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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Nov 12, 2020



CHRISTMAS IS FAST approaching and Netflix has already released its annual Christmas presentations and we’ve seen one of them, “Operation Christmas Drop” (the other one is “Holidate”). 

“Christmas Drop” is a romcom based on a yearly humanitarian mission of the US Air Force that airdop presents into various Micronesian Islands during the Christmas season. 

We’re a sucker for Christmas films and there’s an entire genre of movies set during the holiday season. 

We’ve seen the original “Ang Pagsilang ng Mesiyas”, the local film made in the 50s about the nativity with Norma Blancaflor as the Virgin Mary, and also etched in our memory were the Nida-Nestor Eastman color films made by LVN Pictures for the holiday season, like “Ikaw Kasi”, “Tingnan Natin”, “Casa Grande”, sadly none of which has an existing copy now. 

Last year, we enjoyed “Last Christmas” with our grand children who got afflicted with the last song syndrome singing its catchy theme song after we saw the movie. 

It’s a combination love story and whimsy that critics tore to pieces, but we guess most of these people are now so acerbic that if you’d just show the well loved Christmas classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, today, they’d also find it silly. 

Believe it or not, there are so many Christmas films that made us cry, even “Home Alone” when the old curmudgeon who’s a neighbor of Macaulay Culkin finally reunites with his estranged family. 

Our list includes “Meet Me in St. Louis” (we still feel so melancholic each time we watch Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”), “Jack Frost” (about a dad who comes back as snow man), “Love Actually” (cheesy but endearing ensemble romcom with multiple stories), “The Apartment” (Jack Lemmon is unforgettable in a story of love and loneliness on Christmas), 

“A Christmas Carol” (there are many versions by this classic Dickens tale, even one with the Muppets, but the best for us is the 1951 British version) and “The Miracle on 34th St.” (Santa Claus is put to trial with Natalie Wood as the lead child actress, this has been remade).

“Operation Christmas Drop”  is about a congressional aide, Erica Miller (Kat Graham), who is ordered by her boss Congresswoman Angie Bradford (Virginia Madsen), to go to a tropical island just a few days before Christmas. 

Her mission is to gather data that will be used as evidence to close down a U.S. Air Force base situated there to help slash military expenditures. 

In charge to entertain her is Capt. Andrew Jantz (Alexander Ludwig), a pilot whose pet project is Operation Christmas Drop. 

At first, but naturally, they clash, they bicker, but of course, it’s predictable that, in the course of her stay in the island and with the amiable captain escorting her, Erica is bound to change her mindset. 

She is able to let her hair down, she goes snorkelling in crystal blue waters with the captain, meets the charming natives and realizes that the real timeless message of Christmas is serving those who are in need. 

It’s easy to see that Erica and the captain will fall in love with each other. It’s all part of the miracle that is Christmas, isn’t it?

The movie is sweet and easily digestible with likable leads in an interracial romance. Kat Graham (“Vampire Diaries”) is a lovely African-American actress with a winning smile while Alexander Ludwig (Cato in “The Hunger Games” and Bjorn in the long-running series “Vikings”) is a big blonde hunk that reminds us of the likes of Tab Hunter and Troy Donahue in the 60s. 

It’s also a big plus that the movie gets to display the beauty of the island of Guam and its surroundings islands and beautiful beaches, instead of a White Christmas. 

It also shows that the U.S. Air Force is truly benevolent and caring. So, mission accomplished, everyone!