Cooking with Love (2018 Hallmark Channel)

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Cooking with Love

Stars: Ali Liebert & Brett Dalton

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Hardworking and optimistic television producer, Kelly, doesn’t have time for love. Along with her mentor Amanda, Kelly dives into another season of The Little Gourmet, a kids cooking show, when hot-headed Chef Stephen drops into Kelly’s life as a last-minute replacement host. As the two struggle to make peace and a successful show, they realize they have a lot more in common than they thought—a love of food, the kids they encounter, and each other.

 

Thoughts

Kelly is a reality show producer (we know this because she wears airport headphones) with a heart of gold. Oxymoron much? She is a people-pleaser and just the nicest person. I mean she works with kids on a kid cooking show, The Little Gourmet. When Chef Betty slips a disk in her back the production team is tasked with a finding a replacement. Instead of going with the sweet red-headed Canadian chef, they go with hot-headed Stephen Harris. Stephen throws spaghetti on a food critic at his restaurant, but he would be good for social media engagement!  

Stephen’s manager, Adam, comes to the restaurant to convince him to do the kids’ cooking show. It will improve his image because his book tour has been cancelled and restaurant is less popular than ever. This is his opportunity to show the world he isn’t such a bad guy!

On set, Stephen and Kelly don’t hit it off. He is a total diva and refuses to wear the chef Boyardee hat (A Toque!), only cooks with copper pans, and won’t talk with the kids off camera. Since things aren’t going so well, Kelly is assigned to babysit Stephen by Amanda, her lady boss (who is moving on to an executive position and this will be her last season on The Little Gourmet). It is also revealed that Jeremy, the new guy, is up for the lady boss’s job, superseding Kelly’s rank/experience.

At a farmers market, Stephen tries convince Kelly to elevate the menu with things like radicchio. She tells him he needs to connect with the kids, because they are chefs… just like him! So they make hamburgers and sloppy joes! He gets what he wants and radicchio is added to the show! Too bad, his personality isn’t. Kelly tells him to try smiling, but it is terrifying. He won’t even let the kids make mistakes (it is a reality show); he just takes over for them.

Stephen is creeply listening to Kelly as she talks to a kid contestant and then later reads her idea notebook. He tries to talk her into pitching an idea. Later, In a production meeting, Kelly pitches the dea of doing Hometowns… just like The Bachelor. Basically, they would film on location with the kid’s families. Jeremy doesn’t like it (he is a hater), but Amanda does and greenlights the idea!

On set at the firehouse, Kelly is HEAVILY being flirted with by a fireman (Rick) while Stephen jealously, watches on. Right before filming the big chili cook off, Cody (one of the kid contestants) decides he wants to quit the show. He is worried he will let his dad down. Stephen talks him down by sharing a personal story about the time her cooked a burnt turkey for his dad. Kelly is impressed and maybe even falling in love??? After a successful day of filming they call a truce.

Out of the kindness of his own heart, Stephen takes Kelly to the kitchen to cook. She admits she doesn’t really cook, I mean she DOES make a “mean tray of ice.” They cook a sexy pizza together, somehow without getting into a flour fight! While they’re cooking, we learn that Stephen was an army brat who moved around a lot growing up. Jeremy totally interrupts just as things are getting hot and heavy (and by hot and heavy I mean Stephen touches Kelly’s face). Then Jeremy steals Kelly’s idea notebook!!!!!!!!

In case you forgot, this is a Valentine’s Day movie. Stephen and Kelly both realize they don’t have plans and awkwardly agree to meet at Stephen’s restaurant on Valentine’s Day. It is not a date though, it is a work thing. Kelly’s co-worker helps her get ready, she was going to wear jeans and a sweater!!! (We do NOT get a getting ready montage, so that was disappointing.)

At Stephen’s restaurant, Kelly is in red dress. (I’d say it was sexy, but it was pretty conservative.) Over dinner, Stephen and Kelly share more about each other. We learn that Kelly’s mom passed away four years ago and worked with kids too. That is why Kelly is so good with kids, but she wants to do more—make a real difference. Later, on a stroll through the city, they eat chocolates that the kids made, Stephen buys her flowers (Yellow for friendship…), and they talk about relationships and love finding you when your ready for it. Stephen walks Kelly to her door and tells her that he is glad he is working with her on the show—instead of kissing her.     

Kelly makes a home cooked meal! (Spaghetti with meatballs and chocolate chip cookies.) This time we get a montage. Kelly calls Stephen to tell him the good news. They have witty banter and after hanging up Stephen receives a call from his manager. Chef Betty is back and Chef Stephen is out.

Kelly immediately goes to the restaurant to invite Stephen to the taping of the grand finale, but he is flying out to LA for a new show he got to cross promote his new cookbook. He thanks her for everything because none of these new opportunities would be happening if it wasn’t for her.

Back at work, Kelly walks into a meeting where Jeremy is successfully pitching her ideas from the idea notebook. Kelly confronts Jeremy in the hallway; he denies everything and tells her that if she had the same ideas that she should have shared them sooner. Defeated and alone, Kelly receives a thank you card (A Hallmark Card, of course) from Tommy the first winner of The Little Gourmet.

