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Opinion: My thoughts on 10 Christmas movies

Recently, I started binge watching Christmas movies – partly because the holiday season is approaching, and partly because I’m getting a bit burnt out by all the death and destruction around the world.

Turns out, holiday movies can be a really nice antidote to the world’s problems. Well, they cant actually solve world problems, but they can give us a few hours of distraction.

Don’t get me wrong, many of them are so saccharine that after viewing a few of them you might need a dose of insulin, but they are kind of fun. The heroes and heroines are ridiculously good looking – the villains are not usually that bad, and the romantic or dramatic turns are pretty cheesy.

So, here’s a list of Christmas movies I’ve seen recently that you might like to check out to help you feel that festive spirit – the first one is on Disney +, the rest on Netflix:


HOME ALONE (1990)

Ok, this has to be the all time best Christmas movie ever made. The story involves the McCallister family going on holiday to Paris at Christmas time and forgetting to take their youngest son Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) with them. Left alone, he must rely on his wits to survive against two determined but inept burglars.  It’s a classic comedy caper and Culkin gives possibly the most endearing comedic performance of a child actor in history. The violence is kid friendly and silly, and the story while also silly is well constructed and very watchable. Great performances by the entire cast.


A CASTLE FOR CHRISTMAS  (2021)

This is the story of an American novelist Sophie Brown (Brooke Shields) who is embroiled in a scandal over her latest book. Desperate to get away from all the negative attention, she flees the home village of her father in Scotland. While there, she visits a glorious castle, but encounters the irascible Myles, 12th Duke of Dunbar (Cary Elwes). Sophie makes lots of social blunders and Myles is distant but clearly fancies her. What’s great about this movie is that Shields and Elwes have obvious on-screen chemistry, and they represent a romantic demographic that is usually missing from Christmas movies – people over 35! What’s more, they both appear to be ageing gracefully without the need for botox or fillers and therefore they both look like ‘normal’ people. While the film is a bit schmalzy it feels like a genuine story with the usual romantic entanglements and misunderstandings.  


A CHRISTMAS PRINCE  (2017)

The first of three A Christmas Prince movies, this one is about Amber (Rose McIvor), a naive aspiring journalist who journeys to a small country in Europe called Aldovia to cover the accession of Prince Richard (Ben Lamb), to the throne. Richard has a reputation as a playboy, which in Christmas movie terms means he’s sometimes a bit rude to people, and he likes driving fast cars while wearing sunglasses! The drama here is whether or not Richard is the legitimate heir to the throne, and so Amber, who makes friends with Richard’s sister has to solve the plot. She returns to the US towards the end of the movie, but Richard is in love with her and proposes – but does she accept?  As you can imagine this is a very cute movie, and the villains are that villainous. Incidentally Richard’s mother Queen Helena the Queen Mother is played by Alice Krige who played the Borg Queen in some Star Trek films – cool huh?


A CHRISTMAS PRINCE: THE ROYAL WEDDING (2018)

The first sequel to A Christmas Prince, sees Amber and Richard preparing for their wedding.  Yeah that’s right, she accepted his proposal, and the title of this movie kind of gives that away. As you can imagine, it’s not smooth sailing and their are moments of hurt, arguments and confusion, as well as a sinister plot to overcome involving a nefarious development company. Tradition is at odds with modernity, and the big question is  – can the wedding take place?  Hey, it’s Christmas – you can probably work out what happens! 


A CHRISTMAS PRINCE: THE ROYAL BABY (2019)

Sequel number two to A Christmas Prince, and yeah, they got married!  Can you imagine if they did a royal Christmas story where the girl gets pregnant but she isn’t married to the prince?  No, me neither. In this one, guess what? Amber is pregnant. Once again the title kind of gives it away. This time, there is a plot afoot to cause a war between Aldovia and neighbouring country Penglia. Can the plot be overcome before Amber has her baby?  What do you think? Oh, and there’s also some kind of curse that might affect the baby. I’m not really sure what that’s about coz though I enjoyed the movie, I was playing a game of Fishdom on my iPad while watching the movie and missed a few of the plot points. Anyway, does Amber have the baby and sort out all the problems? Yes, of course she does!


