Xmas Xpress Reviews: a brief review of holiday trash as I watch it, because I, too, am trash
I watch a lot of holiday movies. Yes, including (perhaps especially?) the bad ones. I figured I would have some fun with them this year and offer up brief review/summaries of every holiday movie or documentary I watch this season, so you know what to catch and what to avoid, how much nog to drink to prepare, and whether the heartwarming message you get at the end will be tender or just your acid reflux acting up.
I’m going to try to put these in alphabetical order as I’m doing them so you can easily find the movie you’re curious about. I was going to wait and start doing this December 1st but I am a Christmas fiend so I might as well do the 5 movies I’ve already seen. DON’T JUDGE ME
Keep checking the list, new reviews will be added as I go. If you’re amused by this, please consider subscribing to my Patreon so I can do actually important work around consent!
Anna and the Apocalypse: A surprisingly festive, zombie-themed coming of age musical with heart as well as brains. The musical numbers are decent, the villain is memorable if not well, shall we say, fleshed out, and while there’s not a lot of meat on the bones of the backstory, it still felt more Christmas-y than Die Hard. Yeah, I said it.
Arthur Christmas: I love this movie, it’s one of my all time favorites. I will unabashedly cry multiple times during the film because I am so caught up in the story. The vague militarization of Santa is weird (though honestly I would rock Christmas camo) but I also like the idea that they stole military tech in order to do some mass mutual aid. Grandsanta is a runaway star.
Christmas Chronicles: Santa who fucks. This is an action packed sleigh ride that tastes like a hot cocoa laced with peppermint schnappes. There’s a cop who quits his job in it, even! It’s surprisingly not bad.
Christmas Chronicles 2: Minions, but elves. This had too many plots and did none of them well. I was so exhausted by this movie I had to stop halfway through, have a long winter’s nap, and come back fresh to watch the second, equally confusing half. Santa still fucks, but he’s lost his rhythm and you’ll end up jerking off alone.
Christmas on the Square: I fucking love musicals, and I love Dolly Parton, but I honestly forgot every single song as soon as it happened and actually paused this to scream “NO MORE” on several occasions. I am glad that Dolly, an actual angel on Earth, makes sure to remind the viewer that Our Savior was born in poverty to a young mother that got banged by God and you don’t get to judge her or any unwed or young mothers. It’s nice to see such a diverse town, but like, they still all dress like small town WASPS. The pastor of this town cannot act his way out of a bag. JUST SHOW ME DOLLY PARTON IN RHINESTONES, JESUS
Christmas Queens: I kind of thought I might like this though RuPaul queens are very hit or miss for me. Honestly, I was not expecting it to be… boring. The looks were wonderful, holiday angels, but that was kind of it. A big shrug all around. Pretty forgettable. I’ve already forgotten most of it. Who was even in it? I don’t recall.
Every Christmas Romance: I’m linking to this one because you might have a hard time unearthing this gem otherwise, but it’s a silly, cynical send-up of Hallmark movies and WAY more queer than Happiest Season could ever hope to be. Puppets! Robots! Questionable choices! This has it all!
Godmothered: Is this, strictly speaking, a Christmas movie? Sure, though it doesn’t tap deep into the holiday. It is basically a sequel in spirit to Enchanted, which I also love, as I too feel often like a Disney princess confused by city living. This one HAS A RACCOON so of course I love it, any mention of raccoons wins my heart forever. I laughed at the many asides meant to resonate with parents, and I liked the end message. Wholesome as fuck.
Happiest Season: This is a holiday movie for the “marriage equality and then let’s throw trans people under the bus” types. Not because there’re trans people in the movie — that would be far too queer — but because this is a bog standard Hallmark movie where they switched the lead couple to two extremely WASPish lesbians. To be fair to it, lying *is* a traditional part of the holiday season — lying about Santa, lying about presents, lying about how many cookies you’ve eaten.
Holidate: I didn’t have high expectations for this movie about casually dating someone just on holidays but I laughed a lot. I really enjoyed it! The cast clearly knew they were making fun of the genre and, like a snowglobe, they shook it up just enough while still letting it be magical. I teared up at moments and yet also felt my cynical side was soothed. Pleasant and a good chaser, since it’s not JUST Christmas.
Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas: I did not know being Mr. Christmas was a job possibility and now I will hunt down Mr. Christmas to challenge him for his tinsel covered throne. I like that he’s not ashamed to not be tasteful, he decks the halls with gusto. It’ll pluck a few heartstrings, and the joy you feel that you don’t have to store all the decorations after will make up for not having the energy to decorate your own place. Note- his real life partner is a makeup artist named Bruce Wayne and I desperately want to see a sitcom with Batman and Mr. Christmas living together as lovers.
Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special: THIS is what I was hoping for from the Christmas Queens show. It’s bawdy, it’s clever, it makes snide commentary on the season, and the outfits are spectacular. I really enjoyed the duality of Christmas loving DeLa and holiday hating Jinkx, which would make this more enjoyable to watch with someone who maybe wasn’t as into the holiday. And the songs are super catchy! I hope I can slide some of them into my next holiday mix tape.
Last Christmas: I was fully anticipating I was going to hate this film, but I unironically loved its sugar cookie sweetness and its cranberry tartness. With a George Michael soundtrack, some twists and turns and total weirdness, I was genuinely moved and delighted. It’s also a love letter to some hidden London gems, and was filmed in a few of my old haunts. I cried just as much at the scenery as I did at the film. I miss London SO MUCH
Princess Switch: This is a perfectly unoffensive holiday movie that manages to be gently self aware of its faults while also playing into the tropes with an earnestness that I end up finding charming. It’s like a mediocre chocolate chip cookie — it’s not the best one I’ve ever had, but it’s perfectly serviceable and enjoyable. Fluffy like the trim on Santa’s hat.
Princess Switch 2- Switched Again: A fun thing to try — watch The Crown, and then watch any holiday royalty themed movie. Keep a tally of every time even basic royal protocol is totally violated. I am deeply concerned for the citizens of these fantasy monarchies, who are in very deep trouble when their countries security is clearly very very lax. That said, the Princess Switch franchise is one of the best of the bunch and while it’s trash, it’s my trash, god help me.
Santa Girl: Santa’s daughter is supposed to settle for an arranged marriage with the Frost family before taking on the business, but she wants to go to COLLEGE, god forbid. I appreciate how Mr. Claus is a capitalist nightmare of a boss, who constantly tries to undermine unions, because that feels weirdly realistic. It’s mostly for men to fight over Cassie, who is about as interesting as a wet paper bag. Yawn. Toxic masculinity is boring, even in a holiday sweater.