#WritingAroundTheChristmasTree, #HotChocolateHoliday, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

Writing Around the Christmas Tree – Review

Writing Around the Christmas Tree – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

As Mikaela shares her wisdom in a writing workshop, one participant, Levi, asks intrusive questions about her love life and mother.  Mikaela quickly wraps up the session and plans her next steps with her agent, Gigi, and assistant, Keifer.  But Levi approaches Mikaela wanting more information.  He mentions her mother’s writing retreat.  Years ago, Mikaela’s mother, a famous author, would invite four lucky writers to her chalet to help them write their first book, release their writer’s block, or inspire them.  

Mikaela tells Keifer to cancel all her holiday plans.  She must finish the second half of her book, or her publishers will back out.  She calls to cancel dinner with her dad and mentions Levi’s idea.  He thinks reviving the retreat is magnificent and offers to cook as he did in the past.  Mikaela tells Kiefer to collect résumés for the retreat, and she will pick four applicants.  

Levi gets a phone call from Tracy.  She commissioned him to write a biography about Mikaela’s mother.  Tracy got wind of the retreat and now believes it would be a good opening for Levi to get closer to Mikaela.  Levi says he applied for the writing retreat but hasn’t heard back.  So he meets Mikaela face to face to request a spot.  She gets to know a little about him but says no.  However, he approaches her at a book signing, and she says no again.  Later, she sees him at a coffee shop reading one of her books and talks to him.  Filled with the holiday spirit, she accepts him on a trial basis.  That’s if she doesn’t find out he’s crazy in a few days.  Her change of heart will bring romance and make her creative juices flow.  When she finds out about the biography, will it end their storybook romance before it starts?

The first interaction between Levi and Mikaela will pull you into the story.  He interrogates her like a hard-nosed reporter, but you aren’t sure why because he admits he never read her books.  Although, he claims to be a fan of her mother.  As the plot weaves in Mikaela’s book, they foreshadow her romance with Levi.  It explains that the constant bickering challenges the main character and helps her grow.  The viewer gets a subtle message about why Levi and Mikaela belong together.  Watch this movie with your chestnut soup and Turkey Po’Boy sandwich in hand.  

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Are you not? – Levi

More like your downtrodden daughter at the moment – Mikaela

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Hot Chocolate Holiday – Review

Hot Chocolate Holiday – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Colette tolls night and day to recreate her grandmother’s hot chocolate recipe into a powder mix.  Colette needs to get the recipe right and read the contract so grocery chains can sell her mix.  At the Christmas Kick-off, Colette meets Marcus.  He’s renting the store next to hers and opening a bakery.  They take a train ride around the festivities and talk about life, business, and family. 

Colette orders a brownie with hot chocolate from Marcus’s shop the next day.  She takes one sip and recognizes it as her recipe.  Colette thinks he stole it and wants to gather proof.  When her investigation doesn’t get results, she tells him to stop selling it.  But he won’t because it’s his recipe.  Working on her grocery store deal, Frank heard about her competitor.  He gives her a warning.  If Marcus claims it’s his recipe, it can kill her contract.  As she devises a plan, a fire destroys everything but the truth, the past, and their love.  

While the plot follows the T.V. romance format, it solves the mystery of the recipe sooner than you would expect.  Instead of dragging it on for two hours, viewers learn the truth in the first hour.  Rebuilding their connection is the focus of the second half.  It gives the main characters more time to connect and heal.  

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Try This – Colette

I learned that culinary espionage is not for me – Nikki

This whole thing is ridiculous – Marcus

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Rebuilding a Dream Christmas – Review

