Blondie: I LOVE Hallmark Christmas Movies… Don’t You?

Hallmark Movies
Blondie
November10/ 2017

I LOVE HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIES!

…Don’t You?

BLONDIE LOGO

“… look like they belong in a snow globe.”

I cry at the end of every single Hallmark Christmas Movie!  OK, almost all of them.  Why you might ask, they are so unrealistic!

I’m sorry, but so much of “realistic” SUCKS these days.  I do not feel one bit guilty curling up with my Hallmark Christmas Movie…

BobLee says he could never really “trust” anyone who didn’t like Lonesome Dove.   I feel that way about Hallmark Christmas Movies.

Yes, sadly, they are unrealistic.  The most unrealistic thing is that snow only falls on grassy areas, nevBlondieer streets or sidewalks. And it falls ALL THE TIME, but just lightly! It’s MAGIC!

Here are the reasons I love them: everyone is pretty… everyone is kind (except one person per movie who causes tension but always loses in the end)… the towns are small and pretty full of nice people… they go to church… they pray… they decorate everything (even the backs of their computers and kitchen cabinets)… their children are polite and disciplined (“It’s time for bed.” “Okay mom, I love you!”)… there is no politics… there are no contentious race or gender issues…

… there are lots of wonderful families who strive to support one another.

BUT!! THE NUMBER ONE REASON I LOVE THEM is…..

The girl stars are often a bit confused. They are accomplished in all manner of careers but total dizzy in their personal lives. They are sweet but wreaks. Sweet wreaks as they strive to be what old time feminism taught us, you must succeed in the business world or you are nothing!

The boy stars are often solid, secure, successful in odd ways, quietly sure of themselves, kind, patient, handsome loners.  They are bemused by the sweet wreak that has been dropped into their life and they patiently wait for her to come to her senses.

It takes hours of commercials for the goofy girls to figure out that they need those solid guys.  I just love that they often give up all their perceived business success to be with a great, strong, caring, romantic guy and live in an idyllic small town with perfect snow!

SO delightfully unrealistic!

Apparently I am not alone in this addiction to fictional bliss.

QUOTE: During last year’s holiday takeover, the size of the flagship Hallmark Channel’s target audience—women ages 25 to 54—more than doubled the average of any previous month. In the first two weekends of this year’s Christmas blitz, Hallmark had the biggest audience of any cable network. The seasonal strategy has helped drive overall growth for the network, which saw its ratings among adult viewers under 50, the industry benchmark, grow by 31% last year.

Note: these MUST be taped to get thru the MASSIVE number of commercials. For every 2 hour movie, one hour is commercials!

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How the Hallmark Channel Became a Christmas-Movie Machine

The sure-fire ingredients for a successful holiday show: quaint small town, flirtatious tree decorating and, most importantly, snow

John Jurgensen… Updated Nov. 8, 2017 11:25 a.m. ET WSJ

“Switched for Christmas” has all the ingredients for a Hallmark Channel holiday movie. A small-town Christmas festival. Flirtation and decorating. Snowy epiphanies about what really matters. And Candace Cameron Bure, a Hallmark audience favorite who has starred in six Christmas movies for the network. This season the network doubled the actor’s presence: Ms. Bure plays identical twins who temporarily trade lives and stumble into romance.

The commitment to Christmas is total in the TV world of Hallmark, with wall-to-wall programming requiring year-round production. Thirty-three new and original holiday films are premiering on two Hallmark channels between Oct. 27 and Jan. 1—up from 28 new movies last year. That’s a total of 136 Christmas films produced by Crown Media Family Networks, which operates four Hallmark-branded channels, since the company ramped up its output of original movies in 2008.

Hallmark’s go-to producers are tasked with finding ultra-quaint settings without recycling the same charming inns, barns and town halls in multiple films. Vancouver-based Front Street Pictures coordinated five Christmas movies for Hallmark this year, the last of which is shooting now.

Front Street production manager Jamie Lake is accustomed to shooting Christmas movies in summer when actors sweat in their parkas. His crews create snowy landscapes with white drapery and truckloads of ice used to pack fish. In his office he has databases of potential locations and he spends days off driving around, hunting for buildings that look like they belong in a snow globe.

“Every movie wants that small, cute town and there’s only so many small, cute towns within driving distance of the film zone,” Mr. Lake says, referring to the Vancouver area in which productions receive tax credits.

Fort Langley, a picturesque village just east of Vancouver, is a little too popular with camera crews. So this year Mr. Lake pushed further east to Chilliwack, a farming community surrounded by mountains. He zeroed in on a narrow block with a barbershop and toy store, which he says was “perfect for the little parade” in “Rocky Mountain Christmas,” set in a fictional hamlet in Colorado.

An all-out approach to the holiday season is common in other industries such as retailing and radio, where more than 500 stations around the U.S. are expected to switch to an all-Christmas format this year, according to Nielsen. Some cable TV networks—including Disney’s Freeform, Ion, Lifetime and Up—roll out Christmas countdowns, featuring familiar hits and a handful of originals

During last year’s holiday takeover, the size of the flagship Hallmark Channel’s target audience—women ages 25 to 54—more than doubled the average of any previous month. In the first two weekends of this year’s Christmas blitz, Hallmark had the biggest audience of any cable network.  (Eat your heart out, ESPN!)

The seasonal strategy has helped drive overall growth for the network, which saw its ratings among adult viewers under 50, the industry benchmark, grow by 31% last year.

However, Hallmark faces a unique challenge: producing three dozen movies about the same holiday while avoiding “Groundhog Day” repetition.

Often there’s a struggling family business that needs saving, like the cozy inn in “Christmas at Holly Lodge,” the old-fashioned holiday shop in “Sharing Christmas,” or the theater that loses its lease in “Christmas Encore.”

A big-time star encounters small-town romance in “Marry Me at Christmas,” “A Song for Christmas” and “Rocky Mountain Christmas.” In “The Perfect Christmas Present,” the hero is a personal gift buyer known to his clients as Mr. Christmas—not unlike the nickname for the title character in “Miss Christmas,” whose job is finding the perfect tree for Chicago.

Executives say it’s the characters that make each movie unique. “Even if there’s a similar tradition in one movie to the next, that doesn’t mean the characters aren’t going on different journeys,” says Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of programming and network publicity for Crown Media Family Networks. The company is a division of the Kansas City, Mo.-based Hallmark Cards, Inc.

In addition to a feel-good finale, there’s an atmospheric checklist for every movie. “Buying a Christmas tree. Wrapping gifts. Thinking of gifts. Baking and cooking meals. Family gatherings. All of the things that you think of as traditional,” says Randy Pope, senior vice president of programming.

Snow is a dealbreaker. “Every year we get scripts with something like, ‘It’s the first year in the country’s snowiest city that they had no snow.’ Nope. Not on Hallmark it’s not,” Ms. Vicary says.

Tradition extends to the stars who return annually to Hallmark movies, especially actresses famed for TV roles in the 1980s and ’90s, including Ms. Bure and Lori Loughlin (“Full House”), Lacey Chabert (“Party of Five”) and Danica McKellar (“The Wonder Years”).

Hallmark’s formula has resulted in a certain sameness in casting. All the romantic leading roles in this year’s batch of 33 movies are played by white actors, except for the Hispanic stars of “Enchanted Christmas,” Alexa and Carlos PenaVega.

“We’re working on it and doing everything we can to create the best cast for each movie and also look at diversity as part of our strategy,” Ms. Vicary says, noting an expanding roster of stars, such as Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete, the African-American couple whose family is at the center of Hallmark’s first unscripted series, premiering in February.

Inducing yuletide déjà vu is part of the point for fans. Testimonials on Twitter include “I’ve done nothing but watch Hallmark Christmas movies for the past 3 days” and “i am so beyond ready to binge hallmark christmas movies nonstop for the next two months.” The recognizable rhythms also work for people who enjoy them ironically. As one viewer tweeted, they “may be cheesy and predictable, but that sure as hell isn’t stopping me from watching them.”

Hallmark executives are now picking scripts for 2018’s Christmas lineup, and filling smaller orders for other seasonal movie blocks such as “Very Valentine’s,” “Summer Nights” and “Fall Harvest.

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Blondie
  • Zoot Reply
    5 days ago

    Please you and BobLee sit down with coffee one morning and read the reviews of “Pottersville,” that just came out last Friday. It is Directed by a Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie veteran Producer, Seth Henrikson, Ol’ Seth has snapped and has taken a rather talented cast (Ron Perlman, Ian McShane, Michael Shannon, Christine Hendricks, and Thomas Lennon) along with him to a 1 week run to Cinema Crazy Town and then straight to video. Not DVD, video. Furry Culture, Bigfoot, Fake Australians, and Marital Infedility, nothing says Hallmark like this. A simple Google search of “Pottersville Reviews” will command your attention more than Lacey Chabert in a tobaggon running to make that Chriistmas Eve deadline to save her job/make managing partner. http://www.indiewire.com/2017/11/pottersville-review-michael-shannon-christmas-movie-1201896024/

    • Blondie. Reply
      5 days ago

      Oh My! I just watched the trailer. I’m scrubbing my eyes and my brain with steel wool. That is so bizarre!

      • Doug Reply
        4 days ago

        Hard to unsee that. Yikes!!

      • Zoot Reply
        4 days ago

        It truly is horribly wonderful, yes?

  • Doug Reply
    6 days ago

    Predictable, yep. Syrupy for sure. Unrealistic and sometimes v-e-ry s-l-o-w. Once again we are not in Hallmark’s demographic. I shouldn’t be interested in such drivel but can not get enough and every movie so much. Hollywood should take note but doubt they’ll ever figure it out. Is there any casting couch slime at Hallmark? Will the well preserved Barbi Benton ever be given a hot granny role? Hubba Hubba!!

    • BobLee Reply
      6 days ago

      Not speaking for Blondie, but I think WE are exactly Hallmark’s demographics. Hallmark Christmas Movies are The New Millennium version of Father Knows Best… Bonanza… Happy Days… Beaver Cleaver… Little House On The Prairie… etc etc etc. Long Live Happy Endings !!! … “WE” are not Hollywood’s demographics for sure.
      .
      When I lived in Kansas City in the late 70s, EVERYONE wanted to work for Hallmark forever and ever, amen…

      • Doug Reply
        6 days ago

        The demo (women 25-54) is what the article stated. Get what you mean. I’m totally with you. Barbi is still a PDEW class “player.”😉

  • Barbara Reply
    1 week ago

    You and my Mom – loving those Hallmarks!

  • BobH Reply
    1 week ago

    I’m about to be put on your ‘bad’ list. I DESPISE all hallmark movies. I don’t object so much to the extremely hokey plot lines and unrealistic characters as I do the cloyingly unctuous and tonally banal production techniques.

    I despise them so much that I will no longer (knowingly) buy any hallmark product.

    • BobH Reply
      1 week ago

      But, I totally agree with BL about Lonesome Dove.

    • Jack.95 Reply
      1 week ago

      You’re a strange one Mr Grinch…

    • blondie.STBS Reply
      1 week ago

      Must be a boy thing! I won’t ask what you think about fruitcakes. 🙂

      • BobH Reply
        5 days ago

        Fruitcakes are for gifting people you don’t like.

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