the holiday & nativity! | christmas movie marathon

Part One | Part Two

Join me as I count down to Christmas with reviews of some of my favorite Christmas movies – and a few new ones!

p162526_p_v8_aa.jpgThe Holiday {2006} | Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black

The Plot: Unlucky in love, two women swap homes over Christmas.  Then, love surprises them when they expected it least.

The Good: My mom discovered this movie a few years ago and introduced it to my siblings and I.  It soon became a tradition to watch it at least once every year (but sometimes I watch it outside of the Christmas season because it’s just that good).  I cry every time I watch it, and melt from the feels.  I’m not usually a Cameron Diaz fan, but she won me over in this one.  Kate Winslet is amazing as always, and Jack Black in a romantic role completely surprised me!  And, hello, Jude Law in glasses – what’s not to love?!  And I just found out that it came out on my birthday in 2006, so it was my density to love this one.

The Bad: To be completely honest, this is probably the movie with the most content in this series.  Sensual kissing, casual sex, language, etc.  See IMDb’s Parents Guide for details, but I’d say this is a pretty typical rom-com PG-13.

The Bottom Line: So good.  So incredibly good.  The romance is fun and makes you feel all fuzzy inside, but it’s also got a sub-plot about being “the leading lady in your own life” that makes me tear up just thinking about it.  And the twist at the end – gah.  If you like rom-coms or just feel-good romances, you’ve gotta watch this one.

p7935389_d_v8_aa.jpgNativity! {2009} | Martin Freeman, Mark Wootton

The Plot: After a Scroogeish grade school teacher (Freeman) is told to direct the school’s production of The Nativity, a lie he tells gets blown out of proportion, causing his job to be much harder.  (Not to be confused with that movie that had Poe Hot Damneron in it.)

The Good: I heard of this movie a few years ago, having been introduced to it by the plethora of adorable gifs that came out of it.  (I need a gif of him shutting up his class by banging cymbals with an angry face and i can’t. find. it.)  I forgot about watching it last year, and finally made more of an effort this year.  Katie and I sat down one night with very low expectations – except hello it’s Martin so it’s gonna be at least okay – and soon were laughing so hysterically that we had to pause it and rewind.  It’s absolutely hilarious, all of the kids are just adorable, and it was surprisingly touching as well!

The Bad: This movie is PG.  I’ve only seen it once but I literally can’t think of anything inappropriate (unless there was some British humor, which is always a little more crass than American).  Some of it was a little ridiculous, and the ending got wrapped up a little too neatly – but let’s be honest, who didn’t want all of that to happen, regardless of how unlikely it was.  😛

The Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a cute movie to watch with your younger siblings but really just want to see Martin Freeman SLAY, watch this one.  And let me know what you think.

Next Week: Scrooged and Serendipity

eloise at christmastime & christmas with the kranks | christmas movie marathon

Part One

Join me as I count down to Christmas with reviews of some of my favorite Christmas movies – and a few new ones!

Eloise_at_Christmastime.jpgEloise at Christmastime {2003} | Sofia Vassilieva, Julie Andrews

The Plot: Eloise, a resident of the Plaza Hotel, is simultaneously trying to figure out the motive of a suspicious man and set up her friend Bill with Rachel, his unrequited love, all the while getting ready for Christmas.

The Good: OKAY.  This movie may have been intended for the eight-year-olds who read the books, but I’m pretty sure anyone can watch it and love it.  I first discovered it a few years ago and it’s been a tradition to watch it at least twice every Christmas season.  It’s hilarious, sweet, heartwarming, and the ship is one of my OTPs.  (BILL + RACHEL FOREVER.)  Sofia always shocks me as Eloise because she’s such a great actor – and she’s only ten.  Also, Julie is such a great surprise in this one because she’s nanny goals.

The Bad: Unless you think Eloise is a little too independent – and a little “wooed” – for a six-year-old, there’s nothing bad in this movie.  Period.

The Bottom Line: Yes.  All the yes.  This movie is perfect and I love it dearly.

christmas with the kranks.jpgChristmas with the Kranks {2004} | Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis

The Plot: After their daughter leaves home shortly before Christmas, Luther and Nora Krank decide to skip Christmas and spend their money on a cruise.  However, the entire town has a problem with this.  Hilarity ensues.

