So, I’ve been really curious about this movie. The plot description says that the lead, Kate UNWILLINGLY helps a B&B owner become a tour guide. Now, I was also concerned that our leading man would be forgoing B&B ownership to focus full time on guiding tours because that does not seem to be a financially sound decision. But is it really a Hallmark movie if a lead doesn’t forgo a good paying job with benefits to focus on low paying creative endeavors? No, it really isn’t. Luckily, my assumptions about this movie were wrong. But that doesn’t mean this movie is without its VERY SILLY moments. Let’s get to it.

Our lead Kate is just a busy no nonsense, bagel eating NEW YORK BUSINESS LADY. Her boss calls and wants her to come in. Then she feeds some fish living in a bowl of very cloudy water. She and her pal Jane are also forced to deal with a very gruff bagel food truck owner who really doesn’t have time for any pleasantries. NEW YORK, amirite?

At work, her boss tells her she needs to go to Banff to interview a famous author named Owen. Kate panics. And I mean PANICS. But she could get a STAFF position at wherever she works. WOW. HIGH STAKES. She does not like to leave Manhattan. Actually, excuse me. What I meant to say was that she DOES NOT leave Manhattan. It’s not that she doesn’t like it. It’s that she refuses to leave. So it does sound like maybe “unwilling” was the correct word because she seems really freaked about traveling and does not want to go.

Meanwhile, in Banff, Noah talks to his friend and coworker Simon? They are working on writing something. Then Kate and Jane arrive at the airport. Kate totally panics again because she thinks she lost her passport. Did I say panic? I mean FULL MELTDOWN. It was in her pocket. Yikes. She goes to a coffee cart and gets in line behind Noah. Boy is she a robot or what? It honestly sounds like she has literally never had a conversation before. Guys, I think this is supposed to be funny. I love funny. My favorite Hallmark movies are the funny ones. At this point in the movie, I find the Kate character to be downright insufferable. Probably the same way I find Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory” insufferable. Anyway, let’s continue.

Noah turns around and starts holding up a sign with her name on it. So SURPRISE. Kate panics MORE THAN SHE HAS YET on the drive to Banff. I think because the road is bumpy and she’s never been in a car? I HAVE NO IDEA. They stop at a lovely burger restaurant for lunch. Obviously Kate eats her burger with a knife and fork. Noah tells the girls that he and Simon run a small B&B in town. He gives Kate the background of how he came to own the B&B. It’s boring. But he’s decided to also offer tours! So, good luck. I must say I’m relieved that they are just going to add this service on to the B&B and not switch to guiding tours full time. Noah asks Kate what the book “The Answer” is about. The author of that book is who Kate is interviewing. KEEP UP. Also, who cares. It’s pretend.

The gang arrives at the B&B. It is obviously gorgeous. Simon seems to be a robot also. But Simon and Jane have an instant connection. I mean, as much of a connection as you can have with a robot. The girls are lead up to a loft situation but there are two twin beds. It’s a very cute set up but why the twin beds? There is definitely room for two queens up there. Okay Kate has probably the WORST personality of any Hallmark lead ever. Again, I think she’s supposed to be comically tightly wound but I’m just not feeling it.

Then Kate gets a notification that Owen is cancelling. So she just wants to leave! I can’t understand if she is just set in her ways or likes to be at home or what? Because she doesn’t seem concerned about flying when it’s to head back to New York. So I’m not sure what is happening. Just to recap- instead of trying to push to get the interview after travelling all that way she just wants to leave. But luckily, it turns out that Noah and Simon know Owen so Noah calls him and he agrees to move forward with the interview later that week. This is very silly. But now we get to why we had to go through that whole song and dance. To “repay” the boys for calling someone and urging them to keep his commitments, the girls agree to help them do a dry run of their three day adventure tour. Kate is definitely RELUCTANT to participate. I wouldn’t say “unwilling” but she definitely doesn’t want to do any of this. No one really knows why.

First up is a gondola ride. Kate is definitely unwilling to do the gondola so they all skip it which is really unfortunate for LITERALLY EVERYONE ELSE. So they move on to the next stop on the tour. They go to a famous hotel. Noah reads off a script and can’t pronounce “Chateau.” GUYS.

Kate continues to be SO HORRIBLE. But she does give Noah good notes about giving tours. They walk into a ballroom where a woman is playing the violin. Simon and Jane are hitting it off. But foolishly, Jane refuses a mint when Simon offers. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS ACCEPT A MINT IF SOMEONE OFFERS.

Later, they all enjoy some hot chocolate but Noah burns his mouth. Then Simon asks Jane to play chess. Later the boys chop some wood for…no reason? Noah is frustrated by all the notes Kate gave him that day. Where are they that night? Are they not staying at the B&B? Noah awkwardly asks Kate for help rewriting his tour script. Kate thinks being a writer qualifies her to cure Noah of his fear of public speaking.

Kate tries an innovative method for helping Noah practice his speech. It fails.

Later, the girls catch up. WHERE ARE THEY.

The next day, the team goes on a pretty serious hike. Kate continues to panic. Simon and Jane are still hitting it off. Noah gives a great presentation but Kate happens to know the actual story and corrects Noah’s facts. Okay that night they are definitely back at the B&B. She goes down to the kitchen and runs into Noah. He offers to make them hot chocolate. Then they go outside and chat by their firepit. WHAT TIME IS IT. Her cute topknot has become a bit disheveled. Noah tells her that he kind of struggles with “imposter syndrome.” Anyway they’re having a lovely time. They decide they’re freezing their buns off and head back inside. This is now a third bun. The first one was lovely. These second two haven’t been great.

Kate grabs his script to rework it and promises not to be intense the next day. So that fails because she ends up staying up all night working on the script. And then she is up and at ’em the next morning. She’s reworked his whole presentation. She accidentally reveals that she thinks he’s charming. So, that’s something.

Then they head out to do some snow shoeing. Kate panics again. Jane gives her a pep talk. At this point, my husband wonders if we are ever going to like Kate? I don’t think so. Then the gang walks on a flat, basically non-snow trail. WHERE YOU WOULDN’T NEED SNOW SHOES. Jane steals Simon away to go on a high trail. Jane takes a “selfie” with Simon but that camera lens is so gigantic it must have only gotten the pores near their noses. Noah and Kate make it to the top of whatever. WHY ISN’T NOAH WEARING A HAT. They have a nice moment at the top of the hill.

That night, the four of them sit around the firepit and rehash the day. Simon heads to bed early. Jane seems a little perturbed that Simon is calling it a night. Jane is like, HOW DOES SIMON NOT KNOW I LIKE HIM. But remember, Simon is not a human. So Jane hatches an elaborate plan to get Simon to notice her. Noah and Kate are on it the next morning. They head to a cute indoor marketplace. Seems like it’s all samples and Noah keeps going back to the wine station to top off his glass with more free samples. I’m not sure they’ve bought anything. And obviously Noah knows everyone in town. Kate wonders if Banff is like that bar on Cheers.

Back at the B&B, Simon and Jane play chess. This stupid professor keeps changing the meeting time on them. They have to Meet RIGHT NOW which messes up Jane’s elaborate plans for Simon.

They finally arrive and meet Owen and his wife Nora. Owen announces that he’s totally abandoned the theory from his book two years ago. Probably could have mentioned that before she travelled to Banff. Also, why are they interviewing an author about an old book he wrote? Owen says he met Nora and that changed his whole perspective. So that was all a bust. Seriously, what a gigantic waste of time. Why couldn’t he say all that on the phone? He demanded they fly to him and then is like, I hope you don’t want to talk about that old book of mine. SERIOUSLY what a waste. Kate wonders what she is going to write about now. SAME.

Meanwhile, Simon is just NOT cooperating for Jane. Poor Simon left without a jacket. They arrive at the public market and there is a cute table set up for them. Kate is trying to do some work at the B&B. Noah as an idea to help! He takes her to one of his favorite places. They chit chat about their hopes and dreams or something.

Poor Jane. Simon is just chit chatting with the chocolatier. Totally oblivious to what Jane is up to. Kate and Noah have ANOTHER heart to heart at the firepit. Kate says that Noah CHANGED EVERYTHING.

