Yes it's July, and maybe an odd time to discuss films that focus on the winter holidays. Or it could be the perfect time, since production schedules often dictate that films hitting screens in December are shot in summer or spring.
One such case is Christmas in Compton, the new comedy from actor-turned-director David Raynr, and starring Keith David, Omar Gooding, and Sheryl Lee Ralph.
The story is as follows:
Big Earl (David), the owner of a Christmas tree lot in Compton, and a man with a big heart and a big vision, demands success from everyone around him. All kinds of trouble erupts the week before Christmas when his son, Derrick (Gooding), part-time music producer and part-time Christmas tree lot employee, crosses the line to prove to Big Earl that he is a success.
The colorful characters who populate the tree lot cause additional complications for Derrick as he tries to solve his problems secretly. Things spiral out of Derrick's control, jeopardizing the survival of the lot, and more importantly, the relationship with his father.
The cast also includes Eric Roberts and Miguel Nunez. Shooting wrapped in Los Angeles in May, and the filmmakers are currently in talks for distribution.
While it's not yet confirmed whether we'll see Christmas in Compton on the big screen, TV, or DVD, it does bring up the interesting question of black holiday films. I don't know about your household, but despite the holiday flicks that come out each year (think This Christmas, The Preacher's Wife, or The Perfect Holiday), the black films my family typically watches during the holidays tend not to be holiday-themed at all (think Roots or The Five Heartbeats).
Maybe we have different sensibilities about holiday films, or maybe we're just waiting on one great black holiday film to earn its way into our catalogue. Generations from now, I wonder will there be any that stand alongside It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or one of my faves, A Christmas Story? In the coming years, what lines from black holiday films will be recited as often as "You'll shoot your eye out"?
Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and favorite black holiday films below. Maybe this discussion can help cool us off from the summer heat.