Holiday movies fill our hearts with joy. Between Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas, It's a Wonderful Lifetime (or Fa La La La Lifetime, if you prefer) and ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas, there are so many movies and so little time.
To help you, our friends, we have sacrificed by watching as many of these movies as possible and will give you our two cent review. Hopefully this will help you know what you do or do not want to watch.
Devoted father and husband Tom Chandler dies in a car accident, but
appears as a ghost to his teenage son Jonathan. Now single mother, Susan
Chandler tries to concentrate on her reporter job and dismisses the
idea of a ghost, but allows the school counselor, Kevin Harrison, to
work with Jonathan. Tom and Jonathan arrange for Susan to enter a radio
show's dating game, and conclude that only Kevin, a widower and coach in
Jonathan's former favorite sport, ice-hockey, will do as his stepdad,
while she leans towards lawyer Greg Roberts.
Our Two Cents:
This one is kind of The Christmas Ornament meets Mighty Ducks. The idea that Jonathan is getting help from his dad's ghost to find a boyfriend for his widowed mom might be a little odd, but it somehow works. Very cute, and sweet, and just a tiny bit of a tear jerker.
It's Christmas Eve, 2004. Eve Simon is a wealthy and successful
advertising executive with Bernstein & Barlow on Madison Avenue, but
her personal life is less than satisfying. Her separated but still married boss and
lover, Neil Barlow, is the only other significant person in her personal
life and he's backed out on their Christmas plans to be with his family. She has not been home to Eastborough, Oregon since she left eight
years ago, and rarely speaks to her loving and supportive family there.
After overindulging on cocktails, she makes her way to her apartment and she bumps into a homeless man known as Brother James. As usual, he is ranting and raving. This time he's going on about the
lost holiday spirit. But as she passes, he suddenly pauses to look the tipsy Eve in the eye. He
whispers to her, "wish upon the Christmas Star."
She dismisses him, but back at her apartment she follows his advice, making her wish just before she goes to sleep. The next morning, Eve
awakens transported back in time to December 19, 1996 in Eastborough,
still living at home and preparing for her wedding to Scott, but with all the
knowledge of her present life. Brother James, who turns out to be her guardian angel, warns her to make good use of this time because it will not last, and on Christmas Day, she will return to her life in 2004.
As she spends time with Scott and her family, she begins to reconsider the pivotal decision back in 1996. But is it too late to change her stars?
Our Two Cents:
We watch this every year. And every year AFTER watching it, we remember how bad it is. Yet the next year we watch it again. It's bad. There are so many ridiculous things about it. An outdoor winter wedding in Oregon while wearing a strapless dress? She basically creates a website like Amazon and Ebay combined, overnight, on her own, with no real web development skills using 1996 technology? Don't get me started on the bizarre French wedding planner who a week before the wedding is still pitching (horrifying) ideas. It's just bad. Hmm. It looks like it's coming on again on Christmas Eve. Don't want to miss it. Better set the TiVo.
Nick (Steve Guttenberg) has to abandon his plan to let fate bring his wife to him because he
must replace his father as Santa Claus on December 26. Ernst, the
right-hand man to several generations of Santas, generates a list of
potential mates. Nick is due to replace his retiring father, and needs a
Mrs. Claus, so Santa’s adviser sends him down to Southern California.
There he meets Beth Sawtelle (Bernard), a workaholic widow whose
advertising job with Andrew West (Calabro) leaves precious little time
for her son, Jake (Dominic Scott Kay). Concealing his identity, Nick
stars in a series of Christmas commercials for the agency as he tries to
make sure Jake and Beth both believe in Santa Claus—no easy task in her
Our Two Cents:
We used to watch this one yearly before so many other better Christmas movies came out. If you haven't seen it, you've got to check this one off your list. It's a classic. As much as we love Steve Guttenberg (especially love him in It Takes Two), this story would make more sense with a younger Nick, maybe someone around 30, even 40, old enough that he's above the average marrying age, but not someone pushing 50. There are things about it to complain about, but overall cute and a funny premise.
This movie does have a sequel (Meet the Santas) where Beth's mother meets Nick's parents--Santa and Mrs. Claus, that is--and honestly, it's okay, but we can't really get over Crystal Bernard's atrocious clip on ponytail. It is worth watching at least once.