Airing as a pseudo-second season to the Netflix documentary series “The Movies That Made Us,” “The Holiday Movies That Made Us” focuses in on some of the holiday films we’ve enjoyed over the years and how they came to be.
In this series, it focuses on the making of two Christmas films: “Elf” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” This however leads to the first and maybe most important flaw in this season: it only has two episodes. Whereas the previous season had four episodes, this season literally only has two with others not looking to be coming at all. It feels like a massive wasted opportunity especially when you consider that two episodes of the last season looked at “Die Hard” and “Home Alone.” What makes this even stranger is that there are many other Christmas movies that could’ve been looked at. I personally don’t know if maybe there is a COVID-related reasoning for this but either way, it makes the series come off way too short and lacking a bit of more content.
Anyways, the series gives both films a 45 minute episode detailing the making of the films. From the conception of the idea to after the movie released, it gives you a lot of the information you would want to know about the production of these films. Out of the two, the episode centered around “Elf” was the more entertaining one. It may in part be because I’m not the world’s biggest “Nightmare Before Christmas” fan (don’t hate me) but there seemed to be way more heart in the “Elf” episode.
The series tries its best to work up drama throughout the episode to show the trials and tribulations of a film’s production. This works sometimes but doesn’t really always work out the best. One example that comes to mind is in the “Elf” episode where they talk about the nervousness they had at first working with actor James Caan. However, this was never a problem for them and was mostly just a side note in the story of the film’s making.
Another aspect of the series that is hit or miss is the people that are interviewed. Understandably, many of the biggest stars attached to these films are not talked to more than likely due to scheduling or lack of interest. So, Tim Burton, “Elf” director Jon Favreau and Will Ferrell don’t appear in the series to talk about the films. However, the series does get multiple others to appear in the series such as writers, producers, actors and even composer Danny Elfman. For some, this may be off-putting because some of the biggest people attached don’t even talk about the film. However, the people available are good resources in learning and understanding what went into the film.
All in all, “The Holiday Movies That Made Us” may be missing out on other stories of iconic films but it still has enough to entertain the viewer for its total two hour runtime telling stories of two films that grew to become classics in the modern day.
Rating: 7 out of 10