Kirk Franklin’s The Night Before Christmas – Review
Kirk Franklin’s The Night Before Christmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Journee drives home with her daughter, Nia, and tries to get Nia to join in a sing-along to Nia’s favorite artist, Simone Adam. Nia doesn’t want to join in because she is upset with Journee. Nia wanted to visit her grandparents for Christmas, but Journee made Nia attend a corporate Christmas party. The snow declines the visibility, so Journee pulls over to the Central Chruch of Zion.
Pastor Adam opens the door and greets them with a smile. Several members of the congregation are waiting out the storm after canceling their annual Christmas concert. Adam introduces Nia to the youth choir and walks Journee to the kitchen to get hot chocolate for them. Booker and Noël cook for the stranded members while singing. Booker and Noël discover that Journee is a widow. Later, they see that Adam is attracted to Journee and tells him to talk to her because she is single, but he is hesitant.
Nia hopes to return to the road, but everyone gets a blizzard warning on their phone. She blames her mom. Nia tells Journee that she wants to move to Philadelphia and live with her grandparents because Journee puts work ahead of her. Journee is heartbroken. Then, they hear someone knock on the door. It’s Simone. She got caught in the storm trying to make it home for Christmas. She takes an instant liking to Pastor Adams, and Journee notices. While Journee contends with Nia and Simone, Adam worries about the congregation. They depend on the Christmas show for donations, and the church spends Christmas delivering food to the needy. If the storm doesn’t stop, they won’t be able to help themselves or the community. This church needs a miracle.
With a mix of old and new school Christmas songs, this movie will move you in a way only Kirk Franklin can (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). The church weathers the storm together and leans on each other to grow emotionally and spiritually. No matter the setback, they pray and sing their way through it. The film doesn’t try to be sensational, emotional, or controversial. It’s a testament to community and faith by providing stories we all relate to with little drama. This movie is perfect for the family.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
Mom, can you tone it down, please – Nia
Have we met before – Journee
Then, break it – Noel
Ain’t nothing wrong with liking a beautiful woman – Booker
A high school crush – Adam
I come and go as needed – Mr. Evans
A Royal Christmas Match – Review
A Royal Christmas Match – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Princess Camille is on a US tour to change her image. People know her for being a clumsy, bumbling princess, but she gains confidence with each stop on her tour. She listens to the latest news report, and they leak a story. Morgana University may close because it’s a drain on Morgana’s economy. Camille wanted more time to fix the issues before the press got wind of it. Camille calls her father, King Lucien, to update him. She wants to start an exchange program with an American school that specializes in diplomacy. Lucien tells Camille it won’t work. They don’t have a month to fix the issue because the school will close in a week. The news dumbfounds Camille, and she runs to her friend Dr. Teodora. The exchange program can’t be a dream to entice donors to endorse endowments anymore. They must create a tangible program with numbers, published papers, and theories. The closest university with an international diplomacy school is PSU.
Camille and Teodora drive to PSU, and their driver opens a door in front of a puddle. Dr. Ben runs over to help the women out of the SUV. PSU President Angela runs over and apologizes for the vehicle dropping them off at the wrong building. Ben stares in shock when Angela curtsies and addresses Camille by her title. Camille tells Angela that talking to faculty and donors isn’t enough. Camille has to reach the students by teaching a class. So Angela tells Ben that Camille will be a guest lecturer in his class. He pretends to be happy about the news but discovers that Camille has an in-depth knowledge of the subject. Ben visited Morgana and its university when Ben studied abroad and can’t believe the doors will close. He will work with Camilla to keep Morgana University open but continues to question her motives and upsets her. Will they fall in love too?
While the overall Christmas-royalty-love story is simple, the diplomacy is not. We all heard of the Boston Tea Party, but few know about Whiskey/Schnapps battle between Canada and Demark. Also, you learn how love can help bring two countries together. These facts scattered throughout the film keep it interesting. Although you know it will have a holiday outcome, you watch for more tidbits about diplomacy. This movie won’t be a favorite of the season, but you will learn something.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
Well, a tiara does not make the princess – Teadora
Wow, what did I do to deserve this privilege – Ben
Is it wrong to be both – Camille
And I wouldn’t be your father if I didn’t let you – Lucien
The Sound of Christmas – Review
The Sound of Christmas – BET/BET Her – 2 hours and 30 minutes
Montana breaks up with her boyfriend, Rio, because they ‘aren’t evenly yoked.’ He is happy shacking up, but she wants marriage and kids. Rio points out that Montana was furloughed six months ago and had no income or place to live without him. She steps out on faith and walks out the door. She joins her church choir late, and the choir director mentions her for speaking during someone’s prayer request. Montana stands up, testifies about her situation, and requests a prayer.
Montana leaves the church, and Sister Estelle invites Montana into her car. Estelle’s son, Quentin, needs someone to care for his kids, Deirdre and Daniel. Since the death of their mother, Sandra, they act up. Estelle knows they are good kids with broken hearts. The job pays $75,000 a year with a room and meals. Montana received a teaching certification, and the job will be a perfect fit. However, it won’t be permanent because Montana wants a full-time teaching position. Montana takes the job.
Quentin, Deirdre, and Daniel make sure Montana knows they don’t want her there. Estelle hired Montana without consulting him, and the kids don’t think they need a nanny. Estelle assures Montana that the kids will warm up to her, so Montana takes a deep breath and settles in. Later, Montana meets Quentin’s girlfriend, Chloe. Chloe is not happy to see the attractive woman in Quentin’s home. Chloe makes passive-aggressive comments about Montana’s clothes and demands to speak to Quentin in private. Chloe wants to live in Quentin’s house, but he thinks it will be a bad example for the kids. This riff will cause tension between Chloe and Montana to grow. However, Montana focuses on the kids and her faith. She will use her love of the Lord to guide Deirdre and Daniel through their pain and into Quentin’s arms.
Based on The Replacement Wife by Tiffany L Warren, this film reminds viewers of the true meaning of Christmas, and it feels genuine (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). The songs will bring tears to your eyes as they profess their unyielding faith. However, the script has plenty of drama for fans to keep watching and puts a spotlight on breast cancer. After watching this film, you will feel renewed and fulfilled. Montana informs the children of what it means to be rich in the Lord’s eyes. And Estelle reminds Montana of her value and puts Chloe in her place. This film has lessons for everyone.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars
Things are going to change for you, my dear. I can feel it in my spirit – Estelle
You ‘bro’ me one more time, we gonna have more than math problems – Quentin
Can y’all get a room – Deirdre
Don’t tell me you’ve never seen Marry Poppins – Daniel
Everything is temporary except God – Montana
The Most Colorful Time of the Year – Review
The Most Colorful Time of the Year – Hallmark – 2 hours and – 0 minutes
Michelle comes to her daughter’s school to give free eye exams to the students. Mr. Ryan’s fourth-grade class comes in to complete their exams. Michelle knows Ryan because he is her daughter’s science teacher. The kids call him Scrooge because he refused to display Christmas decorations in his classroom. Michelle’s daughter, Bailey, loves that Ryan tells the students that things aren’t magic; they’re science. After the class ends, Ryan prepares to leave, but Michelle stops him. The free exam is for the teachers, too. Ryan has 20/20 vision, but Michelle can tell Ryan is hiding something. She suspects Ryan is colorblind.
Michelle researches to help Ryan and finds an experimental treatment taking applications. However, the application window closes soon. She calls Ryan for permission, but he never answers back. Michelle throws caution to the wind and fills out the application for him. She convinces him to take another test, but Ryan becomes frustrated and demands she doesn’t help. The study accepts Ryan and sends the corrective lenses. Can she persuade Ryan to accept the glasses to open his eyes to the world and Christmas?
While the sentiment of the movie is sweet, there are blaring issues in this story. First, Michelle would lose her license in reality because she filled out a patient’s form without their consent. And she obtained patient information for something other than medical purposes. Second, Mark is a stalker. He shows up, calls, and texts despite Michelle telling him to stop. Finally, these glasses may not fix your colorblindness overnight. It can happen over time and depends on the type of colorblindness. When you see an ad for EnChroma, you wonder if the entire movie was a two-hour commercial (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).
I give it 2 out of 5 stars
When is healthcare ever free in America – Michelle
They get plenty of Christmas outside the classroom – Ryan
A Recipe for Joy – Review
A Recipe for Joy – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Carly’s boss, Martha, wants Carly to produce her first show. Since it’s her premiere episode, they want her to put together the Christmas cooking episode. And they want Carly to do it because her mother’s old restaurant is the focus. Chef Grant bought it after years of hiding and leaving his successful job in the big city. Martha wants to know more about the man and the scandalous details of his life. Carly promises not to disappoint and have the segment complete by the 21st.
Carly meets with Grant and his restaurant manager, Beth. Carly gives Grant the release, but he won’t sign it. Grant doesn’t want to be in front of the camera. He prefers the focus to be on his restaurant and the food. Grant left the city because the rumors about his private life overshadowed his food and harmed his daughter, Tess. He vowed not to let that happen again. Carly tells her camerawoman, Ramona, to keep filming. Carly hopes the documentary filming style will capture enough footage to appease Martha. As she spends more time with Grant, Carly worries he will change the restaurant too much because he doesn’t understand its deep-rooted connection to the town. As she introduces Grant to small-town life, he lets his guard down. But will that be a mistake?
Carly and Grant get along for the same reason they butt heads: they’re perfectionists. Both believe they know what’s best for the story and the restaurant. Viewers get an understanding of Grant’s disconnect from small-town life and the holiday as the story develops. This movie is an exemplary example of media spin. In a world of ‘gotcha journalism,’ a sound bite can ruin a career. This film is for you if you need something calm to watch for the holidays.
I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars
Classics, by definition, are never dated. They’re timeless – Carly
The food is the story, not me – Grant
Play by the rules but do it your own way – Lena
Scentsational Christmas – Review
Scentsational Christmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Ellie leaves the Christmas party unsure about her promotion. Her boss, Nastia, wants a new scent for her line. If Nastia picks Ellie’s fragrance, Ellie will be the Executive VP of the Paris office. Ellie heads home to New Hampshire and goes to her father’s workshop. Jamar took over the candle-making business after his wife died. Ellie looks at the candles and notices they are of poor quality. Then a man tells her the ‘history’ of the candles. Ellie laughs as the man, Logan, blathers about magic and other nonsense. Jamar greets his daughter with a hug and tells Ellie that Logan is his first Airbnb guest and journalist.
Logan wants to report on mythical stories in small towns. He heard a story about the town’s Christmas candles and wanted to learn if it was true. Ellie tells the fable. During a snowstorm, a man lost his way, and the love of his life lit candles around town to help him find his home. And he did. She believed the story was about her family, but she didn’t have proof. Now, her family makes the Christmas candles, but Ellie doesn’t see them anywhere around the store. Jamar confesses that he can’t make the candle because Ellie’s mom used a secret ingredient, and she didn’t write it down. Most of his customers want the candle, so he’s losing business. Their family shop won’t make it to next Christmas. Ellie promises to bring in new clientele and discover the secret ingredient. Logan thinks the candle’s story is illuminating and asks to tag along to help Ellie find its origin. Let love light the way.
The story is a wild goose chase. Using a marking, locket, and scent, Ellie and Logan find the secret ingredient, the promotion, and a new love. Some clues are perfect, while others are dead ends, but you must watch to discover the truth. It feels like Ellie and Logan won’t solve the biggest mystery at the end. However, the plot wraps it up in 30 seconds. Because the family is candle markers, they have candles all over their house and the shop. So, the lighting isn’t the best, and the set will make some viewers nervous. While this film isn’t the best of the season, it’s a charming watch for 2 hours.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
A good story sells anything – Logan
You’ve already made him Christmas cocoa – Ellie
All I Didn’t Want for Christmas – Review
All I Didn’t Want for Christmas – VH1 – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Emily wants to have an hour-long segment on the local radio station. Her boss, Ken, is leaving the station, and his spot will open up soon. Her co-worker, Sylvie, tells Emily to plead her case at the Christmas party. As Emily puts on her favorite silver dress, she calls her mother, Lorraine. Lorraine makes unknowingly rude remarks about Emily’s appearance and states the silver dress makes Emily look like a burrito. Emily changes into a black dress and goes to the party.
Emily attempts to talk to Ken but cowards away. Then, Emily considers approaching a cute guy and has the same problem. Ken stands in front of the crowd and announces the open spot will go to Janice, Emily’s rival. Emily takes several shots, leaves the party, harasses people on the street, and steals a blank letter for Santa. She writes Santa a letter calling him every name in the book and mails it.
At Santa’s workshop, Wolf, an elf, meets with his boss. She is upset that Wolf hasn’t connected to his humans. So, she is sending Wolf to the Lost Souls department. Santa will send him to work with the horrific tooth fairy if his next lost soul doesn’t regain their Christmas Spirit. Wolf reluctantly agrees, and Emily is his first assignment.
Emily wakes him in Lorraine’s house and gets bottomless Nogtinis. She is confused because she went to sleep in her apartment alone. Lorraine tells Emily to go to work, and Emily sees a newspaper headline stating that Janice died. She walks the streets, trying to understand what’s happening, and spots a man following her. Emily tries to escape, but Wolf uses elf magic to get the high ground. He explains that Emily will get everything she previously wished for in her letter. And then he warns Emily that Santa can be literal. If Emily doesn’t learn her lesson by Christmas Eve, she will get her final wish. The world will turn into a fruitcake, and everyone will die. No pressure.
This hilarious movie has plenty of life lessons. First, be careful what you wish for because you might get it. Emily gets every wish she makes. And when they don’t work out, she writes more angry letters to Santa. And makes the situation worse. Second, speak up for yourself. Emily shies away from her boss and cute men. She talks poorly to herself and lets others’ opinions affect her outlook on life. Finally, bullies come in all forms. Emily dealt with bullies at school and home. Lorraine has no idea how impactful her words are to Emily. With so many heartfelt life lessons, this movie is funny from beginning to end. So be ready to spit out your Santa Clausmopolitans.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars
The ratings will spike so high you will think you’re on cocaine again, but in a good way – Emily
Never trust a man with a winning smile – Lorraine
Repeat after me. Sometimes my opinions are wrong – Wolf
Undercover Holiday – Review
Undercover Holiday – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Jaylen won Popstar USA and skyrocketed to fame. Her manager, Benny, is putting together a worldwide tour. While Jaylen loves the idea, she pleads with Benny to let her add Spanish to the album to reflect her identity and culture. Benny says the executives won’t listen to it and urges her to do what he says. Jaylen sighs and prepares to go home and pack for a visit with her family for the holidays. She goes home with Benny and her assistant, Margot, and deals with the paparazzo. Then, Benny notices a flower with a note on Jaylen’s doorstep. Jaylen assumes it’s a photographer, but Benny says they don’t trespass on private property. Benny worries that Jaylen could have a stalker and calls the label. The label hires Matt to protect Jaylen until they can assure her safety. Jaylen immediately says no.
Jaylen went on Popstar USA with her friend, Lorelai. However, Lorelai didn’t make it and came back home. She told Jaylen’s family that LA was a dangerous place. They worry about Jaylen a lot now and beg her to return home. If they see her with Matt, their concerns will grow exponentially. However, the label and Matt won’t back down. So, Jaylen introduces Matt as her boyfriend. This simple lie should make her holiday easier. Right?
This movie is Bodyguard mixed with holiday cheer (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). The writers create mystery by having several people who could be Jaylen’s stalker while Jaylen and Matt fall in love. Matt never had a family, so spending time with the Rodriguez family makes him yearn for more. Jaylen does everything to include him in traditions and celebrations. Matt helps Jaylen take charge of her career. She shouldn’t use Benny to talk to the executives because it puts her dreams in someone else’s hands. She needs to take charge. While the family is the stand-out of the film, the story of the mystery stalker falls a bit flat on discovery.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
That’s made up. That’s gotta be made up – Benny
You put all your bosses in a headlock, or am I just special – Jaylen
This is not a game, Jaylen – Matt
The Search for Secret Santa – Review
The Search for Secret Santa – ION – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Sophia moved out of her place to give her newly-engaged roommates some privacy. She is moving into a small apartment near work until she finds something better. Ernie, the caretaker, shows Sophia around the building and her room. He offers the basement if she needs more storage. Sophia goes to work and gets downsized. Her boss will pay per story, and Sophia can choose the topic. Sophia goes to a coffee shop to think of writing ideas and bumps into Jackson. They make pleasantries and depart. Sophia’s friend, Nancy, meets at Sophia’s to drink Sophia’s problems away. When Nancy sees gifts from Sophia’s ex-boyfriend, Brad, she tells Sophia to get rid of them immediately.
