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Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

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Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Old 11-01-23, 11:07 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

A Belgian Chocolate Christmas 3 out 5 (Great American) - This one apparently premiered last year as a woman impersonating her friend, a chef, in an overseas class learning how to make Belgian chocolate. A perfectly average Christmas romcom possibly let down by the leads, who look more like supporting players thrust into starring roles because they came cheaper. Here's where Hallmark is a bit better - I kept thinking how poor the hair and make-up looked on the leads in most every scene. They may not have had the budget but it visibly affects the production at times. It's not a bad movie by any means but not worth hunting down in a crowded Christmas field.
Old 11-04-23, 01:33 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I watched another GAC, Twas the Text Before Christmas, in which Merritt Patterson receives a misdirected text message then happens to strike up a friendship with the texter and even goes to her house for Christmas, where the texter’s son happens to be Trevor Donovan! Far-fetched sure, but a little different. I thought it was pretty good with some funny lines.

I finally watched the Kevin McGarry hockey one Checkin' It Twice and thought it was pretty good too. Kinda Bull Durham for hockey.

I watched one of the fall ones, Guiding Emily, in which Sarah Drew suffers “temporary” blindness from a freak accident. From the title you can see where this is going, but I liked it.

Last edited by davidh777; 11-29-23 at 11:08 AM.
Old 11-06-23, 11:40 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Journey to Christmas 2 out of 5 (Great American) - Both leads are fairly new to the game in this bland 2023 entry. A "lonely" female model on a road journey gets trapped with her driver's family as Christmas approaches, falling for him. It's hard buying the premise of a famous model with a nearly perfect life having no suitors, the character isn't particularly plausible. I don't think the leads are at fault here though the male lead is more of a supporting role kind of guy, this movie failed in the writing stage.

The Winter Palace 4 out 5 (Great American) - This is a movie I needed to clear from the DVR, airing last year. It's a winter theme instead of Christmas starring Danica McKellar. Call me a softie for Danica but I really enjoyed this tale of an American woman who falls for a European prince on the verge of becoming king. Starts off a little slow but the back half is fantastic. Tons of chemistry between the leads and Danica is on her game in this movie.
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Old 11-08-23, 05:21 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I watched Christmas by Design, which I thought was the houseflipping movie, but no, this was about clothing design. It had a couple no-name leads and was pretty trope-y, but it was fine. Then I watched Flipping for Christmas, the one I originally intended to watch, with Ashley Newborough and Marcus Rosner. This was also trope-y and fine.

I watched Bringing Christmas Home, the new Jill Wagner on GAC, about finding a uniform and trying to track down the WWII veteran who wore it. These channels love their military tributes (and I guess Wagner's husband is in the service), and this one was fine. Laura Osnes returned to Christmas movies with GAC's A Dash for Christmas, a cooking movie with Christopher Russell. They make a joke about Osnes' Broadway chops by having some carolers invite her to join them, and her saying that hers is not a voice that's meant to be heard. Anyway, this one was fine too. I haven't yet watched one this year that has really stood out for me.

Last edited by davidh777; 11-29-23 at 11:13 AM.
Old 11-09-23, 08:24 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I'm not having much luck so far finding good Christmas movies this season. Methinks churning out dozens of these movies each year is a bridge too far.

Noel Next Door
1 out of 5 (Hallmark) - I think this movie may actually be from last year starring old familiar Natalie Hall, who made the jump from Lifetime to Hallmark a couple years back. Parts of this story simply didn't work despite Natalie Hall's best efforts and a regular Hallmark male lead who has usually delivered before. Natalie plays the scrappy single mother of a young teen boy, while the man is a conductor who has lost the use of his arm thanks to a stroke. So it's definitely outside Hallmark's traditional formula. The big wrinkle here is the male lead is introduced as a Scrooge-like villain, portrayed as bitter over his disability and his wife leaving him over it. The actor simply couldn't handle the range necessary to convincingly pull off the atypical romantic male lead. The last act is a real hodge-podge of sub-plots crashing into one another.

