Christmas in July Blogathon 2020 Wrap-Up

Hello, friends!

Thank you for checking out the seventh annual Christmas in July Blogathon. Here is the list of entries if you missed any of them:

Badly Drawn Christmas Movie Posters (Allie)
Take 3: Little House: Bless All the Dear Children Review (Sally)
Edward Scissorhands Review (SG)
Double Feature: 3615 Code Pere Noel (1989) & The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) (Kim)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) Review (Rob)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

And for what you’ve all been waiting for, here’s the complete guest list for this year’s holiday party:

That’s the wrap! Thank you once again to all the participants this year. I enjoy seeing everyone’s excitement for this blogathon. And another thank you goes out to anyone who commented, liked, or read any of the entries.

As my regular readers know, even though the Christmas in July Blogathon may be over, that is not the end of the festivities. July 30th is my blogiversary so I will be celebrating during the days leading up to it. For this year’s blogiversary celebration, I will be reviewing the rest of the franchise that I reviewed for this blogathon. I can’t wait for you to see them. Look for those reviews to drop soon.

Until next time, cheers!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Christmas in July Blogathon 2020

Merry Christmas in July!

The blogathon has had some fantastic guests over the past few days but it is my turn at last. I will be closing out the Christmas in July Blogathon 2020 with the review of the last film I have yet to review on my Fave Five Christmas Movies: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie posterSynopsis
Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) invites his extended family to his home for Christmas.

If you ask someone to name some of their favorite Christmas films, chances are they will have National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on that list and it’s not hard to see why. Penned by John Hughes, who also wrote the first two Vacation films, Christmas Vacation has much of the emotion and humor you would expect from the legendary writer. Filled with as many laughs to match the big heart at the center, Christmas Vacation continues to be a holiday season much-watch for me.

One of the aspects of this movie that always brings me back is how it plays on the dysfunction of the family. While all of the previous films in the series play on this too, Christmas Vacation takes it up a notch. The Griswold household is packed full with both sides of the family so there are plenty of shenanigans abound. With so many characters, every personality imaginable is present, which create some wild interactions. However, this high volume of characters also proves to be a detriment as most of the characters introduced are relegated to the background. Other than names and being told the fact that the two sides don’t get along, little information is given about them and they aren’t developed very much either.

Griswold family patriarch Clark (Chevy Chase) continues to be the lovable goofball we’ve come to expect over the course of the franchise. Hugh’s script once again highlights Chase’s sense of humor and deadpan delivery perfectly. Just as well, Beverly D’Angelo as Ellen Griswold continues to be a magnificent counterpart to Chase. The Griswold kids, Rusty and Audrey, are once again portrayed by a new set of actors in John Galecki and Juliette Lewis respectively. This duo is the weakest of the actors to play the Griswold kids in the franchise so far. Neither have many stand out moments and they end up getting lost in the sea of extra characters who aren’t Clark, Ellen, or cousin Eddie.

Speaking of cousin Eddie, I’m so glad Randy Quaid is back! His presence was sorely missed in European Vacation. He has some of the best moments of the movie, especially towards the end of it. Although he might be more of an oddball than Clark, like Clark, his heart is in the right spot, making him a lovable character.

While I do enjoy the core group of characters, what brings me back to Christmas Vacation time and time again is the film’s heart and honest, albeit exaggerated, look at family holiday gatherings. How many times have you been with your family and everybody was bickering or had that one family member who did everything they could to make everything perfect? Hughes’ script fantastically blends all of these elements together, weaving in so much heart and Christmas spirit that you can’t help but enjoy it.

I thought National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was GREAT 😀 As a Vacation movie, it has all the comedy and emotional heart you have come to expect from the franchise. But as a Christmas movie is where this film is strongest. Riffing on the craziness and unpredictable nature of family gatherings through Clark Griswolds signature antics, Christmas Vacation remains one of the funniest Christmas movies today.

