Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Tonight's Movie: Snowed-Inn Christmas (2017)

I've enjoyed some really good Hallmark Christmas films this year, most recently the brand-new CHRISTMAS BY STARLIGHT (2020).

My latest Christmas movie, SNOWED-INN CHRISTMAS (2017), isn't technically a Hallmark film, as it originally aired on Lifetime.  However, it features two of Hallmark's regular stars, Bethany Joy Lenz and Andrew Walker, and director Gary Yates also has a number of Hallmark credits.

Lenz and Walker play Jenna and Kevin, two writers with very different styles and personalities who each work for an online travel website headquartered in New York City.

The website is struggling financially, and the duo's editor Simone (Tasha Smith) assigns them both to cover a Colorado ski resort at Christmas.  The writer whose piece gets the most "clicks" will remain employed.

As fate would have it, bad weather forces Jenna and Kevin's plane to land in Indiana...near the town of Santa Claus, Indiana, to be exact. They need overnight accommodations, but it initially seems that locally there's "no room at the inn" until a lovely older lady in the airport, Carol (Belinda Montgomery), overhears their dilemma; it just so happens Carol and her husband Chris (John B. Lowe) own the Winters Inn. And what do you know, rooms are available!

Jenna and Kevin settle in for what turns out to be a prolonged stay, so the focus of their writing shifts to the town of Santa Claus. They enjoy getting to know one another as they research their pieces; Jenna is working through a breakup with the man man (Jefferson Brown) she'd expected to marry, while Kevin has been avoiding his loving family due to pain over his father's death.

And it just so happens Kevin's family lives close enough to Santa Claus that he and Jenna can make the drive to see them.

Meanwhile back at the inn, there are some strange goings-on with Carol and Chris, who make odd references to things that happened a century or more ago and who seem strangely ageless...

This was quite a delightful, magical 86 minutes, and I'm clearly not the one who thinks so, as the movie is currently rated at 7.2 on IMDb, with a substantial number of votes.  

The plot may sound hokey, but everything in the film is balanced just right and it all really works, including the sensitive-yet-funny performances of the two bantering lead actors, the tiny bits of "magic" woven through the story, and a fun supporting performance by Smith, whose editor starts out appearing intimidating and manipulative but ends up being quite amusing.

I also liked that Kevin's sister Meagan (Stephanie Moroz) has an interracial marriage to Eric (Aaron Radwanski), and absolutely nothing is said about it.  It's just normal, exactly like multiple families I've known over the years; it's good to see that reality casually reflected on TV.

The only negative to this film was it had a tiny bit more of an "edge" than Hallmark films; Jenna has had a live-in relationship with her ex, and there are a couple of very minor crass bits.  I'm sure many viewers wouldn't consider those aspects "edgy," but they're just enough different from the typical Hallmark film so as to be noticeable.

The movie was filmed by Paul Suderman. Coincidentally it was filmed in the same area of Canada -- Winnipeg, Manitoba -- as CHRISTMAS BY STARLIGHT.

trailer is available.  The movie can be purchased on DVD and is in regular rotation on Lifetime during "Christmas movie season."

4 Comments:

Blogger Lee R said...

If you'd like to hear a lot of great classic pop singers from the '40's thru the '60's singing Christmas music the way you remember it along with a lot of Christmas songs from the past you may never have heard before listen to this podcast called Sounds Like Radio. It normally during the year will feature a few classic pop songs of the past along with a Great Gildersleeve show in the middle. But during December it features great classic Christmas songs we all grew up with along with a Christmas Gildersleeve show in the middle of all the music. The main podcast site is:

https://anchor.fm/your-humble-host

If you are in the middle of a show and need to stop and then later want to continue listening go to this other site that also carries the show but when you hit play it also has a bar on the side that allows you to skip thru and get to the point you left off at, that's here:

https://radiopublic.com/sounds-like-radio-GbqnKR

It's entertaining Christmas listening that includes music and surprise Christmas songs you'd never expect. The DJ on the show is "Your Humble Host" and has some funny commentary along the way. All this from our glorious Christmas time listening past. Enjoy it, I listen everyday. There's a new show posted every week and it's all free!

3:27 PM  
Blogger Lee R said...

By the way, I've had a crush on Kay Lenz since I first saw her back in the '70's. Her movie Breezy is still one of the best. It's nice to see Kay still looks great after all these years!

7:50 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you for sharing the music podcast, Lee, I'll check that out when time permits.

There are actually two actresses with the last name Lenz; I'll be reviewing Kay Lenz in BREEZY (1973), the title you mentioned, here in the future. The actress in this film is Bethany Joy Lenz. As a side note, the movie does feature another actress around the age of Kay Lenz, Belinda Montgomery.

Best wishes,
Laura

11:44 PM  
Blogger Lee R said...

Oop, as Gilda Radner's "Emily Latella" used to say, "Nevermind". But you know that Lenz girl in the movie does resemble Kay Lenz a lot, her head and face look a lot like Kay. I wonder if she's a daughter or a niece?

Speaking of Christmas movies, thanks to you I now look for Christmas movies with Alison Sweeny (who was so good in the Murder She Baked movies, I really would like to see that series continue) I see now that Alison has a new Christmas movie for 2020 "Good Morning Christmas" (haven't seen it yet) but I did see just a week ago her 2019 movie with the incredibly long title, "Time For You To Come Home For Christmas" it was pretty good too. One thing bothers me with these cable Hallmark movies is the men in them all look exactly alike, skinny, long skinny bony faces and real short hair. I think Hallmark stamps them out.

4:40 PM  

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