#BETChristmasSurprise, #TooCloseForChristmas, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

A Christmas Surprise – Review

A Christmas Surprise – BET – 2 hours and 25 minutes

Tanya will experience her two favorite events of the year.  First, Christmas is coming, her favorite holiday.  Second, her daughter Brittney is coming home for winter break.  Tanya is on cloud nine until she sees her ex-husband, Craig, and his new girlfriend, Victoria.  Tanya couldn’t care less about Victoria, but she is upset because Craig is leaving town for business over Christmas.  As Craig and Tanya argue over who and how to pick Brittney up from the airport, Brittney arrives in her rideshare.  She’s disappointed her dad had to go away, but she’s happy to spend time with her mom.  Later, Brittney shares some news with Tanya, her boyfriend is coming tomorrow.  Tanya never knew Brittney and Amiri started dating.  When Amiri arrives, the hits keep coming.  He is not in college and an artist.  This man is not the guy Tanya imagined for Brittney.  The next morning, Brittney tells her mom she will take a semester off and go to Switzerland with Amiri to support his art.  When her mother asks what’s the rush, the word honeymoon slips out.  Amiri and Brittney will wed on Christmas Eve, and Brittney planned most of the wedding with Craig’s blessing and money.  When Jaylin, Tanya’s friend and accountant, sees she will erupt soon, he tells her to relax.  If Tanya responds the wrong way, then Tanya could lose Brittney.  She tries to make the best of it.  The next day, a driver rings the doorbell.  It’s Amiri’s mother, Demetria, and she keeps her driver nearby to make other sleeping arrangements.  Amiri tells Demetria that she is staying at Tanya’s home and she has to behave herself.  Let’s see what happens when two queen bees fight over one throne.

From beginning to end, this movie will make you laugh.  At first, you will feel that Tanya is doing too much and overstepping her bounds.  But she meets her match with Demetria.  Although these women are opposites, their love for their children is the same.  Seeing the women go shot-for-shot will have you keeping score.  As the women fight, their children see the flaws in their respective mother and confide in the other mother.  Both women must take responsibility for their actions or hurt their children.  And don’t be mad at Brittney because she is trying to create a legacy for herself.  This movie is a wild Christmas ride to remember.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

She a B, alright – Tanya

As your friend and accountant, less is more – Jaylin

I thought I was your best friend – Amiri

That’s the problem – Brittney

Cute place. Is it a rental – Demetria

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Too Close for Christmas – Review

Too Close for Christmas – Lifetime -2 hours and 0 minutes

After putting her detailed touches on the Signature League Christmas Gala, Hayley heads to her sister’s in-laws’ vacation home for the holidays.  While her boss didn’t have any word about the promotion, she tells Hayley they should have an answer by the Gala.  Hayley drives to the Barnetts’ vacation home and gets a call from her sister, Amy.  Before Amy can say a word, Hayley assures Amy she is on her way.  Amy’s glad because their parents are in Hawaii, and Amy didn’t want Hayley to be alone.  Hayley is happy that Amy’s brother-in-law, Paul, won’t be there.  However, Amy didn’t tell Hayley that Paul would be there for one day because she was afraid Hayley wouldn’t come.  When Hayley gets to the vacation home, Tim, Amy’s husband, spills the beans.  Amy apologies quickly and tries to get Hayley settled, but Paul destroys that thought.  As Hayley takes off her boots by the door, Paul opens it and hits her causing her to fall forward.  At first, Hayley is happy to stay because Paul will be there for a day, but when his stay changes to a week, she has to get her feelings off her chest.  During Amy and Tim’s wedding, Paul told Hayley that he believed her boyfriend would leave for Europe and not take her.  She sat her boyfriend down to talk, and before the reception ended, their relationship was over.  Since then, Hayley blamed Paul for the break-up and plans to avoid him every chance she gets.  However, the Barnetts’ daily scheduled activities make it difficult.  And their matriarch, Judy, believes no man is left behind.  They try to keep their distance, but when Judy gets sick and can’t finish the town’s Christmas Gala, Hayley takes the lead.  Soon, it will be Hayley and Paul side by side, but will Paul’s ambition to travel and Hayley’s insecurity get in the way?

