#103 – Chateau Christmas

How is everyone doing? I’ve been busy – it’s Sunday, so that means Church, breakfast, grocery shopping, and laundry – and I’ve even thrown in a workout – I know, who am I? I know it’s not Thanksgiving yet and Hallmark is running Christmas movies, but don’t we all deserve it? Plus, again I’m under orders to clear out the DVR, so here we go to Chateau Christmas, starring people we’ve seen before.

Stock footage of NYC, I love you. We’re at some kind of theater, where Margot is on the phone with her sister. Margot is a pianist, with sold-out Christmas concerts. Margot has just been reviewed badly by the Evelyn March, who said she was technically gifted but did not play with heart. Margot is playing on a stage with far too many Christmas trees, and it looks like the theater she’s in is cursed, as it’s falling apart.

Cut to random winter lodge called The Chateau, where there is a problem with the Christmas concerts, and our hero, Jackson Lewis, is being begged by hotel manager/college roommate to help out with the messed up concert, and of course, he says yes. Margot’s sister is at this Chateau for Christmas – who are these people who go away for the holidays? I do not know who these people are. But what do you know, Margot showed up because of the problems with the haunted theater, and she can’t be in this hotel five minutes before she is begged to play on the baby grand in the lobby. I would really like to know a) how is a classical pianist famous enough to be noticed across a crowded lobby and b) how far are we away from Christmas if Jackson has to plan a concert?

Margot is wowing the audience in the lobby, and Jackson is musically smitten. Oh my goodness, they know each other! Looks like they were college sweethearts, and methinks Jackson has not gotten over her. Clearly Margot’s family are also thinking that Margot never got over him, either. Cut to Margot’s niece playing on a Casio keyboard, and my GOD could there be any more lights in this hotel suite? Even the nails’ head trim on the furniture seems to be lit up. Margot’s agreeing with her bad review, because she’s feeling uninspired with her playing.

Ok, they are 9 days from Christmas, and now the singer has dropped out because of laryngitis. So now Jackson and his college friend have to go beg Margot to play the concert. Jackson will ask her, but before he does that we cut to Jackson’s job at a college, where he’s up for music department chair, and he says he’s doing this concert, and so you know if this is successful he’ll get his dream job. So we cut back to the Chateau lobby where Jackson is buttering up Margot with chocolate in order to get her to play in this concert. Their history seems weird – do they hate each other? No. Do they have those wistful thoughts between each other of what might have been? Probably. Whatever.

Margot says no, but her family says she should do it. And again, I’m struck by how many pointsettias are in this room. Oh, and backstory – she left in order to pursue her dream, and he was devastated. Margot keeps going back to that stupid review, and so she agrees to do it because she needs to find her passion again. And she’s going to have to roll up her sleeves because Jackson’s idea of a concert is just her (which she was going to do anyway, so why is she bugging?) but they again have some passive aggressive banter about how they broke up and then she plays the piano. The college building is again way too decorated.

Cookie decorating in some kind of the room at the hotel. Where is this hotel? What Christmas planet is it on? Margot is getting the whole “your college boyfriend was great” conversation from her mom and sister, and then she gets trapped doing more royal icing shenanigans with Jackson before they go shopping in some kind of music store that has a violinist virtuoso playing, so voila, they’re going to get someone else for this concert.

But PROP MASTER ON THIS MOVIE – attention, I have a bone to pick with you. She asks for a book of beginner piano Christmas music, and he hands her a HARDCOVER book. THAT IS NOT A THING – Music is always soft cover, because it stays open better that way on a music stand. THIS SHOULD NOT BE HARD. But huzzhah, Margot’s fame gets the surly virtuoso violin player shop owner to at least consider being part of the concert. Oh jeez, Violin Guy’s backstory is just a mirror image of Jackson and Margot’s. Really scriptwriter? This is dumb. But the violin guy says no, for at least a while.

Can’t you just call him Jack, Margot? Jackson is so formal. They are falling back in love with each other, but we’re not even halfway through yet, so everyone calm down.

Next day, Jackson comes in with a new idea – to reunite that violin quartet, so off they go on a road trip to Carbondale – so I guess, they’re in Colorado? to go talk to violinist’s ex-girlfriend. Wow, the fake snow just looks bad. It’s the middle of the day, and Sara Baxter, violinist ex-girlfriend’s house has all the Christmas lights on already. And she has 2 Christmas trees in her house! WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? Sara will be happy to do it if she can get their viola guy Len to be in it as well. (And Jackson plays the cello, and their cello player died, so guess who are getting the fourth chair?) Len is fine with it, btw. Jackson and Margot get that news while they are at a gas station that has red ribbon on every gas pump. How is that not a fire hazard? SERIOUSLY.

Adam the college friend just dumped establishing a new theme for the concert to make it “unique” to the Chateau, and seriously, why is this always so last minute? They are at some kind of village Christmas boutique thing where again, way too much felt, way too many lights, and lots of ornaments. Then they go and ambush Sam the surly violinist with his ex-girlfriend Sara. That is some messed up stuff right there, right? And then off Jackson and Margot go to sit in the ice in front of a fire and drink hot chocolate. Again, who does this. They are in December in Colorado and no one is wearing gloves.

