Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things

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ABC Family Holiday Movies on Hulu: An Internet Wonderland

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As we go home and immediately find the need to hide from our families, here’s a way to wile away those hours in 90-minute increments: Let ABC Fam transport you to a winter land where Andy Dick plays a sandwich delivery man who has someone else’s child in his care…where Olivia Newton John stars as a small-town American woman…where Shannen Doherty is a thief.  Where love and Christmas are synonymous. Obvs.

I give you my guide of the current internet options (minus the kids’ movies) ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas makes available to us. Note: as Kate, Jessie, KB and I well know, any TV movie is best watched as a drinking game. I just doubled your potential enjoyment of these movies; you’re welcome.

It Nearly Wasn’t Christmas (1989):

Because I’m filled with the Christmas spirit, I want to give you this gift: Do not watch this movie. Santa is “tired of caring when everyone else doesn’t.” Luckily a small child with rockin’ bangs shows him that people are still caring, and ensures that Santa delivers all the presents in time! With help from a plump and aproned Mrs. Claus, and rhyming elves.

Check out those bangs.

A Christmas Romance (1994):

Three words: OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN. She stars as poor single mom Julia Stonecypher (I couldn’t even make that up), living in a small American town…about to have her house repossessed by a man from the big city. Olivia’s real daughter plays her daughter in the movie. Tagline: “Two people are about to discover that what they need most is each other.” That’s all I’m sayin’.
The taller daughter is Olivia’s.

A Holiday for Love (1996):

Jake Peterson (played by Tim Matheson, VP John Hoynes from West Wing) returns to his small Nebraska hometown to shut down a major business there.  Love happens. With Michelle Gilbert (HELEN KELLER/Laura Ingalls Wilder), whose daughter is played by Michelle Trachtenberg. These connections are making me breathless. So… city business man is wooed by small town down-to-earth woman.  Do you have ONE writer, ABC Family? However, Tim Matheson and Michelle Gilbert are pretty cute together, and seeing young Michelle Trachtenberg constantly reminds me of Harriet the Spy.


This makes me want to watch West Wing, and then Little House on the Prairie.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1997):

It opens with the eponymous song and is set in St. Nicholas, Iowa. And depressingly, it’s not the I’ll Be Home For Christmas that starred Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Instead it involves a town of 1500 that needs a doctor, and a widowed surgeon from the BIG CITY who returns home (with his terribly annoying daughter) to St. Nicholas for the holidays. Who was high school sweethearts with the part-time mayor/town veterinarian, Sarah. Paula Deen couldn’t come up with a better recipe for love. Although she could definitely come up with a better figure of speech than what I just wrote.

The celebs of St. Nicholas, population: 1500.

Special Delivery (2000):

Gah, Andy Dick in a family movie? Let me share with you the most preposterous plot ever, ever written.  Andy Dick is a sandwich delivery man who delivers sandwiches to an adoption agency, which has a lot of babies in a room waiting to be delivered to their homes. WHAT? The adoption agency lets him hang around and touch the babies and since there is a holiday rush for babies, they end up needing him to “deliver” one. Across the country.  Featuring this gem: “Adoption is where the baby grows in your mommy’s heart, instead of your mommy’s tummy.”

Would YOU trust this man?

Snow (2004):

This movie is everything I love about ABC Family original movies. It stars Tom Cavanagh and Ashley Williams. Ashley Williams played Victoria (ugh) on HIMYM, and she’s the younger sister of Kimberly Williams-Paisley, of Father of the Bride and…Lucky Seven. Tom Cavanagh (of Ed, which coincidentally features Gregory Harrison of A Christmas Romance) plays Nick Snowden, a young and single Santa. He must rescue a reindeer from a zoo in CA before Christmas in 3 days, and meets Sandy (Ashley Williams) along the way. Little does Sandy know she’s about to fall in the trap of a lifetime: becoming Mrs. Claus. You think Santa does all that work by himself?
Irresistible, right?

Chasing Christmas (2005):

Oh good, another movie based on A Christmas Carol.  I’m sure that when Dickens wrote his novella he wished for it to come to this, someday. He dreamed big.
I don’t know who any of these people are. Disinterested.

