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Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

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Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Old 02-11-22, 09:13 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I bought Sand Dollar Cove on dvd at Walmart this week. I would say Chad Michael Murray's Hallmark output hasn't been that great but I liked it and Aly Michalka is a great lead for these movies.

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Old 02-19-22, 10:46 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I watched Autumn Reeser's Wedding Veil movie and was disappointed. Autumn is great, of course, but the movie was pretty dull. Basically she wanders around Italy looking for clues about the veil and talking about lace, and there's an Italian dude with some family conflicts. I hope the final one is better.

I also watched Emilie Ullerup's winter movie, Don't Forget I Love You. Ullerup (who I've liked since Hearts of Christmas) gets a series of challenges from her late mother ("Meet someone new!" "Do something that scares you!") and takes them on with the help of the handsome single father who just moved in across the street. Nothing groundbreaking here, but an enjoyable movie.

I also dipped into the wayback machine for Karen Kingsbury's A Time to Dance because I like dance films. Unfortunately it wasn't a dance film, but a drama about high-school sweethearts who everyone thinks have the perfect life but have decided to get a divorce. Obviously things work out in the end, but it was such a downer all the way through, with hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and the like. I didn't hate it, but I immediately deleted it afterward and doubt I'll watch it again.
Old 02-26-22, 10:08 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Well, glad to say that Alison Sweeney’s Wedding Veil movie was better than Autumn’s, though Lacey’s was still the best. Nothing great, but solid, and the best parts were when the three actresses were together.

Picked off another couple 2021 holiday stragglers, Christmas for Keeps with high school friends getting together to honor their drama teacher, and Every Time a Bell Rings with three sisters remembering the scavenger hunts their dad used to create. So similar themes of nostalgia and ensemble casts. Both good but not keepers.

I also cleared out the two Christmas episodes of When Hope Calls, which I guess is a spin-off of When Calls the Heart that Hallmark dropped after one season, so GAC picked it up for these. I didn’t know the characters so I was a bit lost, but I got the gist of it. The “lead” character of many is played by a gorgeous redhead named Morgan Kohan, so I then sought out more of her stuff, finding a UPtv movie called A Whirlwind Wedding in which she was less gorgeous but more of a pretty girl-next-door type. The other notable part of When Hope Calls was the screen return of Lori Loughlin. I was never that big a fan during her Hallmark days, but she went through the legal process and all, so I’m not outraged or anything by her return, but I won’t seek out her movies either.
Old 02-27-22, 03:27 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I remember checking out on Every Time a Bell Rings within its first 20 minutes. That only stands out because I usually give the Hallmark Christmas films more time before deciding it's a dud.
Old 02-28-22, 01:07 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

David, yes, it was nice that they stuck the landing with the third Wedding Veil film. I may have to rewatch, as I feel I am the odd man out in that I enjoyed Every Time A Bell Rings, but the fact that I really liked the lead actresses in the film could be clouding my view of what is actually a meh film. I noticed that several folks on this thread felt the Bell Rings film was meh at best.

So, I actually really like Welcome To Mama's which just aired, but it almost felt like it was a film that was designed to lead into a series. I did love that it stared Wynonna Earp, aka Melanie Scrofano! Definitely worth a watch but it did not feel like a standard Hallmark original film, which is for the most part usually a good thing.
Old 03-03-22, 10:06 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I do like Erin Cahill, and I thought the movie was perfectly fine, just nothing special.

I thought from the ads that Welcome to Mama's was going to be a loud ensemble piece, but it felt more like a standard two-person awkward-work-relationship, new-vs-old plot. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and i enjoyed it. After this and Autumn's movie, it feels like they've been pushing the Italian families a lot.

Apparently I'm not as discerning a critic as PhantomStranger, as I don't remember the last time I didn't finish a movie I started. For Christmas House 2, I hadn't seen the original, and I think I may have watched it in two parts, but I didn't really get what was going on, so I kinda let it spin in the background.

