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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El Camino Christmas (2017)

Rated: TV-MA

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Dax Shephard and Tim Allen

Synopsis: Eric comes to El Camino looking for his unknown dad. He's harassed, hit and jailed by a drunk local cop, who later shoots at a liquor mart with Eric +4 inside. The sheriff and deputy then shoot up the place, answering each other's fire.

Review:  To be perfectly honest, this movie did not appeal to me and I forced myself to watch it.  I’m so glad I did.  It started out slowly and seemed a little weird but I hung in there and it got more and more interesting and I cared more and more about the characters.  I know it’s rated MA but it’s not that explicit, it’s just not for kids.

Scoring: 4

Elf (2003)
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy 
Starring: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel,  Ed Asner, Amy Sedaris, and Peter Dinklage
Synopsis: Buddy was a baby in an orphanage who stowed away in Santa's sack and ended up at the North Pole. Later, as an adult human who happened to be raised by elves, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs. Hobbs, on Santa's naughty list for being a heartless jerk, had no idea that Buddy was even born. Buddy, meanwhile, experiences the delights of New York City (and human culture) as only an elf can. When Walter's relationship with Buddy interferes with his job, he is forced to reevaluate his priorities.
Review:  Watching the wide-eyed innocence of Buddy experiencing New York is so much fun. I watched it with childlike wonder rooting for Buddy to have the human family he wants so much. Don’t be surprised if you adopt such expressions as, “son of a Nutcracker!”
Scoring: 4

Elf-Bowling The Movie (2007)

Rated: PG

Genres: Animation, Comedy, Fantasy

Starring: Joe Alaskey

Synopsis: Santa’s little helpers and his shady brother jeopardize Christmas.

Review: This is NOT for children.  Teens are probably okay.  It’s meant for an older audience.  It starts with Santa and his brother as pirates who stumble upon the elves and the workshop and Santa takes the job, so he only must work one day a year.  Yes, he uses elves for bowling pins.  Yes, most of the movie is ridiculous.  I didn’t care for the brother’s song about why slavery is good, among other things, but most of it’s funny.  I probably won’t go back for a second viewing, but I enjoyed this one enough.

Scoring: 2

Elf Day (2020)

Rated: NR

Genres: Animation, Fantasy

Synopsis: Animated film about Santa's favorite Christmas tree being stolen after Christmas and the huge adventure four of his best elves take to get it back.

Review: This is definitely geared for younger children.  It’s one adults can probably manage but it doesn’t have special content for adults like some animated movies do.  Children will like the silliness of the elves.  Their names alone will generate laughs.  The animation isn’t the best but it’s okay.

Scoring: 2

The Elf Who Didn’t Believe (2000)

Rated: G

Genres: Comedy, Fantasy

Starring: Sean Donnelly and Margo Harshman

Synopsis: Young elf Elmer wants to become a real boy. He steals Santa's sleigh and escapes to the real world, where he meets a young girl who needs a heart transplant.

Review: It's a sweet movie.  A little silly at times with child actors but the message of caring for others is timeless.  I think children will enjoy it more.

Scoring: 2

Elfette Saves Christmas (2019)

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Fantasy

Starring: Brielle Carter, Quinton Aaron, and Alea Figueroa

Synopsis: Elfette has to save the day when Santa Claus is kidnapped by the mafia, who try to take over Christmas.

Review: This is such a far-fetched story.  The pencil phone that has everyone talking on pencils, the North Pole mafia, and so many other things are beyond silly.  It’s enjoyable for children and adults will be able to sit through it.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoyed it but I didn’t mind it. 

Scoring: 2

Elfland (2019)

Rated: NR

Genres: Animation, Fantasy

Synopsis: When dastardly elf Grumper steals Santa’s sleigh, five elves set it to track it down.

Review: Not a good one.  Poor animation and voices.  It lacks an interesting plot.  Grumper looks like a goblin not an elf.  The elves only work for Santa part time and have other jobs the rest of the year which may burst the North Pole bubble for many young ones.  Skip it.

Scoring: 1

Elf-Man (2012)

Rated: NR

Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Jason “Wee Man” Acuna

Synopsis: An Elf is left behind by Santa to help rescue the Harper family from a lousy Christmas. The Elf and the family get more than they bargained for, as the kids help the Elf discover his special powers and true identity as a budding superhero.

