Netflix Christmas movies ranked from bad to never should have been made
These new Netflix Christmas movies are available to stream now - if you dare
Christmas movies are meant to be uplifting and festively joyous, but so many of them just sap one's will to live. After yet another 12-months of Covid, after the previous year of it - almost - we could all do with some cheering up, but sadly, Netflix, didn't seem to get the memo and have stuffed the schedule with more coal.
This year's Christmas releases are about as terrible as you'd expect, but before we get onto shredding them, let us remember that there are a handful of Christmas movies that are actually pretty decent.
Jingle All The Way is a joyously weird romp about Arnold Schwarzenegger doing his Christmas shopping late and Home Alone still stands up as a classic more than 30 years later. The Muppet Christmas Carol is wonderfully naff and Die Hard (yep, Die Hard) is a very good Christmas film indeed. Plus, who doesn’t love Elf?
However, for every good Christmas movie, there are a dozen festive flops.
Some are terrible. Some abysmal. But more than anything else, Netflix’s new festive offerings are so formulaic they'll have you cringing all the way into the new year. Ho-ho-horrible, they are.
But maybe that's the point? Last year’s festive effort, A California Christmas was cheap to make but also the streamer’s biggest hit for one week of the Christmas season when it was released, according to The Guardian.
In other words, making formulaic, predictable and (we'd argue) largely dull Christmas movies work.
At Christmas time, audiences are low-key. They want easy Christmas crap to watch, while they eat Christmas crap. So, this lot might just do the trick. They're so terrible, they might even numb the pain of 2o21.
So, without any further ado, we bring them to you. Merry Christmas you filthy animals.
Terrible: A Castle for Christmas
It’s nice that Brooke Shields, a female over 50, is given the title role in A Castle for Christmas - and the film does have some cheery parts - but it attempts to follow The Holiday’s formula without having its star power.
A famous writer called Sophie Brown travels from LA to live in a castle in Scotland to escape a career catastrophe. She meets Myles, played by Cary Elwes, whose Scottish accent is deplorable. However, clearly, no one mentioned that on set because he still tries to roll his ‘r’s with all the confidence of a Boris Johnson's Christmas party denial.
It certainly riled the Scottish. "Netflix is now banned in Scotland," wrote one viewer on social media. Another added: "I'm afraid Cary Elwes will get tried for murdering the Scottish accent."
Elwes is the standoffish villainous character but writers forgot to make him even a teensy bit charming for when romance creeps up on him and Sophie. That she would fall into his arms - or find his plank-of-wood character appealing - feels unlikely, even gross. We’re keeping this spoiler-free but the problem is Elwes' Scrooge-vibe is never properly usurped by a moment where he realises the errors of his ways.
It might be redeeming in celebrating older characters but no older woman would put up with Myles' constant strops and shitty attitude, which poisons the film with whatever the opposite of Christmas cheer is. Bin him, Brooke!
Beyond terrible: Love Hard
Think 'Baby It’s Cold Outside' is creepy? How about Love Actually? In trying to seem woke, Love Hard crowbars in just about every single clichéd Christmas debate in one hour 45 minutes. It also glamorises a catfisher using online dating apps.
But don’t worry, this catfish can sing, and actually, it turns out, he’s a really nice and charming guy who’s - wait for it - obviously so much better than the actual male protagonist that Natalie, played by Nina Dobrev, thought she was going to date.
Catfishing aside, the film is bland even beyond the usual Christmas fare, offering very little else other than the story of a nice-seeming yet vulnerable woman slowly being convinced to come around to dating someone who’s lied to her for months.
Worst Christmas film ever: Father Christmas Is Back
This film has an all-star cast, but it barely shines at all.
Father Christmas is Back is an inane family drama set in an expensive English country home occupied by, you guessed it, the Christmas family. The family is incredibly ostentatious, particularly Liz Hurley’s Joanna Christmas, who plays up to the stereotypes of Hurley in the media as fashion-obsessed.
You’d kind of expect Hurley to deliver her lines awkwardly, as she’s had a long career of doing that, but Philippe Martinez’s writing is so banal all of the characters are equally dull. Martinez seems so intent on making everyone in the family hurl insults at one another and be believably hateful that it all ends up feeling tense rather than funny.
John Cleese bumbles around being crude but no lines stick and Kelsey Grammar is even less encouraging as a slimy father we're supposed to sympathise with who's trying to worm his way back into his daughter’s lives after years of absenteeism.
Trigger warning: the fraught fighting and inane chatter are so convincing that this could be actually confronting for anyone who dislikes being locked away with their families at Christmas. It's realistic - but not in a good way. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Please, let Christmas be over - for this family's sake and ours.
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