Rebuilding a Dream Christmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Abbey plans on a solo Christmas working on her new assignment, but Karen from the historical society calls.  A tree fell and broke the window at her house.  She needs to get a permit to fix it and present it in person.  Abbey drives to Weston, her hometown, and sees the house she inherited from her grandmother needs a lot of work.  But the historical society only cares about the outside of the home.  At the local cafe, Abbey runs into her best friend, Ellen.  Although they haven’t spoken in years, they quickly reconnect.  Ellen is close to achieving her dream of owning a Christmas store.  But she doesn’t understand the rental agreement.  Ellen begs Abbey to look at it.  But between work and finding a contractor, Abbey won’t have time.  Ellen calls her brother, Josh.  He loves to fix old buildings and knows the city permit process inside and out.  When he hears the name Abbey, he says no without hesitation.  Ellen convinces him to look at the window.  When they meet, Abbey explains she is in town for the day.  After she gets the permit, she will leave.  Abbey and Josh present the information to Karen, but the committee doesn’t plan to meet until after the new year.  Frustrated, Abbey leaves and prepares to go home tomorrow.  But something will keep her in town: Josh’s son, Noah.  Noah, asked Santa for a mom for Christmas.  No matter how hard Abbey tries, a storm, a dead battery, and a reindeer will keep her in Weston.  Is Noah’s wish stronger than Karen’s law?

When Ellen calls Josh, you know the plot from beginning to end.  The only aspects you don’t consider are Noah and Santa.  They work together to keep Abbey in town.  But if you take them out of the movie, Abbey only had bad luck.  This movie wasn’t funny, compelling, or mysterious, so it’s another holiday filler.  This film adds nothing to the holiday season but a great charity: Trees For Troops.

I give it 1.5 out of 5 stars

The bed and I had a disagreement– Abbey

I can see that – Josh

Oh no. Coming in hot – Ellen

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It Takes a Christmas Village – Review

It Takes a Christmas Village – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Mayor Alex Foster stands at the edge of a traffic jam and fixes the detour sign.  As cars turn around, Frank asks Alex how long the construction work will take.  She quotes the contractor and says soon.  Frank reminds Alex that the construction blocks Main Street, and his business suffers every day.  He may not make it through the holidays.  Alex gets coffee from Jo, and Jo shares Frank’s sentiments.  Alex goes to her office to get the contractor on her phone.  Alex’s assistant, Gina, tells Alex the contractor is on vacation in Jamaica, and hiring another contractor is a breach.  Alex has to save Main Street without violating her contract.  Alex sits with her dad, Art, the former mayor, to pick his brain, and he gives her a great idea: a Christmas Market.  All the Main Street stores will have a booth and recoup any losses during construction.  Alex goes back to the office and opens a map of the town.  Alex and Gina need to find a spot large enough with ample parking.  Then, Alex spots Hawkins Mill.  It shut down years ago and has everything they need for the market.  But Gina reminds Alex that the Foster and Hawkins families have been at war for years since the patriarch closed it.  Art Foster knew closing the mill could destroy the town, but Hawkins did it anyway.  When Alex mentions all the family members left, Gina states their son, Darcy, still lives on the property.

Alex marches to Darcy’s home and sees his woodworking in the yard.  She asks for permission to use the old mill, and he gives an emphatic no.  She refuses to accept that answer and follows Darcy to his door.  Darcy’s grandmother, Mary, invites Alex inside to talk.  Mary mentions moving to her dream apartment someday before Darcy cuts her off.  Alex leaves defeated but with a new plan.  She and Gina look into the apartments Mary mentioned.  They find an application for a building permit.  Darcy wanted to turn the mill into apartments with commercial real estate underneath.  Alex thinks it’s a brilliant idea.  So, Alex offers Darcy a deal.  She will present his plan to the board if Darcy lets them use the mill for the Christmas Market. Will Alex and Darcy’s sparks derail their deal?

This family at war story brings out the romance or bitterness of everyone involved.  Alex’s ex-boyfriend, Brent, says their romance clouds her judgment.  And Art thinks she is undoing the work he did.  But Gina and Mary are in their corner.  They see the love Alex and Darcy share and want them to push forward.  This movie follows the typical romance script, but Alex’s passioned plea saves the film.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

You are a genius, dad – Alex

Well, don’t give me that look – Darcy

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Song & Story: Amazing Grace – Review

Song & Story: Amazing Grace – OWN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Iris walks into the alley and requests Tanner create a picture for her.  But to take her time.  Tanner charges $25 with a deposit.  Iris returns to her boutique and tells her friend, Beverly, about her troubles.  Iris expanded her story but hasn’t turned enough profit to cover the bills.  Beverly tells her that developers want to invest in stores in the area.  Iris tells Beverly to give them her information.

Days later, Iris finds Tanner for the completed drawing.  Iris sees Tanner’s paintings and asks Tanner to turn her art into an oil painting.  Iris agrees, but it will take more time.  Tanner walks away, and Baker steps out of the shadows.  Tanner owes Baker money.  If she doesn’t pay him back now, he will hurt her little brother, Elijah.  Tanner begs for more time, but Baker offers a deal.  If she runs credit card and phony money scams for him around town, then he will let her off the hook.  She tells him she will get the money and walks to a store.  Iris puts paints and supplies in her bag, and Beverly catches her.  Iris walks from the back, and Tanner uncovers the store belongs to Iris.  Beverly calls the police, and the officers take Tanner away.  Iris sees the fear in Tanner’s eyes and convinces D.A. to drop the charges if Tanner works in her store.  The D.A. agrees, and Tanner comes to Iris’s store to work but wants to leave.  She doesn’t understand why Iris would help her.  Iris says it’s what her mother would have done.  Iris stays but Baker in on her trail.  Baker wants Tanner to run the scam in Iris’s store.  These women will work on their grace while healing each other.  But can that grace survive their linked past?

This film is a caring movie about understanding and redemption that feels forced sometimes.  Both women are in the throws of losing everything important to them.  Tanner sees her neighborhood dying while losing her home.  Baker threatens her daily, and she lost her brother to the foster care system years ago.  After her mom died, Iris left the corporate world to take over her mother’s store.  Iris doesn’t want to lose it because that would be equivalent to losing her family legacy.  Iris can see that Tanner has it rough, but Tanner has no idea what Iris goes through.  They need each other to grow, and you watch their development in awe.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

The only man I’m looking for is the one whose face is plastered on the $100 bill – Iris

I warned you about this chick – Beverly

I didn’t know it was your store – Tanner

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The Christmas Ball – Review

The Christmas Ball – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Sarah walks in and tells Clare she can’t be a prima ballerina for the dance company.  Clare asks for more time to rehab, but they need someone well enough to perform the Nutcracker (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  This moment is the first time in years that Clare hasn’t had a performance on the holidays.  Sarah tells Clare she should consider being a teacher instead of a dancer, but Clare isn’t ready.  Clare’s aunt, Bridget, calls and asks Clare to visit England.  With the time off, Clare gets on the next flight.  

When she arrives, Clare bumps into Liam, evaluating the house.  He wants Bridget’s home declared a historical landmark but needs to generate more buzz to convince the committee.  Bridget tells Clare that preparing the house is time-consuming.  Also, Bridget wants to retire as a ballet teacher.  After 30 years, Clare can’t believe Bridget desires to walk away.  With a guilt-ridden face, Bridget comes clean.  She didn’t invite Clare for only a traditional English Christmas.  Instead, she wants Clare to take over her ballet school and house.  Clare lets out a deep breath, but Bridget tells Clare to think it over before making a decision.  Bridget considers what to do for the Christmas party, and someone mentions a yearly ball at the house years ago with the town.  Bridget decides a ball would be a definitive way to persuade the judges.  Then, Bridget asks Clare to teach a dance to her students for the ball.  Clare chooses the Quadrille Waltz with Liam as her partner.  As Liam and Clare work together, she helps him get loose and have fun.  He guides her into the life she never knew she wanted.  

Sigh.  This movie is slow, lacks emotion, and has average dancing.  There are too many stories like this during the holiday season.  This film becomes white noise.  Clare shows no desire to teach when Clare’s instruction is ‘you know it, dance.’  The relationship between Bridget and Jack is more interesting than the main characters.  You can skip this movie during the holiday season.

