#CandyCaneChristmas, #ACraftyChristmasRomance, and more – Movie Reviews

Table of Reviews

Candy Cane Christmas – Review

Candy Cane Christmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

When they were little girls, Laurie and Phoebe loved going to Candy Cane Lane.  The street was decorated from house to house with lights, food stations, and Santa.  Phoebe told her parents she wanted to go every year.  Now, adults Laurie and Phoebe own a flower shop and volunteer for Candy Cane Lane.  Mrs. McGraw comes to the shop and asks Phoebe to take a walk with her.  Mrs. McGraw has decided to move to California to be with her son.  Phoebe interjects and offers to take over her section of Candy Cane Lane.  Mrs. McGraw cuts her off.  Everyone on the street decided not to participate because they are too busy, their family dynamic changed, or they won’t be around for Christmas.  Candy Cane Lane is over.  Phoebe’s face falls with the saddening news because she looks forward to the tradition every year.  When Laurie doesn’t have the same reaction, Phoebe’s confused.  Laurie wants Phoebe to try to change, create new Christmas traditions, and date again.  Phoebe promises to try new things, but not dating.  Then as she closes the shop, Phoebe hears a knock on the door.  It’s Eric, and he has a Christmas emergency.  He needs to buy a poinsettia for his special lady.  Phoebe assumes it’s his girlfriend and gives him the plant.  Phoebe is wrong.  Eric’s special woman is his Aunt Maggie.  It will take a few more run-ins for Eric and Phoebe to get their love story right, and Candy Cane Lane is the key.

This movie didn’t capture the spirit of the holidays or the attention of the viewer.  There is little to no funny, heartfelt, or inspiring moments to put you in the Christmas spirit.  The viewer will become bored with the overdone plot and lackluster couple.  With so many new movies this year, this film felt uninspired and thrown in as filler for the season.  The only watchable moment is with spunky aunt Maggie. You can skip this film this holiday.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars

Nailed it – Joe

Oh, our 5-year-old selves would be so disappointed – Laurie

Isn’t it better to remember how wonderful it was, than try to continue a tradition when you know it won’t be anything like it use to be – Mrs. McGraw

So I like what I like, what’s wrong with that – Phoebe

Not the whole world, just a small very important part to me – Eric

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A Crafty Christmas Romance – Review

A Crafty Christmas Romance – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Mandy owns a craft shop, and Gabby is her only employee.  But she makes a great living focusing on specific holidays, parties, and classes.  During the holiday season, Mandy runs a book and toy drive.  Gabby brings in the latest donations, but they are all used books and toys, she donation request asked for new items only.  Mandy looks through the box and finds an old edition of A Christmas Carol (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  She flips through the pages and finds a letter to Santa.  In the letter, a little girl named Judith tells Santa that she lost her father in the war.  She found a coin her father would have liked and asked Santa to give the proof coin to her father.  Moved by the letter, Mandy decides to find the owner and return the Christmas letter and the proof coin.  She searches for the donator at a church and finds Jonah.  While working on the church’s renovations, he found the items, and the pastor told him to deliver them to the craft store.  But he doesn’t know the original owner.  He offers to ask the pastor and tells Mandy to leave her number.  Later, Jonah goes to Mandy’s shop and tells her he got no luck from asking the pastor, but he wants to help her.  It’s a good thing she got his help because she wants to give the owner the letter and coin for Christmas, just two weeks away.  And the biggest prize is the coin. Mandy took it to a dealer, and the dealer relayed it’s a proof coin.  That particular proof coin is worth $30,000.  Mandy wants to make sure it is returned with Jonah by her side.

With a misleading title, the mystery of Judith is the focal point of this story.  While some believe Mandy should keep or sell the coin, she states her case and holds to her beliefs.  The proof coin doesn’t belong to her.  She will do everything to find the owner or the owner’s closest kin, and she will do it before Christmas.  Seeing her drive and kindness helps Jonah fall in love with her.  Because the love story is the subplot, it’s believable to the viewer.  You will start to fall in love with them as a couple.  This love story is a Christmas time mystery and an instant classic.   

