I’ll admit it, folks: I was ready for director Harley Wallen’s festive and joyful new bromide of a movie, A Bennett Song Holiday, especially after enduring a year that has read like a particularly lengthy outtake from The Legend of Hell House. And why wouldn’t I look forward to such a sweet story? After all, it’s a heartfelt love poem to a bedraggled globe buried deep in the midst of a pandemic and political strife and, because of that, it’s bedside manner echoes other films that brush up against the Christmas holidays such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street and Die Hard. Alright, I’m being a little flippant with that last cinematic choice, but much like John McClane’s penchant for swinging around besieged skyscrapers on Christmas Eve, Wallen’s A Bennett Song Holiday is a rousing crowd-pleaser of a story that will actually leave you asking for more. But, you know, sans the enemy gun fire.
Employing the acting chops of such thespians as Dennis Haskins, Corbin Bernsen, Calhoun Koenig, Aphrodite Nikolovski, Bryce Xavier and Chris Newman, A Bennett Song Holiday is a sequel to 2018’s Bennett’s Song which was likewise helmed by the versatile and prolific Harley Wallen. And, like its predecessor, this follow-up story focuses on the Bennett-Song family, this time with a feel-good holiday twist: the united family (with a bouncing baby on the way) discover the real meaning of Christmas en route to working out how they can rescue a beloved community center from a 21st century Ebenezer Scrooge in the guise of a selfish developer. Naturally, the love and respect this remarkable family has for one another ultimately wins the day.
This simple summary above does little to convey the journey Mr. Wallen, writer Nancy Oeswein and their exemplary cast go through in order to arrive at their happy ending; like many things in life and in the movies, it’s the journey in getting to the finish line rather than the actual stopping point itself that makes this an enjoyable two hour romp that we wish would never end. Simply put, we enjoy these characters and it’s fun to see such solid journeyman actors as Dennis Haskins and Corbin Bernsen provided with meaty roles that allow them to do what they do best – Act. Make no mistake, these two gents have a variety of layers and the flourishes they add to their characters is inspiring and makes me long to see them in more projects like A Bennett Song Holiday. In fact, the biggest compliment I can give the film is that everyone is playing at the top of their game; there are no lightweights or pikers in this fun production. And as for waterworks, the hallmark (please pardon the admittedly awful pun) of the film is without a doubt the Christmas letter scene; bring your handkerchiefs. You have been warned.
A Bennett Song Holiday is the Christmas movie we all need right now: Full of love, laughter, family and coming together through misunderstandings to celebrate one another and the Christmas holidays. That’s a simple prescription for 2020 and, as it turns out, a prescient one.
Wanna check out A Bennett Song Holiday with your own two peepers? Then you’ve hit the jackpot, True Believer! A Bennett Song Holiday premieres this November 10, 2020 and it will be available via the following streaming giants: iTunes, Vimeo, Amazon, Googleplay, Vudu and Vimeo, as well as across hundreds of U.S. cable providers including Comcast, Spectrum, Charter, Cox, Dish, DirecTV and more. Not enough for you? DVD retailers such as Amazon and all other major online DVD dealers will be handling this release. We got our muchachos up in chilly Canada covered, too: Canadian cable providers include Rogers, Shaw and Bell. Tell ‘em Vents sent ya!