Christmas in Evergreen

No Surprises Here. And that was OK in this Case

This one had every freaking Christmas cliché in the book. Country good/city bad, specious current boyfriend/fiancé versus Christmas-phobic single Dad, Save the festival, magical Santa, frolicking in the snow, Christmas Cookies, and Christmas-centric small town. And… the boyfriend who appeared like a jump-scare in a horror film. I still liked it. I am one of the majority that really likes Ashley Williams. The screen loves her and she is never less than a sweetie-pie. This entry also featured two other shining stars: Jaida Lily Miller and Rukiya Bernard. Young Jaida is a Hallmark regular for good reason. She is a great little actress and a charming presence. I wish Rukiya were more of a regular than she is. I have seen her as a supporting player in 3 other Christmas Hallmarks and she quite simply lights up the screen. She needs to move over to Lifetime, Hallmark mysteries, Up, or Ion and start starring in her own movies. Move over Tatiana Ali. All this goodness was marred by the irritating mother who was a little too dependent on her beloved daughter. She needed a little therapy, as does many of these Hallmark mothers. As did the town, which couldn’t seem to function without the capable heroine.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

December 5, 2019

Sweet Mountain Christmas

Pretty Bad.

I guess I expected a bit more effort to support Megan Hilty, a fairly high profile singer-actress. I was disappointed in the writing as Greg Rossen has penned some of my favorite Hallmarks. And Lifetime movies are usually a bit of a cut above. Neither the plot nor the motivations of the MCs or the townspeople made sense. Instead of welcoming their home town star, they turned a cold shoulder to her when she was trying to be involved in helping the community. If your town is in trouble, here is a hint. Be nice to the famous and rich superstar who is coming home for a visit. If they were trying to be loyal to their beloved mayor and ex-boyfriend of our star, that’s wack too. He was the one who stood her up, not the other way around. I did not understand the lack of communication(do I ever?). They should have done a better job with Laney’s character arc, which was non-existent. She was nice (if understandably busy) from beginning to end. All in all a cookie cutter assembly line effort complete with a “cute” popcorn fight instead of the usual cliché snow-ball fight. I expect to roll my eyes a bit during a Hallmark-type movie, but cringing is a no-no.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

November 3, 2019

A Harvest Wedding

Very Nice. And Breaks the Mold in a Few Instances

A Harvest Wedding was above average due to the likability and good acting of the leads, Jill Wagner and Victor Webster. They played age appropriate, mature, and sensible characters with good heads on their shoulders. Because of this, the plot was not packed with silly misunderstandings, stupid behavior, or battles between good and evil. Jill Wagner has a real Scarlett Johannsen thing going on, though much more down to earth looking. Victor Webster was almost too handsome, which made him an unlikely farmer, but his acting was good.

Jill played a wedding planner, Sarah, given the gig of a high profile society wedding which would really put her on the map career-wise. In addition, a prestigious wedding magazine is doing a piece on the wedding because of the prominence of the family involved despite the fact that the bride, a super nice down to earth girl, chose Jill over much more established wedding planners. To add to the complications, the bride does not want a super-fancy formal spectacle, but a simple country wedding at her fiance’s family farm. I liked that the mother of the bride was set up to be a momzilla, but knock me down with a feather, after a heart to heart talk with Sarah and her daughter, she stepped up and helped give her daughter the wedding she wanted, not what fulfilled her own elite society wedding dreams.

In addition, the ending was a refreshing breath of fresh air. Without fail, In Hallmances, the big city career girl gives up all of her professional progress and achievements and moves to the country to be a wife. In this one, the farmer, thanks to his development of a method of roof top gardening, divides his time between the country and the city, allowing Sarah to pursue her dreams. This is a real departure for Hallmark. The final scene was a treat.**7 stars out of 10**

October 26, 2017

Summer in the Vineyard

Cashing in on a Better than Usual Original. Unfortunately It’s Nothing but a Pale Imitation

A pale sequel to the very good Autumn in the Vineyard. The same beautiful landscapes without any of the interesting suspenseful plot points and multidimensional characters of the original. Frankie and Nate are trying to keep their new venture afloat but have conflicting management styles and suffer from a lack of communication. At the end they learn to work together. Thanks to a miracle at the end their vineyard is saved. Yawn. **4 out of 10 stars**

August 22, 2017

Autumn in the Vineyard

Cheers!

One of the better productions in a long time. Set in beautiful wine country, the country-side was gorgeous. Rachel Leigh Cook makes a great Hallmark heroine and her chemistry with the love interest was very good. It started out with some good conflict with her father who not only took her for granted but figuratively slapped her in the face by denying her her rightful place in his business. She rightly struck out on her own by buying her own vineyard, much to his dismay. I love a good comeuppance story. The plot moved on nicely, forcing the h/h to co-manage their vineyard which was somehow sold to both of them at the same time. They had a history and a rivalry already, which added interest to their romance and the development of their relationship. There was a little hint of a secondary romance of an older couple (the hero and heroine’s parents and the heads of competing vineyards.) and a younger couple. There were plenty of interesting secondary characters to keep things moving along. I really like the actress who played the friend. (Ali Leibert) And it was interesting that his family was kind of sketchy. They avoided a real T.V. remote throwing potential plot twist by avoiding the trap of having her save her dad from bankruptcy by giving up her own successful venture. That would have been a terrible message to send. So thank-you. **8 out of 10 stars**

October 11, 2016