A Christmas Serenade (2023) Movie Script

[Jeremiah] Ladies.
Are there any beautiful ladies
in the house?
- [crowd cheering]
- Let me hear you scream.
[crowd cheering]
[slow R&B music playing]
Oh, baby
Sweet love
On a full moon night
Love on a full moon night
[crowd cheering]
I've been waiting
For a long time
To make love
Underneath the moonlight
We ain't gonna rush
A thing tonight
[crowd cheering]
- [Dominique] Hey, Jeremiah.
- Hey, wassup?
Here are your credentials
and info
for the hotel at our next stop.
All right. Thanks.
Hey, has Dante heard
my new arrangement?
He's not interested in
changing up the show right now.
We've been playing
the same set for months.
We've been all over the
country with that same set.
That's my point.
Look, the fans
aren't complaining.
It's what they expect?
Look, music is supposed
to make you feel something.
He needs a new sound.
Him or you?
Look, Jay,
you're really talented.
And Dante is lucky to have
a guy like you on his team.
But this is the music
he wants to make.
If that's not what
you wanna do anymore,
maybe it's time to move on.
And go where?
My contract's not up
for another two years.
I don't know.
But when we get to Pennsylvania,
try talking to him again.
Wait, Pennsylvania?
Yeah. Some small town
no one's heard of.
We're not doing the majors?
Ticket sales weren't great
in the bigger cities
so the label have to try
in the burbs for a few nights.
And Dante went along with that?
He doesn't have a choice.
Unless he has a tantrum,
we'll be there
through Christmas.
You know the name of the town?
Uh, Adventures or something.
Advent... Wait, Adventure?
We're playing Adventura
for the holidays?
Yeah, you know it?
It's where I grew up.
[Dominique] Oh.
Could you drop me
at my parent's house
instead of the hotel?
Yeah. I'll, uh,
talk to driver.
See you in a bit.
[upbeat music playing]
["Go Tell It
on The Mountain" playing]
[choir] Go, tell
it On the mountain
Over the hills
And everywhere
Go, tell it
On the mountain
- That Jesus Christ Is born
- Where is Willow?
Hmm, okay.
[Bishop Terry] My daughter.
The worship leader.
Oh, she, um...
[choir] Behold
throughout the heavens...
[Grace] I'm sure Willow's
around here somewhere.
She'd never miss
a choir rehearsal worship.
All I know is...
Over the hills
And everywhere...
Oh, we're doing that one again.
- Hey, Daddy.
- [Grace] There she is.
That Jesus Christ is born
The shepherds feared
And trembled
When, lo, above the Earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed
Our Savior's birth
Go tell it
On the mountains
Willow, how was your audition?
I think it went okay
but I don't think
they love the fact
that I chose a gospel song
to audition.
Maybe you should've done
your Toni Braxton voice.
Oh, like, [sings indistinctly]
Oh, no. You should
have done Beyonc.
Oh, baby, you don't know
how much I need this.
- [laughter]
- I just...
I need something
different, you know.
I need some excitement.
What you need is a date.
Is a date gonna take
my voice further
than the pews of Trinity?
Well, it depends
on who it's with.
No. I don't need a date.
What I need is a chance
to sing somewhere
other than Trinity.
Well, um, maybe another
opportunity will come up.
In Adventura?
Nothing exciting
ever happens here.
[Grace] Do you think
he's actually on the bus?
[whimsical music playing]
[Jeremiah] Home sweet home.
[Dominique] Cute house.
[Jeremiah] Thanks.
[Dominique] I think that house
is missing a gnome.
[Jeremiah chuckles]
Our bishop
and his daughter live there.
Gnomes are new though.
So, how does it feel to be
back after all these years?
Like I'm back where I belong.
[gentle music playing]
[chuckles softly]
Stan, call 911.
Ma, it's me, Jeremiah.
What's going on?
Child, you almost
gave me a heart attack.
Oh, my goodness.
Wassup, Pop?
What are you doing here?
You ain't been here in years.
I know it's been a minute
since I've been back
but, you know,
work here has been busy.
Same old pop.
Don't mind him.
You're always welcome
to come home, sweetie.
In fact, I know someone
who's gonna be more than
excited to see you.
Who would that be?
Hmm, pretty girl
that was supposed to be
my daughter-in-law
until you screwed it up.
- Goes to my church.
- Momma, please.
- Oh...
- Willow does not wanna see me.
It's been almost three years
since we've seen each other.
Well, if it's not Willow,
then who's the lucky lady
who's gonna make me
a grandmother?
- Ma...
- Oh, don't momma me.
I told you I do not
have time for dating
while I'm on the road.
Music is my girlfriend.
I'd like to see the day
when music keeps you
warm at night.
Oh, my God.
Can we please?
- I won't say nothing else.
- Thank you.
- You hungry?
- I am.
I got a chicken pot pie
in the fridge
if you want some.
- Yes.
- Okay.
Made it from scratch.
Let's go.
Okay. Well, let me...
Let me get your weapon.
[laughs] Thank you.
It's good to have you home.
[upbeat music playing]
There you go. Okay.
You keep it right there.
And then it's you coming
along the same time
that I come in...
Let's get it started.
Bro, you're, like, an hour late.
I know.
I ain't here for no lecture.
- Can we talk about the music?
- What about it?
I've sent several
new arrangements to you
that I think will take the show
to the next level musically.
It's not my sound.
Did you listen to them?
Just no. It's not my sound.
Not your... [chuckles softly]
So, what is your sound?
Whatever I say it's gonna be.
Don't trip,
you work for me, all right?
And that means
you play what I tell you.
- Okay.
- Now, let's get back to work.
[Grace] Did you find anything?
No. Not yet.
What's Dante even doing here.
With his entire band.
In a tour bus.
Willow, a tour bus?
There has to be a performance
or maybe he's...
Found it.
Five nights
at the Apache Music Hall.
Oh, my gosh.
This could be it.
This could be your big break.
Look, one of his
background singers
is going home to be with their
family for the holidays.
Dante's ranting about it
on his live.
That's what I was saying.
Folks needs to be professional
and work with integrity.
I can't do two-part harmonies
without two girls.
So look,
if there are any singers
in the Pittsburgh
or surrounding areas,
meet me at the studio
for an audition as a DT girl.
This is it.
This is your sign from God.