Christmas Do-Over (2006):

A self-centered man (Jay Mohr) has to relive Christmas Day over and over again.  Much like we have to relive this plot idea over and over again. Featuring Daphne Zuniga, from the original Melrose Place.
Ever wish Christmas were every day? Thanks, subjunctive mood!

Snowglobe (2007):

Another Christina Milian treasure. Christian Milian plays Angela Moreno, whose fam doesn’t like to make a big to-do about Christmas, but it’s her favorite holiday. So she is sad. Luckily, a Snowglobe sent through the mail allows her to be transported into a world where everyone loves Christmas more than anything. And she can go back and forth whenever she wants to.  Until she can’t. And! there’s a man for her in each world. She must make so many tough choices. Luckily, and despite so many inconsistencies (she’s a butcher, yet lives alone in a swank apartment, she’s supposed to be Italian, etc.), entertainment value exists especially in the form of Josh Cooke, the love interest in the real world (who plays the long-term boyfriend Ben in Better With You).
She looks like she’s 15.

Christmas Caper (2007):

Shannen Doherty! Thievery! Children!  Shannen plays Cate Dove, a thief whose latest heist went bad so she returns to her hometown and ends up babysitting her niece and nephew (it was first titled Auntie Claus).  She refriends everyone from childhood but is simultaneously planning to steal from them.  Fittingly, her love interest is a cop.
Oh, is that black outfit supposed to denote criminality?

Holiday In Handcuffs (2008):

If you enjoy seeing Melissa Joan Hart back on TV in Melissa & Joey as much as I do, you will like this movie for the same reason. Except know that her romantic opposite is Mario Lopez, and it is 100% impossible to suspend disbelief and accept the likelihood of that. ABC Family seems to have an obsession with crime and Christmas, because this time Melissa Joan Hart (Trudie) kidnaps Mario Lopez (David) so that she can pretend to have a boyfriend at home for the holidays. And somehow, despite his muscles, he cannot escape. Luckily they fall in love and both do escape the huge awkwardness, both personally and legally, that would have ensued had they not.
I don’t think he’d crown her Miss America.

Snow 2: Brain Freeze (2008):

If popular physiological phenomena are to be used as movie titles, what will be next, Hiccups? Ear Ringing? Eye Twitching? What confuses me most about this movie is that both Tom Cavanagh and Ashley Williams reprised their roles from the original movie Snow. How much is ABC Family paying? Or do they both just really love spending time in Canada? Further, they reprised their roles in THIS plot: Nick Snowden loses his memory by walking through a magic mirror, and Sandy (now his wife) has to help him regain it in time for Christmas. Yes.  Santa loses his memory.  That would be the brain freeze.
Ugh, she looks more like Victoria in this pic.

A Holiday for Love, Snow, Snowglobe, and Holiday in Handcuffs seem to be the best bets here, but no one will stop you if you want to watch Andy Dick deliver an Indonesian baby across the country to his adoptive parents, waiting eagerly for the baby that has grown in their hearts and not their tummies.

And if you want to watch the real television, here’s what the 2010 ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas has planned:
Dec 24th: Jack Frost, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town, The Year Without A Santa Claus
Dec 25th: Miracle on 34th St (1994), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey version)

Also: 12 Men of Christmas (of Lifetime, not ABC Family) is playing at 8 pm 12/24 on LMN and 11 am 12/25 on Lifetime. Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Hopkins (beady-eyed Grayson from Cougar Town) in the ultimate holiday made-for-tv-movie.

Christmas Cupid: As If You Were Watching With Me

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Previously, on Smart Girls Stupid Things: ABC Family Gets You Psyched for Christmas with Angels and Dogs

Let me start by saying that this movie is worth watching (in the so-bad-but-so-good way), mostly because of Chad Michael Murray and his emotional face, and the confusion between Cupid, angels, and ghosts, which never seems to be resolved.

It all begins with Mariah singing “Santa’s gonna come and make you mine this Christmas,” because Santa’s a criminal. And of course, with a shot of Christina Milian (Sloane, a publicist) lookin’ super busy and important. Tossing her hair and knocking back her empty Starbucks cup.

