2017 Hallmark/Lifetime/Ion Christmas Moviesby Mcclane101 | created - 11 months ago | updated - 9 months ago | Public
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1. The Christmas Train (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | Drama, Romance
A cynical journalist decides to take a train from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles for Christmas to get inspiration for a story in honor of his late father. He gets to know the other passengers and runs into an old flame while aboard.
Many times the Hallmark Hall of Fame entry is a sappy sadfest that isn't fun for anyone involved. That isn't the case this year. The Christmas Train was fun, with lots of good characters. This is what Hallmark Christmas movies look like with real (former) stars. And, the plot is solid. Danny Glover is a Hollywood director, and the screenwriter he is working with on a train ride. Her old boyfriend also happens to be on the train. And, they are still in love. And, Joan Cusack is there.
The biggest advantage it has over a normal Hallmark Christmas movie is that the supporting cast is head and shoulders better than a normal. Danny Glover and Joan Cusack alone is more star power than some movies have. And, Danny Glover, even at half speed, gives a great performance. Dermot Mulroney and Kimberly Williams-Paisley are as good as you'd expect them to be, with the dozens of romantic movies they have done between them. When a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie is done right, it should be better than the rest. This is Hallmark Hall of Fame done right.
2. The Perfect Christmas Present (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 82 min | Drama, Romance
The movie is about Tom who is called Mr. Christmas due to his ability to determine the perfect christmas gift for someone, befitting their personality.
This is a really solid entry into the Hallmark Christmas Movie pantheon. Sam Page is a good actor, like legitimately, and he carries this movie making small moments better. Tara Holt isn't quite on the same level, but she has good chemistry with him. The two main supporting characters, Paul and Victoria, have alot more depth than a normal Hallmark movie gives its supporting characters, and they have some nice moments that enhance the story.
The story itself reminded me a bit of the movie Hitch. Sam Page is a gift giving expert who people pay to find them the perfect christmas present for their loved ones. One of his frat bros wants to use this service for his girlfriend, and over the course of getting to know her to discover said present, he falls in love with her. As far as these movies go, it is a solid plot. The big party the movie builds up to at the end is as lavish and Christmas-y as one could hope for. All in all, this was a good one.
3. Finding Santa (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 90 min | Romance
Grace is thrilled to be taking over the town's Christmas parade, but when the man playing St. Nick breaks his arm, she needs to find a replacement, even if the replacement is unwilling.
If the end result of the awful Netflix revival, Fuller House, is that Jodie Sweetin is now in the Hallmark Christmas Movie Club, then it was all worth it. In this, she plays the organizer of a town that is famous for its Christmas celebration's Christmas parade, and this year it will be nationally televised. The only problem is that the star of the show, Santa, has broken his arm, and she has to find a replacement. There is one in his son, but he is turned off by Christmas, so she has to melt his heart. As plots of these things go, it is a little flimsy, but it nails everything else. The tone, the atmosphere. They get stranded in a snow storm and have to stay at the coziest Christmas house.
Jodie Sweetin is exactly who you want starring in these. She is someone you remember fondly, who has aged pretty well, especially given her history, and has the talent of a professional actor. The aptly named Eric Winter was a good love interest. He had great chemistry with Jodie Sweetin, and really committed to selling the flimsy motivation of his character. Based on her first outing, I hope Jodie Sweetin is in the Hallmark rotation for years to come.
4. Switched for Christmas (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 90 min | Drama, Romance
"Just because they are identical does not mean these twins even like each other. Estranged twin sisters get together for an obligatory pre-Christmas lunch, a year after their mother's death... See full summary »
I have a theory that when the scripts are selected for all of the Hallmark Christmas movies each year, Candace Cameron Bure gets the first pick. Her movies are always some of the higher quality, with the notable exception of last year's snooze fest Journey Back to Christmas. This year is another one that proves me right, as Switched for Christmas was one of the better written movies of the season. And it offers her the chance to play two roles for the price of one. She plays two twin sisters, one a single mother school teacher who has to plan her small town Christmas festival and the other is a single career woman who has been tasked with planning the office Christmas party. They get into an argument about whose life is easier and they decide to switch places. They each end up falling for a guy that thinks they are the other one, and hilarity and feels ensue.