Old 11-10-23, 11:17 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Maybe the better movies are being saved until after Thanksgiving.
Old 11-10-23, 11:36 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Noel Next Door was indeed from last year, and it wasn’t good.

Under the Christmas Sky was another portrayal of women in science rather than as event planners and copy editors. It was fine, but the secondary couple had more charm and character. Mystic Christmas with Jesse Schram was better than most I’ve seen so far. I don’t know if it was riffing on Mystic Pizza which I haven’t sent in years—it does take place in Mystic, and there is a pizza restaurant—but there were many funny lines.

Last edited by davidh777; 11-29-23 at 11:09 AM.
Old 11-11-23, 09:37 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Never Been Chris'd 5 out of 5 (Hallmark) - Great screenplay, great cast. The two female leads (Janel Parrish is the big name here) have playful chemistry together as life-long pals thirsting after the same man (Hallmark familiar Tyler Hynes), a popular guy from their high school days. It's really more a comedy about their female friendship than anything having to do with Christmas or romantic love, those factors play background elements in their overall drama. I'm not always a fan when Hallmark branches off into comedic territory but everything works here nicely together.
Old 11-12-23, 07:25 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Yeah, I thought Never Been Chris’d was solid. I like Janell Parrish and Tyler Hines, but I didn’t know the other woman. Honestly I thought they were going to
Spoiler:
settle the rivalry by making the other woman gay, and they kind of hinted at it but left it ambiguous.



Joyeux Noel had Jaicy Elliott as a copy editor () who chases a story in France in hopes that she can bag a big story and get promoted to reporter. Pretty forgettable.

Last edited by davidh777; 11-29-23 at 11:09 AM.
Old 11-13-23, 10:12 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

A Merry Scottish Christmas airs next Saturday and is Lacy Chabert's Christmas movie for 2023. Its also notable as she's reuniting with her Party of Five costar Scott Wolf.
https://www.hallmarkchannel.com/a-me...tish-christmas
Old 11-13-23, 04:09 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Wait, I thought Lacy Chabert also has the sequel to Haul Out The Holly coming out soon, and yes...just googled and hit up IMDB and it looks like Haul Out The Holly: Lit Up comes out on Thanksgiving weekend.

Old 11-14-23, 11:20 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I never saw Hall Out Holly but based on comments here the movie sounded like it was pretty bad.
Old 11-14-23, 11:31 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I just got back from another heavy metal cruise and many of these cruises are run by Sixthman including wrestling, comedians, Jay & Silent Bob, but I just noticed today that there are Hallmark cruises scheduled for next year for those that want to be around like minded fans and want to have an opportunity to hang with actors from the movies.
Old 11-14-23, 03:13 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Originally Posted by Bluelitespecial
I never saw Hall Out Holly but based on comments here the movie sounded like it was pretty bad.
I would describe the reaction as "mixed."
​​​​​​​
Originally Posted by davidh777
Hail Out the Holly is Lacey, and I guess she doesnít usually do comedies? At least thatís what she said in her intro, and I mainly can recall her dramatic roles. Anyway, this one was pretty good.
Originally Posted by will travel
I love me some Lacey Chabert but her newest Hallmark Christmas movie is total garbage.
Originally Posted by PhantomStranger
Haul Out the Holly (Hallmark) 4.5/5 - A new Lacey Chabert film and one of Hallmark's first pure Christmas comedies. It's an upbeat, laugh-packed riot about a zealous HOA imposing Christmas on a suburban neighborhood. There's a perfunctory romance which isn't given much screen time, this one is all about a wacky ensemble of characters celebrating an over-the-top Christmas season. Strains of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Lots of nice touches to the script and sharp writing in general.
Originally Posted by skatefan20
Haul Out the Holly
Lacey Chabert is duped by her parents into coming back home to prepare the house for holiday festivities, while butting heads with a childhood friend turned nightmare HOA president (fun spirited Wes Brown) and dealing with some kooky overzealous neighbors rolling out their Christmas decor (incl. Stephen Tobolowsky, Melissa Peterman who steals the show here ) Lotta laughs.
Originally Posted by jholmes
Haul out the Holly - Funny
Old 11-16-23, 06:13 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

