‘Tis the season for Christmas movies. They can range from anything to religious, silly, romantic, miraculous, and downright dumb. If you have Netflix, Hulu, ION TV, Hallmark or Amazon, no doubt you are being inundated with holiday movie choices. I’ve watched so many that my eyes are getting blurry. Some of them are frankly just plain lame and you can’t wait to forget them. A few are entertaining with a bowl of popcorn that leave warm fuzzies at “The End.” Others find a spot in your heart and lodge there for years. Those are the ones that you tune into repeatedly year after year.
So lately, I’ve been watching an awful lot of fluff. Here are my two cents on a few recent ones to hit my television, as well as repeats that I really, really love. Ready? Get your Christmas cookies and glass of milk. These are just a small sampling of lame, fuzzy warm, and unforgettable.
Highly rated on Netflix but one that left me scratching my head comes, “The Spirit of Christmas.” An attorney travels to Vermont to look after the sale of a historical inn with a resident ghost. However, the ghost isn’t a ghost that you can walk through – he’s flesh and blood. Long ago he was murdered and has been cursed to wander the inn during the Christmas season. After the season is over, he’s back to his ghost-like existence. Love ensues, mysteries are revealed, and the stupidest ending left me scratching my head. Really, happy ever after with a ghost? His odd existence of being flesh and spirit isn’t really explained, except that he refuses to walk into the light with the woman he supposedly loved and remain on earth with another. I just didn’t get it. Perhaps I missed something in the translation because of too much EggNog.
Next up, “Christmas in the City.” The story of a woman, with a young daughter, struggling to keep her deceased father’s candy store open. She lives in a small town with her mother and decides to take a holiday in the big city with a friend. She arrives with her little girl and settles in, but her friend who needs to work brings her to the department store. She meets the owner’s son who hires her on the spot. The antagonist in the story is a rich and snobbish woman the board of directors have hired to increase the failing store sales. She totally revamps the Christmas theme into a commercial nightmare. The heroine of the story is so perky that she’s irritating. I’ve never seen such happiness ooze out of another human being every waking moment. She was so unbelievable it depressed me because I’ve never known such happiness–ever. Unrealistic and sappy. Boy, I sound like Grinch.
Can’t Make It To the Next Day
Apparently, some people in life just can’t learn their lesson so they are doomed to relive days over and over again during Christmas.
First on the list is, “A Christmas Wedding Date.” This one is about a high-powered executive from a small town who heads home to attend a wedding Christmas Eve and visit her mother. She arrives with an attitude and is forced to see her former high-school sweetheart who broke her heart years ago by being unfaithful. When she attends the wedding and reception, she decides to cut her holiday trip short after being humiliated. However, when she wakes up, it’s the same day and she’s forced to continually relive it again and again until she gets it right. This one is not my favorite relive it again movie but is tolerable.
Second on the merry-go-round is, “Twelve Dates of Christmas.” Frankly, I thought this one was more entertaining with a woman who is pining over her lost boyfriend and determined to win him back. On the flip side, her stepmother has set her up on a blind date with a widower. Before she meets him, she goes to the department store, walks through the perfume section, and a woman sprays something on her. She faints and when she wakes up the lady says, “I spritzed you and you fainted.” The hilarious part of this movie is that this happens twelve times, and each time it becomes more entertaining. Of course, she has twelve dates, and it takes her that long to work out all the wrong things in her life and fall in love with the right man. It’s also a journey of letting go of her ex-boyfriend and moving on. If I have to relieve multiple days, I’d picked this one.
Enjoyable With Hot Chocolate
Climbing up the ladder of enjoyability comes this cute one I watched last night, “Dear Santa.” This is an endearing story of a rich woman who knows just about nothing when it comes to life except shopping. She receives an allowance from her rich parents, who keep threatening to cut her off. As she is eyeing a gorgeous red dress in a shop window, the mailman picks up the mail from the box behind her. The wind catches a few letters, and one of them lands in front of her addressed to Santa. When she gets home, she opens the letter and reads a heartfelt request for Santa to find her daddy a husband because her mom had died a few years ago. Touched by it, she decides to find out who they are and starts putting herself in their lives. Her main interaction comes at the soup kitchen that the little girl’s father runs. At first, she has trouble fitting in but grows and learns to help others. Does she get her man? Well, after a few bumps and a rather vicious whipped cream fight that’s quite funny, things turn her way. The heroine, in my opinion, is a likable character which makes the movie more enjoyable.
Calling Prince Charming! Well, there are a few movies about princes, and “A Prince of Christmas” is one of them. The underlying stories of struggling women with failing businesses can get a little old. Here is another lady who promised her dying father to keep his legacy alive no matter what in the form of a diner. In the meantime, across the pond in a make-believe land, comes a prince. He’s is being forced by his parents to marry a woman of their choice, but he wants to run away and find himself. He flies to the states, rents a car, and ends up stranded in a small town where he meets the love of his life. However, this prince has a more to offer than some, and though the heroine is not my favorite, it makes for an okay watch on a cold winter’s night.
This particular princely movie I have written a review about before, “A Crown for Christmas.” READ HERE.
Unfortunately, it closely mirrors another movie, that I thought was much better. The one redeeming Hallmark quality is it stars dreamy Rupert-Penry Jones so that makes up for whatever it lacks.
As a storyteller myself, I don’t understand where originality is going these days. This one so closely matches “A Princess of Christmas,” if find it suspect. Actually, there are nine similar plot points! Way too many, in my opinion. I suppose Rupert soothes over my disappointment.
Climbing to the top of the Ladder
All of you Outlander gals out there if you’re not aware of this one, pay attention. Dreamy Jamie Fraser – I mean dreamy Sam Heughan plays an aristocrat. This is a heartwarming story from 2011, though somewhat sad, of a young married couple who die young and leave two children in the care of their aunt.
It sets up the usual broke woman scenario, who suddenly gets an invitation to visit another make-believe kingdom where the children’s grandfather lives. To read my former review CLICK HERE for more detail on the story.
Check it out. I think you’ll enjoy it much better that the repeat storyline from 2015 above.
The Whipped Cream of the Crop
There is only one Christmas movie that I cannot and will not let go of as long as I have a TV remote in my hand. It’s classy. It’s stars some of the best in the business. And it hits home in my own life about unrequited love. Yes, I too have been a “loner, loser, and complicated wreck” during my single life. This movie is brutally honest, well-acted, and reminds us of the pain and joy we often feel at the holiday season. I’ve laughed through it and cried through it.
What is it? “The Holiday.” To read my former gushing review, CLICK HERE.
Oh, I know there are hundreds more Christmas movies out there that many people enjoy all the way from “Miracle on 34th Street” to the latest fluff on the Hallmark Channel. I am quite aware, too, that “Love Actually” is on the top of the list for many individuals.
In the end, whatever touches your heart and makes you warm in fuzzy inside on a cold winter’s night is fine with me.
Enjoy your holidays while you overdose on Christmas entertainment.