Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Movies

We watched a few Christmas movies this season! Just for fun, I kept track of the movies we watched and how we liked them. It's hard to find quality Christmas movies but there were a few fun ones scattered throughout. The italicized descriptions are attributed to Netflix but the ratings and notes are my own.

12 Dates of Christmas
Unwillingly set up on a blind date with handsome Miles on Christmas Eve, Kate gets 12 chances to relive the date over and over again until she sets things right. At first reluctant to give Miles a shot, Kate learns acceptance from a holiday miracle.

2 stars - It felt reminiscent of Groundhog's Day (Bill Murray) but with none of the charm. I felt sorry for the romantic interest!

All She Wants for Christmas
A small-town woman with big business dreams works as an efficiency expert at the local Christmas ornament company. But there's trouble in store, including financial struggles for the factory and a charming stranger who may not be what he seems.

2 stars - I dropped it when the main character starts following her would-be boyfriend around and acting like she's in high school. I couldn't handle the fake drama! It wasn't realistic for her to be so suspicious and clingy about a guy she just met.

Christmas Angel
While writing an assignment for school about Christmas wishes, Olivia Mead begins to notice strange things happening around her. As her wishes start to come true, she becomes convinced that they are miracles linked to a woman she thinks is an angel.

3 stars - This movie barely earned a three star rating as the main character was a know-it-all fifth grader who never really seems to learn her lesson. The message of the movie is a solid one, that we need to leave certain things to God and allow ourselves to admit when we are weak so that He can demonstrate His strength. Too bad the mediocre acting/plot/soundtrack got in the way of the message.

The Christmas Orange
Incensed to discover that Santa Claus has left him only a single orange for Christmas instead of the hundreds of presents he requested in a long, detailed list, 6-year-old Anton Stingley decides to sue Santa for breach of contract.

2 stars - What an odd little animation! I had to look up the significance of a Christmas orange, as the movie didn't provide any enlightenment.

Christmas with a Capital C
This Christian family film follows the residents of Trapper Falls, Alaska, as they try to mount their annual Christmas celebration despite the interference of a Scrooge-like lawyer who objects to the town's public displays of Christianity.

3.5 stars - One of the first holiday movies we watched this season and one of the best. It was a very interesting look at religious freedom (or freedom from religion) versus the desire to celebrate a Christian Christmas celebration.

Crazy for Christmas
A single mother is forced to chauffeur a wealthy man around town on Christmas Eve while he gives away cash to strangers. When a reporter pursues the story, a new romance blossoms and the single mother learns the true meaning of Christmas.

3 stars - This was one of the more unique plot lines out of the bunch. The romance between the reporter and single mother didn't ring true but the relationship between the wealthy man and the single mother was cute.

Dear Santa
When she finds a letter mailed to Santa by a little girl asking for a new wife for her daddy for Christmas, twentysomething Crystal sets out to find the man and his charming daughter, hoping to make the girl's wish come true.

2.5 stars - A cute story about a ditzy rich girl who discovers that it means more to give than receive.

Holiday Engagement
Hilary's plan to hire a good-looking guy to act as her boyfriend backfires when she brings him home for the holidays to try and fool her family. The joke ends up being on her when the fauxmance invites real complications.

3 stars - Run of the mill rom-com. Cute but not memorable.

Holiday Favorites: Vol. 4
When a cigar-smoking Santa takes a break from his duties, playful toys emerge from their cheerfully wrapped boxes in "The Christmas Visitor," one of the six vintage Christmas cartoons and live-action shorts that make up this volume from the Holiday Favorites series. Other titles in the collection include "The Christmas Visit," "The Candle Maker," "The Night Before Christmas," "Christmas Comes But Once a Year" and "Christmas Journey."

3 stars - It seems odd to mention a cigar-smoking Santa Clause but I remember this animation from my childhood and loved it. It was a trip down memory lane to see the Santa take everyday items from an orphanage and create new delightful toys for the children.

