#ChristmasDejaVu, #ChristmasInTheRockies, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

Christmas Déjà Vu – Review

Christmas Déjà Vu – BET or BETHer – 2 hours and 30 minutes

Kandi’s mother, Crystal, enters Kandi’s room and wakes her up.  It’s Christmas Eve and the 10th anniversary of her father’s passing.  Crystal wants her to come to the gravesite, but Kandi refuses.  When Crystal leaves, Kandi pulls two small liquor bottles from her pillow and drinks them.  Her car won’t start, so she runs to work.  Kandi attempts to apologize, but her boss won’t hear it.   Her boss, Danielle, will fire her if she is late again.  While Kandi and her friend, Matthew, talk, Danielle enters.  The famous R&B group, Glow Girls, will dine at the restaurant, and she wants Kandi to be their waitress.  Kandi tries to say no, but Danielle refuses to listen.  Kandi explains to Matthew that she was in the group but left after her dad died.  After some snide and hurtful comments from April of Glow Girls, Kandi gets into a fight that goes viral.

Danielle fires Kandi and Matthew on the spot.  With no hope for her life, Kandi claims defeat and walks toward a speeding train.  Before she makes it, a man stops her.  Kandi walks to the bar.  When the bartender, David, tries to connect with her, Kandi asks him if he remembers her name because she frequents the bar.  He can’t remember, so she walks away to a table.  A man approaches with Kandi’s backpack, and she remembers him as the man who pulled her from the train.  His name is Gabriel, an angel.  She tells Gabriel to tell God to give her a new life because she hates her current state.  After drinking too much, David takes Kandi home.  Kandi wakes up in a massive bed with a camera crew around her.  It’s Christmas Eve again, and Kandi is a famous pop star.  She is worth millions.  She married David, and Matthew and Danielle are her employees.  On the surface, Kandi thinks her new life is perfect.  But with the money and fame she desired, Kandi will learn that the same demons plague her life.

This movie is all about choices and God’s will.  Kandi talks about hating her life every moment of the day and drinks to numb the pain of losing her father.  In her new life, she does the same.  Fame and money didn’t change the hurt.  It only magnified it.  Kandi doesn’t realize that happiness is a choice until she sees sadness at both ends of the spectrum.  This film helps bring spirituality into the season and is a comforting watch with excellent singers.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

I feel ashamed for him – April

Matthew, am I a wasted talent – Kandi

Our choices create our circumstances – Gabriel

You choose it.  That’s how – Crystal

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Christmas in the Rockies – Review

Christmas in the Rockies – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Katie says her final goodbyes before heading to a new job in New York.  Saying farewell to her grandfather, Sam, was easy.  However, her father, Gordon, won’t make eye contact.  And her ex-boyfriend, Jake, concerns himself with business because Gordon gave him the family lumber yard to manage.  As Sam drives Katie to the airport, several ambulances and police cars pass them.  Katie knows the only thing in that direction is the lumber yard.  She tells Sam to turn around.  Katie finds Gordon screaming in pain.  She tries to run towards him, but an EMT, Harrison, rudely stops her.  As they load Gordon into the ambulance, Katie comes with them.  Katie doesn’t feel she can leave Gordon until he heals.  Katie calls Ms. Whittaker, her new boss, to change the start date.  But Ms. Whittaker refuses, and Katie loses her job before she starts.  One day, Jake comes to Gordon’s home and tells Gordon to accept the offer.  Confused, Katie asks Gordon to enlighten her.

Business slowed down, and now they can’t afford the yearly bonus or the Christmas Festival of Lights.  Gordon is steadfast about keeping both but needs to come up with the money.  Katie goes to the local bar to figure things out, and she sees Harrison holding a newspaper.  Inside, it states that the lumberjack grand prize is $50,000.  That money will cover the bonuses and the festival.  Every year, Gordon entered, and before Gordon, Sam did.  Katie wants to keep the family name going while saving the lumber yard.  She secretly enters.  But she doesn’t know Harrison is in the contest and her heart too.

This movie offers a minor change of pace to the holiday love story.  When Harrison and Katie discover they are in the same competition, they don’t hate each other or go into battle mode.  They have fun and wish the best for the other.  At first, Katie doesn’t understand why Harrison would move from the big city to the middle of nowhere.  However, Katie learns about his plans for the money.  And it inspires her.  You add a few loggers and a WWE Hall of Famer, and you got a holiday standout.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Rule of thumb. Give back what you take – Katie

Don’t you dare become a Yankees fan – Gordon

If you want your father to keep his leg, you need to let me do my job – Harrison

Maybe, it’s casual Friday – Sam

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Holiday in Santa Fe – Review

Holiday in Santa Fe – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Tony opens Warm Wishes and tells his sister, Maggie, that someone is assessing the business later.  He tells Maggie that he wants to know what the company is worth, but he doesn’t desire to sell the business.  The family anxiously waits for Winterfest but none more than Maggie.  Every year, their mother hand-crafted a heart and sold it all year.  Since she passed, they recreated past hearts, but interest wanes, and the shop loses business.  Maggie is trying to create a new heart, but she can’t get it right. 