The Good: My family and I hadn’t seen this movie before, and after hearing about it a few times and then having it recommended by a good friend, we decided to watch it.  Spoiler alert: we loved it.  Even my dad, who’s pretty hard to entertain sometimes.  (Love you, Daddy.)  It was amazingly relatable, too, because we know people who’ve skipped Christmas for one reason or another.  Super duper funny, and even a little touching at times.  And Tim Allen is always hysterical.

The Bad: As far as inappropriate content goes, this movie had very little – unless you count a veiled reference to Nora thinking that Luther has something planned *wink*.  It’s 5% on Rotten Tomatoes (YIKES) is pretty harsh, but not unwarranted, as this movie feels a little confusing and pointless at times.  The town’s reaction to the Krank’s decision to skip Christmas is a little ridiculous as well.

The Bottom Line: For all its problems, this movie isn’t without good aspects, and I’m pretty sure it just became a tradition for my family.

Next Friday: The Holiday and Nativity!

elf & a christmas story | christmas movie marathon

I love doing Christmas blog series because I love blogging and I love Christmas.  It just works.

As I thought about what I’d do this year, I kept remembering the blog series I did last year. If you’ve read that one, you probably noticed that I basically covered all the bases – my favorite Christmas movies, my favorite Christmas songs, my favorite Christmas traditions, and, finally, the reasons why I celebrate Christmas.

For the longest time, I couldn’t think of anything to post about this year that I hadn’t posted about already last year.  And then I thought about the list I made a few weeks ago of all of the Christmas movies I hadn’t seen yet but wanted to.  So I thought, “Hey, why not write a review for each movie?”  However, because it’s not Christmas without my favorite Christmas movies, I probably wouldn’t be watching enough new movies to warrant a blog series.

BAM.  Reviews of a new one and an old one (for me, at least).  I’ll post one every Friday morning, just in time for a family movie night.  Enjoy!

christmasmovieself.jpgElf {2003} | Will Ferrell, James Caan

The Plot: Buddy the Elf, one of Santa’s helpers, has to find his dad in NYC and get him off The Naughty List, all while helping others to believe in Santa Claus before it’s too late.

The Good: This movie is a straight-up classic, despite the fact that it’s “only” been out for thirteen years.  My family watches it every year while we decorate our Christmas tree, and we’ve gotten to the point where we can all quote it word for word – even my parents.  It’s hilarious, it’s heart-warming, it’s got an adorable romance subplot, and it teaches valuable lessons about family, friendship, and the Christmas spirit (especially when the Clausometer levels are shockingly low).

The Bad: As with every movie, this one has it’s faults – and it’s definitely not for everyone.  I know people who despise this movie because they don’t get (or don’t like) the humor.  I get it.  It utilizes some potty humor and the characters have to work their way around some ridiculous situations – not to mention the fact that it *gasp* encourages The Santa Myth.  However, this movie is just a fun ride, and people who think it should be more than that probably shouldn’t be watching it in the first place.

The Bottom Line: Elf is a hilarious family movie that can be enjoyed by all ages.

christmasmoviesachristmasstory.jpgA Christmas Story {1983} | Peter Billingsley, Jean Shepherd

The Plot: Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB gun and tries to convince his parents, his teacher, and even Santa that it’s the best gift, despite their protests that he’ll “shoot his eye out!”

The Good: I can see why this movie is such a classic.  It’s charming, it’s memorable, and the situations the characters get themselves in – although ridiculous at times – are pretty hilarious. I absolutely loved a lot of the characters, and I’m so glad to finally get the jokes!

The Bad: First of all, let me just say… I don’t do whiny kids.  I can’t stand them.  Like, put your kid in time out or something and make. it. stop.  Ralphie’s little brother was a whiner, and it annoyed the crap out of me – and don’t even get me started on that dinner scene.  This movie also had some language, mumbled almost unintelligibly by Ralphie’s dad, and Ralphie is punished for a word he says (that we don’t really hear).

The Bottom Line: I think I would’ve enjoyed this movie a little more if I’d grown up on it – or if I were an 11-year-old boy.  So although I think it was little more than “meh,” I can still see why it’s such a classic.

Next Friday: Eloise at Christmastime and Christmas with the Kranks!