No Slap Oscars Bring Joy To Gen X & Boomers Alike

17th Dallas International Film Festival

This telling of the Christmas story finds Ralph married to Anne portrayed by Erin Hayes (Children’s Hospital, Bill and Ted Face the Music) and they have two kids; Mark and Julie who have returned home to visit Grandma Parker, Julie Hagerty, (Airplane!, Just Friends) for the holiday after his father has passed away.

Spielberg takes almost three hours to make a statement that isn’t a statement at all, more like a vague meandering of journal entries. “Let it end so I can understand”, declared my friend Daniel, cracking me up as we entered hour 2 of the 2-hour and 31-minute-long film. Hahahaaa.

Though it ended with a surprise of a sort-a cameo, and I still don’t understand. And that’s ok. But I’m supposed to write a review. A difficult thing for me unless I’m moved, this may be due perhaps to my lack of knowledge of the Jewish faith. Which was a thread run throughout the film.

Based on the life of Steven Spielberg, Sammy’s mother, portrayed by Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn, Manchester By the Sea), offers freedom for a young man and yet he perpetually feels imprisoned by a wonderful but boring father.

The father is depicted by Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine) and a computer engineer whose connection to his family may be hindered by his success with electronics.

The Fabelmans want to show you their backstory and accomplish the path of the family from children to young adults. Mostly through the view of the son, Sammy who prefers to be called “Sam” represented by Gabriel LaBelle (Dead Shack, The Predator) who shines in the Spielberg role.

The unique telling of this type of period piece of the ’50s and ’60s, in the telling of the addition of the father’s family friend “Uncle” Bennie played by Seth Rogan (Superbad, Pineapple Express). In an interview admitted, he ‘That he would most likely never work with Spielberg, due to a terrible first meeting, at an award show after-party. When he met Spielberg he lit a joint during the conversation that he felt was ill-received.

Returning to Cleveland Street may have provided the same stressors Ralph’s old man had in dealing with the holidays. Can Ralph provide a brilliant Christmas with the same over-dubbing view as the original film and pull off a Christmas for the ages? Let’s hope not, due to the need for a bit of fun, in this over-stressed and all-encompassing holiday story.

Returning are all the old favorites from the originals from Flick to

Without a doubt this movie harkens back to a time for all families to connect to Christmas in a tender and traditional way that hopefully brings the spirit of the season to us all.
Happy Holidays from all the team at


15th Dallas International Film Festival