‘Tis the season to be merry and watch every new holiday movie as it debuts. Each Monday, we’ll take a look back at the previous weekend’s premieres to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with a new list of superlatives.
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Hallmark Channel’s Checkin’ It Twice: Not for Ashley (Kim Matula) and hockey player Scott’s (Kevin McGarry) banter at the airport gift shop before their debit cards got switched, but for their second run-in during his match, when Ashley yelled at him from the stands and he got flattened by a body-check while shouting back. It set the tone that this movie would be shooting for some genuine laughs (see also: the bad eggnog scene).
Least Predictable Ending
By default, Hallmark Channel’s Where Are You, Christmas?: We initially assumed that Scrooge Addy (Lyndsy Fonseca), whose Christmas wish erased the holiday and all color from her town, would no longer be stuck in black and white once she reconciled with her dad. But it took her heart growing three sizes and her kissing mechanic Hunter (Michael Rady) for the right reasons, e.g. love, instead.
Most Audaciously Decked Halls
In the spirit of embracing what Under the Christmas Sky production designer Gord Wilding calls “the Hallmark avalanche of Christmas excess,” we applaud him for making the planetarium’s halls twinkle more than any star and for giving the Butler family living room a full forest of Christmas trees. They framed astrophysicist Kat’s (Jessica Parker Kennedy) couch catch-ups with her bestie Jenna (Sarah Luby), and looked cozy in the background of a late-night cookie raid.
It took three Christmases for traveling doctor James (Trevor Donovan) and chiropractor Addie (Merritt Patterson) to finally be available at the same time in Great American Family’s ‘Twas the Text Before Christmas. The real crime, however: James moved into this adorable house in Vermont right before they decided to move to Australia together! If he’s selling, we’ll put in a bid to sip hot chocolate and wish on a shooting star from that picturesque porch.
Best Event Planner
Checkin’ It Twice‘s Fighting Trout hockey team impressed with their week-long festivities: They hosted a hot cider tea party for the ladies, coached an outdoor youth hockey match, and sponsored the holiday jamboree with gingerbread house-making and competitive games like “Merry Fishmas.” Hooking trout ornaments with hockey-stick rods was…genius?
Noblest Exclusion of a Romantic Christmas Movie Cliché
Ashley grew up in a hockey-loving family, in a hockey-worshipping town. If she’d have fallen on the ice when she was skating with Scott just so he could catch her and lock eyes in Checkin’ It Twice, we would have absolutely lost it.
Most Thoughtful Present
Would we prefer the noise-canceling headphones Addie got her dad for his long flight to Australia in ‘Twas the Text Before Christmas? Yes. But you can’t top the angel-wing birthstone James gifted Addie, showing that he remembered a joke she made on the day they met and her birthday.
MVP (Most Valuable Parents)
The mom-and-pop roles in holiday movies are usually one-note. Addy’s father (Jim O’Heir) and mother (Julie Warner) in Where Are You, Christmas?, on the other hand, were loving, funny, and resentful. They each got lengthy heart-to-hearts with Addy to discuss why they felt left out of her busy life in the city. And for once, the solution wasn’t for her to move home. They just want an invite to meet her friends and for her to phone and visit more. Reasonable!
Sexiest Xmas Sweater
This shade of green doesn’t exactly scream Christmas in Under the Christmas Sky, but no one is saying bah humbug to Kat’s crush, planetarium curator/single dad David (Ryan Paevey), when he’s wearing this. Yes, we’ll go curling with him. Yes, we’ll help place stuffed reindeer astride a rocket in his new exhibit. Yes, we’ll work on Christmas Eve because he wants to host a last-minute Santa tracker soiree.
After David’s daughter, Lila (Emmy Richardson), heard that Kat can’t go into space because of a recently-developed blind spot in Under the Christmas Sky, Lila, who uses a wheelchair, comforted her: “I can’t go into space either. So it’s okay, Kat,” she said, taking her hand. Ah. Kat later took Lila to meet one of her colleagues at the National Space Program who also uses a wheelchair. “I want to do research on the sun, like Kat does,” Lila told him. Double ah.
2023 Christmas Movie Schedule
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