of science things that I couldn’t care less about. They make another date together at her placewhere she will attempt to cook. Maggie doesn’t know the difference between a saucepan and a saute pan or how to mince vegetables. Casey whips up an amazing dinner for Maggie, and then Grandma and Jordan show up… because they live there, too (but I totally forgot about them for this whole scene).

On ANOTHER date, Casey opens up about his wife’s cancer. He offers up such gems as:

“You know that saying? Life’s a river, it will carry you to your future whether you want it to or not.”

Maggie breaks up with Tanner Ryan and then has a very dramatic scene by a Christmas tree with Casey, where she explains why she hates Christmas and can never love again. This is all after he triggers her by telling him he is falling in love with her.

Dumb Casey doesn’t realize that when she is telling him about her Dad leaving her on Christmas at the Tahoe lodge, that IT WAS HIM. It isn’t until he shakes a snow globe that he remembers.

Then Jordan gives Casey a letter to give to God, that he has been working on the whole movie (I guess tutoring isn’t working) and he wishes for his Mom to just be happy and stop worrying all the time.

On Christmas Eve, Maggie receives a snow globe from Casey that is from the Lake Tahoe Lodge from her childhood and a letter from Jordan, THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO GO TO GOD, which sends Maggie running to Casey’s apartment. (With no coat on.)

Upon arrival, Casey shows Maggie the picture from the photo booth! It’s Casey! They are reunited and in love. She gets Casey and Billy (His POC friend) to bring a real tree to their home just in time for Christmas morning. God answered Jordan’s wish, but couldn’t it have just been Santa all along?

Side Note

I really like Jordan’s glasses, they are super cute.

Lane Edwards plays the rejected boyfriend in this movie and also in The Sweetest Christmas

Based on the book Maggie’s Miracle by author Karen Kingsbury.

Overall rating

🎄  (1 Christmas Tree)

🍷🍷🍷 🍷(4 glasses of wine required)

 

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Crown Media United States, LLC

 

The Christmas Cottage (2017 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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The Christmas Cottage

Listen to the Podcast Episode about this movie! 

Stars: Merritt Patterson & Steve Lund

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

When Lacey takes a rare break from work for her friend Ava’s Christmas Eve wedding, she reconnects with her former flame, Ean. The two decorate the cottage where the newlyweds will spend their honeymoon – a cottage said to bring true love to anyone who stays there – and feel their chemistry return. Lacey, however, is dating her equally workaholic business partner, Roger, who arrives just before the wedding. With Roger in town Lacey sees the sharp contrast between Ean’s family values and Roger’s sole focus on work, and must decide if the professional goals she shares with Roger or the connection and history she shares with Ean are more important in a lasting relationship.

Thoughts

Lacey is a interior designer? Architect? Realtor? Whatever she is she, does a sales pitch with a smart house! It put HGTV to shame. Her co-worker (Roger) is concerned when she tells him that she has to go out of town for her best friend’s (Ava) wedding. (She is the maid of honor). Before she does off to the wedding, she promises to land the big deal AND lands a big kiss on him (but really a peck).

Turns out, Roger is her boyfriend and things just make sense! At the Christmas Cottage Lacey runs into Ean, her ex-boyfriend from high school and brother of the bride. He is now a culinary explorer and has a REALLY big backpack.

Apparently, the Christmas Cottage is magical and everyone who stays at the cottage falls in love. For generations, Ava’s family has been falling in love at the cottage. Her great grandma even cross-stitched a saying: “Whoever spends a Christmas night behind this door will have true love forever more.” Ava is a bit of a bridezilla, second guessing Lacy’s design plans for the honeymoon cottage, and demanding a REAL CHRISTMAS TREE! She even nitpicks Lacey’s choice of party wear.

At the welcome party, Aunt Sarah makes a toast about the familywhose tradition is to get married on Christmas Eve and spend their honeymoon in the Christmas Cottage. As the party is winding down, Aunt Sarah takes Lacey aside and tells her to remember the traditions of the family and Ava LOVES Christmas. (This point is reiterated many times, by everyone.)

