Which suits Keith David and Omar Gooding just fine as they star in the newest yuletide movie to hit the big screen, “Christmas In Compton.”
The film, which also stars Sheryl Lee Ralph, Eric Roberts, Orlando Brown and Miguel Núñez Jr., centers on Big Earl (David), a man who owns a Christmas tree lot in Compton and his son Derrick (Gooding). Armed with a big heart and big vision, Big Earl demands success from all those around him. Derrick, who works part-time at the Christmas tree lot, crosses the line a week before the holiday to prove to his father that he is a success. Derrick’s efforts, which jeopardize his relationship with Big Earl as well as the survival of the lot, result in the part-time music producer needing a Christmas miracle to make things right.
For Gooding, “Christmas in Compton” provided the perfect chance to be involved in a different kind of movie-making experience after reading the movie’s script.
“I loved it. I thought it was wholesome. It had all the qualities that I like in a film. I thought there was a lot I could do with the character itself,” the actor told EUR’s Lee Bailey. “I haven’t done a movie like this where it’s a holiday film where you can bring everybody. You can bring your parents. You can bring the kids. You can bring everybody out and nobody would be offended. No foul language. No profanity. Nothing crazy, nudity and whatnot. So I wanted to do a wholesome type of film like that.”
The family friendly vibe of “Christmas in Compton” wasn’t the only thing that attracted Gooding. The father son relationship between Big Earl and Derrick proved to be something worth exploring for the “Family Time” star and David, who relished the chance to bring David Raynor-helmed tale to life.
“I particularly love stories about fathers and sons because not only in the black community but in the human community the relationship between fathers and sons is always acute,” the acting veteran shared. “I think you find out at the end of the movie with Big Earl and Derrick there was an element of tough love. And I think that pervades the relationship of fathers and sons. Fathers want their sons to do better than they were, have it better and instill a strong work ethic because ‘I’m not gonna be around forever and you need to be able to take care of yourself …I think that sometimes you have to step back, away from our overall intention and see how it is impacting the people that we want to, in fact, influence. I think that the movie also does that. Given the circumstances that Derrick gets himself in to Earl realizes that his [Derrick's]desire to really be on his own and to do something on his own just went a little bit too far.
“The truth of the matter is we don’t do anything by ourselves. We get by with a little help from our friends,” David continued while referencing the familiar African proverb “It takes a community to raise a child.” “You have to sometimes take a step back from your overall loving intention and see how, in fact, that intention is being put out there and what is the impact it’s having on our sons.”
Like Gooding, “Christmas in Compton” struck a personal nerve with David. Labeling Big Earl as “a nurturer of the neighborhood,” the entertainer likened his character to his stepfather, who he stated was “was very nurturing to the neighborhood.”
“He had a strong work ethic. He’s got a strong desire to dispel the myths about communities like Compton, where you listen to everything you hear in the news or you hear people talk about it. It’s like ‘Nothing goes on there’ and ‘There’s no family values in places like that,’ which is totally untrue,” David stated about what prompted him to play Big Earl. “I think, if anything, the movie speaks to the fact that you don’t have a whole lot of money. You don’t have to be rich in order to have family values and a strong work ethic.”
“Christmas in Compton” hits theaters on Friday (Nov. 9). Log onto https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasInCompton to find out where the film is playing.
Watch the hilarious trailer for “Christmas In Compton”: