Sunday, December 23, 2012

Roundup of 2012 Cheesy Xmas Holiday Movie-a-thon

2012 has been a banner year for the awful/amazing holiday tv-movie genre. The Hallmark Channel and Lifetime Network own this market quite handedly, and this year both channels offered dozens of brand new saccharine, craptastic fare; which was good because I was running out of ones that I hadn't seen.
I really went overboard in my holiday cheeseball movie viewing this season. I recorded and watched over 40 hours of this crap. I'm very ashamed. Yet also a little proud?

I wanted to highlight a couple of gems from this year's crop:

Christmas With Holly - This was the Hallmark's Hall of Fame entry this year. You know the ones that air on CBS with limited commercial interruption, and even the commercials are for Hallmark cards?
Anyway, this gem starred Sean Farris (yum) as a guy with gross, weird shoulder-length hair (not yum), who owns a fair-trade coffee shop in Friday Harbor (woo hoo Pacific NW reference!) who ends up with custody of his 6-yr old niece Holly after his single mom sister dies some unexplained death in Seattle. Seriously, they never mention how the woman died; cancer? car accident? drug overdose? It was so annoying.
The film begins 4 months after the sister's death and Sean has been living with his niece in Seattle in his sister's cute-ass craftsman bungalow, while he sublets his place on the island. He also has some bitch Seattle girlfriend that isn't at all important so I won't even bother with their small dumb storyline.
The little niece is emotionally messed up from her mother's death and has stopped speaking. The bastard principal at Holly's Seattle public school wants her either put on anti-depressants or sent to a "special" school because her muteness is not working for him. Sean basically calls the guy a prick and decides to move Holly up to Friday Harbor and put her in the public elementary where Sean and his siblings went. What's that? Did I say siblings?
Yeah, once Sean gets to Friday Harbor you find out that he has two older brothers - Alex (cute biologist), and Scott (SMOKIN' HOT carpenter). The sister I guess didn't trust either of them with her kid? Not important. What is important is that these 3 hot brothers all decide to live with Holly in Scott's gorgeous, giant Victorian mansion that he's renovating; they all bond as a loving family and Holly starts talking again and blooms into a well-adjusted great kid.
Oh yeah, there's some boring nonsense romantic storyline between Sean and this dumb klutz who moved from Seattle to Friday Harbor to open a toy store, but believe me the best part of this movie are the 3 gorgeous brothers and the beautiful house they live in. And cute basset hound alert!     HIGHLY RECOMMENDED VIEWING

Holiday Spin - This piece of port wine cheddar premiered last Christmas, when Ralph Macchio was still trying to capitalize on his success from his stint on "Dancing With the Stars". I didn't watch it last year, but gave it a go this time around and boy was it bad...and AWESOME.
This 17yr old kid lives in North Carolina with his dance teacher mom. He's a promising UFC fighter, but it's clear that he's also a talented dancer even though he hates dancing (this is an important detail later!) The kid, Drew or Scott or Drake..whatever, we'll say Drew. Anyway Drew and his mom are in a serious car accident on Thanksgiving and she dies.
Dead loved ones by the way are a very important element of many of these holiday smarmy movies.
So Drew wakes in the hospital to find out about his dead mom from his estranged father Reuben (Macchio) whom he's never known. Reuben is a ballroom dance former legend who now teaches in Miami and he takes Drew to live with him and his new wife and the young dancer protégé that is his ward.
This young dancer is named Amelia and her partner (hilariously played by SYTYCD winner Benji Schwimmer) and she are practicing to perform in a big Xmas ballroom comp called, can you guess?,  the Holiday Spin. Benji breaks up with her because Amelia won't fuck him (which is insanely funny considering Schwimmer doesn't even try to hide his real-life homosexuality in this movie). So of course at the last minute, Drew surprises his dad and step-mom by displaying an amazing ballroom talent and agrees to partner Amelia in the contest. Would you believe that they win, Amelia and Drew fall in love, and Drew and Reuben repair their relationship? Come on, this is a Lifetime holiday movie!     ONLY WATCH IF YOU LOVE BALLROOM DANCING TO A FAULT

Speaking of washed-up 80s stars in cheesy ballroom dancing holiday movies, yes, there's another one, this time a Hallmark Channel offering new this year starring Andrew McCarthy.
Come Dance With Me - about an executive (McCarthy) who is engaged to his boss' daughter and because she's a bouncy, flirty, whore young lady who likes to go out dancing, he decides to take ballroom dancing lessons to impress her, and thus his boss, at her Christmas party.
This movie was only enjoyable because it was funny to watch McCarthy make a fool of himself dancing.    ONLY WATCH IF YOU'RE DRUNK

Trading Christmas - From the mind and pen of cheesy romance writer (and author of 100s of Xmas themed books) Debbie Macomber comes this fluffy nonsense, that was actually pretty enjoyable.
I think ol' Debbie watched the film "The Holiday" one too many times and decided to write a rip-off book. Hallmark and Lifetime effin' love making movies of her horribly cheesy novels. There's at least 8 of them in rotation each year. "Trading" was 2012's entry.
This is another movie that takes place in Washington state (I take perverse pleasure in these details); this time in a made up small town called Woodburn that's supposed to be near Stevens pass I think. Anyway, Faith Ford is a widowed school teacher who lives in Woodburn (has actually never left). Her 21yr old daughter is a college senior in Boston. When Faith's daughter informs her that she's not coming home for Christmas, Faith decides to surprise her daughter and show up in Boston for Christmas. She takes her best friend's (who lives in San Francisco) advice and does a house swap with a novelist who lives in Boston.
The novelist (played by Tom Cavanaugh) has a deadline and writer's block and takes his brother (Gil Bellows) advice and does the swap thing to get away to a small town where no one will bother him.
Of course, Faith and Tom decide on this house swap thing a couple of days before Christmas and don't tell anyone that they've actually gone through with it.
So Tom shows up at Faith's quaint Victorian that's drowning in cabbage roses and Christmas decorations; while Faith is treated to Tom's ultra modern loft condo in trendy Cambridge where she's befuddled by all of his electronics and his fancy alarm system. Faith finds out when she arrives in Boston that her daughter lied about staying in Boston to "study" and is instead in Arizona with her boyfriend for some alone time.
So Faith is stuck in Boston with nothing to do but be sad that she's a lonely widow whose daughter hates her. She accidentally sets off the alarm and the company alerts Gil that someone's breaking into his bro's apartment. Thus Faith and Gil have a "meet cute" and he asks her out for dinner.
Back in Woodburn, Tom finds that all of Faith's neighbors are extra annoying and nosy and keep bothering him bringing cookies etc. At the same time, Faith's friend (San Frannie) decides to surprise her friend for Xmas but instead finds Tom staying at her friend's house. Of COURSE, there are no buses, rental cars, or hotels in the area available because it's Christmas so Frannie is forced to stay with Tom. But agrees to stat out of his way and actually cook for him and act as basically his secretary and keeps all of the neighbors at bay.
You can see where this is all headed right? Yes, both of these couples get together. It's cute.      WATCH IF YOU DON'T MIND PREDICTABLE WELL-TRODDEN CHEESE

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