Grounded for Christmas

Winter Storm Meghan is Back and Better Than Ever!

One of my favorite romantic plot devices is the bringing a fake boyfriend home for whatever reason. This one did a great job thanks mostly to the great chemistry between the two likable leads. Cheryl Ladd as the warm and loving mom was a welcome addition. I have seen her also play a cold ruthless boss this Christmas movie season. She was equally believable in both roles. So that must mean she is a very good actress. And she still looks beautiful. The ex-boyfriend was really creepy, by the way. It was hard to swallow how Nina could ever had had her heart broken by him. Very cute and romantic ending.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

November 15, 2020

Wedding Every Weekend

Way to Go, Hallmark!

I agree with all of the positive reviews regarding this movie. Kimberley Sustad is a very likable and talented actress and does comedy very well. I liked the plot and the slow building realistic growth of her feelings for Paul Campbell and his for her. It’s been a long time since I have looked forward to the inevitable happy ending with such anticipation in a Hallmance. Too often it’s just a big yawn. They did avoid most of the usual Hallmark tent poles in the plot although the “big misunderstanding” was front and center.

Yes, the diversity was laid on with a trowel. Jewish, Black, multi-ethnic, and gay weddings. But sometimes the politically correct thing is also the right and good thing. In fact the only “normal” (Ha Ha) couple was the lead couple, now that I think about it. Hopefully the religious right can take some comfort in that. As for me, I hope Hallmark doesn’t think they’ve done their duty for the time being as far as diversity is concerned and non-WASP non-straight people go back to being relegated to tokens. I choose to give them the benefit of the doubt that they will be guided by the praise and not the invective.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

August 17, 2020

Holiday Date

And for Something a Little Different…

This is a genuinely amusing little variation on the usual Hallmark template. It starts off with all of the clichés in place: Nice girl gets dumped before the holidays when she is expected to bring the dumper to meet the family for the first time. she can’t bear the humiliation or to disappoint them so she falls in with a plan to substitute an actor to impersonate the architect “”Mr. Christmas” ex-boyfriend. He is a born and bred New York City actor who is anxious to visit a small town to get a feel for a role he is up for. One problem. He is Jewish and can’t even build a gingerbread house. The chemistry between the charming leads was great, there was some ample support from veteran actors Bruce Boxleitner and Teri Rothery. And the talented Anna Van Hooft, who usually plays the villain in Hallmark movies, does a credible job in a throw away part as the supportive sister, for a change. And lets not forget the contribution by a Hallmark stalwart Peter Benson as the brother-in-law.

This was a nice romance with some good laughs fueled by the tension of when will the truth come out, and what will happen then, and the cluenessness of fake fiancee Joel, played with aplomb by new comer Matt Cohen.

One of the best this year. Hallmark Christmas movie fans: Don’t miss it!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

December 16, 2019

Snow Bride

I Can’t Say Enough about this One

When one sees one of these early Hallmarks (2013 for this one), it is evident how the brand has slid into mediocrity in the last year or two. I guess it’s to be expected, considering the sheer volume that are churned out nowadays. It is evident also in how much kinder I am in my ratings now. My standards have well and truly slipped. My expectations are so low, that when I actually enjoy one, it is kind of an event. I’ve re-watched a few of the older ones that I have given low or average marks to, and finding that, compared to what is aired nowadays, they weren’t all that bad. I originally gave this one a “7”.

Snow Bride had everything I love about the Hallmark movies and is so rare today. Our heroine, a tabloid reporter, gains intimate access to a prominent political family under false pretenses. It was both funny and witty. The image of her tromping and tripping through the snow in her friends wedding dress had me laughing out loud. It had some funny repartee as well. The suspense of waiting for the truth to come out had me in a state of anticipation throughout. The big reveal had me cringing for our heroine and the comeuppance to the bad guys was very cathartic. The evil ones had me hissing and booing. There were some heart tugging moments and a satisfying twist near the end that I didn’t see coming. Considering the vaunted predictability of Hallmarks, this was a real coup. Excellent writing. The actors were all great. Patricia Richardson was wonderful and wise as the mother. I loved the secondary romance and the story behind it. Very affecting. Katrina Law had great comic timing and also brought emotion to her role. She’s no Teri Polo, Meredith Hagler, Autumn Reeser or Melissa Joan Hart, but she was just fine. Unfortunately she was not served well by the make-up artist. Bobby Campo as the brother added depth to his redeemed character. He is a favorite of mine from subsequent Hallmarks. The hero, Ben was a bit blah, but was very handsome. It really had all the ingredients. I wish Hallmark would go for quality over quantity, but at least they still show these oldies but goodies from time to time.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

November 28, 2019

A December Bride

Poorly Cast

I am amazed at all of the glowing reviews for this movie and Jessica Lowndes in her role as the “December Bride”. I had seen it before, and apparently didn’t hate it, but upon catching a few minutes of it here and there last night, I just have to articulate my frustration. Jessica Lowndes is gorgeous, glamorous, and stunning. This role, as a jilted, hurt, insecure young lady, needed a more Sandra Bullock type rather than a Scarlet Johannson or Angelina Jolie type. It needed someone we could feel sorry for and relate to. It needed an actress with some comic timing, not a line reader. Her acting was the worse I have ever seen in a Hallmark movie. She did not inhabit her part, I was just listening to an actress read her script with some expression. I am sure I will get nothing but “not helpful” votes for this. but I just had to get it off my chest.

In fact, I just looked up her resume and she has been in only one other Hallmark movie, Merry Matrimony. Same comments on her acting there, so now I know I am not crazy. Daniel Lissing was quite good, and she was probably the beneficiary of his reflected glory in this one.**6 stars out of 10**

November 15, 2017

Surprised by Love

Slinkys and Twinkies

This Hallmark non-holiday romance has all of the prerequisite Hallmark clichés: Stuffy boyfriend, quirky true-love, visit to well off but mean parents, heroine caught in the wrong career, and troubled sister. It manages to overcome them all, thanks to the whimsical charm of Paul Campbell as Quigley, and Tim Conway as the grandfather pretending to have dementia so to escape being drawn into the various family dramas. The redemption of her parents is well done and accomplished with a slinky and a Twinkie cake. The secondary romance of the sister and her next door neighbor and son of the Mother’s nemesis is a nice touch. The sister was tons more likable and interesting than the primary heroine, and actually is more compatible with her love interest, but would not have provided the necessary “opposites attract” dynamic and her eventual character arc where she has her epiphany regarding her love life and her career. **8 out of 10 Stars**

January 6, 2015