One Christmas,
directed by Tony Bill
(Karpf-Davis, 1994)

One Christmas is another of the life story dramas based on stories by Truman Capote. This one is more likely to appeal to male viewers than A Christmas Memory, but like that one, it is a serious, heavy film that is far too deep to appeal to children and not what I consider a holiday movie.

Buddy (T. J. Lowther) travels to New Orleans to spend his eighth Christmas with his father (Henry Winkler), a player who is not at all impressed with a son that cooks, does not play baseball or football, does not know how to fight and needs a haircut because he looks like a girl. Furthermore, he hates the country clothes that Buddy brought. But he does quickly figure out how to use Buddy to play the women. Then he takes the $6 that Sook (Julie Harris) saved up to give Buddy for the trip.

Buddy is not impressed with a father that lies, does not listen to his prayers, makes him wear uncomfortable shoes and is always putting down his cousin Sook. All Buddy wants is to go home to Alabama. The two go through several days of conflict which include much melodrama but little of anything else. I was bored out of my mind.

It was refreshing to see Winkler step into a role like this. Everybody always thinks of him as Fonzie from Happy Days, but in this movie, he is a scoundrel and a cad.

The acting was far too good for this story. It had nothing going for it except the end, which I thought would never arrive. With moments of levity, like those scattered through A Christmas Memory, this might have been a half-decent movie. Instead, it is a long, depressing piece of yuckiness.

I cannot recommend this one and especially not for Christmas.

review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

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