Finally, Jane has had enough. She shares her feelings with Simon. He says thank you and hands her a candy. She tops off her wine glass. So that’s not going well.

Noah tells Kate that she makes him smile. BUT HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE.

Kate still has nothing to write for her article so she he says goodnight to Noah. I must have missed something while I was looking up hotels in Banff because they seem to be exchanging awkward looks. Later, Kate and Jane rehash the disaster of an evening with Simon. Then the conversation devolves into teen girl chat. I swear I heard Kate say “as if.”

The next morning, Kate asks Noah to go somewhere with her that day. Jane sets a bear trap for Simon in the living room.

So Kate takes Noah to try the gondola she was afraid of earlier! So they ride the gondola together. It’s one of those lovely all enclosed ones. Did Noah just say “glace -e-er? NOAH WHAT. Anyway, Kate is still panicking about the heights. But she is very proud of herself for going up the gondola. Then THEY KISS. My dad says, “Be still my heart.” These winter movies are SO EDGY. And then of course her editor, who hasn’t cared about her all week, calls twice in a row. Her editor LOVES the article. She got the “STAFF JOB.” Noah says, “that’s HUGE.” But honestly, is it? This poor woman is in her mid thirties and she’s happy to be a “staff writer.” KATE.

At the B&B, Jane looks at pics of her and Simon on her phone. Simon brings her downstairs. The room is full of flowers. She takes his hand and is so touched by this gesture. Now they’re sitting with Simon’s arm around her!! Wow. And then Jane and Simon KISS.

So the next morning, the girls get ready to leave. Simon and Jane are going to “figure things out.” Kate and Noah haven’t talked about ANYTHING. Kate does tell Noah she’s going to miss him. Oof. Guys. Then Noah says TAKE CARE. COME ON. Kate is tearing up but GEEZ LOUISE.

Back in Manhattan, Kate just walks on past the bagel truck. Doesn’t stop or anything!! Later Kate is just zoned out in her GIANT new office wearing gigantic statement jewelry like her boss. She looks at the article she wrote in the printed magazine.

Back in Banff, Noah talks to new guests at the B&B. The new guests are VERY impressed with the tour so far. The guests are ready to invest or send lots of business their way. Jane texts Simon a pic of Kate’s article. It makes Noah sad.

In New York, random people just bump right into Kate and are so rude. Kate is just a big grump about all of it. She HATES New York now. OMG they didn’t try PIZZA in Banff. Also WHAT IS THAT APARTMENT. How could she afford that? Oh, never mind.

So anyway, Kate decides to go back to Banff to see Noah. It looks like there is a big party or a big bustle of people at the B&B. Is it even big enough? She thinks she sees Noah outside but it’s Simon. Then Noah shows up with his duffle bag. Kate tries to give her little speech. She quit her job! Oh, no she can work remotely. And duh he was going to New York. He even has a hard printed ticket. And then they kiss! BUT WHAT ABOUT SIMON AND JANE. Why didn’t she come along? What is happening with them? WE NEVER FIND OUT.

So this was fine. Honestly, you get the winter feels. You get beautiful shots of Banff I am assuming. Whatever. It was silly as usual and I didn’t hate it. I am not sure where it ranks in this series. Also, is this the last one? Did we do it? Are we on to Valentine’s Day? YAY!

A Winter Getaway

So, another weekend in January, another “New Year New Movie” that DEFINITELY WOULD NOT FIT UNDER “WINTERFEST” which MUST be why they changed it. I misunderstood the premise of this movie and I must say, the actual premise is MUCH sillier than my assumption. This movie also features one of those classic, made up Hallmark jobs. I am not sure where they filmed this but it definitely made me want to plan a trip to Banff whenever I can spare 14 days to quarantine or whenever this is all “over.” You know, so…maybe never. Anyway, let’s get into it.

The movie begins with our lead Courtney talking to her client about some kind of high end complicated date for his wife or girlfriend. He wants a very impossible date and Courtney overcommits. I can’t tell if this is a proposal but it sounds like something my 5 year old would ask to do. Something about sitting ON an iceberg with penguins shipped up North and then projecting the Northern Lights in the sky? Then Courtney’s boss, Dana, explains the premise of their work to her as they walk and talk. Essentially, their “concierge” company will arrange ANYTHING for you if you have enough money. I didn’t hear or see of any illegal activity but honestly. SILLY HALLMARK JOB.

Dana then tells Courtney she needs to take on a new client in Banff. Courtney is taking over for “Rachel” who just gave her TWO HOURS notice to work at a….different? concierge company? So rude. So now Courtney is going to be a traveling concierge for lonely WEALTHY Joe Franklin. She gets the folder on him which doesn’t even include a picture! Oof. Also, I am trying to get over my jealousy about going to Banff right now.

That night, Courtney celebrates her parents’ 35th anniversary at their house. She either has a MUCH younger sister or a niece? I think it’s her niece. Also, so no one is going to eat that cake then? Ugh. What a disappointment.

So, at the airport, a man arrives and without waiting to be introduced she just jumps right in to her concierge spiel. That man is the pilot. Then another man shows up and he definitely has the right name. Though, we already know he’s the WRONG person. So, why is he there? Why does he have snowboard equipment? And why does he get on the flight? On the plane, Joe messes with the seats and asks for root beer. You know, like a child. Then he helps Courtney with her computer. He seems very out of his element and has no chill at all about the experience. So based on the previews, I was thinking that this was a mix up where another guy named “Joe Franklin” was the actual billionaire and our lead gets picked up at the airport by mistake. So that is NOT what is going on here.

They arrive at a very lovely hotel in Banff. Everyone keeps trying to take his snowboard for him. And he is GREETED WITH HOT CHOCOLATE. I love this place already. Courtney takes him to his room. It is GIGANTIC. Courtney has planned a VERY fancy (and disgusting) breakfast for him. I think Joe agrees with me. The bell hop, Gabriel (Gabe), tells Joe that the bath robe in the room is 100% cashmere. So does that make sense? Would you want a cashmere bathrobe? Courtney has also planned for him to get picked up to go snowboarding at 9 AM. WHAT? That’s way too late.

Then Courtney tells Gabe that he owns a very successful tech company called “Cyber gophers.” Then Joe realizes something. He calls his friend Alan to tell him there might be a mix up. I truly do not understand what is going on right now. They talk about “Beth” leaving and Joe getting back on his feet without his friend Alan’s financial assistance. But Alan was the one that gave Joe this trip as a gift. So, honestly I don’t think I have ever had a friend that nice. I mean, how much is this trip and like, without his pal? Like just a solo trip? Isn’t that a weird gift? Sending your best friend in the world on a VERY EXPENSIVE vacation by himself? I mean, the flight alone…And if it IS a gift, why in the world would it matter if Joe is wealthy or not? As long as someone is paying for it and the credit card doesn’t get declined. So, do you see now why the premise is a bit silly and just ripe for manufactured nonsense drama? But Alan tells Joe to pretend to be the actual billionaire that is footing the bill for this weird lonely vacation. TO WHAT END? Oof.

The next morning, Joe coaxes Courtney into hitting the slopes with him. They really get Courtney geared up, all on Alan’s dime. Joe has NO QUALMS about spending his pal’s money. Also are they going heli-skiing? I hope they aren’t novices. Oh this is cute. Courtney has kind of been pretending this whole time that she doesn’t know much about skiing. But she is really good. So they just shred. They do one run and are ready for lunch. This lunch includes a little bit of day drinking. Joe asks Courtney about her job. It is a silly pretend Hallmark job as we all know. She tells him a story about a celebrity client asking for an entire hotel to be repainted. There’s no way!

It is clear that this food is way too fancy for Joe. Because of course, ALL WEALTHY people eat really ridiculous and fancy things, RIGHT? I actually don’t even know what they’re eating honestly. Squab? What is that. Then they both learn they have a Colorado connection. Also, they are leaving that lovely charcuterie tray TOTALLY untouched!! I would have just pounded that charcuterie before I even got a chance to order lunch.

Then they head back to the hotel. Joe invites the bell hop, Gabriel on the slopes at some undetermined future date. Then Joe declines a fancy dinner and opts for room service. Courtney makes a FACE at his back.

