Cloudy with a Chance of Christmas

Boring with a Chance of Snoozing

Cute title. But unfortunately, it is dull dull dull, and essentially an hour and a half commercial for Leavenworth, Washington, which is a picturesque if touristy Bavarian Village and home of the Nutcracker Museum. I would like to go there sometime if I am ever in that neck of the woods. But I don’t think I will watch this very informative infomercial again.

Bridget Torres is of Puerto Rican extraction and is the very popular night weather person for her Los Angeles (I think) network. She doesn’t like Drake who is the cohost of the morning show because she thinks he chose his current co-host over her because of their “commonality” meaning “not a minority.” Bridget is a star on the rise, and has been given an important opportunity to host her own on-location Christmas feature in Leavenworth, Washington (see above). Drake’s co-host, Tatum, is jealous and because she is already a star, is allowed to horn in and basically try to steal the spotlight from Bridget. Meanwhile, Drake very passively just goes along with it while looking disgusted even though, far from not wanting to work with Bridget as a co-host, she was actually his first choice. He has had a crush on her from the very beginning. He and his family are from Leavenworth and the crew will be staying at the family resort. He takes Bridget on a multi-day tour of the town (see above), and they get close. She realizes that Drake is actually a good guy with a nice family. Meanwhile, Tatum is revealing her true colors including having somewhat of a hissy fit when she finds out she has to do her own hair and make-up.

Nothing much else happens. For example, the big crisis that brings everything to a head is whether to use a fake snow machine or not. They peacefully compromise. Yawn. Tatum, though unpleasant and bossy does not even come close to derailing Bridget’s big break and the whole feature is a big success. I did like that Bridget always stood up for herself without being unpleasant. She gets her own show and finds out that Drake ended up accepting Tatum as his cohost because the network needed Bridget to save the nighttime broadcast and he was afraid that his feelings for Bridget would compromise his professionalism. This all comes as a surprise to Bridget.  If he liked her so much, why didn’t he privately explain that to her? Why didn’t he have her back while Tatum was trying to take over the Christmas show?  Unasked and unanswered. Tatum apologizes at the end and Bridget agrees to go on a date with Drake. Yawn.

There were some casting problems in this. Brandon Quinn did not have the look of a morning tv host with his scruffy beard, rugged looks, and resting sad face. Also, I still haven’t forgiven him for being such a jerk in A Country Christmas Harmony. 70’s and 80’s TV sex symbol, actress and singer Audrey Landers played his mother. It was great to see her again and looking very young for her age to boot. Way too young to be playing Brandon Quinn’s mother. The two leads never seemed to forget they were pretending in front of a camera. Now Sarah Jane Morris was great as the villainess who turns out to be pretty OK at the end. She mastered her character’s frozen smile and outwardly friendly demeanor while raging and scheming on the inside. She was kind of scary, but nothing ever came of it.

Rating: 5 out of 10.

A Country Christmas Harmony

Chrissy Deserves Better

Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious. Seldom have I been more disgusted by the behavior of a TV romance man. Let me back up. This one starred Brooke Elliot whom I have never heard of, but is kind of a big deal apparently, starring in the recent TV series, Drop Dead Diva.  I’ve never seen that show but she was great in this. There also was a little kid in this played by Caden Dragomer (great name) who was also terrific. Brooke plays Chrissy, a Nashville singing star whose career has taken a hit due to a failure of a song called “Reindeer Slay”. We see a clip of it and it is actually awesome. Anyway, her manager insists she goes back to her hometown to film a concert to get back to her roots and stop being trendy. She has not been back for 10 years where she also left her former musical and romantic partner, Luke.  More on that later. The actor,  Brandon Quinn, bears a strong resemblance to Colin Ferguson, a former Hallmark regular who is now the Maytag Man. Getting close to her old hometown, driving with her assistant, Eugene, played by former Who’s the Boss alumnus, Danny Pintauro.  She has to go pee really bad due to her nervous water-drinking habit. She runs into a restaurant/bar which is now owned by her hometown boyfriend and they have a meet cute along with his Granny. He behaves very rudely toward her. which, of course, is standard procedure in rom-coms. Just to fill out the rest of the plot, Back in their 20s when they were struggling to make it in dive bars and other sparsely attended venues, she was the real draw with her great voice and he was the guitar player and primary songwriter. He is very resentful of her leaving, and at this point, I thought, “Well, maybe he has good reason. After all, she did leave on Christmas.” Granny forces him to take her to dinner and they are getting along great reminiscing. But when she mentions that she will be filming a concert there, he gets all angry again and huffs and puffs saying that he thought she came back because she missed her small town, and maybe him, and wanted to reconnect, but “you are here FOR WORK!” Boo-de-hoo-hoo. He says some really mean things, yells that she is a fake person without an authentic bone in her body, and leaves her at the dinner table. What a Drama Queen. And rude!

At this point, I was starting not to like this guy, even though we have already learned that he adopted his sister’s baby after she died in an accident ten years ago shortly after Chrissy left. After having a heart-to-heart with each other they make up and Chrissy asks him to write a Christmas song for her concert. She is under a lot of pressure from her handlers to sing a duet with Brad, her ex, which she for sure doesn’t want to do. He agrees in return for singing at his Granny’s annual Christmas bash at the bar. They kiss, etc. They continue to bond and Chrissy also gets close to Brandon. After the big misunderstanding, they have their happy ending in which Luke agrees to follow her to Nashville because home is not a town, but wherever she is.