Candace Cameron Bure is always solid in these. They are right in her acting ability wheel house. My only complaint is that the sisters aren't very different, and when they have both learned lessons, they are basically the same character. The plus of her performance is that she has good chemistry with both of her love interests. Eion Bailey and Mark Deklin, as said love interests, are both solid, and Eion Bailey, of Band of Brothers fame, really elevates his role and finds good moments for himself. This was another good Candace Cameron Bure Hallmark Christmas movie.
5. Christmas In Evergreen (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 84 min | Drama
Hoping to spur her longtime beau to action, a small-town veterinarian wishes upon a snow globe that this will be her most romantic Christmas ever.
The town of Evergreen is one of the best Christmas towns in any of these movies. They really did a great job of creating a place that you would want to spend time. It also made sense that it was at the central dilemma of the story. Ashley Williams is a small town veterinarian who has been dating a guy who lives in Washington D.C. He wants her to leave and move to the big city with him. Teddy Sears plays a widower single father who is trying to escape Christmas with his daughter and gets stranded in Evergreen.
Ashley Williams is always pretty good, and she finds a nice balance between torn about her decision and warm and friendly to a stranger in need. Teddy Sears, of The Flash fame, was good as the single dad who has to have his Christmas spirit rekindled. The supporting cast was solid, with Holly Robinson Peete putting in a fun performance as the person who takes over planning for the big Christmas festival from Alison Williams. It was a fun movie with a good cast and a cozy town. You couldn't really ask for more.
6. Coming Home for Christmas (2017 TV Movie)
Not Rated | 90 min | Romance
"Lizzie Richfield is at a crossroads when she lands a job as house manager for the exquisite Ashford Estate in the Virginia countryside. While preparing the place for sale, Lizzie plans one... See full summary »
This was a high level Hallmark Christmas movie. It is the story of a woman who is hired to manage the staff of a mansion about to be sold, and plans the final Christmas party, all while melting the hearts of the stuffy family that is selling it. The planning of the party provides a great vehicle in which to inject alot of Christmas, and the party delivers with a lavish and beautiful Christmas setting for the final act.
The lead is Danica McKellar, better known as Winnie from the Wonder Years, and she has become a go-to for Hallmark. She is reliable, as you always know she will put in a decent performance and her movie will at least be enjoyable. This is one of her better performances, and she has two suitors, who are brothers, that she has good chemistry with, but Neal Bledsoe, as the older brother, is the standout. This was one of the best, easiest, most enjoyable watches of the season.
7. The Sweetest Christmas (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
"When struggling pastry chef Kylie Watson learns she's made it to the finals of the American Gingerbread Competition, she thinks her competitive spirit has finally paid off and hopes the ... See full summary »
This was a decent movie. It had upper tier writing for a Hallmark movie, even though the plot of the baking competition feels a little stale, pun intended. The biggest flaw was the lack of Christmas, as it wasn't inherent to the plot. You could have set this movie during any season and it would have worked (in fact, I think there was one identical to this set around Halloween that came out on Hallmark last year). There were some great little moments, though, that elevated this one for me. I loved the specificity of the baking, and the outing to the restaurant market.
This is the first movie this season from one of Hallmark's heavyweights, this one being Lacey Chabert. She is in several of my absolute favorites, and she makes just about any of these better. Her performance was pretty good, even if she has been better. This movie benefited from her chemistry with her co-star, Lea Coco. He was enjoyable as the love interest, but not quite top-tier. And that's where I stand on this one in general. I enjoyed it. I would watch it again. But, it's certainly not a classic.
