The last time I binged holiday movies for a Blogmas post, Netflix was basically my only (online streaming) source. Two years later it still has quite a cache of holiday movies, but I did mange to sneak a few other platforms’ movies on to this year’s list as well.
Considering my to-watch list started 21 choices, I’m quite happy with that fact I fit 12 holiday movies into two weeks and my brain only melted slightly. I hope this list helps you find a new holiday favorite (and avoid all the cringe options).
Dash & Lily – 5/5 stars
Dash & Lily isn’t technically a movie, but it is a book adaptation. So I went ahead and added it to the to-watch list. It was also a very good adaptation at that. If you’re unfamiliar with Dash & Lily, it follows the title characters around Christmas-time New York as they write back and forth in a little red notebook. It’s quite a cute YA romance. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed an adaptation more. The casting, setting, & inventive filming really helped bring Dash and Lily off the page in a visual love letter to NY and its landmarks.
Holidate – 4.5/5 stars
I am Emma Roberts trash, so there was no way I wasn’t going to watch this. To be fair, it’s not really a Christmas movie (since it spans a little over a year), but the movie begins and ends with Christmas, so I’m saying it qualifies at least as a Christmastime movie. Anyways, this movie was another winner! It was very cute, even if there wasn’t much plot besides the romance. It was fun to watch the characters flip through different holiday celebrations, but I wish there had been a little more background building. Other than that, the characters, writing, and filming were great. Sloan and Jackson had great banter the whole way through, and their chemistry was realistic. I’m really hoping this is the beginning of a Emma Roberts/Netflix rom com deal.
A Very Country Christmas – 2/5 stars
I think this was the worst movie I watched, at least this year. Once I found out it was adapted from a romance novel, all I could picture was a mass market paperback with a shirtless cowboy on the cover. That’s not exactly what I got, but it did feel like a romance book that had be verbatim translated into a script. All the dialogue was super cheesy and cliche-filled, and the reasoning of the plot made almost zero sense. On top of that, the acting was really not good. Oh, and it wasn’t very country, or Christmas-y.
Jingle Jangle – 4/5 stars
I walked into to this one with exactly zero knowledge of its musical standing. So, be warned. It’s also another movie that’s more Christmastime, than about Christmas. In addition, I couldn’t tell you what the movie was actually about because all the singing made it a little confusing to follow. It did give off major Willie Wonka x Christmas vibes though, and the quality of the singing was solid.
The Knight Before Christmas – 4/5 stars
I was very skeptical of this movie going in, because the magical appearance of a medieval knight? Like that’s going to end well. But you know what? Sir Cole was actually my favorite thing about the movie. The fact that he adjusted to modern times well enough to mimic accents and dialogue he saw on the “magic box” cracked me up. Also, for a contemporary holiday romance movie, the medieval times were actually well done & bearable. Oh, and the romance was pretty cute too.
Christmas Catch – 3/5 stars
So this was another holiday romance that felt like a direct adaptation of a mass market paperback romance. Everything was cheesy AF and layered in clichés. The acting was actually okay; it’s just the lines they had to deliver were cringe. Also, it is necessary to suspend all moral ethics for like 1.5 hours. Because, a cop falling for a suspected criminal she’s actively staking out & fake(ish) dating, is not as comfortable to watch as I’d have thought. Also, she literally wore sweat-overalls to work, AS A DETECTIVE. I can’t.
Holiday in the Wild – 4/5 stars
This was surprisingly good! I was a nice change of pace after all the terribly-acted indie films I dragged myself through. The movie begins with a lot of exposition, but then the rest of the time is spent at an elephant sanctuary in Africa. Again, this was more of a Christmastime movie, but it was cute nonetheless. Also, baby elephants!! I cried, it’s fine. Also, it was hard for me to initially picture Rob Lowe in any other capacity than saying “Ann Perkins!”, but once I adjusted, he was quite charming. He and Kristin Davis make a cute pairing.
A Cinderella Story Christmas Wish – 3/5 stars
This movie would be perfectly at home on the Disney channel, especially since two ex-Disney actors are the romantic leads. And it wouldn’t have been bad except the plot was overdone, under executed, and highly cliché. Also, the manufactured Christmas pop “written” by the lead was rough. Like was that the only type of music she wrote?? WHY?? Overall, an okay movie, for how many “not good” parts it had.
Noelle – 5/5 stars
So, I’ve actually watched this movie 3 times now, and it slaps every time. Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader are overly-believable as siblings (& the children of Santa) and play off each other so well. Also, Anna Kendrick has so many great lines; I was cracking up the entire time. I’ve watched this movie too many times now to be able to describe it, so I’m just going to link a trailer.
Godmothered – 3.5/5 stars
So this was a really cute, modern take on fairy godmothers, but it tried to stretch itself in too many directions and ended up very thin. In a modern society where fairy godmothers are a relic of the past, a young godmother-in-training strikes out to save her crumbling future. Once she get’s to the human world though, it all goes awry, with her “assignment” being a now-grown mother of two. There’s a bunch of cute fairy godmother/kids moments, and even more hilarious accidental spectacles, but the plot didn’t sink much father than surface level. I’d say this was a cute “kids” movie, and leave it at that.
Last Christmas – 3/5 stars
Let’s start off with this movie is not HEA. If you’ve ever read The Afterlife of Holly Chase, it reminded me of that whole vibe. I also, didn’t particularly like Kate, the MC, for most of the movie, although she gets better. She does have her reasons though. Normally when characters are like “my family is wack.” I’m like “No. Your family is relatively normal and just slightly strange.” That is not that case here. Kate’s family is all kinds of weirdly messed up. This movie was advertised as a romance, but falls much more along the lines of a lesson learned story. (A la A Christmas Carol.)
Happiest Season – 4/5 stars
Dan Levy, Kristen Stewart, Aubrey Plaza, & Allison Brie are all fricken gems in this! Honestly, this movie was quite good. The only thing that kept me from fully enjoying it, was all the emotionally manipulative behavior Kristen Stewart’s paramour displayed. And not to make another book analogy, but this movie reminded me a lot of Written in the Stars, if you swapped out the fake dating with someone ready to propose.
Have you watched any of these? Which were your favorites?