The Holiday Calendar (2018)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Holiday Calendar (2018) from Netflix
Rated TV-G. 
Drama, Christmas, Romance, African American Actors
My rating: ★★★1/2

Description (from Netflix): A talented photographer stuck in a dead-end job inherits an antique Advent calendar that may be predicting the future—and pointing her toward love.

My thoughts: Here we have a story that’s warm, lighthearted, and magical with no big surprises, and yet the path to the ending isn’t a straight shot.

Some biggish plot points are kind of rushed, though. And I’d personally go for a milder but natural story climax over cases like the one here, where in the effort to create necessary conflict for a turning point later, the conflict goes too overboard to really match the characters in question. You don’t have to take it that far, all of a sudden, to make a conflict work.

Nevertheless, this flick is plenty Christmassy without being too corny, with friendship, family, career dreams—and romance, of course. (Romance with a little more comfort than chemistry, but that’s okay. It’s still sweet.)

Oh, and the clips of characters in this Netflix movie watching Netflix movies? So obvious a thing to put in there. Too easy. But I got a kick out of it anyway.

__________

 

Hair Love (2019)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Hair Love (2019) from Sony Pictures Animation
Rated G. Animated, African American, Family Film
Academy Award: Best Animated Short Film

My thoughts: It’s simple really, but a lot—and plenty relatable for so many of us. It’s an Oscar-winning short family film about a father facing the daunting task of doing his daughter’s hair. But the story is more than that, of course.

Refreshing and clever, amusing and adorable, touching and real, this picture is. It’s no small feat for a film to manage to be everything in fewer than seven minutes.

__________

Haven’t seen Hair Love yet? Take a look!

 

Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Akeelah and the Bee (2006) from Lionsgate
Rated PG. Drama, African American Actors, Family Film
My rating: ★★★1/2

Description (from the film case): Akeelah Anderson’s love for words leads her to enter a number of spelling contests. Tutored by many and opposed by some, Akeelah unwittingly unites a neighborhood in her daring quest to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

My thoughts: This movie is everything it means to be.

Granted, a good amount of the acting looks like acting. The level of corn is of little surprise, and the few instances of language got a brief eye-roll or two from me—for their corny deliveries if for nothing else.

But the story gets its inspirational job done. Friendship, family, community, hard work and determination, integrity in competition, hope, healing, second chances, and believing in oneself. All that.

An ultra feel-good underdog story that’s worth the watch.

___________

 

Marry Me for Christmas (2013)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Marry Me for Christmas (2013) from Swirl Films
Rated G. Comedy, Romance, Christmas, African American Actors

My thoughts: It’s time to go home for the holidays, and Marci’s (Malinda Williams) family will have all their usual, nosy questions about her love life. So what’s this successful–and single–businesswoman supposed to do? Well, there’s always the possibility of finally bringing a fiancé home! Even if he happens to be a fake one.

Now this was a fun one to watch. I liked the story better than I liked some of the acting, though even that acting isn’t too bad, and I came to appreciate Marci more as the movie went on.

I can do my share of good ol’ Christmas corny, though some parts here move a bit past corny into contrived. But what I enjoyed most was that, even if some of the story’s developments are too “all of a sudden” in an underdeveloped kind of way, the movie has twists I didn’t expect in what could have easily been a more predictable holiday flick.

___________________