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Baby, it’s warm outside

Dear makers of cheesy holiday films:

I’ve watched a lot of your made-for-tv films this season. Something has been bothering me. It’s not the acting or the totally predictable plotlines. It’s not the constant reuse of plot devices such as “small town saves itself from ruin” or “troubled family comes together” or even “rivals fall in love.” Nope. This is the issue that’s been getting under my skin of late:

Green grass on the ground! Green leaves in the trees! Leaves in the trees at all, actually! 

I know these films are probably shot during the summer months, but come on! This is not Edward Scissorhands!  I felt the need to bring this to your attention after watching the cheerful and very corny All She Wants for Christmas. I won’t go into the plot other than to say it uses the “small town comes together” story route.

The film takes place in Forest City, USA. We are never told the actual state but there are references made to Pigeon Forge, TN and to Athens, GA, so I’m going to assume somewhere in the South.  No one has a southern accent, though. Being from the South myself, I appreciate it when folks just don’t try to mimic one. I’m sure my colleagues in the North and from across the pond have the same appreciation about portrayals of their dialects as well.

Anyways, the setting is between late November and Christmas day. The grass in this movie is really green. The trees are full and leafy. BUT…people are wearing coats and hats and the like.  I know it’s a little warmer in these here parts, but if I look out my window I can see that the grass is brown and all of our deciduous trees are fairly naked.

At one point in the movie, the lead female character actually mentions that it just doesn’t even snow there anymore. By the end of the movie, it’s snowing on that nice June-looking set. It looks so wrong. Did your fellow filmmakers insert that line about no snow as a way to point out the elephant in the room? I wonder…

Anyways, that’s my new beef with these films. Usually the springtime surroundings aren’t quite so noticeable, but in All She Wants…it’s just there. That’s my rant to you for today. Future-going, maybe you should film in a different month or least try to shoot away from pretty parks and trees.

Your devoted viewer, Andrea.

PS: Happy Winter Solstice!

Seasonal Mirth

Summer is here and I’m in a funk. Instead of hanging out at the local movie theater to see the latest and greatest (and I do plan to do that. I did see the new Star Trek movie, and I highly endorse it)…and instead of grilling all manner of meat and veg whilst enjoying a cold beer or two…

Confession time. I’ve been doing something else. I’ve been secretly watching cheesy Christmas movies again. It’s not even that time of year!! I’m so embarrassed. 

Last week I watched A Christmas Kiss in which a girl and a guy in a falling elevator (it rights itself, don’t worry) kiss and then while she later recognizes him, he does not reciprocate. This is mainly due to the fact that her makeup artist roommate had painted her face all up prior to the drama. Mystery elevator man turns out to be a wealthy philanthropist (aren’t they all?) who is planning the annual charity event for his family’s um…charity. Our girl is an interior decorator who works for an evil harpy who happens to be dating mystery elevator man. Is he with the right woman? Will the charity event be as Christmasy as it can be? [Side note: This movie was sooooo cheesy and sugary. Acting was pretty crummy in places and the story was predictable. I watched every second.]

The other movie I recently watched was Christmas in Boston starring Marla Sokoloff who you might remember from Full House but most likely from The Practice. Sokoloff plays a newspaper reporter who is covering a local toy expo. The thing is…her long time pen pal whom she’s never met is also at the expo. They decide to finally meet up. The other thing is…both Sokoloff and her pen pal have exchanged pictures not of themselves but of their respective besties. What does one do in a TV movie? One asks loyal friend to pretend to be him/her and meet the other person. Confused yet? I was just a little. But it’s really cute and festive in all its seasonal mirth. Yes, I saw that I used that phrase and you know what? I’m keeping it. Seasonal mirth, I’ll say it again.

And so what if I watched the end of a movie (never caught the title) where two orphan children were given some Christmas happiness and found a new home and family? So what if I cried a little bit?  It’s all good!

I actually have a couple more holiday-themed movies lined up to watch whenever I find a couple of hours to kill. I think Hulu might have Charlie Brown and Rudolph all year. I can watch those too!!! I’m a little bit worried. I might need help.

Tis the Season (Already?!)

We are barely into November. Barely. Single digits. I haven’t even put away my Halloween decorations yet. But that doesn’t matter. According to television and all retail businesses, it’s Christmas or whatever one chooses to celebrate this time of year. I’m going to incorporate the Solstice this year, I think.

That Thanksgiving thing must be like a practice run for the holidays or something. That’s my new theory.  It can’t even get its own proper Hallmark Channel movie. The one that aired this past Sunday night was called Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade. With that title, you would think “it’s a Thanksgiving movie! Finally!” Not so fast! The promo image used for this television special shows our heroine smiling lovingly at a man in a Santa suit. Christmas strikes again!!

If holidays were represented by the characters and situations of the film…oh for example, Office Space, I think Thanksgiving would be like Milton. I’m not saying Christmas is Bill Lumbergh or anything. I love the holidays. I’m just saying that Christmas Lumbergh seems to be ever to gradually, shifting Milton Thanksgiving out-of-the-way. Just a thought.

I also have a confession for you. One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is to watch as many cheesy, sappy Hallmark and ABC Family movies as I can. I’m not proud of it, but it’s so much fun to predict the predictable plots and to sometimes tear up at a heartwarming scene. It does happen.

It happened this Sunday.  Again, it’s barely November, and I have sat through two Hallmark movies already. The first one was really good. It was A Season for Miracles starring Carla Gugino and David Conrad. Carla plays a down on her luck lady who is caring for her druggie sister’s two kids. She’s sort of on the run from child services who want to take the kids into foster care. Carla’s character wants to keep the family together and hides out in one of those television movie small towns where there’s only one cop and everyone knows everyone. I so want to live in one of those towns. Everyone seems to live in giant houses, no one requires payment for anything, and everyone’s so nice. I might have cried a little at the end.

The other movie I watched was called Christmas Song. This was the other end of the spectrum for holiday movies. This one was not so much about the spirit of goodness and helping one another than it was about singing some songs and getting the two competing music teachers to fall in love. Natasha Henstridge and Gabe Hogan star as the teachers who come from two private schools that recently merged. Guess what? There’s only room for one music program, and the crummy principal informs them that whomever has the winning team for the holiday singing competition, gets to keep their job. I feel like that’s a horrible way to decide who get to keep their employment. This movie was fun to watch mainly on the grounds that it was so predictable. I watched this one with my mother, and we had a great time theorizing which way the plot might go.

So yeah. I’ve already got two holiday movies under my belt. It’s like an infection, this holiday spirit. I really try to not involve myself too much until after Turkey Day. My tree, for example, won’t go up until December 1. But in the meantime, I’ve got a fir-scented votive candle already burning.

Ugh!!!! I can’t believe I’m ready for cookie baking and angel tree shopping and the music! I was in a Kohls earlier, and they already had the festive tunes on high rotation.

I’m going to do my best to keep the festiveness running in the background for now. I’ll just consider the two movies I’ve already seen as appetizers to the big main course that’s inevitably on its way to a television near all of us. I’ll be more than ready by then, and plan to toss a few reviews this way.

Next week, I’ll delve into my thoughts on the George Lucas Star Wars issue. I’ve had to let that stew a bit in order to fully discuss it. That’s mainly because I was practically in tears for about an hour after I heard the news. But that’s for next week.

Until next time, my little elves!