Last night I Finally watched a Hallmark movie that didn’t make me cringe or roll my eyes. So much of the made for TV slate this season has been almost unwatchable. The sets look shabby, the decorations cheap or sparse, scenes that are supposed to be parties with just a handful of extras milling about. Not to mention the plots being a great big yawn. I watch these types of movies because I’m looking for that magical, escapist, Christmas wonderland look and feel and Just in Time for Christmas (ignore the really lame title) gave me that happy, bubbly, razzle dazzle I’ve been waiting for.
Of course it helped immensely that there was such a strong and quirky cast including Christopher Lloyd as the main character’s grandfather and William Shatner as a coachman meets fairy godmother hybrid. Eloise Mumford (you might recognize her as Kate from Fifty Shades of Grey) is absolutely adorable as the kind, super smart, and stylish psychology adjunct trying to decide between her fabulous hipster coffee shop owning boyfriend and a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a tenure track position at Yale. I’m now seriously obsessed with her hair. This is extremely superficial of me but true.
The premise may sound a bit done to death but I really like movies and tv shows where people get to explore their regrets or the path not taken (like Being Erica or The Family Man) so I loved the story and was actually really sad when it ended. Plus the set decorations were excellent. They’re really elaborate and gorgeous, and most definitely professionally styled. It was just what I was hoping for! So far this is the best one of the year.
This is going to really wind up people who don’t like holidays to be released into the wild early, but did you know that Hallmark begins airing their Christmas lineup on October 31st? Yes! Personally, I’m loving it. I actually started “sneaking” Christmas music on Spotify last week. A little Kelly Clarkson…a dash of James Taylor…some Mariah…I couldn’t help myself. I’m also trying to figure out how I’m even going to fit a Christmas Tree in my new living room. That will probably have to be a post all on its own. It’s a mystery, Charlie Brown.
In the meantime, we’ll very shortly have the opportunity to re-watch some of our favorite, often completely implausible, and very glitter filled made-for-tv movies. Let’s be honest, some of them are really, really horrible. Then, there are a handful that you can rewatch over and over again. Everyone has their favorites. Here are my can’t miss hits:
Alice, played by Alicia Witt, has a narcissistic, metrosexual boyfriend who is a total waste of time. He’s so busy (doing his hair) that Alice has to fly all alone to meet his parents for the first time. At the airport shenanigans ensue (because otherwise there wouldn’t be a plot) and she ends up meeting a super sweet guy (Will) whom she incorrectly assumes is her future brother-in-law. Huh? You see, cute guy has the same last name as her boyfriend. He also happens to have a brother with the jerk boyfriend’s name. That would be enough proof for me. Alice goes home with Will, and his family is awesome, and they make cookies, and it’s all very picture perfect until you-know-who turns up. Just wait until you meet the actual in-laws…love it.
This one is essentially DJ Tanner meets Northern Exposure. Dr. DJ can’t get skim milk for her latte, her clothes aren’t appropriately warm (because you know…she’s in Garland, Alaska with a pashmina) and her stilettos are no match for the icy sidewalks. When she gets frustrated with these facts all of the townspeople say, “that’s Garland for you.” Now Chris and I say this to one another all the time.
So, Mr. Miracle, the book and the film, were both really good. I feel like it played on Hallmark once last year and then it was forgotten. Why? Rob Morrow was hysterical. He played Harry the bumbling angel who happens to be posing as an equally nutty English professor at a local community college. Was there something objectionable in the movie that I missed? Who knows, but if it’s allowed out of the vault this year make sure to tune in.
I didn’t want to like this movie because it sounded absolutely ridiculous, but then I watched it anyway and loved it. I mean, there were two ginger cats in it. I can’t resist that. I also became totally obsessed with the cat paw Christmas stockings that appear in the film, tracked them down, and bought them. Superman aka Brandon Routh is one of the leads which made me wonder just how much they get paid to work on these things. I’m also kind of shocked that they mention he was in Zack and Miri Make a Porno in his bio for Hallmark. That’s amazing. Someone better call the inten who updated the website. The family indecency people are going to be so mad at you…hahahaha.
This is another Debbie Macomber based film (I’m pretty sure she’ll have her own channel pretty soon just like Oprah) and the plot is pretty much The Holiday but with Faith Ford and Billy from Ally McBeal instead of Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. I don’t care though. This one is my absolute favorite and I watch it multiple times each year. Bonus: Tom Cavanagh! Who doesn’t love Tom Cavanagh?
Did I miss your Hallmark favorite? As for all of the new movies coming out this year…I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Hindsight: All I Want For Christmas Is You (Note: I’m SO excited for this one. I LOVE this show).
Season 1, Episode 9
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 10:00 PM [VH1]
Synopsis: Lolly wants to get over Kevin by throwing a party; Thermal’s release is a success; Kevin does something that may force history to repeat itself.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Twas the Night Before Christening Season 4, Episode 13 Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 4:00 PM [BET]
Synopsis: Five years into the future Uncle Phil tells Nicky about his Christmas christening. Guest stars Boyz II Men.
Downton Abbey: A Mooreland Holiday
Season 5: Episode 9
Currently Streaming on PBS.Org
Synopsis: After a shooting party at a castle in Northumberland, the Crawleys return to Downton for the Christmas holiday.
The Big Bang Theory: The Clean Room Infiltration Season 8, Episode 11
Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 9:00 PM [CBS]
Synopsis: Leonard and Wolowitz clash over a work emergency; Amy throws a Victorian Christmas party which Sheldon resents.
Bridget Jones’s Diary Movie: 1 hour, 38 minutes 
Currently Streaming on Netflix
Synopsis: This clever tale of Bridget Jones’s odyssey from Mr. Right-here-right-now to Mr. Right delivers a glimpse into the inner workings of the female mind. Note: While not a “traditional Christmas” film, I watch this movie every Christmas and there’s plenty of holiday scenes bookending the storyline. Plus, who doesn’t love Mr. Darcy’s reindeer jumper.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Movie: 1 hour, 50 minutes 
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 8:00 PM [STZK]
Synopsis: A curmudgeon living atop Mount Crumpit sets out to quash the yuletide preparations of the Christmas-loving Whos of Whoville.
Frasier: Perspectives on Christmas
Season 5, Episode 9
Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 10:00 AM [Lifetime]
Synopsis: On a massage table, everyone gets a chance to work out tensions caused by Christmas just past by telling their version of events.
Will & Grace: All About Christmas Eve
Season 5, Episode 11
Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 3:30 PM [WE]
Synopsis: Christmas Eve merriment turns sour for Will, riled by Grace’s capricious requests that keep him from partying with Jack and Karen.
Married…With Children: Christmas
Season 7, Episode 12
Friday, February 27, 2015 at 6:30 AM [TBS]
Synopsis: Mall Santa Al recalls Christmases past, when he avoided giving gifts to the family, who’ve united to get what they want.
The Simpsons: White Christmas Blues
Season 25, Episode 8
Friday, February 27, 2015 at 11:30 PM [FXX]
Synopsis: Springfield turns into a winter wonderland filled with yuletide revelers when snow blankets the town as a result of the nuclear-power plant springing a leak, so Marge turns their abode into boardinghouse.