I picked off a few more holiday stragglers. Sugar Plum Twist was an obvious push toward diversity by injecting a Latin energy into the classic and staid Nutcracker. I thought it worked. The Nutcracker scenes were fine, but how many times have we seen those before (including the excellent Amy Acher movie)? It kinda made me want to learn salsa.

Dickens of a Holiday! was a real hoot. Polaha is one of my favorites, and he got to dig into some funny stuff, and he had good interplay with Brooke D'Orsay. I think this is one of the better ones from last holiday season.

I also watched a few random crime films I recorded last year: To Catch a Spy and Sandra Brown's White Hot, both pretty standard mysteries that don't get too gritty. In that way they're appropriate for Hallmark, but they don't really fit into any kind of series so they're just kinda out there to watch. Twin Betrayal was on Lifetime, and it has Jen Lilley playing twin versions of herself (one good, one bad, of course). I don't watch many Lifetime movies, and they tend to be all holiday stuff, but apparently they get a bit deeper than Hallmark, even implying sex! I like Lilley, and I imagine actors like playing these kinds of roles, and it had some decent twists and turns. A perfectly OK watch, but an easy delete once it was over.
Old 03-03-22, 06:43 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Lifetime used to run much racier content than Hallmark as they used to chase a much younger demographic of women than Hallmark - that all but ended around 2018 when Lifetime started dropping sexual content from their movies, including thrillers. Lifetime has toned down all their content in the past three years.

I'm not usually picky and mostly attempt finishing what I started, but the onslaught of disposable holiday movies has made me far choosier these days.
Old 03-06-22, 09:56 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

It's amazing what kind of a driving business this genre has increased with in the last 10 years.
It is booming like never before..

Old 03-06-22, 12:47 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Originally Posted by actorschannel View Post
It's amazing what kind of a driving business this genre has increased with in the last 10 years.
It is booming like never before..
I think it’s the demand for “feel good” entertainment and Hollywood doesn’t make these kind of movies anymore.
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Old 03-07-22, 01:01 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

To a certain degree, you are right Bluelite, some of the rom coms/family friendly films from the past 20-25 years that hit theaters might not get that chance today (especially today, where with all the increased competition studio heads would be wary of spending potentially as much as 10-40+ million on a film that was not a sure thing to recoup its costs in theaters, so now these films usually end up on streaming services), and at best maybe we would see such a film hit the streamers.

For some reason, I thought there was a thread for the Hallmark show When Calls The Heart, and I was ready to bump that thread, but nope, the show has always been discussed in this long thread. The new season of When Calls The Heart just started on Sunday and I continue to enjoy the show. Now that Good Witch is no longer on the air (still sad about that one), I think this is Hallmarks longest running series which is quite the feat. A new potentially recurring female cast member was introduced in the episode, a woman who has the education background to work with pharmaceuticals but it is clear that there is a past that has yet to be revealed.

The good news is that the new cast member is being set-up as potential love interest for the Constable, so we can finally move past his pining for Elizabeth.
Old 03-11-22, 11:56 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

There's definitely a home for romcoms on streaming services. Netflix is constantly debuting new Hallmark lookalikes. I guess Marry Me is one that has played theaters, but you really need A-list stars.

I've only watched one episode of When Calls the Heart. I keep thinking about diving into that or Chesapeake Shores (which I always confuse with Cedar Cove).

It's mystery time, and I watched Cut Color Murder, in which Julie Gonzalo plays a crime-solving hair stylist. They try to create a backstory so I'm guessing they hope it can turn into a series. They haven't established a partnership like so many of their other mystery series, but we'll see. I do like Gonzalo.