Sign? What's the sign?
Well, Willow has an audition
to be a DT girl.
Grace. Grace.
I'm so sorry, Willow.
But this is a man of God.
Uh, have a blessed day everyone.
Grace and peace.
[Willow sighs] Judas.
What's a DT girl?
Um, it's just an audition.
I probably won't even make it
in time or even get it.
An audition for what?
You still haven't said.
[clears throat]
To sing background for Dante.
Is he a gospel singer?
Because as the worship leader
of this church...
- Okay. That again.
- Yes. That again.
You made a commitment.
When I was nine years old.
So you wanna be removed
from the worship team?
Because members of the
worship team at this church
singing anything other
than gospel music
would mean immediate dismissal.
How would that look?
Pastor's daughter
singing in nightclubs
Saturday night
and the pulpit Sunday morning?
Fine, Daddy.
I won't go the audition.
And tell you about it.
[piano music playing]
[Willow] Hello?
Hi. I, uh, I'm Willow Terry.
I saw a post looking for
a background singer.
Hello, Willow.
Long time.
Not long enough.
So where is he?
Dante is not the type
to stick around this late.
You look good.
You look terrible.
[chuckles] Same old Willow.
What's that supposed to mean?
Just that, it's really good
to see a familiar face.
Well, I wish
I could say the same.
[dramatic music playing]
[piano music playing]
[children singing]
Away in a manger
No crib for a bed
I couldn't believe it.
He had this stupid smirk
on his face.
So what did you say?
Well, I didn't even get to sing
for Dante, let alone meet him.
To Jeremiah.
Oh, there was nothing to say.
Hey, you guys
are doing so amazing.
Really good. You can
go ahead and take five.
- Really?
- Yeah.
[children chattering
So you're telling
lies in church now.
I like to call it
positive reinforcement.
Hmm. And what do you mean
there was nothing to say?
You dated that man
for five years
and that same man promised
to love you forever
and then broke your heart,
He didn't break anything.
He was the one itching
to get out of Adventura
since we were kids.
And... And we both agreed
he was a terrible person
and I was better off by myself.
And if I never saw him again,
it wouldn't be soon enough.
I just wish I knew how long
he'd be here this time.
Well, they changed
venues last-minute.
And they'll be here
through Christmas.
Or so I've heard.
So are you going back
to the audition?
- [ugh] No. No thanks.
- Willow.
Bishop doesn't want me
singing secular music.
And now that I know Jeremiah
is gonna be there,
I do not need the headache.
It can't be that bad.
Jeremiah White and I
are like oil and water.
What is it about him that
gets you so turned around?
Have you seen him?
Yes, I have.
And he is beautiful.
Oh, he is the most annoying,
most know-it-all, most my way
or the highway human being
I have ever met in my life.
Girl, have you ever met
anyone like that?
You two may have more
in common than you think.
Just saying.
Please tell your parents
the jubilee
is only a few days away.
And we have rehearsal
every day until then.
The dress rehearsal
will be the night before.
And you have to be here.
Now, I know
it sounds like a lot.
But if you want something,
you can't let anything
get in your way.
If you're not here
for the dress rehearsal,
you do not minister
on Christmas Eve.
Does everyone understand?
[all] Yes, Minister Terry.
Okay, go ahead.
Get out of here.
Hey, hey.
[Bishop Terry] Hey.
Are you sure
you want those kids
to sing at the jubilee.
- [both laugh]
- What are you talking about?
It's a trinity tradition.
I know, but when we were kids
we could actually sing.
The kids have been singing at
the jubilee for over 30 years.
Don't remind me. I know.
It's the biggest event
of the year.
And the one your mother created.
I know, but...
What about if this Christmas
jubilee, we have the kids mime.
Hear me out.
- Do you see the vision?
- [Bishop Terry laughing]
The bible says
make a joyful noise.
Uh, they might make a noise,
all right.
- [laughter]
- [phone buzzing]
Bishop Terry.
Maybe we could move it to
Easter because, that way,
I could definitely get them
on key by then.
[gentle music playing]
Oh, no.
Okay. I'll be right there.
Uh, what happened?
Minister Eddie slipped on ice.
He's in the hospital
So we don't have
a minister of music?
[Bishop Terry] Nope.
Oh, no, that's so terrible.
Is he okay?
I don't know, baby.
I'm gonna find out.
Okay, well, I'm just
gonna work on some, uh,
song changes and ideas
for the jubilee.
Okay. [exhales]
I gotta go.
Oh, all right.
- I hope he's okay.
- Me too.
Terrible timing.
What a shame.
It's this close to the jubilee.
[Jeremiah] Bishop.
[laughs] Jeremiah.
Long day for you.
Uh, hospital visit.
One of our members
hurt himself pretty bad.
Oh. I'm sorry to hear that.
You here to visit your folks?
Yes, sir. I've got a
gig coming up and I...
- Oh, you're still playing?
- Yes, sir.
For the Lord?
- Well...
- [laughs] I'm just messin'.
Your momma says you're traveling
the world with your gift.
It's amazing, son.
- You make us proud.
- Thank you.
Listen, I am around
for the next couple of weeks,
so if you need any help with
snow or anything, let me know.
Well, I may not need your help
with the snow...
but there is something
you could help me with.
- [tapping]
- [Willow] Thank you, Grace.
Now I'm sure all of you
have heard Minister Eddie
suffered a nasty fall
and he may be out for a while.
[Grace] I thought
he just sprained his wrist?
There's a new sheriff in town.
A new general
on the front lines,
a new queen up in this castle.
Now, there's a lot of work to
be done in the next few days.
If we're gonna be ready
for the jubilee
and we will be ready.
There will be no talking.
All choreography
must be approved by me.
So Sister Patterson, girl,
that little dance that you do,
- that little rock.
- [Sister Patterson] Mm-hmm.
It's got to go.
- You know, the one I'm talking about...
- [Bishop Terry] Hello.
Ha, "Praise God,
from whom all blessings flow."
Great news, everyone.
I found our new interim
minister of music
until the Christmas jubilee.
Oh, Daddy, you don't
need to do a speech.
- I'm kind of... - [Bishop Terry]
A true son of this church.
Although he hasn't
been here for a while.
He's been traveling the world
with his gifts.
I give you Mr. Jeremiah White.
[knock on door]
- Hey.
- Get out.