While the movie is watchable, it doesn’t offer much else.  Once the plot reveals the issues of the past, you will start to lose interest.  The story does give a few health issues, but nothing is life-threatening, and the conclusion wraps everything neatly with a bow.  This film won’t be a classic or a favorite for the season.  But it’s a decent watch with a glass of wine.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Oh, you mean back when life was peaceful – Amy

Did I do something – Paul

Word of advice. Observations aren’t always helpful or wanted – Hayley

For the record, you both have terrible poker faces – Tim

I guess sometimes what you think you want, isn’t always what you need – Judy

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The Christmas Listing – Review

The Christmas Listing – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Chad outfoxed Julia again and got another real estate listing from under her nose, leaving her angry and broke.  As she vents to her sister, Jena, Julia believes everything is easier for Chad because he is charming and handsome.  But she feels he doesn’t care about his clients at all.  Chad works for a large real estate firm and only cares about money.  The next morning, Julia finds her father’s hidden stack of bills.  Her father’s cancer is in remission, but his house is going into foreclosure.  Julia left Jena in charge of the household bills, so Julia had no idea they were so far behind.  Now, Julia needs $20,000 to save their home.  First, Julia and Jena decide to go to the bank to get a loan, but worry they won’t qualify.  So, they ask Jena’s ex-boyfriend, Tim, to recommend them.  He can’t help, but he gives them a lead.  Donna and Herb want to sell the Erickson farmstead that doubles as an inn.  This property is just the listing Julia needs to save her family’s home, so Jena promises to handle the business until she gets back from the property.  Julia goes to the property and sees several realtors in the farmhouse, including Chad.  Herb and Donna tell the realtors, this won’t be the typical listing.  They want the realtor to stay on the property for a week and learn why they love it.  They will only give it to the realtor that is as passionate about the farmstead as they are.  After this announcement, all but three realtors, Doug, Chad, and Julia, leave.  The three are determined to be the last realtor standing.  But with the holidays in the air, Julia sees a new side of Chad.  And after disappointment, Chad will end up on one knee asking her an important question.

Julia learns not to judge a book by its cover, not only for Chad but for Jena too.  She thinks of Chad as a charming guy that puts money first.  But when she learns the truth, she discovers the passion behind his drive.  Also, Julia finds out her sister can handle a lot of the work.  She considers Jena to be flighty and childish, so Julia does all the heavy lifting.  But when her feet are to the fire, Jena rises to the occasion.  So, don’t count either of them out.  This movie follows the holiday format, but it’s surprisingly warming hearted and thought-provoking.  Oh, and you will learn what rage-erase is.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

The only thing I could learn from Chad is that my career would be a whole lot easier if I were a man – Julia

Can I have some coffee before the lecture – Jena

I, on the other hand, work for a living – Chad

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People Presents: Once Upon a Main Street – Review

People Presents: Once Upon a Main Street – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Amelia will finally accomplish her dream of opening a year-round Christmas store.  She needs the seller to approve her all-cash offer on her dream property.  She has a premature celebration with her friend when the real estate agent gives her a call and ask her to come into his office.  At the office, the agent tells her the deal isn’t complete.  Another buyer has made an attractive offer too.  Just as Amelia inquires about the other buyer, Victor walks in.  Amelia remembers Victor from an early spat about a parking space and instant karma.  Victor is the other buyer.  While he isn’t paying cash, he is offering over the asking price for the property.  Amelia knows his offer could derail her dream, so her friend tells her to find the seller and convince him to give her the property.  Amelia delights in the fact that the owner, Elder, lives less than 2 hours away.  She heads to see him, but the snow starts to fall heavy and thick.  So she stops at a hotel, but they have no vacancies.  The hotel clerk gave the last available room to Victor.  He has the same plan as Amelia, and it will be a race to the clock.  After an unpleasant night in a hotel room, Victor and Amelia meet Elder face-to-face and plead their case.  He hasn’t decorated his home, but Elder likes Christmas and the idea of a Christmas shop.  And Elder believes Victor’s gourmet chocolate store deserves a chance too.  However, he can’t focus on selling his store because Elder is in charge of the Mainstreet Association Christmas decorations.  Each year the main street of Castle Creek and Crystal compete in a Christmas Decorating competition.  For the last five years, Castle Creek lost.  Elder must work hard with the local store owners to win this year.  However, with his wife passing away, Elder isn’t in the Christmas spirit.  Amelia chimed in to help, and she offers to work with the neighbors to make Castle Creek a winner.  Amelia wants to get on Elder’s good graces, and Victor sees it.  So, he offers to help too.  As these two try to put a disjointed town together, they will fix Elder’s relationship with his daughter and their relationship with each other.

While seeing Amelia and Victor one-up each other is a good laugh, it’s the town’s people, especially Rowena, that will keep you watching.  During the movie, both Victor and Amelia explain their passion for what they do and accomplish.  It’s hard for the viewer to determine who should have it in the end.  And there is a small twist when Amelia finds Christmases past in one of the shops.  You will believe you have an idea of what she wants to do, but the movie comes up with a better solution for them.  This film is one to enjoy with the whole family.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Next time, switch faster – Amelia

There is something called instant karma, you know – Victor

I could get really use to this – Alder

Don’t touch that.  It’s expensive – Rowena

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If I Only Had Christmas – Review

If I Only Had Christmas – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Darcy works for GUMM Public Relations, and she faced the biggest disappointment of her career.  She lost the Campaign of the Year award.  As she licks her wounds, she gets an alert on her phone.  The press is dragging Austin Inc’s name through the mud.  The press doesn’t believe the late CEO’s son, William Austin, has the same drive or vision as his father.  They believe William is the end of the company.  Darcy knows Austin’s communication department must be falling apart, so she goes to her office and creates a strategy.  When Darcy hears GUMM wants to use her plan, Darcy is happy, but when she sees they misinterpreted it, she is distraught.  Darcy calls Austin Inc’s Vice President of Communications, Glen.  She tells him that GUMM didn’t present the pitch she created, and she wants another shot to generate great PR for them.  At first, Glen says no.  But Darcy convinces him that using this charity’s Christmas show could drum up positive press for William Austin and the company.  After some verbal sparring, Glen asks Darcy to leave Kansas City and fly to New York to help with the charity event.  After an awkward run-in at the hotel bar, they plan to meet at the charity headquarters in the morning.  The next day, she meets with the other team members:  

  • Jackie – shy but has big ideas
  • Riley – an actor and dancer with a fear of public speaking
  • Bridget – has a big heart but works on a small budget

If Darcy can generate great PR while working for the charity for three weeks, pro bono, Glen will make sure GUMM gets the Austin Inc account.  Darcy agrees to do the work, but at some point, she wants to meet the elusive William Austin, face-to-face.  She researched him, and there were zero photos of him on any website.  Can Darcy pull the team and the event together? If not, she could lose it all.

Inspired by the Wizard of Oz, some items, influenced by the movie, are easy to spot, like ruby red slippers (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  Others will be harder to spot, like the yellow brick road, but keep your eyes and ears open for the sight or mention of iconic items.  While this movie is the classic at heart, it doesn’t retell it with a modern twist.  It created an entirely different story, one that will grab your attention like the original but skips the singing.  This film does follow the Hallmark format, but you are so focused on the parallels between the two movies, you don’t pay attention to anything else.  This film won’t be a classic, but it will be a season favorite.  

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

No comment. It’ll blow over – Glen

I am upset at myself – Darcy

You never saw this charity as more than a means to an end – Winona

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A Royal Christmas Engagement – Review

A Royal Christmas Engagement – ION – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Lauren landed the L’Amour Chocolate campaign.  They sell 70% of their chocolate to European customers, but they want that to change.  With the right campaign strategy, they want to have a stronghold on the American market.  After another marketing company failed to meet expectations, L’Amour will send a consultant, Paul, to help get Lauren up to speed.  Lauren feels that having a consultant is an insult to her abilities because she has done great with her campaigns in the past, and she feels L’Amour should trust her.  Her boss, John, thinks Lauren should use this as an opportunity to get to know the company and be more assertive.  In Candashire, England, Prince Edward wants more for his life.  Being the second-born royal isn’t exciting at all.  He wants to have a life of his own and earn it’s rewards.  His friend Paul thinks Edward is complaining about nothing.  Paul is the one who will have to leave his pregnant wife behind to go to America.  Hearing Paul’s dilemma, Edward offers a solution.  He will take Paul’s place and act as the consultant for L’Amour.  Against his mother’s wishes, Prince Edward flies to America as Paul, but Edward doesn’t know his mother sent Patrick, a bodyguard, to keep an eye on him.  In the halls of Lauren’s office, she runs into Prince Edward, who introduces himself as Paul.  She tells Paul she will meet with him later to work, but he offers a lunch meeting instead.  Lauren doesn’t do lunch because it impedes work.  Paul uses his charm and grace to win her over for tea.  As they work together on the campaign, Paul will see all Lauren and her hometown has to offer.  As his attraction to Lauren grows, will his need to fulfill his life with purpose break her heart when the world reveals his real-life and name?

Sigh.  This movie is slow and stays there.  You don’t have a real concern for their relationship because the title gives away the ending.  The film isn’t funny, even during the awkward moments when Edward, masking as Paul, continuously puts his foot in his mouth.  He is quick to recover and apologizes.  This movie won’t be a favorite, and it’s forgettable in this season’s avalanche of Christmas movies.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars

It doesn’t have to be grand.  It’s got to be rewarding.  And it’s got to be mine – Edward

You can’t be serious. You? – Paul

Or some might call it lazy – Lauren

Famish.  How European – Bonnie

You do realize this can’t end well – Patrick

Make me pay attention – John

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USS Christmas – Review

USS Christmas – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

After years of working on hard-hitting stories for The Norfolk Register, Maddie tells her coworker, Sarah, she wants to do more heartfelt stories.  Maddie talks to her family, and they convince her to tell her boss, Mr. Bailey, but she comes short and asks to take some vacation time instead.  Maddie will go on a Christmas Tiger Cruise that her sister, Amelia, invited her to go on with their mother, Elizabeth, earlier in the week.  At first, Maddie said no because she still feels the loss of their father.  But Maddie will go to avoid confronting Mr. Bailey.  On the cruise, she meets up with her family and runs into her dad’s old friend and navy buddy, Captain Chet Jenkins.  Chet calls his son, Lt. Billy, over, and pure embarrassment and recognition hit Maddie.  A few nights ago, Maddie spilled wine all over Billy’s date’s white dress at the Navy Christmas Ball.  They took some time to talk, but she didn’t know he was Chet’s son.  Amelia thinks Billy is cute, but Maddie doesn’t want to date a military guy after losing their dad in a training exercise.  The next day, Maddie can see Billy’s named his plane ‘The Grinch‘ because he is not a fan of Christmas (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  And Maddie can see that’s true because, at dinner, he has so much resentment towards Chet when he mentions the holiday.  Then, Chet remembers a couple met on a Christmas Tiger Cruise, and Maddie gets a great idea.  She wants to find the couple today and discover if their holiday love lasted, and Chet orders Billy to help her.  As she uncovers past love, Maddie will find love and trust too.

This mystery starts slow but hang in there.  It gets better as Maddie gets closer to the couple.  She uses archives, word of mouth, and the internet to find the holiday pair.  And Hallmarkies, you don’t have to wait until the end to see the couple kiss because that happens in the first hour.  However, when Billy tells Maddie she can put her guard down and trust him, but her only response is to walk away; your heart will break for him.  Maddie changed him because she allowed him to see the joy of Christmas.  But she refuses to change for him.  It will take time and the wisdom of others to make her see the error in her ways.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

News flash, the only thing you two have in common is the news – Sarah

I can be pretty easy going. Spontaneous even – Lt. Billy

This place is like a giant maze – Maddie

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Finding My Daughter – Review

Finding My Daughter – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Years ago, a man and her mother forced Ashley to give her baby girl, she unofficially named Faith, up for adoption.  The man entered and told Ashley she couldn’t tell anyone what happened or her family is dead.  But when no one was looking, the nurse cut a lock of the baby’s hair off and gave it to Ashley.  Ashley promises to find the little girl one day.  Ashley’s mother tries to console her daughter, but Ashley is furious.  Her mother and father choose their church over their daughter’s happiness, so Ashley refuses to return and decides to head to her aunt’s home in Chicago.  Almost two decades later, Ashley helps adopted children find their birth parents.  She opens a letter on her desk, and it’s from a girl named Brittany who has the same birthday and birthplace as Faith.  Ashley can’t believe Brittany found her.  She is in such disbelief, Ashley doesn’t care her boyfriend broke up with her for a promotion.  In the letter, Brittany asks Ashley to meet her at a diner at her birthplace, Plains River.  Ashley is on the next flight to see her daughter for the second time.  When Ashley arrives in Plains River, she finds Scott at his dad’s old campaign quarters.  When she sees the signs, Ashley asks Scott if he is running for Senator.  Scott says no, it’s his brother, Jake.  Jake is Ashley’s old boyfriend and, unbeknownst to him, Brittany’s father.  She makes Scott promise not to tell Jake she’s in town, and he keeps the secret.  After hours of waiting at the diner, Brittany never arrives.  She leaves and overhears Jake having a conversation with a fellow officer.  He found an abandoned car, and one of the missing girls is the owner, Emma.  Emma and Brittany told Emma’s parents they were going to Mexico on spring break, and they haven’t been heard from since.  And Emma’s parents had no idea they were going to Plains River.  Hearing the name Brittany sparks Ashley’s interest, and she wants to help.  Too bad Jake is still furious at her for leaving him with no warning.  And she came to town and had no plans to tell him.  She tries to quell his anger and make him focus on finding the girls.  Ashley refuses to lose her daughter again, and she will have to fight to the death to get her back.

