Sigh. ABCFamily has done it again my friends! There new holiday movie this year features a successful woman played by Jennie Garth who returns home, and gets to experience her life if she had never left and instead married her high school sweetheart. What is it with ABCFamily that every movie has the moral of if you have a successful career you are  a loser? Oh, and the movie is called Holidaze. Wow, real original guys! I even used that once in a story!
Anyway, I decided rather than once again rant on the horrible TV Christmas movies out there, I would discuss five that I actually liked. Sure they’re silly…even ridiculous in some cases, but I actually enjoy them.
A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
This has gotten mixed opinions. People don’t think its god awful, but they dont really think it was great either. Me? To me it’s the Deep Space Nine of the Muppet franchise. It is a darker but decent, solid film but for some reason it just doesn’t have that charm the other Muppet movies have so many stay away. I really like it! I like it more than The Muppets in some ways. I like the references to various other Christmas movies, especially It’s a Wonderful Life. I also like the Muppet references within. For instance, when Kermit sees the world where he was never born he sees a stand for Doc Hopper’s Frog Legs. A very clever reference to the original Muppet Movie. I guess I also like this because unlike crap like Bah Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas it takes place in and even respects the established Muppet canon. Heck the setting is the classic studio where The Muppet Show was done! How could you not love that??? Does it have flaws? Sure. For instance Piggy walks off the show just to be coaxed back ten minutes later, what was the point? But flaws and all I still enjoy it.

To Grandmother’s House We Go
Before the olsen Twins were a money making industry, they first appeared in this TV movie in 1992. It’s a silly story involving a pair of bandits played by Jerry Van Dyke and Rhea Pearlman. Is it dumb? Oh heck yes, the lead male is a Roy Roger/lottery obsessed jerk. I love the plot device in the movie involving the lottery. The character has the winning numbers, now in the real world that means you win. But in this crazy movie it entitles him to spin a big wheel or a cash prize in the lamest of climaxes. But in all fairness the story is original, the characters are unique….ok there are cliches all over the place but it’s still worth a watch.
Home By Christmas
I don’t watch Lifetime, for obvious reasons, but I stumbled onto this last year and really liked it. The story is nothing special, about a woman dumped by her cheating husband and then hits an all time low (courtesy of every cliche you always see including getting mugged, the obvious new love interest, and trouble with an unreasonable teenage daughter) before recovering at Christmas. She learns a few lessons a long the way, of course. If it’s a story that’s been done to death, Why do I insist it’s so good? Linda Hamilton stars and brings her A game. I was totally invested in her character and wanted to see her prevail. Her characters was strong and wouldn’t let anything defeat her, and the movie manages to avoid going all “Man hating” like so many of these do even if it is full of plot holes. Its cliche, contrived, and even a bit far fetched….but decent as far as corny Christmas movies go.
Santa Baby
Despite my gripes about ABC Family, they do have one original movie I liked. Before mvoies about Santa’s kids became so common it’s almost it’s own genre now, we have this little film. Mary Class, played by Jenny McCarthy, is a highly successful executive in New York. Oh, she also happens to be Santa’s daughter. After Santa has a heart attack (which was always odd but I digress), Mary has to step in and take over. Her actions nearly shut the workshop down and ruin Christmas. I don’t know, I just like this one. Santa Workshop is toned down from other versions but it’s still done well, and the special effects are decent. I even  like the end when Mary learns what believing in Christmas and her family means, and has to stop a colleague from bulldozing her home. Oh, and her being successful is not frowned upon! Jenny McCarthy is really good in this, and it earned a sequel so I can’t be the only one who likes it. Besides, compared to other ABCFamily dreck, it’s a decent watch.
Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
This is cheating because it didn’t start as a TV movie but a direct to video movie but I actually kind of liked this one. Of course it’s basically another “It’s a Wonderful Life” knockoff. Maybe I am just a sucker for these, but I still find this a decent watch. Richie Rich wishes he was never born, and is transported to a parallel world where Reggie is the richest boy in town. It’s nothing remarkable, and I don’t like the rushed ending. The whole mess starts when Reggie sabotages Richie’s sled which causes it to wreck havoc. When Richie returns to his normal reality this gets quickly resolved. I suppose you could argue that its because everyone got over it after Richie disappeared, but it still felt rushed. So yeah, it’s nothing remarkable but it’s not the worst either.
So, there is some good stuff out there. Of course “A Very Brady Christmas” has been a favorite of mine for years but I have already discussed that. As for “Holidaze”, I haven’t watched it yet but will go on a limb and guess that in the end Jennie Garth chooses to stay in her home town and with the guy because being a successful executive means you’re evil!!  But that’s just a guess.

By richb

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