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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A Perfect Day
Starring: Rob Lowe, Paget Brewster, Christopher Lloyd, and Frances Conroy
Synopsis: A mysterious stranger helps a successful author reconnect with his family and his agent during Christmastime.
Review: This movie is a heavy drama without moments of levity. Despite this, it’s a great reflection of society. People can be physically present but not be there. Brewster gives an emotional performance. There may be points in the film where you want to stop watching but I suggest sticking with it for the surprise at the end.
The Perfect Gift
Genres: Drama, Religion
Starring: Jefferson Moore
Synopsis: A spoiled schoolgirl, her overworked executive mother, and a disillusioned young minister each receives an uplifting message about friendship, commitment, and the truest meaning of Christmas from a friendly, but mysterious drifter.
Review: This movie is simply done but packs a strong message about giving, faith, and love. In the beginning I found it hard to like Maxine even though I knew her behavior was partially from pain. But everyone else makes the movie worth watching, especially Jess. Inspiring.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Molly Parker, Rick Roberts, and Bailee Madison
Synopsis: A put-upon teen finds himself reliving the same miserable Christmas day over and over again.
Review: This movie is okay. It’s one of the least successful Groundhog Day Christmas movies. There’s so much negativity and not enough levity. It feels juvenile.
Pettersson And Findus 2
Genres: Animated, Comedy, Fantasy
Starring: Stefan Kurt
Synopsis: Christmas is just around the corner, but Pettersson and Findus are worried the snowy weather (and lack of a tree) may keep them from celebrating.
Review: There’s one major problem with this story, it’s in German. The problem is that the story appeals to very young viewers who can’t read the subtitles. Children old enough to read them probably won't like the story. So unless you speak German, this won’t work for you.
Picking Up And Dropping Off
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Scott Wolff, Amanda Detmer, Rachel Lefevre, and Eddie McClintock
Synopsis: A divorced father and a divorced mother start to meet at Denver airport when picking up and sending off their children.
Review: A sweet romantic comedy with a sprinkling of the reality of parents who only have their children part of the year.
Picture A Perfect Christmas
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Merritt Patterson, Jon Cor
Synopsis: A photographer returns home to take care of her grandmother and gets involved with helping a neighbor look after his young nephew.
Review: While this movie has all the standard clichés; girl returning to small home town, single father, cute boy, grandmother with injury, and so on, it does it in what feels like a unique to this movie way. I also wasn’t sure how it would end. I thought the two might end up together, but how. I loved that. I was sure it would be a happy ending but I wasn’t sure what it would look like. There was real emotion and it kept my interest the whole time.
Poinsettias For Christmas
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Bethany Joy Lenz, John Schneider, Marcus Rosner, and Sharon Lawrence
Synopsis: A woman returns home to help her father save the family poinsettia farm.
Review: I really enjoyed this movie. I enjoyed it the second time just as much. Seeing the family dynamic and how close they are made the movie special. It even has a bad girl who isn’t terrible but you understand why she’s unlikable. Seeing everyone come together and how much they care about each other and the farm kept me rooting for them.
The Polar Express
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Starring: Tom Hanks
Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express, while learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.
Review: While definitely for children, this movie, based on the popular book, also appeals to adults who still believe in Christmas magic. The animated tale brings back memories of childhood wonder.
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, and Johnny Galecki
Synopsis: A farm girl nurses a wounded reindeer she believes is one of Santa's, hoping to bring it back to health in time for Christmas. Her holiday spirit inspires those around her, something her disheartened father is having trouble understanding.
Review: There’s something beautiful about the pure belief and innocence of a child. To me that’s the best part of the film. It’s a little slow for me but I think it’s a good family film.
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: John Corbett and Jack Palance
Synopsis: Preteen brothers from a broken marriage live with their mother, Denise, in a rural town. Ryan, the cheeky elder boy, wants to go live with their father, Matt, in Chicago. This confuses shy Charlie, the youngest, who is also the butt of bigger school kids' often mean pranks. Then he finds two reindeer on his way home from school which he believes to be Santa's called Prancer and his son and heir, also called Prancer, which he tries to hide at home. Ryan's help bonds the brothers again.
Review: Like the first Prancer movie, this is a good family film. Children with divorced parents may relate to the brothers. It’s got a lot of Christmas spirit.
The Preacher’s Wife
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Religion, Romance
Starring: Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston
Synopsis: An angel comes to Earth to help a preacher save his church and his family.
Review: In an updated remake of “The Bishop’s Wife”, we find a beautiful story of faith. It’s not a direct remake as they changed the story a little but I think that worked for the best. It’s slow but charming.
Pride, Prejudice & Mistletoe
Starring: Lacey Chabert and Brendan Penny
Synopsis: Darcy is a career woman who hasn't found love, but her life turns upside down when she returns home to care for her sick mother.
Review: If you’re looking for an overt take on the Austen classic you’ll be disappointed. If you’re happy with a beautiful love story, including good people set with gorgeous Christmas displays as the background, you’ll be thrilled.
The Princess Switch
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, and Nick Sagar
Synopsis: One week before Christmas, Margaret, the gorgeous Duchess of Montenaro, switches places with Stacy, a "commoner" from Chicago, who looks exactly like her. With the assistance of a magical Santa's helper, Margaret falls in love with Stacy's handsome co-worker, while Stacy falls in love with Margaret's fiance, the dashing Prince.
Review: This movie can only be described as boringly predictable or even just boring. It’s all the basic parts of every switch places movie you’ve ever seen mashed together. I had to force myself to sit through it. It’s a shame because the actors were good given what they had to work with. Younger children may like it more.
Puppy Star Christmas
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Starring: David Deluise
Synopsis: A song-filled new Air Bud 'Pup Star' movie that introduces four new pups to the family, who stow away on Santa's sleigh and find themselves trapped at the North Pole, trying to save the world's Christmas spirit.
Review: The human characters are caricatures of people but that adds to the silliness and joy of the movie. I think children will love the talking dogs, the colorful sets and costumes, and the music while adults will find it a little cheesy but will still be able to enjoy it. Look for the dancing reindeer with leg warmers.