Off Season (TV Movie 2001) Poster

(2001 TV Movie)

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10/10
Definitely a Christmas Classic
eastbourne1730 December 2001
This beautifully done movie has all the makings of a Christmas classic. As soon as it's available, I'm going to buy it. The writing, the acting, the photography (done in warm, glowing reds with touches of green), and the story are all perfect. It's done with taste,imagination, wit and subtlety.

The movie is a perfect blend of reality (depicting real-life people and situations) with fantasy (the Santa angle)-- the two essential elements of a moving Christmas classic, in the tradition of Miracle on 34th St. and One Magic Christmas (underrated and unjustly neglected).

Try by all means to see it while it's on this season. If you miss it, make sure you catch it next year.
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10/10
A beautiful story
jpwat26 April 2002
In my opinion this is one of the most beautiful movies made. It is well acted and well put together. Hume Cronyn is always worth watching but the biggest surprise for me was how Sherilyn Fenn has matured - a first rate performance. However, the main thing is that this is a lovely story with a charming, and quite unexpected twist near the end. I wish they would make more movies like this instead of the unending stream of "over the top" or "ugly" rubbish which seems to be so popular these days.
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10/10
Joy Business
coffeebot-925-16362629 September 2011
You're probably familiar with Rory Culkin's detached persona in Signs 2002. Replace Mel Gibson's helpless grimace with Sherilyn Fenn's impossibly perfect face and signing voice and you've got the setup for the juxtaposition of grief and holiday magic.

For a movie with a strong cast and an even stronger script, it's almost impossible to see on cable or rent. I've seen it once and can't get it out of my head. I connected with this and even identified with Jackson (Rory) because I lost a parent when I was 9. Off Season brought back the weirdness of my slo-mo wanderings through the minefield of good intentions. Hume Cronyn's last performance will be remembered as a holiday classic but I see it as children's fantasy noir.

The real magic happens when we shift from feeling powerless to help Jackson to believing that Sam Clausner (Cronyn) IS Santa. Don't get too comfortable because you'll never be completely sure. As a bonus Sam & Jackson deliver memorable adages like, "I'm in the Joy Business... now do you wanna join me?" It's a Christmas gift without the tinsel.
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It's good - but I'm biased.
blankpage-195814 March 2002
I just wanted to thank Pretifly and Paula-15! I wrote the script.

And, to give credit where it's due: I didn't write that last fade-out; the director came up with it on location.

Anyhow: it just means a lot to have strangers give such ideal reviews. I thought you'd want to know your remarks got to the source, and really mattered to me.
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10/10
Kids-and-Grown-ups-Alike Future Christmas Classic
Pretifly13 December 2001
Beautifully written balancing act. If you value words as much as you do effective visuals (cute kids, rumpled geezers, Sherilyn Fenn's loopy charms) you might enjoy this one as much as I did. And while it's not going to do anything to diminish a 10 year old's vision of Christmas, the film does a nice little roller-coaster number; keeping a tight grip and always staying on track to that wispy, fine line between Fantasy and Real Life. (Right through to the last fade out before the credits.)
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7/10
Pretty Good!
srmccarthy26 May 2002
I Almost did not watch this movie because of a thought that it might be another attempt to take advantage of the "Macaulay Culkin" era! A time when it was believed that a cute kid could make any movie good!

Poor Macaulay might have lost his stardom because of the efforts of Hollywood to push him into many movies TOO quick! Not to mention the intervention of his overbearing father.

LOOKS GOOD FOR RORY THOUGH! Although a bit of his brother's personality is present, enough of his own shines through to give him a glowing opportunity to be whatever he wishes to become.

Oh, by the way, did you guess that I liked this movie? Made me laugh a few times, and that is saying alot!

(NOTICE: Some language may not be acceptable by parents, but does not exceed -->> "Damn & Hell")
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10/10
Great Christmas movie.
tracey-m-117 September 2019
Just watched this on the Sony channel on Sky TV for the first time and I absolutely loved it. Great cast, great story and it gives you that warm christmassy feeling you want from a Christmas movie. Really enjoyed this. Over here in the UK it was actually called Secret Santa. A must watch for any Christmas movie fan.
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1/10
Off Season is Off the Wall 1/2*
edwagreen25 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Bruce Davison directed this mess. How many Culkin brothers are there? They all look the same with the dead-pan face image.

Anyway, this film is far from good because there are so many angles and sub-plots which could be used here.

Davison co-stars as a psychologist. When Culkin realizes what happens to him, you would think that the former would begin a relationship with the aunt.

Even the late Edmund Gwenn would have been annoyed with the idea regarding Hume Cronyn. Is he or isn't he Santa Claus. This premise was both idiotic and foolish. You know that Adam Arkin is no dentist when he is packing heat.

Cronyn's antics were all done so as to help the recently orphaned Culkin? Come on. This is not holiday fantasy, it's more like holiday misery.

All that was needed was for the aunt to want to be a lounge singer.

The whole situation was ridiculous at best.
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7/10
I'm still not sure that Hume Cronyn isn't Father Christmas?
adamjohns-4257529 October 2020
This film could actually be a sequel to one of my seasonal favourites "Santa & Pete", where Hume Cronyn plays Saint Nicholas who gradually grows in to the Father Christmas we know and love today. It is quite possible that he is still going strong at the time of "Off Season/Secret Santa" and staying at the hotel where Macauley's little brother Rory meets him.

It's a charming little story that has twists and turns and isn't your typical made for TV Christmas film with it's focus on a romance. In fact it's not even set in December. The younger Culkin brother, similar in many ways to his brother as Kevin from "Home Alone" plays his part well as does Mr Cronyn, although he's not what you'd call a typical Santa.

There is humour and schmaltz and thoughtful moments. With a bit of Hollywood polish, it would make a great film for the big screen and could be made today, but this one does the job well enough. I wish I could write a story like this.
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3/10
Ok movie
mobilemavy18 September 2018
I do not think this movie was filmed in Vancouver. I think Florida. Not sure why they would hide that.
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