Happy Holidays! I hope that everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and survived the frenzy of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Valium Wednesday. That last one may or may not be a real thing - I don't know your life. I have been unusually excited to start the holiday season. I'm not normally a fan of decorating but this year I have, for the first time since probably junior high, been excited about putting up a tree. Granted I didn't put up an actual tree but made a book tree instead. I think it turned out quite nice; thanks to Emily for the idea.
The most important part of the holiday season is, of course, holiday movies. You probably thought I was going to say cookies or spending time with family or something more spiritual. This is not that blog (although I enjoy spending time with my family, baking cookies, and I enjoy church on Christmas). I've been watching Hallmark holiday movies for the last month (good background noise for my NaNoWriMo writing) but am finally ready to dive into the real deal holiday movies. We haven't had a Lazy Movie Weekend in awhile. What better way to bring it back than with one of the most underrated holiday movies, The Holiday.
Like all of my LMW entries, I love this movie. The Holiday was actually the inspiration for my leading lady quest this year. Here's the short version of the plot: Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) are both having mini-crises. Iris has just found out that guy she's in love with is engaged and Amanda's Type A personality has driven away her boyfriend and made her a compulsive workaholic. They do what any normal women would do when faced with these types of life issues: they swap houses for the holidays. Amanda goes to London and Iris to L.A. Amanda meets Jude Law; Iris meets Jack Black and Eli Wallach. People fall in love, hilarity ensues, and they have an awesome New Year's Eve party.
Let's discuss The Holiday in all its awesome, awkward, and lovely glory.
- I really love the score. Hans Zimmer is the composer and for a movie that focuses on the movies (Amanda is a movie trailer designer, Ethan and Miles are film composers, Arthur was a screenwriter), it has a lovely score. It's characteristic of the film and the characters.
- Iris's opening monologue which includes this line, "I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives."
- Another favorite from her monologue, "Those of us who fall in love alone." Unrequited love was never described so perfectly.
- Jasper is terrible. There's the whole "let's exchange presents but I don't have yours" thing and the engagement he didn't warn her about. And poor Iris's face when she finds out. Someone should punch him in the throat.
- I LOVE Iris's house. It looks cozy. And Surrey looks like Christmas.
- I also hate Ethan. It's possible that I have a hard time separating Ed Burns from Ethan since I don't care for Ed Burns either. "You just don't want to be what I need." And I don't need a no-good cheater. Peace out Ethan, and here's a punch in the face. You go, Cameron Diaz.
- I wish Kathryn Hahn and John Krasinski were in the movie more but then it wouldn't make that much sense.
- "I want to eat carbs without wanting to kill myself." Preach Amanda.
- In real life: I appreciate Amanda's desire to go away for Christmas but she would have to do way more research and planning than the five minutes she takes in the movie. And I don't think Iris would just be hanging out waiting for some nutty American to swap houses with her.
- "We both know I need to fall out of love with you. Would be great if you let me try." Jasper, leave Iris alone.
- I applaud Amanda for driving in another country. The idea of that terrifies me.
- And then Iris meets Miles and they have a meet cute before we even know what meet cutes are (the eyelash thing) and you know it's going to be magical.
- And then Amanda meets Graham and they have sex. They skipped meet cute and went to "I've seen you naked" faster than most people do. In the bigger picture of the movie, this totally works.
- Ladies, tell people you are going out of town. For real, you could be injured, arrested, killed, etc. Someone should know where you are especially if you are leaving the country.
- Cameron Diaz's awkwardness as Amanda is awesome. I love their morning after scene and the later drunken scene. She actually seems like a normal woman in this movie.
- I also dance around my apartment randomly and awkwardly. Pumpkin seems okay with it so I guess I'm more Amanda and Iris than I thought.
- Stupid Jasper - no you may not send Iris pages of your stupid book to read. She is trying to fall out of love with you. Stop it.
- Iris - stop it. You don't have to read his pages. Or let him talk about you in swimwear. You are better than him.
- Why is it that I am not able to pack like either one of them? How many coats does Amanda take with her (I counted 4)? I want both of their wardrobes.
- Arthur! Arthur is my favorite character (after Iris). He has some of the best lines in the movie and helps Iris to see what she really is - the leading lady. He also knows that she and Miles belong together and has the sweetest love story of all. I've always felt like the friendship between Arthur and Iris was the most unexpected and delightful part of the movie. This could have just been another holiday love story but the friendship between these two characters is special.
- "Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend." Arthur, you are my hero.
- I've decided after this viewing that Miles is the perfect man. In my teens and 20s I was interested in the bad boy or Lloyd Dobler; now I just want to hang out with Miles and let him write melodies that are me. And we'd drink Coffee Bean drinks together and there would always be a lingering kiss.
- Y'all, Graham's kids win this movie. Olivia and Sophie are the cutest things ever. "You look like my Barbie." And they give us Mr. Napkinhead, probably Jude Law's most important film moment ever.
- The Dustin Hoffman scene was not planned. He was driving to the Blockbuster to get a movie (remember when we still did that?) and saw the film crew. He decided to see what was going on and Nancy Meyers, the director, decided to write him in. It's a funny moment.
- "Why do I always fall for the bad girl?" The sequence that follows between Iris and Miles is brilliant. It ends with the second best Miles line, "It's Christmas Eve and we are going to celebrate being young and alive."
- Is Christmas Eve fettuccine a thing? I find it improbable that Iris and Miles and Amanda would all have the same meal on Christmas Eve. Is it the Christmas Eve food of lonely people?
- The entire sequence of Miles writing Arthur's theme music: "It's cheeky." To Iris, "I also wrote one that sounds like you. Iris, if you were a melody...(song plays) I used only the good notes." Swoon. Jack Black is just not Jack Black in this movie and it's wonderful. The accidental boob graze may be the Jack Blackiest thing he does in the entire movie.
- Do people really fall in love in such a short period of time like Amanda and Graham? I want to believe it but I don't.
- Stupid Maggie. She and stupid Jasper should end up together and be awful together somewhere far away from Iris and Miles. Just leave them alone already. Your awfulness is not wanted here.
- Iris, put those pages down. Stop enabling jerkface Jasper. However, the pages do lead to her amazing moment when she lets him have it and find her GUMPTION!
- Arthur is clearly the inspiration for this post about old fashioned dating habits.
- I love his speech about movies, how we connect to one another, and ultimately, love. I need an Arthur in my life.
- Iris and Miles post first kiss. Fabulous. This is how I imagine the characters in my novel and their first kiss.
- And finally Amanda cries. She hasn't been able to cry since her teens and leaving Graham finally made her cry. I guess people can fall in love in less than 10 days.
- Then there is a great NYE party, Amanda and Iris meet and become best friends (obviously), Miles has the greatest look on his face when he looks at Iris, and Olivia and Sophie get to wear fancy party dresses. House swapping is the only answer to what's wrong in your life and this movie proves it.
Kate Winslet's Iris is basically the person I aspire to be in my life. I see a lot of myself in the character of Iris pre-house swap and I'm trying to be more like her post-house swap. I know how she feels when it comes to the plot line involving Jasper; I'm awesome at pining artistically (as my friends and I used to say) and "falling in love alone". And I'm always the best friend. That's been my life for most of my life. I'm very good at being a supporting character even in my own life. So this year, I set out to change that. Next week, I'll give you an update on how that's going and what I intend to do in my sprint to the end of 2013.