1. Game of Thrones
2. Sex and the City
3. Big Little Lies
4. Downton Abbey
7. The Originals
8. Hawaii Five-0
9. The Affair
10. The Chicago Trilogy
Madelaine Petsch’s ‘Hotel for the Holidays’ Is a Gem Among Cliché Films
There are a lot of Christmas movies out there, which is why it’s important to make the right choice this holiday season. After all, no one has the time to waste over two+ hours on a bad movie.
At the top of your list should be Hotel for the Holidays, a rom-com that offers a refreshing take on a festive genre that oftentimes lacks creativity simply because the forces behind the scenes know it will make money regardless as everyone longs for a slice of familiarity and comfort around the holidays.
There’s plenty of Christmas magic (it must’ve slipped through the cracks) in Hotel for the Holidays, and it sneaks up on you—and Madelaine Petsch’s character, Georgia—in the best possible way. It’s Amazon Freevee’s first original holiday flick, and hopefully, not the last.
The plot is rather simple on the surface, but it isn’t predictable as with other holiday rom-coms.
Here’s the gist: Georgia is a young and ambitious hotel manager at the historic Hotel Fontaine (it gives The Plaza Hotel vibes from Home Alone 2), which attracts an eclectic bunch of guests, including some heartbroken singles, an infamous popstar, a European ex-prince looking for a taste of the real world, and more. They all arrive in New York City for the holidays looking for an escape from the norm, and Georgia is determined to give it to them. However, she also has her own plans and goals that get her into a bit of a love triangle with the hotel’s chef, Luke (Mesa Massoud from the live-action Aladdin), and the ex-prince, Raymond (Max Lloyd Jones from Book of Boba Fett). It also stars Kayleigh Shikanai (American Gods) as Pandora, Jami Belushi (According to Jim) as Kiki, Neil Crone (It) as Milton, and Jayne Eastwood (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) as Florence.
Pretty early into the film, it’s obvious how Georgia’s romantic life will resolve itself, which allows the film to dig into other captivating subplots that are positively unexpected. Unlike other holiday films, Georgia values herself beyond a romantic partner, which, right off the bat, is a breath of fresh air.
The supporting cast plays an integral part in the film, right down to the chef’s best friend/fellow chef and the janitorial staff. They may not be the sole focus of the series, but the team behind the rom-com found a way to involve them in a way that’s natural and easy to keep up with. Pretty soon, you find yourself rooting for the happiness of everyone at Hotel Fontaine—the staff and the guests.
The acting is also great. It’s just the right amount of feel-good so it never feels forced, nor do the character’s choices seem questionable. It’s all believable within the world they’ve created, aside from the scene where they are dining on a rooftop in the dead of a New York City winter without jackets or even sweaters. How are they not cold? As for the few over-the-top performances and characters, well, they also work—the prince’s bodyguard (AJ Zoldy) is a delight.
If I’m being perfectly honest, the magical thing about the film is that it’s a love letter to the community of people you surround yourself with: your found family.
The film doesn’t just settle for telling a story about two people who finally admit that they love each other because that’s tired and expected. Instead, it recognizes that romance comes in all shapes and sizes—in romantic partners, in co-workers, in friends, and even in new acquaintances that pass through your life for a brief moment (or stay awhile).
The storylines come together seamlessly, and the themes of belonging and acceptance—in addition to staying true to yourself, finding the inspiration to pursue your goals and ambitions, and acknowledging that it’s ok to move and find happiness on your own terms, even if it doesn’t always please everyone—help the film stand out among the other cliche seasonal offerings.
Most importantly, Petsch shines… and it’s so deserved. The film allows her to show off her range of acting chops that, sadly, get stifled on Riverdale. The CW series may have been her mainstream big break, but it stopped working in her favor a long time ago, so it’s exciting to see her take on new projects and characters.
Of all the Christmas films that I’ve seen in 2022 thus far, Hotel for the Holidays is one of the best.
Check it out for yourself when it premieres on Dec. 2 on Amazon’s Freevee.
How to Watch All the New Year’s Eve 2023 Specials
It’s almost time to ring in 2023, and if your idea of a perfect New Year’s Eve includes sitting at home and watching all the action from the comfort of your couch, we got you!
There are a handful of specials to count down till midnight and welcome the new year!
Check them out below:
Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest
Join Ryan Seacrest for a classic. His co-hosts have already been announced—Billy Porter in New Orleans, Ciara at Disneyland, D-Nice in Los Angeles, Jessie James Decker will crown the Powerball First Millionaire of 2023, and Liza Koshy will also be on hand in Times Square. Tune in on ABC starting at 8/7 PM.
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New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash
Live music, fireworks, Nashville Music Note Drop, and more live from Nashville! Brooks & Dunn, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town and Zac Brown Band will be among the country music stars helping to ring in the new year, while Jimmie Allen and Elle King host alongside Rachel Smith.
It will air Saturday, December 31 from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT and 10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. ET/PT on CBS and available to stream live and on-demand on Paramount+.
A Toast to 2022!
The NBC special takes a look back at the moments that we’ll never forget from 2022 in this two-hour special.
Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party
Miley Cyrus is getting an assist from country music icon and her godmother Dolly Parton this NYE! She replaces Pete Davidson, who co-hosted last year. The extravaganza will feature a star-studded lineup of performances and special guests, which will be announced very soon.
It will air live on NBC from Miami on Saturday, Dec. 31 from 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET.
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9 TV Shows to Watch After Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving is a time for reconnecting with friends and family and indulging in some delicious meals.
But after all the turkey, sides, and pie is cleared off the plate, the only acceptable activity is binge-watching some feel-good TV shows.
Here are some post-Thanksgiving dinner show suggestions:
You’ll be just as surprised as Mel to fall in love with the picturesque town of Virgin River. Come for the views, stay for Jack.
Hart of Dixie
Dr. Zoe Hart arrives in Alabama looking for a fresh start and learns that the Southern way of living might actually be what’s best for her.
An unbreakable mother and daughter bond, a charming town that would make any Lifetime movie jealous… plus, an unspoken love for coffee? Say no more.
Selena + Chef
You might know her as a Disney Channel actress and pop star, but now, she’s adding chef to her resume. And since Thanksgiving is all about food, this is one show you don’t want to pass up.
You might think it’s odd that a mafia crime drama made the list, but at its core, the series is about family and how far two dedicated and loving moms would go for their family. It’s a thrill from beginning to end!
The modern-day update to the Chuck Norris classic hones in on family above everything, with a side of roundhouse kicks.
A Million Little Things
A group from Boston bond under the unlikeliest of circumstances and get a much-needed wake-up call following the death of a close friend.
Though it falls into the “sci-fi mystery” category, La Brea hinges on a family determined to find their way back to each other despite all the obstacles standing in their way and all the sacrifices needed to be made.
Dream Home Makeover
If there’s ever a time to get inspired for a home makeover, it’s after the holidays (and during Black Friday when everything is on sale!) And the McGee family is the cherry on top!
This is… a no-brainer. No show captures the essence of what it means to be a complicated, loving, flawed, and fulfilled family more than this NBC drama.
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