Take this The Christmas Chronicles Quiz to find out. We update the quiz regularly and it’s the most accurate among the other quizzes.
You don’t have to do much to make a Christmas movie work—just ask Hallmark, who begins their all-Christmas movie playlist before Halloween. The themes of family, giving, music, food, and joy are already present, and all that is required is the addition of a few characters who need to be reminded of how beautiful this time of year is. Some mistletoe, cookies, and reconciliation, perhaps a lesson that family is more important than ambition, perhaps a sentimental relic of the past, and spectators are content to grin through tears of nostalgia and tenderness. But “The Christmas Chronicles” keeps getting in the way with a jumbled tale, ragged tone, weakly sketched characters, and shaky humor (Santa reveals that he doesn’t really utter, “Ho Ho Ho”—that’s fake news).
We get to know the Pierces through a series of excerpts from home movies made every Christmas. Children grow up, gifts are opened, and ugly Christmas sweaters are worn. These are small clips, a smudgy amateur authenticity simulation, but they are of greater quality than the remainder of the film. Also, you must try to play this The Christmas Chronicles Quiz.
The Christmas Chronicles Quiz
The home movie flashbacks conclude in 2017, and we find that the Pierce family will not be celebrating Christmas this year since the loving father (Oliver Hudson) we saw with his wife and children has died, and this will be the family’s first Christmas without him.
Family members are anxious and isolated as a result of the loss. Mom (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) works hard to provide for the family and is called in at the last minute for an extra shift on Christmas Eve, leaving the children at home alone. Teddy (Judah Lewis), a teen, is enraged, lashing out at his sister and spending much of his time with the type of pals who cause trouble. Kate (Darby Camp), his younger sister, keeps re-watching those home movies and uses her father’s old movie camera to make her own, including a video note to Santa.
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A glimpse of a red sleeve in the corner of one of the home movies prompts Kate to try to capture Santa on film, and she persuades Teddy to join her by threatening to show his mother a video she recorded of Teddy and his pals boosting a car. Santa (Kurt Russell) does, indeed, appear. When Santa catches Kate and Teddy stowing away on his sleigh, he crashes in Chicago. It is up to them to re-establish Santa and Christmas.
“The Christmas Chronicles” showers us with every Yuletide treat it can think of, including seasonal music, Santa, CGI elves, runaway reindeer, the North Pole toy shop, a tender family reconciliation, and that perfectly meaningful gift that makes everything better. Mrs. Claus makes a fully unsurprising, if not unavoidable, cameo. The flying scenes are well done, and there’s a pretty good musical number with Kurt Russell, who has played both Elvis and an Elvis impersonator in films, rocking it out in a prison cell, backed by Little Steven Van Zandt and the Disciples of Soul and a trio of sassy back-up singers (don’t ask why they were arrested). However, this cannot compensate for a meandering storyline that drags us around a half-dozen places, losing pace with each stop. Even their Christmas-ology is confusing, with gift-giving and being a “true believer” valued more than kindness and generosity.