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

Well, it’s not quite like that – Jonah

You bet, but not mine to sell – Mandy

Am I getting extra time off after this – Gabby

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Deliver by Christmas – Review

Deliver by Christmas – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Molly owns a bakery on the rise but uses post-it notes to track her orders.  Josh is a widowed father of one who wants to focus on work and his son, Charlie.  However, his sister-in-law, Amy, wants to set him up with one of her single friends.  He promptly says no, but he offers to help with the Christmas Lighting festivities.  She hands him a stack of papers of all the vendors and asks him to contact them all to confirm their orders.  After work, he starts sending emails and gets a response back from Molly.  She validates the cookie order, but her late-night response throws him.  She explains she bakes at night to have fresh croissants in the morning.  He asks to talk on the phone, and they have a great conversation, but they don’t know they have met in the past.  While shopping for a Christmas tree, they accidentally held hands.  They both shared knowledge about Christmas trees while jokingly considered splitting a tree.  They share a mutual attraction but choose not to act on it.  However, they continue to talk and text without knowing they are communicating with each other.  When Molly figures out the truth, will it be too late? Can the romance work face to face?

Deliver by Christmas is a romantic comedy with baking tips and a dash of Christmas thrown in.  They have several chances to meet, like during photos with Santa, but they don’t.  Some missed moments stem from missed opportunities, while others stem from a fear of rejection.  However, they both discuss how easy it is to talk or text.  It’s amazing how they never share names when they meet in person but quickly drop their guard over the phone.  While we see the terrible effects of this in society today, this movie shows the good.  It’s the reason why so many seek counseling hotlines.  While you know how the plot will end, this is a couple you will love.  By the way, Operations: Holiday for Heroes is real and can use your support.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Well, that’s what a stapler is for – Molly

Charlie ,remind me, was snowball fight on the list – Josh

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Operation Cupcake – Review

Operation Cupcake – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Colonel Griff Carson is back from deployment for two months.  While on leave, the promotion board reviews his file for General.  He tells his wife, Janet, he is not sure he wants to re-enlist.  He is ready to retire and be home with his family 100%.  But Griff feels like a stranger in his own life.  He doesn’t know his neighbor’s son, Ray.  Griff doesn’t know his daughter, Kim, is dating Ray.  He doesn’t know how to conduct himself at his son’s, Ollie, baseball game.  Seeing her husband is out of sorts, Janet drafts Griff into working at her bakery, Four Star Cupcakes.  With a big order for the mayor’s daughter and preparing for the grand opening of her second bakery, Janet can use all the help she can get.  He is apprehensive because Sheila, the head baker, is not a fan of his, and he not of her.  On his first day, she makes a line with flour and warns him to stay on his side of the line.  By Friday, he has insulted customers, declared war with Ned’s Bakery, and caused a flood.  In disbelief, Janet sees her dream crumble.  And to add insult to injury, Griff did a background check on her business partner, Thad, because he worries they may be having an affair.  Seeing the hurt in her eyes, Griff wants to fix things with Janet while deciding if he will re-enlist and take the promotion.

Be prepared for a revealing movie full of laughs and heart.  You will want a part two after the credits roll.  So many military families can relate to soldiers feeling out of step when they come home.  Adjusting to civilian life can be difficult.  The movie gets the message of family, trust, and love across without getting sappy or compromising the heart of the message.  You will laugh out loud, cringe, and some moments will inspire you.  This film is a family movie everyone will love.  

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

Would I be a jerk if I said both – Carson

It’s not collateral, it’s just damage – Janet

I’m 15 pounds overweight and wearing far too much pink, you want to try that again – Sheila

Normal’s overrated – Ollie

You oldies like that kind of thing right – Kim

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Chateau Christmas – Review

Chateau Christmas – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Pianist Margot is left reeling from a bad review and hopes to redeem herself at her next concert.  However, the show falls apart at the seams, and the fire marshal shuts it down.  With her concert canceled indefinitely, Margot decides to spend her Christmas with her family at The Chateau.  Adam runs The Chateau hotel, and the Christmas celebrations are legendary.  However, this year’s Christmas celebration appears doomed.  A string player has an injury, the singer is sick, and another artist is in labor.  He has no concept, no musicians, and no singers for the Christmas concert.  Adam contacts his old college friend, Jackson.  Cellist and music theory teacher, Jackson can’t believe the odds against him.  However, if he succeeds, the concert will make him a shoo-in for the committee chair promotion.  Then, he hears someone playing the piano and walks over to see who’s the genius.  The musician turns, and she is a blast from his past.  Jackson and Margot dated in college and played in a band together.  But when Margot got a better opportunity to go solo, she took it, and their relationship ended.  Adam has an idea, Margot and Jackson should play together at the concert.  Margot says no because she can’t handle another bad review, but her mother encourages her to respond yes.  Jackson and Margot try to assemble musicians for the concert.  They will have to heal two past hurts to pull off the best Christmas concert at The Chateau.

