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Hallmark Channel Movies: Our Sap Brings in the Eyeballs!

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I'm just going to say that I'm glad Hallmark Christmas movies are over. I watch Hallmark and look forward to their once a week movies but their Christmas movies are just too hard to keep up with and they all blend together. Then I had the problem of finding podcasts related to the Christmas movies and I couldn't listen to the podcast without watching the movie and then I couldn't remember the name of the movie to figure out which podcast to listen to. It was like a hamster wheel. I'm glad it's over. I deleted 6 movies today that I never got around to watching and since Christmas is over I know I'm not going to watch them. 4 movies a month is plenty for me- maybe 8 if you add in the Movies and Mystery Channel but they air on different nights so it's easier to keep up with. With so many stations making Christmas movies it was like 8 new movies a week and I just can't. I stopped trying and stuck to TCM or old family favorites most of the time. I feel like it was more of a chore than an enjoyment this year and I was burnt out on Christmas far sooner than I should have been. Next season I don't even know if I'll try particularly because most of them I don't even remember. 

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The 2018 batch of Christmas movies was a bit rough for me.  Reluctantly, here is my Top 6.  I don't have HMM on my cable package (sob!) so that's why all of those movies are not on my list.

 

1) Christmas Everlasting

2) Entertaining Christmas

3) Welcome to Christmas

4) Christmas at Evergreen: Letters to Santa

5) Christmas Joy

6) A Gingerbread Christmas (had to watch this 2x b/c the first time it wasn't holding my interest).

 

Movies I tried to watch but couldn't finish due to disinterest/boredom/etc,:

1) Christmas in Love

2) Reunited at Christmas   

3) Road to Christmas

4) A Majestic Christmas

 

Movies I didn't bother to watch:

1) Shoe Addict's Christmas

2) Christmas at Graceland

 

Movie I need to give another chance:

1) Christmas at Pemberley (I normally don't like Jessica Lowndes movies but in hindsight maybe this one wasn't THAT bad)

2) Mingle All the Way

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I really enjoyed “ Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane,” but I get so irritated about how the characters in these movies just throw the word “ love” around. How can they love each other after only a few days?

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7 hours ago, In2You said:

The winter movies look boring.

On the plus side, there may be some good laundry folding movies in there! Heh!

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I'm with @Mountainair too many new movies, and all of them too similar. On Hallmark (and Lifetime) all the new movies mean you don't see some of the older ones (like A Season for Miracles) yeah, yeah, it's online or on a subscription service. 

 

I wish Hallmark would make fewer films and show more of the older (and Hall of Fame movies). Maybe designate one day a week (TBT perhaps?) For showing 'classic' Hallmark.

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On December 31, 2018 at 8:30 PM, Woopwoopkitty said:

But I was distracted by Carlos’ haircut.  It looked military and I dont like that style.

It was fine from the front and side, but from the back it just looked clunky.  I noticed something else about Carlos, I don't mind him so much when he's not with Alexa.  Her voice grates on my nerves.

Despite a record number of holiday movies in 2018, The Nine Lives of Christmas, The Christmas Card and The Most Wonderful Time of Year remain my favorites.

Edited by ShelleySue · Reason: typo
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I agree that Carlos is much better without his wife. I liked the Midnight Kiss movie and always enjoy seeing Adelaide in movies. Probably won’t watch it for a while but it was pleasant enough.

Edited by twoods
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I caught Small town Christmas (? I think) last night and it was pleasant enough- the one with the dark-haired actor who has a style that’s different than most of the Hallmark actors in the way that he acts, but I appreciate as I don’t really find too many of the male actor leads that attractive, although his style is a low-rent Mathew McConahey. It’s the one about the guy who moves home to take care of his orphaned niece and sends the love interest a letter that she never gets. Anyway it was pleasant enough, I enjoyed it. I was bothered by the lead’s long hair and long face- I too have a long face, and I know I need layers.

I watch all the hallmark movies while folding laundry!

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On 12/31/2018 at 5:30 PM, Woopwoopkitty said:

I enjoyed it.  It didn’t rock my world but it was a refreshingly different story line than the typical tropes.

But I was distracted by Carlos’ haircut.  It looked military and I dont like that style.

Lordy, yes.  That haircut is okay for a very youthful person, as a style thing, but for a grown person / romantic lead it's just off-putting.  A 15 year old boy in my family had it for a few months and got over it.   (You have to figure that someone at least consults on hair and makeup for these movies, and that person should be sternly rebuked for this bit.)

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On 1/1/2019 at 4:22 PM, MissyPoo said:

To the DTH podcast's credit, they got me to watch a movie that I had planned to skip, Jingle Around the Clock. Brooke and Michael were gems on the podcast. It's cute they wrote it, exec produced it and are a couple in real life. I started watching it, but it was a little too slow for the time. I'll probably try again later.

 

Since we're pretty much out of all movies now (I still have to finish A Midnight Kiss which I was looking forward to seeing because it's one of my fave tropes and I like Adelaide Kane), I figured I'd take some time to look back at the heap. There were a lot I missed and some I skipped on purpose. Some I liked and some I cringed majorly at. Does anyone have their own personal top faves for new premieres this, er last year? We can do Hallmark movies here and an all network list for the other forum.

For me, my top movies (based on my desire for repeat viewings) are:

1) Hope For Christmas

2) Memories of Christmas

3) Christmas at Pemberley Manor

4) Christmas Everlasting

5) A Majestic Christmas

Possibly 6) A Midnight Kiss

Maybe 7) A Gingerbread Romance

I'm enjoying A Midnight Kiss so far. A few thoughts, I notice the client they are working with is the man stealing chick from A December Bride. In the scene where she was ogling Carlos/David, I remarked to the mister that she'll probably steal him, too. She'll always be that character to me. And Adelaide/Mia's father could be her brother. The mom looked like she robbed the cradle. I l like that the mayor and his wife were an interracial couple.

Hope for Christmas was my favorite too! Honestly, it's the only 2018 HM movie I've watched so far that I really liked and would definitely watch again next year. I still have maybe ten Christmas movies I'm going to watch from across a few channels, but even with the group I've watched so far I found myself getting fed up, not with Christmas movies necessarily but with the unrelenting formulaic ones. When I started watching Shoe Addict it was a breath of fresh air not to find a harried career woman traveling from the city to a small town where she would find a handsome townsperson whom she would nearly kiss and then suffer a misunderstanding after attending some holiday events and then eventually quit her job and reconcile with the love interest and finally kiss blah blah. There is a bit of a formula to many romance movies anyway (which I generally enjoy), and I don't mind them being a bit predictable, but with 38 films (or whatever it ultimately is) the specific repetitions became really tedious for me. Now obviously, the only movie I really liked followed most of the usual pattern, so I *can* enjoy one of these movies. That time, for me, the main characters were appealing and really worked together. The pairings in the other movies I watched following the same storyline, were generally fine, but they weren't enough to elevate their story above the tiresome repeated checklist of scenes. Anyway, hopefully I'll enjoy a few of the ones I've still got on my DVR. Honestly, the lifetime Christmas movies I've watched felt fresher than the Hallmark ones. 

Also I felt it was too bad there was no Paul Greene Christmas film unless you count WCTH. Which, side note: even in the previews for that I can't stand the modern hair styles. Like Aunt Becky could have the same hair style as Lori Loughlin's character, and Paul Greene had the same hair in Christmas Detour as in this 19th-century (?) role. 

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37 minutes ago, Myrrhine said:

Hope for Christmas was my favorite too! Honestly, it's the only 2018 HM movie I've watched so far that I really liked and would definitely watch again next year. I still have maybe ten Christmas movies I'm going to watch from across a few channels, but even with the group I've watched so far I found myself getting fed up, not with Christmas movies necessarily but with the unrelenting formulaic ones. When I started watching Shoe Addict it was a breath of fresh air not to find a harried career woman traveling from the city to a small town where she would find a handsome townsperson whom she would nearly kiss and then suffer a misunderstanding after attending some holiday events and then eventually quit her job and reconcile with the love interest and finally kiss blah blah. There is a bit of a formula to many romance movies anyway (which I generally enjoy), and I don't mind them being a bit predictable, but with 38 films (or whatever it ultimately is) the specific repetitions became really tedious for me. Now obviously, the only movie I really liked followed most of the usual pattern, so I *can* enjoy one of these movies. That time, for me, the main characters were appealing and really worked together. The pairings in the other movies I watched following the same storyline, were generally fine, but they weren't enough to elevate their story above the tiresome repeated checklist of scenes. Anyway, hopefully I'll enjoy a few of the ones I've still got on my DVR. Honestly, the lifetime Christmas movies I've watched felt fresher than the Hallmark ones.

I just watched Hope for Christmas and I kind of hated it.  Well, hate is probably too strong a word, but I was just so incredibly bored by the same old formula with plot points I have seen repeatedly this year: it was the fourth or fifth movie I watched this year that was largely set in a bookstore; and of course the successful career woman from a big city visits a small town and decides she has to stay; she inherited a house that she's planning to sell; and cute, single local guy is of course a widower; and the cute, busy bookstore has an owner who doesn't want to run it any longer.  Ugh.  I've seen all of those plot points this year, repeatedly, and often in the same movie. 

I know what you mean Myrrhine that sometimes, if you really like the main characters, you can overlook the fact that it's the same repetitive plot points and recycled drama.  I liked this years Small Town Christmas, and liked it even more on rewatch, largely because I find Kristoffer Polaha so appealing and I thought he had nice chemistry with the lead actress.  (Plus I liked that they had history which made it more believable for me.)

