Saturday, November 29, 2014

Those Sappy Christmas Movies

I have totally immersed myself in the sappiest of sappy Christmas movies this season.  Most have been Hallmark movies, made similarly to the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries of old in that there is a general plot outline that's the same for all of them.  Some are definitely better than others.  There seem to be a lot of new ones this year, and a few from previous years that I haven't seen yet.  So in keeping with my list-keeping ways, I think I'll say a few words about each of them that I watch this season so that I can decide whether or not I want to rewatch them in the Christmas seasons to come.  37 so far!

My rating system:   surprisingly good (4); not bad (3); not too bad (2.5) pretty bad (2); who can say - it was boring & stupid and I barely paid attention (1.5); holy catastrophe - never again(1)

12 Men of Christmas  2009 Lifetime (4) 
All I Want for Christmas 2009 HM (2) 
Angels in the Snow  2015 (1)
Angels Sing  HM  2014 (3) 
Best Christmas Party Ever HM 2014 (2) 
A Boyfriend for Christmas HM 2004 (3)
A Bride for Christmas HM 2012 (3) 
Christmas Angel  2013 (4)
Christmas at Cartwrights HM 2014 (2) 
The Christmas Candle 2013 (1.5)
The Christmas Choir 2009 HM (3) 
The Christmas Chronicles  2018 (3)
Christmas Cupid's Arrow  2018 (4)
Christmas for a Dollar 2013 UP (2.5) 
Christmas Inheritance 2017 Netflix (2.5) 
Christmas in Palm Springs 2014 UP (1) 
Christmas in the Smokies 2015  (3)
The Christmas Ornament 2013 HM (2)
The Christmas Secret 2014 HM (4)  
The Christmas Shepherd 2014 HM (2)  
A Christmas Snow 2012 (4) 
Christmas Song 2012 HM (2) 
Christmas Town 2009 (1) 
Christmas Under Wraps 2014 HM (3) 
A Christmas Wedding Date 2012 Ion (4)  
Christmas Wedding Planner 2017 Netflix (2)
Christmas with a View 2018 (2)
Christmas with Holly 2012 HM (2.5)
A Cookie Cutter Christmas 2014 HM (1) 
Debbie Macomber's Dashing through the Snow 2015 (2.5)
Debbie Macomber's Mr. Miracle 2014 (4)  
Engaging Father Chritsmas 2017 HM (4)
Finding Christmas 2013 HM (3) 
Fir Crazy 2013 HM (2) 
A Grandpa for Christmas 2009 HM (4)
Hitched for the Holidays 2012 HM (2.5)
Holiday Breakup 2016 (3.5)
Let in Snow 2013 HM (3) 
Marry Me For Christmas 2013 UP (2) 
Matchmaker Santa 2012 HM (2.5) 
Merry Kissmas 2015 (3)
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year 2008 HM (4)  
The Nine Lives of Christmas 2014 HM (2.5) 
North Pole 2014 HM (1.5)
One Christmas Eve - 2014 HM (4) 
One Starry Christmas - 2014 HM (2.5) 
A Royal Christmas - 2014 HM(2)
Snow Bride - 2013 HM (3) 
The Thanksgiving House (4)  
The Tree That Saved Christmas - 2014 UP (2) 
A Very Merry Mix-Up - 2013 HM (4) 

12 Men of Christmas
Kristen Chenoweth, Josh Hopkins
2009, Lifetime
rating: This was a good one, Bert  (even though I can't stand Kristen Chenoweth)
Summary:  It's anything BUT a Merry Christmas for die-hard New Yorker and publicist E.J. Baxter when she loses both her high-powered Manhattan job and her lawyer-fiance on the same night at her office Christmas party. E.J. winds up taking a job and moving to the opposite end of the earth - Kalispell, Montana. To help the local search-and-rescue station raise desperately needed funds, a la "Calendar Girls," she tries to convince the male rescue workers to pose for a naked calendar and along the way discovers what really matters to her and wins the heart of one of the pin-ups!

