Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie: Miss Christmas

Date of airing: November 5, 2017 (Hallmark Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 3.623 million viewers, 0.59 with Adults 18-49, 0.37 with Adults 18-34, 0.81 with Adults 25-54, 2.42 with Adults 50+

Maybe, just maybe, this can be considered one of the better Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, thanks to the fact that it didn’t follow the usual formula like a Republican politician is following Orange Hitler Donald Trump during an election cycle. Yes, MISS CHRISTMAS had all the pieces that get you to win Hallmark Christmas Bingo again (the city woman coming to Smalltown, America; the city woman being the one with the Christmas spirit as she is trying to convince her future husband to like Christmas; an African-American boss, co-worker or best friend; and this time, both central characters lost a parent), but there was something to the story that made the movie feel more natural than the other ones I have watched during the Countdown to Christmas seasons in 2016 and 2017, and in addition to that, even the snow felt real for a hot second. I mean, I don’t think there are a lot of Hallmark Channel movies with divorced characters (even if Sam only mentioned his divorce once on the fly, just to satisfy viewers who were asking to know where Joey’s mother is) and I don’t even know if I have seen a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie, in which “snow” actually fell on the characters’ heads before, even if that snow kind of looked like it was coming straight out of a computer, while at least one piece of white feather did land on Brooke D’Orsay’s real hair. I also don’t know if I have seen a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie, in which the romance plot was thickly put onto the cake, and then gravied up like it was time for the turkey dinner on Christmas Day.

Brooke D’Orsay was pretty cute in her role as Holly, and Marc Blucas, although I am not a fan of the guy because he didn’t take Buffy Summers seriously and screwed up their relationship by getting sucked on by prostitute vampires, didn’t annoy me at all as Sam during these 83 minutes. Both Sam and Holly were different people (which means they were destined to be with each other), but the writing was serious enough about their story to make their journey more intriguing than other Christmas love stories. It’s almost like I cared enough about Holly and Sam for me to want to see them getting together by the end of this experience, and I usually don’t feel like that even in Hollywood romantic comedies. The story was helped along by the fact that Holly returned to Klaus right before the romantic climax, just so the distance between herself and the life she always wanted can be felt. I mean, this was a moment during which the character was allowed to cry — consider this an early Christmas present for me.

In this white-collar story, everyone has an Apple device.

But yeah, the supporting cast was once again not that important, since they weren’t involved in B and C plots that had anything to do with the main storyline of the movie, and that those supporting characters weren’t included, because the producers apparently figured they were spending enough time on getting Holly and Sam together and have him feel the spirit of Christmas again. Sometimes I would wish for Hallmark films to focus on the supporting characters a little more, to showcase more variety when it comes to the premise of a boy and a girl falling in love in a small town during Christmas time. The world doesn’t just exist in the eyes of the two central characters of these films — sidekicks are allowed to have an existence, too.

The story about the Christmas tree in the meantime… Well, let’s laugh about it. I have no idea what it’s like to work to get a Christmas tree in front of a huge building (or what kind of pressure that could bring for the man or woman working behind the project), but I found the whole drama of the time pressure extremely ridiculous. Instead of going through the fan mail (the ones that advertised the next Christmas tree from whichever backyard the letter came form) months ahead of the time the new Christmas tree needed to be donated, delivered, and placed for decorating, Holly and her BFF and sorta-sister Erin decided to open the letters close to one week before the deadline. I could understand when the letters only came in during the past week or two and Holly already had a tree in mind, which screwed up her situation almost at the wrong time, but when you are in need of finding a tree and don’t know where to look at first, you should be racing through that fan mail — Holly could have saved a day or two, if she had decided to speed through those letter, and she would have had one or two extra days with Sam. Maybe the “misunderstanding” wouldn’t have happened either.

It’s time for the annual family ugly sweater contest.

The other thing I laughed about was that Holly’s position with the Radcliffe Center was in jeopardy, because there was no tree standing in front of the building. First of all, looking for a tree takes time, and it’s not like Holly was past the deadline. She did find a tree after all, only it became usable mere weeks before the deadline, which is something the company behind Holly’s boss should have thought about. Secondly, what was Holly doing during the other eleven months as creative director of the center, if her job was contingent on whether she gets the tree up on time or not? The board can’t just be so stupid to fire Holly for one single failure, while she might have worked herself into some excellence during the rest of the year? Hey, Radcliffe Center why u so stupid? Well, it’s unimportant anyway, because Holly quit to follow her heart, but still, it was a story that made me laugh and see MISS CHRISTMAS in a negative way for a minute or two.

