Next Stop, Christmas

The Time Travel Express

This was a fairly straightforward time travel story elevated by the appealing cast and good acting. Even the bad boyfriend had his charms. I love seeing all of the fresh faces. Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca, who was excellent) is a busy surgeon in NYC who takes her family for granted. She does not want to go home for Christmas since her parents’ divorce and her sister’s struggles with adoption. Too stressful and depressing. She remembers the last good family Christmas she enjoyed 10 years ago when her parents were still together and she turned down a marriage proposal from a now-famous sportscaster. On her way back to her apartment to spend a stress-free solitary holiday, she is diverted by Christopher Lloyd and finds herself on a magical train back home to that Christmas of 10 years ago. While there, she sees opportunities to redirect the course of her and her family’s lives: save her parents’ marriage, accept her ex-boyfriend’s marriage proposal, and help her sister. She also reconnects with her childhood friend who has been in love with her his whole life.

The cast was fantastic. Come on, Lea Thompson (her mother) and Christopher Lloyd (the Train Conductor) in a time travel movie? Sign me up. There are many nods to Back to the Future, but it does not distract from this story. Her parents unraveling marriage and her sister’s fertility troubles were engrossing and realistically done. Her ex-boyfriend, though adorable, was not a match for her. No harm, no foul, no drama. Her childhood buddy was appealing, looked like Justin Timberlake, and was obviously her destiny. Obvious to everyone but her. Talk about dense.

Loved seeing Erika Slezak looking her age, but great, with her smiling eyes. There were the usual things that didn’t make sense as with most time travel stories. The big reunion that really wasn’t at the end seemed problematic. What other big chunks of her two paths through time don’t match up? Angie is going to have some interesting times ahead. Not to mention everyone that knows her. The one weak point was the character of Chloe, who was super annoying and totally unnecessary. All in all, this was thoroughly enjoyable and engaging.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

November 8, 2021

Little Women

Jarring Jo

A perfectly enjoyable modern take on Little Women. I really liked the choices made to modernize the story. Some examples: Beth dying of cancer and Jo shaving her head for solidarity. Professor Bhaer being Jo’s supportive(and very attractive) but critical professor at college. Father home from Iraq. I loved his relationship with his wife (the always appealing and talented Lea Thompson) and his girls. Straitlaced Meg going a little crazy and getting drunk and making out (briefly) at a party. Jo being an aspiring fantasy YA writer. Devotees of the original Little Women will immediately be able to compare these with similar plot points in the original. The two things that bothered me was A) the casting of Laurie. The actor did not look the part, though I did love the way they updated the character. The major problem (B) was the character of Jo. She was spoiled, arrogant, petulant, and immature throughout. She was a real drama queen and made even more irritating by the hammy acting on the part of the actress. She was also rather stupid. Had the character been better written and acted, I would have given this a 7 or 8.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

February 10, 2019