We Need A Little Christmas

Good Grief!

I may have shed a few tears at the end of this one. Which is a good thing for a Hallmark movie. Although a little over the top for most of the movie, Lynn Whitfield bought it home in the final touching scenes. The other great thing about this one was the male love interest. The actor was so appealing playing a normal-looking guy in his 40s who was popular with and respected by everyone from the rich and influential to the humble and normal people. He was just such a mensch. The actor, Patrick Sabongui, was also a standout in Christmas Sail where he played a similar character.

Erica Durance plays a recently widowed mother of a young son trying to work through her own grief and help her boy with his. Unfortunately, she has the wrong end of the stick as far as her strategy and her son doesn’t want to open up to her because he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. She runs a small boutique architectural firm specializing in remodeling businesses and homes. She is very disorganized which we see immediately because of the pile of unopened mail on the desk and won’t delegate to her very competent employee who has been with the firm from the beginning. I hated that so she got on my bad side right away. (Her employee takes it upon herself to take care of the mail near the end of the movie and she finds a $5000 check the business is owed!) In addition, I could feel her jealousy of Lynn Whitfield’s closeness with her son throughout the movie. Durance’s deftness in conveying this was masterful. It was very tense and uncomfortable. It was almost a relief when she finally erupts in a very ugly encounter with her over her son’s opening up to her and not herself. She regrets it almost immediately and she did redeem herself in the end. Overall she was a nice woman and good at the creative end of her business, so I did forgive her.

I find it very difficult to watch actresses of a certain age who have sabotaged their ability to convey emotion with facial expressions because of Botox and fillers. Sadly, Erica Durance has succumbed to this common practice and though she was good, she could have been better. Although maybe, in this case, the subtlety of expression was a plus. I know that sometimes these actresses are between a rock and hard place and are under a lot of pressure to take care of that forehead or whatever. But I find it too distracting. It’s all I can look at when it is so obvious and takes me right out of the movie.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

October 27, 2022

Christmas Sail

Hoist the Sail!

I was 20 minutes into this movie when it occurred to me that the probable love interest had not put forth an appearance yet. Um. Could it possibly be the dumpy ethnic guy?! I continued to watch in mild disbelief when that remote possibility proved to be the case. And I loved it!

Katee Sackhoff receives word that her estranged and closed-off father has hurt his arm saving a little kid from a killer Christmas Tree. She decides to spend Christmas helping him out with perhaps a dim hope that she can repair her relationship with her adorable little daughter’s grandfather in the “house where Christmas goes to die.” I liked all of the actors in this. Katee won me over with her gummy smile and actually even became more and more appealing as the movie progressed. Terry Quinn was great of course. He was affecting in conveying his grief over his wife’s death which happened at Christmas time (of course), his scroogey behavior, and his touching opening up with his daughter by way of his delightful granddaughter. The young actress, Emma Oliver, was so natural in her portrayal. What a talent! And so pretty.

They compete in the parade of Christmas-decorated boats in order to win the $25,000 prize needed to save financially challenged grandpa’s home (“My wife took care of all of that” but apparently he managed to pay the electricity bill?) But whatever. Also “whatever” to how a 25,000 prize is more than a drop in the bucket to a house that is worth more than a half-million dollars.

Katie and her childhood friend who went from dumpy to cuddly, in my mind, as the movie progressed, confess their love which commenced for both of them in high school to each other’s mutual shock. It was very romantic in my opinion. She says she has to go home to her regular life and he has to stay with his mother. Both reasons are totally bogus, by the way. But they don’t get all tragic about it, which is refreshing.

The boat parade occurs and the special surprise piece de resistance for our boat wows everyone, including me-I teared up. They win. Happy ending. I would have liked more closure to the romance with the steps forward mapped out for the lovable couple, but hope is strong. All in all, this was well worth watching, I liked it, and it was well done.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

December 11, 2021