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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I Believe In Santa Claus (1984)
Genres: Fantasy, Musical
Starring: Karen Cheryl
Synopsis: Holiday tale of a young boy asking Santa for his parents, mysteriously vanished during an African expedition, to return home for Christmas.
Review: This is a hard one to review. It’s French and dubbed in English so that’s a little distracting. Simon’s parents are political prisoners being held by African warlords which is hard to explain to children. The teacher and the fairy are the same actor. There’s also messages I wouldn’t want my child to hear like; disobeying is how you grow up, Santa delivers toys to monkeys, and treat animals (including wolves) nice and they’ll be nice. Overall, it’s truly a fantasy, including a child-eating ogre. I think children may like the magical aspect. I don’t know why but I liked it enough to finish it. If you want something out of the ordinary, this is for you.
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (2002)
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Connie Sellecca, Corbin Bernsen, Dylan Sprouse, and Cole Sprouse
Synopsis: After a boy sees a man in Santa Claus suit kissing his mother, he thinks that the real Santa wants to replace his father, so he goes on a prank-war with him.
Review: This is a silly movie but I think children may enjoy Justin’s hijinks. For adults it’s a little too much.
I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown (2002)
Genres: Animation, Family
Starring: Jimmy Bennett
Synopsis: Linus and Lucy's younger brother Rerun wants a dog for Christmas, and Snoopy's brother Spike may be the answer.
Review: It’s got the same feel as the Peanuts movies with Charlie Brown. It’s loving, sweet, with funny moments. I didn’t like it as much as the other Charlie Brown specials but it’s a great family show.
If I Only Had Christmas (2020)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Candace Cameron Bure and Warren Christie
Synopsis: A cheerful publicist teams up with a cynical business owner to help a charity in need at Christmastime.
Review: Some of the references to The Wizard of Oz are obvious like the girl from Kansas City and the ruby slippers. Other characters and references are less obvious and require the viewer to think about it, such as Jackie Crow who didn’t believe her ideas were worthwhile, Dr. Tinsley, etc. Even without all of them, the movies good. Dorothy’s joy, optimism, and vulnerability are relatable and show the kind of person we want to be or be friends with. All their hard work towards helping at risk students and their teachers is amazing. Uplifting movie.
If You Believe (1999)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Starring: Ally Walker, Hayden Panettiere, and Tom Amandes
Synopsis: As a highly stressed book editor nears a breakdown, her inner child appears in order to help her find the joys of life.
Review: The beginning of this movie had me hooked. As it went on, I got a little bored with it. When the character of Tom enters the story, I got reinvested. It’s a cute, if not a little silly, movie. There’s not a lot of Christmas to it but the overall message is about our inner Christmas spirit.
I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1988)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Hal Holbrook, Eva Marie Saint, Nancy Travis, Courteney Cox, and Peter Gallagher
Synopsis: The Bundy family try to have a good family Christmas, despite World War 2.
Review: This movie gives a realistic, and moving, portrayal of families and Americans dealing with WWII and trying to celebrate Christmas. Along with the hard times, it reflects on the love and support within families and communities. Beautifully done.
I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1997)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Ann Jillian, Robert Hays, and Jack Palance
Synopsis: Veterinarian and part-time mayor Sarah heads a town council desperate to find a doctor to keep open the small town's clinic. The mayor's attempt to recruit visitor Michael is complicated by their dating history and his loss of confidence.
Review: It has an old-fashioned feel to it that seemed familiar. It’s a good story that’s well acted but it’s a little slow.
I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1998)
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family
Starring: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jessica Biel, and Gary Cole
Synopsis: A college student experiences difficulty in getting home for Christmas after being hazed by his friends. While struggling to get home in time for Christmas, he learns quite a bit about himself and the true meaning of the holiday.
Review: While I don’t quite enjoy this movie, it has some interesting aspects to keep it from being horrible. It’s okay to watch once but not again. It may be better suited for teens and tweens.
I’ll be Homeless For Christmas (2012)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Mandi Christine Kerr and Travis Breedlove
Synopsis: When a petty thief learns that his latest mark is a struggling single mother who works at a homeless shelter, he decides to use his savvy street smarts to make this Christmas one to remember for her and her young son.
Review: It’s a beautiful story. It could’ve been done better. The acting isn’t the best and the transitions are sloppy but it’s uplifting message makes it worth it.
Inn Love By Christmas (2020)
Genres: Family, Romance
Starring: Jonna Walsh, Jesse Hutch, and Jayne Eastwood
Synopsis: A successful young woman living in Miami is climber her way up the corporate ladder in the hotel industry. Although she doesn’t get back to her small hometown often, her grandmother is able to convince her to come home for Christmas.
Review: Of course, you know they will end up together but the big unknown is who will get to buy the inn and how they can both be happy if one loses out. If you like the typical Christmas romance you will like this. It’s good but not excellent.
In Search Of Santa (2004)
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Family
Starring: Hilary Duff and Haylie Duff
Synopsis: When a sleigh bell mysteriously falls from the sky, pure-hearted Princess Crystal is determined to prove it came from one of Santa's reindeer. Together, she and her sister, Princess Lucinda, set off on a daring journey to the North Pole to find Santa Claus. Along the way, the royal duo must work together to outrun hungry, wild beasts, outwit greedy pirates and try to keep three sneaky court penguins from stealing their parents' throne in spite of their rivalry. Celebrates friendship, family and the most wonderful time of the year.
Review: While I thought this was sweet it was a little odd. I liked the evolving relationship between the sisters. Other than that, it wasn’t for me. I think this is best for young children. I don’t think adults will like it.
In The Digital Age (Romance) (2017)
Genres: Comedy, Music
Starring: Chris Warren
Synopsis: When the video of a once-famous emo band performing impromptu karaoke together goes viral, a door opens for the possibility of a reunion the day of the guitarist's Christmastime wedding.
Review: This is basically about a group of friends at a wedding. It’s boring. The only thing I really like was the band’s hit song. It’s all about hashtags, cellphones, and other technology. The priest even goes into hiding for a gambling problem. It’s a lot of one-liners, unnecessary characters, and awkward situations. It’s working way to hard to try to be cool.
It Happened One Christmas (1977)
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Marlo Thomas, Olson Welles, Doris Roberts, and Cloris Leachman
Synopsis: This reworking of the 1947 classic "It's A Wonderful Life" has a woman whose life is coming apart despairingly wish that she had never been born. An angel is sent to Earth to grant her wish and show her how her never having been born would have affected everyone else.
Review: It’s not the caliber of the original but it is an interesting take from a female point of view. The costumes don’t do a great job of transporting you to that time. It’s all very 70s. I couldn’t help be compare it throughout to the original. Overall, it’s interesting. A little slow. But it doesn’t do any injustice to the original.
It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002)
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Starring: David Arquette, Zach Braff, Joan Cusack, Carson Daly, Whoopi Goldberg, Matthew Lillard, William H. Macy, Kelly Ripa, Joe Rogan, Molly Shannon, and Robert Smigel
Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, an angel petitions God to send help for Kermit the Frog who has lost all hope after losing the Muppet Theatre.
Review: This is basically a Muppet version of It’s A Wonderful Life. It has all the fun and humor of the Muppets with a great storyline. It manages the humor without going over the line into silly. Emphasizing that people and friends are more important than money or things allows for children to learn a good message. I believe Muppet fans will love this movie.
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (2019)
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Eric Mabius and Tricia Helfer
Synopsis: When a New England Christmas decorating competition searches for the town with the most Christmas spirit, the mayors of East and West Riverton go all out to get their towns to the top of the holiday heap.
Review: I like Mabius and Helfer and they were good together in this movie. The story was a little weak. For towns with such a strong rivalry there wasn’t any feeling or appearance of it except for the mayors who liked each other but were competitive. Even the romance felt watered down. But I still enjoyed watching it enough that I would watch again.
It’s Christmas, Carol! (2012)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Carrie Fisher, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Carson Kressley
Synopsis: The story of driven, heartless, publishing executive Carol Huffman, who on Christmas Eve is visited by the ghost of her former boss, Eve. Eve tells Carol that she has lost sight of the things that are truly important in life and that she is there to show her the errors of her ways. Eve explains that normally there would be three ghosts for the job, but due to budget cutbacks, she is in charge of Carol's journey through her past, present and future.
Review: It’s a good spin on Dicken’s Christmas Carol so you know the basics but they manage to make it different enough to be interesting. There’s humor and feelings. Fisher is delightful.
It’s Christmas, Eve (2018)
Genres: Drama, Musical, Romance
Starring: LeAnn Rimes and Tyler Hynes
Synopsis: Interim school superintendent Eve Morgan finds herself in a tough spot when she is assigned to shut down a school's failing music program and must come to terms with her musical past.
Review: An average Christmas movie. It’s okay to watch but it’s not the best they have. The story feels two-dimensional and simple. Rimes wasn't a good fit for this tale. **UPDATE** I watched it again. I still feel the same way but I think I enjoyed it a little more this time. It’s not one I’d miss if they stopped showing it but it’s worth a try.
It’s Christmas Sing Along (2019)
Genres: Animation, Musical
Synopsis: Santa and his favorite Christmas pals sing and dance the night away.
Review: I think young children would enjoy dancing along with this. Adults will lose their minds watching a single character repeat the same moves over and over again for an entire song. The music isn’t bad to listen to.