Belinda enters town to find out she has a 5-night stay instead of two.  She doesn’t understand the change, but she takes it in stride.  Belinda heard about the hand-crafted Milagros heart and the legend it holds.  But she wants to learn about the family.  She meets with Tony, and they talk about the business and its direction.  As they fall for each other, Tony and Belinda’s company have different futures for Warm Wishes.  Can Belinda keep her job and Tony if Maggie can’t get the next heart crafted in time?

The love the family has for each other resonates off the screen.  It will make you smile and remind you of warm holidays with your family.  However, Lifetime makes the brave decision to cover microaggressions in this holiday film.  You learn about Tony and the family before the hints of racism.  By laying out the plot this way, you understand that Tony is not overreacting to a misunderstanding.  He is understandably offended.  And he has a right to be.  While this is a holiday movie, this dash of consciousness is needed during the holiday too.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

I’ll retire when I die. Maybe – Jose

Better to turn down an offer instead of an opportunity – Tony

By the way, has anyone told you you look like a young Tom Cruise – Frankie

Oh, my story is not that interesting – Belinda

Well, that’s one way to get fired – Maggie

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A Dickens of a Holiday! – Review

A Dickens of a Holiday! – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

The town of Dickens is abuzz with excitement because it is the 100th anniversary of the festival that has A Christmas Carol play as its grand finale (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  In a matter of days, their town will become Victorian London.  Cassie will direct, and Ray Muller will play Scrooge.  Mayor Given and the townspeople think Cassie is a big deal on the broadway scene, but she doesn’t tell them she has only directed ‘off-broadway’ plays.  When the Mayor asks Cassie to come to his office, she thinks he wants an update.  But he has unfortunate news.  Ray has large nodules on his vocal cords, and he can’t talk for a month if he wants to avoid surgery.  The Mayor isn’t worried because Ray has an understudy.  Cassie gets tense.  She let the understudy go on vacation because Ray never gets sick.  They may consider canceling the play until Ray has an idea.  They can ask hometown hero and action star Jake to be in it.  He hasn’t been home in years, but the Mayor tells Cassie to contact Jake’s brother, Craig, for information.  Craig gives Cassie the contact information and flippant good wishes.  When her assistant accidentally FaceTimes Jake, Cassie talks to Jake’s assistant, Ben.  At first, Jake says no.

Then he says yes after a production company turns him down for a serious role because he doesn’t have meaningful work on his resumé.  While Cassie wants to say no, she needs a star to pad her director career.  So they start working together for their respective careers but end with love.

There is a distinct moment that saves this movie from everything else.  It’s when Jake takes Cassie’s direction and acts from the depth of his soul.  It shows how much promise Kristoffer Polaha has as an actor.  You will want to see the play in its entirety.  That should be the next Lifetime movie.  His acting adds a new layer to his character and himself.  It is beyond measure.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

No. Not until everyone takes a bow – Cassie

Are you calling me scrooge as in my character or as in a personality trait – Jake

I don’t even know who you are anymore – Ben

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A Daughter’s Deceit – Review

A Daughter’s Deceit – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Suzanne, divorce attorney, answers callers during a radio show, and she gets a creepy caller.  The caller wants to know how Suzanne sleeps at night while destroying people’s lives.  Suzanne gives a political answer, and the host disconnects the call.  Suzanne goes home when someone attacks her in her driveway.  Before Suzanne can understand the severity of the situation, a woman comes to Suzanne’s rescue, but the woman gets hurt.  Suzanne sees the woman, Cassie, is injured and invites Cassie into her home for medical attention, and she shows Cassie that the robber’s gun is fake.  So Suzanne doesn’t want to call the police.  Cassie tells Suzanne she was in the area because she nannies for the neighbors, but she is looking for work now.  Suzanne has more questions for the helpful stranger, but Cassie has to leave.  The next day, Suzanne gets horrific news.  Her housekeeper, Farrah, died after she walked in front of a car.  Investigators found drugs in Farrah’s system.  Suzanne knew about Farrah’s past but thought Farrah overcame it in Suzanne’s charity program.  And Suzanne believed Farrah put that behind her and had months of sobriety.  After the funeral, Suzanne’s husband, Clay, reminds Suzanne that she has a dinner party coming up.  She either needs to cancel or find someone to replace Farrah.  Suzanne remembers Cassie and calls for her help.  It’s not long before Cassie is a part of the family.  But Suzanne is making a grave mistake.  Cassie’s name is Kate.  Years ago, Suzanne helped represent her father in her parents’ divorce.  When her mother, Fiona, walked away with no alimony or child support, Fiona blamed the lawyers and crashed her car, killing herself and injuring Kate.  This little girl grew up with revenge on her mind.  And with Suzanne’s open invitation, Cassie will serve murder.

With a high body count and one-liners, this movie is funnier than it’s scary.  Make sure to have your LMN bingo card near because this movie has perfume, nut allergies, and a drowning.  Cassie destroys Suzanne’s life with an app, a sex tape, and cleverly-timed moments.  And you will laugh through it all. You have no concern for Suzanne because you don’t know her.  You will be waiting for the moment Cassie learns the truth about Fiona.  