Sophia goes to the basement and finds a gift for a woman named Abagail from her secret Santa. The wrapping paper appears old, and Ernie never saw it before. Sophia thinks finding secret Santa and returning the gift will be a great story. Her boss agrees and believes it should be a series. Ernie believes a local shop owner can identify the wrapping paper, so Sophia takes it to the store. Jackson stands behind the register and recognizes the wrapping paper. The designer made a new design each year and hid a timestamp in the pattern. Jackson offers to work with Sophia if she needs any more help. After a while, Sophia opens the gift and finds a handcrafted nutcracker inside. She writes her first article with a picture of it.
She remembers Jackson made nutcrackers, so she goes to him for more information. The nutcracker takes his breath away because it has diamonds, rubies, gold, and extinct animal fur. He thinks it’s worth millions and tells Sophia to keep it secure because treasure hunters will come looking for it. Jackson is correct because someone saw her article, and they want it. Of course, Jackson would know. He was a hunter. Can Sophia find secret Santa and Abagail before the hunters find her?
This movie provides a fun mystery, an expensive treasure, a curse, royalty, and several love stories. It may be hard to believe some of the clues Sophia finds, but remember, it’s just a movie. This nutcracker’s past reads like the ruins of Egypt. Everyone who possessed it fell on hard time after the original owner had an unfulfilled love story. The final chase scene takes a page out of the Benny Hill handbook, so it feels more comical than nerve-racking. Otherwise, this is a fun mystery for the holidays.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
It’s legitimate cozy, not just tiny cozy – Sophia
He’s treasure. And there’re treasure hunters out there – Jackson
Merry Textmas – Review
Merry Textmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes
For the first time in years, Gabby, an app programmer, will travel to Oaxaca, Mexico, with her family to visit her Abuela for the holidays. She looks forward to celebrating the 12 Challenges of Christmas with them. Her father calls Gabby and asks her to add someone to their text chain. However, Gabby messes up the number and adds Alex. Alex, an user experience designer, checks his phone after his phone buzzes multiple times. He laughs and informs the family they have the wrong person. Gabby’s sister, Lili, adds their picture to the chain, and Alex sends one in response. Lili waste no time telling Alex that Gabby is single. Mortified, Gabby informs Alex she will take him off the chain, but he says he doesn’t mind.
Later, Alex and Gabby meet in a coffee shop by chance. They take a photo together and add it to the chat. Gabby’s father and Lili think they should invite Alex to Oaxaca and keep it secret from Gabby. But Lili’s husband, Daniel, thinks it’s a bad idea. So, they ask him to come. Gabby expresses confusion when she sees Alex standing outside Abuela’s home, but Abuela gladly invites him inside. Now, Gabby understands her family set them up. This stranger will turn Gabby’s world upside down but in a good way.
Reminiscent of Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton, this movie turns the accidental text story into a love story in Mexico. While Gabby’s family has serious boundary issues, they do everything to make Alex feel welcome. Alex discovers he ran from his heritage to fit in and admires Gabby’s upbringing. Gabby feels stuck at work, creating others’ dreams. She wants to branch out to design applications she desires. But Alex can see that she lacks user experience and focuses on being perfect. He will help Gabby take the final creative leap to start something fresh.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
I am happy, dad. Ok? I don’t need a guy for that – Gabby
Unrecognized numbers. Probably spam – Alex
Don’t let yourself be trapped – Abuela
Christmas with My Ex – Review
Christmas with My Ex – TV One – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Shawna has a new boyfriend, Blake, and gains the confidence to invite her ex-husband, Demetrius, for Christmas brunch with their son, Anthony, before Anthony’s graduation. Also, Shawna asked her friends, Leah and Kenya, and Kenya’s father to attend. Before Demetrius arrives, Shawna grills Anthony about Demetrius’s new partner. Although Demetrius is bringing his new love, Anthony has no idea who that person is or what they do. Leah invited her rich and famous ex-boyfriend, Jayden, to the party for their daughter, Asha. Leah wears her sexiest dress to attract Jayden, but he is bringing his new wife, Grace. Kenya doesn’t know, but her father invited her sister, Alicia. Kenya hasn’t spoken to Alicia in years. Alicia acted as Kenya’s lawyer during Kenya’s divorce. And when the court finalized the divorce, Alicia married Kenya’s ex-husband, Mark. However, Alicia has a surprise too. She wanted to heal Mark’s family. So she invited Mark’s brother, Jesse, so Mark and Jesse could hash things out. So, four current spouses, three ex-partners, two kids, and one house for everyone. Either they can be mature adults or petty children. What will Kenya, Leah, and Shawna choose?