The next morning Joe is eating regular breakfast. Courtney just walks right into his room without knocking nad catches him eating the not fancy breakfast she organized. Joe tells Courtney how sore he is after the day before. A very stern northern European looking woman arrives to give him a massage. Joe admits that he doesn’t like any of that food and he wants some more childish food. I think we’re meant to believe that chili dogs are “real food” but any man in his 30s knows exactly the price he will pay for eating chili dogs on a regular basis. As Courtney leaves, Joe panics about his massage. It’s funny. Also, I just looked up what squab is and frankly, I am HORRIFIED just across the board. It sounds absolutely revolting and also like, really on the inhumane side of meat eating. Seriously ABHORENT.

Later, Joe is quite pleased with the massage. Olga knows what she’s doing apparently! Then in the hotel lobby, Joe shares more about “Beth.” Because the hotel lobby is a totally appropriate place for that conversation. Then they head downtown to shop. Courtney has a bunch of ideas for activities but Joe shoots them all down. He just wants to snowboard and shop. It seems like maybe he wants her to join him but she has ALOT of work to do!

So she heads to a “café” to do some work. I put café in quotes because the place she is sitting looks NOTHING like a café. Anyway, some of the work she has to do includes shipping Brazilian coconuts somewhere because the client doesn’t like Tahitian coconuts. Oy. Courtney gushes to her coworker, Julie on the phone about Joe. Then Courtney decides she’s done enough work and meets up with Joe to shop. They walk by..through(?) an art gallery and talk about the paintings they see. Then Joe almost gets talked into buying a $300,000 painting. WHAT A STEAL though.

After narrowly escaping getting a mortgage to pay for an art piece, they walk into a tourist shop and we find out that Courtney is single. Surprise! She notices a kitchy Banff snow globe and mentions that she used to collect them. So then Joe says that tomorrow he would like to do whatever she wants to do. So that’s cute! Joe gets a text from Alan asks how it’s going pretending to be a secret billionaire. Eyeroll.

So, of all the things to do in Banff, Courtney wants to race sled dogs. So that’s what they’re doing. After the sled dogs, they have a lovely heart to heart. And then those GOOD BOYS AND GIRLS take a little snooze in the snow too after being SUCH GOOD PUPS and running SO HARD. Back at the hotel, Joe is about to kiss Courtney but then VERY HELPFUL Gabe opens the door for her.

Later…? The next morning? Joe is having breakfast with the whole staff. And boy is he WEARING that turtleneck. So today, Joe wants to go curling. They are just getting after it, aren’t they? They have a lovely time curling and another lovely heart to heart at dinner.

That night, Joe can’t sleep and he calls Alan in the middle of the night. He is just in a panic about lying about being a billionaire. Alan I guess talks him down. This is just silly.

The next day they go to Calgary to see the opera because that is what Courtney wanted to do. She sure has fancy tastes!!

Later Joe gets to try poutine which is like a Canadian tradition. I’ve never had it but I know about it. Also, the restaurant they go to has “craft” root beer. OMG Joe nearly collapses with excitement. He also wants to marry poutine. After that, they walk and talk downtown. Then Courtney tells Joe about her most memorable traveling experience. Then Joe, thinking he is coming up with something revolutionary, essentially describes the Trip Advisor app. But Courtney seems excited about it. Joe offers to design the app for her. Then he tells her he LIKES her. Joe gets ready to kiss her and Courtney jumps away. She tells him about her company policy.

Later, Courtney smiles over a terribly photoshopped photo in her room.

Back at Courtney’s work, an employee finally catches the discrepancy with Joe. The card on file is Alan’s. How did NOBODY notice this or like why was it not included in the file…or at the hotel or ANYTHING? Yikes. Talk about poor management. I guess we can blame it all on Rachel. Who’s Rachel? KEEP UP.

Joe spills the beans to Gabe. Gabe is not sure he can be helpful. Except he does tell him to be truthful.

Then Courtney’s boss calls her to fill her in on Joe. We get even more info on the trip. Alan and his wife had to cancel but it was too late to like get their money back. So Alan decides to send one friend all alone. He had it all worked out with RACHEL OKAY? And then, for the first time, Courtney actually googles Joe and realizes he is just an employee of cyber gopher. So right as she realizes this, Joe comes to her door to talk.

This music playing during this scene is VERY distracting. It’s SO LOUD and there are actual lyrics so who knows what’s happening. But they actually do talk instead of Courtney being like, no I don’t want to hear it. But she is mad about the lying. I do still find her to be a bit unreasonable frankly. But, we have time. I’m not worried. But also, I can barely hear what they’re saying because THIS MUSIC IS SO LOUD and DISTRACTING and also not right for his scene.

So of course, Courtney decides to leave early and fly commercial. ONE DAY early. Honestly. Alan and Joe face time. They are actually cute friends. Did I mention how Joe tells Alan he loves him when the hang up? That’s cute. Alan can’t believe Joe let her just walk away. Alan gives him a TALKING TO. Also, Alan knows QUITE a bit about Courtney. Do he and Joe talk every day?

Courtney talks to her mom on the phone about Joe. Her mom is like, girl get a grip. Her mom gives her some good advice! This mom has just had ENOUGH of Courtney and her nonsense. She tells Courtney that her dad told a little half truth on their first date about his job. So anyway, Courtney considered taking a giant chill pill on this whole thing. Then Dana calls Courtney. She basically tells her to turn around and go back to check out an event venue because tomorrow is Joe’s birthday. So now Alan is throwing Joe a big surprise party and flying in a bunch of friends. Dude, I want Alan as my best friend. But also, I don’t think there is a surprise party. I think Alan is up to something. DANA IS SO IN ON IT.

AND GABE IS IN ON IT. He is there at the hotel waiting when Courtney arrives. Now Courtney is suspicious. Gabe opens the door and sees that Joe has set up the whole ballroom in this hotel recreating her favorite vacation moment. Joe of course, gives her that snow globe from before. Then Joe speaks from his heart. Poor Gabe brings the food in. It’s Chinese food just like her childhood memory. And now I think they are going to dance? Oof. Gabe and I are just feeling so awkward and embarrassed right now. Oh boy. Now they are talking about starting to date and begin launch a business together. GOOD IDEA. OKAY ENOUGH CHIT CHAT. Finally, they kiss. TWICE!

So that was Winter Getaway. Well, this movie had the SILLIEST premise of all the movies we’ve seen so far. I mean, actually the idea of someone just giving their friend a trip because they’d be out the money either way is not silly. The idea that Joe would then have to PRETEND to be the billionaire and that no one would know and that it would actually be that big of a deal at the end of the day is SILLY. It is a silly thing to be upset about. But I liked the actress in this movie more than I liked her in The Christmas Ring. And I liked the lead actor. AND I liked them together. I would have liked to see more skiing and more upscale ski lodge scenery. And DEFINITELY more hot chocolate. But I liked it. It might be my least favorite of the series so far but I didn’t outright hate it like I hated some of the Christmas ones. I think this just reinforces the notion that WinterFest (YES I’M SAYING WINTERFEST) are just really fun movies. Wintery feels without the weight of getting through all the Christmas tropes. What did you think?

Two for the Win

So, this weekend’s movie featured my favorite blonde adult male. He was joined by another “blonde” person. Now, I want to provide a disclosure for some of my jokes. I never want to be mean towards the actors personally or to just “hate” on a movie. There have been a few times where the acting has merited the jokes or “hate”, but that was when Hallmark cast a person who was more famous for other creative pursuits and that person should have perhaps stayed in their lane. Anyway, one of the biggest problems for me in this movie was that the people in charge of Charlotte’s hair must have hated her. Her hair looked terrible. It was two different shades of bleach blonde and her very dark roots were visible. It is not the right blonde for her skin tone, particularly when she is standing in and around snow for 90% of this movie. And it was such a distraction that I kept mentioning it. I say all this as a person who has been dying their hair blonde for at least 20 years. I also attempted to maintain a platinum color for a few years. My skin tone is a few shades darker than a ghost so it didn’t work for me either. So, now with that settled, let’s get on with the movie.