Also, Holly and her volunteers managed to decorate Sam’s tree within a day, even though Erin and Andrea were panicking back in Chicago, because the tree needed four days to be decorated. When plot conveniences are extremely convenient, you get to that point of the story. By the way: Let’s give a hand for Crystal Balint as Andrea, who had the only non-white speaking role of this Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. Baby steps? Probably not, because Andrea is part of the Hallmark Christmas Bingo card, and we all won this round.

Love in the Sun

Date of airing: May 27, 2019 (Hallmark Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.786 million viewers, 0.21 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.11 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.31 rating with Adults 25-54, 1.31 rating with Adults 50+

Beaches, sunshine, a family-owned inn which seems to have been closed for a year, romance behind every tree, and maybe even an interracial romance. LOVE IN THE SUN was definitely both a typical Hallmark film and a different Hallmark film, and for that I kinda loved it, even if it happened to get through all the predictable story points and even became more and more rather unrealistic over time, especially after the 50-minute mark. That’s when Alana broke up with her white fiancé from Chicago who decided to come to Florida and surprise his future wife, but what he went back home with was the ring he gave to Alana, and the realization that maybe he should have been talking about that thing that has always been missing in their relationship. Because if he would have talked to her about it at one point before he decided to get engaged to her, then maybe his life wouldn’t have been such a waste in the previous year. Anyway, the 50-minute mark was when things got a little curious. Alana broke up with her fiancé and the next 31 minutes were spent on bringing Alana and Kai back together, as if Evan was never part of Alana’s life. As if her relationship with the white kid was nothing but an ongoing plot device to have Alana be the creator of a dating app. As if Alana was never supposed to be in love with Evan, and in all this time she never really loved Evan and decided not to listen to her heart in that regard.

The Hallmark Channel goes a long way to depict an interracial relationship.

It’s not the first time that a Hallmark film is this ludicrous with a threesome romance. Quite recently the partner of a love interest was already in her wedding dress before things were ended, so it’s pretty obvious that the Hallmark Channel loves stories in which people are engaged to the wrong person and the only thing they need is a break-up, just so they can get back to the right person and marry that one. LOVE IN THE SUN is not different from that Hallmark Channel film premise, so the only two ways this romance novel on television could have wowed me was through its cast and maybe its setting. The beach atmosphere definitely did it for me, and Safety Harbor, as boring as the name of the town might be like, reminded me of my very own aspirations to retire into age on a beach, with a house behind me to call my own which is cut off from human civilization. Just me on the beach, a house to sleep in, in case it rains, and no neighbors for miles to the left and the right. Maybe a surfboard or a sailboat on the harbor.

Biking through the Bay Area, sponsored by Hallmark.

The cast looked good enough, although I do have to pick a bone with Kai’s portrayer Tom Maden, who could not have been more unenthusiastic about the role he was playing. It almost seems like the producers realized that during filming as well, which is why Kai always felt like he was more of a supporting character than the male lead, as Alana’s father Micah turned out to be more than just the supporting character he was destined to be. So, next time I see two male characters switch positions from main character to supporting character and vice versa, does it mean something wasn’t going well during filming and the directors decided to redo the film slightly to accommodate the bland performance of one of its cast members? Has that ever happened with the female leads of Hallmark shows? Because it must be much harder to shoot around unenthusiastic actresses when in the lead, because they truly are in the lead of Hallmark Channel films. I have not seen a single film yet in which the male character was the lead figure of the story. When is the time right for that — at the same time it’s the perfect moment to actually have a black character kiss a white character, let alone black characters making out? Will that be before or after humanity dies off in this catastrophe that is global warming?

The story was nothing to write home about. A career woman goes back home for some family business and falls in love with the homegrown guy — it’s the premise of every second Hallmark Channel film, and while Emeraude Toubia was close to pretty great in this film, she was essentially the only reason to even watch all the 81 and a half minutes. There is no other reason (except of course you love watching the same Hallmark film every week) and if it weren’t for the somewhat interesting beach scenes, LOVE IN THE SUN would be a forgettable film with a forgettable premise and an interchangeable title. A film that could have been slightly more interesting if it had focused on the other two relationships in the mix: The one that was interracial and the one that was wished for by Alana’s father. That brings me to say, why hasn’t there been a Hallmark film yet in which more than one couple gets together by the end of the summer or Christmas adventure?

Sending love to the loved ones via sea travel.