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

No way, she’s not getting off the easy – Cassie

No more drinking on school nights for me – Suzanne

You look how I feel – Clay

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A Fiancé for Christmas – Review

A Fiancé for Christmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

OBGYN Dr. Sawyer sits with her boss, Dr. Timothy, and they discuss the future of his practice.  He wants to retire soon and name his successor.  While Sawyer would be a great fit professionally, Timothy worries she lacks a work-life balance.  She works overtime and weekends, and he doesn’t want to leave the company to someone who will burn out.  Sawyer tells Nurse Jules her predicament while working on her patient, Hillary.  Jules suggests Saywer should get back on the dating apps, but Sawyer says no.  Hillary mentions her brother, Landon, is single.  He is a veterinarian and will be in town to help her until her husband comes back from duty.  Sawyer says no again.  While shopping for a friend’s wedding gift, Jules sees Sawyer is sad.  Sawyer wonders when she will get to create a registry.  Sawyer thought she and her ex-boyfriend, Josh, would get married, but she broke up with him when he didn’t support her ambitions.  Jules tells Sawyer to make a registry for fun and keep it private.  They add Sawyer’s name and name her husband, Josh Gotaway.  And they start to add things.  When Sawyer gets home, her family and friends celebrate HER ENGAGEMENT!  Due to a glitch, her registry went public.  A friend found it and told everyone/. She wants to tell the truth but doesn’t want to disappoint her mother, Margaret.  So she keeps up the lie.

At work, Sawyer sees Timothy interviewing another doctor, and she panics.  She walks into the examination room for Hillary’s checkup, and her brother, Landon, is there.  There are sparks, and they make uncomfortable banter.  She and Landon go on a coffee date, and they run into her ex-boyfriend, Josh.  Josh congratulates her and Landon, calling him Josh, and, much to Sawyer’s surprise, Landon goes with the flow.  They come up with a plan to keep the lie going until Hillary has the baby.  Then Landon will leave, and Sawyer can make up a lie about how Josh ended the engagement.  How can this go wrong?

If you love a morbid sense of humor and self-deprecating jokes, this is the movie for you.  Sawyer and Landon try to make the best of the situation only to dig themselves deeper into a hole.  Margaret has a grandbaby fever, and Timothy is over the moon for his replacement.  Not to mention Hillary is happy Landon has someone.  The longer Sawyer and Landon hold on to the lie, the more people become invested.  Seeing their worlds collide several times will have you biting your nails.  And it’s hilarious.  

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

Yeah, because I’m gonna be interviewing nurses for a job that just opened up – Sawyer

I’m not an ax murderer if that’s what you’re worried about – Landon

Being a grandma is the reward for surviving parenthood – Margaret

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Christmas With a Crown – Review

Christmas With a Crown – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Cassie and Ethan have been dating for three months, and he wants to get a place together.  His recent promotion and raise sealed the deal.  But each time he mentions the move, Cassie freezes up.  She wants to focus on Wintervail and its festivities.  On the other side of the world, Queen Mary doesn’t know the location of Prince Nicolas.  She wants to find him before the winter ball.  Mary decides to send Nicolas’s attendant, Arthur, after him.  If Arthur can’t locate him, he could lose his job with the royal family.

While at the library, Cassie bumps into Nicolas.  She has no idea of his title, but he is rude.  He leaves with his reading material when Arthur spots him.  Nicolas tells Arthur that he came to Wintervail to find out the meaning of Christmas.  Until then, Mary’s royal Christmas Ball can wait.  Then he overhears that the library is losing its funding and will have to close its doors.  Cassie offers to help.  She wants to restart the festival her mother created.  Nicolas offers his support.  While Cassie wants nothing to do with him, she does need the assistance because she has less than two weeks to put the fundraising festival together.  Can Cassie save the library while gaining Nicolas’s heart? How will she react when she discovers he is a prince?

This movie is the typical royalty-commoner story.  The pace is slow, the story is boring, and the characters are uninspired.  With so many films with the same plot, this movie is another loss in the holiday shuffle.  You can catch this movie if you want, but don’t take up space on your DVR.

I give it 1.5 out of 5 stars

You know they’re all free. It’s a library – Cassie

You’re complaining about formalities instead of pain. You’re not hurt – Nicholas

I’m not saying we should panic, but we should panic – Arthur

Does he remember that I’m the queen – Queen Mary

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A Sisterly Christmas – Review

A Sisterly Christmas – OWN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Vicky works as a city bus driver, likes to create homemade body products, and hasn’t spoken to her sister, Kristina, in a while.  Kristina works in a salon and plans on working through the holidays.  She wishes to own a salon one day but can’t get the money together.  When her boyfriend wanted to take the relationship to the next level, she broke up with him.  Vicky runs to her Aunt Debbie’s home to find Kristina at her side.  Debbie collapsed while shopping.  Recently, Debbie’s doctor changed her medication, and her body hasn’t adjusted.  After her health scare, Debbie decided to give Vicky and Kristina their inheritance.  She bought them a trip to Fisher Alpine Resort.  Debbie wants Vicky and Kristina to work on their bond and have some fun.  With contempt in their hearts, Vicky and Kristina go to the resort.  Kristina mistakes Keith, the general manager, for a bellhop because he helps them check-in.  After a flush of embarrassment, Kristina and Vicky head to the Prancer Suite.  When Vicky discovers a Christmas competition, she believes it will help them bond.  Kristina thinks the competition is juvenile until Regina walks into the resort making snide and disrespectful comments.  During grade school, they formed a singing group.  When a record company came calling, they only wanted Regina.  And she left them behind.  For years, Regina won the competition.  Vicky and Kristina will never let that happen again.