Sloane is working hard planning a Christmas Day launch party for a lush actress, Caitlin Quinn, who is starring in a family movie. As Sloane is sucking up to her boss, Andrew, we find out that she is actually sleeping with him to get a promotion.

Throughout her busy day, we see Sloane trying to make time for her friends and family, who are used to being sadly neglected in lieu of her VERY important job.  Side note: Sloane’s mom is played by Tia and Tamara Mowry’s mom in Sister Sister. Con.nec.tions.

Yea this woman. Unfortunately, not this man.

Finally: stuff happens.  Caitlin Quinn gets on a yacht and chokes on a martini olive.  And dies. Immediately after her death she shows up in Sloane’s apartment and informs her that she will be visited by three ghosts. “Too bad it wasn’t an apple martini, or she’d be alive today.”

“Distraught,” Sloane goes to the hospital to see Sloane’s body (unsure of the necessity of that…) and lo and behold– her exboyfriend Patrick, played by Chad Michael Murray, is a doctor there!  And now I’m interested.

It becomes clear to the audience and to Patrick that Sloane really only cares that Caitlin Quinn died because it’s going to ruin the launch party. Luckily Caitlin Quinn’s ghost shows up in the morgue to make her rethink that! “Just like Marley from a Christmas Carol.” Ok yes, because if you make direct reference to the work you’re hawking, that makes it a smart movie!

Quick segue, though, it’s not like someone died or something – Sloane and Patrick need to rehash their relationship in the hospital cafeteria.  It turns out she didn’t move with him when he went to “the middle of the nowhere” for med school, so they had to break up.  But she misses him.  And says so.  And grabs his hand.

The next morning, she is visited again by the ghost of CQ.  Sloane pretty much is accompanied by the ghost of Caitlin Quinn for the rest of the movie. Wearing booty shorts and carrying a martini the whole time. She DIED choking on a martini olive, how is that ok?

Since we need to be convinced that Sloane is a horrible person before the first ghost arrives and tries to improve her that very night, we watch next as Sloane decides to make CQ’s memorial service the same event as the launch party. On Christmas day. So no one gets the day off, despite the existence of families.
Cuteness update: Patrick calls Sloane to make sure she’s ok. And to ask her out.

But then, it’s midnight, Day One. Ghost of Christmas Past:
Caitlin transports Sloane to her high school football field, where her high school boyfriend is standing in his football uniform.  Caitlin informs Sloane that instead of the “ordinary boring traditional ghosts like in Charles Dickens, I’ve arranged for you to be visited by 3 ex-boyfriends.”  “Are you telling me that Brad is the Ghost of Christmas Past?” “Actually, since he’s your ex-boyfriend, he’s the Ghost of Ex-Mas Past.” WHY ARE YOU REMAKING GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST?????

Look at those girlfriends, lurking in their picture frames.

Sloane is taken back to watch scenes of childhood and high school and college and all different associated boyfriends of the past…which means we get to see more Chad Michael Murray, college boyfriend, kaCHING! We see the scene where Sloane actually LEFT him in the middle of the night! And broke up with him in a note (though not a post-it, which is the most epic in bad form and can cause one to knock a vase of carnations over). As Sloane rewatches this event from the past, she sees Patrick come back to the empty apartment they shared, and finds out that he actually was planning to propose! That coupled with his niceness and hotness means they are MEANT TO BE!!!!!

Her high school boyfriend and the ghost of Caitlin Quinn show her all the boyfriends she’s dated up til now.  And lecture her about how all she does is “trade up.” “You don’t care what your heart wants. All you care about is the shoddy wrapping, not what’s inside.” Yes Sloane, listen to the spirit of your high school boyfriend, dressed up in his full football pads.

The very next morning, Sloane finds out her boss/bf Andrew is cheating on her, and they break up.  Then she calls Patrick and they go out that night. They are having a great date, until Andrew shows up…and proposes.  And…she accepts.  The palpable awkwardness of this scene is pretty much too much to watch, and it’s compounded by the fact that her (now) fiance is NOT attractive, and Chad Michael Murray is, and she just leaves him sitting at their table as she accepts  Andrew’s proposal. I will say though: at least there wasn’t an entire bottle of jelly or another condiment on the restaurant table as the poor man’s version of product placement (see Lucky 7 and Welch’s grape jelly). ABC Fam has definitely upped the props budget.

