It doesn't get co-star billing, but Miss Priscilla Dorris' majestic white mansion overlooking downtown Kingston Springs' Main Street is unquestionably the focal point of “A Nashville Country Christmas,” a film headlined by Tanya Tucker and Keith Carradine.
Paramount's "A Nashville Country Christmas" – available for streaming on Amazon Prime, among other places – was filmed on the 145-acre Dorris Farms site in Kingston Springs and first aired on Dec. 12, 2022.
A year later, the Kingston Springs Gazette rewatched "A Nashville Country Christmas" starring Grammy-winning country icon Tucker and a beloved community landmark.
In the movie, Tucker plays Josie Carson, a world weary country music queen, who escapes her tinseled California treadmill to find comfort in the Tennessee home — the Dorris landmark — she grew up in.
It will startle no one when she also finds comfort in the old boyfriend she fled at the start of her career.
Tucker, 65, is, of course, a real country star and has been since she was 13. This year she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Carradine, 74, who plays ex-beau Keaton Walker, has country music roots as well, having portrayed a bed hopping folksinger in the 1975 Robert Altman classic, “Nashville.”
“I'm Easy,” the song he wrote and performed in that film, won an Academy Award for best original song. Although both he and Tucker sing wisps of songs in this holiday confection, there's not a lot of music here, which probably has more to do with the cost of licensing than with any artistic consideration.
The movie opens with Josie being rushed into the filming of a Christmas special in which she's dressed as “Mrs. Santa Claus” and backed on stage by a line of bare-chested dancers in cowboy hats, a visual atrocity that's apparently meant to convey the idea that those West Coast folks have no grasp of real country music.
To underline the point, Josie's clipboard clutching commando of an agent, Victoria (Ana Ortiz), chatters about her recording an album of Christmas parodies and warning that some of the higher ups they both work for find nativity scenes “a little too Jesus-y.”
No stereotype of elite obnoxiousness goes unburnished.
Fed up, Josie hops into her car and heads East. When she arrives at the old home place, she discovers it's been been sneaked into and occupied by a trio of orphans — the fiercely protective teenage Anna (Olivia Sanabia) and her elementary-school-age brother and sister, all well-scrubbed, well-fed, well-mannered and well-spoken.
Who could resist such adorables? Certainly, not Josie. But what's she to do? Take them in and cripple her career or throw them out to play foster home bingo? Fortunately, she has Keaton to turn to. And you can guess how that goes.
Kimberly Williams-Paisley, of “Father of the Bride” fame and wife of country singer Brad Paisley, takes the unnamed role of Josie's friend, protector and foil to the always assertive and high-strung Victoria. Tyler Merritt has his moments as the wise, no nonsense hardware store owner, Mr. Peterson.
Just as we hoped she would, Josie decides to have it all — the kids, Keaton, home, hometown and geared-down career. Mindful that she still has a contracted Christmas TV special to fulfill, she abandons the original phony stage setup and presents instead a real “Front Porch Christmas.”
And we're back in Kingston Springs again.