This film provides OMG moments when Debbie says everything with no filter.  When Debbie talks about their hair, clothes, and elbows, Debbie pulls zero punches.  In between the quips, the movie has a sisterly connection to mend.  Yes, you do get a Hallmark-esque love story, but it’s Kristina and Vicky’s growing bond that will keep you watching.  While it’s a strengthening connections movie, it has several lulls during the character’s reflective moments.  These moments will cause you to lose interest.  So keep this one when you have something to keep you occupied, just in case.  

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Besides, doesn’t every girl group need a tragic breakup story – Kristina

Do you know what together means – Vicky

Looked what the reindeer dragged in – Regina

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Christmas Movie Magic – Review

Christmas Movie Magic – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Alli is tired of creating clickbait and wants more hard-hitting and life-changing articles.  Dennis, Alli’s boss, makes a deal.  If Alli can create a compelling story, Dennis will put her on the news team.  Alli thinks about the most successful Christmas movie and song ever, Christmas with You.  The movie’s 65th anniversary is coming up, and Alli gets in an idea.  The producers filmed it in White Falls, New York.  She will research the movie and interview the star, Walter Andrews, in New York, and Dennis loves the idea because it’s his wife’s favorite movie.

When Alli arrives in White Falls, she gets distressing news.  Walter Andrews refuses to do an interview.  And when she asks around, White Falls doesn’t do the movie tour.  But they have memorabilia in the old theater.  Inside she finds Brad, his mom, Tracy, his niece, Chloe, and his grandmother Margaret.  For years, their family-owned the theater and happily exhibited items from the town’s hit movie.  But the city stopped celebrating the film.  Brad shows Alli all the memorabilia, and she accidentally knocks a picture of sheet music off the wall.  When they pick it up, they see writing on the back.  Walter composed that song for someone named D.  Although Alli lost her interview, she gained a mystery.  Dennis loves the story of the mystery woman who inspired the most famous Christmas song.  Alli and Brad will go through call sheets, engravings, and snow to find D.  On their quest, will they find love for each other too?

While it pulls you in with a fun mystery, HMM fans will have a clue who D is from the beginning.  But don’t leave just yet.  It’s the underlying story of their love that will make you sigh in awe.  Walter wrote a beautiful ode to a love he couldn’t have.  That unreachable love was his only piece of the ordinary in his world of fame.  Since losing D, Walter lived in self-isolation but gave D a generous gift before disappearing from the spotlight.  Yes, Alli and Brad have a love story, but it’s nothing compared to D and Walter.  Their love will keep you in your seat. 

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

I will come here every day just for this – Alli

Let me show you behind the curtain.  There’s no oz, just me – Brad

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Hip Hop Family Christmas – Review

Hip Hop Family Christmas – VH1 – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Jessica Nixon refuses T.V. reality show pitches from the network.  She won’t exploit her famous family for a promotion.  She agrees to do a show, but only if she can do it her way.  Jessica goes home to see her parents, Donnell and Tina.  They are Hall-A-Fame rappers who will receive honorary doctorates soon.  Her sister, Kelsey, also known as Special K, is a rapper in her own right.  But blogs say she is leaving her parents’ record label for another.  Jessica’s brother, Blare, manages Kelsey’s career and babysits her.  When the college finds out that Donnell may face murder charges, they decide to rescind the degree.  Donnell becomes irate and hangs up the call.  Then Jessica tells the family the reality show would be a great way to fix their image.  Jessica wants to show the world that this hip-hop family celebrates a traditional Christmas.  They all laugh because they never had a typical Christmas, but they promise to play their part.

Later, Jessica’s boyfriend, Jayson, proposes.  She says yes and displays the ring with pride.  While Donnell and Tina love the promising singer, his mother, Nancy, disapproves of Jessica.  Nancy considers the family to be basic hoodrats with too much money and not enough class.  She believes Jessica will destroy Jayson.  Jessica hopes the show will help Nancy see a new side to her family.  But when the show backfires, will Jessica take the blame?

