This year, Netflix premiered three new holiday rom-coms. The movies followed the beloved “Hallmark formula” for the most part. You know what I’m talking about: Girl and guy, total opposites, fall in love while teaching each other important life lessons just in time for the holidays. But Netflix added their own twists to the tried and true fa-la-la-love stories we all know and love. Here’s how they ranked:
#1 “Operation Christmas Drop”
“Operation Christmas Drop” tells the story of congressional aide Erica (Kat Graham), a workaholic with a heart of gold who lost her Christmas spirit after the death of her mother. Erica is sent on a last-minute trip to evaluate the productivity of a U.S. Air Force base in Guam after her boss reads an article about “Operation Christmas Drop,” an Air Force initiative that drops supplies and gifts to inhabitants of remote islands for Christmas. Erica is sent to write a report that will allow the congresswoman to shut down the base.
Cue Captain Andrew (Alexander Ludwig). Andrew is stationed at the base and devotes his free time to coordinating the annual “drop” to help the islanders and spread holiday joy to newly enlisted Air Force members who can’t go home for Christmas. Him and Erica don’t hit it off, but eventually – predictably – he falls for her passion and intelligence, and she can’t resist his charm or his heart that appears to be three sizes too big.
“Operation Christmas Drop” is predictable, with pretty good acting and a light-hearted plot. Overall, it’s nothing surprising—but it’s still sweet, funny and partially true. And the partially true aspect, dear reader, is what won me over and put this movie at the top of my list. Operation Christmas Drop is actually the Department of Defense’s longest-running humanitarian airlift operation, formed in 1952. When the credits feature vintage photographs, I’m instantly sold.
Tired of being single during the holidays? Mom won’t stop setting you up with eligible doctors? Then you’re in need of a no strings attached holidate. That’s right, you need someone to agree and commit to going to every single family holiday with you for the next year, (sounds like strings to me, dear reader.)
“Holidate” follows the same plot as many Hallmark movies before it: Two strangers fake a relationship and fall in love. The movie stars work-from-home Sloane (Emma Roberts) and professional Australian golfer Jackson (Luke Bracey). These two spend a lot of time at the mall, and as fate would have it, they both need someone to take home for the holidays. But rather than going all “Holiday in Handcuffs” style, these two don’t pretend to be anything other than holidates. Sloane’s family knows exactly what’s going on and is, understandably, confused. (Why are you bringing a stranger to Mother’s Day brunch, Sloane?)
As predicted, these two fall in love, but they can’t admit it. It gets all messed up and chaos ensues. Overall, it’s a funny movie with great acting and clever subplots. But, my mom simply wouldn’t approve of the raunchy humor or cursing—and, really, how good is a Christmas movie if you can’t watch it with your mom?
#3 “Midnight at The Magnolia”
Ya like jazz? If the answer is no, then you’re not going to like this movie. If the answer is yes, well … there’s still a chance you won’t like this movie.
“Midnight at The Magnolia” tells the story of two best friends since birth, Maggie (Natalie Hall) and Jack (Evan Williams). They’re radio show co-hosts who grew up at The Magnolia, the jazz club that their bff dads own. But, things aren’t looking good for The Magnolia, and they’re looking even worse for Jack and Maggie. You see, Maggie and Jack have big dreams of satellite radio, and in order to attain these dreams and save their dads’ business, they’ve hatched a plan: They’ll introduce their respective boyfriend and girlfriend to their families, live on the air on New Year’s Eve. But then … they get dumped.
Jack quickly jumps in with a genius idea: What if he and Maggie fake a relationship and tell their listeners that they’re in love on New Year’s Eve? Maggie, who is secretly in love with Jack, uneasily agrees, and dear reader, I’m sure you can imagine the rest. Jack – a noncommittal ladies’ man – messes it up, Maggie – a girl with standards and dreams – takes it hard, and their whole friendship is on the line.
But, as the pair revisits wounds from Proms past and Jack dusts off his old guitar, the two realize they’ve been in love all along.
This movie is everything we’ve all seen before. But unfortunately, “Midnight at The Magnolia” adds an uncomfortable serenade scene, the deceit of the world’s most adorable dads and a male love interest that is, (and I mean this as politely as possible), annoying. So … ya like jazz? I don’t.