They have a week to finish rehearsing and putting this concert together, so they might have to squelch their re-emerging feelings because the show must go on.

The Chateau gives every guest their own Christmas tree to decorate. Which they are doing now, but a few scenes ago the tree was already decorated, so continuity? Margot’s sister says oh, you like Jackson again, and you better follow up on those feelings. And apparently they brought all their Christmas decorations WITH them to this hotel? If anyone has the same amount of Christmas decorations that I have, this is a logistical nightmare. I hate everything about it.

Margot, you are on vacation, and you do not need to wear 4 inch heels on vacation, even if you’re off to rehearse with Jackson. Margot has an idea to give every attendee of the concert a gift bag (of a snow globe) and says maybe we do a dinner instead of straight seats, and what is the budget of this concert????

Montage of violins playing Adeste Fidelis, but the trio says they need a cellist, and Margot is like, here’s Jackson, and duh, I’ve already said that this would happen. BTW, the stage at this rehearsal space has 6 trees on it. I feel like husband should be drinking every time we see a tree, but he’s in a different room at the moment. Jackson feels invigorated by playing for 15 seconds, and Margot invites him to go see the tree lighting, and then leaves from an opposite door from when she came in, and I don’t know why. Where’s her car? Why leave through backstage? That makes no sense.

Through all of this we are treated to memories of Margot’s dad, who inspired her, and who’d be so proud of her, and who is dead. I’m super glad I didn’t watch this last year – it would not have been a good time. Mom says that Margot should play what she loves, just like her dad told her to, but she hasn’t figured out what it would be yet. But meanwhile, Mom is happy that Margot is getting along with Jackson, and counsels her to “be honest” with Jackson about her feelings, but when has that ever work for Hallmark movie heroines?

More Christmas Market Shopping

Margot is full of more ideas on the concert (do it in the round! make centerpieces!) and off they go to buy more supplies. Jackson has tenure at his job, so good for him. Oh, snap, he just asked her why she didn’t ask him to go with her when she left Boulder all those years ago – and she was like, you never wanted to leave. But did he? We’ll never know. Montage of Christmas things – Santa. Snowball fight. Choir rehearsal. Hot Chocolate.

And we’re back at the Christmas market – and they’re holding hands! Tree lighting. Still underwhelming. But they are looking at each other with heart eyes, and then get all weird because they’d like to kiss each other, but they know we can’t have that until the final reel.

Tree Lighting. Meh.

Do I believe this actress is really playing the piano? Not really. Too much camera trickery by not showing her hands.

Oh crap – Evelyn March – the evil critic – is coming to the show – and Jackson doesn’t know what to do – tell Margot and it’ll throw it off her game, don’t tell her, and it’ll be bad all around. But before he gets to tell her, Margot meets Evelyn in the lobby. Margot clearly has more of an issue with Evelyn than Evelyn has with her. And Margot and Mom have a difference of opinion about Jackson – Margot is like, My life is in New York, I can’t give up my career to live in Colorado! (Has she seen a Hallmark movie before?) But she’s actually giving this speech to Jackson, and they’re ok with it (bravely soldiering on through The Sad Times). When is this movie over already?

HARD COVER MUSIC FOR BEGINNER PIANO

Concert time! How does she have a gown ready? She can’t perform without her dad’s necklace, which she can’t find apparently and now she’s late. Jackson is freaking out, but she has arrived, huzzah! She’s also going to change what she’s going to play, so she’s going to play O Holy Night because that was her dad’s favorite. Wait – it’s the FIRST annual Christmas concert? How is that a thing?

First up, quartet with O Christmas Tree. There is only one version of this, and it’s the Nat King Cole version. Choir sings We Wish You A Merry Christmas and thankfully we barely get any of that. Critic is intrigued that Margot is going to play something not on the program. This version of O Holy Night has a lot of extra notes in it, but Margot’s smokey eye is on point. Everyone is very swept away by her playing, so good for her – even Critic Lady. Jackson looks like he’s going to cry.

Violinists are basically saying Margot loves Jackson, and that you shouldn’t waste a second chance. And in a very predictable about-face, Margot agrees! And unofficially, Jackson gets to be Department Chair! (Wait for the offer letter, Jackson!) And Critic Lady says she was moved, and that Margot has the ability to move and transcend people, and her bad reviews are to spur performers on to better things and to all of that I say “Cough- Bullshit- Cough.” But Margot swallows it all with a smile.

Margot tells Jackson that she loves him still, and all Jackson ever wanted was Margot, and Jackson says she can have her career and babies, so yippee skippee, they’re gonna be together and we’re done with this movie. THANK GOD.

So this one is done and off the DVR. I am getting discouraged, this was the second one in a row that was bad. Maybe I’m spoiled by the actual good acting from Holly & Ivy. I’m really hoping the other ones start to be better, or this is going to go back to the Lifetime movies where people keep murdering each other. But can we call this a Hallmark Movie if no one was in The Sad Times? It’s debatable. Anyway, I watched Chateau Christmas, just so you don’t have to.

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