From ho-ho-ho to no-no-no.
We here are E! News love the holidays. The time spent with family. The seasonal beverages. The twinkle lights. The food. And, of course, the Christmas movies. There's nothing we love more than a cozy Sunday evening spent watching Hallmark's latest cheesy but irresistible TV movie with a steaming cup of hot cocoa.
But while we love us a cheery Christmas offering, that doesn't mean we don't have standards; we can spot the difference between a gift of a Christmas movie (think classics like Home Alone, Christmas Vacation and Elf, as well as a newbie like Netflix's charming Let It Snow) and a lump of coal that leaves us colder than the frigid temps outside.
Not every rom-com can go on to become an annual event like Love Actually or The Santa Clause, with some destined to end up at the tail-end of Netflix's Christmas suggestions scroll.
So which Christmas films over the years have failed to become classics, rather becoming go-to examples of the holidays gone very wrong?
Lesson learned from this recent rom-com starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, two human embodiments of warm and fuzzy feelings, and written by the equally-as-charming Emma Thompson? A lyric in a beloved Christmas song (“Last Christmas” by George Michael) does not a good Christmas movie make.
Choice Review: “It's the kind of bad that falls somewhere between finding a lump of coal in your stocking and discovering one painfully lodged in your rectum.”
20th Century Fox
Deck the Halls
If you like your Christmas movies with little charm, some cranky men and a lot of mean-spirited hijinks, this comedy starring Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito is for you, ya Grinch.
Choice Review: “You cannot believe how excruciatingly awful this movie is. It is bad in a way that will cause unfortunate viewers to huddle in the lobby afterward, hugging in small groups, consoling one another with the knowledge that it's over, it's over — thank God, it's over.”
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Um, at least Keira Knightley seemed to be having fun in this colorful, wild and wackadoodle reimagination of The Nutcracker? Despite (very) early hype, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms became one of the biggest box office bombs of 2018.
Choice Review: “What in the cuckoo Christmas blasphemy is this?”
New Line Cinema
On paper, this movie sounds great: America's sweetheart Reese Witherspoon and America's wise-ass Vince Vaughn as a couple having to visit four messy, complicated and inappropriate families on Christmas. But this rom-com-gone-wrong proved to be riddled with cliches and felt staler than your Aunt Karen's fruitcake.
Choice Review: “It's Four Christmases in need of a wedding, or maybe a funeral.”
Warner Bros./Jaap Buitendijk
And Vaughn is 0-for-2 when it comes to Christmas movies, with his 2007 comedy about Santa's cranky and bitter Scrooge of an older bro failing to earn many laughs…or money.
Choice Review: “The movie is less ho-ho-ho than uh-oh, or oh-no.”
Warner Bros. Pictures
Imagine thinking a Christmas movie about a dead father (who died on Christmas Day, btw, after always traveling for work and not really being present with his son) returning to his child as a snowman who came to life one day. Now imagine thinking that is not a horror movie. Alas, filmmakers believed this was the feel-good family film the world needed, with Michael Keaton starring as the dead-dad-turned-snowman. 1998 man, what a year.
Choice Review: “Let it melt!”
Christmas With the Kranks
While Tim Allen proved to have the holiday spirit with his blockbuster Santa Clause trilogy, the magic wore off for this 2004 family comedy, with the Home Improvement star and Jamie Lee Curtis playing a couple frantically trying to put together a Christmas event in less than 24 hours after their adult daughter reveals she's going to be returning home after all. Despite Allen and Curtis' comedic talents, there was so salvaging this hammy and clunky Christmas mess and it has the 5% Rotten Tomatoes rating to prove it.
Choice Review: “Stinks like the unrefrigerated ham its studio sent me as a promotion several months ago.”
Bad Santa 2
Alternate title for this unnecessary and unfunny sequel to the surprise hit dark comedy starring Billy Bob Thornton? 2 Bad 4 Santa.
Choice Review: “We have long hoped that there might one day be a sequel. We need to be careful what we wish for.”
Love the Coopers
Ah, nothing brings the family together during the holidays quite like divorce, right? Desperate for one last perfect Christmas as a fam, Diane Keaton and John Goodman play a couple planning to divorce just after their adult children visit for the holidays. (We'll let you guess what happens.) The movie wastes a majority of its stacked cast (Olivia Wilde, Anthony Mackie and Alan Arkin, oh my!) and just tries way too hard to hit you in your holiday feels. Example: A dog narrates the movie.
Choice Review: “'Dreck the Halls.' 'O Unholy Night.' 'Jingle Hell.'”
Miracle on 34th Street
OK, here's the thing: the 1994 remake isn't a bad movie, it's just a completely unnecessary one. Starring Richard Attenborough, Dylan McDermott, Elizabeth Perkins and Mara Wilson doesn't really add anything new or special, which is obvious as the original 1947 still tends to get more airplay all these years later.
Choice Review: “The movie's a slow-moving, overblown, never-better-than-competent rendition of the original.”
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding
Before you argue, let the record state that we enjoyed the first film in the A Christmas Prince franchise (We cannot believe that is an actual thing but here we are!) for how deliciously low-budget and unintentionally hilarious it was. There's a reason it became an unexpected meme-generator and developed a cult fanbase. HOWEVER, the 2018 sequel was so-bad-it's-bad, not so-bad-it's-good. The Netflix rom-com was lazy, half-assed and, worst of all, BORING.
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