Posts Tagged ‘A Christmas Prince’

Top 5 Christmas Movies

December 21, 2020

I tuned in last week to watch the above video from one of my favorite YouTube channels to hear the thoughts of two of my favorite perfomers (Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara) and their guest. As with most lists of this kind, I disagreed with some of their choices. Instead of tearing their lists down, I decided to make my own. I decided to exclude a lot of what I consider joke answers to this question such as Die Hard, Batman Begins, and Gremlins. I also put Christmas Horror in a completely different boat. Also, even though I love the movie dearly, I do not think of A Nightmare Before Christmas as a Christmas movie even though it uses a lot of the assets.

  1. White Christmas

To be fair, this is the Bing Crosby Christmas movie without the blackface. I watched this with my mother a couple of years ago and we both really enjoyed it. Bing and Danny Kaye are army men who finish their tour of duty and head back to the States. They become successful performers as a singing and dancing duo. They meet up with two performing sisters played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. The four end up heading to the middle of nowhere Vermont to spend the holidays at an inn where the girls are booked to perform. However, the inn and the town are in trouble without any snow so the four of them decide to put on a show to save the day. It is an endearing story of four witty and artistic people who have such great chemistry with each other. The movie is full of great songs like “Sisters”, “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)”, and starts and ends with “White Christmas”. Bing Crosby became synonymous with Christmas and that is probably a big reason why this movie made this list.

  1. A Christmas Prince

This was the second movie that helped launch my getting back into watching Christmas movies. I chose this movie originally because it stars Rose McIver, an actress I loved so much in iZombie. In this, she stars as a reporter tasked with getting the scoop on a prince’s coronation in a foreign country obsessed with Christmas. She stumbles into a lie which gets her close to her subject but when feelings develop, she starts regretting everything. McIver really makes the movie as she is at times sarcastic, wide-eyed, clever, and just plain funny. She is paired with Ben Lamb who plays the titular role with such playful wholesomeness. His sister really steals a lot of scenes (played by Honor Kneafsey) walks the edge of what could have been an annoying character and makes it into a very smart and funny one instead. Theo Devaney is so great as the smarmy “villain”. However, the movie very well could have failed if they had not been given a really great supporting cast. The two sequels are even better though this is the one I kept coming back to.

  1. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol means a lot to me. When I worked professionally in live theater, we did the same production five years in a row and the story never got old. This is a story that I have experienced starting at a very young age and this version may have been the very first. It came out when I was nine years old at a time when I had already experienced The Muppet Show and Sesame Street. Seeing these familiar characters acting out this story was truly magical. Michael Caine as Scrooge is almost the only human character and that made it feel like an extended episode of The Muppet Show. Caine acts so earnestly in the movie and always reacts to the Muppets as if they were fellow performers which, in a sense, they were. The movie adheres to the original story very well but also adds in much needed laughs along with what is essentially a Christmas ghost story. The movie is also a musical which helps to keep the story bouncing along in what can be a very long-winded story. This was absolutely a marriage of three things I have loved since I was a kid: The Muppets, Horror, and Christmas.

  1. Klaus

I am a sucker for Santa Claus lore because I have been fascinated with (ahem) research about the man, the myth, the legend. This movie is a throwback to the more traditional two-dimensional animation comparable to the Disney Rennaisance period. It utilizes 2D drawings with a new 3D lighting software design which really produces a breathtakingly beautiful movie. The story follows a young mailman-in-training who is sent to an island town to reopen their post office. In order to do that, he befriends a hermit in the woods and basically invents the man we know and love. The movie is such a touching portrayal of a world similar to ours but with some invented politics and geography. It is also wildly funny at the same time. Jason Scwartzman plays the excitable Jesper, a young screw up who now has to make good. JK Simmons plays the titular character, an emotionally wounded man who just wants to make good. Rashida Jones plays the clever school teacher who gets sucked up into the madness. Joan Cusack and Will Sasso play the heads of two feuding families that has absolutely destroyed the town. Norm Macdonald basically plays his usual sarcastic self. The production also involved actual Sámi people with authentic Sámi language in a very touching manner.

