Monday, December 18, 2017

The Holiday (2006) - A Regurgitation

I'm a pretty heavy movie buff, but I don't usually go 'ga-ga' over the movies that other people do. My tastes are eclectic for the most part, yet somewhat trite and cheesy for many people's tastes. It doesn't really bother me, I am not someone who has to follow the pack. I enjoy what I enjoy, and I am the weirdo who watches my favorite "comfort movies" over, and over, and over again.

One of those favorite comfort movies is "The Holiday".

I have read a lot of articles and notes blasting it for thinness of plot, overdoing it by having more than one central romance in the movie, or just general complaints about "why they did this, but didn't do that" with the characters or plot. Many have given this movie a low review, one or two stars... but why? It's actually a comforting movie, one of my favorite holiday movies in fact. It's like the over-sized fuzzy sweater that you feel a little guilty for wearing two days in a row but you do it anyway because it's just too comfortable.

Just because I love a movie, doesn't mean I don't have questions or things about it that irritate me too, however. I have several issues. I find myself analyzing it every time I watch it, and then looking through forums and sites for "movie goofs and mistakes" like IMDB (Goofs - The Holiday) and Movie Mistakes. These cite factual errors and continuity mistakes that have been spotted by various people. Very interesting indeed as I will go back and play and pause, trying to match these up, and find others. Then I'll find myself angry for not having caught these things on my own... am I THAT BAD AT OBSERVATION? Attention to detail?

Aside from those movie goofs and questions already addressed, I still have my own questions as I go along. Feel free to chime in, or help out if you're reading along with me.

The Holiday touches at my heart strings, I guess because I've been on that "unrequited love" bus more times than I would like to admit. Then I'm always a sucker for the love story, the one that apparently works out, because it is such a mythological creature in my own life. I like the characters in this movie, they feel real to me (even though "Amanda Woods' character has a dream job and huge house, and seems a bit unbelievable), her issues are still realistic, so I think I still identify with her feelings.

Before writing this I was reading through other articles that touched on this, and one good one I found below touches on some of my questions and issues, and I found it to be a good read (though I couldn't find a spot to leave a comment, which made me feel slighted):

See 30 Questions I Still Have After Re-watching The Holiday
(Re-watching The Holiday - thank goodness, I'm not the only one)

So now, I'll touch on those points about the movie that bother me the most. It doesn't mean they are errors, or real problems, just a personal issue for me.

First, when Iris finds out Jasper is engaged, she's so upset she cries all the way home. Once home, she turns on the gas at her stove, inhales deeply trying to end it over Jasper. (I've read that this is not the way gas works, as the UK changed to Natural Gas decades ago. The previous Coal Gas would put you to sleep with a couple of breaths and kill you in minutes. Natural Gas is not toxic at all and could only kill you by displacing all the air in a room, which since it is lighter than air is unlikely... so um, unrealistic).

Plus ladies, NEVER try to end it over some idiotic jerk. Period!!!

Cameron Diaz didn't cry, in fact she evidently CAN'T cry, she dramatically tries to no avail. This is very irritating because she goes so overboard trying to 'force out just one tear'... Hey, she can borrow some of mine if she's that desperate to go weepy. I have plenty to spare. Ahhh, SO--Good Ol' 'rejected' Cameron Diaz goes away with the intention of finding herself, and being alone, but in a few short hours she gets bored and can't even give it one day to get adjusted, before she plans to leave. Only when she meets Graham is she happy to be where she is, once again "WITH" someone, not alone for the holidays (thus kind of sending the message you can't be happy by yourself, and jumping into a relationship right after another one ends). **me being nitpicky**

Someone else mentioned the fact that you leave your dog to be taken care of by someone you've never met (in the home exchange situation). Iris doesn't know if Amanda will actually treat him well... again, me being nitpicky, this is a movie and all.

Speaking of which, Charlie the dog seems to be the most well-adjusted character in the movie aside from Arthur (awesomely played by Eli Wallach).

Miles (Jack Black), while a lot of people didn't like the pairing between him and Kate Winslet, saying he wasn't a good leading man, I actually enjoyed their growing friendship. They don't jump into anything, they begin as really good friends who get along and are good for one another, and though they don't blaze forth in some unbridled passion that sets them on fire and drives them crazy, I find it very sweet that they begin what is quite possibly, the smarter relationship in the movie. What they have might, in fact, grow to be something solid, plus they have both found someone who is actually good to them for once, instead of yet another self-destructive, co-dependent relationship... that gives me a feeling of a happy ending.

Cameron Diaz's stuffy driver refuses to safely get her to her destination, stating that he'd 'never be able to turn the car around from there'. However, when you see the place it's pretty open space and it's not THAT much snow or ice, why couldn't he turn around? Then at the end, he has somehow miraculously come all the way down and turned around to pick her up, so what's going on here? Is he just trying to be a dick? Do your job!