I see you haven't changed a bit.
Why do you keep saying that?
Why would I change?
- I am amazing.
- Yes, you are.
What are you doing here?
Bishop asked me to come.
And you could say no.
I can't tell bishop no.
- He's known me since I was 10.
- Fine.
You already have a job,
so just go back to it.
Look, if this is about
the other night.
We don't talk about that here.
Willow, listen, I...
Why can't you just stay
in your lane
and then you just
let me stay in mine?
I am in my lane.
No, your a crashed car swerving,
spinning directly into my lane.
- You always...
- Hey, young people.
- Hey, Daddy.
- Bishop.
I believe this
is a divine connection.
I'm excited to see what God
is gonna do with his union.
You two have always
had an incredible chemistry
ministering together.
- Jeremiah?
- Yes.
Willow is gonna walk you
through everything
we've been doing and done
for the past few years
with the jubilee.
Ain't that right, pumpkin?
Yes. Yes, I am.
But, um, Daddy, you know,
Jeremiah is not a gospel singer.
- He's not a singer?
- No, he's not.
Well, you know what's written,
"When the devil goes to messin',
God goes to blessin'."
Better praise him.
[both laughing]
I don't think
that's in the bible, but okay.
Anyway, I'm gonna get
outta your way.
The whole church is counting on you
two to pull this thing together,
but I know
you won't let me down.
Mm. [chuckles]
See you later, Bishop.
See you later, Bishop.
Yeah. Really.
Get out of my office.
Why does he do this every year?
Every year it's the same thing.
Because it's his home and
that's what he chooses to do.
Yeah, but we gotta look at it.
It's his expression
of holiday cheer.
And it shouldn't affect you
so much, you old Grinch.
You're only saying that
because he's your pastor.
Well, he used to be
your pastor too.
And he could be again, if you came down
to the church every once in a while.
I'm not doing this
with you, Dolores.
Stop stealing my cookies.
You can eat cookies at church.
[door closes]
Morning, neighbor.
Morning, neighbor.
Could I help you with something?
As a matter of fact,
I was hoping
you could be neighborly
and not put as many
of your ugly,
creepy-looking gnomes
out this year, neighbor.
Oh, you mean like...
like this gnome?
Yes. Just like that one.
No can do, neighbor.
You put out your holiday
decorations before Thanksgiving.
And I didn't have a lick
to say about it now, did I?
My decorations are tasteful.
Not some creatures from beyond.
You wouldn't happen to be afraid
of gnomes now, would you, Stan?
I think they're an eyesore to the
neighborhood and we can do without them.
They're traditional.
They're ugly.
Isn't it interesting
that back in the day,
gnomes were used
to protect children
and animals from evil?
Are you calling me evil, Bishop?
[laughing] No.
Just an interesting fact,
But my gnomes are staying
right where they are
and there ain't nothing
you can do about it.
We'll see about that.
Hello everybody.
Um, we...
Hello, everyone.
Can I have everyone's attention?
[Willow] Hey, does anyone
have any gum?
If everyone could just,
you know, if everyone...
All right, let's, uh, let's go
ahead and get started.
I know I have some
somewhere in here.
I know I packed gum.
I thought we could start
with "Joy to the World."
Oh, I found it.
- Willow. Willow.
- Yeah.
Can you help me get
everyone's attention?
Ow! What was that for?
You saw how hard
he was trying to connect.
Okay. Well, maybe
they don't want him to be
the minister of music.
It's not my fault.
You're just jealous
that Bishop made him
the minister
of music and not you.
No, I am not.
Don't lie in God's house.
Fine. My feelings
are a little hurt.
Bishop didn't even
consider me for the job
and I have been hinting
at it for years.
Willow, you're not
the minister of music.
Jeremiah is,
and he could use your help.
You're still a member
of this worship team
and you should want it to be the
best that it could be at all times.
And if you help him,
maybe he can help you, too.
Isn't there someone
he can talk to for you?
Maybe get you an audition.
That's a good idea.
[Grace] I know.
So play smarter.
[Grace] Mmm-hmm.
That's why you're my girl.
- Okay.
- That's right.
I guess it's not going
as well as you hoped.
If you don't learn how
to speak up for yourself,
then no one is ever
going to listen to you.
I did.
No, you didn't.
You said, [in high-pitched
voice] "Hello, I'm Jeremiah.
I'd really love
if you listen to me."
I don't sound like that
[in normal voice]
Well, you did before puberty.
Look, I'm not saying
you have to do it like Eddie,
you definitely don't have
to do it like me.
But you have to speak
with confidence.
You gotta talk like
you have something to say.
Why are you helping me now?
Because I need a favor.
Oh, the feeling
is mutual, brother.
Look, I'll go in there
and help you,
like Bishop wants me to,
but I need you to talk to Dante
and convince him
to let me audition
to be one
of his background singers.
Now, don't look at me like that.
You know why I was there
the other night.
Okay. I thought we couldn't
talk about that here.
You can't.
- [scoffs]
- So do we have a deal?
I can't guarantee
that he'll say yes.
I just need you to talk to him.
My voice will do the rest.
Now, come on.
I'll show you how it's done.
Come on.
[Jeremiah groans]
[woman singing]
Oh, baby
Make love
Under the moonlight
Love under
The moonlight...
Oh, lady
Sorry. That was
in the lyric, right?
- You're hired.
- No, no, no.
That's all
this town has to offer?
Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, I guess, I guess.
[suspenseful music playing]
- Hey.
- Hey.
Hey, did you, uh, get
to talk to Dante about me?
Uh, yeah.
Yeah. He, um...
He said someone like you
wouldn't be a good fit.
Someone like me?
A gospel singer.
- Oh!
- But it's his loss. Really.
I know. I thought my voice
would be heard around the world.
I guess it's not
even good enough
for outside of trinity.
I appreciate it, though.
["Joy To The World" playing]
Joy to the world
For the Lord,
The Lord is come
Let Earth
Receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And Heaven
And nature sing
And Heaven
And nature sing
Go tell of His glory
Go shout of His glory
Let heaven,
Heaven, and nature
Joy to the world
For the Lord,
The Lord is come
All right. All right.
That was good.
That was really good.
Um, Willow,
you want to try a solo
on this one?
[Jeremiah] Great.