At the grand finale, Stephen stops by (I thought he had a flight to LA??) to tell Kelly that he is offering an apprenticeship at his restaurant to the winner. While filming the LIVE episode, Chef Betty throws her back out picking up some peppers. (Seriously!) Kelly chases after Stephen to get him to host the show. Chef Becca wins! (Rightly so, because she shared her chocolate with Cody, who forgot to grab his.)

Jeremy’s sneaky notebook stealing gets found out and Kelly gets the rightful credit and the promotion! Kelly tells Stephen about her promotion and he tells her that he is turning down the LA gig to stay in town. He could say goodbye to New York, but not Kelly. He gives her a single rose and they kiss.

Side Note

Ali Liebert’s first starring Hallmark role was A Gift to Remember. (She has played the best friend role in MANY MANY TV Movies.)

Cooking Fact? “A julienne cut is ⅛ inch cut no more, no less!”

I didn’t hate the kids in this one, I guess child actors are better when they aren’t obsessed with Santa and snow.

First Hallmark movie I’ve seen where the girl gets the guy, promotion, AND he changes HIS plans to fit into her life.

Overall rating

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️  (4 Hearts)

🍷🍷 (2 glasses of wine required)

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

Very, Very, Valentine (2018 Hallmark Channel)

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Very, Very, Valentine

Stars: Danica McKellar, Cameron Mathison, and Damon Runyan

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

When Helen, a kind-hearted and shy florist, meets the perfect man at a Valentine’s Masquerade Ball she enlists the help of her best friend Henry to track him down only to find that her perfect man may already be right in front of her.

Thoughts

Helen loves to creepily watch weddings she’s arranged flowers for. She works in a flower shop (All in Bloom) with her pushy Aunt Carol, whose first line is, “Any eligible handsome young groomsmen?” We aren’t even two minutes into the movie and we get a flower arranging montage to the tune of a generic pop song about what a beautiful day it is.

Henry Heart (handsome friend, who likes to nag her) stops by the flower shop to let Helen know he has entered her into the super bowl of flower breeding, the International Flower Competition. (Apparently, she breeds hybrid roses? The mystery rose.) Helen calls it “The Mystery Rose” because she hasn’t thought of a name for it yet.

Helen meets up with Henry for coffee and he invites her to the Annual Black & White Gala at the New York Botanical Gardens. It is a masquerade too! Helen declines his offer because she couldn’t possibly get ready for a gala the night of. Henry gives her the invitation anyway—in case she changes her mind. Pushy Aunt Carol and Beth, the new hire at the flower shop, won’t let Helen not go to the gala. They pull some strings to get her a dress and all ready for the ball. (No fairy godmother needed!) Helen wears her mother’s necklace to make the ensemble extra special. (Her mom is dead, of course. Died when she was 10.)

Backstory on Helen and Henry, they never dated and are just friends. They met in college in the botany program, and they were reunited by a flower shop mix up near Valentine’s Day. Helen accidentally delivered a “It’s A Boy” flower arrangement to Henry’s first day of work. They still laugh about it to this day.   

At the gala, Hallmark really puts the recycled Christmas lights to use and even splurged to throw in a few red candelabras. (Because it’s Valentine’s Day, people!) Helen starts babbling to a man who she assumes in Henry but isn’t; it’s hard to tell since Hallmark only hires white extras. Eventually they find each other and marvel at the spectacle of it all. They have “romantic,” but not really, banter. Then they put on their masks and hit the dance floor. Later, Helen is checking out the silent auction and runs into the white guy in a mask again who encourages her to bid on a painting that she is eyeing. (It is a painting of mother and daughter in a flower field.) Just as the stranger is about to introduce himself, Helen cuts him off to talk about the mystery rose he is wearing in his lapel. As they walk through the garden, Helen overshares her life story. Her mom was an artist, and  her father passed away before she was born and was in the Navy. She also talks about flowers having a language all their own. Yellow roses mean friendship, white flowers means purity or sympathy, and lavender represent love at first sight.

Later, Helen and the mystery man dance, but only for a moment before he has to leave suddenly, leaving behind his mystery rose boutonniere. Henry shows up just as the mystery man is leaving and Helen tells him all about her evening and how magical it was. If only she knew what his name was… Henry walks her home (to her door even) and they just say goodnight, like they aren’t going to get together in the end.

The next day, Beth comes up with the bright idea to look through the week’s receipts to see who would have purchased a mystery rose from the store. They narrow it down to Charles Bradfield. Helen goes on a delivery and then stops by to see if Henry can help her find the mystery man. Helen’s strategy is to chase down handsome men, shouting “Charles? Charles?!” Henry’s strategy is to Google it.

Just as Helen is about to give up on the whole thing and admit that she loves Henry, Henry finds Charles! Turns out Charles was looking for her, too. Charles is a world-traveling lawyer, rides horses, and speaks three languages. (Four if you count the language of flowers!) In order to pay back Henry for doing her a solid, Helen agrees to complete the submission for the competition and name her mystery rose.

Meanwhile, Henry is losing his job because the New York Botanical Garden is losing its funding and closing. He bumps into Charles and pull a Cyrano de Bergerac and helps him plan the perfect date with Helen. On the date, Henry shows up to give Helen a pep talk??? She gushes to Henry about how perfect the date setting is and how weird it is that Henry had been talking about wanting to go there. Charles eventually shows up and Henry leaves.  

Inspired by her new love Helen comes up with a name. Cupid Rose? Heartbeat Rose? Red Rose? Nope. She names it after a place she and Henry went in college, Crystal Quarry, where they took a leap of faith into a quarry… Crystal Valentine Rose is the stupid name.

Back to the Cyrano de Bergerac thing. Henry gives Charles advice for talking points for a family dinner that Helen is planning. Henry even gives him a first edition of Emily Dickinson poems, to give to Helen as a gift. Charles is kind of like, this is weird but… thanks bro!

At Helen’s dinner, Charles is being introduced to Beth and Aunt Carol. Things get awkward when everyone realizes that Helen has been changing herself to be more appealing to Charles. She pretends to like poker and carrot cake. Thankfully, they all just drink more wine. At the end of the night, Charles gives Helen the gift. She is touched and he totally lies and says he found it in a bookstore and thought of her (and reiterates that it is a first edition).

Beth mentions that she might be interested in Henry and then has chat with him in a coffee shop. She realizes that Henry loves Helen and tells him he is a good guy for putting Helen’s happiness before his own.

Turns out Charles works for the company that is closing down the Botanical Gardens. (He is building evil condos.) When Helen finds out she runs to Henry to see if he is okay. Henry tells her it is true and that he will be moving to Arizona for a new job in less than a week. Helen storms off into the flowers and he chases after her, with hot chocolate to make her not mad!

We get a Grey’s Anatomy emotional montage where Henry is packing and Helen is arranging flowers sullenly. I guess it is signifying the week passing? It is very random.

After saying goodbye, Helen is sad and looking for a sign that she made the right choice. She gets that sign immediately, when she receives the mother/daughter painting as a gift. Helen assumes that it was Charles and thanks him for it. He is all like “Ummm you’re welcome?”

Helen then learns that a big investor is at the wedding she is doing the flowers for and speaks the language of flowers to him and convinces him to save to the Botanical Gardens. Screw Charles and his condo development! He takes it in side and is maybe the right choice if he can forgive her for ruining his big deal. Helen calls Henry and realizes that he is the one that got her painting and that he is the one! She asks him to say, but he is like “nawwww, I’m getting on the plane.”

After crying to Aunt Carol in the flower shop, Helen receives one last Valentine’s Day bouquet to deliver to the botanical gardens. When she arrives it is empty, except for a single candelabra and HENRY! Who proposes! They take the leap together.

Side Note

“A flower takes time to bloom.” Aunt Carol wisdom.

Stop and smell the roses was actually said in this movie.

Overall rating

❤️ (1 Heart)

🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷(5 glasses of wine required)

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

Her Stolen Past (2018 Lifetime Movie Network)

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Her Stolen Past

Stars: Shanice Banton, Darlene Cooke, Barbara Eve Harris

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

When Sonya Daniels finds the birth certificate of a kidnapped baby, hidden in her late mother’s home, she’s shocked. What was her parents’ connection to the missing little girl and could her mother’s murder somehow be connected? Sonya hires attractive detective Brandon Hayes to help her investigate. But someone will stop at nothing to prevent them from uncovering the truth. Determined to unravel the mystery, Sonya doesn’t realize how deadly the answers she’s looking for will be.

Thoughts

The movie begins with an elderly woman putting a mysterious envelope in a drawer and then later walking alone in a parking garage. She hears someone following her and start running to her car looking back. No, this isn’t an episode of Golden Girls, It’s LMN so the elderly lady is promptly shot and killed. (She does manage to get a sold left hook in though). At her funeral we discover that the elderly lady was Sonya Daniels mother. We also learn that Sonya has an Auntie who loves her, a white friend, and that she is being watched by a mouth breather.

Sonya is back in her mother’s home, reliving memories and sorting through her things. (Again with her white friend, while the mouth breather watched from a parked car outside the house.) Sonya is studying to be a doctor at John Hopkins and will be selling the home. The police don’t have any information on who killed her mom, but there have been a few break ins in the neighborhood.

Sonya finds a box with her name on it in her mom’s closet. Inside the box is a designer bag with a birth certificate for Heather Bradley. (Whose parents are Dawn & Olivia Bradley, one of the richest woman in town.) After a quick Illuminate (Fake Google) search, Sonya and her white friend (who we learn is a nurse!) discover that Heather Bradley was kidnapped from Church. The white friend (Seriously, why has no one said her name yet?) has a friend from tennis class who is a former police officer and is now a private detective. Sonya goes to meet Brandon Hayes (A handsome, casually dressed detective.) He tells her to go to the police because it is evidence in a missing persons care, but than quickly changes his mind and decides to help her??? (But he will need her birth certificate….)

