Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage

Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage

Barely out of school and still searching for his voice as an artist, twenty-year-old Thom looks forward to another idyllic holiday in his hometown of Placerville, CA, a rustic hamlet nestled in the Sierra foothills. But this Christmas, Placerville is struggling: the town’s tourist industry is failing, Thom’s ailing, once-brilliant mentor, Glen, has lost his ability to paint, and Thom’s spirited mother, Mary Anne, reveals that she’s losing their family home to foreclosure. Faced with so much uncertainty, Thom comes to realize that salvation may lie in the community of friends and loved ones he left behind. With Glen’s help, he not only discovers himself as an artist, but helps the entire town of Placerville rediscover the true spirit of the holidays.
[clock tower chiming]
[helicopter passes overhead]
I want that shoulder.
You want more?
[chuckles]
[helicopter passes overhead]
All right.
Pat’s waiting down there.
Your brother can wait.
He gets to see you
this entire holiday.
I told you, Hope.
I’ll drive up to Marin
Christmas Night, okay?
I promise.
Nothing will stop me.
♪ Treetops are crying ♪
♪ The moon is spinning
right around ♪

♪ Everything seems far away
from where I am right now ♪

[Man]
Like every Christmas story,

this one’s about new life
in the dead of winter.

♪ Back in my home town ♪
But I didn’t know that
at the time.

I was just a college kid
coming home for vacation
with my brother Pat.

It was 1977.
My hometown of Placerville
is up in the foothills
of the high Sierra.

It’s not that far
from Berkeley

as the crow flies.
It was just…
another world away for me.

♪ Back in my hometown ♪
♪ Uh-huh ♪
♪ Rivers running
through the haze ♪

♪ Headed for the sea ♪
♪ There’s a place
set at the table ♪

♪ And it’s waiting
there for me-hee-hee ♪

♪ Ooh-ooh-ooh ♪
♪ Back in my hometown ♪
You see, Christmas
in Placerville never changed.

Every year
I painted the scenery

for the church pageant,
and every year Mom took
the children’s choir

up to the mountains to listen
to the wind in the trees.

Oh! Ha ha!
What are you doing here?
Oh, my beautiful boys!
♪ Home
is where I wanna be ♪

[honks horn]
♪ Ooh-ooh-ooh ♪
♪ Back in my hometown ♪
♪ Uh-huh ♪
♪ Uh-huh ♪
Our neighbor, Mr. Rosa,
knew every shred
of gossip in town.

Jupiter! Oh,
he’s missed you, son!
He’s German, you know!
Uhh!
Jupiter,
stop kissing Thom.
Hi, Mr. Rosa.
Thanks.
Thom. Pat.
How are you?
I’ll get that thing
running yet, Maryanne.
I’ll go look at it.
You should know,
that big Thanksgiving rain?
My house weathered fine.
I keep it in mint condition.
It’s all in the upkeep.
But your mom’s roof
leaked something terrible.
Then the water pipes froze.
It burst and…
Water damage, huh?
She didn’t tell us.
Maryanne
wouldn’t have told you.
You know how your mother is.
Yeah. You know, thanks
for sharing, Mr. Rosa.
You know, with you boys
off at school,
she’s all alone.
But she still teaches
the kids how to sing.
She sews all the Christmas
pageant costumes.
She’s got pep, your mom.
Yeah, mucho pep.
You boys should get
on the stick for her.
She doesn’t spill
her own beans.
So you spill them for me.
Well, it needs oil,
for one thing.
You know, Mr. Rosa, if you
ever did get the truck fixed,
you wouldn’t have anything
to gossip about, would you?
Come on, guys. I gotta get
supper over to Glen.
Thanks, Mr. Rosa.
See you, Mr. Rosa.
[Thom]
Sometimes life moves
in mysterious ways,

and sometimes there’s
no mystery at all.

Like when Glen Wesman
built a studio across
the field from us.

Having a famous artist
next door

was like God’s finger
pointing me toward painting.

All through high school,
Glen taught me what
it means to be an artist.

Glen?
Close the damn door!
[door closes]
Glen, it’s Thom.
It’s cold in here.
Why would you leave
the door open?
Where on earth
are you?
In the corner…
like Little Jack Horner.
What?
Come in.
I’m learning Latin.
A dead language…
for the dead.
Maleficent crap, eh?
They’re not done.
Some things are
better left undone.
I can’t capture her.
Can’t paint the loss.
My hands won’t cooperate.
Don’t get old.
That’s the sum
of my wisdom at
this advanced age.
Don’t get old.
Don’t…
get…
Oh! Damned hand!
Nothing works
the way it used to.
Let me get that.
[clears throat]
Write.
Yep.
Don’t get old.
Pin it up.
How’s your work?
I’d like to see what
you’ve been painting.
I feel lost, really.
Here.
I guess I’ve been doing
a lot of, uh…
a lot of Expressionistic
stuff lately.
That will get you
lost very quickly.
Don’t reduce art
to something that’s
about the artist.
Art isn’t about
the artist.
It’s about life.
Life.
Beauty.
Love.
Emotion.
Art should bring emotion
that can topple tyranny.
I haven’t forgotten, Glen.
Are you gonna
try this one again?
We were in Paris
before the war.
We would picnic
along the Seine.
You and Nicole?
A little wine,
some bread by the water.
She liked
the simple things.
I lay back on the grass
and looked up.
The light played
through the trees
and touched her.
You must see the summer
light in Paris.
It surrounds the leaves,
holds them somehow.
If there were a God,
that light would be
like his hand
holding the whole
world together.
If I could paint that…
I bet that art dealer
in San Francisco
would be very happy.
Sidney.
[chuckles]
You know, a new Glen Wesman
would be worth a lot of money.
Sidney always tries
to inspire me.
For Sidney.
Tell him to…
go to hell.
You like Sidney.
Do I?
You always said you did.
What was I writing?
You know, don’t even–
don’t even bother
writing it down, Glen.
I bet– I bet you’ll
remember to tell him
to go the hell
when you see him.
Yes.
I shall recline here like
an Oriental potentate…
and then try once again
to capture Nicole.
Record the loss.
Nicole.
Want to top things off
with tea, Fresca,
some other fine beverage?
No.
Mom, what is this?
Nothing.
Nothing?
The bank says they’re
foreclosing, Mom.
Thom, this is
my business,
not yours.
Let’s see.
I’ll figure it out.
I have until New Year’s
to come up with
the back payments.
$3,151
and 39 cents.
This is due
in two weeks.
How can they
do this?
They have already
extended me countless times.
I’ve spoken to them.
There’s nothing more
they can do.
Mom, how could you
fall this far behind?
Why didn’t you tell us?
Mom, we–
Stop.
You are my boys.
I’m supposed to
take care of you,
not the other way around.
We’re gonna
lose the cottage.
[thunder]
[train in distance]
Thom.
I was so close
to being asleep.
[laughs]
No, you weren’t.
Okay, I wasn’t.
You know how I used
to fall asleep?
I was looking
at that drawing of Dad.
And dreaming about
when he’d come back.
Babies.
On our own.
I remember Mom told me
I was the man of the house.
I’m not gonna
go see Hope.
I’m gonna stay here
and get a job and
work over the break.
You and Hope are like…
pretty serious?
She’ll have to understand.
We can’t leave
Mom like this.
Yeah, okay. Me, too.
I’ll find something, too,
some job.
Yeah.
Good.
Trade you.
But you’re on vacation.
You shouldn’t be
getting jobs.
Yeah, but, Mom,
you have a job.
You got to work
every day.
Why shouldn’t we?
This isn’t right.
Living like this?
You need help.
No. Your job is
to focus on school.
And when you come home,
you’re on vacation.
[dryer rumbling]
Relax.
Enjoy yourselves.
Pancakes, anyone?
Blue box.
Thanks for the job,
Big Jim.
I don’t know much
about electricity,
but I’m gonna work
really hard.
Well, we’re gonna
have to, Pat,
because, uh, these people
over here never sleep.
I gotta tell you,
they’ve been trying
to top me for 25 years.
♪♪ [“The 12 Days
of Christmas”]

Your move, Big Jim.
You’re pathetic,
Gunderson.
You and your uptight,
beady-eyed wife!
You think
you can top me?
I’m Mr. Electricity
in this town!
Watch this.
I built this myself,
Pat.
Oh.
[rumbling]
Does that go any faster?
No!
Ho ho ho!
Don’t give in to him!
He called me beady-eyed
in front of the neighbors.
[bang]
[recorded voice slowing down]
[click]
[choir on tape]
♪ Hallelujah ♪

♪ Hallelujah ♪
♪ Hallelujah, hallelujah,
hallelujah ♪

Right there,
that’s why I need
your help.
They’re bitter,
ugly people, Pat.
Sadists at heart.
Keep your cat
off my yard!
I found a hairball
in my manger!
You don’t have a manger!
Yeah, you don’t
have a manger!
I hate their cat.
Come on, let’s go
blow up Mrs. Claus.
I do, too,
have a manger.
I’ve got everything.
Ernie. Hey.
Hey.
Little Thomas Kinkade,
all the way
from college.
Look at you. Jeez.
Take a seat. Give this man
a Pepsi Cola, will ya?
Sure.
Thanks.
You know, um, I was
actually looking for you
because I wanted to talk
to you about finding a job.
You know, just something
over the holidays.
A job, huh?
Yeah.
Right.
Work.
Yeah.
Employment.
You’re in
Placerville, son,
and I can tell you’re
digging for gold,
aren’t you?
Let me tell you
something.
I’m digging
for gold, too.
Tourist gold.
Who do you think’s gonna
buy the Haggar slacks
at the Round Tent?
Who’s gonna buy
the cowboy hats
at Arian’s?
Thoughts?
Tourists.
Tourists. Exactly.
But tourists
who are gonna be coming
to the Christmas tree
capital of the world, baby.
Yeah. Sounds good. So–
Sounds good?
No, no, no,
it sounds great!
I got KRGA coming in
from Sacramento.
They’re gonna cover
the pageant and
the tree lighting.
We’re gonna be on
TV screens
from the capital
all the way to
the foothills.
We’re gonna be
going on around 4:30
in the afternoon,
so it’ll probably still
be a little light outside.
But that’s okay.
We’re gonna be
the lead-in to Match Game.
So one minute, people are
gonna be watching me,
and the next minute,
they’re gonna be
watching Gene Rayburn.
It’s almost gonna be like
Gene and I are friends.
And if that goes well,
next year
we’re prime time.
Wow. So, um–
Hello there.
Oh, hi, honey.
It’s nice to see you again.
It’s nice to see you.
Thank you.
Ernie.
Tanya.
It’s such an exciting
time of year, isn’t it?
Yes. Lovely.
Man.
I just can’t wait to run
for Miss Placerville again
and throw the switch
on that Christmas tree.
You know, Tanya,
you ran in 1974,
and you won.
I know.
You can’t run again.
You gotta give somebody
else a shot at that.
But no one ever did
turn on a tree
the way
I turned on a tree,
now, did they, Ernie?
You know, Tanya–
[clears throat]
When those photos
came out,
as president of
the Chamber of Commerce,
I got phone calls
night and day.
Not to mention
the organized protests
in the street.
I really don’t think
we want to go down
this road again.
We just don’t.
That was art,
and this is
discrimination.
I’m sorry. You just
can’t run again.
You are not the boss of me.
Yes, but I’m president
of the Chamber–
Yeah, well, I’ve got friends
in this town, too.
I’m not some
Little Orphan Ernie.
I mean Annie…Ernie.
You know what I mean.
I don’t.
Mmm.
Good-bye, Sunshine.
Tommy…
everybody wants
a piece of this action.
So do you have
any jobs open?
No, I do not.
It’s been very slow.
No tourists here.
That’s exactly why
we gotta promote this place.
Like with this mural?
Yes. Yes, exactly like
with this mural.
Ah, Placerville
at Christmastime.
Hmm. If Charlie could
just get it finished.
And if he could
learn how to paint.
You know, he’s a damn
good letterer,
but other than that,
you really can’t–
It’s Main Street,
a Christmas tree.
I can paint this.
Really?
Yes.
Well, now,
you know,
I want it like
Norman Rockwell.
I mean, I want this
to make us proud of
our hometown.
That’s, uh,
a tall order.
Oh, now come on.
You’re not gonna get
all high-toned Berkeley
on me, are you?
None of that social
commentary stuff, right?
I mean, this is
the back of a store.
This is not a museum,
you understand that?
Of course.
Yeah?
Yeah.
All right.
Let’s say, uh…
500 bucks if it’s
done by Christmas Eve.
You got a deal.
Yeah, a deal?
All right.
[honks horn]
How was work?
Oh, it was fine.
Filing claims
is filing claims.
How about you guys?
Any luck?
We are both
on the job.
All of us Kinkades
are working Joes now.
Ha ha! That’s great!
That is great!
How about we go home
and celebrate with some
leftover spaghetti?
All right.
[telephone rings]
Little Joe’s.
Hi, Dad.
T-Bone!
How’s it hanging, son?
Uh, good, Dad.
So listen, it looks like
I’m gonna be in Placerville
the whole holiday,
and I thought you
might like to come up.
Kinkade!
Is that half pepperoni
done yet?
Coming, Skip.
Dad–
It’ll be right out, sir.
Dad–
I’m gonna get that kid.
I’ve seen managers
come and go, son.

But Big Bill sticks!
Some day,
I’ll own this joint.
Cash in my
U.S. War Bonds.

and I’ll buy this place.
And I will
watch with glee
as that pimply-faced
jerk falls to his knees
as dear old Dad
is anointed
with the Little Joe’s
pizza crown.
Dad, he’s 19.
He’s wet behind
the ears,
and a couple other
places I can think of.
Hey, so…
you can really
come up?
It’s kind of
an emergency.

Chick problems? You need
a pinch hitter, son?
Look, I can explain it
all when you get here,
okay, Dad?
Hey!
I’ll be there for you.
Don’t you count out
dear old Pops.
No, sir.
[sighs]
500 bucks is 500 bucks.
[Glen]
Did you ever do a painting
you didn’t believe in?
It’s kinda funny
you asked.
Actually,
I just took on a job.
I’m doing this ridiculous
Christmas mural of
Placerville for 500 bucks.
Ridiculous.
Yeah, I know.
A mural of Placerville.
It’s your chance
to illuminate
where you live,
to inspire
your neighbors.
Do you think because
they aren’t sophisticated
they don’t deserve
your best art?
No–
That mural can record
the people you love
for posterity.
It could change the way
they see themselves.
Art crosses all borders,
surpasses all languages.
It’s a place where
we are one family.
And if you are willing,
really, to see with
your eyes and your heart,
one image
can change lives.
You can introduce men
to their souls.
You can bring that
to this town.
You have that power.
Give your very best
always.
Always the finest
your heart has.
Okay.
It’s the only way
an artist knows.
Okay, Glen. Okay.
[cane drops on floor]
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Glen.
Humpty Dumpty
had a great fall.
Glen.
All the king’s horses
and all the king’s men
couldn’t put Humpty–
Glen.
[chuckles]
Humpty Dumpty…
Glen wasn’t
the only one grieving.

My mother was always there
to comfort everyone,

like Butch, the owner
of the Hangtown Saloon.

[Maryanne]
Are you gonna go over
there before Christmas?
[Butch]
Yeah.
This pine tree has shot up
another couple inches.
I love the smell
of that tree. It’s–
And the air today, it’s just
so fresh and so clean.
That war– it’s still
taking its toll.
Wars never end.
Just–
Just the lives
of the soldiers
who fight them.
He’s panting awfully hard.
He does that
all day long.
Bulldogs have
respiratory problems.
You should really
have her checked out.
Problems? Really?
Mm-hmm.
Well, I will.
Thanks, Maryanne.
I owe you a beer.
I owe you
more than that.
[dog barks]
Stay, boy!
Stay! Jupiter!
I’m sorry, Thom.
I always forget the German
word for sit
is “sit sie”
or something.
He’ll respond to German.
Sit sie!
Sit sie!
Sit sie!
Jupiter, sit.
Come on, Jupiter.
I know you think
I’m a busybody.
Am I okay with you?
Yeah.
Of course you are.
Come on, Jupiter.
[barks]
No, no, no, no, no!
Stop sie!
Stop sie!
[barking]
Jupiter!
Stop sie!
[church bell ringing]
[pops mouth]
“And it came to pass
in those days that–“
[clears throat]
No, no. More bass.
[lower voice]
“And it came to pass
in those days–“
[microphone feedback]
“…that there went out
“a decree from
Caesar Augustus
that all the world
should be taxed.”
Wow.
Psst. Hey, there’s
too much spirit gum.
The bottle says
generously.
Oh, yeah? Who died
and made you Max Factor?
Please let her
do it, Evelyn.
Ernie won’t let her be
Miss Placerville again.
She’ll be fine in the role,
especially with your
brilliant direction.
Why doesn’t Mary
have any lines?
She’s the key role,
Tanya.
Without Mary,
there’d be no Jesus.
Mary was a beautiful
woman, Tanya.
You’ll be great.
Besides, we need
your star power.
[pops gum]
Hey, Pastor.
Ah.
Guess what.
Uh…
I’m gonna be Mary.
[laughs]
Oh!
The Vir– the Bless–
Evelyn?
Did you want
two humps…
on the camel?
You– Um…
“And so it was that
while they were there
“the days
were accomplished
“that she should
be delivered.
“And she brought forth
her firstborn son,
“wrapped him in
swaddling clothes,
“and laid him
in a manger
because there was
no room in the inn.”
[off-key]
♪ Joy to the world ♪
♪ The Lord is come ♪
♪ Let Earth
receive her King ♪
Oh, damn it to hell!
What?
[toy cow mooing]
Break’s over, everybody.
Let’s get started.
Places, please.
Come along.
[whistle blowing]
Come on, guys.
Come along.
Come along.
Hurry up now.
That’s it.
Don’t forget your staff.
Great, great.
Come on in.
Good, good, good.
Very good. Very good.
Vesta, we’ll start
with “Silent Night.”
What?
We’ll start with
“Silent Night.”
[plays “Joy To The World”]
No, Vesta, I want
to change the order.
You can never change
the order of the pageant
music with Vesta.
You’ll have to wait
until she dies.
That could be arranged.
I’m serious.
[toy cow moos]
Whoever is mooing,
please stop it.
Stop the cow!
Sawdust for brains,
this one.
Uh-uh.
Okay. If we could
just start.
Okay.
Stand.
Evelyn.
Oh, my God, Lloyd,
what happened?
It’s an allergy.
I think I’m in
anaphylactic shock.
You’re an
Anna who?
I’ve read about this.
I know all the
characteristics.
I’ve got the hives.
I’ve got the swelling
of the neck.
I’ve got the cramping,
little tummy pains.
It’s the spirit gum.
I told you you were
using too much.
I was the one
who said that.
Shut up, okay?
Wheezing,
throat closing down,
inability to breath.
Oh, my God. We’ve got
to get to a hospital.
I need
a broncho-dilator.
I can help you
with this here.
Aah!
There’s your
broncho-dilator!
That really hurt!
You could say
thank you.
Are you okay, honey?
I don’t know.
It was like…
an assault!
Oh, you’re welcome!
What a jerk!
I can’t work with him.
Yeah, that makes
two of us!
All right,
all right,
come on–
Come on, guys.
Let’s, uh,
Let’s try to keep our eyes
on the prize, okay?
Those TV cameras
out there,
they’re gonna want
to see happy faces.
Yeah? Well, then why is his
ugly mug center stage?
I’ll tell you why.
Because his wife is
the big Kahuna here!
You take that back,
you big giraffe.
Why, you little–
You can’t do that!
Watch me!
Uh…
Uh…
[whistle blows]
Stop it, both of you!
In front of
the children, no less.
[children moo]
Some great
Christmas pageant.
I can’t be a Wise Man,
not with these
two fools.
I’m turning in my beard.
Oh, no.
Ow.
We need a Wise Man.
Does he have a line?
I know
the perfect person.
I’ll be right back.
[“We Three Kings”
playing on organ]
I haven’t seen
Butch here since…
Nine years.
The funeral.
Mm-hmm.
[car horn playing
“La Cucaracha”]
It can’t be.
♪♪ [Tijuana Brass
on radio]