I give it 1.5 out of 5 stars

Oh, you know I don’t check those things.  Why don’t you just text me like a normal person – Bridget

History is history, no matter where you find it – Liam

I am not ready to be a full-time teacher. I’m a dancer – Clare

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Miracles Across 125th Street – Review

Miracles Across 125th Street – VH1 – 2 hours and 0 minutes

After overdosing at his video shoot, Murder Count Basie took a year off the music industry to get sober.  He comes to his family’s church, The Miracle Center, to see his family after four years of making Trap Music.  His mother, Sister Lady Brown, is happy to see him.  But his sister, Holiday, isn’t.  He paid for his father’s funeral but didn’t attend.  Holiday tells Basie to go back to heathen life.  Basie advises Holiday that he plans to stay put and start his life anew.  He goes to the church’s kitchen for dinner, and Ebony walks in with her son, Basie Jr.  Basie stops in his tracks because his family knew he had a son and never told him.  Lady Brown and Holiday jump to Ebony’s defense because they tried to inform him, but he never answered their phone calls.  His newfound son seals Basie’s decision to stay and reconnect to his family.  But his past has other plans.  His ex-girlfriend, Zsa Zsa Hottest, The Fashion Goddess, lost $2 million in a bitcoin scheme.  She blames Basie.  After dodging her phone calls, Zsa Zsa decides to have goons bring Basie back to her.  And he can answer for what he did.  And these goons have murder on their minds.  Will Basie go back to his old ways when they catch up to him?

While the songs are enjoyable and the story is ok, the corny jokes and horrible lip-syncing throws the entire movie off.  This film is a skit that went on too long.  The first 40 minutes feels like a sitcom that introduces unnecessary characters.  And they talk about $2 million without finding out what happened to it.  You can use this movie as background noise to your holiday festivities, but it’s not for younger kids.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars

Oh, now you wanna be my brother again – Holiday

I paid for it – Basie

Basie, I guess it’s cold in here too – Ebony

We still in the precinct.  We not even out yet – Tammy

Maybe you had bad service – Lady Brown

Pray I grow – Lil Vamp

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Candy Cane Candidate – Review

Candy Cane Candidate – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Julia lost her campaign for a special election and goes to her hometown, North Falls, to regroup for a second run in the general election.  Before she left, Gwen offered Julia a job with the Green Earth Initiative.  But Julia’s campaign manager, Lucy, tells Julia not to take the job.  In North Falls, Julia’s parents concern themselves more with her love life than her campaign.  When she tries to walk away, Julia crashes into Parker holding a Christmas tree and falls on the ground.  Parker runs the leadership program, but Mayor Rodriguez has another job to offer.  Mayor Rodriguez will step down from her duties to focus on being a grandmother, and she wants Parker to take her place.  When Julia learns he will be running unopposed, she flips.  Elections are about choice, so they can’t have one without two opponents.

Mayor Rodriguez announces the mayoral run with no other candidates, and Julia enters her hat in the race.  While it’s not the Washington politics she hopes for, Julie thinks it will be a step in the right direction.  Mayor Rodriguez loves their spirit and christens it the Candy Cane Campaign.  While Parker fights a social campaign, Julia has an eco-friendly one.  This campaign will spark the competitive nature they had in high school.  But is that the only feeling they discover?

The snide remarks and snappy retorts will keep your focus on the screen.  The writers hint that something happened that ended their friendship and budding romance.  But they don’t tell what it was until the last 30 minutes.  While the reason seems childish to adults, remember that Julia was in high school when this happened.  So, her age can justify her irrational actions.  This movie comes to a believable and satisfying conclusion, even with the predictable storyline.  So, get your peppermint snickerdoodles ready.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

I guess that’s a good bye then – Julia

I think legendary’s a strong word – Parker

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Under the Christmas Tree – Review

Under the Christmas Tree – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Alma visits her chickens when a loud buzzing riles them up.  She looks above and sees a drone.  Alma looks at the consultant recommendations and vetos all their suggestions.  Her parents will retire soon, and she will take over their shop.  Her parents try to open Alma’s mind, but she remains headstrong.  While helping her friend Marie, Alma sees the drone in the back of a van.  Alma approaches the van, but the sight of Charlie leaves Alma speechless.  Charlie introduces herself and her co-worker, Rohan.  They are looking for a new tree that the governor will display because the previous tree lost its top half due to a freeze.  Charlie thinks they found the perfect one using the drone.  