After a break in, Brandon comes to check on Sonya and offers to take her to her white friend (Missy, she’s got a name now.) for the night. Missy tells Sonya that Brandon is single and recently divorced for some reason. Brandon comes over the next morning with news, there is no record of Sonya’s mother ever giving birth and he thinks that Sonya’s birth certificate is probably a fake. Sonya insists on going to see the Bradleys. She WILL get to the bottom of this, with or without Brandon. (Who she is paying to do this job, but she is very involved.)

At the Bradley’s house (Which is very big and has a statue.) Mr. Bradley recognizes his wife’s bag and introduces them to his son, Grayson. Grayson thinks Sonya is just another gold digger and is very rude to her. Then Olivia comes home from the gym and she looks a lot like, Sonya. (Just saying!) Olivia is very controlled by her husband, who also manages the business she inherited from her father. He force feeds her antidepressants and tells her she is acting crazy.

Sonya continues to do even more detective work. (Without Brandon, who is busy sitting at his desk?) She discovers via her Auntie that she is adopted and it was a closed adoption (So no records to check.) and she gets security footage from her Auntie’s new security camera to see who broke into the house. She also goes to the church and learns that her mother was in the church choir until the kidnapping happened. (But she still doesn’t think her mom is responsible.)

Brandon shows up again, after hours, and Sonya starts making out with him. Then cock blocker Auntie comes over and interrupts to tell them that Sonya’s mom was getting upsetting phone calls. Then she leaves!?? You came over just for that, Auntie?

While sleuthing some more, Brandon and Sonya find a dead body! (Rebecca Gold, the babysitter who lost Heather at the church.) Brandon vows to work with the police now that things are getting real. The police station a office outside of Sonya’s house to make sure she is safe. (That always works!) Brandon also stays over with Sonya and they eat Chinese and have a heart to heart. The next morning the police are back and they have the DNA results. Sonya is Heather Bradley. (We all knew that from the beginning though, right?)

On their way to tell Mr. Bradley, Sonya and Brandon are shot at in the parking lot. Brandon gets shot, but it isn’t a big deal. They tell Mr. Bradley who isn’t wanting to tell his wife, because she is too fragile. (Or he is behind keeping it all covered up….)

Then ANOTHER body shows up, it is the personal trainer of Grayson Bradley… Lifetime is working hard to misdirect. Brandon then learns that Olive has a history of violence and mental instability. Could she be the murder? I hope not because she is at Sonya’s house!!!

Turns out it wasn’t Ms. Bradley it was MR. BRADLEY! But why? He arranged to have Sonya/Heather stolen because she is not his daughter. Olivia had an affair, so he had the man killed and paid the babysitter to get rid of Sonya/Heather. It is a lot of backstory to get out in the last 5 mins. I honestly don’t think I fully understand the motives of Mr. Bradley. He tried to kill them but then Olivia shoots her husband to save Sonya/Heather.

With the horror behind her, Sonya/Heather moves into her mother’s house and transfers to a local doctor school to be close to her new family, and Brandon.

Side Note

Based on Lynette Eason‘s Harlequin Love Inspired – Suspense novel Her Stolen Past.

Every transition shot in this movie is an aerial shot of a random small town. EVERY SCENE TRANSITION!

Overall rating

🔪 🔪 (2 Knives)

🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime, LLC

Simone Biles: Courage to Soar (2018 Lifetime)

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Simone Biles: Courage to Soar

Stars: Jeanté Godlock, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Julius Tennon

Listen to the Podcast Episode about this movie! 

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Based on her book, Courage To Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance, the biopic follows Simone Biles through her sacrifices and hard work that lead her to win 19 Olympic and World Championship medals and cemented her stake as one of the greatest gymnasts of all-time. Biles’ journey from foster care to the Olympic podium is full of life experiences that serve as an inspiration for every little girl with a dream.

 

Thoughts

It’s 2000, and Simone is in foster care because her drunk mom could not take care of her and her siblings. They are sent to go live with her step grandmother (who is rich RICH!). They have a trampoline in the backyard and a big beautiful house. They are a happy family with in their new surroundings when the drunk mom comes back after being rehabilitated. Simone’s siblings want to go back home, Simone wants to stay with her step grandparents. After some back and forth between foster care, their mom’s house, and their step grandparents’ house, the grandparents are legally named as  Simone’s guardians.

On a whim, Simone’s brother takes her to the gym and she is a natural. Quickly advancing to higher levels and on to the junior olympic track. Simone’s step grandfather takes her to practices and gets some-patronizing advice from the other gymnastic moms, until they realize that she is the girl who is killing it on all the skills.

Next, we get a montage of the real Simone Biles in competition. It is amazing to see how small she was and the crazy gymnastics moves.

Flashforward to teen Simone. She is getting bullied for having muscles by the kids at her private school. Her life is completely consumed by gymnastics, and she isn’t doing well in school. So Nellie (the step grandmother) goes to the coach to see if Simone can get to the next level or should they look for another coach. Her coach commits to get Simone to be her best in front of Marta Karoly and to the olympics.

Cue the training montage!  