Favorite Scene


Cast & Crew
Jermiah Chechik – Director
John Hughes – Writer
Angelo Badalamenti – Composer

Chevy Chase – Clark Griswold
Beverly D’Angelo – Ellen Griswold
Juliette Lewis – Audrey Griswold
John Galecki – Rusty Griswold
John Randolph – Clark, Sr.
Diane Ladd – Nora
EG Marshall – Art
Doris Roberts – Francis
Randy Quaid – Cousin Eddie Johnson
Miriam Flynn – Cousin Catherine Johnson
Cody Burger – Rocky
Ellen Latzen – Ruby Sue
William Hickey – Lewis
Mae Questel – Bethany
Sam McMurray – Bill
Nicholas Guest – Todd Chester
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Margo Chester
Brian Doyle Murphy – Frank Shirley
Natalija Nogulich – Mrs. Shirley

You might not know the name of my guest to the holiday party but you might recognize her. My guest is Milana Vayntrub, aka Lily the AT&T girl.

Milana Vayntrub

Milana has been on my guest shortlist for a while now but never quite made the cut. Appropriate that she is at the top of my list this year, given that she has recently returned to the role of Lily. Outside of the AT&T commercials, she has done some smaller roles and is currently the voice of Squirrel Girl in the animated television show New Warriors. Milana has also done some wonderful humanitarian work as well. Truly the complete package.

And that was the final entry for the seventh annual Christmas in July Blogathon! The wrap up post will be posted tomorrow, where you can find a list of all the entries from this year, as well as the entire guest list to our holiday party. See you there!

Until next time, cheers!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000): Christmas in July 2020

Hello and welcome to the penultimate day and final guest post of the seventh annual Christmas in July Blogathon. The last guest of the blogathon is the blogger who has participated in every year of the Christmas in July Blogathon so far, Rob from MovieRob. Rob has thousands of reviews on his blog and participates in blogathons across the blogosphere, as well as hosting a monthly Genre Grandeur feature, where a specific film genre is selected by a blogger and that genre is highlighted by other bloggers. No matter your taste in film, chances are Rob has reviews for you. Today, he reviews the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) movie poster“The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there – on such short notice! Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn’t allow it. 4:00, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one; 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me – I can’t cancel that again; 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing… I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness. But what would I wear? ” – The Grinch

Number of Times Seen – 1 (14 Jul 2020)

Brief Synopsis – An outcast from Whoville who lives in a cave away from town tries to make the town miss Christmas by stealing all of the presents and decorations.

My Take on it – When Drew announced that he would once again be doing a Christmas in July Blogathon, I immediately signed up since it always gives me an excuse to try and find a Christmas film to watch that I had never seen before.

This year I chose this film because, I have been putting off watching this movie for two decades and I figured that it was about time to check it out.

As a kid, I read the book by Dr. Seuss numerous times and even saw the animated version that would be shown on TV every year.

This unfortunately is quite an ineffective adaptation of the story and doesn’t work at all.

They try far too hard to try and give this movie a more emotional meaning to the events that take place, yet in the end it doesn’t allow the story to flow at all.

This, in part, is due to the excessive amount of exposition added here that wasn’t part of the original version and makes the story unbearable to watch.

Jim Carrey is truly the best part of this film and it is easy to see that he was born to play this character.

When he is in his make-up, he is transformed into the character.

There is no question in my mind that they were quite deserving of winning an Oscar for Make-up for the work done here because it is so genuine and realistic looking.

The story has a great message about Christmas and about family time, but it all seems bogged down by the attempt to create a strange new world for the character to inhabit.

Ultimately tho, the world they envisioned feels far too creepy for its own good.

I suggest that if one wants to see this story done right, read the book or watch the animated special from the 60’s.

