Thursday, June 3, 2021

Bad moments from great movies


Hi, welcome to bad moments from great movies, the series where we explore ridiculous moments in the movies I love. Today we look at the charming rom com classic The Holiday.

The Holiday is the story of two women reeling from romantic disasters who impulsively swap houses, via the Internet, to get away from everything in their lives during the holidays. The movie is sparkling with lighthearted, but not weightless charm. And Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Kate Winslet show just what kind of watchable delightfulness full fledged movie stars are capable of. Jack Black is in it too, and he is kind of weird, but in a way that increasingly grows on one after the third or fourth viewing. The movie is storybook pretty to look at as well, featuring an idyllic English Cottage and a Los Angeles Mediterranean mansion, as well as a graceful directorial and cinematographic hand. 

The good wildly outweighs the bad in this movie, but like most movies of this genre there are one or two bumps that will jar your teeth every single time you go over them. In The Holiday the main one of these comes down to the limo driver and the journey to the English cottage. 

It comes in two bad parts.

In The Holiday, Cameron Diaz, reeling from a relationship ended by a cheating boyfriend, is off to stay in a lovely English country cottage for a week or so. A limo driver is taking her there, from the London airport presumably, through the snowy countryside. The snow is not that heavy. The road is at the very least largely clear. In the middle of this perfectly adequate lane the driver stops and tells Cameron, in the back seat, that they have arrived. 

They haven't. So the driver explains that in these snowy conditions and what with the narrowness of the non narrow road he won't be able to turn around, so could she get out here.

Sensibly Cameron Diaz says "No".

Then, half mysteriously and half comically we cut to Cameron Diaz, slightly indignant, out on the road with her over-large bag with tiny roller wheels. She has a long, unhappy walk in the snow, half dragging her suitcase behind her. The lane never narrows, and, indeed, by the time we get to the charming cottage, it seems to allow every easy opportunity to turn a large truck around, let alone a modest sedan such as the one Cameron Diaz was kicked out of.

This is, I suppose, a modest enough sin. But it later gets a kind of a call back, which, for a person who has seen the movie 25 times, and now is kind of wanting to watch it again, makes it really stand out.

Cameron Diaz is at the end of her holiday. The same limo driver from the start is taking her away. Why this strong, self made woman is allowing the guy who dumped her a mile from her house in the snow for no reason whatsoever to drive her again, I simply mention here. They have driven about as far as she walked when she arrived when she realizes she needs desperately to go back to the cottage for romantic reasons we won't go into here out of some semblance of spoiler respect. She asks the driver to turn around. He says it's a bit tricky because he is seriously the worse limo driver in all of history. This is not played for laughs. While he is turning Cameron Diaz decides it would be better to run for it in her high heels. Running a kilometer in the snow in high heels will take much longer even than it would take the worst limo driver in history to turn and drive it, but she does it because it is all very scenic and very emotional to show her running through the countryside.

And it is. I shed a tear every time. I'm a weeper.

So, really, what do I know about filmmaking?

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