This movie feels more like a T.V. pilot than a Christmas movie.  It left so many storylines open and questions unanswered.  This mix of Empire and Family Matters is an introduction to each character (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  Not the feel-good holiday movie you expect.  While it offers some hip hop and comedic moments, it only made the Christmas lineup because it had a Christmas tree for 3 minutes.  If they make it into a series, you can watch this movie any time of the year.  Otherwise, unanswered questions will drive viewers up a wall.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

How many times does she have to make the shade room for someone in the family to step in – Blare

Watch what you say, ok. They are snitching on everybody – Donnell

It’s hard to keep the cameras away – Jessica

I do not like her. At all – Tina

Girl, don’t worry about that. I fight every day – Kelsey

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Secretly Santa – Review

Secretly Santa – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Miranda created an app with her ex-boyfriend, Grant, called Gift Verse.  It uses A.I. to pick the perfect gift for a selected person using their information.  Unlike other apps, it directs you to small businesses instead of major brands.  Years ago, Miranda’s parents lost their family-owned shop to a big chain.  Grant worked out a deal for investors to buy the app, but the A.I. isn’t accurate.  Before her investor meeting, Miranda’s friend, Erika, tells Miranda to join a Santa crawl to relax.  During the crawl, everyone dresses as Santa and goes from bar to bar.  At the bar, Miranda and another Santa order the same holiday drink.  They grab the beverage and spark a conversation.  They don’t take off their Santa costumes or exchange names.  

Paul is a single dad and entrepreneur.  He and his twin sister, Jackie, sold their app, Present Ninja, to an investment firm for a major department store.  They go on a Santa crawl to celebrate when he meets a cute female Santa.  After talking, the Santas on the Crawl Bus push her on and leave him behind.  But he finds her glove on the ground.  Paul picked up her Santa’s glove and went home.  When he tells Jackie about the amazing Santa he met, Jackie tells him to use one of their old apps to find her.  He writes a message as Mr. Claus looks for Mrs. Claus and waits.  

Later, Miranda collects data for her A.I. at a market when she bumps into Paul.  He gives her a T-shirt for his app, and she gives it back appalled.  She would never work with an app focused on helping a big corporation, especially since hers is a competing app.  She leaves the market for her investor meeting.  Before the meeting, Paul walks in.  The investors bought both their apps and now want them to merge.  The investors want Miranda and Paul to fix the A.I.’s accuracy, so sales increase 20%.  If not, they will pull their investment.  Miranda agrees because, without funding, she will have to lay off workers.  Paul decides to work with her, although she has zero business sense.  When Miranda goes home, Erika tells her about the Mr. Claus post.  So she replies as Mrs. Claus.  While Miranda works with Paul, a frustrating man, she falls in love with him.  One post at a time.  

This Cinderella movie has some sweet and funny moments, but it’s not a holiday standout (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  You will be more interested in the app itself than the movie.  However, stick to the end.  Miranda finally gets the app she fought so hard to create.  That’s the moment that will make you cheer in your seat.  Otherwise, this film has the standard plot for this time of year.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

The best gifts make you feel seen – Miranda

How do you know – Paul

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The Christmas Thief – Review

The Christmas Thief – ION – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Lana doesn’t land her interview with her hero, Robin Drake, and goes home feeling like a failure.  She gave up her job as a lawyer to work as a P.I. like Robin Drake.  While she’s had a few cases, she gave herself a year to turn it into a career.  With the year coming to a close, her father, Philip, found Lana a job at a law firm.  When Lana arrives home, she avoids talking about job prospects and focuses on the holidays.  But her nephew, Henry, pulls her into a case.  The neighbors have a display with a live Santa.  Henry sees the Santa go into the garage but never come out.  He thinks this is the actual Santa Claus.  And he wants Lana’s help proving it.  Lana takes his case, but she starts to spot some authentic anomalies.  Like a glove in the bushes and a cop at their door.  When Detective Teddy finds her looking around, he warns Lana to stay away.  She offers her services as a P.I., but he won’t take them.  Later that evening, the neighbors panic.  They put an authentic emerald in their nativity display, and someone stole it.  Teddy gets the case, but the neighbors hire Lana.  Working together, Lana and Teddy think this crime has a connection to others in the area.  As Lana gathers clues, she gets a call from Robin.  Lana’s latest case piques Robin’s interest.  If Lana solves it, she can get her dream job with her hero, with enough time to make her deadline and fall in love.

Welcome to a holiday romance movie with a twist.  While you see the love forming between Lana and Teddy, it’s in the background.  This change in pace allows the user to focus on the crime.  While the mystery isn’t HMM level, it’s worth a watch.  Because the movie is unique, their is room to grow and mature with riveting characters and a heartfelt love story.  Fans will welcome a sequel for this movie every holiday season with new and fun mysteries.  Hopefully, this will be a holiday staple and gets better with time.    

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Thanks, doll face – Henry

You can come out now. I know you’re spying on me – Nick

P.I.? Pretty incredible – Teddy

Ah. I always put my foot in it – Lana

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Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday – Review

Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Jennifer watches the band play with her son, Simon, and spots her sister, Meg, playing the tuba.  Jennifer takes Meg back to her restaurant to meet the staff and check out her decorations.  Jennifer’s restaurant competes in a contest with a $25,000 grand prize for a charity of their choice.  Before going to Paris, Meg offers to stay at the restaurant to assist in Jennifer’s absence.  Before their uncle Dave died, he and Meg would go to Paris every holiday.  It’s Meg’s first time going alone.  Jennifer accepts the help and goes to her parents’ home in Hazelwood.

