Million to One Image

Million to One

By Alan Ng | May 1, 2023

Sometimes life moves so fast we forget to pursue what truly matters in life. Harold Jackson III’s romantic comedy, Million to One, reminds us that we’ve got to stop and take a chance on love. Dre Shaw (Rob Gordon) is an up-and-coming media influencer and food critic. He’s got that slick, suave personality that the masses love, yet he’s struggling to hit that million subscriber mark. His advisor thinks he needs a co-host, but Dre has been on his own this long. So why screw up a good thing?

While at his local bar, Dre spies the beautiful Tatiana (Briana Cortesiano) and decides to pour on the charm that has made him so popular online. Tatiana reveals she’s a chef in her, and the two now have something in common. As Dre makes his moves, Tatiana’s boyfriend, Mark (Donnie Brown, Jr.), arrives with his towering stature to shoo the tiny Dre along.

The next day, Dre’s brother, Isaac (Michael J. Patterson), calls to let him know that he’s going to marry his fiancee, Monica (Ashley Rios), in an impromptu wedding. The surprise nuptials will take place at Isaac’s home in the country. Dre reluctantly drags himself out of the city only to find that Isaac hired Tatiana as the wedding caterer.

“…thinks he needs a co-host, but Dre has been on his own this long. So why screw up a good thing?”

I’ve had the chance to review several of indie filmmaker Harold Jackson III’s films in the past. Almost all of them were thrillers, making Million to One the first rom-com of his that I’ve reviewed. There is much to admire in Jackson’s filmography, and this is his chance to break into new genres. Thankfully, the film is a solid romantic comedy.

The lead character is a confirmed bachelor, enjoying the influencer life he’s amassed to the point that true love takes a back seat. He then meets his match with the confident Tatiana, who’s dating a dirtbag boyfriend. His brother’s wedding only amps up Dre’s romantic yearnings and intensifies the playful interactions with Tatiana.

On the positive, “solid” is the keyword from earlier. Fantastic performances by leads Rob Gordon and Briana Cortesiano make for a couple worth rooting for. Michael J. Patterson nails it as big brother Isaac, who hopes to ground Dre in reality while dealing with his insecurities about being tied down. Along with the performances, Million to One lays a good foundation for a romance. The setting, music, and cinematography are top-notch.

The only weakness is that the film rigidly follows the basic structure of a rom-com to a fault. As someone who sees a lot of movies, I’ve seen this story structure a lot, and to truly break out as a filmmaker, you should always look for ways to elevate and evolve the narrative to feel fresh and new. Then, when you do something daring and different, you’re audiences will remember that and associate your name with always showing them something new.

As with his other features, you’ve got to hand it to Jackson for having a personal vision to make movies without the hand of Hollywood guiding and forcing every step. It’s filmmakers like him that I’m always excited to support. They tell thrilling stories, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. Million to One boasts a fantastic cast and a simple story about falling in love—sure to reach a broad audience looking to fall in love themselves.

For more information about Million to One, visit the 8 Picture House website.

Million to One (2023)

Directed and Written: Harold Jackson III

Starring: Rob Gordon, Briana Cortesiano, Michael J. Patterson, Ashley Rios, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Million to One Image

"…fantastic performances by leads Rob Gordon and Briana Cortesiano..."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon