It’s beginning to look a lot Christmas, Hearties! Welcome to our first Christmas movie review, and fair warning, you’re going to be seeing several of them in the next couple of months. That’s right! Hooked Heartie is jumping on the festive bandwagon. I figure, the 10th anniversary of Hallmark Channel’s #CountdownToChristmas is a milestone worth celebrating. So this is now another holiday headquarters, hence the new hashtag. And there are two more you’ll see. With so many movies being filmed and shown this year, we’re taking a little break from our beloved show, and we’re having some Movie Months. I’ll still be posting twice a week, and each post will be centered on a Christmas movie. But rest assured, every film reviewed will still have at least one WCTH actor in it. I only break THAT rule for family. 😉

First up: “Merry and Bright” with the adorable Jodie Sweetin, and yes, the VERY charming When Calls the Heart guest star, Andrew Walker. This is a pairing I never would have thought of, but it made a whole lot of sense. I thought they were adorable together! And here’s a fun fact you may or may not have heard: neither actor is a huge fan of peppermint. When it comes to Christmas goodies, they go for the chocolate and the baked goods. Jodie remarked “that made it easy” to not scarf down all the candy canes with which she was surrounded.

And here are three pieces of trivia I never knew! The writers of this one really did some digging! Did you know December 26th is National Candy Cane Day? That’s a lot merrier and brighter than what I usually call it…me and Warren Christie’s character Morgan from “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: “ the saddest day of the year”. Pouring chocolate on a spoon to temper it before it hits the mold is a cool trick I’d never considered. And I had no idea that the legend of the candy cane centered on a choir director trying to keep children’s attention! Quite clever when you think about it!

Let’s talk about my favorite thing about this movie – you know what it is – it’s not a #OneKissWonder! At precisely 1:31:12, there was a perfect, chemistry-filled smooch. Now, even though the circumstances surrounding it are less than ideal, and it’s dismissed as a “nice moment”, it still sticks with us. I especially like it because the next time we see them kiss, a year has passed, and he’s proposing. I think it was really important to establish that connection between them to make us all the more excited for them at the end.

Speaking of which, I really loved the juxtaposition of the two couples: Gabe and Cate, and Pete and Sophie. Despite the fact that Pete was scared to propose, they were a very happy and settled pair. That cute little hand hold when they said hello while he was on the phone was proof of that! And call me crazy, but I adored the fact that the diamond was so small. They were a young couple with jobs that weren’t incredibly lucrative, but they don’t need lots of success to be happy. Sophie was just as thrilled with that tiny stone as she would have been with a full carat. The other cool thing is that by talking with the two of them, Gabe and Cate are able to figure their own issues out because they say them out loud, and talk themselves through them.

Let’s backtrack a bit, to a scene Jodie claimed as her favorite, and Andrew agreed: the first meeting. Here’s one of the places Andrew earns the title of Wise Man, or rather Wise Guy! 🙂 This scene is so crucial in romantic movies; it creates a domino effect, so it’s gotta be good. And this one WAS good; the banter and timing were exceptional! Cate puts the pieces of the wrong puzzle together, and assumes that Gabe is Gary, someone from Akron who her matchmaker mother is setting her up to meet. He’s actually from a corporate consulting company, but he happens to say just the right words that seem to confirm her suspicions. Embarrassing! You’ll have to watch for yourself to hear the full exchange, it’s too funny to try to explain in print. But he may have mentioned being her “last chance to turn this ship around”. Yikes!
You know that scene in so many movies when one of the people involved overhears the wrong part of a phone conversation, or misinterprets an appearance. Well, no need in THIS movie, because there was nothing to misinterpret. He flat out called the business model a dinosaur, and her a brick wall. Good thing they were able to move past it, huh?

This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

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