Jingle All the Way: Christmas in July Blogathon 2021

Hello, friends!

It’s the moment I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for: my entry in the 2021 Christmas in July Blogathon! As usual, I am wrapping up the blogathon and this year. For the closing entry, I am reviewing a guilty pleasure Christmas film of mine: Jingle All the Way.

Jingle All the Way movie posterSynopsis
Howard (Arnold Schwarzenegger) sets out to buy his son the popular, and nearly impossible to find, Turbo Man action figure for Christmas.

Do you have a film that you really enjoyed when you were younger, then when you watch it when you’re older you recognize all the flaws in the film but you still enjoy it anyway? That’s Jingle All the Way for me. I’d be lying if I said my enjoyment from this these days didn’t stem from my nostalgia of watching this in my younger years. Watching it now, I can see why it isn’t always regarded in high esteem. But you know what, I don’t care because I have a blast. An action star like Arnold Schwarzenegger going through hell just to buy a toy for his son (Jake Lloyd, aka young Anakin Skywalker) is a recipe for absurd entertainment. The underground Santa Claus counterfeit ring stands out in particular to me. I know it makes no sense but the visuals of the the different statures of the Santas always makes me laugh. Of course, it helps that Schwarzenegger is great here. He is having fun and his scenes with Sinbad are particularly memorable.

In a way, this reminds me of Christmas Vacation. Now before I lose you, I’m not saying this is as good as Christmas Vacation, far from it, but both films take some part of the holiday season and exaggerates it for comedic effect. Christmas Vacation views the extended family coming to visit for the holidays and amps it up. Here, forgetting to buy a specific Christmas present for someone and having to do last minute shopping to find it is something many of us can relate to I’m sure. While what we go through is not as extreme as what Howard (Schwarzenegger) goes through, we can relate to his struggle. And really, relatability is what makes a film enjoyable.

I thought Jingle All the Way was GOOD 🙂 Is it the perfect film? Absolutely not. Is it a guilty pleasure of mine? Absolutely. A nice, healthy guilty pleasure is what we all need and I can always count on Jingle All the Way to scratch that itch


Cast & Crew
Brian Levant – Director
Randy Kornfield – Writer
David Newman – Composer

Arnold Schwarzenegger – Howard Langston
Rita Wilson – Liz Langston
Jake Lloyd – Jamie Langston
Sinbad – Myron Larabee
Phil Hartman – Ted Maltin
Justin Chapman – Billy
Robert Conrad – Officer Hummell
Jim Belushi – Mall Santa
Martin Mull – DJ

My guest to the holiday party is known more for her television roles than her film roles. She was also featured on my list of five favorite redheaded actresses. Jane Levy is my plus one.

Levy was in two fantastic television series, Suburgatory and most recently Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, both of which ended too soon.

And that’s the final entry of the eighth annual Christmas in July Blogathon! Stop by tomorrow for the wrap up post, where I’ll share the full list of entries and final guest list to our imaginary holiday party.

Until next time, cheers!

6 Memorable Christmas Foods in Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon 2021

Merry Christmas in July, friends!

Today’s holiday has two entries today. The first comes from no stranger to blogathons around these parts. I am of course talking about Kim from Tranquil Dreams, my Ultimate Decades Blogathon co-host. Kim reviews multiple genres of films and television series, specializing in Asian cinema and series. She also has a love of food, having several features relating to cooking on her site. For her entry for the 2021 Christmas in July Blogathon combines that love for food and another favorite of hers, making lists, for a unique list of memorable Christmas foods in movies.

Christmas in July Blogathon is here again! Coincidentally, Montreal just went through a heat wave and as deconfinement is actually happening while still living in the pandemic, Christmas seems almost hopeful to think that maybe this year it will have some form of normalcy…like seeing the family in person for a meal. With that said, there’s nothing like sharing a quick list on Christmas Foods in Movies. As someone who loves to talk about food and eat, this seems like a perfect chance to share some quick thoughts on some fun moments, after all, food in movies is fun to talk about. Of course, these are my choices from my limited memory and film viewing history, if you have any of your own, you can share them in the comments!

Christmas Feast – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

Let’s start off a little mild! Harry Potter isn’t a Christmas movie but from what I remember, Christmas is a pretty big event at Hogwarts, further emphasized later on in the film franchise in the Goblet of Fire when they have Christmas and Yule Ball together. However, the Christmas feast that they have in the first year at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is pretty epic as it shows the incredible amount of different foods they get.

Maple Syrup Pasta – Elf (2003)

It’s really hard to imagine that Elf was released almost 20 years ago. Buddy is one odd character but while others focus on Santa, this film focuses on a Human growing up as an Elf and sharing Elf habits with the human world aka other people. Nothing like watching Buddy pour sweet stuff over his food whether its his maple syrup pasta or even the breakfast scene where he makes this sugar bomb breakfast pasta that actually looked pretty gross. I just wonder whether children who watched this tried selling to their parents that they “stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup”.

Hot Chocolate – Polar Express

Polar Express is a super fun movie full of music and great animation and seeing a million versions of Tom Hanks in various roles. Perhaps what makes it a ton of fun is the roller coaster ride that the kids go through and it all starts on the train. Now, hot chocolate in Christmas movies or movies with winter scenes or even movies with Christmas celebrations is fairly plentiful. I actually went through a few choices before thinking this being a Christmas film felt more suitable. A close second being the hot chocolate in The Holiday but I wasn’t sure how popular of a scene that was seeing as that film never gets talked about enough. BUT, we’re here to talk about The Polar Express and that wonderful Hot Chocolate musical number as the waiters waltz in and pull off a dance number while serving hot chocolate to the kids on the train. How magical!

Elsie’s Eggnog – While You Were Sleeping (1995)

I’m not sure whether While You Were Sleeping is popular or not as a Christmas movie choice. For myself, it is one that I watch quite a bit for the holidays. It’s a sweet little romantic comedy set during Christmas with some great family moments. One of the best moments of the film is the Christmas family meeting together. While the eggnog is mostly mentioned a lot in the scene about how strong it is and not exactly shown, I’ve always wondered what it tastes like.

Gingerbread Cookies – Krampus (2015)

Krampus honestly doesn’t get enough recognition as a Christmas movie. Sure, it’s kind of alternate Christmas since it’s a horror comedy but it has a ton of Christmas elements and its set during Christmas. I know this is kind of an odd choice seeing as the gingerbread cookies is alive and trying to attack everyone with staple guns and even fire isn’t enough to slow it down. Plus, they look downright creepy. While I might not want to eat them while they are alive and murderous, gingerbread cookies are pretty awesome.

Roast Beast – How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

The original How The Grinch Stole Christmas is the Christmas movies of Christmas movies in my opinion. It’s short and sweet. The narrator is fantastic and the movie is reading out a Dr. Seuss book with all creative words and rhymes. The music is great. I never give up a chance to share how much I love it. It also brings up a bunch of imaginary food that I’ve always wondered as a kid until now what it would be like as an equivalent to real food, from Who Hash to the final scene with the epic Roast Beast. What is a roast beast, right? Is it some kind of boneless poultry or some type of ham? I never figured out what it is and I’m sure you’re probably not meant to since Dr. Seuss is all about his imagination but then, I can’t help to wonder what Who Beast tastes like.

That’s it for this food list from mostly Christmas movies. It’s really only the tip of the iceberg and I’m sure there’s a lot more other choices as I had a few other ones as well.

A huge thanks to Drew for putting together another fantastic Christmas in July Blogathon!

As for my guest, I’d love to invite Jackson Wang, an ex-GOT7 member, founder of record label Team Wang and all around rapper, singer and dancer from Hong Kong.

Great to have you for this blogathon again, Kim! My mouth is watering now after all this talk about food. 😋

Later today, I wrap up the eighth annual Christmas in July Blogathon with a classic 90s Christmas film.

Until next time, cheers!

It Happened on Fifth Avenue: Christmas in July Blogathon 2021

Hello, friends!

We’re almost done with the eighth annual Christmas in July Blogathon. But before we can finish, it wouldn’t be a Christmas in July Blogathon without Rob from MovieRob! If you don’t know Rob, where have you been?! Rob has reviewed literally thousands of films on his blog. With that kind of catalog, you are going to find something to like on his site. Also, Rob has a new podcast – The Great Escape Minute! The Great Escape Minute Podcast can be found at thegreatescapeminute.com. Follow the Podcast on Twitter, @GreatEscapeMxM, join its Facebook Group, The Cooler, or contact them via email at thegreatminute@gmail.com. But for this blogathon, Rob is reviewing It Happened on Fifth Avenue. The stage is yours, Rob.

“The essence of big business, gentlemen, is never put one worry ahead of another.” – Aloysius T. McKeever

Number of Times Seen – 1 (19 Jul 2021)

Brief Synopsis – Two homeless men occupy the deserted home of a millionaire while he spends the winter down south.

