Top 3 Christmas Movie Picks for 2023...And One That Made the Naughty List!

December 22nd, 2023 3:29 AM

If you’ve been too busy buying and wrapping gifts to sit back and enjoy a good holiday movie this year, no worries! We’re here to narrow down the top 3 new releases of 2023 to enjoy with your loved ones over the next few days of Christmas, in addition to your favorite classics. And, we're giving you one to avoid, because it clearly belongs on the naughty list.

First, let’s start with our choice of 2023’s worst Christmas movie, How the Gringo Stole Christmas. You can probably already tell where this one is going just by the title. George Lopez has apparently lost his comedic imagination because he’s been doing the same schtick over and over in his sitcom Lopez vs. Lopez. He can’t stand white people, but must find a way to tolerate them when his daughter falls in love with one.

Take the same exact theme, change up the characters, and stretch it into an hour and a half movie and you get How the Gringo Stole Christmas. The regurgitated, racist storyline makes it a boring, annoying and unwatchable movie. And there’s nothing to redeem it as the characters are all quite strange, especially the neighborhood “gang.” The entire movie has a low-budget feel to it, and there isn’t a whole lot of Christmas scenery to look at to distract you from how awful the movie is.

"I wanted a brown Christmas," Lopez's character Bennie says, "not a white one." Like we said, not funny. So, this one is a definite ho ho NO! (Remember, we watch so you don’t have to! Consider this our Christmas gift to you!)

Now onto the good stuff! In third place on the nice list this year is Netflix’s comedy The Family Switch, starring Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms as parents Jess and Bill who wake up to find through some sort of cosmic shift that they’ve switched bodies with their teenage children CC (Emma Myers) and Wyatt (Brady Noon), while their baby Miles (Lincoln Sykes) has switched bodies with the family dog:

Based on the children’s book “Bedtime for Mommy,” the movie is cute and endearing but does have its flaws, such as needing a bit more Christmas feel to it overall. CC can also be annoying at times as a woke, liberal, feminist, teen, and there are a few liberal talking points sprinkled throughout the movie. What would a "modern" Hollywood production be without them?

There’s also one anti-white racist comment about how a catastrophe that happens must have been done by white people, “because black people don’t create problems like (that).” But overall, the flaws are mild enough to overlook in the spirit of Christmas, and it has a heartwarming ending, so it’s worth a watch in our opinion.

In second place is Amazon Prime Video’s festive and heartwarming comedy Candy Cane Lane starring Eddie Murphy as Chris, Tracee Ellis Ross as Chris’s wife Carol, and their three children, Joy (Genneya Walton), Nick (Thaddeus J. Mixson), and Holly (Madison Thomas). (See what they did there?)

This movie hit all the Christmas vibes from the storyline to the amazing Christmas scenery to a mischievous elf named Pepper (Jillian Bell).

If you love Christmas lights, decorations and villages combined with a good family storyline and magical adventures, you will love Candy Cane Lane. It really deserves to become an annual classic:

Chris: Well, look at this.

Holly: Wow!

Chris: This is unbelievable. Wow.

Holly: This is amazing.

Chris: Look at this detail here.

Holly: I know.

Chris: Look at this… Oh!

Pepper: Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t meant to scare you. Who am I kidding? Of course, I did. What’s Christmas without a little terror? I’m Pepper.

Chris: Hey, Pepper. Hey, how long has this place been here?

Pepper: Oh, well we’re what the kids call a “popup,” you know? Here today, gone tomorrow. Pop! Very Instagrammable. Go on, take an elfie. Oh, sorry, sugar plum, please. Please be careful with that. It’s very precious to me.

Holly: It looks so real.

Pepper: Don’t they? Each one has their own story.

There is one offensive scene, however, which shouldn’t be in any movie about one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar. Chris asks Pepper if they should focus on the religious aspect of Christmas, to which Pepper replies, “Jesus Christ, no!” *cringe*

But Pepper is a naughty elf, and thankfully the movie features yard signs throughout that read, “Jesus is the reason for the season!” Yes, He is!

In first place on the nice list is Peacock’s most-streamed original movie ever, Genie, starring Melissa McCarthy as a hilarious genie named Flora who grants unlimited wishes to a man whose life is falling apart. Written by Love Actually and Notting Hill’s Richard Curtis, this one is bound to be a classic hit.

Trapped in an ancient jewelry box for thousands of years, Flora is freed by Bernard (Paapa Essiedu), who has lost the job he’d always prioritized before his family. Unfortunately for Bernard, he also loses his wife and daughter soon after when he forgets his daughter’s birthday.

Thanks to McCarthy’s hilarious performance, the heavy parts aren’t so heavy, and the movie has an overall lighthearted, warm and funny feel as Bernard learns valuable lessons while Flora grants his wishes. And the writers were actually able to pull off a funny joke about Jesus without it being sacrilegious:

Flora: Okay, so tell me about this whole Christmas thing of yours.

Bernard: Oh, uh, it’s become really commercial but originally it was meant to celebrate the birth of this guy who’s called Jesus Christ.

Flora: Wait, wait… Jesus? Are you talking about Mary’s kid?

Bernard: Yeah.

Flora: What?! I knew Him! What did He do to get so famous?

Bernard: Wow, okay, well He turned out to be the Son of God.

Flora: Oh, no, I thought He was kidding.

Bernard: Wait, you actually met Him?

Flora: Yeah, last time I was out of the box.

Bernard: This is amazing, like, what? I mean, what was He like? What was Jesus like?

Flora: You know, it’s Jesus. He’s just kinda like, “Hey.” But, financially under ambitious, to tell you the truth. I mean I did say to Him once, I’m like, “With Your talents…” I mean water, kaboom, into wine. A hundred fish out of thin air! I said, “Big J, we should open a restaurant together. You know we could call it like, ‘Something Fishy’ or ‘Oh my Cod!’” Goody Two-Shoes didn’t want anything to do with that.

Bernard: Hey, wow, I mean, to Big J.

Flora: To Big J.

To Big J indeed! Happy birthday Jesus, and merry Christmas to all!