I only watched Shoe Addict Christmas once because it was the beginning of the season, and after I had already watched most of my favorites from seasons past, I deleted it before watching it a second time thinking it wasn't quite up to par (compared to my favorites.)  But looking back, after watching so many duds this season, I think it will probably end up being one of the more enjoyable 2018 offerings when I watch it next year.   Like Myrrhine, I appreciate that the plot was refreshingly different, especially now that I'm so burned out on the same old formula. 

I think next year I will only watch my favorites and only new ones that have multiple rave reviews here (you guys don't mind being guinea pigs, right?)... otherwise I fear I may start hating these movies... I was teetering on the edge tonight, and if I have to watch one more gingerbread contest (or any other kind of town Christmas contest) I may be done with these for good.

I'm sorry for the negativity.  Maybe I'm just in a bad mood?  Except I don't think I was in a bad mood before I started watching Hope for Christmas.  I believe that is the last new one I had on my DVR.  Only my favorites left to watch now, I think, until next year anyway.

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No worries, AnnaRose. They can get kind of grating and irritating when the formula gets lazy. Especially when you know they have the potential to be so much better than they are judging from the past ones. I agree about Lifetime having the better movies this year. Them and Netflix took the stop spot for me faves. That's a bummer you didn't like Hope For Christmas. I'm a sucker for bookstores and Ryan Paevey so I was happy to have both in this one. (Yay Myrrhine is a fellow fan)!

The mister and I have a system where we give the movie up to fifteen minutes and if it hasn't grabbed us by then, we're out. It makes streamlining the movies easier and it's less time to spend on ones that won't go anywhere. Someone a few posts back mentioned skipping a few they know they wouldn't like and I did that this year. If the leads didn't interest me, it was an automatic skip and let me tell ya, I skipped a lot this year! haha. It saved me some time and I was glad to hear the feedback here to see if there were any I should go back at watch. 

But yeah, I'm with you. I mainly stuck with my faves this year that I rewatched a few times other than a select few premieres. I always enjoy my faves as a tradition. 

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6 hours ago, AnnaRose said:

hink next year I will only watch my favorites and only new ones that have multiple rave reviews here (you guys don't mind being guinea pigs, right?)... otherwise I fear I may start hating these movies... I was teetering on the edge tonight, and if I have to watch one more gingerbread contest (or any other kind of town Christmas contest) I may be done with these for good.

I only watch the ones that sound interesting to me, or if I have nothing else to watch dvr’d, then I’ll be forced to choose between whatever is on either channel.

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On 12/2/2018 at 2:45 PM, LexieLily said:

Hallmark really needs to fix their scheduling. Some of the older movies we like to see are only on once or twice (at inconvenient times) or not at all since the Countdown started, and this year's movies are each all on more than six times. 

I agree.  I go through my TV guide once a week when the movies start and make sure to record any older movies.  I love the older Lifetime movies too.

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On 12/4/2018 at 10:36 PM, Scarlett45 said:

After thinking about it my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies are 

Christmas in Conoway

Naughy or Nice

A Christmas Detour

Let it Snow (RIP Alan Thicke!!)

Marry Me at Christmas. 

 

Question- I’ve been trying to get through Christmas Everlasting, but I am not catching what exactly happened to Alice after her accident? I wanted to like this one, but there was no story arch! The set was pretty and I liked the cat, that’s it. 

The main character was so unlikable, and everytime her “AllState” uncle spoke, it was unnerving.  I loved Alice’s friends though.

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I made it through the entire season, and still have a few movies to watch, and I managed to avoid Alicia Witt.  Win!!!

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I love the older Lifetime movies too.

Me too! the Nancy McKeon one, and Home for Christmas (where Linda Hamilton is homeless) I don't think they aired at all this year. 

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I just watched Love at First Dance tonight and really enjoyed it.  Does anybody have any recommendations for don't-miss non-Christmas movies being shown in the next week or two on Hallmark or HM&M?

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10 hours ago, AnnaRose said:

I just watched Love at First Dance tonight and really enjoyed it.  Does anybody have any recommendations for don't-miss non-Christmas movies being shown in the next week or two on Hallmark or HM&M?

One Winter Weekend is the only one I'm seeing on the schedule that I really liked a lot. I'm guessing it will be on frequently since the sequel is airing next weekend. HM&M is showing some older mystery series next week. Murder She Baked is in Monday and is kinda fun. 

I'll probably watch the Winter Castle movie this weekend, even though neither the plot nor cast really interest me. I think the set looked cool in the previews, so I'm watching for that!