All I Want for Christmas
Gail Grady, Robert Mailhouse, Greg Germann
2009, Hallmark
rating: pretty bad
Comments:  Just too implausible, not matter how you stretch the cast, though
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Sara (O’Grady) has had little time to worry about a love life since her husband died seven years ago, as romance has taken a back seat to raising her wise-beyond-his-years son, Jesse (Jimmy Jax Pinchak, “The Polar Express”), and running a local community center. But when Jesse enters a toy company contest that asks children for their greatest Christmas wish, asking them to find his mom a new husband, Sara suddenly finds herself in a whirlwind of dates, with cameras following her every move.

Angels in the Snow
Kristy Swanson, Chris Potter
rating: didn't do it for me....(1)
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  When nothing short of a miracle can hold a deteriorating family together, a Christmas getaway sets the stage for a miracle to occur. A heartwarming family story of love, loss and rediscovery. (and I've never been one for miracles....)

Angels Sing 
Harry Connick, Jr, Connie Britton, Willy Nelson, Kris Kristoferson, and even Lyle Lovett
2014 Hallmark
rating:  not bad
Comments:  I wish that Harry Connick, Jr. & Connie Britton had sung!  There's a taste from Willy and Lyle, a tiny bit from Kris, and the film is music-y, but I wish there were more!
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary: As a child, Michael Walker wished every day was Christmas, until a tragic accident crushed his holiday spirit. Thirty years later, Michael still can't muster any joy for Christmas, despite encouragement from his playful wife and well-intentioned parents. But when his young son faces a tragedy, Michael needs to make amends with his past. Then, a mysterious man named Nick gives Michael a gift that instills in him the courage to find the Christmas joy that he lost.

Best Christmas Party Ever
Torrey DeVitto, Steve Lund
2014, Hallmark
rating: pretty bad....same old, same old, unfortunately
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Jennie Stanton throws the best Christmas parties every year for her company, Portia's Parties.  Portia is retiring and looks to the next generation to take over. Jennie thinks she has her new job in the bag, until Portia's charismatic nephew, Nick shows up.

A Boyfriend for Christmas
Kelli Williams, Patric Muldoon, Martin Mull, Charles Durning
2004, Hallmark
rating: okay-ish, not too bad....
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Holly Grant is an idealistic lawyer who gave up on finding Mr. Right in her stocking when she split with her last boyfriend.  Santa, fulfills an old promise by bringing her and another attorney, Ryan Hughes,  together. Due to an earlier misunderstanding, Ryan doesn’t want Holly to know who he is, so when Santa sends him to deliver a Christmas tree, he introduces himself as "Douglas Firwood." His well-meaning white lie threatens to derail a budding romance, and spoil Santa’s plan, in this warm-hearted holiday treat.

A Bride for Christmas
Arielle Kebbel, Andrew Walker
2012 Hallmark
rating: actually, not bad - cute, right down to the dog
Comments:  Finally, a movie where the kisses seem to work...
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  After Jessie (Kebbel) calls off her third engagement, she swears off serious relationships until he finds "the one." That is, until charming but chronically single Aiden (Walker) comes along. But unbeknownst to Jessie, Aiden has bet his friends that he can convince a woman to marry him by Christmas, which is only four week away. 

Christmas Angel
Teri Polo, Kevin Sorbo, Della Reese
rating: pretty good, actually
Imdb summary:  Christmas wishes made before a long-abandoned house that start coming true lead an elementary schoolgirl to discover a reclusive woman living inside.

Christmas at Cartwrights
Alicia Witt, Gabriel Hogan
2014, Hallmark
rating: pretty bad - super sap
Comments:  Even though I like Alicia Witt, this was just a little to over-the-top for me (a female playing Santa and no one knows it?? Give me a break!)
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  With Christmas approaching, a struggling single mom finds herself working as a department store Santa Claus, as a real-life guardian angel shows up to deliver good fortune and holiday romance. 

