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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

'Lifetime Double Feature' DVD: Two More Yuletide Yarns About Christmas Business Making Strange Bedfellows

Lionsgate separately releasing two double-feature DVDs of 2017 Lifetime Network Christmas movies on October 23, 2018 provides both a chance to be alternative on Halloween and to start getting in holiday spirit. Watching all four on one day provides a chance to relive memories of marathon viewings during family reunions at which these movies are the only thing that everyone likes.

This post "Wrapped Up in Christmas" and "Snowed Inn Christmas" follows the recent review of the "A Very Merry Toy Store" and "Four Christmases and A Wedding" release.

One spoiler for folks who lack time to read these articles because they already are frantically decking the halls and searching online (R.I.P. Toys R Us) for the hot new toy is that the general theme of all four films is the same; the distinguishing characteristics are the actors of the '80s and '90s who star in them and the nature of the conflict of the couple that we know will end up together in the end, 

The pattern begins with the movie being set in roughly mid-December. Our central character is a 30-something woman who is experiencing work-related stress that brings her in conflict with the 30-something man of her dreams and/or bane of her existence.

This Sam and Diane directly or indirectly clash until the woman finds a solution that makes both of them happy. This leads to a Christmas period kiss at or near the end of the film. The lesson for unattached folks who are looking for love in all the wrong places and in too many faces is to just wait for Christmas and find a bone of contention with spouse material,

Starring Kim "Tootie" Fields of the '80scom "The Facts of Life alone earns "Wrapped" most-favored nation status. Fields plays Courtney, who is the busy executive/mother who is the sister of shopping mall executive Heather (Tatyani Ali of the 80scom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.") The '80s fun continues with having Jasmine Guy of "A Different World" play their mother. Joseph Marcell of "Prince" plays their father,. 

The conflict this time is that the loud and flashy boss ('80s personality Jackee Harry) is conditioning Heather getting a long-coveted promotion on Heather implementing a Christmastime plan to cancel the leases of low-performing mall tenants to clear the way for more profitable stores. 

Brendan Fehr of "Roswell" playing disillusioned former attorney/current aspiring artist Ryan who is helping his surrogate mother Aunt Patty at her toy store in the mall predictably puts that shop in the crosshairs of Heather. The clever resolution is notable and should inspire real-life malls in this era in which even Nordstroms are closing their doors. 

The very romcomcentric companion movie "Snowed-Inn Christmas" has Bethany Joy Lenz of "One Tree Hill" play online journalist Jenna Hudson. Andrew Walker of "Radio Active" plays her polar-opposite co-worker Kevin Jenner. The conflict this time is a "Glengarry Glen Ross" competition in which it is heavily implied that first prize is continued employment and second prize is a chance to try writing for another webzine.

As the title implies, an element of "Snowed" is the couple getting stranded at a boutique hotel in Santa Claus, Indiana en route to their assignment a week before Christmas. Indications that Mr. and Mrs. Clause are their hosts both adds a particularly strong Christmas note and ensures that a Christmas miracle will occur.

The focus on thawing relations is especially strong in this one; Jenna learns a great deal about why Kevin lacks sentiment and seeks thrills. He sees the uptight "witch" from the office let down her hair and show her human side. This culminates in a grand gesture that helps seal the inevitable deal.

As the above musings demonstrate, the appeal of both films (and of the two in the other set) show the broad appeal of this fare, provides good escapism, and makes one think that a Christmas miracle is not entirely impossible. ​

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