The Girl Who Came Gift Wrapped- 1-29-1974
When you go back in time and watch movies from the time you were growing up, it's a little nostalgic, yet at the same time a little disturbing.
Romantic Comedies have been around for years and of course in the end, the couples always get together despite the problems they encounter on the road to love and happiness. And sometimes, they're on the verge of stalking.
I can't remember if this was a "controversial" movie when it was originally aired (it must not have been if it was shown again during The Afternoon Movie, which was heavily edited into 30 minute blocks) but watching it now, it is a little disturbing.
Michael Green (Richard Long) is the editor/owner for a men's magazine called For the Man. While he has everything that he could ever want in life, he can't get over the fact that he's now 40 years old and really doesn't have what the magazine preaches.
He comes back early from his vacation, which happens to be his birthday and denies to everyone that he's 40 (he prefers 39) even though everyone knows his true age, yet they play along.
After work, he takes a taxi home after spending the night out drinking by himself and when he gets home, he thinks that there's a surprise party waiting for him since the house is dark. Once inside, he realizes that there is no party.
As he ponders his life in a drunken haze, he starts to talk into his reel to reel tape recorder when the doorbell rings.
At the door is Sandy and she sings Happy Birthday to him in a white trench coat and when she invites herself in, she's in a bikini and tells him that she's a gift from Harold (Tom Bosley) and the guys at work.
Feeling hungry, she asks if she can have something to eat and in the kitchen she faints and Michael takes her to his bedroom and calls his doctor friend, Stanley (Dave Madden) to come over. Stanley thinks he's finally being asked over for some type of orgy (I think key parties were popular then) and he's upset when he's let down.
After Stanley leaves, Sandy and Michael have something to eat and she tells him all about herself and how she left Kenosha, Wisconsin to experience life. She couldn't imagine herself living there and marrying her boyfriend Tom without having lived life.
The next day, she calls Michael at the office where he's just told his secretary Sylvia (Louise Sorel) that he was planning on staying in. Plus she and Michael were once an item and she does still care for him.
Later that night, Sandy is on the phone with her parents and she tells them that she's falling in love with Michael, but neglects to tell them of her plan.
While he's agreed to be friends with her, she tells him that she's a writer and he offers to let her write for the magazine and she eventually finds a job as a Junior Copy Writer, but she's also been evicted and he invites her to live with him.
She takes him up on the offer and later she fills Sylvia in on what's going on and she offers up her advice and helps her with her plan to get Michael to commit to her. Harold is also on board.
Sandy starts to date various guys in an effort to get Michael jealous.
Her plan starts to work as his housekeeper Cora (Reta Shaw) quits after Sandy introduces plants and a dog into the house. With Cora gone, she assumes the woman of the house role and when he's not expecting it, he does tell her that they're going together.
Now that he feels trapped, one of his employees (Jamie Lyn Bauer) stops by to drop off some papers and when Sandy comes home from a writing class, she sees the two having a drink and leaves Michael.
When Sylvia finds out, she tells him and he heads back to Kenosha where she lays it on the line and you know that they're going to live happily ever after.
But in Los Angeles.
Have you ever saw an attractive stranger and had a quick fantasy about them? In reality, you know you'll probably ever see them again, but what happens when you do see them again? If the stars aligned just right, would you pursue them?
That's what Grace (Ricki Lake) does after her best friend Keri (Nada Despotovich) does after she points out Rob (Craig Sheffer) one night when the two are watching people ice skating. Grace is immediately attracted to him and Keri reminds her that good looking people like Rob would never look twice at people like them.
As the two part ways, Grace is extremely depressed as she prepares for her father Al's (John Karlen) wedding to Wanda (Betty Buckley). In Wanda's perfect pink world, she would rather Grace not attend the wedding since Grace is overweight, "but has such a pretty face."
At the wedding, Grace is pretty much left by herself and on the way home has a chance meeting with Rob in the subway. She sees him leaving the train that he's just brought in and is certain that he saw her.
With renewed vigour, she follows him out of the station and grabs a taxi where she finds out where he lives. As he takes the elevator, she quickly climbs the stairs and sees him get out of the elevator and go to his apartment.
As soon as he enters, she hears him being scolded and after a quick second, she see Olivia (Cynthia Dale) come out barking instructions at him regarding their upcoming wedding.
The next day, Grace confronts her boss, Mr. Magleby (Paul Benedict) and demands that she be given her accrued vacation time. He won't give her the four weeks off that she wants, since death around the holidays is big business for the funeral industry.
She agrees to taking three weeks and sets her plan in getting Rob into motion.
Not only does she begin to make over her appearance, but she tackles her apartment and takes Keri on a stakeout in a building across the street from Rob and Olivia's apartment. She tells her that she's going to get him and that he's not happy with his girlfriend.
