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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Abominable Christmas (2019)
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 (2007)
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 (2002)
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 (2012)
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.
All American Christmas Carol (2015)
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Taryn Manning, Beverly D'Angelo, Wendi McLendon-Covey. Shiri Appleby, Eric Roberts, and Meatloaf
Synopsis: A white-trash mom is visited by three ghosts intent on showing her a path to a brighter future.
Review: I don’t like them using the term white-trash. She is a woman with three children, all with different fathers. She doesn’t work and if she has a dime, she spends it on herself and neglects her children. The ghosts show her how her behavior impacts others, especially her children. It’s definitely a fresh take on the old tale.
An All Dogs Christmas Carol (1998)
Genres: Animation, Comedy, Fantasy
Starring: Ernest Borgnine, Dom Deluise, Sheena Easton, Bebe Neuwirth, Charles Nelson Reilly, Steven Weber
Synopsis: Canines Charlie and Itchie try to stop bulldog Carface from ruining the holidays.
Review: I felt like I was missing something because I hadn’t seen All Dogs Go To Heaven, part 1 or 2. This felt like a continuation of those stories. This expected you to know the characters and their relationships. If you can watch the others first, I think you’ll like this more. Even still, I enjoyed it. The music is good. It’s got sweet and funny. It’s a children’s movie that many adults will enjoy. Good for families.
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 (2017)
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.
All I Want Is Christmas (2012)
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Elliott Gould and David DeLuise
Synopsis: A Christmas obsessed Jewish boy on his way to sunny Florida figures out how to get the Christmas of his dreams by trading airline tickets and places with another boy on his way to snowy Christmastown, WA.
Review: I enjoyed how each boy wanted what he didn’t have but then realized the joy of what he did have. It wasn’t hysterical but it was funny and I really enjoyed it. It looks at families and how each person affects others. This would be a good family film.
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd, and Sally Hawkins
Synopsis: While out on parole, Dennis reluctantly takes a job selling Christmas trees with his old buddy Rene in order to make enough money to buy his estranged daughter the piano she's always wanted.
Review: I did not like this movie at all. It’s so depressing. The drama isn’t the make you feel emotions type, it’s just overdone and ridiculous. The actors are good but they didn’t have a good story to work with.
Alone At Christmas (2019)
Starring: The Wright Family
Synopsis: Three girls, home alone, have to defend their house, and presents against an obviously fake Santa Claus who has come to steal all of their presents.
Review: Clearly a low budget film made by a family, this is the weirdest movie I may have ever seen. Mom leaves the girls to go to work with orders not to answer the door. Of course, they do. It doesn’t matter. The fake Santa who at times seems drunk and at other times seems to be under the influence of drugs including hallucinogenics, gets in anyway. The girls don’t call 911 or their mom. They capture him using “Home Alone” type antics. Mom gets home and lectures the Santa about the birth of Jesus. Turns out, the fake Santa is really the dad and mom was dreaming. I don’t mind spoiling the ending because you shouldn’t waste your time with this movie.
Alone For Christmas (2013)
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Starring: David DeLouise and Kevin Sorbo
Synopsis: When a family visits Grandma's house on Christmas Eve, they leave their dog at home alone. And when burglars try to take the presents from under the tree, the dog must use every trick it knows to stop them.
Review: Yet another boring dog movie. They tried to make a dog version of Home Alone but it didn’t work. The only possible positive thing is children may enjoy the dogs. Of all the talking dog movies I’d save this one for last.
Always and Forever Christmas (2019)
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.
American Christmas (2019)
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Robert Carradine, Tara Reid, and Clint Howard
Synopsis: After another ruined Christmas dinner, a mother is determined to make her family reflect on their misdeeds.
Review: Wow. This movie created new levels of horrible. There wasn’t a single likable character. Mom doing a Christmas Past revenge Christmas goes horribly wrong, of course, and only shows how awful the whole family is. It doesn’t even get interesting until Clint Howard shows up and he has a small part. Do yourself a favor and skip this one.
An American Christmas Carol (1979)
Genres: Drama, Fantasy
Starring: Henry Winkler
Synopsis: In an American town, an old bitter miser is given a ghostly chance at redemption on Christmas Eve.
Review: This is an adaptation of the original that takes place in New England during the depression. It’s an interesting look at the story and American history. It’s a little slow but a lot of the Christmas Carol movies are. Overall, it’s worth watching.
An American Girl Holiday: Samantha (2004)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: AnnaSophia Robb, Mia Farrow, Jordan Bridges, and Rebecca Mader
Synopsis: A wealthy child befriends three poor sisters.
Review: This movie isn’t about Christmas. The end includes Christmastime. But it’s educational and teaches about turn of the century society. It also includes good messages, like kindness, giving, and equality. It would be a good family film to start discussions.
An American Girl Story: Maryellen 1955 (2016)
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.