Best part of the film: The lantern float sequence was surprisingly great. At best it reminded me of KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, which I want to see again, at worst it was just a moment to elaborate a little bit on some of the characters’ back story about having lost a dearly loved one.
Worst part of the film: Evan was so bland, I was actually surprised he wasn’t completely plain and white all throughout the movie. Evan and Kai could have been best friends, judging by how bland they were as characters. They were even less bearable than unseasoned chicken legs for dinner
Weirdest part of the film: Alana left her laptop and her phone at the beach when she went on an all-defining walk with Kai. Not only does that say Alana doesn’t need her phone, or tells the people who want to ring her that she is busy, but also that Safety Harbor delivers on its name: There are no thieves in town. Not even animals who might come by to catch a little beach sun and decide to ransack Alana’s lounge chair on the beach.
Non-white players of the film: Emeraude Toubia leads this film, and while she looks white, her parents are Mexican and Lebanese-American. Ashley Jones played Renee, who is Alana’s friend and co-creator of the dating app, and Frank Oakley III plays James, one half of the interracial couple of this film.

From Friend to Fiancé

Date of airing: May 25, 2019 (Hallmark Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.337 million viewers, 0.24 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.12 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.39 rating with Adults 25-54, 1.75 rating with Adults 50+

At one point, which is hopefully in my timeline, there will be a Hallmark movie which will make use of the comedic aspect of its romantic premise and actually make me laugh every once in a while than letting my eyes roll to the back of my skull, where they will try to bury their way through the skin and out of my head. FROM FRIEND TO FIANCÉ could have delivered on the comedy elements of its premise, but once more the basic cable network decided to be all love and glory about its romance novels on television, and once more there is another Hallmark movie with a wasted potential, because the cast and crew could only focus on the romance aspect of Jess and Ted’s love story. At this point I am wondering whether this is one of the basic musts the Hallmark Channel is pushing on the production team, or if the network simply doesn’t receive any comedic romance novels for television. Do they read those? Do they like them or do they go into the trash bin immediately, because it’s not what Hallmark wants to be known for? Do they despise comedy so much that they rather have it eliminated form the cable network like Republicans want to eliminate health care from America?

The notion of non-comedy on the Hallmark Channel is definitely something to write about at one point, but a) I’m too lazy to whip up a monstrous dissertation for the internet readers with a short attention span, and b) I don’t have that much Hallmark Channel street credibility yet to even think about going into the deep of why Hallmark doesn’t accept anything else than romance novels for television. And then there is c) If I ever get to make money off of this, writing about Hallmark and wondering out loudly why they can’t do anything but romance might get me into a bad relationship with the executives from the network, and no one really wants that, right?

Cupcakes for dinner is the go-to meal for models.

So much for that, and now off to this particular film, which was somewhat enjoyable, to my surprise. FROM FRIEND TO FIANCÉ could have a spoiler in the title, but maybe could also not have a spoiler in the title, as you could see it from two different points of view, one being the present time the characters were in, and the other the timeline from right before the finale of the film. For Jess, her friend Ted turned into a fiancé of her high school nemesis, which means she is going to have to deal with her emotions, after learning that her male best friend is about to be wedded off to the evil bitch from high school. Ted also turned into a fiancé for Jess at one point in their lives, although not a single second was depicted in that regard. Between the present timeline and the “six months later” scene, that’s where Ted was Jess’s fiancé, but it’s not like a single minute of that has been brought to film. Yet Ted was still Jess’s fiancé. And voila, suddenly you can talk about the title of a film as much as people allowed it when the eighth episode of the Star Wars franchise was finally given a subtitle.

As I said, this was an enjoyable production. It was one of the more unusual premises for a Hallmark Channel film, since it began with a break-up, continued with a threesome relationship between one man and two women, and almost ended with a called-off wedding. In the middle of it all, it never seemed that the characters had jobs to go to, there wasn’t really a sense of a family back drop for Jess (one of the Hallmark rules, in which at least one parent of either the central female or male character has died during their childhood, has not been established during these 78 minutes), and no one really bothered about whether it was realistic for Kim and Ted to date and suddenly get married, since they must have been jumping into the cold water immediately. After all, you don’t NOT tell your best friend forever that you have a new girlfriend (and Ted did not tell Jess), and you don’t NOT tell your best friend forever that you are about to marry that woman (which Ted did only because he had to). While parts of the film were enjoyable to watch, other parts were expectedly Hallmark-is, making me wonder once more why I even bother with these films and why I shouldn’t just dump my head into the nightmare world that is Trump’s administration and get nightmares that way.