Cameron Diaz goes driving recklessly to the shops to pick up goodies, driving down the same road that her driver, just hours earlier, said he couldn't manage (I mean yes I know it wasn't as big a car, but still). She got there in one piece, without killing anyone by some miracle of God. Then she goes in on a shopping rampage and they allow her to drink straight from the bottle of wine in the store? (Where do they do this?)

Speaking of the car(s), when she first arrives at the Cottage, I don't see a vehicle anywhere in sight, but there is evidently a car. Later on, when she and Graham are hanging out together his Range Rover is there and you also see the smaller car in the drive-they park somewhat in front of the cottage. Later, when Amanda leaves to go back to US, no vehicles are in sight. So where are these vehicles? Around back? Just kind of inconsistent... keep them in one spot. Also, if Iris does have a car, why doesn't she drive all the way to and from her job at the Daily Telegraph? She's shown taking the bus after being heartbroken over Jasper's wedding announcement in the beginning, and then you see her walking up to the cottage when she finally arrives... How far did she have to walk? Where did the Bus drop her? Once again, where's the damn car?

This thing about the cars is what has bugged me more than anything, and I don't see anyone else posing this question about the movie.

Graham (Jude Law) goes bustin up into the house unannounced (which I know is something his Sister is fine with), but the fact that Amanda so quickly jumps into bed with him (for her, a total stranger). Yep, she starts drinking and making out with him within 30 minutes of meeting him. She doesn't know these people at all, they could be a family of serial killers! Sorry, but someone beating down the door in the middle of the night would cause me to call the cops... but given the apparent feelings about the roads, the cops would probably claim they couldn't turn the squad cars around when the arrived, and not show up. Then again, if the serial killer looked like Jude Law, well... um...

The part where Amanda (Diaz) doesn't ask Graham (Law) to come in after their day on the town, apologetically saying she plans to take a nap, and then takes a bath in the tub that she so heavily doubted earlier, and kicks herself for being stupid, she decides to go and show up at Graham's house. How does SHE know where HE lives? Did she go through some address book of Iris's? Or had he told her where he lived? It doesn't seem that he would tell her where he lived, really since he was trying to keep the fact that he was a single father a bit silent. So can we say "Stalker Alert"? Maybe I was worried about the wrong character.

Movie Inconsistencies in general:  All the little continuity errors, factual errors and the like... Why? These are not low-budget films. Why can't they take the time to ensure that things match up, and that there aren't any inconsistent pieces (you know, the things that stick out like a sore thumb, like the shifting or change of scarf from scene to scene, or other wardrobe malfunctions. Or how candles are burned down to the nub in one frame and suddenly big again, then back to being burned down. Amanda holding a wine glass while dancing and in 1 breath, 1 lyric, suddenly it has been placed somewhere else.) Though the people who find these little movie issues wouldn't have anything to do if they were to pay attention to detail and fix these issues, it leaves me to wonder if they just don't care about the quality, or someone truly thought they were covering all the bases, and made mistakes. Who checks these before the movie is finalized and sent out? Don't they have some sort of QC?

Now all in all, as I said before, I am a fan of this "comfort movie". It's a good holiday feel good movie, I enjoy the characters, and I'm not bothered by the dual romances going on like many other people who have written about this. I also don't mind the "Iris and Miles" romance being somewhat 'friends first' and awkward... because if you think about it, real life romances sometimes start this way, meeting and spending awkward moments before asking someone out officially or letting their affections be known, and probably not operating very smooth to boot. It is very rare if ever that someone (aside from the movie stars and movie characters) to experience such a glamorous and starstruck type of situation. Therefore, Miles and Iris give a little hope to some of the ordinary friends and couples who don't necessarily start off with the glass slipper and the fairy dust and fanfare. They're sweet, they're comfortable and they've both been through their share of heartache and bad romance. They appreciated FINALLY finding someone who was happy to be with them and who would treat them well.

Finally, as the movie comes to a close I am left a little empty-hearted wondering what becomes of the newly formed romances of both of our couples. They finish off the 2 hour long flick with a very joyous New Years Eve all together with Graham's two children to the tune of "You Send Me" by the legendary queen Aretha Franklin, dancing around having snacks and looking like a family. I want to know what happens afterwards. The all have established jobs... Miles and Amanda in L.A., and the brother and sister, Graham an Iris, whose family is heavy into the publishing industry, very dedicated to their jobs. Do they attempt the long-distance relationship(s) wherein they do okay for a couple of good months and then begin to fade out due to schedules and lack of effort on someone's part? Do any of them decide to make a big life change and move to the other country and make a real go of it?

Help me out here...

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