Is there anything better than a cold winter's day spent snuggling up in front of a warm fire with hot chocolate and a holiday movie? Well, maybe if you throw in some freshly baked cookies (and spike that hot chocolate with some Bailey's), but it still sounds like a pretty perfect afternoon to me. While I definitely love repeated viewings of modern classics such as Love Actually and Elf, I usually put "real movies" to the side and load up my DVR with some made-for-tv Christmas films (which provide the perfect background entertainment for Christmas decorating, gift wrapping, and of course, crafting!).
Sure, these movies certainly don't have the high production values of a Hollywood blockbuster and we may often pause to wonder, "Exactly how many times can Cameron Mathison portray a sexy yet sensitive Christmas-loving widower?", but the cheesiness of these movies is part of the charm. Of course, our favorite made-for-tv movies involve ridiculous plot twists and storylines that would never, ever happen, so if you're like us and want some good old-fashioned guilty pleasure viewing this December, get your DVR ready for these amazingly absurd flicks.
10) Matchmaker Santa (Hallmark)
|You're already cracking up just because of the title, aren't you?|
Our heroine Melanie (played by Lacey "Gretchen Weiners" Chabert) has an "only in a Hallmark movie" dream job of running her own bakery (where she seems to exclusively make Christmas cookies year-round, non-stop) and a gorgeous, successful boyfriend who absolutely adores her (which kind of already makes her annoying). The BF invites Melanie home for the holidays with him to meet his mother, but when he sends his even more beautiful assistant Dean to pick her up at the airport, wacky hijinks ensue (as they do) and they wind up stranded at a small-town inn run by Mrs. Carol Brady (that's another reason we love these films - the random guest stars!). Of course, there is a man who may or may not be the real Santa Claus at this inn, and he is determined to play matchmaker (title alert!) for Melanie and Dean (...even though Melanie already has a perfectly wonderful boyfriend).
However, don't cry for the boyfriend too much because while Mel is stranded with hot assistant Dean, the boyfriend is flirting it up with his old high school flame who just so happens to have shown up at his home (hmm, we suspect a meddling mother). By the end of the movie, Melanie and the boyfriend (Justin! his name is Justin) happily agree to break up so they can be with the people they were just basically cheating on each other with - thanks, Santa.
9) All About Christmas Eve (Lifetime)
|Haylie Duff is pretty much the Tori Spelling of TV Christmas movies.|
Let's jump right into the best thing about this movie - the appearance of Laguna Beach's Stephen Colletti as Haylie Duff's slacker boyfriend! A quick glimpse at Mr. Colletti's IMDB page reveals his only other noteworthy acting credit to be a stint on One Tree Hill (well, and obviously his appearance on The Hills was scripted), so it's nice to see that Lifetime is providing its viewers with skillfully crafted performances by only the finest artists. Side note - now that LC is engaged, does this mean that I have to give up on my fangirl hope of her and Stephen getting married??
Aaaanyway - this movie centers around an event planner (Haylie Duff) named Eve (drink anytime a Christmas-y name appears in one of these movies!) who must decide whether to go on a holiday vacay with Stephen Colletti or take an important business trip to Los Angeles. Business gal Eve decides to put her career first by going to LA and we lucky viewers get to see split realities - in one case she misses her plane and stays in New York, and in the other she makes it across the country. Luckily for Eve, she doesn't die in either version (sorry, Gwyneth Paltrow) but it does get very confusing about which version is actually supposed to be the "good" ending. Whatever, I'm not exactly holding out hope for a One Tree Hill reunion, so I'll take Stephen Colletti on my screen however I can find him (and in other random guest star news, Diana De Garmo is in this movie! Playing herself! Which inexplicably makes lots of characters VERY excited!).
8) A Christmas Kiss (Ion)
|A sassy death glare AND a red dress? I think I spy our villainess!|
Sweet and innocent Wendy is slaving away for Miranda Priestly-wannabe Priscilla at her interior design firm, dreaming of the day when she will be able to stand up to her monster boss. After putting on a large amount of glitter makeup (yes, glitter makeup is a crucial plot point), Wendy winds up in an elevator with a handsome stranger - when the elevator stalls (as so often happens), they wind up kissing (because OF COURSE). Instead of never seeing him again like any normal random make-out session, of course the Elevator Guy turns out to be (I'll give you one guess)...meanie Priscilla's super rich and important boyfriend, Adam!
I don't need to tell you what happens next, right? Okkkk, fine - even though they have absolutely nothing in common and Adam seems much worldlier (and frankly, older) than Wendy, of course they are soulmates based on one random elevator kiss and therefore must wind up together. The main ridiculous reason that this movie makes our list is because Adam doesn't realize that Wendy is the elevator kiss girl until the very end because of all of her glitter makeup! Wendy girl, you know I love me some glitter, but it's time to dial it back when you're literally unrecognizable!
Fun TSN fact about this movie - the actress who plays Wendy, Laura Breckenridge, did community theater at the same place as me in New Jersey and we were in a few shows together (once even doubling as the same role in a musical). Now she's playing the lead in Hallmark movies and I'm...writing about them from my couch (excuse me, it's time to pour another cocktail).
7) A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride (Lifetime)
|Oh heyyyy Luke Perry, why are you lurking back there?|
The first (but not last!) "very merry" title on our list, this movie features the plucky Roxanne, a wedding planner (classic Lifetime movie job!) who wants to stop her mother's wedding (oh, the irony!) to a man that she has just met. Roxie just can't stop her meddling, even though her mother is a grown woman and the new boyfriend seems like a total sweetheart. Not even the appearance of one Mr. Luke Perry is enough to distract Roxanne from her sabotage plans!
This movie makes the list because the most ridiculous thing about it is that the ending is actually slightly unpredictable! I won't spoil it for you, but prepared to be surprised as it may stray just a tiny bit from the typical Lifetime formulas.
6) Holiday High School Reunion (Lifetime)
|Think "Mean Girls" Christmas pageant performance, except with less of a costume budget and more Botox.|
Can we all just agree that a Christmas-themed high school reunion filled with girl group musical performances sounds like the best thing ever? Georgia is dreading her 10-year high school reunion because her life has not turned out to be quite as shiny as she had hoped, and she's dreading coming to face to face with her old high school frenemies. Luckily, her old cute, sensitive, smart, hilarious, yet totally platonic friend Ben will also be there to help guide her through this high school minefield (and perhaps to FINALLY confess his feelings of truuuuue loooooove). Despite an ill-fated attempt to rekindle romance with her high school boyfriend and a few catfights with her old high school singing group, we all know that Georgia is going to wind up with Ben, which somehow makes her dead-end job and crappy life seem not so bad after all!
Happily, there is an overabundance of ridiculousness in this movie. First of all, there is not one, but two musical numbers (in matching costumes with full choreography) performed by Georgia's girl group (why are there only four of them in the group? How do they still remember all of their dance moves? And can you imagine how annoying it would be if some overgrown prom queens tried to relive their glory days in the sun at your high school reunion?). However, the top most ridiculous moment must be awarded to Harry Hamlin - it's pretty hilarious that he's appearing in the movie to begin with, but it's especially amazing that he's supposed to be a really dorky science teacher who manages to seduce one of his popular former students at the reunion by reciting the periodic table (seriously). If only all movies could live up to that high bar of camp!
Which of these movies will you be DVR-ing this season? Stay tuned for Part Two in our countdown!