Time for Them to Come Home for Christmas

A Road Trip to Remember

Amnesia stories usually provide rich material for a nice story, and this one is no exception. Jessy Schram, a favorite of mine, plays a young woman who gets dunked in a river after being bumped by a car. We next see her in the local hospital near the Canadian border with amnesia. Her luggage has been lost. The only clue to who she is is an ad for a Christmas Tree lighting in Charleston, SC that she left behind at a local diner. It has a handwritten message on the back saying “Please Come” and signed “Mark”.

“Jane Doe” is an immediate hit at the hospital due to her friendly, spirited, and outgoing nature. Jessy conveys all of that with the underlying vulnerability that she is so good at. She makes a friendly connection with a nice nurse, Paul, who offers to drive her to Charleston as it is on his way to his family’s home. It is almost immediately apparent that Paul is hiding some secret pain as he is very conflicted about going home. Jessy and Brendan are perfectly cast and their performances are spot on. I like that they made Paul a nurse instead of a doctor, thus it made sense when he drives her in an old dilapidated car that conveniently breaks down on the way. A doctor would have flown.

On their road trip, they have a positive impact on all of the people they meet along the way. Including Alison Sweeney in a brief cameo appearance! This is a real thing this year. This is the third movie I have seen in which other Hallmark stars appear briefly in another movie not their own. I think it’s really cool. And very smart given the competition other networks are giving them for the attention of the Christmas movie viewing public.

The movie keeps you engaged at all times what with the mystery behind Paul’s sadness and conflicted feelings going home and Jessy’s real identity. Jessy starts having flashbacks which hint that she may be married and have a child! Why would she leave a husband and child? Is she a bad person? Is he a bad person? It won’t be a spoiler to reassure you that she is not a bad person and her future lies with the nice and attractive Paul.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

November 29, 2021

Dashing Home for Christmas

Happy Ending? I Hope So…

I loved the romance and humor in this. First of all the two leads were in each others company almost non-stop throughout the movie which led to lots of interaction and realistic relationship building. I loved their chemistry. They had two very distinct and quirky personalities which at the same time were polar opposites from each other. So the journey from indifference to friendship and then love was interesting and full of twists and turns.

I have to say the male lead was certainly not the typical leading man type. Dorky, with glasses, but handsome underneath it all.

He over shared with all and sundry and was pretty irritating to his co-star and the viewer as well. But as we and she come to see, it is because of his warm, kind and generous heart. I generally prefer the non-traditional underdog type hero to the too handsome to be real types anyway. If this is not your jam, you probably will not like this.

The “girl”, on the other hand was not interested in anything but her own business, and would not get off her phone. She was snotty and entitled, but yet she loved her family and wanted nothing else but to get home to them before her sister had her baby. She was an exotic beauty, as opposed to the hero’s looks.

So it was an interesting matchup and romance. Very much out of the typical box. My only doubt is if they can sustain the relationship past the “honeymoon period,” they were so different. So in the interest of happy endings, it’s probably a good thing it ended when it did.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

November 23, 2020

Road to Christmas

Some Special Touches

Very pleasant. Nothing super special, but nothing to make you want to throw your remote at the TV set either. The acting was definitely above average by Jessy and Chad Michael Murray. I like the actress who played the mother, Teryl Rothery. She is in many Hallmark films and always very reliable. I liked the plot with the three adopted Brothers finally reunited as a surprise for Christmas. It added an emotional Depth that’s been missing in many of these Hallmark Christmas stories. I love the graphics that showed the journeys of the two protagonists! One normally does not see such creativity and cuteness in a Hallmark movie it took me by surprise.

One final comment that I hope isn’t too mean but just needs to be said. Jessy Schram has lost way too much weight and looks a good bit worse for wear. If she’s been sick I hope she gets better soon because she really is a top-notch Hallmark actress.**7 out of 10 stars**

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

November 7, 2018

The Christmas Train

The Stars and the Setting Put this one Over

A lower-tier Hall of Fame-caliber movie, but Hall of Fame worthy nonetheless. The cast was strong and the main actors were well known and respected. Dermot Mulroney and Kimberly Williams Paisley made an attractive and likable couple. I personally find Danny Glover incredibly annoying, but I love Joan Cusack and enjoyed her role in this movie. The setting on the train to California? I loved it, but I’m prejudiced. I was lucky enough as a teen to travel from Chicago to Los Angeles on the El Capitan and The City of Los Angeles and back again during the Christmas Season. The plot was OK and benefited from being based on a David Baldacci book. The twist at the end really saved the story, though. After reading another reviewer’s comparison to the book, I really am considering reading the book upon which this was based.

Reviewing Hallmark Christmas movies is kind of a stupid hobby of mine, and I like to review the dreadful ones and the enjoyable ones or if I think I have something valuable to point out. I am jotting down a little review of this one because it’s a cut above the usual. **8 out of 10**

Rating: 4 out of 5.

December 5, 2017

One Starry Christmas

I Hope They have Fun while it Lasts. A week? Maybe?

I turned this on 15 minutes in and thought it looked pretty good. Attractive hero, cute heroine, a bus trip. then I looked it up on IMDb and saw that I had seen it before, and that I had given it only 4 stars. Hmmm. By the end of the movie the little annoyances and irritations added up and I understood. My main complaints echo some of the other reviewers.

