The second movie of the weekend was “Christmas Tree Lane,” on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel, airing on October 24. The movie starred Alicia Witt and Andrew Walker, both Hallstars with huge fan bases. This was their first time in a movie together and I wondered how these two would fit together.
The movie is one of the rare ones filmed in the United States, with principal photography taking place in Payson, Utah. Directed by Steven R. Monroe (a faithful Hallmark director who has directed many of my favorites such as Love to the Rescue and “Love Takes Flight”), the screenplay was actually penned by Alicia Witt herself! Not only that, but one of the songs her character sings, “Christmas Will Never End” was also written by Ms. Witt.
In a nutshell
I think my score implies I didn’t like this movie. I did like it, although I admit that I frequently think Alicia Witt is miscast. Having said that, several of her Christmas movies are MUST SEE when they come on each holiday season, so maybe she’s not miscast at all? It just feels like she is, and that affects how much I do or don’t like her movies. So I’ll preface this whole thing by saying that yes, I liked it, score notwithstanding.
Plot (from Hallmark Channel website)
Music store owner Meg (Witt) spearheads community efforts to save her street from demolition. She’s shocked to find out that Nate (Walker), the man she’s falling for, is actually working for the company Meg’s fighting.
I’ll start with the most obvious actor in this movie. DRAKE HOGESTYN. It took me a beat or two, but I literally stared open-mouthed at my TV before uttering, “THEY GOT JOHN BLACK IN A HALLMARK MOVIE?” Yep, as any “Days of Our Lives” fan saw, the silver fox played Alicia Witt’s dad. I used to watch DOOL back in the 1980s and 1990s. My mom watched the show during my childhood, but it was around the time that Doug and Julie Williams were super-popular (late 1970s?) that I began watching. I was a regular viewer in 1986 when John Black made his first mysterious appearance on the show and captivated Marlena’s mourning heart. *insert nostalgic sigh*
Alicia Witt and Andrew Walker also happened to be in the movie. I have a weird love/hate relationship with Witt. I NEVER miss her movies, but sometimes her attempts to play an ingenue despite being in her 40s gets on my nerves (and she’s not the only Hallstar that does that, BTW). But like I said, I never miss “The Mistletoe Inn” or “A Very Merry Mixup” when they re-air every winter. So what do I know? Andrew Walker, who had two movies come out in one week, was solid, as always.
Six Degrees of Polaha: I can’t remember if I’ve done Alicia Witt before, but she is two degrees away from Kris Polaha. She starred in 1998’s “Urban Legend” with co-star Michael Rosenbaum who went on to share the screen with Polaha in 2014’s “Back in the Day.”
When I first heard about the Witt-Walker pairing I did NOT think it would work. But it strangely did. The weird bit of chemistry was between Meg’s dad and Nate’s mom, though. She gave him the side-eye SEVERAL times in the few scenes they had together. What’s up with THAT?
For a movie about saving a small part of town, it was surprisingly lacking in tropes. Sure, we saw big scarfs and empty coffee cups (and hot cocoa). We also saw some ice skating and a family business being threatened by an evil developer. Lastly, we had at least one situation misunderstood (in this case, Nate’s friendship with the former girlfriend). But that was really it, I think. Did I miss any? Comment below this post and let me know!
Bingo Card Score for “Christmas Tree Lane”
Only 6 spots got covered during this movie. Not even close to a bingo! However, I’ll admit that this weekend I was not using MY set of bingo cards for this movie. I used a different set and realized they are not nearly as varied as my cards, so starting next weekend I’ll probably get more spots covered by using my cards. Want to play? Download my free cards!
Did I Hear/See That Right?
Maybe I was being a generous viewer, but I did not notice too many things to nitpick. One glaring thing I noticed that was very distracting. Both of Nate’s parents had blue eyes in the movie. And yet Nate had brown eyes. This can only mean that Nate was adopted because it is genetically impossible for two blue-eyed parents to have a brown-eyed child. Blue eyes are a recessive trait, whereas brown eyes are dominant. While two brown-eyed parents can birth a blue-eyed child, by having a mix of dominant/recessive, two recessive/recessive blue-eyed parents cannot bring forth a dominant brown-eyed child. Don’t @ me. I loved studying genetics in college. I know this to be true.
Secondly, this movie takes place in Denver, Colorado, and yet Nate seems taken aback at the notion that urban dwellings above old stores could be a thing. Um…Nate…no wonder your dad doesn’t trust you to handle the big projects yet.
I had more than a few feels during the movie. Drake Hogestyn notwithstanding, I also loved that Nate’s clearly supportive mom who believed in their attempts to save the street, but yet still supported her husband while gently trying to help her son.
