Is your family looking for a fun movie to watch on Christmas Eve?  You won’t go wrong with 8-Bit Christmas from director Michael Dowse.

The basic premise (avoiding spoilers) is both timeless and full of potential: the film follows a young boy looking to score the Christmas present of his heart’s greatest desire, encountering increasingly humorous obstacles and meeting them with Goonies like solutions. Neil Harris, perhaps in an homage to the format of his show How I Met Your Mother, serves as guide and narrator to this tale of neighborhood kids on a quest for, well, an 8-Bit Christmas. And, obviously, parents of a particular age will find the movie delivers a delightful dose of nostalgia.

The film clearly has A Christmas Story in its genes but never feels like a knock-off.  This film, ultimately orbiting around family relationships, is an honorable son of A Christmas Story – faithfully representing the family as it moves into a new generation, showing the familial resemblance the whole time and in the most charming fashion.

A CHRISTMAS STORY, Ian Petrella, Peter Billingsley, Scott Schwartz, R.D. Robb, 1983, (c) MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

The Bad: The Lord’s name is used flippantly at least once and there are some foul words tossed around, some happening largely in passing but one in particular culminating a particularly significant film.

The Good: The film is a subtle but powerful critique of consumer culture, tech-obsession and – most importantly – remarkably affirming of the importance of a father.

You can watch the trailer here and the film is streaming on HBO Max.

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