There are a handful of Christmas movies that I absolutely must watch the week before Christmas.
They include: "The Preacher's Wife," with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. It's a remake of the 1947 film, "The Bishop's Wife" starring Cary Grant and Loretta Young.
Then there's of course, "It's a Wonderful Life," followed by "Frosty the Snowman," Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" (I admit it), "Miracle on 34th Street, both the 1947 movie with Maureen O'Hara, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn and the 1994 film with Richard Attenborough and Dylan McDermott.
But I also can't live without seeing "The Kid Who Loved Christmas." It's a great, corny, sappy, and downright heartwarming family film that will put you in the Christmas spirit.
"The Kid Who Loved Christmas" is executive produced by Eddie Murphy. The movie boasts an incredible cast that includes: Michael Warren (TV’s "Hill Street Blues") Oscar winning actress, Cicely Tyson, Della Reese, Ben Vereen, singer Vanessa Williams, Charlie Murphy, Ray Parker Jr., Jason Weaver and Sammy Davis Jr. in his last film role, as well as the late Esther Rolle (TV’s "Good Times").
This is touching story about a young orphan named Reggie ("Trent Cameron," TV's "Cold Case" and "Fighting the Odds: The Marilyn Gambrell Story"), who has been shuffled from various foster homes.
Finally, it seems he has found the perfect home and the foster parents of his dreams. Reggie's new father Tony (Warren) is a promising jazz musician and his mother, Lynette (Williams) provides the ideal nurturing environment that Reggie so desperately needs.
They are so perfect together in their warm, Christmassy suburban, Chicago home that they look as if they could be on a Currier & Ives Christmas card. But even little Reggie--who has spent time running away from foster homes-- feels that his new family is just too good to be true.
And as fate would have it, Reggie's perfect world soon comes crashing down. Weeks before Christmas, Tony and Reggie receive word that Lynette is killed by a drunk driver in a head-on collision. I know this sounds a bit depressing. But trust me, the movie moves from sadness to happiness.
Poor little Reggie's fate is now in the hands of another supposedly "nice and well meaning" Social Services Department worker named Etta (played wonderfully by Cicely Tyson). Etta vows to Tony that she will do everything within her power to ensure that he gets to keep Reggie. She even promises Reggie that she will forward his "All I Want for Christmas Is My Daddy Back" letter that he wrote to Santa Claus. Cue the sappy music.
But while Etta's intentions might be good, her boss, Esther Clayton's (Rolle) sure aren't. Esther is one of the most cold-hearted administrators you'd want to meet. She gives socials workers a bad name. Rolle is so convincing here with her character that you really do want to strangle her for being so callous.
Esther determines that Tony's job as a musician doesn't provide the stability for Reggie. Consequently, she has him taken away again. Tony and his friends go through every legal channel they can to get Reggie. They are torn up to learn that he has already run away from the house that Esther has placed him in and that he is now living on the streets.
But this is Christmas and this is almost like a Hallmark movie that you know will have a happy ending. Just when it seems all hope is lost and Reggie won't spend Christmas with Tony and the rest of his family and friends, something dramatic causes crusty, old, Esther to have a change of heart.
Keep the Kleenex handy. You're going to need them for this dramatic tearjerker.