LLL 009: “Single and ready to jingle.”
A Mowry twin, a dead ringer for Taylor Swift, and a rip-off of The Holiday.
Ho, ho, hello!
Welcome to the SECOND-TO-LAST Leading Lady of Lifetime newsletter of 2020. I’ve watched 66 of these movies in the last 1.5 months and TBH (because why wouldn’t I be honest with YOU, dear reader) I’m kind of looking forward to NOT watching them.
As BEAUTIFUL AND COMPELLING as they all are, I don’t think they’re the BEST way to hang on to reality when time feels meaningless and human interaction is minimal? I’m p. sure the next time I encounter a rOmAnTiC sUiToR I’m either going to run away or tell them I love them after knowing them for approximately one hour and 45 minutes. Also, I was bad at flirting before quarantine… can you imagine how TERRIBLE I will be once seeing people is a thing again?
Okay, enough about ME — here are the six made-for-TV holiday masterpieces I watched in the last 48 hours. Enjoy, friends.
Nearly Christmas’d out,
1. Spotlight on Christmas (Lifetime) 🕶
Quick ‘n dirty thoughts ‘n feels: I actually kind of liked this one! Olivia is a HOLLYWOOD STAR (she looks A LOT like Taylor Swift in the actual movie) who goes through a VERY PUBLIC breakup with a seemingly English country singer. So, she runs away to her hometown to get out of the SPOTLIGHT (wow, movie title) and ends up reconnecting with Casey, a former high school crush and current high school teacher. He tells her that they had to cancel the Christmas Eve play (is this common?) because the drama teacher is going on mAtErNitY lEaVe. Because duh, she volunteers to pick up where the teacher left off and DIRECT THE SCHOOL PLAY. (The play ends up being terrible, so I wouldn’t quit your DAY JOB, Liv.) Anyway, there are a few hiccups when Olivia goes MIA after her ex forces a photo opp of them kissing (he PLANTED one on her) and Casey has to help the kids get ready for the play WHILE thinking she and country singer are reconciling. Olivia tells him the TRUTH and they kiss and decide to be together fOrEvEr. The acting wasn’t horrendous in this (excluding the kids in the play), so I was picking up what they were putting down.
Rating: 3 out of 4 🕶
2. A Glenbrooke Christmas (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) 🚒
Quick ‘n dirty thoughts ‘n feels: I don’t think I can even put into words HOW BORING I thought this movie was. Jessica is a RICH woman who’s part of a FAMILY DYNASTY of rich corporate types — she decides to go to her mom’s childhood neighborhood to CONNECT with her parents who passed when she was little and hear the bells (GLENBROOKE LORE has it you can make a wish on Christmas Eve when the bells ring). She meets Kyle, a fire chief and VERY boring person. He starts out really gruff and MEAN and then very quickly ~CHANGES HIS TUNE~ and seems attracted to Jessica. She lies about who she is because she doesn’t trust anyone, he gets mad, then she raises enough money to fix the broken bells (they stopped working, which almost RUINED CHRISTMAS) by inviting her RICH FRIENDS to a student art show. I was so bOrEd the entire time, mostly because the actor who plays Kyle is REALLY BAD.
