Treat Kristen Like Crap (Movie Thoughts: The Happiest Season)

Can I be a Kristin Stewart fan even though I am not a big fan of the Twilight films? Or maybe I should say that I am a fan of hers despite the fact that I a not a fan of Twilight. Seriously, I think I have loved her in every movie I have ever seen her in – including her latest, Clea DuVall’s ‘Happiest Season.’ This year, there is a slew of Christmas movies with queer content from Netflix to Lifetime and this, which is streaming on Hulu, brought there after the pandemic. The film sounds right by my alley – a lesbian rom-com with all the bells and whistles.

I only like it, unfortunately. There was something about the energy of it that was a little bit more low-key than I wanted, and I thought Stewart didn’t have much chemistry with Mackenzie Davis, who plays Harper. Stewart plays Abby, who gets ;invited’ to Harper’s family’s Christmas celebration. The hitch, of course, is that en route there, Harper confesses that not only is she not out to her family, Abby now has to pretend to be her roommate. The situation gets worse when they arrive, and Abby becomes the doormat of all doormats with Harper and her family treating her like crap. First of all, the whole set up feels like it’s 2010, and isn’t Pittsburgh progressive? Didn’t Biden win the state by 180,000 votes? Thank God there’s Aubrey plaza’s Riley, a lesbian ex of Harper who becomes Abby’s ally. There is more chemistry between Aubrey Plaza , who plays Riley and Stewart that you wish Abby ditches Harper for her.I found the film mostly enjoyable, or maybe tolerable. Stewart is obviously the star for me, but I have to say that the whole cast each gets moments – Alison Brie as Harper’s elder sister is a delight in all her scenes. And Dan levy is underused as Abby’s best friend. I wish I connected to it more, or believed more in Abby and Harper’s romance to make the film matter more to me.

Race Tales (Film Thoughts: The Banker/Seberg)

How come I don’t really know Anthony Mackie’s work. I looked on IMDB on the films he is known for and to be honest, most of them I have not seen, as much as I watch. He is on the Marvel franchise movies, and Lord knows I avoid those. I guess I am catching up because by chance, I have seen two movies recently with him in it.

bankerHe plays Bernard Garrett in ‘The Banker,’ and it’s a great performance. The film, directed by George Nolfi, tells of two black men in the 1950s who used a front man to acquire real estate properties (some white areas did not allow African Americans to own properties in their areas) and this is a very interesting story. This was supposed to have come out during Oscars season but was delayed because one of the producers get #metoo accusations. I think this is an uneven film, but give it a marginal thumbs up, because the story is very interesting. It does not hurt that this also stars Nicholas Hoult, one of my favorite young actors. The film is well-acted, and the first half is tons of fun. The second half kind of sinks under legalese, but at that point you are already invested in the story.

seberg-german-movie-posterI also liked ‘Seberg,’ starring Kristin Stewart as Jane Seberg. I thought this was a biopic but it isn’t. the film narrates a specific time of her life, in the late 60s when she started to support the Black Panthers, and got targeted by the FBI for it. Stewart is fantastic here, and I will now say she is the most impressive young actress working nowadays. People who judge her just for her work in ‘Twilight’ should wake up and see everything else she is doing. She gives characters so much flash and bone and her Jean Seberg is no different. When the character started to unravel, Stewart handles the characterization so well and you feel everything. Mackie here plays Hakim Jamal, the man who introduces the Black Panthers to her, and consequently Seberg has an affair with him.

Both stories are very well thought, and I appreciate both.