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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Ben is Back (2018)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, and Courtney B. Vance
Synopsis: A drug addicted teenage boy shows up unexpectedly at his family's home on Christmas Eve.
Review: If you want a happy and festive Christmas movie, stay away. There’s lots of drama. I found Julia Roberts’ character to be extremely unlikable. For example, she blames everyone else for her son’s drug use but when he tries to take accountability for getting someone else to do drugs (which ended in her death) the mom says that isn’t his fault. The ending is also rather abrupt and doesn’t resolve anything.
Best Christmas Ball Ever! (2019)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Elisabeth Harnois, Samuel Hunt, and Christian Oliver
Synopsis: After a surprising breakup at home in Chicago, Amy thinks that a change of scenery will do her well and impulsively decides to spend the holidays with her brother in Vienna.
Review: The music alone made this movie enjoyable. The love story, with the obvious misunderstanding, still felt fresh. The dancing was an added touch. Seeing Amy and Lucas begin to open up again and enjoy the holidays was done with a festive touch. Adding the message of the importance of family was a bonus.
imaginations as they plan parties is amazing. Despite their tensions, the story makes them both likable. I really enjoyed watching their journey.
The Best Man Holiday (2013)
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Starring: Monica Calhoun, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Taye Diggs, Terence Howard, Melissa De Sousa, Sanaa Latham, Regina Hall, Harold Perrineau, and Eddie Cibrian
Synopsis: When college friends reunite after 15 years over the Christmas holidays, they discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be reignited.
Review: This sequel to The Best Man is an amazing movie. The relationships are layered and complex. The feeling of family and friendship is palpable. Pay attention to the opening if you didn’t see the first one to understand who everyone is and how they’re related. It's truly moving. Have the tissues ready.
The Bestest Christmas Ever (2013)
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
Starring: Topher Hansson, Dane C. Volke, and Kevin McKeon
Synopsis: Best friends Chris, Dane, and Kevin put on a Christmas spectacular with the hopes of meeting the one and only Santa Claus.
Review: I can’t decide if this movie is ridiculous or genius. Seriously. It’s pretending to be a public access show so that can help explain the amateur filming and effects. It’s almost like Saturday Night Live for a young audience. It’s silly and goofy, maybe funny, but I wasn’t laughing out loud. This is one I’d try if you have youngsters or if you want to see people being very immature and goofy. I can say I didn’t laugh but I wasn’t bored either.
Better Watch Out (2017)
Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Virginia Madsen, and Patrick Warburton
Synopsis: A babysitter must defend herself and a 12-year-old boy when intruders invade a suburban home only to find out it’s not a typical invasion.
Review: This movie is an edge of your seat suspense thriller. If you’re looking for a happy sweet Christmas movie, this isn’t for you. I’m not a fan of horror or gore. This movie manages to provide all the thrills without gallons of blood. I was so engaged in the story I actually looked to see if there was a sequel. Loved this.
Beverly Hills Christmas (2015)
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Donna Spangler
Synopsis: With help from a guardian angel, a spoiled rich, very material teenage girl learns that true value is found in assisting others and not in material things.
Review: The story, while not original, was nice. Unfortunately, the acting was so horrible it was awful to watch. I truly had to force myself to sit through it begging it to get better. It didn't. Definitely one to miss.
Beyond Tomorrow (1940)
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Harry Carey
Synopsis: The ghosts of three elderly industrialists killed in an airplane crash return to Earth to help reunite a young couple whom they initially brought together.
Review: The movie is a little slower, as many of that time were, but if you enjoy classics you won’t mind. Honestly, every time a ghost was on screen, I marveled at how they did it so well so long ago. It’s a lovely stroll through time with the music, costumes, and expressions. The messages sometimes blur but it’s a nice film.
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Religion, Romance
Starring: Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven
Synopsis: An angel in human form enters the life of a bishop in order to help him build a new cathedral and repair his fractured marriage.
Review: A lovely story with an angel reminding everyone about the importance of the values Christmas represents. The actors make the movie truly special. A heartwarming story for the whole family.
Black Nativity (2013)
Genres: Drama, Family, Musical
Starring: Forest Whitaker, Angela Basset, Mary J. Blige, Tyrese Gibson, Jennifer Hudson, Nas
Synopsis: A teen goes to New York to spend Christmas with his estranged relatives.
Review: What a remarkable and engaging movie. I really loved it, especially the music. The only downside is we see a lot of flawed people in pain but there’s a lack of story to explain why. It’s still a great movie.
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Brenda Blethlyn, Whoopi Goldberg, Christopher Plummer, and Kevin Pollak
Synopsis: A young girl's aunt tells her the tale of a young ice skater and an enchanted reindeer.
Review: I watch this every year. It’s magical and charming and appeals to all ages. It’s a story about true friendship, coping with loss, and dealing with change. It moves fluidly through drama and fantasy. It even has talking reindeer.
A Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas (2019)
Genres: Family, Romance
Starring: Benjamin Ayres and Rachel Leigh Cook
Synopsis: Hotel manager Willow returns to her stunning Virginia hometown to help her sister plan a Christmas wedding at the inn her family once owned. She must work with current owner and single dad David, who wants to let go of the past.
Review: I figured this would be a standard Christmas wedding movie. I was wrong. It shared the message of dealing with loss and how the past affects our present and future. I loved the little girl and all the characters. It’s got the typical feel and pace of a Hallmark movie but it threw a curve ball. I wasn’t quite sure how it would end and once I thought I had I wasn’t sure how they’d get there.
