I was flipping through Amazon’s streaming service looking for independent movies with horrible cinematography, lighting and sound. I look for these movies to roll my eyes and hopefully find a great story but more times than not, I am rolling my eyes. Through my eye rolls, I do often have to check myself. These filmmakers have people who believe enough in their stories to support them. Whether that is through their acting, directing, funding or whoever helped them get their film on the streaming service, the support is there and my monthly subscription provides them with a platform.
It was during one of my Amazon flips sessions that I tripped on this film titled, Morris from America. I was initially drawn to the film because it stars comedian, Craig Robinson and I needed a good laugh. Little did I know, I’d be introduced to Markees Christmas. Markees, stars as Morris Gentry, Robinson’s 13 year old son in this coming of age story. With a crush on a far more experienced 15 year old, Katrin, Morris finds himself in some pretty precarious situations.
Craig Robinson’s character, Curtis Gentry a widower is a former soccer pro; whose skills have landed him a coaching position in Germany. Morris is non-too pleased with the move but he does his best to adapt. His adapting is coupled with bouts of falling to peer-pressure because he is sweet on Katrin. Love will make you do some crazy things but a teen-age love that is one-sided is a beast all its own.
The way the movie spotlights this father and son’s navigation of their own relationship is powerful. Couple that with the task of grieving the loss of the number one woman in their lives, their heads bump but the love and wanting the best for each other is every present. Totally ignorant of how this full-time parenting thing works, Curtis does his best. His love for his son exposes his vulnerability and his goal of cancelling the notion, black men don’t take care of the children. If that means moving to Germany, then by all means let’s get this thing done.
I basked in the experience this young black man had. Not only does Morris find his voice as a rapper, and learn the promiscuous ways of a groupie, Markees Christmas has gained a scope on life no one will ever be able take from him. At 13 years old, he carried an entire film in a foreign land along a comedy great, like Craig Robinson. The name Craig Robinson is the draw but Markees Christmas is the star.
Lastly, I am confident Markees’ take-away will be, to be prepared for the unexpected, live your life and grow your dream no matter where on earth you have to find your soil. Do yourself a favor, buy, stream or rent, Morris from American. 4 Stars