Some of us anticipate long winter vacation days filled with snowmen, gingersnaps, and Rankin-Bass holiday specials. Me, I look through the local movie showtimes and wonder if it’s worth bundling everyone up to get out of the house and into a popcorn-scented auditorium. I love going to the movies during November and December, and if I’m not in some sort of tryptophan coma and can find something I want to see on Thanksgiving or Christmas day, I am in heaven.
Here are a few that I’m praying will be good this year.
Starring Julia Roberts as the Wicked Queen, Lily Collins as Snow White, and Nathan Lane as the woodsman guy who was supposed to kill Snow White but didn’t have the heart to.
Oh, I am looking forward to this. I love the idea of relying so heavily on the Queen’s point of view, and that she’s portrayed as an over-privileged middle-aged woman who’s not so consumed by her own ego that she’s reduced to just flailing around and being stereotypically evil: no, this is a thinking woman’s Evil Queen. I am also delighted to see Nathan Lane wringing his hands and wearing a powdered wig, and that they’ve hired real actors to play the Seven Dwarfs, and that the filmmakers have jettisoned the old Disney model and given some real weight to the Dwarfs themselves.
Will I be able to convince my family to see Mirror, Mirror with me? My husband is not a Julia Roberts fan, but Nathan Lane might get him through the door. My son will probably give the okay to this because it looks more funny than scary.
Starring The Muppets as themselves, Jason Segel as Gary, the brother of the world’s biggest Muppet fan, Amy Adams as Gary’s girlfriend, and Chris Cooper as the Texas oilman who wants to drill for oil under the Muppets’ theater home.
The Muppets were always threatening to cross the G-rated line, and here they finally have their first PG film. (We will ignore those R-rated early Saturday Night Live episodes.) I loved the show as a kid, I think Jason Segel and Amy Adams are great, the whole thing looks earnest and fun, but I’m a little meh about this movie and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the way so many of the TV franchises of my childhood have tried to modernize and assert themselves into my adulthood, or maybe it’s the way my ten-year-old son rejects my favorite after-school sitcoms as “too old.” Am I just afraid I’ll be disappointed? Jim Henson is still dead, after all.
Will I be able to convince my family to see The Muppets with me? It’s a toss-up. If my husband’s in a good mood and there’s no football game on TV, he might say yes. Son might be curious, but mainly because he’s seen bits of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and liked Jason Segel’s character’s vampire puppet opera.
The Adventures of Tintin
Starring Jamie Bell as Tintin and Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock.
This might be what we in the boy-raising business call a Real Boy Movie, but it also looks like a Real Spielberg Movie. Like, this is what Indiana Jones Part 4 wanted to be but somehow wasn’t. Also, the somewhat-creepy Polar Express-style motion-capture animation looks like it’s gotten a whole lot less creepy over the last five years.
Will I be able to convince my family to see The Adventures of Tintin with me? If there’s no football or basketball on, the Xbox 360 is broken, and the cable is out, then yes, definitely.
Starring Jeremy Irvine as the boy whose beloved horse gets sold for the war effort, Emily Watson as the boy’s mother, and lots and lots of British, French, and German actors (and horses)
Oh, dear God, I get tears in my eyes just watching the teaser. Damn you, Spielberg! Damn you and your emotionally manipulative film about a horse and the boy who never forgot him. *Sob!*
Will I be able to convince my family to see War Horse with me? I don’t know, will they bring a roll of paper towels for me to cry into?
And here’s one I’m going to pretend never happened until my son begs me to order it on On Demand:
Jack and Jill
Starring Adam Sandler as himself and as his twin sister.
What you can do to make the experience of watching this trailer more interesting for yourself is go to YouTube and search for “George C. Scott watches Jack and Jill trailer” or “Darth Vader watches Jack and Jill trailer” or Dirk Diggler or Naomi Watts or Malcolm McDowell watch the Jack and Jill trailer. Trust me on this, it’s better if you don’t watch it alone.