HALLMARK CHANNEL MOVIES
Rick Archer's Note:
pleased to announce that once again
Hallmark Channel movies pulled me
through the recent Christmas
personal note, Christmas was not a
happy time for me as a child or
young adult. Marla has done a
remarkable job of overcoming much of
my negativity, but even with her
help, I confess I could not get
through Christmas without the
Hallmark movies to remind me of the
way it ought to be.
main reason I watch Hallmark
Christmas movies is to get in the
mood for Christmas. I give Hallmark
high marks for infusing their
Holiday movies with the Christmas
spirit. Typically one of the leads
is a Christmas Grouch and the other
lead is Christmas Gung-Ho. It is
entertaining to watch them argue and
disagree about all the things that
are wrong with Christmas only to see
the cheerful person break through
the Grouch's wall of cynicism. At
this point, the Grouch rediscovers
the warmth and true meaning of
it is done right, a Hallmark
Christmas movie can have the same
impact as both the Dickens classic
A Christmas Carol and
It's a Wonderful Life.
was a perfect example of the Grinch
script. In fact, both leads were
'When Falcon Resorts acquires
family-owned Snow Valley Lodge from
retiring owners, intense and driven
executive Stephanie (Candace Cameron
Bure) must spend the week before
Christmas in Maine preparing a
proposal on the property's
renovations. While preparing to
rebuild the Snow Valley Lodge from
the ground up, Stephanie butts heads
with her property guide, Brady, who
has decided to leave his family's
business over creative differences
with his dad.
self-defined Grinch, Stephanie
begins her stay at Snow Valley Lodge
immune to Christmas sentiment. But
as the lodge's festive traditions
provide the Christmas Stephanie
never had growing up with her
distant father, Stephanie finds
herself enjoying every minute.
her Christmas Eve deadline
approaches, she's faced with a
decision: should she transform the
lodge into a new winter hot spot or
embrace tradition and let it snow?'
knew what was going to happen in
Let it Snow, but the
story was so well-written and acted,
it was magic. When a Hallmark
Christmas movie hits the
spot, I find myself ready to
sing 'Joy to the World'.
turns out I am not alone. Hallmark
advertises they are the
most-watched cable channel on TV at
Christmas time, so I checked it
out. I think they are right. I
think a lot of people watch Hallmark
because it is the best place to find
an idealized vision of what
Christmas should be.
Hallmark claimed to have created 33 new Christmas movies for the past
season. 33 movies? Hard
to believe. They even went to the
trouble of cloning themselves to
create a second Hallmark station,
'Hallmark Movies and Mysteries'.
This channel had
favorite 2017 movie, Rocky Mountain
Hallmark would prefer to maintain
their customers throughout the
year. With that in mind, recently
Hallmark has offered one new movie
every Saturday that revolves around
snow. So far none of them have
captured my heart, but I tune in
faithfully every Saturday
nonetheless. I am hoping their
upcoming Valentine movies will do
Movie critics Siskel and Ebert
became famous for their "thumbs
up/thumbs down" movie rating
system. "Two Thumbs Up" became a
standard phrase thanks to these
guys. As for me, I have a different
rating system. I judge each movie
by whether I cried tears of
happiness or not. Yeah, I know,
this pegs me as a real sissy. What
can I say? Guilty as charged.
movie revolves more around the
Female lead than the Male lead. I
think that is because Hallmark
Market Research shows more women
watch these movies than men. That
puts me in an awkward spot. Given
that I am a guy, I sometimes wonder
why I like these movies so much.
What does that say about me? Is my
sense of Masculinity in any danger?
Or am I secure enough in my Virility
to write openly about my fondness
for Smoochie Movies?
my gosh, what will people think?
wife says I am an aberration... no
Real Man would be caught dead
admitting he watches Hallmark
movies. Marla's theory is that
years of dancing the woman's part in
class when we are short of 'Follows'
has caused a seismic shift in my
personality. Considering I watch
Rockets basketball three nights a
week, I am positive my Macho side is
still down there somewhere, but I
Strangely enough, the movies that
have the best chance of bringing on
the tears are the Cinderella
movies. If I had to guess, there are about 4 or 5
basic scripts. Let me see if I
can categorize them.
2. Two Gals fighting for the Awesome
Guy (Wholesome Girl wins Stud Guy
over Beautiful Girl)
3. Two Guys compete for same girl
4. Small Kid assists in the Romance.
stories are my favorites because
they always involve Royalty.
Hallmark has at least one, sometimes
two of these Cinderella movies every
Holiday. This year they had two...
one for Christmas, Royal
Winter (2017) and one for
New Year, Royal New Year's Eve.
NYE movie was tepid, but the Royal
Winter Cinderella story was sweet.
'While on a last-minute European
holiday, a young woman finds herself
in the middle of a real-life fairy
tale when a chance meeting with a
handsome local leads to something
However, things get
complicated when she learns that the
“local” is actually a prince who is
about to be crowned King, and whose
mother is dead-set against her royal
son’s romance with the tourist.'
three favorite Cinderella movies are
Once Upon a Holiday
(2015, Brianna Evigan)
for Christmas (2015, Danica
A Royal Christmas
(2014, Lacey Chabert).
got my highest rating... both eyes
flooded with tears.
how does the Hallmark Cinderella script
Typically the Male Lead is a
Prince from some fictitious
European-sounding country that
sounds vaguely like Sardinia or
working-class girl has no idea this
cute guy she has just met in
secretly a Prince.
underdog Cinderella has to show she
is more worthy of the Prince's
affection than the stunningly
beautiful and invariably stuck-up
betrothed Blue Blood Britch.
we have two Alpha females fighting
for the Alpha guy.
with Lacey Chabert is a perfect
example of the Cinderella script.
As the only daughter of an expert
tailor in Philadelphia, Emily is a kindhearted young
woman proud of her blue-collar
background. She is a devoted
seamstress at the family business
and madly in love with her doting
European boyfriend, Leo (secretly a
as their first Christmas together
approaches, Leo drops a bombshell on
his unsuspecting girlfriend: he is
actually Prince Leopold, heir to the
throne of Cordinia, a small
sovereign country in Europe.
than enthusiastic about her son’s
relationship with a commoner, the
prince's mother Queen Isadora (The
Emily feel anything but welcome at
their grand castle, leaving Emily to
feel more at home among Isadora’s
staff of butlers and housemaids.
Emily struggles to adapt to her new
royal surroundings, the situation is
made more difficult when a scheming
Isadora invites Duchess Natasha
Leo’s ex-girlfriend, to join them
Attempting to stay
true to herself in a world where she
clearly doesn’t belong, Emily
wonders if love is enough to keep
her newly royal relationship from
falling apart before Christmas
If I had to pick the best
Hallmark smoochie movie of
all, this is the one.
Two boxes of Kleenex gave
their life for this movie.
This movie was so enchanting, I felt
my eyes water up and my little heart
went pitter-patter. Afterwards, I
tried very hard to analyze what made
this movie stand out from the pack.
My best answer was 'chemistry',
the great intangible.
in a while, the actors are so
genuine on screen that I buy into
their story. That is when I truly
appreciate that acting is a true
skill, and that beauty, straight
hair, perfect teeth, and flawless diction
are not enough to carry a movie. It
comes from the heart. Some actors
and actresses have it, some don't.
Lacey Chabert has it for sure.
me, Royal Christmas
was the quintessential Hallmark
movie and I know why... the Villain! Hallmark movies
frequently lack drama, but
one. It had oodles of Nasty!
Special kudos to Jane
Seymour. She was terrific as Queen
Mean. Natasha was equally
wonderful as the scheming Princess.
I caught myself hissing at both of
them. There's an old saying... the
Western doesn't start till the Bad
Guy shows up. Hallmark movies are no
much as I love Hallmark, I take
exception to their deliberate
exclusion of Blacks in the lead
roles. If they want a
recommendation for their first Black
Lead, I would suggest Toni
Braxton, the well-known singer ('Unbreak
saw the most wonderful movie on
Lifetime network last night called
Twist of Faith. In
fact, the movie was so wonderful it
prompted me to write this article in
the first place. The movie starred
a black woman played by Toni
Braxton, and a Jewish man, David
tale began in very disturbing way.
The Jewish man witnessed the
senseless execution of his wife and
children on a city bus by a deranged
of grief, after the funeral, Jacob
(Hirsh) lost his mind. Unable to
sleep, unable to eat, he bought a
random bus ticket and traveled from
Brooklyn to Alabama.
Improbable? Yes. But intriguing
nonetheless. Abandoning his
identity, the man wandered aimlessly
trying somehow to understand his
tragedy. Finally he passed out on
the lawn next to a Black church in a small
Jewish man laid there for a day
awakened to see a sympathetic young
black boy offering him a sandwich.
From that point, through the
kindness of the young boy, his
mother and his uncle, the Jewish man
magically regained his senses. He
fell in love with Nina (Braxton)
along the way which was made believable
because Braxton is outstanding in
my astonishment, the combination of
Braxton, Hirsh and a gifted script
writer managed to somehow make this metamorphosis and
romance stay within the boundaries
of 'believable'. This
was no small
feat given how far-fetched this Good
Samaritan story was.
once wrote a book titled 'A
Simple Act of Kindness'.
point of my book is how the simple
kindness of others can make an
enormous difference in the life of a
wounded person. I had an incident
occur to me when I was a senior in
high school. I was very lost and
more depressed than at any other
time in my life. The unexpected
loss of a major college scholarship
left me reeling because I was
convinced I would not be going to
college the following year.
Considering how poor I was, the
dreams of a lifetime had just been
woman I had never met in my life,
walked into the grocery store where
I worked and began a conversation
with me. Her daughter went to
school with me and I think she
vaguely recognized. By an
extraordinary twist of fate, it was
her daughter who had been awarded
the scholarship instead.
