The Christmas Setup – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film The Christmas Setup.

Story

Borrowing partly from indie slice of life and partly from Christmas romances, this is an easy to watch mix of the two. There’s a mystery and a little angst, but overall wasn’t too bad. There are two parts that I didn’t like. I hate the trope of forcing a character to go on stage and then they rock it. If someone doesn’t want to do it, they shouldn’t be pressured. The second time it happened the character didn’t even do what they were supposed to.

I did however love the mirroring in the story of the train station and the main characters. That was cute and awesome.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Fran Drescher plays the perfect meddling mother. She’s never hurtful and she’s somehow always respectful. A nice change of pace for this character archetype. The rest of the cast is both pretty and easy to watch. The characters are believable and overall pretty authentic. I really liked the dynamic of the brothers and how they had to work at understanding each other.

I also like that the main couple being gay didn’t add to the drama but still influenced the character’s stories and conversations.

Score: 1

Dialogue

This movie had an interesting effect. I laughed and loved the clever dialogue… but I don’t remember any of it. It was fast and clever and never took itself seriously.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie was well shot, the clothes were fantastic, and locations were stunning. That being said, I wasn’t a fan of the “Northern Lights” scene that looked pretty fake.

The music was good if not memorable.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie was fun to watch. It kept my 18 month old completely enthralled. I’m thinking it was the banter, but it could have been my popcorn. The entire family liked it and I hope there will be more like it in the future.

Score: 1

Overall

This is an adorable Christmas love story that is made all the better by wonderful dialogue and authentic representation. I liked this one and look forward to buying a copy for annual watching.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey.

Story

It was a cute Christmas story but was derivative and predictable. Each beat (no pun intended) was expected and the middle bits dragged a little.

The emphasis on the necklace felt like an unused thread, and the “magic” inventor granddaughter proved she was smart and then the plot didn’t let her fix or make anything. It also contained one of my most hated tropes, where the adults don’t listen to the kids.

I’m trying really hard to ignore the moral, ethical, and humane questions of creating sentient toys and being able to mass produce a slave toy race that you can “reprogram” when they don’t behave.

Score: 0

Characters

The acting in the movie is superb. The characters are mostly pretty awesome. I didn’t really like the mail woman / love interest. Her constant mis-naming rubbed me the wrong way. Overall she came off as a male Christmas love interest, which I’m not a fan of.

The Jeronicus and his apprentice storyline is sad but extremely well acted. Journey was a joy and should have had a larger part in the plot.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was appropriately steampunk meets modern day in a way that only a holiday fable could do. Some overly sappy and some kinda deep.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The sets, clothing, lighting, character design, and worldbuilding are fantastic. The cinematography was amazing and background information on posters, etc is meticulously done.

The music is fantastic, although I would have liked one last big number at the end.

I found the choreography a little repetitive, but not enough to dampen my awe at the music and visuals.

Score: 1

Fun

I was awed by the first few frames and hooked by the first song. It wasn’t until the midway point that I fell a little out of love but it passed fast enough. My family and children were riveted. The 17 month old would stop and watch, or dance, at every song and cooed at the adorable robot.

Score: 1

Overall

One of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen with some amazing songs and more than a little magic. It falls flat if you think about it too long, and all the beauty and wonderful acting doesn’t cover up the lack of original story.

Final Score: 3 stars out of 5

A Christmas Prince Series – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 film A Christmas Prince, The 2018 film A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, and the 2019 film A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby.

Story

A Christmas Prince

The main plot of the movie is typical undercover reporter fall in love with subject. It makes reporters look bad and honestly the entire things is awkward.

The parts of the story that shine are when the characters are soul searching or making genuine connections. The sister character is fantastic and I could have watched the whole movie about her instead.

Score: 0

The Royal Wedding

The weak mystery is barely explored instead they spend most of it on wedding angst and pushing the main character around.

Again, like the first on the bright spot is the sister. She’s inspiring and adorable.

Score: 0

The Royal Baby

This was a well written closed-circle mystery that kept me guessing until the end. (Although I did have the culprit in my top 3.) The characters were less wet towel and they gelled with each other more. There was some awkward drama and they tried much too hard to pin the blame on Simon, again.