My favorite new Christmas movies from this year are:

1. Road to Christmas 

2. Mingle all the Way

3. Jingle Around the Clock

4. A Midnight Kiss

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19 hours ago, AnnaRose said:

I just watched Love at First Dance tonight and really enjoyed it.  Does anybody have any recommendations for don't-miss non-Christmas movies being shown in the next week or two on Hallmark or HM&M?

They have a few good classics I hope they show and if you haven't seen much of them, you're in for some treats! Like, Bridal Wave for instance, which I've been jonesing to watch for some reason.

Looking at the schedule, I can suggest:

A Country Wedding which comes on tonight and is a fave of mine (and if it's anything like last year, will be on approx once a week) though it does feature one person in relationship at the beginning. I liked the history between the hero and heroine and how the flashback scenes give more background and meat to their characters and relationship.

Falling For You was a cute fall movie from last year. Though not a top fave, I do like the character interactions even outside of the main leads. 

All Things Valentine which is at the top of my Hallmark anytime faves list is on Monday with a fantastic relatable and quippy heroine, my fave writing theme, very cute scenes with the heroine and her family, an adorably cute puppy that I so want to adopt, a romantic storyline, and Sam Page who is a natural treasure. I've watched this tons of times and it never gets old. I think this would have fit perfectly on the big screen when they showed rom coms theatrically in the olden days. Right after that showing is:

All For Love which I like to watch because of the publishing/writing angle but the hero and heroine's personality clashes in the beginning may be a turn off; I thought the hero was funny in some parts (but then again he was funny as a weird bad guy in a Lifetime movie, so yeah)

The Dater's Handbook is another top of my list fave not only because I like Meghan but her repertoire with Kristopher Polaha is hilarious (particularly the diner scene which always takes me straight out), I love her relationship with her family and her quips and comedic timing. (That's next Tuesday)

The Birthday Wish had an interesting premise with cute leads (that's on next Thursday) 

and I liked both Falling For Vermont (another amnesia focused story but I like Julie Gonzalo and again, this one had a publishing/writing theme I liked) & Moonlight in Vermont with Lacey Chabert both of which are double features (apparently featuring Vermont) next Friday.

 

I second the Murder She Baked movies on HMM. I really wish they would make more of those. Keep an eye out for the Mystery Woman & Jane Doe movies that usually show in blocks on the weekends. Old school movies with great characters and good mystery storylines.

 

As an aside, I wanted to Road to Christmas to my faves list. The Mr. and I caught a showing when we were sick and I can't believe I skipped it the first time around. We went back to watch it after the Julia Wise character was mentioned in a recent movie (Jingle Around the Clock I think?). But I really enjoyed it! It had a good storyline, with awesome characters and dialogue that felt impromptu at times because of how natural the characters seemed with each other. It's definitely on my rewatch list.

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I'm watching One Winter Weekend in preparation for One Winter Proposal and I can't get over how much different Taylor Cole looks in this movie compared to Christmas in Homestead

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Little late to mention this, but one of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies is The Christmas Ornament.  I didn’t see it on the schedule, but found it on YouTube.  Kellie Martin and Cameron Mathison had good chemistry, and it wasn’t too saccharine.  Actually, it was a little melancholy with Kellie as a widow trying to save her husband’s bike shop and just get through Christmas.  Do they have the obligatory “see him with another woman and jump to the wrong conclusion” moment?  Yes, but he calls her on it and actually asks, “Do you think I was just jerking you around?”.  Not a phrase I think they would allow today.  It’s a good one, and I think they’d be good in another movie together.

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17 hours ago, AnnaRose said:

Thanks MissyPoo!  That's awesome!!

You're very welcome! Do let us know what you think when you see them. Happy viewing to you!

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5 hours ago, Crs97 said:

Little late to mention this, but one of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies is The Christmas Ornament.  I didn’t see it on the schedule, but found it on YouTube.  Kellie Martin and Cameron Mathison had good chemistry, and it wasn’t too saccharine.  Actually, it was a little melancholy with Kellie as a widow trying to save her husband’s bike shop and just get through Christmas.  Do they have the obligatory “see him with another woman and jump to the wrong conclusion” moment?  Yes, but he calls her on it and actually asks, “Do you think I was just jerking you around?”.  Not a phrase I think they would allow today.  It’s a good one, and I think they’d be good in another movie together.

It was on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel during their Christmas line up. I know not everyone gets that channel though. I've also seen it in DVD fairly cheap as one of those 4 movie packs. 

@MissyPoo, I'll have to check out your recommendations too! 