Later that night, Alma goes home to see Charlie and Rohan sitting on her parents’ couch.  The tree Charlie found is on their property.  Charlie came to get the necessary signatures to take the tree to the governor for their lighting ceremony in a few days.  Quickly, Alma says no, but Charlie gives Alma a business card.  In the morning, Alma sends a kindly-worded email restating her refusal.  When Alma looks up, she can’t believe Charlie is standing in front of her.  Charlie thinks she can get to know Alma and make Alma change her mind before the deadline.  Charlie will enter competitions, cook, and find mother trees with Alma, creating a space for romance.  When Rohan discovers they don’t need Alma’s approval and lets it slip to their boss, will Alma lose faith in Charlie?

Seeing Charlie, a woman with no roots, attempt to participate in holiday festivities is pure gold.  She never follows the rules or recipes.  While their connection jumps off the screen, you go on a journey of discovery and meaningful dialogue with them.  The only issue with this movie is Alma’s stubbornness.  Alma comes off as more of a bratty teen than a determined adult.  You want her to try something new or open her mind a little to others; instead of stomping her feet and crossing her arms.  However, their love story will warm your heart as it teaches you about trees.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Are we on private property – Charlie

It’s all in the wrists. Think Edward Scissorhands – Alma

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‘Tis the Season to be Merry – Review

‘Tis the Season to be Merry – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Merry is a relationship advice blogger, days away from publishing her first book.  Merry uses her relationship with her fiancé, Dale, as a blueprint for others.  She meets with the editor, Sonia, to finalize information and contracts.  But Sonia needs Dale to sign documents before they can release the book.  Merry and her friend, junior editor Darlene, take the paperwork and leave.  Merry comes clean to Darlene: Dale is fake.  She created the perfect man but had no idea her career would take off.  If her deceit comes to light, the publishing company will lose its credibility, Darlene will lose her job, and Merry’s career will go down the drain.  Darlene invites Merry to her family’s home to contemplate ways to fix the problem.  But only if Darlene’s brother, Adam, won’t be there.  Darlene assures Merry that Adam is on another continent.

At the house, Merry settles in and lays on the bed.  Then something falls on top of her: it’s Adam.  He came home to surprise his family after his project ended early.  Merry offers to go to a hotel, but Adam gladly gives up his bed.  Now the man she wanted to avoid is under the same roof.  Then Sonia comes to town.  Her researchers revealed that Dale is fake.  Sonia orders Merry to create a new book or lose her book deal.  Good thing love is closer than Merry knows.

This movie is an easy watch that keeps you engrossed with Merry’s deadline.  She either has to find a dream man or create a new book.  In a way, she does both and neither.  Other than that, it’s the standard holiday romance plot.  No more and no less.  Save this on your DVR when you have 2 hours to burn.  

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

I can’t believe this. I’m a fraud – Merry

And look who I found sleeping in my bed – Adam

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Christmas for Keeps – Review

Christmas for Keeps – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

It’s been 12 years since Avery, Sarah, Mia, Noah, and Ben took the stage together, but they remained friends after high school drama class.  Avery packs up her job and heads home with a heavy heart.  Their drama teacher, Mr. Massey, died.  The school wants to honor him with a memorial service, and Avery calls her friends to see if they will attend and help Mrs. Massey with the holiday events.  Avery calls Ben, but he is too busy with his construction company to help.  He tells Avery that he can only attend the memorial.  Ben, the drama clown, is all-business these days.  Avery calls Mia, who just finished a performance.  Mia doesn’t look forward to the memorial meet-up because she lies about her success.  Dr. Sarah is next.  She wants to take over her father’s practice after her residency.  So taking time off is a no.  But Sarah tells Avery to give her husband, Noah, a try.  Noah wants to help, but it will be difficult for this stay-at-home dad to find a babysitter on such short notice.