He rules the world
With truth and grace
And makes
The nations prove
The glories
Of His righteousness
And wonders of his love
And wonders of his love
And wonders of his love
Was it flat?
Everybody hang tight please.
Willow, can I talk
to you for a second?
This feels serious.
No. I mean, no. Come on.
It's just, um...
It's just...
How do you want the audience
to feel when you perform?
I don't wanna perform.
I wanna minister.
When I open my mouth, I want
people's lives to change.
You know they come in here
with heavy spirits
and stressed,
unsure what to do next.
I just don't think a
performance can change that.
You know,
only the presence of God can.
Okay. And do you think
we're doing that
with the jubilee, with how
you're singing right now?
But I think we could.
If we involved
all the creative ministries
not just the choir.
You know, the step team,
the dancers,
sign language ministry.
Wait, we have all that here?
Yeah. And I think
this could be
a great time of year
to get everyone involved.
Okay. So why don't we?
Bishop won't let it happen.
He hates change.
Everything in Trinity has to
and will stay the same.
Okay. Well, he said
that I was free to do
whatever I wanted this year.
And I think
that is a great idea.
- He said that to you?
- Mmm-hmm.
Yeah, so let's do it.
You know, as long
as I've been here...
As long as I've pleaded with him
to make some changes,
Bishop has never
granted me one inch
of what I wanted to do.
I guess it really
is your choir now, huh?
You can do whatever you want
and I'll sing whatever
you want me to.
I see how it is now.
- What's up, Tre?
- Ms. Tee,
I wanna audition
for a solo in jubilee.
Well, there are no solos
in the children's choir, Tre.
I know, but there should be.
And I should do it.
And why you?
'Cause I can really sing.
Well, let's hear what you got.
The herald angels sing
Glory to
The new born King
Peace on Earth
And mercy mild
God and sinners
Who knew you had pipes
like that, Tre?
I didn't know
you could sing like that?
I never got the chance
to show you.
But you said last Sunday,
if you want something,
don't let anyone or anything
stand in your way and go for it.
I guess I did say that, huh?
Well, I don't know.
It looks like you just
turned yourself a solo, Tre.
Oh, yes. Thanks, Ms. Tee.
You're the best!
That's all wrong!
Y'all not keeping up
with me, man.
Let's take it from the top.
Dante. Mr. Dante, hi.
My name is Willow, Willow Terry.
And I wanna be one
of your background singers
if you will
just give me a chance.
- I...
- Slow down.
- Wait. What?
- Well, Jeremiah said
you didn't think I'd be
a good fit for the band,
but I will not let down,
I promise.
I didn't say that.
Wait, you know her?
Yeah, we grew up together
and I was gonna tell you about...
Oh, baby
Sweet love
On a full moon night
Love on a full moon night
Oh, oh, oh
I've been waiting
For a long time
To make love
Underneath the moonlight
We ain't gotta rush
A thing tonight
Whoo! Wow!
What is your name again?
Willow, sir.
Hmm, show's in two days,
Welcome to Dante's world.
[Jeremiah] Willow.
Wi... Willow.
- Willow. Willow. Will you wait...
- You lied to me.
I didn't mean
it like that, okay?
I did it to protect you.
Who are you to protect me?
Who are you to take
an opportunity from me?
I didn't mean it like that.
Well, then, how did you mean it?
Hmm? You either
think I'm good enough
to be in the band or you don't?
Oh, what? You think you're
the only talented person
- from Adventura?
- Willow, listen...
Look, you may not see my talent,
but Dante does.
And I'm gonna sing for him.
You're not the only one
with dreams, Jeremiah.
Let me explain.
I don't wanna hear it.
It's just like
when we were kids.
You waltz into my town
and my church
and you take everything
like it belongs to you.
And then you just bounce when
you've created enough chaos.
Well, look, I said it then,
and I mean it now.
You don't belong here.
So you might as well
just go back on the road
and this time, stay gone.
[slow music playing]
I caught you.
What? You're crazy.
Give me back my gnomes, Stan,
and all will be forgiven.
You get off my property
before I call the police.
- Bishop, what's going on?
- What's going on?
Your husband's a thief.
That's what is going on!
You ain't gonna
stand on my porch
and call me no thief.
I call it as I see it.
- Pa. Pa.
- Now, stop. Stop.
I ain't no thief.
And I never been no thief.
Oh, really?
- [Dolores] Oh, my Lord.
- [Jeremiah] Dad.
Pa. Pop, you...
I'm sorry about
all of this, Bishop.
Okay, I'll find your gnomes
and return them.
So sorry, Bishop.
I can't believe you stole
that man's gnomes.
You ought to be
ashamed of yourself.
I did no such thing.
You two have got to stop
this foolishness.
And what are you looking at?
What's going on with you, Pop?
I didn't steal his gnomes.
I didn't ask that.
I know things have been
different between us lately
but you know
you can talk to me, right?
Hmm, when you don't
even bother to visit
because you're so busy
on the road?
Pop, we did two tours,
back to back.
So that means forget
about your old man, right?
The phone works both ways.
Look, son,
I know you've moved on.
You've got your own life
and your dreams to go to
but I just wonder,
have you stopped to think
about the people
you're leaving behind?
And I'm not the only one
that feels this way.
[singing indistinctly]
You got a sec?
Won't ever have time for
people who lie to my face.
Look, Willow, I wanna apologize.
- Oh, that's nice.
- No, I mean it.
Look, I know
you don't believe it
but the first time
I heard you singing,
I knew you were the best singer
that I'd ever heard in my life.
- You were 10.
- And you are still
the best singer
I have ever heard in my life.
You'll always be.
Look, I couldn't tell
Dante about you
not because you're not
talented enough,
but because I just...
Look, Dante, he is one of...
Life on the road is...
I'm not trying to go
on the road with you.
- You're not?
- No, I just wanna sing,
somewhere outside
of Trinity for a change.
Why is that so important to you?
[melancholy music playing]
My mom was happiest
when she'd sing.
And it wasn't always
in my daddy's pulpit.
Don't you remember
she'd sing everywhere?
You know when she got sick,
she told me, I should too,
but, uh...
Bishop doesn't want me
singing secular music.
He says that's what
took her from us.
But I wanna find
true happiness too.
So I will sing anywhere
even if that means
singing backup for Dante.
I'm sorry I didn't help you
get the gig with Dante
and told you that I did,
but now you know your talent
was enough to get you there
and you didn't need
any help from me.