While preparing for to decorate the cottage, Lacey is pelted with a snowball. It is Ean and he has been sent to decorate the cottage too! (The groom Mason sent him.) They go to chop down a Christmas tree and Ean saves Lacey from getting killed by the falling tree. They then stock up the kitchen with food for the bride and groom. Then finally a decorating montage!

While decorating, Lacey gets a notification about an impending snow storm. Lacey and Ean are too busy to discussing the ornaments on the tree to see the multiple alerts and text telling them about the inclimate weather. They get snowed in and will have to spend the night in the love cottage.

Instead of freaking out about work, Lacey pours up wine and gets on her comfy clothes. (A girl after my own heart.) Too bad the power goes out and they won’t be able to sleep in their rooms. They shack up in the livingroom by the fire. They don’t have any hanky panky during the night, but Ean does put his culinary explorer profession to use and makes Lacey a yummy breakfast. (After all, “the way to woman’s heart is through her tastebuds!” Direct quote!)

Lacey puts her work skills to use and designs a restaurant with Ean. She suggests to create a pop-up restaurant with different cuisines from his travels around the world.

They then do some Christmas things, like make a wreath and visit Santa, when Roger shows up! He needs to work on the house designs to. He is too busy to go to the annual Christmas Tree lighting leaving the door open for Ean to swoop in and share hot cocoa and sing “Joy to the World.”

While putting the finishing touches on the cottage, Ean comes clean about his feelings about Lacey.  She shuts him down pretty quickly and tells him her is confused.

At the rehearsal dinner (the first dinner Lacey and Roger have spent together in a long time), she wants to do something spontaneous and fun! He doesn’t understand why she wouldn’t want to work all the time and focus on the big deal. He even books a red eye flight to the meeting after the wedding, the day after Christmas. (When all BIG meetings happen.)

At the wedding reception, Lacey and Ean talk while dancing. Ean tells her he has accepted the job in Finland and Lacey is shocked!!! During the best man speech, Ean is talking to everyone… but really to Lacey. (Roger meanwhile is checking his phone and thinking about when they are going to pack.) Lacey gives her maid of honor speech and again she is talking to everyone, but really to Ean. The speeches work and Lacey dumps Roger.

Aunt Sarah sends Lacey to the cottage to deliver the wedding gifts; she also sends Ean to the cabin where they reconnect and both declare their love for each other and cancel their travel plans. They kiss by the Christmas tree. Christmas miracle!

Side Note

Based on the novel The Christmas Cottage by Samantha Chase

Steve Lund appears to be reading cue cards in a lot of his scenes.

Overall rating

🎄 🎄 (2 Christmas Trees)

🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Crown Media United States, LLC

Christmas Encore (2017 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Encore Christmas

Listen to the Podcast Episode about this movie! 

Stars: Maggie Lawson & Brennan Elliot

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

An aspiring New York actress who is considering abandoning her dream and taking a real job in Chicago following years of near-misses and bit parts, lands the role of a lifetime in a new production of A Christmas Carol. However, the play’s director is a successful TV actor, and the one she blames for her biggest professional disappointment.

Thoughts

Charlotte is an aspiring TV actress in NYC. She practices lines in the mirror, misses holidays with her family (Who want her to date Brad Pitt, because he is an actor too!) and is one just one audition away from “the big one.” (The big role, get your mind out of the gutter!)

At lunch with her pragmatic friend, Rachel (who is also a POC) and they reminisce about the good old days in college, but really just talk about Charlotte’s acting career. Because actors are narcissistic. We find out that Charlotte was up for a lead role on the hit TV series Thick or Thin but she lost out on the opportunity because she was partnered with her nemesis Julian Walker. (A former classmate, who got the role and is now a star.) and Rachel offers her a job in Chicago as a coordinator of employee events. But, Charlotte can’t think of that now because she has to get to work… she is a waitress at the restaurant.