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A Midnight Kiss was hit or miss for me (mostly a miss).  My favorite thing in it had to be that house where the party was held.  What a fantastic location, kudos to the Location Manager.  I also got a kick out of seeing Jessica Steen and Cameron Bancroft as parents.  Intellectually I realize they're old enough to be parents of grown kids but they're also contemporaries of mine, I've seen them both in things since their teens/20s, so it's still odd to see them as the Hallmark movie parents (and they are on the young side for retirement).  But I was disappointed in Adelaide Kane, who I've only seen a little bit of in Reign, but she was fine in what I saw. I was expecting a bit more and she was very low key here.  Some of that is on the director, there really should have been more urgency in her performance (and with the story in general).  They've got a week to throw this massive party but you would have never known it.  Carlos was fine, I wasn't expecting much based on other movies and he met that.  They had zero chemistry though.  Less than, if possible.  But really, the whole idea that the client has lost both her party planner and all her vendors a week before the party was so completely ridiculous that I had a hard time getting past it.  The party planner bailing, sure, that's a problem.  But the client would have met with all the vendors, picked the food, flowers, fireworks, whatever else already.  Things would have been finalized.  Just give all that info to the new party planner, there shouldn't have been a need to start from scratch.  Those vendors aren't going to want to lose the party a week out, either (if they explained that away, I missed it).  Carlos's character coming up with all the new ideas bugged.  Overall, the suspension of disbelief was a bit too hard with this one since the leads didn't grab me. 

But that house was gorgeous. 

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On 6/3/2018 at 12:14 AM, scenicbyway said:

Don't waste your time on Marrying Mr Darcy.  I didn't like the first one but I thought I'd give this one a try.

 Poor Lizzie, marrying a rich international businessman who can give them the wedding and honeymoon of their dreams.  Her mother owns a bridal shop but only carries non designer gowns, but that's ok because she wants the plainest dress in the shop and is a sulky brat when she's also gifted a beautiful designer gown!  To add to her misery her fiancé has to work late one night another time he gets stuck in traffic on the way to the cake tasting and he later dares to take a phone call while they are picking out tablecloths!  She's so neglected!  It makes total since she considers breaking up with him because the luxury wedding might have 200 guests instead of 150.

In the spirit of lifelong happiness the compromise is that she gets what she wants, a small wedding where he can only have a few family members but she can invite the local coffee shop owners who give her free pastries?  But she goes through with the other wedding as well.

I also found it troubling that she was out of a job again at the beginning and has just been tutoring but was also encouraging Donovan to quit his job?  She's determined to be a teacher when she could have a greater impact on the foundation board.

Just saw this gem waiting for the new winterfest movie. The lead actress is skilled, and the lead actor is kind of wooden. That being said, the leading character is a flake. He has a business, she drifts through life. He is working extra hard. Then she goes from "this wedding is a little too big" to "we drifted apart, this is over" in a day. After busting into his work during a meeting and he set time aside for her.

Women sometimes freak out for 10 minutes or an hour during wedding prep, but this chick is hard core nuts and all "me". There are saner women out there, he needs to dip out and find a non selfish non crazy.

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When are the Christmas movies actually over?  I tuned in to HMM and they were still on; don't know about the regular Hallmark channel.  

Look, I realize that these movies are extremely popular; I even watched a few myself this year (for the first time) and enjoyed them.  But it is past New Year's...enough.  There must be Easter movies they could start shilling.  Or St. Patrick's Day...Valentine's Day...Take Your Child (or pet) To Work Day.  But I am over mistletoe and gingerbread until next year.  Gah!

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Winter Castle on winterfest. Halfway through and going to let the DVR grab the rest for me, I got tired.

The ice hotel looks great, the scenery shots are good. I am torn, both the lead actress and the other woman actress are likable and fun to watch. The OW actress just lip synced to a a studio recording I am pretty sure she sang herself and was great.

They have the leading male character's daughter decide she likes the lead more, otherwise this would be the story of the heroic other woman defending her relationship against the new blond trying to steal him.

Looked up the hotel, it really is an ice hotel with fireplaces and an ice slide and ice beds. They have a lot of rules of what to wear to sleep, and a training session to stay there.

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1 hour ago, Kemper said:

When are the Christmas movies actually over?  I tuned in to HMM and they were still on; don't know about the regular Hallmark channel.  

Look, I realize that these movies are extremely popular; I even watched a few myself this year (for the first time) and enjoyed them.  But it is past New Year's...enough.  There must be Easter movies they could start shilling.  Or St. Patrick's Day...Valentine's Day...Take Your Child (or pet) To Work Day.  But I am over mistletoe and gingerbread until next year.  Gah!

Hallmark channel switched to winterfest on the 2nd but HMM is sticking with Christmas until Monday morning.

Edited by Dani
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10 hours ago, Jenniferbug said:

@MissyPoo, I'll have to check out your recommendations too! 

Hope you enjoy them as well! I'll probably give them a rewatch myself. 

 

Live exchange from convo tonight between me and the Mr.

Me: Hey hon, you gonna watch anything tonight?

Him: I dunno. What do you feel like watching?

