Merry Christmas in July, everyone! I know it’s almost Thursday, and I’m very sorry about that, but I wanted to have #WonderWednesday. So, are you doing anything special for this “holiday” ? Or are you leaving it at watching Christmas movies on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries? And in two days, you can switch over to Hallmark Channel! 😀 It’s funny; last year I kind of begrudgingly reviewed a Christmas movie to say I had officially participated in Christmas in July. (You may remember that I’m a bit of a Christmas purist; nothing Christmasy before Thanksgiving, except maybe some gift shopping. But this year, I’m enjoying watching the holiday films. I don’t know what it is. Maybe I miss Christmas, maybe I like all the hope and peace in the plots, or maybe doing the blog has enabled me to loosen my grip a bit. Well, Hallmark, you may say to me, in the words of Steve Urkel, “I’m wearing you DOWN, baby!”
I’ve got some fun stuff planned for this week, and next. We’ll execute my scheme (cough, cough) in a series of steps. Step 1: Review Rocky Mountain Christmas.
This particular movie has been getting a lot of hype since several Hearties noticed a clean-shaven and very young-looking Chris McNally on their TV screens. So I thought, what would be a better way to begin! Honestly, this was not a Christmas movie I was excited about when it first came out. I thought I’d watch it “just because”, and something very interesting happened: I really liked it!
Let’s start with some fun facts and tidbits. First of all, I had to laugh when I saw all those comments about how young Chris looks, even though the movie is only a few years old. I, myself, have been super curious as to what Lucas Bouchard would look like without such a furry face because I’d only seen him that way in a much older mystery movie, “Gourmet Detective”. Someone then read my mind, and tweeted about that recently. Chris retweeted that post, and said that he gets ID’d when he tries to buy beer if he’s clean-shaven. Yeah, he wasn’t kidding! The guy could pass for 19!
Second of all, it’s quite serendipitous that this movie also stars the very talented Kristoffer Polaha because, in a way, I have a promise to keep to him. A few months ago, I was asking Hallmark Movies and Mysteries when they were rebroadcasting another movie of his so I could review it, and they tagged him in the reply. Then out of the blue, he paid me a very kind compliment, saying, “I’m digging your blog. Well done!” I thanked him profusely, adding, “Remind me to review ALL your movies.” TA DA!
The final fun fact is something I found out completely by accident because I’ve been watching so many Christmas movies so close together. But guess what! “Rocky Mountain Christmas” made a cameo appearance in a different holiday film: “Once Upon a Christmas Miracle”. When Chris and Heather are recovering from their operations, they’re watching a movie together. She says, “This is the part when he’s confused about falling in love with her,” and it shows two shots from “Rocky Mountain Christmas”. So now, I guess you’ll have to go back and find that. 😉
Now let’s dig in! Quick recap: Kristoffer plays an actor, (which I always think is a hilarious circumstance: an actor playing an actor!) who needs to prep for a blockbuster role as a ranch hand. Lindy Booth (absolutely adorable lady!) is an interior decorator who returns to her family’s ranch for the Christmas to escape a very public breakup. Chris is her sweet, sensible, and hard-working little brother, (younger, more like,) and the amazing Treat Williams is their uncle who owns the ranch.
There are three features about this movie that I really like because of how well they’re done. First of all, there’s Graham Mitchell’s (Kristoffer) fame factor. Several times in other TV movies I’ve seen, a character who is supposed to be incredibly famous walks in a room, and nobody seems to notice. Here, Sarah (Lindy) doesn’t recognize him at first when he approaches her about learning cowboy skills, but she at least knows the name. Then they appear in town together. The cell phones pop out, the giggling turns up several notches, and the loss for words becomes an epidemic. And of course, as the title says, Graham can’t even have a meal without the “free eggnog” and the “batting eyelashes”. Luckily, he doesn’t abuse that. On the contrary, he uses his “$100 smile” and his “charm card” to promote the town’s parade, and to raise funds for the cause. He even dons a Santa hat to ring a bell, AND spontaneously agrees to be the grand marshall of that parade during a live radio interview.
The other thing I really like is how Sarah’s situation is handled. Her ex is a tech guy who invented a search engine, then he dumps her for an actress, (one reason she’s a little sour toward Graham in the beginning). But she WANTS to go home. She’s not running from her past, she’s not estranged from her family, she hasn’t been away longer than 6 months without a visit. She’s just a busy woman with a job that took her away from home.
Then on top of that, the ranch isn’t in trouble. The land always seems to be two steps away from foreclosure. Don’t get me wrong, I understand it makes for good drama, but I admit that it makes a nice change. Now, it’s not in perfect condition, and it’s not thriving- there are several things that need doing, and many times they just break even. But that’s just it, they DO break even. Uncle Roy is just getting tired, and Cody (Chris) has dreams of working with horses in Hollywood, so he would like to sell. Perfectly natural when your wife has passed away, and the kids you’ve raised are grown.
And that brings us to Cody‘s story. Chris does really well with this pseudo “brother of the prodigal son” kind of character. Sarah moved away, and he dreams of doing the same, but he stays with Uncle Roy, especially after Aunt Beth passes away. He’s steady and strong, happily holding down the fort, doing the labor necessary to keep the family legacy going. In the end, his patience is immensely rewarded when Graham’s costar, Nicole, calls their movie’s stunt coordinator, and gets Cody a job as the assistant stunt coordinator. He’s quietly excited, keeping a level head, but basking in his newfound career.
One last thing the filmmakers did that I absolutely loved: the colored lights. In New York, Sarah uses all kinds of white lights in her hotel lobbies to make them look elegant. But at home, the ambiance is different. White lights are still used, but colored lights are everywhere. I’ve always been a huge fan of colored lights: I find them to make things feel more homey and Christmasy. The contrast also made a wonderful visual point. Sarah was at peace with her choice to leave behind the glamor of the white lights, and embrace the comforts of the more simple colored lights. Now, I hope you feel that peace and comfort, and that it’ll last you until Friday for Step 2. Good night, or good morning, as the case may be. 😀 This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!