When we were young, our family had a tradition that I thought was unique only to us: Every Christmas, after opening presents (in reverse age order) and eating a lethal combination of meat and See’s chocolates, we would pull out the newspaper and pick a movie for the whole family to go see. Now I know it’s a tradition shared by many families, because when you’re partially comatose and the conversation threatens to land on who everyone voted for last election, what better thing to do than sit in silence in a dark room? You’re together, you’re (hopefully) entertained, and you’re happy.
Whatever traditions you observe (or don’t) this holiday season, a tub of buttered popcorn and a seat to yourself could be just the ticket. Curling up next to a roaring fireplace with a good book and a mug of something warm is okay, but it’s been done. For a truly original Christmas, hit the local cineplex to take advantage of the cadre of films trying to sneak in for 2013 Oscar consideration at the last minute. There aren’t terribly many films with an explicitly religious angle, so I’ve rounded up four that look like fun for all–or some–of the family.
Yes, the nonstop marketing has been over the top. But if you expect subtlety from this team, you’ll be sorely disappointed. I can’t wait to see what Brick, Veronica, Baxter, et. al are up to this time around, as Ron takes on New York City’s first 24-hour news channel. The cameos alone are enough to get me to the theater, and though the reviews have been mixed, Sex Panthers couldn’t keep me away.
Seeing this on Christmas with the whole family would probably be like the time I accidentally watched Basic Instinct with my grandmother. But the Oscar buzz around this film is strong enough that if you can get through a couple uncomfortable scenes with Aunt Edna sitting next to you, I think you’ll be glad you did.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
I have a hard time believing I don’t already know every twist and turn this movie will take. It feels like a Wes Anderson movie at REI, which is about my worst nightmare. But this tale of a Life magazine employee swapping the real world for his daydreams promises to be a feel-good movie and, with a PG rating, the kind of thing the whole family can enjoy.
Who doesn’t want to see this happy reunion of two old boxing rivals coming out of retirement? Sylvester Stallone (who does, at one point, try to box a side of meat á la Rocky) and Robert de Niro are the aging fighters, in need of the money the grudge match promises. It’s gotten surprisingly positive reviews so far, and there is something to seeing Rocky and the Raging Bull go up against each other.
If you’ve seen any of these films (or others), which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments…