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Tag: Hallmark Countdown to Christmas

What I’m Watching: Hallmark Christmas Movies

It’s that wonderful time of year again! You know what I’m referring to. The Hallmark channel is filled with festive movies twenty-four hours a day. And while, I am happy to agree with the naysayers that the movies are predictable and even cheesy, I have to draw a line in the snow when they say this makes them unwatchable.

Yes, I know how it’s going to turn out, and I love that! It’s comforting. Yes, I know they’re cheesy, but cheese can be a good thing, like a gooey grilled cheese sandwich. What these holiday movies bring is two hours of warm feelings, Christmas memories, and sweet romance. All things I love.

I’ve watched most of the 2020 movies that have come out so far. There are some exceptions that I’m not going to go back and watch, but there are also some I’ve already watched more than once. I want to share my favorites now, so you can catch them before the season is over and they’re packed away until next year.

If I Only Had Christmas – This is Candace Cameron Bure’s newest movies, and it’s based on one of my favorite movies, The Wizard of Oz. I loved the premise and enjoyed the movie. And Warren Christie is a favorite leading guy from an older Hallmark Christmas movie. I still liked him in this one, but not as much as his older movie. I give this one 3 Christmas stars as a solid movie I’ll probably watch again.

Five Star Christmas – I love just about any movie with Victor Webster, and I enjoyed this one too. With disgruntled family members pretending to be guests at their father’s new bed and breakfast in order to impress a travel writer, the level of funny in this one goes through the roof. Painfully so, according to my husband who has trouble watching anyone (even movie characters) in embarrassing situations. While not my absolute favorite so far, I will be watching this one again. I give it 3 1/2 Christmas stars.

A Nashville Christmas Carol – This is another adaptation. I wasn’t sure what to think of this one at first. I love Jessy Schram and Wes Brown. It’s the non-actors that I was concerned about. And while some of their performances were over-the-top, it really worked for the story. And while there was no ghost of Christmas future, the reason given for the lack was perfect. Though it isn’t my favorite for either of these actors, I will watch this one again. I give it 3 1/2 Christmas stars.

Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater – I think I would watch Niall Matter explaining how paint dries. I always seem to love his characters. And this movie gives him a good pairing with Ashley Williams. It’s traditional Hallmark Christmas movie fare, and it’s an enjoyable movie. There was nothing extra special that made me fall in love with the story, but I will watch it again. This movie gets 3 1/2 Christmas stars.

A Timeless Christmas – This movie is Ryan Paevey at his best! He perfectly portrays the out of time Charles who wakes up in his home in the future to find it’s been turned into a museum of his life and unexplained disappearance. This one is one of this year’s favorites, and I give it a solid 4 Christmas stars.

Christmas Waltz – Lacey Chabert is wonderful as always. And how do I not remember Will Kemp? I went back and searched some of his other Hallmark movies. I’ve seen him in others, with Lacey Chabert, and I still didn’t remember him. But I loved him in this one and will be rewatching the others he’s in. The looks he gives at times are powerful. You can feel the hurt or happiness. Some of the dance scenes go the route of old Hollywood movies, but it doesn’t detract from the movie. This is also one of my favorites for 2020, and I will watch it each year. I give this one a firm 4 Christmas stars.

Cranberry Christmas – This one is a little different. Unlike most of the Hallmark movies, the couple is already married, though estranged. They’ve gone different directions in chasing the dreams that brought them together in the first place. The thing I like about his one is that you get Christmas and memories and all the same wonderful feelings, but you also get a realistic look at relationships. One of the characters even makes a statement like, “Marriage is hard work.” Not the usual fare for Hallmark, but it’s a message worth repeating in a time when difficulty often means throw it away and start again rather than work for it. That message alone is enough that I give this movie a four Christmas star rating.

This is a tough year to determine a favorite, but I think I’ve found mine. I reserve the right to detract this statement since there are several new ones still to come out. With 4 3/4 Christmas starts (because is there really a 5 star movie out there?), my favorite Hallmark Christmas movie of 2020 is On the 12th Date of Christmas. This one stars Tyler Hines and Mallory Jansen. I’m not sure I’ve seen Mallory in anything else, but Tyler is a favorite of mine. The two together are pure magic. From the time they’re forced to work together, trying to meld completely different personalities, to the time the sparks start to fly, these two sell it. I will watch this movie again and again and again.

Have I left any out that you enjoyed this year? Do you disagree with any of my ratings?

What I’m Watching: Countdown to Christmas

Hallmark Christmas ornament

I know. This is a book blog. It’s always been a book blog. It will always be a book blog. But today, I’m switching things up because one of my favorite Christmas traditions (much to the dismay of my male dominated household) is watching the new Hallmark Christmas movies.

