the holiday & nativity! | christmas movie marathon

Part One | Part Two

Join me as I count down to Christmas with reviews of some of my favorite Christmas movies – and a few new ones!

p162526_p_v8_aa.jpgThe Holiday {2006} | Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black

The Plot: Unlucky in love, two women swap homes over Christmas.  Then, love surprises them when they expected it least.

The Good: My mom discovered this movie a few years ago and introduced it to my siblings and I.  It soon became a tradition to watch it at least once every year (but sometimes I watch it outside of the Christmas season because it’s just that good).  I cry every time I watch it, and melt from the feels.  I’m not usually a Cameron Diaz fan, but she won me over in this one.  Kate Winslet is amazing as always, and Jack Black in a romantic role completely surprised me!  And, hello, Jude Law in glasses – what’s not to love?!  And I just found out that it came out on my birthday in 2006, so it was my density to love this one.

The Bad: To be completely honest, this is probably the movie with the most content in this series.  Sensual kissing, casual sex, language, etc.  See IMDb’s Parents Guide for details, but I’d say this is a pretty typical rom-com PG-13.

The Bottom Line: So good.  So incredibly good.  The romance is fun and makes you feel all fuzzy inside, but it’s also got a sub-plot about being “the leading lady in your own life” that makes me tear up just thinking about it.  And the twist at the end – gah.  If you like rom-coms or just feel-good romances, you’ve gotta watch this one.

p7935389_d_v8_aa.jpgNativity! {2009} | Martin Freeman, Mark Wootton

The Plot: After a Scroogeish grade school teacher (Freeman) is told to direct the school’s production of The Nativity, a lie he tells gets blown out of proportion, causing his job to be much harder.  (Not to be confused with that movie that had Poe Hot Damneron in it.)

The Good: I heard of this movie a few years ago, having been introduced to it by the plethora of adorable gifs that came out of it.  (I need a gif of him shutting up his class by banging cymbals with an angry face and i can’t. find. it.)  I forgot about watching it last year, and finally made more of an effort this year.  Katie and I sat down one night with very low expectations – except hello it’s Martin so it’s gonna be at least okay – and soon were laughing so hysterically that we had to pause it and rewind.  It’s absolutely hilarious, all of the kids are just adorable, and it was surprisingly touching as well!

The Bad: This movie is PG.  I’ve only seen it once but I literally can’t think of anything inappropriate (unless there was some British humor, which is always a little more crass than American).  Some of it was a little ridiculous, and the ending got wrapped up a little too neatly – but let’s be honest, who didn’t want all of that to happen, regardless of how unlikely it was.  😛

The Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a cute movie to watch with your younger siblings but really just want to see Martin Freeman SLAY, watch this one.  And let me know what you think.

Next Week: Scrooged and Serendipity

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8 thoughts on “the holiday & nativity! | christmas movie marathon

  1. I know nothing whatsoever about chick flicks . . . Like, I don’t SEE myself liking them (given what I know about myself); but since I’ve never tried them I can’t be absolutely sure.

    This is an odd question but . . . are ALL chick flicks very “girly” in the conventional sense of the word? Because that’s the impression I get; and that’s what has kept me (thus far) from watching them (because that kind of thing really irks me for some unknown reason). But I don’t know if my impressions are accurate or not. If that makes sense. So . . . what do you think?

    • GREAT question. First of all, not all girls like chick flicks – even I didn’t like them ’til I was like 17 or 18 – and that’s okay. I didn’t like them for a completely different reason from other people (basically that I didn’t want to be seen as One Of Those Girls who fills her head with romantic notions), but once I got past the fact that it’s okay to like romance, I started really enjoying them. Anyway, it really depends on the movie. There are definitely some that are more vapid and ridiculous and a waste of time, but a few that are about more than just guy-meets-girl. While 27 Dresses is more about that (yet I’ve seen it like 4 times because James Marsden is a total babe), movies like Devil Wears Prada and Legally Blonde are more about women and how they succeed in their careers despite the protestations of men and other women. The Holiday is about two women losing their preconceived notions of love and bettering themselves along the way. About Time, my absolute favorite “chick flick,” can’t really even be called a chick flick because although it’s mostly about romance, it’s got a guy central character and it’s about how he learns to spend his time wisely. Bottom line, I think all movies with a main female character are automatically called “chick flicks,” which – and here comes my uber feminism – is kind of degrading. I should write a blog post about this… I have too many feelings for just a comment. 😄 Anywho. Did that answer your question? If you don’t like super girly things (which I totally get bc I was there not too long ago), then there are probably some you should avoid, but definitely not all of them. 🙂

      • Thanks so much for your long answer–I was hoping you would be able to tell me a lot (because like I said, I don’t know nothin’ about this stuff), and you did! 🙂

        Okay, so . . . hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . No, I wouldn’t say I don’t like romance–I like it a lot, as long as it’s *my sort* of romance? If that makes sense? But I do love romantic-type stories as a general thing (heck, I even write them myself 😉 ) I think what I more get bothered by–and I don’t know if “chick flick” is even the right word for this–is stories that are about OTHER conventionally “girly” things (and I use that word in the loosest sense), like clothes and fashion and parties and socializing and so on. Because I just . . . I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t make myself be interested in that stuff. I just AM NOT into it. And yet, I feel like other people are trying to tell me I *should* be into that kind of thing; and so stories/movies with those elements just end up frustrating me. I sit there and I watch/read them and I’m like, “Why am I not enjoying this? Why am I not more like these women? WHAT IS ACTUALLY WRONG WITH ME?”

