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Review of Countdown to Christmas Movie: Taking A Second Look

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    Countdown to Christmas season is finally here! This girl is excited. It means that I can spend my weekends sitting in bed, watching movies, eating popcorn, and rejoicing in the Christmas spirit. I don’t feel it a lot, but when I do, I embrace it with everything that I am.

    There is something special about Countdown to Christmas. It’s the time of year where we all can escape a bit and no matter what is going on in our lives, we can all escape.

    For me, it’s about the fun and excitement and joy of the holidays. It’s about not being jaded and seeing the way that the holidays can be happy. It’s the way that seeing that joy can be in the holidays. It’s the way that seeing that Christmas can and does still mean something to people.

    It’s the way that love can and does exist still in its purest forms. It’s the way that life can open up and you can find joy even when it seems like there is no joy left.

    And so we’re starting out this Countdown to Christmas season with Checkin’ It Twice. A movie about family, chance meetings, and the way that just feeling the spirit of Christmas can change ones life.

    That and the whole thing about opening your heart to the world around you and allowing people in.

    While Checkin’ It Twice isn’t my favorite Christmas movie, it’s a solid start to the Countdown to Christmas season. It’s easing you in with seeing the spirit, the way that things can be, the way that Christmas is supposed to make you feel, and how Christmas should be spent with those you love.

    Christmas is complicated. But hey what isn’t?

    It’s About This: Real estate executive Ashley (Matula) and minor league hockey pro Scott (McGarry) bump into each other at the Trout Falls, Idaho, airport gift shop moments after they have broken up with their significant others. Unbeknownst to them, they accidentally pocket each other’s credit cards when making their purchases at the gift shop. Ashley is home to visit family after needing a break from her high-pressure real estate job in New York City, and Scott is newly arrived to play for the popular local Division III hockey team while keeping his dream alive of making it to the big leagues. They meet again when Ashley learns Scott will be staying in her family’s guest house. Sparks fly when they begin to spend time together and partake in Ashley’s family’s holiday traditions and the local town festivities. When Scott’s dream comes true and is called up to a Division II team, and Ashley has a shot at a high-profile real estate deal back in New York City, it seems they will part ways forever, but could their new dreams be with each other instead?

    It’s Giving: I’m not normally a sports romance person, but I am always willing to make the exception for Countdown to Christmas. It’s giving small town. It’s giving chasing dreams. It’s giving family. It’s giving coming into ones own skin and knowing their worth.

    It’s giving scrooge to Christmas cheer and well, I always love the hope that can bring to a scrooge like me (and I am one).

    Standout Performance: Is there a movie that Kevin McGarry is in that he isn’t the standout star? I think not. Could just listen to him recite the ABC’s and I would be happy, so maybe I am biased, but I am okay with that.

    Holiday Cheer Factor: 3.5 out of 5 🎄. It’s a solid start to Countdown to Christmas, but definitely would have loved more Christmas.

    My Scroogish Thoughts: Yes, yes, I have retitled this section of reviews to fit with my personality. Just call me Scrooge.

    While I wanted to love everything about this movie, it fell a little short. Yes, I am fully aware that it is only October and that we have quite sometime to go until Christmas. The thing is though, this movie was the safe bet to launch us into Countdown to Christmas. For me, this is the time of the year where I start to feel the spirit and I didn’t really feel any Christmas spirit.

    I just felt the want to see that dreams can change and that’s an okay thing. It’s something that we need to see and be reminded of. Scott is a hockey player, whose Dad is world famous. Scott’s Dad has won Stanley Cups and is in the hall of fame. But Scott isn’t his Dad. He’s been traded to a small town hockey team and he doesn’t want to be there. He doesn’t think that he will be there for long and makes that known.

    Ashley is back in that small town for the holidays. She was supposed to be bringing home her boyfriend, but she dumped him when he poached a client of hers. Their lives intersect at the airport and a series of events throws them together. Not to mention the fact that this is a small town.

    Scotts first impression to his teammates makes him out to be a jerk, because well, he is acting like one. It’s kinda sad and gross to watch how icky he is. But at the same point, I do get it because we all have that moment in our lives where not achieving our dreams is a hard thing. We aren’t ready to give up on things, just because others think that we should.

    And things get worse when Scott finds out that he’s going to have to volunteer for Christmas activities. He’s very much against having to participate in the holidays. But it’s having to do that and needing to spend time with the community that starts to change him. That and Ashley.

    Ashley is changing herself. She’s realizing that the life that she thought she wanted may not be what she wants at all. It’s not something that is necessarily easy for her to deal with, but she’s accepted that this is a part of life that she has to deal with. She sees the way that things are simplier, the things that she’s missing out on, and the way that she’s happier at home in Idaho.

    Not to mention that affect that Scott is having on her. That’s something that she’s definitely loving. Now if this was real life, I may call him a rebound. But this isn’t real life, so I am going to go with that these were two people that needed each other to grow. That is okay though, we all need someone to push us forward at times.

    The thing is, at a certain point we all realize what we need and what is going to make us better people. Not for other people, but for ourselves. Scott and Ashley may have found their way to each other, but in the process they found themselves.

    And what they both truly wanted – Christmas and family.

    Did it melt my scrooge heart? No. But it was a good start to a season I love.

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