Ballantyne must have seen the
pain on my face. The next thing I
knew, after a 45 minute
conversation, this woman...
complete stranger... helped me overcome
the worst crisis of my life.
think it is the memory of Mrs.
Ballantyne's intervention that hooked
me so strongly onto this movie as I
watch the kindness of that family
heal this damaged man.
don't know if they give Emmys out to
actors in these sort of movies, but
I was impressed how the two stars
made this fairly absurd plot work to
the end, I was crossing my fingers
for the two stars to kiss and, to my
delight, they did. They were both
so wonderful in their roles that the
kiss became the perfect ending.
then it hit me... oh my gosh... they
allowed a black woman to kiss a
white man! Oh no! A Jewish man no less!
Pretty daring stuff. And yet based
on the storyline, the ending made
complete sense. The funny thing is
I didn't think the producers had the
guts to leave that scene in.
asked myself why I was so cynical to
think this way. What is wrong with
a black woman kissing a white man
when they so obviously care about
guess my surprise comes from several
years of watching the Hallmark
Movie Channel. Don't get
me wrong, I LUV
Hallmark movies in a big way!
However, I do have a major hang-up
with Hallmark. Black people as
Leads in Hallmark movies are
close to 50-75 Hallmark movies over
the past couple years, I have yet to
a see a single black person, male or
female, play the lead. I find this
very disconcerting. This is, after
all, 2018. We have already had a
black president, so what's the
said, let me point out that Hallmark
does bend over backwards to make sure
plenty of black actors and actresses
are included in each film. Except
that this doesn't buy Hallmark
credibility in my book. It reminds
me how TV commercials include a
smiling, cheerful black person in
the background to ensure black
people will buy their product.
Typically it takes less than five
minutes into the movie to see 'The
Obligatory Black Person' appear.
The Female Lead typically comes
first, that's a given. However,
'The Black Person' is guaranteed to
follow right behind her.
Hallmark scripts revolve around
professional women faced with a
major career dilemma. For this
reason, 'The Obligatory Black
Person' is frequently the Boss.
This allows Hallmark writers to kill
two birds with one stone. By
letting the Boss confront the Female
Lead about some problem at work, they can
get the Black Person Issue handled
and tackle the Career Issue at the
Hallmark romance movies are so
predictable that Marla and I know
the progression by heart. Over
time, we have made a game out of
it. We each try to catch the next
expected plot development and call
it before the other notices. The Hallmark movie appearance
of 'The Black Person' is so
predictable that Marla and I can
hardly wait to be the first to spot
her (it is always a woman). Finding
'The Black Person' is like finding
Waldo or spotting Moby Dick.
Thar she blows!!
do I say 'she'?
That is because the most important
black person is always female. Not
only that, like I said, she is often
the Boss. Interesting. Does making
a black person the Boss atone for
not casting a black person in the
Variations on the theme include The
Black Person as co-worker, best
friend, or assistant. The black
person is invariably attractive,
wholesome, and completely supportive
of the lead actress. Never a trace
of envy. At this point, I begin
to wonder what Black people think
about Hallmark. Maybe someone will
past Christmas was no exception.
new movies for the 2017 Holiday
Season and every lead was white.
Hallmark gives a very awkward twist
to phrases like 'White Christmas'
and 'Snow White'.
After giving this some thought, I
think Hallmark's Market Research has
reported their audience is
overwhelmingly pale. There are two
ways to look at that. One way is to
always play to your WASP Base.
Another concept is to add a Black
Lead as an experiment and see if
that Base can be expanded. If
Lifetime can do it, why not
absence of a Black Lead is not the
only TABOO. There are actually quite a few. Another thing that is
TABOO for Hallmark is an 'Original
Script'. I hate to say it, but the
earlier Hallmark movies often had an
edge. Lately Hallmark relies more
and more on their Formula...
predictable movies where each plot
twist is laid out with precision
2017, Hallmark Channel and
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
is planning to place a
record 33 new original
holiday films under your
tree this year, and the
gifts will keep on giving
through the end of the
season. Today, we offer you
a present that must be
opened right now, the
details on the final eight
of those 33 films.'
Personally, I wonder if
themselves too thin.
They rushed 33 movies to
screen for the 2017 Holiday
Season. Many of these
were, shall we say, a bit on
the Vanilla side. No
problem for Hallmark is they seem to
have run out of creativity. They
don't want to take any chances, so
virtually every new movie is totally
predictable. Marla and I take turns
guessing what will happen next. I
suggest you don't challenge us. We
are almost never wrong.
example. Things are going
great. We are getting to the
end of the movie. At this
point, Mr. Right and Fair Maiden
have made their connection and
things are ducky. Then comes
the next-to-last scene and ALL HELL
BREAKS LOOSE. Something always
goes wrong in the next-to-last
scene. I am so certain of
this, I would gamble my house on it.
