Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas (1999) [NR] In my opinion, one of the most overlooked Christmas movies of the season. This theatrical worthy direct-to-DVD movie is made up of three short stories each with a Christmas theme and all staring the cast of major Disney animated characters. The first story is a take-off on the Groundhog Dog idea and Huey, Dewey, and Louie end up having to celebrate Christmas day over and over again. In the middle segment, Goofy tries to prove to his son Max that Santy Claus really does exist. And finally, Mickey and Minnie star in their own version of O'Henry's The Gift of the Magi.
While this movie is brief, clocking in at just around an hour, it is a beautifully animated film considering the direct-to-DVD budget this project must have had. The film does not have the obnoxious fast and furious pace that so many animated movies do. There are several moments in the film where the soundtrack is nothing more than the characters talking. And the characters are actually given some mature roles to carry. As dumb as this might sound...and adding to the fact that these cartoon characters are in their 70's...you actually come away from this picture feeling like you know these beloved characters a little better. The Goofy segment in particular is filled with some emotional moments that really humanize the Goofy character. I always enjoy when cartoon characters are treated in a mature manor, and Once Upon A Christmas does a good job of giving Mickey and the gang more to do than run around and get hit with pies.
Ernest Saves Christmas (1989) [PG] If I haven't already decided it before, I think it's official this year that Ernest Saves Christmas (the 2nd of 9 Ernest movies) is my absolute favorite Christmas movie. It's such a well done movie with so many great little touches and a heart warming Christmasey story that I can't think of a Christmas flick I love more!
In this comedy, Santa arrives in Orlando, Florida to find his replacement. Upon his arrival at the airport, Santa meets up with cab driver Ernest. Ernest ends up getting involved in helping Santa find the new guy for the job. As I've said on numerous occasions, and I'll say it again: When you mix Ernest P. Worrell with a holiday only good things can happen! This film has it's heart in such the right place that I don't know how anyone could watch it and not at least crack a smile. And the best part about it, as with all the Ernest films, there is absolutely nothing objectionable for the kids to see. It's a great family picture. I was excited to share it with my kids this year. At first they didn't know what to make of Ernest, and let's face it - most people don't, but before long they were laughing along with this fine holiday classic!
Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) [PG] Oh...this movie is sooooo bad! This entire movie feels like such a giant poop on the grave of poor ol' Dr. Seuss. He would have hated this movie! The original animated television special of this story was the only filmed adaptation of Seuss' work that he liked - and that had to be, in part, that it stuck so closely to the book. But this live action offering adds so much unnecessary, boring, pointless shenanigans to the Grinch tale that it's just painful to watch. Jim Carey is funny as the Grinch, and he has a few really good moments but when you watch this film you gotta be wondering if everybody involved thought they were making a good movie. Seriously folks, given the choice between this movie and a sea-sick crocodile...I'd take the sea-sick crocodile!