Our favorite blondie blonde head, Justin, is watching himself walk the red carpet on TV. Guys, he is watching a red carpet for an award’s show from THREE YEARS AGO. His hair is much more golden for this movie, which I do think is a little better. It is not a natural blonde color though, let’s just get that out there. Then, his manager Anna comes barging in to tell him that NEILS QUIT. Also he is actively icing his knee. Regardless, he is READY to go. He’s been out for a year, but now it’s time to race in “the classic.” Doesn’t matter that he’s seemingly icing his knee for the sake of icing it. So let’s all get ready. Justin asks if he can include an extra checked bag for hair dye.

Justin and Anna arrive “home.” “The Classic” is held in his home town. He heads to see his parents, who must work at the ski resort. No, they don’t own a ski lodge do they? Well, well well. He and his parents are…quite cordial with each other. They haven’t seen him since “Austria.” BUT WE DON’T TALK ABOUT THAT MOM. Then his dad mixes some metaphors about “getting back out there” and it’s time for hot chocolate.

Justin wears a lovely oatmeal sweater. And then Anna, stops by to chat. Right in the middle of the discussion about finding a new coach, Justin weirdly asks his mom about “the auction.” Like they are literally in the middle of talking about finding a coach and then Justin asks about this auction. This brings up an old flame or friend or something. And then, Justin abruptly decides to go to one ski run.

At the top of the mountain, Justin surveys the land. And then definitely Trevor Donovan starts to head down. He runs into Kayla, his old pal or something. And then this poor woman asks if she can borrow some of Justin’s hair dye because she needs a serious root touch up. Seriously, just let this poor woman be her natural color! Or at least a more natural blonde color. Anyway, she is “blonde” and they catch up about whether he is still with Neils and whether he skis just for the notoriety or whatever. Great chat!

Later, Justin hobbles back to the lodge. Kayla is there too. Then some young buck, Hunter, is giving an interview and sees Justin and makes him feel SO OLD. This little pup is like, dang Justin and your hair is still blonde! Wow. Impressive for such an elderly skier. Kayla tries to encourage him when the reporter couldn’t care less about him.

Kayla chats with her sister Jenny about her run in with Justin on the slopes and what not. Jenny is like how are you not SO MAD AT HIM for whatever he did that one time. Kayla is just perfectly fine and not upset whatsoever.

Later, Justin and his parents stroll around the property? And then they run into Wyatt, who is presumably a fourth year med student that works at the ski lodge during the day an studies at night? So, no that’s not how it works. Then Justin catches up more with Wyatt. He’s like, why didn’t you go to our small local hospital for your rehab when you had access to the best rehab facility in the world?

The next day, people are just shredding the powder. Kayla and Anna critique old blondie’s form. Kayla just can’t stop herself from coaching. Anna is so pleased. KAYLA SHOULD DEFINITELY COACH HIM RIGHT? And also her dad was a good coach. Kayla is interested as long as she can have access to the same person who dyed Justin’s hair blonde.

Later, Kayla teaches some children and Justin wonders whether she is actually going to coach him. She basically wants him to start from square one, which means the “bunny hill” with her entry level students. So this makes sense. His little bro-ham sees him and is so inspired. So Justin pizza slices his way down the hill.

Later, Anna talks to someone about something important for Justin. I think she’s trying to keep his sponsorships. Justin complains that he stayed on the bunny hill the whole time that day. That night, Kayla and her sister Jenny laugh about the day together. Guys, I can’t even make jokes about Kayla touching up her roots because she IS NOT. Ugh these people did her so dirty. It’s not right.

The next morning, Justin, clearly hogging all the hair dye for himself, gets pretty uppity with Kayla. She makes him do yoga. ON HIS BAD KNEE THAT’S NOT BAD ANYMORE. He cannot. Cannot stand on one leg. How are we allowing him to ski? Kayla wonders why he doesn’t stay local. He says he has to follow the snow. Kayla seems content running the ski school and teaching kids. Justin says he thinks she could do more.

Kayla gets Justin’s dad up to speed on his training. Justin’s dad is pleased they’re working together, but encourages Justin to lend a box of hair dye to Kayla. But Kayla promises to keep her beanie on. Then Justin wonders if he and Wyatt should meet Kayla and Jenny at the whatever tonight. Then they go cross country skiing. SO FUN. Somehow they are not drenched with sweat. And then they have a heart to heart instead of focusing completely on staying upright on their skis. They sit down and talk about their goals or dreams or whatever. AND ALSO WHAT ABOUT DATING KAYLA. Nothing since “Vince.” That elderly mafioso? You don’t remember him? Or no wait, he was a ski instructor there or something. Kayla tells Justin that his parents have been like parents to her and Jenny. Justin tells Kayla that all his relationships are complicated, except the one between he and his hair stylist. That one has always been easy. But enough chit chat. It’s time for opening ceremonies.

Back at the lodge, Anna fully melts down because a sponsor wants to meet him in the lobby bar. So now he’s going to be late to meet his friends. The sponsor sounds insufferable. Justin pat’s the sponsor’s head to borrow some of his hair gel. Anyway, can Justin ever come back from that injury? No one knows for sure.

Justin and Wyatt finally arrive. Wyatt and Jenny are awkward to each other. Some big ski gal, Nancy, announces the racers. And then the whole thing is over and Kayla wants him to go to sleep so they can practice the course tomorrow. Justin is elated. He rushes home to touch up his roots.

The next day, Justin races down the course in quite a smart ski suit. He did not do a good job. Justin blames the lumpy pillows at the lodge. Kayla suggests he take a break. Kayla wants him to get back to skiing for the love of it. So she gives him some nice advice…but it may not be practical because he does have a legitimate injury. Justin’s dad wonders what will get him back to fighting speed. Justin takes his helmet off and uses his emergency hair gel to quickly fix his hair.

That one skier that isn’t racing, looks longingly at Justin while he chats with Kayla. OMINOUS

That night, everyone goes to some kind of fancy event. I believe this is that auction Justin’s mom keeps talking about. Justin places some bids. Jenny and Kayla arrive. Kayla’s roots continue to grow out at an alarming rate. WHY ISN’T ANYONE DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS. Justin gets offended that no one is auctioning off a dinner with HIM. That little baby Hunter is auctioning off a dinner with himself and the bidding is up to $500 already! So then Kayla runs up on stage and offers a full day of hang time with Justin. Wow Justin. The EGO. Honestly. And his punishment is that he has to spend the day with a random weirdo. Justin is so pleased with himself. And then some poor lonely woman bids $3500 on him. And spoiler alert, HE NEVER FOLLOWS THROUGH ON THIS. Never hangs out with this wealthy, lonely woman.

Later, the gang sits around a fire pit in their fancy clothes. I hope the dry cleaner can get all that smoke smell out of their clothes. Justin worries the smoke will damage his hair. He can’t risk an unnecessary hair wash day. I am not paying attention to their chit chat. It’s not important.

The next morning, Justin has a heart to heart with his mom; seemingly the only person in this whole GD movie allowed to have her natural hair color. And guess what, SHE LOOKS GREAT.

So have I mentioned there’s a random carnival just like on the sidewalk near the ski hill? So that’s there. And Justin is now going to have a TV interview nearby. Kayla is going to be part of it too and she is straight up panicking. NO ONE has offered to touch up her roots or even run a comb through her hair. Instead, Justin holds her hand, but it’s no consolation.

Justin makes a joke on the air and no one laughs. It’s awkward. Then he says some nice things about Kayla. Then Kayla pipes up. Then Kayla brags on her little 12 year old racers. I do like Kayla’s coat.

Later, Kayla wears a TOTALLY DIFFERENT COAT. Frick I haven’t been keeping track of how many different coats she’s wearing. Justin talks Kayla into taking a run with him. They take a leisurely stroll down the mountain and Kayla wipes out. Then Justin wipes out. Oh we are all having a great time. They have a MOMENT. Then Kayla gets uncomfortable. Justin struggles to get up. Kayla is worried about his knee again though. So Justin’s knee really does seem to be bothering him.

Later, Jenny and Wyatt chat in the ski school office. Justin hobbles in and Wyatt scolds him for not doing physical therapy. Apparently there are no actual doctors or physical therapists around so poor med student Wyatt steps up. Jenny and Wyatt agree to go on a date.

