Monday, December 23, 2019

MOTUS Guide To Watching Hallmark Christmas Movies

I noticed there was a discussion (again) yesterday about the Hallmark Christmas movies (HCM). Somebody mentioned there’s even a HCM Bingo card available; actually this game has been around in various forms

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almost as long as there have been Hallmark Christmas movies:

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I believe they are made by the same people who are responsible for making the movies in the first place and should not be confused with the official HCM plot generator.

If you were ever in doubt about what “formula fiction” is, this is it. As with best sellers, if demand is high people will continue to pump out formulistic  fiction in the genre for as long as there is an audience.

Now in defense of HCM, they serve a purpose. When you are world weary for any number of world-wearying reasons, they may provide some relief, but it is critical you follow directions carefully and not exceed the recommended dosage. First of all, don’t watch any that have been made after 2014; in general the older the  better as increase demand always produces sloppier product.

Of course watching any of them, even the best, requires a suspension of disbelief – in Santa, love at first sight, a person’s casual willingness to chuck a six figure job in order to follow their bliss, etc., etc.. But the best of these simple movies will take you away from your personal woes and worries for a couple of hours so there’s that.

A few that fit the bill, in no particular order: Northpole (2014), Meet the Santas (2005), Let It Snow (2013)  The Note (2007) as well as both Mrs. Miracle movies (see below).

As with any medicine it is important to pay attention to proper dosage. Overuse may result in the product losing its efficaciousness and may in fact result in having the opposite he desired effect. No more than 1 per day with a maximum of 3 in any given week. With close to 150 HCM in the can there’s bound to be a lot of crap.

For example, I broke my own first rule and watched The Mistletoe Promise (2016) while I was in the throes of bronchitis last week.

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Synopsis: 2 people hate Christmas - one hates her ex, the other needs to appear to be an upstanding citizen with prospects for a wife and family in order to make partner in his firm - hook up to pose as a couple for the corporate Christmas party. Naturally they fall in love. The best part? Towards the end, where everything appears to be falling apart before it all comes together the girl (Jaime King) is walking down the street of an unnamed frozen megatropolis where we see snow piled up on the streets and sidewalks. As the camera pulls out for a long shot we see all the trees on the street…fully leafed out. Yikes! Somebody contact the continuity manager!

Apparently this isn’t the only HCM shot during the summer in British Columbia to have this problem: this is from The Mistletoe Inn (2017) maybe it’s just a mistletoe problem:

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I guess we’re to believe those are evergreen trees

Added bonus for the Mistletoe Promise: the male lead, Luke MacFarlane, is openly gay so technically this counts as Hallmark’s first gay romance.

My personal favorite HCM is Call Me Mrs. Miracle (2010)

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one of several HCM based on  Debbie Macomber Christmas books. I note that the movie was originally titled Miracle in Manhattan  but later changed apparently to confuse people who enjoyed Hallmark’s 2009 offering called simply Mrs. Miraclewhich I’ve not seen as it’s never popped up when I was looking for something to watch. It gets high marks from viewers, if that means anything, and both of the movies feature the late, great Doris Roberts as Mrs. Miracle whose presence makes anything worth watching.

So there you have it, my rules and reviews; they aren’t great but sometimes you just need decent. Just be selective and judicious and enjoy yourself a merry little HCM this year.