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This Week in Elitism: There's No Place For Independent Films In The Holidays?

When I think about holiday movies, it usually makes me cringe. Most focus on the worst, least-redeemable, most pathetic aspects of this time of year. For your consideration, the following list:

Jingle All the Way
Bad Santa
Fred Claus
The Santa Claus 1 & 2
Christmas with the Kranks
Surviving Christmas
The Family Stone

And this year's newest addition: Four Christmases. I'm not even going to mention films that dare to call themselves "Holiday classics" while only happening to contain one Christmas scene, at the very end, to commemorate the season.

While, granted, I liked some parts of The Family Stone, the rest of it and the list above are just examples of lazy film-making. American theater-goers are generally less than choosy about holiday films: we'll see anything about Christmas as an excuse to get away from relatives and have a moment's peace. However, we know smart from stupid.

I'm looking forward to this year's small batch of independent holiday films. They're always more nuanced, subtle, and innovative (which isn't very hard). I'll probably be seeing A Christmas Tale, which is the latest indie-import from France.

In the meantime, since it's not even Thanksgiving yet, here's my recommendation for viewing on that day:

Home for the Holidays
Directed by Jodie Foster [Ed. -- Oh yeah!] and starring Holly Hunter and Robert Downey, Jr., this is a tried and true standby in my family. The storyline is complex, but structured; the emotions slowly rising to a boil throughout, as they always do on Thanksgiving. Each scene rings true, with a little bit of melodrama but constant sarcasm and biting comments to balance the reality. And if that doesn't entice you, it also has Dylan McDermott smoldering around in every scene. Perfect for the whole (over 13) family!

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  1. Anonymous lq | 11:53 AM |  

    What about that one with Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito trying to out-decorate each other? There's no way that could have been a good movie.

    The only 2 Christmas movies that really matter, in my opinion, are A Christmas Story and It's a Wonderful Life.

  2. Blogger Sean | 3:14 PM |  

    you forgot home alone. that movie makes me cry tears.

  3. Blogger qualler | 6:10 PM |  

    Yes, Home Alone is a holiday classic. When I saw the trailer for A Christmas Tale, I told Brigitte "What is this, the foreign Family Stone?"

  4. Blogger nicole | 8:27 AM |  

    I wish I'd seen the trailer, but I haven't been to a movie in so long! But subtitles do add a certain "je ne sais quoi" to a holiday film.

  5. Blogger DoktorPeace | 9:06 AM |  

    I believe you mean The Santa Clause with an "e" at the end, making it obvious that you missed the pun and the humor of the picture and therefore do not deserve to shun it as such, good madame!

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