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Monday, November 13, 2017

(Mostly) Horrible yet entertaining Christmas Movie Rundown

I realize that it's the week before Thanksgiving but it's already that time of year again, Holiday music playing in your car and Christmas movies on your television.  The girls and I started watching holiday films on Netflix this weekend did you?

I've done some research the last couple years and watched oh-so-many Xmas films.  Here are a few short summaries/rundowns so you can decide what to watch and what to skip.  Call it one of my last Christmas Presents for my blog readers.  You're welcome!

Holiday in Handcuffs - Avoid this one at all costs.  Way too cheesy with an impossibly horrendous story line that I couldn't get past.  Well that and the makeup on Mario Lopez.

The 12 Dates of Christmas (2011) - Cheesy but actually entertaining.  It is a take on Groundhog day where the main character relives the same Christmas Eve (with another Saved By the Bell actor) over and over for 12 days.

A Princess for Christmas (2011) - Family movie, definitely made-for-TV but not too painful to watch.  Basic plot is a young aunt raising her daughter's 2 kids after their mother-father died (the year before).  Cue rich/titled foreign and estranged (b/c his son married a commoner) Grandfather to invite them to visit his castle for Christmas.  Enter young handsome uncle who happens to be a Prince and I bet you can figure out what happens next.

Bridget Jones Diary (2001) - A classic.  I love all of the dreamy snow swirling around at night scenes.

Four Christmases (2008) - A Major Motion film, no made-for-TV here.  This one had Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn.  A bit crass, not at all appropriate for the family (the first scene includes having sex in a bar bathroom) but it made a good date-night show for my husband and me.

Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason (2004) - Ah, another relatively painful movie to watch due to her bumbling antics.  This movie is much less of a Christmas-y film as only the first and last scenes take place at Christmas-time.  Not exactly a Christmas classic but entertaining none-the-less.

Love Actually (2003) - A feel good Christmas-time movie.  If this one doesn't make you laugh and then cry at the end you probably are the Grinch.  This one will make you want to hug everyone around you during the final scene.  I will point out that it is another non-family movie as there is nudity and adult elements (sex, porn and swearing to name a few).

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer (1964) - The classic of all classic children's Christmas films.  This movie was made with claymation in the 60's.  It's a surprisingly long (in-my-opinion) movie about Rudolph and the elf that wanted to be a dentist.  They didn't fit in but found each other and saved Christmas by being themselves.

Holiday Engagement (2011) - Another made for TV movie, this one has Shellie Long in it.  I'm not going to lie, it was Cheesy with a capital C.  However, it was a step up from Holiday in Handcuffs so it wasn't the worst on the list.  Let's just say the ending (obvious green screen and all) will make you laugh and that's something!  The family could watch this one but I think kids would be pretty bored, it has a more grown-up storyline.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) - I think this one is reaching a little as a "Christmas" movie.  If anything I'd say it's a Valentine's Movie since the last scene takes place on Feb 14th but it was on a Christmas list so I watched it.  I love this film as it brings back memories of watching it in my college dorm on a regular basis.  Ha!  I went to school in Seattle so it was fitting I guess.  Anyway it's a sweet film and mostly family appropriate (there are a few swear words here and there as well as the theme of death/loss).

White Christmas (1954) - A must see Christmas Musical from the 1950s with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney crooning and freaky-small waisted Vera-Ellen dancing (seriously, it was only 17 inches around in this film!!!).  Complete with snow and ending with "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas".  Love this one!

Christmas Lodge (2011) - This was a made-for-TV movie with a religious theme.  It's what you would expect (no swear words or improper scenes here and NO Santa) and although it's family-friendly (of course) I don't think my daughter would have been interested.  I'd say it's better for the 11 and up crowd.  Not my favorite but it still beats Holiday in Handcuffs.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (2007) - Not bad, but a little long and cheesy.  Lots of dancers kicking and costume changes.  Kids enjoyed most of it, but got bored part way through.

Nutcracker: The Motion Picture (1986) This is my favorite version of the Nutcracker.  We have a VHS version but no longer have a VHS player.  Sigh.  For a few years it was on Netflix around Christmastime.  If you can find it watch it!  It is a lovely full stage presentation from the 1980s (Pacific Northwest Ballet).  You may be able to find it other places online as well.  And if anyone wants to buy or borrow my VHS copy just let me know. :)

12 Dog Days Till Christmas (2014) Troubled foster teenager has to do community service at Christmastime.  He's assigned to find homes for 12 unwanted dogs.  Add awkward acting, some teen angst and a little romance and you've got a family-friendly holiday film that may be more interesting to your tweens/teens than younger kids. There are a couple familiar C list actors in this film but the real draw are the dogs.  My dog loving kids enjoyed all the dog scenes and tolerated the rest. :)

Happy Christmas (2014) I'm a big Anna Kendrick fan so she's the main reason I watched this film.  It's story about a 20-something woman (Kendrick) who after a breakup moves in with her brother and his wife/baby.  She's irresponsible (drinking/partying) and her sister-in-law is a bored SAHM.  The film is low budget and although it has Christmas in the title it's a stretch to call it a Christmas film (or Happy for that matter!).  This is an adult film, not so much family friendly. 

Christmas Belle (2013) Belle (Haylie Duff) is sent to handle the sale of an estate and it's contents the week before Christmas. Add a suitor back home and a grumpy/Grinch (often shirtless Nicholas Gonzales) estate owner and you've got a Holiday Love triangle!  I won't give the (somewhat drawn out) ending away but this movie although expectedly cheesy is worth a view.  

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