Al­most a sad af­fair

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Damian Levy Gleaner Writer

Se­lena Gomez turned down Thanks­giv­ing at Tay­lor Swift’s house in or­der to spend time with her fam­ily.

Tay­lor threw a beach party for her ‘squad’, in­clud­ing model pals Lily Don­ald­son, Martha Hunt, singer To­drick Hall, her brother Austin and her par­ents Scott and An­drew at her lav­ish es­tate in Rhode Is­land, New Eng­land, to cel­e­brate the hol­i­day; but Se­lena flew to Texas to be with her fam­ily.

A source told Hol­ly­ “Tay­lor in­vited Se­lena to her big Thanks­giv­ing din­ner, but right now Se­lena just wants to be with her fam­ily. Spend­ing time with them is her pri­or­ity.”

Se­lena, 24, ad­mit­ted her­self to re­hab ear­lier this year in or­der to treat de­pres­sion which was brought on as a re­sult of her bat­tle with au­toim­mune dis­ease lu­pus, and she spoke openly about her bat­tle at the Amer­i­can Mu­sic Awards last week.

And sources close to the singer say she has been lean­ing on Tay­lor, 26, as she con­tin­ues her re­cov­ery. Kanye West ed­u­ca­tor Don­nie Smith, Donda’s House, Inc.

“In or­der to deepen its im­pact, Donda’s House has ac­quired a home fa­cil­ity that will pro­vide a per­ma­nent lo­ca­tion for all of the Donda’s House fam­ily to gather, of­fer pro­gram­ming, and grow. Donda’s House en­vi­sions this fa­cil­ity as not only a home­grown hub of eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity for the South­side, but also a gath­er­ing place for the com­mu­nity with events and con­certs. Donda’s House se­lected this lo­ca­tion in par­tic­u­lar be­cause it is the for­mer home of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s name­sake Dr Donda West, who at one time pro­vided sim­i­lar ser­vices and sup­port to in­cu­bate young artists. Donda’s House is com­mit­ted to the suc­cess of Chicago’s young cre­atives and this property will help th­ese young peo­ple flour­ish.”

Donda passed away on Novem­ber 10, 2007, fol­low­ing com­pli­ca­tions af­ter a breast re­duc­tion and ab­domino­plasty surgery.


The in­sider added: “She’s been lean­ing on Tay­lor a lot though, they’re in touch ev­ery day and they’ll be see­ing each other soon.”

Lady Gaga also reached out to the “brave” singer to praise her for be­ing so open about her prob­lems.

She said: “I found it very brave of her to stand up and speak about [de­pres­sion].

“I know her and I had a kin­dred ex­cite­ment for her at that mo­ment.

“As artistes, we don’t want to let peo­ple down. I found it very brave of her to let it out and take the shack­les off.

“You don’t al­ways have to keep up a good front to suc­ceed, what mat­ters most is you’re OK in­side. I ap­plaud her.” A fam­ily re­unites in ‘Al­most Christ­mas’.

DE­SPITE BE­ING de­clared the ‘most won­der­ful time of the year’, Christ­mas has its fair share of crit­ics. Truly, some peo­ple don’t en­joy ag­o­nis­ing over the per­fect gift and then spend­ing money on it, for peo­ple that they don’t re­ally care for. That last bit is at the heart of Al­most Christ­mas, a movie that tries to cap­ture the awk­ward ten­sion in­her­ent with fam­ily gath­er­ings. Isn’t Christ­mas grand?

For all its at­tempts at em­u­lat­ing a com­plex fam­ily dy­namic, Al­most Christ­mas mostly misses the mark. Danny Glover’s Wal­ter is the pa­tri­arch of a big fam­ily, whose mem­bers bring not only their lug­gage, but all their bag­gage too. Bag­gage that seems a lit­tle too fa­mil­iar. There’s the dad that works too much, the sis­ters who’ve hated each other since they were lit­tle. Ev­ery char­ac­ter in the film is in­stantly recog­nis­able, which makes it fairly easy to fig­ure out where ev­ery­one will end up when the cam­eras stop rolling.

It’s the first Christ­mas since Wal­ter’s wife died, and the movie is full of heart-warm­ing scenes of dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters, work­ing through that grief.

Pre­dictabil­ity doesn’t make or break a film. The most for­mu­laic of films can have sev­eral mo­ments that de­light and ex­cite. In the case of Al­most Christ­mas, those mo­ments are few. Much of the hu­mour is re­liant on slap­stick, like the wacky un­cle fall­ing off a roof af­ter try­ing to fix a bro­ken roof or­na­ment. While hi­lar­i­ous in a car­toon, when it’s a JB Smoove, it’s a lit­tle sad.

If you find your­self feel­ing sad more than once in Al­most Christ­mas, that’s be­cause un­der­neath the so-so com­edy is a story of a fam­ily at­tempt­ing to make it through the hol­i­days in mourn­ing. It’s the first Christ­mas since Wal­ter’s wife died, and the movie is full of heart-warm­ing scenes of dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters work­ing through that grief. Some­times th­ese scenes seem sud­den, com­pletely dif­fer­ent in tone from the comedic scenes that played before it. Truth­fully, though, that’s an hon­est de­pic­tion of grief. It sneaks up on peo­ple when they least ex­pect it.

On the whole, the movie is a col­lec­tion of sto­ries and scenes that are mostly ex­pected. At the time of year when you’ve al­ready spent money you didn’t want to spend, then per­haps save what you have left and miss this one. Next year when it comes on ca­ble, put it on, so you can avoid talk­ing to those rel­a­tives you wish you didn’t have to see for an hour and a half.

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