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San Antonio Music Awards 2014: Best Music Venue (Small)

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Primal Screen

'In Vogue' opens up dreamland, while 'Hunted' offers death, rebirth

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

'Hunted'


Here’s to an hour’s worth of dreaming.

Gary Gulman: In This Economy (9pm Sat, Comedy Central)
Gulman offers one of the best stand-up comedy specials I’ve seen in a while. He doesn’t have a nasty bone in his body, but instead seduces you with gentle absurdity. Adopting an awkward persona, he creates a world of predatory Blockbuster stores (“how did they go out of business with my $60,000 in late fees?”) and Netflix accounts that make wildly misguided video-rental suggestions. He portrays himself as a cheapskate who freaks out when his date orders a menu item at “market price,” forcing him to discreetly ask the waiter, “Just out of curiosity, not because I can’t afford it, but what did lobster close at today?”

It’s so fun wallowing in Gulman’s alternate universe that I resented having to return to reality at the end of the hour.

The Mistle-Tones (7pm Sun, ABC Family)
Tori Spelling camps it up as a comic villain in this enjoyable Christmas movie. She’s a larger-than-life mean girl named Marcy in charge of a singing group that plays a holiday show at the mall every year. Sweet, talented Holly (Tia Mowry) really wants to join the group, affording Marcy the pleasure of turning her down. But Holly goes on to form her own singing group, the Mistle-Tones, which might just take the mall by storm.

I know this plot sounds dumb, but The Mistle-Tones knows it, too. It makes fun of the holiday-movie genre while also delivering a perfect specimen. Mowry is an appealing presence, and the musical numbers put some funk in the fa-la-la.
Then there’s Spelling. Anyone who can upstage Scrooge at this time of year deserves our respect.

Christmas with Holly (8pm Sun, ABC)
Most of the time, I love TV’s new commitment to ambiguity and moral relativity in such series as The Sopranos and Breaking Bad. But during the December holiday season, I really want to see things turn out the way they ought to. That’s what Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movies are for.

In Christmas with Holly, a hunky-but-sensitive Tom Cruise look-alike named Mark (Sean Faris) raises the six-year-old daughter of his recently deceased sister. Holly has been mute and withdrawn since her mother died, but she starts to come out of her shell when she wanders into a magical toy store run by Maggie (Eloise Mumford), a blond cutie who was left at the altar by her fiancé. Will Holly ever speak again? Will Mark and Maggie get together, despite his serious girlfriend?

My lips are sealed. All I’ll say is: Happy December.

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