Well, duh.
- I'm the bomb.
- [laughter]
- You're so...
- You knew that.
Do you accept my apology?
Can I ask you a question?
Why did it take you so many
years to come back here?
Because I asked you
to come with me
and you said no.
And so, it was just easier
for me to stay away
than to admit
I was still in love with you.
You didn't need a girlfriend
where you were headed.
I did.
And you still
didn't answer my question.
I accept your apology, Jeremiah.
Thank you.
You're welcome.
[upbeat music playing]
All right.
All right, all right.
Looking good,
looking good, Big D.
Can I get that mic packed?
[indistinct chatter]
Hey, Willow. You good?
Little nervous.
- You sure?
- Yeah.
All right.
I know you all see
the snow outside,
but, baby, I promise,
Imma keep you warm tonight.
Ooh, baby
Sweet love
On a full moon night
Love on a full moon night
I've been waiting
for a long time...
To make love
Underneath the moonlight
We ain't gotta rush
A thing tonight
I've been waiting
for you, baby
Yeah, I've been waiting
For you baby
- It's fine. No, no.
- I asked for the opportunity just to make a fool...
- Where is she?
- It doesn't matter.
Where is she?
- Hey.
- Where is she?
Hey, whoa, whoa.
Give her a second, okay?
- This is her first...
- Look, I'm really sorry.
- You should be.
- Dante...
I know, I shouldn't have hired
some country
bumpkin singer wannabe.
You're fired.
Wait. Wait.
Wait, no... Willow.
Who do you think
you're talking to?
What did you say to me?
I said, who do you think
you're talking to?
I ain't got time for this drama.
I'm out.
Let's go.
[indistinct whispering]
Sorry, Jeremiah.
Whoa. Come here, girl.
It's freezing out here.
Well, it's better out here
than in there.
Look, it wasn't that bad, okay?
Are you still lying to me?
Okay. You're right.
It was that bad.
But we've all had those moments.
I doubt that.
Okay. So, one time
when I was rushing,
setting up my keyboard stand
for a concert,
I guess I didn't secure it
right or something
and the entire thing
came crashing down
right in the middle of our set.
- No.
- Worse, I broke my amp
so no one could hear
a single thing
the entire concert.
That's not a real story.
No, but I thought
it might cheer you up.
[laughs] It kind of did.
There you go. Good.
I never thought
I'd get stage fright
if I wasn't singing
gospel music.
I am so, so proud of you
for at least trying.
You wanna get out of here?
And go where?
I know a place that has
great music, and hot cocoa.
- Okay.
- Come on. Let's go.
[piano playing]
Jay, what is that?
That is not finished.
I've heard it before.
You were playing that
at the studio when I came in.
You know, it's kind of sad,
but it's beautiful.
It can get lonely on the road,
and sometimes I get a little
depressed about it.
This song came out of that.
Are there lyrics to go
with that melody?
And, uh,
will you sing it for me?
- [laughs] No, it's...
- Please?
[piano playing]
This year is gone
But my pain has grown
Where do I go from here
When the way back home
Seems unclear?
Something like that.
That was beautiful.
And why is this
not out in the world?
'Cause it's missing something.
I'm sure a lot of people
could relate to it.
I always miss my mom around
this time of year.
And I always miss being home
around this time of year.
Well, you should finish it
and record it.
Yeah, well, maybe you're right.
[Willow] Mmm.
"For I know the plans I have
for you," says the Lord.
Plans to prosper you,
not to harm you.
[both] Plans to give you hope
and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11.
Your favorite scripture.
[laugh] Yeah.
About what you said earlier...
Yeah, well, we don't have
to go back there.
No, we do.
It's important.
Look, um...
I said I wouldn't leave
Adventura with you because...
I couldn't leave Bishop
to deal with my mom's death
all by himself.
You could've told me that.
Yeah, I know, but I didn't
want you to feel guilty
or sorry for me.
Or even worse,
stay for the wrong reason.
And I know you came back
to play at her funeral, and...
I just want you to know...
my feelings for you
never changed.
[wind howling]
What was that?
[sighs] Well, sometimes
when there's freezing
temperatures and high winds,
- the power goes out.
- [Stan] Don't worry.
The generator will kick in.
[generator whirring]
Okay. [chuckles]
[doorbell rings]
And that is probably my dad.
- [door opens]
- [Dolores] Come on in, Bishop.
What's your dad doing here?
For the past few years,
every time the power goes out,
we come over to your parents'.
Couple hours, couple days.
Doesn't matter.
The generator keeps
the lights on
and the fireplace keeps
the house and us warm.
Okay. Okay.
I told you to get
that generator.
I got the generator last March.
It just broke down.
Hey, kids.
- Good morning.
- Good morning.
- Morning.
- Wait. I have it.
Such a gentleman now. [laughs]
Of course.
Uh, I made coffee for you.
How'd you sleep?
- Uh, great. Great.
- Okay.
- Yeah.
- Okay.
How did you sleep?
Also great. [laughs]
[laughs] Great.
Nice. Sleeping great.
[Jeremiah laughs]
[clears throat]
- Ooh. Thank you.
- Of course.
- Got it.
- All right.
Mmm. Smells good.
Just like you.
[both chuckle]
[Stan] I didn't steal
your gnome.
[Bishop Terry] Yes, you did.
Is that...
[Stan] I don't know
what you're talking about.
- I think so. - [Bishop Terry]
Yes, you do. It was you.
[Stan] No, I don't.
I knew it.
Get that trash out of my face.
How can you still deny it?
I have the video proof
and the gnomes.
Anybody could have put those
in my closet.
How did you know
I got this from your closet?
Only the thief would know
where he hid the evidence.
I let you stay in my house
and you go snooping around
my closet?
Stay in your own house
next time.
- Okay, Pop. Listen.
- [Bishop Terry] Just admit it.
Fine. I took it.
Are you thinking
what I'm thinking?
No, I'm way ahead of you.
Okay. Let's do this.
[Stan] Why it took you
so long to find them?
[Bishop Terry] Run! Go inside.
[upbeat music playing]
Ah. There you are.
I need a favor.
Hello. I need a favor.
Okay, what?
I finished the song.
I realized what was missing.
You didn't say
who needed to record it.
Obviously, I meant you
should record it.