Simultaneously inviting all of your ex-boyfriends is just a bad idea. But Kenya, Leah, and Shawna make it worse because they lie to each other and themselves. They pretend to be over their exes, but they are not. Of all the women, Kenya has the right to hold a grudge against her sister and yell in frustration. However, she loses her high ground when she cozies up to Jesse to make Mark angry. These women seriously need to grow up and move on. The drama is sickening.
I give it 2 out of 5 stars
You a hater – Leah
I’m just trying to be a good example – Shawna
Well, you look extra – Kenya
Christmas on the Rocks – Review
Christmas on the Rocks – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Identical twins, Sarah and Jennifer, made ornaments and baked cookies every holiday. However, this Christmas, Sarah gets to plan the most lavish event of her career. It’s for Liz, a tech genius. And she is throwing a party for her investors at her newly-acquired lodge. Sarah regrets telling Jennifer that she can’t come home for the holidays. However, she can invite Jennifer to be her assistant and help plan the party. Jennifer can’t imagine spending the holidays without Sarah, so Jennifer says yes.
On her way to the cabin, Jennifer calls Sarah to get more information about the party setup, but Sarah has unfortunate news. Sarah broke her leg and can’t come, but she asks Jennifer to be her and plan the party for Liz. Jennifer thinks the idea is crazy but agrees to do it for Sarah.
Jennifer introduces herself to Liz’s assistant, Colette, as Sarah and gets an overview of the party. The party must be perfect because Liz has an important announcement to make about her latest product, The Mood Watch. Unfortunately, the watch isn’t selling well. And Liz’s husband, Steve, is happy to tell everyone. Jennifer starts to leave after feeling the tension and sees her ex-boyfriend, Peter, a.k.a Mac, approaching Colette with a business proposal. He needs to sell his app idea soon, or he will lose funding. Colette tells Mac to make an appointment online, and Mac starts to protest until Mac lays eyes on Jennifer. He calls her by her name, but she corrects him to save face in front of Colette. As Colette and Jennifer talk, they see Steve trying to book a room. However, Jennifer lies and says Mac got the last one. An avalanche blocked the roads, so now Steve can’t leave. Jennifer updates Sarah about Liz versus Steve, Mac, and the avalanche. But they both relax because what else could go wrong? Oh, they have no idea.
Based on Christmas on the Rocks by Melissa Hill, whatever can go wrong will go wrong for this party. But what movie has a twin switch that goes right? It’s not long before someone discovers the truth, and one twin is in tears. However, the biggest standout is Liz. She gives the best advice to Jennifer but fails to follow it in Steve’s face. His verbal abuse makes Liz doubt her intelligence and strength. When she speaks to Jennifer, it’s as if she talks to herself. Seeing Liz grow and shine is the movie’s highlight.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
Pack warm. it’s not quite San Diego weather – Sarah
You broke your leg – Jennifer
Don’t be modest. We, women, need to stand strong in our gifts – Liz
People say they want to change their lives, but that’s a lie – Colette
I haven’t stopped thinking about her though – Mac
The Holiday Stocking – Review
The Holiday Stocking – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Robert has some regrets as he looks through a box of his old things. He wishes he had more time to make things right between his sisters, Dani and Marlow, but he died. His angel guide, Sarial, wants to know more. Dani runs a highly successful advertising firm. However, she may lose her biggest investor if she doesn’t do community outreach. Marlow runs their mother’s bakery, but she struggles to keep it going without help. Also, Marlow is at odds with her teenage daughter, Gia, and misses her road-bound husband. Robert tells Sarial that when they were young, their mother hid a stocking with riddles. The person who solved the enigma could pick a charity for the holiday. So they got five Christmas stockings with puzzles for five causes. It made Robert, Dani, and Marlow enjoy giving back. Robert wants more time to bring his sisters together, so Sarial grants his wish. She changes Robert’s appearance, calls him RJ, and gives him a pin so humans can see him. Robert will have time to bring his sisters together before he goes to heaven.
