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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George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker 

Rated: G

Genres: Family, Fantasy, Musical

Starring: Macaulay Culkin and Kevin Kline

Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, a little girl named Marie falls asleep after a party at her home and dreams herself (or does she?) into a fantastic world where toys become larger than life. Her beloved Nutcracker comes to life and defends her from the Mouse King, then is turned into a Prince after Marie saves his life.

Review:  This is the best version of The Nutcracker I’ve seen. Culkin was a little awkward but that should be expected since he isn’t part of the ballet company. Other than that everything was wonderful. It is a little long so younger children may lose interest. 

Scoring: 4

 

Get Santa 

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall, and Warwick Davis

Synopsis: A father and son team up to save Christmas once they discover Santa Claus sleeping in their garage after crashing his sleigh and finding himself on the run from the police.

Review:  A nice family movie showing the bond between father and son. A charming cast and a little silly but in a good way. 

Scoring: 3

 

Getting To The Nutcracker

Rated: NR

Genres: Documentary, Family

Starring: Marat Daukayev School Of Ballet, LA

Synopsis: This documentary takes you inside the major effort involved in gathering the resources, assembling the volunteers, casting the dancers, rehearsing and staging the performances of this classic ballet. Los Angeles-based Marat Daukayev School of Ballet, led by the former Kirov star, takes you behind the curtain from auditions, the rigorous hours of rehearsals, the joy of landing a principal role to the pain of losing one.  The dancers (boys and girls ages 3-18) are profiled; passionate people who, with their families, make incredible sacrifices of time and money just so that they may dance.

Review: This is an interesting look at not only how the ballet is done but also the personal lives of the performers, in this case children, including the sacrifices they make and the time they spend. I especially liked that they addressed both male and female dancers. They talked openly about the stereotyping and issues that come with it, including from family members.  It's a well-rounded look at child dancers.

Scoring: 3

Gift Of The Magi
Rated: NR
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Marla Sokoloff and Mark Webber
Synopsis: Newlywed true loves Jim and Della Young can barely afford moving into to their new apartment, especially when their second-hand car breaks down. They agree not to buy Christmas presents that year, but each decide to do so secretly and earn extra cash at each's own hobby's expense to spoil the other in his. Their best friends discover the truth and how the secrecy made them separate indefinitely.
Review:  If you’re familiar with the magi story there won’t be a lot of surprises. It’s a sweet adaptation but slow and expected. It is a good story but it's missing that special something that makes you fall into it.
Scoring: 2
A Gift To Remember
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Ali Liebert and Peter Porte
Synopsis: Darcy finds romance with a handsome stranger with amnesia.
Review:  From the start I was rooting for Darcy both professionally and with Aiden. She’s so likable. I enjoyed her relationship with Aiden as they worked on discovering who he was, and unexpectedly she learns who she really is. Her neighbor who is constantly adding Christmas decorations is so much fun.  The addition of the bookstore part of the plot adds a lovely dimension.  Delightful. 
Scoring: 4
 
A Gift Wrapped Christmas 
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Meredith Hagner, Travis Milne, and Beverly Mitchell
Synopsis: A personal shopper tries to make her new client get into the holiday spirit and spend more time with his son. 
Review:  A fun movie. The characters are kind and you want to root for them. Gwen and Charlie slowly discover their feelings and epitomize opposites attract but Gwen's passion for Christmas and her overall joy is contagious.  Owen steals his scenes. 
Scoring: 4

A Gingerbread Romance

Rated: G

Genre: Romance

Starring: Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Duane Henry

Synopsis: An architect begins to find herself longing for a place to call her own as she works alongside a baker to win a gingerbread house contest. 

Review:  A little too sweet and predictable, however, this movie is an easy one to watch. For a gingerbread competition they spend more time with other holiday traditions than with the house. 

Scoring: 3

 

Girlfriends Of Christmas Past

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring: Tammin Sursok

Synopsis: When three hilarious, strong-willed women join forces to seek the ultimate revenge on their cheating ex at his upcoming holiday retreat, lovestruck event planner Livvy meets Carter, the charming colleague organizing it all, leaving Livvy to question if she can leave off their revenge scheme long enough to finally forgive her ex and let a real holiday romance blossom.

