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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Happiest Season (2020)
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Starring: Dan Levy, Alison Brie, Kristen Stewart, Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen, Victor Garber, and Ana Gasteyer
Synopsis: This holiday, everyone’s secrets are coming out.
Review: I don’t know if it’s the title, it being a Dan Levy movie, or both, but I thought this was a comedy. It had a few humorous moments but it’s really a drama. It’s a microscopic look at the average American family with its loving dysfunction complete with one daughter who disappointed her parents, one who lives in fear of their disappointment, and one who would like them to care enough about her to be disappointed. It’s an enjoyable and relatable movie.
Happy Christmas (2014)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Lena Dunham, Mark Webber, and Joe Swanberg
Synopsis: A hard-partying 20-something moves in with her brother’s family to get over a breakup, turning their everyday lives upside down.
Review: Given the star power, I expected a great movie. Instead I got awkward situation after awkward situation with poor transitioning between scenes. It was well acted but still boring. I think part of the problem was the story didn’t give us time to know and care about the characters. Rather than being about the characters, it was about the scenarios they experienced. Baby Jude was sheer perfection. He made sitting through the rest a better experience.
The Happy Elf (2005)
Genres: Animation, Fantasy, Musical
Starring: Harry Connick, Jr., Carol Kane, Mickey Rooney, Mae Whitman
Synopsis: Eubie tries to bring Christmas joy to a dreary town called Bluesville.
Review: Is it corny and overly silly? Yes. It’s also utterly charming and the elf’s joy is contagious. Add in music by Harry Connick, Jr. and it’s just delightful. I really enjoyed it. I found myself smiling. Fun for the whole family.
Headed South for Christmas (2013)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Abby Corrigan
Synopsis: A troubled teen and her single dad spend Christmas with family members they hardly know.
Review: I enjoyed this movie. A girl grappling with her mother dying when she was born which makes her feel responsible and means she’s grown up without her. A single dad trying to maneuver through the rough teen years alone. Add an eccentric aunt and a genius young cousin and you have a complete story. They main plot is the journey of the Mac but all the characters are relatable in their own way. It wasn’t super deep but it was moving.
The Heart Of Christmas (2011)
Genres: Drama, Family, Religion
Starring: Candace Cameron Bure and George Newbern
Synopsis: The Locke family are devastated when they learn their 2-year-old son, Dax, has leukemia.
Review: I appreciate that this is based on a true story and that’s the only reason I felt the emotions of it. It was poorly acted except for Bure and Newbern. It’s very dark and sad because of the story but it’s an example of priorities and people supporting each other. It also seemed very slow. I believe people will love it or hate it.
Heart of the Holidays (2020)
Starring: Jayne Eastwood, Vanessa Lengies, and Corey Sevier
Synopsis: A career driven woman reunites with her high school boyfriend after returning home for the holidays.
Review: While the story of Sam and Noah, as well as Sam’s backstory, needed to be more detailed in order to fully appreciate that part of the story, the community involvement part of the story seems to level it out. It’s a nice story that’s full of Christmas spirit and I enjoyed it enough.
Hip Hop Holiday (2019)
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
Starring: Ta’Rhonda Jones
Synopsis: Larger than life hip hop diva, Leesa J, rekindles an old friendship over Christmas and her walk down memory lane forces her to reexamine her life, her habits and the real reason for the dislike for the holiday that she once loved so dearly.
Review: Leesa J. is so dislikable for so much of the movie and they don’t take the time to really let us see why she is the way she is. Also, the changes for her come too late in the story. Her assistant and cousin are there but there isn’t enough attention paid to how they are affected by Leesa’s behavior.