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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Thoughts on Christmas, Again

I enjoyed seeing a 2014 indie movie at the Moving Image museum today, called Christmas, Again, written/directed by Charles Poekel. It was a little movie about a quiet guy who works a seasonal job selling Christmas trees on the streets of NYC and living in his trailer. The guy's regular job is doing construction in upstate NY, and he is just this chill, solitary guy who ekes out a living working the night shift, sells his trees, oversees his day shift workers, and then moves on when Christmas Day hits.

There isn't a big plot to it, it is more of a slice of life film about an ordinary guy, and there isn't some big revelation or character change. The audience only gets hints of his backstory (a possible ex-girlfriend who worked with him last year), he deals with random customers who range from nice to picky to curious to skeptical, saying stuff like "Do you have the Obama tree from Ohio?" or "Do women like Douglas fir or Balsam fir better?" It is an interesting perspective to see life from a street tree seller, especially when hanging out all night in the cold waiting for sales to happen.

He helps out a drunk girl who passed out on a park bench by letting her sleep in his trailer, she comes by the next day with a blueberry pie to thank him, and in a romantic comedy, this would turn into a love story, but it isn't. He doesn't try to save her from her problems, and she tries to talk to him but he is nice but emotionally distant. They are just two people who barely know one another's names, only see each other a few times as friendly strangers, spend some time delivering trees on Christmas Eve, and they never see each other again. It isn't a romance, nor does it feel like two lonely people seeking solace in each other, more so just two strangers who crossed paths briefly.

Kentucker Adley, who played the lead Noel (and his name is briefly commented on as a Christmas reference) was really great at playing a quiet guy whose emotions of melancholy and kindness and loneliness played over his face without backstory or much explanation. I thought he resembled Charlie Day a little, and kept imagining Day being able to pull off a sweet blue collar character like this, without the psychotic tendencies of Charlie Kelly's outbursts.

It was a lovely little movie, and I am glad I saw it.

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