We Need a Little Christmas 2 out of 5 (Hallmark) - I imagine some will enjoy this Erica Durance vehicle from last year. I did not. She's not bad in it and there are few areas I can really ding in terms of direction and acting for the entire movie, it's a smooth production. But the premise about a single mother struggling to honor her dead husband's memory while their young son attempts to cope with his first Christmas without his dad is downbeat. The best chemistry is not between Erica and the male lead, but the little boy playing her son and an elderly woman who takes him under her wing. I also wouldn't call this much of a Christmas movie, it's one of those scripts which could have easily been set at almost any time of year.
Old 11-17-23, 06:07 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

The Santa Summit might be my favorite so far. I'm not that familiar with Hunter King (I thought she was Rachel Leigh Cook in the ads), but the interplay among the friends was funny. I laughed three times in the first 10 minutes.

My Christmas Guide is another guide-dog movie after I had JUST caught up with Sarah Drew's similar movie from this summer. Unlike Drew, the actor is legally blind, and it looks authentic. Not casting shade on Drew, because her character arc was very different. Anyway, this was another movie that didn't really have much to do with the holidays, but I thought it was effective.

Mystery on Mistletoe Lane wasn't one of the Hallmark Mysteries but just a family puzzle at the center of a life-transition story. Pretty forgettable.

Vudu has a Lifetime sale in addition to the Hallmark one, and they have cheap $5 three-packs, but those might be a bad deal as the singles are generally $1 (I haven't checked them all).

Last edited by davidh777; 11-29-23 at 11:10 AM.
Old 11-19-23, 05:44 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Marrying Father Christmas 3.5 out of 5 (Hallmark) - An older Erin Krakow film which I had somehow never seen. This is a sentimental, almost sappy tale with Erin's character planning a wedding happening on Christmas day (do people really get married on Christmas?) and she discovers an uncle she didn't know about. The story is played safely and right down the middle, with virtually no real conflicts. That being said, Krakow is one of Hallmark's best actresses and this is a good vehicle for her talents.

Thought this fit better here than the Simpsons thread...

The Simpsons: Season 32 "A Springfield Summer Christmas for Christmas" 2 out 5 - The whole episode parodies Hallmark's Christmas films and their making as a hipster Hallmark executive visits Springfield to film a Christmas movie. I checked out on modern Simpsons about 5 years ago but caught this episode trying to watch all the Christmas-themed episodes. The Hallmark executive stays in the Simpsons' home and has a brief fling with Skinner. I'll say this in the episode's favor, it attempts to tell a coherent story from beginning to end like many of the older classic episodes. Unfortunately, the writers have to twist many familiar Simpsons favorites into almost unrecognizable characters to make everything work. Also, the humor only rarely hits. There's more setup than actual payoff.
Old 11-20-23, 11:55 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Lights, Camera, Christmas! 3 out of 5 (Hallmark) - A lukewarm recommendation because I'm not a big fan of star Kimberley Sustad, who I consider maybe the weakest of Hallmark's recurring headliners. Her Hallmark Christmas projects are often smart at the expense of their heart and warmth. She plays her typically jaded, somewhat distant heroine. If you understand acting, her line reading is flat and often emotionless, lacking expressive facial cues and body language. The screenplay however is very slick, a deconstruction of how Hallmark Christmas movies are made. A big male star films a television Christmas movie in Sustad's small home town, growing closer to her while filming. Taken as a whole the package works because everything else hums with efficiency but someone like Lacey Chabert in Sustad's role would have made this a 4 or 4.5 rating.
Old 11-22-23, 10:17 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

The new Heather Graham Netflix movie Best. Christmas. Ever! was ok, intentionally cringe-y but not really that funny, and the kids were annoying. Graham still looks good after all these years, though.

I finally watched two 2023 Christmas in July movies. A Royal Christmas Crush was a pretty by-the-numbers commoner-enters-relationship-with-royal-chaos-ensues thing, and Stephen Huszar stumbles through a clumsy accent. However I quite liked Take Me Back to Christmas, in which Vanessa Lengies gets a chance to live a different life, and of course realizes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I always enjoy alternate-timeline movies, and Corey Sevier has a much better role for him than in Noel Next Door.

