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

Rated: PG

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. 

Scoring: 1

Jingle All The Way

Rated: PG

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.

Scoring: 3

Jingle All The Way 2

Rated: PG

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.

Scoring: 3

Jingle Around The Clock

Rated: G

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. 

Scoring: 3

Jingle Belle

Rated: PG

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. 

Scoring: 2

Journey Back To Christmas 
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Candace Cameron Bure, Oliver Hudson, Brooke Nevin, and Tom Skerritt
Synopsis: A WWII era nurse is transported in time to 2016 and meets a man who helps her discover the bonds of family and that the true meaning of Christmas is timeless.
Review:  If you can allow yourself to believe in magic time traveling comets, you’ll like this movie. Comparing the 40s to today is very interesting. It’s a delightfully engaging movie centered around the importance of friends and family.
Scoring: 5

Joyeux Noël

Rated: PG-13

Genres: Drama

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. 

Scoring: 4

A Joyous Christmas 
Rated: NR
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Natalie Knepp, Michael Rady, Bonnie Bedelia, and Steve Bacic
Synopsis: A young self-help author returns to her hometown during the Christmas holidays to promote her new book. She soon discovers the true meaning of Christmas and family.
Review:  While not a new concept, the plot adds twists that kept me interested. It has slow moments but the end is worth it. The characters are a little dull but have moments where they shine.  Truly enjoyable. 
Scoring: 3
 
Just In Time For Christmas 
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Eloise Mumford, Michael Stahl-David, Christopher Lloyd, and William Shatner
Synopsis: A young psychology professor must choose between moving across the country for her dream job or staying in her hometown to marry the man of her dreams. On a foggy December night, she gets little help from a Coachman, who brings her three years into the future and shows her what her life will become.
Review:  Yet another travel in time and see what happens when you choose a different fork in the road for you to figure out it’s the wrong one. Despite that, it’s a darling movie with characters you can’t help but care for. 
Scoring: 3
 

Karen Kingsbury’s Maggie’s Christmas Miracle

Rated: G

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. 

Scoring: 3

Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge Part 1
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Katie Findlay, Wyatt Nash, Steve Bacic, Faith Ford, and Ted McGinley
Synopsis: Two new students at nearby Belmont University, Ryan and Molly meet the first day of classes and become study partners. The Bridge, a local bookstore, becomes a close part of their lives, as their relationship grows.
Review:  I prefer the part of the story about the couple who run The Bridge more than that of the college students. The movie is too slow. It has too many moments where nothing is happening. If they combined movies 1 and 2 and shaved it down to one movie it might work. It was okay to watch once but I probably wouldn’t watch it again.
Scoring: 1
Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge Part 2
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Katie Findlay, Wyatt Nash, Steve Bacic, Faith Ford, and Ted McGinley
Synopsis: A storm has demolished The Bridge book store. Charlie and Donna will soon lose it from lack of funds but Charlie's accident leaves him in a coma. Meanwhile, Molly and Ryan can't forget the best time of their lives together at The Bridge.
Review:  I feel badly for Charlie and Donna. I’m glad things work out for them. The movie is too slow. It has too many moments where nothing is happening. Again, if they combined movies 1 and 2 and shaved it down to one movie it might work.  It was okay to watch once but I probably wouldn’t watch it again.
Scoring: 1

Karroll’s Christmas 

Rated: NR

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.

Scoring: 3

 

The Kid Who Loved Christmas 

Rated: NR

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. 

Scoring: 3

 

Klaus

Rated: PG

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.

Scoring: 4

The Knight Before Christmas

Rated: PG

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.

Scoring: 4

Kristin’s Christmas Past

Rated: PG

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. 

Scoring: 1