dinsdag 18 december 2012

Christmas movies - Romance

During the Holidays there are a lot of movies with a lot of drama, but there are even more romantic movies. Everybody wants to meet their one true love around this time so they can have someone special to spend Christmas with. This means that there are a lot of Christmas movies that focus on that, and here are a few that I really like in chronological order:

All I Want for Christmas (1991)
Teenager Ethan (Ethan Embry) and his little sis Hallie (Thora Birch) have divorced parents. To make matters worse, their mother is dating Tony who she's about to marry. But they both dislike Tony so much, that Hallie asks Santa to get their parents back together for Christmas. She also realizes that she might have to help him a little. So Hallie and Ethan launch a masterful scheme to make it happen. Meanwhile Ethan has his first romantic crush on Stephanie and has to find a way to talk to her.

Why watch it? Seriously, have you seen Ethan Embry? He's so cute, for ever and always. Especially at this young age! It's a cute kids movie with enjoyable 'evil' characters as well as a nice story about two kids who simply try to get their divorced parents back together.  For some reason I always liked it as a kid. It's romantic, funny and has child pranks in it. Maybe you'll have to be younger to really appreciate it, but I definitely would love to watch this movie once again.

A Christmas Romance (1994)
Julia is a widow with two little girls. She lives on a farm that was in her husbands family for generations and as a single mother she is struggling to pay the rent. For that reason banker Brian comes along, right before Christmas to tell her to pay up, or they will have to leave the farm. While the oldest daughter Deenie is suspicious of the man, Emily Rose thinks of him as the Christmas Stranger and welcomes him with open arms. Due to a snow storm Brian gets stuck, while Julia and the girls have to do some hard manual labour because there's no hot water and no electricity. A beautiful story about two people who open each other eyes to what they've been missing.

Why watch it? In a way it's a classic. It is for me at least. We all know Olivia Newton-John from Grease and I remember watching this movie a couple of years in a row. The story is smart (all romcoms are a little bit alike, but this one still feels different), the comedy is good, but what speaks about it the most is nature. For some reason this movie feels more like a genuine Christmas movie, because of the scenery. It looks like it came from a Christmas card.But the daughters can be a bit irritating at times (the way young children can be), so that's my only downside of this film. A little fun fact is that Deenie is actually played by Olivia's real daughter. Other than that, it's just a real romantic story where two people get to know each other and fall in love. There's simply no reason not to watch it. 

While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Lucy (Sandra Bullock) is a ticket collector and has had a crush on a man that comes by every day. One day he is mugged and falls on the track, but luckily she saves him just in time. At the hospital she first learns his name, Peter. A mix-up occurs and the entire family thinks she's his fiancé. She doesn't have the hard to correct them. Immediatly she is taken in by the family - and having no family herself - she enjoys every minute of it. But her 'fiancé' has a very charming brother, Jack, who can't believe Peter would fall for a girl like Lucy. Then there's another question: What happends when Peter wakes up?

Why watch it? I love, love love this movie. It's a true romantic Christmas movie. Family they way it should be with a likewise Christmas celebration. The cast is amazing and the story is great. There's nothing bad to be said about it. Seriously! It's funny, sweet, with a little bit of drama, lovable characters and a lot of love.  What more do you want?

The Family Man (2000)
Nicholas Cage and Téa Leoni star in this Christmas story about a man who's lost the Christmas feeling and doesn't know what he's missing. He is an investment broker, but gets the chance of his life when his sports car and girlfriend are traded in for a mini-van and a wife and kids. All based on one different decision thirteen years ago. The fact is, he needs to adjust and learn, because he has no recollection of the past thirteen years... as a family.

Why watch it? Family's are crazy hectic and inlaws are even worse. In most movies that is... This movie is no exception. People say they don't want to get married or have kids for this reason, but once you get to know the amazing people and feel the love (yeah, I know what I sound like when I say it like that!) you know that they are truly missing out. That's what this movie is about. Of course it's funny, but the most enjoyable thing about the movie is, all the love that a family gives and recieves. And Christmas is about family, at least for me, so this movie fits that description perfectly.

Serendiptiy (2001) / Christmas in Connecticut (1992)
Talk about Serendipity: Jonathan and Sara meet by wanting to buy the very last pair of the same gloves. It has to be faith! They then spend a wonderful day together, but she leaves it up to faith if they will meet again after this wonderful (unplanned) date. It's not until years later, when they are both in a stable relationship (one is even about to get married) that they start to question about that date. They go looking for each other, which leads to many funny situations.
In Christmas in Connecticut Elizabeth is the hostess of her own cooking show and author of several cookbooks. Jefferson is a forest ranger who's house is burned down, but the only thing left in the rumble is Elizabeth's cookbook. Manager Alexander therefor asks her to make Jefferson a Christmas dinner on the show. But the secret is... she's not an amazing cook at all! Before the eyes of the entire country Jefferson and Elizabeth - who are two opposites - start to get to know each other.

