Harry Connick, Jr. stars as Michael Walker, who, as a child, wished every day was Christmas. That is, until a tragic accident crushed his holiday spirit. Thirty years later, Michael still can’t muster any joy for Christmas, despite encouragement from his playful wife (Connie Britton) and well intentioned parents (Kris Kristofferson and Fionnula Flanagan). But when his young son (Chandler Canterbury) faces a tragedy, Michael needs to make amends with his past. A mysterious man named Nick (Willie Nelson) gives Michael a gift that instills in him the courage to find the Christmas joy that he lost.
I got together with my sisters to watch this movie and drum up a little holiday cheer. There are a ton of big name stars in this movie. We were especially excited to see Connie Britton (one sister loves her from Friday Night Lights and I love her in Nashville). We were also really excited to see Willie Nelson (our dad is a big fan). We were also just generally excited to see a movie that promised lots of holiday cheer, which we definitely got.
"Angels Sing" is a warm holiday movie that is perfect for sharing with family of all ages. My sisters and I liked when Michael and his family move to the most festive part of Austin, Texas where Michael must deal with his dislike of Christmas head-on. They move to a house that happens to be on the most festively decorated street in all of Austin. Here people take home decorating to the highest level possible and Michael isn't sure that he can keep up. Lyle Lovett appears as a well-intentioned, Christmas loving neighbor who tries to teach Michael something about the holiday spirit. The scenes with Lovett were some of the funniest in the movie. Some parts of the movie were a bit predictable but that certainly did not take away from the fun of the movie.
Overall, this was a sweet movie with a good message about being able to let go of the past and enjoy the Christmas season with your family. It was a nice movie that was perfect for the holidays!
Author Q&A with Turk Pipkin:
1. What inspired you to write "When Angels Sing?"
I wrote When Angels Sing as a Christmas present for my family and close friends. I had thought a lot about the connections between family and Christmas traditions, and was well aware of the mixed emotions many people have about the Christmas holiday. I sent one of those first hand-bound copies to my friend Peter Workman at Workman Publishing, for whom I'd already written one book. Peter loved it and took it on Christmas Day to the woman running his great literary publishing house, Algonquin Books, who published a big national edition the following year.
2. How much of a hand did you have in how the book was translated from book to movie?
Another of those original books went to my friend Fred Miller, a film producer in Austin. Fred spent years building a team to make the movie. Other than playing a part in the film, my main contribution creatively was to lend a hand on casting. I'd always thought Willie Nelson would be perfect to play the role of Nick, a mysterious man who may or may not be St. Nick. Likewise for Kris Kristofferson, a former army pilot, to play the grandfather. Other friends like Connie Britton, Lyle Lovett, Eloise Dejoria and a great host of wonderful Texas musicians also ended up in the film. Director Tim McCanlies deserves a lot of credit for realizing the musicians like Bruce Robison, Marcia Ball and Charlie Sexton would be great on camera.
3. Are there any big differences between the book and movie?
The book is actually set in L.A., where I lived for a while and where giant Christmas displays often seem odd amid the busy city with no winter. We wanted to shoot the film in Texas and Austin seemed perfect. And even though the book was set in L.A., parts of great Austin Christmas celebrations were already a big inspiration of the book.
4. What do you feel is the biggest difference between how a book is written and how a movie is written?
In general, novels have time to let things develop and wind and flow, while screenplays have a mission to get from here to there without wasting much time. A little novel like When Angels Sing doesn't wander so much, but it packs an emotional power with words that has to be shared and partially carried by actors in the film version. I could write five pages about the agony Michael Walker (Harry Connick, Jr.) feels at a family Christmas event, but Harry had to find a way to do that with the character he brought to the set every day. And he was great at it.
One thing I love about this film is that - at least to me - it's some of the best acting work ever from Harry, Connie, Kris, Willie and Lyle. That's saying a lot. We had a lot of fun and shared a lot of love shooting this film and I think it shows.
5. If you could bring three fictional characters with you to a deserted island, who would you bring and why?
Nick Adams from Hemingway's Nick Adams Stories. He could catch all the fish, build the fires, and tell great stories about growing up in the mountains.
Daisy Buchanan / Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. Nick's going to need someone to mope about.
Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451. He could recite lots of great books to me.
I am excited to be able to giveaway a book and movie bundle to one lucky winner (U.S. only).
Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!