Hallmark movie could be new holiday tradition
Last updated 12/5/2019 at 2:16pm | View PDF
Hallmark movies are big business. Just take a quick peek at the merchandise available and the list of stars appearing on the channel this month.
They're also a source of entertainment - especially at our office, where we love to tease the two people who watch them most often: Jim and Ken.
Ken does a great plot narrative, highlighting the same events that take place in all of the movies, including Christmas versions. He is a kindred spirit of cartoonist John Atkinson, who recently posted a hilarious "Hallmark Christmas Movie Plot Generator" online. You can play yourself at https://www.wronghands1.com.
Simply choose one from each of four columns to create the plot. My favorite? "Recently single baker returns to her small town at Christmastime to save the family business and magically falls in love with some guy and his dog."
"So what's wrong with that?" Slonoff asks when I read the plot out loud. "It sounds familiar. But then again, most of them do."
I've covered many Christmas topics in my December columns over the years, but never Hallmark Christmas movie viewing. So I thought I'd give it a try.
Disclaimer: I did not watch these films sitting in front the fireplace drinking hot cocoa with the lights from our Christmas tree glimmering in the background. I watched them on my laptop traveling to and from our annual Thanksgiving weekend destination, Saugatuck, Mich.
"That's not a real Hallmark movie experience," Slonoff opined. "This whole column is fake news."
I prefer to think of it as multitasking.
For my first film, I chose "Broadcasting Christmas," starring Melissa Joan Hart (very famous in my house as "Sabrina the Teenage Witch") and Dean Cain (who co-starred with Teri Hatcher in "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman") playing two former TV reporters competing for the same morning anchor co-hosting job on the equivalent of the "Today" show.
For my second, I went with "Christmas Mix." Haylie Duff plays Sandy Love, a successful psychotherapist in Chicago who moves back to her hometown of Idlewild, Colo., to be with her mom (Maureen McCormick aka Marsha Brady!) after her father falls ill. There she discovers her second career hosting the "Dr. Love in the Morning" call-in radio show. Tilky Jones plays Pepper Sterling, the edgy LA deejay who's banished to a sister station in (guess where?) after a radio stunt goes too far. He starts out as Love's bitter and reluctant co-host and ends up her fiancé.
This movie was originally called "Naughty and Nice" and, as that title suggests, was NOT a Hallmark Channel original movie. No matter. These people know what fits their formula.
It had all the requisite elements: the small town/big city contrast, two people who seem to want different things in life but really want the same thing, the perfectly timed snowfall (filmed from overhead looking down on the happy couple) and the inside jokes (Cain talks about being a superhero; Jones says his life has turned into a TV movie).
After watching both movies, I couldn't help thinking that my December book club selection, David Balducci's "The Christmas Train," would make a perfect Hallmark movie as well. What do I discover online? It already is one!
It's too early to tell whether my little experiment has turned me into a Hallmark Christmas movie fan - although I need to decide by Friday when my free trial ends. With a fireplace, hot cocoa, Christmas tree lights (and a "this is my Hallmark Christmas movies watching shirt" like the one Jim received for Christmas last year), a Hallmark Christmas movie could be pretty enchanting.
- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected]