#AChristmasExchange, #ChristmasAtRosemont, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

A Christmas Exchange – Review

A Christmas Exchange – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

After 20 years of falling in love with the posh British gentlemen in books and film, Molly hasn’t found the handsome prince to profess his love for her.  She goes to work, and her boss gives her dreadful news, he is shutting down the newspaper, and she is out of work.  Molly has no idea what to do next until her dog finds her life roadmap that Molly wrote as a child.  In the roadmap, Molly stated that she wanted to go to London, see where her parents fell in love, and meet a British gentleman.  She throws caution to the wind and puts her home on a home exchange site.  Across the pond, Patrick is in finance and decided it’s not the life for him.  He tells his assistant, Kate, to cancel all his appointments.  Patrick has always wanted to go to someplace remote and work on his novel.  He puts his home on the exchange website and spins a globe that lands on Connecticut.  Within minutes, Molly and Patrick are swapping houses for several months.  They agree to email or text only, no phone calls.  Molly and Patrick are beyond excited about this trip.  However, all paths lead into each other’s arms.  But only if Molly can get over Patrick’s lie.

With similarities, it’s easy to see how The Holiday inspired this movie (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). During Molly’s tenure in London, she meets an author who believes technology ruins relationships.  Molly is a living example that the author’s statement isn’t true.  Because they don’t communicate by phone, their connection stems from electronic reach.  They communicate with each other about families, dogs, and books all through technology.  This film is an intelligent movie that could work for any season.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

I’m getting a life.  I never wanted this – Patrick

No, the globe has spoken – Kate

Is that a good crash or a bad crash – Molly

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Christmas at Rosemont – Review

Christmas at Rosemont – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Lisa and all the other passengers disembark the bus.  The bus driver tells the passengers that they will have to return to Las Vegas because the snow is falling too hard in the nearby areas.  Lisa hears Brad, a snowboarder, arguing over the phone with his girlfriend.  He tries to explain he will make it home in time, but she doesn’t believe him.  Lisa runs outside and asks Brad for a ride for $180, whic is all the money she has.  He makes a better deal.  He will give her a ride, but she has to split the gas with him.  They drive through the night but crash the car.  While Brad knows it safer to stay in the car, they walk to the nearest signs of civilization.  They walk to the Rosemont, and Josie and Abe meet them with guns, along with demands to leave.  Lisa puts her hands in the air and screams that she is pregnant.  Josie still doesn’t want them to stay, but her assistant, Abe, won’t do any such thing.  He lets them inside, and Lisa and Brad take off their hats.  Josie sees Lisa and becomes light-headed.  She offers the young pair a set of clothes, shelter, and food.  No one has any idea that someone is looking for Lisa and her baby.  And with $75,000 on the line, they will do anything to anyone to get Lisa and the baby back.

Josie may be stubborn, but she is everything to this movie.  She demands respect, gives wisdom, and triumphs over most adversity in her life.  However, it’s losing her family that forced her to close the doors of the famed Rosemont, and it’s the reason she can’t bear to look at Lisa.  Throughout the story, the script gives viewers bits and pieces of Lisa and Josie’s life like breadcrumbs.  This masterpiece of emotion could air at any time of the year and make you drop everything to watch.  This movie will be an audience favorite for years to come.  

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

You love her? – Lisa

Yeah, well you don’t know Sylvia – Brad

Next time you fire me, I’m really gonna quit – Abe

Now, don’t just stand there. Move – Josie

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Christmas on the Menu – Review

Christmas on the Menu – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Nina drops some shocking news to Josie, as she finishes her red velvet cheesecake pie, that Tanner made a reservation at the restaurant.  Tanner is a harsh food critic that gave Josie’s former bakery a lukewarm review.  At dinner with his managing editor, Pepper, Tanner assures Nina he is there as a patron-only, not a critic.  At the end of the meal, Nina brings Pepper and Tanner a slice of Josie’s cheesecake, and they love it.  Josie tells them it won’t be on Nina’s menu because it’s a trial pie for Josie’s mom’s, Pamela’s, Bed and Breakfast.  It will specialize in comfort food, not the trendy, selective L.A. menu.  Later, Tanner looks up the Bed and Breakfast and makes a reservation.  Josie goes to Pamela’s B&B and gets ready to prepare a menu for incoming critics, Iris and Marla.  They will review the B&B’s food and feature it in their blog and show.  Josie can’t contain her excitement.  Then Pamela lets Josie know about their other unexpected guest, Tanner.  The moment he steps on the property, Josie confronts him about his reason for being there.  Tanner apologizes for the article about her bakery.  He says he gave it an honest review, but Pepper spiced it up to gain more readers.  Josie accepts his apology.  However, he can only write a review if he likes the B&B.  But if Tanner doesn’t, Tanner can only tell her.  He makes the deal; however, the food won’t be the only thing Tanner loves.  This budding romance may not start after Josie’s homemade whip cream with strawberries go missing.

This movie is a Hallmark plot on Lifetime.  It’s over the top characters, with obvious plot points and non-threatening romantic rivals, make the outcome all too predictable.  There are no comic reliefs or awkwardness to break up the monotony.  Just some delicious food, like white chili.  Don’t be confused. It can be entertaining at the right moments.  Save this movie for a snowy day or a dessert movie.

I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars

Nina, don’t make me take way your taste-testing privileges – Josie

That’s because it’s old-school Josie – Nina

I just didn’t think the menu was true to you – Shannon

I find you and your red velvet pie endearing – Tanner

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Holiday Heartbreak – Review

Holiday Heartbreak – BET Her – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Almost 30 years ago, Mike ‘Mack’ McCoy toyed with another woman’s heart, but she refuses to let him walk away without any responsibility.  Summer tells him that on his daughter’s 30th birthday, she will fall in love with a man who will treat her as badly as he treat women.  Mike laughs off Summer’s threat and goes home to his wife.  Today, Mike is a successful architect.  After his wife passed away, Mike married Joyce, and she became a step-mother to his daughter, Monica.  The night before her 30th birthday, Monica goes out with her friends to a comedy club.  The featured comedian, Wild Bill, approaches them.  As Monica’s friends blow him off, the clock strikes midnight, and she starts kissing him.  Later, Monica introduces Wild Bill to her father, Mike, and Mike can’t believe it.  Wild Bill has zero class, is disrespectful, and a terrible comedian.  Then Monica tells Mike she is quitting her job, getting married on Christmas Eve, and she’s going on tour with Wild Bill after the wedding.  Mike can’t believe his ears.  His beautiful, attractive, and caring daughter can’t be in love with this fool.  Disgusted with her dad’s behavior, Monica leaves with Wild Bill.  After they leave, Joyce tries to calm Mike down, and there’s a knock at the door.  It’s Eric.  In grade school, Eric followed Monica around like a puppy.  Today, he purchased the community center and ‘glowed up.’  Earlier that week, Eric and Monica met each other, and he thought they hit it off, but now Wild Bill has all of her attention.  Then, Mike’s memory triggers back to his last night with Summer, and he realizes her curse was real.  Mike and Eric run to Summer’s home for answers.  She tells the men that Mike has to apologize to all the women he hurt for the curse to lift, but if she marries Wild Bill, the curse will last forever.  Journeying through his past will leave Mike bruised, humiliated, and enlightened.  Can he save Monica in time?

This movie has a decent beginning and a semi-entertaining middle, but it falls apart at the end.  The storyline falls off the rails with a poorly choreographed and shot fight scene.  A movie with great holiday comedic promise becomes a parody of itself within 2 hours.  It will quickly feel like a waste of time for you and the actors’ talent.  You can skip this movie on your holiday binge.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars

Yeah, I noticed and I don’t like it – Mike

I feel cursed – Monica

I hope not. I’m very fond of the one I already know – Eric

Come on man, don’t be ashamed of being a pimp. You were a legend in these streets – Wild Bill

Words have power. The power to heal and the power to hurt – Joyce

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Cooking Up Christmas – Review

Cooking Up Christmas – OWN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Restaurant manager Mark calls Chef Chloe to his table after closing.  He is tired of fighting with her, and she isn’t bringing in a profit.  So, he fires her and pays out her contract until the end of the month.  She sits at home and tries to figure out her next move.  Last year, a prominent magazine voted her one of the top chefs in Atlanta, and now, the word about her termination spread fast.  Her friend, April, calls with a job lead for a pro baseball player, Donovan Jackson.  He needs a chef to prepare meals for him and his family.  If the chef does well, it will become a full-time position that would allow her to save money for a restaurant.  Chloe feels this is a step in the wrong direction, but she needs the job and the time to focus on her future.  She sees Donovan and can’t help but stare at the handsome man.  Then, she meets Donovan’s uncle, Buck.  Uncle Buck hired Chloe as a gift for Donovan.  With his focus on rehab and training, he doesn’t have time to cook for his three kids, Vanessa, DJ, and Lindsey.  Vanessa, the social media socialite, is at odds with her dad since their mom died.  DJ wants to sing, but that interferes with Donovan’s baseball dreams for him.  And Lindsey studies hard to become a scientist.  DJ and Lindsey accept Chloe, but Vanessa makes her disdain known.  However, that’s not Chloe’s biggest problem.  Donovan has a list of acceptable foods for his diet and his family.  It’s up to Chloe to find acceptable healthy substitutes for the comfort food meals she planned.  As she bridges the gap between health and comfort, she sees the real Donovan, a loving, caring, but misguided father with the weight of the world on his shoulders.  With an injury and a newly-hired rookie on the team, his baseball days may end.  And when Chloe unearths a secret, Donovan’s woes worsen.  Can Chloe help Donovan balance his home and love life the way she balances his diet?

This film covers intense family dynamics while introducing a love story.  As Chloe keeps a secret for Uncle Buck and DJ, Vanessa has a secret too.  She called Donovan’s mother to get rid of Chloe, and grandma brings a weapon, Shavonne, Donovan’s ex-girlfriend.  It’s not long before chaos and confusion overrun the house.  The sass, OMG moments, and witty banter will keep the audience watching from beginning to end.  And while Donovan’s gifts may not be a surprise, his final announcement will be.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Mark did you dirty for real – April

She bring the flying monkeys – Uncle Buck

Great, great sir. I wanna be great – DJ

Let’s review the list of no’s – Donovan

I’m a chef. Not a magician – Chloe

You just focus on cooking before you end up fired, again – Vanessa

Smells like desperation – Lindsey

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Lonestar Christmas – Review

Lonestar Christmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Erin raises her daughters, Carter and Peyton while working as an occupational therapist.  They would spend Christmas with her mother, Pamela, but Pamela is going on vacation with her boyfriend.  Every day Erin’s dad, Gary, calls her, but she ignores his call.  Her parents broke up when she was 9, and since then, they have remained estranged.  He calls again, and Erin picks up.  Her daughters overhear their conversation and beg to go to their grandfather’s home.  Erin caves and says yes.  As they drive to his house, the Christmas presents fall off the SUV’s roof.  A motorist offers to put the gifts in his truck and follows her to Gary’s house.  She accepts and finishes the short drive to Gary’s home.  Once they arrive at Gary’s, Gary and his wife, Farrah, know the young, handsome motorist.  It’s Mateo, also known as the Tamale King after a food critic gave his Mexican restaurant a rave review.  While Mateo’s focus is on Erin, Erin’s focus is on Gary.  She’s not sure how she will get through the next few days because she has so much resentment and anger about the past.  But with Gary around, she will have to face it head-on, or the past will poison her relationship with Mateo in the future.

This story is slow, indecisive, and unimaginative.  It doesn’t have an actual plot, only a mom who always complains about her dad but continuously leaves her kids with him.  Everyone has gotten over what Gary has done but Erin.  The story takes so long to unveil the cause of her issues.  By the time it’s revealed, the audience views Erin as a brat, not a woman trying to reconcile the past.  Skip this movie for the holiday season.

I give it 1 out of 5 stars

Don’t tell anyone.  You’re my favorite – Erin

You fixed me – Mateo

Well, I wanna be there for you too – Gary

Being mad about the past is such a waste of time – Pamela

Then, let her punch it out – Farrah

Forgiveness isn’t amnesia – Tessa

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Unlocking Christmas – Review

Unlocking Christmas – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Kate didn’t get her dream fellowship, but she landed at a hospital as an orthopedic doctor.  She will be in the position for a year and then move on.  She is happy that Maggie, her real estate agent, got her a fully-furnished home to rent for the year.  Kevin received an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force after a pararescue accident.  Until he figures out his next steps, he will work in the family hardware store.  Maggie, Kevin’s mother, can see that his leg is hurting, so she makes an appointment to see the doctor.  His doctor is Kate, the woman who almost ran into him with eight cups of coffee.  She tries to give him recommendations, but he doesn’t want the help.  She reminds him that asking for help isn’t a bad thing.  Later that night, Kate and Kevin both get keys with a riddle attached.  After spending all day trying to figure it out, they conclude the next clue is in Juniper Square.  When they meet, they assume the other created the puzzle, but soon Kate and Kevin realize they are pawns in someone else’s game.  They open the next clue and get another key and note that mentions they should work together.  While Kevin wants to work with her, he doesn’t speak up.  And Kate walks away.  With the help of friends and family, they put their knowledge and community outreach to use.  But when they get their dream jobs, will either stay because they are falling in love?

Based on a novella, his movie has a promising start and perfect ending but falls victim to a weak middle (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  As they discover clues, you want to know who is running the show behind the scenes.  You will have your guesses, and those unanswered questions will keep you tuned in.  It’s not until Kevin has an opportunity in California, and Kate has her fellowship in Chicago that you perk up and start to care.  If you need to kill 2 hours, this is the movie to watch.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

It’s not the worst thing to ask for help – Kevin

One of many words in the dictionary to choose from – Kate

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With Drawn Arms – Review

With Drawn Arms – Bounce TV – 2 hours and 0 minutes

If you ask Tommie Smith if he has any regrets, he will give you one answer.  He doesn’t regret what he did, but Tommie regrets he has to do it in the first place.  Seeing he was a talented basketball player, San Jose State recruited him to play, and running became his voice.  After 100 races, Tommie tried out for the Olympic team.  After the Olympic Committee in 1968 accepted Tommie, Dr. Harry Edward wanted all athletes to participate in the Olympic Project for Human Rights.  Tommie agreed until Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination six months before the Olympics.  Tommie still wants to take a stand against inequality, but he doesn’t understand how.  Before he won the 200-meter race, Tommie found the inspiration he needed.  With black socks, a single black glove, and no shoes, Tommie raises his fist in the air as the United States national anthem played in the background.  A hiss of boos raged across the crowd, but Tommie did it again to ensure the world got the message.  Tommie knew trouble would follow his act of disturbance, but he had no idea the toll it would take on his family, relationships, and mental health.

This movie explores the repercussions of taking a stand while trying to preserve your legacy.  Tommie Smith met with an artist and gave him a shot to immortalize him with three challenges.  While Tommie didn’t get to do all 3, they were all accomplished.  A man who lived in obscurity to the point of madness gets his praise as an activist and shares his struggles with the next generation of mislabeled forward thinkers.  It’s intriguing to hear how his jeers and taunts became admiration and inspiration.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

For 50 years, everyone has viewed that fist as black power – Tommie Smith

He gave us all hope – Congressman John Lewis

Even if you picked cotton, you were up there with him – Michael

He had to win.  He had to be great – Nelson George

Disruption doesn’t make everybody happy – Jemele Hill

Why am I ok – Megan Rapinoe

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A Sugar & Spice Holiday – Review

A Sugar & Spice Holiday – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Suzy uses her grandmother’s words as guidance for her career in real estate.  She keeps working hard and never gives up, but after years of dedication, she and Marshall battle for the same promotion.  Over the Christmas break, they need to make a plan, and whichever plan the client likes, the creator will get the promotion.  And they have until Christmas Eve to do it.  It doesn’t take long for Suzy to find her family and every adult in the neighborhood at the local pub.  On the stage is the man who stood her up in high school for his ex-girlfriend.  Suzy pretends to understand, but her brother, Wayne, knows her true feelings.  Then, Billy lets the town know why he called a meeting.  This year, the Annual Gingerbread Competition has a $15,000 prize, and they need that for the community center.  He needs the town’s best bakers to band together and face their most competitive competition, Merry and Nick Dupont.  He sees Suzy in the crowd and eggs her into getting on stage.  After pushing all the right buttons, Billy convinces her to join his baking team.  Suzy tries to juggle working on her project and baking competition, and everything fails.  She will need to rely on Billy and her family to motivate her.  As these two cook in the kitchen, the romance heats up.  Can Billy heal the past while creating a new future for Suzy and the community?

The writing and acting were superb, but give all the applause to Suzy’s mom, Mimi.  She is the best overbearing comic relief since Marie in Everybody Loves Raymond (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  In a crowded bar, Mimi gets on the microphone and lets everyone know that Suzy is single and able to bear children.  And she will quickly grab Suzy and pull her away with a stern look at any time.  You will live for her moments on your screen.  Another delightful aspect was Suzy’s ability to describe everyone as a cookie in great detail.  Whether they were a sugar cookie, peanut brittle, or vegan blondie, everyone in Suzy’s life was a cookie.  So watch this with an expectation to laugh and get hungry.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

Good luck to you finding inspiration from your super exciting and fulfilling life – Suzy

Breathing isn’t voodoo, its life – Wayne

Don’t get arrested – Mimi

I’m still here Suzy sugar – Nema

Maybe a little – Billy

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Christmas Comes Twice – Review

Christmas Comes Twice – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Cheryl dreamed of being an astronomer, but now she works as Deputy Director for the Federal Science Association.  She goes through grant proposals and determines if the association will fund their research.  When Cheryl learns a Norwegian group found a comet that existed behind Pluto’s orbit, Cheryl feels a mix of emotions.  First, she’s happy because they proved her long-held theory, but she sad that she didn’t get to discover it.  Cheryl grabs a stack of proposals, hops on a bus to her hometown, and works along the way.  When she arrives at the bus station, her sister, Trish, waits for her with a smile and a new van.  For the second time, Trish opens a restaurant, and Cheryl worries it will fail again.  They drive to their parent’s new condo, and Cheryl feels disappointed.  She loved her parent’s old home, but they decided to downsize, and this place doesn’t feel like home.  At the Christmas carnival, Cheryl runs into an old flame, Terrence, who is now mayor, and her former high school competitor, George.  She and George would compete about anything, but their field of expertise was Ms. Nelson’s science class.  Ms. Nelson has since passed on, but the competition between Cheryl and George holds tight.  As Cheryl and Trish walk around the carnival, Cheryl admits she wonders what would have become of her life if she didn’t take the Federal Science Association job 5 years ago.  Trish doesn’t have an answer for her sister and becomes distracted.  Then Cheryl sees a carousel in the distance and gets on.  After a few spins, Cheryl walks off dizzy and out of sorts.  A lot of things have changed, like Trish’s outfit, rides, and posters.  She sees an announcement poster, and it says 2015.  She asks George, and he solidifies the year is 2015.  She runs to Ms. Nelson’s house and starts to cry when Ms. Nelson opens the door.  Cheryl asks Ms. Nelson for insight into what she would do if she could travel back in time.  Ms. Nelson tells Cheryl that she would spend more time with her family and fix the past.  Cheryl plans on doing the same by warning her sister not to start a restaurant, going on a date with Terrence, and avoiding the job as the FSA.  But is she on the right track?

Reminiscent of It’s a Wonderful Life, Cheryl learns the truth about the path she’s on.  While it’s not where she wanted to be, it’s where she needed to be.  Now, you shouldn’t be mistaken.  There is one mistake Cheryl has to correct to complete her life today.  While Cheryl is in the past, she makes sure to tell Ms. Nelson what her guidance meant to her.  The moment she steps off the carousel the second time, she knows she must fix this one mistake immediately.  You will be on the edge of your seat with your fingers cross as Cheryl looks for the love of her life.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

You know I can’ t help it.  I’m hands on – Cheryl

You’re big sistering me again – Trish

Wow, when you have a delusion, you go big – George

Kids, what you just witness here is the scientific term called friction – Ms. Nelson

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Dashing in December – Review

Dashing in December – Paramount Network – 2 hours and 0 minutes

With work in hand, Wyatt heads home to Colorado after being away for five years.  His mother, Deb, is thrilled to see her son but her farmhands, Blake and Heath, think Wyatt’s horse, Dashell, will hold a grudge.  Blake and Wyatt dated in high school, but the relationship didn’t last.  Blake didn’t learn why until Wyatt came out in his graduation speech in front of the entire school.  Blake never held anger because Wyatt was gay, but she was upset he didn’t tell her first.  Now, they are great friends, and Blake is married to Dr. Sam.  Blake pulls Deb aside and asks her if she revealed the truth about Wyatt to Heath.  Deb didn’t because she thought it was improper to out Wyatt to someone new, even if Heath is gay too.  When Wyatt arrives, he quickly ruffles Heath’s feathers.  At dinner, Wyatt tells Deb it’s time to sell the Burwall Ranch.  It’s bleeding money and sitting on prime real estate.  At the rate the ranch is going, it will only survive one more year.  Wyatt hands Deb a proposal, and she promises to look over it.  Blake could see the writing on the wall, but Heath is furious.  He doesn’t understand how Wyatt could hurt Deb this way and try to convince her to sell.  Blake explains that Wyatt pays for all the ranch’s expenses, like operating costs, everyone’s salaries, and the property tax.  So, he’s concerned is warranted.  Although Heath understands why Wyatt wants to sell, Heath believes all they need is one good idea to save the ranch.  He decides to work with Wyatt to come up with a better solution.  As they work, they fall in love.

Now this movie marks all the Christmas movie boxes on your bingo card, but it has a lot more heart and meaning than other stories.  Wyatt and Heath’s heartbreak doesn’t come from past relationships failing, but it comes from not being accepted by the other person in the relationship.  They both have a guard up to protect their hearts.  This movie will captivate you from the beginning and make you fall in love by the end.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

At least he’s still taking care of you – Blake

Yes, just a revolving door of men – Deb

If you do that, can I call you sugar cube – Heath

Wow, a regular jack of all trades – Wyatt

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The Christmas Sitters – Review

The Christmas Sitters – ION – 2 hours and 0 minutes

As Nora threatens to sue her mover for missing legal documents, she receives a call from her old college friend, Elaine.  Elaine and her husband, Ted, were about to leave Europe but Ted lost their passports, and they couldn’t board the plane.  Now, they are stuck in Europe and their sitter, Frances, has to leave town to spend the holidays with her family.  Elaine pleads with Nora to take over for Frances until they get home.  Nora thinks this will be a cakewalk until she arrives at the door.  Frances introduces Nora to Ted and Elaine’s children, Olivia and Charlie, and their dog, Dudley.  Frances lays down the rules of the household and exits quickly.  Out-of-touch, Nora hands the kids her business card to introduce herself, but Olivia is not impressed, and Charlie worries his parents will miss Christmas.  As they calm down for the evening, Nora hears something at the door.  She attacks a man after he enters, but the kids start calling him Uncle Max.  Ted’s brother, Max, keeps Charlie in good spirits, so Ted called Max and asked him to stay too.  He didn’t tell Elaine about the change because Max can be irresponsible.  It doesn’t take long for the aloof Max to clash with Nora’s strict sitting style.  Soon, Charlie and Olivia have a favorite sitter.  Seeing the kids are distant, Nora asks what she can do to be closer to them.  He says to have fun, but he wants the kids to respect him.  She tells him to be tough.  They start to bond, but Max can sense something is off.  A year ago, Nora’s boyfriend left her before Christmas to be with another woman, who later became his wife.  She still heals from the emotional scars and keeps her guard up.  As Nora puts down her defenses for Max, will he betray her trust with his irresponsible ways?

While you watch this film, you will have an affinity for Nora and Max’s situations.  Nora tries to trust, so everything Max does is a test.  Max tries to be better, but a list of unfortunate incidents plagues him.  As they learn to be better, they see the fault in their reasoning.  You will cheer them on as they fall in love and tear up when they start to fall apart.  Don’t be surprised if you watch with your fingers crossed for them.  And let’s not forget, Ted and Elaine still need to make it home for Christmas with Olivia and Charlie.  You will watch this holiday love story twice.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

I’ve handled mergers and acquisitions for Fortune 500 companies. I’m sure I can handle your kids – Nora

Dudley’s more of a lover than a fighter – Max

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A Glenbrooke Christmas – Review

A Glenbrooke Christmas – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

On January 1st, Jessica will take over her grandfather’s real estate company, but she feels like something is missing.  The high powered successful woman feels people only like her for what she can do, not who she is.  Jessica remembers her parent’s story of the Glenbrooke Christmas prayer bells.  Years ago, the town’s children prayed because the snow was so thick they didn’t think Santa would make it.  So, they wished for the snow to dissipate, and their wish came true.  Now, the town of Glenbrooke ring the Christmas bells on Christmas eve, and everyone makes a wish.  Jessica wants to capture the same magic in honor of her parents.  To make sure people like her for who she is, Jessica will use her middle name as her last name and drive an SUV to Glenbrooke.  When Jessica checks the local inns, Jessica discovers her parents’ old home is available to rent and takes it as a sign.  When Jessica arrives in Glenbrooke, she almost hits a man with her car and makes him drop his gingerbread men cookies.  He yells at her to watch where she was going, and she continues to drive to her rental.  Wyatt helps her settle into the rental and gives her a list of events.  But he tells her the bells may not happen this year because they are not working, and Wyatt leaves.  Jessica starts the fireplace, but smoke fills the room, and the Glenbrooke firefighters come to the rescue.  Ruthie jumps off the truck, and Kyle follows, and Jessica remembers him.  Kyle is the man she almost hit with her car.  Ruthie laughs and asks Kyle if Jessica is the woman that caused the Ginger-pocalypse.  Kyle goes inside to check out the fire and discovers Jessica forgot to open the flute.  He warns her to do it next time and leaves.  In Glenbrooke, it doesn’t take long for gossip to spread about the new woman in town and Kyle.  She sees Kyle later, and he explains the bells will take $10,000 to fix.  Jessica makes a few suggestions, but Kyle proves her theories won’t work.  Then, she gets a bright idea.  She will make Glenbrooke the next big thing, and proceeds from local merchants will fix the bell.  While everyone loves the idea, Kyle is wary.  The town of Brighton did the same thing.  However, when the economy boomed, rich people moved in and priced locals out.  Kyle doesn’t want that to happen to Glenbrooke.  He believes rich people have a different priority and could never understand someone like him.  Jessica decides to keep her wealth a secret.  However, as her feelings grow, she knows she has to tell the truth and risk losing him.  Good thing she has art on her side.

Inspired by Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn, this movie is a sweet story about the perception of the have and have nots (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). Jessica sees Kyle as a grouch and stern, but she sees his true colors as he helps the town in every way possible.  He believes the rich only care about money, but Jessica will change his mind with her caring and inherited spirit.  With a lot of humor packed in this Christmas story, it’s sure to be a holiday favorite.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Now just picture it covered in Justin Timberlake posters and you got my teen years in a nutshell – Jessica

Just secure the ladder rookie – Kyle

I just know that when you are done, it gets done and it gets done right – grandpa

Inside is a little collection of art called Kyles an idiot – Ruthie

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Love, Lights, Hanukkah! – Review