Justin continues to hobble around the ski lodge. And then his dad stops him and wants to know about training. Justin is snippy with him. Justin’s dad scolds him for hoarding all the hair dye. Then he and his dad have a heart to heart. Justin wonders at what point an adult man should stop dying his hair blonde.

That night, Justin and Kayla hang out at the carnival. Kayla wins Justin a stuffed animal. Wyatt wins Jenny a big stuffed bear. How old are these people supposed to be? Oh no. Now they’re doing line dancing. Kayla refuses to let Justin drink any alcohol that night. Her hair looks okay. Wait, no it still doesn’t. Justin tries to get out of line dancing but it doesn’t work. He has to participate. Wait, when is he supposed to spend the day with that crazy, lonely women? Also, Justin’s parents are out line dancing. I would pay big money to see my parents line dancing. Later, the music transitions to SLOW country music. So everyone is now slowing dancing. Great.

On the walk home, Justin says he has always wanted to be with Kayla and then THEY KISS! Kayla then feels awkward and says “goodnight, sir.”

The next day in the lobby of the lodge, not-quite-a-doctor Wyatt checks Justin’s knee. Everyone seems fine with that.

Jenny and Kayla talk about VINCE and Justin. I love Kayla’s outfit. Kayla doesn’t think they should date him but she does love coaching a real grown up. But let’s forget all that for now. It’s training time.

Justin is committed to that ski suit he’s wearing. Then that fancy lady skier, Nancy, stops by and throws in her two cents about Justin’s training. Later, they are supposed to meet for dinner. Kayla is late because of work chaos. Justin confirms that they are on a date. They just chat the night away. A couple of kids stop by the table and ask for his autograph. Then a whole line forms. And Justin politely asks them to wait until he’s done eating. Then they talk about his future. He thinks maybe wants to stay there.

The next morning, Kayla and Jenny talk about what Justin said. Kayla is not sure he even means what he said. Justin talks to his dad about the race. He asks his dad when he knew it was time to quit racing. His dad talks about some special pin. I don’t care.

Nancy pulls Kayla aside to chat. I think she wants Kayla to coach Hunter because he’s kind of high maintenance. Wow that’s not where I thought that was going. Oh, no she wants Kayla to coach HER. Still, not where I thought she was going. And she would basically have to abandon Justin right before the big race.

That night, Justin looks at the stars and thinks about whether he needs to run to the store for more hair dye or if his stash is sufficient. Kayla looks at old photos in the lodge. Kayla calls Justin to chat. They decide to chat at the firepit. He wants to talk about his next chapter. He says he’s ready for the next thing! He wants a family and to ski all day and hang around the fire pit at night. That sounds lovely. Then Kayla tells him about Nancy. She says she does need to go and try it. He agrees. But then she tells him that she needs to leave before the race. Kayla thinks they can still make it work. Oh but then she says she loves him! WOW. This movie is really taking us on a wild ride. They kiss AGAIN. Is this the first time a Hallmark couple doesn’t make it?! I can’t believe it.

Kayla says her goodbyes to everyone and she asks Justin’s dad to go easy on him. Justin’s dad takes over his training.

Later, Jenny and Kayla talk about whether Kayla actually wants to take this job. Jenny reminds her that it’s not goodbye forever. And she’s probably still excited about this coaching job.

Also, is mustache waiter in THIS MOVIE AS WELL?!

So now it’s time for the big race. Hunter gives another interview and shares he is part of the “Snow Voltz” team. I think that was the sponsor that interviewed Justin earlier. So that’s a bummer. Then Justin drops a BOMB on reporters. This will be the final race of his career. Wow.

Meanwhile, Kayla gets ready to head out. Nancy is ready to crush whatever race she’s getting ready for.

Now it’s time for Justin’s race. We watch a bunch of randos head down the hill. Justin’s dad gives him a nice, encouraging speech. Hunter races down the hill. Everyone cheers. He takes the lead. Now it’s Justin’s turn. For heaven’s sake let’s get on with it. He races down the hill. Everyone is pleased with his start. The clock ticks by. He finishes the race. Did he do it? YES. He just hit a new course record! Nothing like ending on top ol Justy boy! Everyone cheers and also waves cow bells. And well, what do you know. KAYLA is there. So apparently, Nancy is going to train on Winter Mountain instead. So Kayla PASSES UP A TRIP TO ZURICH for Justin. I would have probably chose Zurich honestly. But whatever. And that’s it!

So this movie was silly as per usual but it was fun to watch. I love a good snow and ski movie. It was EERILY similar to “Taking a Shot at Love” but I guess that’s what we’re hear for, right? So yeah, I didn’t hate it but I’m also not sure where I’d rank it in the line up so far.

A New Year’s Resolution

So, this weekend’s movie is the long awaited “A New Year’s Resolution.” It was in the Christmas 2019 lineup and then inexplicably pulled. As recently as March 2020, the lead actors were still scratching their heads as to what happened. Then, perhaps just as inexplicably, it is placed second in the line up of 2021’s “New Year New Movies” series. It was very clearly intended to be seen in the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s though. Just my opinion. Anyway, shall we?

Kelly produces a morning show in Milwaukee. I know I’ve seen the morning show host on a few Hallmark movies before. After the show, Kelly walks into a coffee shop that just says “GLUTEN FREE” on the window in giant letters. She changes up her order which throws off the poor barista. Then, she rejects a FREE SAMPLE. Tom, our leading man, is in line behind her and takes the free sample like a normal human. He propositions the barista, who actually may be the owner, to cater hot drinks for a New Year’s Day polar bear plunge his employer, Imperium Bank, is sponsoring. Well shoot. These crazy kids JUST missed each other.

Later, Kelly has a planning meeting for ideas for the show. She suggests following someone around for the month of January as they fulfill their New Year’s Resolution. Not a bad idea but probably boring to watch someone drive to the gym, eat salad, and go to bed early. Oh wait, I guess we could watch her friend…write his novel. Or, wait, are we not there yet? Never mind.

Tom gives a successful presentation and is quite pleased about it. Then he gets a frantic call from his sister, Sheila. WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH SHEILA.

At the TV studio, River, the host of the morning show, has a heart to heart with Kelly…I think about not working too hard? Or chasing her dreams or something? I don’t know. But it’s Christmas Eve and Kelly is grinding away alone.

Tom arrives at his sister’s house, which is all decorated for Christmas since it is Christmas Eve. So it makes absolutely zero sense to have this movie second in the line up.

KELLY’s friend calls to see where the heck she is. She will be there soon she says. But they know the truth. You would think this actor just found out his mom died by his reaction when he hangs up.

Tom ( I swear his nieces call him uncle Tony) and his sister chat after the kids go to bed. Then they work on wrapping gifts. What else has that girl been in? Is she in Love, Lights, Hanukkah? I can’t put my finger on it, and I’m not bothering to look it up.

Kelly finally arrives to the Christmas Eve party after everyone has gone home. She has a weird, (unhelpful in my view) conversation with her friend. She leads with telling her how stubborn she is and how she always says no….like where is she going with that? Her problem is actually that she overextends herself. She works long hours but yet still makes commitments to her friends and then ultimately flakes out. So she has poor work/life balance skills. But I don’t actually think she has a problem saying “no” based on the information I have presently. Then her friend gives her some nonsensical advice.

Then we flash forward to New Year’s Eve. Kelly is out to eat with her friend group and the other couple is still pretty punchy about Christmas Eve. I can’t believe how serious they are all taking this Secret Santa gift exchange. They are so…not understanding about the pressures of her job and are like, you need to hang out with us more. I mean, some jobs just don’t work like that all the time. I mean, that one girl is a police officer. She should be more understanding!

Tony and his friends are also out to eat on New Year’s Eve at the same restaurant. They talk about resolutions, naturally. Kelly’s friend group talks about resolutions as well. KELLY DOESN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT BOOK HER FRIEND IS WRITING IN HIS SPARE TIME. What a bad friend. He TOTALLY changed his idea and genre a few months ago KELLY. You would know if you had BEEN THERE. Kelly has a standard resolution of reading one book a week; which is pretty ambitious for someone who works so much they can’t celebrate Christmas Eve. Like, I think I read 30 last year and I was pretty impressed with myself. Then her friends suggest that she “say Yes” more since she LOVES TO SAY NO. I don’t really see her saying No that often though…it seems like she already says Yes too much and so she’s stretched too thin. But whatever.

