Well I've gone and done it. Today, after what must be nearly 40 years, I went and watched "J.T."
For those who didn't grow up in the '70s, J.T. was a film that was played around Christmastime every year when I was growing up. Any description of the story would make it sound cliche, formulaic, or corny. It is neither of these. It is one of those films that is so perfectly written and beautifully crafted that it seems simple and easy - as if no effort at all went into making it. But it is filled with wonderful little moments, has big themes that could easily have been made clunky or preachy, a flawless script (written by Jane Wagner) and an absolutely beautiful performance from a very young Kevin Hooks.
I was surprised to find that a couple of things weren't precisely as I had rememberd them, but the impact of the film was just as powerful as it was back then. No, if anything, it was more so. It's a lot harder to watch this film as a mother to a seven-year-old son who loves animals and who is beginning to confront harshness and meanness in the world, than it was to watch it as a child.
I'm not going to say anything more about it. Just that it is probably the best Christmas film ever made and I can't begin to fathom why it does not seem to be available on DVD. You can get the book here, and you can watch the entire film on YouTube, here.
Oh and make sure you've got a box of tissues handy.