The saving grace of this movie is the music, the cute kid, and the other musicians.  You will be more invested in the secondary story of Sam and Sarah than the main characters.  You care less about Jackson and Margot because the storyline is predetermined.  The script doesn’t force you to care about his promotion or her review.  There is zero tension, even for a Hallmark movie.  This film won’t be your favorite in the Countdown to Christmas series.

I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars

Yeah, it’s called flattery.  Is it working – Adam

I’m definitely me – Simone

Will you be interested in playing in the Christmas concert – Jackson

Keeping an eye on my career, I see – Margot

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Forever Christmas – Review

Forever Christmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Sophia is on the verge of losing her producer job.  She has one more chance to make a good impression by coming up with a new reality TV show.  She does some investigating and discovers Will. He celebrates Christmas 365 days a year.  She calls him to schedule a sit-down, but he’s not interested.  She promises to give his charities exposure if he agrees, and he does.  At a coffee shop, Will tells Sophia that he is worried about being badly portrayed in the media, which will take away from his original message: to keep the Christmas spirit in your heart all year round.  Sophia promises to keep the heart of the show.  When the crew arrives, they abruptly overstep their bounds by asking about his love life and touching his decorations.  Will does what he can to soothe them and continue with the show.  But Sophia can see what’s happening behind the scenes.  Her boss, Paul, cuts the video to make Will appear as a goofy Christmas nut.  These cuts go against the documentary-style integrity she wanted to bring to reality TV.  As Sophia gets to know Will, she starts to fall for him, and they kiss.  He believes this is the start of something magical.  When Will finds out Paul’s intentions, Will blames Sophia and wants to quit.  If he doesn’t do the show, she loses her job.  Sophia has to find a way to make the network happy, stay true to her vision, and keep her promises to Will.  Can she do it?

Based on Mr. 365 by Ruth Clampett, this movie uses itself to reflect the exploitative nature of reality tv today (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  Shows with the best intentions can change for ratings.  Producers cut scenes to create heroes, villains, or goofs.  Hearing Sophia’s vision is a refreshing change of pace.  While the plot is an intriguing commentary, the story loses its rhythm.  It stops requiring your attention, and the characters one-dimensional.  The book lost something when it became a movie.  This movie will not be a stand out in the ‘It’s a Wonderful Lifetime’ Series.

I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars

You’re expecting an elf – Will

Humble? More like amazing – Sophia

How much are you paying for our inconvenience – Fred

Honey, that ship has sailed – Gia

Not every guy you like is going to turn into Marco – Lindsey

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Always a Bride – Review

Always a Bride – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Claire and Jess give Jordan one last hoorah in Vegas before Jordan marries Peter.  Before she leaves, Peter takes his grandmother’s diamond ring for safekeeping and warns her not to drink.  Every time Jordan drinks, things go wrong.  At a nightclub, the women order drinks.  While Jordan requests a virgin drink, Claire tells the waitress to give her and Jess double the rum.  While waiting for their drinks, Claire and Jess spot Matt walking into the nightclub.  Matt is an insanely famous movie star.  As Claire and Jess gush over him, Jordan is not impressed.  The waitress comes back with their drinks, and the ladies continue their night.  The next morning, Jordan wakes up on a couch with a tiara and no idea where she is.  Then, Matt comes out of the bathroom.  She starts to panic, but he assures her they slept in separate rooms, and he was the perfect gentleman.  It occurs to Jordan that the waitress gave her the wrong drink.  She goes to the bathroom to clean her face and sees a large diamond ring on her finger.  She goes to Matt for an explanation, and he has an easy one: they got married.  Engaged to Peter, Jordan can’t believe she married Matt.  He orders room service and promises to have the marriage annulled before anyone knows.  However, they don’t know a paparazzi got a hold of the pictures, and it’s on the cover of the gossip rags.  Jordan goes to work like everything is fine, then Peter slaps the magazine on her desk.  He wants to know what happened, and he wants to know now.  Flustered, she tries to explain the waitress gave her the wrong drink, and the marriage is no big deal.  Peter is understandably upset.  She promises Matt’s lawyer will annul the marriage in a few days.  Unfortunately, the quicky marriage sparked new interest in Matt’s movie, and box office sales are up.  His manager, Eric, tells Matt to keep the wedding going until after the weekend release.  And Matt agrees, but he doesn’t know how long Eric will keep the marriage going for his 10%.

