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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Paper Angels
Rated: NR
Genres: Drama, Family, Religion
Starring: Josie Bissett 
Synopsis: Lynn, abused wife, leaves her alcoholic husband and moves with her children to another town. Kevin, who wrestles with a business in trouble and a problem twins pregnancy, seeks solace by returning to pastor and team coach Graham Cody's big brother program and becomes a mentor to Lynn’s son Thomas. At Christmas, their lives become more entwined around the Salvation Army's Paper Angels program to anonymously fulfill poor kids' wishes.
Review:  This movie is not as dynamic as it could be but the characters and their stories are moving and you want things to work out for them. It reminds us that there are others in need and we can help through our actions and keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year. 
Scoring: 3
A Perfect Christmas
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family
Starring: Susie Abromeit and Dillon Casey
Synopsis: Steve and Cynthia are a newlywed couple celebrating their first Christmas together. They invite their families to join them for the holidays, but when Steve is laid off just before Christmas and Cynthia discovers she's pregnant, they both keep their news secret in hopes that the celebration runs smoothly.
Review:  This movie feels like it’s trying too hard to be sweet and moving. The story moves along without surprises. It’s okay but not one I’d watch a second time. 
Scoring: 2
 
A Perfect Christmas List 
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance 
Starring: Ellen Hollman, Beth Broderick, Richard Karn, and Marion Ross
Synopsis: As a last wish, a recently hospitalized grandmother, Evie, tasks her daughter and granddaughter, Sara, with a list of festive accomplishments to do together before Christmas, hoping that the adventure of the experience will repair their relationship. Along the way, Sara discovers an unlisted Christmas adventure of her own.
Review:  While it’s a little slow, there are many silly moments. It really shows the importance of Christmas spirit, traditions, and giving to others. 
Scoring: 3
The Perfect Christmas Present
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Sam Page and Tara Holt
Synopsis: Tom is "Mr. Christmas," the guy who can find the perfect gift for that special someone. But when he agrees to help an old college buddy discover his girlfriend's Christmas wish, he ends up getting too close, and she ends up falling in love with him.
Review:  While much of the story unfolds as expected, there are a few surprises. As I watched I was hoping the characters would see what I did and thankfully that happened. It’s endearing and a viewing pleasure. 
Scoring: 4
 

A Perfect Day

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama 

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. 

Scoring: 3

The Perfect Gift

Rated: NR

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. 

Scoring: 4

Pete’s Christmas 

Rated: PG

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. 

Scoring: 2

Pettersson And Findus 2

Rated: TV-G

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.

Scoring: 1

Picking Up And Dropping Off

Rated: NR

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. 

Scoring: 3

Picture A Perfect Christmas

Rated: G

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.

Scoring: 4

Poinsettias For Christmas

Rated: PG

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.

Scoring: 3

The Polar Express

Rated: G

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. 

Scoring: 3

 

Prancer 

Rated: G

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. 

Scoring: 3

 

Prancer Returns

Rated: NR

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. 

Scoring: 3

 

The Preacher’s Wife 

Rated: PG

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. 

Scoring: 3

 

Pride, Prejudice & Mistletoe

Rated: PG

Genres: Romance 

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.

Scoring: 4

 

A Prince For Christmas 
Rated: NR
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance 
Starring: Viva Bianca, Kirk Barker, Aaron O’Connell, Kelly LeBrock, and Maxwell Caufield 
Synopsis: Prince Duncan, from a small European country, comes to America to escape an arranged marriage to a woman he doesn't love. While there, he meets and falls in love with a young waitress named Emma who is struggling to keep her diner open and take care of her younger sister, Alice, after their parents were killed in a car accident.
Review:  I realize the premise is an overused one but I liked the way this movie handled it. I was rooting for Emma as she struggled with her diner and helping her sister. She’s strong and independent and not waiting to be rescued. 
Scoring: 3
 
A Princess for Christmas 
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance 
Starring: Katie McGrath, Roger Moore, and Sam Heughan
Synopsis: Following the deaths of her sister and brother-in-law, Jules struggles to raise her young niece and nephew. It turns out her brother-in-law was royalty and his family cut off all contact when he married an American. When a representative of his family shows up asking her to bring the children to Europe to see their grandfather, she agrees. Over time they warm up to each other and find the happiness they’d all been looking for.
Review:   While it is a typical fairy tale scenario, the characters kept me interested in what would happen next. The backdrop of winter and the palace is beautiful. It has the mandatory happy ending but I still enjoyed seeing it. 
Scoring: 4

The Princess Switch

Rated: NR

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. 

Scoring: 2

 

A Puppy for Christmas 
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance 
Starring: Cindy Busby and Greyston Holt
Synopsis: After adopting a puppy, Noelle’s world is turned upside down when her boyfriend dumps her. Accepting an invitation to spend the holidays with a coworker, she is surrounded by the Christmas cheer of a happy family, and sparks soon begin to fly. 
Review:  I adored this. Of course you know how it ends but it’s entertaining getting there. Yes, the puppy will make you go awww as much as the beautiful cabin and surrounding nature will. 
Scoring: 3
 

Puppy Star Christmas 

Rated: PG

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. 

Scoring: 3