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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Saint Maybe (1998)

Rated: NR

Genres: Drama, Family, Religion

Starring: Blythe Danner, Edward Herrmann, and Mary-Louise Parker

Synopsis: A lonely teen troubled by a past family tragedy is suspicious of his sister-in-law, believing she is being unfaithful. His confrontation with his brother sets off a series of tragic events.

Review:  The best part of this is the relationships. The worst part is how it moves like molasses for a large portion of it. If you can push through the slow parts, you’ll enjoy knowing the family. 

Scoring: 2

Saint Street (2012)

Rated: NR

Genre: Drama 

Starring: Mark Webb

Synopsis: Percy has found himself caught up in the riches of the world and is neglecting his most prized possession. In a tragic event, Percy faces humble circumstances after losing his family, job, and home. It is on Saint Street where Percy sees the light and changes his ways.

Review:  While amateurish and poorly acted, this is a decent movie. The message is worth the negatives of the movie. That being said, I probably wouldn’t watch again. 

Scoring: 2

Same Time, Next Christmas (2019)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Family, Romance

Starring: Lea Michele, Charles Michael Davis, Nia Vardalos, and George Newbern

Synopsis: Sparks fly between a young woman and her childhood sweetheart when they reunite at the same Hawaiian resort where they met earlier. 

Review: The movie was definitely a new story and different from so many others. There are a few Christmas traditions but it’s mostly about the families. I liked it but I didn’t love it. Newbern and Vardalos were the best part. 

Scoring: 2

Saving Christmas (2014)

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Family, Religion

Starring: Kirk Cameron

Synopsis: His annual Christmas party is faltering thanks to his cynical brother-in-law. Kirk attempts to save the day by showing him that Jesus Christ remains a crucial component of the over-commercialized holiday.

Review: I, like most people, struggle with the religious vs. secular celebration of Christmas. This movie does a good job merging the two with in-depth explanations. I learned a lot but was still entertained. If you aren’t Christian, this may not appeal to you but I’d still recommend giving it a try.

Scoring: 3

 

Saving Christmas (2017)

Rated: PG

Genres: Family, Fantasy

Starring: Ed Asner, Brooke Langton, and Patrick Muldoon

Synopsis: A young boy, Danny, tries to prove the existence of Santa by using his intelligence and gadgets. He and his trusted group go on an intense journey to find the truth of Santa.

Review: I was surprised at how poor the quality seemed to be here given Asner and Muldoon being in it.  The children act the way children act especially when they reach the age where they start questioning Santa.  We have the bullying and the yearning to believe but it’s just done so poorly it’s hard to watch.  It ends with Santa showing his magic by zapping a pro wrestler with a broken foot from his home to the ring and then magically fixing the foot so they can wrestle.  This movie was a waste of two good actors.

Scoring:

Saving Santa (2013)

Rated: NR

Genres: Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Musical

Starring: Joan Collins, Tim Conway, Tim Curry, Martin Freeman, and Ashley Tisdale

Synopsis: A lowly stable elf finds that he is the only one who can stop an invasion of the North Pole by using the secret of Santa's Sleigh, a TimeGlobe, to travel back in time to Save Santa, twice.

Review: This movie was very original and quite entertaining.  The underdog elf that is repeatedly told he’s no good keeps going until he succeeds.  A great message for kids.  The songs are good but you won’t find yourself singing them to yourself later.  Great for families to watch together.

Scoring: 3

Scoot And Kassie’s Christmas Adventure (2013)

Rated: PG

Genre: Family 

Starring: Luke Perry and Taylor Negron

Synopsis: Kassie rescues a retired, wounded police dog and names him Scoot. She and her friends organize a charity concert to raise money for less fortunate kids, and Scoot has to save the day when two crooks make plans to steal the donated money.

Review:  This is a good family film. The children and the dog are really the stars. I think a lot of adults will find it corny but it seems made for children. A cute story with good messages. 

Scoring: 3

 

Scrooge (1935)

Rated: NR

Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Seymour Hicks

Synopsis: Scrooge, the ultimate Victorian miser, hasn't a good word for Christmas, though his impoverished clerk Cratchit and nephew Fred are full of holiday

spirit. But in the night, Scrooge is visited by spirits of another color.  Straightforward adaptation of Dickens.

