More Holiday Movies (That Aren’t About The Holidays)

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Hope you had a fantastic holiday…and now the countdown til our January 5th show begins in earnest !(Did you vote yet? You still can…those New Shows’ categories need to know what you think). Hopefully, your holiday travels weren’t interrupted by the inclement weather that immobilized much of the East Coast. And if they were, and you got stuck somewhere, here’s hoping it was somewhere/with someone remotely fun. Me? I stayed put. Had a lovely holiday, ate too much and saw a few movies…one incredibly diverting and not something anyone would consider great, the other wildly well-intentioned and badly written, but with some fantastic performances. They were a) Little Fockers and b) Country Strong. Fockers is the third in the Meet The Parents series…Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro in the ongoing in-law battle that was a lot funnier during the last two films. Owen Wilson gets the most fun lines and shines, but he is unable to lift this film out of submediocrity. I have a movie scale:  a) the Forgotten Two and b) the Lost Two (Forgotten is a movie that you watch and forget where you were for two hours and then two hours after the film you can’t remember what it was about…the Lost Two is where you want your two hours back). Little Fockers, while perfect for Christmas Day, hovers between the two categories. A couple of funny moments and the addition of Jessica Alba which helps, but the whole thing’s still super sub-par).  Now, in the coincidence department, Little Fockers’ Blythe Danner stars as Robert DeNiro’s wife, but you can also catch Danner’s real-life daughter Gwyneth Paltrow in Country Strong. Which is a movie about an extremely popular country singer battling addiction and the disastrous turns that her career’s taken. The film also features Garrett Hedlund in a tremendous star-turn that will probably raise his Hollywood profile big time, along with Leighton Meester and Tim McGraw. Turns out, the script itself is pretty weak – I always knew what was about to happen and if I know, it’s gotta be beyond obvious (many, many plots elude me and keep me guessing when everyone else has gotten it. Not here.) With this film however, even though the writing is genuinely less-than, the acting is great and Paltrow shines. And obviously, can sing. Although it’s not her singing you care about – it’s Hedlund’s. Clearly this was written as an Oscar vehicle for Paltrow and despite the fact that she may not get that sort of recognition, she does a great job.  So I’d recommend Country Strong — lousy title, mehhh writing and all  — just for the acting. I know very little about real-life country megastar Tim McGraw and here he’s a darker and more complicated version of his Blind Side dad – but he’s completely fascinating to watch. And Little Fockers? Maybe a silly rainy-day rental. Now, one thing they always do on holiday weekends is bring out the big, long family movies –  so let’s take a look at some of those pictures that everyone sits down to watch together. I don’t mean ones that are holiday-themed; and they’re not even always ‘fun’ (Tora, Tora, Tora anyone?) plus some of them feel dated now. Still, they’re those timeless classics  everyone’s seen more than once. Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these iconic annual movies is your favorite:

1)    The Sound of Music

2)    The Wizard of Oz

3)    Gone With The Wind

4)    Casablanca

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