Score: 0.5

Characters

A Christmas Prince

The main character does a great job of being doe-eyed and fell for the prince the same time we all did, when we saw him with his sister. There’s some nice developement for the main three characters but overall it felt lack-luster.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Wedding

The king went from an unsure prince who doesn’t want to commit to being king to now being an unsure king who trusts his advisors way too much. The main character gets pushed around and is only really interesting when she pushes back or is helping the sister. There’s also a storyline that’s lifted directly from Princess Diaries. I’ll give the movie this, they did a great job with the redemption arc.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Baby

Overall this was a cute and joyful set of characters, something that should be standard for a Christmas movie. I liked the new additions.

Score: 1

Dialogue

A Christmas Prince

Mostly acceptable, if a little over the top. There are a few good speeches about identity, but nothing spectacular. The dad and the sister got all the great lines.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Wedding

Completely over the top; comparing the dialogue to a telenovela would be an insult to telenovelas.

However, as a giant nerd, I did appreciate the quotes and nods to other movies.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Baby

The writers built on the geeky quotes from the last one and made sure to include as much dorky future parents stuff as possible. The dialogue for them was believable and cute.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

A Christmas Prince

The cinematography of this movie made me angry and gave me a headache. My family didn’t seem to notice, but the constant slow paning for no reason was extremely frustrating.

The locations were lovely and very thematic.

The music was lack-luster and was only elevated by the christmas music included. (You can’t go wrong with Tchaickovsky.)

Score: 0.5

The Royal Wedding

The cinematographer discovered quick cuts since the last one and they were almost as over used as the pans.

That being said, the scenery and clothing were good and the music classic.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Baby

Finally the useless pans are gone and the director and cinematographer started to frame the shots better. It’s not excellent, but good. The castle and clothing are as beautiful as ever.

The music didn’t stand out much; a few cute scenes but nothing spectacular.

Score: 0.5

Fun

A Christmas Prince

Breaking a ming vase or shooting an arrow through a window is a level of awkward I don’t like. There’s a lot of the movie that just isn’t fun to watch even if you know everything will end up fine.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Wedding

The obvious mystery was dragged out too long, and the angst was also dragged out too long. I spent a lot of the movie rolling my eyes and not yelling.

The sister and eventual warm ending was good though.

Score: 0.5

The Royal Baby

I have a soft spot for good mysteries and this was pretty close. It also isn’t angsty and kept my attention. A lot of fun.

Score: 1

Overall

A Christmas Prince

An excellent cast with a mediocre script and lots of cringe, the only thing that truly saves this is the interactions with the little sister.

Final Score: 2 stars out of 5

The Royal Wedding

An acceptable sequel to a lack-luster movie. Too little plot and too much angst. Again the sister saves the movie but she’s joined by a delightful redemption.

Final Score: 2 stars out of 5

The Royal Baby

Finally a balance between urgency and angst, this movie is the best of the three, with a fun mystery and lots of the best parts of the first two movies. I will probably skip the others in future years and just watch this one.

Final Score: 3.5 stars out of 5

Snow – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2004 movie Snow.

Story

At times the movie is brilliant and others you wonder how that story point got past editing. It’s a bare bones slightly goofy plot. The world building is interesting and other than a few cringy moments it’s great.

I like the near complete reversal of traditional gender roles in holiday movies.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Nick is at times a clueless goofy idiot and at others a wise loving Santa… It’s a role that should be hacky and terrible but is made believable by Tom Cavanagh. (Seriously this role shouldn’t work, but he makes it not only likeable but one of my favourite versions of Santa.)

The rest of the cast is perfectly suited and well acted. Ashley Williams manages to play up the humour of her attraction to Nick without ever coming off as lewd.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

It’s a made for tv movie from the mid 2000’s the visuals are okay. The cinematography is bare bones and the special effects are mostly limited to the mirror and a flying reindeer. The costumes are very well done, especially the Santa Suit at the end.