Planning the next attack to separate the fiancé from the BFF.

The film turned out to deliver its plot twist in an expected way. When Jess panicked that she would have Kim in her life as an extended arm of Ted’s, it was pretty obvious that Kim would be her nicest, while Jess’s friends were pushing her to believe that Kim has never changed. When Jess was finally into accepting the fact that she will lose Ted forever, she discovers Kim talking about having cold feet and leaving Ted, and voila, there was suddenly this constructed and artificial conflict between the threesome couple, forcing the film to deliver another act that was rather useless in a dramatic sense. And then of course it was Ted’s time to have cold feet, because really, there can’t be a Hallmark movie with a threesome couple and a wedding at the end, in which at least one of the characters in the threesome is gonna think long and hard about their future. FROM FRIEND TO FIANCÉ was writing-by-numbers, as is always the case with the Hallmark Channel and their film slate.

At least the film tried to be funny and different, even if it managed to take every established story move and put it into these 78 minutes. I had hope in the story when Jess and Kim “reunited” again, and Jess was about to fall down the stairs in a comedic moment of making things awkward between the characters, and the whole wedding prep sequence was a lovely way to showcase that Jess cares enough about her friends to fix her mistakes and turn their day into the most memorable one, but not without being a weirdo herself. The character of Patrick proved that the Hallmark Channel likes to cater to their actual audience as well every once in a while (those of age 50 and older, as you can see in the Nielsen ratings), but it might also help to promote senior characters in scripted shows and films, just to remind the actual audience of television (who have all gone into the world of streaming by now) that fictional stories don’t have to be about twenty something models all this time.

Marty McFly would have loved this sequence.

Best part of the film: The BACK TO THE FUTURE reference was as obvious as it was not so obvious. I realized that Jess kind of turned into Marty McFly during the trip to 1955 in the sequel film, considering the hat, sunglasses and radio, but that could have just been a coincidence. But when Patrick told Jess that Ted was gone, she quoted Doc Brown, making this an official BACK TO THE FUTURE reference, and in the process making me all happy and giggly.
Worst part of the film: You can’t tell me that Jess and Ted never decided to at least try it in the dating game. They were obviously close with each other for all of the time, so love HAD to be part of it at some point. I mean, they were teenagers back then, and they didn’t have the hormones to fall in love with each other for a second? I find that unbelievable.
Weirdest part of the film: Better not think about the film’s premise too hard, or one might come to think that Kim only started dating Ted for whatever she would get in the case of a divorce and a prenup. Because really, why would they be engaged in the first place? There kind of is an entire act missing that would have explained what Ted and Kim find so lovely in each other.
Non-white players of the film: This is the third Hallmark movie reviewed for this block, and there have been more non-white faces with speaking roles in it, which by my count was four. There was obviously Jess’s best woman friend Blair, portrayed by Krista Jang, and there were characters played by Vas Saranga and Nicole Stamp during the dinner get-together scene, after Ted blew off Jess during their scary movie night. Finally, there was Lauren, portrayed by Melissa Strong, one half of Kim’s “gruesome twosome.” The IMDb page has a few more non-white actors credited, but I honestly can’t remember if they had speaking lines.

Sailing Into Love

Date of airing: May 18, 2019 (Hallmark Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.119 million viewers, 0.19 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.10 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.30 rating with Adults 25-54, 1.59 rating with Adults 50+

Well, this surely wasn’t a fictional and romantic low-budget version of the documentary MAIDENTRIP, which I got the urge to rewatch as soon as I finish writing this wall of text. Not that I was expecting a Hallmark romance with a couple on a sail boat, traveling from coast to coast and slowly falling in love this way, but now that I have watched SAILING INTO LOVE, I wondered what it would take to watch a television movie that is essentially the premise of what Pacey and Joey were doing during the summer they were on a boat, between seasons three and four of DAWSON’S CREEK. What would a film look like that is a mixture of this Hallmark production and MAIDENTRIP? How beautiful would such a film look like, since it would have to visit multiple exotic locations no one has even heard of? And could it be considered a romantic adventure, essentially helping the genre back on its feet after it got neglected during the 1990s?

Hiking with teenagers in a world full of Hallmark cards.