Me: Well, there's a new Hallmark movie on tonight.

Him: Ah crap...

I lol'd.

So yeah, I was interested in watching Winter Castle because normally I like Emilie Ullerup (she's the best on in Chesapeake Shores and the least annoying) but she's on probation since that Christmas one with Aaron O'Connell (who couldn't even save it with his eye candy). Though I was eager to see the gorgeous looking ice castle hotel in the promo. That' s pretty cool it's a real life castle, too, which I didn't realize.

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Winter Castle wasn’t terrible but there’s no way that the woman playing the bride’s mother was old enough to play the mother of two adult women, one of whom is really 35 years old. I tried to look her up on IMDB but they didn’t list the entire cast so I couldn’t look her up.  Does anyone know who she is?

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On 1/3/2019 at 7:45 PM, AnnaRose said:

I just watched Love at First Dance tonight and really enjoyed it.  Does anybody have any recommendations for don't-miss non-Christmas movies being shown in the next week or two on Hallmark or HM&M?

Along with @MissyPoo‘s excellent list (All Things Valentine, All For Love and Dater’s Handbook are some of my faves), I also enjoyed Stop The Wedding which has two of my faves Rachel Boston and Niall Matter.

I also liked Falling For Vermont with Julie Gonzalo (which was also mentioned), The Nanny Express which is older, and Royal Matchmaker with Bethany Joy. The Perfect Bride is also decent, but I didn’t like the sequel. Julia Berman’s Love On Ice is also not bad, along with Perfect on Paper and Frozen in Love.

Did anyone catch Winter’s Dream with Dean Cain last year? Never watched it but wanted to see if it was worth DVRing.

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As I sit here, awaiting the midnight showtime of Love on the Slopes -- my favorite Winterfest movie, due to its inspiring message of stepping out of one's comfort zone and taking chances, and its overall uplifting energy and spirit -- I will comment on Winter Castle (which was originally titled "Love at the Ice Hotel," "Winter Castle of Love" and "Icicle Romance").  

The scenery in Winter Castle was fantastic.   Absolutely magnificent -- in, around and out of the actual hotel.   For me, the scenery was the true star of the show.  

I am not understanding why Kevin McGarry is the star of two new Winterfest movies just two weeks apart -- and yes, I know he is handsome, but that is not enough of a reason! -- so whenever he was onscreen I kept thinking about how the Winterfest event is now a Kevin McGarry film festival.

But, McGarry Fest aside, I thought the story was pleasant enough.  I didn't change the channel.   It didn't jump out at me as an all-time favorite, but it was fine.    I wanted Emilie and Kevin to have slightly wittier/snappier banter and repartee, but they didn't.  However, I think this is one that I might like more after another viewing.

 

As for the Christmas movies and which ones were favorites, I am still trying to decide.  I have a strong feeling that I will like some of them much more if I watch them again, down the road.  I think that I judged some of them harshly, simply because they landed in the middle of a holiday bonanza of movies and I was trying to force myself to keep up, but when I watch them again at a time when I am not in Christmas overload, I will probably like them more.  Right now, until I get that chance to watch them again in the future, the favorites from the 2018 batch (but not all-time favorites) were:

A Shoe Addict's Christmas

Mingle All the Way

Small Town Christmas

It's Christmas, Eve

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Oh, I thought Winter Castle was awful. All of the family of the lead actress (can't even remember the character's name) - and her boss - and she! were desperate that she snag the best man at her sister's wedding. She didn't even know him. Why, why?

Of course he was yet another young widower, with no explanation for the first wife's death. And had an adorable tot who loved the lead at first sight. But he brought along a female friend and the lead's family was so shitty about her.

I really hated this one. Except for the sets at the ice hotel, they were amazing.

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It might just be because I am so happy that it wasn’t a Christmas movie but I really liked Winter Castle. It had a likeable lead, no real villain and no real misunderstanding all with a spectacular backdrop. The romance being lackluster is the only thing that kept me from loving it. The male lead was ridiculous passive throughout. He wouldn’t even make a decision until Lana removed herself from the love triangle. It felt less like true love and more like “Yeah, sure. Whatever.” Emilie Ullerup was charming enough to keep me engaged despite the flaws. 

3 hours ago, Koalagirl said:

Winter Castle wasn’t terrible but there’s no way that the woman playing the bride’s mother was old enough to play the mother of two adult women, one of whom is really 35 years old. I tried to look her up on IMDB but they didn’t list the entire cast so I couldn’t look her up.  Does anyone know who she is?

According to the credits the mother was Justine Eyre. I couldn’t find her age but she did seem way to young for the role. 

