Christmas Ranch (2016)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Francine Locke and Taylor Lyons

Synopsis: A rebellious teenager is sent to her grandmother’s horse ranch for the Christmas holiday. 

Review: The teenager is a typical angry and resentful brat.  If she wasn’t, there wouldn’t be an opportunity for change.  Add in the grandmother about to lose her ranch and the teenaged next-door neighbor boy and there’s just enough to make it interesting.  There aren’t too many surprises and I was a little bored but it was decent.  Of course, it gave us the overly happy ending.

Scoring: 2

A Christmas Recipe For Romance (2019)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Romance

Starring: Madeline Leon and Sebastian Sacco

Synopsis: The owner of a historic inn decides to enter a prestigious cooking contest to win funds for renovations and get free publicity, but she is a horrible cook. She recruits a renowned chef to help but the kitchen isn't the only thing heating up.

Review: A standard and expected story. It felt like a superficial version of what could’ve been a deep and moving story. The loss of parents, the loss of a brother, illness, a business in trouble, all add up to an emotional plot. Unfortunately, it wasn’t done that way. It’s okay overall but not super Christmasy. 

Scoring: 2.5

Christmas Reservations (2019)

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Romance

Starring: Melissa Joan Hart, Markie Post, Ted McGinley, and Michael Gross

Synopsis: An event coordinator is reunited with her college sweetheart and his two children.

Review: The movie is filled with interesting characters as well as the multiple meaning of the word reservations.  The characters are likable with some funny situations.  I wish they didn’t gloss over the Christmas aspects as much as they did and the character of Kay was way too over the top.  Other than that, it’s a typical nice movie.  I enjoyed watching it but it’s not one I’ll watch over and over again.

Scoring: 3.5

The Christmas Retreat (2022)

Rated: G

Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance

Starring: Rhiannon Fish and Clayton James

Synopsis: When Kim's boyfriend breaks up with her instead of proposing, Kim's mom takes her away to a Christmas Retreat to reconnect with the spirit of the holiday. There she meets newly unemployed Mark.

Review: Love this one. Yes, it has expected plot points; boy and girl clash, boy and girl fall for each other, then a misunderstanding, etc. Despite all this, it is fun, charming, and entertaining. The characters are all relatable and fun. I cannot wait to watch again. 

Scoring: 4

A Christmas Reunion (2015)
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Denise Richards, Patrick Muldoon, Jake Busey, and Catherine Hicks
Synopsis: A Madison Avenue executive, Amy, discovers an unusual Christmas surprise when she inherits her Aunt's hometown bakery. The real surprise comes when she learns the other half of the bakery was left to her long-ago boyfriend, Jack. Unresolved personal issues resurface between them, as the exes return home to co-manage the store, along with its traditional holiday cookie bake-off.
Review:  Aunt Linda uses her bakery as a way to get Amy and Jack back together.  As expected, Amy is torn between her life and the bakery. There aren’t many surprises but it’s as sweet as their baked goods. The movie is cute but a little slow. 
Scoring: 3

The Christmas Reunion (2016)

Rated: NR

Genres: Drama, Religion

Starring: Shanda Lee Munson

Synopsis: The mid-west town of Cave City, Kentucky is preparing for its annual Christmas festival, when festivities are disrupted by a sudden snowstorm. While sitting out the blizzard, a group of former friends who have returned for a high school reunion discover what has happened in the intervening years.

Review: This is a low budget movie.  Given that, it was good.  Some of the acting was beyond over the top but the main characters were good.  They really carried the story.  The Elvis-like mayor was really too much.  It’s all about accepting God and changing yourself for the better.  The main message is religion.

Scoring: 3

The Christmas Ride (2020)

Rated: PG13

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family

Starring: Daryen Ratté, Dina Najjar, and Austin Janowsky

Synopsis: On Christmas Day, a rideshare driver turns on her app and experiences the true ups and downs of the holiday season. Through empathy and active listening, Georgia does her best to understand the situations surrounding her to help make the season brighter

Review: This movie strips away the superficial aspects of the holiday and shows the bare raw emotions of the season.  From joy and new beginnings to sadness and endings.  The pace is perfect.  Breaking in the middle of all the rides for the video chat with her father is the perfect way to keep the movie moving and preventing monotony.  I think everyone will find something and/or someone to relate to. 

Scoring: 3.5

The Christmas Ring (2020)

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Romance

Starring: David Alpay and Nazneen Contractor

Synopsis: A man helps a reporter uncover the story behind his grandparent’s antique engagement ring.

Review: This movie is so well done and such a unique and interesting story.  I was completely captivated by the history of the ring and each little clue.  Yes, the romance was inevitable, but it was almost a secondary story.  I really enjoyed everything about it.

Scoring: 4