Thursday, December 4, 2008

25 Days: Jack Frost

Let me put out a disclaimer: I am a Michael Keaton fan.

There I said it. I thought he was an amazing Batman in the original two films, and he of course was born in Pittsburgh - so that helps his cause.

Last night I watched Jack Frost for the 25 Days of Christmas. I could have sworn I had watched this film before, but I could not remember ever seeing it as I watched it last night.

Anyway, Jack Frost stars Michael Keaton as Jack Frost, a husband, father and struggling musician of The Jack Frost Band.

His son, Charlie, is absolutely enamored with his father - despite his father's absence due to constant touring.

After a trip to Denver, Jack returns home and makes a snowman with Charlie and gives him what he calls a 'magic' harmonica. If you blow this harmonica, apparently he would hear it wherever he was and come back.

On this particular Christmas holiday, Jack promises his son that he will make it to his hockey game - despite having to record a demo that same day. Well, he doesn't make it and it appears to be pretty much the last straw with Charlie.

After another promise to take his wife (Kelly Preston) and Charlie to their cabin for Christmas Eve and Christmas, Jack receives a phone call from a record executive, saying he has to perform on Christmas Day to be considered for signing.

This is the last straw for Charlie, as he hands Jack back his harmonica and walks back into the house.

On the way to the gig, Jack gets a change of heart and decides to blow it off and meet his family at the cabin - as he traveled through a snow storm his wipers freeze and he is tossed off of the road and dies.

Here is where things get a little weird.

Fast-forward a year later and Charlie is still struggling with his father's death. He has quit the hockey team, given up on his friends and his grades have slipped.

As he is building a snowman again one night, he finds his 'magic' harmonica and plays it. When this happens - the snowman he has just made becomes alive and is now harboring his father.

A very strange change of events. The first part of the movie was so realistic and interesting, then it sort of went downhill with the introduction of the snowman.

Don't get me wrong, the film was still enjoyable to watch - and I am sure a lot of fun for most people, especially children. But the concept of the family film at the beginning I felt could have been a much better film.

Moving forward, Jack reincarnated helps his son with bullies, teaches him the 'J-shot' for hockey and actually attends a game where his son scores the winning goal.

So, Jack became the father he always should have been after his death a year ago.

The special moment might have come at the conclusion when both Charlie and his mother are able to say good-bye to Jack. Something they weren't able to do the first time around.

Also featured in the film were small roles by Henry Rollins (he plays the team's hockey coach), Ahmet Zappa (Snowplow driver), Dweezil Zappa (John Kaplan, music executive) and a young Andy Lawrence (Tuck Gronic).

One name I was happy to see at the beginning was Mark Addy (he played Mac MacArthur, Jack's best friend and band mate). I am a pretty big fan of Addy's work with his hilarious roles in both The Full Monty and A Knight's Tale. So, I was very much looking forward to his humor in this film - but I was let down. There weren't very many funny scenes that include Addy.

Overall, this is a pretty decent family film. It has a wonderful meaning behind it as most family films do. But I still think it could have been a lot better.


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