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Hallmark Holiday Collection A Very Merry Mix-Up, The Christmas Ornament, Hitched For the Holidays, Come Dance With Me
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A Very Merry Mix Up
Shop owner Alice Chapman is nervous about meeting her future in-laws at Christmas, especially because she is arriving ahead of her new fiancé, Will Mitchum..
Hitched for the Holidays
Both Rob Marino and Julie Green are feeling pressure to be in a relationship this holiday season and, after finding each other through a dating website, agree to pose as each other s special someone.
The Christmas Ornament
A widow plans to give Christmas festivities a miss, as they bring back too many memories of her late husband.
Come Dance With Me
Jack is an executive in a financial brokerage firm trying to impress the firm s president in hopes of a promotion. However, Jack is dating the fabulously rich and elegant Demi Clayton, who happens to be Drew s daughter.
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While I already own both of these, I couldn't resist the opportunity to pre-order them again with two additional fun movies that I enjoy at such at great value. I am really looking forward to receiving them in early October and starting my own “Countdown” a little earlier than Hallmark.
I've duplicated a number of movies over the years (especially as I changed from DVD to Blu-Ray) and I put the duplicate movies in my guest room for my guests to enjoy with the small TV system we have set up in that room.)
“The Christmas Ornament” is one of my all time favorites and was the first movie I saw with Cameron Mathieson in it. He has quickly become one of my favorite Hallmark actors, especially in his recent role in a recurring mystery movie series. In this movie, he and Kellie Martin (another wonderful actor) play beautifully together with Ms. Martin as a grieving widow who is trying to make a new life for herself and Mr. Mathieson as the man who wants to be part of that new life. A lovely story and one that strikes me as very realistically written and acted.
In “A Very Merry Mix-up”, a young woman (Alicia Witt) is on her way to meet her soon to-be in laws (with her fiance joining her later.) Trouble and laughter break out when she meets up with the man she thinks (wrongly) to be her fiance's brother and ends up celebrating the holidays with an unrelated family. While the plot may not be as credible as others, the movie makes up for it in funny hi-jinks and misadventures.
“Hitched for the Holidays” is about a cross-cultural holiday season with Joey Lawrence and Emily Hampshire. They are both looking for someone to bring to family holiday parties to keep matchmaking and comments at bay. Joey celebrates Christmas and Emily Chanukah. I found the two of them pretending to understand the others holiday traditions to be extremely funny. The movie deals with a serious subject with a good deal of fun but doesn't lessen the struggle couples might have with such differences. Getting to see Joey Lawrence again after many years was a lot of fun as well.
Finally, “Come Dance with Me” stars Andrew McCarthy and Michelle Nolden. I was so very happy to see Mr. McCarthy after what seemed like many years. In this story, he is a financier who decides to take dance lessons to impress his boss's daughter. He ends up at Ms. Nolden's dance studio. During his lessons, he starts having feelings for Ms. Nolden's character and doesn't want to reveal that he is part of a group that is working to close down her family's dance studio.
The movies all have traditional Hallmark happy endings and all are suitable for multi-generations of a family to watch (which is becoming rarer and rarer these days.) As I have enjoyed each and every movie in this collection, I plan to buy it as Christmas gifts for several family members this year.
My favorites, in order, are 1. The Christmas Ornament. 2. A Very Merry Mix-Up. 3. Come Dance with Me. 4. Hitched for the Holidays.
Now, more on that: I was NOT expecting to like TCO because I hate that trope where it's seen as this great tragedy not that a person died, but that the living spouse has to be single. Maybe it's OK to just be happy with the love you had, at least until maybe someday someone else comes along? I don't know. Anyway, I nonetheless really liked this movie because I found Cameron Mathison's character attractive and likeable and Kellie Martin's had a sort of soulful quality that made me feel for her. And, yeah, even though she hooks up with a new guy within a year of her hubbie's untimely death, it's not without the exploration of her feeling guilty and not even being interested in that until the right guy happens to come along. So that helps. I also really liked the best friend played by Jewel Staite. I think I more just like her as an actress, feeling she brings a lot of warmth and sincerity to her character, but either way, a good supporting cast does help. I ALSO liked (without spoiling too much) that CM's character, Tim, had his own romantic issues to deal with (not just being the manic-pixie dreamboy to invigorate the grieving Kathy), and they even went as far as to make you question whether he really wanted to be with her at one point (even though he ultimately did. Duh, this is Hallmark), rather than just being the perfect, devoted, ever-patient romantic-fantasy male lead these movies usually employ.
AVMM: Really liked this one, but it's more of a rom-com than a romance, so it goes after TCO just because it, therefore, didn't give me quite as much feels. Liked that the love interest was kind of different (he's represented as a bit awkward, but in a fun way), and even more, that he and Alicia Witt's character seemed to just genuinely have a good time together and like each other as people, rather than the romantic cliche of hating each other at first, but it's all just a ruse for secretly being in love. Even though this follows the silly "I'm leaving my long-term partner for someone I've known two days" trope, their scenes getting to know each other were sweet and made it believable that they would want to be together. I also really liked her (accidental) relationship with the love interest's family (though I don't agree with the message it sends that you have to perfectly mesh with someone's family in order to be in a relationship, and that's some kind of indicator of how compatible you and a person are). I will say, though, that the other holiday-romance trope this movie employs -- the ultimately benign but nonetheless unfulfilling rich boyfriend who gets dumped for an exciting new love -- is silly. Why are these romantic leads always in that type of relationship? It kind of sends the message that all women are gold-diggers (because they always seem to be rich, but have just about nothing else to offer), or too naive to know what they should be looking for in a relationship (Maybe someone who doesn't make snide comments about your passions and decide life-changing matters without consulting you?). There's some majorly cheesy dialogue, of course, particularly when the two characters get together at the end (Oh no! Non-spoiler spoiler alert), but that's part of the fun, in my view.
CDwM: Better than I thought it would be since the overall premise didn't really interest me (not into dancing) and I find that, as a woman, these types of movies that have a male as the lead character tend to resonate with me less. But Andrew McCarthy is charming, and I liked his love interest as a character (including that she was not some typical, cute-and-quirky type, but had more elegance and substance). It also has nice visuals and overall ambiance, with a lot of Christmas decorations and beautiful waltz music (for the dancing). At least in this movie, it's the guy who's gold-digging with an incompatible rich chick (Though, again, why do they always do that? I guess the writers think that makes it less sad when the rich person gets dumped for someone else, but rich people have feelings too, and the one in this movie was actually really nice. I'd like to see one of these love triangles where the "point" isn't still with the person they end up leaving because they're rich, but just because they've been together a long time and sort of outgrown each other. Maybe that violates Hallmark's standard of family values).
HftH: Ugh. This movie bored me so much while, at the same time, making me roll my eyes at all the stereotypes it employed. A meddling Jewish mother who keeps trying to hook her daughter up (Oh, and her entire family are so obsessed with being Jewish that they actually have "Hava Nagila" as their doorbell tone. Seriously?), and a total mama's boy from a big, loud Italian family that quarrels over its nightly feast of lasagna. Apart from that, I liked that they made the two romantic leads have a healthy relationship from the start (even though they were faking it, they were both agreeing to do that and seemed to genuinely like each other and get along well) that turned into love. BUT, I think I just really don't like Joey Lawrence (nothing personal, just not the type of guy I want to see as a romantic lead), and it annoyed me that the female lead was supposed to be a theater critic, yet she had this major weakness where she couldn't bear to write a bad review. It makes absolutely no sense that she would have ever been hired at a big-city publication to review, that being the case, let alone keep the job for an extended period of time. That sounds more like a problem someone writing for a church newsletter would have, and also didn't add much of anything to the plot (we're supposed to believe Joey Lawrence's character gave her the confidence to finally call a spade a spade and write a bad review, which is actually kind of refreshing in a way since usually love interests are seen as bringing out the better in someone else, not their edgier side. But it also reinforces the idea that women are spineless without men).