Review: As advertised, this is a traditional version of the story.  It is well acted and I was quite surprised at the special effects given when it was made. If you want the true story, not an adaptation, you’ll enjoy this.

Scoring: 3

Scrooged (1998)
Rated: PG-13
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance 
Starring: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, Bobcat Goldthwait, David Johansen, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum, Alfre Woodard, Jamie Farr, Robert Goulet, Buddy Hacket, John Houseman, Lee Majors, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Mary Lou Retton 
Synopsis: Francis Xavier Cross is a cynical, mean spirited television executive, he treats his loyal assistant with contempt. He just sacked a member of staff on Christmas Eve for simply disagreeing with him, and he's alienated himself from his brother who still insists on inviting Frank to Christmas dinner despite him refusing to go every year. However, Frank is forced to learn the true meaning of Christmas when he's visited by three ghosts.
Review:  Another annual must see. A touching and funny adaptation of The Christmas Carol. The characters are all interesting on their own. Murray, of course, is hysterical in this role but Carol Kane may be one of the funniest ghosts yet. 
Scoring: 4
 

The Search For Santa Paws (2010)

Rated: G

Genres: Adventure, Drama, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Reese Alexander and Bill Cobbs

Synopsis: Magic dogs and an elf team up with two children to rescue Santa who has lost his memory.

Review: Like the other talking animal films this is more for children. There are some scenes that younger children may find scary. It’s too silly for adults.

Scoring: 1

A Season For Miracles (1999)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Religion, Romance 
Starring: Carla Gugino, David Conrad, Laura Dern, Kathy Baker, Patty Duke, Mae Whitman, and Lynn Redgrave
Synopsis: A woman tries to save her sister’s children from foster care by taking them to a small town where she is mistaken for a missing heiress. 
Review:  This is one of my all-time favorites. Seeing the vulnerable family becoming stronger with the help of strangers in a community is endearing. Gugino plays the part with the right balance of strength and vulnerability. Whitman also gives an amazing performance. I love everything about it. 
Scoring: 5
Season's Greetings (2016)
Rated: NR
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance 
Starring: Laura Bell Bundy and Casey Manderson
Synopsis: Darcy Blake has the perfect job - she works for Harrington House, a successful greeting card company, in the editorial department. Writing heart-felt, meaningful copy for cards is very important to Darcy, especially at Christmas, which was important to her as a young girl. She realizes that she is a bit out of step with her fellow millennials but that is fine with Darcy. Everything is about to change when Andrew Harrington arrives at the company to take over from his grandfather and he has a very different view of the holidays.
Review:  I like this movie. The characters at the card company are entertaining and likable. Darcy and Andrew having to compromise between tradition and modernity is a very current topic. That being said, their relationship is sweet. 
Scoring: 3

Seasons Of Love (2014)

Rated: PG

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance 

Starring: Taraji P. Henson and Gladys Knight

Synopsis: Set in the picturesque backdrop of New York, "Seasons of Love" is a romantic, soulful holiday drama about two people who struggle to find love against the odds, while reconciling with the past and learning the true value of family.

Review:  Christmas is a small part of the movie but I wouldn’t count this as a Christmas movie. It’s more a relationship movie where you're watching people navigate different situations. It fell a little flat for me. 

Scoring: 2

Second Chance Christmas (2017)

Rated: NR

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance 

Starring: Katrina Begin, Tilky Jones, and Charlene Tilton 

Synopsis: In this Christmastime romantic comedy, Caroline is unhappy in her marriage and makes her way to file for divorce. On the way, an accident occurs and everything in her love life is about to change, as amnesia is now setting in.

Review:  I know amnesia is often overused but here it is used well. We get to see a couple falling apart fall in love all over again. Enchanting. 

Scoring: 3

Secret of Giving (1999)

Rated: PG

Genre: Drama

Starring: Reba McEntire and Thomas Ian Griffith

Synopsis: A young widow, aided by a lone rider, overcomes hardship to restore the faith of a town in time for Christmas.

Review: This movie was lacking something.  I didn’t feel invested in the story or the characters.  It felt like a superficial story lacking depth and layers.  We never really get to know the characters well which takes away from any emotional reaction.  It’s not the worst but I suggest skipping it.

Scoring: 2

The Secret of the Nutcracker (2007)

Rated: NR

Genres: Family, Fantasy

Starring: Brian Cox

Synopsis: In this innovative version of the world-famous Christmas story, 12-year-old Clara takes a magical journey on Christmas Eve to find her father in a World War II Prisoner of War camp.

Review: We start with a family in Canada during WWII while the father is a prisoner of war in Germany.  This concept alone may require explaining and be difficult for younger children to understand but would be a good history lesson for older children.  I will say this is a little odder of the versions I’ve seen.  Uncle Dross is the owl from the woods and his friends are birds (people dressed as birds).  There’s plenty of the classic music and a few scenes with ballet.  Overall, I think it suffers from too many storylines at once.  It’s all over the place.  One of my least favorite nutcracker stories.

Scoring: 2

Secret Santa (2003)
Rated: NR
Genre: Drama 
Starring: Jennie Garth and Steven Eckholdt 
Synopsis: A newspaper reporter, Rebecca Chandler, does research for a story of a mysterious man who is an elaborate Christmas wish granter. He is involved in a program where the US Postal System forwards Santa letters to a "make-a-wish" tradition program. Why would a man spend so much money, time and energy making Christmas wishes come true?
Review:  This movie is so charming. From the nursing home she stays in to the people of the town to every new discovery it’s a delightful time. When you learn about who the Secret Santa is your heart will melt. 
Scoring: 4
 

Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen (2019)

Rated: G

Genres: Family, Romance

Starring: Erin Krakow, Luke Macfarlane, and Kimberley Sustad

Synopsis: Ella Dashwood and her sister Marianne are huge Christmas enthusiasts and own a party-planning business. One of their new clients is a toy company and they don't see eye-to-eye with Edward Ferris, the company's C.E.O.

Review: This was a lovely movie. Ella’s Christmas spirit and joy are contagious (and I love her scarves). All the characters are so wonderfully similar yet unique. It’s sweet watching their evolutions. It’s definitely a feelgood romance. 

Scoring: 3

Shadow Island Mysteries: The Last Christmas (2010)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Jennifer Finnigan and Natalie Brown

Synopsis: A writer must solve a puzzle after the death of her grandfather.

Review: It’s hard to review this without giving anything away.  It’s suspenseful but not to the point of frightening.  The story unfolds at a decent pace, if not an odd order.  It kept my attention and interest as I tried to solve the mystery.  If you like mysteries and suspense this is for you.

Scoring: 3

Sharing Christmas (2017)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Romance 
Starring: Bobby Campo, Ellen Hollman, and Cynthia Gibb
Synopsis: Stephanie Nichols takes over the Christmas Shop, but a property developer has bought the building and is terminating the retail leases. She finds help and love from Michael Kilpatrick, who works for the developer.
Review:  The Christmas Shop is a special place where everyone is a friend and magic is in the air. It’s a delightful surprise when Michael helps her and their relationship develops. 
Scoring: 4
 

Shelby: The Dog Who Saved Christmas (2015)

Rated: NR

Genres: Comedy, Family

Starring: Chevy Chase, Rob Schneider, Jefferson Brown, and Tom Arnold

Synopsis: When stray pup Shelby runs away from the pound and ends up in the home of aspiring magician Jake, the whole family pulls off an ultimate magic trick to rescue him from the local dogcatcher.

Review: This is a good movie for family viewing.  It’s fun without being too silly.  The characters are very relatable and fairly straightforward.  The dog doesn’t talk.  You’re hearing his thoughts.  Yes, the story is a little typical, but it’s well done and entertaining.

Scoring: 2

A Shoe Addict’s Christmas (2018)

Rated: G

Genres: Fantasy, Religion, Romance 

Starring: Candace Cameron Bure, Luke Macfarlane, and Jean Smart

Synopsis: Noelle, a holiday hater who toils in a department store in which she is accidentally locked on Christmas Eve. There, she meets a woman who identifies herself as Noelle's guardian angel and introduces her to several "ghosts" of Christmases past, present, and future.

Review:  A fresh new take on the Christmas Carol theme. It’s as good as all of Bure’s movies. I liked how the story unfolded subtly. It’s hard to discuss without spoilers but if you like feel-good movies you’ll love it. 

Scoring: 4