Moving on…
Midnight, 2nd Night: Ghost of Ex-Mas Present, where Sloane sees all the people she’s hurting with her current behavior.  Which is, um, everyone.

When she wakes up the next morning, she tries to repair relationships but fails. Mostly she just prepares more for the super important launch party the next day.  We all know that Christmas is a popular day for launch parties of family movies.

Midnight, 3rd Night: Ghosts of Ex-Mas Yet to Come turns out to be…Santa.  “Santa” is actually Andrew, her fiance, dressed up. It takes Sloane a little while to get that if Andrew is the Ghost of Ex-Mas Yet to Come, that means they will be exes in the future. He takes her to see her future life, where they are divorced and she has no friends or family left because she cares too much about her job. The night ends with Sloane looking at her future self dying alone in a hospital bed, holding her own future hand.

And thus the movie starts its grand resolution, where Sloane makes peace with everyone and becomes an awesome person, and of course gets together with Chad Michael Murray despite having accepted someone else’s proposal right in front of him two days earlier.

Best parts of the last 10 minutes:
When Sloane apologizes to Patrick: I’m sorry “for running away instead of taking your ring and becoming your wife.” Christina Milian uttering the word wife in reference to herself is just…hilarious.
At the memorial service/launch party, it’s time for the ghost of Caitlin Quinn and Sloane to say goodbye for real. Once they have, Caitlin suddenly gains angel wings and vanishes up to heaven, as a photo montage of shots of her from the movie fills the screen.

And because making continual reference to the means of someone’s death is funny, the whole thing ends with Sloane saying “Merry ExMas, Caitlin” while waving a martini olive. Really?

Since I could’ve only made you want to watch this movie more by sharing all details about it, here it is.

ABC Family Gets You Psyched for Christmas with Angels and Dogs

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Did you know it’s the holiday season? In case the over-eagerly hung greens everywhere have not put you in sufficient holiday spirits, ABC Family wants to prepare you for Christmas, too. That’s right, it’s almost ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas time!
But wait! ABC must squeeze everything it can out of the season with the Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas, happening now.

If you’re a TRUE fan of ABC Family original movies (definition: you own one, you search for them on YouTube and watch all parts, you watched one more than once on purpose), you’re going to ask: what high-quality, engaging, aptly titled, filmed-in-Canada-with-once-popular-stars, will ABC Family be premiering this year?

Here are your previews:

Christmas Cupid

What to look forward to: Chad Michael Murray, Christina Milian, Ashley Benson, exes, angels, a high-powered woman who’s a bitch until she falls in love, misogyny, a new Mariah Carey song. And true love, of course.

The run down: CMilian plays Sloane, a Hollywood publicist and a bitch face.  She is a bitch face because she both is a woman and works at a “high-powered” job. Her star client dies and returns as an angel, telling CMilian she needs to take a look at her past relationships and atone for misdeeds. So begins a) another story based on A Christmas Carol (did we NOT learn from Ghosts of Girlfriends Past?), and b) where CMM comes in (as one of the former BFs).

Fun fact: this movie was originally titled “Ex-Mas.”  Hats off to the person who realized that made absolutely no sense, but to whomever chose the new title, I ask: did you really try your hardest?

Watch the preview, not to be confused with Christmas Cupid Shuffle, which you should still watch, because I accidentally did. Premieres Sunday 12/12.

The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation

This is the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW ABC Family has premiered a new movie about a dog saving Christmas and consequently what makes my extreme fanship of ABC Family original movies HARD to sustain.

What to look forward to: The star dog, Zeus, is voiced by Mario Lopez. He meets a snobby poodle voiced by Paris Hilton and falls in love (this is a side plot, the main plot involves robbery foiled by the dog, duh).  Wait, what? Maybe I should watch this.

Premieres Sunday, 11/28; watch the preview here.

Stay tuned for more on what ABC Fam has gifted us with in past years, and what else to look forward to this year.  Full schedule here–yeah, it’s a pdf.  Print it. Hang it up.  Look forward.

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