However, I don't panic. Why
not? Because I know everything
will work out in the end.
There has NEVER... repeat...
NEVER... been an unhappy ending.
The Formula will not allow it.
wish I could say I am just THAT
SMART to know what is going to
happen next, but I know better.
After all, they only have about four
or five basic scripts. After
watching 50 movies, how tough is it
to guess the next scene? The
writers clearly assume a few minor
variations will suffice to keep us
totally confused. Perhaps some of
their viewers are so senile this
works. After a while, all the
movies blur together, so the casual
observer might feel some uncertainty.
Not me. Unfortunately, my memory
is still more
or less intact. Maybe that's my
problem. I have been down
every beaten path so many times the
thrill is beginning to fade a bit.
On the other hand, the moment I get
depressed at Christmas time, time to
click on one of my saved movies.
Incidentally, I still have 12
unwatched 2017 Christmas movies left
on my DVR. I am saving them
for an emergency.
trick they use to disguise the same
script is using different actors and
actresses. Clever. They figure we
are too stupid to notice this is the
same plot as another movie from a
year ago. Or maybe a week
ago. Another trick they use
is to give each movie a different
name even though it is the same
script. These are smart people here
at Hallmark. They have figured out
that 'Originality' is unnecessary.
case you have never watched a
Hallmark Smoochie Movie, let me help
of all scripts involve Romantic
Competition. Either two boys fight
over one girl or two girls fight
over one boy. It is always one or
the other. Since Hallmark operates
on a strict budget, they prefer not
to hire three suitors for the same
woman. Besides, that would make it
Hallmark loves Career Women!!
Typically we start with a stunningly
beautiful or remarkably wholesome
female professional who is currently searching
for her first real career success.
Meanwhile she has an unfulfilling
love life. This is a GIVEN.
presence of a great career quickly
establishes the Female Lead as
intelligent and successful, thereby
making her 'A Good Catch'.
However, the Career Girl is not
necessarily happy. Not only is she
determined to score that one big
break in her career, she is often
dissatisfied with her love life.
is not to say she is alone. Far
from it. Virtually every Female
Lead has a viable, but rather tepid suitor hanging
around. Call him Mr.
Wannabe. Mr. Wannabe has no
chance. Sooner or
later, Mr. Right, a
Heartthrob Hunk to be sure,
will appear. At this
point, Mr. Wannabe is toast.
Amazingly, time after time, Fair
SHOCKED to find her current love is
one true love. The drama
often revolves around how the
Female Lead politely extricates
herself from the wannabe guy to
follow her heart. Frequently right
at the end, she gets that career
break she has always hoped for, but
walks away from her dream to follow
her new heartthrob hunk instead.
Reminds me of the classic song
would follow him right down the
toughest road I know, Someday soon,
goin' with him, someday soon'.
not quite sure this is the best
message for my career-ladder-climbing daughter to see, but she
doesn't watch Hallmark, so I guess
There are other Forbidden Things on
Hallmark movies. A premature kiss
is TABOO. The Formula says it is
mandatory that the First Kiss must
come at the end. However, there is
almost always an 'Interrupted Kiss'
where other people appear just in time to
discourage a premature conflagration
of passion. If it is an especially
complicated plot, they might even
have TWO interrupted kisses. Wow!
Marla and I are always on guard to
look for the 'Interrupted Kiss'.
When Marla is paying attention, she
usually wins because she's a girl
and girls always know when the guy
is ready to make his big move. However,
lately I have been winning a lot
more often thanks to her daughter
who sends Marla a text message once
every ten minutes. This is no
accident, by the way. I am so
desperate to win, Marissa and I have
an 'understanding' as to which are
the best hours to text her mother.
Do not laugh... Marla and I keep
score. This is serious stuff.
Another TABOO is NO VIOLENCE
ALLOWED. You know, these movies
are about LOVE and we all know that
LOVE creates PASSION.
Violence and Passion are no-no's
according to Hallmark. I admit
there is a part of me that yearns
for some of that good old Urban
Cowboy badass... you
know... Girl meets Boy, boy wins
girl, boy blows it with girl, boy
takes up with other girl (a
reprehensible britch), girl takes up
with other guy (a reprehensible
bully), but deep down they still
love each other, so boy retakes girl
in the end by thrashing bully with
his fists, etc, etc, etc.
Hey, that would be a great Hallmark
movie, maybe the greatest of all
However, that is not the Hallmark
Way. Out and out Hostility is
forbidden. No punches and
certainly no voice shall be
raised in anger. Depression is
okay. Tears are okay.
Hurt is okay. But not
Anger. Everyone is soooo
understanding about the inevitable
Lots of Hallmark movies revolve
According to the Formula, the
preferred plot device to explain why
the relationship isn't working is
for the wannabe guy to take the Fair
granted. More often than not, the
problem is that the Wannabe Male Lead is so
wrapped up in his own career, he
fails to pay proper attention to his
so-called steady girl or fiancée. Beeg Meestake!
best example of this is Bridal
Wave starring Andrew Walker,
my favorite Hallmark actor and
Arielle Kebbel, one of my favorite
actresses. This is
definitely a both eyes filled with tears
'As her wedding day draws near, Georgie has doubts
surrounding her plans to marry Dr.
Phillip Hamilton, a dashing and
prominent plastic surgeon. Though
Phillip qualifies as the "perfect"
fiancé, Georgie feels a romantic
spark is missing in their
Tensions rise further when
Phillip's sophisticated mother, Felice (Jaclyn Smith playing a
terrific Villain!), blatantly frowns
upon Georgie's working class
Georgie keeps finding herself in
chance encounters with Luke Griggs, a handsome ex-architect,
who walked away from a high-end
architectural firm to enjoy a
simple, no-frills life.
When an undeniable chemistry
develops between Georgie and Luke,
Georgie must decide if she's going
to move ahead with her rapidly
approaching marriage to Phillip.'
you imagine a plastic surgeon losing
his fiancée to an out of work bum?
He loses her at the wedding site no
less! No way!!
So what went
mistake was leaving her at the
resort to go back and fix someone's
broken nose. While he was away, this guy steals his fiancée away
right under his nose. One can
definitely appreciate the symbolism
The next thing this guy knows, Mr. Right
turns into Mr.
Wannabe. Tough luck, guy. Here is
the funny thing... this Wannabe
Plastic Surgeon is
so painfully polite when he gets the
Bad News! Me,
I'd be crying, but not this guy. He
is Philosophical. No big deal, Que
Sera, Sera. I find it unbelievable
just how well-behaved the Wannabes
are at accepting their TOUGH LUCK.
Seriously... the plastic surgeon
loser is such a good sport about it,
we see him at the wedding of Georgie
and Luke one year later. This guy
has actually lost his girl at the
Altar and he forgives them both!
The overwhelming accepting Wannabe
Plastic Surgeon in
is not the exception. I don't
recall a single act of retaliation
in any Hallmark movie. I find
this a tad unrealistic. I
don't know about you, but I don't
recall being such a good sport every
time I lost a girlfriend. In fact,
I recall being rather irritable.
Hallmark movie must have a
good explanation for why
Fair Maiden ditches Mr.
Wannabe for Mr. Right.
Although 'Neglect' is
their favorite excuse,
Hallmark is not above using
NATURE as an alternative excuse for
the inevitable rift. A good example
of this would be Evergreen
'When a veterinarian sets out to
have the perfect Christmas, she
assumes it’s going to be with her
longtime boyfriend. But when a storm shuts down the airport,
she crosses path with a doctor and
his daughter. What transpires will
give them all a Christmas more
magical than they could’ve imagined.'
Basically, the Wannabe boyfriend
didn't try very hard to make it up
to Maine when he had the chance. He
let something frivolous like a
blizzard stop him. Dumb move. By
the time he got there, it was too
late. Tsk Tsk.
(Incidentally, do you see
about this picture? If
so, I think you are catching
is an important note
to first-time watchers... don't get
too attached to the First Guy on the
screen. The First Guy never
has a chance. (Unless he's
a Prince, of course. No Prince
has ever lost a girl on Hallmark.
Princes are undefeated).
Marla and I know the
first guy we see is the one who has
to go. Therefore, keep an eye out.
The next cute guy to appear after
Mr. Wannabe is bound to be the
eventual winner of the Fair Maiden's
of my favorite parts in every
Smoochie Movie is waiting to see how
the True Love guy steals the girl
way from Mr. Wannabe. Here again,
maybe my past experience explains my
fondness for this important Plot
never quite realized it, but my
courtship of Marla reads like a
Hallmark move. Did you know I stole
Marla from her boyfriend of six long
years on a Dance Cruise? No
one could have predicted our sudden
romance. After all, why would a
level-headed girl like Marla throw
away a handsome, prosperous
boyfriend of six years for a sketchy
dance teacher she has just met on a
Truly, this script is so
preposterous no one would believe
it. So what did the prosperous
boyfriend do wrong? He
neglected her, the most Fatal
Mistake of all!!! He let Marla go
on a Singles Cruise all by
herself. Can you believe that?
Talk about arrogance! No man in his
right mind lets a woman who looks
like Marla go on a Singles Cruise
was an upset victory to be sure,
something straight out of
Revenge of the Nerds. After
all, this guy was a ruggedly
handsome rugged rugby player, a
Macho man, not some wimp dance
teacher like me.
what was Rugby Ralph's mistake?
That should be obvious... Rugby
Ralph never watched any Smoochie
Hallmark movies! Because if he had
watched them, Rugby Ralph would know
the rule.... Never Ignore the Female
Another well-known Hallmark script
uses a kid as the Matchmaker. The
best example of this is Chance
at Romance, a really sweet
Samantha (Erin Krakow) has gone on a
string of bad dates. She meets
a photographer from another state
and gets his email address. Lo and
behold, Sam is excited to see that
he is interested in her when they
correspond. In fact, he sends
her a ticket to come visit him.