1.) How many times does she flirtily call him “Cowboy”? a hundred?

2.) The boyfriend was unquestionably a jerk. He did not handle the competition well to say the least. and that proposal was cringe-worthy. But my lord, I kind of felt sorry for him. He was so painfully desperate.

3.)She flirted with “Cowboy” right in front of said boyfriend. Not nice. In fact she was kind of a h0. She shows up at the breakfast table in a nice outfit to show cowboy New York City. Takes one look at him after he’s had a chance to take a shower, and goes back to put on a sexier outfit and smack on some lipstick. Need I ask what her game was here?

4.) The horse ride through New York and New Jersey. Stupid Stupid Stupid. Yes, it was super corny. But it made absolutely no sense. Why didn’t he take a cab? So here’s the main thing:

5.) So she had a big problem with moving away from Chicago due to her position as an award-winning professor of astronomy. (don’t get me started on that.) Yet she wants to hook up with a rancher in Texas, who can hardly compromise at all as to where he lives for the rest of his life. So what’s the inevitable result? I guess Hallmark didn’t think that through.

It wasn’t all bad. I liked the parents, and the boyfriend’s acting was great. Damon Runyon as cowboy made a romantic hero. But her incredibly shallow behavior, the impossibility of a long-term relationship, the needless stupidity of the premise, and the corny clichés prevent me from giving it more than 4 stars. Nice coat wardrobe though.**4 stars out of 5**

November 17, 2017

Journey to Enchantment

by Patricia Veryan

** spoiler alert ** Journey to Enchantment is another deft mix of Veryan’s signature adventure/romance. Like its predecessor, the emphasis is on the adventure. In the second in the series, we follow Geoffrey Delavale, Penny’s brother she thought dead in Practice to Deceive. He is a dying man, but still manages, masquerading as Ligon Doone, to rescue Jacobites fleeing from Lord Cumberland’s savagery. There is a shade of The Scarlet Pimpernel in this one, as Prudence, our Scottish heroine, idolizes Ligon Doone, while thinking contemptuously of Geoffrey Delavale, a Sassenach she suspects of being a spy. He is recovering from his war wounds at her family’s estate on the banks of Loch Ness by virtue of the fact that though fighting against Bonnie Prince Charlie, he is an old friend of her brother Robbie. The second half of the book is a chase through the highlands, as Geoff, Prue, and their compatriots are running from soldiers, bounty hunters, and paid assassins. It ends with a tense nail biter of a showdown between Geoff and Prudence and the evil and greedy Uncle Joseph, the wanton Aunt Sybil, Roland Otton, and the Captain who has been pursuing them. I did enjoy this one a bit more than the first of the Golden Chronicles as I found the hot tempered Prudence more funny and engaging than Penny, and the brave and noble Geoffrey much more mature than the sometimes not-too-bright Quentin Chandler. **3 out of 5 stars**

Rating: 3 out of 5.

November 28, 2016

Practice to Deceive

by Patricia Veryan

The first of the Golden Chronicles, this is one of Veryan’s more adventurous, swashbuckling titles. It is full of derring-do and one of her many picaresque/chase type adventures. There is some humor, but not as much as most of her novels. It is probably too long and could easily been shortened a bit, but it does serve to introduce a number of characters, male and female, which will make a number of appearances in later novels in the series, and even in her later Jeweled Man series. In this way, the more you read her books, the more you are invested in the characters and their fates. She weaves a very complex plot in an enchanting way. Sometimes one just has to pause and read a description or a scene again just for the quality of the writing. I understand how people might be disappointed if they are expecting another Georgette Heyer, because their books have little in common. What they do have in common is how they both create a beguiling world peopled with very well-rounded, lovable and hate-able characters. What Veryan has over Heyer is that you meet them or hear about them again and again as your read through the series.

It’s 3 stars because her other books are so much better! Although I will say it has one of the most effective and withering scoldings of a hero (by his father) that I can remember. It is so on point and cringe producing that I felt sorry for him even though he deserved every scathing word.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

October 13, 2016

A Christmas Detour

On the Road Again

A high-strung writer gets hooked up with an irreverent laid back fellow and a seemingly happily married couple on the way to visit their families on Christmas. They are thrown together when a snowstorm cancels their flight and they decide to share an automobile to get to their destinations. The Candace Cameron character is traveling to the Hamptons to meet her fiancée’s family for the first time. It is a road movie in which romance blossoms, true character is revealed, and secrets are uncovered. The fiancé and his parents are deliciously evil, Cameron-Bure, while always reliable, is quite likable and funny, and the married couple and the hero are well played, interesting, and nice to look at.

What I really want to address, and this movie is a perfect example, is Hallmark’s penchant for casting 40 year-olds in the roles of 20 or early thirty-year-olds. Aren’t there any promising young actors and actresses out there?. I am tired of seeing the same faces over and over. It is particularly absurd in this one. The older experienced couple who have a 20-year relationship and a daughter old enough to have a beautiful old home, are played by actors who are the same age, if not younger, than the couple they are meant to be mentoring! **8 out of 10 stars**

Rating: 4 out of 5.

December 1, 2015