We are firmly into December, my friends, and that means I can safely resume Christmas Movies of the Week without appearing to be a little fanatical in my Christmas enthusiasm (which I am). Never fear, despite not posting since this post and this post, I assure you I’ve been sticking to a steady diet of all the best and worst holiday movies on television.
Every once in a while, though, we take a break from the made-for-television variety and upgrade ourselves to Netflix. Last week, we checked out one of Netflix’s new seasonal additions: The Christmas Chronicles. In a way, it was great because it reminded me that Christmas movies actually exist, compared to the made-for-television variety which are essentially just love stories that take place around the holidays. But in another way, it was awful, because it raised the bar on our holiday film watching to a level that no TV movie can ever seem to reach.
I have to admit, through the first 10 minutes or so I had my doubts about this one. The whole kids-with-attitudes thing really interferes with my sense of holiday magic, and the older brother was a little too obnoxious for my liking. But then the holiday magic entered the picture and I was won over by (in no particular order):
1. Kurt Russell as a rough-and-tumble-but-still-big-hearted Santa: He’s not all ho-ho-ho (in fact, he claims that’s a myth–much like Santa being fat), but he still remembers all the kids’ names and brings enough warmth to make him ultra Santa-esque. Plus watching him get the whole jail house rocking to Santa Claus is Back in Town was worth watching the entire movie to see.
2. Adorable elves: I’m not usually one for animated creatures, but the elves were freaking adorable. And one of them carried a chain saw, which is pretty fantastic.
3. Winston from New Girl as a Santa-believing cop: I never loved Winston on New Girl. He was just…okay. But I loved him in this movie. He was one of the first to believe Santa. Granted, he saw the reindeer take flight and it would be pretty hard not to believe after seeing that, but still.
4. Actual Christmas magic: As far as I’m concerned, too many holiday movies these days just take place around Christmas, but fail to capture what makes the holidays magical. That’s all fine and well every once in a while, but sometimes you want to dive deep into true holiday magic–the kind where Christmas is on the line, and it takes some sleight of hand by Santa Claus to get things on the right track. This movie has holiday spirit in spades, and you will find yourself rooting hard for Christmas to be saved even if you think of yourself as a Grinch.
5. A cameo by Oliver Hudson: Because, in my opinion, when it comes to Oliver Hudson, a cameo is still enough to make the movie.
So without giving away the plot details (aka the holiday magic), let me just say that you need to watch this movie, particularly if you’ve yet to find yourself in the holiday spirit. I promise you it will up your Christmas enthusiasm by at least ten percent.