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1 hour ago, Dani said:

It might just be because I am so happy that it wasn’t a Christmas movie but I really liked Winter Castle. It had a likeable lead, no real villain and no real misunderstanding all with a spectacular backdrop. The romance being lackluster is the only thing that kept me from loving it. The male lead was ridiculous passive throughout. He wouldn’t even make a decision until Lana removed herself from the love triangle. It felt less like true love and more like “Yeah, sure. Whatever.” Emilie Ullerup was charming enough to keep me engaged despite the flaws. 

According to the credits the mother was Justine Eyre. I couldn’t find her age but she did seem way to young for the role. 

I eventually found out it was Justine Eyre - I guess the credits were too small for me to read.  Her age isn’t mentioned anywhere online but I did see that her husband is an actor I very well remember from the soap opera Santa Barbara and he is 59 which really isn’t helpful as either she could be much younger than him or is older than she looks but doing it really really well.

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On 1/3/2019 at 10:25 AM, ButterQueen said:

Question- I’ve been trying to get through Christmas Everlasting, but I am not catching what exactly happened to Alice after her accident? I wanted to like this one, but there was no story arch! The set was pretty and I liked the cat, that’s it.

I think one of the problems with this movie is that the writers either did no research whatsoever into TBIs or couldn't decide how brain damaged they wanted the character to be.  Because she was still living independently, could travel on her own, still had fine motor skills that worked well enough to make a really good quilt every year, seemed to be managing the local animal shelter and doing event planning, it would appear the only things she couldn't do anymore were play the violin, continue on with whatever her original career choice had been, and go clubbing with her sister.  Not that brain injuries don't leave people with weird after effects, but there didn't seem to be any assistive equipment in her home, no incredibly detailed planners to help her deal with memory loss, etc.  It would have been nice if they'd put more thought into what the aftereffects were.  Because I think we were supposed to assume it had fairly major effects if her sister couldn't play the violin anymore, which would suggest it affected her motor skills, possibly her ability to read music (or to read) and maybe her memory, but when her friends talked about the quilting, they weren't saying that they did the majority of the work or needed to thread the needles for her or anything.  Granted, therapy for a really bad brain injury can require years, so it's possible that things got better and her sister wasn't aware, except that Alice was visiting her sister every year if I understood the movie, so you'd think the main character would have noticed the improvement. 

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11 hours ago, twoods said:

Did anyone catch Winter’s Dream with Dean Cain last year? Never watched it but wanted to see if it was worth DVRing.

While I wouldn't call it one of my favorites, I watched it when it was on last year and was surprised how much I ended up enjoying it, twoods. Although I'll admit, I have a bit of a soft spot for Dean Cain as a former Lois & Clark viewer. I liked the interaction between the leads, and the relationship with his daughter. If I happened on it in the schedule, I'd watch it again. And while I know that isn't a ringing endorsement, I'd say it was better than at least half of this year's Christmas movies. 

4 minutes ago, kirinan said:

Nothing to see here; not sure how I ended up quoting myself.

Edited by kirinan
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I, too, looked up the real Ice Hotel after watching Winter Castle. After reading someone’s blog who stayed there, it seems it’s really only a one night stay kind of hotel, not a whole week like the movie lead you to believe. First of all, there are no doors on the rooms and NO BATHROOMS! The blogger said once you get into your warm sleeping bag at night, getting out to use the bathroom is a huge ordeal. Guess you have to dress and go outside to a whole other building. She also said when she awoke the next morning, she found out several guests couldn’t take it and left the ice hotel in the middle of the night for a normal hotel. 

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Watched Winter Castle this morning. I was slightly distracted, but I felt it was just meh.  The scenery is absolutely the star of the movie and had me looking up the place it was filmed. So very cool.

I actually felt bad for the other woman throughout the movie, which I don't think was supposed to be the intention. 

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On 1/4/2019 at 6:25 PM, MissyPoo said:

Looking at the schedule, I can suggest:

A Country Wedding which comes on tonight and is a fave of mine (and if it's anything like last year, will be on approx once a week) though it does feature one person in relationship at the beginning. I liked the history between the hero and heroine and how the flashback scenes give more background and meat to their characters and relationship.

All Things Valentine which is at the top of my Hallmark anytime faves list is on Monday with a fantastic relatable and quippy heroine, my fave writing theme, very cute scenes with the heroine and her family, an adorably cute puppy that I so want to adopt, a romantic storyline, and Sam Page who is a natural treasure. I've watched this tons of times and it never gets old. I think this would have fit perfectly on the big screen when they showed rom coms theatrically in the olden days. Right after that showing is:

All For Love which I like to watch because of the publishing/writing angle but the hero and heroine's personality clashes in the beginning may be a turn off; I thought the hero was funny in some parts (but then again he was funny as a weird bad guy in a Lifetime movie, so yeah)

The Dater's Handbook is another top of my list fave not only because I like Meghan but her repertoire with Kristopher Polaha is hilarious (particularly the diner scene which always takes me straight out), I love her relationship with her family and her quips and comedic timing. (That's next Tuesday)

The Birthday Wish had an interesting premise with cute leads (that's on next Thursday)

Thanks so much for your suggestions!  I have already watched A Country Wedding and I LOVED it!!  I knew Autumn Reeser from Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade a show she did called Valentine, but I was not familiar with Jesse Metcalfe (he's so cute!)  They were wonderful together and I really enjoyed the story.  I'm glad you mentioned it, because I don't particularly like country music, so I don't think I ever would have watched it if you hadn't recommended it.