Avery drives to Culpepper, Virginia, and has the daunting task of helping Mrs. Massey alone.  When Avery arrives at the school, the other four are there.  They talk about the life lessons Mr. Massey taught them and how he helped them in their lives up to his death.  Principal Larry asks one of them to make a speech at the memorial.  Avery volunteers.  As they catch up, each wants that old connection.  So they decide to lend Avery a helping hand with the events.  Each of them will see the problems that plagued them in high school affect them today.  They still need Mr. Massey’s words and each other to guide their next step for a better life.

Relax and let this movie take you back to that one teacher who inspired you to be and do better.  If you haven’t stayed in contact, this movie will make you reconsider.  This film will remind you that teaching doesn’t end in the classroom because Mr. Massey’s growth challenges help Avery find her voice and Noah become brave.  The friends may not be on the best terms, but they keep Mr. Massey’s lessons in the foreground of their lives.  No matter who you are, you can find yourself in the characters.  Yes, this movie has a love story, but it’s so much more.  This movie was the best way for HMM to finish its holiday season.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

I think everything through. Too much perhaps – Avery

And then there were five – Sarah

P.S. Is it cool if I stay with you guys – Mia

I miss adults – Noah

Cutest – Ben

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Toying with the Holidays – Review

Toying with the Holidays – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

For weeks, Dani told her son, Paul, about the magical Christmas in her hometown.  For the first time in five years, she has time off to go to Holly Pines and enjoy the festival with the Christmas Train.  Before Dani leaves her office, her boss, Mr. Logan, comes to her desk with a new assignment due at the end of the year.  When Dani puts up resistance, he reminds Dani of an upcoming promotion.  She moves forward with her trip but packs her work with her.

When they arrive, Paul and Dani pick a Christmas tree.  But a man in a red pickup truck takes it away, so they resolve to get another tree instead.  Then, Paul mentions the town doesn’t seem as festive as Dani made him believe, and she agrees.  Dani asks her mom, Kate, what happened.  Kate explains that her father kept the festival and the Christmas train going.  Without the train, the festival fell apart, and the town won’t fund it.  To have the festival, Kate will host a fundraising auction.  But Kate has no idea who has the train.  When Dani and Paul go through her father’s old toy trains, Dani can’t get them to run.  So, she takes them to a toy shop and calls out for the owner.  She finds a man, Kevin, in the back with headphones.  Kevin jolts to attention when Dani taps his shoulder, causing his nutcracker to fall and break.  Kevin inherited the store from his grandfather, and he loves fixing old toys.  When they look out the window, they see the same red truck.  Kevin took their tree.  If he repairs the toy locomotive, Dani will consider them even.

Days later, Kevin delivers the toy train to Paul and helps Paul set it up.  When Dani arrives, Kevin apologizes for using her in high school for a passing chemistry grade.  Kevin wishes he could have a do-over to fix his mistake.  Then, she remembers his grandfather and her father worked on the Christmas train together and asks if he could locate it.  She thinks that will give the festival the boost it needs to attract more people.  Kevin promises to contact fellow railfans to see if they know.  In a short time, Kevin finds the Christmas train, but it’s not operational.  Can he get it running in time for the festival and Dani’s love?

This film is the typical holiday movie with perseverance sprinkled into the plot.  Kevin will do and spend anything to bring Dani’s dreams to fruition.  He will have naysayers each step of the way, but he never lets that deter him.  His tenacity will keep you watching until the end.  Keep this on your DVR when you need a holiday boost.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

You know I can spell, right – Paul

Go team – Dani

If the part exists, it can be fixed – Kevin

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The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls – Review

The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Mike Mitchell wraps up the final season’s episode and wants to return home for the holidays for his sabbatical.  Noah is home from a visit with his father, Zane, and gushes about the things they did together.  As Noah, Mike, and Andi return to Mike’s trailer, Kathleen stops them.  The show ‘Deck Those Halls’ want Mike to compete against another celebrity.  Mike says no, but Andi and Noah promise to work on him.  

