Those Sappy Holiday Movies...
You know what I'm talking about. You watch 'em too; you know you do! You may mock 'em. You may laugh at 'em (not with them), but you KNOW you watch. Year after year, YOU watch. You have your favorites. You KNOW you do! (Don't even try to deny it.) You try a few new ones each year. (Is there really a way to watch ALL of them? I mean, you'd have to be tuned in 24/7 for at least 8 weeks!) You may have your favorite stations (Hallmark, Lifetime, Up...to name but a few) and you ARE watching.
My semi-addiction goes all the way back to the last century! That final decade: 1990s with the all-time "great" take on the A Christmas Carol (which could be a blog post unto its own...how many different tv adaptions can we have? My personal favorite would be the 1979 An American Christmas Carol. As a kid I was pretty freaked out by the animated 1971 version): Ebby with Susan Lucci. It aired annually on Lifetime and I actually looked forward to it. It holds up semi-well, all things considered. Of course at the end when Ebbie has been "reborn" she not only offers the homeless woman a coat, but a job. Oh Ebbie, don't you think you should do a reference check first? How are Dobson Department Store customers going to feel about this? Will they have Christmas in their hearts when she sells them a pair of shoes? (Am I taking this too far?)
As I started thinking of some of my favorites my list grew way too long. Then I started to break them down into categories (Family/weepies, Silly/unbelievable). Even then my list was too long AND I knew I had forgotten some. But I thought...what the heck...I'm just going to dive into this as best I can! What I forget, you can remind me of. Or maybe you can add some that I don't even know about.
Now the "movies" listed below are for the most part made of tv...although a few may not be...and many were specifically made for a channel (like Lifetime or Hallmark). I'm going to start off with my list of some of silliest and most unbelievable ones out there. Are you ready? Let's start watching and reminiscing about:
1. The 12 Men of Christmas: If the name doesn't get you the promise of 12 semi-nude men posing for a calendar to raise funds for a Montana Search and Rescue team should. (Did you even get based the words Semi-nude men?) Starring Kristen Chenoweth who has dumped her fiancé and boss (who were going at it behind her back) and can longer find a job in NYC, it is totally believable that she would have to pack up and move to Montana to take a job. But Anna Chumsky is excellent in the supporting role. And there are half naked men.
2. A Crown For Christmas: Danica McKellar joins the ranks of Lacey Chabert (who?), Alicia Witt (wasn't she in Twin Peaks?) and Candace Cameron-Bure (current reigning champ of Hallmark Christmas movies). She's just a hotel maid, supporting her siblings, when she gets fired. No worries, without so much as a job interview, she asked to be a governess in a foreign country. She doesn't know that her charge is an adorable, but predictably bratty Princess and that the man she bumped into (and sort of is responsible for her firing) is the King. You can guess what happens...
3. Holiday In Handcuffs: Melissa Joan Hart is having a bad week AND she has to head to a remote cabin to celebrate Christmas with her perfect family. She needs a boyfriend to make the family holiday bright...and so she kidnaps Mario Lopez. Sounds perfectly reasonable, right? (And it must have worked because she paired with Mario again in 2017 with a Very Merry Toy Store. Mario must have been busy the year prior because Dean Cain stepped into his shoes for Broadcasting Christmas.)
4. The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year: Ralph (Henry Winkler), not a frequent flier, has trouble at the airport, Morgan helps him out (by lying and deceiving) and gets them in first class where they become best buddies. As a result when Morgan's next flight is cancelled, Ralph convinces his niece, Jennifer (the single mom/savvy businesswoman) to take him in for the day. Ralph doesn't like Jennifer's boyfriend (hoping to be fiancé), but thinks Morgan (a chef) is perfect husband material. You know the Fonz is never wrong! (If you're too young to get the reference...Google it!). Remember, deceit is your best friend!
5. Naughty or Nice: Krissy Kringle who lives on Candy Cane Lane (Yes...this is pivotal to the plot) gets canned on Christmas and is still waiting for her boyfriend to propose. So she gets a temp job as an elf at the mall. (Can it get more holiday than this?) Then she receives a book (obviously meant for Santa) which lists all the naughties (and what their naughty deed is). Krissy uses the book to call out/shame the naughty ones, resulting in her embarrassing her boyfriend in front of his boss and freaking out in front of a child at the mall...that's kind of naughty of Krissy now isn't it? Who is naughty? Who is nice? You make the call.