Meanwhile, Tom is prompted by his friends to guess strangers’ resolutions. As one could do on New Year’s Eve 2019. He turns to the table behind him, which is Kelly’s table. Tom is actually quite good at guessing, since most people’s resolutions are PREDICTABLE. He easily guesses Kelly’s friends’ resolutions. Tom can’t guess hers though! And now we get a clarification on Kelly’s resolution-she is saying “yes” to EVERY SOCIAL INVITATION. So now we’re getting somewhere. Anyway, that sounds like my nightmare. And if this movie was supposed to take place in 2019-2020, boy, what a great year to commit to more social events.

After dinner, Tom invites Kelly out with him and his bros. Kelly declines because she already planned to hang out with her friends. Why didn’t they all hang together? Oooooh, is Kelly writing her number down for Tom? She slips it in his jacket pocket, presumably. Later, Kelly and her friends symbolically light their resolutions on fire. It would be fine, but then they make it weird. And then Tom finds Kelly’s number. And he texts her IMMEDIATELY. I think. Then Kelly’s friend asks her again to do the polar plunge the next day. She has to accept now that it’s New Year’s Day. Also, her friend starts this funny bit where they say her full name but use a ridiculous middle name. I believe she uses “Ezekiel” here.

Kelly runs into Tom the next day at the polar plunge. Kelly intends to prep Tom to be interviewed on her show, but they end up arguing about who should ask out who and when. Why did she give him her number if she didn’t want to go out on a date? What is happening? Kelly’s friend continues to be horrible by secretly wearing a wet suit for the plunge. OMG I’m freezing just watchin this. The friend’s hair isn’t even WET. Oh that would be it for my friendship with her.

Back at the office, everyone laughs watching Kelly on video. When they learn about her resolution, they decide to follow HER resolution journey.

Some time later, Kelly finds herself at another winter themed exercise event-the Blizzard Obstacle Course. Kelly gives a very depressing outlook of a potential future with TOM to her friend and he overhears the end. He is undeterred. The friend (who’s name I NEVER catch) was trying to encourage Kelly to ask Tom out. Tom points out that she is kind of a pessimist. Tom suggests they bet on who will win between the two of them. The winner buys coffee. HIGH STAKES, TOM. They are both pretty good at monkey bars, honestly. Have you tried to do monkey bars as an adult? I might do a themed obstacle course race like this, honestly. It looks kind of fun. Would I pay to do it? No. Kelly gives a little download to the show. She tries to catch Tom’s eye before she leaves with her friends but misses him.

The next day at work, Kelly notices that Tom left her a coffee. He leaves her a PUNNY note. Then Kelly’s friend drops some coffee off too. She invites Kelly to a speed dating event. Then Kelly goes on the morning show to talk about her resolution! Oh boy, Kelly reveals that her worst fear is MAGICIANS. WHAT. And so this morning show forces poor Kelly to be a magician’s assistant on the show.

At Tom’s work, there is a CHILI COOKOFF EMERGENCY. They need more money or something? Anyway, it’s a disaster.

Then Kelly goes to a spin class with her friend. The her friend gives her some “real talk” about her life or whatever but it’s too vague for my taste.

That night is the speed dating event. Guess who’s there?!! Tom’s friend plays wingman with Kelly on his turn with her. Tom tries to get info on Kelly from her friend during his turn. She “grills” him and basically admits that Kelly has much higher standards than she does. Then, when Kelly and Tom finally pair up, she asks him on a date! They have VERY BUSY schedules but finally agree to go to a hockey game the following week.

Wow the MUSTACHE on that waiter! The gang arrives to the BOX SEATS Tom got from the bank. Tom spills that he has 3 brothers and that one sister we saw earlier. Kelly is an only child. Then Kelly and Tom go down to the concessions to get cheese fries. HELLO that’s the point of a box! They bring that all TO YOU. Anyway, they are chit chatting. Then she invites him to…something. I don’t know what it is but he agrees.

Kelly gives another update on her resolutions on the morning show. We have some great clips of her trying curling. At the break, a producer tells Kelly that 20 people have had accounts opened under their name. MYSTERIOUS. River wonders if Kelly shouldn’t just confront Tom about it? Kelly is like, let’s just do some digging okay?

Later that night, Kelly and her friends inexplicably play LIFE with no children forcing them. Then her friends are like, wait, weren’t you supposed to move to Chicago? Why didn’t you do that? Her friend is like, you’ve done so much this month and without falling on your face! But she DID fall on her face….remember curling?

The next day at work, Kelly has a meeting with River and her boss (?). The bank story comes up again. They have three people willing to go on the record to say accounts were opened in their name without permission. Kelly pushes back a little. The boss thinks they need a whistleblower on the inside. River gives Kelly a LOOK and is like, GIRL. Kelly is like, what? It’s not like my boyfriend works at the bank. Kelly calls Tom and wants to meet up. Tom is busy at the chili cookoff. SO MUCH BANKING. He invites her to stop by.

At the chili cook off, Tom says “I want to write songs about your heroism” when Kelly agrees to take tickets at the event. I love that. Later he brings her a very empty paper cup of chili. He tells her how he has been feeling a little overwhelmed. Then Kelly just ASKS him about the accounts. Tom is skeptical. Kelly suggests they break up now because when the story breaks it would be an ethical nightmare. Tom is like, nah. Kelly finally agrees to keep seeing Tom. But then I think they get lost in some of their metaphors. Then Tom asks to kiss her but SHE SHUTS HIM DOWN.

Kelly’s next event is for the Chinese New Year. She does a little segment for her show and then Tom arrives. He thinks she should be in FRONT of the camera more. Then she shares about doing open mic nights in college or something? Tom invites her to be on a podcast but she says she can say no since it will be after her birthday. Then she invites him to her birthday party. They get some food and do more chit chat. They both say they want to go to Chicago. She asks why he didn’t ever go? He says that conversation has to wait until date four. She says, oh so there’s a date four? Like, hello? He has been the one saying he’s interested. As far as he’s concerned, there will be date four. They try to make plans to see each other again. They are very busy bees.

Kelly practices her story out loud when Tom calls. He invites her to hang out with him ALL DAY. She needs to dress casual for the family time-a niece’s birthday party. Then an EVENING GOWN for the Gala that night. Kelly says she needs to figure out what to wear so she will see him in 30 MINUTES. WHAT?

It’s birthday time. Kelly is immediately conscripted to help with the birthday cake, giving her an opportunity to have a heart to heart with Sheila. Then Sheila abruptly starts singing happy birthday without giving anyone any warning. Then Tom takes her on a really fun date! They go to a coffee shop that has a bunch of board games. Super cute idea. Oof. Tom says my thoughts out loud-all the board games in the world and she picks checkers. Everyone is keeping track of how many dates they’ve been on. Anyway, she asks him again why he didn’t go to Chicago. He says the idea of leaving his family was too hard. But where are the other brothers? We didn’t meet them. We just met Sheila. So what’s up? All in all, his answer to this question is VERY UNDERWHELMING. They chit chat more and no one cares.

Then Kelly gets ready and they have a shouting convo while she gets ready for the Gala. Kelly has more info about the fraud scheme at the bank. They talk about going undercover to find out what’s going on. Where did she get this evening gown? He calls her breathtaking. So that could be good or bad, honestly.

They have a lovely time at the Gala. Kelly gets an email from Casey about the bank fraud situation. That actually doesn’t come up again so forget I mentioned it. Then Tom asks her to dance. They chat about their fun day together. I can’t really bear to listen to this anymore. AND THEN THEY KISS. TWICE.

Some time in the future, Tom goes undercover to ask the sales team what’s up. The sales team talks about how stressed they are hitting their sales quotas. He all but admits they are creating fraudulent accounts to hit their targets and get commissions. Later, Tom talks to his sales buddy in private in his office. Tom tells his sales buddy that he has to tell Kelly first. WHAT. There is no way he should tell Kelly first. The right thing would be to just like try to fix things internally, not some salacious news story.

