Cleaning Out The DVR: My Christmas Prince (dir by Sam Irvin)


(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 193 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded My Christmas Prince off of Lifetime on December 3rd!)

PRINCE CHARMING IS PRINCE CHEATING!

That’s an actual headline that is seen in My Christmas Prince.  The prince in question is Prince Alexander Theodore William Hendricks (Callum Alexander), who is the next in line to take the throne in some little European country that’s definitely not the UK despite the fact that everyone there speaks with a British accent.

Everyone knows that Alexander as a prince, everyone but his girlfriend, Samantha (Alexis Knapp).  She just thinks he’s a diplomat and technically, he is.  It’s not so much that he lied to her about being royalty.  It’s just that he didn’t tell her the whole truth.  He wants to be judged based on who he is and not his royal heritage.  Of course, by not telling Samantha that he’s a prince, he also hasn’t told her that he will eventually be expected to return home and rule his country.  Samantha has plans of her own, which don’t involve being the Queen of a small European country that is definitely not the UK.  She’s just been hired to design a summer school program for every school in the Bronx!  The children need her!

(Personally, if I had the chance to be the ruler of a small country that pretty much only exists to support its royal family, I would say screw the children and catch the next flight to Monaco.)

Anyway, when Samantha decides to spend her Christmas with her family in Wyoming, Alexander decides to follow.  And no sooner has Alexander stepped into the local diner then a waitress immediately recognizes him as the crown prince of whatever country it is that he is from.  It turns out that she saw pictures of him online, attending a cocktail party with the royal family of Sweden.

(Of course, it wouldn’t be a Lifetime movie if the Internet didn’t somehow threaten to destroy everyone’s happiness.)

Anyway, it takes Samantha a few minutes to get used to the idea that her boyfriend is a royal prince.  Of course, her parents are excited.  The entire state of Wyoming is excited.  But you know who isn’t excited?  Alexander’s mother!  Nope, she is scandalized at the thought of Alexander marrying a common American.  She’d rather Alexander marry a baroness.  Could this possibly lead to a bunch of misunderstandings and unlikely visitors coming to Wyoming?

What do you think?

Every Christmas, it seems like there’s at least a handful of Lifetime and/or Hallmark films that feature obscure European royalty falling in love in small town America.  Once you’ve seen one of these movies, you’ve seen them all.  There’s not a surprising moment to be found nor a disparaging word to be heard in My Christmas Prince, which is a mildly pleasant but eminently forgettable movie.  To be honest, I don’t really demand too much from these movies but My Christmas Prince just didn’t work for me.  For a predictable movie like this to work, there needs to be a real chemistry between the two leads but there really didn’t seem to be much of a spark between Knapp and Alexander.  Much like the movie, they just seemed to be going through the motions.

I’ve often been asked which member of the Royal Family I relate to.  Usually, I say Pippa Middleton but, to be honest, it’s the little girl in the picture below:

Val’s Movie Roundup #19: Hallmark Edition


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Safe Harbor (2009) – As far as Hallmark movies go, this was one of the best I’ve seen. Although, it’s almost like it’s 20 years past when it should have been released. It’s about a retired couple played by Nancy Travis and Treat Williams. One day a judge shows up who knows Williams and just dumps a couple of toubled kids on them who need a place to stay. It’s a little of the blue, but okay cause Williams gives a bit of background later. Turns out Williams once punched a cop after that officer shot his dog. Apparently, Williams had been living under a bridge. It’s after that he joined the Merchant Marine. Quite a lot of important information that his wife apparently didn’t know after all those years. I almost expected him to say I also used to go by the name Arnold Friend and did something really bad once.

Of course the judge finds a way to dump a few more kids on them. The couple steps up and decides to take care of them. They meet a little resistance from a lady in Social Services, some of the locals, especially after a fire, and one of their mothers, but for the most part it’s just getting the kids over their issues. Doing that, the movie works. It just feels like something that should have been released in 1989 as it feels reminiscent of episodes of MacGyver.

Since Mystery Woman: Game Time felt the need to censor the word “butt” in the phrase “pain in the butt”, I was rather shocked that not once, but twice, Travis and Williams try to have sex before being interrupted by the kids.

This is one of the good ones.

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Notes from the Heart Healer (2012) – This has to be the most forgettable of the Hallmark movies I have watched so far. It’s a movie technically, but barely. It’s the third film in a trilogy and I’ve only seen this one. It’s about a writer who seems to be an advice columnist type. A lady turns up at one of her book signings. She has been fired, has no place to stay, and has a baby she can’t take care of. She tries to turn to the writer for help, but when the writer’s husband shows up, she runs away. Later on she drops the baby off at the writer’s doorstep.

What follows is a very forgettable story of the writer mulling over a child she had to give up for adoption and what to do with the baby she now has in her hands. There were only two parts that were memorable. First, during the film the writer jots down some diary entries and in one she mentions that cutting the baby in two story. Honestly, I’m not sure why, but what was memorable was that she felt the need to refer to it as a decision made by “Biblical” King Solomon. A war on Christmas type thing where we want to make sure you don’t divorce the widely known story from it being in the bible? I’m really just guessing. It just stuck with me like hearing someone say “up twice down twice” when saying the Konami code. Just not something I think I’ve ever heard someone feel the need to do when that story is referenced. The second thing is when the husband reacts to something about the baby in kind of an asshole manner, for lack of a better word. But it doesn’t really go anywhere.