8. The Mistletoe Inn (2017 TV Movie)
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Kim Ross (Witt), an aspiring romance novelist, finds herself unceremoniously dumped by her soon-to-be-published romance novelist boyfriend, Garth. She decides to take a leap and signs up ... See full summary »
Alicia Witt is one of the heavy hitters of the Hallmark lineup every year, and this year she has a good, if not great, Hallmark Christmas movie. She plays a novice author who signs up for a writer's conference at the Mistletoe Inn. That is literally the only Christmas in this movie, the setting. But, the Inn is decked out in Christmas and is very pretty.
Alicia Witt is a talented actress, and she can play this character on autopilot. David Alpay, as a fellow conference-goer who ends up being her love interest, gives one of the better performances this season. He has been in a couple of these now and, especially with this performance, has established himself as one fo the best. This was an enjoyable movie, even if it could have used some more Christmas.
9. Karen Kingsbury's Maggie's Christmas Miracle (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 83 min | Romance
Maggie, a single mom has to balance between her career and her son, Jordan. Jordan finds a tutor named Casey to help him at school, and Casey becomes like a father figure. Will the three of them find happiness and love once again?
Luke MacFarlane might be my favorite actor in a Christmas movie this season. He is the star of one of my favorite shows, Killjoys. He was in a really good Hallmark Christmas movie last year called Mistletoe Promise, and he made this movie watchable, and even enjoyable. He plays the owner of a cafe who also tutors students. Jill Wagner is the single mother whose son is tutored by him. She has also given up on love since getting divorced, and her only good memory of Christmas or love is when she was dating a boy at Christmas when she was in High School. Guess who ends up being that boy grown up?
Luke Macfarlane definitely carries this movie, as Jill Wagner is almost crushed under the depressing nature of her character. Still, the cafe is pretty cozy, and Luke Macfarlane is really good at celebrating Christmas. That makes up for the movie's weaknesses.
10. Miss Christmas (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 120 min | Romance
The tree finder for Chicago's renowned Radcliff Tree lighting is left desperate to find the perfect tree. A letter from a boy promising his tree is perfect for the ceremony sends her to a ... See full summary »
This movie reminded me of the old Hallmark classic, the National Christmas Tree where a family's beloved evergreen tree is chosen for a nationally recognized Christmas ceremony despite the father's objection, with more of the focus on the tree finder than the family that owns the tree. And as the tree finder, Brooke D'Orsay is deligthful. She really deserved more fame than she found as a supporting player on Royal Pains. Marc Blucas, as the curmudgeonly father whose heart she melts, gives a performance that best be described as serviceable. He is certainly the higher profile actor, having had a major part in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and several major studio movies like Knight and Day, but he is outshone by his co-star in this. The Christmas festival is okay, there have definitely been better in these movies, but the big tree lighting in the end is pretty. The summary, for me at least, is this one has an average plot, but is carried by a great performance of Brooke D'Orsay.
11. Angry Angel (2017 TV Movie)
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Allison Pyke is a young angel who's trying to get her ticket into heaven. Complications arise when two important men in her life unexpectedly show up to form a love triangle.
Freeform's lone entry onto this list is a strong movie, but it isn't a Christmas movie. It might be set at Christmas, but nothing about Christmas is inherent to the plot, so it loses points for that. Otherwise, it moved well and had a good sense of humor. It's the story about a woman who died, and wasn't good enough to get into heaven so she has to stay on earth and earn points to go to heaven by helping people.
Brenda Song has evolved past Disney, and really carried this movie. Jason Biggs, as himself in one of the movie's best jokes, was also pretty good as her angel handler. On a Christmas movie list, it doesn't really have a place, but it was fun, nonetheless.
