Christmas Chronicles (2018)

Title: Christmas Chronicles
Year of Release: 2018
Available On: Hulu, December 2018
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Jingle Bells

I love to see even somewhat realistic depictions of grief in movies! Teddy, Katie, and their mom, Claire, are really struggling at Christmas time after their patriarch died. Teddy (Judah Lewis) is a surly teenager, acting out with his friends with petty crime. Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is turning into a workaholic, trying to financially support her kids on her own. Kate (Darby Camp) is only ten, but she’s an emotionally-intelligent kid who communicates openly about her emotions where her brother isn’t able or willing to yet. Home alone one Christmas Eve, Kate has the bright idea to stay up all night and set a trap to get proof that Santa Claus is real. They get a whooooole bunch more than they bargained for, including a rekindling of their sibling relationship. Heartwarming!

Kate: [awestruck at Santa’s sleigh] It’s more beautiful than I ever imagined.

I love Kurt Russell as Santa Claus. He’s brash, a problem-solver, and just jolly enough to be hilarious. Dare I say he’s… handsome? Kind of hot? I admit that I’m a weirdo, but I’m not the only one. Of course there’s an emergency, and Teddy and Kate convince Santa to let them help. Will they save Christmas in time?

  • There’s a lot of pro-cop stuff in this movie, but at least they are black cops.
  • There’s music! Good music!
    • Ok, but not all black people inherently know how to play trumpet.
    • Little Steven Van Zandt and the Disciples of Soul and a trio of sassy back-up singers, pretty good.
  • It’s pretty harm reduction minded and non-judgmental towards “crime.”
  • Except the “bad guy” gangsters.
  • I love the somewhat Gremlin-esque CGI elves.
  • “Katie-cat” and “Teddy-bear” nicknames kill (sleigh) me.

This is a brand spanking new movie, so the production is top-notch. Costuming is perfection; I love Santa’s leather jacket situation. Gosh, I love that Netflix is making movies in my favorite genre! This is a ridiculous movie. Ridiculous things happen. None of it makes any sense. Suspension of disbelief is imperative. But if you can do that — and if you can’t, I honestly feel bad for you — you’ll enjoy this movie. I know that I did. Roger Ebert disagreed with me, but I highly doubt he’s as steeped in Christmas movie culture as I am. And, mind you, 87% of the audience vote was a yay. So watch it and make your own call, how bad could it be.

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