|UpTV's A Christmas Movie Christmas made its debut on Oct. 27th, 2019|
Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of Christmas TV movies debuting this holiday season? Me too. There will be close to one hundred *new* Christmas TV movies airing across more than seven TV networks in 2019 (Check the schedules for Netflix, Hallmark, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime, UpTV, Ion, OWN, and TV One. I'll be posting my annual update on where to find Christmas programming soon). Christmas TV movies continue to grow in number each year--and they have already begun airing. To give a little heads up about one that already stands out, let me draw your attention to one in particular: A Christmas Movie Christmas, directed by Brian Herzlinger. Christmas TV movie fans will love this UpTV original comedy movie that pokes fun at the tropes found in almost all Christmas TV movies.
In this story, Eve Bell is obsessed with watching Christmas TV movies. On December 24th, Eve and her sister Lacy make a Christmas wish while talking with a street-corner Santa Claus. Both women wake up the next morning living inside the perfect fantasy: a Christmas TV movie world. Eve is delighted to find herself a new resident of the small town Holiday Falls, while her sister Lacy is not as enthusiastic.
|Eve immediately recognizes the star of several of her favorite Christmas TV movies: Chad Matthew Monroe (played by actor Randy Wayne). Monroe's role in Holiday Falls is playing the handsome popstar/singer Russell Clark.|
When Eve learns that the town’s Christmas Festival needs saving, she is happy to find an offer of help from the hunky innkeeper Dustin AND the celebrity popstar Russell Clark (played by her favorite Christmas TV movie star Chad Matthew Monroe). Clark offers to perform at the Christmas Festival to entertain the town’s residents.
|The sisters find Holiday Falls the ideal Christmas location. All the residents are cheerful and dressed in red for Christmas.|
Eve’s fantasy is so perfect, she finds herself dating both Dustin and Russell. Meanwhile, her sister Lacy is being courted by Holiday Falls' cookie baker named Paul.
|Lacy and Paul hit it off too. Lacy's wish for Santa Claus was to meet the perfect man for Christmas.|
|Lacy is asked by the town's baker to help him bake dog treats--what could be more perfect?|
But all is not perfect for Lacy--she is put out by Paul’s devotion and affection, attention Lacy feels she doesn’t deserve. Every Christmas TV movie needs a conflict, and Eve soon finds that Dustin’s former girlfriend Noele from the big city, wants to come in and save the Christmas Festival herself. Noele is jealous and ends up revealing to Russell and Dustin that Eve is dating them both. Not only does Eve lose her dream men but her plans for the Christmas Festival have failed. She feels she’s let the residents of Holiday Falls down. Sisters Eve and Lacy find that escaping to a perfect fantasy isn’t always the answer to your problems.
|Yes--this town also includes an adorable child. London is played by young actress Cleary Herzlinger.|
|Hot chocolate is served in Holiday Falls--a delicious warm treat that accompanies all their activities!|
The funnest part of this Christmas TV movie is how it winks at all the familiar character types, holiday activities, and elements found in all Christmas TV movies. Could you recognize all the tropes of Christmas TV movies? There are dozens of them, from the token adorable child to the wise grandmother, a hunky cookie baker, delicious hot chocolate that improves every situation, the lead character’s holiday name (Eve Bell!?), a small town, and the Scrooge character (Mr. Peterson) whose heart softens just in time for the end of the story. Christmas TV movie fans will love this story with a sense of humor and an eye to detail about what we love about these TV movies.
The cast includes Lana McKissack as Eve Bell, Kimberly Daugherty as Lacy Bell, Brant Daugherty as Paul, Ryan Merriman as Dustin, Randy Wayne as Chad Matthew Monroe/Russell Clark, Brigid Duffy as the wise Gram Gram, Addy Stafford as the jealous Noele, and Cleary Herzlinger as young London. Interestingly, the movie was written by two of the movies' stars: real-life husband and wife, Brant Daugherty and Kimberly Daugherty who play Paul and Lacy.
A sure sign that the Christmas TV movie has reached peak genre status is the existence of meaningful parodies, not only pointing out what these tropes are but using them for continued meaning in storytelling. Let me know what you think of this Christmas TV movie and if you find it a satisfying entry among all the others debuting in 2019.
If you haven't yet found it, please give my podcast episode on the history of Christmas TV movies a listen. I discuss more of these common tropes and how they developed through the years. My podcast series is entitled Christmas TV History and can be found: Apple Podcast
or, you can listen to it on your computer or phone from my website HERE.
Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for a 2020 release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com
*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com