12. Four Christmases and a Wedding (2017)
TV-14 | 90 min | Romance
"When event planner Chloe (Kebbel) is hired to plan the local Christmas Festival, she is beyond thrilled to embrace the challenge. Professionally, everything is going great, but much to the... See full summary »
This Lifetime entry was pretty interesting. From the title, which was surely meant to evoke two other movies, Four Christmases and Four Weddings and a Funeral, to the format, which takes place over the course of four years at four different Christmas times. A woman meets a man and has an on-again off-again relationship over four Christmases. One of the funniest details is the reverence they show for other Lifetime Christmas movies. The "Christmas Classic" they watch and reference is Dear Santa, a Lifetime movie from a few years ago.
One of this movies biggest strengths is Arielle Kebbell. She is almost too good, and thus too busy, for these kinds of movies. She carries this movie through every silly plot point. Corey Sevier is the love interest. He was okay. I think the biggest indictment of him is that he just didn't seem like he was worth all the trouble, for a woman who is as accomplished as Arielle Kebbell is in this movie. Still, it was an entertaining time.
13. Wrapped Up In Christmas (2017 TV Movie)
A mall manager is tasked with cancelling the leases of underperforming stores at Christmas. She soon finds herself falling for the nephew of a store owner as he helps his Aunt try to make it through the holidays.
This is the first Lifetime christmas movie (and not Hallmark) that I have watched this year, and it was pretty solid. Featuring Tatyana Ali, who played Ashley in Fresh Prince of Bel Air, in the lead as a mall manager who is under a lot of stress at Christmas time. Brendan Fehr is the nephew of one of the shop owners who sets out to woo her.
Tatyana Ali is charming and has a fun spirit, and Brendan Fehr is a veteran of Christmas movies, as he was in one of the all-timers in Christmas Kiss. The supporting actors are pretty great, also. Jackee Harry, the mom from Sister, Sister, is fun as her demanding boss, and it was awesome to see Joseph Marcell, who played Geoffrey in Fresh Prince of Bel Air, as her father. Throw in Jasmine Guy, and it is one of the most solid supporting casts this Christmas movie season. Lifetime started their Christmas movie off strong with this one.
14. Sharing Christmas (2017)
TV-G | 90 min | Romance
Stephanie Nichols takes over the Christmas Shop, but a property developer has bought the building and is terminating the retail leases. She finds help and love from Michael Kilpatrick, who works for the developer.
This was a solid entry. New York is a fantastic setting for these Christmas movies. And this movie uses its locations well. It's the story of a real estate developer that wants to get rid of a Holiday shop so they can build a skyscraper. The real estate developer's representative falls for the store owner. The story isn't anything new, but then again which of these movies is, but it is told well.
As the leads, Ellen Hollman and Bobby Campo were pretty good performers in this. They had pretty good chemistry, and they were both able to find and create good moments. Neither one is a big star, although Bobby Campo was Yolo on Justified which is awesome, but I enjoyed both of them and would watch them in other stuff.
15. Snowmance (2017 TV Movie)
Unrated | 90 min | Romance
Each year Sarah builds her "Snow Beau" snowman with her best friend Nick. After another breakup, she begins to wonder if she'll ever find true love of her own. A little Christmas magic brings her Snow Beau to life.
Ion's first movie of the season was pretty fun. It's the story of a woman, always on the look out for love, who makes a snowman with her best friend, who is a guy who is hoplessly in love with her, and the snowman is representative of all the things she is looking for in a man. The morning after she builds it, a handsome man knocks on her door with the scarf she put on the snowman, and all of the traits she had built into the snowman. It never said that this dream guy was the snowman, but it implied it heavily. She works for a magazine and the story she ends up writing is about all the fun couples things there are to do at Christmas in Minneapolis, where this movie takes place. This is the most fun sequence, where they engage in all sorts of fun looking activities, of course with her love-lorn best friend in tow.
Ashley Newbrough as the woman and Adam Hurtig as her best friend and ultimate romantic interest, are very serviceable. They aren't the most dynamic performers, but they tell the story. Jesse Hutch, veteran of the Hallmark classic Let it Snow, throws himself into the performance of the snowman come to life, with enthusiasm and wonder. He elevated this from one you could kill time with to one you could look forward to watching.