There, that those are the things I strongly remember tells you how forgettable this one is. Maybe the first two were better. I’ll probably find out eventually.

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Mystery Woman: Vision of a Murder (2005) – Once again, we join Kellie Martin and Clarence Williams III for another murder mystery. I haven’t mentioned her in my earlier reviews of these movies, but there is a character played by Nina Siemaszko who is basically Martin’s Beth Davenport from The Rockford Files. She’s an attorney who is frequently part of the case and definitely is in this one. In this one Martin joins Siemaszko to go to a spa and take photographs of the place. Siemaszko is going there for the spa. It’s not just a spa, but a place that does plastic surgery and other such beauty treatments.

It’s run by Charles Shaughnessy so you know something is up. But just in case you didn’t, Felicia Day is in this looking and acting like “the dog who gets beat” in that lyric from the Alice In Chains’ song Man In The Box. She might as well be wearing a sign around her neck that says “I’ve got secrets to tell.”

Describing much more is spoiling it. A dead body turns up at the spa and Day turns out to be psychic. There is a funny scene where Kellie Martin pretends to be a doctor. Funny, since she’s most famous for her role on ER. And finally, that when you get near the ending, no, it isn’t clever enough to end the way you hope.

Still, decent entry in the series and one of two of them that Kellie Martin directed herself.

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Second Chances (2013) – Yet another Hallmark romance, right? Well, not exactly. Don’t get me wrong, there is a couple, but that’s not really where the story is. The story is with her kids. It’s also a Larry Levinson Production so apparently that means they must include goofs with technology. Not sure why that’s a thing, but it seems to be.

But let’s back up here. The story begins with a firefighter and a 911 dispatcher. They kind of know each other from going back and forth on the radio during calls, but they’re really still strangers. He gets injured and needs to spend some serious downtime according to his doctor played by James Eckhouse of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame. He’s quite good and makes the most of the few scenes he’s in. The dispatcher gets her hours cut back and decides to rent out a room at her house to make up the difference. The firefighter decides to move in. That’s this movie’s excuse for the boy and girl to spend time together.

However, this is when the kids kind of take over the movie. They know that their Mom needs money so they decide to start charging residents of a nursing home a dollar for reading to them. These parts are the best parts of the film. It’s actually a shame that there had to be other parts cause if they had made that the whole film and let it go deeper then it could have been even better. But they don’t, so we do get a little romance between the two as well as some backstory on them. It really isn’t worth going into because you’re watching this for the kids and the two tech goofs.

The first tech goof comes really early in the movie. They obviously thought no one would notice and I don’t blame them here, but considering what it would have taken to make it right, it’s pretty stupid. If you have a better version of this then the one I watched on TV and can prove me wrong, then I’m all ears, but the firefighter picks up a sealed copy of a game the kid is supposedly playing from their living room table and talks to the kid about it. The kid isn’t a collector or anything. That sealed copy of the game is what he is supposedly playing. It’s weird because the two games under it are open. Again, if you have a higher definition copy and see differently, then tell me. But here’s what I was able to capture.

Notice the top of the box that shouldn't be shining if it were really open.

Notice the top of the box that shouldn’t be shining if it were really open.

The second goof, there’s no mistake. Throughout the movie there is a fake 911 dispatch screen. Fake because it’s in a Hallmark movie, but not fake because it looks ridiculous. That is, until for reasons beyond me, they felt the need to give us a closeup of the terminal portion of it where we can see that it’s a DOS command line. It’s open to a directory called “C:\Users\Art Department\” and apparently someone has been typing random crap in and trying to execute it only to get error messages.

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Like I said though, this is one of the better Hallmark movies, and the credit goes to the story with the kids.

Val’s Movie Roundup #16: Hallmark Edition


Sorry, but during this period my Mom has been having knee replacement surgery so my descriptions are going to be so so at best. Luckily, I know that when it comes to Hallmark movies, you really just want to know whether it’s worth your time. That I can do.

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Mystery Woman: Sing Me A Murder (2005) – This one has Kellie Martin’s character hosting a charity concert for an old timey folk band. At the same time Clarence Williams III is doing side work investigating a series of bank robberies. I reached the end where they explain what really happened and it made little sense to me. I watched that section a second time, and it still didn’t make sense. This movie is a convoluted mess. It’s a shame because I have been enjoying this particular series of films. On the upside, this movie has John Getz in it. Movie lovers might not recognize the name, but you will recognize him when you see him. He is the lover in the Coen Brothers first film Blood Simple (1984). Just with 21 years added on to him. If you don’t have to see all of the Mystery Woman movies, then you can skip this one.

