The Thanksgiving weekend typically kicks off the barrage of
Christmas specials for the holiday season. Here are three suited
for the whole family.
Christmas Angel starring Della Reese
will premiere on gmc TV Thanksgiving weekend. It's a superb
original movie that includes occasional Scripture references,
family prayer times and characters' relationships to illustrate
Christian faith in action. It stars Reese (Touched by an
Angel), Kevin Sorbo (Soul Surfer) and Tamera
Mowry-Housley (Sister, Sister).
Don't turn away because of the angel reference in
the title (in case you've grown weary of Christmas movies that
diminish the real meaning of the season in favor of magical
mysteries and strange angel-like characters). Give this one a
chance. It's a welcome contrast to the secular fairy-tale style
Christmas stories; they're OK, but Christmas Angel goes deep enough to suggest what
Christmas is really about.
In an exclusive interview, Reese said she is quite excited about
this film. "It was great for me," she said, "because ... all of the
things my character had to go through, I've been through in my
career. So I didn't have to research the part. I've lived it."
Reese does play an angel-like character, but she's very much a
human being. Her co-star is young Izabela Vidovic, who plays
fifth-grader Olivia. The two become acquainted when the reclusive
Elsie [Reese] quietly moves into the "haunted" house next door to
Olivia and her mom. At first, it's a pretty rocky relationship
because Elsie insists she doesn't want to be bothered by Olivia and
her youthful enthusiasm. But both Elsie and Olivia soon discover
some common ground in how they like to celebrate Christmas -- and
it softens both of them in regards to how they think of and treat
"We may never know ... who needs this right away," Reese said.
"Someone who may not be able to take the hard truth from their
mother or their wife or husband will be able to see it in this
movie and maybe adjust their lives."
Read entire interview with Della
The themes of forgiveness, generosity, honesty and
reconciliation are woven subtly and artfully into the script
written by Andrea Gyertson Nasfell (Christmas with a Capital
C). Christmas Angelpremieres Saturday and Sunday, November 24
and 25, with multiple showings at 7, 9 and 11 p.m. (Eastern).
Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups (new release)
It's a family-friendly, fanciful tale of Christmas that includes
talking pups and Santa Claus. But at the same time, Santa Paws
2: The Santa Pups gets to the heart of Christmas, including a
moving scene in which Sarah, the film's young heroine, sings a
stirring cover of "O, Holy Night." (View trailer)
As for the story line, a litter of four talking
pups -- Hope, Jingle, Charity and Noble -- stow away
secretly on Mrs. Claus' sleigh when she travels to Pineville
on Christmas business. The mischievous pups, eager to earn their
own magic crystals, have taken one without permission. They begin
granting the wishes of Pineville's boys and girls, and all seems
well -- until they make a terrible mistake that threatens the
Christmas spirit of everyone in town and beyond.
As their misdeeds are discovered and corrected, the pups learn
the danger of deceit and they learn that being dishonest can bring
problems and negative consequences. And there's still a deeper
family theme as Sarah and her brother deal with the sadness of the
first Christmas since their mom's death. However, the two of them
and their dad are instrumental in bringing back the spirit of
Christmas to Pineville.
The Disney production will be available November 20 at retailers
and some online stores.
A Christmas Snow (Branson stage show based on popular
Themes of alienation and forgiveness take the spotlight in A
Christmas Snow, a story which centers on three unlikely
house-mates trapped together during a Christmas blizzard. Kathleen,
a restaurant owner, is characterized by local news media as the
"gourmet grinch" because she refuses to acknowledge Christmas in
anyway. She doesn't decorate her restaurant or her home for
Ironically, it is her home that becomes a three-day
prison for herself, 10-year-old Lucy and a mysterious man whom
Kathleen almost ran over on the icy streets. All three are dealing
with estrangement and forgiveness issues, Lucy's pain caused by her
mother's death. It's a challenge for all of them, but eventually
their circumstances lead them to begin opening up to each
Though not everything is tied up in a neat package, the big
issues are resolved and the trio of misfits become fast friends.
Some surprising twists lead to a conclusion that's both gripping
and fulfilling for the audience.
If you can't make it to Branson's Starlite Theatre for the stage
production, the DVD is available at the American Family Association online store.
Interview with Della Reese
Della Reese marks 75 years in entertainment, says we must
get back to where we never should have left in the first
What makes "Christmas
Angel" an outstanding movie for the whole family?
It covers everyone. It covers the children. It covers a woman
whose life has not always been wonderful. It covers the fact that
she has to turn to God. It covers the fact that there are people
who are doing things for each other with an attitude of love. It's
really a marvelous experience.
Why did the story
resonate so strongly with you?
It was great for me because it was as if they stood out on my
balcony and peeped in my room because all of the things my
character [Elsie] has to go through, I've had to go through in my
career. So I didn't have to research this part. I've lived it. I
knew the feelings of this part, and I hope I was able to transmit
those to the people who see it.
How did this role come
My agent was aware of it and spoke to me about it. I read it,
and I knew it was something I could do -- and should do!
What is your hope for
"Christmas Angel" beyond just entertaining us this
It's all in the movie. The feelings are in there. For example,
Izabel [Olivia], the young lady -- who is a magnificent actress --
brings to it the beauty of youth. At first, she is a little
arrogant, she's not the sweetest little thing. Then you can see her
come from being a little arrogant to being a little nicer, a little
kinder. That's going to be good for children to see.
The part that I play tells the story of a woman who has had a
great career, but because of her attitude has run the career away
and a couple of husbands away and her daughter away. And she's at a
place now where she needs all of these things. She needs to draw
them back and be a part of life again. All of those things are
And we never know, in something like Christmas Angel, who needs
this right away. Someone who may not be able to take the hard truth
from their mother or their wife or husband will be able to see it
in this movie and maybe adjust their lives.
Have you had other
opportunities to do anything with this much depth?
Well, I had 10 years of Touched by an Angel on television. We
had many episodes like that. We came on when there was nothing else
like it. Everything else was about showing bodies and cursing and a
lot of other negative things. In the midst of that muddy water, we
About how many movies
have you been in?
Oh, I haven't the foggiest notion. I don't have any idea. In
fact, if I had to name them, I'd be in big trouble. [One website
lists 65 movies or TV series in which Miss Reese appeared.]
I'm almost afraid to
ask this next question, but I'm going to ask anyway -- how many
years have you been in entertainment?
Well, I'm 81, and I started when I was 6. You do the math. God's
been good to me.
What hope do you see
for the entertainment in general? Any bright lights
Well, I see it happening all the way around, not just in
entertainment. You see, when things are going well, we seem not to
need God at all. But when things are not going well, we straighten
up, and we go back to the things that are really important. There's
a money shortage, and war is going on everywhere, and we recognize
that only by the grace of God will we survive this. So we are led
back to where we never should have left in the first place.
We'll encourage our
readers to watch -- tell us again when it premieres.
November 24 and November 25 -- Thanksgiving weekend -- on gmc
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