6. The Road To Christmas (2006 Lifetime movie, not to be confused with 2018 The Road To Christmas from Hallmark. So many roads!) Professional Photographer, Claire (Jennifer Grey and her new nose) needs to get to Aspen so she can marry her Italian (and kind of obviously gay) boyfriend. (Check out the opening photo shoot. Who knew that a photo shoot could be such fun??? Was that vodka they were promoting? No wonder why they were being so silly.) Her flight is forced to land, there are no rental cars...well you get the idea. But she finally manages to hitch a ride in a pick-up truck (with constant engine trouble...because you always take a long drive in an unreliable vehicle) with widower Tom and his daughter Hilly. (Meanwhile her intended is having a blast planning their wedding with his boyfriend.) The scene at the hubcap museum should not be missed.
7. A Very Merry Mix Up: Alice (Alicia Witt, a Hallmark staple) owns/runs her late father's antique store and loves Christmas. Fiancé Will loves her (or her real estate) and making killer deals. He arranges for her to meet his parents (macrobiotic/don't touch me mom and business obsessed/hasn't heard of the #metoo movement dad) in his hometown while he continues to wheel and deal in the big city (and arranging to sell her building behind her back). As a result of a series of mishaps, Alice ends up in a car accident with Matt who she thinks is Will's brother. (It seems to be a small town and yet two completely different William Mitchums live there and don't know about each other? Neither family knows about each other? REALLY?) Pre-Christmas cheer abounds and love (and not of a brotherly kind) starts to blossom, until Alice finds out that she's with the wrong Mitchum family (AWKWARD!)
8. Trading Christmas: Emily (Faith Ford) loves Christmas, holiday traditions and her daughter Heather. Heather wants to spend her Christmas with boyfriend, Jason and not fly home for the holiday and make gingerbread houses (from scratch) with her mom. Heather leads her mother to believe that she will be staying in Boston (where she attends college), when in reality she is flying to Phoenix with Jason. Emily decides to surprise Heather and does a house (Washington) /condo (Boston) swap with anxious Christmas hating writer, Charles. Emily's best buddy, Faith (Gabrielle Miller...playing the nice friend and not the bitch as she does in Christmas At Cartwrights) travels to Washington to surprise Emily, but instead gets Charles. Emily find out Heather is in Phoenix and sets of the condo alarm, leading the security company to call Charles' brother Ray. It's a swap of confusion and coupling! But it must have paid off because 2 years later Hallmark came up with Finding Christmas where highly successful businessman, but jilted lover Sean trades his trendy NYC loft (complete with fashion model neighbor) with country handyman/musician, Owen who has a lovely but cold home (good things Owen's sister checks in on things). Same basic premise, more music.
9. Christmas At Cartwrights: Nicky (Alicia Witt is back again!) is a single mom trying to find work for the holidays. She applies at Cartwrights but the head of HR (Gabrielle Miller...who cranks up the bitch for the holiday season) rejects her. However, with some mystical/divine intervention, she manages to put on the Santa suit and become Cartwright's Santa...delighting one and all (AND getting paid; did no one check out her W-2, W-4, 1099 or whatever?). Bill, a store manager, becomes Santa's bestie and looks to Santa for dating Nicky advice. Meanwhile, daughter Becky can't spell worth a damn (and is called out for it by classmate -- mean girls getting started early in live), but with the money mom is now making and help from a teacher, you know she'll be a champ by the time the credits roll. But what happens when it is revealed that Santa is a WOMAN?! (Quelle horreur!)
10. Christmas Under Wraps: I HAD to have one on this list that starred Candace Cameron Bure. This was my choice! Candace stars as a doctor/surgeon (I am NOT kidding) who does not get the fellowship she wants (her one and ONLY choice...good planning) AND her boyfriend (who she thinks is about to propose) breaks it off with her. What's a girl (doctor?) to do? Take a job in remote town in ALASKA. (Where the sun is shining all the time, IN DECEMBER and she walks around with her wool coat OPEN and NO HAT!) Will she find a new love in the form of Andy (the town pilot and son of the town’s largest employer who looks and sounds an awful lot like Santa)? Alaska never looked so good (maybe because it's actually Salt Lake City)!