The music is fantastically well thought out. I’m not humming the themes but they were perfect for the characters and had a quirky cheerfulness that saved some scenes from being too serious or too scary.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is clever and adorable. Also very dorky. I loved that we went from, “Nick… name… mine… my name is Nick.” at the begining of the movie to, “The first time I saw you I forgot to breathe.” near the end.

Score: 0.5

Fun

My wife and I have been watching the movie yearly for a decade and a half. It’s a Christmas staple that I enjoy. I’m not sure my kids liked it as much.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie is both adorable and aDORKable. The actors elevate what could have been a weird and uncomfortable movie into something lovely and fun.

Final Score: 3.5

Dear Dragon and Pegasus – Holiday Magic

Dear Dragon and Pegasus,

By the time you’re reading this you’ll know the truth about Santa. At the very least, you’ll think you do.

The winter holidays, in my opinion, are not about Santa, presents, decorations, or sappy movies. To me, they are about being with family and actually spending time with them. Hopefully we’ll be doing that a little all year round, but in December we hopefully have more time.

When I grew up, it meant that my big brother was home and I didn’t have to go to school. I was bullied my entire grade school by students and one teacher, so it was nice to be with my Mom and brother and not need to worry about it. We played video games, watched movies, cooked, and baked. My Mom struggled with depression and the holidays were a time she always seemed to be happier. I hope she was.

The magic was family, a sort of warmth that the holidays had. The holidays never lost their magic for me when I learnt about Santa; they dimmed when my Mom died, but are still magical.

Santa Claus is a myth, a lot of myths mushed together. From all over the world and influenced by many cultures (and ad campaigns). Both Santa and Christmas are tapestries woven from hundreds of myths, traditions, holidays, and ideals. From Festival of Lights, to Saturnalia, to Yule, and of course Solstice.

The spirit of these festivals is to celebrate surviving the long winters (not as long as they used to be now). The magic of them in is in giving and helping those in our communities. From donating clothing or money to giving gifts or even just giving a genuine compliment; that’s how you make the magic happen. It’s not the date, the decorations, or anything like that.

This year, Dragon, you decided to make a gift for Santa, and that’s by far the sweetest thought. You are both loving and generous and I hope that grows in you no matter what happens. I hope when you discover that Santa isn’t a person, that you discover that he’s a parable. That he is the triumph of survival, the warmth of family, and spirit of giving.

I hope that we’ve managed to spark the joy and magic in you during the holidays.

Happy holidays Dragon and Pegasus. I love you!

Papa

A Christmas Movie Christmas – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2019 film A Christmas Movie Christmas.

Story

This is one of my favourite sub-genres; the transported into a movie movies. (I reviewed Teen Beach Party that falls in the same sub-genre.)

Post-wish, the story follows the traditional Christmas movie tropes with a lot of wry commentary. At times it was ridiculously cheesy. The story itself was passible and held a few tiny surprises.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The stereotypes of the Christmas movie world were amped up at the beginning and slowly started to become grounded as the movie moved forward. I really enjoyed the lampshading of the stalkerlike behaviours of some of the men. Santa was perfectly mystical.

The main girls managed to rise beyond the tropes of “The Meek escapist” and “The Jaded one who really wants to believe”.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The wry humour and lampshading made this movie. The dialogue pulls together the ridiculous concept and elevates it beyond just cheese.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The cinematography wasn’t amazing, but the set design was amazing. They amped up the “fake christmas town obviously filmed in summer” to a new level of absurd. Using cotton balls as snow and plenty of impractical clothing. The outfits were also really pretty; loved the sparkly sweaters.

The music was okay for what it was.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I laughed and smiled the entire movie. It was light and entertaining. A perfect Christmas romance that managed to be nicely self-aware.

Score: 1

Overall

If you enjoy Christmas romance movies this is probably for you. I loved seeing the tropes and stories through the lense of pseudo-real people. The wry dialogue and hammyness were all perfectly well done.

Final Score: 3.5

Advent Calendar Deadline for October Shipping

Hello Coffee Lovers,

You have until this Wednesday (September 30th) to order your advent calendars for shipping in mid-October.

Here are the options for this year:

  • 24 Bags at 1oz each ($50)
  • 12 Bags at 2oz each ($50)
  • 24 Bags at 2oz each ($100)

This is a pre-order for our Advent Calendars. Flavours will be picked from our current selection and a few experimental flavours.