I also dipped into a couple of the Mystery Woman series with Kellie Martin, who I liked from ER, as a mystery-bookstore owner (I bet their demographic goes crazy for this). This six-film series goes all the way back to 2005, and Martin went on to do even more in the Hailey Dean series. These are fine but not particularly grabby so I might try those later.
Old 03-11-22, 12:26 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I hope the Mystery one with Julie Gonzalo did okay for Hallmark in the ratings department, because while the movie itself was not super great or anything like that, it was still a fun watch and I am also a big Gonzalo fan and hope to see her in many more Hallmark channel/mystery films. I am on the record in this thread having mentioned multiple times that Pumpkin Pie Wars is one of my all time favorite Hallmark films (this was a Fall Harvest original film). I actually watch Pumpkin Pie Wars at least once a year as it constantly pops up on Hallmarks schedule around the Holiday season when they create those fan favorite past Hallmark Holiday films mini-marathons.

We are already heading towards April, so soon we will see a batch of Spring/Wedding themed originals hit the air, can't wait, lol!!
Old 03-29-22, 10:50 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

New Vudu spring sale with $4.99 titles, $5.99 double features, and $14.99 10-packs, including some 2021 titles.
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Old 04-06-22, 01:53 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Feeling Butterflies was pretty good, with Kevin McGarry and his real-life girlfriend Kayla Wallace. She's a butterfly expert, and he's the charming single dad who seeks her expertise for his butterfly-fan cute daughter. Many many factoids about butterflies.

The Presence of Love stars Eloise Mumford, who I think is almost as charming as Aimee Teagarden. She's an embattled professor who takes a getaway trip to Cornwall, which is one of my favorite places, so the scenery is great to see. The interesting thing is that they talk about dyslexia and anxiety attacks pretty prominently, and I give them credit for that. There's a slight supernatural element that I didn't take too seriously.

A Second Chance at Love is another gimmick casting for nostalgia lovers, preferably reaching out to a different audience. And I guess it worked because I watched with the wife, who was a big ER fan back in the day, and this has Eriq LaSalle (Dr Benton) and Gloria Reuben (Jeannie Boulet) as divorced parents who try online dating, and you can guess what happens. The leads are parents of an adult, so older than usual casting in these movies. While I liked seeing the stars again, the movie was pretty standard and predictable.
Old 04-06-22, 01:22 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

David, nice breakdown of the films. It is becoming a habit that I usually agree with most of what you have to say about the Hallmark films you have seen. Agree that the Second Chance at Love film was super-predictable, but I am a big fan of Gloria Reuben (less from her E.R. days, as I was not a big E.R. viewer, and more from the shows and movies she has popped up in over the years) so the movie worked.

Autumn Reeser was in another Hallmark film this past weekend, Always Amore, and the film also stars Tyler Hynes, so just the fact that I am big fans of both actors elevated the film a notch in my eyes.
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Old 04-19-22, 12:09 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Candace Cameron Bure signs new deal with GAC. Looks like she's leaving Hallmark

https://www.usmagazine.com/entertain...8d9sx7LB_9NYrc
Old 04-21-22, 02:18 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

CCB is a big loss for them, though she's never been one of my favorites.

I also watched the new Autumn Reeser Inhumans mentioned above and felt it made up for the Wedding Veil snoozer, and yes, it definitely helps that I like both her and Tyler Hines. But seriously, every other movie these days is about an Italian family. And they did the Restaurant Impossible theme in a movie last year. It also took place on Bainbridge Island, which is just across the water from me.

I didn't really know what to expect from Just One Kiss, but I liked it. It may not have been a Great Movie, but it had some notable features that piqued my interest:

-New, fresh leads
-One character was a crooner, which is not in the usual Hallmark stable of jobs. That actor, Santino Fontana, has a ton of theater credits, and Krista Rodriguez has done a lot of musical work herself.
-Parent character going through a current divorce rather than conveniently having been widowed years ago. Made for a different, more raw and charged dynamic.
-Two Greek choruses commenting on the action, including a pair of family members and two students

It also had
Spoiler:
a pretty significant twist in it, and I'm not talking about the usual "Oh, I overheard a conversation that led to a misunderstanding that threatens to torpedo our relationship with only 10 minutes left in the movie" thing.
Old 04-21-22, 10:28 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I was wondering how you felt about the Just One Kiss film, I got a kick out of the film because it starred Ms. Crumble from the cancelled too soon Netflix series Daybreak.

