Dashing Expectations: Christmas Edition
2020 has us trapped in our homes, all of us trying to stay safe from a global pandemic that has killed 303 thousand Americans. We are trying to be #saferathome if we are one of the 42% of lucky Americans privileged enough to be able to work from home. The world has changed, as pandemics tend to mandate such irrevocable societal shifts.
SO we need escape. We need a respite from the allll the election drama and our hatred and vitriol and the police brutality, racism, sexism, homophobia, and on and on. Streaming services to the rescue with new Christmas film diversions so we can have some joy during the hellscape that is this year.
You are back? Great! Ok, I will admit, I am currently obsessed with this movie.
It has allowed me to stop thinking about Anjanette Young for a moment, and for an hour and thirty minutes, forget the police may break down my door and point a gun in my face by mistake because I am Black.
For one hour and thirty minutes I can escape into a beautiful Christmas ranch with Andie Macdowell ( I will act opposite her one day, putting it out into the universe right now) snow, horses, gay hoopla, romance, hot cocoa, a full Broke Back Mountain Country Christmas moment but this time there are POC and no one dies!
No really the film is more than that but it is still a dream world that does not quite exist, but that I sure as hell want to-a Colorado town that embraces Black people, POC and Gay cowboys. This film is a Christmas Oz that fills me with such joy at this awful time in the world. Such a time of hate and division in a cold world is just the thing a warm, comforter of a holiday film is built to combat. There is a charming moment, 28 minutes into the movie where the character of Heath, played by Juan Pablo Di Pace, an out Argentinian actor, has a charming moment, revealing what he feels about Christmas and why he loves the ranch so much. The dialogue in this movie, violently swings from absurd to brilliant as written by the director Jake Helgren, who has many Lifetime and Hallmark movies in his CV. You can tell his previous writing experience as this feels like a Hallmark film, but with some bite and diversity. Anyway I digress, the moment I was thinking of that speaks to me is when the character of Heath speaks about his love of Christmas and how special this time is “It was like, a whole new world, the lights, the horses, people everywhere-happy people” boom.
This time is filled with nostalgia for me as I remember moments of love with family and friends at this time of mass isolation. Christmas parties, and going to the mall with CROWDS, yes CROWDS darling, buying gifts for our loved ones, pre-covid and all of the smells of the mall, the lights, as Heath said, the happy people, the smell of cookies baking in The Great American Cookie Company or the sugar on the bread crystalizing (yes you can smell it) on the Auntie Anne’s pretzels, and getting my own special ornament decorated for me at the Bashford Manor Mall as a child. You picked it out and they painted your name on it and the date and gave you a special box to put it in. I still have them and hang them on the tree with my mother each year as we sing carols.
This film is a welcome way to ring in the season with a feeling of old comfort of the sentimental Hallmark films, but inclusive, with sexuality and race not being taboo, but a part of the family. Like our families, it is far from perfect, but it is still a welcome feeling. It is also great in a time where straight actors are being celebrated still for wearing LGBTQ as a costume.
It is wonderful to see two gay actors, one being Argentinian, in leads playing a gay couple in a mainstream media film. The fact this is novel in 2020 is a problem, but again, this is a step forward.
If you need this in your life right now, to be embraced as fully yourself this holiday and feel welcomed, watch the movie, and comment below. Find me on twitter above or comment to this article and let us talk about the film and your Christmas/Holiday season.
If you like this essay, please clap, it helps me. Share the essay to your networks, and help spread the words of Black , Gay creatives.