Nostalgia tops the menu this holiday season. Festive side dishes include a new cooking show with an unlikely host, and another wedding for J.Lo!

BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI

November

THE BIG BRUNCH
HBO MAX
Dan Levy, Emmy Award-winning Schitt’s Creek creator/actor and son of comedy legend Eugene, stars in a new locale the competition kitchen. His eight-episode series is focused on all things brunch, with twists. Levy helped select the ten contestants who vie for the $300,000 prize, chosen for their individuality, culinary expertise, and positive effect on their communities. “I wanted to prove you can have a competition show that is rooted in support, kindness, and encouragement,” Levy told People Magazine. “It was inspiring to watch them support and help each other. It restored my faith in people. You can be kind and make edgy comedy at the same time. We tried to show that with Schitt’s Creek.” In another departure, The Big Brunch features an open bar.

 

 

 

GP SPREAD

A CHRISTMAS STORY CHRISTMAS
HBO MAX
We triple dog dare you to not be charmed by the long-awaited sequel to the 1983 classic starring 51-yearold Peter Billingsley, the original Ralphie. It’s all here the leg lamp, Red Ryder air rifle, and returning fellow cast members Ian Petrella (Randy), Zack Ward (Scut Farkus), Scott Schwartz (Flick) and R.D. Robb (Schwartz). Ralphie revisits his childhood home to share the Christmases of his youth with his own kids, and confront the passing of his “old man.” The fi lm is dedicated to actor Darren McGavin, Ralphie’s memorable old man in the original, who died in 2006. Rated PG happens to meet a likeable single dad (Prinze), who happens to be a music teacher with a holiday song! Add a charismatic teenager and some comicalities (“aunts”), and the fizzy formula is complete.

 

CHRISTMAS WITH YOU
NETFLIX
This festive, frothy flick is noteworthy for marking the return of Freddie Prinze Jr., son of the 1970s comedy icon. Out-buzzing Lindsay Lohan’s Falling for Christmas, also debuting on Netflix this season, Christmas with You is a family-friendly tale of a pop star (Aimee Garcia), who eschews recording a holiday ditty and just happens to meet a likeable single dad (Prinze), who happens to be a music teacher with a holiday song! Add a charismatic teenager and some comical tias (“aunts”), and the fizzy formula is complete.

 

WILLOW
DISNEY+
For this new series, Warwick Davis resurrects his title role from the beloved 1988 fantasy fi lm written by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard. Set about 30 years later, the story of the sorcerer farmer and the baby girl with whom he defeated an evil queen resumes. In their realm, fantastical beings flourish until a group of misfits undertakes a new quest, exposing new dangers and challenges. The series is co-produced by Howard, and Jonathan Kasdan, son of Star Wars writer Lawrence Kasdan, who Howard collaborated with on Solo: A Star Wars Story. Joanne Whalley returns as Sorsha, and Christian Slater joins the cast. Rated TV-14

 

THE SANTA CLAUSES
DISNEY+
The franchise that began with 1994’s The Santa Claus is now a mini-series. Tim Allen’s Scott Calvin became a reluctant Santa Claus and grew into the role. Now it’s his turn to retire and take his family south of the North Pole for a new life. The catch finding his replacement. Apprehensive elves complicate matters, none more than Bernard the Elf (David Krumholtz), who asks, “Remember me?” The quest attracts unexpected candidates like a red jammie-clad Peyton Manning. Elizabeth Mitchell reprises her role as Carol Calvin, aka Mrs. Claus. Kal Penn also stars.

 

 

December

WHITE NOISE
NETFLIX
After all those sugar plums, an apocalyptic mystery tinged with black comedy might be just the ticket o the Polar Express. College professor Jack Gladney (Adam Driver) and his wife Babette (Greta Gerwig) are a married-with-children couple in this adaptation of the award-winning, best-selling 1985 novel by Don DeLillo, co-writen and directed by Academy Award-winner Noah Baumbach (Fantastic Mr. Fox). An “airborne toxic event” forces his suburban region to evacuate. Rotten Tomatoes called the flick, “hilarious and horrifying, lyrical and absurd.” The cast includes the Black-Eyed Peas’ Andre’ 3000, Don Cheadle, and Jodie Turner-Smith. Rated R.

 

BEST.CHRISTMAS.EVER
NETFLIX
Jackie (Brandy Norwood), is an overzealous holiday fanatic who sends annual braggadocious newsletters, making her old college friend Charlotte (Heather Graham) envious and insecure. When Charlotte and her husband Rob (Jason Biggs) end up at Jackie’s house at Christmas, Charlotte tries to deflate Jackie’s façade of perfection, but things backfi re. Both couples (Matt Cedeño plays Jackie’s husband Valentino) must work together to save the holiday for their families. The director, writers, and actors hail from American Pie, Boogie Nights, Cinderella, and Pet Sematary

January
SHOTGUN WEDDING
RATED R
The farce is with you. Spinning pirate attacks on vacationers into a romcom may seem distasteful, but we’ll give this one a chance due to comedic powerhouse Jennifer Coolidge. Also starring are Ryan Reynolds, Cheech Marin, and Jennifer Lopez as yet another bride! Josh Duhamel is her groom, and Lenny Kravitz is the ex who brings extra baggage to their destination wedding. When their entire celebration is taken hostage, the pair attempts to go Rambo with mixed results. Sonia Braga also stars.