Last edited by davidh777; 11-29-23 at 11:10 AM.
Old 11-22-23, 06:02 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

A Paris Christmas Waltz 5 out 5 (Great American) - Flawless, my favorite of the season. Jen Lilley was born for these movies, she always brings it. Probably the best movie made by Great American in their short history. An American woman is picked to be the dance partner of a famous pro ballroom dancer for a Pro-Am tournament being held in Paris. Do Pro-Am tournaments for dance exist? I don't know and I don't care, lol. Paris looks absolutely beautiful in this film at night. Maybe the only thing I'd change is a small but cheesy song-and-dance number our intrepid leads break into on the streets of Paris. Finishing with a big dance number, I was wondering how Lilley pulled off some very athletic dance moves. She didn't, they used stunt dancers and frame-by-frame slo-mo revealed they digitally blurred out the stunt doubles' faces. Now you know...

Santa, Maybe 3 out of 5 (Great American) - I could take or leave this new flick, it's not especially memorable. A solid but rather ordinary tale of two new co-workers coming together as part of a Secret Santa program in the office. The leads are second stringers who should probably stay second stringers. Eminently skippable if time is an issue.
Old 11-23-23, 11:16 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I liked A World Record Christmas, about an autistic youth attempting to set a Guinness record in Jenga. I know some of these can feel like A Very Special Episode of Blossom, but I thought it was a good look at autism, and they used an autistic actor.

Everything Christmas has Cindy Busby as a perky holiday-lover. Forgettable.

I just got a $7.99 Vudu Countdown to Christmas bundle with six movies I didn’t have. Three were 2022 releases (Campfire Christmas, Christmas in Toyland, Grown-Up Christmas List). This was in the Black Friday bundle sale, not the Hallmark sale. Vudu is also promoting a couple 2022 Lifetime movies for $3.99 (older ones are $1).

Last edited by davidh777; 11-29-23 at 11:11 AM.
Old 11-24-23, 01:38 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Christmas Island 5 out 5 (Hallmark) - Andrew Walker is the man. Whatever Hallmark's paying Walker, it's not enough. Fun and inspired story about a rich family getting stranded on Christmas Island as their grinchy private pilot (Rachel Skarsten) falls for local good guy. It's really an ensemble piece with several different supporting characters playing important roles in the narrative. I might be tempted to watch this one again before Christmas and I never do that given my schedule.

A Royal Christmas Crush 3 out 5 (Hallmark) - I felt this movie could have been tightened up a bit but the spectacular setting on its own is worth a look. Former Arrow alum Katie Cassidy stars in this rather routine prince falls for American commoner piece, shot in one of those all-ice hotels I believe from Sweden. We've seen the setting once or twice before in prior movies but here the carved ice inside looks truly magnificent. Cassidy isn't a great fit for Hallmark's Christmas productions if I'm being frank and the screenplay has a few bits of dialogue I could have done without. The director let this movie's potential down.

Old 11-25-23, 04:45 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Christmas In The Pines 2.5 out of 5 (UPtv) - I believe Jillian Murray may be the only actress to star in Christmas movies for each of the Big 4 cable channels - Lifetime, Hallmark, Great American and UPtv. I really wanted to like this movie, the cast generally has warm chemistry and Santa himself makes a cameo. It does feature the most contrived premise I've ever seen in one of these holiday flicks, two strangers end up with competing claims on a new home ownership and the first person who leaves the premises loses the property. The romantic male lead isn't great. Jillian Murray gives a solid performance but isn't enough on her own in this underwhelming tale.
Old 11-25-23, 04:46 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Hallmark Now, their SVOD streaming service, never offers any deals for subscriptions. I wouldn't mind subscribing for a few months during the Holidays to catch some of their movies.
Old 11-25-23, 06:28 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Originally Posted by DJariya
Hallmark Now, their SVOD streaming service, never offers any deals for subscriptions. I wouldn't mind subscribing for a few months during the Holidays to catch some of their movies.
At least itís not that expensive, like $6-7/month. They also have a lot on Peacock, I think.

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