Connect with us


Stream It or Skip It: ‘A Christmas Proposal’ on CBS Resurrects the Old Fashioned Major Network TV Movie




Stream It or Skip It: ‘A Christmas Proposal’ on CBS Resurrects the Old Fashioned Major Network TV Movie

CBS gets back into the TV movie game with A Christmas Proposal, a holiday romcom that you’re used to seeing on basic cable or Netflix. Is the return of the major network TV movie one worth heralding or should CBS have stuck to just rerunning the classics during the holiday season? 

The Gist: Jessica Camacho (All Rise) plays Maria, a struggling personal chef who dreams of owning her own food truck one day. In between cooking gigs, Maria drives for a ride-share app—and that’s precisely how she meets wealthy, cranky, ladder-climbing lawyer Julian (Criminal Minds alum Adam Rodriguez). Maria decides to pick up one passenger on her way to a singles Christmas party, and that passenger ends up being Julian.

This isn’t a simple pick-up and drop-off, either. Julian’s paying Maria to drive 100 miles outside Seattle so that he can spend Christmas sucking up to his powerful dad in the hopes that he’ll be named successor when his dad retires on Christmas Eve. Julian fears that dad’s gonna promote his other son, Bennett, because he has a wife and kids and is more responsible. And right before they get there, Julian hears through the grapevine that his fears are about to come true.

Pictured (L-R Jessica Camacho as Maria Winters and Adam Rodriguez as Julian Diaz Photo: Dean Buscher ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

When his parents see this mystery woman with Julian, they assume she must be the big surprise their son was talking about. This must be Julian’s girlfriend! Seeing a potentially beneficial misunderstanding, Julian does what everyone does in a holiday movie: he runs with it! And Maria goes along with it because Julian has a whole lot of money to invest in that food truck. Will these two complete strangers fool the family long enough for Julian to get that promotion? And at what point will this fake couple become a real couple?

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: I’ve never seen Succession, but I assume that all of the friction between Julian and Bennett as they jockey to take over the law firm from dad is very Succession-y. But really, this is yet another fake romance holiday movie—the fifth that I’ve watched this year alone! Love Hard, An Unexpected Christmas, the first act of Single All the Way, A Fiancé for Christmas—add A Christmas Proposal to the list.

Performance Worth Watching: Give it up for Luisa D’Oliveira who gets the coveted role of sassy best friend. As Brooklyn, D’Oliveira gets to sling one-liners via FaceTime (“Honesty is reserved for nuns and suckers!”) and it looks like she’s having a blast doing it.

Luisa d'Oliveira as Brooklyn Lee Photo: Dean Buscher ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Memorable Dialogue: Christmas movies frequently have to sell one of the leads as a cold-hearted grinch. Julian gets that treatment in this movie, typified by the line, “You really are one of those people who always tries to find the best in others. That must be so disappointing.”

A Holiday Tradition: Without families to visit, Maria and Brooklyn spend Christmas splurging on dinner at the top of the Space Needle. And it would not be a Christmas romance without a work party on Christmas Eve; in this case, it’s a Christmas Eve gala for children in need.

Does the Title Make Any Sense?: Yes—and in an unexpected way. The proposal is actually one that lawyer Julian makes to Maria at the top of their lie; it’s what he calls the rundown of their “relationship.” And if the title sounds familiar, thats because A Christmas Proposal is also the name of a 2008 Lifetime movie starring Nicole Eggert as well as the title of an indie holiday movie from Maverick Movies that came out a few weeks ago.

Pictured Jessica Camacho as Maria Winters Photo: Dean Buscher ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Our Take: Remember back in 2017 when A Christmas Prince was released on Netflix and seemingly everyone lost their mind over it, as if it had reinvented the holiday romcom? It hadn’t, obviously, but it was a very Hallmark-y/Lifetime-y bit of Christmas fluff accessible to whole demographics and generations who cut the cord a long time ago (if they ever had cable to begin with). Since 2017, made-for-TV (or laptops, I guess) holiday movies have enjoyed a meteoric rise with practically every cable network and streamer getting into the gig—and that leads us to this moment.

TV movies used to be a thing. They used to be the thing. From the ’70s to the ’90s, TV movies were probably closer to what we’d call prestige TV today. And then with the rise of actual serialized prestige television, TV movies kinda evaporated from primetime lineups. That’s why A Christmas Proposal feels—to me, a TV history nerd—like a big moment. It’s the return of a type of television event, the TV movie-of-the-week, that we haven’t really had in over 20 years. It reminds me a lot of how fresh A Christmas Prince felt four years ago, even if the format isn’t.

So, I should probably discuss what A Christmas Proposal is instead of what it means! What it is is another fake romance holiday movie, one of the most ubiquitous and formulaic kinds of holiday movies. But A Christmas Proposal shows us what this looks like when done by CBS—with the budget of a major network and a stable of actors who’ll be familiar to viewers of CBS programs like All Rise and Criminal Minds. What does that look like? Luxury, honey. Money.

Pictured (L-R) Jessica Camacho as Maria Winters and Adam Rodriguez as Julian Diaz Photo: Dean Buscher ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

A Christmas Proposal just looks good and unique. It doesn’t have the fuzzy glow of a Hallmark movie and it isn’t as brightly lit as Lifetime’s. It just looks as sleek as all of the crime procedurals on CBS—and the sets help sell the vibe. The Diaz house, where Julian’s parents host Christmas, is next level ridiculous. It looks like the inside of the Ark, if inside the Ark was a Pottery Barn (or whatever the millionaire version of Pottery Barn is). It’s just huge, and every square inch of the halls are decked. This movie’s palette is red wine and evergreen.

Fortunately for those of us who are stuck in what feels like a time loop of fake romance movies, the upscale look of A Christmas Proposal translates to the performances and story. And the performances? Camacho and Rodriguez are incredibly fun to watch and really sell Maria and Julian’s evolving chemistry. And yes, you’ve seen all these story beats before, but this movie does a bit of work to make it feel fresh. Julian is a lawyer so the entire deception is done without technically lying. The two go on a Power Date (which is a term they use with a straight face) where they cram enough experiences into one afternoon so that they can discuss their entire relationship while technically telling the truth. Is this a silly way to go about doing a silly thing? Sure! But it makes what should be a very, very, very tired premise feel fresh.

Our Call: STREAM IT. I guess the TV movie is back!

Stream A Christmas Proposal on Paramount+


Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death




Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

Continue Reading


Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence




Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

Continue Reading


Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers




Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2017