Hallelujah! Only one problem.
When she gets there, she learns
that her online relationship was
created by Heath's 12
year-old son. Oops!! It's
preposterous of course, but Erin Krakow is a
gifted actress who makes this script
believable. I was impressed.
Ever the romantic,
Samantha is optimistically
trying to find her Prince
Charming on a white horse,
even if that means going on
bad date after bad date.
After making eye contact at
one of his shows, Sam
initiates an online
photographer Heath Madsen.
Sam is shocked when she
receives a plane ticket to
visit Heath. But when she
arrives for her romantic
weekend, Sam learns that her
online relationship was
actually created by Heath's
12 year-old son.
Even worse, her visit is
a complete surprise to
Heath, who is busy
struggling to find
inspiration for his upcoming
photo exhibit and coping
with the pressure from his
pushy manager, Celeste
Now stuck on a romantic
vacation with her
non-boyfriend, could an
actual relationship between
Heath and Sam be their
have hinted, many stories begin with the hard-working
career woman who is also Unlucky in
Love. Right after the Female Lead
and the Obligatory Black Person are
introduced, then we learn what
Career issue our star is facing. A
good example of this is Never
Too Late for Christmas.
“Rebecca, a businesswoman who has
let go of her joy of Christmas, is
trying to secure her next big deal
and promotion to executive vice
president before the end of the
year. When she’s sent on assignment
to a remote town, she meets the
handsome widower John, owner of the
Holly & Ivy Inn, which is named
after his two daughters. It’s not
long before Rebecca’s all-business
exterior begins to thaw and she
finds her Christmas spirit returning
just in time.”
recall correctly, Rebecca ditches
the career to join her honey running
the small town Bed and Breakfast.
The things a girl will do for love.
Some women even marry a dance
teacher. Nah, no one would ever
it's true... they actually
had a Hallmark Christmas
movie about a dance teacher,
I kid you not.
Marla and I
absolutely rolled with
laughter... in four private lessons,
the guy never got past the Box
Step!! You know,
would it hurt to spend a
little money and hire an
instructor to teach them
both how to Waltz?
know, when you think about it, these stories are not all that
complicated. Two of my lady
friends, Betty Richardson and
Deborah Hrncir, have told me they
are HUGE Hallmark fans.
Together, Betty, Deborah and I could
probably write one of these script
by ourselves. I might ask Marla to
chip in some ideas, but her problem
is that she is too realistic. If
Marla is given to flights of fancy,
she keeps them to herself. The last
thing I want to hear is Marla saying
my script is too preposterous to
ever be selected. I happen to
disagree. Every single one of these
scripts are more preposterous than
anything I could think of. And then
again, why am I being so modest?
Anyone who can write an article as
rambling as this should be able to
write a preposterous Hallmark
know what? Maybe I will write one
of these scripts. It is obvious I
have given Hallmark way too
much thought. My story needs to be
original. Hmm. Aha! I've got it!
I am going to have a Prince lose
the girl! It has never happened! In fact, I think I
will have the Prince lose his girl
to a black guy who learns how to
Waltz because the Prince refused to
bother. That is a great
script! It's brilliant!
do you think? Would
Hallmark would buy the script? Nah,
probably not. The world isn't ready.
Another TABOO is having a movie that
takes place beyond our border.
USA! USA! Tough luck, Jamaica,
tough luck, England. This is highly
ironic because practically every
movie is filmed in Vancouver. I
find this very funny because they
would never allow the plot to take
place in Canada. That would be
Hallmark has a great trick.
Although every winter scene is
actually filmed somewhere near Vancouver,
they pretend each winter scene is
New England or Colorado. Works
it is a summertime movie, they take
an aerial shot of New York or
Seattle (these are the only two Hallmark
cities) and flash it periodically.
Every time I see that Space Needle,
I fall for it. That tricks me into
thinking that Seattle is where the
movie is being filmed. Nah. Or
maybe I'll see an aerial shot of
Central Park. Fools me every time.
However, I read an article that
explained almost all the movies are filmed
in Vancouver. If you question my credibility, read
'Rocky Mountain Christmas
will continue filming in Vancouver
and British Columbia until November
22nd. The Hallmark Channel has
been keeping the British
Columbia film crews busy
since last winter in
preparation for their
Countdown to Christmas 2017
lineup. In total, 15 of the
21 movies have been filmed
in the province. Although we
don’t get Hallmark Channel
here in Canada, many of the
network’s movies eventually
show up on W Network,
Netflix or elsewhere, so
keep an eye out!'
Do you believe me now?
Christmas was a great movie, by the way.
It was my 2017 Christmas
what typically goes wrong between the
Star-Crossed Lovers? On other TV
channels, 'Cheating' is often used
as the reason things aren't working,
NO ONE CHEATS on
I am totally serious.