The Christmas Candle
Hans Matheson, Samantha Barks
rating: Not my cuppa (1.5) though it does have Susan Boyle (who only sings a little...)
Comments: A Max Lucado story
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:   A pastor who's suffered a personal loss accepts a position in a town that believes in a Christmas miracle candle, which he strives to abolish.

The Christmas Choir
Jason Gedrick, Rhea Perlman,
2009, Hallmark
rating: not bad
Comments:  There were a few parts that were a little corny, but since it's based on a true story I'll overlook them
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Successful-but-spiritually lost accountant Peter Brockman's life is turned on its head when he begins volunteering at a homeless shelter run by the caring-yet-cantankerous Sister Agatha (Perlman). Amazed at the musical prowess of some of the shelter’s occupants, Peter sets out to organize them into a choir, singing holiday tunes in a local subway station. Though the singers and Peter each go through their own difficult personal trials, they slowly begin to learn to trust in each other and the power their music holds.

The Christmas Chronicles
Kurt Russell
rating: pretty good, just a few eye-rolling places (3)
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  The story of sister and brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce, whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about.

Christmas Cupid's Arrow
Elizabeth Harnois, Jonathan Togo, Chad Michael Collins
surprisingly good
Comments: Jonathan Togo reminds me a bit of Jake Gyllenhall.  The best friend (female) bugged me.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Holly, a single college professor, signs up for an online dating service, but begins to grow suspicious when the guy's beautifully-written texts don't match his actions.

Christmas for a Dollar 
Brian Krause, Heather Beers
2013, UP
rating:  a little too corny, but not too bad
Comments:  the depression-era setting was a nice change, the harshness of most of the adults was a little wearing, the kids were cute, but the bully-boy  and his buddy (brother?) was WAY over the top!
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  The Kamp family is struggling to get by, particularly since Mrs. Kamp's untimely death. The older children do their best to take care of the family, but the younger children -- straight-talking little Ruthie and Norman, a fan of fictional cowboy hero Hopalong Cassidy – struggle most with a bleak-looking future. With their father facing mounting debts resulting from Norman's battle with polio, the siblings expect a Christmas without presents. But when father scrapes together a dollar to use for gifts, things change. As each child comes up with a special gift to give another member of the family, they soon begin to see many of their dearest wishes come true. 

Christmas Inheritance
Eliza Taylor, Jake Lacy, Andie MacDowell
2017 Netflix
RT 50/34
rating: 2.5
Comments:  Watched it last year and this year (2018). Entertaining but sappy.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary: A young woman must deliver a Christmas card to a family friend in order to claim her inheritance. Along the way, she learns the true meaning of the holiday when she ends up stuck at an inn during a snowstorm

Christmas in Palm Springs 
Patrick Muldoon, Dina Meyer
2014, UP
rating:  Holy gag reflex - unbelievably bad
Comments:  This really IS stupid...horrible storyline and not even very good acting.  I watched the first half, then fast forwarded to the end, which was also a waste of time.  What were they thinking?
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Parents separated and heading for divorce are brought together in Palm Springs by their kids, who are doing everything to get them back together before Christmas with a little help from a guardian angel.

Christmas in the Smokies
Sarah Lancaster, Allen Powell
rating: not bad, okay really,,,

It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Clinging to the only life she's ever known, a headstrong woman (along with her loving parents) finds herself on the verge of losing her family's berry farm in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, to an impending retail expansion. Over one eventful holiday season, she tries every avenue possible to save the farm. But, when the local town leaders notify her that they will have to seize the property after the holidays, her last hope to unite the town, is to throw a Christmas concert on the farm, headlined by her former love, a ne'er-do-well country music superstar.

The Christmas Ornament
Kellie Martin, Cameron Mathison
2013, Hallmark
rating: pretty bad
Comments: Kellie Martin is just too sugary for me

It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  When a widow is having a hard time facing her first Christmas without her husband, she meets a Christmas tree lot owner who tries to help her see that there is still hope and love in the world.

