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  • May 16 / Varsity Girls TennisLightridge - 1, Riverside - 5
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  • May 9 / JV Boys SoccerLightridge - 1, Potomac Falls - 0
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Op-Ed: Hallmark movies are holiday comfort food in video form

Olivia+Washington+and+Will+Adams++star+in+the+must-see+2021+Hallmark+movie+A+Holiday+in+Harlem.
Courtesy of Hallmark Media, Inc.
Olivia Washington and Will Adams star in the must-see 2021 Hallmark movie “A Holiday in Harlem.”

“Let’s turn on a movie,” my sister says as the cookie dough forms in the mixing bowl.

With those words somewhere in the universe a starter’s gun rings out, and the race begins. I run around the kitchen island, hurdle over the couch, and grab the remote like it’s a baton and I’m the last runner in a relay. I jump up and down in victory.

“Don’t turn on anything stupid,” my sister says in defeat. I laugh because I am turning on Hallmark. As the movie starts up collective groans sound out from the kitchen.

“Not this again,” my mother says.

“I think, I’ve seen this before,” my father whispers. He hasn’t, yet he has. I know every movie is the same, and I live for it.

“What about The Polar Express?” someone suggest.

My love of Hallmark movies brings out the worst in me. No compromise can be brokered, it’s Hallmark or bust.

Hallmark movies used to be something that I really only watched during the holiday season, but in 2020 I started to watch it a lot more. Maybe it was a result of the stopped production of so many TV shows, maybe it was the unpredictability of our lives with COVID. Either way my average Hallmark consumption increased.

Oftentimes I’ll find myself explaining to family and friends why I love the movies so much. The characters, I’ll explain, are extremely niche on purpose.

Hallmark is the epitome of escapism. In the movies set in a small town, characters know everyone personally, from next door neighbors to the mayor. In movies that take place in the big city the characters will be known by name at their local coffee shop, and be best friends with their building’s super. The main characters all prescribe to an unspoken hustle culture, yet they rarely break a sweat. Characters in Hallmark movies have time to work a 9 to 5, volunteer at an animal shelter, and decorate city hall for the annual Christmas gala, all in the same day. The unlikeness of this type of person existing allows for the movie to be set in an alternate, better reality.

The conflict of the movie is always something that is relatable, but written in an unrelatable way.

I’ve watched a number of movies where the main character is struggling with following their passion, or with a character that struggles with communicating their feelings. The scenarios manifest in the craziest way, like a pop star that wants to write their own music, but doesn’t have the support of a manager. Despite this, I see myself in the characters. I see my everyday life reflected back to me, but in a way that doesn’t overwhelm me.

There is often this misconception that Hallmark movies have no real substance but that’s not true because the heart of the movie is the human desire to love and be loved. Hallmark is not flashy, yet it succeeds where so many movies fail- human connection. I believe great art should bring people together. That is what Hallmark does.

Mostly though, I watch Hallmark movies for the endings. There is a sense of comfort that goes with the movie because the ending is always happy. Life is complicated, but Hallmark movies tell stories that have a clear solutions.

I think people often try to judge the quality of a movie based on arbitrary guidelines that are meant for blockbuster movies. Hallmark movies aren’t meant to be a big productions, their power -and they are powerful- is in their simplicity. So next time you’re wondering what to watch, maybe it is time you turned on a Hallmark movie. Tis the season!

Don’t know where to start? Below is a list of some of my winter season favorites.

“A Holiday in Harlem”
This is a recently released movie, and it has some of the best writing that I’ve seen from Hallmark. It takes the workaholic trope and does something unexpected with it. The movie is about a young professional who stays home for the holidays for the first time in years. After her grandmother gets sick she becomes in charge of the neighborhood festivities, and she has to work with the high school best friend she ghosted. It’s the perfect friends to lovers story that is centered around community.

“12 Gifts of Christmas”

This movie has the classic trope of a workaholic learning about the value of taking time off work. After a young professional realizes that his loved ones hate his gifts, he hires a young artist who is a personal shopper on the side. Soon after spending time together he realizes the importance of prioritizing relationships. While the artist learns to take risks in her professional career. Everytime I watch this movie I remember all the gift shopping I still have to do!

“9 Lives of Christmas”
If someone were to ask me, “What movie captures the vibe of Hallmark?” This would be the movie I direct them to. This movie has the “it” factor. The movie is about a student studying to be a veterinarian and a firefighter who become roommates once a stray cat comes into their lives. Of course.

“Mary Me at Christmas”
Can you even say you like Hallmark if you haven’t watched the huge star fall for a small towner? This movie has a little bit of everything, it has stardom, paparazzi, exes, tabloids, love, and a wedding! It feels like watching every single YA teen drama all at once, in the best way possible. The movie follows a young florist who is helping the sister of one of the world’s most famous actors plan her wedding. The bride’s famous brother is not like the florist expected and soon it seems like the bride and groom aren’t the only people in love.

“Just One Kiss”
This movie had a plot twist that I should have been expecting, but didn’t. It’s a great example of enemies to lovers done right. The movie is about a mother that is going through a divorce and her new neighbor that is her polar opposite. After many chance encounters, she realizes that maybe she should give love another chance.

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About the Contributor
Sabry Tate
Sabry Tate, Managing Editor
Sabry is currently a junior at Lightridge High School. This is her third year as a member of lightridgenews.com and her first year serving as Managing Editor.

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