It works and Simone gets into the USA Gymnastics Camp. She is thrilled to be there and trains with Marta Karoly, the music here is ominous to show their seriousness of the new head coach. This whole scene is very strange with the recent scandal with the camp, and Marta’s involvement.

At nationals, Simone failed to make the junior nation team by one spot and Marta decided to not invite Simone back for another year because she lacked focus.

We then see high school Simone who wants a normal life with a boyfriend and school dances. She comes off as bratty and spends the next few scenes complaining and yelling at her step grandparents. Eventually she decides to go with home schooling and kind of commit to gymnastics. She makes the junior nation team!

In practices, Simone is all attitude and rudeness to her coach. She is pissed that she gave up high school to train and resentful to everyone. She has a heart-to-heart with Nellie who encourages her to not worry about what other people are doing and focus on herself.

We get another montage of real Simone in competition intercut with the movie family in the stands cheering her on. She stumbles, falls, and injures her ankle. Marta come to the locker room and tells her to be 100% committed and do it for herself, not others. Simone decides to make it fun again, while her coaches up the difficulty of her routines.

Cue another training montage (this time with her family helping her at home too)!

Training pays off when Simone wins the women’s all around at worlds—when her coach Amy suddenly walks out and quits. Nellie isn’t having it and meets with Amy to convince her to come back. She even starts to build her own a gymnasium, so Simone can train.

Lifetime then touches on the family dealing the racist tweets that Simone received after winning worlds from a salty Italian gymnast.

We get even MORE training montages (This time to “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten). Simone injured her shoulder and had to rehabilitate herself to win worlds two more times, making her a THREE TIME WORLD CHAMPION. (Which is insane!!!) We had a HUGE time jump here in the movie and skipped over the rest of her high school. She now has to choose between going college or going pro for sponsorships. She complains about having to make a choice and cries, but decides to go pro.

 

On track for Rio, Simone automatically qualifies for the olympics! The gym is finally open too. Simone’s mom calls to check in and they have a strained conversation, where Simone calls her by her name (Sharon). She then thanks Nellie for being her actual mom.

At the olympics, Simone and the other girls decided to call themselves the Final Five. They are the final five girls that Marta will have coached.

We finally get some actual olympic footage intercut with Jeanté Godlock’s face close ups. We all know how the olympics turn out! USA takes the gold! We then see that Simone is gearing up for 2020. (And then a two title card about the scandal, like so short I could barely read it.)

Side Note

Lifetime certainly was hoping to capitalize on the excitement leading up to the 2018 olympic games. However, the timing of this movie seems off with the US gymnastics abuse scandal. (Of which Simone Biles herself was a victim of.) Larry Nasser was recently sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison. 

Lifetime biopics are always hit or miss. This one had the benefit of Simone Biles herself involved in production. That said, the movie had no POV, except Simone Biles is good at gymnastics and her grandparents were cool/supportive.

Julius Tennon made this movie! He was hilarious.

Overall rating

🇺🇸 🇺🇸 (USA Flags)

🍷🍷 (2 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime

 

January TV Movie Guide (Hallmark & Lifetime)

Hello Everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday! We are back with a preview of ALL the January TV movies coming your way. The Podcast and Blog won’t be covering most of these movies, but I thought it would be a great resource for you!

My pre-viewing ratings are as follows:

Pour it Up (I’m all for it and am excited to watch.)

Let it Breath (I’m going to have to wait and see.)

Put a cork in it  (I will be hate watching or hating myself for loving it.)

Movie details (Date, actors and movie titles) are subject to change. I will update more information as it becomes available. Enjoy! As always, please share your thoughts on the movies on the blog, I love hearing from you.

 

Love on the Slopes (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Jan 6th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel

Stars: Katrina BowdenThomas Beaudoin

Synopsis via Hallmark

Alex copyedits for a travel magazine, but wants to be a writer. Now the magazine is holding a contest for a spot on the writing staff, and a plane ticket to anywhere in the world! Alex pitches an article on extreme sports photographer Cole Taylor, but is told to write about trying the risky sports herself. Her boyfriend Barton is supportive, but doesn’t see Alex as very daring. Determined, Alex heads to Colorado where she meets Cole and convinces him to be her guide. Though a klutz, Alex is soon skiing and zip-lining, all as Cole photographs her exhilaration and they fall in love. But when Barton arrives and tells Cole he’s part of the article, Cole feels betrayed. Later though, after reading the piece, Cole is happy for Alex, and even happier when she returns with a plane ticket and an invitation to join her on a trip, sure to be the first of many!

Thoughts

Hallmark’s Winterfest is like Hallmark Christmas movies with the Christmas removed, WHO WANTS THAT?!?!