You said it yourself
the world needs to hear it,
and I think the world needs
to hear you.
[mellow music playing]
Hey, Willow.
Don't forget to breathe.
- [piano playing]
- [exhales]
You got this.
[gentle music playing]
This year is gone
But my pain
My pain has grown
Where do we go from here
When the way back home
Seems so unclear
Whoo, whoo.
You said
You'd never leave
[backup singers]
Said you'd never leave
But I feel so alone
I know that.
It's a unicorn.
You walked away
Walked away from me
And that's what
Hurts the most
[upbeat music playing]
And now
The winds have changed
[backup singers]
The winds have changed
The winds have changed
And where
Where is the pain?
The pain
I felt inside
Of being all alone
At Christmas time
Don't have to be
All alone
At Christmas time
[Jeremiah] Ho, ho!
Oh, my God.
Oh, my God.
Whoa. Wow. Whoo!
[Willow] So, what are you
gonna do with the demo
now that it's done?
I sent it over to our label,
see if they had any artists
they can send it to.
- [Willow] That's exciting.
- [Jeremiah] Yeah.
Well, waiting on Dante
to give me permission
to pen something meaningful
is a complete waste of time.
I haven't felt this creative
in a while.
I'm shocked you stayed
with him this long.
I signed a bad contract,
but Dante wasn't always
this guy.
The bigger he got,
the bigger his ego got.
He changed.
I didn't.
And that's when
the issues started.
Are you gonna stay with him?
[chuckles] Feels like
I'm starting to make the music
- that I really wanna make.
- [chuckles]
Don't know how I'll give that up
to play the same songs
every night again.
Why don't we do a duet
for the jubilee?
I mean, you said
I have a beautiful voice
and you're not too bad yourself.
I think we can make some
beautiful harmonies.
What would you wanna do?
"Alone at Christmas Time",
but together.
That could work.
- I know it could work.
- [laughs]
That's why I said it. [laughs]
- Hey, Ma.
- Hey.
Oh. Thank God. Y'all are home.
They're moving Minister Eddie
out of the hospital.
And Brenda needs me
to take the kids to see Santa,
and I gotta get these
cookies done
and take them down
to the church.
Well, I'm sure it'll be okay.
Yeah, Ma. We can do it.
Oh, thank you.
We can?
Unless you're scared
my cookies are gonna look
better than yours.
Didn't you almost burn down
our high school
by starting a fire in Home Ec?
Only after you gave us
food poisoning.
[Willow] Oh, you are so wrong.
- Okay.
- Okay. What do we need to do?
Just don't burn the cookies.
I love you, Ma.
All right. Let's do it.
Yeah. Let's go.
Uh, here we go. And...
How you like me now?
Ooh, I don't.
- Uh-uh.
- Hater.
- Huh?
- Hater.
How am I a hater?
You know what that looks like?
- What?
- One of my dad's gnomes.
I'm so done with you.
- Mmm-hmm.
- [both chuckle]
You know, I've always wondered
what made your dad
start putting out
all those gnomes each year.
Those things are scary
at nighttime.
Yeah, they are
a little scary, huh?
- A lot of scary.
- A lot of scary.
Well, he started right after
my mom passed.
She used to put some out
around the house,
you know, just a few.
And he definitely
has gone overboard,
and he knows it, but...
I don't know, I guess it helps
with his grief, you know?
He needs somewhere to put it.
That makes sense.
You know, I can always tell
how badly he's missing her
by how many gnomes he puts
out that Christmas.
[floor creaks]
- Oh. Hey, Pop. [laughs]
- Hey.
Uh, want a cookie?
[mellow music playing]
[cheerful music playing]
I thought you were finished with all
your Christmas wrapping this year.
I'm wrapping these for Willow.
[Jeremiah] Ah.
She could never get her bows
to lie right,
so I've taken over.
[both chuckle]
It calms me.
So, how are things going
with you two?
We've been getting along great.
I mean, we've revamped the show,
gotten some of the other
ministries involved,
which has amplified
both of our workloads,
but, overall,
she's a dream to work with.
I've always liked that girl.
I know you mean you've always
liked her more than me.
Oh, hush.
Willow is my daughter.
Now, I may not have birthed her,
but I love her just the same.
Well, I can definitely see
where she gets
some of her mean streak from.
Well, she may be prickly
around the edges.
Most people are,
when they have
as big a heart as she does.
Speaking of prickly,
Pops seems a little more...
What's the word I'm looking for?
I'll accept prickly.
What's going on with him?
I don't know, Jeremiah.
What do you think
is going on with him?
I don't know.
I can't put my finger on it.
He's been so distant
since I've been home,
and it's like I can't ever
do anything right
to make him happy.
Have you told him how you feel?
I'll take that as a no.
Now, I would never think
that I could speak
on behalf of your father,
but if I was a gambling woman,
which I am not,
because that would be a sin
before God.
But, your father loves you.
And he's very proud
of the man that you've become.
I think that he wishes
that you would've let him
be a part of it,
just a little bit more.
Talk to your father.
[mellow music playing]
Why would anyone post these?
I don't know what happened.
Someone commented,
"Why does her face
looks like a screw?"
That's just cruel.
Well, I couldn't see
out of my eyelashes
because they were massive,
and my heels were dangerous...
But those legs,
- look good, girl.
- They do.
I'm sure Jeremiah
thought so, too.
[Jeremiah] Hey, you.
- Hi.
- Hi.
Um, are you ready?
Dress rehearsal
is about to start.
- Yeah. I will be right there.
- Okay.
Bye. [laughs]
He is so fine.
Well, he is kind of cute.
[tense music playing]
What is this?
Uh, hmm.
Is that Willow?
Well, sir, I...
When was this taken?
Um, just, uh...
So, this is Dante?
And, Lord,
we pray that tomorrow,
our voices glorify your name.
- Amen. Amen.
- Amen.
Hey, let me just say you,
worked your ass...
- Church. Church, baby. Church.
- I...
What I meant to say was,
I am so very proud
of each of you
- and proud to be a part of...
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Okay, that's great.
But listen,
your call time tomorrow
is 10:00 a.m., okay?
You need to be here, on time.
The doors will open at 3:00,
the show starts
at 4:00 on the dot.
We will start without you.
So be here. Okay?
Have a good night.
- Grace and peace, y'all.
- Yeah. Grace and peace.
