The "New" Hallmark Movies
Since my guide to Hallmark Christmas movies was written years ago, Hallmark has gotten very lazy. Larry Levinson may have retired and is no longer writing or producing them. There are almost no variations of the old themes anymore. All the new movies are unremarkable- they consist of only one plot now.
Man or woman works in the big city, goes home for the holidays for some reason (job related or otherwise) and runs into (usually) a past love, or occasionally a new love. However, this is the only variation in theme at all now.
The New Rules
Everyone in these small towns are somehow seemingly very wealthy, with huge remodeled and finely decorated homes. Even if they are just running a small niche business in the town like a bakery or candle store. Everyone - even the local handyman.
The big city job always includes a carefully multi-cultural friend/coworker and/or boss.
If either love interest has a child, they will always disappear during key scenes. They are never a bother at all and usually just "not around" with no explanation. They also go to bed really early and you can go out on the town after they do.
Everyone has a lot of time to relax at home with large glasses of wine, even if they are running a "busy" niche store.
You must always wear a different coat in every scene, even if the luggage you brought could not possibly have held them.
In all scenes, participants can touch- or brush against each other, but NEVER kiss. During the touch, the "magical sound" must be played.
If characters are outside, it must snow lightly at key times - typically the magic "touching" time. This applies even if the movie is set in a location where it would never snow.
When it does snow, nobody will ever actually be cold, and you will not see anyone's breath in the cold air. Even in "the mountains".
Everyone is required to bring either coffee or hot cocoa when visiting anyone. The fancy coffee shop is an important hub in all small towns now.
Now, all that has to happen to make a complete Hallmark movie are the following scenes:
The "big city job" scene where they reason the are going home originates. This can be writing an article about an event, interviewing someone, a competition they must attend, or just an illness or some problem with a family member. Really anything- it doesn't matter why. This is only 90 seconds of the entire plot.
The "meeting" scene where they recognize the past love interest and realize they will be "forced" to work together for the remainder of the movie. Typically they will not be friendly to one another at first because of past differences or decisions.
Cook/bake something together (Thanksgiving Dinner, Holiday treats).
Home repair, remodeling, or decorating.
"Romantic" walk through the town. This can consist of several scenes in these categories and includes:
Fall festival or Holiday festival
Spontaneous snowball fight with each other and/or local children
Some contest. (Baking, cooking decorating, or pumpkin carving. They will usually compete against each other, but sometimes work as a team.)
Christmas tree lighting (The Christmas tree lighting will always be on Christmas Eve somehow. That is a town tradition wherever they are.)
Christmas Shopping Trip
Christmas Tree shopping (One will deliver it to someone's home and decorate it, usually with someone's child.)
Visit to friend who has local niche business that somehow is either extremely profitable or about to go out of business and needs their job experience locally.
The Holiday dinner with the family or friends of one or the other person where everyone knows they are a couple, but they will not acknowledge that.
The "strife scene". This is the mutual misunderstanding where the person is going to return to the big city and not stay in hometown with their new "love" because they are going to take the promotion, or they thought the other one wasn't ready for a relationship.
The resolution of the misunderstanding and the actual "kiss" to end the movie.
That's it! Sprinkle and sub in different actors and you have another one on the books. I could shoot 2 movies a day.
In fact, if you just reshot 2 or 3 scenes you could make a Valentines, Thanksgiving, "Fall", and Christmas movie out of it. If you have 2 or 3 sets of actors ready, you could make a dozen combinations on the same set and budget. Nobody would notice.
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All content copyright (c) 1971-2061 by Peter Rittwage. All programs mentioned are copyrighted by their respective owners.