Rating Netflix’s 2019 holiday offerings, from the sweetly sentimental to saccharine sap

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Kaylee Brewster

With the holidays comes a barrage of cheesy Christmas movies.

Most of the time, you know what’s coming, but sometimes they do surprise you. Sometimes.

To help you choose the perfect sappy, holiday cinematic experience for you, here’s a breakdown of some of Netflix’s Christmas offerings newly released this year:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh6nAWNmzxU

“Santa Girl” 

Cheesiness: five out of five

Christmas spirit: three out of five

Romance level: two out of five

Santa’s daughter, Cassie Claus (Jennifer Stone) takes a break from the North Pole to go to college before she has to run the family business. There she meets J.R. (Joshua Cody) and Sam (Devon Werkheiser), but she’s already engaged to a man she’s never met in a marriage arranged by her father (Barry Bostwick).

Predictable and cliche moments: Hidden ulterior motives, hiding who you are, love triangle, marriage plot, poor boy vs. rich boy and dad choosing between daughter’s happiness his own business/traditional values.

Surprises: Not much, plus it has bad acting and special effects to complete the made-for-TV feel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8miCh30GcGU

“Holiday in the Wild” 

Cheesiness level: Three out of Five

Christmas spirit level: One out of Five

Romance level: Three out of Five

Kate (Kristin Davis) plans a second honeymoon to Africa only to find out her husband wants a divorce. She decides to take the trip anyway and finds new purpose in helping elephants and also finds new love in a rugged outdoorsman, Derek (Rob Lowe).

Predictable and cliche moments: City girl in the country, awkwardly walking in while man is shirtless, finding one’s true calling and metaphors for children growing up.

Surprises: The fact that this film focuses on a woman with a college-aged son differs from most films of this nature which feature women who have recently graduated from college. It has a little more of a “Sex and the City” meets “Dr. Doolittle” feel than your traditional made-for-TV fare.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pitxxQYZcug

“Let it Snow”

Cheesiness level: Three out of Five

Christmas spirit level: Two out of Five

Romance level: Five out of Five

A Christmas Eve snow storm ruins the plans of a group of teens. Or does it?

Predictable and cliche moments: Getting out of the friendzone, getting a girl to a party, hiding who you are, local girl meets famous celebrity and girl befriends local weirdo.

Surprises: Its plot is more similar to those in Garry Marshall films like “Valentine’s Day,” “New Year’s Day” and “Mother’s Day” that feature multiple characters with seperate plotlines that merge in the final minutes than a made-for-TV movie. “Let it Snow” also has a gay romance plot line, which is uncommon in most rom-com holiday specials.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taE3PwurhYM

“Klaus”

Cheesiness level: Two out of Five

Christmas spirit level: Four out of Five

Romance level: Two out of Five

Postman Jesper (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) is banished to the frozen wasteland of Smeerensberg. He teams up with toymaker Klaus (voiced by J.K. Simmons) to bring the children of the village toys, and letters for Jesper to deliver, sparking a change in the hostile community.

Predictable and cliche moments: Hidden ulterior motives, father-son issues, change through kindness and lonely hermit with a painful past.

Surprises: This is not a made-for-TV movie. The animation is beautiful, and voices are excellent in bringing characters to life. The story is funny and heart-warming with its original take on the beginnings of the Santa Claus myth. It’s actually a good and enjoyable film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JtwROpSVWc

“The Knight Before Christmas”

Cheesiness level: Five out of Five

Christmas spirit level: Four out of Five

Romance level: Four out of Five

A medieval knight (Josh Whitehouse) magically arrives in 2019 and meets a high school teacher (Vanessa Hudgens).

Predictable and cliche moments: Disillusioned by love, evil ex-boyfriend, awkwardly walking in while man is shirtless, interrupted kisses, saving a child in peril, riding in on a horse and learning about modern day life from watching TV.

Surprises: Not many. This is the ideal Christmas made-for-TV experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK0zCsxBG3U

“The Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby”

Cheesiness level: Four out of Five

Christmas spirit level: Two out of Five

Romance level: Four out of Five

King Richard (Ben Lamb) and Queen Amber (Rose McIver) of “The Christmas Prince” and sequel “The Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” are awaiting the arrival of their baby as they meet with another kingdom to sign a treaty when the treaty is stolen. If the treaty isn’t signed by midnight on Christmas Eve their firstborn, the new baby and heir to the throne, will be cursed. (Gasp!)

Predictable and cliche moments: Tradition vs. modernity, clash of cultures, unexpected snow storm that cripples transportation, rescue on horseback and being jealous of an old flame.

Surprises: The baby and curse is certainly a new take on the Christmas movie. It will definitely satisfy fans of the first two films.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su4Vzm_6uvg

“A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish”

Cheesiness level: Five out of Five

Christmas spirit level: Two out of Five

Romance level: Three out of Five

Kat (Laura Marano) has to deal with her self-obsessed stepmother and stepsisters, while she dreams of becoming a singer. Then there’s Dominic Wintergarden (Gregg Sulkin), the son of a billionaire who’s basically royalty. The two meet as they work at Santaland, a place parents can take their kids to get photos with Santa, and well, I’m sure you can guess what happens from there.

Predictable and cliche moments: Disguises, lies, gold diggers, helpful animal friends, helpful best friends and pursuing your dream.

Surprises: The Cinderella story has been done hundreds of times before, so there’s not too many shocking turns. This one is more of a pop, holiday-inspired musical, not straying too far from the tradition of a musical Cinderella story, but still somewhat unexpected.

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