  1. The Christmas Chronicles

This movie absolutely caught me off guard. It felt like an entirely different kind of Santa Claus tale which managed to shine a spotlight on Santa while making him a supporting character in his own movie. The movie follows two kids played by Darby Camp and Judah Lewis. They are a brother and sister who have grown apart due to the death of their father. Lewis plays a teenager who has grown cynical too early and is annoyed by Camp’s optimistic and sunny character. A chance run-in with Santa Claus sets the two on a whirlwind adventure that will teach them about themselves and realign both of them on the right path in life. Santa is played by Kurt Russell and it is the coolest portrayal that has ever appeared in a movie previously. This is a Rock and Roll Santa who absolutely loves his job. The lore building that they created in this was absolutely a draw for me. They explained a lot of the Santa stories without explaining too much or getting too detailed. The spotlight remains on the two kids as they learn together and separately the true meaning of Christmas. The movie is an exciting rollercoaster from start to finish while still allowing for a lot of heartwarming moments that directly confront the dysfunctionality and bonds of family.

Honorable Mentions:
The Year Without a Santa Claus
The Knight Before Christmas
Shop Around the Corner
Let It Snow

Media Update 12/13/18

December 13, 2018


The Princess Switch

Netflix is experiencing a boom of Christmas movies this year based on reactions to last year and I am all in. This movie stars Vanessa Hudgens and … Vanessa Hudgens!? Yes, this is your classic Prince and the Pauper story but set at Christmas. Some have been critical of Hudgens but I feel like she did a great job playing twins. Each character felt distinct and she really made me believe it with her acting. Coupled with the fact that Vanessa Hudgens is a pretty charismatic young woman and this was just destined to be a pretty good movie. The love interests are played by Sam Palladio and Nick Sagar, two guys I have never seen before but I liked both of them. Palladio plays a foreign prince in yet another small fictional European nation a little stuffy but charming. Sagar plays a down to Earth American guy who always had a bit of a crush on his friend. The acting is pretty good, the script is cheesy, and the production budget is mostly non-existent. Still, there is something about the formula for these movies that is nostalgic and pleasant. Besides, there’s a shoutout to last year’s A Christmas Prince in the middle of the movie. I definitely recommend this for a good Christmas movie.


A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding

Speaking of the sensation that launched a new niche in Netflix, I knew I just had to watch the sequel this year when it was announced. I actually showed my mother the first movie over Thanksgiving and we were able to watch the sequel together. This made it infinitely more enjoyable as we both really got into it. These are the people who will probably own this sub-genre forever. Like the first one, this movie has just the right mix of Christmas and politics to satisfy me. Set one year after the first movie, the wedding is fast approaching but also the tiny country of Aldovia is having financial problems. Once again, Rose McIver (of iZombie fame) is just so likable as the American journalist who got swept up in a romance with a royal. Her performance and plot made me think of how they talked about Princess Diana when she first married Princess Charles like it was a fairytale. The rest of the cast all return (except Amber’s dad) and I think they turn in an even better performance than the original. I think they all realized how popular the first movie was and were excited to do a sequel. I think part of it is the script had more complexity and felt more relatable than the first one but both were really enjoyable to me. I definitely recommend both movies.


The Christmas Chronicles

Hollywood seems to love doing movies where kids meet Santa and they get swept up on an adventure with him. It happened in Ernest Saves Christmas with probably one of the best onscreen Santas. It happens in The Santa Clause where we learn how new Santas are made. It happens again here but I felt like they put a new twist on it while making it feel familiar. The movie stars Kurt Russel who has a pretty unique take on playing Santa Claus. I have seen Saintly Santa (Ernest Saves Christmas), Kind Santa (Miracle on 34th Street), Bad Santa (Bad Santa), Asshole Santa (A Christmas Story), and Sarcastic Santa (The Santa Clause). Kurt Russel actually pulls off Cool Santa. This Santa is just a cool dude who is so likable. He is the kind of Santa who tells it like it is and is just good friends with everybody he meets. The kids who accompany him are great too. Judah Lewis plays the older brother, deep in his teen years and really bucking against the system. Darby Camp plays the younger sister, a little lonely but still full of childlike wonder. The movie mostly depends on the interplay between those three characters and it makes the movie flow better. I also really liked the deep dive into their take on Santa Claus lore and trying to explain how certain things work. They do not get too caught up in it but they definitely intrigued me with their take on things. I recommend this one as well as it is exciting and surprising in places.

 

Music of the Week:
Kurt Russell – Santa Claus Is Back In Town

Katy Perry – Cozy Little Christmas

Sia – Santa’s Coming For Us

John Legend – Bring Me Love

Eric Clapton – For Love On Christmas Day

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “A Netflix Christmas”
– I watched more Happy! Season One
– I watched more Designated Survivor Season One
– I watched more Hilda Season One
– I watched more The Dragon Prince Season One
– I watched more Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season One
– I started watching The Seven Deadly Sins Season 3
– I finished She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 1
– I finished Once Upon a Time Season 7 (and thus the series)
– I went all in on Christmas a little early and the joy continues next week
– Or does it? Muahaha!


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