Its 2:28 pm
Here is hoping everyone had a peaceful and relaxing Thanksgiving. Other then a quick run to see a friend,the cheetah and I stayed home and under a warm blanket.
After we opened December up with a bad shark movie,we were in the mood for a Christmas movie and lucky for us,our good pals at Mill Creek Entertainment sent us a five film Christmas collection but these aren’t Hallmark Christmas movies,these five films were aired on the Lifetime Channel.
Hallmark’s Christmas films are such big hits that other channels like Lifetime,Bounce and even Netflix are getting into the mix. And why the hell not? Aa many of you may know,the cheetah and I are huge fans of Hallmark and have reviewed many of their films and yes,we also have reviewed a few Lifetime films as well. Variety is what makes the reviewing world go around…..
But we looked at the cover of our collection,we discovered that this collection is from Active Entertainment,the same company has put our bad shark movies!! Not only that but just like those shark films,producers Ken Badish and Daniel Lewis have gone south as in Louisiana and Mississippi as their film’s settings. No fake snow for these films!
But they have kept the same model that has worked for Hallmark for years,use a couple of established actors and back them with older beloved actors in main support.
Oh and if you get a chance,use several actors that have been in Hallmark productions as well even if they are in smaller roles.
The cheetah and I were a bit leery as I loaded the first film “Hometown Christmas” into the DVD player……
The start of the film sees Dr. Noelle Collins (Beverley Mitchell) load up her car and leaving a snowy Chicago to head back home to Lafayette,Louisiana. Noelle is moving back home so she can join her father Peter (Brian McNamara) in his practice.
As she reaches town,Noelle’s brother Will (Donny Boaz) calls her and says he has brought his fiance Jen home for Christmas. Will asks Noelle to pick up makings for hot chocolate since Jen (Erin Cahill) is from Vermont and is used to drinking hot chocolate during Christmas.
While at the store,Noelle runs into her high school sweetheart Nick Russell (Stephen Colletti),they had been a hot item until Nick was drafted by major league baseball and he slowly let his and Noelle’s relationship fade away. Nick is happy to see her and while Noelle isn’t that quite excited to see him,she starts warming up when he buys the last bag of marshmallows and leaves it in her car.
We then meet the whole Collins clan as they share memories of the living Nativity play their late mother used to do. Noelle decides that she is going to bring it back and using her mom’s planning guide,she starts her mission. Of course this brings her into contact with Nick who is home because of a potential career ending injury. But the real kicker to the story is that Peter has fallen for Nick’s mother Mary (Melissa Gilbert). Now all three couples have to come together if the staging of the Nativity is going to happen in time for Christmas.
One of Lori’s and my favorite films was “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” with the lovely Nia Vardalos and the dashing John Corbett. What mades that film so special was it a sheer joy to watch. There was no drama,no forced bumps in the road,no late minute crisis…it was just watching everyone and everything happen peacefully,with humor and loves of love.
I got the same feeling in watching “Hometown Christmas”. I loved everything about it,the story was sweet,the cast was magical and it felt right. Even the weirdness that happened when Peter starts dating Mary and Noelle rekindles her romance with Nick.
But that can’t distract from a really good script from Marcy Holland and Emily Moss Wilson (Wilson also directed). The film’s pacing is like a gentle river that just flows calmy and serenely.
I was very impressed with how Peter and Mary’s story was told and it was so tender with how Will and Noelle both encouraged their father to take that next step. McNamara and Gilbert (who looks fantastic btw!) had real chemistry and in a difficult story line concerning how a widow or widower takes a step back into the dating world,its so easy to get it wrong but Holland and Wilson nail it.
Beverley Mitchell who grew up in front of America in “7th Heaven” makes a spunky and charming romantic lead,she has a beautiful smile and a warm heart. She can see that Nick has matured greatly in the years they have been apart and he isn’t the selfish teen that left Lafayette years ago,he too learned a lot lessons. Colletti makes a great strong leading man and shows a lot of range and depth in his Nick Russell.
So our first Christmas film is in the books and what a delightful way to kick off this film collection. The other four have big steps to fill,that is for sure!
“Hometown Christmas” has a run time of 87 minutes and is suitable for everyone.
The cheetah and I both gave it two big angels on top of the Christmas tree.