Hallmark Review: One Starry Christmas (2014, dir. John Bradshaw)


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Don’t you hate it when you sit down to write about a movie and you have no idea how to start it? That’s when you break out The Ramones and just start it by saying you have no idea how to start it. This movie on the other hand starts when we meet our leading lady named Holly Jensen (Sarah Carter) and her boyfriend named Adam (Paul Popowich). Ah, I knew I recognized Paul Popowich. He was on Degrassi: TNG and that short lived Canadian attempt to create both a new Nancy Drew and a new Hardy Boys TV Show. I think these opening scenes can be best described through these three screenshots.

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She is a doctor of astronomy and her Hardy Boy boyfriend is a lawyer. He is going to have to be absent on Christmas because a business opportunity has come up that calls him away to New York. If only he knew he was in a Hallmark movie, then he would have known that is the mark of death for a current boyfriend. Might as well have put up the crown signal to send a message to all men in the area that now is the time to pounce on her. Well, it turns out that her parents are also in New York.

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She gets the idea to visit her parents after looking at a picture of herself and Adam on MyBudsBook. It’s obviously the pot smokers version of Facebook. Then she buys bus tickets because the movie works better having her meet Luke (Damon Runyan) there, then on a plane. That, and her character is supposed to be afraid of flying. Hmmm…funny that both the guys she has vying for her heart both had recurring roles on Degrassi: TNG. By the way…

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these are some of the best fake Internet screens I have seen this year. I just watched Nightcrawler (2014) and it didn’t even fake the Internet this well.

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This is Luke who seems to be talking to me about the boom mic popping into frame in movies. He is a cowboy cause of course he is. He is on his way to a rodeo. At this point, I must admit this was making realize I really should have reviewed Ballad Of A Soldier (1959) for Veteran’s Day.

The bus breaks down and the two of them have a moment. She shares her love of astronomy with him. They have a similar moment later when they talk about Orion. I must say I was disappointed that she didn’t share the origin of Ursa Major with him. That being the story of when Hercules threw a bear into space.

And no, Luke never fights eight men, then throws a log into space. He doesn’t need to because she already likes him and it turns out her dad is a big western fan. It also helps that Damon Runyan does a good job of just playing a helluva nice guy. They could have made him a high price lawyer too and we still would have totally bought that she should be with him.

The rest of this movie is a couple scenes where we see the two of them have some quality time, and the rest is poor Adam drowning. Luke even whips out a brother who can sing. Once Luke got the folks at the company party who were hiring Adam to do line dancing, it was all over. Shortly afterwards she breaks up with him, but not after saying she wants something that honestly sounds like quite the tall order even for Luke:

“No, Adam. I want love. Not the comfortable, safe kind. I want extraordinary, passionate, everything in sync love where their touch electrifies your soul. When what you want most in the world is to make them happy.”

Okay Holly, but that is a bit much for this movie. Just saying. Regardless, she should be with the cowboy. And yes, he shows up on a horse and they kiss.

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I think this is the third Hallmark movie I’ve seen where the guy shows up at the end on a horse. However, it’s the first one where it makes sense. They set it up nicely, he decides to go after her while he’s at the rodeo, and he’s a cowboy to begin with. It fit much better here than in the other two.

My only real complaint about this movie is why did they bother with the character of Adam? I think this would have been deeper and more moving if she had just got on the bus to visit her family, they meet, and they spend the rest of the movie falling in love. Nice and simple. Sure that would have made it a little tougher on screenwriter Rickie Castaneda, but I think it would have been better that way. He really felt like a third wheel on the movie itself. Still, I enjoyed this one. As always with Hallmark movies, it’s nothing to seek out, but it is a perfectly nice thing to flip on to kill some time around dinner for the holidays.

Seeing as I started this by mentioning The Ramones.

Here’s one for Luke (She’s The One by The Ramones):

Here’s one for Holly (I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend by The Ramones):

And here’s one for poor Adam (Indian Giver by The Ramones):

Rockin’ in the Film World #1: ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK (Columbia 1956)


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I’m kicking off this new series on the marriage of rock’n’roll music and film with what many believe is “the first rock’n’roll movie”, 1956’s ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK. The title tune was used in the opening credits of 1955’s THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE and caused teen fans to riot in theaters upon hearing that Big Beat. Producer Sam Katzman, always ready to jump on the latest bandwagon, put this quickie together and had a box-office smash on his hands. Adults were perplexed, but teenagers stormed theaters in droves, eager to plunk down their hard-earned cash to get a glimpse of rockers Bill Haley and His Comets, The Platters, and other hitmakers of the era.

Bill Haley & His Comets rehearse at the Dominion Theatre in London, where they will open their British tour. The Comets include accordion player Johnnie Grande, bassist Al Rex, and saxophonist Ruddy Pompilli.

The plot is virtually non-existent: band manager Steve Hollis and his sidekick Corny, tired of the dead big-band scene, make their way to New York to seek work with Corrine Talbot’s talent agency. Stopping in small town Strawberry Springs, they notice hordes of…

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