16. Christmas in Mississippi (2017)
90 min | Drama
Photographer Holly Logan (Jana Kramer) returns to her hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi for Christmas. The town is resurrecting their traditional holiday light show for the first time since... See full summary »
Lifetime's slate of movies this season has been pretty solid. And, I have to say, I liked Christmas in Mississippi more than I thought I would. There isn't any snow, but there is a Christmas festival, and out of the many Christmas festivals that have been in the movies this season, this was one of the best ones. And, a photographer returns to her hometown to help with the festival when she finds out that her high school sweetheart is in charge of the festival.
Jana Kramer and Wes Brown as the leads were both solid performers. Jana Kramer was particularly good. The best feature Lifetime's movies have is that they have great supporting casts. Faith Ford, Richard Karn, and Barry Bostwick are all good performers, and they each elevate their supporting roles.
17. Christmas Festival of Ice (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 120 min | Romance
"Those years of law school pay off for Emma but not in ways one would expect. When she finds out that her beloved ice-sculpting contest, part of her hometown's Christmas festival, has been ... See full summary »
This movie wrung every bit of plot they could out of ice sculpting. They, rightly, focused on the drama of putting on the show rather than the drama of the competition. The other notable thing about this movie is Damon Runyan. Typically, the man in one of these movies is just there as a plot point and the only thing asked of him is to be handsome and charming. There are a handful of guys that have become go-tos because they do such a good job with so little to do. Damon Runyan, who has done five or six of these things now, is so charming and has such an easy manner that he is one of the very best. He's also a pretty solid actor. The problem is that he is a Hallmark Christmas movie star, but Taylor Cole, the presumptive star, isn't as good, so you want the focus to be on one character, but it isn't.
18. A Royal Christmas Ball (2017 TV Movie)
TV-PG | 86 min | Drama, Romance
Dateless for the Christmas ball, 39 year old bachelor King Charles of Baltamia tracks down his American college sweetheart only to discover that she has never married but raised a 17 year ... See full summary »
I liked this movie way more than I thought I would. Tara Reid and a tired plot of a prince or a king or a princess or whatever looking for love at Christmas. It looked like it was going to be a painful experience. But, this movie surrounded Tara Reid with a likeable cast, and it had a good energy to it. It could have used more Christmas, but the titular Christmas Ball was pretty.
Tara Reid still can't act, and it is hard to build a movie around her. Luckily, this movie doesn't, as Ingo Rademacher, as King Charles, has a very entertaining plot line of his own. Mykel Shannon Jenkins, as his old college buddy, brings a dynamic that these kind of movies lack. It was good in spite of Tara Reid in the lead.
19. Christmas at Holly Lodge (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 90 min | Drama, Family, Romance
Sophie Bennett, the owner, tries to convince a developer that the lodge would be a bad investment.
This was a pretty decent entry. Another real estate developer, there have been a few this Christmas season, comes to visit a struggling lodge to see whether or not his boss can buy it, and he falls for the owner. There have been several movies with this plot this season, and that hurts this movie. But, this was a solid take on that.
The biggest advantage this movie has is its leads. Alison Sweeney, as the owner of the lodge, is a legit talented actress. She might be known for a soap opera, but she has the perfect talent for Christmas movies. Jordan Bridges is one of those love interests who makes his parts better. Although, I will say, I enjoy him as kind of a scruffy underdog, whereas in this he plays a workaholic businessman. He is still fun, but I like it better when he plays into his strengths. It was good to see two good leads together, instead of a trend where one is good and the other isn't.
20. The Christmas Cottage (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Any couple who spends the night in the Christmas cottage shall have love everlasting - Lacey Quinn did not believe in happily ever after or the legend of the Christmas cottage. As maid of ... See full summary »
None of the performances by any of the actors in this movie was much to talk about. The plot, about a career minded woman and her old flame are in a wedding together and end up getting the titular cottage ready for the newlyweds honeymoon, but which has the magical power of making anyone that stays there fall in love, was silly. But, the cottage itself was so well done, so well decorated, and so cozy it was like Christmas incarnate. And, when the power went out, and the only light was firelight, it was Hallmark Christmas movie perfection.