This movie is the Hangover gone wrong, but beautifully right (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  At the beginning of the film, it’s apparent to the audience and Jordan’s friends that Peter isn’t right for her.  You understand her dilemma, but you don’t want her to marry Peter.  Her marriage to Matt makes the cracks in her relationship with Peter wider than the Grand Canyon.  While Peter and Jordan try to work on their relationship, the media throws her into the spotlight.  She loses her privacy, her job, and Peter’s trust.  This movie openly displays the shady side of Hollywood.  Even today, celebrities and pseudo-celebrities will pull off crazy stunts for publicity, likes, and ratings.  This movie has a lot of heart and goes emotionally deeper than most films in its genre.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

I like being in control, it suits me – Jordan

Wait, you’re the bride? – Matt

Yeah, Jordie’s way better off than us today – Jess

Vegas was so uneventful, you forgot to mention this – Peter

You just went from anonymous to notorious in 15 minutes flat – Claire

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Christmas Tree Lane – Review

Christmas Tree Lane – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

The music store owner and vocal coach, Meg, got a letter with dreadful news.  Cloverfield Investments are bulldozing their street to put up new creative spaces for media and tech companies.  They are evicting every shop owner on Christmas Tree Lane.  Meg, as the president of the Merchant’s Association, calls an emergency meeting.  The local merchants come up with ideas to bring attention to their cause, like bake sales, Christmas tree lighting, local news, and a concert.  Meg hasn’t played for an audience in a while and doesn’t feel ready.  As she talks to her friend Emma, Nate walks into Meg’s shop.  Earlier in the week, they sat, talked, and drank hot chocolate together.  Nate came to her store to return the hat she left behind.  Smitten by her optimism, Nate, an architect, offers to lend his expertise to designing the street for the media.  Nate loves to design buildings, but his father is ready for him to take over the company.  When Nate walks into his office, his father replaced Nate’s drawing desk with a traditional desk, then drops a mountain of files for review.  One of those files says Christmas Tree Lane Project.  Meg doesn’t know it, but Nate works for Cloverfield, but he has no idea his father is tearing down Christmas Tree Lane.  Nate loves his father while he is falling in love with Meg.  He must find a way to save Christmas Tree Lane while making money for his father’s company.

Once again, this movie tries not to make the developers the bad guys.  The merchants of Christmas Tree Lane know business is slow.  It starts to pick up when they report the activities on the local news.  However, Nate’s father quickly points out that the foot traffic will disappear on January 1st.  The street isn’t profitable, and therefore, financially unsustainable.  When Meg and Nate work together, she helps him find his voice.  While he plans to take over the business, he still wants to create.  Nate helps Meg with the events and gives her the courage to perform in front of an audience again.  This movie has a loving story with beautiful voices.  

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

It’s because they taste like sadness – Nate

Hot chocolating? Is that even a word – Meg

Never say never – Emma

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Jingle Bell Bride – Review

Jingle Bell Bride – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Jessica is the wedding coordinator to the stars. Jessica’s client, pop-singer Renee, asked Jessica to do the impossible.  Renee’s grandmother had Jingle Bell flowers at her wedding, and Renee wants them for her winter wedding.  She wants the flowers in the bouquet, the boutonnieres, and the archway.  Jessica goes back to her office and discovers the flowers are out of season.  She tries to explain to her boss, but the boss gives Jessica a stern warning.  If she wants the promotion at the London office, she has to make Renee’s dream wedding come true, and it must include the flowers.  Jessica does more research and learns a small town in Alaska uses the flowers for their parade.  She calls Mayor Wilson and offers to fund their music program if she can have some of their flowers.  The Mayor agrees.  Taking a hands-on approach, Jessica arrives at the small airport, with no terminal and a hand-delivered baggage claim.  She bumps into a man while waiting for her ride and calls Mayor Wilson when she can’t find her driver.  Embarrassed, Jessica discovers the man, Matt, is her ride.  His mother owns the flower shop, and he makes Jessica work for her flowers.  On the way back to the airport, Matt stops at a moose crossing and gets caught in the snow.  Jessica misses her flight home.  She must stay in town a day and cut new flowers to make sure they stay fresh.  After several mishaps, the newly appointed parade princess, Jessica, has to find a way back to New York, with the flowers and on time for Renee’s wedding, or risk losing her promotion.  With the busy city life coursing through her veins, will Matt make her appreciate small-town life and him?