        It makes me feel inferior, in a way? Which is weird? But yeah, that’s how I feel . . . Like, a lot of my friends keep recommending “Roman Holiday” to me because it’s one of THEIR favorite movies, and I get that it’s a really great and beautiful film; but every time I read a synopsis or see some of the photos, the thought of actually WATCHING the thing makes me want to curl up and die. (Figuratively.) And it’s not because it’s a romance–I know that, because ordinarily I love romance. But . . . I don’t like *that* kind of romance. Don’t know why, except that there’s something about seeing a picture of Audrey Hepburn in a diamond tiara that makes me feel terrible about myself.

        And it’s not because she’s beautiful, either. I don’t grudge her her beauty. What I DO grudge her is her general Level of Comfort with a World of Feminine Things that I Don’t Understand At All.

        I’m not trying to say this stuff is bad . . . it’s not!!!!! I’m just trying to say, it makes me feel bad about myself, because it makes me feel like I don’t fit in–and I don’t like not fitting in :-/

        So yeah. I could probably watch “About Time” just fine; I miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight be able to watch “The Holiday”; but I’d have to steer clear of “The Devil Wears Prada,” because fashion happens to be one of those Things that I Can’t Abide.

        (By the way–never apologize for your ‘uber-feminism’ 🙂 I like it!! And I absolutely agree with you, it’s not right that every movie about a female MC should get stereotyped as a “chick flick.” Even the name itself is kind of dismissive; I wish we could stop using it . . .)

        Apologies for the length of this essay that I apparently just wrote ❤ But I had a lot of thoughts . . .

        • You’re welcome! I can’t stop myself from rambling sometimes. 😄

          I totally totally get it. There are some sorts of romance that I hate – like insta-love, the love-at-first-sight kind of thing. That literally never happens in real life and it IRKS me to no end when it happens in books & movies. And I also completely get the aversion to girly stuff bc I’m the exact same way. I hate wearing skirts, I’ve only JUST gotten over the color pink, and I rarely paint my fingernails. And I think if every girl were into girly stuff (or, like you and I, not so much), the world would be a much less interesting place. And I’ve felt the feeling of inferiority, too – when friends want to “go shopping,” I’d literally rather shoot myself than go try on clothes I can’t afford for six hours. (And Roman Holiday is cute, but the romance is kind of ridiculous – something I can’t stand. And if seeing Audrey in a tiara makes you feel terrible, don’t watch it! You just don’t like that kind of thing, and I completely understand bc, again, sparkles and tiaras and glitter is totally not my thing either.)

          Oh my gosh, I feel the EXACT same way. I’ve got girly-girl friends who are so comfortable with makeup and high heels and dresses and I’m just like… h e l p.

          I don’t like not fitting in, either, which is why I’ve only just started watching chick flicks, but still steer clear of some. Devil Wears Prada is about a girl who also doesn’t understand fashion, and it’s super interesting to watch her change – but, again, if it’s not your thing, don’t spend 2 hours watching it just to try to “fit in.” I still haven’t seen several MUST SEE chick flicks that everyone seems to tout as The Best Thing Ever (including Titanic, anything Nicholas Sparks – bc I’ve read two of his books and I hated both – and I only *just* saw Mean Girls for the first time… and thought it was mediocre at best).

          (I appreciate that. 🙂 FOR REAL. Completely agree!!!)

          Don’t apologize! I love discussing opinions with people!!! 🙂

          • Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . I’m so glad you understand, Ashely!!!! My mom and sisters feel the same way, I think–we’re all a bunch of not-so-girly-girls, in a lot of ways, and it can be a bit tough sometimes. Because it’s fun to be different–until people start questioning WHY you’re different and telling you you SHOULD be like everybody else, and then that’s not so fun.

            I just hope I can keep being myself, and try not to worry too much about what others think of me. Because it’s worked pretty well for me so far . . . but the thing is, I’m only just now catching on to HOW MUCH I’m different–not necessarily from the majority, per se, but from what I’d call the “majority ideal” (or stereotype?), and *that* is a bit disconcerting, especially as I get older and am expected to act more like an adult woman. Which is tough, if it means going to restaurants and wearing nylons and dress shoes when you REALLY would much rather be sitting on the floor eating pizza and discussing the latest Star Wars movie with your nerdy friends.

            (Now THAT was a truly beautiful film, by the way. Have you seen it yet?)

            Oh well, I’ll try not to worry to much. Break the mold, I guess, is what you and I are going to do 🙂

            • That’s so awesome! Surrounding yourself with like-minded girls is definitely key. My sisters and mom are a tad more girly than I am – and definitely more interested in fashion than I am (although I’m learning). I totally get it. BE YOURSELF. I get the pressure you feel to fit in and have the same interests as your girlfriends. Right there with you. 🙂 THANK YOU. Totally get it. I’d rather sit on the floor in a nice pair of jeans too (seriously, I prefer the floor to a chair so often). And I haven’t seen it yet! Going next Wednesday with my extended family (it’s a tradition that started last year with TFA) and I’m seeing spoilers already. Whoops.

              DEFINITELY. Let’s do it, girl. 🙂

              • That makes me feel a lot better!!! ❤ We'll both be ourselves and be happy.

                That's so cool!!!!!!!!!! Me and my folks have the same tradition going now (again, after TFA), and it's SO much fun to be there with them and see the film together as a family. IT'S SUCH A MASTERPIECE. You're going to love it. (Ugh, sorry about the spoilers . . .)

                *high-five* *sunglasses emoji*

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