21. A Gift to Remember (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 90 min | Drama, Romance
Based on the book by Melissa Hill, Darcy finds romance with a handsome stranger with amnesia.
There are a lot of good elements in this one. The story, about a woman who works in a bookstore and hits a man with her bike giving him a concussion, is a bit cliche, but it works. It could have taken place during anytime of year, but Christmas is incorporated into the story well. The bookstore is a good place to spend time, and there is a sweet dog.
The only major problem is that the two leads can only be described as non-descript. I know community theater actors who are more dynamic than them. There are some decent supporting performances, and that helps. Had this one had some better leads, it might have been one of the classics.
22. The Spruces and the Pines (2017 TV Movie)
Unrated | 86 min | Drama
A Romeo and Juliet romance takes place among two feuding New England Christmas Tree lot families. Against their families' wills, Julie Pine and visiting-from-Texas, Rick Spruce, fall in ... See full summary »
If you are going to rip off a better story in your made for Ion Christmas movie. William Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet aren't a terrible choice. Two rival Christmas tree farms are just down the street from each other. The daughter of one, Julie Pine, has to do a favor for a friend and stops at the other and meets and falls for the nephew, Rick Spruce. The script isn't particularly inspired, or even clever, but it did set up the central romance well. The tree farms as settings were fun because there were lots of trees and snow, and they picked some really pretty outdoor locations.
Jonna Walsh and Nick Ballard, as Julie and Rick, were pretty good together. For unknown actors, they put in some solid performances. Jonna Walsh, in particular, seems like she might make more of a name for herself.
23. Christmas in the Air (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 84 min | Romance
Lydia, a successful professional organizer, is constantly trying to grow her business, but her ambition takes a back seat to love when she meets Robert, a frazzled widower with two young children
Based on the title, one would assume that this movie would be about Christmas in an airport, or at least on an airplane, which is usually a great setting for a Hallmark Christmas movie. But, this is actually about a man who makes flying toys who's life is so hectic that he hires a beautiful professional organizer to help him manage his life. It's a thin premise at best, but the tone is good and the houses, where most of the movie takes place, are cozy.
The stars are Eric Close, from numerous unmemorable television shows, and the always reliable Hallmark hand, Catherine Bell. Eric Close is, once again, unmemorable. Just because an actor has been on television before, doesn't mean they are compelling to watch, even in a Hallmark movie. Catherine Bell, though, is solid. She has to carry a weak premise, but is charming enough to overcome her character's limitations.
24. Christmas Encore (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 83 min | Drama, Romance
A struggling actress earns the lead part in the production of 'A Christmas Carol', and falls in love with the director. But, the cast and crew need a Christmas miracle to save the show when the theater loses its lease.
Christmas Encore is a medium tier Hallmark Christmas movie that is uplifted by a solid performance form Maggie Lawson, Psych's Juliet. It's about a struggling actress that finds a break in a production of a Christmas Carol that a TV star she used to know is directing. Meanwhile, the theater company is being evicted from their theater by the money-grubbing president. This suffered from a serious lack of Christmas. The only point of Christmas was that A Christmas Carol was the show they were doing.
Maggie Lawson is the bright spot in this one. She is the only actor worth mentioning in the entire affair. She is so likeable, you don't even notice her charmless love interest.
25. A Very Merry Toy Store (2017)
TV-PG | 90 min | Drama
Two rival toy shop owners reluctantly join forces when an unscrupulous toy magnate opens a box store in their town.
This is a Lifetime entry, and it was okay. Lifetime movies tend to have more recognizable casts, and this one is no different. Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez lead the cast as rival toy store owners, but this one also threw in Brian Dennehy and Mike from Mike and Molly. And just for kicks, Beth Broderick, who played Melissa Joan Hart's aunt in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, plays her mother here.