This is why I couldn’t stand this guy:

First off, He hasn’t dated anyone since Chrissy because he worries about what would happen if Brandon didn’t like her. Nothing would happen, Doofus. He might love her and if he doesn’t, you move on. His excuses are so phony and a way to blame the kid, rather than his own choices for not engaging with the opposite sex.

Second, we find out the real story behind her “abandoning him” for fame and fortune. The reason why she left was that she wanted to have her shot in Nashville after hanging around Hicksville with him until she was 28 years old. He refused to leave his hometown in no uncertain terms, trying to manipulate her into staying put, despite her talent and promise. So when her parents gave her a one-way ticket to Nashville for Christmas, she was strong enough to leave despite his threat. (She did leave him a note.) Soon after, her parents retired to Key West, so she had no home there to come back to, anyway. So he pouts for 10 years when his evil plan didn’t work.

Third, no Christmas decorations or a Christmas tree with a little kid in the house? Other than laziness or too much wallowing in his personal issues, why not? Letting his 10-year-old mourning for his sister outweigh her son’s happiness is not what his sainted sister would have wanted, I’m sure. He does change his mind and they go up in a blink of an eye. Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Fourth. At first, he wouldn’t introduce the child who is a fan of the country star let alone take him to her concert. Again, denying his child a treat to nurse his personal grievances.

Fifth. When her ex Brad shows up uninvited and unannounced in the middle of an intimate moment with Luke at his bar, Luke storms out of the place, even though she is plainly shocked and upset by his arrival. He doesn’t give her a chance to explain, just abandons her there in the middle of a winter snowstorm. Stranded. With no way to get home, except with Brad. Who actually turns out to be a pretty nice guy, despite his referring to himself in the third person.

Now here’s the kicker. Granny gives him a good talking to telling him to get over himself and quit with the pity party. He seems to get it, especially when she tells him he needs to do something to make it up with Chrissy, because if he does nothing, that is exactly what he is going to get. Nothing. The next time we see him he is sitting by himself in his house reading a book at the same time that Chrissy’s concert is going on. Doing exactly NOTHING! Little Brandon, Granny, and Chrissy have to trick him into coming to the concert where they finally make up. Chrissy deserves better. She was nothing but sweet, funny, and classy throughout the whole thing and I don’t see happily ever after in her future.

I do want to say that the singing in this was excellent, unlike another movie I saw a couple of days ago. I don’t know if Brooke Eliot was doing her own singing or not, but I could readily believe she was a Nashville star. Also, I was really really disappointed that the winter storm that happened in this one was not Winter Storm Megan. I guess Lifetime dropped the running joke it had that when a storm was called for to advance the plot, It was always the same storm running through all their Christmas movies, tieing them all into the same universe. It was fun and funny.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

Promising Start and Some Good Scenes but Didn’t Like the Romance.

Jill Wagner plays a hardworking single Mom who wants to get back to Interior Designing but is afraid to leave her stable job as a programming director at an assisted living facility. Donna Mills encourages her to apply for a primo job with her big-shot son redecorating and re-purposing their old unused mansion for office space and a Christmas gala. Donna who was pushing 80 when this was filmed in 2019 looks absolutely gorgeous.

The setup for this is good as Donna’s son is cold, “imperious,” and has no sense of humor, and his V.P. and trusted advisor, Kate, is a cold bitch. They both make it crispy clear they are not impressed by her qualifications or demeanor. And I can’t say that I blame them. For while we like Abby who is warm, enthusiastic, and charming, her qualifications were not the best, and she misspoke during the interview. When they haughtily dismiss her, she has a meltdown and acted like the “interview” was just a formality and she was guaranteed the job. She yells at them and storms out of the room. Very entitled and unprofessional. She’s hired because she has “spunk”.

Jill remains as charming and likable as ever while trying and succeeding in jollying up the Scroogey Nick. He slowly but surely warms up to her, her son, and her ideas (which are diametrically opposed to Kate’s who keeps getting meaner and meaner). His character arc takes up a large chunk of the movie and they start to give each other smoldering looks. Meanwhile, Abby meets a nice doctor who loves kids and whom we like as well. It is a measure of Jill Wagner’s appeal that she remains likable while stringing the nice doctor along while being attracted to Nick and behaving very unprofessionally at times.  Nick keeps following her around like a puppy dog and even at one point stalks her while she is on a date with the doctor and actually horning in on it with scary Kate at his side. It is very awkward and painful to watch.

He loses an important client because he is neglecting his business and I actually started sympathizing with Kate and her frustration. He gives a nice speech to Abby about why his business needs his full attention. Abby’s work on the mansion is a triumph and the writers now decide to rehabilitate Kate instead of punishing her for being so mean to Abby. She acknowledges Abby’s good work and admits she was wrong. A.) They need her to give the good doctor some romantic closure as he is left twisting in the wind by our heroine which is not a good look. B.) They need her to take on the bulk of Nick’s business responsibilities so he can have more of a work/life balance with Abby. So she gets a promotion.

This one ultimately did not fly for me despite Jill Wagner’s appeal. I could never warm up to Nick, especially due to the worthy competition of the sexy and nice doctor. She had more in common with him and it seemed like it was just physical attraction between Abby and Nick. Also, I just couldn’t get quite forget that the actor who played him was that blockhead Warner from Legally Blonde.

Rating: 5 out of 10.

December 21, 2021