#MerrySwissmas, #ChristmasInThePines, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

Merry Swissmas – Review

Merry Swissmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Jetsetting Alex is ready to spend the holidays with her family in Switzerland. After her father passed, Alex’s mother, Carol, bought a B&B in Switzerland. She plans to open on New Year’s Day, so time with the family will help Carol work out the kinks.

Alex gets to the B&B and greets Carol and Alex’s brother, Andy, Andy’s wife, Dr. Liz, and their son, Noah. Then Carol introduces Alex to the chef, Louis, and the general manager, Liam. Quickly Alex sees that the B&B needs help, and she offers Liam some assistance. He gladly accepts and introduces Alex to his son, Kelby. While they connect, Andy pulls Carol aside. He wants to know if Carol told Alex that Beth and Nadine are coming. Carol whispers no and tells Andy to keep her secret until Carol tells Alex. Beth and Alex were best friends until Beth started dating Alex’s ex-boyfriend, Jesse, and Alex couldn’t believe Beth would date the man who broke her heart. So Alex cut Beth, Beth’s mom, Nadine, and Jesse from her life. Carol thinks Alex should bury the hatchet and forgive Beth and Jesse. If she can’t, will it ruin Alex’s chances with Liam?

Christmas in Switzerland sounds magical, but this movie doesn’t grab your attention from beginning to end. You will perk up when Kelby talks about his mom, but nothing else stands out about this movie. Alex has a right to be upset, but everyone forces her to be the ‘bigger person.’ A forced apology is never genuine. Also, Alex is letting her bitterness poison her future with Liam. By holding on to the past, she can’t trust anyone in the present. That’s Alex’s lesson. This film won’t be a favorite of the season, but it’s watchable for 2 hours.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

I think I’m gonna like it here – Alex

You’re not allowed to say butt, dad – Noah

Whatever, you’re dripping – Andy

So you’re scared to get close again – Liam

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Christmas in the Pines – Review

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

Ariel’s boss, Jeremy, has a new and controversial assignment for the holidays. He wants Ariel to find a real-life Scrooge and interview the person about why they hate Christmas for Sweet Home Magazine. Ariel doesn’t believe it’s the right decision, but she agrees to complete the assignment by Christmas Eve. Then, Ariel meets with her realtor, Erica, at a small cottage. The owner accepted Ariel’s offer, and now Erica hands Ariel the keys. The home is fully furnished and uses candy cane decorations around the property line. Ariel and Erica bump into Nick during the walk-through. Nick explains that he is showing his client, Mark, his new property. This information dumbfounds Erica, so she and Nick call the owner for clarity. Nick and Erica discover that Ariel and Mark rightfully own the property for the same price. The previous owner is an older man who did not use a selling agent and doesn’t remember whose contract he signed first. Since possession is nine-tenths of the law, Nick and Erica say whoever leaves the property before December 26th loses the cabin. If they last until then and can’t decide on an owner, they both give up the property and can’t purchase it again. Ariel and Mark draw their battle lines and prepare for war. They will use every trick in the book to force the other person to leave, but their families see the love behind the battle and encourage Ariel and Mark to see it.

This movie goes from wild to funny to charming. First, the setup of dual ownership feels like a stretch. However, an older man without a selling agent makes the beginning believable. Then, this film becomes a PG War of the Roses as they battle over the house (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). Finally, Ariel and Mark call in the big guns to cement their spot. They get their families involved. That moment is when viewers see the sweet and loving reason they both want the cottage. It will warm your heart to hear the reason behind their madness.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Christmas is what we make it – Amy

I have less. I need things – Jasmine

I thought you were made for cottage life – Mark

You’re not a very nice guy, are you – Ariel

Are you sure she’s the enemy – Duke

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Secrets in the Family – Review

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

Ana mentioned she needed more money to attend nursing school, so her friend, Ester, showed Ana listings for a private caregiver job in the area. The job pays $6,000 a month with free board and food. Ana calls and makes an appointment to be interviewed by siblings Jason and Carla.

Jason and Carla’s mother, Joan, has early-onset dementia with sundowning. They would need Carla to live with Joan and take extra precautions at night. After a few questions, Jason hires Ana on the spot and wants her to start this Tuesday. Carla accuses Jason of hiring Ana based on Ana’s looks and flirty nature. Carla vows to keep a close eye on Ana.

