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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Jack Frost (1979)
Genres: Animation, Fantasy
Starring: Buddy Hackett
Synopsis: The Groundhog tells the story of how, for once, Jack Frost became human, and helped a knight win his lady love.
Review: A delightful annual must see for us. Watching Jack Frost experience humanity but realize that he is needed as Jack Frost. Learning that we all are a part of a bigger picture and we need to consider others as well as ourselves is a valuable lesson. Plus, it’s just plain fun.
Jack Frost (1998)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Michael Keaton and Kelly Preston
Synopsis: A father who can't keep his promises, dies in a car accident. One year later, he returns as a snowman, who has the final chance to put things right with his son, before he is gone forever.
Review: As much as I adore Keaton, I found this movie to be as bizarre as described. I couldn’t become emotionally invested in a snowman dad. If you can handle that, give it a try. I was bored.
Jingle All The Way (1996)
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, and Phil Hartman
Synopsis: A father vows to get his son a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas. However, every store is sold out of them, and he must travel all over town and compete with everybody else in order to find one.
Review: Most parents can relate to their child wanting that one toy that’s impossible to get. This movie takes that struggle and takes it to absurd places. It’s silly and a little slapstick. If you enjoy that, you’ll enjoy this. In the end the message is that Christmas is about people, not things.
Jingle All The Way 2 (2014)
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Larry the Cable Guy
Synopsis: Larry's daughter wants only one thing for Christmas, a talking bear. His daughter's stepdad intends to make sure that Larry can't get one.
Review: The adjustment families make when a new stepparent joins the family is what this movie highlights. Both dad and stepdad want to be the hero. It works out in the end, of course. It’s not as slapstick as the original because it’s more heartfelt. I went into it expecting it to be stupid and unbearable but I enjoyed it.
Jingle Around The Clock (2018)
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Starring: Brooke Nevin and Michael Cassidy
Synopsis: Elle's plans for a Christmas reunion are thwarted by work. In order to get a career-altering promotion she's forced to team up with advertising campaign 'fixer' Max, who has a completely different take on the Holidays.
Review: I love the misfit Christmas group and all the Christmas traditions in the movie. It’s got likable characters and a different story. Charming.
Jingle Bell Rocks (2013)
Starring: Bill Adler
Synopsis: An exclusive backstage pass into a fascinating underground world of alternative Christmas music.
Review: This is made for true music aficionados. I love Christmas music and I was bored. I think music collectors and musicians will appreciate this the most. It has a lot of information and is well done. The only thing it was missing was reaching viewers like me who are mostly familiar with common Christmas music.
Jingle Belle (2018)
Genres: Drama, Musical, Romance
Starring: Tatyana Ali, Loretta Devine, Tempestt Bledsoe, Keshia Knight Pullman, and Dee Wallace
Synopsis: Isabelle returns to her hometown, after years away, to write music for the annual Christmas Eve Pageant. To her surprise, her high school sweetheart, Mike, is directing the show.
Review: This movie is average. It’s not good or bad. It has moments that make it worth watching but they are too few and far between. Lots of missed opportunities.
Jingle Bells (1992)
Genres: Animation, Fantasy, Family
Starring: Jason Alexander, Don Knotts, Shelly Long, and Mae Whitman
Synopsis: A family with little money worries about not being able to buy presents for each other - until they receive a little inspiration from a Christmas legend..
Review: It’s similar to the Gift of the Magi. The father sells the horse to buy gifts for the children while the children are making a sleigh for the dad. It’s a very sweet story. It emphasizes the love they have and how much they want to give over the typical what children want for Christmas. It’s a very sweet story.
Johnson Family Christmas Dinner (2008)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Lynne Conner Smith
Synopsis: Parents and their five grown children express their hopes and fears at their holiday meal.
Review: While it is a low budget indie film, that’s no excuse for how horrible this movie is. The characters have potential but it isn’t reached. The flow of the story is bizarre with abrupt stops and starts. There are moments, like the boyfriend The Eagle, that could be funny if done well. Unfortunately, they don’t achieve it. Do yourself a favor and save your time.
Journey to Paradise (2019)
Genres: Religion, Romance
Starring: Hannah Fager and Matt Koester
Synopsis: Another Christmas approaches in the small town of Paradise. Lucy struggles to recapture the joy of Christmas after experiencing a traumatic event in her life. When the mysterious Joe arrives from Chicago to apply for a position, everything changes for Lucy.
Review: The movie is clearly a low budget indie film. The actors are pretty good. The story has a good base but they can’t seem to decide if it’s a religious film or not. It’s like they threw some religion in for the sake of it. The ending was really good. I didn’t know what was going to happen.
Joyeux Noël (2005)
Starring: Diane Kruger
Synopsis: In December 1914, an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front allows soldiers from opposing sides of the First World War to gain insight into each other's way of life.
Review: The fact that this is based on a true event made it more meaningful for me. I liked the historical aspect but I also like the personal side of the story. Showing the humanity behind war and how Christmas helped make this possible is lovely.
Just Friends (2005)
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Starring: Anna Faris, Ryan Reynolds, and Amy Smart
Synopsis: While visiting his hometown during Christmas, a man comes face-to-face with his old high school crush whom he was best friends with -- a woman whose rejection of him turned him into a ferocious womanizer.