Bob Hope Christmas Special (1968)
Starring: Bob Hope and Raquel Welch
Synopsis: Bob Hope entertains our troops at his annual USO tour of Southeast Asian military bases.
Review: This takes place during the Vietnam war. It’s footage of Hope and friends performing for soldiers. Most of his jokes are one-liners, which aren’t my favorite. Many of the jokes are also relevant to that time and don’t make sense if you weren’t an adult at the time and I think they’re just not funny today. Better left in the time capsule but if you’re a Hope fan this may be for you.
Bob’s Broken Sleigh (2015)
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Fantasy
Starring: Cole Howard and Victor Garber
Synopsis: This Christmas movie a young magic-less elf named Bob, who finds himself on a wild sleigh ride after being ambushed by the evil puffin Fishface. Stranded in the middle of a magical forest, it's up to him and the friends he makes along the way to bring the sleigh back home in time for Christmas - if the puffins don't get it first!
Review: I found this movie to be fairly boring. I think it would be good for young children but it’s not enough for adults. The story feels recycled and I couldn’t wait for it to end.
The Borrowed Christmas (2014)
Starring: Sherry Morris and Jeff Rose
Synopsis: John Dale has everything. Money, notoriety, the biggest house in town. But what he really wants, is a good, old fashion Christmas. With no family in town, John turns to the local "Rent-All" store and Anne Weston. Anne's store is struggling, and in an attempt to save the shop, she takes on this unusual order, from this unusual man. She goes about trying to fill the order, but ends up filling a need much greater.
Review: This is the definition of a B movie. The acting, scenery, and some of the writing and poor. This story, however, had the possibility of becoming a beautifully moving film. If you can sit through the bad and try to focus on the story you may enjoy this. I found it difficult to do.
Breakfast With Scot (2008)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Tom Cavanagh and Ben Shenkman
Synopsis: Gay partners become the caretakers of an orphaned boy.
Review: This movie is really special. It handles difficult topics like drug overdoses, boys wearing makeup, accepting yourself, telling people you’re gay, and untraditional families with honesty but also with a lightness that makes it truly engaging. It allows the characters to be the focus, not the topics. The more the movie went along, the more I loved the characters and the story. That being said, the only parts of it that are Christmas are the end and Scot singing Christmas songs throughout the movie. It’s not about Christmas, it’s more about people.
Brer Rabbit’s Christmas Carol (1992)
Starring: Ginny Tyler
Synopsis: When Brer Rabbit learns that Brer Fox is planning to evict Brer Bear from his cave on Christmas, he decides to teach the fox a lesson by getting the townspeople together to stage their own version of “A Christmas Carol.”
Review: This is another good introduction to the story of “A Christmas Carol” for young children. It is a little bit different because there are no ghosts, just characters pretending to be ghosts. It’s a bit corny and the accents of the characters was a little much.
A Bulldog For Christmas (2013)
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Marylee Osborne
Synopsis: On Christmas Vacation a cynical college student is magically transformed into a bulldog until she learns the meaning of her family and the Christmas spirit.
Review: There are no words for how bad this movie is. Amateurish, badly directed, and even worse acting make this excruciating to sit through. The father was possibly the worst actor. Please do yourself a favor and don’t even try this one.
Buster And Chauncey’s Silent Night (1998)
Genres: Animation, Comedy, Family, Musical
Starring: Phil Hartman, Jim Cummings, Tom Arnold, and Marie Osmond
Synopsis: Two 19th-century Austrian mice evade a voracious cat, aid a kidnapped orphan and help create a holiday classic.
Review: This is a movie I think kids will love. There’s a playfulness and special quality to their friendship. It’s also a movie that adults will be able to watch with their children but may not like for themselves.
Buttons: A Christmas Tale (2018)
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Musical
Starring: Roma Downey, Ioan Gruffudd, Paul Greene, Angela Lansbury, Katie McGrath, Robert Redford, Jane Seymour, Charles Shaughnessy, Abigail Spencer, Dick Van Dyke, and Kate Winslet
Synopsis: Two orphan girls have one wish: to find a home for Christmas. With a little help from their guardian angels, they discover that miracles really can happen when you have the power to believe.
Review: Artistically this is truly magical which is fitting for a movie about angels. It’s a really beautiful film. The acting is amazing and the music is well done while not exactly catchy. With a star-studded cast including Van Dyke and Lansbury, how could it go wrong. The story of Annabelle was so beautifully done except for the father and aunt. I wish the father wasn’t just lost at sea and he had a more concrete end and we saw the aunt get her consequences. This would be great for families.
By God’s Grace (2014)
Genres: Drama, Family, Religion
Starring: Cameron Deane Stewart and Savannah McReynolds
Synopsis: In the tradition of a classic "A Christmas Carol," this film offers many lessons on the importance of giving and the cause and effect our choices have on others.
Review: I like the messages of giving to others and how each of our actions affect others. The family teaching their children the value of giving and being active in the children’s home is something we could all learn from. I had trouble with the character of Chris being an adult and looking 14. Much of the movie felt overacted and overly dramatic. The story would have had more impact with some subtlety. I also see the comparison to A Christmas Carol in his looking back at his life but that’s it. It’s a good message but I found it difficult to sit through.