Love, Lights, Hanukkah! – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Christina’s running the family restaurant and preparing the annual feast for the first time without her mother, Sophia.  A few weeks ago, Christina took a DNA test to find out more about her family since she was adopted when she was a baby.  Her computer pings and she anxiously reads the results with her best friend, Janet, by her side.  Christina gets a shock because the test comes back 50% Italian and 50% Jewish.  Sophia raised Christina as Italian, so that was no surprise.  However, Christina never knew about her Jewish heritage.  Later, Christina gets a message from Becky on the DNA website saying they are related, but not how.  So they meet at Becky’s family restaurant, Lenny’s, and talk.  After meeting Becky and her brother, Scott, Becky invites Christina to their mother’s, Ruth’s, home for dinner.  Then, David walks in, and Christina is embarrassed.  David is a food critic who called her food predictable but good.  While he wasn’t the biggest fan of Christina’s food, he can’t help but take a second look at her.  At the dinner, with David sitting beside her, Christina tells the family about her life, childhood, birthday, and birthplace.  Without warning, Ruth excuses herself from the table.  Ruth comes back and admits to the family that Christina is her child from a short marriage with a man she met in Italy while she was in college.   Ruth tries to explain more, but Christina leaves the house.  David follows and tells Christina that Ruth is the kindest woman, and Christina should come back.  But it’s all just too much for Christina.  However, her friend encourages her to connect with her family.  Over the holidays, Christina will connect with her family, her newfound heritage, and Hanukkah.

This movie packs a lot of emotion into a short time frame.  And it doesn’t come easy.  Christina talks about straddling the line between two cultures.  She is not sure if she should reduce her Christmas spirit and fully embrace her Hanukkah pride.  Christina has to learn how to find a balance between the holidays and her new family.  This journey into self-discovery assists her when she makes a connection with David.  She fears that distance will keep them from connecting, but proximity has zero bearings on the heart.  It’s love that will keep people together.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

I don’t know anything about being jewish and now I find out its 50% of who I am – Christina

You’re very hard not to like – Janet

If the cannolis are predictable, I’ll keep it to myself – David

There’s so much I want to tell you – Ruth

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Pretty Little Dead Girl – Review

Pretty Little Dead Girl – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Emma keeps having dreams about her heart transplant and tries to ask her mother, Sharon, questions about the donor, but Sharon won’t answer.  She tells Emma to be grateful and take care of herself.  At the doctor’s office, the doctor allows Emma to join the debate team, but school is still out of the question.  Emma must keep her heart under 100 beats per minute or risk rejection.  Emma comes home excited that she can get back to some sense of normal.  Later she wakes up to hear Sharon arguing over Constance.  Emma starts asking questions again, but Sharon stonewalls her.  So, Emma goes to her dad.  Her dad reminds Emma that after a phone call, CPS put Constance in foster care because Sharon’s sister, Tonya, was neglecting Constance.  What Emma didn’t know was Sharon made the phone call.  After years of foster care and unrecognized potential, Constance committed suicide, and Emma got her heart.  Rocked by the revelations, Emma goes to see Tonya and asks her some questions.  Tonya doesn’t believe Constance would commit suicide, nor does Emma deserve her daughter’s heart.  Emma leaves in tears and goes to Detective Roberts for answers.  Detective Roberts believe Constance’s death was a textbook suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning.  When EMTs pulled Constance out of the car, she was breathing, but it’s too late.  A caller called 911 to get Constance’s help, but they could only save her organs.  Then Emma looks at Detective Roberts and wonders why the caller didn’t pull Constance out of the car.  Emma believes Tonya was right.  Constance didn’t kill herself, but someone murdered her.  And Emma will find out who did it, even if it breaks her heart, literally.

This movie provides you with a good mystery and plenty of shady characters: an evidence-hiding county prosecutor, an eager love interest, and an absentee mother.  The writers made sure to point you in several directions without affecting the integrity of the story.  And the conclusion for why Constance’s life ended is plausible and satisfying.  This film is a mystery worth your time, but make sure it has your undivided attention or a pause button.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

She wanted this to happen.  Sharon always gets what she wants – Tonya

All that matters is that you are alive, it doesn’t matter where your heart came from – Sharon

That’s a real firm handshake you got there – Seth

Stop trying to get through and just talk to me – Emma

I just really thought us as good friends – Peter

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The Christmas Setup – Review

The Christmas Setup – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Hugo sits with his boss, Mr. Vogel, and draws a line in the sand.  After the firm passed him over three times, Hugo will quit if they don’t make him partner this time around.  They have until January 1st to give him an answer, or he will find a new job.  Mr. Vogel says nothing, and Hugo leaves with a feeling of uncertainty.  Hugo tells his friend, Maddie, everything he did, and she is proud of him for standing up for himself.  After working during Christmas break last year, Hugo is excited to see his family in Milwaukee and invites Maddie to come.  She enthusiastically agrees to go.  Kate, Hugo’s mom, greets them with hugs and weight observations.  Hugo takes one look at Kate’s calendar and knows all forms of relaxation are off the table.  This year is Kate’s last year as Association President, and she plans to give the town a celebration they will never forget.  Before Hugo can help with the Christmas Celebration, Kate hands Hugo a to-do list and goes shopping with Maggie.  As Hugo fixes the light, he sees Patrick walking up to the front porch.  He quickly gets himself together, slips down the steps, and answers the door.  Hugo had a secret crush on Patrick, two years Hugo’s senior, in high school.  At the time, Patrick was well-liked, voted most likely to rule the world, and out.  Hugo was still unsure of himself.  Patrick has the Christmas tree Kate ordered, and Hugo helps Patrick bring it inside.  They chat for a brief moment, and then Patrick leaves.  When Maddie and Kate return home, Maddie finds Patrick’s work gloves and implores Hugo to give them back after Maddie learns how long Hugo admired Patrick from afar.  At the tree lot, Patrick feels thankful after Hugo returned his gloves, but ‘thankful’ turns to disappointment.  Patrick believes Maddie and Hugo are a couple after seeing them hold each other’s hand, complete each other sentences, and bicker.  It’s not until the next day that Patrick learns the truth.  Hugo and Maggie are college besties, and Hugo is single and gay, but Maggie is single and straight.  As Patrick and Hugo work on Kate’s exterior lights, they take a moment to talk and get to know each other again.  They make a date to meet for hot cocoa later.  Things between them are going great until Hugo receives a call from Mr. Vogel.  The firm has accepted his offer.  He will be made partner and head their new branch in London.  Hugo tried a long-distance relationship in the past, and it didn’t work.  He’s afraid to try again.  Hugo will need Kate, Maddie, and a town founder to set him up for love.

The audience will find the beauty of Patrick and Hugo’s love in the town founder’s, Edgar’s, office.  When Hugo sees how much Christmas meant to the founder, he refuses to let City Hall shut down Edgar’s beloved train station.  As Hugo focuses on saving the train station, you hope he puts the same tenacity into making a relationship with Patrick.  Their chemistry resonates off the screen.  And Lifetimers, Hugo, and Patrick aren’t the only ones getting set up.  When Kate sees the attraction between Maddie and Hugo’s brother, Aiden, Kate does everything she can to see their love come through.  You will fall in love with this story and watch it twice.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

It looks like the Grinch stole Christmas – Maddie

Don’t try to Cheer me up. Can’t I be mad for 5 minutes – Hugo

Do I detect a note of sarcasm – Patrick

Oh, just a little bit – Kate

Mom, you do realize we are not in pre-school – Aiden

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Categories: A Christmas Exchange, A Glenbrooke Christmas, A Sugar & Spice Holiday, AJ Johnson, Andie MacDowell, Antonio Cupo, Autumn Reeser, Ayla Kell, B Simone, Ben Cotton, Ben Lewis, Ben Savage, BET Her, Blake Lee, Bounce TV, Brad Dourif, Brandi Alexander, Brendan Michael Coughlin, Carlos Sanz, Caroline Harris, Chad Connell, Chris Soules, christmas, Christmas at Rosemont, Christmas Comes Twice, Christmas on the Menu, Clayton James, Cooking Up Christmas, Countdown to Christmas, Cynthia Gibb, Dashing in December, DeWayne “Kountry Wayne” Colley, Ellen Wong, Fran Drescher, GloZell Green, Grace Zabriskie, hallmark, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, Hanukkah, HMM, holiday, Holiday Heartbreak, Holidaze and Chill, ion, Its A Wonderful Lifetime, Jacky Lai, Jemele Hill, Jen Harper, Jesse Williams, Johannah Newmarch, John Lewis, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Justin Gaston, Katherine Bailess, Kenneth Wayne, Kim Shaw, lamman rucker, Laura Vandervoort, lifetime, lifetime movie network, Lillian Lim, LisaRaye McCoy, lmn, Lochlyn Munro, Lonestar Christmas, Lonnie Bee, Love, Lights, Hanukkah!, Made for TV, Makenzie Vega, Marco Grazzini, Marilu Henner, Maryam Basir, Meagan Holder, Megan Rapinoe, Melissa Ordway, Merry Movie Christmas, Mia Kirshner, Michael Colyar, michael gross, Michael Xavier, Miracles of Christmas, movie, Nathan Owens, Nelson George, OWN, OWN For The Holidays, Paramount Network, Peter Porte, Pretty Little Dead Girl, Rainbow Sun Francks, review, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Slay Bells, Stephanie Bennett, Steve Lund, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Taylor Cole, The Christmas Setup, The Christmas Sitters, Tiffany Black, Tommie Smith, Tony Giroux, Tristin Mays, Tzi Ma, Unlocking Christmas, UPtv, With Drawn Arms, Your Home for the Holidays

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