Based on Jingle Bell Bride by Scarlet Wilson, this movie is a decor show with funny hijinks thrown in to make you laugh (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  While they have the flowers she needs, Jessica comes to town just in the nick of time.  She helps them decorate an old barn for the Christmas dance and participate in numerous activities.  While she often talks about the stresses of her job, she loves what she does.  It’s the pressure of high-profile clients that takes the fun out of party planning for her.  Matt helps her find a healthy balance.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

A bit of yourself – Jessica

Can’t I compliment a job well done – Mayor Wilson

Right, wouldn’t want to miss you with all these people here – Matt

Diamond in the rough – Mary

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The Pom Pom Murders – Review

The Pom Pom Murders – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Audrey is late for her Renegades Girls tryout.  The line is long, but Coach Cassie notices.  As she waits to get a number, Audrey meets Tracy.  Tracy, an aspiring actress, tried out before but didn’t make the cut.  She hopes to make it this year to draw attention to her acting career.  The two make fast friends, but not with Bailey.  Unbeknownst to Bailey, the former Renegades Girl has to try out again because of prior transgressions.  Tracy tells her to go to the back of the line like everyone else, and Cassie agrees.  Tracy, Audrey, and Bailey make the first cut, and after Tracy and Audrey celebrate, Walter, the best basketball player in the league, walks by and drops his jersey.  Audrey picks it up and hands it to him, but he walks away and has an argument with Bailey.  After tryouts, Audrey waits for her rideshare, but her phone died.  She sees a Bailey get out of Walter’s car and yell at him.  Walter drives up and sees Audrey alone and offers her a ride.  He explains that with a dead phone, the rideshare driver will not be able to find her location.  In the car, he asks for her number.  She laughs and tells Walter she refused to be one of his many women.  Walter tells Audrey he practices the Baha’i faith and believes in abstinence.  She apologizes for judging him, and they exchange numbers.  Days later, Audrey made the team, but the news is bittersweet because Tracy didn’t.  At the first practice, Audrey is happy to see Tracy doesn’t know why she is there.  The coaches reconsidered, and she made the team.  The women don’t know it, but someone murdered Bailey.  And when all evidence points to Walter, Audrey investigates to find out who killed Bailey.

There is nothing better than a movie that makes fun of itself.  In the opening scene, Audrey describes the cliché of the young, obscure girl’s murder at the beginning to make you watch the film.  Then the mother jokes that the plot sounds like an episode of Dateline.  Finally, the end has an apology for the scene in the beginning.  Also, the movie gives you a cheating husband, a crazy wife, and a creepy janitor.  It’s a plot that refuses to take itself seriously and allows the viewer to laugh.  Save this movie for a rainy day inside.  

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

They do this to make you want to watch the movie – Audrey

If I don’t make the team this year, I’m gonna kill somebody – Tracy

We’re not done talking – Walter

I’m already on the team – Bailey

This is beginning to sound like an episode of Dateline – Nancy

I can think of a lot of reason to kill Bailey West – Coach Cassie

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Categories: A Crafty Christmas Romance, Alicia Witt, Always a Bride, Andrew Walker, Anna Marie Dobbins, Benedicte Belizaire, Bess Armstrong, beverley mitchell, Bradford B. Johnson, Briana Price, Candy Cane Christmas, Chateau Christmas, Chelsea Hobbs, christmas, Christmas Tree Lane, Christopher Russell, Countdown to Christmas, Dean Cain, Delivered by Christmas, Drake Hogestyn, Ethan Erickson, Forever Christmas, Grace Patterson, hallmark, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, HMM, holiday, Its A Wonderful Lifetime, Jhey Castles, Jill Morrison, Jingle Bell Bride, Jon Schaefer, Julia Gonzalo, Kellie Martin, Kristy Swanson, lifetime, lifetime movie network, Lindsay Diann, lmn, Luke MacFarlane, Made for TV, Mark Ghanimé, Matthew Anderson, Merritt Patterson, Miracles of Christmas, movie, Nicola Posener, Operation Cupcake, review, Ronnie Rowe Jr., Shocktober, The Pom Pom Murders, Trudy Weiss, UPtv

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