The Popcorn Periodical
Christmas Watchlist 2019: The twelve most buzz-worthy holiday movies, TV shows & specials!
Season’s Greetings! It’s officially “the most wonderful time of the year!”
From gingerbread houses and eggnog to holiday parties and gift exchanges, everywhere you turn this season it’s filled with Christmas-themed winter fun! But after retiring home from the hustle and bustle, who doesn’t want to snuggle up on the couch in their favourite onesie to watch this year’s best seasonal movies, tv shows and specials?!
Classic movies like A Christmas Carol, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Elf will always be holiday viewing staples, but are there any new titles worth checking out this year? Some future Christmas classics, perhaps? From holiday horrors, festive family fun and seasonal specials, I’ve got something listed for everyone! I checked. Twice.
Presenting the list of the 12 most buzz-worthy holiday movies, TV shows and specials this season!
Release date: April 5, 2019
Warner Bos./ DC Entertainment
Now available to rent/own
“We all have a superhero inside of us — it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In 14-year-old Billy Batson’s case, all he needs to do is shout out one word to transform into the adult superhero Shazam. Still a kid at heart, Shazam revels in the new version of himself by doing what any other teen would do — have fun while testing out his newfound powers. But he’ll need to master them quickly before the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana can get his hands on Shazam’s magical abilities.”
Filmed entirely in Toronto, Canada, Shazam! is an adventurous superhero comedy if there ever was one! Think Superman meets Deadpool sprinkled with elements of Harry Potter at Christmas time; it’s bonkers, but it works almost effortlessly. In fact, a Christmas release (considering the entire film takes place during the holiday season) could have propelled Shazam! to new heights. If you consider how well Aquaman did over the Christmas break, the two DCEU movies could have swapped release dates, bringing Aquaman into the spring/summer season and Shazam! (a bonafide Christmas movie featuring mall Santas and winter Christmas markets) into the holly jolly, family-friendly Christmas season. If Die Hard is considered a Christmas movie, so should Shazam!
>>>> CHILD’S PLAY
Release date: June 19, 2019
Now available to rent/own
“After moving to a new city, young Andy Barclay receives a special present from his mother — a seemingly innocent Buddi doll that becomes his best friend. When the doll suddenly takes on a life of its own, Andy unites with other neighbourhood children to stop the sinister toy from wreaking bloody havoc.”
Chucky the killer doll is not your conventional representation of Christmas, but this updated 2019 reimagining takes place during the holiday season and remarkably manages to mix elements of Jingle All The Way with everything we love about the horror genre. With the incomparable Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky, the most cringe-worthy murder involves Christmas lights, and it arguably goes down in holiday horror history! Child’s Play is a creepy, gory and wildly funny Christmas classic joy ride! Wanna Play?!
>>>> LET IT SNOW
Release date: November 8, 2019
Netflix original movie
“A snowstorm hits a small midwestern town on Christmas Eve, bringing together a group of high school students. They soon find their friendships and love lives colliding, and Christmas morning, nothing will be the same.”
This family-friendly holiday flick features breakout Netflix star of The Chilling Adventure of Sabrina, Kiernan Shipka, along with a slew of other talented young stars. Based on the YA (Young Adult) novel Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle and John Green, there are three main plotlines to follow, and they all take place in the same small town on the same exact day – Christmas Eve. It’s a major plus that this Netflix adaptation maintains the anthology-style structure of the book, and while this movie may look like another one of those cheap and forgettable Hallmark Christmas movies, Let It Snow is something far more compelling (yet no less Christmas-y)!
Release date: November 11, 2019
Disney+ original movie
“Kris Kringle’s daughter is full of Christmas spirit and holiday fun, but wishes she could do something ‘important’ like her beloved brother Nick, who will take over from their father this Christmas.”
This film debuted with the launch of the coveted Disney+ streaming service on November 11th and it’s one of the service’s only original movies so far (along with the live-action adaptation of Lady & The Tramp, which is also worth a watch). Starring the ever-popular Anna Kendrick from the Pitch Perfect trilogy as Noelle Kringle, this is Disney’s second-rate answer to the 2003 hit movie, Elf, starring Will Ferrell. Only, instead of an elf, Kendrick plays Santa’s daughter, and instead of going to New York City to find his parents, Kendrick goes to Scottsdale, Arizona, to find her brother – the rightful Santa Clause. A clear made-for-TV movie, Noelle gender-bends the role of Santa Clause while sticking to all the major Christmas movie tropes, but if Christmas makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, then so will this movie. After all, how could a flying baby reindeer named Snowcone make you feel anything but holiday cheer?
Release date: November 15, 2019
Netflix original movie
“After proving himself to be the worst postman at the academy, Jasper Johansson is posted to a frozen town in the North where he discovers Santa Claus is hiding out.”
From the studio that brought us The Christmas Chronicles (a Christmas movie that made our watch-list last year) and the co-creator of Despicable Me, comes a beautifully animated feature film with a star-studded voice cast including Rashida Jones, Jason Shwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Joan Cusak, Norm McDonald and Will Sasso! The legend of Klaus is brought to life in a way we’ve never seen before — a truly selfless act sparks another, and with high hopes, friendship, and the will to bring good cheer to all, Klaus is a wonderful reimagining of jolly old Saint Nick.
>>>> FROZEN II
Release date: November 22, 2019
Walt Disney Pictures
Only in theatres
“Elsa the Snow Queen and her sister Anna embark on an adventure far away from the kingdom of Arendelle. They are joined by returning friends, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven as well as some unsuspecting new ones.”