Review: It’s unbelievably juvenile, cheesy, and silly.  All characteristics that may appeal to children.  It’s poorly acted and seems like the writing was just a rough draft.  If you like ridiculous and cornball, okay.  While I didn’t care for it, I’ve seen much worse.

Scoring: 1

Elliot The Littlest Reindeer (2019)

Rated: PG

Genres: Animation, Comedy, Fantasy

Starring: Morena Baccarin, Josh Hutcherson, John Cleese, Martin Short, Jeff Dunham, and Samantha Bee

Synopsis: When Blitzen suddenly retires, a miniature horse determined to join Santa’s reindeer team faces fierce competition in the North Pole tryouts. 

Review: An animated tale with just enough adult references to keep parents entertained. Kids may wonder why there’s selfish reindeer or bad elves but hopefully the end explains enough. It’s funny but if you’re not an animation fan you make find it a little too juvenile. 

Scoring: 3

Eloise at Christmastime (2003)
Rated: NR
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Musical
Starring: Julie Andrews, Sophia Vassilieva, Rick Roberts, Christine Baranski, and Jeffrey Tambor
Synopsis: A 6-year-old girl tries to reunite a young woman with a former boyfriend before she marries another.
Review:  While quite precocious and very nosy, Eloise is good-natured and has a generous heart. The hotel has a cast of varied and fascinating characters that add to Eloise’s story. Watching her adventures is fun for the whole family. 
Scoring: 4

Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (1977)

Rated: NR

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Frank Oz and Jim Henson

Synopsis: A poor otter family risks everything for the chance to win the cash prize of a talent contest for Christmas.

Review: Even though they’re Muppets, the characters are so real and the music is beautiful. The message of the mother and son sacrificing for each other is so sweet. It’s almost a reverse Magi story as the son has to ruin mom’s washtub to win money for her and she must pawn his toolbox for a new costume to win for him. Both are used to earn them money. The mother and son’s love for each other and their being grateful when they have so little is something, we need more of.  It’s a tender story of how they’re stronger together.  I won’t ruin the ending but this is great for families to watch together. 

Scoring: 3

An En Vogue Christmas (2014)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Musical

Starring: Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron, Rhona Bennett, David Alan Grier, and Genelle Williams

Synopsis: The Opera House is closing, and in order to save it the owner's daughter gets the group En Vouge to reunite and do a Christmas performance at the place that gave them their start.

Review:  If you’re a fan of En Vogue you’ll love this reunion and their singing. Otherwise you may just enjoy the friendship of the three ladies. There are a few moments where it feels like an ad for them but they make up for it. 

Scoring: 3

 

Enchanted Christmas (2017)
Rated: G
Genres: Family, Romance 
Starring: Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega
Synopsis: Laura must return home to Utah, and her father, to oversee the renovation of a derelict hotel, where she used to dance, which must be restored in time for a Christmas Eve benefit dance performance. She is surprised to learn her old love, Ricardo, is the star of the benefit. When his dance partner walks out on the show for an audition, Laura has to step in for her, reawakening her love of the dance, not to mention her old feelings for Ricardo. A potent combination that has her head spinning.
Review:  It’s not a bad movie but it’s a little flat. It’s just missing something. It’s a typical love story and it’s not difficult to sit through. Knowing the leads are married in real life takes away some of the magic for me. 
Scoring: 3

The End of Christmas (2019)

Rated: TV-Y

Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Luccas Neto

Synopsis: To save Christmas, Luccas and Gi head to the North Pole and are recruited by Santa Claus to find all the gifts that have mysteriously disappeared.

Review: The first thing to know is this was filmed in Brazil and is in Portuguese so you must read the subtitles.  The second is it is just plain silly.  The kind of silly that makes adults change the channel and small children laugh hysterically.  The key will be finding an audience young enough to enjoy it but old enough to read the subtitles.  Everything about it is over the top.  One example is how instead of a sleigh with reindeer, they use a party bus.

Scoring: 2

Engaging Father Christmas (2017)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Erin Krakow, Niall Matter, Wendy Malik, and Jim Thornburn
Synopsis: Miranda is flying back to Vermont from her home in Seattle to reconnect with her family over the holidays and to see Ian, a local handyman she fell in love with on her last trip to the Green Mountain State. But when changing planes in Boston, Miranda runs into old boyfriend Josh who chases her to Vermont, where Miranda learns of an old family secret that could destroy her family. Can Miranda keep her family, and her love for Ian, together and intact, or will she forever lose her chance at a beautiful winter wedding?
Review:  There aren’t a lot of surprises in this movie. It has the same feel and pace as the first movie, Finding Father Christmas. That being said, it’s a sweet family tale. Wendy Malik’s character adds true warmth. 
Scoring: 3

Entertaining Christmas (2018)

Rated: G

Genres: Romance

Starring: Jodie Sweetin and Brendan Fehr

Synopsis: The daughter of a lifestyle mogul is poised to become the new face of the brand. The only trouble is, she can’t cook, sew, or do any of the other things for which her mother is known. 

Review:  The movie is well done and acted but I spent the majority of the movie uncomfortably waiting for Sweetin’s character to fail. The ending was happy, as Hallmark always gives us, but the middle was awkward. I liked the message that perfection isn’t what matters at Christmas. 

Scoring: 3

Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Jim Varney

Synopsis: An obnoxious and bumbling but well-meaning man attempts to help Santa Claus find a successor. Failure would mean that there would be no Christmas.

Review:  Like all Jim Varney films, especially the Ernest ones, this is true slapstick comedy. It’s silly and simple but if you like Jim Varney you’ll love it. If you’re looking for deep and meaningful it’s not for you. 

Scoring: 3

 

Eve’s Christmas (2004)

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Elisa Donovan and Cheryl Ladd

Synopsis: A wealthy and successful career woman gets a second chance in life when a magical wish transports her back in time eight years to when she walked away from her fiance to lead a business life in New York.

Review:  Donovan does a good job at keeping the movie light but sincere. It’s an honest look at choices we make. I really like this movie. It’s an annual must see. 

Scoring: 4

 

 

An Evergreen Christmas (2014)

Rated: PG

Genres: Family, Musical, Romance

Starring: Robert Loggia, Naomi Judd, Greer Grammer, and Tyler Ritter

Synopsis: Evie Lee is forced to leave her glamorous Hollywood life when her father passes unexpectedly. She finds her family’s Tennessee Christmas tree farm floundering. She has to choose between her career and her family legacy. 

Review:  There’s no real Christmas spirit here. It’s poorly done and stereotypes people. It’s also very slow. 

Scoring: 1

 

Every Christmas Has A Story (2016)

Rated: G

Genres: Comedy, Romance

Starring: Lori Loughlin, Colin Ferguson, and Willie Aames

Synopsis: While on air, a TV personality accidentally admits she hates Christmas. When she goes to a small town to film a special to repair her image, the Christmas spirit begins to change her life.

Review: There are parts of the movie that seem quite cliché but I enjoyed most of it.  Seeing the young girl’s excitement about journalism, the adventure to help the town, and the tree kept me interested.  The relationship between Kate and Jack was fun to watch.

Scoring:

Every Day Is Christmas (2018)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama

Starring: Toni Braxton

Synopsis: Inspired by the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol," shrewd money manager Alexis Taylor gets the holiday visit of a lifetime. A self-proclaimed workaholic who "humbugs" love, Alexis ends up embracing the spirit of Christmas when her past, present, and future collide, forcing her to risk the one thing money can't buy: her heart.

Review:  This is a fresh take on the Christmas Carol story. After so many versions it’s hard to see something new but they did it.The only weak point was Braxton. Fortunately, the story and other actors more than made up for her. 

Scoring: 3

 

Every Other Holiday (2018)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Family, Religion, Romance

Starring: Schuyler Fisk and Dee Wallace

Synopsis: Recently separated parents Tracie and Rick spend every other holiday with their young daughters Harper and Ava. But this Christmas, the girls have only one thing on their wish lists - to spend Christmas with both Mom and Dad at Tracie's family farmhouse.

Review:  There are some very awkward and hard to watch moments. Tracie’s mother, while coming from a good place, is just mean. There is a religious element to this that some may not like. I did like how the characters had problems so many people have. The ending resolution was glossed over but it ended in a way that made the movie worth it. 

Scoring: 3

 

Expect Delays (2015)

Rated: NR

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Ted Trent

Synopsis: Alec Harney goes home for Christmas ready to confront various issues he has with his small-town family members. But it turns out, he's the problem.

Review: The movie starts out slowly and it took a while for me to sort out who was who.  They all have issues (don’t all families).  The one son becoming less self-involved and judgmental would’ve been a better story if it had better acting.  About 3/4 of the way through I had a decent idea of what was happening and I liked the ending.  I just wish they movie as a whole was easier to follow.

Scoring: 2