Harry Connick Jr., Connie Britton, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Chandler Canterbury, Fionnula Flanagan, Kris Kristofferson
If you know me, you know I'm a grinch.
That's right, I'm not a fan of Christmas. Much like the central character in Angels Sing, I've got painful memories and a wealth of excess baggage that I can blame for the fact that each year I just sort of stumble through the holiday season mostly looking forward to the day when I can say it's over.
In other words, I really am a lot like Michael Walker (Harry Connick Jr.) except for the fact that I don't have a beautiful wife (Connie Britton) and I don't happen to have a kid (Chandler Canterbury). While I am free to wallow in my misery, it's a bit for challenging for Michael given that he does have a family and they happen to enjoy Christmas. Michael's challenge is magnified when the family is forced to search for a home and are pressured to find something rather quickly. Michael stumbles across a beautiful home that also happens to be far out of their reach, or at least it is until the owner, Nick (Willie Nelson), agrees to sell the home for half of its worth to the "right family" that will maintain the neighborhood's "standards."
Michael, not quite realizing what he's committing to, easily buys into the agreement and before long discovers that the "neighborhood standards" in question involve being the centerpiece to the neighborhood's nationally recognized Christmas spirit and display.
As Astro would say, "ruh roh."
An official selection of the 2013 Heartland Film Festival and a film that had a limited nationwide release courtesy of Lionsgate, Angels Sing is just about what you'd expect from a pro-holiday, pro-family film that looks an awful lot like a film that you'd find on the Hallmark Channel during the Christmas season.
That's not a bad thing, necessarily.
Angels Sing certainly isn't for everyone, but for those seeking something different for the holiday viewing it's a winning film that was filmed in and around Austin, Texas and definitely catches that city's musical vibe while also serving up folks like Lyle Lovett, Sara Hickman and Kris Kristofferson among others. Based on a book by Austin writer/philanthropist Turk Pipkin, Angels Sing has gentle laughs, a good heart, and some basic yet effective life lessons that make it a notch above your usual Christmas film. Director Tim McCanlies, who wrote the under-appreciated The Iron Giant, directs in such a way that you find yourself growing fonder and fonder of these characters and their stories.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic