A Christmas Prince is the latest addition to Netflix's holiday lineup, and, look, it's fine. It has all the makings of a corny Christmas miracle (playboy prince with a heart of gold, rookie journalist sent to cover the royals of a non-existent European country where the inhabitants inexplicably speak English, sassy housekeeper), but the formulaic construction falls short of any real sparkle. Even as someone who recognizes that romantic clichés are the bread and butter of holiday movies, as hard as I tried, I couldn't fall in love with A Christmas Prince. It takes itself too seriously, rather than leaning right into the delightful holiday schmaltz that the perfect setting of a snow-capped castle provides. If you're going to make a joke of a movie, you need to at least make it funny, adorable, likeable, or just really, really terrible. A Christmas Prince is none of these things, so here's a list of some movies that are.
1. November Rule (2015)
Sneaker entrepreneur (yes, really) Steve is the kind of jerk who breaks up with his girlfriend before every holiday season to prevent the relationship from getting too serious. Unsurprisingly, his inability to relate to women on an emotionally mature level results in him breaking up with Leah and immediately regretting it, because she is way out of his league and moves on to dating another guy. Will Steve get the girl back? Probably. Will she have to teach him how to talk about his feelings like a grown up? Also probably.
2. Gremlins (1984)
If you watched Gremlins as a kid and are wondering whether it will live up to your nostalgia-tinged memories, I am here to tell you the answer is a resounding yes. It's weird, kinda creepy and quintessentially '80s, reminiscent of a time when a movie about terrifying and possibly murderous pets was appropriate holiday viewing for children. If you haven't seen it, prepare for an absurd tale about why you should always follow the instructions on the box.
3. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Another cult classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas is essential viewing for the Grinch's relatable one-liners as much as the heart-warming Christmas cheer. With quotes like, "Hate, hate, hate. Double hate. Loathe entirely!", "Am I just eating because I'm bored?" and "Help me... I'm FEELING!" the Grinch is all of us scrolling through our newsfeeds in 2017.
5. Christmas In The Smokies (2015)
It's a tale as old as time: A family has to pull together to save their berry farm. At Christmas. In the Smokies. Shelby is an "ambitious" businesswoman on a mission. Throw an obnoxious country music star ex and a banjo-heavy soundtrack into the mix, and we have all the makings of a ridiculous but endearing 90 minutes. I hate myself but I love this movie.
5. Christmas Crush (2012)
Alternatively titled A Holiday High School Reunion and featuring that cute guy from Mean Girls (Jonathan Bennett), Christmas Crush is basically my nightmare set to jingle bells. Georgia Hunt returns to her hometown for her high school reunion and pretends to have a cool job to impress the popular girls. More importantly, she has to make the very difficult decision between the jerk she dated in high school or her best guy friend who has always been in love with her. Also, Georgia was in the Glee Club, and yes, they reunite and perform, so there's that. There is so much going on here, it's a glorious trainwreck.
6. My Santa
My Santa is an absolute doozy. Jaded single mom Jen (Samaire Armstrong) hasn't believed in the magic of Christmas since her husband walked out on her, which seems completely reasonable. She is literally described by another character as the "humbug mommy." Luckily, she unknowingly falls in love with the son of actual Santa Claus. Chris is next in line to take over the family business, but Jen thinks he's delusional. (Again, completely reasonable.) Holiday charm ensues.
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Molly McLaughin is a writer who likes pizza, politics and poetry. In that order. She tweets at @mollysgmcl.