The first part of her plan is to meet him and Keri reluctantly participates by switching his skates with a pair of hers.
When he's paged to come to the concession stand, Grace invites him to have a banana split and during the course of the conversation, she invites him to dinner the next night, which he comes up with a lot of excuses as to why he can't make it for dinner.
Since Olivia has gone to visit her family for the holidays, Rob goes out with his co-workers and after having drank too much shows up at Grace's four hours late for dinner. The next morning, he's horrified to think that he slept with her (well, they did sleep together, but not in that way).
As Rob continues to make excuses, Grace asks if he'll go with her to Al and Wanda's for dinner. She promises that he'll never have to see her again and he agrees.
During dinner, the topic of conversation focuses on her weight (which most of the movie focuses on) and he says that he likes her just the way she is.
After dinner, while waiting for the bus, the two share their life stories and both discover that they've pretty much been on their own for years.
Once back at the subway station, he asks if she's ever been on a motorcycle and after saying no, his one co-worker (Erik King) approaches them and gives her a disgusting look and she runs away. He asks Rob to come and have a drink with him and the other guys and when he does, he changes his mind and goes after Grace.
Grace continues to run as he pulls up in front of her building and they argue in the stairwell and there's a shift in Rob's thinking and they do end up sleeping together.
Rob's not sure what's happening, but he begins to develop feelings for her and the two begin a short lived relationship since Grace doesn't treat him the way that Olivia does.
Keri doesn't approve of the relationship and lets it be known, but betrays Grace when Olivia comes home early and finds that Rob hasn't been home at all. She goes to the rink and when Keri spots her, she tells her where the two are for New Year's Eve.
Olivia goes to the club and causes a scene which leaves Grace cowering in a corner and from that moment on, life goes back to the old normal.
Through her depression, Grace reflects on those few love filled days and decides that in order to get over Rob she has to make some life changing decisions and in the process discovers that she is actually a beautiful person.
I'll Be Home For Christmas- 12-23-1997
Long before the Hallmark Channel Christmas movie invasion, there really weren't too many Christmas movies, but there was one that managed to come out and really hasn't been seen since.
St. Nicolas, Iowa has just been included in the top 100 list of small towns under 1500 to live in which is good news for them, but they also have bad news. The doctor of their small hospital has recently passed away and they've been searching high and low for a new doctor. Their time is running out if they can't find a new doctor by January 1.
In the interim, Sarah Gladstone (Ann Jillian) has been the acting doctor, even though she's a veterinarian, mayor of St. Nicolas and an entrepreneur her hands are tied.
For the first time in years, Mike Greiser (Robert Hays) is coming home to spend the holidays with his father Bob (Jack Palance) and the town is hoping that Mike will accept the doctor's position, but up until now, no one has asked him.
Mike's daughter Jilly (Ashey Gorrell) doesn't want to go to Iowa because she's afraid of Bob and knows that she'll be bored, but since the two of them spend a lot of time together later, they secure a tight bond.
The town is excited to have Mike back since he hasn't been back in years and everyone is exceedingly nice to him since they want him to take over for former doctor. They even bestow the honor of being Grand Electrician for the lighting of the towns Christmas tree.
Everyone starts to pressure Sarah into asking Mike about the position and she's uncomfortable about asking him, since the two were high school sweethearts and when they broke up, it doesn't seem like it was on good terms.
Sarah is pushed into taking Mike on a tour of the town to butter him up and he's not really into the tour since he's depressed and feels like a failure since he's been a widower for four years and his career is suffering. He's not good at hiding the fact and when he is finally asked, he abruptly heads back to the city with Jilly and Bob. He tells her that he's gotten a promotion (he tells Bob the same thing, but with a different position) and that's why he cannot accept the position.
Defeated, Sarah goes to the city to see him and finds out that Mike lied about the promotion and when he asks about the hospital, she lies and tells him that its been filled.
While Bob and Jilly are out ice skating, Bob has a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital where Mike steps into the operating room and completes the surgery. He confesses to Bob about his depression and realizes that he can't be an administrator and heads to St. Nicolas.
As Sarah delivers the bad news to the town on Christmas Eve that the hospital will have to close, Mike and Jilly return to tell the town about Bob and they help the town by telling them that he'll take the position.
The town can celebrate the holidays with joy and are thankful for the Christmas miracle that they've been given.
Eric Tuchelske (author) from Detroit on October 23, 2021:
No pun intended, but I'm going over my list and checking it twice for Christmas movies and books.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on October 20, 2021:
I'll Be Home for Christmas, I love that film. Christmas is my favourite time of year, and I've been watching these films on an almost daily basis lol.