Each movie listed includes:
(1) Title (2) Rating (3) Genres (4) Starring (5) Synopsis (6) My Personal Review (7) Scoring 1-5
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Genres: Animated, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Ariel Winter, Drake Bell, Emilio Estevez, Jane Lynch, Matthew Lillard, and Ray Liotta
Synopsis: Despite repeated warnings about humans from their father, the Abominable Snowman, two Abominable Snowkids find themselves in a sleepy Colorado mountain town after being chased out of their hideaway by a scientist determined to capture them.
Review: I really enjoyed this movie. It is one of those that appeals to children as well as adults. The story keeps moving, the characters and plot are interesting, and it has a great message about family being the most important part of Christmas.
An Accidental Christmas
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Cynthia Gibb and David Millbern
Synopsis: Parents are tricked into spending Christmas together by their children. The children spend the vacation trying to get the parents back together.
Review: While it’s not unusual to have a story about children trying to get their parents back together, this is done with a different feel. It’s a fairly accurate look at what many couples and families go through. Despite the theme it’s still not very deep or dark. It’s an easy watch.
Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights
Genres: Animation, Comedy, Drama, Musical
Starring: Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Kevin Nealon, Jon Lovitz, and Tyra Banks
Synopsis: Davey Stone, an alcoholic with a criminal record, is sentenced to community service under the supervision of an elderly referee. Davey is then faced with trying to reform and abandon his bad habits.
Review: This is mainly focused on Hanukkah, as indicated by the title. It’s definitely not a movie for young children. Tweens may love the potty humor. I found it to be okay but for me it’s just a one and done.
All About Christmas Eve
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Starring: Haylie Duff, Chris Carmack, Connie Sellecca, and Patrick Muldoon
Synopsis: Evelyn’s future depends on whether or not she makes a flight to Los Angeles. She lives out both futures in parallel. In one she plans a huge Christmas event, and in the other she becomes an artist.
Review: This is the Christmas version of Sliding Doors. It’s interesting to see how different and yet similar the paths are that Evelyn takes in each future and how she handles them. I found myself not sure of which path I was rooting for. It kept me interested and paying attention. Either way, I was rooting for her to find her happy ending.
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Genres: Family, Romance
Review: Like most Christmas movies, we know how this movie will end. This movie, however, offers a few twists and turns. The characters are mostly relatable and I appreciate how it includes the role of community in the family and vice versa. Charming in its simplicity.
Genre: Comedy, Family
Synopsis: An attractive young woman unexpectedly meets Santa's helper who grants her an extraordinary Christmas wish with a pin that allows her to hear the thoughts of others.
Review: Very cheesy movie but a good message. It feels like it is quite slow and goes back and forth between silly and serious. It was okay but I wouldn’t watch it again.
All I Want For Christmas Is You
Genres: Animation, Comedy, Family
Starring: Mariah Carey, Henry Winkler, and Lacey Chabert
Synopsis: The film centers on young Mariah, a little girl who dreams of getting a dog for Christmas year after year. This Christmas her dream is fueled after seeing a puppy named Princess at the local pet store. To see if she's ready for the responsibility, Mariah is tasked with dog-sitting her uncle's crazy canine Jack, who upends the family's holiday preparations with his various shenanigans.
Review: It’s a cute animated film for children and Mariah fans. I found Mariah’s presence distracting in what was otherwise a typically adorable story.
Always and Forever Christmas
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Lexi Lawson and Mark Ghanimé
Synopsis: When a marketing executive learns that she's inherited her grandfather's year-round Christmas store, she makes a trip back home to support the store during its final Christmas season before she sells it to a hip athletic leisurewear company.
Review: This is a very sweet and light-hearted movie. It mixes in a few fun characters, an amazing small town, lots of Christmas tradition, and some subtle Christmas magic. It doesn’t have a lot of surprises and is a little sappy at times but it’s really enjoyable. I wasn’t completely happy with the ending but I’ll watch again.
An American Girl Story: Maryellen 1955
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Mary McCormack
Synopsis: Maryellen discovers that the best gift is thinking of others first and is determined to make the holiday special for those who need it most.
Review: Full disclosure, I’ve never seen anything American Girl before. I did like this film. It’s very wholesome and full of positive messages about giving and treating the disabled with dignity. This would be a wonderful movie for families to watch together and talk about.
Angel In The Family
Starring: Meredith Baxter, Ronny Cox, Natasha Greyson Wagner, and Tess Harper
Synopsis: An ailing widowed father and his two estranged daughters experience a miracle when their late matriarch returns to spend Christmas with them.
Review: This movie could’ve been done better as it needs more light moments, but it’s a fantasy many people have. What if I could have my loved one back long enough to resolve issues and say things left unsaid. It’s done delicately as the family back story slowly reveals itself.
The Angel Of Pennsylvania Avenue
Starring: Diana Scarwid and Robert Urich
Synopsis: When an unemployed Detroit man is arrested for a crime he didn't commit, his three children are determined to get him out of jail in time for Christmas and they decide to enlist the help of "the most powerful man in the world" - President Hoover. En route to the White House, they meet an array of colorful characters.
Review: I liked the historical aspects of the movie but it had too many points where it was very slow. The kids have some interesting adventures on their way to the White House that may appeal to younger viewers. For me it was just okay.
Genres: Animation, Family, Religion
Starring: Anya O’Connor
Synopsis: Set in Ireland in the 1910s, 'Angela's Christmas' is a funny, heart-warming and poignant story about the power of family and the innocent desire of a child to ensure everyone is safe, warm and loved at Christmas time. A trip to church with her family on Christmas Eve gives young Angela an extraordinary idea.
Review: What a sweet story. I won’t give any spoilers so it makes being specific difficult. Just know I felt the magic and beauty of the story.
Genres: Family, Fantasy, Romance
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family
Starring: Harry Connick, Jr., Connie Britton, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, and Fionnula Flanagan
Synopsis: As a child, Michael Walker wished every day could be Christmas. That is, until a tragic accident crushed his holiday spirit. Thirty years later, Michael still can't muster any joy for the holidays, despite encouragement from his playful wife and well-intentioned parents. But when his young son faces a tragedy, Michael needs to make amends with his past. A mysterious man named Nick gives Michael a gift and instills in him the courage to find the joy that he lost.
Review: There are times where the movie drags and Michael’s anti-Christmas stance starts to get old but as the movie goes and you learn more of the story you begin to feel the heart of it and the spirit of Christmas.
Review: I really didn’t like this movie. There wasn’t any part of it I enjoyed. Allison doesn’t seem to have a single redeeming quality. Teens and young adults may like it. I think it’s geared towards them.
Review: Annie’s optimistic attitude is as contagious as is her love of Christmas. There are little Christmas touches everywhere you turn. The movie moves at a gentle but constant pace. It’s endearing.
Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Starring: James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Hugh Laurie, Laura Lainey, Eva Longoria, Mark Wooten, and Joan Cusack
Synopsis: Santa's clumsy son Arthur sets out on a mission with St. Nick's father to give out a present they misplaced to a young girl in less than 2 hours.
Review: This delightful comedy shows us a behind the scenes look at how Santa and the North Pole work. It also shows us a dysfunctional family with relatable characters. Lots of fun.