Stream It: THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES

Title: The Christmas Chronicles
Year: 2018
Fix: ‘90s Nostalgia, Fun For The Whole Family, Thinking Questionable Thoughts About Santa
Platforms: Netflix

Netflix Summary:

The story of sister and brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce, whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about.

What’s Actually Going On In Santa’s Workshop:

It’s been a rough year for the Pierce family with Kate and Teddy’s dad passing away, and it’s their first Christmas without him. When their mom gets called into work on Christmas Eve, the siblings feel like the entire holiday should just be cancelled. To keep herself amused, Kate sets out to prove that Santa is real—and her plan works a little too well. After a stow-away incident gone wrong makes the sleigh crash-land in Chicago (a thousand miles away from their home), it looks like Kate and Teddy have managed to singlehandedly ruin Christmas for everyone. But Santa isn’t one to take things lying down. He and the Pierce kids are going to save Christmas or get jailed trying.

Naughty or Nice List:

Kurt Russell as Santa Claus

So my expectations for this movie were, shall we say, less than high. I didn’t see the promos for it except to know that Kurt Russell was playing Santa and, in my mind, this was quite a step down for him. I will freely admit here, however, that I was totally wrong. Kurt Russell will always be delightful. I expected he was going to play a very sarcastic and disenchanted Santa, but he played it with the perfect amount of whimsy and sass.

Verdict: Nice. I mean, he’s Santa.

Darby Camp as Kate

I got some intense Hocus-Pocus-era Thora Birch vibes from Darby. She was really great at balancing bratty little sister with adorable yet-not-overly precocious youngster. I do vaguely recall her role in Big Little Lies but she had way more to do here and really carried the heart of the film.

Verdict: Nice. She may have been a bit too child-of-today who is obsessed with capturing everything on film, but her sweetness made up for it.

Judah Lewis as Teddy

My view of Teddy see-sawed quite a bit. He was almost beyond redemption when he opened his mouth to tell Kate there was no Santa Claus, but then he grew a conscience and thought better of it. Then he went out and stole a car with his buddies and I was like, OKAY, FELON, JUST STOP IT, but then he helped his sister create a Santa Claus trap with minimal complaining. Teddy is just a teen boy lashing out because he desperately misses his dad, so I suppose he gets a pass this once. I mean, not really for the car stealing part, that’s a juvie offense right there, but he DID get ribbed quite a bit for it. 

Verdict. Nice. Yes, he had to be badgered into helping to save Christmas, but he DID try.

Oliver Hudson and Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Doug and Claire 

Hey, these two were on Nashville together! Nashville parents! Except it’s really hard to see Oliver Hudson as anything but slimy, though supposedly here he’s a hero fireman. Also as I was typing this I literally just got why he was in this movie (nepotism! Because he’s Goldie and Kurt’s son/stepson). Slow on the uptake—that’s me! And just like Steve Martin, I’ll always see Kimberly Williams-Paisley as that little girl who got married in Father of the Bride. Their parts are super small but helped establish the family’s dynamic and love of filming things.

Verdict: Naughty / Nice. Sorry, Ollie, I feel weird handing out ALL nices. 

Vella Lovell as Wendy

Vella has a super tiny role but it gets me excited to see people in shows I watch in things when I wasn’t expecting them to be in. I always kind of thought that the way Heather talked on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was a style choice for the character but now…I think that’s just how Vella sounds. Either way, she was adorable and I wanted Wendy to pop back up somewhere else in the movie.

Verdict: Nice. And she got to stick it to a crappy boss, so more’s the better.

Sleigh-Sharing Capability: Gather ‘Round, Children

This movie is totally a family affair. I ended up watching it alone but I can easily see putting this on when the fam is over and there’s a lull in the conversation where we all just want to veg out and enjoy Kurt Russell’s singing.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Sip A Hot Toddy

This needs to be paired with something warm but that isn’t intended to get you drunk (unless you’re into that). If you want to kick it up a notch, keep some liquor and a shot glass off to the side for when a) the elves appear (because they are the weirdest thing about this movie) and b) when that Mrs. Claus cameo you were hoping for happened!!

Did It Get Me In The Christmas Spirit?: Jacob Marley’d

Unlike Scrooge, I didn’t need to be visited by the ghosts of Christmas to be forced into the holiday spirit—I just had to watch this movie! Something about it seriously tapped into my nostalgia of the Christmas movies from my ‘80s and ‘90s childhood in all the best ways. I smiled, I laughed, I got a little sad, and I sang along with Santa in a jailhouse rock. I’d actually watch this again, and that isn’t something I ever thought I’d say about a Netflix Christmas movie.

We’ve come to the end of the road for our 2018 Stream It holiday series. Thanks so much for joining me! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!