Secondly, Meg and Nate had a REALLY nice moment that I actually rewound on my Tivo and re-watched. They were saying goodbye at the shop, and Nate briefly puts his hand on her shoulder, then pauses a beat before smiling a very wistful smile and saying, “I had a really good time tonight.” It was the way that Walker smiled and said the line – it was perfection.
One last thing – and I don’t know what section to put this in because it’s really just a general plot point. Meg is telling Nate’s dad to look around and see how busy the street is, and how can he possibly consider tearing everything down. He responds by saying, “But is it still busy after the holidays?” And he has a point. Yes it is busy RIGHT NOW while you are on the news and it’s Christmastime and your street is CHRISTMAS TREE LANE. But what happens on January 2 when the decorations come down and people are no longer Christmas shopping? Is the street still going to remain busy? He’s right. He’s absolutely right.
Yeah, I’d probably watch “Christmas Tree Lane” again. Witt is quirky enough, Walker is charming enough, the movie was sweet enough – I can see watching it.
“Christmas Tree Lane” did make it into the upper half of movies thus far, but just barely. We’ll see how long it can stay in the upper half for 2020.
- Sweet Autumn (air date: Oct 17) – 693 pts – weighted score: 118.5 (83.1%)
- Matching Hearts (air date: Feb 8) – 640 pts – weighted score: 109.0 (76.5%)
- Winter in Vail (air date: Jan 4) – 623 pts – weighted score: 108.8 (76.4%)
- Wedding Every Weekend (air date: Aug 15) – 639 pts – weighted score: 108.3 (76.0%)
- Love in Store (air date: Feb 22) – 637 pts – weighted score: 108.2 (75.9%)
- Hello, It’s Me (air date: Sept 27) – 628 pts – weighted score: 107.8% (75.6%)
- Love on Harbor Island (air date: Aug 8) – 634 pts – weighted score: 106.9 (75.0%)
- The Secret Ingredient (air date: Feb 15) – 617 pts – weighted score: 105.2 (73.8%)
- Country at Heart (air date: Oct 3) – 611 pts – weighted score: 104.1 (73.1%)
- You’re Bacon Me Crazy (air date: Apr 4) – 591 pts – weighted score: 104.0 (72.9%)
- My Best Friend’s Bouquet (air date: Oct 10) – 599 pts – weighted score: 103.4 (72.5%)
- Fashionably Yours (air date: Apr 11) – 594 pts – weighted score: 102.6 (72.0%)
- Follow Your Heart (air date: Oct 4) – 585 pts – weighted score: 101.6 (71.3%)
- Christmas Tree Lane (air date: Oct 24) – 574 pts – weighted score: 100.3 (70.4%)
- A Valentine’s Match (air date: Feb 1) – 562 pts – weighted score: 99.8 (70.0%)
- Love On Iceland (air date: Jan 18) – 563 pts – weighted score: 99.4 (69.7%)
- Hearts of Winter (air date: Jan 25) – 561 pts – weighted score: 98.2 (68.9%)
- Jingle Bell Bride (air date: Oct 24) – 558 pts – weighted score: 97.9 (68.7%)
- Just My Type (air date: Mar 28) – 565 pts – weighted score: 95.4% (66.9%)
- Bad Date Chronicles (air date: Feb 28) – 520 pts – weighted score: 91.0 (63.9%)
- Love in Winterland (air date: Jan 11) – 508 pts – weighted score: 90.7 (63.6%)
- Nature of Love (air date: Apr 18) – 520 pts – weighted score: 90.3 (63.3%)
- Amazing Winter Romance (air date: Jan 20) – 487 pts – weighted score: 85.6 (60.1%)
- Love Under the Olive Tree (air date: June 20) – 473 pts – weighted score: 85.0 (59.6%)
- In the Key of Love (air date: Mar 14) – 470 pts – weighted score: 82.5 (57.9%)
- Love in the Forecast (air date: Jun 13) – 440 pts – weighted score: 72.5 (50.8%)
- Midway to Love (air date: June 26) – 410 pts – weighted score: 69.0 (48.4%)
- Falling at Look Lodge (air date: Sept 26) – 350 pts – weighted score: 64.0 (44.9%)
- Romance in the Air (air date: Aug 1) – 367 pts – weighted score: 63.2 (44.3%)
- Follow Me to Daisy Hills (air date: Sept 19) – 337 pts – weighted score: 62.8 (44.1%)
- How to Train Your Husband (air date: May 16) – 350 pts – weighted score: 62.5 (43.9%)
To see where this movie lands in my overall rankings of Hallmark movies, visit my Hallmark Movie Rankings page!
What did you think of “Christmas Tree Lane”? Comment below and let me know!Click To Tweet