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22 December 2017

I re-watched The Holiday and I have a lot of questions

44, to be precise.

By Anna Leszkiewicz

Christmas is just around the corner, which can only mean one thing. That’s right! It’s time for another round oooooooooooooof: rewatching cheesy holiday movies and ruthlessly picking holes in them until any sense of Christmas cheer is long dead and buried!

This time around, it’s The Holiday, Nancy Meyer’s festive opus starring Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black and a lot of Christmas Decorations. I rewatched the film this week, and I had a lot of questions. A lot. Here they are:

  1. What is the sexy period drama Jack Black is composing to at the start? Why does it include characters riding modern day bikes in full 18th century dress? Would it have made more or less sense than The Holiday? I vote more.
  2. How is Jack Black’s girlfriend having a phonecall without speaking once? Why do Jack Black and his girlfriend share an entire scene communicating without speech? Are they mimes? Is this a film about unlikely romance between mimes?
  3. Does Kate Winslet’s character (Iris) really refer to herself as “handicapped” (really) only “without the advantage of a great parking space!” because she fancies someone she works with? Answer: Yes!
  4. What is Kate Winslet’s job title, exactly?
  5. Who are Margaret Hutchinson and Ray Johnson, the couple that grace one of Kate Winslet’s articles? Are they happy? Are they truly in love? Are they more well-matched than the characters in this film? We can only hope.
  6. What book does Kate Winslet actually buy the weasel Jasper? We know it’s a first edition, but of what? Does it matter? Why are the words “first edition” a shortcut to “meaningful gift” in TV and film? (See also: Friends, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Boy Next Door, The Age of Adaline).
  7. Why does no one think it’s inappropriate to single out Kate/Iris when announcing her EX-BOYFRIEND’S new engagement? NOT COOL, TREVOR, IF THAT EVEN IS YOUR REAL NAME! (It isn’t. I just made it up.)
  8. What day is it? When do the Telegraph offices semi-close for Christmas? Friday 22nd December 2006?
  9. Does Kate Winslet live in actual Narnia? Why? Where is Mr Tumnus?
  10. Seriously, how is a cottage “just 40 minutes” from central London? (Answer: it’s fake!)
  11. Why do I want to watch action thriller Deception starring Lindsay Lohan and James Franco so much when it looks so terrible? Was this cameo the beginnings of the sex list/short story tabloid story cycle? Why are they only just now finishing the trailer for a film coming out on Christmas Day? Also, generally: why?
  12. How does this shitty Google search actually lead Cameron Diaz (Amanda) to the perfect holiday retreat?
  13. Where is this “19th century barn” – advertised as in “the Cotswolds” – actually located in time and space? Because I am from the Cotswolds, and let me tell you, this is not the Cotswolds. We don’t have those weird American mailboxes for a start. I guess this could be Canada? At a push? Maybe it was built in the mid-1970s? I dunno.
  14. Why do Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet speak to each other on instant messenger like drones? They are smiling and chuckling to themselves but don’t even throw in a polite lowercase “lol”. Don’t they know actually laughing at your desk translates to “I’m screaming!!!! Lmaoooooooooo!!!”?
  15. How do they both get over two full weeks off at Christmas?
  16. Why doesn’t Kate Winslet offer to swap seats with one of the two friends sat either side of her, talking over her, during her flight? Rude bitch.
  17. Why does she scream aloud “Oh look at that” at random LA houses from the back of her taxi? This lady is wild.
  18. Why can’t this expensive chauffeur drive Cameron Diaz down a long, wide and practically snow-free lane seemingly several miles long?
  19. What deluxe bitch supermarket does this random English hamlet have? Why isn’t it a Co-op?
  20. How am I only 17per cent through this film?! How long is it?!
  21. Why does Jack Black have no understanding of “personal space”?
  22. Why does Jude Law, a supposedly British man, tell his supposedly British sister he’s going to “take a leak” on her doormat? Why does he then say “I’m sorry for my profanity,” when he didn’t swear in the first place? Who says “profanity” anyway? WHAT IS HAPPENING.
  23. Why is Jude Law’s character called GRAHAM?!
  24. Did Jude Law wash his hands? Cause it doesn’t seem like he did.
  25. Why does Jude Law look like he’s from a 2004 Specsavers advert?
  26. Why does Sophie, Jude Law’s 7-year-old daughter, have her own mobile phone in 2006? Why is she calling him? Why is he so chill about it? Why is he like, “Eh, I’ll call her back” like she’s his mother-in-law and not a 7-year-old probably in an emergency situation using the mobile phone he bought her strictly for emergencies?
  27. Why does Olivia, Jude Law’s 5-year-old daughter, also have her own separate mobile phone number? Why is she calling him? How come he answers her calls but not Sophie’s? Why does he answer the phone to her “Hello? Hi,” – like he’s talking to a middle-aged man and not a literal 5-year-old. Why does he end the call by just saying “I can’t today” and “Listen, I’ve got to go,” and not “OKAY DADDY LOVES YOU SWEETIE PIE SEE YOU LATER TODAY BECAUSE I AM YOUR PRIMARY CAREGIVER.”? Why?
  28. What is this weird “frolicking in the National Trust gardens” montage happening with Jude Law and Cameron Diaz? Is this what dating looks like? Why have I never done this on a date? Why are they playing kiss chase? Do people play kiss chase on dates now?
  29. What the fuck is this heinous coat? In related questions – the boots: why?
  30. How did Cameron Diaz get Jude Law’s address?
  31. Jude Law calls himself Daddy? Whatever you have to tell yourself buddy.
  32. Why, after days of being so overprotective he keeps his children a total secret, is Jude Law suddenly chill with letting a near-stranger form rash attachments with both Sophie and Olivia?
  33. Why is Jude Law at his most handsome in this film as Mr Napkin Head?
  34. Why is Dustin Hoffman (as Dustin Hoffman) in a Blockbuster? On Christmas Eve?
  35. Wait, why is anyone in a Blockbuster?! It’s 2006!
  36. Why are we chill with Jack Black behaving as just badly as “Jasper” (being overly intimate with Kate Winslet even though he has a girlfriend) just because he’s less handsome?
  37. If it’s Christmas Eve why the fuck is Jude Law having sex with Cameron Diaz instead of looking after his kids!? Or is this Christmas morning now? That’s even worse?! The timeline of this film makes no sense!!!
  38. Why does Jack Black wear a hideous trilby for 4.5 seconds? There needs to be a lot more exposition to justify a hat this awful.
  39. Wait – if the last Jack Black/Kate Winslet scene was late Christmas Eve, does that make this scene Christmas Day? How can they be shopping with Old Man Screenwriter and eating sushi at a posh restaurant on Christmas Day?! Or did the film just…. gloss over Christmas Day? Did it happen already? Why did no one mention that?
  40. If “Jasper” is here either on or just after Christmas Day did he just cancel his Christmas with his new fiancé or something? What day is it, for GOD’S SAKE?!
  42. How come the chauffeur can suddenly drive down the lane just two weeks later?!
  43. How is everyone over from LA in time for New Year’s Eve?!
  44. OK, they had a fun New Year’s Eve party, but what now? Are Jack Black and Cameron Diaz really going to leave their incredible Hollywood careers behind to move to some shitty cold English commuter village with two sad Brits? Or are Jude Law and Kate Winslet going to totally abandon two semi-orphaned little girls to fend for themselves? Seems unlikely. A happy ending, this is not.

[See also: White Noise review: a weird and wonderful spectacle]

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