My Take on it – This is a film that I had never heard of before coming across it while seeking out a movie to watch for this blogathon that I’ve participated in ever since its inception.

I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable this film was and that has much to do with the way that they develop these characters in such fun and unique ways.

The film has such a great message that rings true throughout and the way that many of the characters masquerade as members of different class system.

The cast is great and help keep things so enjoyable along the way due to the way they all act throughout.

The chemistry between these characters is amazing to watch and the way that things play out is great to watch.

This film was directed by Roy Del Ruth and he does a wonderful job with this inspirational story, but I was disappointed to hear that Frank Capra originally planned to make this film but decided to make It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) instead.

It’s too bad that he couldn’t save this for his next project afterwards because this kind of story is right up his alley.

The Christmas scene definitely stands out here and helps make the story even more poignant to watch due to the theme sand message of the story which stand out so boldly throughout the film but especially during that scene.

The film does a nice job blending in comedy and romance into the story in a very plausible way.

The dialogue is superb and helps move things along in a very powerful way.


MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The first production of Allied Artists Pictures, the “A” picture division of Monogram Pictures. The film went thirty percent over budget. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)


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As for who Rob is inviting to our party, he is inviting the smart, the talented, the lovely Natalie Portman.

Thanks for joining in as always, Rob!

Tomorrow has two entries for the blogathon, the first coming from my Ultimate Decades Blogathon partner in crime.

Until next time, cheers!

Arthur Christmas: Christmas in July Blogathon 2021

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the halfway point of the eighth annual Christmas in July Blogathon! Today’s entry comes from none other than the most enthusiastic participant of the blogathon, Allie from Often Off Topic! On her site, Allie shares movie reviews and life updates. Check out her blog for all sorts of goodies. For this year’s blogathon, Allie returns to her reviewing roots with a review of 2011’s Arthur Christmas.

Arthur Christmas movie posterIn previous years I’ve made lists, drawn posters and generally tried to think outside of the box. But this year I’m keeping it simple and I’m bringing you a movie review of Arthur Christmas (2011). It’s a movie I’ve never seen before but it’s been on my watchlist for 5 years now. I know it’s something I would enjoy but once November/Winter comes around, there’s so much going on and there’s so many beloved movies to watch that I’ve never found the time for something new. I’ll always pick an old favourite like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) or Jingle All The Way (1996) before I take a risk on something new. So the blogathon was the perfect opportunity for me to watch Arthur Christmas and see if it’s worth it.

Arthur Christmas is an animated movie made in collaboration with Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman Animations. If I’d known all along that Aardman was involved I would have seen it immediately, you can always rely on them to pack in a ridiculous amount of detail into their work. The animation is a beautiful blend of claymation meeting digital, it’s nothing that stands out against today’s animations but it’s still gorgeous.

It also has a wonderful voice cast. James McAvoy plays Arthur, one of Santa’s sons who works in the post room and has so much passion for making Christmas perfect for each child. He reads every letter and always makes sure the children get exactly what they ask for. Hugh Laurie voices Steve, Santa’s other son and heir to the suit. Steve’s worked hard to modernise the night of Christmas Eve with technology and efficiency, but he cares more for numbers and stats than the magic of it all. Santa himself and his wife are voiced by Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton. I’m sure they’ve done so much more but they will always be Slughorn and Umbridge to me.

Arthur Christmas is, I guess, a very to-the-book Christmas movie whereby Christmas is in danger of being ruined and it’s up to the underdogs to save it. I don’t have a problem with that as long as it’s done well and Arthur Christmas absolutely smashes it. The best Christmas movies are those that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike and this is one of them. It’s the subtle jokes like the elves delivering presents and switching the oven on because the adults had forgotten after putting the turkey in before bed. That’s just one very small example off the top of my head.

If I had any complaint at all it would be this question. Did the people involved in making this movie have young children AT ALL? Find me a child still asleep on Christmas morning past 7am and I’ll eat the laptop I’ve been using to work from home with. By 7am the presents are already opened and the house is chaos!

But anyway – in conclusion, Arthur Christmas will 100% be re-watched many a time in my house, when the real Christmas is here.

Now, my favourite part of Drew’s blogathon is the party he hosts at the end of it. We all get to bring a guest of our choice, someone we’d like to meet under the mistletoe. I’ve been very fickle and brought a new guest every year and 2021 is going to be no different. There’s only one person on my naughty list this year and the god of mischief himself, Loki, aka Tom Hiddleston. Drew, if we’re allowed to come in costume I’ll put together my very best Sylvie outfit!

I would love to see you in a Sylvie outfit, Allie. 😉

Tomorrow, the blogathon’s longest running participant joins in the fun.

Until next time, cheers!

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey: Christmas in July Blogathon 2021

Hello, friends!

Welcome to day 2 of the Christmas in July Blogathon 2021! Today, SG from Rhyme and Reason joins us again this year with his unique combination of poetry and film review. SG’s approach to film reviews is unlike any other blogger out there so definitely go check his blog out! For this year’s blogathon, SG reviews a Netflix Christmas film released during last year’s holiday season. Take it away, SG!

Is your life not the dream-come-true fiction has taught?
Were not all your hopes quite achieved?
Did you think yourself special, then found that you’re not,
As so many others believed?

It’s commonplace now to have cynical minds.
We’re all disillusioned these days.
When searching for misery, he who seeks finds,
And evils no longer amaze.

What happened to when we were wide-eyed and young,
And no one could dampen our zeal?
We reached for the fruit that was not lowest hung,
And life was more hope than ordeal.

Who says that such days are behind you? You do,
For no one has made you despair.
Hope, like surrender, is chosen. Who knew?
It needs but the courage to dare.

MPA rating:  PG

A huge thank you to Drew for having me again for this year’s Christmas in July Blogathon, an occasion I always look forward to for some midyear holiday cheer. You would think that I would have seen more movies over the last year, considering I’ve been cooped up in my house for most of it, but school has kept me plenty busy instead. However, I had a break last December and was delighted to see this Netflix Christmas musical. Since I watched it after Christmas had already passed, I knew it would be a perfect selection for Christmas in July, especially because its appeal extends beyond the holidays.

Indeed, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey may have Christmas in the name and plenty of yuletide trappings, practically being set in a version of Santa’s village, but its story of a disillusioned inventor (Forest Whitaker) who is re-inspired by his granddaughter Journey (Madalen Mills) isn’t inherently centered around Christmas (aside from the frame story featuring Phylicia Rashad). That makes it suitable viewing for any time of year, even as it pushes the wonder, magic, family togetherness, and such associated with Christmastime.

With thirty minutes of backstory alone to explain how Whitaker’s Jeronicus Jangle went from superstar inventor to cynical pawnbroker, the film is perhaps a bit too stuffed with story, feeling rather long at two hours. Yet musical numbers go a long way toward easing the occasional dip in pacing, at least for people like me who adore musicals and want more and more to be made. Not only is Jingle Jangle an entirely original production, but it has a highly polished and catchy soundtrack from John Legend and Philip Lawrence, sounding most similar to The Greatest Showman and elevated further by bravura choreography to complement the tunes. Forest Whitaker and Keegan-Michael Key, who plays Jangle’s former apprentice-turned-villain, are not known for singing, but they do well here, with even more capable support from professionals like Anika Noni Rose as Jangle’s daughter, Lisa Davina Phillip as a mailwoman desperate to be his love interest, and Ricky Martin as a sinister matador doll come to life.

The fact that the film is an original, not based on some preexisting stage show, is significant to me, showing that studios like Netflix are willing to bankroll new musicals without a preexisting fan base. Also noteworthy is the film’s predominantly black cast, who get to enjoy a picturesque, snowy setting and lavish Victorian costumes that are typically reserved for white-led musicals. The film’s clearly fantastical setting sidesteps any objections about historical accuracy and instead presents the fully integrated, steampunk-lite world as a wonderland for all. There have been African-American interpretations of established stories like Cinderella or A Christmas Carol, but I can’t help but feel like an original story like this means more.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is the kind of film that succeeds in imparting a smile and good cheer, buoyed by exuberant song-and-dance numbers and feel-good mathematical nonsense like “the square root of impossible” or the “second derivative of sensational.” It may not be quite a masterpiece: not every song is memorable, the WALL-E-like robot that seems intended as the film’s mascot doesn’t leave much of an impression, and the ending is a tad anticlimactic. Yet, from the stellar opening song “This Day” to the heartwarming bond between Jangle and his daughter, there’s something utterly likable about the film, reminiscent perhaps of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with its gadgets and whimsy. I mean, the production design alone deserved an Oscar nomination, in my opinion, not to mention the magical interludes of wooden-doll-style animation that move the story along. It may be overly sweet for musical naysayers, but I have little doubt that Jingle Jangle is destined to be a Christmas tradition for many families.

