Month In Review: December

I hope, if you’re reading this, that you had a wonderful festive period and are preparing for a lovely start to 2021. I can’t really say anything that other people haven’t already said about this year- it was strange, miserable, challenging and frustrating. Although I don’t think all of our problems are going to magically disappear in 2021, it is nice to have a new start to look forward to, even if, in reality, we’re going to wake up tomorrow in the same position we’re in now. It’s funny, isn’t it, how these human-invented dates mean so much to our mental state?

December has gone by in a blur, and I haven’t managed to do all the things I planned. That said, I’ve had a fairly good time, despite the world.

December In Review

I finished The Mandalorian, and it was so good. I won’t post spoilers, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you absolutely must. The last episode was awesome.

Black Narcissus on the BBC was moody, gothic, strange and unsettling. If you didn’t catch it, it’s definitely worth a watch.

I’ve become a bit obsessed with true crime this year. Like many people, I’m sort of fascinated by serial killers and their motivations. The Ripper on Netflix is very interesting if you, too, share a interest in this sort of thing.

I picked up Crash 4 in the sale just after Christmas and I am enjoying it a lot, although it is really, really hard (or maybe I’m just not good at it!). I’ve still got quite a lot of it to play- it is taking me ages as I keep dying.

Happiest of new years to you!

Under The Autumn Moon [That’s A Christmas- Cole Reviews Festive Hallmark Movies]

One of my favourite Hallmark tropes is ‘big city businesswoman goes into the country and falls in love with both nature and some sort of country boy’. This is absolutely a film with that trope as its main plot.

A lot of the effectiveness- or lack thereof- of these films comes from the charm of the main characters (because, if we’re honest, there’s very little plot in one of these bad boys). Alex is our main character here, a pleasant businesswoman struggling to fit in at her job as part of a sportswear retail company. She’s fine, I guess. Good hair. Josh Ketchum is the romantic interest, and he is automatically more interesting than Alex because his name makes me think of Pokémon. He doesn’t want to sell the ranch he loves and runs with his sister, but they’re out of money, and Alex’s company wants to buy it. They have some nice chemistry in the bland, inoffensive way of these films.

The most interesting character by far is Alex’s utterly bizarre boss, a sort of fleece-wearing Steve Jobs type who insists on having meetings halfway up a climbing wall and rides a bicycle around the office. There’s also a fairly cute side romance between two other visitors at the ranch.

The mild drama in the film is in the form of Josh’s ex-girlfriend, a woman with excellent boss bitch sunglasses who also wants to buy the ranch. There is also a guy who works with Alex who she’s up against for a promotion. Both of these people want the ranch for nefarious purposes that I guess we’re meant to believe are less morally good than Alex’s reasons.

This Hallmark film is a bit on the weaker end of the scale, I think. It was fine, but didn’t hold up to some of their better (slash more cheesy) entries.

Pumpkin Pie Wars [That’s A Christmas- Cole Reviews Festive Hallmark Movies]

This series of posts is named after MBMBAM‘s segement That’s A Christmas To Me, which is a delight if you love dreadful festive movies.

I am a strong believer that ‘guilty pleasures’ is a dreadful phrase, and that you shouldn’t be ashamed of liking cheesy things. I write romance novels, so maybe I’m biased about this, I don’t know.

Hallmark festive movies are weirdly compelling to me. They’re not without their flaws- god knows they’re pretty much all white, cisgender, heteronormative nonsense. They all have basically the same plot and possess possibly the lowest stakes possible for a film to still claim it has a plot. That said, they’re like catnip to me, especially as we enter this cooler, Christmassy time of the year. I inevitably watch about a dozen each year, so I have decided to review them, because I can.

Pumpkin Pie Wars is a new one for me this year. The ‘plot’ basically involves the adult children of rival bakeries entering the pumpkin pie competition that their mothers first forged their intense hatred of each other in a decade ago. The issue is that Casey cannot cook, as she is a business graduate (top of her class, apparently, although for some reason works at her mum’s bakery) and Sam wants to be a proper chef, not a mere baker. They forge a plan to help each other in secret, and, well, it’s a Hallmark film, so there’s some PG-rated smooching and they fall in love.

This is a very short film, coming in at fewer than 90 minutes, and I am sort of loath to say this about a Hallmark movie, but it could have done with being longer. The ‘misunderstanding’ that one expects in a romance film came 15 minutes from the end, and then there was another key plot point thrown into the mix about five minutes later. Carnage, obviously, for the last ten minutes.

The main characters were about as bland and politely charming as you’d expect in this, but their mothers were amazing and vicious to each other. The whole thing plays like Romeo & Juliet but without all the stabbing.

It’s trash, and the pacing is off, but the delicious animosity between their mothers is delightful, so I’d say this is a good medium-bad Hallmark movie.