However, I do like Katrina Bowden. Especially if she is playing a klutz. “Let it Breath”

 

A Tale of Two Corys (Lifetime)

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Premieres: Jan. 6, 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime

Stars:  Elijah MarcanoJustin Ellings Scott Bosely

Synopsis (Via Lifetime)

Feldman (Elijah Marcano and Scott Bosely) and Haim (Justin Ellings and Casey Leach) skyrocketed to fame after meeting on the set of the blockbuster movie The Lost Boys and quickly became young Hollywood heartthrobs. They collaborated on popular comedies including License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream and basked in being Tinseltown royalty in their early teens. But as their stars rose, their lives began to quickly spin out of control with endless partying and drugs. As their fame and fortune increased, dark secrets haunted them. Young and impressionable, the actors suffered through years of sexual abuse at the hands of industry insiders. With studio offers drying up and their reputations becoming tabloid fodder, Feldman eventually turned his life around by getting sober, getting married and having a son. Haim, however, continued his downward spiral and by the time the two starred in their own reality series, The Two Coreys, not even Feldman was able to save him.

 

Thoughts

I missed the whole Corey phenomenon originally and only know them from VH1. (Is that still a channel?) and reality TV. Corey Feldman is a producer on the project so I will “Let it Breath”.

 

Last Scene Alive: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Premieres: Jan 7th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel

Stars: Candace Cameron BureYannick BissonMarilu Henner

Synopsis via Hallmark

A Hollywood film crew descends on the town of Lawrenceton, GA to produce a film based on a book written by Aurora’s onetime boyfriend Robin Crusoe. However, when the lead actress, who is playing Aurora is killed, the real Aurora and the Murders Club must investigate a long list of suspects.

Thoughts

 

Candace Cameron Bure stretches her acting ability by playing an auburn haired woman. People like her, but I’m going to have to “Put a Cork in it”

 

Frozen in Love (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Jan 13th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel

Stars: Rachael Leigh CookNiall Matter

Synopsis via Hallmark

Mary faces the grim reality of her quaint but stagnant Denver store closing, she reaches out for some PR help to turn things around. At the same time, the handsomely wild, flashy “live-in-the-moment” Denver Royals hockey star Adam is sent to the same PR firm to fix his reputation, and the two are paired together in a seemingly mutually-beneficial buddy system: repair his image and give her the chance to reinvent the store and do something big to save it. Along the way, they both learn the important lesson that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, it only matters how many times you get back up again, which opens up two seemingly opposites for much needed change, and unexpected love.

Thoughts

Love Rachel Leigh Cook, but Niall Matter with anyone other than Erin Krakow is SCANDALOUS. “Put a Cork in It”

 

Past Malice: An Emma Fielding Mystery (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Premieres: Jan 13th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Stars: Courtney Thorne-SmithJames Tupper

Synopsis via Hallmark

When archaeologist Emma Fielding is called upon to consult on a state historical project and discovers the body of another archeologist in a secret chamber beneath the castle, she calls in her pal, FBI agent Jim Conner, to help her sort out the evidence and determine whether the “Curse of the Chandlers” is real, or simply a local legend invoked to divert attention from the killer, who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Thoughts

Archaeologist?!?! “Put a Cork in It”.

 

Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story (Lifetime)

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Premieres: Jan 20th, 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime

Stars: Catherine Zeta-JonesRaúl MéndezJuan Pablo Espinosa

Synopsis via Lifetime

Academy Award and Tony Award-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones stars in “Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story,” a Lifetime feature based on the life of drug lord Griselda Blanco, a pioneer in the Miami-based cocaine trade. At the age of 17, Griselda Blanco, made her way to the U.S. with a fake passport with her first husband Carlos. Living in Queens with her three sons , Griselda became enticed by the money the drug world offered, and quickly became embroiled with local drug runners. Griselda masterminded the use of beautiful women, the elderly and children as the mules and created false-bottom suitcases to smuggle cocaine from Colombia. With money rolling in, her sons abandoned school and entered the family business instead. A move to Miami would further expand Griselda’s empire, and lead to the death of her second husband Alberto (Juan Pablo Espinosa), giving the rise to her nickname, The Black Widow. Her willingness to use violence against her Miami competitors, led her rivals to make repeated unsuccessful attempts to kill her. In order to protect her youngest son with third husband Dario (Raul Mendez), Griselda moved to California where she was later arrested by the DEA and sentenced to a decade in jail. The case against her collapsed and upon her release, she was deported to Colombia, where she was ultimately gunned down in 2012. In her lifetime, Griselda’s drug distribution network spanned across the United States and she was suspected of ordering over 200 murders.

Thoughts

Academy Award AND Tony winner? “Pour it Up!”

 

One Winter Weekend (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Jan 20th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel

Stars: Taylor Cole & Jack Turner

Synopsis via Hallmark

A relationship writer at a women’s magazine has recently sworn off dating and joins her best girlfriend for a snowboarding weekend. A reservation snafu forces them to share a chalet with a couple of guys they’ve never met, one of whom is a company CEO who is also lying low on the dating front. However, once he and she get to know one another better, they begin to wonder if perhaps they should rethink their whole “non-dating” status, until each finds out what the other does for a living, and he bolts.

Thoughts

I will never be able to forgive Taylor for Christmas Festival of Ice! “Put a Cork In It”

Morning Show Murders: Mortal Mishaps (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Premieres: Jan 21st, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Stars: Holly Robinson Peete and 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

Could Hallmark be making progress on the POC issue? I think Rick Fox is a fox, sooooo “Pour it Up”

 

Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story (Lifetime)

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Premieres: Jan 27th, 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime

Stars: Toni BraxtonTrevor MorganYaya DaCosta

Synopsis via Lifetime

Seven time Grammy® Award winner Toni Braxton stars as Antoinette Tuff, a struggling single mom from Georgia who heroically averted a tragedy, saving hundreds of lives when she convinced a deranged gunman who stormed an elementary school to surrender. On August 20, 2013, shortly after arriving to work at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia, Antoinette the school’s bookkeeper, was in the front office when Michael Hill, a young man with a history of mental illness, snuck in, armed with an AK-47 and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. As the school went into lockdown, Antoinette was left alone with Michael, who repeatedly threatened to kill everyone. Showing enormous courage and empathy, along with nerves of steel, Antoinette convinced Michael to surrender by using her own life struggles to connect with him. Antoinette’s faith in God guided her through the toughest moments of her life, ultimately preparing her for that fateful day.

Thoughts

I’m like yay Toni Braxton, but then I’m like Lifetime school shooting movie??? “Let it Breathe!”

 

Winter’s Dream (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Jan 27th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel

Stars: Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson.

Synopsis via Hallmark

A former ski champion reenters the competitive world when a 16-year old downhill racer asks for help, leading her to reawaken an old passion and find a new love.

Thoughts

I have no clue what this movie is about, and I suspect neither does Hallmark. Even my prepubescent crush on Dean Cain can’t save this one. “Put a Cork In It”

Snowed- Inn Christmas (2017 Lifetime)

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Snowed- Inn Christmas

Listen to the Lifetime Uncorked Podcast! 

Stars: Bethany Joy Lenz & Andrew Walker

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Jenna Hudson and Kevin Jenner are polar opposites, working for the same online publication in New York City. With both having nowhere they want to be for Christmas, they volunteer for a special writing assignment. After a snowstorm forces their plane to land in none other than Santa Claus, Indiana, the two are placed in a Christmas Wonderland and the focus of their story shifts to saving the historic town inn run by Carol and Christopher Winters. As the two overcome their differences, they also rediscover the magic of Christmas. But with the inn’s fate in jeopardy and the return of someone from Jenna’s past, Carol and Christopher lend a helping hand to bring Jenna and Kevin together.

Thoughts

Jenna has it all together! Fancy alarm clock, electric toothbrush, she makes an omelets and places her silver wear just so. Kevin is the complete opposite. They both work for epiphany (an NYC online publication.) They both get assigned to write a Christmas article in Aspen, Colorado and are competing for position of “most valuable writer.”

We get even more comparisons as to how different they are. She packs for the trip early and neatly, he just throws things into a suitcase. On the plane she listens to her headphones and he play a noisy game! They hit turbulence and have to make an unexpected stop in Santa Claus, Indiana. (Jenna is, of course, afraid of flying and has a freak out on the plane, while Kevin laughs at her.)

In the airport after failing to bribe a flight attendant with $20 for tickets to Aspen, the two meet a Mrs. Clause looking lady in the terminal. She gives them candy canes and just happens to own a small inn in town. Her husband Chris comes to pick them up. Chris and Carol show them around the Winter Inn. It is VERY decorated. Apparently the inn was founded by St. Nick himself, but since they can’t prove Santa is real, the historic inn will be sold.

Their editor can’t let this opportunity go and assigns them to say in Indiana to get the story on the Inn. For story research they get to know Chris and carol and both do research about hot to save the inn. Distracted and can’t sleep, they both wake up and make a midnight snack. (Cue the cookie baking montage, and flour fight.)

Heart to heart moment. Keven tells Jenna he likes her with her hair down. We then find out that Jenna was an orphan than no one wanted an grew up in orphanages, therefore never had a REAL Christmas. She also reviles that her recent break up hurt so much because she thought it was her shot at a real Christmas. They both agree they are afraid to call in real love. Then go for a walk around town at 2am!

The next day, Kevin takes Jenna to his family’s house. (The live in Indiana) He tells Jenna that his father died three years ago and he hasn’t been home since. His family is surprised (AND Biracial, which is accepted as a fact of life not a catalyst for drama!) Lifetime really nails the family dynamic. In this movie and multiple others this season, lifetime’s family banter is authentic and light hearted for the sake of showing relationships, not to further the plot. The day trip goes so well that Kevin invites Jenna to come over for Christmas Day.

After a small fight, because they love each other and thats how we can tell in these movies… apparently. They dive back into work and agree to exchange final drafts at the Winter Inn Christmas Eve party. Jenna writes about how Santa is real. Kevin writes about how he found Christmas Joy in Jenna and he is in love.

At the party, Jenna admits she didn’t finish her article. (Which is just SO unlike her.) They dance the two step. Just as Kevin is about to tell Jenna his feelings, her ex-boyfriend arrives to get her back and she agrees to take him back. WTF!

Kevin has a conversation with “Carol” or Mrs Clause and even though he missed his opportunity to tell her, he can show her. He finishes the article for both of them, finds a certificate to save the inn, and tells Jenna he lover her in writing. Jenna leaves her loser boyfriend at the airport and goes to Kevin’s family house.

They kiss!

Normally on Hallmark this would be the end, but since we are on Lifetime we get a little bit more. Kevin gifts Jenna his Dad’s stocking with her name on it. Then we see the family playing games and just enjoying the holiday, which is really what the season is all about!

Side Note

So many endearing moments with Andrew W Walker. The PJ moment, sign language scene, and just him in general as an actor.

POC Alert: Loved that the niece was biracial and referred to as beautiful multiple times by her uncle. (Also the Sister’s husband had some nice character development too.) Tasha Smith playing the matchmaker boss was fun too.

The Santa stuff usually drives me crazy, bit I didn’t mind it in this movie. Probably because it is so close to CHRISTMAS!

Happy Holidays, blog friends.

Overall rating

🎄 🎄🎄 (3 Christmas Trees)

🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)

 

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Lifetime

Christmas Next Door (2017 Hallmark Channel)

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Christmas Next Door

Listen to the Podcast Episode about this movie! 

Stars: Jesse Metcalfe & Fiona Gubelmann

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Eric Randall, an author of bachelor lifestyle books, is left in charge of his young niece and nephew for the holidays. Eric turns to his neighbor April, a lover of all things Christmas, for help.

Thoughts

April and Eric are neighbors! (Well, they live two houses away.) April loves Christmas and goes WAY overboard on decorations. Eric drives a red sports car and throws rocking dude parties. At this dude party we get exposition in THE WEIRDEST WAY I’VE EVER SEEN ON HALLMARK. We get intercut scenes with Eric and his bro friends talking in the most awkward dialogue and April and her sister talking through the normal Hallmark exposition with shrill/cutesy acting. The whole sequence plays very heavily into gender roles. Here is what we learn:

Eric has a best selling cookbook and is on a bunch of magazines covers. His is working on his new book and hates Christmas.

April’s sister is pressuring her to audition for the viola in the  orchestra. Because that is their dream as sisters. Apparently, April gets nervous and has the hiccups, so she hasn’t been able to audition before. April is a music teacher, “because you know what they say, those who can’t teach!”

At a fancy restaurant, Eric and his date are talking trash about April and how annoying she is because she she teaches kids music and is too loud. Too bad for them, April and her sister are the restaurant entertainment! To get back at them April plays her violin right next to their table and very sassily tells them off. Eric is amused; his red-headed Canadian girlfriend is not.

Then the snowstorm of the century happens and Eric’s sister, Anna, is stuck in Norway and unable to get back in town till after Christmas. Eric’s Mom was watching Anna’s kids and decides to fake the flu to get Eric to bond with his nephew (Liam) and niece (Chelsea)… So Eric goes over and picks them up in his Mom’s minivan. (No more sports car!)

When the kids arrive, they freak out that nothing is decorated and think he is obviously the WORST. (But really aren’t they?) The kids insist on getting the biggest Christmas Tree in the lot, and then recruit April to bring over decorations. Eric gets overwhelmed with emotion and sees April out. She reminds him of someone who he used to know and that is why he hates Christmas… Am I missing something here???

Eric only buys gift cards as gifts, because he is a garbage person, and the kids make him take them shopping. He brings his red-headed Canadian girlfriend along. She takes the kids to go see Santa while he meet-cutes back up with April and they go shopping for jewelry—“For his Mom”—but really, for future her, after they fall in love.

At Eric’s work holiday party, his agent asks him if he has finished his book. The deadline is looming and if he doesn’t finish he will be in breach of contract. Instead of hunkering down and getting his book done, he takes the kids with April to the ice skating rink! At the ice skating rink April admits that she has read his cookbooks and guides him to find his voice as a writer. Maybe he should write about growing up and not the bachelor persona her has created. After their ice skating rink date (With the kids) Eric admits that the reason he hates Christmas is because the girl who reminds him of April had fallen in love with someone else, when he was going to propose to her at Christmas…

April gets the courage from Eric (and his advice from Siri about how to get over stage-fright) to go to her audition—which she nails—and even convinces Eric to go around the neighborhood caroling. Cue the “Joy to the World” moment. They have such a great time together that they decide to watch a movie with the kids. Once they are back at the house, the red-headed Canadian girlfriend is there and they have the most amicable break up ever. They even hug goodbye. April is headed home and turns around just in time to see them hug and is heartbroken. She starts giving him the cold shoulder because she thinks he is still with red-headed Canadian.

Eric’s new manuscript is accepted and will be called Uncle Christmas: How Christmas Heals the Heart. While babysitting, April finds a present she assumes is for the red-headed Canadian not-girlfriend and tells him she can’t be with him anymore.

The whole family is finally together and Eric’s Mom admits her scheme. The family tells Eric, “Go get your girl,” so he goes to April’s work. He explains that he bought the necklace is meant for her, and maybe he is too.

She responds: “You don’t even write romance novels.”

Him: “I’d rather live one.”

They kiss. I died.

Side Note

Jesse Metcalf’s hair in this movie was terrible! Full on Eddie Munster.

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Fiona Gubelmann is very annoying.

Overall rating

🎄  (1 Christmas Tree)

🍷🍷🍷 🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)

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