Jonathan Taylor Thomas was such a big deal in the ’90s that it was inevitable for him to star in a Christmas movie. In 1998, I’ll Be Home For Christmas came out, featuring Thomas and Jessica Biel, in one of her first film roles. Just in time for the holiday, I’ll Be Home For Christmas is streaming online via Disney Plus, meaning that it’s easier than ever to include it in your must-watch holiday film collection.
Taylor Thomas stars as Jake, an 18-year-old college student in California who hasn’t gone home to the East Coast to see his family since his mom passed away. His father quickly remarried which Jake isn’t very happy about. In order to get him home for Christmas, his dad offers up his Porsche. But, there are rules attached — he needs to be back before 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Suddenly, with more incentive, he hatches a plan to make this possible. But, things fall off course pretty quickly.
The movie was seen as a box-office bomb but became a nostalgic watch as the years went on, especially since the film was slightly riskier and more mature than your standard Disney movie. Here’s how to stream I’ll Be Home For Christmas online right now, as well as more information about the movie like how it was received, box office numbers, cast, and more!
How to Stream ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ – Exclusively on Disney+
I’ll Be Home For Christmas is one of the classic Disney Christmas movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+. On top of that, it’s one of the usual Christmas movies on TV that won’t actually be on cable TV this year.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream I’ll Be Home For Christmas and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “Home For Christmas”
- 5. Tap on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
- 6. Tap the PLAY button
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’: Overview
Release Date: November 13, 1998
Creators: Screenplay by Tom Nursall and Harris Goldberg. Story by Michael Allin.
Director: Arlene Sanford
Starring: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jessica Biel, Adam LaVorgna, and Sean O’Bryan
Synopsis: Jake hasn’t been home since the death of his mother. His father is trying to change things around by offering up his vintage Porche in exchange for a Christmas visit. This incentive makes him change his mind, but he’s got to handle a few big obstacles first.
How Long Is ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’?
I’ll Be Home For Christmas is 86 minutes long.
‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ Plot
College student Jake Wilkinson hasn’t been back to the East Coast since the unfortunate death of his mother — and the fact that his father quickly remarried makes it even worse. He hasn’t formed a relationship with his stepmom and doesn’t want to go home for the holidays. After trying to book a fancy vacation with his girlfriend Allie instead, she refuses. She’s also from the East Coast and doesn’t think the trip would be a good idea.
Between that and the fact that his father is offering him a vintage Porsche 356 if he makes it home by 6 pm on Christmas Eve, he rethinks his plans for the holidays. Jake’s nemesis, Eddie Taffet, doesn’t make his final choice very easy. He’s after Allie himself and doesn’t mind ruining Jake’s holiday plans, especially if it means more time to try and steal her away.
He and his friends take Jake and dump him in the desert wearing a Santa Claus suit, and offer Allie a ride back home themselves after she assumes Jake bailed for alternate plans. On his own adventure back home, he happens to see a newscast from a Bavarian village where Allie and Eddie are staying for the night.
The footage shows them kissing, which gives Jake even more of a passion to try and save both his holiday and his relationship. But when they all reconnect, Eddie gives Jake even more of a hard time in getting home. When Jake finally makes it, he realizes that there are certain things in life better than a car.
‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ Cast
I’ll Be Home For Christmas stars a recognizable cast, many who went on to become stars.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Jake
Jake isn’t the most likable character — he often acts selfishly. But Jonathan Taylor Thomas still makes him fun to watch on screen. Taylor Thomas can credit his role in Home Improvement for breaking into the limelight, but it was other movies like Tom and Huck that made him a star.
Jessica Biel as Allie
Allie plays Jake’s girlfriend, who is also from New York. Getting back home is her goal for the holidays, and she doesn’t even care if she needs to depend on Eddie to get a ride to do so. Biel is best known for playing Mary Camden on 7th Heaven, which started its long run just a few years before I’ll Be Home For Christmas debuted in theaters.
