So, the family film is a staple of Christmas movie watching. After three British offerings yesterday, it’s time for a Disney offering. It’s a film made by a very talented actor at the start of a bit of a wilderness period, as we are probably still a decade away from Michael Keaton’s comeback. In fact, he had starred in Jackie Brown just the year before, so maybe he’s one of the few guys not to get the career revitalisation from Tarantino. Or maybe he just wanted to a Christmas film. Anyway, onto the review.
And today it’s…
16th November, Day 17
Jack Frost (Troy Miller, 1998)
Jack Frost (Michael Keaton) is the lead singer in the imaginatively titled The Jack Frost Band, playing decent sized gigs in Colorado but never getting the break they deserve. His constant gigging in putting a strain on his relationship with his wife Gabby (Kelly Preston) and son Charlie (Joseph Cross), so he arranges a special Christmas getaway at a cabin for them. The Jack Frost Band gets noticed however, and get the opportunity to be signed. All they need to do is play at a party for a record executive… on Christmas Eve.
On the way to the show though, Jack’s keyboard player and best friend Mac (Mark Addy complete with his Yorkshire accent) asks him whether they really should play a the party rather than spend Christmas Eve with their families. If they want to sign them the day before Christmas, they’ll still want to sign them the day after, right? The rest of the band agrees, and so while they head back in the van, Jack takes Mac’s car to the cabin. On the way though, he gets caught in a snow storm, and crashes off the road in a fatla road accident.
A year later, Charlie and Gabby are struggling to enjoy the holiday season. To try and cheer up, Charlie builds a snowman, and just before he goes to sleep, plays a harmonica his dad has given him. This magically brings Jack back to life, and he becomes the snowman. The next day, Charlie discovers his dad is now the snowman, and together they start to spend father-son time together. As a Christmas heatwave hits, can Jack survive until Charlie’s hockey game, the one he missed the year before?
This is pretty traditon fare from Disney. They are aiming for a “The Santa Clause” feel-good tone, but only having Michael Keaton’s voice for most of the film means that when you need the charismatic leading man, you actually are just left with a weird looking snowman.
There are some entertaining moments – as the snowman, Jack is surprisingly self-aware, and there are some good jokes – but even though its heart is in the right place, this is a bit too trite and sentimental. Grief and loss in a family film can be difficult to get right (yesterday’s Nativity 3 had some horrible scenes with a distressed daughter being forgotten by a father) so I suppose that seeing Charlie deal with the loss of his father by clinging to the memory of him is not a bad way of doing it. That’s what I read into the whole film anyway.
Overall, I give this
Pretty much down to Mark Addy that second ring. More films set in the midwest of America need Yorkshire accents in them.
So, that’s the family Jack Frost film… tomorrow it is the horror film called JACK FROST!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
12th November, Day 13: Trapped In Paradise
13th November, Day 14: Reindeer Games
14th November, Day 15: Joyeux Noel
15th November, Day 16: Nativity / Nativity 2 / Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?
16th November, Day 17: Jack Frost