SAILING INTO LOVE is one of the finer offerings of the white cable network. While the characters were as cookie-cutter as in any of their films, there was at least the sense of conflict between Claire and Jason that made it worthwhile going through these 83 minutes and see where the story might be heading, even if the outcome of all the conflicts between characters is always known. The central characters win in whatever fight they decided to get into, and they will kiss by the end of the film. There was nothing different in SAILING INTO LOVE, but the notion of Jason and Claire going at it about an island gave the film an extra layer of story that helped immensely. At the end of the day this wasn’t just a film about how Tom and Claire met, fell in love and got together, but it was a film about preservation and keeping nature alive. It was a film about criticism of capitalism and ownership, and in a way it was also an attack against urban development in the countryside, even if that part of the film’s premise never came over as such and was only portrayed via Jason and Claire’s conflict, which by itself was only filled with the fact that they were dating once, and both hearts were broken after the end of that relationship. But hey, a Hallmark romance novel with two separate premises? Yeah, it’s automatically a winner, because it’s so unlike a Hallmark film.

For this scene, a stunt coordinator had to be hired.

At the end of the day, there is nothing spectacular about SAILING INTO LOVE. The film could have maybe used a few more scenes on the open sea, making use of the first word in its title, and this film also being about three weddings, coincidentally scheduled on consecutive weekends, it could also have previewed the Hallmark Channel’s June wedding films by focusing at least just a little bit on the three couples that were being married throughout these 83 episodes. The scenes with Claire and her father could have been sacrificed to do just that, because a) Andrew Airlie was pretty much useless as a father figure here, and b) Hallmark Channel films are also allowed to have one of their central characters lose both parents, and not always just one, which is apparently one of the rules always being ticked off when the network reviews the scripts for their upcoming films. I was however glad that one or two scenes with Claire being the biology professor teaching her summer class something about nature and wildlife were included in this film, although it is nothing new for a Hallmark production to showcase their female central character in the job they are performing — it’s after all one of the rules of Hallmark Channel films.

Even during weddings, they can’t stay away from their business phones.

Best part of the film: The scenery was pretty. British Columbia looks nice like that for most of the year, so I’m glad the Hallmark Channel made it an active part of the film, as if the landscape was its own character here.
Worst part of the film: Way to make your best friend suffer by having her plan three weddings, while all of you people were talking about her being the fourth best friend married off at the same time. It’s kind of like putting Claire through emotional torture, because she managed to get rid of her future husband, while the other girlfriends kept ahold of theirs. In fact, I’m surprised Claire wasn’t going through some major depression during this movie, having to plan the events she hoped she would be in the center of as well.
Weirdest part of the film: Apparently it takes part of the town to show up to a townhall meeting to convince the town council not to sell Blue Island to a random LLC. In real life, this would never happen, and the council would still be selling off that land, because money always talks the language people in power understand. Besides that, how many people did show up to Claire’s speech at the end? Must not have been more than two dozen, because there simply wasn’t any room for more people.
Non-white players of the film: Jennifer Li portrayed Wendy, one of Claire’s students, and for a few seconds she had a conversation with her professor. Robbe Hardnette played the minister during the third wedding, which means his officiating words were heard for a few seconds. This brings the count of non-white actors with speaking roles in this Hallmark production to 2. A few non-white faces were seen during the weddings, but those were still 98 percent white. The brides and grooms of those weddings should maybe think about getting a few new friends who don’t look exactly like them. By the way, after two Hallmark films watched for this blog, the count of non-white players with speaking roles has risen to three.

A Feeling of Home

Date of airing: May 11, 2019 (Hallmark Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.057 million viewers, 0.19 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.12 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.28 rating with Adults 25-54, 1.54 rating with Adults 50+, 0.26 rating with Females 18-49, 0.11 rating with Males 18-49, 0.15 rating with Females 12-34, 0.09 rating with Males 12-34

For a time I was watching a few dozen of Hallmark’s Christmas movies in 2016 and 2017, because I wanted to expand my television horizon and see whether there is some form of excitement behind the execution fo the same premise over and over, and considering I watched Hallmark Christmas films for two Christmas seasons, it must mean I have found some sort of enjoyment in them. But maybe I just like to torture myself, because it’s obvious that neither the Christmas films nor the general films of the cable network manage to deliver anything else but a simple romance between two white people, and before they can share a kiss at the very last second of the film, they have to jump over some obstacles. All this is being done in a small town in America mostly (sometimes in the big city, but it’s never shot like that), and non-white people are rarely involved in speaking parts in Hallmark movies, let alone being part of the main narrative of the 83 minutes. It’s 2019 now, and I am wondering if anything about that has changed.

