Amy Grant invited 98 Degrees, Tony Bennett and CeCe Winans to Banff, Alberta to celebrate the holidays.
Directors: Jeff Margolis, Alan Carter
Writers: Stephen Pouliot, Don Harary
Starring: Amy Grant, Tony Bennett, 98 Degrees, CeCe Winans
The irony of having stunt casting of a popular boyband on a Christmas special titled ‘A Christmas to Remember’ is not lost on me, but despite that, and despite them, and even occasionally because of them, this is an entertaining and beautiful Christmas special. Filmed around Banff, Alberta, and with a light, fun touch, this special offers some beautiful scenery, some fun outtakes, and great music. A little less 98 Degrees, or at least tone them down a bit, and it would indeed be a Christmas special to remember. (Worth seeing if only to catch a glimpse of the incomparable Tony Bennett painting the Rockies, and it is just a glimpse).
The vocal talents of Amy Grant and CeCe Winans really get to shine in their numbers. Tony Bennett is in fine form, and even the boy band do the boy band thing well, but unfortunately their over-wrought and over-produced sound really date this special. (Years of watching American Idol has taught me that that annoying thing they’re doing is called ‘runs’, but having a name for it doesn’t make it any less dated.) That’s okay though, they’re only in there for a few songs and gimmicky skits. The rest more than makes up for it.
This was one of my most requested titles on the old website. It seems a lot of people who loved it when it came out, and a lot of people just loved the scenery and the locale (as they should). The final number (Silent Night) is also stunningly beautiful, visually and musically. This special would surely be on my top ten “I hope it makes it to DVD before too long” list. Someone has kindly uploaded a copy that’s (ever-so-slightly) cleaner than my old VHS copy (Unfortunately the clicking throughout the YouTube version is rather distracting, but it’s better than nothing). Check out the YouTube link below.