Brandon and Jake come to town with their son and new baby girl.  Brandon is Christmas crazy with ideas to outshine Mike, the Christmas king.  He will cook and bake every day until he is the favorite.  Jake tells Brandon to relax and have fun with his family during the holidays.  Jake wants Brandon to focus on moments instead of perfection.  

When Brandon and Mike arrive, they can’t believe their parents’ simple decorations.  Bill and Phylis have a play to focus on this year, not the Christmas house.  Mike mentions the T.V. show, and Brandon wants to help win the competition.  But only if everyone wears his bakery’s logo and faces the camera as much as possible.  Noah pulls out the whistle, and the battle begins.  

When Kathleen arrives with the camera crew, she announces a change.  Mike’s competitor had to leave the competition.  Mike doesn’t know what to do, so he and Brandon bicker, which gives Kathleen an idea.  A brother battle for ‘Deck Those Halls.’  They agree to see who is the King of Christmas.  But with an ex, an engagement, and the spotlight, will the battle for supremacy tear this brotherly bond apart?

The sequel to The Christmas House is a laugh riot from beginning to end.  But it has caring moments in between.  These brothers are battling each other but for different reasons.  Brandon wants to step out of Mike’s shadow.  However, Mike doesn’t want to be in Zane’s.  Hearing their loving pleas for understanding will make you misty-eyed.  When they have their Modern Family style confessional, you will say O.M.G. more than once (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  If this is the legacy of a Christmas House, let’s keep our fingers crossed for part three.  

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

What are the chances of that happening twice – Andi

It was a Christmas miracle – Mike

They love me more when I cook – Brandon

What is not happening – Bill

I thought you might need it for motivational purposes – Noah

Maybe you should get in there – Phylis

We’re reached new lows here at the Mitchell family Christmas house. Day one – Jake

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Deadly Girls’ Night Out – Review

Deadly Girls’ Night Out – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

After being fired for being an emo-elf, Willa returns to her father’s home to see a for-sale sign.  Willa’s father, Emmett, has a fiancée and plans to sell his home to move in with Darcy.  Willa is happy for her dad, but she misses her mom.  As she sits in her childhood bedroom, Willa hears horrific screaming coming from the house across the street.  She runs to check and sees her friend Naomi running lines for a horror movie.  Naomi apologizes and invites Willa in for drinks.  Inside, Tia sits and greets her old friend.  Since they last spoke, Naomi married a lawyer, Trent, and now acts in her free time.  Tia started a natural care beauty line and has orders stacking up.  They see Willa is down and decide to have a girls’ night out.

Outside the club, they get impatient and walk back to their old high school.  They hide from the creepy janitor and Milo, a former classmate.  Tia calls rideshare, and Willa and Naomi walk home.  Emmett sees them stumbling home.  He goes back to his padlocked basement and says nothing to Darcy.  When Willa sees Naomi has trouble walking, she takes Naomi home.  Naomi asks Willa to stay, and Willa takes care of her.  When Willa looks for medication, she finds a gun in the nightstand.  She gives the pills to Naomi before her car alarm goes off.  Willa goes outside to turn off the alarm and hears a gunshot.  She runs inside the house to find Naomi with a head wound and a gun in her hand.  The police rule it a suicide and contact Trent to come home.  But Willa has a vision of Naomi saying someone murdered her.  Willa will look for a suspect.  But police warn Willa that since she was the last one with Naomi alive, Willa could be a suspect too.  Could turning over a rock leave Willa in prison?

This movie gives you plenty of suspects, a modern motive, and a solid twist.  You may have an urge to watch twice to see the clues you missed.  But the recap fills you in nicely.  When Willa sees a vision, you wonder if she’s losing her mind.  But Naomi’s morbid sense of humor proves otherwise.  While it’s not the end of the Slay Bells season, this movie is a solid closer.  

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

You are not going to cry tonight – Willa

Don’t apologize for doing you booh – Naomi

She gets bored a lot – Tia

I promise, I’m not a virgin – Milo

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