Hallmark leaned (big time) into LGBTQ+ representation in their latest film, Love, Classified. It was a pleasant enough film, and it had a lot of fresh faces (for Hallmark, at least), although I have seen tons of other stuff with Katherine McNamara, and other tv shows/films with Melora Hardin, but Arienne Mandi was a genuine fresh face.

Hallmark was leaning into films that had more diverse casts (more Asian Americans, African American leads, etc.) prior to GAC enticing some of their regulars to come on over to make films for their channel, but it is still nice to see that Hallmark continues to mix things up with their film casts (and although they have had two films in recent memory involving Italian restaurants, the films themselves were still a bit different from what you usually might expect from these type of films) as folks like Candace Cameron Bure confirm their exit from the Hallmark channel.

I always looked at CCB as more of a spokesperson for the Hallmark original films, because while I would watch her films they were not always the best ones among the bunch of originals that would air during the holiday seasons, they were pleasant enough and easy enough to re-watch if they are on my TV and I want to watch something in the background while I futz around on my tablet, but I honestly do not think this was a complete disaster for Hallmark to lose her.

However, I am curious what this years batch of originals will look like for GAC, considering that the folks who talked about leaving Hallmark have by now actually left and are probably in the midst of filming a bunch of originals for GAC as fast as they can so they are ready to air this fall/winter 2022.
Old 04-25-22, 11:01 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I know this is the Hallmark thread, but instead of creating even more threads that will get lost amongst the ton of other threads that usually do not get noticed unless they are on the first page or two when folks are checking out the forums to see what threads are active, I am going to once again bring in a discussion of a another channel's Hallmark type films to this thread.

I watched a film on UP this past Sunday that surprised me, as it seems that I have not seen this type of representation in an UP original before, they were not the main characters, but there is a married Lesbian couple in the film, and it was just so matter of fact when one of the female characters says something like my wife will be out in a moment, I was like wait, what, am I hearing correctly in an UP film? Lol! The film was Kiss the Cook.

I am a straight white male, but I love it when I see all types of folks represented in these types of films. I get it, a small percentage of folks in America are LGBTQ+, so I am not asking for say 60% or more of the content in a film on Hallmark/UP/Lifetime to be geared towards this group of individuals, but there are more individuals in this community in the Hollywood space than other professions, so it makes sense that they get some representation in these type of films. It is not like only LGBTQ+ folks watch shows where they are heavily represented, otherwise the ratings for things like the Queer Eye series, or Ru Pauls drag race would be super lousy, instead a whole lot of other folks are watching and enjoying and seem not to be offended by what they see on the screen.

Anyway, another patent pending famously long and verbose inhumans99 post that takes the long way to get to the point of saying I really enjoyed the film and if what I saw is a sign of things to come that works for me.

Last edited by Inhumans99; 04-25-22 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 05-10-22, 11:58 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Hallmark has made a noticeable effort to diversify their character mix with gay couples, mixed couples, plus-sized leads, etc. Considering their reputation for homogenization, I applaud the change. I do wonder if that’s played a part in the migration to GAC, though.

I watched the two most recent movies, Warming Up to You (terrible title) and A Tail of Love (dog shelter). Both were fine and immediate DVR deletes.

New Vudu sale with two bundles for $14.99. The several two-packs and one three-pack make for good deals, but they’re generally the same bundles in every sale, so fans might have a tough time finding combos that they don’t already own some piece of.

https://www.vudu.com/content/movies/mixandmatch/45816
Old 05-21-22, 03:02 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Watched a couple recent ones last week.

A Royal Runaway Romance mixed two popular themes: Royalty looking for a more normal life, and a road trip involving incompatibles. I know plots and themes are endlessly recycled in Hallmark movies, but this one was just meh for me. Predictable (and I know most of them are that too) and just not that interesting.

Love Classified, on the other hand, had a pretty significantly different feel from most of the movies. The pace of the opening was almost frenetic, with plots and characters and pop-up notifications flying all over. It was intentional, as the central plot device was a dating app, but it did eventually calm down to a more traditional pace, even if there were still a lot of characters. Most interestingly, it had a non-traditional romance, and the development of it felt organic to me, like not something the character sought out but just kind of worked out that way. I liked it more than most of the recent crop and would watch it again.
Old 05-21-22, 09:06 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

GAC signed all this new talent but where are the movies where they could utilize all the people they signed?

They just show repeats of Full House every night and they don't have a new movie every Saturday like Hallmark does and most of their programming are repeats of old TV shows.
Old 06-03-22, 01:53 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

It’s a good question. I just checked the Saturday GAC schedule, and it’s a lot of movie reruns, including a Christmas one. There’s a couple dated as 2022, but I know one has been on Hulu for a while.

Just watched a few more immediate-deletes. Road Trip Romance (enough with the road trips!) was pretty meh. Romance to the Rescue was a little better with the dogs and a cute and new-to-me lead (another When Calls the Heart person, I guess—I’ve only seen one episode), but still nothing memorable. Curious Caterer is a new mystery series (I assume) with Nikki DeLoach and Andrew Walker, which is fine and I’d watch another. I thought the Dying for Chocolate title meant it’d be like one of those Lacey Chabert chocolate-porn movies, but there was surprisingly little food involved.
Old 06-03-22, 04:32 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I am still watching as many Hallmark and UP originals as I can every weekend (as noted, I guess GAC might be saving all their film announcements for right around the time Hallmark announces their Fall Harvest/Countdown to Christmas slate of films), and I still think that this year seems to have gone by pretty fast, we are already in the month of June and before you know it Hallmark will be going hard on promotional spots for their upcoming Fall Harvest/Christmas originals. It feels a bit odd that we have entered the Summer stretch of the year so the Holiday season is nearly right around the corner.

I still maintain that one of the biggest benefits of folks like GAC luring over talent that used to primarily film the Holiday tv films for Hallmark, UP, and Lifetime is that we are seeing more new faces in Hallmark, UP and I presume Lifetime (when Lifetime gets around to hinting at their Holiday slate of films) films. This is a good thing, more new faces, a bit more diversity, stuff like that is all good in my book.
Old 06-12-22, 09:37 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I also applaud the diversity and new faces. While I miss some of the stars that moved to GAC or just moved on, the new people have mostly been fine, and Jen Lilley hasn’t made a good movie in a couple years.

I saw another couple “fine but immediately delete” ones: Rip in Time (another fish out of water) and Hidden Gems (great scenery).

Heart of the Matter was very good, but oof, what a tough watch. Aimee Teagarden plays a doctor going through a professional crisis, and the anguish on her face… I’m an Aimee fan, but I probably won’t watch this again. (I guess Aimee does anguish well. She was also pained in My Family Christmas Tree.)

One of the ads on one of the movies I was catching up on yesterday was pushing a Signed Sealed Delivered marathon, and I realized I hadn’t seen any of those. I mentioned it to my Hallmark-fan coworker, who raved about it, so I was regretting I’d missed it. Turns out it’s THIS weekend, so I cleared up space on the DVR and scheduled all of them to be recorded. Apparently there was a series before all these movies so I just bought that on Vudu ($15 for 10 episodes—not exorbitant). Then I went back through this thread, and a number of people here also like the series. I guess I should’ve paid more attention at the time, but now I can make up for it. (Apparently there are also a pilot movie and a holiday movie that aren’t in this marathon or on Vudu.)

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