As for the quality, it's not as fun as you might hope a Christmas movie about a toy store might be. Neither of the toy stores were very magical, they seemed more like hardware stores for toys. The plot was fine, two rival toy store owners have to team up when a national chain comes to put them out of business, and they fall in love. The turn from rivals to lovers was kind of abrupt, as not much effort was put into the softening towards each other. It was good to see many of these actors getting work, but it didn't amount to much.
26. A Bramble House Christmas (2017 TV Movie)
Not Rated | 84 min | Drama
Finn Conrad becomes suspicious as to why his father left a nurse, named Willa $100,000, and goes undercover to investigate. When she discovers his true identity, will it keep her from ever trusting him again?
This was an okay entry but just starts on such a bad foot. It opens with an out of work live in caretaker who receives a letter notifying her that her last client left her a bunch of money and a trip to a place called Bramble House. The problem is that this scene is inter-cut with the clients children furious about not being included in their father's will. The son decides to fight it and confront it at Bramble House. This opening was like out of a different movie because it was so mean spirited. The son ends up falling in love with the caretaker and her son, so it course corrects just fine. It's just hard to get over that beginning.
Autumn Reeser is a fine actress and a veteran of many Christmas movies, and she is fine in this. David Haydn-Jones is also a veteran of a few of these Christmas movies, and he has the heavier lifting as he has to go from bitter son to lovestruck love interest, and he does a fine job also. It really ended up being okay, it just had such a rough start.
27. With Love, Christmas (2017 TV Movie)
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Melanie Welch (Ullerup) is a hard-working ad executive who finds herself teamed up with uptight coworker Donovan Goodwin (O'Connell) to come up with the ultimate Christmas commercial for a ... See full summary »
The set-up to this one is okay. At a competitive ad agency, a Christmas loving woman gets her Christmas hating rival in secret Santa. The problem was that there weren't any good moments. No good Christmas scenes. No small things that elevate a Hallmark Christmas movie.
The lead, Emilie Ellerup, was a generic blonde straight out of central casting. She didn't have a ton of personality outside of loving Christmas. Aaron O'Connell, as the Christmas hating love interest, has at least done a few of these movies before, so he brought the right tone. This was just an average movie with an average cast, and ends up being pretty average.
28. Magical Christmas Ornaments (2017 TV Movie)
TV-14 | Romance
"After a bad breakup, former Christmas lover Marie (Lowndes) loses her Christmas spirit. Trying to restore it, her mother sends Marie Christmas ornaments from her childhood, and a ... See full summary »
One thing I am learning about this Christmas movie season, is that the more whimsical the title, the less whimsical the movie will be. This movie had a plot device that Jessica Lowndes, the lead, gets a new Christmas ornament every day, and it foreshadows the events of the coming day. She is a book editor that falls for a doctor, but has to edit her ex-boyfriend's book.
Jessica Lowndes is fine in the lead. Some of her motivations are pretty weak. Brendan Penny, as the love interest doctor, is not very good. Apparently, he is a working actor, though I have hard time believing it based on this movie. In the end, nothing about this movie lives up to the title "Magical Christmas Ornaments".
29. Christmas Homecoming (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 90 min | Drama, Romance
A widow of a war hero takes in an injured soldier who has just returned from Afghanistan. Together they help each other heal and find true love.
Hallmark Christmas movies and the military don't typically mix well. Last year's military themed Christmas movie was embarrassingly maudlin. This one manages to avoid the worst tendencies of emotional manipulation, but just barely. The reason for that is that the two lead performances, by Julie Benz and Michael Shanks, are nuanced enough to avoid the worst cliches. The two of them have great chemistry, and they find enough good moments between the two of them, that it lightens the tone enough for this one to be bearable.
30. Christmas in Angel Falls (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 84 min | Family, Romance
Guardian angel Gabby is sent to Angel Falls to revive the town's forgotten Christmas spirit, and unexpectedly finds love in the process.
Christmas in Angel Falls is the story of an angel who's mission is to bring the Christmas spirit back to a town that used to be known for its Christmas celebrations, and along the way she falls in love with a guy that lives in the town. Whenever "angel" replaces "elf", it always feels like a missed opportunity. Beau Bridges as the head angel was fun, but it would have been all the more fun if he had played Santa or a head elf. There were some okay Christmas moments.
Rachel Boston was a weak lead, and was completely overshadowed by her co-stars. Beau Bridges, as mentioned, was fun as her boss. What he was doing popping up in a Christmas movie, I don't know, but I'm glad he did. Paul Greene is a veteran of the Hallmark Christmas movie, and he was great in this. He strikes exactly the right tone for these movies. This Christmas season, it seems that they haven't paired two talented leads together, for whatever reason. Sometimes, the female lead is awesome and the male lead is lacking, and they have used their best male love interests with their weak female leads. And that is what happens here, and I wish Paul Greene would have been in one of the better ones.
31. Enchanted Christmas (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 84 min | Romance
When she left Utah as a young widow, Laura Trudeau left behind her father, her love of dance -- and an old heartbreak. Now, she must return home to spearhead the renovation of a derelict ... See full summary »
The title "Enchanted Christmas" had me excited for a very fantastical and fun Christmas movie. The reality was that this was the least Christmas-y movie of the Hallmark Christmas movie season so far. The plot is a woman has to go to the hometown she escaped from to renovate a hotel by Dec. 24 so that the Christmas pageant she used to dance in can take place there. She also reconnects with her old dance partner who still carries a flame for her. If the pageant wasn't a Christmas eve pageant, you could watch this movie in March.
As far as the stars go, Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega are married in real life, and even adorably smooshed their last names together, so it's kind of surprising that they don't go well together. Part of the problem is that Alexa PenaVega's performance is of a wooden variety. This was a highly forgettable entry.
32. Marry Me at Christmas (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 84 min | Comedy, Family, Romance
The first movie of the Hallmark Christmas season was fine. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great, either. The small town was decently cozy, but it wasn't especially Christmas-y. And, like everything else, the actors were fine, but none of them were especially notable, and none of them got bonus points for nineties nostalgia.
33. A Joyous Christmas (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 83 min | Drama, Family, Romance
A young self-help author returns to her hometown during the Christmas holidays to promote her new book. She soon discovers the true meaning of Christmas and family.
It's funny that so little effort was put into this movie's imdb page, because it felt like not a lot of effort was put into this one. This had to be one of the last picks. A motivational speaker who has a me-first message gets a lesson from an old woman who runs a soup kitchen. She brings in a consultant to help the attendance of her tour, who happens to be a guy she was in love with. Notice how Christmas wasn't used in the description at all. There weren't any good Christmas moments.
The only notable performance in the movie was Bonnie Bedelia as the old woman. She was a multi-dimensional character in world of stock characters. The two leads weren't notable at all. The only other professional actor in the movie was Steve Bacic as the motivational speaker's unscrupulous manager. This was not a memorable one.
34. Engaging Father Christmas (2017 TV Movie)
TV-G | 90 min | Drama, Romance
Miranda is flying back to Vermont from her home in Seattle to reconnect with her family over the holidays -- and to see Ian, a local handyman she fell in love with on her last trip to the ... See full summary »
One, making a sequel to one of the more forgettable entries from last year is a curious decision. Two, the sequel isn't as good as the original, and I didn't particularly care for the original. The plot hinges on you caring about the characters, but they are so flimsy, even for Hallmark. The tone is maudlin, at best.
The performances aren't saving this movie, either. I don't know if Erin Krakow is particularly good, but she certainly can't save such a joyless part. And Niall Matter as her love interest does nothing to distinguish himself as a professional actor. Wendie Malick, who is absolutely wonderful in everything, can't even save this, and that is probably the biggest indictment of all.