And it hasn’t. Not that I was expecting for Hallmark films to change in the year and almost a half I haven’t watched them, but I was hoping for a little bit of the silent outcry that has been happening in the backroom corners of Twitter being of use in this case, and telling Hallmark that they maybe should think about bringing in a little more representation into their films and not make the viewers remind themselves that they are living in a world of white supremacy. If aliens from other planets were only getting the Hallmark Channel on their intergalactic television, don’t be surprised that they are gonna react with shocked faces when they suddenly see black and Asian and Native faces after they started invading the world, and those aliens are gonna be confused about it.

A baby calf also stars in this Hallmark Channel presentation.

A FEELING OF HOME was a solid Hallmark offering. The story was as worthless as any other Hallmark production, but as it stands, some of the cast members delivered a nice amount of charm, and Joanna Walsh happened to be convincing as the big girl from the East who gets dropped into the somewhat familiar West and has to acclimate herself on a ranch, while also dealing with some daddy issues, and then naturally falling in love with the rancher man, because that is what always happens in Hallmark films, and the world is going to end as soon as a Hallmark film does not offer a love story that is being concluded with a kiss during the final scene. I did like the issues Abby had to resolve with her father Wes, although the conclusion of that story seemed kind of weird and out fo character for Wes, who was more worried about his daughter screwing up his truck or his tractor than he felt needing to tell her that he always appreciated and loved her. Those daddy issues, if properly developed, could have turned A FEELING OF HOME into a more unique Hallmark offering, but at the end of the day it’s pretty obvious how the cable network wants their films to look like, and under absolutely no circumstance can a script ever change and become a runaway. Which means the daddy issues theme of the film can only be scratched at its surface, but they were never allowed to fully blossom and create actual drama for the characters involved, even if those would have turned A FEELING OF HOME into a better film.

It’s funny that Abby is only painting that one small spot on the way right now.

While Joanna Walsh was a solid actor during these 83 minutes, Nathan Dean Parsons was unable to get out of the stereotypical cowboy/rancher depiction, and he was unsuccessful in sounding any different from Texans on a ranch, whose life-long dream it is to own a ranch and have a couple ranch animals they take care of. Ryan’s voice sounded like he was bored most of the time, disinterested in what was happening around him, unable to be anything else than the rancher he was written as. And not unlike the majority of the male leads in Hallmark movies, Ryan didn’t have any conflict to resolve with himself, or obstacles to jump over, because the story of the film relied entirely on the woman of the story to come forward with her feelings for the man, and make that ever romantic move at the end. Okay, Ryan did tell Abby that he never felt out of love with Abby, but it’s not like Ryan tried to make the decision for Abby to stay in Texas and be with him. In fact, Ryan just drove away, and it needed a deus ex machina in the form of Gina and Jacob suddenly and surprisingly showing up in Texas with Carrington to give Abby the opportunity to think about staying, as if neither of the two love birds was able to make the decision to upend their previous lives and step into a new one — with each other. As if Hallmark films don’t have characters who can make life-changing decisions for themselves, so they need a happy accident to make that decision for them. And Carrington loving the Yellow Rose barbecue sauce, and not being angry at Gina for lying to him about Abby’s New England roots, is definitely a huge convenience for Abby.

Father and daughter finally get the past begin them, and it’s sealed with a hug.

Meanwhile, A FEELING OF HOME had its standard awkwardness going on. The montage of Abby and Ryan fixing his home and hanging out at the ranch gave me the weird vibes, because for most of the montage, all the two lovebirds could do was look at each other and smile about how much of a great job they were doing at that moment, or how much they were in like with each other. One of those montage moments turned especially hilarious, when Ryan looked at Abby painting the wall yellow, and Abby was just painting that one spot, separated from the part of the wall she already painted. The effort to turn Hallmark romances into something more realistic and grounded ends in making me laugh about them every once in a while.

Best part of the film: Abby made a French omelette, and it made me hungry. The food definitely looked good in this film.
Worst part of the film: Wes was not a good father to his daughter Abby, as he never gave her enough trust to do what she needed to do on the ranch. That was terrible fathering.
Weirdest part of the film: Abby fixed the troughs with her headphones. Great, now she has to buy new headphones, and who really has money for that in this econ– Oh wait, everyone is super rich in Hallmark films, and no one ever has to worry about not having money.
Non-white player of the film: Carmen, played by Caitlin Stryker, has been the representation for non-white people in this Hallmark production, giving Abby and Ryan an opportunity to spend an evening with a dinner and some wine, because Carmen is the one who sells the wine.