Ana drives to Joan’s town and stops at a local store. The shopkeep wants her to know that Joan and her family are dangerous and have enemies. Ana arrives at Joan’s house, and Jason tells the house manager, Terry, to help Ana with her bags. Ana meets the quick-witted Joan and gets settled. After a few hours, Ana can see the family dynamic. Joan is a savvy businesswoman that keeps a tight reign on her kids. She prepared Carla to control the business but doesn’t think Jason has what it takes. Jason sees Carla as the golden child, while she labels him as the screw-up. Carla is in charge of the business, but Carla reports to Joan daily. Carla will be happy when Joan is finally hands-off. However, Jason bends over backward to prove himself to Joan.

Ana puts Joan in bed and retires to her room for the night. But she hears moans coming from Joan’s bedroom and goes inside. She sees that Joan is visibly upset about someone being outside her bedroom. Ana reassures Joan that Joan is safe and promises to care for Joan. However, Joan has a right to be fearful. Someone is after her, and they want to blame Ana.

This movie proves just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you. Someone could explain away Joan’s fears, but Ana does everything possible to stay vigilant. However, Ana is up against the LMN trifecta. She is in a house with poor cell coverage, with no Wi-Fi, and her patient has a nut allergy. Experienced Lifetimers know this is a recipe for trouble. The plot attempts to throw viewers curveballs, but it won’t fool you. You know who committed the crime, and you know why. While the end is foreseeable, Ana’s fighting spirit is commendable.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

So you are attracted to our posting because of the money – Carla

Glad to have you aboard – Jason

So you’re my new babysitter – Joan

And remember, you’re not one of them, and you never will be – Terry

It’s ok, Joan. I’m here to keep you safe – Ana

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A Magical Christmas Village – Review

A Magical Christmas Village – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Summer tells her sister, April, that she got a cryptic and urgent call from their mom, Vivian. Summer drives to Vivian’s home and discovers boxes outside. Vivian’s boyfriend decided to be closer to his kids, so they broke up. Vivian didn’t want to stay in his house. Summer remembers that Vivian sold her home to an animal clinic for pennies on the dollar. She tries to convince Vivian to get the house back, but Vivian refuses. Vivian wants to find a B&B, but it’s the high holiday season. Summer knows visitors booked everything for their town’s Christmas festival. Summer takes a deep breath and offers Vivian a place to stay.

Vivian brings in her things, but Summer’s daughter, Chloe, can’t take her eyes off Vivian’s Christmas Village. It’s a replica of the town with people and a skating rink. Summer thinks it is a dust magnet, but Vivian tells Chloe that the village is magic. Chloe can move the town and its people around as she pleases and makes a wish.

Summer falls into Ryan’s arms at work, and Ryan questions her about the toy drive. Summer ran it in the past, but Ryan took it over. Ryan coincidentally asks Summer on a date. Summer agrees but has no idea why. Summer then decides to help Vivian find a new home but discovers that Vivian is in financial trouble. Controlling Summer believes the world around her is spinning out of control, and she needs to get a handle on it as she did as a teen. Summer doesn’t know there is a magical force in play: Chloe and her magical Christmas village wishes. Chloe chooses figurines to represent her family, manipulates them within the display, and makes a wish. Will all her wishes come true?

In life, you are either a Summer or a Vivian. Summer needs to have a handle on everything; work, finances, family, and the holidays. Vivian is carefree and uses auras to guide her life choices. Both women bite their tongues about each other. Vivian wants Summer to have more fun, but Summer wants Vivian to take things seriously. It takes one conversation and a loving sister, April, to bring Summer and Vivian together. When Summer erupts, it’s one for the ages and a first in a Christmas movie. She holds nothing back. While it may feel harsh, the writers ensured the viewer would understand her side. Summer is not cruel; she is hurting. The love story is average, but the family connection is the standout.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Control is an illusion – Vivian

It doesn’t do anything. It just sits there and collects dust – Summer

Hold my gun – April

Mom doesn’t do costumes – Chloe

Yea, Roses. They have nothing on a good schematic – Ryan

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Unperfect Christmas Wish – Review

Unperfect Christmas Wish – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Maddy changes clothes in Cooper’s truck after their Christmas performance for kids. Maddy and Cooper have been friends since they were children. They played together since Maddy froze during the Christmas talent show. Cooper is a teacher, and Maddy works to get a record deal. Maddy changed clothes because her boyfriend, Luke, invited her to a special dinner. Luke checks all the boxes on Maddy’s list, so she thinks he is perfect for her. Luke is famous, handsome, rich, and travels the world. After six months of dating, Maddy hopes Luke will pop the question.

Maddy arrives at the restaurant but gets confusing information because Luke made a reservation for 5, not 2. Maddy sees Luke’s friends and family sitting at the table. Maddy wanted something more intimate for a proposal but now welcomes the onlookers. Maddy opens Luke’s gift, expecting a ring, and gets perfume. She feigns excitement, but Luke can see something is wrong. Maddy decides to break up with Luke, texts Cooper to get her, and waits on a park bench with Santa. Santa tells Maddy that no one is perfect and she should look for someone not so perfect. Soon, Cooper picks Maddy up and takes her home.

Cooper was going to his brother’s party with Maddy’s friend, Jackie. Jackie met Cooper and Maddy in high school. Now, Maddy and Jackie are roommates. Cooper’s brother, Brett, and Jackie can see that Cooper has a crush on Maddy, but he thinks Maddy is too good for him. Brett and Jackie encourage Cooper to ask Maddy out when he finds out about the breakup. Cooper needs time to get the perfect gift before expressing his love for Maddy. However, Cooper waits too long, and Luke returns. Afraid Cooper will lose his nerve, Brett and Jackie vow to spy for him. Will Cooper be brave, or will Maddy marry the perfect man?

While Cooper is a well-written character, Maddy appears whiny, unrealistic, and a brat. As you watch, you will wonder why Cooper is smitten with her. For a moment, viewers will want Cooper to fall for Jackie. She is fun, adventurous, and a veterinarian. Their interactions are comical, caring, and gentle. Maddy redeems herself after getting within a hair of her dream. She sees how her selfishness affects others and that Luke doesn’t make her a priority. That’s the moment Maddy becomes an adult. You can leave this movie in the background and tune in when Brett and Jackie are on the screen.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Does this mean you’re breaking up with me – Cooper

Those are the words I want to hear from my best friend – Maddy

No one gets to have it all Maddy – Grams

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Ghosts of Christmas Always – Review

Ghosts of Christmas Always – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Roy, Katherine, and Arlene are Christmas past, present, and future. After completing their latest assignment, Charlie gives them the dossier for next year’s scrooge. They can’t compare notes, so the three leave to study Peter before the next December 23rd.

One year later, Arlene wants to talk to Roy about their assignment, but he cuts her off. She thinks the task is strange compared to the past. Roy wants to complete the tasks to save another person’s Christmas spirit. Roy, Arlene, and Katherine arrive at Peter’s home, but Katherine hides behind his Christmas tree. When Peter sees Katherine, he remembers her. During their last visit, Katherine walked into a local pub, and Peter saw her. Usually, the ghosts are visible for their assignments. So this change scared Katherine. Also, people don’t remember them after they leave. Katherine tells Arlene and Roy about the slip, and they shake their heads with disapproval. But Peter is confused. He is a caring person who gives his time and money to charities. He has no idea why the ghosts are visiting him, but they continue the mission.

After helping Peter decide not to take over the company of his father, Robert, the ghosts leave with another Christmas spirit saved. The ghosts return, and Charlie thanks them for saving Robert. The ghosts stop because they saved Peter, not Robert. So Charlie must have made a mistake. Charlie says they were supposed to save Peter Robert, who prefers the name, Robert. Now, they have a problem. If they don’t rescue Robert’s Christmas spirit, it could rip a hole in the fabric of time. However, they used all their magic on Peter. With Peter’s help, Roy, Arlene, and Katherine will return to Earth to save Robert.

While we all have a favorite Scrooge-esque movie, this version is wildly different and pokes a little fun at the others. However, the ghosts love the films because it reduces the explanations they have to give. The first 30 minutes feel similar but hang in there for the big switch. The plot becomes engrossing and lavish because the ghosts have three lives to fix over a few hours. And the story comes full circle and will leave a tear in your eye. This movie proves that people can learn and inherit good.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

Alright, there’s a Martini calling my name – Arlene

Everybody deserves a warm meal on Christmas – Bob

What do you know about the unknown that I don’t know – Katherine

Business doesn’t take holidays – Robert

It doesn’t feel done – Peter

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Squeaky Clean Mysteries: Hazardous Duty – Review

Squeaky Clean Mysteries: Hazardous Duty – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Gabby and Harold got a request to clean up Gloria and Michael Cunningham’s home after Gloria’s murder. Police believe Gil Newsom came into the Cunningham’s residence, killed Gloria, and injured Michael. Michael is at the hospital recovering from his injuries. Gabby informs Harold that they arrested Gil based on his footprints at the crime scene. They believe Gil came to the home to convince Gloria not to testify against him in an arm robbery case. When Gloria wouldn’t cave into his demands, Gil shot her. Gabby and Harold take the blood-stained rug to the van. Harold will drive it to the incinerator while Gabby stays behind to finish the cleanup. She cleans the floor, walls, and bookcase with the assistance of a blacklight. Gabby finds a secret closet behind a bookshelf and opens it to reveal a gun on top of a safe. She carefully gathers the gun and smells burning. Gabby walks into the kitchen, sees a blazing inferno, and tries to find a fire extinguisher but can’t locate it. She grabs the gun, leaves the house, and calls the police. 

