Watching Christmas movies together with friends and family is a staple of a traditional Yuletide celebration. There’s something about revisiting classic holiday films or checking out newly released Xmas flicks with the people we love that adds more sense of warmth and togetherness to the season. But let’s admit it — Christmas films are not created equal. While most of them bring us some much-needed festive cheer, a few are so bad they can actually ruin the entire holiday. If you’re looking for a relatively new movie that will positively jumpstart your Christmastime, make sure to add 8-Bit Christmas to your holiday watch list.
About 8-Bit Christmas
8-Bit Christmas is an American Christmas comedy film based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Kevin Jakubowski. Directed by Michael Dowse from a screenplay by Jakubowski, the movie is a humorous and heartfelt look back at the adventures of childhood. Set in suburban Chicago in the late 1980s, it centers on a 10-year-old boy named Jake Doyle (Winslow Fegley), who embarks on a Herculean quest to get the latest and greatest video game system for Christmas.
The movie opens with adult Jake Doyle (Neil Patrick Harris) recounting to his young cellphone-obsessed daughter how he got his first Nintendo Entertainment System. The film is told in flashbacks as the main character recalls the memory of that Christmas season when all he wanted was the game console.
8-Bit Christmas movie cast
In addition to Winslow Fegley and Neil Patrick Harris who played the young and adult Jake Doyle, respectively, in 8-Bit Christmas, the movie also starred Sophia Reid-Gantzert as Annie Doyle, Jake’s daughter; June Diane Raphael as Kathy Doyle, Jake’s mother; Steve Zahn as John Doyle, Jake’s father; and Bellaluna Resnick as Lizzy Doyle, Jake’s sister.
The film also featured performances by Che Tafari as Mikey Trotter, Santino Barnard as Evan Olsen, and siblings Brielle Rankins and Braelyn Rankins as twins Tammy and Teddy Hodges. Mikey, Evan, Tammy and Teddy are friends of young Jake in the movie.
Also included in the cast were Max Malas as the pathological liar Jeff Farmer, Cyrus Arnold as the oversized bully Josh Jagorski, and Chandler Dean as the narcissistic kid Timmy Keane, among many others.
8-Bit Christmas filming locations
Produced by New Line Cinema and Star Thrower Entertainment, 8-Bit Christmas was filmed in Toronto, Canada.
When did 8-Bit Christmas come out?
8-Bit Christmas premiered on November 24th, 2021
Is 8-Bit Christmas a good movie?
Yes. 8-Bit Christmas is a good movie. It received generally favorable reviews from critics at the time of its release. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 83% based on 30 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10.
Though formulaic in structure, 8-Bit Christmas is unexpectedly heartwarming. “8-Bit Christmas isn’t going to change anyone’s life or become a new holiday classic, but it’s pretty cute and comes out in the eleventh hour to really smack you in the face with the feels,” wrote Kaitlyn Booth of Bleeding Cool.
Nick Ordoña of the Los Angeles Times praised the film’s casting, directing, and Jakubowski’s writing. He also praised the movie’s “heart-tugging ending,” which helped the movie became
a surprise contender for Best Christmas Movie of the last several years.”
A sweetly nostalgic ode to yuletide seasons past, 8-Bit Christmas was also commended for its perfect depiction of the ‘80s While the setting of the movie resonates more strongly with those that grew up in the 80s, critics noted that the film also works well for the younger crowd.
Overall, what sets 8-Bit Christmas apart from most Xmas movies is that it’s an enjoyable watch despite not demanding too much intelligence or emotional investment from viewers.
Is 8-Bit Christmas OK for kids?
Though 8-Bit Christmas has mild violence, suggestive references, and rude humor and language, the PG-rated movie is ultimately a kid-friendly feel-good comedy.
Is 8-Bit Christmas on HBO Max?
Yes. 8-Bit Christmas is available to stream on HBO Max in the United States.
8-Bit Christmas trailer
Is 8-Bit Christmas on Netflix?
No. 8-Bit Christmas is not on Netflix. As mentioned above, the movie exclusively streams on HBO Max in the U.S. But 4K and HD copies of the film are also available for purchase or rent on Apple TV, Amazon, Microsoft Store, Google Play, YouTube Movies, Vudu, and Direct TV.