It's ti-i-i-i-iiiiiime! (I said that in my whole Mariah Carey voice.) The holiday season is upon us and it is time to check out Hallmark, Lifetime, and all the classic, delightfully corny holiday specials available on a streaming service near you. If you’ve yet to crank your binge of holiday movies and are unsure where to start, let me give you a few of my personal favorites, as well as some classics and some new ones.
"The Preacher’s Wife"
This 90s film has to be one of my holiday favorites. Starring Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, and Courtney B. Vance, it carries the feel of a classic. A pastor suffering challenges both at his church and in his marriage prays to God for a fix, and a mysterious and handsome angel named Dudley delivers the goods with a gleaming smile. The movie hits all the warm and cozy buttons that bring a smile to faces, and you can bet a movie with Houston brings a joyful sound to the ears with a great soundtrack. Catch “The Preacher's Wife” on Prime, Hulu (with certain subsriptions), or Tubi.
"Friday After Next"
If you’ve caught any chapter of the “Friday” film franchise, you’ll know what to expect from this one. Unlike most holiday-themed movies there's no inspiring message, moral values, or lesson learned. It is not for the kids! Craig (Ice Cube) and Day-Day (Mike Epps) are together again as roommates, working as Los Angelas security guards at "the top flight security in the world!" The holiday season begins with “Santa Claus” robbing them in their apartment, so they team up to track down Santa and their stuff. You can see this movie on Tubi or Amazon Prime.
Who doesn’t enjoy Queen Latifah? Of all her romcoms this one has to be my favorite. Loosely based on a 1950 British film, a sweet and charming saleswoman (Georgia) discovers she has a terminal illness, so she takes out all her life savings, goes to Europe, and splurges on herself, living her best life. She meets and kindles a relationship with longtime crush, Mr. “lick your lips” himself, LL Cool J, who worked in her department store. It's a feel-good movie you can watch on Paramount + or Pluto.
"The Best Man Holiday"
I highly recommend this sequel of the original film, “The Best Man” (1999), but keep the tissues handy. College friends reunite after more than ten years over the Christmas holiday. They reminisce over the past, discuss where they are in life, and reconcile fractured relationships with laughter and love. You can watch this one on Peacock.
"Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey"
A fantasy musical film produced by John Legend, “Jingle Jangle” begins as a Christmas story told by Phylicia Rashad. Toymaker, Jeronicus Jangle (Forrest Whitaker) faces hard times and the closure of his toyshop. His granddaughter, Journey Jangle (Madalen Mills), visits and sets out on an adventure to restore her once joyful grandfather's lost spirit. If you want a movie that delivers Christmas adventure, magic, and glee, check out “Jingle Jangle” on Netflix.
"Dashing Through the Snow"
This Disney+ film is cute with a dash of corny, but nice to watch with family. Ludacris plays a social worker crisis agent who works too hard and does not believe in the magic of Christmas after a traumatic childhood event. He brings his daughter (Madison Skye Validum) to work with him on Christmas Eve, and they have a magical adventure. Lil Rel stars as Santa Claus. You can also catch this one on Hulu.
"Candy Cane Lane"
If you need a new family comedy adventure, check out “Candy Cane Lane,” starring Eddie Murphy and Tracee Ellis Ross. The Carvers are determined to win the annual neighborhood Christmas decoration contest, and they’re pulling out all the extravagant stops. To seal the deal Chris signs a pact with an obnoxious elf who brings the 12 days of Christmas to wild, chaotic life. Watch the anarchy on Amazon Prime.
No matter what type of holiday movie you choose, whether you’re embracing nostalgia or watching the latest, you'll find the warmth of a vanilla spice chai latte with these flicks.