Bottom Line – Pretty ineffective adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss book. This film tries too hard to give a more emotional meaning to everything that transpires but in the end it takes away from the flow of the story because there is far too much exposition than is needed to make this story work.  The best part of this film is Carrey who seems truly born to play this character. The makeup he uses helps transform him into this notable Christmas grouch. They definitely deserved their Oscar for Makeup because it looks so much more genuine than one might expect. The story’s message about Christmas is somewhat lost in the overbearing attempt to create a strange new world for these characters to inhabit.  Stick to the original book or the TV special from the 60’s.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The scene where the Grinch is directing his dog, Max (Kelley), before stealing Christmas, is Jim Carrey making fun of producer and director Ron Howard, imitating his style of directing. Howard found the scene hilarious, and decided to include it in this movie. (From IMDB)

Rating – Razzie Worthy (4/10)


Check out my *updated* movie stats here

To see my reviews of Oscar Winning Performances check out this link

To see my reviews of all Oscar Best Picture Winners click here (now complete)

Here is a link to my movie index A-Z

Rob’s guest to the party is the 90s rom-com queen herself, Meg Ryan.

Thank you Rob for joining in the blogathon once again!

Tomorrow is the final day of the blogathon, which will be closed out by yours truly.

Until next time, cheers!

Double Feature: 3615 Code Pere Noel (1989) & The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018): Christmas in July Blogathon 2020

Welcome to the second half of the Christmas in July Blogathon 2020! Today I am exciting to bring in my co-host for my other annual blogathon, the Ultimate Decades Blogathon, who is none other than Kim from Tranquil Dreams. Kim’s blog is filled with a variety of content from movie reviews to food content to book reviews to lifestyle posts to much much more. She likes to focus on Asian cinema and television but as you can see below, she reviews a little of everything. Go check out her site because she absolutely has something for you. As for this blogathon, Kim always like to bring various types of entries to the Christmas in July Blogathons. This year, she is returning to a more traditional post and providing us with a Double Feature feature (a regular on her blog). Here are her reviews of Dial Code Santa Claus and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

A year sure does fly by as I join into this year’s Christmas in July Blogathon. The past few years have been lists of all kinds (and a lot of rushing in the process) but this year is going back to my own review structure: Double Feature. As with the past while, I’ve chosen a Christmas-themed movie from Shudder and Netflix and did a little review for both. Here’s my review of French horror thriller 3615 Pere Noel and Disney’s retelling of the Nutcracker story, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

3615 Code Pere Noel (Dial Code Santa Claus, 1989)

Dial Code Santa Claus movie poster

Director (and writer): Rene Manzor

Cast: Alain Lalanne, Brigitte Fossey, Louis Ducreux, Patrick Floershiem, Francois-Eric Gendron

“On Christmas Eve, a resourceful young boy has to defend himself and his grandfather from a killer dressed as Santa Claus. – IMDB

3615 Code Pere Noel, also called Dial Code Santa Claus on IMDB or Deadly Games on Shudder, is the 1989 horror thriller version of Home Alone, which was released in 1990. It takes place in a mansion and starts off with a young boy Thomas who takes inspiration from Sylvester Stallone action roles most prominently Rambo’s disguise and paired with a warped version of what sounds like Eye of the Tiger in the  background to show the booby traps and the high tech elements of this mansion as he reenacts a scene with his dog as the villain. Sure, we’re talking about the late 80s at this point and everything is really dated but it is these little gadgets and Thomas’s quick ideas that all comes into play as the home invasion portion starts up after a slower beginning to set up the villain and his motive to break into the house. Although, the movie itself is only 87 minutes so it’s paced fairly quickly already with the majority of it set in the process of home invasion.

The best part of the film is for young boy Thomas played by Alain Lalanne and the Santa Claus, played by Patrick Floersheim. On one hand, Thomas might not be a seasoned young actor and there are moments where it’s really over the top but the character design is very good. It gives Thomas knowledgeable and resourceful but not forgetting that faced with the violence of an intruder, he still has a child’s fear and despair as he tries to protect his grandfather and himself. On the other hand, the Santa Claus is a very subtle type of character with very little dialogue. While the beginning does pad out a little, it does give context to this character as the everyday person that is neglected in society and yet as he progresses, has this unstable of what the purpose of this invasion is especially when he triggers a hide and seek game with Thomas after he catches him. There’s a lot of mystery behind this character and some part of it left for interpretation.