This film hits you for a loop early because you don’t understand Robert is dead while he tells the story about his childhood. Then, it hits you like a ton of bricks. As RJ, he pretends to be Robert’s attorney and gets Marlow and Dani to play the game. Seeing Robert’s joy and heartbreak as his sisters laugh, cry, and fight, will have you reaching for the tissues. Unlike most films, Robert isn’t doing this to go to heaven. He was already on his way. He did this for his family, and that makes a difference.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
Why would they use this picture – Robert
So, you’re holding our things hostage – Dani
Are you asking me or telling me – Marlow
You are stalling more than an over-heated hooptie – Sarial
The Great Holiday Bake War – Review
The Great Holiday Bake War – OWN – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Brianna cooks in her food truck and posts her delectable delights on social media. She specializes in tasty, vegan, sugar-free desserts after her daughter, Willow, got a diabetes diagnosis. Willow is applying to a top school, but Brianna doesn’t know how she will pay for it. Brianna tried contacting Willow’s father, Damon, for help, but he has yet to respond. Her friend, Layne, tells Brianna about a baking competition with a $50,000 prize, but Brianna says no.
The network calls Sophie to join a cooking competition, but she declines before getting any details. Sophie worked in the White House but left to attend cooking school in Paris. Now, she runs a bakery with her son, Julian. Julian is proud of Sophie’s accomplishments but wishes to step out of her shadow of Parisian delights and run the bakery his way. Layne, Julian’s cousin, mentions the contest to Julian, and he decides to sign up without telling Sophie.
Layne visits Brianna, who has terrific but stressful news. Willow got into a private school, and they need a deposit by the end of the month. Now, Brianna wants to enter the contest and win. However, she can’t believe Layne told Julian about the competition too. Layne doesn’t understand why Brianna and Julian don’t like each other, so Brianna makes Layne sit while she explains. Before graduation, Brianna and Julian gave in to temptation and had a one-night stand that almost destroyed the school. They blamed each other and went their separate ways. Now, they are in a televised Bake War. Who will come out on top?
Don’t be surprised if you get hungry watching these pastries on your screen. While Julian and Brianna’s story is the plot, the subplot is interesting too. The host does backroom deals to keep his show on the air and his products in the stores. He steals ideas without caring and helps contestants cheat. You will pray for his comeuppance. This movie is funny and mouth-watering in more ways than one.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
Didn’t the wheel fall off last week – Willow
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen – Julian
You need to step out of your mother’s comfort zone – Layne
Don’t forget to check your levels – Brianna
A Fabled Holiday – Review
A Fabled Holiday – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Dr. Anderson decided to take some time off work after losing a patient. He walks into a bookstore to get vacation reading and runs into his childhood friend, Talia. Talia is an aspiring writer and runs the store. She got a master’s in writing and sent her manuscript to several companies, but they all said no. They exchange numbers and promise to catch up after the holidays.
Talia attempts to call her friend and dials the Gingerbread Inn instead. The concierge, Judy, tells Talia they have two rooms left, so it’s a good thing Talia called. Talia informs Judy she dialed the wrong number, although the Gingerbread Inn does sound familiar. After calling all her busy friends, Talia contacts Judy and makes a reservation.
On the way to his vacation, Anderson runs into several detours. The detours lead him to Wunderbrook, and he stops at the local inn. To Anderson’s surprise, Talia is there. He got the last room. Anderson and Talia check in and talk to the other guest. Each of them mysteriously ended up at the inn. As they converse, Judy, Izzy, Miles, and Mildred whisper to each other. Someone told them to bring everyone here because the guests have a connection and need to fix their Christmas spirit. Anderson and Talia join in the festivities while bonding, but something about the Gingerbread Inn keeps gnawing at Talia. Could her quest for the truth ruin her 2nd chance at romance and a career?
In this film, each of the guests has underlying issues. Keith and Diane lost the spark in their marriage, and Diane considered divorce. Charles hasn’t been able to celebrate the holidays after losing his wife. Talia contemplated giving up writing because publishers don’t think she is on brand, and Anderson isn’t sure if he wants to be a surgeon. However, Judy, Izzy, Miles, and Mildred have concerns. This year could be the last year for the Gingerbread Inn because fewer people learn about its magic. The writer presented this movie in chapters and each opening scene as a book page. This style choice helps us let go of the cynicism and enjoy the movie.
I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars
You have a gift. Maybe its time to pick up that pen again – Anderson
So, you all think I’m ridiculous – Talia
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