The holiday season is synonymous with timeless, classic films like 'It’s A Wonderful Life,' 'Miracle on 34th Street' and 'Holiday Inn.' Even more recent favorites like "A Christmas Story,' 'Love, Actually' and 'Elf' instantly put us in the mood to cozy up to the fire and sip a cup of Yuletide cheer.
But you know what really gets our chestnuts roasting? The outrageous drama, soap-operatic plot twists and ridiculous-sounding titles brought to us courtesy of the made-for-TV elves at Hallmark Channel, Lifetime and ABC Family. Free up some guilty-pleasure DVR space, because here are 12 of the cheesiest/sappiest/most outrageous Christmas movies on cable.
This 'A Christmas Carol'-style confection serves up some tasty lessons in humanity to driven PR-phenom Sloan (Christina Milian.) Also, there is this awesome line from the trailer: "He’s gorgeous AND he smells like cake." (You mean we can have BOTH?! Well, Merry Christmas to us!)
A fancy-pants New York publicist (Kristin Chenoweth) ends up in the wide open spaces of Montana promoting a calendar-ful of local naked dudes in this fish-out-of water tale. And as Lifetime would have it, she's also unlucky in love! A rugged, shirtless Mr. December (Josh Hopkins) gives her a Christmas worthy of a headline or two.
Melissa Joan Hart is a struggling artist/waitress totally overwrought at the idea of going home for the holidays without a hunky significant other to show off. (We’ve been there.) So, naturally, she kidnaps one of her customers (AC Slater himself, Mario Lopez) at gunpoint and--BOOM—BF problem solved. (We haven’t so much been THERE, but to each her own, MJH.)
It's winter wonderland-warfare in this frosty flick as neighbors (played by Daniel Stern and Matthew Frewer) compete to out-deck each other's halls a la Clark Griswold in 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.' We have a feeling everyone learns a valuable lesson about the true meaning of the season in the last ten minutes of the film.
That's right. It's Christmas Eve EVE, Santa has amnesia AND he's lost his magic bag of presents. Somebody alert FEMA! Santa enlists the help of the broken (but lovable) Fox family to find the toys and save Christmas. Are they up to the challenge of working as a cohesive family unit? Will Santa get his memory back?? Couldn't they have come up with a less-cumbersome way of counting down the days 'til Christmas???
Another take on 'A Christmas Carol,' this one centers on "Ebony," a feisty, selfish pop-star diva (Vanessa Williams) who, yes, needs to check herself before she wrecks the holidays for everybody caught in her narcissistic web. Chilli (from the band TLC) plays Marli Jacobs (see what they did there?) and Kathy Griffin is a sassy Ghost of Christmas Past. Sounds like Ebony better wise up fast or she’ll find herself the butt of a stand-up act.
Lonely-heart Holly (Kelli Williams) has given up on meeting the man of her dreams...and also, strangely, Santa Claus. That is, until the one magical Christmas that a strapping gentleman by the name of Douglas Firwood (Oh. Yes. They. Did.) arrives at her doorstep and she begins to feel the tingly stirrings of, uh, renewed faith. (Um, did Hallmark Channel read the super-secret Christmas list scribbled in our diary?)
Rebecca Fine is Jewish. Henry Kringle is Christian. They're in love and getting married and by golly, their wacky families of opposing faiths are just gonna have to work it out! This one has it all (and Wendie Malick!) Here's a look at the obligatory "chase and reconcile" montage in the final act.
Soap star Shawn Christian plays an uptight FBI agent assigned to protect (and serve) Jami Gertz playing a loveably low-class cocktail waitress. In the name of law and order, they must pose as a couple to fool their friends and families. Guess who falls in love for realsies and gets an awesome boy-band music montage to prove it?
'A Carol Christmas' ABC Family (2003)
Yes, it's yet another take on 'A Christmas Carol.' (Hey, the story writes itself.) This time Tori Spelling is an uptight talk show host who learns a holiday lesson from three ghosts played by William Shatner, Gary Coleman and James Cromwell. The plot is basically 'Scrooged,' with Spelling ignoring her family for her career and realizing the meaning of Christmas on live TV ala Bill Murray. Except 'Scrooged' didn't feature Gary Coleman wearing a festive red and black suit.
Two words: Steve Guttenberg. There's also a plot about his character becoming the next Santa Claus and needing a Mrs. Claus to join him at the North Pole blah, blah. But really, they had us at Stevie G.
Morgan Freeman voices Santa's BFF...who is a talking dog...who wears some sort of magic crystal around its neck...that controls Christmas. Really, Disney? We're totally in!