Adam LaVorgna as Eddie
Adam LaVorgan plays Eddie, Jake’s nemesis, who has his heart on dating Allie and preventing Jake from making it home in time to claim his car. Oddly enough, LaVorgna’s big role was also in 7th Heaven. He was in 48 episodes between 1999 and 2002. By then, he already met Biel. The two ended up dating for a few years.
Gary Cole as Jake’s Dad
Gary Cole plays Jake’s dad, who’s still located in New York. If Cole looks familiar, it may be because he went on to play the notable role of Bill Lumbergh in Office Space soon after. He’s also done more work with Disney since. Cole voices Dr. James Timothy Possible in the series Kim Possible.
‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ Songs and Soundtrack
I’ll Be Home For Christmas includes most of the standard Christmas songs you’d expect in a Christmas film, including: “White Christmas”, “Here Comes Santa Claus”, and of course, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” It also includes a few new versions of holiday classics. The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies liven up the soundtrack with “Cool Yule,” and Blink-182 also makes a fun appearance in the movie with their song “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas.” Non-Christmas music includes “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye and “What’s New Pussycat?” by Tom Jones.
‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ at the Box Office
I’ll Be Home For Christmas had a total box office gross of $12,214,338. During its opening weekend, it made $3,898,293 playing in 1,759 theaters. With a reported budget of $30 million, this was seen as a box office flop.
‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
On Rotten Tomatoes, I’ll Be Home For Christmas has an aggregated score of 23%, meaning that most reviewers didn’t like it. The audience rating was more positive, at 41%. Lisa Schwarzbaum from Entertainment Weekly went so far as to give it a D+, stating “At its worst, this family comedy finds unearned laughs in old women and dog flatulence. At its best, there’s a nice moment where every girl in the dorm wears a pore-cleansing strip on her nose — the true expression of the holiday season.” In general, it seems like many reviewers were turned off by both the writing and the smarminess of Jonathan Taylor Thomas’s character, especially since he was a lot more likable on Home Improvement.
Where ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ Fits in the Disney Movie Pantheon
Most fans like to include it with their Christmas viewing, but as far as Disney movies are concerned, it’s not one of the most popular. Country Living gave it the #2 spot for Best Disney Christmas movies, losing out to Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas.
‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ Trailer
‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
This movie was oddly important to Jessica Biel for a few reasons. Here’s why, along with some other fun trivia facts about the movie.
1. It Introduced Her to Boyfriend Adam LaVorgna, Who Ended up Playing an Important Part in the Show 7th Heaven
Thanks to their chemistry in this movie, 7th Heaven cast him to play Robbie Palmer, a boyfriend for Biel’s character Mary. In the show, he met Mary while doing community service. He was in 49 episodes before leaving the show. He reportedly broke up with Biel in 2001 after years together.
2. But, Biel’s Current Husband Also Has a Connection to the Film
Biel is currently married to Justin Timberlake. While he’s now known best for his solo career, he got his start in the band *NSYNC. During the end credits of the film, the *NSYNC song “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” plays in the background. There were reportedly 14 years between the debut of this film and their wedding.
3. The Movie Also Has a Nod to ‘The Lion King’
Jonathan Taylor Thomas was no stranger to Disney. He provided the voice of Young Simba in The Lion King. So, if you think that the scene of Simba in the desert and the scene of Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the desert look eerily familiar, that could be why. According to IMDB, even the vulture sounds are the same.
4. Jonathan Taylor Thomas Worked on Two Other Christmas Movies After This
Even though this was one of his more notable Christmas roles, he also provided the vocals for the lead characters in The Tangerine Bear: Home in Time for Christmas! and Timothy Tweedle the First Christmas Elf, both of which came out in 2000.
5. One Big Scene Got Cut From the Movie, Even Though it Lives On in the Trailer.
In it, Jonathan Taylor Thomas gets urinated on by a young boy and states he has a “wet lap.” IMDB states that this was removed from the movie, even though it’s featured near the end of the trailer. It’s unclear why this scene didn’t make it.
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