DOLLY PARTON’S CHRISTMAS ON THE SQUARE  (2020)

So this one is a bit of a rip off of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, but with enough changes that they couldn’t be sued I imagine. In this film, Regina Fuller (Christine Baranski) is a super wealthy bitch who returns to her home town to evict everyone  and sell the land to a developer. Dolly Parton appears a few times as an angel and does a bit of magic now and then to move the story along and influence things for the better. Oh did I tell you it’s a musical?  It is, and the songs are ok, but nothing fantastic. In fact that’s really a description fitting of the entire film. It means well, and it’s very sweet, but yes, you can predict what happens. To be honest, I only watched this film coz I adore Christine Baranski, and she’s really good in this as always. While I also love Dolly, this isn’t her best film, and I’m afraid it’s just a bit too sweet and a bit too contrived.


FALLING FOR CHRISTMAS  (2022)

This is a brand new movie, and it’s actually pretty good. It stars Lindsay Lohan who plays spoilt heiress Sierra Belmont. She’s engaged to Tad, an ‘influencer’ and absolute prick. She has an accident, loses her memory and ends up staying at a run down lodge run by a handsome widower and all round good guy Jack. Jack incidentally is played by Chord Overstreet, the blond bombshell from Glee. This is a fun movie, and full of, yes you guessed it, romantic misunderstandings, and plenty of epiphanies. It’s also a reminder of just how good an actress Lindsay Lohan is and what she might have achieved if things had not gone off the rails for her. 


CHRISTMAS WITH A VIEW (2018)

Set in a picture perfect mountain town, this film focusses on Clara (Kaitlyn Leeb) who works at a ski resort. Despite being drop dead gorgeous, for some reason, romance eludes her. Let me make that point again – everyone she knows is hooked up, but poor old drop dead gorgeous Clara just can’t find the right man. Boy it must be a bitch to be drop dead gorgeous. Anyway, an equally gorgeous celebrity chef called Shane (Scott Cavalheiro) gets a job at the resort and romantic awkwardness ensues. You might remember Cavalheiro from Schitt’s Creek where he played the vet Miguel who was in competition with Ted. Well in this film he’s a co-star and has lots more lines. Needless to say, there are difficulties and plot twists and yes, misunderstanding. I really enjoyed seeing Patrick Duffy in this movie – he was in the supersoap Dallas a few decades back. Anyway, Christmas with a View is a lot of nonsense, but it’s fun. 


CHRISTMAS WITH A PRINCE (2018)

So 2018 must have been a busy Christmassy year for Kaitlyn Leeb, coz here she is again in another seasonal movie. She’s still stunningly beautiful, but this time she’s called Tasha and she’s employed as an overworked but dedicated paediatrician in a hospital. When a playboy Prince Alexander (Nick Hounslow) has a skiing accident and breaks something, (I cant remember what), she gets to look after him. You may find this surprising, but the Prince is a bit of a rebel and a playboy who doesn’t want to settle. Imagine that! But he’s basically decent, and his ‘bad boy’ persona is really only because he hasn’t got much to do and despite being drop dead gorgeous, he just hasn’t found the right girl. It’s so tough being rich and beautiful. Honestly I should have taken notes when watching this one because I have no memory of how it ends but if you look at the picture above she’s wearing a tiara and looking gorgeous and happy so I think we can all guess the conclusion. 


CHRISTMAS CATCH  (2018)

In a small town in America, Mackenzie Bennett (Emily Alatalo) known as Mack is a cop who goes undercover to solve crimes with her police buddy Reid (Andrew Bushell). She has to use her feminine wiles to distract a villain, but unfortunately despite being very beautiful, she is terrible at flirting. Also, despite being very petite and feminine, she can’t walk in heels and is thought of as not that feminine. It’s kind of like how they tried unsuccessfully to de-feminise Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality (great film by the way). Anyway, Mack is soon on the trail of a very handsome but very shy suspected diamond thief called Carson (Franco Lo Presti). Pretending to be romantically interested in Carson she actually falls under his spell. He acts suspiciously but is he really a bad guy? Despite keeping us guessing, and a few twists this is a pretty conventional romance movie. But it’s well acted, and rather charming. 


Conclusion:

So those are my views on a slew of Christmas movies, and that’s just a few of what’s available on Netflix, Disney + and other streaming services. 

If you want a funny antidote to all the sugary Christmas fluff, then I would suggest watching the Netflix series Wednesday. It’s all about Wednesday Addams from the Adams Family, and while it’s much darker than any of the movies listed above, it’s funny, well acted, and well constructed. 

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