These are most virtuous
people left on earth. In
fact, PRE-MARITAL SEX is
However, I did see one daring
Hallmark movie where the Female Lead
showed up at a New Year Party just
in time to witness her boyfriend
give a highly sanitized smooch to
another woman. That is
about as risqué as it gets.
Hallmark plot is pure innocence in
the classic romantic comedy style
popular in the Fifties.
or Pillow Talk. It is never once
suggested that the Wannabe Male Lead
who gets ditched and the Female Star
have slept together.
Nor would the Wannabe and
Fair Maiden dream of living together. This too is
These people all live in
some sort 1950s Time Warp where Nice
Purity and Virtue reign supreme.
yourself lucky if you even
see cleavage. One
actress commented she was
ordered to cover up.
Can't have that!!
What makes this all amusing
is that several Hallmark
actresses have appeared in
Catherine Bell, a serious
hottie, is one name that
comes to mind.
However, she plays a witch,
so I guess no one minds.
realize I have been a tad
sarcastic regarding these movies.
Let's face it, these movies are
easily lampooned. All Hallmark
Movies are fairy tales of a sort.
No one expects a Fairy Tale will
come true, but it is fun to
entertain the notion nevertheless. This
is light entertainment after all.
Not too complicated, not too
dramatic. We ain't talkin'
Shakespeare, Rebecca or
but rather good old Beach Blanket
Bingo kind of fun.
said, there is one aspect to these
movies that fascinates me. Given
that every movie follows a Formula,
once in a while a movie truly
transcends the banal script. I
am not sure the ratio... maybe one movie in ten...
but every now and then
the actor and actress are so
talented that they make their
highly predictable script both
interesting and believable. You know
what's going to happen, but these
people are so likeable that it is
fun to watch them fall in love every
step of the way.
There is a
football legend about the Green Bay
Packers power sweep to the left.
Every guy on the other team knew it
was coming, but the Packers were so
good at running this play, the
defense couldn't stop them.
Some of the
Hallmark regulars have that same
ability. I know it's comin',
but I fall in love with the stars
Since I watch so much Hallmark, it
blows my mind that some actors and
actresses can pull this off and
touch my heart even when I know the
game plan by heart. Rocky
Mountain Christmas was a
good example of this, predictable
and wonderful at the same time.
'Sarah Davis heads to her uncle’s
struggling ranch to escape New York
and the spotlight from a recent
breakup. Returning home for the
first time since her aunt passed,
complications arise when Graham, an
entitled Hollywood star, arrives at
the ranch to prepare for his next
film. As Sarah and Graham start to
bond, Sarah may get more for
Christmas than she bargained for.'
Okay, I caught you yawning.
I agree. This
plot has 'Boring' written all over
it. In fact, the movie didn't even
have a villain. But it was a
spectacular success. The actor and
actress were so superb, I caught
myself really caring about them.
Equally amazing was
of Christmas. This was a
really cute story about a stud
fireman who plays the field and a
plain jane who doesn't have a chance
in hell of landing this guy.
Zachary is a confirmed
bachelor who doesn’t believe
in love or commitment. When
a stray tabby cat named
Ambrose shows up at his
door, Zachary takes him in
and slowly starts to see
that a little companionship
might not be so bad after
all. Zachary’s commitment to
solitude is further
challenged when he meets
an animal lover and veterinary
student who teaches Zachary how to
care for his new feline roommate.
Chemistry immediately develops
between the two, but will they find
a way to make it work?'
Nine Lives of Christmas
and Rocky Mountain Christmas
are good examples of an underdog girl who somehow charms a guy
who is much better looking into
falling in love with her. So now
you have yet another basic Hallmark
script - the wholesome girl
beats the pretty girl for
the handsome guy.
Chemistry... How does a director
create chemistry? Beats me, but it
usually involves uber-talented
actors and actresses. Lacey Chabert
is the perfect example. In the
movie All My Love, she charms
everyone with her sweet
young caterer’s life suddenly
changes course when she inherits a
country home and learns she must
share it with a career-obsessed Wall
Street trader. At first, these
opposites do not attract, but
feelings begin to change when they
find themselves having to work
side-by-side to restore their newly
turns out Lacey shares the house
with a guy who is WAY OUT OF HER
LEAGUE. And when he dumps her, the
pain is written all over her face. This girl can
similar way, we have Andrew Walker.
He was awesome in the 2016 Dream of Christmas along
with Nikki DeLoach.
'When a restless young married woman
is granted a wish by a Christmas
Angel to be single again, she soon
discovers her new life isn't what
she bargained for. To begin with,
her wish grants her that promotion
she has always dreamed of.
addition, she is pursued by the
handsome, wealthy entrepreneur she
has a crush on. Then suddenly, she
realizes why she cared for her
husband in the first place. Now she
embarks on a quest to win her
was a powerful movie acted to
perfection by both leads.