Jennifer can’t fathom that her parents are selling Dave’s theater in Hazelwood.  It has been a Hazelwood Christmas staple for years.  She asks her parents not to sell it to a chain, but they have no other offers.  Before they sell the theater, Jennifer wants to have one more Christmas movie night.  But she doesn’t want to be away from the restaurant before the competition, so she calls Meg.  After an enthusiastic conversation, Meg and Jennifer decide to do a sister swap.  Jennifer will stay in Hazelwood and plan the Christmas movie night, and Meg will stick around in Seattle and help the restaurant for the competition.  Will the sister swap work?

Have you ever heard of the phrase, whatever can go wrong will? Well, it does for this theater.  But in the process of getting the theater up and running, Jennifer finds something new.  Like life, out of all the chaos comes something good.  In the first half of this two-part movie, you watch the headstrong responsible sister try to relinquish control to her younger sister.  Jennifer discovers that letting go can help her reap more fruitful rewards.  Enjoy this unique Hallmark movie experience.  You get half of a conversation between the sisters when Jennifer is in her hometown.  Meg calls with updates but doesn’t give the whole story.  You will see what occurred in the city in the next movie.  And it’s worth it.  Save this on your DVR so you can watch one film after the other.  

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Well, that is a terrible way to run a business – Simon

Yeah. It got away from me – Jennifer

All the best deals start with baked goods – Eric

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My Favorite Christmas Melody – Review

My Favorite Christmas Melody – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Three years ago, Abby sang her new Christmas song at a bar.  A famous pop star, Casey Masey, approached Abby about working together.  But Casey stole Abby’s song.  Abby tried to sue but couldn’t get the necessary proof.  Today, Abby writes jingles for ad campaigns.  It’s not what she wants to do, but she can’t write songs nor perform after Casey’s thief.  Abby tells her agent, Whitney, that she feels burnt out on jingles, and Whitney suggests Abby take a break because an ad company wants to sign Abby to an exclusive contract.  Whitney thinks the break will help clear Abby’s mind and get Abby to sign the contract.  Abby’s mom, Cynthia, is the high school principal at Abby’s old school.  The school has its Annual Christmas Pageant, and Cynthia wants Abby to come in and help.  Abby decides to come home for her mom and mental health.  Abby arrives at the school with lunch, and Travis, the music teacher, bumps into her.  Abby writes him off as inconsiderate and walks to Cynthia’s office to tell Cynthia about the lunch mishap.  But Cynthia has distressing news.  Superintendent Davis wants to end the art program and give the funding to sports.  They need to make sure the pageant goes well to change his mind.  Cynthia asks Abby to lend Travis a helping hand.  Abby adds her flair to the class and catches Travis’s ear.  He loves her sound until he learns she is a jingle writer.  He doesn’t consider her an authentic artist.  She doesn’t think of him as more than a teacher that can’t ‘do.’  As they help the band, Abby and Travis see the music in the other.  They write a new Christmas song.  But with fragile trust, will one misheard phone call ruin everything?

The music and kids should be the focal point of the movie.  The love story falls flat, and the acting feels a bit off.  You won’t feel the spark or connection between Abby and Travis.  Then your mind will drift.  This movie shouldn’t take up space on your DVR, but it can kill 2 hours if you need it.  Otherwise, you can skip this movie for the season.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars

Writing commercials seems a bit soul-killing. I’m an artist – Abby

You make a living songwriting without having to write real songs – Travis

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A Furry Little Christmas – Review

A Furry Little Christmas – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Dr. Scarlett Miller leaves her veterinary practice to spend time with her dad.  She learned everything about animals from him.  He wants his daughter to take over his rural practice, but her life with her son, Milo, is in New York (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  At a fair, Milo sees a dog, Banjo, and plays with the pup.  Scarlett lets Milo know they can’t keep Banjo, but Milo can continue to play.  Later that night, Scarlett’s dad gets a call about a sick puppy.  Scarlett thinks it’s too late for her dad to go out.  So, she goes on the call while her father watches Milo.  

Scarlett arrives at the house call and sees two familiar faces.  It’s Banjo, and its new owner Dr. Foster.  Foster rubbed her the wrong way because he didn’t consider her an actual doctor.  She quickly corrected him.  Now, Foster needs her services.  Scarlett diagnoses the dog ate something ill-advised for him, and she provides Foster with a remedy.  After helping the patient, Scarlett can’t leave because the storm worsens.  Foster asks her to stay, and she says yes.  That decision will change Scarlett’s life forever.  

This movie is caring but slow.  You know how it will end in the first 20 minutes.  So you don’t worry about Scarlett and Foster’s budding relationship.  Your focus is on Scarlett’s relationship with the other men in her life.  Her dad and her son, Milo, pull her in two different directions.  As grandfather and grandson connect, they find a bond that spans the generations.  While the focal relationship isn’t riveting, it’s the subplot connection that makes you watch.  

