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.
Hailee Anderson, the famous talk show host, is
preparing for the holiday season by working; she's planning her very
important TV show, her Christmas special. Already a scrooge, Hailee is
even more miserable when she finds out on live TV that her real-estate fiancée Jason is cheating on her! To clear her head, she goes on
a drive and ends up in Carver Bend, Connecticut, and unfortunately crashes
through a local judge's fence. When is sentenced to community service, witness and rescuer Logan recommends she work with him at the local art center where they are building a float to win the contest at the annual Christmas Parade.
While Hailee bonds with the locals, the art center kids, and grows
closer to Logan, she begins to learn the magic and joy of Christmas.
Our Two Cents:
Shamelessly stealing Winona Ryder’s line from Reality Bites: this movie is so cheesy you can’t watch it without crackers. Full of christmas cliches including the Scroogy saboteur, a classic Grinch transformation, and sappy romance, it’s a perfect candidate for a Christmas guilty pleasure.
At a Christmastime event, Jenna shares an impromptu, unforgettable kiss
with the dashing and wealthy, Cooper Montgomery. Unaware of his
intentions and fearful of getting hurt in another relationship, Jenna
vows to resist his charms, but begins to realize his affection is real
as the two spend more time together.
Our Two Cents:
This is a sequel of sorts to A Christmas Kiss where two strangers share a passionate kiss when their elevators seems like it's going to plummet to the bottom floor of the high rise.
So, this movie... We don't even know what to say about this one. It's not bad, but it is bad. The elevator kiss in this one is a little more forced as far writing into the story. Maybe they didn't want to repeat the same circumstances where their lives seemed to be in jeopardy, but it would have been better if they had. After you get over that, it's just your typical guilty pleasure--shameless product placement included.
(Quick tangent, you may have noticed the trend, especially but not limited to Hallmark, for shameless product placements. Usually they're for Walmart, Folgers and Kay Jewelers. I'd say see if you can find it in this one, but if you miss it, it's probably because you fell asleep. It's none too subtle.)
Small-time con man Nick DeMarco (Barry Watson) is ordered by his parole
officer to take a minimum-wage job as a department store Santa during
the holidays...and he hates it. Near the end of his first shift, he
hastily promises a young boy, Billy (Tucker Meeks), that Santa will
bring his estranged parents back together by Christmas. When his sister
Rosemary (Melissa Joan Hart) hears this, she is livid and can't believe
he would break a little boy's heart with an empty promise. After a long
night of soul searching--and with the help of an insightful female
pastor (Wendy Williams)--Nick decides to make good on his promise to the
Our Two Cents:
This movie surprised us. We actually found ourselves not quite sure how the movie was going to end, and for these TV movies, that is rare. Usually, with in the first 15 minutes, you can make a pretty accurate guess on the plot of the entire movie. But as a whole, we enjoyed this one, especially the little nod to Ocean's Eleven (in which Barry Watson played himself) in the opening scenes.
Side Note: Hate that this is the only poster for the movie--featuring minor supporting cast rather than main characters.
With the holiday season at hand, single mom Nicky Talbot is unemployed
and struggling to afford a nice Christmas with her 8-year-old daughter.
Hearing that Cartwright’s Department Store is hiring temporary holiday
help, Nicky rushes in to apply, but is rejected by Senior VP Fiona
Aldrich, who considers Nicky a threat to the relationship she hopes to
have with Bill, a charming and handsome store manager. In a whimsical
turn of events, Harry Osbourne, claiming to be a consultant from
corporate headquarters, encourages Nicky to dress up and begin working
as Cartwright’s store Santa Claus. With the magical help of Harry, Nicky
keeps the job, but nobody knows Cartwright’s Santa Claus is a woman.
Will she be able to keep her job if her secret gets out?
Our Two Cents:
Our only real complaint with this one, because it was pretty darn cute, is that we wished the main character had a little more backbone and didn't wilt under pressure from Fiona (who obviously has a vendetta against her) quite so easily. But otherwise it was a fun movie, and we recommend it!
In "Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever," Grumpy Cat is a lonely cat living in a mall pet shop. Because she always gets passed over and never gets chosen by customers, this kitty develops a sour outlook on life until…one day during the holidays, a very special 12-year-old girl named Chyrstal enters the pet store and falls in love with Grumpy Cat. A unique friendship is formed between the two when Chyrstal finds she is the only person who can hear this unique feline talk. In the middle of the holiday rush, Grumpy reluctantly thwarts the kidnapping of an expensive exotic dog she can’t stand and rescues Chyrstal after the mall closes on Christmas Eve. Will Grumpy Cat learn the true meaning of Christmas, or will it be in Grumpy’s words, “Worst. Christmas. Ever?”
Our Two Cents:
We've been clear about our feelings about pet movies. If there is a pet reference in the title, we tend to avoid, avoid, avoid (especially when of the feline variety). But, the Grumpy Cat memes, with their dry acerbic wit, can't help but win us over. So when we saw that they were making a Grumpy Cat movie... we had to check it out. Our expectations were low, which is key to enjoying movies like this. Aubrey Plaza was delightful!--in a grumpy "leave me alone" kind of way, of course. And we really developed a soft spot for Chrystal too. The plot was a bit far fetched, but really, who cares!
Dr. Lauren Brunell (Bure) has her whole life planned out. As a third
year surgery resident, she is counting on being accepted into a
prestigious hospital fellowship to follow in the footsteps of her
supportive father, Henry (Pine). But when those plans quickly fall
apart, and Lauren is put on the wait list, she must take the only other
opening available: a head doctor position in the small, remote town of
Convincing herself it is only temporary, Lauren moves
to Garland where she is immediately charmed by Andy (O’Donnell), a
handsome local who soon starts to show her the importance of living in
the moment and enjoying her unexpected adventure. As Lauren excels as
Garland's trusted doctor, she warms up to the friendly town. But Andy's
father, Frank (Doyle-Murray), is hiding something from her in his
top-secret shipping warehouse. Just as Lauren decides to get to the
bottom of her suspicions, she receives news that will force her to make a
life-changing decision, while knowing for certain that the Christmas
season will never be the same.
Our Two Cents:
Candace Cameron Bure is a Christmas movie regular. This one, we feel, is by far her best one yet. I don't know what else to say besides don't miss it!
Based on the New York Times best-selling novel by award winning author
Wally Lamb. A vivid slice of 1960s life, Wishin' and Hopin' is a
wise-and-witty holiday tale that celebrates where we've been-and how far
we've come. In the small town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, we go
straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School with
Felix Funicello, a Catholic school fifth-grader in 1964, whose claim to
fame is his cousin Annette Funicello, the famous Mouseketeer and teen
movie queen. But grammar and arithmetic move to the back burner this
holiday season with the sudden arrivals of substitute teacher Madame
Frechette and feisty Russian student Zhenya Kabakova. While Felix learns
the meaning of French kissing, cultural misunderstanding, and tableaux
vivants, Wishin' and Hopin' barrels toward one outrageous Christmas!
Our Two Cents:
This movie is very reminicient of The Wonder Years and A Christmas Story. Being about 10-11 year old boys, who are begining to think about girls and get a little pervy, it has a just a few non-family friendly moments, but, as much as we love the romantic Christmas comedies, this story of little Felix was a refreshing change. Being about an Italian family didn't hurt it at all either! Definitely put this on your watch list.
As the only daughter of an expert tailor in Philadelphia, Emily
Corrigan is a kindhearted young woman proud of her blue-collar
background. She is a devoted seamstress at the family business and madly
in love with her doting European boyfriend, Leo. But as their first
Christmas together approaches, Leo drops a bombshell on his unsuspecting
girlfriend: he is actually Prince Leopold, heir to the throne of
Cordinia, a small sovereign country.
Less than enthusiastic about her son’s relationship with a commoner, the
prince's mother Queen Isadora makes Emily feel anything but welcome at
their grand castle, leaving Emily to feel more at home among Isadora’s
staff of butlers and housemaids. As Emily struggles to adapt to her new
royal surroundings, the situation is made more difficult when a scheming
Isadora invites Duchess Natasha, Leo’s ex-girlfriend, to join them for
Christmas. Attempting to stay true to herself in a world where she
clearly doesn’t belong, Emily wonders if love is enough to keep her
newly royal relationship from falling apart before Christmas morning.
Our Two Cents:
A Royal Christmas! This was a highly anticipated movie. A little hokey, more of a family film, but thoroughly enjoyable. We feel it borrows from a few movies to get it's plot. The first, and most obvious, is the Prince and Me. It also reminded us of The Princess Diaries, probably that wholesome Disney feel. Lastly, there was a bit of goofiness reminiscent of What A Girl Wants. Throw in a bit of Christmas cheer and you have the holiday spectacular that is A Royal Christmas.
Fireman Zachary Stone (Brandon Routh) is a confirmed bachelor who doesn’t
believe in love or commitment. When a stray tabby cat named Ambrose
shows up at his door, Zachary takes him in and slowly starts to see that
a little companionship might not be so bad after all. Zachary’s
commitment to solitude is further challenged when he meets Marilee
(Kimberly Sustad), an animal lover and veterinary student who teaches Zachary how
to care for his new feline roommate. Chemistry immediately develops
between the two, but will they find a way together despite themselves?
Our Two Cents:
I don't mean to make our reviews so often based on the attractiveness of the male lead, but... who are we kidding here? This has Brandon Routh and he is highly attractive. We don't really like the pet movies, and we are NOT cat people, but our adoration of this movie goes beyond Superman's good looks. The female lead is very likable and you'll love this movie's take on the mistletoe scenario. Only criticism is the end, which got a little too hokey and awkward for our tastes. But well worth watching (and owning). If we could put an 11th movie in our top 10, this might make the cut.
Side note, we aren't really sure why it's called the Nine Lives of Christmas. No characters in this movie, including any cats or other animals, have anything close to a death or near death experience. It's a little misleading. Not that it matters, just left us scratching our heads.
Storyline/Writing ★★★★★ • Acting ★★★★★ • Chemistry ★★★★★ • Overall ★★★★★
Links: IMDB • Official Site • DVD
Have you seen The Nine Lives of Christmas? Tell us what you thought of it!
Aspiring astronomy professor and Christmas enthusiast Holly is crushed
when her longtime boyfriend Adam schedules a business trip and leaves
her alone over the holidays. When she decides to surprise both Adam and
her parents with a Christmas visit, however, fate, or perhaps the
Christmas spirit, intervenes. Holly's bumpy holiday travel makes a turn
onto the road to romance when she and her bus companion, Luke, forge an
instant connection over their love of constellations and Christmas. In
the spirit of the season, Holly invites Luke and his brother Bull to
join her family and Adam for Christmas, which instantly creates a
competition between Luke and Adam for Holly's attention. As sparks fly
like shooting stars between Holly and Luke, will Holly decide to play it
safe and stay with Adam or to thank her lucky stars for the Christmas
gift of romance with Luke?
Our Two Cents:
We started this one last year and just couldn’t do it. We were going to give it another chance but Mom and Dad said it was awful. We have little desire to try it again.