Okay, I’ll be honest. I was all set and ready to do a review of a certain Hallmark Christmas movie for today’s #WonderWednesday, but then I watched…The Christmas Train. It then became positively necessary to review this movie instead. DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU’VE WATCHED IT, OR DON’T MIND SPOILERS! I highly suggest you go find it…then come back and read the blog!

So it begins! First off, the connection. There are not one, not two, but THREE actors in The Christmas Train who are WCTH Alumni. Granted, they don’t play major roles in the series, but each plays a pivotal, plot – turning one. There’s Terence Kelly, who played the mysterious, yet helpful, Sam Bailey in the Season 4 Christmas special. Then there’s John Innes, who portrayed Clem Besser, the gentleman who sold Jack his land in Season 3. And of course, there’s Anthony Konechny, who we all know as Douglas Burke, Jack’s adorable Mountie protégé, who’s death prompted Jack to answer the call of duty in the Northern Territory in Season 4.

Now for their characters in THIS movie. Konechny plays his usual loveable role: a young man from high society Washington DC engaged to a Kentucky country girl. His father doesn’t approve, so they’re eloping on the train Christmas Eve. Innes is John Kelly, a lonely old man who recently lost his wife, and is trying to keep his promise to her of reading A Christmas Carol by Christmas Day. Terence Kelly plays the kind of person at which he excels: Higgins, the wise and experienced mentor who leads quietly, and it turns out he’s right.

And then The Christmas Train all-star cast: Kimberly Williams Paisley, Dermot Mulroney, Joan Cusack, and DANNY GLOVER! How they got him, I don’t know, but he was perfect! The powerful and famous film director who is still reachable and down-to-earth, and even downright friendly. Joan Cusack, ever the character actor, plays a quirky loner who seems very much like the nosy next-door neighbor in everyone’s business…and yet we love her every step of the way!

Paisley, (whom I’ve loved since Father of the Bride,) was so endearing. Her playful moments are so bright and natural, yet the pain she expresses is so deep and heartfelt. And she’s so beautiful! My one issue with her is something that’s not even her fault, but it bugged me! When they attend the wedding on board, she’s in a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. I get they’re on a train, and resources are limited, but she’s a Hollywood writer! The outfit she wore while boarding was fancier than that! As a side note, the wedding dress was FABULOUS! Tasteful, different; just the sort of thing I imagine a broke romantic buying if she’s eloping. Back to Kimberly, my favorite line of hers is when she’s talking to Max (Glover). She’s his writer, and he’s encouraging her to give life another chance.  She sardonically replies, “Happy endings are for movies.” Pretty clever and ironic, considering, you know, they’re in one.

Mulroney seems to have an acting style that keeps him a little stiff; I see it in several of his roles. So while I would have preferred to see him loosen up a bit, he played the cynical and world – traveling reporter quite well; especially when his eyes are being opened up to new discoveries. My favorite part of his was when his character, Tom, was going on and on, talking like he knew this ancient  legend. When Eleanor (Paisley) interrupts to call him on it, he says without breaking the flow at all: “I am TOTALLY making this up!”

And here’s a fun fact trivia question for you: What’s the link between Dermot Mulroney and Joan Cusack? If you’re suddenly feeling the urge to play “7 Degrees to Julia Roberts”, you hit the nail on the head! And it’s only 1 degree. Cusack was in Runaway Bride with her, (a personal favorite,) and Mulroney was in My Best Friend’s Wedding.

My favorite lines come from John Kelly. “Two things problems can never defeat: sunrise and Christmas.” That, and: “Hope begins when you stand in the dark, and look at the light.” Very appropriate, especially since #Hearties now have a window cling available that says, “I’d rather be in Hope Valley.”

My favorite part is where today’s title comes from. Tom and Eleanor are old sweethearts who parted badly, then meet by chance on the Christmas Train, right? Well what did you think when they discovered that script in Max’s trash that cited almost every occurrence on the train? I was completely thrown for a loop to find out it was all a set-up, another “Max Powers Production”, (which makes her “happy endings” line even better.) And then, instead of the stereotypical “I’m gonna kill him,” Eleanor more originally says she’s thinking of plotting a murder mystery aboard the train instead of a love story. I laughed SO HARD!

Well, I think that about does it for today’s #WonderWednesday. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it, and I really hope you’ll come back on Friday for another #FanFictionFriday. Until then, darling #Hearties!

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