3615 Code Pere Noel is an alternate Christmas movie well worth a watch and one of those hidden gems that deserve a lot more people to check out, especially seeing that it’s now on Shudder.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms movie poster

Director: Lasse Hallstrom, Joe Johnston

Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Matthew Macfadyen

“A young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice. – IMDB

Disney picks up a lot of these live action children fantasy adventure movies at this point. It’s usually some harmless and visually appealing affair. That’s the best way to describe The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Set on Christmas Eve where Clara goes to a Christmas party and seeks out her godfather to the key to a puzzle that her mother had left her before she passed away takes her to an adventure in another realm through a passage from the mansion. It’s quite a fun way to incorporate the elements of Christmas in the beginning and take the elements of a classic story like The Nutcracker and be able to reinterpret some of the characters especially the Mouse King the way that it did. The visuals paired with the score as well as the costumes are definitely the highlight of the film. The story itself is fairly predictable and even the villain which should be a twist is fairly easy to figure out. In the end, this is supposed to be a children’s movie for the most part so it’s not supposed to be complicated for an adult to watch this.

If you look at the cast, it’s quite a packed one with supporting roles from Morgan Freeman and Matthew Macfadyen. How many times has Matthew Macfadyen been in the same movie with Keira Knightley at this point, right? Keira Knightley takes on a much bigger role as the Sugar Plum Fairy with a high pitched voice and a rather entertaining role. To be honest, the younger roles here who play the lead like Mackenzie Foy as Clara or the Nutcracker Philip, played by Jayden Fowora-Knight are fairly okay. They are still young and have room for improvement for sure especially in some reactions and such but overall, it’s still decent.

There’s a lot of the expected and predictable elements here. For people who enjoy this type of movie, they will still find the joy in it. If you’ve never quite enjoyed these movies from Disney, then its probably not one to catch. It sounds like I didn’t say anything with that comment but this is along the lines of movies like A Wrinkle in Time or Alice in Wonderland where it has a certain level of entertainment and visuals but also a fair share of elements like plot that might feel more formulaic.

For our holiday part, Kim is inviting one of her favorite actors: Nicholas Tse.

Nicholas Tse

Thanks for joining the blogathon again this year, Kim!

Tomorrow is the final guest post of the blogathon from the blogger who has thousands of films reviewed on his site.

Until next time, cheers!

Edward Scissorhands: Christmas in July Blogathon 2020

Welcome to day 3 of the Christmas in July Blogathon 2020! Today we are joined by the cinephile and poet SG from Rhyme and Reason. SG uniquely combines his love of movies with his love of poetry, as you’ll see below. Definitely go check his blog out for a unique movie review format. Today, SG reviews the non-traditional Christmas film Edward Scissorhands.

Scissors for hands – what a curious trait!
What a sad and bizarre and improbable fate!
For scissors for hands, with their razor-sharp edges,
Would terrify all, and especially hedges.
How lonely ‘twould be to be born with such digits,
Endangering life with the slightest of fidgets!

For who could love someone so strange and pathetic,
With hands so unsightly, unsafe, and synthetic?
Somebody could, though you might call it schmaltz,
For love can look past all exterior faults.
Some mock and some fear, but if one understands,
That one can love past even scissors for hands.

MPA rating: PG-13

Thanks to Drew for letting me take part again in his annual blogathon. When it comes to Christmas in July, I tend to gravitate to films that aren’t full-on Christmas movies but still fulfill the mid-year need for some holiday spirit. This year, I decided to check out a film I hadn’t sought out before, due to my family’s general dislike of Tim Burton’s macabreness, but that I had heard fit into the unorthodox Christmas mold. Now that I’ve seen Edward Scissorhands, it’s hard to say it fits into any mold at all, but I can see why it brought attention to this first team-up of Burton and star Johnny Depp.