Detective Parker questions Gabby about the gun and her reason for being at the house. Gabby explains that she works for Harold’s cleaning services. Also, Gabby took classes in forensics and knows how to handle evidence. She removed the gun from the property because she thought it could be the murder weapon. Parker believes that’s unlikely but takes the gun and warns Gabby to stay away from the case. 

A few days later, Gabby meets her new neighbor, Riley, and the police are questioning Harold. Harold was involved in an arson attempt in the past. So police believed he could have started the fire at the Cunningham home. Gabby runs to Harold’s side with Riley because Riley is a lawyer. She gets the details about Harold’s past and vows to help. Gabby suspects Michael killed Gloria and shot himself to cover up the crime. She must work out of Detective Parker’s eye to clear Harold’s name. But Gabby comes under new pressure when Gabby becomes the number one suspect. Can she find the killer before she and Harold end up in jail?

Based on Hazardous Duty: Squeaky Clean Mysteries by Christy Barritt, this mystery has all the style and grace you get from HMM (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). It has a nosey person with a background in forensics. A lovable best friend, Sierra, lends a helping hand whether she wants to or doesn’t. Riley is a love interest that assists with legal knowledge and a protective streak. And let’s not forget the father figure, Harold. He encourages Gabby to keep toiling no matter what obstacle is in her way. And Detective Parker uses veiled threats to keep Gabby in line to round out the cast of characters. Viewers get a compelling mystery, fun protagonists, and a peak into the next movie. Hopefully, UPtv will continue this series. 

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

They got him on his sneaker prints. That sounds like a bad cinderella story – Harold

I thought so – Gabby

No more Nancy drew, alright – Parker

You’re enjoying this, aren’t you – Riley

I thought my performance was a real show-stopper – Sierra

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Christmas Bedtime Stories – Review

Christmas Bedtime Stories – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Danielle organizes the Marine Toy Drive with her friends. Her boyfriend, Pierce, arrives with a large donation from his employer, Toy Express. They plan for Pierce to come over and help Danielle with her Christmas lights that evening.

Danielle brings her daughter, Audrey, home and sees Audrey is feeling sad. Audrey says a girl made fun of her for bringing her mom to the upcoming father-daughter dance. Audrey wonders if her father, Colby, would come if he were alive. The military declared Colby dead after his plane went down and his entire squad died. Danielle tells Aubrey that Colby would happily be there. Pierce strings up the lights, putting Danielle’s mind at ease. But something beautiful happens, Pierce proposes. Danielle says yes, but with a caveat: She wants to ask Audrey about it first. Pierce understands and then helps Danielle and Audrey decorate the tree. Audrey loves the tree. But it feels incomplete because it’s missing Colby’s ornament. Danielle promises to keep looking for it and puts Audrey to bed.

Audrey asks Danielle to recite a story but not the typical bedtime story. Audrey wants to hear how Danielle and Colby met. Danielle tells Audrey the story. Then, she informs Audrey about Pierce’s proposal. Audrey thinks Pierce is great and would love to have him as a stepfather. Danielle leaves Audrey’s bedroom with a smile.

Pierce visits in the morning, and Danielle gives him a final yes. Pierce beams and gives Audrey a present. Audrey returns the favor by inviting Pierce to her father-daughter dance. Nothing would make Pierce happier. Before they leave, Danielle’s dog pulls the ornament from under the couch. Danielle looked under the couch multiple times and never saw it there. She starts to wonder if this is a sign from Colby. Each night Audrey asks for another story, and Danielle gets another manifestation in the morning. She starts to second-guess her relationship with Pierce, and he can feel it. Will these two make it down the aisle, or will a ghost get in the way?

So this movie is a hit or miss during this holiday season. Viewers fall for Pierce’s kind, charming, and understanding nature. When Danielle questions if she should continue her engagement, her friends and family tell her to stop looking in the past and move forward. And the connection between Audrey and Pierce is undeniable. However, audiences love miracles during the holiday, so having a sign from above is welcomed. So whether you like it or dislike it depends on if you prefer second-chance romances or miracles. If you are reading this review, what do you think? If you didn’t like it, how would you end it? For this critique, it was a robust setup and a far-reaching finish.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

There’s lots I don’t remember about him – Audrey

Sometimes the best things come from the biggest risk – Danielle

Sorry folks, I guess army engineers installed the wiring – Colby

And you’re beautiful – Pierce 

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Jolly Good Christmas – Review

Jolly Good Christmas – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

David and Charlotte will spend their first Christmas together after three months of dating. David moved from New York to London to reenergize his job in architecture. Charlotte’s dad, Simon, is David’s boss. David looked around town for Christmas gifts. But he has no idea what to buy Charlotte. On the way out of the store, David grabs a gift card and bumps into Anji. Anji is carrying several bags and an enormous teddy bear. She notices David’s gift card and makes a direct quip. He defends his decision, and they both go on their way.

They get on the bus, and Anji attempts small talk, but David cuts her off for silence. However, he starts defending his gift again. Anji is a professional shopper and feels like gift cards are giving up. David laughs because he thinks Anji is tricking him into doing business with her, and he won’t fall for it. He helps her with her bags as Anji leaves with an eye roll.

David meets with Simon because Simon wants David to have a face-to-face meeting with a potential client, Alan. The business could skyrocket Simon’s company, but Alan only has a small window to meet David. David agrees to the meeting and then talks to his co-worker, Callum. Callum talks about his husband and the gift that almost ended their relationship: a gift card. David looks into the gift bag to examine his present and realizes it’s an expensive bracelet. He accidentally switched bags with Anji. He tries to call the store to see if anyone knows her and bumps into her at the front desk. She made the same revelation and came to his job looking for him. They exchange the bags, and Anji walks away. David calls for her because he wants her help and offers to pay double her fee. Anji needs the money, so she says yes. He expects Anji to buy a present, but Anji thinks a gift should be more meaningful. She wants David to be a part of the process and tell her everything about Charlotte. David realizes he knows very little about Charlotte but learns more about Anji. David discovers that Anji is an aspiring novelist. However, she can’t find a conclusion to her gift-guide book. Will David’s search for Charlotte’s gift be Anji’s last chapter?

This movie will help with holiday shopping because Anji asks David significant questions. Also, the plot has lots of funny moments sprinkled throughout the script. It allows the film to break away from the mundane story and delve into laughter. The relationship is doomed when you see Charlotte and David on the screen together. It’s just a matter of time before they discover it. However, witnessing David and Anji run around town to get a gift and save his career is funny and a saving grace in this film.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

I pay attention to details – Anji

Lucky for me, you’re good at it – David

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Categories: A Magical Christmas Village, Alison Sweeney, Alys Crocker, Ann Macdonald, Beth Leavel, Bukola Ayoka, Bukola Walfall, Charlie Weber, christmas, Christmas Bedtime Stories, Christmas in the Pines, Countdown to Christmas, David Pinard, dean geyer, Erin Cahill, Fall in Love, Ghosts of Christmas Always, Grant Goodeve, hallmark, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, Hateful and Grateful, HMM, holiday, Ian Harding, Ish Morris, Its A Wonderful Lifetime, Jamie Roy, Jane Wheeler, Jessica Blackmore, Jillian Murray, Jodie Sweetin, Jolly Good Christmas, Kim Matula, Kristi McKamie, Kristi Murdock, Leigh-Allyn Baker, lifetime, lifetime movie network, lmn, Lori Tan Chinn, Louise Lambert, Love Sundays, Luke MacFarlane, Made for TV, Maia Alvina, Marlo Thomas, Merry Movie Christmas, Merry Swissmas, Mikaela Lily Davies, Miracles of Christmas, movie, Reginald VelJohnson, Reshma Shetty, review, Robert Notman, Secrets in the Family, Squeaky Clean Mysteries: Hazardous Duty, Steve Lund, Stuart Constable, Tim Rozon, tv review, Unperfect Christmas Wish, UPtv, Valerie Boyle, Will Kemp

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2 replies »

    • I didn’t trash the movie because many people enjoyed it. So I was honest. If you love miracles, its your movie. Otherwise, it was not. I didn’t care for the ending and I said it in a tweet. I felt that she should have seen his spirit saying it was ok to move on. Then, she would have walked in seeing her fiance dancing with her daughter. That would have been a better ending. But 50% of the people who saw it loved it. The set up was good but the ending was disappointing to 50% of the people who watched it.


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