Julian Walker is a big-time actor, he has a People’s Choice Award, who is directing a production of The Christmas Carol. He runs into Charlotte at her restaurant, where she pretends to NOT be a waitress. (Despite wearing a name-tag and a uniform) Even when her boss (Gary) gives her a tray of food to deliver, she uses her acting skills to act like “Who is this guy giving me a tray, he must think I work here… what a weirdo!”

The Christmas Carol is holding open auditions and Charlotte gets a call from her TV agent for the theater gig. But what part will she go for? Why not dream big and go for Scrooge! At the big audition Charlotte bails when she realizes that Julian Walker is the director. He chases after her attempts to get her back in the room, she storms off but not before he shouts “What are you so afraid of!” Realizing that she is afraid of being a waitress for ever she runs back to the theater to pitch her vision for production of a female scrooge and then delivers a really really dumb monologue. She lands the role and the auditors all give her a BIG group hug. (This really happens.)

The two work on the new script that Charlotte has pitched, because that is what actors do. (conceptualize, write, and star in someone else’s play that they auditioned for.) They work so long at the restaurant that they have to go back to Charlotte’s place to work through the night. She bakes cookies and they talk about acting.

At the theater during rehearsal, Julian calls everyone to a meeting because this production will be the last in the theater. The owner is selling the property because “Property is more valuable than sentimentality.” The theater people give passion speeches about saving the theater, it will take a Christmas Miracle.

For some reason, Charlotte and Julian visit their old acting studio. They then walk around Manhattan, and of course have a snowball fight and then (OF COURSE) Christmas Tree decorating!

In the middle of rehearsal a phone rings and it is Charlotte’s, she apologizes and then runs to answer the phone. The rehearsal takes five, so she can talk to her BFF Rachel. (This would never happen.) Rachel tells her that she got the job!

The twist in this one is when Charlotte is at Julian’s house, his ex, Samantha (a famous actress with big ears), shows up to make him a drink. Charlotte gets jealous (?) and leaves abruptly. TWIST!?

On the night of the big show, Charlotte tells Julian she has accepted the job in Chicago and will do the play but that is it. Before going onstage Charlotte meets with the building owner (Mr. Hayes) and gives him a picture of himself and his Dad in front of the theater he is closing down. She also gives Julian a cast picture and a thank-you note. (Which I always appreciate.)

We don’t see the play but we do hear the final line, said by the Scrooge character (Instead of Tiny Tim.)

“God bless us, everyone.”

The actors and whole production crew do a curtain call and then sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Charlotte literally waves to her Mom in the audience and says, “Hi Mom!” and then points, “That’s my Mom!”

At the cast party, Mr. Hayes makes a BIG announcement. Due to the success of the theater on SOCIAL MEDIA (not the performances or production quality) he has decided to keep the theater in business and vows to revive the theater district of New York.

Charlotte and Julian ditch the party to talk in the snow. He is taking the artistic director position at the theater and she is NOT moving to Chicago. “You know what they say about rules…” Charlotte says, but before she can finish her sentence they kiss. The end!

Side Note

The writer of this movie, Jennifer Noats Shapiro, has written several of these Christmas movies. Including this year’s Lifetime movie, Wrapped for Christmas.

Overall rating

🎄 🎄🎄 (3 Christmas Trees)

🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Crown Media United States, LLC

Magical Christmas Ornaments (2017 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Magical Christmas Ornaments

Listen to the Podcast Episode about this movie! 

Stars: Jessica Lowndes & Brendan Penny

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

When Marie begins receiving ornaments from her mother, a new coincidental blessing comes with each one, causing Marie to feel more excited for the holidays than she has in years. Marie’s once-lost Christmas sprit gets another boost when she meets her handsome neighbor, Nate, and feels a spark with him while celebrating the season. When Marie’s boss assigns her to edit the book of the man who broke her heart, however, it resurfaces her past holiday heartache, and even causes her to push Nate away. Feeling lost both at work and in love, Marie looks for a Christmas miracle to give her the confidence to pursue her work goals and to try to win Nate back. As Christmas approaches, Marie must follow her heart’s passion—both at work and in love—and hope her Christmas ornaments work their magic one more time.changed.

