December 07, 2006

Cool Whip Christmas

“Christmas in the Clouds”...Can a Movie be Too Delightful?[T]here’s a lot to like about Clouds its lightness conceals. “This story is about nowadays Indians,” narrates Joe Clouds on Fire (Sam Vlahos) in the opening scene. And that it is. Filmed at Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort in Utah, the story centers around how the resort manager, Ray (Vahle) mistakes the comely Tina (Tosca) as a travel guide critic, while she in turn assumes Ray is the pen pal she’s made the trip to see. Of course, they are both so so wrong and so so attracted to each other, which leads to the misunderstandings and eventual happy ending we’re all expecting.

The fact Ray and Tina are contemporary, educated, erudite, and Indian is not something you typically find in mainstream films, nor is the addition of the interracial romance at the film’s closing between Joe and the British physician. How refreshing to see Natives leave the beads and feathers behind and join the 21st century not clutching a bottle of booze, destitute, or saying “aaayyyyyyee” every other sentence. Sure, they’re Indian alright, and the cast which includes M. Emmet Walsh, Lois Red Elk, Rita Coolidge, Shirley Cheechoo, and the three “Supremes” of the Native acting world—Graham Greene, Sheila Tousey and Wes Studi, fill out the frothy plot to lift it from ABC Family quality.

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