The Christmas Eve Miracle Mountain Reindeer Dog and more wonderful holiday movies

by Lorin Michel Monday, November 19, 2012 10:15 PM

It’s that time of year again. Thoughts turn to death, broken hearts, missing children, long lost loves, hardened widows, miserly widowers, adorable children, dogs and dastardly weather. Yep. It’s holiday movie season on TV, a tradition led in earnest by the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. These movies all tend to star either washed-up stars or up-and-comers. They almost always take place somewhere there is freakishly cold weather, or someplace where there is a freakish storm that has never happened before.

I don’t know of any holiday movies being released this year in the theater, not even kid’s movies. But for television, they have been filmed and are ready for broadcast and re-broadcast ad nauseam, now and through December 25. Lifetime TV started several weeks ago, broadcasting a holiday themed movie every afternoon at 4 pm. Don’t ask me how I know this. I will not divulge my source.

Each movie, or telefilm as they’re called in the biz, is full of people needing a good dose of holiday cheer, usually in the form of love. Or redemption. Or some combination there of. Hallmark is offering a mind-numbing 12 new flicks this season and is even promoting this avalanche of cheer as – drum roll – “The 12 New Movies of Christmas.” Catchy.

Not to be outdone, Lifetime, that other bastion of schmaltz, is showing “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime Movie Marathon,” with 10 original movies including the new The Christmas Consultant with David Hasselhoff. Note to the wise: Anything with David Hasselhoff probably should be avoided. I don’t believe any more reason is necessary but in case there is, one word: Baywatch. Nothing says ho-ho like scantily clad lifeguards running around Southern California. No offense to lifeguards.

Lifetime is also serving up The Wishing Tree which tells the tale of holiday angst at a boarding school where a young teacher is having trouble dealing with the death of his wife. Hasselhoff is also having trouble with a dead spouse in his movie. Naturally there’s also another take on the Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, with a flick called It’s Christmas, Carol! where Carol, a busy publisher, gets a visit from the ghost of her dead boss. The dead boss is purportedly played with hilarity by Carrie Fisher.

Holiday Spin features a car crash; The Christmas Heart is about a teenager who needs a heart transplant. The holidays in holiday films are decidedly unhealthy. People die, either before the movie starts, at the end in order to save someone else, or are in danger of dying unless someone else dies first. Lessons are learned, tears are shed, and in the end, a nice Christmas tune wraps everything up nicely, with a bow, and often a very TV-passionate kiss.

I’m a sucker for the holidays and I’m a bigger sucker for holiday movies, though I prefer the old theatrical ones like Scrooge, A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, Holiday and Miracle on 34th Street.  For more contemporary movies, I love Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and The Holiday. The television equivalents have to be good holiday movies. I can’t take another one starring Melissa Gilbert, or Richard Thomas. Most television movies tend to be a little lacking in originality, a little too hung up on death.

I remember one from many, many years ago starring the late, great Jessica Tandy and Stephanie Zimbalist. It was called The Story Lady and it was charming. Maybe if I saw it again today, I wouldn’t think so, but I remember it fondly. And with Jessica Tandy, how bad could it have been?

Because I’m a nut for holiday movies, I imagine I’ll watch one or two. I just can’t help myself. Plus, there’s something kind of magical about snow falling in a place where snow doesn’t normally fall, and on Christmas eve, when a child who was missing is magically found by a reindeer, and a dog stays close in order to keep said child warm and the widowed father whose heart has been closed accepts the help from the local sheriff who happens to be a woman and everyone weeps at the end as the telling sound of jingle bells rings through the falling snow. Well, what’s not to like.

Hmmmm. Maybe that could be the 13th new movie of the season on Hallmark, or the 11th on Lifetime. It could be called The Christmas Eve Miracle Mountain Reindeer Dog. I’d watch it. And I’d probably cry.

Celebrating the schmaltz of the season. 

Comments (1) -

11/22/2012 12:07:02 PM #

Does anyone else find it kind of funny that Lorin considers "Die Hard" and "Lethal Weapon" to be holiday movies? LOL!

Bobbi United States

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