Warning: there is highly important information contained in this blog post. I’ve watched 5 terrible (but secretly wonderful) romantic Christmas films on Netflix and ranked them so you don’t have to. For science, people. FOR SCIENCE.
A surprising fact about me: I am what they call a ‘Newbie’ to the world of wonderful/terrible Christmas films. I know, I know: I’ve read all the Twilight books (twice), have pretty much seen every chick flick known to man AND wear a bad Christmas jumper every day in December. How could I have missed out on the glorious world of terrible Hallmark Christmas movies for so many years? To be honest, I have no excuse, except for the fact that I have multiple siblings and lost out on the remote most days.
However, not wanting to be bereft of so many years of great film watching, I watched 5 (the only 5?) of the best romantic Christmas films available on the UK Netflix. In about 3 days. As you can imagine, Stag was THRILLED at this investigative journalistic choice, and he is just wishing I had more to watch. (<–American being sarcastic alert).
My biggest takeaway from this scientific discovery: not all cheesy Christmas films are created equal. While some spring into the realm of ‘wonderful’ because they are so bad, some are, well, just bad. I’ve ranked them for you so you know exactly what to waste your time on — and when to just give up and watch Die Hard already. If your house is anything like mine at Christmas, remote-time is precious; make sure you’re maximising its potential.
5 Wonderful/Terrible Romantic Christmas Films on Netflix, Ranked (Best –> Worst)*
*All are available on Netflix now. I am sure there are more on Hallmark Channel or on Christmas 24, but not all of us have such Christmas luxuries in our lives.
1// A Royal Christmas
I want you to imagine everything you love about The Prince & Me, The Princess Diaries AND every cheesy Christmas film you’ve ever seen, and then I want you to imagine A Royal Christmas. Yes, my friends: it is that good.
And before you interrupt me and say, “I love nothing about those things, Eire!” — I want you to stop, search deep within your heart, and I want you to be honest with yourself.
Plot in one run-on-sentence: Lacey Chabert (who apparently loves Christmas more than Elf does) is just a regular girl from South Philly in a normal relationship when she finds out said boyfriend is a prince, meets his Queen-Mother at his castle, Queen-Mother hates her, shenanigans, Queen-Mother loves her. Weddings! Castles! Philly! It’s all so magical.
This film has everything. The humble-girl turned heroine-that-could. The handsome Prince Charming. The scheming mother-in-law. The sassy best friend that has no life of her own except to love her best friend. The Gepetto-like father that just wants his child to be a real boy. The Betchy AF blonde bombshell trying to steal the prince away. The servant who just loves helping our clueless heroine. Mix this all together and add a made up province in the south of France where it SNOWS (because #reallife), and you’ve got a winner.
And they even gave us a whole 30 seconds of delightful screen time before forcing on us an awkwardly-fitting product placement of Folger’s Coffee. See, they even tried to be a real movie, just for you.
Shameful fact: I loved this film so much, I watched it twice. Just to take notes, obviously…
Christmas Rating: Joy to the world! The wonderfully-terrible Christmas film has come.
2// Angel at Christmas
Journalistic integrity note: I may have watched this film while drinking. And heckling. But let me tell you: if you’re looking for a Christmas film that will make you feel simultaneously like laughing uncontrollably, punching someone’s face and drinking some more, then you’ve found a winner.
Plot in one run-on sentence: uptight-kind-of-betchy wannabe journo (who somehow lives in her own 1 bed mansion-like apartment in the middle of NYC, OBVS) catches her ‘big break’ into writing by researching a feature piece about a very herp-derp angel statue that makes people fall in love, but of course our leading lady is a huge cynic who doesn’t believe in love (especially when love comes in the form of an artist with paint on his face. Know how we know he’s an artist? Because there’s paint on his face! Oh artists!). Apparently it takes her 24 DAYS to write one feature piece, and she complains how life and work are so hard!
Two excruciating hours later and we still think that angel looks pretty stink-eye.
