Georgia’s favorite Christmas movies have puppies barking or howling, or an old red truck grinding and sputtering. She joins in on the fun and noise by running around the tree. My favorites, however, have firemen with adorable cats, soldiers home on leave, and always moments of miracles and wonder. They also tend to have a strong central love story with characters I long remember. What they never have is a story that contradicts the ending of another favorite movie.
If I could sit for a chat with the owners of the networks who make a business of Christmas movies my first question would be, do you watch the movies you put on your channels? Sometimes it’s painfully obvious whomever is in charge isn’t actually a fan of the genre. This past week it was clear the fans, and what they like to see, are being sidelined by a different agenda. Two of the three movies that debuted on Hallmark Channel disappointed most fans. Great American Family fared better with one big winner in “Catering Christmas” and one giant not-so-much with its movie on Sunday. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries premiered a tear-jerker most fans enjoyed that had somewhat of a surprise ending.
Hallmark Channel’s “Cozy Christmas Inn” is where I’ll start. They took a perennial fan
favorite, “Christmas Under Wraps” from 2014, and created a sequel with the same lovable characters in the same amazing town of Garland, Alaska — but undid the love story from the original movie. To punch fans a bit harder in the love gut, they cast Jodie Sweetin in the part that undoes Candace Cameron Bure’s role in the first movie. To us fans DJ and Stephanie (the Tanner sisters on “Full House”) will always be sisters. And no amount of “That’s Garland for ya” will make up for sending the character of Lauren Brunell back to the lower 48 without her Andy. Fan suggestion – make the sequel, recast Stephanie, I mean Jodie, in Candace’s part and let Jodie become the original character of Lauren. The goal may have been to ruin one of Candace’s best Christmas movies, but instead Hallmark managed to ruin their new movie. Big paw down on this one.
The second miss of the weekend for Hallmark Channel came from “Jolly Good Christmas.” Fans were excited about this one. I was excited for this one! Will Kemp is dashing and adorable and has a sexy and endearing British accent. His Christmas movie two seasons ago is a swoon worthy favorite and expectations for another were high, especially with the movie being set in London. The plot is good, the script is good, the chemistry between the two leads is great – but for some reason Will has an American accent in the film. I don’t know if he captured the accent well or not, I only know it was all I could focus on. It completely detracted from the movie. Fan suggestion – don’t have a star beloved for his accent change that accent, especially if the movie
is based in a country where his accent flourishes. His character being an American had zero importance in the script – leave Will Kemp’s accent alone!
I’m giving the win this week to Great American Family’s “Catering Christmas” starring Merritt Patterson and Daniel Lissing. Solid story, good chemistry, Christmas feels, and the script made sense. I’ve already watched it again – and Georgia seems to like it, too. Solid 4 out of 5. Nicely done, Great American Family.
This coming weekend the number of movies available to fans explodes! Lifetime has entered the mix, as has UPtv and Discovery+. You can see the full list of movies HERE.
My Must Watch Movies of the week include a Don’t Miss debut on Hallmark Channel Friday starring Alison Sweeney and Luke Macfarlane — “A Magical Christmas Village.” I’ve never watched a movie with either star I didn’t love. Saturday night offers three more fan favorites in movies of their own, Kimberley Sustad, Andrew Walker, and a second-of-the-season Jodie Sweetin movie — this time on Lifetime. Kimberley stars in Hallmark Channel’s “Lights, Camera, Christmas!” opposite John Brotherton who made his Hallmark debut last Christmas
opposite Candace Cameron Bure. I became a devoted fan after watching Kimberley in “The Nine Lives of Christmas.” It’s a movie Georgia and I enjoy all year. Also, at 8 pm on Saturday, Jodie stars opposite Tim Rozon in “Merry Swissmis.” Ironically, Tim is best-known by fans for his role opposite Candace Cameron Bure in “Christmas Town.” I’m curious to see how these two will match-up. And at 10 pm, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Andrew stars in his first of two movies for the season in “A Maple Valley Christmas” opposite Peyton List. Since there’s a Candace theme going, I will add that Andrew has never starred opposite her and since she is now contracted with one network, and him with another, their pairing seems unlikely. He has starred opposite Jodie in a Christmas movie, however, and it was enjoyable.
If the four movies I’ve mentioned are not enough for your viewing pleasure, there will be seven others this weekend on UPtv, Lifetime, and Great American Family plus four more now available on Discovery +. The highlight of the Discovery+ movies is the streaming service’s connection with Food Network. Two of the movies star celebrity chefs Bobby Flay and Duff Goldman.
Time to carve out some movie-watching hours while decorating the tree and hanging the lights! Happy movie watching from me and the pup!