The Christmas Secret
Bethany Joy Lenz, John Reardon
2014 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
rating: surprisingly good, although the sap-o-meter hit the ultra-high zone!
Comments:  Extremely predictable, super sappy, and very enjoyable.
My summary: A hard-working but struggling young mother moves to the lovely small town where her father grew up, although she doesn't even know his name.  Her a/h ex-husband is trying to get her kids, her car is almost dead, she loses her job, and she is evicted.  But when she saves the life of an elderly woman who has a heart attack, a huge series of events and misunderstandings lead to a very special, touching (though totally expected) Christmas.

The Christmas Shepherd 
Terry Polo, Martin Cummins
2014, Hallmark
rating:  pretty bad
Comments:  I suppose if you like dogs you'd like this better than I did.  This dog, who everyone took an instant liking/loving to, seemed blah....not much personality.  What was it? The whole story could have been told in about 45 minutes.  Terry Polo was....blah....  Not my cuppa tea at all.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:   Sally Browing (Polo), a Children’s book author and illustrator is devastated when her beloved German Shepherd, Buddy, runs away during a thunderstorm. Buddy miraculously ends up in Boston with Mark Green (Cummins) and his teenage daughter. They are struggling to put their lives back together after losing his wife and her mother three years ago.

A Christmas Snow
Catherine Mary Stewart, Muse Watson
2012, shown on UP (made for TV)
rating: a surprisingly good super-sappy movie
Comments:  This actually wasn't stupid, it was well-written and acted and quite a surprise.
IMDb Synopsis:  A woman refuses to celebrate Christmas, because of her father abandoning his family during the holiday. Because of a blizzard, Kathleen finds herself stuck in her home with two strangers during the days leading up to Christmas. Sam, a gentle older man Kathleen took in for the night, and Lucy, the daughter of her soon to be fiancé bring her face to face with the hurts of her past.

Christmas Song
Natasha Henstridge, Gabriel Hogan
2012, Hallmark
rating: pretty bad
Comments: the dating-matching was funny and fun, but the last third (the competition part) was gag-inducing.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  When budget cuts force the merger of two New York City high schools, two music teachers aim to compete in the largest, televised Christmas Carol competition that will determine the fate of the school’s music program and the teachers’ jobs. 

Christmas Town
Nicole deBoer, Patrick Muldoon
rating: YUCK! Couldn't even finish it
Comments: Truly the most stupid, boring movie I've ever watched.  If I had a dollar for everytime one of the characters called, "Mason!" looking for the 9-year-old kid with the HORRIBLE haircut, I'd be able to afford to visit the North Pole myself.  This movie is a total and complete waste of time.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary: cynical young realtor and single mom, and her eight-year-old son go reluctantly to visit her father, a stuffy ex-banker living in a small town in Central California known as "America's Christmas Town."  At the edge of town, a mysterious warehouse sits behind gates. While Liza reunites with her father and unexpectedly meets Kevin (Muldoon), the cute, laid back local café owner who believes in the magic of Christmas, her son sees the spirit first-hand as he sneaks over to the warehouse and spies what he believes to be elves, a sleigh, reindeer and even Santa Claus.

Christmas Under Wraps 
Candace Cameron-Bure, David O'Donnell
2014, Hallmark
rating: not bad
Comments:  I might have even gone for "it's surprisingly good" if it hadn't been for the stupid Santa angle.  Oh well, the story of a determined surgeon's transformation from her head to her heart was just sappy enough to be fun.  The Alaska setting was very enjoyable - and I loved how they never even had to wear hats!
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  When a driven doctor doesn’t get the prestigious position she planned for, she unexpectedly finds herself moving to a remote Alaskan town. While she meets the locals and even starts a new romance, she has to learn to let the life she planned for give way to a love she never could have imagined, and finds this festive small town is hiding one big holiday secret.