 

Thoughts

Marie lives in NYC and wants to be a fiction writer but she has a successful cookbook and is stuck in boring non-fiction.

On her way home from martinis with her friend, Marie meets Nate (a Florida boy who loves Christmas). While they ride up the elevator, Marie complains about her neighbor who listens to corny Christmas music really loudly and explains why she isn’t a fan of Christmas cheer. Turns out, Nate lives on the same floor… and loves Sinatra Christmas. (He’s the neighbor who plays Christmas music too loudly.)

In her apartment, Marie opens a package from her Mom (who is also facetiming to watch her open it). It’s an Aurora Angel Ornament, apparently from Marie’s childhood. Marie’s Mom tells her the ornament makes wishes come true, but then abruptly ends the call because It’s a Wonderful Life is on.  She makes a Christmas Wish for the transfer of departments and a sign to show her that happy endings aren’t just in fairytales.

Back at work (Lyons Publishing), Marie takes a meeting with Henry, her publishing boss. He agrees to move her to fiction—if she helps with the next non-fiction book. Could she be getting her Christmas wish? Could it be the magical Christmas ornament? While mulling over those questions, Marie gets ANOTHER ornament from her Mom. It is a Christmas pill bottle? Again, from Marie’s childhood. While she was young she fell and broke her wrist and the nurses in the ER gave it to her.

Foreshadowing because, Marie’s martini friend is running the toy drive at the hospital and needs some extra hands. At the hospital with the most healthy-looking kids I’ve ever seen, Marie thinks of a great idea: to make ornaments for the kids and put what they want on the back. She runs into Nate, who is a nurse at the hospital. He can’t believe that Marie doesn’t have a Christmas tree and immediately goes and gets her one.

Again, at work, Marie receives an Emily Dickinson ornament. JP is Marie’s celebrity client (Tim Matheson) and will work with her on his next fiction book. While talking, he quotes Emily Dickinson to her… WEIRD!

When another mailing mishap brings the neighbors together, Nate helps Marie decorate her Christmas Tree and they talk about their Christmas Past, including Nate’s affection for Tiny Tim. (Who inspired him to become a nurse.) We, of course, get a tree decorating montage, and then Nate asks her to go ice skating, but warns her it will be Christmassy. Marie agrees and they say goodnight. When she looks down, she sees her dog (Sam) playing with a box; it is another ornament! A pair of skates/Lighthouse/and Pancakes, because that is how her Dad proposed to her Mom, I guess.

The next day, Marie gets a treasure chest ornament and talks to her martini friend. It’s serendipity! As they are talking Marie gets a manuscript from JP, the title? A Christmas Treasure!!! Before she can work with JP, Marie will have to work with her ex-boyfriend, Clark.

At the ice skating rink, Nate is terrible at skating and Marie has to teach him how to turn. Jessica Lowdens is really good at nagging people. Like she probably does that all the time. After skating they grab Christmas pancakes (which are green and gross looking) and then visit Skyler (one of the sick kids… she broke her leg in gymnastics).

There is a scene where Nate and Marie go to a friends house to play charades or something? It shows that Nate and Marie are the best couple.

Clark shows Marie the treatment for his book. It is basically their relationship. Marie is horrified and angry because he is using her past pain for his own personal gain. Somehow they work things out. Then at the holiday party, he betrays her again and steals her ideas. She goes off on him at the party. The next day, after a talk with her Mom, Marie resigns from her position and decides to follow her heart.

Apparently, her heart is telling her to give Nate a Tiny Tim Christmas ornament? They love it and each other! Because happy endings really do exist!

Side Note

I’ve watched this one TWICE and can’t fill in the plot holes, soooooo many plot holes.

Jessica Lowdens got highlights to appear less bitchy—it didn’t work.

Marie is the worst dog owner on the planet.

Overall rating

🎄 🎄  (2 Christmas Trees)

🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 (5 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Crown Media United States, LLC