It's that week again.
Every year, my family--that is, myself, my wife, and our children, who are now young adults--look forward to Christmas. This is because it's a day we set aside (you should pardon the expression) religiously for two things: Chinese food and a movie.
We're Jews. It's the law.
And as the children got older, there were two evolutionary effects to this tradition: First, we could stop going to the current "family" film, which quite often was charming and just as often excruciating for the parents attending. Second, each year it gets a little more difficult to find a film everyone will agree to see.
No, I'm not asking for suggestions. We do know what films are available and no, we're not just going to stay home and watch a video. We're Jews. It's the law.
This year is no exception. Negotiations similar to those which averted the fictional government shutdown have been going on since roughly August. December 25 is, as of this posting, six days away, and no agreement has been reached yet. Keep in mind that a single "nay" vote, unless the voter is swayed to changing it, can eliminate a film from consideration.
Here are the choices, and the dramatis personae involved:
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. No. I never drank the Kool Aid on this series, saw the first Swedish film made from it, thought it was an okay, fairly standard thriller, and am not the least bit interested in seeing this one. Do me a favor and don't comment about how "yummy" Daniel Craig is, or I'll have to banish you from the blog.
War Horse. I'm a Spielberg fan, so I'll follow him almost anywhere, but the ladies in the family are concerned that the horse of the title--not the people, mind you, who cares what happens to them--might be mistreated in the story.
Tin Tin. Again, Spielberg. Action, adventure, in an Indiana Jones kind of mood. Sign me up. But there's a holdout against motion capture animation who thinks it looks "stupid." Move on.
Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. Saw the first one a couple of Christmases ago and thought it was an okay action movie, more "James Bond Wakes Up in 1886" than Sherlock Holmes. No problem with waiting for Netflix on this one. Feel like we've done it already.
The Artist. A black-and-white, almost entirely silent, drama about the beginning of the sound era in film. Gotten great reviews. Sure Oscar contender. Might even be interesting to watch.
The Iron Lady. I'm not going to see a movie about Margaret Thatcher or J. Edgar Hoover. I don't care how good the performances are. I'd be squirming in my seat for two hours. No.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A 9/11 movie in which Tom Hanks, although his name is above the title, plays someone who doesn't make it out of the towers. How much do you think Tom is in the movie? I'm sure it's very uplifting. Pass.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: An adaptation of a John LeCarre novel that Alec Guinness already did really well on television decades ago. Great reviews, impressive cast, possibly not the most uplifting ever made, few laughs. Also might not be available in the Garden State.
We Bought a Zoo: Good for you. Cameron Crowe. Treacly family "fun" about a widower who's so distraught he unwittingly buys--yup--a zoo. Luckily, Scarlett Johansson lives next door.
My Week With Marilyn: Never been a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe. Don't really care what it was like to spend a week with her. Think the guy who wrote the book is trying to cash in on 15 minutes (or 7 days) of fame.
Mission Impossible--Ghost Protocol: If I don't even understand the title, what chance do I have with the movie? Didn't care much for the first three. Am indifferent toward Tom Cruise. I like movies that have characters. Call me crazy.
Young Adult: I don't like Diablo Cody.
New Year's Eve: Don't be ridiculous.
Already seen (by at least one family member): Hugo, The Descendants
The Chinese food is the easy part.