REVIEW: Why Hallmark's "Never Been Chris'd" Is Such a Flop

Home for the holidays, BFFs Naomi and Liz reconnect with high school crush, Chris Silver.  A complex love triangle forms, forcing them to take stock of their lives and find the value of friendship. Starring:  Janel Parrish, Pascal Lamothe-Kipnes, and Tyler Hynes Image:  Hallmark Media What Is Never Been Chris'd About? Chris Silver (Hynes) was the most popular guy in high school.  Like most girls, Liz (Lamothe-Kipnes) and Naomi (Parrish) both had crushes on him, but he never seemed to notice them. Whenever a lucky lady became Chris' girlfriend, she instantly catapulted into popularity.  Liz and Naomi dubbed this phenomenon being "Chris'd." The tables have turned.  Thanks to the innovative "Best Pals" app that Liz and Naomi have created, they are now local celebrities. The two are acknowledged by former classmates when they come home for Christmas and finally experience being the "cool kids."  Chris is a former marine and an English teacher at t

Hallmark's "Mystic Christmas" Starts Off Great Before Taking a Hard Left Turn

Juniper Jones travels to Mystic, Connecticut during the holidays to work at the rehabilitation center and aquarium.  While there, she reconnects with Sawyer, the owner of the pizza shop and the man she once loved.

Starring:  Jessy Schram and Chandler Massey 

Hallmark's Mystic Christmas
Image:  Hallmark Media

A Movie That Pays Homage to Mystic Pizza

Mystic Pizza is a coming-of-age movie from 1988 that gave a young Julia Roberts the career breakthrough she needed.  The story followed three friends who worked together at a pizza shop in a seaside Connecticut town.

Hallmark combines nostalgia with a modern love story to bring us a 2023 Christmas movie based in the same fishing town of Mystic, Connecticut where we visit a pizza shop and a planetarium, just like in the original, though the aquarium is the setting for a chunk of the story.

Juniper Jones and Sawyer Adams were in love 10 years ago, but when Juniper shared her heart in an e-mail, she never received a response.  

Now things are awkward as Juniper returns to Mystic on a temporary assignment given to her by Sawyer's sister and her best friend, Candice (Patti Murin).  Her job is to rehabilitate a seal named Peppermint.  While she's in town, she and Sawyer rediscover their spark, but neither see how things can move forward since Juniper has plans to travel to Africa for her next job opportunity.

When it comes to committing to a relationship, the timing always seems off for Juniper and Sawyer.  Just as she contemplates staying in one place and establishing roots, Sawyer wants to leave town and see the world.  The two must find middle ground to preserve their relationship while setting each other free--just like Peppermint into the vast ocean.

Mystic Christmas Is Initially Entertaining

Juniper and Sawyer have great chemistry.  They both act adorably awkward at first.  Candice calls them "mollusks" because they both retreat into their shells at the slightest hint of conflict.

The situational comedy is well done.  Schram and Massey play off of each other seamlessly, creating several comedic moments with their back-and-forth banter.  One scene I find particularly amusing is when Juniper enters an establishment and Sawyer hides behind the counter.  Someone volunteers Sawyer to shuttle Juniper, and he has to pop up from behind the counter and admit he hid because he thought things might seem awkward between them.  Had we been in his situation, hiding might have been our go-to response also, but his behavior makes the interaction even more acutely uncomfortable.

As an introvert, Juniper struggles with her people skills.  When Candice's daughter, Louisa, asks Juniper about sand dollars, Juniper bluntly states the sand dollar she's holding is actually its dead body.  Louisa handles the truth bomb well, but the adults marvel at Juniper's inability to sugar coat things to make concepts easier for children to process.

Have you heard the Christmas song, Dominick the Donkey?  It's one of the dumbest Christmas songs on the planet, but it's simultaneously super catchy and sticks in your head.  It's funny that this obscure song from 1960 is Juniper's favorite Christmas song and that she's not afraid to admit it out loud.

Although Mystic Christmas starts off as light-hearted and fun, by the midpoint, it is ruined by Hallmark's insistence on injecting "woke" elements into the storyline that stem from radical, left-wing ideology.  

Mystic Christmas Is Derailed by Wokeism 

No matter what your political inclination, you watch Hallmark Christmas movies to be entertained and to escape the stress of everyday life.  None of us tune in to be indoctrinated with the current social and ideological trends--we just want a feel-good story to take our minds off reality for 1 1/2 hours.  

Apparently, that is too much to expect from Hallmark.  Although the brand is still producing movies we love and enjoy, since 2020, the corporation has steadily been aligning itself with the cultural Marxists, like Disney, Bud Light, Target, and others, and using its platform to influence culture into redefining societal norms.

Mystic Christmas packs several Left-wing ideals into the script, proving, once again, that Hallmark has abandoned its core base and forsaken its moralistic foundation.

Hallmark doesn't see it that way.  Based on the brand's virtue signaling, it's clear that Hallmark thinks it commands the moral high ground.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

First, there's the character of Brooke--a young lady who has worked at Sawyer's pizza shop throughout high school.  She is about to graduate from college, and she pressures Sawyer to promote her to a management position.  Let's forget, for a moment, that she has spent at least four years in college only to aspire to managing a pizza shop she hopes to own one day in a small village, even though Sawyer isn't remotely close to retirement age. The mindset of college grads today is that they are automatically entitled to top-level positions once they receive a diploma.  What happened to climbing the corporate ladder?  We live in an increasingly entitlement-mentality culture where young people want to immediately shoot to the top without investing the time and grit to gain the experience needed to effectively and maturely handle the responsibilities of high-level seats.  The "wokest" part of this is the connotation of a white male holding down a woman, and not just any woman--a black woman.  Sawyer has another male manager already and isn't initially open to adding a third.  The Leftists always blame the patriarchy and the "all boys club" for misogyny, so Hallmark includes this narrative in their story.

Second, one of the interns, Eric, shares the history of hot chocolate.  He says hot chocolate was originally introduced by the Aztec and Mayan empires, but their form was cold and bitter.  The sweet version we drink today is a "product of colonialism."  He doesn't say that our modern cuppa evolved during the colonial period.  To call something a product of colonialism insinuates exploitation, which is another Left-wing expression of anti-Americanism.

Third, when Sawyer and Juniper realize they are falling for each other again, she reminds him that she's sticking to her plan of going to Africa and says the "right guy" wouldn't ask her to stay.  There's the militant feminism on full display.  As if falling in love and making sacrifices to be with a person is some type of anti-woman ball and chain.  I would argue if the "right guy" lets a woman get away, he's pretty weak and needs to step up to the plate and be a man.

Fourth, Juniper nearly browbeats Sawyer about his lack of world travel.  He reacts by asking why people who travel always look down on those who don't, and his observation is correct.  It's okay to have wanderlust, but it's also okay to never step foot out of your home state.  Globalists want to force people to expand their worldview in the hopes Americans will abandon our foundational morals and values after experiencing a world without borders.  Where does Sawyer get his money to travel the world for a year anyway?  We learn that Mystic isn't even a town--it's a village--yet, we're supposed to believe that he makes enough money from his pizza shop to support two other managers and fund his global travel?

Last, and worst of all, is the inclusion of same-sex couples in the movie. Eric, the black flaming intern, and Nick, the white village baker, hook up, and a year later, they are engaged.  Sadly, our culture is embracing and affirming homosexuality as a new societal norm.  The truth is, homosexuality is wrong, and it will always be wrong, no matter how much LGBTQ-LMNOP activists push to make it mainstream.  All of creation shares the same design:  male and female pairings that procreate.  Not only is this true for humanity's design, but animals are also paired male and female--even fruits and vegetables require male and female parts for pollination. We are born into a fallen world, and sexual sin is one of the results.  Hallmark isn't being inclusive--they are paving the way to hell for a lot of people by feeding viewers the lie that same-sex relationships are something to be celebrated rather than repented of, and on judgment day, they will be held accountable.  

Mystic Christmas
Image:  Hallmark Media

My Christmas Tree Rating

Despite Mystic Christmas having a strong start, it quickly unravels to be yet another Hallmark story that promotes woke, left-wing garbage and sends more viewers to Great American Family where people can enjoy watching movies that celebrate faith, family, and country--not sin.

I'm giving this movie 1 out of 5 Christmas trees.


  1. I didn't watch this (because I didn't think seals were all that interesting), but man, hearing of how bad this movie is was really disappointing, especially given the clean streak Hallmark was on at the time. -Maria

  2. I have yet to see this movie but the author brings up interesting points. The woman who currently heads up Hallmark has made several changes to the format of movies. That's why some of the previous actors on Hallmark have gone to Great American Family, so that they can do movies that coincide with their own beliefs, and to also have a chance to be producers of the shows they appear in.

  3. Thank you for the review. I dodged a bullet. I'm a GAC guy but I still watch the Hallmark of yore - when it was nice.


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