Tag Archive: The Holiday

Valentine’s Aftermath

Flashes of Kate

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


This past weekend was the first parade for the grade school band.


It had been a great weekend with the weather until Sunday morning when it started raining. And I wondered if it would continue raining.


Thankfully, the rain stopped long enough to watch the parade to the very end and get enough candy to fill a Halloween pumpkin. There were some great cars along with fire trucks and tractors galore. There were singers, veterans, and boy scouts – classic Americana .


By the way, the band sounded great.


Last week, the kids went back to school and it was none too soon. With the passing of fair and band camp, so goes summer.


But as the days of summer are ending, I have been thinking about Kate Winslet. I love watching movies with this British actress because she is so interesting to watch. Even when she is in a romantic comedy that is nothing special, she lights up the screen.


When I watch her in The Holiday, I love how her character is very vulnerable and open to new relationships. Her character is suffering from a big blow as she watches the man she loves become engaged to another woman. She is able to take a vacation in L.A. when Cameron Diaz responds to her ad for house sharing.


Both women are suffering from broken hearts but it is Winslet who captures our eye as she charms not only Jack Black but the old codger Eli Wallach with her wit and charm. This movie is a lightweight jaunt compared to some of her other offerings.


In The Reader, she plays a German nurse who is accused of war crimes years after WWII. One of the witnesses testifying against her is the man with whom she had an affair during the war years. He was a teen at the time and a part of their courtship was him reading novels to her as she was illiterate.


Another difficult movie is Little Children in which Winslet is a wife and mother who starts an affair with a stay-at-home dad. A Doctoral graduate in literature, Winslet has given it all up for a stifling marriage and rambunctious child. But a part of her yearns for something more. There is also a subplot about a sex offender who comes home from jail and has a difficult time settling back in due to harassment. This film is meant for adults and makes one wonder at how life moves and breathes.


The last movie that I really love is The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind also starring Jim Carrey. The movie is set in the near future in which people can choose to have certain memories erased from their mind. Carrey and Winslet was an item but after a particularly nasty fight that leads to their break-up, she has him erased from her mind. So Carrey decides to do the same.


Of course, it is not that easy. Flashes keep coming back that they cannot explain. They find themselves circling around each other until they realize maybe, just maybe there was a reason for their loving emotions.


I would love to see Winslet do a “family” movie just because I wonder what she would do with it.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

The Last Piece of Christmas

Family Movie Night


by Karyn Bowman


Image by Kevin Rosseel

This past week I noticed that there were Christmas bulbs on the new trees in our downtown area. The ornaments are in colors of green, red and gold, making our downtown look a little festive.


So does the new Christmas tree that is over by the railroad building. It is full and bushy, decorated as it should be for the holiday.


I don’t know about you but I am ready for the holidays to be over. It has been crazy busy at my house and just when I think I have a night at home another ‘holiday’ activity has found its way onto our calendar.


So while I hope for some time to clean my house from more than its usual wreck, I am also planning to watch a few movies on those nights I plan to wrap a few presents.


Once the kids go to bed, I bring out the stash of presents, paper, scissors, tape and marking pen to begin the task of making magic happen. I pick out a movie, pour out some egg nog and get to the task at hand.


Kate and Jack in "The Holiday," Image from IMDb.com.

One movie for this “me” time that I love is The Holiday starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as women trading homes during the holidays. Both have broken hearts and need new sights to help the healing process. New connections are formed as these women meet the other’s family members, neighbors and friends.


They both find love and perhaps something more important, a renewed sense of self. It doesn’t hurt that the incredible Jude Law is one of the suitors and Jack Black shows vulnerability that makes him more accessible.


If I want a good cry, the Christmas movie of choice for me is The Family Stone starring Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson. Here we follow a family who is about to meet the girlfriend of one son. She appears to be as uptight as this family is relaxed or maybe its nerves and wanting to do the right thing.


Meeting the family in "The Family Stone," Image from IMDb.com

Of course, there are things that complicate everything. A hidden medical diagnosis, a pregnancy for one sister, another who is greatly opposed to this new person. Then there are the brothers, one of whom is deaf and gay, the other a pot-smoking filmmaker. And just when it could not get worse, the sister of the girlfriend shows up and changes the game entirely for the boyfriend.


But there is a moment that changes everything for me, a food disaster that leads to a moment of bonding with the women. From that moment on I cry on and off. I have done this ever since I watched this movie for the first time.


Let me wish you and yours  a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Until next year, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

 Snow just keeps falling.

 Last Monday the kids were off from school. Then last Thursday, my husband predicted the kids would be off again. Did not happen despite the constantly falling snow.

 While I was walking to dog on Thursday, my feet seemed to find every bit of ice underneath the powdery snow. Luckily, the dog did not take advantage of the situation the one time I did happen to fall down.

 So now Christmas is coming with a vengeance. Saturday is the big day and presents are being wrapped and hidden. You have seen just about every Christmas movie out there, sung every carol and heard enough bell ringing. You have eaten so many sugar plums, your doctor is giving you dire predictions. Nutcrackers make you sneer.

 I have a few suggestions for movies you may not have seen in recent years. Some have holiday themes and others have a slight holiday theme being wafted around it.

Billie Burke circa 1935, Picture from IMDb.com

 Finding The Cheaters (1945) may be the hardest part of enjoying this screwball comedy about a wealthy family on the brink of bankruptcy who bring a homeless man to the mansion for good press. Billie Burke (Glinda the Good Witch) and Eugene Pallette star as the parents of this brood who learn about the meaning of Christmas after a number of mis-adventures.

 I am not sure if it is possible to find this movie as I could not find it at Facets (Facetsmovies.com) or Movies Unlimited (moviesunlimited.com). Just because it is someone’s favorite movie does not mean it gets to be put out on tape or DVD. My mother loved this movie but if memory serves, the print was pretty bad back in the 70s when they would show it late at night.

Picture from IMDb.com

 Let’s say, you are really not in the Christmas mood but you want a little Santa flavor. I do have the perfect movie for you which pits Santa against those dastardly aliens from the big red planet. Perhaps one of the worst movies ever, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is a tale about the aliens kidnapping the big guy along with two children.

 They do so because Martian children have seen Earth TV shows featuring the wonders of Santa. Will Santa bring Christmas joy to Martian children? Will he and the kids get to come back to earth before evil Martians try to kill them off? Will you recognize a very young Pia Zadora? Could it hurt to try?

Picture from IMDb.com

 One movie that seems to be rapidly disappearing from the Christmas movie scene is a favorite. Barbara Stanwyck stars as a Martha Stewert-like writer for a women’s magazine in Christmas in Connecticut (1945). While Stanwyck lives in a small NYC apartment, she writes about her farm and family in the next state over.

Her boss, Sydney Greenstreet, invites himself and a recovering war hero, Dennis Morgan, over for Christmas. Suddenly she needs a farm, a husband, a baby and the ability to cook or she could lose her job. You can imagine the mayhem that happens. Plus, Greenstreet and S.Z. Sakall work off of each others like old pros – which they are.

Kate Winslet and Jack Black in "The Holiday," Picture from IMDb.com

Perhaps my last choice is not the best of movies but I do enjoy watching The Holiday starrring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. These two women have been put down by love and decide to trade home for the holidays to get a change of scene. It is a movie that dares to make Jack Black into a romantic hero.  

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a reply below.