Review:  Bad is the only word to describe it. I kept waiting for it to get good or at all interesting but the women’s bitterness ruins it. 

Scoring: 1

 

A Godwink Christmas

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Family, Religion, Romance

Starring: Kathie Lee Gifford, Paul Campbell, and Kimberley Sustad

Synopsis: Paula, a St. Louis antique appraiser, reluctantly accepts a marriage proposal from her boyfriend, Daniel, a career-focused attorney. When her Aunt Jane senses she has mixed emotions over the engagement, she invites Paula to her Nantucket home. Upon her arrival, Paula plans a trip to the nearby island of Martha's Vineyard where she meets Gery, a charming inn owner. When Jane invites her back to Nantucket for Christmas, Paula accepts, unaware that Jane has devised a plan to bring her and Gery together. 

Review:  A charming romantic film. I like the part about God winking. It’s a little slow, much the like carousel in the movie. The fact that it’s based on a true story makes it more special. It left me with a hopeful feeling.

Scoring: 3

 

A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Family, Religion, Romance

Starring: Cindy Busby and Kathie Lee Gifford

Synopsis: A chance meeting at a weekend wedding celebration brings together Alice and Jack, two singles from very different family backgrounds.

Review: I was a little thrown at first.  Gifford was in this movie as well as the first but playing different characters in different cities.  This movie had the same Godwink feel but it was also just a good movie about the love and importance of family as well as a romance.  I felt the illness was an unneeded wrench that seemed to make the story veer off path.  Then I saw the end and understood and I nearly cried.  No, I won’t spoil it.

Scoring: 3

A Golden Christmas 
Rated: NR
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Andrea Roth, Nicholas Brendon, Bruce Davison, Elisa Donovan, Alley Mills, and Jason London
Synopsis: Jessica is a federal lawyer who returns to her parent's home for Christmas. When she discovers that the house where she grew up was sold to a stranger, Jessica look for ways to buy it back again. She tries to stop Michael from selling his home so she could buy her parents house, but she also doesn't remember who he really is.
Review:   Very endearing movie. A seemingly magical dog brings two people together. It sounds strange but I adored how the story unfolded. As usual, the children and the dogs steal the show. It is a little corny and has some slow moments but what an ending.
Scoring: 4
A Golden Christmas 2 AKA 3 Holiday Tails
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Julie Gonzalo, Kelly Stables, K.C. Clyde, Bruce Davison, and Alley Mills
Synopsis: Old flames reunite and sparks are reignited at Christmastime in Florida, but the man is already engaged to another woman so a recently retired couple try to intervene with the help of their dogs.
Review:  A continuation of A Golden Christmas , this movie picks up with the Wrights at their retirement condo. All the relationships are intriguing, the mischief of the dogs is adorable, and Lisa's niece is so entertaining.  It's no surprise the children and dogs steal their scenes.  The awkwardness of Lisa and David's run-ins, courtesy of the dogs, could be awkward but are done with humor.  It's a light relaxing movie.
Scoring: 3
A Golden Christmas 3 AKA Home For Christmas
Rated: NR
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Shantal VanSanten, Rob Mayes, Nikki Deloach, and Mark Famiglietti 
Synopsis: Bobby returns from two years in the Navy ready to settle down in Belmont Shores. Heather's dream is to be a director on Broadway but for now a community theater production of Dickens' Christmas Carol, must be enough. But it is after all Christmas and strange things can happen with the help of three golden retrievers and a few compassionate yet pushy friends that will bring together the two unsuspecting childhood sweethearts.
Review:  This isn’t a true continuation of the second movie. Myra, the niece from the second movie is the only character carried over. It also has mischievous dogs but the plot feels like a watered-down version of the other movies. It's like the priority was making a story around the dogs and the rest of story was second.  It’s okay but not great. 
Scoring: 2

Golden Winter

Rated: G

Genres: Comedy, Family

Starring: Shannon Elizabeth and Haylie Duff

Synopsis: A boy befriends a litter of homeless Golden Retrievers. Together, they help stop a bank robbery just in time for Christmas.

Review:  Yes. It’s just like all the other “dogs save the day” silly Christmas movies. Children should love the talking dogs and the adventures. Adults will probably only want to see it if they’re watching it as a family. 

Scoring: 2

 

The Good Witch’s Gift
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Catherine Bell and Chris Potter
Synopsis: Almost as soon as Jake and Cassie decide to get married on Christmas Eve, complications arise. Ex-con Leon Deeks arrives in town, Jake's having trouble securing the wedding license since he can't find Cassie's documents proving her existence, and the difficulty of finding a wedding cake at the last minute.  Also, Jake's kids are upset: Brandon wants to spend time with his new girlfriend, and is feuding with his sister Lori. Meanwhile, Lori manages to lose Cassie's wedding ring.
Review:  While this is a movie that should stand alone separate from the Hallmark series, it’s more enjoyable if you watch the series and know the characters.  The town's colorful characters provide an enchanting layer to the story. It’s typical Good Witch magic where problems arise but seem to disappear. 
Scoring: 3
A Grandpa for Christmas 
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Musical
Starring: Ernest Borgnine, Katherine Helmond, Jamie Farr, and Tracy Nelson
Synopsis: The estranged grandfather of a 9-year-old quickly forms a bond with the child when, suddenly, they must take care of each other. 
Review:  First, there’s an amazing cast of actors. When her mom gets in an accident and is in the hospital, Becca has to stay with the grandfather she’d never met and had only heard bad things about. Watching their relationship develop is really special. There are so many moments that tug at your heartstrings.
Scoring: 4

Gremlins

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Fantasy

Starring: Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates

Synopsis: A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Review:  Gremlins is another movie people debate about counting as a Christmas movie. It takes place at Christmas but that’s it. It has some scares and some laughs but it drives me a little crazy. It’s only three rules. How hard is that?  Haha

Scoring: 3

 

The Grinch

Rated: PG

Genres: Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Pharrell Williams, Kenan Thompson, and Angela Lansbury

Synopsis: A grumpy Grinch plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville.

Review: After seeing the special and the Jim Carrey movie so many times I began watching this wondering if there was any way to make the story new and interesting. They succeeded. It has all the warmth and humor you expect from the story. The Grinch wasn’t quite as mean and scary as in other versions but I still loved it. I’ve always wondered why Max stayed with the Grinch and this showed their relationship more.  The only downside to me was the characters looking too human. Whooville came across as a magical place.

Scoring: 4

Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever

Rated: G

Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Starring: Aubrey Plaza and Jay Brazeau 

Synopsis: Grumpy Cat is a lonely cat living in a mall pet shop. Because she never gets chosen by customers, she develops a sour outlook on life...until one day during the holidays, a very special 12-year-old girl named Chyrstal enters the pet store and falls in love with her after realizing she is the only person who can hear this unique cat talk. As the two develop a close friendship during the holiday rush, Grumpy reluctantly thwarts the kidnapping of an exotic dog she dislikes, and on Christmas Eve rescues Chyrstal after the mall closes. Through her adventures, will Grumpy learn the true meaning of Christmas? Or will it be, in her words, the "Worst. Christmas. Ever?"

Review:  I think this should be renamed worst movie ever. Having to sit through this was so hard. The whole thing was bad.  I can't even give it a review other than please don't waste your time.

Scoring: 1

 

Guess Who’s Coming To Christmas 
Rated: NR
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Musical, Religion, Romance
Starring: Drew Lachey and MacKenzie Porter 
Synopsis: To repair his tarnished image, a jaded rock star publicly decides to fulfill a child's "Dear Santa" Christmas wish. After reluctantly agreeing to spend the holidays in a small town and perform in the local holiday Christmas concert, he's mortified at the prospect of staying in the home of an idyllic, close-knit family but soon realizes the true value in what they have - love, caring and a memorable holiday spirit.
Review:  While I like how Dax, the drunk rock star, evolves through his experiences with a pastor and his family, the pace is very slow.  The story is a good one with both funny and poignant moments along with a good ending.  It just needed more of those moments. 
Scoring: 2