This movie is all about uncovering secrets and healing the past, whether the intentions are good or bad.  Ashley’s quaint reunion dies the moment she hears Brittany’s name as a missing person.  Soon, Ashley has to face the life she left behind.  She has to face the man from the hospital, her ex, and her mother while providing answers for Brittany.  Now, experienced Lifetimers will pick out the killer easily. But how she uncovers the clues draws you into the story.  This film isn’t a great mystery movie, but it does offer a lot of suspense and drama.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

This is her. We’re in the right place – Brittany

That’s how you found me – Ashley

Well, at least you got dumped – Jake

I can’t die in here – Emma

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Christmas Waltz – Review

Christmas Waltz – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Only a few weeks away from their Christmas wedding, David and Avery finalize the last few details on their lunch breaks.  During the cake tasting, Avery can see David’s mind is more focused on work than cake.  She asks him why he is so edgy, but he points out that she answered her phone during the tasting too.  Avery asks David if he booked their dance lessons, and not to her surprise, he didn’t.  She attempts to call the school, but no one picks up the phone.  So, after work, Avery goes to the dance studio and a young kid, Nicky, tells her that her wedding dance could go viral.  So she wants to buy the 10-lesson package to make sure her wedding waltz is epic.  Roman, a dance instructor, walks in and agrees with Nicky, so Aubrey purchases the 10-lesson package.  Later, she meets David for dinner, and he drops a bomb on her.  He took a job in Boston, a position he promised he wouldn’t take, and they want him to move immediately to train.  Until then, he wants to put a pin on their wedding.  Aubrey is shocked by David’s lack of consideration and ends the relationship.  The next day, she tells Roman that she wants to cancel the lessons, and he thinks that’s disappointing.  He could tell she had the air of a dancer and believed she could dance wonderfully if she gave it a try.  He asks her to stay for the evaluation because that’s free.  After a successful dance evaluation, he convinces Aubrey to take the dance lessons for herself.  And she does.  As she works with Roman, they get closer and bring the best out of each other.  But when David comes back, will Avery forgive him and have her perfect Christmas Wedding and Waltz?

It won’t take much for you to see the cracks in Avery and David’s relationship, so the looming breakup isn’t a surprise.  The surprise comes from David’s words and reaction to the end of the relationship.  And that’s not the end.  When David confronts Roman, you worry that one of them could throw a punch.  Of course, this won’t happen.  It’s Hallmark, not HMM.  While the movie has high points, there is a typical lull in the middle.  However, try not to ignore it or get distracted.  It pulls David’s blistering comments to Roman all together.  And the final dance is flawless.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Honey, thumbs up doesn’t work in this situation – Avery

Hey, you took a business call too – David

Special takes a lot of practice – Nicky

I’d listen to him if I was you – Roman

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Categories: A Christmas Surprise, A Royal Christmas Engagement, Al Sapienza, Barbara Niven, BET, Candace Cameron Bure, Chad Michael Murray, christmas, Christmas Waltz, Countdown to Christmas, Cristina Rosato, Finding My Daughter, hallmark, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, Hateful and Grateful, HMM, holiday, Holidaze and Chill, If I Only Had Christmas, ion, Its A Wonderful Lifetime, James Nitti, Jen Lilley, jesse hutch, Jessica Lowndes, John Schneider, Katelynn Bennett, Keesha Sharp, Kyle Cassie, lacey chabert, Lexi Giovagnoli, lifetime, lifetime movie network, lmn, Made for TV, Megan Best, Miracles of Christmas, movie, Mustapha Slack, Paige Bach, Patrick Duffy, People Presents: Once Upon a Main Street, review, Ryan McPartlin, The Christmas Listing, Too Close for Christmas, Travis Burns, Trevor Donovan, USS Christmas, Vanessa Lachey, Warren Christie, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Will Blagrove, Will Kemp, Your Home for the Holidays

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