Holiday in Handcuffs
When her boyfriend dumps her just before the holidays, aspiring artist Trudie desperately kidnaps a handsome stranger named David. Intending to present him as her new boyfriend at Christmas, she finds instead a genuine bond forming with her victim.

1 star - Terrible acting, terrible plot, unbelievable romance. I want my 90 minutes back!

Midnight Clear
Stephen Baldwin and K Callan star in this heartfelt tale about despair and the life-altering power of kindness. On Christmas Eve, five small-town residents face loneliness and suicide. But as their lives intersect, they find hope through one another.

3 stars - A depressing but surprisingly believable movie that only offers hope in the last ten minutes. The message that God can bring hope through the actions of a stranger is overpowered by the despair. The characters were depressed and had a reason to be. Not a very uplifting Christmas film.

The Polar Express
A young boy's faith in the holiday spirit is revived after he makes his way by train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve in this warm-hearted computer-animated tale inspired by Chris Van Allsburg's award-winning children's book.

2 stars - I'm curious why this movie was rated so high! We had high hopes but thought the character design was a bit creepy, that the movie is not very appropriate for young children (the scene with the train hobo slamming into the top of the tunnel and disintegrating into snow was disturbing), and the story was a hodgepodge of adventures with no real reason why these select children were chosen to ride the Polar Express. I was hoping a different character would be chosen for the first gift of Christmas! The one thing I enjoyed about it - the gorgeous backgrounds. The scenery was beautiful!

The Santa Clause
A bizarre twist of fate transforms a divorced dad into the new Santa.(Description from Amazon.com)

4 stars - A nostalgic visit to a movie from my childhood.

Snow
Nick Snowden (Thomas Cavanagh) is next in line to take over the duties of Santa Claus. When the bumbling trainee loses his prized reindeer three days before Christmas, he undertakes a journey from the North Pole to California to bring it back.

3 stars - It sounds silly but it was actually a rather cute movie!

Snow 2: Brain Freeze
This sequel to the hit TV movie finds newly minted Santa Nick Snowden in trouble just days before Christmas. When a trip through a magic mirror leaves him with no memory, his wife, Sandy, tries to help him recover in time for his midnight ride.

2 stars - I should have known the sequel wouldn't be as good as the original!

With two months of mediocre holiday films, it was nice to watch our all time favorite Christmas movie yesterday.


My husband and I both love this movie. It's our tradition to watch it on Christmas day and this year was our third viewing of it. The movie teaches such wonderful life lessons about working hard, putting family and friends first, and staying true to your moral beliefs. Out of all the Christmas movies I've seen in my lifetime, It's a Wonderful Life is my top recommendation!

3 comments:

Johanna said...

I love-It's a Wonderful Life!

herbivoremeals said...

I love to watch Christmas movies & I'm always hoping to find some new (& good) movies, but that rarely happens.
Planning on watching It's a Wonderful Life before New Years.
My dh and son always watch the Santa Clause movies, I'm not too fond of the last one.
My favorites are Christmas in Connecticut (the newer version), White Christmas, Holiday Inn (although technically not just for Christmas), and The Christmas List (made for TV movie that as far as I know has never been released on video/DVD). A Smokey Mountain Christmas is also good.
We've tried A Boyfriend for Christmas (cute, not bad but not great), Beyond Christmas (ok), and Christmas Lodge (which I kind of liked, but my dh didn't so much) also, but as you can tell from the comments they are not as good as the previous movies listed.

Carrie said...

Oh SUCH a great list! I'm wary of Christmas movies. You never know what you are going to get. Love the old tried and true classics (although I didn't get to watch It's a Wonderful Life this year. I think I need to rectify that situation in January at some point! Does it HAVE to be just a Christmas movie!?). It was great to read through your list.

Crazy for Christmas does sound like a unique story line.

I DO confess to loving The Santa Clause (but not the sequels).