Why watch it? For me Serendipity is not so much a Christmas movie because it partly happends around Christmas, but most of it takes place in between Christmasses. Therefor, it's not my favorite seasonal movie. But it's funny, the actors are hilarious and excentric and well..., it's a real romcom. I've seen it a couple of times, so the magic is kind of gone for me. But if you haven't seen it, it's extremely funny!Connecticut is one of those romcoms where two people are thrown together who do not belong together - opposites attract - kinda movie. In a very Christmas landscape. It's got the true Christmas feel and some nice moments. If you like the great outdoors and want to see something different from all the city movies, you'll probably like this one.

Love Actually (2003)
This one cannot be left out. The British Christmas romcom with a gigantic ensemble cast. It has several storylines which all interlink at one point and it starts about five weeks before Christmas. You go by week by week. There's rock and roll legend Billy Mack and his manager Joe, the married couple Juliet and Peter and his best friend Mark, writer Jamie and Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia, managing director Harry cheating with secretary Mia without his Karen knowing about it, Prime Minister David and new employee Natalie, body doubles for sex scenes John and Judy, colleagues Karl and Sarah and her brother Michael and then there's Daniel with his stepson Sam and his crush Joanna. A lot of stories with a lot of love.

Why watch it? This movie has a stellar cast, with a lot of great storylines. It's funny, touching, sweet, romantic and intersting. There's something for everyone. What's especially nice, is that all of the stories are very different from each other. That way, you feel like you are simply watching the various lives of many people. Instead of a repeat of everything. I have to admit that it has been a while since I've seen it, but you still hear 'Christmas is all around us' on the radio every year. And that brings back the entire movie. If you haven't seen it, you really should.

The Holiday (2006)
The American Christmas version of Tara Road about two women who are having man trouble in their lives so they decide to get away for a while, by swapping houses! Yes, that's right. Iris (Kate Winslet) decides to leave lovely charismatic England for the Holidays and go to Amanda's grand house with pool and everything you could wish for in L.A. Once there, they meet the most interesting people. Who knew the only thing both girls needed was a change of scenery to get some perspective on their lives?

Why watch it? It's the kind of movie that just gives you butterflies. In England you have the full on Christmas atmosphere, with the cute little cottage, a lot of Britishness and a fireplace. 
Great actors like Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black (in one of his best roles if you ask me) and Cameron Diaz are a great reason as well. My only little point of critique, would be some of the dialogue is incredibly bad. Mostly Cameron's and she plays it the same way: a bit to much and fake. But other than that the movie is a great romcom in every single way. What's even better is the people they meet across the ocean. Once you've seen it, you know it's the ultimate Christmas romcom.

Mrs. Miracle (2009)

Single dad Seth (James van der Beek) is having trouble with finding a nanny for his twins, who are out of control. Then Mrs. Miracle shows up on his door step and everything starts to make sense again. He's even open to meeting the charming Reba. She usually works for her travel agency, but her friend asks her to step in to direct the school's Christmas show. Seth and Reba both have their history in relationships, but grow closer and closer.

Why watch it? It's a wonderful Christmas story without to much exageration. It's not totally unbelieveble because it's downplayed and that makes it even more enjoyable. The characters well written and even better acted by the always wonderful Erin Karpluk. It's also nice to see James van der Beek in a role like this. He's very convinceble as a single dad and he doesn't overdramatize. Except for a few weird dialogues, this is a perfect romantic Christmas movie. And if you like Erin Karpluk and Christmas movies, be sure to check out Christmas Lodge (2011) and Eve's Christmas (2004). Not as good as this one, but they are both still very Christmas-y.

Watch Mrs. Miracle in full here:

All She Wants for Christmas (2006)/Christmas Mail (2010)
All She Wants  is about a Judith 'Noelle' Dunn - an accountant - who is trying to safe her town's toy factory. In the mean time a new visitor comes to town and starts working in the same factory. Whatever will happen between those two?
Christmas Mail tells the story of a postal carrier (Matt) and a mysterious woman (Kristi) who answers Santa's mail. However, her boss doesn't trust her and Matt is send to spy on her. She's full of Christmas spirit, but he is disillusioned. This task will probably be the best thing that ever happened to Matt.

Why watch it? These are the lesser ones of this list if you ask me. But All She Wants is nice, a little bit forced (or fake) sometimes, but the story is very Christmas-y (hello, toy factory, not to mention the entire town in Holiday spirits) and still enjoyable. Christmas Mail is pretty much the same way. These are the movies that you can watch if you are really into Christmas and you really feel like watching a seasonal movie, but you've seen all the other ones. 

Next up in my Christmas movies list: A Whedony Christmas. Of course I'm the kind of geek that loves to watch movies with my favorite actors in it. And luckily they do it plenty!

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