' Cinema Romantico: 10 Made For TV Christmas Movies To Watch This Holiday Season (by synopsis)

Thursday, December 01, 2016

10 Made For TV Christmas Movies To Watch This Holiday Season (by synopsis)

It’s the holiday season and in movie-land that means it’s the time for the heaviest awards-hitters to finally be unveiled. For the public, yes, but mostly for the press, for the critics, for the people with access, while most everyone else will have to wait for those persnickety one-week late-December runs until mid-January. And while we here at Cinema Romantico take pride in spotlighting films of fine pedigrees, we also find just as much joy in other places, broader places, ludicrous places, don’t-judge-me places like the Hallmark Channel. After all, Hallmark is Counting Down to Christmas Day with its 24 hour buffet of holiday-themed movies about hard-charging event planners and vaguely defined consultants played by people like Yuletide TV Movie MVP-Emeritus Jennie Garth. I’m not saying I have watched a few of ‘em between bouts of foreign and indie screeners (and at commercials of college football games), but I’m also not saying I haven’t. (I have.)

So if you’re less interested in seeing if Meryl Streep really is deserving of what will undoubtedly be her 234th Oscar Nomination or in learning for yourself whether or not “La La Land” is actually evidence that they do still make ’em like they used to, I’m here to offer the cream of the Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas crop…based on synopsis, of course, because there is nothing more fun on TV than reading the synopsis of a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie.


10 Made For TV Christmas Movies To Watch This Holiday Season (by synopsis)

10. Every Christmas Has a Story. “While on air, a TV personality accidentally admits she hates Christmas. When she goes to a small town to film a special to repair her image, the Christmas spirit begins to change her life.” Starring: Lori Loughlin. Let us count the ways: “TV personality”, “hates Christmas”, “small town”, “Christmas spirit” & “Lori Loughlin”. It’s as customary as a recipe for Christmas pudding.

9. Fir Crazy. “A reluctant Christmas tree seller (Sarah Lancaster) finds renewed holiday spirit and new romance with a repeat customer, but a mean spirited exec threatens to shut down her family's business.” No doubt this will be like the Hallmark version of “Christmas, Again”.

8. Window Wonderland. “A department-store window decorator learns there is a vacancy for her dream job in the run-up to Christmas, only to find a professional rival has his eye on it too.” This bad boy was directed by some dude named Michael Scott, which I imagine as the Alan Smithee of Hallmark Channel Christmas Movies, and stars Chyler Leigh in the principal role as Sloan Van Doren, which is an A-level Elvis Movie name.

7. Sleigh Bells Ring. “Laurel (Erin Cahill) is in charge of her hometown’s Christmas parade, and with budget cuts, she’s having trouble making it a special event this year and, after a recent divorce, getting into the holiday spirit. When she and her daughter Scarlett cross paths with a lone farmer who has a sleigh that he claims came from Santa crash-landing on his property years ago, they are both skeptical.”  “Jonathan, bring me my green light!”

6. Christmas List. “Isobel Gray (Alicia Witt) plans a storybook Christmas with her boyfriend, including a snow-covered cottage in the Northwest, and a carefully composed bucket list of classic holiday traditions. But when the boyfriend goes AWOL, the list proves challenging and a tempting new romance turns her life upside down.” In the last few years Alicia Witt has been making a play to officially install herself as Jennie Garth’s successor to Yuletide TV Movie MVP, starring in several Hallmark Holiday offerings, and as a longtime Witt fan, this blog approves. I have caught a few moments of this one and, I have to say, when Witt gets kissed by the guy she is slated to fall in love with even though she is ostensibly in love with this other guy even though this other guy is so requisitely awful that he asks for a gluten free option at some small town diner, Witt’s reaction shot is good enough to make you believe that, despite the Hallmark predestination, she really is suddenly emotionally confused. That’s how the Yuletide TV Movie MVP do.


5. Angels Sing. “During the holidays, a mysterious stranger (Willie Nelson) tries to help a man (Harry Connick Jr.) overcome his tragic past and find the Christmas spirit he lost many years ago.” It’s worth nothing that this gem of a synopsis does not even include Connie Britton, or Kris Kristofferson, or Lyle Lovett, or that in this unwieldy promo Lyle Lovett appears to wearing a Candy Cane Proton Pack. Really, how did this not get a theatrical run?

4. Falling for Christmas. “An injured figure skater travels to a rehabilitation center and meets an ice fisherman who shows her that there is more to life than competing.” This is UPtv rather than Hallmark, meaning positivity with a religious bent will win the day. Even so, that synopsis brings me great joy, and I cannot stop imagining a melding of “The Cutting Edge” with “Grumpy Old Men”, except that instead of Grumpy Old Men it’s a Handsome, If Cautious On Account Of Past Heartbreak, Younger Man, like Mark Darcy, say, in a thermal underwear. And that the figure skater is less Peggy Fleming and more Ashley Wagner since she doesn’t have time for your games.

3. Broadcasting Christmas. “When two exes compete for the same co-host position at the nation's favorite morning show in Manhattan, they discover that the fire that burned between them is still alive.” Starring: Melissa Joan Hart, Dean Cain. That synopsis combined with the Hart + Cain Factor is so good I had no choice but to watch this movie. No, really, I watched it. Review to come... No, really, review to come.

2. “An actress heads to the Christmas-obsessed town of Homestead, Iowa, to shoot a holiday-themed movie. She is shocked when a romance blooms with Matt, a single dad. As she gets a taste of small-town life, she discovers the true meaning of Christmas.” I confess, what really sells this one for me is Homestead, Iowa, considering my Iowa heritage. I mean, I am dying to see how they portray Iowa here. Like, how many shots before we see a bale of hay? Two? Three? Because you just know the overworked set designer in Burbank assumes that every corner in every Iowa town is adorned with a bale of hay. I can just imagine all kinds of colorful, polite yokels saying things like “We don’t usually go in for you high-falutin’ Hollywood folk” only to find their preconceived notions altered. This, frankly, would be a surefire #1 in any other year, except that this year there is also.....


1. A Rose For Christmas. “Andy (Rachel Boston) is a passionate and talented artist whose Pasadena family has been building Rose Parade floats for generations. But when her Dad gets sick and can’t lead this year’s efforts as usual, Andy has no choice but to take the helm and supervise the construction and decoration of their client’s float over Christmas with only a few weeks to go.” OMG!!! It’s a Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie......AT THE ROSE BOWL!!!!!!!! (Nick passes out.)

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