Hallmark agrees with me about
Andrew. He has been in a dozen
know what? I think I have figured
it out. Back when I ran SSQQ, I was
a hopeless romantic. Of all the
things that were special about SSQQ,
the thing I was most proud of was
watching people fall in love.
happened so often that I began to
realize that my dance studio was a
Magic Garden when it came to meeting
wonderful people. We had so many
wonderful people take classes. Many
of our students were salt of earth,
down to earth people, well-educated
and very dedicated to their
Learning to dance requires
persistence... and these people were
persistent, no question about it.
Once they committed themselves to
learn, they never gave up.
what is the main essential to making
a relationship work? Persistence
and commitment. We had the right
people, the right attitude, and the
these people in each other's arms
and watch the Chemistry start to
Cook. It was wonderful. SSQQ was
the closest thing to a marriage
factory ever created. We averaged
one new marriage and one new
engagement EVERY MONTH FOR ELEVEN
don't believe me?
Slow Dance and Romance.
took so much pride in helping to
design the place that created these
romances that I suppose I turned
into a Romantic myself.
yes, I may be a big mush, but I am
proud of it.
now the Hallmark Holiday Season is
over till next year. My Christmas
wish for the 2018 Hallmark Holiday
lineup is that they shed their
'White Christmas' reputation and
hire a talented person of color to
play the lead. Wouldn't that be
nice? I think America can handle
more thing. Before I leave you,
I have great news!!
Chabert and Andrew Walker will be
paired TOGETHER for the first time
in the upcoming Hallmark Valentine
movie My Secret Valentine.
My favorite guy and my
favorite gal in the same
movie!!! I cannot even
"When?", you ask. This coming Saturday!!!!!!!
know where I'll be... a glass of
wine, a box of chocolates and plenty
of tissues. Best of all, Marla
will be beside me trying to win the
Happy Valentine's Day everybody.
And may the Romantic Magic of
Hallmark be with you.
OF THE WEEK: WHY RICK ARCHER NEVER
ANSWERS THE TELEPHONE
Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 4:57
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Cold Weather Tonight
Due to the
cold weather I decided it would be
safer if I didn't try to make it to
I tried calling you six times
today. Do you ever answer your
phone?? And if so, do you ever
woman's case, I was outside most of
the day bringing my portable plants
inside and trying to adequately
cover everything else outside.
Anybody who has been to my house
knows I take my garden seriously.
And to answer
the other question, no, I never
listen to messages. My outgoing
message is simple: Please
email me instead.
In the case of
the recent freeze, I activated my
email auto-responder with the
On Tuesday, January 16, 2018
06:18:27 AM CST, <email@example.com>
This is Rick Archer. Yes, we will
have dance class on Tuesday and
Wednesday evening. I will be there,
That said, if the conditions are
such that you would prefer to skip
class, by all means do so. We will
simply run class a little bit longer
in the remaining weeks.
If there is ever a problem affecting
everyone, I will activate the email
responder again. It is far easier
to do that than record a new voice
message for my phone.
record, here is my land line phone
number. 713 862 2121.
However, I don't answer it very
often. Nor do I own a cell phone.
Here is why I
am so grouchy about the phone.
I am writing a
book. Every time the phone rings, I
jump out of my skin because I
concentrate so hard.
Not only does
the phone interrupt my train of
thought, I now glance at the phone
to see who is calling.
all phone calls to me are made by a
computer or some pitiful human
forced to become a telephone
I am not
making this up. 95% of my calls say
'Out of Area', 'Wireless Caller' or
'Unassigned'. The thing to
understand is that I don't just get
these calls during weekday working
hours, I get these calls on weekends
and at night as well. Furthermore,
often these same number will call
two or three times in the same day.
As I written this segment, I have
received two such calls. One was
from Kirby Title LLC, a taped
message selling health insurance
(clever touch using an actual
business name) and one from
'Unassigned' is a recurring phone
number I have seen many times. So I
thought perhaps I could block
calls. Apparently this is a feature
one can use on cell phones, so I
called my phone company. They said
there is no way I can block phone
numbers from unwanted callers on a
With that, I
threw in the towel. Please forgive,
but I decided the only way to avoid
letting the telephone ruin my life
is to ignore it and ask people to
email me instead.
quiet. Email doesn't interrupt me.
I can answer email when it is
convenient, i.e. whenever I take a
break from writing the book. Yes, I
get unwanted emails as well, but it
takes a nanosecond to delete them.
I check email once an hour if you
need to get a hold of me. You will
either get an answer quickly or
definitely by next morning.
that most people these days prefer
to text, do Facebook, Twitter, etc,
but not me. The only way to write a
book is to avoid interruptions as
much as possible.
my archaic ways. If by chance you
disagree with my thinking, by all
means, feel free to email me.
that's a wrap for today.
in this issue.
I am the
world's biggest tree hugger, so I dearly
hope you will read my Newsletter on your
computer or tablet. This way no trees
will have to die. However it is true
countless pixels will be rearranged.