A Christmas Wedding Date
Marla Sokoloff, Chris Carmack, Catherine Hicks, George Wendt
2012, Ion
rating:  surprisingly good...well, at least entertaining......
Comments: Groundhog Day format, once you get over the original been-there-seen-that, it's lots of fun.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  After being fired from her high-powered job, Rebecca (Sokoloff) heads back home to see her mom, Shirley (Hicks), and attend her friends' small-town wedding on Christmas Eve. Initially convinced that the trip is a terrible mistake, especially her botched romantic conversation with former beau, Chad (Carmack), Rebecca soon learns that, indeed, you can go home again, and, again -- until you get it right

Christmas Wedding Planner
Jocelyn Hudon, Stephen Huszar, Kelly Rutherford
2017 watched on Netflix
rating: Pretty bad
Comments: No charisma at all between the two protagonists, they feel in love?  RIGHT!
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Wedding Planner, Kelsey Wilson, is about to have her big break: planning her beloved cousin's lavish and exclusive wedding. Everything is going smoothly until Connor McClane, a devilishly handsome private investigator, shows up and turns Kelsey's world upside-down. Hired by a secret source, Connor quickly disrupts the upcoming nuptials but wins Kelsey's heart in the process.

Christmas with a View
Katilyn Leeb, Scott Cavelheiro, Jess Walton, Patrick Duffy
rating: so-so
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  This Christmas, Thunder Mountain Ski Resort is abuzz when celebrity chef Shane Roarke is named the new head chef. Clara Garrison isn't as excited and is instead focused on getting resettled after her failed attempt at opening a big city restaurant. With their paths constantly crossing, will their shared passion for cooking bring them together or will secrets keep them apart?

Christmas with Holly 
Sean Farris, Eloise Mumford
2012, Hallmark
rating: (see comments for explanation) not bad with reservations
Comments:  The scenes and storyline about Mark, Holly, and his three brothers are just wonderful. But I didn't like Maggie - I'm not sure if it was the actress or the writing or both, and there didn't seem to be much "charisma" between the those parts of the movie were "pretty bad" (or worse).  I'll have to use the average for a rating.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Maggie Conway has HAD it with big-city living, especially after being left at the altar. She moves to the small town of Friday Harbor in Washington State, finally realizing her dream of opening a toy store -- and meets Mark Nagle, the proprietor of the local coffee shop. Mark’s number one priority, though, is his six-year-old niece, Holly, whose single mom has recently passed away and left him as her guardian. He’s moved in with his two brothers to help him raise Holly.

A Cookie Cutter Christmas
Erin Krakow, David Haydn-Jones
2014 Hallmark
rating: seriously flawed/Holy catastrophe, never again
Comments:  Yuck.  Two 2nd grade teachers acting less mature than their students.  It takes more than good looks to create a good movie, you need a decent storyline, too.....
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Christie (Erin Krakow) and Penny (Miranda Frigon) have been rivals since they were little girls. All grown up now, and working at the same school, as elementary teachers, hasn’t changed things, at all. The rivalry between the two has only intensified, especially when a new little girl comes to the school and her father, James (David Haydn-Jones), is single.  Typically not interested in baking, Christie decides to join the Cookie Baking Contest, anyway. She says it’s to help win for her class and charity, but it’s clear she also wants to beat Penny, and maybe look good in front of James, too, in the process.

Debbie Macomber's Dashing Through the Snow
Megan Ory, Andrew Walker
rating:  not too bad....
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Stranded at an airport at Christmastime, Ashley Harrison accepts a ride from Dash Sutherland, who has just rented the last car in town. As the pair heads north, their adventures include car trouble, adopting a puppy and being secretly tailed by federal agents, who believe Ashley is up to no good.

Debbie Macomber's Mr. Miracle
Rob Morrow, Michelle Harrison, Britt Irvin, Andrew Francis
2014 Hallmark Channel
rating: surprisingly good
Comments:  Rob Morrow was a riot as the bumbling angel, and Britt Irvin was sweet as the doubting young thing.  Actually enjoyable, though slow in places.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Heaven and earth collide when angel-in-training Harry Mills,  A.K.A “Mr. Miracle” is sent down to a community college during Christmas; for his first assignment: to help an insecure student realize her true purpose in life.

