Ep 36: The Holiday

An underwhelming story that has structure, comedy, and romance problems but a really terrific premise: Two women who have recently been betrayed in love switch houses (and cultures) and learn to love again.  Kinda.

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Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 1.5 Pops ~ Meh. This movie might have been cute, but I just don’t care. Too long, too self-indulgent, too uninteresting. I don’t even dislike it enough to hate it. It’s just… meh. Which is worse. Although Jude Law was cute, and he has a cow, so there’s that.

Lucy’s rating breakdown: Structure: 1, Comedy: 1, Romance: 2

Jenny says: 2 Pops ~ Cut an hour of fat, rewrite the dialogue so it sparkles, make the characterization three-dimensional, deepen the relationships, and arc the plot, and you’d have yourself a movie here.

Jenny’s rating breakdown: Structure: 2, Comedy: 1 Romance: 1

Blog Poll Rating: TBD

Read the chat transcript!

Movie Info:

Story: Two women troubled with guy-problems swap homes in each other’s countries, where they each meet a local guy and fall in love.  Release Date: Dec. 6, 2006  Writer: Nancy Meyers

26 thoughts on “Ep 36: The Holiday

  1. So glad to see your scores on this, as it’s a movie I revile (Cute dogs, dead wives, home design pornography…! don’t get me started…) and I, too, always thought the premise had great promise.

  2. I don’t know if I revile it, but it was a horrendous waste of talent and resources. It was a thin, superficial treatment of a premise that somebody with story-telling skills could have made it work. Add “superficial” to “over two hours” and you get yourself some cranky analysts. I still say Barefoot in the Park is the nadir so far (bad sign when you’re rooting for your heroine to fall off a building), but Lucy’s gunning for this one.

  3. Boring, yes. Slightly less bad as it goes on, but still boring. And the narration just about killed me, and I’m a person who LOVES narration. Except on Heroes. And here.

  4. Hey! I caught this on TV this weekend. Or rather the last hour of it, which could easily have been the last half hour… I rather liked the end. The problem is that when I tried to watch it the last time it was on TV, I lasted 5, maybe 10 minutes and couldn’t take it anymore, channel surfed and never looked back. So I can agree with the person who says it gets better as it goes on as well as the general concensus that were it overhauled, it could have been great. It’s a movie I’d want to like, but it was, um, not good.

  5. Strangely, even though I agree with all the people who’ve pointed out what’s wrong with it, I still always feel happy after I watch it. I think it’s because of Eli Wallach and Jude Law. For some reason my dad really likes it, so I’ve seen it a lot more times than I would have on my own, and as a result I’ve noticed things that I enjoy because of repeated viewing. But yes, far, far too long.

  6. I have a love/hate relationship with Nancy Meyers’ films. There are lovely moments in them and then she bores me to death with some misjudged flaccid angsty nonsense. (see also, It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give) Its so strange how someone can get things right and so wrong at the same time.

  7. I loved the scenes with the old men and their memories of Hollywood.

    When I saw the scene where Ed Burns actually admits that he cheated on Cameron Diaz, I knew the movie was written by a woman. Can’t imagine a man writing that scene.

  8. Oh, and I loved the cameo where Kate W and Jack B are in the video store… and Dustin Hoffman is down the aisle. That was a happy moment.

  9. I liked it when i first saw it, but didn’t remember how long it was. The biggest problem for me is that I really didn’t believe the romance between Cameron Diaz and Jude Law, and therefore really don’t care. I have always like Kate Winslet in anything she’s in.

    My favourite thing is Eli and in particular the exchange when they go out for dinner (but I did also like the phone converstion between the three characters and when Jack Black hums the movie themes in the blockbuster).

    Actually I retract the biggest probelm I think the motivation of the characeters and that all of them seem not to want anything. That is probably the biggest probelm now that I think about it. But I still like it, but then again I like Tremors and Her Alibi so maybe I have a high tollerance?

  10. I love Tremors. We have it on one of our lists for the future.
    Her Alibi, not so much. Porzikova is not an actress. But I haven’t seen it for years, so I might be wrong. No, I remember, I really didn’t like it. But I think of it whenever I see Castle.

  11. @ Stephanie – I think its because I saw it when I was 12 and have always wanted to be a writer, so I loved the premise. I also laughed a lot during the movie, It’s like Clue, I saw that when I was youger than 11 and stil love it to this day.