[car backfires]
[backfire]
[backfire]
Ho ho ho!
Pop!
How are you?
Hey, boy!
Ha ha ha!
T-Bone!
Yee ha ha!
Oh, my…
Man! A couple of fine
young California redwoods.
Yeah! Dang!
Hey, boys, I got your
Christmas presents
right back here.
Just what
the doctor ordered.
Yes, sir.
There it is, boys.
There it is. Christmas classic.
Go ahead, Paddy-whacker.
Get ’em out here, huh?
I’ve been collecting ’em
for a long time,
many years now.
That’s vintage gold.
First-class merchandise.
Go ahead. Go ahead.
Open ’em up. Don’t be bashful.
Yes, sir. They’re worth
many, many drachmas.
Mm-hmm.
That right there?
100% made in America.
[laughs]
That’s hot stuff.
Caliente.

[Pat]
These are great, Dad.
Now, boys,
I got this puppy
all tuned up
for our invasion
down Mexico way.
Yes, siree.
I’ve been
saving my pennies,
and I got myself
a pretty little pile.
Because we are going
to Mexico.
Ha ha ha!
Where the beer is cold
and the señoritas hot.
Boys, we gotta go soon, huh?
Olé! Ha ha ha!
Wait, Dad, don’t
you wanna stay for
a little bit?
Stick around?
You mean like…
park the carcass,
chew the fat a while?
Yeah.
Or–
No, but…
It’s actually
kinda serious, Dad.
Look, why don’t you
just come inside?
See, some stuff
happened and–
Well, I’ll tell you,
Thomasito, stuff happens.
You remember
what Confucius say.
Life’s a bitch…
and then you die.
Right, but, Dad–
And you will be dead
a long, long time.
Dad, don’t you wanna
come in for just a minute?
Well, not at this
momento. No, thank you.
I got a noose waiting for me
down at the Hangtown Saloon.
[laughs]
But you can
stick around, right?
We really got
to talk, Dad.
What’s the matter, boy?
Ain’t you getting any?
Incoming.
That’s not the problem.
I mean, that it–
This is about something
totally different, Dad.
Okay, okay. I’ll stick
around a little while.
Whatever the problem is,
all you gotta do is just
grab your ass with both hands
and never let go.
Yes, sir.
[car engine starts]
I can hear them
señoritas right now.
Oh, hey, boys.
I got you guys a couple
of stocking stuffers
on my last trip
to Mexico.
Olé.
[bang]
Whoo-ha!
Bitchen, Thom!
Hold on, Butch.
Stay right like that.
Cool.
Say, Rembrandt,
would you like to
take a walk with me?
I’m gonna go see my kid.
Sure.
I can’t sleep.
They say…
that time heals,
but I…
still can’t sleep.
And, uh…
it hurts the same
year after year.
Why doesn’t it get easier?
I miss you.
Son, I miss you…
very much.
Merry Christmas.
[sighs]
[organ playing]
You gotta be still, okay?
This is our final
dress rehearsal,
and I want it
to be perfect.
Okay, stand up.
And…
[Vesta]
♪ Hark the– ♪
♪ We wish you
a Merry Christmas– ♪
♪ Angels ♪
♪ Sing ♪
♪ Glory to– ♪
♪ We wish you
a Merry Christmas– ♪
I told you not
to change the order.
“We Wish You A Merry
Christmas,” Vesta.
♪ We wish you a
Merry Christmas ♪
Okay.
I may not be
Miss Placerville,
but I can still
turn on a tree.
You want Placerville
to look its very best
on TV, don’t you?
Of course I do.
Well, who is the only nationally
recognized personality
this town has to offer?
Uh…
Okay.
We’ll give it
a shot, okay?
I knew that you’d
see it my way.
Ooh! Make a wish.
I just did.
♪ We wish you
a Merry Christmas ♪
Honey, I’m sorry.
I can’t keep this
beard on anymore.
This spirit gum,
it’s killing me.
♪ And a Happy New Year ♪
Perfect.
That was great.
Now Lloyd says
he’s quitting.
He’s quitting?
Lord, we need
another Wise Man.
Oh, he can’t quit.
Don’t worry.
I’ll be right back.
Just keep singing.
♪ We wish you
a Merry Christmas ♪
♪ We wish you
a Merry Christmas ♪
♪ We wish you
a Merry Christmas– ♪
Them damn Krauts,
they circled us here…
and here.
That’s why they
called it the Bulge.
We were like
fish in a barrel.
And old Bill was
the big walleye,
believe you me.
[man laugh]
Hello, Bill.
I heard there was
a drifter in town.
Hi, sweetie.
It’s been a while.
Not long enough.
[laughs]
That’s not a very
kind thing to say.
Want a drink?
Not really.
But I figured
you did.
So I do.
So I do, my dear.
I read once that drinking
was dangerous,
so I gave up reading.
[men laugh]
Still killing time,
huh, Bill?
No one ever
kills time, honey,
but you can
hold it captive.
You told me that one
about a hundred years ago.
Feels like a hundred years,
that’s for damn sure.
A lot of water
under the bridge…
rivers under the bridge.