Finding Christmas
Tricia Helfer, JT Hodges, Mark Lutz, Cristina Rosato
2013, Hallmark Channel
rating: not bad
Comments: I've watched this twice and haven't been too nauseated....
My summary:  A busy, city advertising executive and a musical country guy, both down-on-their luck with relationships, trade abodes online....and the relationships they form because of this will become, of course, life changing (blah, blah, blah....)

Fir Crazy
Sarah Lancaster, Eric Johnson
2013, Hallmark
rating: pretty bad - didn't do much for me....
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Elise MacReynolds is no fan of Christmas. Growing up on a tree farm meant every holiday was spent selling Christmas trees on a cold street corner. But when she loses her job and her dad breaks his leg, Elise agrees to run the family tree stand for one last season.
A Grandpa for Christmas
Ernest Borgnine, Katherine Helmond, Juliet Goglia, Jamie Farr, Tracy Nelson
2009 Hallmark
rating: this was a good one
Comments:  The young girl was one HECK of a singer!  The music was great fun, and all the old goats were marvelous.
Summary:  When a young woman gets into a car accident, they call her estranged father, which is the beginning of a joining of three generations and a bunch of the grandfather's cronies.

Hitched for the Holidays
Joey Lawrence, Emily Hampshire, Marilu Henner
2012 Hallmark
rating: not too bad - even though I don't like Joey's to watch the Jewish blunders he makes.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  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. Things get complicated when Rob's Catholic family and Julie's Jewish family get involved to help these two make it to the altar. As they double their efforts to keep the charade going through New Year's Eve, Rob and Julie are more than a little surprised when they discover they're actually falling in love. 

Holiday Breakup
Manon Matthews, Shawn Roe
rating: pretty decent (3.5)
Comments:  Not exactly a Christmas movie, but is an enjoyable one to watch during the season
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  A young couple breaks up and faces the prospect of the holidays turning into one long pity party. Their solution: pretend they're still together.

Let It Snow  
Candace Cameron Bure, Jesse Hutch, Alan Thicke
2013 Hallmark Channel
rating: not bad
Comments: Hey, it's setting is Maine (what more can I say?)
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  The story of a driven hotel executive intending to transform a family owned lodge into the new winter, premier hot spot, until she meets the previous owner's son, Brady.  Their initial head-thumping, of course, turns into a whole lot more.

Marry Me for Christmas
Malinda Williams, Brad James, Karon Riley, Victoria Rowell
2013, UP
rating: pretty bad
Comments:  So many things to roll your eyes not only hit the bell at the top but kept on jangling.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Marcie Jewel is a successful ad executive who is happy with her life.  Marcieʼs mom is applying pressure to her daughter to settle down and have children. So she does the only thing she can do: create a fake fiance.

Matchmaker Santa
Lacy Chabert, Adam Mayfield,
2012, Hallmark
rating: not too bad....
Comments:  This movie definitely contains some over-the-top ridiculousness, but the two leads are cute and although getting stuck in a town where her fiancee can't be bothered to figure out a way to come get her (storm or not), once you shake that off the rest is "not too bad."
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  When Santa magically traps business assistant, Dean Ford and baker, Melodie Hogan together in a small town... It’s more than a Delicious Treat! (Fun appearance by John Ratzenburger)

Merry Kissmas
Karissa Lee Staples, Brant Daugherty, David O'Donnell
rating:  Not too bad...but not too good, either....
Comments:  Dimples and decent kissing...pretty people and st

It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  A newly-single woman finds herself torn between two men after she kisses a handsome man on an elevator around the same time that her former boyfriend begins to treat her right.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year 
Henry Winkler, Brooke Burns, Morgan Derby
2008, Hallmark
rating: surprisingly good
Comments: Henry Winkler makes this movie - and the storyline, though based on the same-old-same-old, was really fun to watch.  The wayward nomad angle was fun.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Jennifer Cullen (Burns) is a single, working mom who has become somewhat of a Scrooge when it comes to the Holiday season. Even her six-year-old son Brian (Connor Levins, “Eight Below”) is having trouble believing in Santa Claus. When Jen’s Uncle Ralph (Winkler), a retired police officer, comes to visit for Christmas, he brings along a new friend, a nomad and Jack-of-all-trades named Morgan Derby (Christie).