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

I’m an actual doctor – Dr. Foster

Real doctors treat more than one species – Scarlett

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Our Christmas Journey – Review

Our Christmas Journey – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Lena is a single mom of two kids, Maya and Marcus.  Her ex-husband, Rick, signed Marcus up for Hope Hills Academy.  It helps kids with autism learn skills to help them communicate, find jobs, and understand emotions.  Lena thinks the school is unnecessary because she takes care of Marcus.  Since Marcus is 18, Rick thinks it’s time for Marcus to learn to live without Lena.  Lena’s mother, Robin, reminds Lena that they have a long drive ahead and need to go.  Lena continues to drag her feet.  They arrive at the Academy 2 hours late.  Lena thinks they can reschedule the tour.  However, this wasn’t a tour.  It was a one-week stay to ensure the school wanted Marcus as a student, not the other way around.  Lena insincerely apologizes and books herself and the kids into the B&B.  Much to Lena’s chagrin, Rick gets another meeting.   

When they come for the next meeting, Lena is in disbelief.  The academy won’t let her stay because Marcus must remain at the academy for a week without his parents.  They will evaluate him and see if Marcus will fit in with the other students.  Lena panics, but Robin tells Lena it’s a good thing.  As Marcus spreads his wings, Maya will find a community, and Lena and Rick will find love again.

With a shining light on autism, this movie helps you delve deeper into the family dynamics.  Lena worries all day about Marcus, but you discover she has a reason.  Maya, always the good girl, feels like the odd one out in her family.  She understands that Marcus needs help, but she feels unheard.  At the school, the siblings of students meet to support each other.  These moments allow Maya to shine.  Not as a bratty teen but as a caring sister.  Rick is one of the more complicated characters.  Viewers may think he quit on his family because of Marcus’s autism, but that’s not true.  He felt that Lena pushed him and his ideas out.  Autism affects the entire family.  Watch this film and open your eyes.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

I’m not really up for the positivity game – Maya

Well, he got his leading-man good looks from me – Rick

Good because I already said yes for all of us  – Robin

It’s not like that – Lena

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Secrets in the Wilderness – Review

Secrets in the Wilderness – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Tyler comes home after a tough day at the office and tries to unwind.  Then, his wife, Lisa, smiles and tells Tyler she’s pregnant.  Tyler isn’t happy because he thought she was taking the pill.  He feels like Lisa trapped him in an unhappy marriage.  To fix things, Tyler suggests they go to marriage counseling.  Their therapist, Alana, thinks they need a more disciplined treatment.  Tyler heard about a retreat that his friends went on to strengthen their marriage.  And he wants to do the same.  Lisa agrees to go.  Lisa tells her best friend, Stephanie, that she will do anything to save her marriage for her unborn baby.  

At the lodge, it confuses Lisa that they are the only couple there.  But Alana thinks it will help them focus on their relationship.  And Alana has other rules.  First, they can’t sleep in the same room.  And, they can’t have cell phones.  Lisa isn’t comfortable, but she agrees.  Soon, Lisa keeps having accidents and feels like she will lose her mind.  But it’s all a part of the plan.

Welcome to Home Alone meets Dr. Phil in the woods (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  During their counseling session, Lisa learns survival training.  Keep an eye on everything she discovers.  She will use it later in the film.  Also, Stephanie is a change of pace for the film.  She isn’t the nosy friend that creeps around nor the person who tries to calm Lisa down.  Stephanie doesn’t protest Lisa leaving but stands by Lisa’s side when Lisa calls.  Stephanie is the definition of a true-blue friend.  Put this one on your DVR, so you can pause when needed.  You can’t miss the tiny clues that will save Lisa’s life.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

I’m sorry, but this isn’t a great time – Tyler

Don’t you find that Alana is being unprofessional – Lisa

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Kirk Franklin’s A Gospel Christmas – Review

Kirk Franklin’s A Gospel Christmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

During Pastor Etta’s sermon, she announces news to the church.  Her daughter, Assistant Pastor Olivia, will leave their congregation to lead the flock at Genesis Baptist Church.  Olivia sits dumbfounded with a smile.  Etta used her Spelman connections to get Olivia the job, and it starts in two days.  Olivia will miss Christmas with her family, but that’s not her most pressing concern.  Olivia doesn’t feel ready to lead, but Etta has faith Olivia can do it.  

Olivia arrives at the church and meets several members.  Sister Stella sings in the choir, and her brother was the previous pastor.  Her son, Brother Ashton, attends the church and plays piano.  Stella welcomes Olivia with open arms and helps navigate Olivia through the church’s inner workings.  Stella’s sister, Sister Ida, is not so welcoming.  She doesn’t think an outsider should lead the flock.  Also, Olivia doesn’t sing.  Ida wanted the church to have a singing pastor.  She tells Olivia there is a list of things that Olivia needs to do, including signing the church up for Jamboree in 3 weeks.  If they don’t win, Olivia is a failure.  With so much on her plate, Olivia goes to church and hears Ashton at the piano.  It inspires her.  She makes Ashton the choir director, but he has no idea Olivia can sing.  As they find love in each other, they find strength within themselves.  As Olivia gets the church in the right direction, paperwork may be her downfall.  

This movie boils down to one lesson: Ask for help.  Yes, Ida sets Olivia up for failure, but the past pastor didn’t do all that work.  A shepherd may lead the flock, but the congregation assists the shepherd.  And let’s not forget, Etta set Olivia up by putting her in charge of a church without telling her.  And right before the holidays.  This period is the worst time to take over a new church.  With that aside, the film gives inspiring sermons and entertaining musical performances that will uplift you during the season.  After reading Woman Evolve, relax with this faith-based film (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

It’s so festive – Olivia

Maybe you’re supposed to be like you – Ashton

You tried of playing pastor, yet, assistant pastor – Ida

Pastor, it’s a date, not a baptismal  – Dee

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A Very Merry Bridesmaid – Review

A Very Merry Bridesmaid – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Leah, 9-years-old, comes to Drew’s house to look for her brother, Paul.  As they got older, Drew and Paul won’t include her.  Drew’s grandmother remembers that Christmas Eve is Leah’s 10th birthday, a milestone.  She tells Leah that milestone birthdays are significant because it allows you to evaluate your life.  Twenty years later, Leah dreads her birthday.  30 is a milestone, but Leah doesn’t feel accomplished like her friends.  She never traveled, and her boutique is small.  Also, no one in her family remembers because Paul’s fiancée, Marcy, chose Christmas Eve as her wedding date.   

Paul and Drew meet at the airport, and Drew can see something is wrong.  The airline lost Marcy’s custom-made French wedding gown.  Also, they couldn’t get married in her choice wedding venue because someone outbid them for her parents’ old home.  So it’s no wonder that Marcy is a bit upset.  Drew promises to step up to his best man duties and help Paul.  At Paul and Leah’s parents’ home, Paul has a surprise.  The buyers backed out, and he bought Marcy’s family home.  He wants to move the entire wedding to the house’s gazebo with only a few days to spare.  The family rallies together to give Marcy the wedding of her dreams.  In a quiet moment together, Drew remembers Leah’s birthday is coming up.  No matter if she likes it or not, he will make her celebrate her 30th birthday and put a spotlight on Leah.  Will this spotlight bring high school crushes together?

Grab a plate of Alfajores cookies and enjoy this film.  While you know the ending, seeing Drew do kind things for Leah and Paul will make you fall in love with Drew.  Drew goes above and beyond for his friends.  The plot tries to make you worry about the romance because Drew has plans to leave after the wedding.  But that’s not a threat to avid Hallmark fans.  The writers tried to redeem Marcy at the end so she wouldn’t come off as an entitled bridezilla (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  So give her a chance.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

They’re facts, not excuses – Leah

Ok, we don’t want to say ‘Titanic’ about my wedding – Paul

Not a gazebo-in-the-winter crazy – Andrew

I feel like he’s up to something – Marcy

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Categories: A Daughter's Deceit, A Dickens of a Holiday, A Fiancé for Christmas, A Furry Little Christmas, A Sisterly Christmas, A Very Merry Bridesmaid, Adam Gregory, Aimee Garcia, Alicia Dea Josipovic, Aloma Wright, Amanda Payton, Amber Riley, Anna Holbrook, Ashley Doris, Ashley Williams, BET, BET Her, BET Her TV, BET+, Blue Kimble, Brooke D'Orsay, Casey Deidrick, Christmas Déjà Vu, Christmas in the Rockies, Christmas Movie Magic, Christmas With a Crown, Countdown to Christmas, Deborah Joy Winans, Demetria McKinney, Drew Seeley, Efrain Figueroa, Emeraude Toubia, Emily Osment, Emma Nasfell, hallmark, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, Hip Hop Family Christmas, HMM, Holiday in Santa Fe, Holidaze and Chill, Holly Deveaux, Holly Robinson Peete, ion, Its A Wonderful Lifetime, Jarrid Masse, Jennifer Field, Jessica Nicole Brown, Jonathan Stoddard, Keith Robinson, Keri Hilson, Kevin Nealon, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Kimberly-Sue Murray, Kirk Franklin's A Gospel Christmas, Kristi Murdock, Kristoffer Polaha, Kylee Bush, lifetime, lifetime movie network, Lisa Durupt, Lisa Michelle Cornelius, lmn, Loretta Devine, Lyriq Bent, Made for TV, Marcus Rosner, Marie Osmond, mario lopez, Mark Deklin, MC Lyte, Merry Movie Christmas, Michael DeVorzon, Michelle Borth, Miracles of Christmas, movie, My Favorite Christmas Melody, Mya, Naughty or Nice, ne-yo, Nicholas Heard, Nik Sanchez, Our Christmas Journey, OWN, OWN For The Holidays, Rachel Cerda, Rainbow Sun Francks, Redman, Reece Odum, review, Scout Taylor-Compton, Secretly Santa, Secrets in the Wilderness, Serayah, Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday, Slay Bells, Stafford Perry, Stephanie Bennett, Stephen Huszar, Tanya Chisholm, Terrence J, The Christmas Thief, Travis Nelson, Trish Stratus, tv review, UPtv, vh1, Vivica A. Fox, Your Home for the Holidays

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