With winter break right around the corner, many of us will be gearing up to use our Christmas movie collections during the holiday season. Surprisingly, Netflix does not have many well-known options. The only one I recognized was “The Grinch,” one of those Christmas classics we’ve all seen and will probably watch again this year. However, I wanted to find something new that viewers would enjoy, so I decided to see which of Netflix’s fresh batch of Christmas movies were worth watching.
‘The Christmas Chronicles’
“The Christmas Chronicles” started streaming Nov. 22 and was produced in-house by the streaming service. Directed by Clay Kaytis and produced by Chris Columbus, the man behind “Home Alone” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” this holiday movie follows a sister and brother, Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy Pierce (Judah Lewis), who plot to catch Santa Claus (Kurt Russell). Their marvelous idea does not go as planned; they sneak into Santa’s sleigh and cause it to crash. Christmas is ruined unless they can work together with Santa and his elves to save the big day.
This Christmas movie is not like the others. Russell, whose acting breadth has allowed him to play roles all over the spectrum — from the Texas Tower Shooter in “The Deadly Tower” to a bounty hunter in “The Hateful Eight” — has a new take on the well-known character of Santa. He is not the fat old Santa we grew up knowing — he doesn’t even say “ho, ho, ho.” Instead, he is a charming, quick-witted character who isn’t afraid to change things up or take risks, which is why he finds himself in a high-speed chase with the cops at one point in the movie.
This movie does have its shortcomings, namely its poor CGI and plot holes, but I do think it is worth a watch simply because it brings something new to the table in a genre in which few dare to change things up.
“Bad Santa” is another non-traditional Christmas movie I found on Netflix. The story follows Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) and Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox), who dress up as a very crude Santa and his elven assistant during the holiday season. However, they do not have joyful intentions; they rob the shopping malls where they work, then quickly move to a new location to do the same thing. Willie, a convicted con man with a troubling past, suffers from chronic depression and alcoholism, and he can rarely be found without a drink in his hand. Marcus struggles to get Willie to do his job and play his character so that they can get their yearly haul. He also gets distracted by a young boy (Brett Kelly) who makes Willie think it may not be too late to turn his life around.