Oceans.
♪ We were young once,
sweet Maryanne ♪
[laughs]
Couple of crazy kids
had a wedding.
My mother threw rice.
You threw firecrackers.
[laughs]
You sure were beautiful.
Still are.
If I may say so myself,
I was quite a handsome
young lad once upon a time.
You used to call me your
knight in shining armor.
I see you’ve gotten some
dents over the years.
Yeah.
Yeah, well…
All that armor…
got a little heavy.
I– I just
couldn’t, uh…
Yeah. Back then,
we sure were on
the merry-go-round
chasing that brass ring.
I’m still going for it.
Well, why you’re
grabbing that brass ring,
I’m trying to scrape
together a living
to raise two boys.
And they are damn
fine young men.
Thank you.
Bill, I’ve never asked you
for anything, ever.
But the church
needs your help.
[laughs]
Hold on, darlin’.
Usually, people put that
the other way around.
I need you to perform
in the pageant.
Whoa, Nellie.
[laughs]
Bill, after this year’s
pageant, I’m–
Well, things change,
and you never know
what’s gonna happen.
The boys may not make it
home again for Christmas.
I just want this Christmas
to be really special,
memorable.
Please?
Well, things
aren’t always
as memorable as they used
to be, darlin’, you know?
At least I don’t
have Alzheimer’s.
I have some-heimer’s.
I remember some things.
I remember everything.
Do it for Pat and Thom.
You owe them.
Sugar, I don’t owe
anybody anything.
Oh, you do.
You owe me.
[gasps]
[weeps]
Not this contraption!
I want my staff,
my rod.
I don’t use a walker!
A walker!
They turn you into
an old woman. It walks you!
But a staff, a rod!
Give me something I can
assault the enemy with!
Hello, Glen.
Sid.
Sid!
In the too too solid flesh.
Ah.
There was something I was
supposed to tell you.
Hmm?
Nice to see you, Thom.
Thanks for coming,
Mr. Marvin.
Oh, now I remember, yes.
Go to hell.
I’ve already been there.
How’s my market, Sid?
It’s been a while
since I’ve had
a new Glen Wesman to offer.
I need a great painting!
He needs a great check.
He’s in rare form today.
What did you put
in his coffee?
I will not pander.
I won’t put crap out
on the market.
No, no, no.
Glen– Glen, I know
you’ve had some pain–
I’ve known pain
all my life.
What I’m feeling now
is rage.
Rage, and you’d like
to calculate my suffering
and translate it into
dollars and cents.
I’m through with
the whole business.
I’m done. I’m finished.
I’ve heard
that speech before.
You think you’re the only
one who’s ever suffered?
Every year, Marc Chagall
yelled at me,
said he’s never
paint again.
But he always came up
with a new piece from inside.
And you can do the same.
[sighs heavily]
I’ve been trying for
months to do it, Sid,
to capture Nicole
so the world would
never lose her.
It’s not there.
I may not live
to see Christmas.
Get to work.
As you leave–
I’m leaving?
I just got here.
Your inspiration
has exhausted me.
As you leave,
would you please bring
me my staff, my rod?
I’ll do that.
Somehow this walker has
appeared by my bed.
I don’t want
the damn thing!
Your Worship.
Now you can go to hell.
[Glen]
Nicole. Nicole.
Those pictures
are unsalable.
They’re not finished.
They are finished.
He won’t go back
and finish them,
and he knows it.
He’s been depressed
ever since Nicole died,
and it’s gotten
in the way of his genius.
It’s worse than that.
He’s been getting
confused lately.
Hmm.
He has one more painting
in him,
I’m sure of it.
That would make your
bank account very
happy, I’m sure.
Huh?
I know you think I’m
some kind of mercenary.
That’s my job.
I love Glen.
I love his art, too.
And I’ve done right
by him for a long time.
And he’s done
a hell of a lot for you.
So…
how’s life treating you?
Have you got a minute,
Mr. Marvin?
Mm-hmm.
My family, um…
we’re– we’re in a bit
of a financial pinch.
Do you think maybe…
Do you think maybe
there’d ever be a buyer
for any of these?
[sighs]
I don’t think so.
Your teachers at Berkeley
do this kind of thing better.
These are pale imitations.
I’m sorry.
You might have
something inside you.
I don’t think
you’ve found it yet.
But you sure as hell
can draw.
It’s beautiful.
It’s this
little town and…
these people
I’ve known all my life.
There’s so much
love here.
It’s beautiful, Thom.
Don’t ever doubt that.
[Thom]
Nanette was my first love.

I hadn’t seen her
in almost a year.

Funny how my heart jumped.
[both]
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Oh, that is so tacky.
Take that,
Gunderson.
♪♪ [pop rock]
Merry Christmas.
You, too.
You’re doing great
there, boy.
Uhh! Oh!
[laughs]
♪ I have many things
to do this Christmastime ♪

What do you want
to do today, Vesta?
[gasps]
Look where we are.
Mother’s milk.
Right back at ya.
[mumbling]
If we could just start.
Mr. Chang!
Gunderson.
[feedback]
The wind is blowing
down your elves.
What– What wind?
And your flocking stinks.
Your flocking
is no stink.
You can bring love
to our church pageant,
but you have to hear it
and feel it first.
[evil laugh]
[both gasp]
Am I beautiful?
I thought so.
It’s coming along.
Gunderson.
Yeah!
Merry Christmas
old buddy.
January 5th.
I don’t know, Kinkade.
I mean, it’s, uh…
Well, it’s interesting.
No, it’s not.
That’s not gonna work.
[pops mouth]
Hey, there’s my store!
Wow. Very beautiful.
I like that very much.
See? He hates it.
Oh, well.
That–
That’s me!
With Jupiter!
You see how friendly
he is? I told you, Thom.
Look how skinny I am.
You know, it, uh,
was actually my idea
to, uh, have him
paint the people
that make Placerville
so special.
I may not know much
about artwork,
but I do know what
the public wants.
[laughs]
Very beautiful.
You ready to take
a break there, Thom, huh?
A break? No.
Day after tomorrow
is Christmas Eve.
This has to be ready
for the TV cameras.
You can take a break
after Christmas, yeah?
Listen, uh, 50 bucks
if you can find a spot
to put me in there, huh?
50? Yeah?
45. Paint me in.
Okay, great.
Wonderful.
Big Jim gave me
some overtime.
And I’ll have 500,
assuming I can
finish the mural.
Then there’s abut 200
in my savings account.
I must have
a hundred or so.
That leaves us short.
[phone rings]
[ring]
Hello?
I’m looking at you
right now.
Hi.
At one of your paintings.
[mouthing]
It’s Hope.
I miss you so much,
Thomas.
Yeah, me, too.
And I decided,
if you can’t come to me,
I’ll come to you.
[thunder]
♪♪ [rock]
Dad.
Number 1 son!
Ha ha ha!
Park yourself
right there.
Join me at
the altar, Thom.
What I’m most proud
about you, T-Bone–
T-Boneus Rex–
Ha ha ha!
is that you never
took up smoking.
I’m really proud
about that.
Look, Dad, I have to
talk to you about Mom.
Right, yeah.
I remember you, uh,
you mentioned the, um–
the, um…
The money.
Yeah.
[laughs]
[coughs]
See, Mom got behind.
Oh, she got behind,
did she?
Well,
there’s a switch.
Ha! She was always
and forever
grinding my gears
about getting behind.
Now she’s behind.
[laughs]
That, number 1 son,
I find a regular
laugh riot.
Well, it’s not funny.
[coughs]
We’re gonna lose
the cottage, Dad.
We gotta come up
with $3,000.
Regret.
Big spender, your mother.
Look, Dad, she–
she loaned people
money, okay?
She gave people things.
She never
gave me a dime.
Well, couldn’t…
couldn’t you for me?
[coughs]
For Pat?
Well, you see, kiddo,
number 1 son,
I ain’t got it.
I’m living paycheck
to damn paycheck.
What about
the Mexico money?
Poof.
I’m living week to week.
Hand to damn mouth.
[slams hand on counter]
Let me tell you
something.
That’s the only
way to live.
Week to week, day to
day, hour to hour,
minute to minute.
Each day in
the moment, son.
Enjoy the hell
out of life.
One day, wake up…
and it’s gone.
What happens if you’re
about to lose everything

that’s made you
who you are?

Your home.
Your teacher.

Your hopes and dreams.
When that all goes,
what’s left?
I’m not sure about
the speaker system, Thom.
I don’t think
they have it anymore.
Well, just ask him, Mom.
Look, Ernie swears
it’s in there,
and he says he needs it
for the pageant.
And you know
how Ernie is.
He’s not gonna
let me alone until
he gets an answer.
Okay.
Great.
[turns engine off]
Mom, what about
the speaker?
I couldn’t ask him,
Thom.
Why not?
Because I don’t
work there anymore.
What?
I got laid off…
in September.
Business was slow.
Oh, my God.
You should have told us.
I didn’t want
to worry you kids,
interfere
with your school.
Mom, you come
down here every day,
all day long.
I sit on the bench,
or I go over
and I visit
at the hospital,
or I, uh…
I help out at the church.
I look for work
every day, but…
there’s nothing
out there.
We’re going to
lose the house, Thom.
We’re gonna lose
everything.
No. Mom.
Hey, it’ll be okay.
I’m not so sure anymore.
How will we live?
I– I’ll…
Oh, God.
I’ll move.
I’ll leave Placerville,
and I’ll get a job in–
No. We’ll figure
it out, okay?
You have so many
friends here in town.
They’ll help. I’ll go
talk to everybody–
No. No, you won’t.
Maryanne Kinkade
does not ask for charity.
I couldn’t endure it.
The shame,
the humiliation.
We will suffer this alone.
The last thing
that I still have
that is mine is my pride.
You understand?
[sniffles]
[sighs]
Shouldn’t I be
in the center?
Shouldn’t
I be bigger?
You’re plenty big,
Tanya.
Can you fix it?
I’ll see what I can do.
And you messed up
my nose.
I know. I hate that.
I love your nose.
Guess who.
Hey! You made it.
[clock tower rings]
Well?
Well…
it pays the rent, right?
All of a sudden,
Hope was there,