    I agree with you though Jenny, Porzikova isn’t an actress, We’ll always have Tremors, I love that film and for a horror phobic it has just enough to make it scary but the thing that I love about it (and how Pop D is this?) is the structure and the story telling. I’m really pleased it might be watched for this.

  12. @Jenny – i agree, she’s horrible in this but Selleck is on my List so we watch this one pretty regularly. I get to watch Tom and dh gets to see a super model. It’s a win/ win.

  13. so, i hadn’t commented on The Holiday until I finished the podcast. Somehow it doesn’t seem right to blab until I listen.

    Somewhere while y’all were talking I had a thought. I don’t think this is the way it happened but I think it’s what they ended up with. Someone had an idea. [Nancy Meyers is credited with writing and directing the movie]. Someone had some great lines on a whiteboard/ pieces of paper. They threw together some bullet points in order to get their key actors to sign on and get excited. Then these actors were turned loose to develop the characters – which never really happened. They were paper doll characters for the most part. They each have a bullet point or two under their name and that’s all we really know about them. There’s no depth – in fact, during the chat we were calling them by their Actor names not the Character name and I think this is really telling. I think this is how the structure gets waffley and the movie way too long and how we end up with no real idea about who these people are.

    If we knew what Iris really wanted out of her life, besides Jasper, we might really care about some of those first 27 mins but we don’t because there’s nothing there except her crying over Jasper which is just pathetic. If we knew more about Cameron Diaz’s character we might see past her reluctance to commit to her LA boyfriend [before he cheater on her] and yet her desire to be connected with Graham and his kids. Was it the cow? There’s a joke somewhere about getting the milk for free and having his own cow but I have a cold and can’t figure out how to word it but see – they coulda put that in there. The movie had a lot of potential but they put too much stuff in that didn’t belong and didn’t put in stuff that they really needed. I’d have watched it for 2hrs if it was full of good stuff but I won’t watch this cut ever again.

  14. Jenny – why does Castle remind you of Her Alibi? I may regret asking as I am a HUGE Castle fan, but still.

    The “I never cry” thing was the most annoying. Cameron Diaz is too skinny. First thing I’ve seen Jude Law in. Now I get it. I might start a list. Eli was the best! I did miss how she knew where he lived though.

  15. Oh and totally off topic for Sarah Parish fans you should totally check out Blackpool, it really great I can’t really tell you the premise because its kind of a bit wacky, but its got Sarah Parish, Daivd Tennant and David Morrisey in it, so I promise its good.

  16. I think it’s the book covers and the god-I’m-handsome-and-charming celebrity male writer. I don’t know how Castle gets anything written.

  17. One of the things I’ve really found fascinating about this whole series was the places where I disagree and agree at the same time.

    I’ll be the the odd ball out and say that I truly adore this movie. I get a hit out of it every time and it just makes me happy.

    And yet, as I watch it through Jenny’s & Lani’s eyes, I see the flaws, the things they could have done differently, or better.

    Sometimes, too, it’s thing we identify with. I’ve had the powerful depth of unrequited love in my life, and I utterly identify with that part of the Kate Winslet character. Maybe that’s why I didn’t mind the voice over narration at the very beginning – because she was speaking to something that reverberated so deeply in my soul. I was lucky, though — my unrequited was not a wanker. If he ever suspected, he was very gentle about not giving me hope & not exploiting me. Of course, it also helped that after college, he went to Africa and I never saw him again. Makes it ever so much easier to get over unrequited love when the object of one’s affections disappears forever.

    But I digress …

    Still learning tons of stuff from this podcast, and even when I find myself saying “how can you NOT love my current favorite movie!?”, I always put that aside and I always learn something fabulous.

    I’m so glad you guys are gonna keep doing this.

    If you ever get a category that this would fit — maybe buddy movies — you should definitely add “Appaloosa” with Ed Harris & Vigo Mortenson. Another movie I absolutely adored.

  18. (Sorry if this is a bad place to post this but,) I was just reading how Cactus Flower has been remade….. into the terrible looking Just Go With It with Jennifer Aniston & Adam Sandler. Oh lordy

  19. I know. I think Lani and I should watch it just to see what happens in the update, and then if it isn’t abysmal . . .
    We’ll just watch it and let you know. When it comes out on DVD.

    Wow. I went to check the reviews which are uniformly awful. The Boston Herald said, “Frank Capra would puke.” Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 19%.
    Those are not good signs.

  20. How dare they insult Breakfast at Tiffany’s. One, not a romantic comedy, and two, IT’S BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S.

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