- Hey.
- Yeah?
We did it. Oh, we did it.
- Okay.
- No, you did good.
The congregation is in
for a treat tomorrow.
Daddy, what's wrong?
Close the door, Willow.
Is everything okay?
I saw Grace looking
at pictures of you
performing at Dante's concert.
- Daddy, I can explain.
- Can you?
Because I distinctly remember us
having a conversation
about what would happen
if you started singing
in nightclubs, did we not?
Answer the question, Willow!
I made a mistake.
A mistake!
You gave me your word
you wouldn't do it,
and you did it anyway.
- And I am sorry.
- Me, too.
Minister Terry,
you are relieved of your duties
at Trinity Church
effective immediately.
Turn in your badge and keys
before you leave tonight.
Daddy, that is not fair.
I didn't even...
Go do whatever music
you wanna go do, Willow.
[mellow music playing]
I can talk to him.
He's not gonna change his mind.
We have to at least try.
He's too stubborn for that.
Where do you think
I get it from?
I did exactly what he asked me
not to do, right?
I deserve to get fired.
Willow, you're a gospel artist.
Performing in that show
only confirmed it even more,
that is where your heart is.
But I still performed
in the show,
when I told him
I wouldn't even audition.
What are you all doing here?
Now is not a good time, Dante.
Whatever. Oh.
We got a show tomorrow night
in Atlantic City.
- On Christmas Eve?
- [Dante] Yup.
Buses roll out at 8:00 a.m.
I'm not leaving
this close to Christmas.
[Dante] Yes, you are.
I guess you didn't read
your contract.
The jubilee is tomorrow night
and the entire church
will be there.
I know.
And the show must go on,
but the show cannot go on
without me and you.
I know.
- I just...
- I know. [laughs]
I know, Ma. I know. I know.
Look, I promise
I won't stay away
that long ever again.
Well, I packed you a small lunch
just for the bus today
when you get a chance.
- You didn't have to do that.
- Oh, it's nothing,
just some turkey
and macaroni cheese,
mashed potatoes,
black eyed peas,
collard greens, that's all.
- [laughter]
- Uh, what, no dessert?
I forgot the dessert.
I'll be right back.
No, wait. Ma. No.
I was just kid...
Well, I'll see you around, then.
Next time.
Yeah. Next time.
Pop, you think, um...
You think we could
ever get things back
to the way they were between us
before I went on the road
Without all this awkwardness?
I hope so.
I don't like feeling like
my son is a stranger.
Well, if you would...
I wish I could have been
a better son to you.
And I'm sorry that
I stayed away for so long
and made you feel like
we couldn't talk
or that I didn't want
talk to you,
because that wasn't the case.
I just...
Sometimes I feel like
you wanted me to fail.
Why would I ever
want you to fail?
When I wanted to pursue
music full on, you just...
I just wanted you to be proud of me.
That's all.
You don't think
I'm proud of you?
[melancholy music playing]
Open it.
Go on. Open it.
[soft piano music playing]
There's a few more upstairs
just like this.
I made one from when
you were a baby and...
When the doctors told us
that we may never
be able to have kids
from the time your mama told me
that she was having my baby boy
until they bury me
in the ground.
I will always be proud of you.
I packed three pieces
of peach cobbler.
I hope it's enough.
This is more than enough.
Don't stay gone for so long
next time, okay?
I won't, Pop.
[gentle music playing]
I thought we said
our goodbyes last night.
Well, I wanted to bring you
your Christmas presents
since you won't be around
the open them tomorrow.
Uh, but don't open it yet.
Just wait till you're at least
in Philly or something.
You gotta save the jubilee,
Talk to Bishop.
You got to at least try.
You put in a lot of work
for this performance,
and you...
Don't let it be in vain.
Do it for me?
For you?
Hmm, I don't know about that,
but I might do it for me.
- [chuckles]
- [Willow chuckles]
Thank you for the push.
[Jeremiah] Of course.
[mellow music playing]
Goodbye, Willow.
[mellow music continues]
I'm so sorry, Willow.
Are you okay?
Grace, I'm fine, okay?
I panicked.
I didn't know what to say.
You know I can't lie to a man
of God on holy grounds.
Grace, we're good, okay?
- Just stop.
- I can fix it.
I will just march up to him
right now and...
Oh, gosh. He's still
contemplating my raise.
Uh, what do you want me to say?
Grace, just stop.
Where's my father?
- He's in his office.
- Thank you.
Yes, Brenda.
Yes, I agree.
He would never slip on ice again
if you all move to Georgia.
Uh, Brenda...
Br... Brenda.
Brenda, I gotta go.
My daughter just walked in.
Hey, Daddy.
I know I messed up.
I defied you
and went to that audition
behind your back.
But I am not
a little girl anymore.
And the way that you see me
and treat me
like I'm some puppet
that you can control
and dispose of,
it has to stop.
- Willow, I...
- Daddy, hear me out.
All my life,
I have done what you say,
when you say,
and how you say it,
and I don't make a fuss
because I love what I do.
I would sing into a tin can in a
parking lot just to make music.
But you're suffocating me.
And, yes, I went to the audition
because I wanted to know
what it would feel like
to be free enough
to make my own decisions
without having you
in the back of my head
telling me when
and where I can sing.
And do you know what I decided?
Did you bothered to ask me?
Is that that's not the kind
of music I wanna sing.
I wanna make music
that lifts up Jesus' name,
that breaks depression
of His people,
that gives them hope.
And not because
you've chosen that for me,
but because I had a choice,
and I chose.
You're right.
Say what?
Tell me more about that.
You're right.
I will always see you
as my little girl,
but you get to make
your own decisions.
I'm sorry it's taken me
so long to see that.
It's okay.
I forgive you
because I know you're old.
Now, about this jubilee.
Willow, you can have
your job back.
No, yeah. I knew that.
Of course, I knew that.
But, um, I'm gonna need a favor.
[cheerful music playing]
[Dante] We need to go back
to playing the major venues.
I'm tired of these small towns.
I couldn't even find a decent
restaurant out there.
[Dominique] I hear you
loud and clear.
I'm working on it.
This next show is going to help.
- [Dante] I hope so.
- [Dominique] I'm on it.
[Dante speaks indistinctly]
- [Dominique] Yes.
- [Dante] All right.
We get off the bus,
you'd better have my barber
on standby.