On 1/6/2019 at 1:57 AM, twoods said:

Along with @MissyPoo‘s excellent list (All Things Valentine, All For Love and Dater’s Handbook are some of my faves),

Thank you Twoods!  I set my DVR to record all of those, and I'm really looking forward to them, especially since both you and MissyPoo liked them.  I am not sure how many of the other ones I will have time to watch.  I forgot that the small number of television shows (I watch) are back from hiatus... so much to watch and so little time for television viewing. ;)

Edited by AnnaRose
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6 hours ago, ehall1052 said:

I, too, looked up the real Ice Hotel after watching Winter Castle. After reading someone’s blog who stayed there, it seems it’s really only a one night stay kind of hotel, not a whole week like the movie lead you to believe. First of all, there are no doors on the rooms and NO BATHROOMS! The blogger said once you get into your warm sleeping bag at night, getting out to use the bathroom is a huge ordeal. Guess you have to dress and go outside to a whole other building. She also said when she awoke the next morning, she found out several guests couldn’t take it and left the ice hotel in the middle of the night for a normal hotel. 

Several decades ago I attended the US military cold weather survival school. We started in large arctic tent teams with lots of equipment and went down from here. The bathroom part is the worst part. People hate getting up to pee. 

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6 hours ago, ehall1052 said:

I, too, looked up the real Ice Hotel after watching Winter Castle. After reading someone’s blog who stayed there, it seems it’s really only a one night stay kind of hotel, not a whole week like the movie lead you to believe. First of all, there are no doors on the rooms and NO BATHROOMS! The blogger said once you get into your warm sleeping bag at night, getting out to use the bathroom is a huge ordeal. Guess you have to dress and go outside to a whole other building. She also said when she awoke the next morning, she found out several guests couldn’t take it and left the ice hotel in the middle of the night for a normal hotel. 

It sounds like a hotel that I would like to visit and not actually stay there.

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I think it’s 20 dollars to get a tour of the hotel along with a drink at the bar. That sounds much better than forking 400 bucks to sleep in a sleeping bag in a room with no bathroom. 

I had to stop 30 minutes into the movie because most of the people (especially the family) are so insufferable. Why do writers think that people enjoy watching movies where one character gets treated like crap? It makes me not want to root for the main couple. I will stick to watching Dater’s Handbook for the 5th time.

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I've always wanted to stay at the IceHotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, but after spending 30 minutes in IceHotel's IceBar in Stockholm last summer, I'll pass on the hotel stay. Half an hour in 23° was long enough!

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If the Swedish one is the one I'm thinking of, at least they have warm areas where you can go.

I was looking forward to Winter Castle because it looked like something Hallmark might have acquired. (In other words, I saw a promo for the movie that wasn't a Hallmark promo which rarely happens to meant-for-Hallmark-only movies).  Plus, Kevin McGarry was looking really good in a Christmas movie recently.  I also like the lead actress.  But it was a disappointment.  The location was kind of cool but the story was so blah.  The kind-of girlfriend reminded me of Ellie Kemper but overall, her greatest sin was perhaps assuming too much about the status of her relationship with the dad---and yet you'd think the dad would be clear on that before inviting her to a destination wedding.  I mean...c'mon.  And the family was so thirsty to pair this guy up with the lead even though they don't know whether or not they're compatible. 

Plus, it did that "we're so peppy" trope that moves can fall into when there are kids involved.

I haven't finished A Midnight Kiss. I might not.  I can't with the leftover Christmas decorations.  But from what I've seen, the PenaVegas are definitely better in different movies.

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On January 6, 2019 at 4:30 AM, Dani said:
On January 6, 2019 at 12:42 AM, Koalagirl said:

Winter Castle wasn’t terrible but there’s no way that the woman playing the bride’s mother was old enough to play the mother of two adult women, one of whom is really 35 years old. I tried to look her up on IMDB but they didn’t list the entire cast so I couldn’t look her up.  Does anyone know who she is?

According to the credits the mother was Justine Eyre. I couldn’t find her age but she did seem way to young for the role. 

I kept getting mixed up about which was the mother and which was the sister.    And speaking of the sister, would it be possible for Hallmark to make a minimal effort for sisters to at least look like they are related?

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