Why is this film in the very-coveted number 2 spot? Because it is hilarious. The facial expressions, the acting, the storyline, the PAINTING GIFT REVEAL (I will not spoil it for you, but oh my god, it’s that good). I used to believe that you could only make a good/terrible Christmas film if there was a made-up European monarchy involved. This film has taught me otherwise.
Grab a bottle of cinnamon-spiced whisky. Sit in a comfy chair with your loved ones. And prepare for some good old fashioned heckling.
Christmas Rating: Hark! The herp-derp angel sings, glory to hilarious acting everywhere.
3// Once Upon a Holiday
I was all prepared to come forth with my oh-so-hilarious review of this film, but then I just noticed the delightful caption that Hallmark has provided with this image:
“When an actual, honest-to-goodness royal princess runs off from her official obligations and duties for a couple of days to see how the other half lives, she winds up falling for a good Samaritan who is unaware of her real identity during the holiday season. Will her true love still feel the same way once he learns the truth?”
Nevermind the fact that this isn’t really the plot of the film, Hallmark absolutely wants to reassure us THEIR film has an “actual, honest-to-goodness royal princess!” None of that other “fake princess” stuff other Christmas movies give to you. REAL ones. With American accents. From fake European countries. REAL.
I really do love a good royal-meets-commoner Christmas film as much a the next person, but this one just doesn’t hold a candle to A Royal Christmas. Less unintentional hilarity, more disjointed plot and wooden acting. Although it was almost saved at the last second by a randomly-placed marriage proposal after 24 hours of knowing each other, it wasn’t quite enough to push the mediocrity that came before. Watch if you are die-hard fake-European-monarchy fan (like me); otherwise, have a nap instead.
Christmas Rating: Oh come all ye boring.
4// A Wish for Christmas
If you’re curious which film wins for “Most Inappropriate Boss and Employee Relationship Ever,” well here you go.
Plot in one run-on sentence: a meek, push-over junior marketeer has a crazy 48 hours: she ‘finds courage’, hangs her boss out to dry in a very work-inappropriate way, avoids receiving a grievance against her and is instead offered the role of Marketing Director by her CEO, goes on business trip with said CEO, very awkwardly suggests they spend Christmas with his family, meddles in none-of-her-business things, treats a client with incredible disrespect, and love happens. And she makes out with her CEO in front of the entire office on Christmas day. WHAT.
Jilted conversation, awkward silences, flat acting, cheesy and totally randomly placed Christmas sentiments – all of these I’m kind of OK with in a terrible Christmas film. But somehow I am less OK knowing that Hallmark Channel script writers and execs have never stepped foot inside an actual, real-life office.
And in a wonderful turn of events, our leading lady is… LACEY CHABERT. Starting yet again as a meek and timid “lady commoner” who just needs some big “manly man” prince/CEO/lumberjack to come save her. Perhaps times are hard for her/she just loves Christmas in slightly disturbing ways, and I am convinced someone needs to start a ‘Help Lacey Chabert Find her Way this Christmas’ kickstarter.
In other news, our CEO leading man also stars in A Christmas Detour (number 5), and my innocent views on Christmas film casting nepotism will never be the same.
Oh, and there’s also something about a wish, and she wishes to become ‘brave’ because all the good wishes were taken. Magical aura glow whenever she becomes Sassy Chabert and tells it like it is. Other stuff happens. It’s all a bit yawn
Christmas Rating: We wish you an awkwardly inappropriate and mildly disappointing Christmas.
5// A Christmas Detour
Don’t even bother. Just don’t. Let me sum up for you: Candace Cameron-Bure is quite possibly the most annoying person on the planet (she chirpily carries around a wedding mood board and shoves it around indignantly, like she’s never interacted with humans before); the main squeeze’s acting makes you want to gouge your eyes out (and ears, for that matter); and it’s a story that you really just don’t care about. Even for terrible Christmas films, which yes OK, our caring is already at a minimum. I will save your attention span and barely review this. Watch at your own peril, as you may have your loved ones questioning your ability to make sound choices.
Christmas Rating: In the bleakest midwinter.
What are your favourite (cheesy) Christmas films? Do you agree with my ranking and reviews? Let me know!