A Ring for Christmas

What Did I Just See?

When I saw that the writer of this mess was the female lead, the mystery was compounded. The acting of virtually everyone in this show was really really bad. Angie’s former teacher, in a dialogue with her, did not even make eye contact with her but was looking over her shoulder to read her lines. I kid you not. Check it out. The school scenes were painful to watch. The writer obviously has never met a real child in her life. The leads were badly cast. The “hot jock/coach” was not only not hot, he was not even fit looking. The female lead did not look the part of the spoiled rich beauty. I’m not saying she was unattractive, but she should have been glammed up and had conventionally pretty features. (Because let’s face it, work would have been done.) The script did not make sense. Why would a loving mother abruptly “just cut her daughter off” from her allowance? Angie was kind and generous-hearted and very intelligent. She had some large bills, but no foundation was laid for such an action. She should have insisted her daughter get a job and become self supporting, yes, but get a job first. And put her on a budget. Put a limit on her credit cards.

The whole thing was very disjointed like it was put together with scotch tape. The characters were not consistent. Their personalities did not match their actions. it had a whole “Hey gang, let’s put on a show!” feel.

The writer/actress, Liliana Tandon, has an impressive resume. What happened here? Why would she write herself such a dumb part in such a amateurish movie. How did it get green-lighted? The preview made this look funny and entertaining. I hate-watched the last hour and a half. Very disappointed.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

November 9, 2020

Christmas Reservations

Came for Melissa, Stayed for, Well, I’m not Sure.

I’ll show up to watch Melissa Joan Hart read the phone book. She won my heart and eternal loyalty with two of her early Hallmark movies: My Fake Fiancé and Holiday in Handcuffs. This one isn’t close to ranking with those, but it had enough positives to keep me interested in a film that was mostly by the book as far as the principal romance was concerned. Her love interest was very attractive, but the chemistry just wasn’t there. That is deadly for a TV Christmas movie. However, the cast had some good secondary stars. Markie Post was reliable as usual. it’s hard to believe she is almost 70 years old. Happy Birthday, Markie, by the way. The actress who played her sister fascinated with her bordering on insane grin and perkiness. They were named Tay and Kay. That was odd. Ted McGinley did a great job as a scruffy has-been silver medalist skier. Loved the Americanized Indian daughter and traditional grandmother story. But I thought her love interest was miscast. I love nerds, but… well, let’s just say she could do much much better. Michael Gross was unexceptional. He was OK. There were some nice touches that added value: The back story of the Inn, the placards that introduced each “chapter,” and the wrap up of all the stories was nicely done, with a bit of humor. Of course, as always, the sets looked like a Christmas bomb went off, but that’s OK. I love to laugh at those crazy decorations.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

November 4, 2019

Sister of the Bride

I Genuinely Couldn’t Guess How this was Going to Play Out!

I really did enjoy this one mostly because I really did not see how they were going to solve the dilemma that was threatening main couple’s relationship. Stephanie and Ben both had successful careers in academia. Stephanie is on the brink of obtaining tenure as a professor at her college, and Ben had just won a prestigious position at Oxford University to work under his idol. They were either going to put their engagement on hold and separate to pursue their equally beloved careers, or one of them was going to have to sacrifice their dream and hard work and talents in order to be together. Being a Hallmark romance, putting their relationship on hold was unthinkable. But how were they going to resolve this? Personally, I was all “go to England, girl!” But I knew it was a bad idea for her big chance for tenure. and that would have sent a bad message, really.

The other conflict was with her father, played by Michael Gross. He didn’t approve of the engagement because they had only dated 6 months. His behavior was contemptible. Very sulky and controlling in a passive-aggressive sort of way. A Grade “A” jerk. Then there was her sister, who had also gotten engaged to her boyfriend of 10 years and had a wedding to plan in less than a month. Then there was the parents selling the beloved family “vacation home”, which was a McMansion in a subdivision in Palm Springs. Weird.

So there was a lot going on, and all of the threads were handled very well, with even a teeny tiny bit of humor thrown in. Becca Tobin was excellent and the actor who played her fiance was competent. Everyone else was likable (both actors and their characters) except the Michael Gross character who very annoying, as he was supposed to be, I guess.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

July 3, 2019

Christmas Pen Pals

Great Casting and Acting Count for a Lot

Despite the female lead (Sarah Drew) being extremely unlikable and annoying at the beginning, this turned out to be one of the best of the Christmas entries in the Hallmark sweepstakes this year. Probably because it’s not really a Hallmark, but on Lifetime. They use the same actors and writers and probably directors, but they always seem to be just a cut above the Hallmark movies.

The plot had a lot of holes and had some questionable elements. Almost the whole town agrees to be matched up to a pen pal by one woman postmaster? What are her qualifications? How does she go about this? How does she handle last-minute entries? Do they just get the dregs? How will Hannah and Sam work out the logistics of their coming marriage? How will she incorporate and sell people on the idea of writing letters before meeting face to face per her failing app/ social media company? Will Sam ever follow Hannah’s advice and get WiFi for his coffee shop? These burning questions and probably more go unanswered.

This movie ended up high on my special Hallmark rating scale because of good acting and appealing actors and actresses. Especially the male lead and Hallmark veteran, Niall Matter. My, was he appealing and had great chemistry with Sarah Drew. Michael Gross of Tremors and Family Ties added his veteran acting chops. The cast of secondary characters was exceptional. A special shout out to Latonya Williams who lit up the screen with her smile.

By the end, there were 6 match-ups that had some potential. Great job, Santy Claus… uh…Madam Post Master!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

December 16,2018