Rating: 1.25 out of 4 🚒
3. Cross Country Christmas (Hallmark) 🐄
Quick ‘n dirty thoughts ‘n feels: IT’S *SO* GOOD TO SEE RACHAEL LEIGH COOK AGAIN. I honestly wasn’t sure it was her at first because she still looks 25. ANYWAY, this movie is genuinely very dElIgHtFuL. Lina and Max know each other from high school and find themselves STRANDED at an airport halfway home for the holidays due to a snowstorm. They work together to get home and HILARITY ENSUES. This movie has everything: jilted women dressed as elves, cows, farming apps… YOU NAME IT. Max was a jerk at first, but he was going through A LOT so I guess it’s soooomewhat understandable? Also, the actor playing Max was in one of these movies last year and I somehow remembered him. (These actors are my ~FAMILY.~)
Rating: 3.25 out of 4 🐄
4. Christmas Comes Twice (Hallmark) 🎠
Quick ‘n dirty thoughts ‘n feels: Okay, so I get that time travel is an INHERENTLY COMPLICATED subject. But is it IMPOSSIBLE for Hallmark to give it the ol’ college try? Especially given a lot of the focus of the movie is around SCIENCE? Basically, Cheryl goes back in time to 2015 with the help of a MERRY-GO-ROUND because she’s kinda lost at her fancy DC job. While she’s back in time (the week she decided to take her current gig), she falls in love with George (same actor from Christmas on Wheels!), the frenemy from high school she always competed against. She ends up getting transported back to 2020 via merry-go-round (she seemed surprised that happens again?) and GEORGE WAS WAITING FOR HER ALL THAT TIME. That doesn’t make sense, right? Everything else stayed EXACTLY the same. I don’t get it. Gotta love seeing Tamera, though.
Rating: 1.75 out of 4 🎠
5. Unlocking Christmas (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) 🗝
Quick ‘n dirty thoughts ‘n feels: This was a weird one. Kate is JUST starting her orthopedic fellowship and Kevin JUST got back home from the Air Force, but Kevin’s parents think it’s a PERFECTLY appropriate time to set them up with a fancy key + riddles situation (it’s elaborate and would never happen IRL). Turns out his parents had the SAME THING happen to them when they were dating! The best part is that both Kate and Kevin turn down REALLY GOOD opportunities (dream fellowship for her and a job he would love) for one another BEFORE even kissing. This movie taught me what ~true~ love is: sacrificing EVERYTHING before you’re even sure about someone.
Rating: 2 out of 4 🗝
6. A Christmas Exchange (Lifetime) 🎩
Quick ‘n dirty thoughts ‘n feels: This movie is CLEARLY ripping off The Holiday, which is a personal fave of mine. Molly and Patrick swap houses (Westport, CT for London) for a few weeks because they both want SOMETHING MORE out of life. Molly’s trying to find a CHARMING Englishman to fall in love with like in the movies, and Patrick is a workaholic who has no life. (He quits his job because a quasi-girlfriend reminds him he only cares about work? IDK.) Anyway, they’re both UNEMPLOYED (Molly is laid off because PRINT IS DEAD) and spend thousands to travel ACROSS THE COUNTRY on a whim. Somehow this works out really well for them because they fall in love (and Molly inexplicably becomes the editor for her favorite author) — but only after Patrick pretends to be SOMEONE ELSE out of panic when Molly doesn’t realize who he is when he shows up (he’s in town for a CHRISTMAS WEDDING) and he courts her under FALSE PRETENSES. This movie is VERY straight-to-DVD but trying to feel like a cinematic release. Also, when I first saw the promo photo, I genuinely thought this was from the early 2000s but NOPE it’s CURRENT.
Rating: 1.75 out of 4 🎩
The Last Line
Do you ever think about the Mowrys? I DO, especially when I see them on TV. What I find FASCINATING is that Tamera and Tia have both been on Lifetime AND Hallmark, but Tamera recently signed a contract with Hallmark and Tia signed one with Lifetime. Do we think this ever causes TWIN DRAMA over the holidays? Like, does Tia give Tamera shit because Lifetime is clearly SUPERIOR? And, importantly, WHERE IS TAHJ?
The most common tropes of these six movies:
An InTeRruPtEd KiSs (x3)
“We met as CHILDREN and now we’re in love as ADULTS!” (x3)
Local man shows city woman the beauty of ~slowing down~ (x2)
“Goodbye, BIG CITY! This SMALL TOWN is where I belong!” (x2)
Representation in these six movies:
2/6 movies had a lead character who was a person of color.
0/6 had a lead character who was LGBTQ+.
0/6 had a lead character who was bigger than a size 2.
0/6 had a lead character who was differently-abled.
0/6 centered on a holiday other than Christmas.
The actual last line: I think these channels should only cast actors from the late ‘90s and early ‘00s (MJH4life) to DELIGHT millennial viewers and I guess also semi-revive their careers.
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