Even before the credits rolled, Edward Scissorhands struck me as a modern Grimm’s fairy tale, charming, weird, dark, and sad, yet still somehow beloved by many. Dianne Wiest plays Peg Boggs, a mother and Avon saleswoman, who enters the deserted medieval castle looming over her suburban neighborhood (not weird at all, right?) and discovers the lonely and timid Edward (Depp). He is an artificial man, created by the inventor who once lived there (Vincent Price in one of his last roles) but sadly unfinished and left with giant scissors in place of hands. Peg quickly decides to bring the orphaned Edward home with her, and he is taken wide-eyed into the friendships and vanities of suburban America, soon falling in love with Peg’s daughter Kim (Winona Ryder).

Tim Burton has called Edward Scissorhands his favorite and most personal film, and I can see why since it epitomizes his offbeat stylistic flourishes, of course heightened by a haunting Danny Elfman score. Both when Peg explores the Gothic castle and when the metal-bodied Edward explores her home, there’s a distinct visual contrast between the characters and the setting. Likewise, as Edward spreads his gift for topiaries, the presence of uniquely shaped hedges throughout the cookie-cutter pastel houses lends a special peculiarity to the environment, traces of the visiting stranger who doesn’t seem to belong.

Yet there’s also a clear lesson about books and their covers. Despite the clear ribbing of small-town sensibilities and gossip, most of the neighbors are surprisingly accepting of Edward, and despite his imposing hand blades, he proves to be a gentle soul, tenderly cutting the hair of people and pets and only ever cutting himself by accident. It is this very kindness that wins over Kim, despite his eccentricities. It isn’t until cruelty imposes on Edward, mainly in the form of Kim’s jealous boyfriend (Anthony Michael Hall), that he is viewed as dangerous, leading to rumors and a scenario straight out of Frankenstein.

So how is this at all Christmas-y? Well, mostly it’s not; the Christmas elements don’t come in until the climax, which takes place on the eve of a Christmas party in the Boggs home. Plus, actual hands were to be a Christmas present for Edward, and his use of his blades for ice sculpting creates the appearance of falling snow, becoming heartbreaking and poetic by the end. It’s not heavy on the holiday trappings, but there’s enough to warrant inclusion on a typical list of unconventional Christmas fare. It also kicked off Burton’s affinity for injecting Christmas into his dark films, as he did in Batman Returns and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Considering how reminiscent certain elements and themes are to Frankenstein and Beauty and the Beast, it’s surprising how original Edward Scissorhands feels, a genuine representation of Tim Burton’s surreal whimsy before it became clouded by lesser CGI-heavy adaptations of others’ stories. Personally, I thought Depp was a little too awkwardly blank-faced most of the time, but I could still see the subtle emotions at play. I thought Wiest with her selfless concern for Edward was the real star and heart of the film, and I was also glad to see Winona Ryder. If I hadn’t been a child in the ‘90s, I would have had a huge crush on her. I’m still not sure I’ve developed a taste for Tim Burton, especially since I was more depressed than wistful by the end, but Edward Scissorhands is one of the stronger entries in the director’s quirky oeuvre.

Best line:
(audience member, when Edward is on a talk show) “But if you had regular hands, you’d be like everyone else.”
(Edward) “Yes, I know.”
(host) “I think he’d like that.”
(audience member) “Then no one would think you’re special. You wouldn’t be on TV or anything.”
(Peg) “No matter what, Edward will always be special.”

Rank: List Runner-Up

© 2020 S.G. Liput

P.S. Thanks again to Drew for having me once more and hosting this blogathon! As for my plus-one for the Christmas party, I think I’d like to bring Lily James, along with some mistletoe. 😊

You’re welcome, SG! Thank you for joining in again.

Tomorrow my Ultimate Decades enters the Christmas in July Blogathon.

Until next time, cheers!

Take 3: Little House: Bless All the Dear Children Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2020

Welcome to day two of the Christmas in July Blogathon 2020! Today we welcome Sally from 18 Cinema Lane. She reviews all kinds of movies on her blog and she participates in all kinds of blogathons. Go give her site a look, I’m sure you’re bound to find something you like. For her second Christmas in July go-round, she is reviewing something a little different than the Hallmark films she usually reviews: the final film in the Little House on the Prairie series.

Last year, I participated in Drew’s Movie Reviews’ Christmas in July Blogathon for the first time. My submission was about the Hallmark film, Christmas Camp. Unfortunately, the film was not as good as I had hoped it would be. For this year’s Christmas in July Blogathon, I already had my film selected before the event was officially announced. But this time, I decided to step away from Hallmark and expand my cinematic horizons. Recently, UP Network aired Little House: Bless All the Dear Children. Since I hadn’t seen this movie before, but had seen the show on multiple occasions, I chose this film for the Blogathon! Little House on the Prairie is a show that my family has enjoyed watching. In fact, I’ve talked about my favorite episode, “The Wild Boy” Part 1 and 2, in the editorial, “Bucky Barnes and Matthew Rogers: Paralleling Stories of Disability”. After the show ended in March of 1983, the creative team behind Little House on the Prairie created three films to tie up loose ends and give beloved characters a proper send-off. Little House: Bless All the Dear Children was the last of these three to be released.

Little House: Bless All the Dear Children poster

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Throughout the show’s lifespan, Little House on the Prairie was blessed to receive a strong starring cast. Even as actors came and went, the quality in acting never faltered. Most of the main actors from the show also appear in Little House: Bless All the Dear Children. Because of this, the consistency in the acting quality was maintained. The regular actors from the show appeared comfortable in their roles. It was also nice to see familiar faces and fan favorites. While I enjoyed watching the performances from the main cast, there were two performances from newcomers of the show that I found to be the most memorable. The first one came from Patricia Pearcy. In the movie, she portrayed Elsa, a mother who is mourning the loss of her baby. What I liked about her performance was the emotional range that was found. Toward the beginning of the film, Elsa learns about the fate of her child. This ends up being one of the most powerful scenes, as Patricia brings the emotional weight a moment like that requires. The second performance was Joel Graves’. He portrayed Samuel, a young orphan from Mankato. Anytime he was on screen, Joel had a sweet personality, which gave his character a likable persona. Samuel brought so much joy to the story, as he was an adorable and kind-hearted child.

The messages and themes: Within their nine seasons, Little House on the Prairie has incorporated important messages and themes into their episodes. These messages and themes have come in various forms, from exploring the horrors of child abuse in “The Wild Boy” Part 1 and 2 to showcasing the value of human life in “Times Are Changing” Part 1 and 2. Little House: Bless All the Dear Children also contains messages and themes that not only fit in the context of the series, but also in the context of Christmas. When Mr. Edwards asks Mr. Montague if he’d like any Christmas presents, Mr. Montague declines this offer, as he feels that Christmas has become materialistic. The idea of the commercialization of Christmas is just as relevant today as it was in 1984, the year this film was released. It also reminds the audience of the holiday’s original purpose.

The humor: Even though there are moments on the show where serious situations take place, Little House on the Prairie also contains moments of joy and laughter. The humor on this program is both wholesome and well-written. It is not only consistent on the show, but it also finds a place in Little House: Bless All the Dear Children. During the Christmas season, Nancy is responsible for finding the perfect Christmas tree for her family. She eventually locates one in the front yard of her family’s property. The hilarious part of this situation is that Nancy chooses the tallest tree she can find, causing the tree to crash through a window into her family’s living room! This moment reminded me of when Stephanie, from Full House, crashed a car through her family’s kitchen because she thought the “R” on the car’s control pad meant “radio” instead of “reverse”.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Christmas spirit’s inconsistency: In most Christmas films, the spirit of Christmas can be felt throughout the story. In fact, there are times when it radiates off the screen. With Little House: Bless All the Dear Children, however, the Christmas spirit doesn’t feel consistent in the overall story. Some parts of the movie contained a strong sense of this spirit, like the narrative involving Jason trying to spread Christmas cheer. But Christmas spirit felt like an after-thought in the majority of the main plot, where Mr. Edwards, Almanzo, and Laura search for Rose. This made the narrative seem like it could have taken place in any time of year without making much of a difference.