The Nine Lives of Christmas
Brandon Routh, Kimberley Sustad
2014 Hallmark
rating: Not too bad
Comments:  There's charisma between the two leads...the story's definitely sappy, but the angle with the cats makes it cute.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Fireman Zachary Stone (Routh) is a confirmed bachelor who doesn’t believe in commitment. Then a stray tabby cat named Ambrose shows up at his door. Zachary’s commitment to solitude is further challenged when he meets Marilee (Sustad), an animal lover and veterinary student who teaches Zachary how to care for his new feline roommate.

North Pole 
Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Josh Hopkins, Baliee Madison
2014, Hallmark
rating: didn't keep my attention at all- boring as all get-out
Comments:  Hardly any of the movie took place at the North Pole (thank goodness, I'm definitely not a fan of movies that do), and the story, wasn't too bad - the fantasy was cute.  So I'm guess this would be a good movie for kids, but certainly a bit painful for me....
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  “Northpole” tells the charming tale about a reporter who, with the help of her son and his teacher, recaptures the joy of the holiday season and in the process saves Christmas.

One Christmas Eve
Anne Heche, Carlos Gomez, Brian Tee, Kevin Daniels
2014 Hallmark
rating:  A decent movie!
Comments:  This was a mishap after another, and not entirely farcical.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  Anne Heche stars as a recently-divorced mom who wants her two kids' first Christmas "without dad" to be perfect. An entertaining but unfortunate series of Christmas Eve mishaps ensures that won't happen - unless perfect means the family has its most memorable and heartwarming Christmas ever. 

One Starry Christmas
Sarah Carter, Damon Runyan
2014, Hallmark
rating: not too bad
Comments:  There was some good line dancing, but some really awkward moments, too.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  An aspiring astronomy professor finds unexpected Christmas romance when she meets a charming cowboy during her holiday travel. As she decides between this new cowboy and her practical boyfriend, she must decide whether it's better to play it safe in love, or let an adventurous cowboy steal her heart.

A Royal Christmas 
Lucy Chabert, Stephen Hagert, Jane Seymour
2014, Hallmark
rating: pretty bad
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  A Royal Christmas centers on a young girl who, after accepting her boyfriend’s proposal, learns he is a prince. She must then gain the acceptance of his mother, who looks down on her humble origins. 
Snow Bride
Katrina Law, Jordan Belfi, Patricia Richardson
2013, Hallmark
rating: not bad
Comments: I watched this last year and didn't mind watching it again.  It's one of those movies that's totally and completely cheesy but you only grit your teeth for part of it.  The leads are absolutely adorable together, and Patricia Richardson -as the matriarch - is great.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  With the promise of a promotion hanging in the balance, a tabloid reporter races to find juicy gossip about an influential political family. Her cynical opinion of them changes, however, when she inadvertently ends up spending the week leading up to Christmas with them and starts falling for one of the sons.

The Thanksgiving House
rating: surprisingly good
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:
The Tree That Saved Christmas
Lacy Chabert, Corey Sevier,
2014, UP
rating: pretty bad, over-the-top sap
Comments: not horribly bad - but extremely s...l...o...w...much-loved farm.
Movie summary:  A woman who grew up on her family's Christmas tree farm in Vermont leavers her job in Manhattan to return home to help save the

A Very Merry Mix-Up
Alicia Witt, Mark Wiebe, Scott Gibson
2013, Hallmark
rating: surprisingly good
Comments:Alicia Witt has a spark, a genuine up-ness that is refreshing.  This movie should have been corny, but worked.
It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:  After travelling to her fiancé's house to meet his parents for Christmas, Alice (Alicia Witt) falls in love with his family, only to discover that she wound up in the wrong house admiring stories of someone else’s son. 

It's a Wonderful Movie Blog summary:

surprisingly good
not bad
pretty bad
never again