Tuesday, February 27, 2024

“The Holdovers”: (Go) Have Yourself a Sadsack Little Christmas

A charming film with minimal flair, “The Holdovers” is a refreshing period piece much-needed in today’s cinematic world saturated by superhero series and romantic comedies. Reminiscent of cheeky teen awakenings like “Breakfast Club” and “Dazed and Confused,” Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers” seamlessly incorporates predictable boyhood conversations and quips so quick-witted you’ll blink and miss them. The 1970s set is meticulously placed, too. From hemorrhoid cream to half-empty Jim Beam bottles and lighting tobacco pipes in the movie theater, it elicits a wistful nostalgia — genuinely watching like a film made in 1970, rather than a 2023 film made about the 1970s.

“The Holdovers” plot chronicles the unlikely friendships that form between left-behind ‘Christmas orphan’ Angus Tulley, his grouchy teacher Mr. Hunham, and Barton Academy’s cafeteria lead Mary Lamb.

Angus Tulley (newcomer Dominic Sessa) and Mary Lamb (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) in “The Holdovers”. Photo by Seacia Pavao.

While his boarding school peers head off to ski and otherwise gallivant for winter break, Angus scrounges his ‘permanent detention’ for ice cream, secluded pianos, and a way to Boston — all while combating Mr. Hunham and his desire to inflict Grinch-like misery. Between hours of “The Newlywed Game” reruns and chats over cheeseburgers, though, the characters begin to find that they’re more similar than different. An ‘entitled degenerate’ becomes a troubled teenager with hidden family issues; a fear-mongering teacher becomes a man with compassion that just needed to be uncovered; and a grieving mother finds a place to rest her heart for a bit.

“The Holdovers” masterfully captures our very-human nature to judge others and grow from our misconceptions. It is unsentimental, hilarious, and sad all at once. Run, don’t walk, to catch this one before it leaves the theater!

Movie Times: Click Here

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Director: Alexander Payne

Actors: Paul Giamatti, Brady Hepner, Carrie Preston, Michael Provost, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dominic Sessa

Runtime: 2 hrs, 16 min

Rating: R for language, some drug use, and brief sexual material



Caroline Minchella
Caroline Minchella
Caroline was 15 years old when her family moved to Coronado. Though she was a “transplant”, Caroline found a home in the Coronado community near-immediately: she became an intern for “The Coronado Times”; helped reinstate the CHS newspaper, “The Islander Times”; was a volunteer dog-walker for PAWS; and a faithful Concert in the Park attendee.After completing her BA in English at the University of California Santa Barbara, she went on to craft answers for Amazon Alexa devices and write creatively on the side. Fast forward seven years, Caroline is thrilled to return as a Reporter for “The Coronado Times.” Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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