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Falling In Love With The Girl Next Door (2006) – Ever wrote a paper for school, had absolutely no inspiration, but powered through it and churned out something to turn in? That’s this movie. You already know this by just reading that title. It’s about two people who fall in love, want to get married, their parents interfere, and the couple ultimately gets their way. That’s it! Nothing worth seeing here. There are a few big name actors in here, but Bruce Boxleitner and Shelley Long, for example, are completely wasted. A definite skip.

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This Magic Moment (2013) – A film crew comes to a small town to shoot scenes. A local screenwriter hooks up with their lead actress, but belongs with another girl. He ends up with the local girl. I was quite bored out of my mind. However, it did remind me that the movie Love And The Midnight Auto Supply (1977) was shot in a neighboring small town to where I live, so I will have to review it at some point. I even have access to the old local papers from back then when it was being made.

If you can follow the conversations in this movie better than I did then you will probably like it more, but it’s still not a particularly good Hallmark movie of this nature. I’ve reviewed much better love stories such as Recipe For Love and the recent Love Under The Stars. Also, just like Falling In Love With The Girl Next Door, this movie has two good actors that it completely wastes. Those being Charles Shaughnessy and Corin Nemec.

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Mystery Woman: At First Sight (2006) – The interesting thing about this particular entry in the Mystery Woman series is that Kellie Martin herself directed it. It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference, but she does at least as good a job as the others who have helmed other entries in the franchise. It begins with Kellie setting out to find her birth mother. She gets embroiled in a murder mystery that involves her biological family. It’s fine, followable, and not sanitized. That’s really the best you can ask for from a Hallmark mystery movie. At the same time, Clarence has his own plot that reveals or at least hints more at his mysterious background. Honestly, I prefer when Martin and Williams work together to solve the mystery, rather than each having their own plot to follow. I think they work well together. Oh, well. Even though this is my 5th Mystery Woman film, there are still six more of these to go. This one is perfectly fine to watch.

Val’s Movie Roundup #13: Hallmark Edition


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Cupid, Inc. (2012) – Okay, who would have thought that Jamie Kennedy would actually be decent as Cupid? This is the guy who taught us how to survive a horror movie and was in Son Of The Mask (2005). But yep, he plays Cupid and does a good job. But he really isn’t a big part of the film all things considered. That falls to Joely Fisher. The deal is that she has to get a new couple together by Valentine’s Day, then she will find her true love. If Jamie Kennedy showed up and told me that, then I would probably ask him if I should see Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone (2005), but she takes him up on his offer. The rest can be boiled down to four words: It’s a Hallmark movie. Believe it or not, this is my first Valentine’s Day Hallmark movie, so I guess it’s the best one I have seen. I’ll tell you this, it’s much better than Gabe the Cupid Dog (2012).

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Fixing Pete (2011) – This one is kind of like Recipe For Love, but not as good. This has dark haired Brooke Burns who is tasked with making over a frat boy looking guy for his upcoming book tour. People often complain about female stereotypes, but this one has the male stereotypes in spades when we are introduced to Pete (Dylan Bruno). Luckily, that doesn’t last long and the two move closer and closer to each other. It’s nice, but if you can find Recipe For Love, then watch that instead.

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Murder 101: New Age (2008) – Once again it’s time for the Van Dykes to solve a murder. This time there are four of them. We’ve got Dick, Barry, Shane, and Carey. As the title suggests, the New Age movement plays a part here. Apparently, after The Nanny, Charles Shaughnessy joined the New Age movement. Basically there’s a room with him dead and gun in his hand while the only other people there are in a really deep meditation. So who killed him? It goes from there. I can’t believe it took till my third Murder 101 movie to realize that Barry Van Dyke’s character is not a cop, but a PI. Not sure then why the Van Dykes seem to just take over the investigation, but who cares. All that matters is that there is a scene where you get to see Dick Van Dyke play tennis on the Wii. When I saw that, I knew my life was complete. Actually, there are several humorous lines surrounding technology. Better than the mystery movies you get from Hallmark nowadays.

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Dad’s Home (2010) – Been awhile since I watched Mr. Mom (1983), but I think it’s probably quite similar. Except kill off the Mom and set it during this generation’s Great Depression. Really, that’s it. We watch him as he settles into his new role as a stay at home dad while looking for work. Before he had a nanny that took care of his kids, but she’s let go after he’s let go from his job. Not sure why she was let go though since he somehow is able to keep this very expensive home and cause of the ending where I swear he decides to not work again. Of course, there has to be a romance thrown in. The hot and nice blonde teacher takes a liking to him and things progress. The only thing that was memorable was when dad interviews for a job at a tech company. The head of the company actually refers to Social Network Accounts as SNAs. I couldn’t even find that in Urban Dictionary. He asks him if he podcasts. I also swear he asked him if he was on Orkut. That’s the social network that was really popular in Brazil. He also asks if he “does Twitter”. What? Was this intentional to show that the guy was actually clueless about the industry he was in or did the writers not know what they were talking about. Or were they trying some feeble attempt to make fun of tech companies. I think it’s the feeble attempt one since they mention a company acupuncturist. Grow up! These are jokes I would expect from a standup comedian. You can skip this one.