There will be two sets of pre-orders.
Deadline to order first wave September 30th – Orders will ship mid-October.
Deadline to order second wave November 9th – Orders will ship mid-November.

ALLERGY If you have allergies please email us at JenEricDesigns(AT)gmail.com to let us know your specific allergy.

Pre-orders are open now

Thank you,

Éric

More Advent News!

Hello Coffee and Crochet Lovers,

Last year Jen made fantastic festive coloured baskets. (I liked them so much I asked for one for Christmas.)

This year she levelled up her game and decided to make 3 new types; Santa, Snowman, and Gingerbread Man.

Aren’t these fantastic? Each Advent calendar will come packaged in one of the baskets and the 24 packet 2 oz will require 2.

Here are the options for this year:

  • 24 Bags at 1oz each ($50)
  • 12 Bags at 2oz each ($50)
  • 24 Bags at 2oz each ($100)

This is a pre-order for our Advent Calendars. Flavours will be picked from our current selection and a few experimental flavours.

There will be two sets of pre-orders.
Deadline to order first wave September 30th – Orders will ship mid-October.
Deadline to order second wave November 9th – Orders will ship mid-November.

ALLERGY If you have allergies please email us at JenEricDesigns(AT)gmail.com to let us know your specific allergy.

Pre-orders are open now

Enjoy your coffee!

Éric

Coffee Advent Calendar 2020

Hello Coffee Lovers!

We are doing the Advent Calendars again this year adding an extra option.

Here are the options for this year:

  • 24 Bags at 1oz each ($50)
  • 12 Bags at 2oz each ($50)
  • 24 Bags at 2oz each ($100)

This is a pre-order for our Advent Calendars. Flavours will be picked from our current selection and a few experimental flavours.

There will be two sets of pre-orders.
Deadline to order first wave September 30th – Orders will ship mid-October.
Deadline to order second wave November 9th – Orders will ship mid-November.

ALLERGY If you have allergies please email us at JenEricDesigns(AT)gmail.com to let us know your specific allergy.

Pre-orders are open now

Thank you!

Éric

Blush: Non-het Relationships in the Media

I’m certain that this topic could be discussed in WAY greater detail. A whole dissertation’s worth, in fact. However, I don’t have that kind of time and I’m not getting a PhD afterwards. Feel free to continue the comments.

Story time:

We watched Let it Snow on Netflix a couple weeks ago. (Super cute movie) In this movie, there is a lesbian relationship. I don’t think it’s spoilers to say that the girls kiss at some point during the movie. Our 3 year old daughter was very confused by this kiss. “Where’s the boy?” she kept asking. It took us a few tries to figure out what she was getting at. Apparently we’ve been watching too many Disney movies, because to her, relationships were a boy and a girl. I say were, because as soon as the movie was over, we corrected her. She didn’t believe us. So we pulled out a book that we haven’t read to her in a while (apparently). Promised Land. It’s a typical fairytale romance, with just the one slight change. The romantic leads are two men. She believed us after that, thankfully.

I’m not saying that Disney movies (or any other movie or book) is wrong to portray heterosexual relationships. Go for it.

But I’d like some diversity, please.

I’d like, for once, for a Christmas movie to have two men play the romantic leads. And I DON’T want the movie to be about them “finding themselves” or “coming out to the family” or any other trope.

I want the typical romantic movie. One goes home for Christmas to his family from the big city. Oh look, the guy he had a crush on is still super hot. Hijinks ensue. Due to Christmas magic, they end up together. You know, the Christmas movie we usually get on Hallmark channel.

And I know the perfect book to adapt. Faux Ho Ho, by ‘Nathan Burgoine, has ALL my favourite tropes. They were roommates, check. Fake relationship, check. There was only one bed, check.

So come on, Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon Prime! I know the book was only released yesterday, but why haven’t you made a movie yet??

I want my children to grow up with movies and books that include all types of relationships. Gay, lesbian, poly, ace, you name it, I want it. And please use the same tropes as for the het relationships.

Think of all the new movies you could make!

If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press.