I’m a little behind this year. I have four new ones to catch up on, but it can’t be helped. I will catch up. There are rare times I will pass over a movie due to casting choices, but for the most part, if it airs I will watch it. And before all you naysayers start in, yes, I realize how the plots are going to play out. I don’t care. I’m not in this for a big surprise at the end. I’m in it for entertainment, nostalgia, a spirit of love and joy, on screen chemistry, and a happy ending. That’s what I get from the best of what Hallmark has to offer and the criteria for rating the three movies below.

Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen: 3 1/2 Hallmark Ornaments

I love watching Erin Krakow and Kimberly Sustad. I watch every movie Hallmark puts out starring either of them. I also enjoy watching movies with Luke Macfarlane as the male lead. Using this trio as the lead characters gives this movie a star before it ever starts. To be honest, I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would. I’m over the remakes of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. It made me hesitant to watch this one, but I tuned in because of the three reasons above. I’m glad I did.

The event planning business Ella and Marianne own is going well, but there’s tension between the sisters because of very different personalities and styles. As Ella creates the perfect party for Edward while also sanding off his grinchy edges with her enthusiasm for all things Christmas, she faces various set backs. The dynamic between the sisters increases the tension but also adds to the satisfaction of a well planned party and joy at family discord being smoothed over. Add to that a man with reawakened Christmas spirit and new love, and you have a movie you’ll watch again when it airs again.

Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy – 4 Hallmark Ornaments

Is Christmas in Evergreen too good to be true? Is the snowglobe really magical? And where is the legendary time capsule that has intrigued Evergreen’s inhabitants for years?

This is Christmas in Evergreen’s third installment, and it’s full of everything you’ve come to expect to find at Christmas in Evergreen. The skeptical newcomer, Katie, is played by Maggie Lawson who can’t believe the hype about Evergreen. From her first encounter with Paul Greene’s Ben, her doubt is challenged. As she’s drawn into a quest to find the time capsule left by the town’s inhabitants years ago during a blizzard, she meets the characters who live in Evergreen and starts to see they are exactly who they’re rumored to be and the town really is that full of Christmas spirit.

I’m not sure how I feel about Hallmark revisiting so many of their previous movies. Evergreen, Father Christmas, and A Gift to Remember all have two or thee installments at this point. But I’ll forgive Hallmark because I really enjoyed this movie. I love the pairing of Maggie Lawson and Paul Greene. It doesn’t hurt that Paul Greene is my all-time favorite male lead in any Hallmark movie. I even modeled one of the characters in my third book after him. I’ll watch his movies every time, and I guarantee I’ll be watching more than once. That includes Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy

Picture a Perfect Christmas – 5 Hallmark Ornaments

Who doesn’t like Christmas surprises? This movie is definitely a Christmas surprise, a really glad it happened kind of surprise. I thought it might be enjoyable, but I never expected it to land in the top spot for favorite Hallmark movie of the season. And while it is true that the season isn’t over yet, I don’t expect the rest of the lineup to topple this one from Santa’s sleigh.

I’ve watched other Hallmark movies with Merritt Patterson in them. And while she’s not on my “must watch this movie” list, I enjoy her work. I especially liked Forever in My Heart and The Christmas Cottage. She does a good job as world travelling photographer Sophie in Picture a Perfect Christmas as well. She brings a little humor and a lot of caring to the character who comes home to spend Christmas with her injured grandma and finds herself volunteering to care for the neighbor’s nephew. With the boy leading the way and the grandma playing matchmaker, Sophie joins Troy and his uncle David on their family Christmas adventures and finds herself falling in love during this unexpected Christmas at home.

David is played with near perfection by Jon Cor. I’ve only seen him in one other Hallmark movie, Love on Safari, and in one episode of Supernatural. (Please don’t kick me out of the Hallmark watching club for admitting I watch and enjoy Supernatural too!) In my defense, I didn’t realize I’d seen him in Supernatural until recently, but that’s beside the point. He was everything a Hallmark casting director should be looking for in this movie and ultimately the reason this movie earned its fifth ornament.

There are times when the emotions playing across a character’s face can bring back that feeling of newly discovered attraction we may not have felt for a while or break a viewer’s heart with the vulnerability we see in their eyes. And while I know on-screen chemistry, the director’s vision, and the script itself play roles in this happening, it is ultimately the actor who puts the bow on that beautiful present and places it under the tree. That is exactly what Jon Cor does in Picture a Perfect Christmas, and I have to admit I’ve already watched this one twice since it aired.

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