with all her
big-city dreams for me,

and my two worlds collided.
[Photographer]
Ernie, Ernie,
look this way.
Ernie. Ernie.
Come on, come on.
That’s it. That’s it.
Oh, good girl.
Stay back there.
Mm-hmm.
How’d this skank
weasel her way
back in, Ernie?
What’s she got
on you?
Nothing. Nothing.
Yeah, and if
birds could fly.
Yes, birds can fly.
Suck an egg, ’77.
Come on, ladies, please.
Zip. Zip.
All right, uh–
[feedback]
And now, from Placerville,
the official Christmas tree
capital of the world,
uh, here to light our
town twee–
our town tree…
is a veteran
Miss Placerville.
So here she is now…
to turn it on.
[laughs]
Hello, Sacramento!
I’m Tanya Kapinski,
Miss Placerville 1974.
You know, I’ve worked
as a professional model
for many years.
And in fact,
if you happen to have
the April 1974 issue
of Easy Rider,
I’d be more than happy
to sigh that for you
right after
the ceremony.
Um…
Um…
But there’s
no place like home.
Really,
home is just the…
best place that
a person could be from.
[audience giggling]
Huh?
And so it is with
my great honor
that I’m here to
light up Placerville,
the Christmas tree
capital of the world.
Okay, in 5…
4, 3, 2, 1.
Aah!
[camera shuts off]
What?
Just ’cause I wired it?
It wasn’t my fault,
okay?
Great!
Nicole.
Nicole.
Give me your hand.
Hi, Glen.
It’s me.
[kissing]
Sorry
I’m a little behind.
What a day.
There’s a beautiful
moon coming up.
A crescent moon
for Christmas.
I brought you something.
It’s icy on the bridge.
Don’t fall.
Your fingers in mine,
Nicole.
It’s Maryanne.
I brought you some
hot chocolate, Glen.
I don’t want to lose you.
Give me your hand.
Let me help you up.
Such a stubborn woman.
Lean on me.
We’ll cross Pont Neuf.
Glen.
We’re not in Paris.
We’re in your studio.
My studio.
My easel? My paints?
They’re all here.
Nicole?
It’s 1977, Glen.
You’ve made me an old man.
I was young a moment ago.
Here.
Look at this.
Smell this.
Isn’t it beautiful?
Let me take you
on a walk.
You haven’t been
outside in–
in weeks.
Let me take you
on a walk.
Let me take you to
the Christmas pageant,
I respectfully decline
your invitation.
My next visit to a church
will be for my funeral.
There is still life
out there for you, Glen.
You need to touch it
and taste it and see it.
I see more than you think.
Maryanne,
you’re killing
yourself with pride.
[church bell rings]
[Thom]
That night,

Placerville had its chance
to redeem itself.

The Christmas pageant
seemed like a sure thing.

I mean, how could
you go wrong

with little kids
and some Wise Men?

I figured wax-based paint
would really make

the scenery shine
under the TV lights.

Showtime.
[clears throat]
[feedback]
[organ plays “O Little Town
of Bethlehem”]
“And it came to pass
in those days
“that there went out
a decree from
Caesar Augustus
“that all the world
should be taxed.
“And Joseph went up
from Galilee into Bethlehem
with Mary,
his espoused wife.”
“And she brought forth
their firstborn son.
“And she wrapped him
in swaddling clothes
“and laid him in a manger
for there was no room
for them at the inn.”
[audience laughs]
[children giggle]
What’s happening
to the scenery?
Oh, my God.
We must have used
too much wax.
Under these lights–
It’s melting.
Oh, look,
the donkey’s peeing.
[audience laughs]
Uh…
And, um…
“there were in that
same country shepherds–“
[toy cow moos]
That’s not good.
“…watching over
their flock.”
Stop laughing.
Well, it looks like
I’m gonna be on riot
control any minute.
Let’s walk off.
Come on, sweetie.
No, no.
What are you doing?
Mary, sit down.
What’s going on?
No, no, no.
It’s not the end
of the world.
Yes, it is
the end of the world.
You don’t understand.
This was supposed
to be a beautiful
Christmas pageant,
and it was supposed
to be–
Mary, get back there!
There was supposed to be
a lighted Christmas tree
in the town square–
Aah!
[crash]
Great. And now
the final humiliation.
Thank you, Tommy.
Thank you.
This is
all your fault.
[click]
You don’t have to listen
to this, Thomas.
Let’s get out of here,
back to where they
appreciate you.
Oh. Oh, wonderful.
Okay, well,
the TV people are
packing it in–
And great, the audience
is leaving, too.
Well, Tommy,
you painted the scenery.
You’re the one
that screwed up!
Now, now, whoa, whoa.
Now just cool your jets
there, Captain Kangaroo,
and back off.
Tommy Boy
didn’t screw this up.
He gave this town
a great Christmas gift.
Look at that mural.
He gave you the heart
and soul of this place.
Yeah. It looks
pretty good to me.
This old town,
you don’t need
to impress anyone.
You’re A-okay
just the way you are.
Aren’t we all here
celebrating someone
who was born in a garage?
Stable.
[Man]
Stable.
Stable? Stable.
He never had
much money, either.
Thank you–
Thank you for your time.
Thanks, Dad.
We’d love to share our
Christmas candle lighting
ceremony with you.
The children are ready.
Come on, children.
Let me help you
with that, darlin’.
Hope.
Hope.
You don’t belong here.
I don’t know
where I belong.
Don’t give up on yourself.
I’m not giving up.
[organ playing]
Will you read,
Maryanne?
“For unto us
a child is born.
“Unto us a son is given.
“And the government shall
be upon his shoulder,
“and his name shall be
called Wonderful,
“Counselor,
the Mighty God,
“the Everlasting Father,
the Prince of Peace.”
You know, I– I don’t know
a lot about Scripture.
I’m not a scholar,
and I’m not a preacher.
But when I look out
and I see the faces
of these young children
in the candlelight
so full of hope,
I feel the presence
of God right here.
Like little angels
telling us all
to fear not.
I bring you tidings
of great joy.
You are the light
of the world
in a…
a very dark winter.
And we could all use
a little bit of extra
light right now.
Excuse me, angel.
I light this candle
as a symbol
of sharing God’s love
with all
of his children.
That Christmas Eve,
I realized that in
a vast black night,

even a little light
shines brightly,

and all we can do is
our best to find that light

and share it with others.
Ernie.
Okay. And…
♪ Silent night ♪
♪ Holy night ♪
♪ All is calm ♪
♪ All is bright ♪
♪ ‘Round yon virgin
mother and child ♪
Merry Christmas.
♪ Holy infant
so tender and mild ♪
Bless you.
Merry Christmas.
Same to you.
[laughing]
♪ Sleep in heavenly peace ♪
It’s Christmas Eve,
Glen.
How are you?
I remember when
you told me this was
the one night of the year
when animals could talk.
You said when
the animals talked,
it wasn’t magic.
It was holy.
A glimpse
of the sacred.
You said it was a moment
where we could
understand the heart
of every living thing.
I always thought
it was a miracle
when you built your studio
in a field by my house.
It was like God’s
gift to me…
bringing you here.
You always told me
you weren’t gonna teach
me how to paint,
but why to paint.
And I’ll be forever
grateful to you for that.
I wish I could
give you back something.
But I have nothing.
We’re losing
the cottage, Glen.
A year from now, I’ll have
no idea where we’ll be.
This may be our last
Christmas together.
I have no gift
for you, Glen.
But I want to thank you
for everything.
No money, nothing.
Just love.
I love you, Glen.
Don’t give up.
Please.
That’s the first thing
you taught me about
being an artist.
You never give up.
Don’t give up, Glen.
There’s a light
in you still.
♪♪ [piano]
The snow stopped falling
by Christmas morning.

It had blanketed
Placerville.

Thank you.
Deep and crisp and even.
Now it’s your turn.
There you go.
Open it up.
Thank you, Thom.
Now I have
the cottage forever.
No, no, no, no.
Don’t say no, Mom.
It’s not much,
but it’s a start
of a new life for us.
We gotta stick together.
We’re all we’ve got.
Thank you, Pat.
Thank you.
It looks like
a million dollars to me.
[knock on door]
Good morning.
[all]
Good morning.
We’ve come to help you
fix this place up.
[Man] Then maybe
you could sell it.
It’s about time
somebody gave you
a gift for Christmas.
Yeah.
But how did
everybody know?
Uhh!
Um, I spilled the beans.
[all laugh]
We know this probably
won’t solve all
your problems,
but, um, we had
to do something.
It was kinda my idea.
I mean, after all
you’ve done for us.
For you.
For good fortune
and happiness.
I don’t know
what to say.
Say Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
[all]
Merry Christmas.
[sawing, hammering]
Ow!
Okay, son,
that ought to do it.
Let’s give her a shot.
All right,
come on, baby!
[engine sputtering]
Come on now!
Come to Big Bill!
[engine starts]
Atta boy!
Please, sweep
the dust back in.
What?
[sighs]
You are sweeping
the good luck
out of the house.
Go ahead. Go ahead.
Very good! Yeah!
Ow!
I never knew.
Knew what?
That you matter
to everyone?
Well, you do.
[knock on door]
Thom, can you
get that, please?
Glen!
What are you–
Come here! Come in!
Oh, my God!
What are you doing here?
How’d you get over here?
My staff.
My rod.
Are you okay?
It’s the light, Thom.
That’s what lasts.
The leaves
are transient.
They grow, turn green,
turn red and die.
But behind them,
the light lasts forever.
Glen, please,
come sit down.
Paint the light.
A Christmas gift.
Remember how Sidney hoped
I had one more
painting in me?
[chuckles]
I did.
Just one.
“Ultimum Folium”?
Latin.
Good old Latin.
The Last Leaf.
It’s my last
painting, Thom.
No.
Glen, no.
I have been trying
to paint my sorrow
to show the bleakness
of a world without Nicole.
But then you came with
a candle last night,
and I knew what Nicole’s
memorial should be.
Not darkness…
but light.
Sometimes
we can barely see
beyond the forest
to the sky.
I was painting
the leaves
of the forest
and never saw the light
of the sky behind it.
Now I see it.
That’s all I need
to see now.
I’ll treasure
this forever, Glen.
No, you will not.
You will take it
to Sidney Marvin,
and you will sell it.
The last Glen Wesman
should bring you enough
to keep this
cottage forever.
Oh, Glen.
Thank you.
No, thank you.
Thank you.
What for?
You managed to put
Humpty Dumpty back
together again.
Glen.
Glen.
Glen.
Those were the last
brushstrokes
Glen ever painted.

He sat at our table
for Christmas dinner.

There, Thom,
if you’ll carve it.
Of course.
Holy Father,
bless this meal
and all of us
who are here. Amen.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas, Glen.
My mother made sure
Glen was well fed.

After dinner,
we sang carols.

The old favorites
with words like

“the hopes and fears
of all the years,”

and “God rest ye
merry gentlemen.”

Then I helped Glen
walk home.

Big Jim stayed up all night
fixing the wiring
on that tree,

and Placerville turned on
its real lights that year.

I always thought
it was the year

we found Christmas
all over again.

♪ Silent night ♪
♪ Holy night♪
♪ All is calm ♪
Wow.
Wow.
♪ All is bright ♪
♪ ‘Round yon virgin
mother and child ♪
When I went to see
Glen the next evening,

he had gone home for good.
He was back where
the light burns brighter

than we could
ever imagine.

Pax, Glen. Peace.
You showed me the light,
a light that has
filled my life ever since.

You have that power.
Holding the whole
world together.
Now I see it.
That was 30 years ago.
Today, Big Jim still
puts up just one star,

nothing else.
And he and the Gundersons
finally became friends.

Vesta’s buried in
that little cemetery
near our house.

Butch is there, too,
finally resting peacefully
next to his son.

Glen’s painting
took a journey, too,

and is now owned by
a museum in New York.

Mr. Rosa retired,
but he still keeps track
of all of our lives.

Tanya kept entering
the Miss Placerville contest

until she was
well into her 50s.

And to this day,
Ernie still promotes
Placerville…quietly.

Pat stuck with the schooling
and became a well-known
writer and professor.

Nannette?
Well, that’s a story
for another day.

And Mom?
Thanks to Glen’s
gift of love,

well, she never had to worry
about a mortgage
payment again.

She got a job
she loved with the county

and retired
several years later.

And Bill?
Well, my dad kept leading
his crazy life,

driving his old heap
in search of new adventures.

Yee-haw!
[firecrackers exploding]
As for me,
I’m still trying my best
to use the lessons
Glen taught me.

Lessons about art,
about life,
and about light.
In the end,
love is the brightest
light of all.

Closed-Captioned By
J.R. Media Services, Inc.
Burbank, CA

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