Christmas is but two weeks away and that means it’s time to spend money you don’t have on gifts, eat your weight in food, and park yourself on a couch to indulge in all the so-bad-it’s-amazing holiday movies television has to offer. Some might say it’s the best part of the holiday.
But with so much content from so many networks, how does one choose what to watch?
Let’s break it down:
Netflix has become something of a Christmas movie content generator of late, with one especially watchable and bankable franchise: A Christmas Prince . The third film in the series is out this year, and it’s all about The Royal Baby.
Vanessa Hudgens, Netflix’s new holiday star, has a sequel to The Princess Switch currently in the works, but in the meantime, there’s The Knight Before Christmas — which is essentially Kate & Leopold for a new, more basic audience — to tide you over.
If you want a little more substance, there’s the visually stunning 2D-animated Klaus , which follows the rather melancholy tale of a postman who unites with a toymaker to end a local feud. It features the voices of Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman, Joan Cusack and J.K. Simmons.
If you want to get super serial this holiday season, Netflix has made the odd choice of releasing an eight-episode holiday series called Merry Happy Whatever . It stars a scraggly and somewhat menacing Dennis Quaid as a father struggling to balance the demands of the holiday season with the news that his youngest daughter is heading home for the holidays with her new boyfriend. Bring out the shotgun, I guess? For the boyfriend or Quaid, I can’t say.
Other new holiday films include:
- A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish
- Holiday In The Wild
- Holiday Rush
- Let It Snow
As a fledgling network, Disney+ has a whole lot to offer when it comes to Christmas past ( The Santa Clause, The Nightmare Before Christmas, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, The Muppet Christmas Carol ) but only one new option, Noelle , one of the first original films to launch with the network.
Anna Kendrick stars as Noelle, the princess of the North Pole, who realizes she might be next in line to take over for Santa, her father, when her older brother Nick (Bill Hader) goes missing. Shirley MacLaine co-stars as Noelle’s elf Polly. A cheap theatrical cast-off, you can count on it for two or three laughs if you’re lucky. And, you know, Bill Hader.
Netflix may be the new kid on the block when it comes to Christmas content, but it’s the W Network — in partnership with America’s Hallmark Channel — that’s the tried, trusted, long-time holiday movie generator. Its list of Christmas movies have everything: cheap visuals, green-screened snow, C-list TV stars with eerily perfect teeth, predictable beginnings, middles and ends, oddly sexless couples, gloomy Ontario set locations, grizzled film vets in minor roles (Treat Williams!), chaste kisses, the list goes on. It truly does not get more fantastic.
Fuller House ’s Candace Cameron Bure, who has made a second career out of Hallmark movies, is a holiday essential. This year, she stars in Christmas Town as Lauren, who leaves everything behind in Boston to find herself in the picturesque town of Grandon Falls, where she rediscovers the magic of Christmas, obviously. (If you’d like to find the magic too, you can head to Vancouver, which is where this was filmed.)
Always charming and a pure delight, be sure to catch Broadway legend Kristin Chenoweth starring alongside Party of Five ‘s Scott Wolf in A Christmas Love Story. Chenoweth plays Katherine, a youth choir director looking for a big song to close her Christmas Eve show. Her saviour comes in Danny, a little boy with a big voice. Romance blooms when she meets his father (Wolf) — a widow, naturally.
Hallmark loves CW stars, and has made a meal out of One Tree Hill ’s Chad Michael Murray, who has not aged a day (very important information) and stars this year in the exquisitely titled Write Before Christmas . He stars as one of the five men Jessica (Torrey DeVitto) writes a Christmas card to in hopes of scoring a holiday date. One wonders who she could possibly land on.
Other new holiday films include:
- A Merry Christmas Match
- A Homecoming for the Holidays
- A Family Christmas Gift
- A Christmas Miracle
- A Christmas Duet
- Christmas Under the Stars
- Christmas Scavenger Hunt
- Christmas On My mind
- Christmas In Montana
- Christmas In Rome
- Christmas In Evergreen: Tidings Of Joy
- Christmas At The Plaza
- Christmas At Graceland: Home For The Holidays
- Forever Christmas
- Holiday Hearts
- Holiday For Heroes
- Holiday Date
- Merry And Bright
- Nostalgic Christmas
- Our Christmas Love Song
- The Christmas Club
- Two Turtle Doves
And then there’s Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen — for the title alone. Jane Austen wishes.
If movies aren’t really your thing and you’d much rather listen to 10 different covers of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” variety specials may just be your thing.
NBC has A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy, Holidays with the Houghs, and Gwen Stefani’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas , while CBS has A Home for the Holidays With Idina Menzel.
But your best bet is Amazon Prime’s The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show (the first Christmas variety special for the network, beating its streaming competitors to the punch), which features the Grammy-winning country star alongside a cast of performers (James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Camila Cabello, Troye Sivan, etc.) and through countless gorgeous costume changes. It’s meant to evoke a nostalgic feel, in the realm of the Judy Garland Christmas Special , as Musgraves prepares for a Christmas party and searches for her grandmother’s tree topper. Schitt’s Creek ’s Dan Levy co-stars as the slightly-too-sarcastic narrator.
It may seem archaic to spend Christmas at the theatre, but if you manage to scrounge up the cash, you’ve got two options in store: the delightful if predictable Last Christmas, starring Emilia Clarke and a Wham-tastic soundtrack, and Black Christmas , the latest remake of the horror film probably more suited to Halloween — consider it a match for the holiday cynics.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019