Don't worry about a thing.
This next show
is going to be great
I'll have the barber
standing by as soon as...
[Dante] Yeah.
[upbeat music playing]
Hey. Hey.
I need to get off.
I need to go back home.
In case there was any confusion,
I just quit.
Are you sure about that?
I'm definitely sure.
I have never been more sure
about anything
in my entire life.
- Hey, Peter.
- Yeah.
Drop me off at the next town.
[cheerful music playing]
Great. No service.
You look beautiful.
Don't forget to breathe.
Merry Christmas to you
and your families.
I want to welcome you
to Trinity Church's
annual Christmas jubilee.
I wanna thank everyone
that's had a hand
in tonight's production.
What in the world?
[Bishop Terry]
To Minister Eddie.
- Jeremiah White.
- My son worked hard on this.
- [Bishop Terry] My assistant...
- I couldn't miss it.
- [Bishop Terry] Grace.
- And you promised me cookies
if I came to church,
so I came to collect.
- Thank you, sweetheart.
- But I'd also like to acknowledge
the contributions and sacrifices
to this house
of a special individual,
and to thank her.
I don't always get it right.
And it's come to my attention
that I can be
too suffocating to those I love.
I hold onto them too tight.
But tonight,
I would like you to watch...
my daughter, my baby,
Willow Denise Terry Swords.
Thank you, Daddy.
We put blood, sweat, and tears
into this production.
And we pray
that you are blessed,
that your families are blessed,
that your children are blessed
and their children.
Daddy, I could use
a little help on this one,
if you don't mind.
[piano playing]
Joy to the world
The Lord has,
The Lord has come
- Let Earth... -
[choir] Let Earth...
Receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And Heaven
And nature sing
And Heaven
And nature sing
Go tell of His Glory
- Tell of Him
- Go shout the new story
Shout it, shout it
[choir] Hey, hey, hey,
hey, Hey, hey, hey...
Heaven and nature
Joy to the world
For the Lord
The Lord has come
- [Willow] Let Earth...
- Let Earth...
- [Willow] Receive...
- Receive...
[Willow and choir]
Her King
While fields and floods
Rock, hills,
And plains...
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Go tell of His glory
- Tell of Him
- Go shout the new story
Shout His glory
Hey, hey, hey, hey,
Hey, hey...
Heaven and nature
Sing joy to the world
Sing joy to the world
Sing joy to the world
Sing joy to the world
[cheers and applause]
Bishop is in
a giving mood tonight.
He gave me a seven percent
salary increase.
Okay, well, praise God.
- Won't he do it?
- [laughter]
[mellow music playing]
[slow dramatic music playing]
What in the world
are you doing here?
I promised a beautiful woman
I'd sing a song with her.
You got one more in you?
Let's do it.
This year is gone
But my pain,
My pain has grown
Where do we go from here
When the way back home
Seems so unclear,
You said
You'd never leave
- But I feel... -
[Willow] But I feel...
So alone
I'm so alone
You walked away
From me
And that's what hurts
The most
And now
The winds have changed
And where is the pain?
The pain I felt
So deep inside...
Of being all alone
At Christmas time
Don't want
To be all alone
At Christmas time
You don't have
To be all alone
At Christmas
[cheers and applause]
I'll go first.
This is for you.
It won't bite.
[Bishop Terry] That was good.
That was a good one.
I realized those mean
a lot to you.
And I'll stop taking them
from now on
so you can continue
your long tradition.
And I'm sorry.
Come here.
Thank you, neighbor.
- You're welcome, neighbor.
- [Jeremiah laughs]
- Oh, let's see it again.
- Yeah. I know.
That is the ugliest thing
I've ever seen.
Oh, sweetheart,
I'm so proud of you.
Okay. All right.
[clears throat]
I have...
something for you, Willow.
So, um, I sent your song
to a friend of mine
and this was her response.
Open it.
- Ooh.
- [Willow] Okay.
[clears throat]
"Dear Willow,
Jeremiah was kind enough
to send us your record
and I just wanted to say
you blew us away.
God gave you something
special in those pipes,
you truly have a gift.
Please have your lawyer...
look over the attached
contract and follow up
if you have any questions.
We'd love to get started
on recording
your gospel album soon.
Merry Christmas."
Is this...
Is this what I think it is?
[Jeremiah] Yes.
Willow, they're asking you
to be a gospel recording
artist on their label.
is that a yes?
- Yes. Yes.
- Yes?
- Yes.
- This is a...
- Yes, yes.
- [Jeremiah] Okay.
Oh, my gosh. Yes, yes, yes.
Y'all heard me.
Yes, yes, yes.
Willow, you are an official
gospel recording artist.
- Mmm-hmm.
- Thank you.
Come here.
- Thank you.
- Oh.
You're the best. Thank you.
- I know. Tell me again.
- [Willow] No, no, no.
Just one time. Just one time.
We have so much
to celebrate this Christmas.
Willow's making a album
and Jeremiah's...
Is unemployed, but home.
Yes, I am.
[Bishop Terry] Well...
seems my minister of music
has relocated to Georgia
and my daughter
is now officially
a gospel music recording artist.
So, she's unavailable,
but I still need a new one.
Job is yours
if you want it, son.
I... I'd love to.
I'd be honored, Bishop.
Yes, of course. Thank you.
Thank you.
[Willow] Oh, oh. But, um,
there is a new artist
who's gonna need your help
with her music.
So, uh, he needs to be able
to make music
outside of Trinity.
What she said.
That's fair.
Seems fair.
Go make whatever music
you need to make, son.
Thank you.
Seems like I'll be seeing
a lot more of you now,
Minister Jeremiah.
Uh-uh. No, I'll just still go
by Jeremiah, okay?
But it does seem that way.
And, uh, maybe we could,
I don't know,
intentionally start
spending some time together.
- Maybe we could.
- Uh-huh.
Maybe we could, uh, a movie?
- The park?
- Ah.
Yeah, yeah, ice skating?
Yeah. Just nowhere
that involves a tour bus.
[chuckles] Or a church.
- Deal.
- Deal.
Oh, just go ahead and kiss
her already, sweetheart.
Could we please, please,
open the presents.
It's Christmas.
Let's do it.
Open the presents.
[Stan] All right.
Let's do this.
This recording artist.
Oh, my gosh. Okay.
I have something.