With an impressive 84% debut rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an A- Cinema Score, Frozen II is one of the most anticipated new movies of the 2019 holiday season. While it may not be an official Christmas movie, Anna, Elsa and Olaf the magical snowman have become winter season icons – a literal avalanche of their merch will undoubtedly be unwrapped from under Christmas trees across the globe this December, as it has every December since the first film’s release in 2014. Now, in an all-new adventurous sequel, Frozen fans can expect the relationships of their favourite characters to flourish within a magical mystery of the elements.
>>>> HOLIDAY RUSH
Release date: November 28, 2019
Netflix original movie
“A heartfelt Christmas movie about a single dad/radio DJ whose on-air show is cancelled, forcing him to downsize around the holidays while trying to keep his career afloat.”
With an impressively well-rounded and hilarious cast (Romany Malco, La La Anthony, Dean Cole, Sonequa Martin-Green and Roscoe Orman), Holiday Rush offers a tense but often amusing and definitely classic holiday story about the real meaning of Christmas. Sounds cliche, but when a popular radio DJ and father of four loses his job, he must learn that the true joys in life, especially during the holidays, do not come from what you have, but who you have around you.
>>>> MERRY HAPPY WHATEVER
Release Date: November 28, 2019
Netflix original series
“A strong-willed father navigates the stress of the holiday season when his daughter brings her new boyfriend home for Christmas.”
From creator Tucker Cawley (Everybody Loves Raymond) comes this Netflix original series about a typical headstrong father who deals with his daughter’s new boyfriend when she dreadfully brings him home for the Christmas holidays. Starring Dennis Quaid, Ashley Tisdale, Bridgit Mendler and Tyler Ritter, Happy Merry Whatever finds a way of poking fun at the stresses of the holidays by reminding us what Christmas is all about, after all… Family. Or, whatever.
>>>> THE MOODY’S CHRISTMAS
Release Date: December 4th, 9th & 10th, 2019.
FOX TV 3 night, 6 episode Christmas Special
“The Moody’s follows a tight-knit but slightly dysfunctional family of five, all of whom gather in their hometown of Chicago for the ‘perfect’ holiday. From break-ups to arrests to sharing one bathroom, each family member is packing his/her own eccentricities and hiding secrets from one another.”
It wouldn’t be the holidays without dysfunctional family dramas, and while The Moody’s are sure to bring the drama in December but through it all, they’re packing hilarious punchlines and laugh out loud holiday buffoonery! Starring Dennis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins as the heads of the family, and François Arnaud, Jay Baruchel and Chelsea Frei as their kin, The Moody’s Christmas reminds us that not everyone’s holidays are as glamorous as they seem on TV…ven when they’re on TV!
>>>> BLACK CHRISTMAS
Release Date: December 13, 2019
Universal Pictures/Blumhouse Productions
Only in theatres
“Hawthorne College is quieting down for the holidays and one by one, sorority girls on campus are being killed by a stalker. But the killer is about to discover that this generation of women isn’t keen on becoming hopeless victims.”
Black Christmas is a 1974 Canadian slasher film and a well-known holiday horror cult classic. In 2006, Dimension Films attempted to remake Black Christmas, and while horror fans relished in the killer Christmas sub-genre, the film didn’t meet box office expectations and any chance at a sequel was dead-ended. Thirteen years later, the Black Christmas remake (of a remake) lands in theatres on Friday, December 13, 2019. Produced by Blumhouse Productions (Get Out, Ma, Halloween 2018), Black Christmas 2019 is determined to carry its infamous title with an inspired and enthusiastic young cast, a creepily cozy Christmas setting and a scary yet oddly empowering marketing strategy. Love the trailer! Happy Horror-days!
>>>> STAR WARS EPISODE IX: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
Release Date: December 19, 2019
Only in theatres
“The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more as Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron’s journey continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle commences.”
Over the years, Star Wars has managed to become synonymous with the holidays. The films themselves have absolutely nothing to do with anything even remotely close to Christmas or its traditions, but after all three films in this final Star Wars trilogy have been released at the end of December, nearly all of the movies’ merchandise has seen a spike in sales around Christmas; going to the movies to see the latest Star Wars flick has become somewhat of a tradition of its own. This year, with the anticipated release of The Mandalorian at the beginning of November (an original Disney+ TV show), and the launch of the 14 acre Galaxy’s Edge at Disney Land in California and Disney World in Florida, the lastest and final film in this Star Wars trilogy is the most anticipated new movie this Christmas.
>>>> DISNEY PARKS’ MAGICAL CHRISTMAS DAY PARADE
Release Date: Christmas Day (December 25, 2019)
ABC original broadcast
“Disney Parks celebrates the joy of the holiday season!”
This annual holiday tradition airs on Christmas morning, Wednesday, December 25th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM and will be hosted by Matthew Morrison, Emma Bunton of the Spice Girls and Jesse Palmer live from Walt Disney World in Florida and Walt Disney Land in California. Joining in as co-hosts are ABC’s black-ish star Marsai Martin and Disney’s The Lion King star, JD McCrary, who voiced young Simba in the 2019 “live-action” adaptation. Fans can expect an influx of Disney characters in holiday garb as they make their way down Main Street USA in front of thousands of spectators, live performances by the hosts and special guests like Sting, Shaggy and Pentatonix, and – of course – a special sneak peak of the upcoming “Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway” and the “Avengers Campus” coming to Disney California Adventure park in 2020!
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
From Joey Viola of The Popcorn Periodical via theBUZZ!
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About the Author
Joey Viola is the Co-Founder of MoJo Toronto and an LGBTQ community leader who utilizes his passion and flair for the art of writing by bringing a fresh perspective in reviewing entertainment and advocating for equality, tolerance, and social/political justice.