At some later point, Tom arrives out of costume to Kelly’s Great Gatsby themed birthday party. It is INTENSE and VERY FANCY. Then her friends make a little toast to her. Tom gives her a very sentimental gift. It’s lovely. To summarize her feelings about her resolution, she quotes the Great Gatsby. Of course, there is no opportunity to update Kelly on the whole fraudulent account thing.

The next day, Kelly hears that the bank closed all the faulty accounts. Tom tells Kelly all about how he did the right thing. Kelly is mad and emotional that she basically doesn’t get her “hard hitting news story”. Tom is like, well I think the bank can still do the right thing. YEAH DUH. But Kelly isn’t having any of this and says it’s over. Of course.

Later, Tom’s boss comes in and talks to him about the drama. The boss is pleased with his initiative and now Tom is up for a promotion. Tom asks what they are going to do about the fraud. Glen is like, how about you just shut it and take the promotion? So, there it is. The big, bad, Imperiam Bank is going to do nothing. This seems really short sighted considering the liability Tom is now and the fact that the news has already gotten wind of it. I don’t think merely closing the accounts would be sufficient for any of this.

So then Tom goes straight to Kelly to tell her that he quit his job and is willing to go on record to reveal what the bank is doing. But actually I think he would have whistleblower protections for revealing this info. He may not have needed to quit. Then Tom gives an interview on air. And also, how did Glen not think any of this through? Tom quitting creates a MAJOR liability for them. I mean, this is just silly.

Later, Kelly reviews the clip, which has “officially gone viral.” Whatever that means. So now everyone is covering the story.

At her home, Kelly paces back and forth in front of several bouquets of flowers and the board game “Sorry.” BUT HE SHOULDN’T BE SORRY. Why is she not already back together with him? Why does Tom want to even be with such a crazy person? Then her friends arrive and are like, you need to give Tom another chance. But she’s like, no screw Tom. I GOT A JOB IN CHICAGO. Her friends are like, you can figure it out with Tom still? It’s only two hours away.

Oh dear. Then Kelly gives her weird end of the Hallmark movie speech at a coffee shop open mic “story slam” night. Kelly just save it for your diary. This is not how story slams work? Tom sneaks in to hear it. Everyone applauds but they SHOULDN’T. Oh great. Tom is going to do a story slam now. He gives an allegory from the Velveteen rabbit. OMG HE GOT A JOB IN CHICAGO TOO. And then they KISS again. And that’s it.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie. It wasn’t the disaster I was expecting, considering the delay in it’s premiere. It is truly perplexing why this movie was pulled last year. I think it would have worked perfectly on the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s. So far, I still liked “Taking a Shot at Love” better because it just had more January/Winter feels… I think this one was weighed down a little by trying to blend in both holidays and cover about 6 weeks of time in 80 minutes. But, Michael Rady continues to be one of my faves! What did you think? Also, are we starting to see any tropes for the January slate of movies? I am starting to see a pattern for Hallmark movies, regardless of season so maybe I will put that checklist together.

Taking a Shot at Love

Well you guys, it’s time for the next season of Hallmark movies. I loved WinterFest last year and I wish they had kept that title. Instead they’ve changed it to “New Year New Movies”, which is just awful in comparison. Plus I loved seeing all the different spins on Winter Festivals. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the winter themed movies so I am cautiously optimistic here. There is a rumor though, that this particular “film” was so terrible that it was canned last year so I really can’t WAIT! Let’s get after it.

Our lead, Jenna wears a sweater cape in her beautifully winter decorated home. Her friend Erin arrives and Jenna greets her with a basket of scones. Who puts their baked goods in a basket like Little Red Riding Hood? Erin gives her a ride into town. My dad gets outraged that neither Jenna nor Erin have a “puff ball” on the top of their beanie.

Jenna tells her class they are going to perform at the end of the Avon Winter Festival. Right before class starts, two moms approach Jenna about their daughters. OMINOUS.

Meanwhile, Ryan is at hockey practice for the NEW YORK RANGERS. His ankle is bothering him. He is not where he needs to be athletically. He is like, well I’ve done all the rehab work so you should let me play. And his coach is like, you’re not good anymore so…no. Also, that’s not how any of this works.

Back at the dance studio, the moms tell Jenna that they are pulling their girls out of the ballet studio so they can be on a competitive dance team. The dance program the girls joined is cleverly titled “Dance Company.” Very original. Anyway, that is NOT what Jenna wants dance to be about.

Later, Jenna has a weird fancy dinner with her cousin, Terry. He is a scout for the D league hockey team for the New York Rangers. Terry realizes that Jenna had the same injury as Ryan. She tells him that a few professional football players have used ballet to come back from similar injuries. Well isn’t that interesting?

Outside the rink, Ryan signs an autograph for a fan. He is still visibly injured as he limps away. Then he talks to Terry, who conveniently is also his agent, about it. Ryan is like, I’ve done everything there is to do! Like that should be enough to just let him back on the team? Or does he just want to be put out to pasture? Terry tries to talk him in to using ballet to heal his injury. It’s either that or not playing hockey Ryan! That old boy’s probably only got a couple good years left anyway! In sports years, Luke McFarlane is straight up ELDERLY.

Terry talks to Jenna about training Ryan or teaching him ballet. BUT IT’S NOT WHAT SHE DOES. She doesn’t want to make any more money than she does right now. No dance team, no extra training. Curiously, immediately after that conversation, outside the studio, Jenna tries to ask the owner of the building to hold off on raising her rent. Too bad she doesn’t have a really easy solution for making up that difference. Jenna finally wises up and agrees to train Ryan.

Ryan reluctantly heads up north to stay in Jenna’s guest house. How about she just teaches dance in that “guest house” she’s getting set up for Ryan? What is she doing in that giant house and seemingly barely scraping by?

Jenna gets the house all ready for Ryan. Erin freaks about her favorite Ranger staying there. Jenna doesn’t know anything about sports. Doesn’t care about sports. Didn’t bother to google the famous person staying at her home like any sane person.

Later, Ryan struggles to find the key to let himself in. I do think Jenna should have met him there but maybe she runs it like an Airbnb. Anyway, he eventually figures it out.

Later, Jenna returns to discover that Ryan has really made himself at home. He thought the main house was the rental. BUT WHY? Why would this GIANT HOUSE be the rental house? Maybe no one told him it would be on the same property as the dance instructor’s. I am going to have to just go with that and keep this moving. When Jenna shows him the studio above the garage, he is visibly disappointed. Plus it’s above the garage, and he a is king. So how dare she? But for real, why is he disappointed about staying at this lovely over the garage loft? It’s so cute. Jenna even points this out which I think is NECESSARY because Ryan is basically being rude. However, the TV in this loft is broken which is a disaster, frankly. Why wouldn’t you get that TV fixed? Or just get a new one for your rental space? As a consolation, Jenna tells Ryan a little about the town’s month long winter festival. Sounds fun! This movie would go really well with a WINTER FEST THEME. No Chill Erin stops by and re-gifts her, what several day old(?) scones to Ryan.

Ryan arrives an hour late to his first lesson with Jenna. He thinks she will cancel the class she is about to teach with young children so he can have a private session. Instead, he reluctantly joins the kids’ class. I gotta say, this guy is so rude. But Luke McFarlane is the one trying to play a rude character so you kind of still like him? The WORST.

The next morning, Ryan can barely move. He’s so sore from his first class. If it’s anything like barre, then SAME GIRL.

Jenna makes Ryan the bougiest cup of coffee in the land-a pour over. Ryan agrees that this is, at the very least, the snobbiest cup of coffee he’s ever had. Yes, correct. Then Ryan cuts himself a piece of quiche like an ANIMAL. Seriously is he cutting it in a half circle? What in the world is he doing with that thing? Then Ryan hobbles out to get to weight lifting…in jeans.

Ryan arrives LATE again to ballet in JEANS again. WHY DID YOU EVEN PACK JEANS? And does he have to wear those shoes? Jenna suggests he use her pond as an ice bath. Ryan seems excited about doing a mini polar bear plunge in the lake behind Jenna’s house. Then they get down to business. Jenna also gives him a real life lesson about planning your life. Like maybe being flexible and having new dreams or whatever. He asks why she quit dancing professionally. She doesn’t answer.

Later, Erin and her husband, Matt come over for dinner. I think they are going to the winter festival too. Then Jenna discovers that Ryan ordered a TV for himself. She’s shocked that he doesn’t want to sit in his apartment alone every night for a month. Then Erin invites Ryan to the winter festivities. It actually sounds SO FUN.

At the festival, Ryan struggles to make small talk with Jenna’s friends. Ryan literally only thinks about hockey. HOCKEY HOCKEY HOCKEY. Ryan talks Jenna into playing outdoor air hockey. Jenna is really good. She somehow has a pink handle too. Ryan asks again why she quit dancing but they are interrupted by Matt and Erin. OMINOUS.

Jenna has SO MANY WINTER lights up at her house. Is that even allowed? Ryan thanks Jenna for a fun evening.

The next day, Luke gets put in his place by a young male dance student/youth hockey player.

Later, Jenna’s students rehearse for the festival. Ryan watches and is impressed by the athleticism.

Later, back at the house, Ryan and Jenna get to know each other. Ryan shares how his love for hockey began. Then Ryan remembers that he actually saw one of Jenna’s shows. They even took a picture together. Ryan says the girl in the photo with him broke up with him once he got injured. Jenna finally tells him what happened with the ballet. She basically quit over a break up? Then Jenna notices that Ryan is limping because he skated with his team and hurt his ankle. GOOD THING SHE DIDN’T LET HIM CARRY THAT SPACE HEATER.

Erin shows up to Jenna’s VERY early with URGENT NEWS. It sounds like Jenna is about to lose more students to the BIG DANCE COMPANY. This couldn’t have been in a text, Erin?

Ryan arrives ON TIME for a dance class that Jenna wanted to cancel so he could rest. So then he invites her to take a walk. Alexa is a little shrimpy shrimp!! They get a hot chocolate at an outdoor stand. They wander through the saddest clumping of cheap winter festival booths that Hallmark has ever put together. Are the signs all made by a high school student government class?

Jenna’s student do another rehearsal. Felix practices his jump. Jenna is felling good about their performance.

Jenna sees Ryan doing some stick work outside later. She invites him in for dinner and she tells Ryan more about her injury and her break up. It sounds like her injury was the reason she was fired even though she said that wasn’t why she stopped dancing professionally. So what is it Jenna? Maybe the ankle healed but they had already all moved on?

Later, Ryan sets up a lovely fire pit outside for Jenna and her friends. Matt calls Ryan’s stick ” a beauty.” Is that what you’d call it? No. You wouldn’t. Boy, Matt isn’t much to look at but he sure knows how to swing a stick. Matt tells Ryan he was actually a few days away from being drafted when his dad died. And he… had to take over the family business? He could have bought 1000 family businesses with his NHL salary. Then Felix and his dad stop by and Ryan offers to give him a hockey lesson!

Then Ryan and Jenna go get more firewood. Ryan suggests she fix the barn up to be the dance studio instead of renting space. AND I AGREE!! Jenna says it would be too expensive. Then they are ABOUT TO HAVE A MOMENT and Felix interrupts to remind them about the firewood. WHO EVEN INVITED YOU FELIX?

The next morning, Matt, Felix and Ryan head to the rink. Matt is surprised to learn that he will be giving Felix a hockey lesson. Luckily, Ryan has THREE pairs of skates and also knows that he and Matt are the same size. So that works out. Felix needs help with stick handling. Yep. He’s terrible. Truly. He is good as skating though! Good thing he does ballet. But actually I do think that would help. Then Jenna and Erin stop by. It’s a fun time for everyone.

That night, there is a big storm. They lose power so naturally, Jenna invites her friends over for a pitch black game night. Ryan finds his way over as well. When they arrive, Erin runs her big mouth about how perfect Jenna and Ryan are together before she realizes he can hear everything. Oops. Awkward.

They seem to all recover after that 20 minute commercial break so the four of them play poker. Jenna is terrible at it I guess. There are seriously so many other games they could have played. Then Erin and Matt head home. But somehow, it is too dangerous for Ryan to make it across the backyard. He asks to sleeps on the couch. The living room is the only room with heat so Jenna sleeps in the living room too. Okay so let’s recap. First, this giant house is a ONE BEDROOM? 2. The living room is the only room with heat. Got it.

Jenna is awoken by a phone call telling her a power line fell right in front of her studio so she can’t get in. Ryan invites her to the rink instead. Practice is cancelled so he wants to show Jenna how he “destresses.” With her own skates too! Also, she says she doesn’t like ice skating. WHAT! LIAR. They are having a MOMENT. And then he teaches her how to shoot and stuff. It’s kind of cute.

Back at the studio, Ryan offers to hang some flyers around the neighborhood. She sees one of the moms from the DANCE COMPANY hanging up flyers of her own. Their company is now the GRAND FINALE. Ryan tries desperately to give her advice using hockey lingo. He calls this a “power play.” Which, if we are comparing apples to apples, it’s not.

Later, Ryan tries to suggest that Jenna train more pro athletes to round out her studio. She really doesn’t want to do that. And by “that” I mean, make money.

Then Jenna and Ryan do more ballet. We have a nice little montage situation. The kids rehearsal is in the montage mix too. However, it is clear that after a month, Ryan really has not improved.

Later we have to suffer through a youth hockey game. Felix’s dad wonders if Matt wants to be a head coach of their team. Ryan, Matt’s beanie twin, suggests he just give it a try.

Later, Jenna is finally okay with Ryan suiting up and hitting the ice. We see a kid recording the practice. I wonder if that will come back to haunt anyone.

Terry runs into Ryan at the winter festival. That video got posted and it actually all worked out in Ryan’s favor. Terry wants to bring Ryan back to NYC TONIGHT. He can get started tomorrow after another quick physical.

Jenna is very encouraging of him to go. He says he wishes they had more time together. I like her leopard beanie. That’s cute. Ryan leaves and Jenna tearfully walks away. And that’s the end. Just kidding.

It’s time for the big ballet recital. Jenna is wearing a CUTE dress. Erin rushes over to show her that Ryan is actually playing in a game that night! Jenna is reluctant to watch. He scores a goal. Jenna cheers for Ryan but is very sad because she misses him.

Okay now Ryan is going to bend space and time to drive all the way up north to make it to the ballet recital. Jenna is approached by a mom that is really impressed by her training Ryan. Then, of course, Ryan shows up. Because this show must be in the middle of the night. Ryan asks to introduce the dancers. He gives a little speech and does a little ballet move. My dad pipes up and says, this is the point in the movie where I just hear “blah blah blah” and cut to the end. SAME DAD. The dancers do their little performance. Obviously. They get a standing ovation. Those two moms from earlier are feeling REGRET. Oh and apparently Felix and Ryan have a secret handshake.

Ryan signs autographs outside. He wants to talk with Jenna somewhere more private. He tells her he took a helicopter to get there. So there we go. One game in and he can take the owner’s helicopter, eh? Anyway, he wants to be wherever she lives in the “off season.” Which is basically just July and August. So FUN. Wait they LOVE EACH OTHER? My husband says, wow it should have been called “30 Days to I Love You.” Anyway, they kiss and that’s it!

So I actually kind of liked this movie. I don’t know what it is about these winter movies but I do just love them. Maybe because you get all the fun wintery parts of a Christmas movie without having to jam in a bunch of forced Christmas activities. Who knows. I do think there were A TON of loose ends though. Maybe more than any movie I’ve watched. Because let’s recap-1. Jenna is not going to change her business model to incorporate training athletes from other sports. 2. Jenna is not going to field her own competitive dance team. 3. Jenna is not going to renovate her barn to run her dance studio in house. 4. Ryan is going to spend approximately 2-4 months a year in this town. So, no one learned any lessons. This relationship is NOT going to work and Jenna will eventually lose her dance studio. Got it! At least they… TOOK A SHOT AT LOVE.