Oh. Hello, dear readers. I didn't see you there. I was just wrapping post-production on a Quixotronic Channel Original: Dumped at Christmas starring me, your midwestern love interest with a heart of gold, Tim Demeter.
This past weekend I ran break-up protocol in here which means a few things:
The local pizza joint and corner liquor store have likely met their December quotas early.
Something is alive in my sink.
I watched all the Hallmark movies.
Is any of this wise or healthy? Probably not. But in the midst of this blizzard of self-pity a single perfect snowflake fell -- I watched a Hallmark movie that I legitimately liked.
Music store owner Meg spearheads community efforts to save her street from demolition. She's shocked to find out that the man she's falling for is actually working for the company Meg's fighting.
Of the three Hallmark movies I watched this weekend (Yes, I know.) I watched this one last. The description felt kinda... off formula. The love interest is also the bad-guy? Engh. "I just want pure Christmas rom-com escapism," I thought. "Why isn't Superman Loves Cats on?" Well, I was low on energy and high on brandy consumption so I let it play.
I was not prepared for what happened next. I actually liked the movie non-ironically! This hasn't happened since The Miseltones! Maybe I can learn to love again, dear readers!
Anyways, Christmas Tree Lane stars Alicia Witt. (Who has been in Orange is the New Black and The Walking Dead and other things that don't suck.) She plays Meg, who is not getting a nickname because I like her character that much.
Meg runs Riely's music shop on Christmas Tree Lane in Denver, a presumably fictional stretch of downtown where she sells musical instruments and vinyl and gives voice lessons AND SINGS LIKE AN ANGEL.
-achem- Sorry about that.
Back to our story:
Meg is intensely likable and walks down the street like she's Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She greets everyone with a hug and an "I love you." She's so warm and kind that when Nate (Andrew Walker) meets her at a coffee stand and immediately falls in love with her it's not only plausible it would actually destroy any suspension of disbelief if he didn't.
Nate is dressed like a stock Hallmark Icy Love Interest That Needs to Change but buckle-up lovelies, for Nate is ALSO intensely likable! Yes, he works for his dad's soulless investment firm but he's an architect. (Which we have previously established as the sexiest office job.) Nate loves what he does and he's really bummed out that his dad is pushing him into management. When he walks into his office and sees his drafting table being taken away and replaced with a glass desk I was right there. Moreover, Nate is a fun and generous guy. He puts sprinkles on his coffee and wants maximum Christmas decorations in his office where he secretly draws stuff anyway.
If you're getting the impression I want to marry the lead and be best friends with the love interest here you're not wrong.
Of course, it is Nate's firm that wants to bulldoze Christmas Tree Lane but the description sells that poorly. Nate has no idea that is the case and for a mostly believable reason. He's not deceiving Meg and in fact, he's 100% on board with trying to help her save it because he cares about her.
The owners of the shops on Christmas Tree Lane, led by Meg who's pluck and ingenuity only add to her charisma, plan to put on a concert on Christmas Eve to save the block.
Like one does.
This may be a good one but it's still a Hallmark movie. Nate is there to help them every step of the way and I'm not spoiling anything to say that the rest of the movie is these two really great characters falling in love and saving the day and I loved it because both of those things felt earned when I got there. There's also a nice message about progress vs. the past and it's not handled in the "totally wouldn't happen that way in real-life" style that often happen in these movies.
And aside from imbuing her character with an actual personality, Witt is also a really gifted signer/songwriter. This one got me in the feels and went right on my Christmas Spotify list:
That's all I'm going to say. No scene by scene teardown this time. I liked this movie and you should watch it. It's a fun RomCom and that can be though to find amid a dying genre. As much as I love blow-em up Marvel movies, one cannot live on CGI alone and I find it sad that most non-blockbuster flicks are streaming originals now. Or maybe that's how everything is going to be. I don't know. Either way, I grew up in the 90s heyday of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and while I may poke fun at these goofy Christmas affairs there are great movies across all genres and I promise they won't take away your Avengers ID card or silver bolo if you step outside your comfort zone here and there.
Sometimes a little Christmas Magic is just what the doctor ordered, dear readers.