Review: The humor is slapstick and fairly juvenile. The thing I found most difficult is that Reynolds’ character was a jerk. It’s hard to root for the main character when he’s such an unlikable guy. Farris did a good job playing the world’s most annoying woman. Almost too good. I get why people like it but it wasn’t for me. If you like silly and slapstick, give it a try.
Just In Time For Christmas (1999)
Genres: Comedy, Musical, Religion
Starring: Jim Likens
Synopsis: Grandpa Jim is scheduled to make a guest appearance in a special Christmas program in Branson, Missouri. Backstage at the program , it is chaos--the children are out of control, and the director is out of patience. To make matters worse, Grandpa Jim's truck breaks down on the way to the performance.
Review: This is primarily a religious movie. There’s lots of beautiful music and I like the way they blend the religious with some secular traditions. It’s a good show for children.
A Karate Christmas Miracle (2019)
Genres: Adventure, Family
Starring: Eric Roberts
Synopsis: A boy believes that if he earns a black belt by Christmas Day his father, who went missing one year earlier, will return.
Review: This is one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen. Bad acting, worse special effects, bad script, you name it. There was nothing enjoyable about it. It kept flipping back and forth between the boy, the mom, and the psychic in an attempt to create a mystery but it only succeeded in creating confusion.
Karen Kingsbury’s Maggie’s Christmas Miracle (2017)
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Jill Wagner and Luke Macfarlane
Synopsis: Maggie, a single mom has to balance between her career and her son, Jordan. Jordan finds a tutor named Casey to help him at school, and Casey becomes like a father figure. Will the three of them find happiness and love once again?
Review: I really liked the way the movie centered both around Jordan’s story as well as the love story. It unfolds naturally and with reasons to smile. I think most people will find something to relate to.
Karroll’s Christmas (2004)
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Tom Everett Scott and Wallace Shawn
Synopsis: Allen Karroll hates Christmas since his ex-girlfriend humiliated him in front of thousands of people one Christmas. As a greeting cards writer, this proves to be a hinderance. He also hates the man who lives across the street, Zeb Rosecog. One day, Karroll is visited by the ghost Jacob Marley (related to Bob Marley), as well as the ghosts of Christmas present, past and future who all happen to have come to the wrong address, and had actually meant to visit Rosecog. During this experience, Karroll learns a lot about himself as well as Rosecog, and discovers that he and Rosecog have a lot in common, and decides to help Rosecog to see the light, and rediscover the joy of Christmas.
Review: An interesting take on the Christmas Carol story. Scott does an excellent job of portraying a complicated man and making him likable. I enjoyed the twist with the neighbor. This is one I’ve watched many times.
The Kid Who Loved Christmas (1990)
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Sammy Davis, Jr., Della Reese, Esther Rolle, Cicely Tyson, and Vanessa Williams
Synopsis: A family is torn apart at Christmas when the wife of a couple, trying to adopt a son, is killed in a car accident and the husband, a musician, is deemed unfit to raise a child.
Review: A bit heavy of a drama but there’s something so special about a non-biological father fighting so hard for the son he loves. Very emotional.
Kiwi Christmas (2017)
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Synopsis: Fed up with the materialism of Christmas, Santa runs away to New Zealand for a summer holiday. When two Kiwi kids figure out who he is, they have to find a way to get him back to the North Pole in time for Christmas.
Review: This movie would be nice for families to watch together. It was a little too silly for my taste by I think children would love the silliness. I’d like to point out that they’re camping at the beach because it’s summer in December in New Zealand. Children might like that. The rangers are so over the top it’s just right for creating laughs from little ones. They also address that Christmas should be about the act of giving not the cost of the gifts.
Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Starring: Joan Cusack, Rashida Jones, J.K. Simmons, Will Sasso, and Norm McDonald
Synopsis: A simple act of kindness always sparks another, even in a frozen, faraway place. When Smeerensburg's new postman, Jesper, befriends toymaker Klaus, their gifts melt an age-old feud and deliver a sleigh full of holiday traditions.
Review: Before I review this, you should know I’m not sure I’d let young children watch it. Notice it’s rated PG. There will be lots of questions about Santa Claus as this story tells another version of how he came to be. Besides that, I loved it. It started out dark and I couldn’t figure out how Christmasy this would be. About halfway through I got completely absorbed in it. I really liked the theme of acts of kindness inspiring other acts of kindness. It gave me Christmas spirit.
The Knight Before Christmas (2019)
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse
Synopsis: A medieval English knight is magically transported to the present day where he falls for a high school science teacher who is disillusioned by love.
Review: What a delightfully whimsical story. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and allowed us to laugh and just enjoy the magic of the story. I loved the knight adjusting to modern day. His terms; like steel horse for a car, were quite amusing.
Kristin’s Christmas Past (2013)
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Shirri Appleby
Synopsis: Given the opportunity to visit her estranged family on Christmas Eve 1996, Kristin Cartwright hopes to change her past in order to improve her current life in 2013.
Review: I think it would have been so much better having Kristin wake up as her younger self rather than with her. It’s a little odd. The story is so-so and I’ve seen worse but I’d recommend skipping it.