Too many narratives: Little House: Bless All the Dear Children featured a total of six narratives. I understand that an end-of-series movie is meant to tie up story-related loose ends. But because of the screen-writer’s decision to squeeze as many sub-plots into the film as possible, it caused some of the narratives to feel under-developed or there for the sake of being there. A good example is Mr. Montague’s narrative, where it revolved around his views on Christmas. While it wasn’t a bad idea for a sub-plot, it didn’t really lead anywhere. Another example is Nancy’s narrative, where she is put in charge of picking out the Oleson family Christmas tree. Like Mr. Montague’s sub-plot, it didn’t lead anywhere. It also didn’t do any favors for Nancy’s character development or serve the overall story. If anything, it seems like she received her own narrative because she had appeared on the show for two seasons.

A quick and easy resolution: The main conflict in Little House: Bless All the Dear Children has been featured on the show before. In the season four episode, “My Ellen”, Laura gets kidnapped by her grieving neighbor shortly after their daughter passes away. Personally, I think the situation was dealt with better in that episode than in this Christmas movie. During her escape in the aforementioned episode, Laura leads her neighbor to their daughter’s grave to help them face their grief and realize the reality of the situation. In Little House: Bless All the Dear Children, Elsa’s grief and the seriousness of Rose’s kidnapping are glossed over when the conflict is resolved. I know that whenever a conflict arises on Little House on the Prairie, it is dealt with in a wholesome way. But it seemed like the situation was handled as easily and quickly as possible just to move on to the next narrative. I was also surprised that Laura didn’t disclose her kidnapping in relation to her daughter’s predicament. Had she brought up this past experience, it would have promoted the show’s continuity and helped Elsa face her grief.

My overall impression:

Little House on the Prairie is a show that has stood the test of time. Its wholesome programming, relatable messages, and memorable characters have won over the hearts of fans for decades. Little House: Bless All the Dear Children is an example of why people have fallen in love with this show. The consistency in acting and the lessons instilled on the audience help keep the tone of the show intact. Even though the movie had its strengths, I feel this particular story would have benefitted as a two-part episode. Smaller narratives, like Mr. Montague’s perspective on Christmas, could have been taken care of in one episode. The story of Rose’s kidnapping would have been the overarching narrative of both episodes. This choice would have also given the creative team more time to explore Elsa’s grief and reach a satisfying resolution to the episodes’ main conflict. Little House: Bless All the Dear Children is a fine and enjoyable film. Personally, I would have loved to see Matthew Rogers perform “O Holy Night” in sign language during Christmas Mass. But I guess we can’t always get what we want.

Now we’ve come to the part of this review where I select a guest for Drew’s Christmas Party. This year, I have selected Anjanette Abayari. I first became aware of her existence when I watched the music video for the Timmy T. song “One More Try”. I haven’t seen her other acting work and I don’t know much about her. But, based on what I read, it seems like she has experienced some serious situations in her life. The reason why I chose Anjanette for Drew’s Christmas Party is so she can, hopefully, receive more recognition than she may be currently receiving!

Overall score: 7.4 out of 10

Have you watched Little House on the Prairie? If so, what is your favorite episode? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Thank you for joining in the Blogathon, Sally! I think we can call you a regular now. 😉

The blogathon continues tomorrow with the movie blogosphere’s poet blogger with a review of a non-traditional Christmas film. So come on back and check that out.

Until next time, cheers!