Best line: (Journey) “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Rank:  List Runner-Up

© 2021 S.G. Liput
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P.S. For my mistletoe choice, I think I’ll invite Ana de Armas, who I like more with every role of hers I’ve seen, particularly Knives Out. Attractive and talented is quite the combination.

I’m glad you chose to invite Ana de Armas to our party, SG. If you didn’t, I certainly was going to. 😁

At tomorrow’s halfway mark of the blogathon, the self-proclaimed Christmas enthusiast shares her review of an animated Christmas film celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

Until next time, cheers!

Take 3: Holly and Ivy Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2021

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the eighth annual Christmas in July Blogathon! I’m excited to have been hosting this blogathon for the last eight years. This year, all of our entries are returning participants and I can’t wait for you all to see what’s in store! Getting us started is Sally from 18 Cinema Lane, the newest blogathon regular participating this year. Sally reviews a variety of films on her blog and specializes in reviewing Hallmark movies, one of which she shares with us today. So without further ado, here is Sally’s review of Holly and Ivy.

For the third year in a row, I am participating in the Christmas in July Blogathon, hosted by Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews! This time around, I went back to the Hallmark well. When I first joined the blogathon, I reviewed a Hallmark film titled Christmas Camp. If you read that article, you would know that I wasn’t a fan of it. Last year, I wrote about Little House: Bless All the Dear Children, a film that was a fine, family-friendly picture. Since I still had the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries movie, Holly and Ivy, on my DVR, I chose to review this title for the 2021 blogathon. In 2020, I didn’t see a lot of Christmas films from Hallmark. In fact, the only newer release I watched and/or wrote about was The Christmas Bow. Within a year, I have heard good things about Holly and Ivy, with my family sharing similar sentiments. Therefore, I figured it was time to finally check the movie out. How does it compare to The Christmas Bow? Like a child counting down to Christmas Day, you’re just going to have to wait to find out!

Holly and Ivy movie poster

Holly and Ivy poster created by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Crown Media Family Networks

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: If the interactions between the characters feel like they are having real-life conversations with each other, that’s how you know the acting in a given film is good. That was certainly the case within Holly and Ivy! All of the characters got along well with one another, as they had good on-screen chemistry. It also helps that the cast as a whole was talented! I’ll be honest, I have never seen any of Janel Parrish’s projects from her filmography. However, I did see her on Dancing with the Stars. The way Janel’s character reacts to various situations came across very naturally. While Melody and her neighbor, Nina, are decorating Melody’s Christmas tree, she shares her reason for collecting elf ornaments. The tone of Melody’s voice and the look in her eyes highlights how reminiscent she is over something as small and simple as ornaments. These acting techniques helped make Janel’s performance feel believable. While we’re on the subject of Nina, let’s talk about Marisol Nichols’ performance. While portraying this character, Marisol embodied what a good mother should be. Despite dealing with her own medical issues, she always tries to take an active role in her daughters’ lives. While decorating her family’s Christmas tree, Nina reveals a special tradition that involves Nina performing a dance routine with Holly and Ivy. This scene shows how much she enjoys the life she has created for herself. While I like the performances of Sadie Coleman and Piper Rubio, the actresses who portrayed the titular characters, I want to talk about Jeremy Jordan’s performance. Similar to Janel Parrish, I am not familiar with Jeremy’s filmography. However, I still liked seeing his portrayal of Adam. His on-screen personality was easy-going and care-free. While he took his profession and hobby seriously, Adam just wanted to have a good time. When he interacted with Melody, you could tell just by watching them that these characters were made for each other. It helped that both Adam and Melody had similar personalities, but were traveling on similar paths in regards to their respective careers.

The presentation of Christmas tropes/activities: Hallmark is known for featuring a plethora of Christmas related tropes and activities within each story. But sometimes, these films are oversaturated with them, as if there is a checklist that needs to be completed. Holly and Ivy shows some Christmas related activities that have been featured in other Hallmark films. It’s the way they are included in the story that sets Holly and Ivy apart from the network’s other titles. In one scene, Melody is decorating homemade Christmas ornaments with Holly and Ivy. The purpose of showing these characters creating Christmas decorations is to give the audience some of Melody’s backstory. That small piece of information was emphasized more than the activity. This scene is an example of how there was enough presentation of Christmas tropes and activities for the viewer to get the intended point. At the same time, if you were to put this same story around any other holiday, it would still work.

An emotional balance: In films that revolve around a serious, real world topic, such as a potentially terminally ill relative, the overall tone tends to be heavy. There are times when viewers warn one another to “have a box of tissues at hand” or share that the film will “pull at your heartstrings”. While there are somber moments in Holly and Ivy, the movie itself never felt sad. In fact, feelings of sorrow and despair never crossed my mind. That’s because the script doesn’t rely too heavily on the sadder parts of the story. Instead, the creative team strives for a balance by also focusing of happier, more joyous moments. As I mentioned earlier in this review, Nina is dealing with medical issues. Even though these issues are discussed and an emergency plan is created if the worst-case scenario happens, Nina puts her energy toward helping Melody and being present in her daughters’ lives. In fact, I can think of more scenes where Nina is enjoying the company of her friends and family than worrying about her medical situation.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Adam’s conflict: It’s typical for the male and female protagonist to have their own conflicts within a Hallmark picture. However, I didn’t like Adam’s conflict in Holly and Ivy. Throughout the film, Adam’s parents wanted him to come work at the family car dealership. But Adam would rather stay a contractor and focus on his woodworking hobby on the side. This conflict reminded me of a young, college-bound adult not seeing eye-to-eye with their parents on a potential degree. Because of this, it felt a bit immature for a character that appears to be in his early 30s. One of the film’s messages and Adam’s parents’ mantra is “help where help is needed’. By being a contractor and taking up woodworking, Adam is doing exactly what his parents wanted; helping where help is needed. It baffled me how his parents failed to realize this until the end of the film.

Chippewa Falls Library being unbelievably ill-equipped: I understand that some libraries deal with more challenges than others. But based on what the movie presented, the town of Chippewa Falls appeared to be doing just fine. There’s no evidence of the town being a predominantly low-income community or having a high crime-rate. What the characters said about the library’s issues didn’t match up with the visuals. During her time volunteering at the library, Melody comes up with several ideas in order to solve some of the library’s problems. Two of these ideas are renting out meeting rooms for events and setting up a “Mitten Tree” to collect hats and scarves for citizens in need. I can only speak from my own experience, but my local library already does these things. With that said, I find it hard to believe that the Chippewa Falls Library wouldn’t utilize these resources already.

The inclusion of Betty the dog: Holly and Ivy have a dog named Betty, who periodically appears in the film. While I don’t have anything against the dog itself, I don’t think it was necessary to include a dog in this story. Having Betty in the movie felt like she was there just for the sake of being there. If you had written the dog out of the script, I don’t think it would make a difference.

Christmas family image created by Freepik at freepik.com. Designed by Freepik. Background vector created by Freepik. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Like I mentioned in the introduction, this is my third year participating in the Christmas in July Blogathon. Out of the three movies I’ve reviewed, Holly and Ivy is, by far, the best one! Within the past few years, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has, in my opinion, made stronger films than their companion, Hallmark Channel. This is because Hallmark’s second network appears to try different things when it comes to storytelling. Holly and Ivy is a good example of this, as I highlighted in my review. There wasn’t a heavy emphasis on Christmas tropes/activities like in other Hallmark films. Creating a balance between the happier and sadder moments of the story also helps shape the film’s identity. I ended up liking this movie almost as much as I liked The Christmas Bow. Come to think of it, I wish Holly and Ivy was the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie for 2020. This story certainly has the ingredients for that to have been a reality. But I guess that wasn’t meant to be.

Since we’re still talking about Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, it’s time for me to share who I’d invite to Drew’s Christmas party! This year, I chose John Christian Plummer! For those who are not familiar with him, John is the father of Charlie Plummer and is one of the screen-writers of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ Mystery 101 series. When I look back on the celebrities that have been “invited” to Drew’s Christmas party in the past, actors and actresses made up the majority of the guests. While choosing an actor or actress as a guest is totally fine, I wanted to change things up a bit. To an extent, screen-writers are underrated, especially from Hallmark. Therefore, my invitation will, hopefully, give recognition to at least one of them. Like in 2019 and 2020, my invites are about giving “standing ovations”.

Overall score: 7.7 out of 10

What are your thoughts on Holly and Ivy? Which Hallmark movies do you wish had become Hallmark Hall of Fame titles? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at Drew’s Christmas party!

Sally Silverscreen

Thanks for joining, Sally! Great choice on guest. We can always use more writers at our party.

Tomorrow, the resident film review poet continues the blogathon with his review of a Netflix Christmas film.

Until next time, cheers!