The Holiday, Clooney, Jackman & Prince Harry’s US Sojourn

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Before I tell you about the movie you should NOT MISS playing in theaters right now…

…Happy Columbus Day! Hope you have the day off in celebration of our fore-fore-fore-fathers’ arrival here in the USA.Even if you’re in the office, here’s a little bit of trivia: can you name the three states that do not celebrate this holiday? 

Well, it turns out, you’re absolutely correct: neither Hawaii, South Dakota, nor Alaska recognize the annual Columbus Day celebration. Oh, they celebrate, they commemorate, and many of them get the day off — only they observe the second Monday in October for different reasons.In Hawaii, today is known as Discoverers’ Day, to commemorate the day Polynesians first came ashore upon the Hawaiian Isles (followed by surfers, real estate developers, Jack Lord and about 35% of Southern California).Meanwhile South Dakota calls today “Native American Day”. So there’s some trivia that you can toss out at the dinner table tonight.

In Royal Watcher news – and I know we have many of them  (because nothing says Columbus Day Blog like talking about the nation we actually fled before discovering a more appropriate continent to colonize) the UK’s own Prince Harry is visiting the US. If you are a Royal Watcher (as I am) and perhaps you even just received the Pippa purse as a gift (which I did), you no doubt already know Harry is here, whooping it up with his fellow servicemen in San Diego.He’s here getting helicopter training lessons. Expect much press coverage.

Now let’s talk about movies, because unsurprisingly the Aussie and the robot may have trumped everyone at the box office (which they did as of this writing but by the end of today they’ll have earned scads more). However, I would wholeheartedly recommend you see a certain Ides Of March before you see anything else because it’s delectable. George Clooney does for politics what Brad Pitt’s managed to do this fall for an obscure, metric approach to baseball. And Ryan Gosling is beyond stellar as a young political operative, simultaneously idealistic and sleazy (not sure who else can pull that off and lose zero appeal).

The movie is also downright fascinating, because we all know far more about the political process than audiences did twenty years ago and yet this one keeps you guessing about what’s going on behind office – and bedroom – doors. It’s cinema for the already jaded.

The performances are uniformly solid – anticipate Oscar buzz around all four leads (Clooney, Gosling, Giamatti & Philip Seymour Hoffman).The end of the movie will confound you because it twists and turns pretty dramatically, although if you’re like me you’ll feel satisfied. If perhaps even more wary and cynical about politics. It’s a great film and it almost feels indie – even though it’s got a bunch of movie stars in it – and this may be George Clooney directing it with a decidedly non-Hollywood flourish.

Enjoy your holiday, let us know which movies you saw, and tomorrow we’ll talk about another fall TV show that’s already gotten the axe (whose cancellation you predicted as well). I’ll give you a hint: most people will be surprised, largely because so little of it was broadcast before they pulled the plug! More later.

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